Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Acrylic Drapery Rods from Ballard Designs for the Living Room!

My father told me that he has read about curtains (my last post) a few too many times and he wants an update.

I'm in my busy season, so I don't have much time to think about fun things, but there is some progress on the living room to share.

First of all, I ordered drapery rods at the end of August. It seems I'm destined to always wait for for back ordered items (our Pottery Barn sofa was delayed an extra month). The acrylic drapery rod sets I ordered from Ballard Designs weren't going to ship until November. The date changed a few times and they finally arrived towards the end of October (isn't it the best when backordered stuff arrives sooner than expected?!?). I opened one set and loved what I saw so much that I posted a photo on Instagram immediately.

A woman commented that her rods were bowed, so I was a little worried as I get ready to hang them.

Sure enough, they weren't perfect. They had some sort of adhesive on them, the finish on a few of the brackets was flaked off, and one of my rods was bowed. On the flip side, the sets costs much less than the most popular source for acrylic drapery rods and they were already in my house. I thought they looked GREAT. Who is going to get on a step stool to inspect the finish on your drapery hardware? No one. Let's move on.

I debated placement a lot before the rods arrived and I decided to mount them right against the crown molding. I'll need 92" drapes to go with them. I had hoped to avoid the custom route, but 86" drapes would have called for mounting the rods just above the windows and that didn't look right to me.

I love how the rods look, despite the issues with them. I wrote a review of the rods for the Ballard website and got 58 "helpful" votes. Another person had some issues with them, too. Customer service got in touch with me to apologize for the issues, which was impressive. Ballard is awesome. I think I ordered the rods when they were new, so I'm sure there are some kinks to work out in the fabrication process. I regret saying I wouldn't recommend these in my review on the site. They look great and the issues are minimal when all is said and done.

Why no rings on these rods? Those are backordered, too. I just checked and they are expected in April. That doesn't really matter since I don't have drapes yet!

I have been admiring rooms where drapes and walls matched (or were close in color) for a while now.

Designer unknown | via BH&G

Design by Jan Showers

Design by Jan Showers

I decided to try to find pink fabric for the living room drapes. It would have been smarter to know this before picking paint so everything could have coordinated. Now, I'm left trying to find fabric to match the paint that is already on the wall. Lucky, my friend Linda at U-Fab is always up for a challenge and she pulled book after book so we could find the perfect fabric.

There was one fabric that was perfect, but it was velvet and $75/square yard. Velvet isn't ideal when you have a sweet, constantly shedding golden retriever and the cost was a bit high in light of my need to make six draper panels.

When Linda pulled some faux silk (polyester, probably) moire fabric out, I wasn't so sure about it. I grew up with moire wallpaper in our dining room and it didn't feel fresh to me at first, but the pale pink grew on me.

I took home the moire samples along with some simple linens to test them out in the room. Unfortunately, my work schedule doesn't all me to take pictures during daylight, so these photos aren't true to color...

After staring at the samples for days, I realized that none had me all that excited. If I'm going to have curtains made, I should probably love the fabric, right? So the search continues...
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Short Primer on Curtain Rod Height

We all know the "high and wide" rule when it comes to hanging curtains. If you hang your curtains above the trim on your windows and wide enough that the fabric doesn't cover the window glass, your room (and windows) can appear bigger.

High and wide was great in my last home, a condo with low-ish ceilings.

Our current house has equally low ceilings. On the second floor, I hung our bamboo blinds flush with the ceiling and put the curtain rods right over them. We have custom drapes in one bedroom, so I ordered them to touch the floor. Amazingly, the West Elm drapes I used in the guest bedroom were exactly the right length to kiss the floor.

I've been trying to work on our living room and while browsing inspiration pictures, I noticed that the "high" part of "high and wide" varies a lot among professional designers. At the molding, under the molding, and even on top of the molding seems acceptable.

But what is correct? Just as I as asking myself this, Barry Dixon posted this on his instagram account:

Scrolling through his account, it seems he has a clear preference.

In Barry, we trust. I'm hanging the rods I got for the living room where the crown starts.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Deja Vu at the DC Design House

One of my favorite rooms in the DC Design House was the living room designed Pamela Harvey Interiors.

DC Design House Living Room | Design by Pamela Harvey Interiors | Image  by Annie Seckinger

A set of tables on one side of the room caught my eye. I didn't get a picture of them, but you can see them in the 360 image that the Washington Post shared of the room.

Pamela posted them on her Instagram feed as well.

Those tables. I love them. I think I've seen them before...

Green Front Furniture has them! I recognized them from my last trip to Farmville and from my quick visit to the Manassas location the other day, thought he Manassas pair didn't have the same gold legs.

I'm trying to resist the urge to drive to Farmville right now...
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Friday, October 21, 2016

Farewell Dhuirries, Hello Seagrass!

Another round of the One Room Challenge had started - that's the blogger event where people remake rooms in six weeks. There's no way I can handle such a project right now, but seeing other people taking part has inspired me to blog about recent changes in our living room. I haven't blogged since I painted the room pink.

Since then, I sold the busy, geometric dhurrie rugs that I got from Shades of Light. They were fitting with "blogger style" when I bought them, but not really my style. The day I sold the first one, I drove up the road to Floor Fashions of Virginia and ordered a custom seagrass rug to fit the room. Floor Fashions is a fun place and they have the ability to bind rugs for you. I had them do a thin, matching trim instead of the wider, tape-like borders I have on my other seagrass rugs.  I'm still waiting for the rug to come in, but I saw the style and binding I ordered when I walked into the DC Design House earlier this week. Seeing this made me eager for my rug to arrive!

By the way...the Pottery Barn sofa that I ordered in May finally arrived in late August. My streak with backorders continues, though. Acrylic drapery rods and hardware that I ordered in August just shipped this week. I didn't want to move forward with ordering drapery panels until I had rods up and could measure (more on that at another time).

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The "Done for Now" Dining Room

Our dining room is almost a perfect square with windows or doorways on every wall and chair rail cutting the room in half. There are several narrow areas for art, but the room is so small that I have felt like if I put art on multiple walls, the pieces would have to be related.

When Marc gave me a beautiful, antique tray with a interesting inscription, I thought that it might be nice to hang on the wall. When Marc gave me a second beautiful tray, I knew the dining room walls were going to be the perfect place to display a set of trays.

I've collected silver-plated bowls with interesting engraving for years. I usually gravitate towards bowls that were won as trophies and this being horse country, there are plenty of them in the area antique shops.

One Sunday afternoon rendered an armload of trays...and I passed over ones that were made in the last twenty years! I laid the trays out on the floor to determine which might look nice lined up together and tucked the rest into odd spots.

My china cabinet started looking a little crowded after a while!

The large tray in the middle has the funniest inscription. It's the trophy for a tailgating competition that took place at a hose show. The tray was the prize for the second runner up. Which makes we wonder what the winner and first runner up received!

When we were in the condo, I styled the shelves of my china cabinet, since it was one of the first things you saw when you came in the front door. I never got around to doing that since we lived...and my stemware collection has grown, so I need as much space as possible for my crystal. 

Having something on the walls makes the room feel a little more finished. At some point, I'll do something to dress up the drapes (line them, add trim) and possibly add a rug. Down the line, we plan on redoing all of the floors since the first floor has two different kinds (parquet and laminate), but that will probably have to wait until we are ready to renovate our kitchen.

I'm pretty happy with where our simple, little dining room is now. 

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Polish Your Silver! (How One Product Banished Tarnish)

I was looking around Gordonsville Antiques here in Central Virginia a few weeks ago when I saw a beautiful, silver tray in one of the stalls. Aside from it being larger than most (18" tall and maybe 24" wide), it had the most charming inscription. The tray was presented to a couple with fantastic names (Izler and Sevi Solomon) by the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra Association. I didn't buy the tray, but as I'm sure you can imagine, I regretted it for the rest of the afternoon. I even mentioned it to Marc when I got home because I was so charmed by the inscription.

The tray was soon forgotten because I rushed to New Jersey when a family member got seriously ill. After a few stressful weeks up north, I finally came home to find the tray, a bottle of champagne, and cupcakes waiting for me. Talk about a great homecoming!

The tray had a little tarnish on it and I used the silver polishing cloths from Target on the worst spots without much luck. I hate those cloths because they smell terrible and I find them so messy to use. While we were at an antique store, I decided to try the silver polish they were selling, Pine-Ola.

This stuff is magic. Now, one of the Amazon reviews for this product warns that it is abrasive, so I don't think this is for every day polishing. I decided to make a quick pass over all of my trays and bowls and the results were awesome.

My tray was looking shiny and new. I loved it even more now.

I started looking out for trays that had interesting inscriptions. There was one from the 40s for a Richmond man who was involved with the Federal Reserve. Another from a dog show. One more that was for the "second runner up" in a tailgating competition for a horse show (if the second runner up gets a silver platter, what does the winner get?). With each acquisition, the Pine-Ola got the tarnish off.

That Pine-Ola had a bigger test a couple week later when Marc gave me a tray for my birthday that had more tarnish than anything I've ever owned. The engraving was incredible, though. It was from 1896 and was from the employees of "Clark's Mile End Spool Cotton Company" (which merged with Coats in the 1950s to form Coats and Clark, a common thread brand.

I couldn't resist working on the tray right away. I made a quick pass over half of it while my coffee brewed the morning of my birthday.  Pardon the bad, 6 AM kitchen lighting:

When I was able to spend a little more time on it, the tray wound up looking like this:

If you let your mouse hover over this image, you should be able to see the difference between the unpolished and polished tray. I'm so happy with the outcome. Polish your silver!

So, what am I doing with all these trays? I'll show you next time.
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