Monday, March 31, 2008

Flat Screens, Game Systems and Cords, Oh My!

Cords are an inevitable problem whenever you have a flat screen and/or game systems. There are very expensive solutions to this and anyone can figure that out, however, I'd like to show you a trick to 'fix' this without hiring a framer, electrician, drywall guy and painter!

Here is an example of a flat screen mounted on the wall with the cords hidden in a tunnel in the wall. Once the tv is installed, it is very hard to add a cord so once the Wii was purchased, there's still a visible cord! As with any system, lots of games and remotes were added to the pile. And LOOK at the cords on the floor! There's not a lot of room to tuck in cords at the tv so all the excess ends up on the floor.

Here are some simple solutions! The cord was run to the right of the tv (taped underneath!) and two plants were put there to make it disappear. Two coordinating baskets were added to the area--the smaller one holds games and the everyday remotes and the large one on the floor holds the larger accessories. A simple frame or canvas print works perfectly to disguise the mound of cords--this one was around $15 at Old Time Pottery. The pot of flowers just adds an extra element to balance the basket. It became a beautiful area with just a few accessories!

There is a phrase in the design business--"Decorate Around It". This is a perfect example of when this rule can be used successfully!

If you are mounting a flat screen in your existing home, it is a tricky project to get it right but you can do it! First, determine where it needs to be mounted based on your framing and the height you want. Before you get the tv up, determine where the available space for cords will fall on the wall and then find an area between the framing to poke a hole through. Cover it with an outlet plate that has a large hole in it. Make sure that space does not have electrical on the floor. Do not saw but 'poke' so that you don't cute any wires if they are. Determine the best spot behind your console/table and poke through again. First get the cords up to the tv by dropping a long wire and then pull it all up--be patient here! Attach it all from there and enjoy your gorgeous new tv!

FYI, If you are building a home, you should have your framer make a solid area in the spot where you plan to hang your tv. You should have an idea of the size you plan to put on the wall as well as the height. The 'rule' is eye level when you are sitting but I think if you live like my family does that it should be closer to eye level when standing. Anywhere within that range works, in my opinion and if you are in a large area where you walk around often, like watching TV from your kitchen island in the attached family room, go higher! It has never bothered me to look up from my couch but it would certainly bother me if I couldn't see the TV from the kitchen because it was being blocked by heads on the couch! Then have them make a 'tunnel' from the very bottom of where the tv will be (look at the back for the cord space) to an area within the first 2 feet on the floor where you can run all the cords up to the tv. Plan ahead--if you think you are going to add something, get the cord in the tunnel!
post signature

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Window Treatments

Here are a few window treatments I have made, all very different. I think that a high end treatment can change a room and take it from okay to gorgeous. However, I also think that a little creativity on a small budget can go a LONG way! Here are some examples: The treatment was with a pattern, is lined with the same fabric the couch is slipcovered in and took a lot of fabric and a lot of time. It has a heavy trim and the time involved in making this is where the cost of some treatments comes from! The second one is 'altered' drapes! I took two cream panels that I had no need for, had my husband cut two 1x2's 2" longer than the window and created these working roman shades. I cut the fabric and liner, sewed on the 2 different trims and then stapled them on the board. I then sewed the rings on to make it function and then carefully screwed them onto the wall. Obviously, some very precise measurements and a level were a part of this but for the cost of trim and some roman shade rings, I think they are a gorgeous 'altered' treatment! This treatment was for a large slider that is 10' long yet the plan was not to stay in this home and a large expense was not an option! We bought this fabric and swagged it over a strong rod and there isn't a single stitch of thread. Not only can the 25' of fabric be used in the next home but there was no expense in sewing! And it looks amazing! If you notice the additional texture on the treatment, we draped glass red beads on the swags when decorating for the holidays and liked the way it looked so much, we never took them down.

Three treatments--high end custom, altered from something store bought and a 'no sew' option--and all take the windows from ho-hum to gorgeous!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Does fabric make your heart skip a beat? I love how a window treatment or that perfect pillow can transform a space. This is my favorite pillow. I made it several years ago and my children haven't pulled a single tassel off it yet! I hand stitched the B. The fabric is striped and we (my friend Megan helped!) mitered the stripe to frame the B. It was more work than I normally would take on for something so small but it was well worth the effort.

Empty walls--what to do?

There are times where a wall just feels boring and you just don't know what to do. My favorite solution is . My mother sells it and it is the perfect thing for an area where art or pictures just might not work but you need something to take it from good to great. Here is a wall in my boy's bathroom. I enjoyed painting the stripes and loved the room but with two elementary age boys, I couldn't see art work or pictures. Here is my solution. This is basically just like a rub on tattoo and is also removable!

This was hard to photograph because of the bright light coming through the doors but it says "A house is built with Boards & Beams, A home is build with Love and Dreams". This home is a farmhouse and window treatments weren't wanted in the area yet that space was SO bare. Iron scrollwork was considered and would also have looked amazing but each door is 6' wide and this would have cost quite a bit. This was less than $150 and makes quite a statement! What artwork can you buy that is 14 feet wide for that price?

If you want to check out their online catalog, go to the site, enter the customer area and enter this info to view. id-843597 token-marcy You will be required to register but won't be contacted. The info will be saved and makes it easier if you decide to place an order. The possibilities are endless!

Family Room Redo


The Challenge:

Make this family room warm and comfortable. They moved in but haven't had time to decorated. What can I do with this room without spending money on furniture or painting?

What Worked:

They have great furniture (the couches feel like a comfy sweater!) and lots of beautiful art work. Their home is very large and has high ceilings.

What Didn't Work:

Decor: We need: color, to maximize the height of the room as everything was very low, to find ways to display the collectibles and soften the edges and make it look comfy and inviting.

Organization: They had blankets, magazines, books, game system items and remotes all in the room but those items had no home.

Stay tuned for the After!

My favorite storage container

This drawer system from Sterilite is my favorite! Let me tell you why. It has no ugly handle! Many have round gray handles and some have blue ones. Tell me this, where will you put your pretty label on those drawers? THESE drawers have a smooth curved area under the drawer pull that is perfect for gorgeous clear labels! Here is a picture of some I have in my home. I can find a staple, photo corner, sharpie, notebook tab, super glue and many many other things in seconds!

Bonus: These hold regular paper perfectly and they also make ones that holds 12x12 paper--scrapbookers rejoice!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kid's junk--lets see it!

I think the first instinct that comes to mind when thinking of organizing kids spaces is to HIDE the mess. Toy baskets, primary or pastel themed bin systems, cardboard type shoe boxes, canvas drawers on shelves, dressers, the BIG toy box, and the list goes on with the ways that well meaning parents 'help' their kids get organized. The problem with this? Once you organize it on day one, you have no idea on day two what your lovely kids have thrown in there. How many times have you cleaned out a toy basket only to find juice boxes, a 3 week old sippy cup, 11 McD's toys, wrappers from straws or a cracker or two? There are many many directions one can take in a child's room depending on their space, interests and decor but the one thing that I feel is a MUST in all kids rooms is clear storage.

Consider a child's perspective. If you don't know what they have stashed in their bins and boxes, how do all those bins and boxes look to them? Having clear storage bins helps them see what they have immediately and begins the early training they need in sorting. It is a life skill, I promise! There are many bins on the market but my favorite is from . They have many options but the Men's Shoe Box (in picture)is the best! They are $3.79 each though you can buy them by the case. The regular shoe box is a bit too small but the Men's Shoe box can hold large groupings together from tons of lego to all of Barbie's wardrobe. The reason I prefer this box is that simplicity is key when it comes to bins. Many have wide angled sides, bulky colored tops with clip down 'locks', large lipped handles and none of that is needed and just makes the area look cluttered while taking up valuable space.

Another issue with kids rooms is labeling. I have done it myself. You want to help him sort his toys so you label all the bins or if you are an AMAZING mother, you put a Polaroid of what's inside so they can 'see' what it is before they can even read. WONDERFUL and BRILLIANT idea. Except, someone has to maintain it. The second you get them a new Ants in the Pants game or someone gives them a special lego system or they are now done with the clown stackers but now have a magnetix set, you have to go back to the way you created your system and update it. 9 out of 10 times, it just doesn't happen. System Failure. This is another reason clear bins are a must. I feel labels are a distraction when it comes to toys and they should learn to sort these items visually. Letting them sort their things, decide where their bins belong and finding their bins in their large closet are all skills that will help them in school. All too fast they have to organize their own pencil box, sort their spelling work from their poetry writing, know where the classroom books go compared to their library books that should be in their school desk while figuring out what to put in the teacher's box and what to sort into their take home folder. I promise, creating a simple system that they can navigate and maintain at an early age will improve their education. See how important organization is?