Google+ House Revivals: February 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Entryway Galleries!

I'm loving these entryway galleries!  The entry shown below is beautifully cluttered, but not untidy.  The green painted finishes combined with stacks of books and gilded frames create a homey and elegant space.

Photo by Roger Davies for Architectural Digest.

The pops of pink in the chairs below repeat the pinks in the gallery wall paintings.  The look is lighthearted and fun, without feeling juvenile.

This fun memory wall from 320 Sycamore is one my favorites. 

Of course, a gallery wall doesn't have to be created with art -- these one of a kind vintage mirrors form a lovely vignette.

How about using your children's art to create your gallery?  Love.

What do you think?  Would you create a gallery in your entryway?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Recycle Old Paint

Did you know old latex paint can be recycled?

Many communities have drop off sites for old paints.  Some communities even allow residents to take other people's discarded paint for free.

HHW facility. Photo: Megan Dobransky,

If you need to do some painting projects, and your budget is zero, you might call around to see if your municipality has a paint exchange program.  Often, items such as cleaning supplies, motor oil, and so on are also free for the taking.

There are several ways paints can be "recycled".  First, as mentioned above, you can use leftover paints from another project, straight out of the can.  Another way to recycle paints is to mix bits of leftover paints into one container to create a new color.  Lots of cities have programs that do this, often using the resulting paints to cover graffiti, and sometimes offering the mixed paints to local residents free of charge or for a small fee. Sometimes post-consumer paints are collected by a paint reprocessing company, where it is sorted by color family, filtered, and remixed.  I've painted most of my fixer-upper condo with free leftover paint that I've mixed myself, using a five-gallon bucket and a stir stick.

Check out these beautiful colors available through Metro Paint
 in the Pacific Northwest!  Would you ever guess this is the result 
of paint recycling?

Municipalities and paint recycling companies basically do the same thing I did, only on a larger scale.  The resulting paints are usually low VOC paints, because most of the harmful VOCs have escaped during the recycling process.  Here is an informative video of the recycling process used by Canada based Boomerang Paints.

Another company that recycles paint, Amazon Environmental, Inc., offers a lovely muted palette.  Recycled or reprocessed post-consumer paint is usually mixed in very large batches, so customers can be sure to get enough of the color they need to complete a project.  There is often some color variation between batches, but the variation is pretty minimal.

If your city does not accept leftover latex paint for recycling, some paint stores do.  Most Habitat for Humanity stores will accept your paint, as well -- either to sell as it is, or to mix in larger batches for re-sale. 

Calibre Environmental recycled paint colors.

If you are planning a painting project and have a tight budget, or just want to tread a little more lightly, you might consider using recycled paint.  You can mix your own from leftovers in the garage (be sure to only mix latex with latex), or you can pick up some cans from the local Habitat store or a local household hazardous waste center.  Remember paint mixing in high school art class?  The same concepts still apply, so with some planning, you can come up with some very nice colors.  Or let the pros do the work for you -- here are some manufacturers of reblended and reprocessed paint:

Vermont, Local Color Paint
Kelly-Moore eCoat
Quebec, Boomerang
Alberta, EcoCoat
Amazon Environmental (available in over a dozen states)
California, Visions Paint Recycling
Oregon and Washington, MetroPaint

I hope you've found this information useful -- if you know of some paint recycling links that I've missed, please feel free to leave the links in the comments section.  Happy painting!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Love, in the Time of Hearts and Kids

I will admit that I do very little for Valentine's Day.  I often have great plans, but then spend January and February simply trying to recover from the Holidays.  Before I know it, Valentines Day has come and gone, and I'm still trying to finish up the Christmas cards.  I once had a stash of vintage heart-shaped candy boxes that I was going to use to make all sorts of wonderful stuff.  It never happened.  After about twelve years, I donated the boxes to Goodwill.

 Someday, I want to make something wonderful like this sweet heart.

A simple craft, a display of heart-shaped cookie cutters, a couple of vintage valentines tucked into a bookshelf -- that's about all I try do anymore.  There was a time when we made Valentines for the birds, using white bread cut into heart shapes, spread with peanut butter, and coated with birdseed.

The bird valentines we made with our young children were very similar to these darling hearts.

It was a fun family project, and the children enjoyed watching out the window, as lots of sweet little birds visited the tree where we had so lovingly hung their gifts.  Then one year we got a kitten.  Naive little family that we were, we made our traditional valentines for the birds.  A few days later, as we pulled into our driveway after school, we noticed feathers all over our lawn!   Oh, the trauma -- there sat our sweet cuddly kitten, watching, and patiently waiting for the next victim. The kids were really understanding about our kitty's hunting instinct, and really loved their kitty, but they loved the birds, too, so we all agreed the bird treats had to be taken down.

I think my daughter must have been a trendsetter, Etsy shops are full of these 

When my oldest child was in preschool, her teacher requested a parent meeting right after Valentine's Day.  She was concerned that our daughter was not performing at grade level and was not going to be ready for kindergarten.  When I asked her why she felt that way, she pulled out a manila folder, opened it up, and removed an art project my four-year-old daughter had done.

The drawing our daughter's teacher presented looked more like this heart than a typical Valentine heart!

It looked weirdly familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.  The teacher explained that she had instructed the children to draw hearts on their papers, and our daughter was the only child in class who seemed unable to draw a simple heart shape. After a half-hour of listening to the woman's drivel, I left -- without the heart.  The heart, apparently was part of our daughter's "permanent record".  As it turned out, our daughter thought it was really weird that her teacher wanted them to draw hearts.  She gave it her best effort, having only seen a heart once -- on a PBS documentary on open heart surgery.  She thought it was strange that her classmates were getting it so wrong.  She's in her twenties, now, and still remembers that project, and her bewilderment at being asked to draw a HEART for Valentine's Day!  I sure do love that kid.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Using Mirrors in the Kitchen

Do you use mirrors in your kitchen?  While we are in the midst of a bathroom remodel in our marina condo, we have been without a vanity.

photo credit: Francesco Lagnese
Mirrors are placed on the recessed panels of these cupboard doors!  Gorgeous.

All teeth brushing and face washing and make-up applying, and so on, has moved to the kitchen sink.  We simply leaned our vanity mirror behind the kitchen sink.   Sitting down so close to the faucet, it was constantly getting splattered, and keeping it clean was turning into a big PAIN.  It looked so bright and pretty when it was clean, but it never stayed clean for long.....   Well, it occurred to me that we don't actually have to watch ourselves brush our teeth, so I moved the mirror to an adjacent wall -- about twenty inches from the sink -- and I LOVE it!  It is far enough from the sink that it does not get splashed, but it reflects light, and makes the space look larger. 

I think mirrors can work beautifully in the kitchen, depending on placement, 
and how you prepare meals.  The mirrored back splash shown above reflects 
light, and makes the space feel larger.  For the occasional cook, an application like
this could work very well.  For a busy mom, it might become a maintenance problem.

I decided to look around and see how others are using mirrors in their kitchens.  Years ago, we lived in a rental house that had a mirrored back splash behind the stove.  Ours was a busy family -- I worked, my husband worked and attended grad school full time, and we had three children under the age of six.  The mirrored back splash was a nightmare.  Three meals a day were being prepared at that stove, and keeping that mirror clean, on top of diapers, and laundry, and housework, and yard work, and paid work, and homework, was just too much. All these years, I've allowed that experience to cloud my judgment!  

Be sure to check out An Urban Cottage to see lots of remarkable transformations!

After the eye opening experience in my condo kitchen, I saw Steve's beautiful kitchen at An Urban Cottage.  He has a mirror above his sink, but it is mounted high enough to avoid being splashed -- it should stay just as clean as any vanity mirror mounted several inches above your lavatory.  I love that the traditional styling references his home's history, while still being unexpected.  And I love that it reflects light and visually enlarges the space.

Camille, at The Vintage Object, uses a long framed mirror to support a focal point in her kitchen.  It is such a pretty way to style her space!   Camille has done a beautiful job styling her entire home, so be sure to check out her blog.

In the modern kitchen shown below, mirrors are used to define the dining area in an open concept space.

Here is another example of using a traditionally framed mirror above the sink.  In this simple streamlined space, the mirror creates a focal point.

photo credit: Photo by Don Freeman

This tiny mirror might not create too much of a maintenance burden behind the stove -- what do you think?

These smokey mirrored tiles might be a little more forgiving than my old back splash. 

This back splash made. me. swoon.  The diamond shaped mirrored tiles, with darker accents at the intersections is just stunning!

So tell me, would you use mirrors in your kitchen?  I'm definitely scheming about the best way to use a mirror in my kitchen!