House For Six


Impulse Paint Job For The Family Room

Deme Crinion17 Comments
The family room?!  What about Mia's room?  Or your office?  Or the fifty other projects you've started and have yet to finish???

I. know. 

The family room wasn't even near my radar until two things happened.  I looked at the calendar and realized....

1.  School starts in TWO WEEKS.  #commencefreakout

2. We're going to be homeschooling this year, which means I need a space dedicated to TWO WEEKS.

Was an entire room makeover necessary to accomplish that?  Probably nto.  But we had already purchased the paint and other supplies we had planned to eventually use for a room makeover, so we decided to go for it.

The kids were really excited to help create their own space for learning and I was excited to get us off to a fresh start with a room that we could all enjoy.....namely, that didn't burn my eyeballs. (This particular hue of green has much more of a puke vibe in person).

A few months ago we brought home two gallons of "Voyage" by Valspar, a mid tone blue-grey.  The kids wanted blue, I wanted something more muted and blue/green, James just wanted "a color" in not a non-color "Is it blue? Is it green?  Is it grey?"....which for me is the perfect neutral.  But alas, I am not the only one living here so I thought a subtle blue with a grey undertone would keep everyone happy. Incorrect.

We normally don't paint in such a sporadic pattern, but we actually let the kids help. For like two minutes.
As it dried the kids didn't really love it and I could tell James wasn't crazy about it either. Then I pulled the curtain fabric and started to panic.  I found the fabric for the room (inspiring the color palette) after I bought the paint.  Mistake numero uno.  Never buy paint first without a plan.

The blue-grey was nice, but when I put the fabric against it, something felt off.  In person it felt dark and really the opposite of light/bright/playful.  So, I blasted this pic out on Instagram and Facebook begging for your opinions/help, and you did not disappoint!

I had mentioned possibly going with a color a few shades lighter that the background of the fabric, or with a lighter teal blue.  Most of you were fans of a soft teal or even an orange or yellow.  And many of you really liked our original blue-grey paint choice!  While I liked the paint color too, we really wanted something more fun for this kid-friendly space.  The bambinos weighed in too and we finally landed on a lighter version of the teal blue accent in the fabric.

High Noon (Valspar) was our winner!  It's somewhere between an aqua and a robbins egg blue. After I had the paint desk mix her up I started doubting myself again.  Was it too light?  Too bright?  Oh Lord, help me... 

I told myself not to make any judgements until the room was completely painted.  The new color is wet in this iphone pic below but you can see all three colors here.
I also have to say that we went with Valspar's premium paint with a built-in primer and low VOC.  This entire room took just under 1 gallon.  That's only one coat of paint with minor touch ups.  SO happy with that!

Now for some pics.  I apologize that some of these are a little grainy.  Here's the room on our move-in day...

And this morning....
All that mess is the contents of two EXPEDIT bookcases that are getting reorganized, and everything else we pulled off/away from the wall to paint.

Moving day...

And now.  This corner is going to be our school zone.  That green half wall is going to get a coat of chalkboard paint tonight. 


Now.  And the green below the bar is going to either get some bead board or trimmed out in some fashion.

It is definitely not what I would have originally chosen for the room, but I love how fresh it feels.  It's growing on me by the minute.  The kids LOVE it and James is happy too.  I don't think I've ever done a "real color" besides a neutral for an entire room besides a kids' room before.  And while this is a spot for our kids, the kitchen makes this space the hub of our home.  I'm thrilled that we ALL like the direction it's headed.

  And that fabric is looking much more cheerful.

The fireplace is next on my radar, and then we're going to focus on that school zone.  We're still not sure if homeschooling will be a long term change for our family or simply just a path for this next year.  So, I'm not going to go for a full classroom set up.  Especially, not before I see how we really use the space.  I've heard many a tale of mama's setting up drool worthy desk spaces only to have her kids work at the kitchen table or even on the floor.  

But we will be spending a lot of time in here and it's important that I enjoy being in here just as much as the kids.  I think we're well on our way to fun, family-friendly room. 

The kitchen is going to make this great room another multi-phase project (like our last kitchen).  So, here's how the to-do list is shaping up:

Phase 1 (before school starts)
Paint walls
Whitewash fireplace
Add bead board to the bar area
Window treatments
Paint chalkboard wall
Organize school supplies
Create a display area for kids art/projects
Paint the built-in desk

Phase 2 (next year)
Paint kitchen cabinets
Update countertops
Update desk top 
Update lighting
Seating area and rug by fireplace

Phase 3 (in my dreams)
Take out some upper kitchen cabinets
Remove huge range hood & relocate stove
Extend same flooring in adjacent living areas into this room
Rip out the large cabinet/room divider thingy

Anyone else going in a last minute organizing frenzy to get the house ready before school?

*Many of you let me know that you have not been able to leave comments on the blog recently.  I have no idea what's going on but I'm working on fixing things ASAP!  In the meantime....if you're having trouble commenting, please feel free to shoot me an email ( or via the Facebook page.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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How To Keep Your Curtains From Sliding All Over The Rod

Deme Crinion3 Comments
So, this may not be post-worthy....but maybe??

My mom was visiting and commented on how I had hung our curtains so they don't slide all over the bar.  It made me wonder if it was something that could help any of my fellow OCD curtain peeps out there.

It's nothing fancy, just in the way you place the curtain rings/clips/tabs on the rod. I give you the simplest fix ever....
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar

Don't mind my unfinished curtain panels for demonstration here....

When I'm ready to hang curtains, I extend the curtain rod about an inch or two beyond the rod-mount hardware instead of having the finial flush against it (adjust your measurements accordingly).  Then, I make sure I put the end clip to the outside of the mounting hardware. 
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar
That end clip becomes an anchor and doesn't go past the rod mount.  So, when I close the curtains it keeps the outer end of the panel in place instead of having the entire panel slide down the rod.

Makes it super easy to open and close your curtains without the skiwampus joyride. 
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar
This obviously works for curtains hung with drapery clips, tabs, or some sort of individual hanger.  Although, you could probably cut a slit in a pocket rod curtain panel where your mounting hardware is for the same effect. 

Ahhh, the little things. What simple household tricks do you have?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!

Window Treatments To Help With The Heat

Deme Crinion5 Comments
Happy June Everyone!  May was a blur and I'm not even sure it really happened.  We just got back from a week with family in CA and I'm still attempting to tame the suitcase explosion that occurred as soon as we walked through our front door. 

If there was any doubt that summer had arrived before we left, the smoldering oven that is now our car is proof that the dessert summer heat is here.  And a sign that we need to seriously clean out the garage so that we can start parking the van in there again.

It's also that time of year where an intricately coordinated cool-the-house-down operation commences each day.  The hubs is all about giving the a/c a break whenever we can, so based on where the sun is a certain times of the day, we'll have specific windows open and ceiling fans on in various parts of the house.

But the last part of the day is by far the worst.  The sun shines right into the kids' rooms, right as we need to cool the room down for bed time.  Today it dawned on me just how much of a difference the blinds we installed last year have made it keeping their rooms bearable.  They were such a great investment and I posted about them way back in the beginning of this little blog's life.  So, while I unpack from our trip I thought I would share that post for those that may have missed it.

I was not compensated in any way to write this post, just love to share the goodies that have worked for us.  After the kids' naps we open these just a couple inches to let enough light in to see and then turn on the ceiling fan (if it wasn't already on during their nap/quiet time).  We keep the lights off to avoid unnecessary heat and by the time the kids are ready for bed the room is pretty comfortable.  By that point we can crack the window if it's cool enough outside.  Here's the details...


Since moving in, we've been using blackout curtains in both rooms.  I wasn't disappointed with them in function...they lived up to their name and blocked out a good deal of light. 

The real problem was this:

Note the skiwampus curtain rod?  Mia's curtains are right by her bed and since the kids constantly climb up there, the curtains are pulled, sat on and tugged, on a regular basis.  Hence, wonky curtain rod.

We didn't have the same problems with the curtains in the boys room, but the crack of light that seeped out the sides in the morning, landed right on Sully's pillow.  They also did not slide very easily and it was a two-hand job to get them open. 

The solution? Levolor blinds from Lowes. 

I appreciated that they come in multiple color choices.  We picked the "snow" color for Mia's room, to complement her pink walls and white furniture.   And for the boys, we went with the "toffee".  They offer a light filtering or light darkening option...with kiddos that still take naps and like to wake up with the sun, light darkening was an absolute must for us! 

The other feature that makes them super convenient, is they all come in a standard size and can be cut down to fit the exact size of your window.  Right there in the store.  For free. 

And let me say, these things are amazing.  They were super easy to install - just screw in the 3 brackets and snap in the blinds.  They are also kid friendly and kid safe.  No cord hazards...they are easily moved up and down by the simple push of a button. 

Obviously they still need window treatments (and I apologize for the poor lighting) but here's the boys' room Before:
And After:

I'm super happy with the warm medium brown color in the boys room

Mia's room Before:

 And After:

They completely block out the light, are super easy to use and they cleaned up the windows really nicely.  Not to mention that they help immensely with temperature control (help keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer).  I'm a totally happy camper!  Now onto valances or something to pretty them up :)

So let's hear from those of you sweating it out in the heat do you keep the house cool without breaking the a/c unit's back or having a jaw dropping electric bill each month?  Any window solutions that have worked wonders for you?  Do tell!

How To: Pottery Barn Knock-off Drapes!

Deme Crinion2 Comments
If you missed the post earlier this week, you can see my DIY curtain project here.   I have been drooling over these way-out-of-my-price-range Pottery Barn Drapes for ages and decided to take a crack at making my own for a fraction of the price. 

It was so worth the effort and in the big scheme of things, a fairly easy project.

The key to pulling off an effective knock-off in this case was really in the fabric choice.  I was lucky enough to find a pattern that was close in color, pattern and overall vibe...and at a much cheaper price thanks to a great sale! 

(Fabric is Meadowview Spice by Robert Allen)

I wanted to mimic the inspiration photo by using clip rings to hang the curtains, which meant that I could go a totally lazy simple route with the sewing.  I didn't need to worry about a pocket for the curtain rod or small pieces turned loops for the rod.  Just a simple rectangular panel.

I made it less simple by deciding to line them.  In the end I'm glad I did, but that part caused me a few hiccups. 

Let me start by saying that I am a total novice when it comes to sewing...I'm the one who really should be researching tutorials like this before I start, not writing them.  But since I have this here blog, I'll share with you what I did and hopefully you can learn from a few of my mistakes!

Here we go...

*It's always a good idea to prewash your fabric if you ever intend to wash the finished product. 

The curtain fabric:
I started with 6 yards of this fabric (I planned to use the extra for a couple pillows).  It came 54.5" wide so I left the width alone and just measured the length I would need for each panel.  I got this number by putting the clip rings I would be using on the curtain rod and measured from where the top of the panel would be in the clip, down to the floor.  I then added 2 inches for seam allowance on top and I knew I wanted a nice fat hem on the bottom, so I gave myself an extra 5 inches for the bottom hem.

So length of finished curtain + 7 inches for hems = length of fabric needed for each panel

Then I ironed.
(I did all of my sewing for this at night so the lighting in these pictures is not so great)

The lining:
I looked at how the lining of my current drapes were attached and noticed the bottom hem was about 2 inches shorter than the bottom edge of the drape.  So I measured the same length as the main fabric and subtracted 2 inches for the lining fabric panel. 

The width for this will be different than the curtain fabric. At first I was trying to measure how much the curtain fabric wrapped around the sides of the lining on my current drapes and did some crazy folding and pinning but then my friend suggested a method that allows you to sew the two raw edges together without all the folding and pinning. 

I simply cut the lining panel 4 inches narrower than the curtain panel.  I lined it up over the curtain fabric and cut a 4 inch strip off one of the long sides.

I ironed the lining panel as well and then folded over the bottom edge 1 inch and ironed it flat.  If I can iron an edge before sewing instead of using pins, I always do.  Lazy, I know.  Then I sewed that edge with the sewing machine.

After hemming the bottom edge of the lining panel, lay the curtain panel with pattern side up and place the lining panel on top so that the side with the raw edges of your hem is facing up.  The top edges are flush.

Raw edge of the lining is facing up

Then slide the lining panel all the way to one side so that the top edges are lined up and as well as the sides.

Pin the corner first...

Then begin working your way down pinning the lining to the curtain fabric every 6 inches or so.  Take her to your machine and sew together (leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance) from top to bottom....actually that's Lesson #1: don't sew quite all the way down to the end of the lining.  Sew from the top of the panel down to just above the raw edge of the bottom hem.  You'll see why later.

When you are finished you should be able to see 4 inches of the curtain fabric extending beyond the lining on the opposite side.

Next, pick up the loose side of your lining fabric (opposite of the side you just sewed) and line up that side even with the opposite end of the curtain fabric.  The curtain fabric is wider than the lining so it will be a bit bunched up underneath the lining (not flat) but it doesn't matter. 

Just line up the top and side edges so they are straight and flushed.  Pin this side just as you did the first and sew together leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance from the top of the panel down to the same point: just above the top of the raw edge of the bottom hem of the lining fabric.

Here's where you start to see it take shape....once both sides are attached, flip it inside out like you are flipping a pillow case inside out (except both ends are open here).  The pattern side of your curtain panel will be out and your lining panel will have a nice clean seam at the bottom because the raw edge of the hem  is now on the inside.  Once you've flipped it inside out, move the fabric around until equal amounts of the curtain fabric are visible on the sides of the lining panel when the lining is facing up.  I ended up with about 1 1/2 inches on either side.

Once you have the lining centered with an equal amount of curtain fabric showing on each side, iron the whole thing, firmly pressing out the sides.  I took my panel over to the sewing machine after this and sewed about a 1/2 inch from where the lining and curtain fabric met, securing the pieces in place.  Similar to Lesson #1, sew from the top down to about 2 inches above the bottom edge of the lining panel. Then I did the same for the other side.

This left me with a 1 inch seam from the edge of the curtain panel on the front

I folded the top edge (of both the curtain and lining) over 1 inch, and sewed that as well.  Sorry I didn't grab a pic of this!

Here's where Lesson #2 comes attention to where the clips and top of the curtain will hang when you first measure and BEFORE cutting anything.  When I first held up the fabric I didn't notice that the larger clip rings would cause the top of the fabric to hang below the wood framing the window.  Not a good look.  We ended up raising the bar about 3 inches.  Fortunately, I had this vision of a nice wide 3-4 inch hem on the bottom of the curtains, so I had the extra fabric.  Unfortunately, I lost my wide bottom hem.  Oh well, much better than having to start from scratch!
Once the rod was in the right place for the top of the panel, I hung both panels with the bottom edge unfinished and then began folding the excess fabric under and pinning it to where I wanted the bottom edge to be. 

And here's why Lesson #1 is important.  I took the stitches too far down on the lining. 

So, instead of my raw curtain fabric edge tucking right under it, like this....

I had to fold it over and stitch it down on top of the lining hem, for a not so finished look (since I couldn't get that corner under the lining).  It's something I may go back and fix later.  It just requires ripping out a few seams, which I was too lazy tired to do at that point. 

So there you have it!  I will take better notes and pictures for next time, but I have to say it was a totally satisfying project, even with my "oops" moments.

Here's a look at the finished product the next day

I'm so happy with the fabric and the way it has changed the whole feel of the room.  It's much brighter and with the piece insipiring the color story for the space actually in the room, all of the other elements make sense.  It's beginning to feel like a unified and cohesive space.  And the satisfaction of actually making something yourself feels pretty good too.....just don't flip them over to look at my ugly seams ;)