Archive for the 'Bedrooms' Category


Master Bedroom Don’ts – Before Pictures

Okay, I found the “before” pictures of the master bedroom.
Bedroom Befores
  I promise I didn’t unmake the bed and turn the sofa over just to make the room look extra wrong.  We were in the process of moving the sofa out to give to a friend when I realized I needed to take the before photos. And John had just gotten back from Puerto Rico, so that’s why the suitcase is in the middle of the room.Bedroom Befores
Try not to judge the strong green (Porter Paints, Bayou Bronze) too harshly.  It is part of an incomplete design concept that would have incorporated a canopy for the bed and some other cool fabrics and lighting that probably would have made it work.  Lesson learned:  Know my limits.  Homemade canopies and vintage lighting that requires additional fabrication are out of my league at this stage of my life.  I just don’t have time for that many steps.       
The sofa, btw, was an early design decision mistake.  I bought it because it was comfortable—best nap couch ever!  I wasn’t crazy about the fabric, but thought I would just have it recovered.  Lesson learned: Don’t buy furniture new with alterations in mind unless you get to choose the fabric before it is delivered.

I find it hard to believe myself, but the shades above the bed are the same temporary ones we’ve had since we built the house FIVE YEARS AGO!   Whatever that says about my ability to see a project through, it speaks volumes about the quality of those temporary shades!  Impressive!

The bronze drapes don’t fit in the Palladian window.
Bedroom Befores
  They were also “temporarily” thrown up (again, five years ago) on a tension rod because I wasn’t sure what shades I wanted and the way the window fits into the dormer makes mounting a rod outside difficult.  The ugly globe light fixtures (2nd photo) were the cheapest thing I could find because I wanted more time to think about lighting than I had when the builder needed a decision from us.  So there you have it—a recipe for design disaster.  Be gentle.

The good news is that I bought new bedding on a very successful shopping venture to Target with Dave.  Pictures to come.  The new shades are ordered (delivery in two weeks).  I bought a great 5 x 8’ jute rug (currently under the bed, but I may move it) for $68.00 at Lowes. 

Oh, and John put the chandeliers on a sliding rheostat for me so now we have infinite lighting possibilities.  I’m a big believer in putting rheostats wherever I can have them.


Paint and Lighting is Up, Cleaning Tid Bits

Well, all the painting is done except for the detailing. After climbing over furniture to find a spot to sleep Tuesday and Wednesday, we actually slept in our room again last night. The redo isn’t done yet, but here is the wingback we had reupholstered (labor at T & H Upholstery in Indy – $260.00). I apologize for the crassness of posting prices, but I find the lack of readily available information about this kind of stuff kind of frustrating, so I’m putting it out there.

Reupholstered Wingback

I think the fabric (Calico Corners – 9 yards – $200.00 [discounted price]) Dave helped me pick looks pretty good with the paint color. You can see both here.

The redo has been a good op to clean things that I never would have otherwise (My tendency to ignore baseboards is one of the reasons this blog is called “Good Home” and not “Great Home”). When our next door neighbor Mindy heard we were going to hire professionals to clean our rugs she insisted that we let her bring her rug cleaner over and have a go at it.

So Wed. night while John and I painted one half of the room, she cleaned the carpet in the other. THEN she came back the next day to do the other half! She refuses to let us pay her. We’ll have to figure out another way to thank her because the carpet looks really good. Mindy rocks!

Screen Cleaning

To clean the screens on our windows we decided to put them in the shower and just hose them off with a little attachable sprayer that I got John from Restoration Hardware one year for Christmas (it was actually on his wish list). I’m thinking I may clean all of our screens this way in the future.

Here is one of the chandeliers.


I think they are hanging a little low, which we can easily fix (going the other direction is a little harder). I’m going to see if I can talk John’s mom into sewing sleeves for the chains—either in champagne or wheat colored linen.


My favorite thing so far is the paint color. It’s the only one besides the yellow in our living room that I’ve ever liked the minute it went on the wall. I usually have to get used to new colors even when I like them a lot. This blue is hard to photograph though.

Some potentially bad news. I know I promised before pics, but they may be lost. When my computer hard drive went a couple weeks back they may have been erased. I’ll know next week, I think. Keep your fingers crossed.


Bedroom Status Report 2

Looks like I have a deadline for finishing the bedroom. June 6. Our friend Scott is coming to town for a conference and he’ll need the guest suite, so it will need to be free of the furniture from our bedroom placed there temporarily while we work.

For the sake of scheduling ease (our lives are too complicated to work around someone else at the moment), we’ve decided to do the painting ourselves. Know that I will say at least fifty times as we are painting, “we totally should have hired someone.” John will ignore me, as he should in such cases.

BTW, I like Benjamin Moore paints (also Sherwin Williams, Porter and even Behr-I can’t afford Farrow and Ball), but something it took me awhile to realize is that not all paint stores are alike. Their mixing skills vary. So either get all of the paint you need on one trip or find a good paint store because if you run out, you may well end up bringing back a slightly different color or finish the second time.  That happened to me once, and it annoys me everytime I see the result in our kitchen.

We’ll be using:

Palladian Blue (HC-144 – Eggshell)
from Rollie Williams Paint Spot
5292 E 65th St
Indianapolis, IN 46220
(317) 842-6772

Rollie’s is a Benjamin Moore dealer here in town that I’ve used before with good luck.

Dave, who is in the residential leasing biz, says a cleaning service could do wonders for our carpet and that we really don’t have to replace it. So that should save some trouble and a little money. If I can get him to provide the company’s name I’ll call them and post their info here as a resource for Indy folks.

John is on vacation next week, so we’ll hit the ground running with painting next Tuesday when we get back from Batesville.

I still need to:

Call and order paint
Measure for, then order matchstick blinds and window hardware
Pick up the reupholstered wingback
Take two other chairs to be reupholstered

Keep your fingers crossed and pray for John. As much as I try to be good, I get antsy in the middle of weeks long projects. And I can get kind of sullen towards the end when it seems like the details will never come together.


Upholstery Lessons Learned


 Though I watch HGTV I hate that it dooms real life interior designers by creating the impression that an entire room can be properly redesigned over a weekend.   I do believe a weekend redo can happen IF:


  • The clients agree to disappear and chuck their opinions.

  • You live in a place like LA where quality materials stores are on every street corner.  And they have a million selections, all of which are in stock. 

  • You have a traveling troupe of carpenters, painters and upholsterers following you waiting for something to do.

   But for us schmoes living in the Midwest trying to do it ourselves or with a single professional who has several other projects on the table it takes much longer. 

  And here is a perfect example of how it happens for the DIY’er like me. 

I’m trying to redesign our bedroom on a budget, actually on almost no budget—2,000.00. (The 500.00 you see on Design on a Dime never takes into account labor costs.  How does that sweet Joan Stephan sleep at night?). 

  I’d hoped to use fabrics leftover from other projects for the three chairs I’m having upholstered. 

The two fabrics above will go on the front and back of a rocker and a Victorian arm chair (large print on the front) I have. 

  John’s mom gave me a perfect wingback auction find from her garage.  It’s beautiful and this is the fabric I was GOING to use.  It’s a light gold matlasse. 

Fabrics 2


   Here’s the snag I ran into: Not enough of the gold fabric.  4.5 yards is all I had.  I forgot I originally bought it to cover an ottoman I was going to have made. 

  Learn from Troy’s Mistakes Tip 1:  When having a custom piece made, have the piece finished or at least ordered before you buy fabric for it.   If you are not at that stage, you may not be committed to the project, and obviously I wasn’t.  So I still don’t have that ottoman, but I do have fabric I can’t use.  


  Learn from Troy’s Mistakes Tip 2:  Know how much yardage you need.  My upholster says it will take them 7 yards of a small print or 9 yards of a large print to finish a wingback chair.  Don’t think I won’t be filing this away for future reference.


  So in addition to the 250.00 it will cost to reupholster the chair.  I will spend probably another 110.00 (conservative estimate) for 7 yards of a small print fabric. 

Some of you may be asking, “Troy, at  $360.00 (before tax), why not just buy a new chair?“  Good question and one I always ask myself before I pay to recover something. 

  To match the quality of the chair Linda is giving me I would probably have to spend a minimum of $1,200.00 (upholstery included).  The construction and form of the auction chair are that good.  It isn’t fancy, but a good, classic chair costs that much.  

  So there you have it.  Now I have to find time to go fabric shopping, something I love to do, but not something I have a lot of time for right now.  Oh well, Calico Corner, here I come. 


New Bedroom Update

Just a few updates on the status of the bedroom.

1. Benjamin Moore’s Colorado Gray turned out to be too dark. The final color will be Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue. It is actually much closer to the color I posted last time than the actual picture was.

2. John’s mom came over Friday night to wait for the arrival of her youngest son (who oddly enough is also named Benjamin Moore-Linda must may have been channeling her designer instincts with that birth). Ben was driving with his wife Lise here from Texas to unload their furniture into a storage unit and then do some house hunting in prep for their big move. Anyway, we had plenty of time to kill so she helped affirm my color and fabric choices. Then she showed me this great lighting website: If the words “free shipping” and “discount” mean anything to you, you should check it out. These are the two chandeliers we picked out for our room:


At 12 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ the two of them should be just the right sze. And at $159.00 a piece the price was right. Linda said she would make some fabric sleeves for the chain- have I mentioned how much I love my mother-in-law today?

3. We also picked out a comforter set online from Macy’s (also on sale! Linda has great price karma.). It will be here this week.

4. Finally my friends De’Amon and Tim came to haul off the way-too-big for the space sofa that was in the room, which involved a total of four people and taking two doors off of their hinges. P.S. That sofa was my “measure first” lesson. You only have to learn it once. And Benjamin Moore, the son, not that paint company, helped us get a dresser to the basement.

This week I will:

-Contract a painter.

-Shop for carpet.

-Get furniture to an upholsterer.

I took some before pictures of the room. I’m almost too embarrased to show them. But I suppose “befores” are supposed to be dramatically bad, right? I’ll have to think about whether they’ll go public or not.

Update: Per a request from Mom Underground to see the bedding we ordered from Macy’s:


12 Piece set $119.00. You can find it here.


New Beginnings- Benjamin Moore – Colorado Gray

Sunday as I lay on the sofa in our bedroom staring at the ceiling, listening to Claire snoring on the floor next to me and a lawn mower hum down the street, I finally made some decisions.

I think a soothing blue will allow me to use the mocha colored silk drapes I already have. This means I can keep our cheap red plaid comforter that I still like even though it’s old.

Behind the drapes I’ll use matchstick blinds.

I’ll keep two comfortable chairs and a rocker and reupholster them with fabric I have already.

We need new carpet. (Thankfully John agrees!)

I’ll replace the two over head light fixtures (word, try to avoid putting overhead light fixtures on a gabled ceiling) either with some shapely milk glass ones that disappear or with two old gold chandeliers. These days Home Depot is making some that are nice.

This is a color I will test for our walls. It is actually much lighter and softer than it appears here. Otherwise it would be too heavy for the space. Of course, it could look all wrong once it goes up. I never know until I try it.
Colorado Gray


Hotel Chelsea- A Home In Bohemia

Rosie Lounging

I refuse to stay at hotel chains in NY when there are an infinite number of more interesting places to be that are really no more expensive.  On my last trip I decided I needed creative inspiration so I booked a room at Hotel Chelsea, historic host to folks like Jasper Johns, Joan Didion, Dee Dee Ramone, and Janis Joplin (the list is infinite).    

Online reviews and stories from friends who have suspiciously vague recollections of parties there had me a little worried—no coffee makers in the room because they can be used to cook meth (who knew?).  But the hotel website won me over.  I especially like the resident blog, which is like eavesdropping on conversations in the hall.   

You’re never denied the reality of living in an old building at the Chelsea, but considering the borg-like ethics of Manhattan developers, I was grateful for the lived in smell and the still kicking creaks.  Besides, only the halls smell like everybody’s homes rolled into one (people do still live there after all).  The hotel rooms smelled like hotel rooms.   

Rosie got several good looks at the halls.  She won’t ride an elevator in NY that she can’t see out of, so she walked up to my room on the 9th floor several times (I would make fun of her, but all of her neuroses keep her looking 25 even though she‘s 40).  Good news is that there is art lining the filigreed stairwell all the way up and in the lobby, too.   She never got bored.


Isn’t this a fun room?  Believe me, for an old NY hotel, it’s huge.  I had a dressing room, walk-in closet, a kitchenette and a really nice bathroom.  I fell in love with these black patton woven dining chairs.Kris


Oh, and a nice bouquet of impossibly colored and dead (real, but dead) flowers.   In fact, one flower was actually just a stem.  I would say it was a sign of neglect, but my room was always impeccably cleaned.  And the flowers kind of worked with my minimalist/traditional fireplace. 

 Kris and Robyn

My friends Kris and Robin who were attending the same conference came down for breakfast one morning.  We popped over to Big Booty Bakery across the street at the recommendation of one of the hotel’s residents.  Big Booty doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m., but they warm the milk for your coffee, which I think more than makes up for that shortcoming.  Plus their baked goods are baked greats—try the Nutella Booty Bun.   

HC doesn’t need concierge services.  The gentle residents, who all seem to own smallish dogs, are constantly draped around the desk with the most useful advice (Good bagels?  Melvyn’s, around the corner. Where did you get that breakfast sandwich?  Venus on 9th.) I maintain that Manhattanites are the Southerners of the north.  New Yorkers would surely hate the comparison, but they are so friendly and helpful.  There are some differences.  If you annoy a New Yorker they are more likely to stab you in the front than in the back. That and they are less likely to pay retail.  

When I arrived on Thursday morning, staff happily offered to let me check in early.  They didn’t have a key for me (“Our engineer is making your key. You’ll go have lunch.   It’ll be waiting when you get back.”).  I may be a rube, but I’ve learned to do what New Yorkers tell me. They know the lay of the land and that they and you don’t have a lot of time to waste, so their recommendations are usually the most pragmatic and logical in the end.  Oh, and they use metal keys, handcrafted evidently and impossible to lose, a winning combination.  

 I’m sure the Chelsea has been tidied up some for timid Southern/Midwestern boys like me, but I can gladly say it hasn’t lost all of its happy hospitable edge.  Hopefully I can call it my Bohemian home away from home again someday.