Tag Archives: Mary Pullen

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Painting Crisp Stripes on a Wall

22 May
These subtle stripes add interest without overwhelming a small space.

These subtle stripes add interest without overwhelming a small space.

Adding a stripe (or several) to a wall is a great, inexpensive way to perk things up without spending a lot of money.  You can go subtle with tone-on-tone, or go bold with contrasting colors.  It’s pretty quick too, but getting those really crisp, clean lines can be hard, and blurry edges can kind of ruin the whole effect. I suppose you could get away with it in a dining room and try to convince your guests it was the wine, but better to get them straight to start with.  So what to do?

We got a tip from Mary Pullen from Redux Home Staging and Redesign who learned the hard way after trying it on her own living room.

Pro Tip:

Tape your lines with painter’s tape, then run a very small bead of caulk along the edge.  Smooth it completely, let dry, then paint with your brush or roller moving outward from the tape.  The caulk seals the tape down to the wall, and painting away from the tape prevents you from pushing the paint under it.

Voila! Crisp, clean lines.

Here are a few more ideas for striping it up.

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Home Office Makeover Part Two: What a Difference a Pro Makes

28 Feb
Home office makeover before

Not exactly what we had in mind.

As you know, we’ve been making over our home office to better serve as a command center for world domination.  In Part One of our chronicles, we shared the process of getting the built-in bookcases installed.  Once installed, we thought we were done, just slap those books up there and get back to work!  Well, it turns out that just slapping those books up there made our gorgeous new investment look pretty crappy.  So, once again, we turned to a professional.  Enter Mary Pullen of Redux Home Staging and Redesign, who whipped us in to shape.

You may recall that our little space has to serve a multitude of functions: the Red Chair Market command center (i.e. my office), Mr. Handsome’s office, the family bill-paying and filing station, the guest room and the music room.  It is also the first thing guests see when entering the house, so it has to look good.  That’s a lot of multitasking for 120 square feet, but Mary was undaunted.

In case you haven’t worked with redesigner before, they are generally focused on using what you have in new, creative ways. So the first thing we did was wander around the house to give Mary a sense of our style (or lack thereof) and scope out pieces we could use to spark up the room.  We then retired to the soon-to-be fabulous office to brainstorm a bit.

Her first suggestion was to consider covering the back of the bookcases with burlap.  Hmmm. But, I figured she’s the expert (and she’d done it before) so I agreed to give it a shot.  She thought the sofa area could be more inviting; I had kind of ignored it,  but once she suggested adding a pillow, lamp and small table I could see how neglectful I had been.  We both agreed that a more interesting light fixture was in order, the current one was a basic builder version. Finally, she suggested covering the functional-yet-ugly corkboard with some fun fabric.

Home office makeover burlap shelving

In progress.

So after our first meeting I was armed with a list of ideas and a few things to purchase.  My big score was the $5 chandelier from the Habitat Re-Store,  re-wired by my friends at D&W Lighting.  We reconvened a week later and went to work.  First we tackled the upholstering of the bookcases, which was actually pretty easy.  We just cut pieces about 4″ bigger than the area we were covering (we won’t mention that one little mishap) and folded the top over to make a nice straight line. Then starting at the top, we stapled it to the wood with a light-duty staplegun.  Once the top was in place, we could fold in the edges and staple down the sides, smoothing as we went along.  Burlap is pretty forgiving and even hides the staples, so it was a great way to try out the technique.  I’m totally amazed at how it changed the look of the room, somehow the jumble of books looked less jumbly already.

Next we went to work putting the books back up.  Mary “shopped” my house to find some doodads to break up the books and add some visual interest.  She asked me about my work habits (I fudged) and made sure that things I needed and used every day were accessible.  I think she would have liked to have culled a few books, but when I mentioned it to Mr. Handsome he got a little crabby.  Apparently he thinks bookshelves are for books.  So they all stayed.

Home office makover bookshelves

Nice mix of books and doodads.

Next we re-arranged the console area, using it to house the less attractive items like the printer.  I still had a million papers that I felt as though I needed immediate access to, so she suggested putting the baskets under the console for additional storage. Finally, we found a tiny, forgotten lamp handmade by my Aunt to add light to the sofa area, and added a fluffy pillow and side table.

As you can see, the transformation is amazing.  Most importantly, the Command Center is completely conducive to world domination; not only organized, but a beautiful place to while away the hours.

Home office makeover after

Ta Da! I look like quite the professional sitting here, even if I’m just surfing Reddit.

The “guest room” is also much more enjoyable and functional, both when the bed is open and when it’s not.  The pillow, lamp and table added to the spacealso make it a nice area for me to retire to when Mr. Handsome takes over the desk.

Home office makeover sofa area

Imagine sitting here reading Raymond Chandler with a glass of wine…

Home office makeover guest bed

Cat included, whether you like it or not.

While not ideal, we also have a space for the keyboard for when the kids want to work on their scholarship opportunities; they can use it on the desk and it slides under the sofa when not in use. (It’s not a very interesting picture, so I didn’t include it.)

And finally, we found one more use for the room.  It makes a perfect romantic little place for a dinner celebrating all our achievements.

Home office makeover dining room

Celebration time!

Here are a few other ideas from Mary (and one from me) that made the room a smashing success:

  • We painted all the storage baskets a dark brown (actually an “oiled bronze” which she calls magic paint) so they kind of disappear in to the background.  There are two baskets under the console, see if you can find them!
  • We installed a slide lock on the French door next to the sofa – when that door opens it significantly reduces the usable area of the room.
  • (This was my idea) I covered some foamcore boards with the leftover burlap and used them to cover up the open back of the console, hiding the cords (for some reason cords fill me with great angst).

So! We’re finally done, and it was all worthwhile, especially the help from our pro friends.  Below are a few of the Austin-area resources we used on the project.

Austin-area resources

B-Squared Woodworks

Redux Home Staging and Redesign

Bolt Fabrics – pillow and corkboard fabric (isn’t that faux-bois awesome?)

Capital City Upholstery Supply – cheapest burlap in town

D&W Lighting – rewiring several of my old and “found” fixtures

Habitat Re-Store – vintage chandelier