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Style + Storage: A Bare Wall Transformed

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Ever wondered what to do with those bare walls in your home?  That unused square footage along empty hallways or entryways ?  Do you add storage, or do you use that space as display for your art and photographs?  Well why not have both!

This wall space presented that very design dilemma:  how to take this busy family’s unused square footage in their upstairs loft and make it work for their lifestyle.  They wanted to display family photographs, but like most families, also needed extra storage. 

I tackled their dilemma in three simple steps:  first, by adding architectural interest that complemented the style of their home with the addition of a board and batten wall treatment.  Next, I introduced hooks and a storage bench below for added utility.  Finally, I allowed for space above the wall treatment for a mini gallery of family photographs.  Take a peek at the transformation!

Before:

wall before

 

After:

cg loft bench after

 

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Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim, Revisited

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Greetings!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  I can’t tell you how nice it was to take a few days off to just enjoy this beautiful season with the family.  I did things I don’t often do, like sitting still.  Ha!  Some of you may be taking some well deserved time off this week, and truth be told, it’s going to be a slower week around here too. However, I am very excited for what the New Year brings and I already have a few home improvement project in the works.  One is a good friend’s master bath remodel, currently underway.  I can’t wait to share the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ with you come January!

While reading some emails yesterday, I came across this question from Andrea:

“I have recently been working on my master bedroom and the last piece of the puzzle is a fabric headboard.   My husband wants to just buy this one from West Elm for $449, but I like to do things myself for much less money!

west elm headboard
I have been begging him to let me just try to make a fabric headboard with nailhead trim.  I saw one on your blog that you’ve already done.

Here are my questions:  1) How do you know how wide/tall to have the plywood cut?   2) I am willing to spend more on fabric since I’m doing it myself, so what texture do you think will hold up/look the most expensive?  I like the natural fiber look but I also want it to be comfy!  3) Did you mark where the nailheads go before starting them, or did you just follow a straight line as you went along?”  ~ Andrea Larson from LoveLifeLarson blog

Andrea, I love upholstered headboards with nailhead trim, so much so I had to have one of my own for my master bedroom.  I made another version earlier in 2009, but then later tweaked the design and replaced the fabric.  I did manage to reuse the same nailhead trim with this newer version by oh-so-carefully removing it from the original.

Making an upholstered headboard for your own room, your child’s room, or a guest room is one of the easiest projects you can tackle, and you can certainly achieve the West Elm ‘Look for Less’ in an afternoon.

You savvy readers and DIYers know there are quite a few tutorials online for this project.  Here is my own version and the steps how I made this headboard with nailhead trim for my master bedroom.

centsational-girl-bed-linens.jpg 

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Better Brighter Blog Photos

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Greetings!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  We had a great party despite the huge storm that is pounding California, and a splendid time was had by all.  Today I thought I’d address a question I keep getting via email and in comments:  “How do I take better, brighter photos for my blog?”  I do not consider myself an expert in photography by any means so I wonder sometimes why that question is even directed at me.  However, I have taught myself a few tricks for achieving higher quality images in the past year, and every now and then I take a pretty good shot.

The most important thing I have learned to make for a better brighter photo has everything to do with light.  And a good camera.  When taking photographs, either for your personal use or for your blog, good natural light and a kick booty camera are your two very best friends. 

Most photographs taken outside on a sunny day with a point-and-shoot turn out pretty well, all because of the natural light present.  Yet with interior shots, it’s tough to be as blessed with natural light unless you’re shooting a room with walls of windows on a sunny day.   When shooting pictures indoors in less than ideal conditions, here are a five tips I shoot by.   

My Five Tips for Better Brighter Blog Photos

1) Use a Good Camera

I think it’s essential to invest in a good SLR digital camera with variable settings (F-stop, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, white balance, etc.) if you want to have high quality interior photos.  I know there are a lot of comparatively inexpensive point and shoot digital cameras out there, and they are perfectly fine for so many everyday uses, but for high quality blog photography, invest in a good camera.  I use my Nikon D60 that allows for changeable lenses, and I use two kinds of lenses that I mention in my FAQ page

2)  Know Your Manual 

When my hub bought me my Nikon D60 three years ago, I always used the auto setting just because it was so darn easy and I was, at first, intimidated by the manual settings.  80% of the time, the ‘Auto’ setting worked fine and produced adequate images. 

However, the ability to manipulate your camera’s light settings makes all the difference in the world in less than perfect light conditions, and when shooting interiors or detail shots.  Here is just one half of one page in my Nikon’s manual but look how much information can be gathered from this quick camera tour.   

nikon image settings

 

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