Kitschdesigns

DIY- Living Room of A 1960's Tri-Level

July 27, 2009 02:29 by ehouston

Since moving to a new home I have been reflecting on our past renovations to help me determine what will or will not work for our lifestyle going forward.  In doing so I have gone back to pouring through old photos and reminiscing a little at the trials and tribulations of the changes we made.  I thought I would share our living room mini-remodel.  I call it a "mini-remodel" because it really only involved simple cosmetic changes, but I think those changes made a pretty good impact.  Check it out....

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Before shots of the formal living/dining room and the stairs to the upper hallway.

As you can see the previous owners loved bright, lime green.  It's difficult to see in these photos, but the walls were actually tinted slightly lime green too.  I had thought that it was just the carpet color reflecting onto the light walls, but as I began to paint I realized that they had tinted the paint ever so slightly to match...nice!  In the first photo you can also see the pleated curtains in raw silk, also in green and with a cool woven 1960's trim bordering the edge.  Click on the FLICKR badge to see more "before" and "in-progress" shots of this room.

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KitschDesigns' DIY- Formal Living Room photoset KitschDesigns' DIY- Formal Living Room photoset

Our mini-remodel of this space included pulling up the wall to wall carpet, which revealed shiny hardwood floors in near perfect condition.  In fact, when we got ready to sell the agents were asking when we had them refinished because they assumed it had happened recently.  Nope, we think the little old lady that lived here must have weighed 80 pounds and cleaned daily since there were no treaded down paths underneath and no dirt in the carpet as we pulled it up.  After the carpet demo we just painted the walls a neutral shade of light taupe and the bookcase and trim received a fresh coat of glossy white paint.  We removed the hinges and knobs from the cabinets, along with the drapery rods and spray painted them a hammered nickel before putting them back in place.

Since we were still broke and could not afford all new window treatments I removed the sheer panels and rod and replaced the freshly painted curtain rod at a little higher and wider location than before.  I removed the pleats and stiffener from the tops of the way to formal curtains, along with the funky woven trim.  I added fabric ties across the top and then used a ton of Rit Dye in dark green, mixed with dark brown for a deeper green color.  Yes, we hated the bright lime green in the original setting, but opted for deeper shades throughout our home down the line.  Strange, I know.  Once those were the right shade I hung them back up sans any blinds or sheers since this room received a good amount of light, but was not to hot during the day and did not need any privacy.

So, here are some of the realtor shots showing the finished room just before we moved.  It had been neutralized a bit for showings.  You can see at this point the coffee table was switched out for a smaller version, a carpet was added for softness and the furniture received some much needed new upholstery in shades of deep blue.  We also built some stretcher frames and created "artwork" from some cool vintage green and blue mod fabric.  The mirrors remained in their original spot, but the handrail was removed for a cleaner look and the vintage family photo montage was added in the hallway.

  

 

Thanks for looking!

Kitsch Krafts


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DYI- Chair

September 25, 2008 10:07 by ehouston

I am getting geared up to head out to the flea market this weekend and while letting my imagination go crazy thinking about all the great stuff I hope to find I remembered my end of the summer trip from last year.  I had been searching for what seemed like forever to find just the right dinette set for our eat in kitchen and simply could not find the right thing.  I finally settled on something in late spring of this year and as that project is completed I will add a new post.  Last fall I headed to the market hoping to find a cool, inexpensive set of chairs.  What I ended up coming home with is what I consider a really cool shaped chair, but in a color that just did not work for my space.  Sadly, there was only one of these chairs to be had, I decided to reupholster it and use it in my bedroom to create a cozy spot.  With all the other projects that were already on my plate I put this one off until the beginning of the year, and worked on it through the dark and cold winter months.  After just a few evenings I had the thing stripped down, repainted, springs retied and a new cover sewn and fastened in place.  I changed up the design a little and did not use any gimping.  Instead I just tucked the edges of the fabric under while holding a nail in place and hammered through the fabric.  Probably not the best way to do this, but it worked.  The fabric was a great find at Joanne's ETC in the fabric to order section.  I had never really looked through this section in depth before because it always seemed to be full of pretty boring choices to me.  Now they have all kinds of cool patterns, some, like the one I chose, that have a vintage look.  I love the nubby gray on gray fabric and the swirly, almost floral design.  I think it almost looks like an old piece that was well preserved and it seems to fit in nicely with my other retro furnishings.

Wish me luck this weekend!

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DIY and The Pink Bathroom!

September 3, 2008 10:46 by ehouston

I just received a message from a FLICKR Group dedicated to saving pink bathrooms with a request to add some of my pictures to their pool.  I am honored to be a part of this retro home revival group and plan to check back often so I can take a peek into other people's homes.  My voyeuristic interest in to where other people live is a sickness that started back in high school when I attended my first estate sale.  It continues to this day, by an unseen force that draws me to spend a Sunday afternoon visiting open houses when I have no intention of moving.  I love getting a look at how other people decorate their spaces and the fun of coming upon a time capsule of life from bygone eras.  The chance to see how these homes were originally decorated is so interesting in contrast to how homes are often portrayed in movies and on television.  It's weird, I know, but somehow very thrilling when you discover something in pristine condition.  It's why I am also obsessed with shows like Leave It To Beaver and Mad Men.  I cannot get enough of the rooms in the homes and buildings on these shows.  I always end up annoying other TV watchers around me with quips about the neat couch or cool lamp in the background.

I recently attended an estate sale just down the street from my home and I wandered around looking in sheer amazement at the amount of wallpaper they had used.  Their home is a split-level too, as are many of the homes in our 1950's-1960's neighborhood, and I really liked the layout of all the wallpaper coated rooms.  One odd area that caught my eye, though, was the staircase to the upper portion of the home.  It sat right by the front door and twisted at a strange angle toward the bedrooms.  It seemed awkward when a straight set would have made perfect sense, but I believe the point was to give a more grand affect when viewed from the front entry.  The funny thing about split-level homes is that "grand" was never a part of the equation for the interiors and it always cracks me up when the owners try to go that route in their decorating.  ...But, I digress....what really caught my eye about the staircase was the flashy wallpaper that lined the stairs and then the upper hallway.  It had a busy, almost life-sized bamboo print in shades of metallic browns.  It was so out there that it had come back again and I have even seen similar patterns in new design mags lately.  The best part about this was that the master bedroom had another version of bamboo wallpaper, top to bottom, all four walls and so did the BATHROOM!  In fact, the over-zealous decorator had even created a shoji-screen style window covering to add to the Asian appeal, and they had continued the wallpaper right across the screens.  It was so awe-inspiringly gross! 

The ingenious decor continued with real bamboo molding.  It had been cut in half, wrapped around the top edge of the tiled walls that are typical for that era, and they had been stained a dark brown to match the dark stained vanity cabinets.  You could tell the remodel had happened in the 1970's or early 80's because of the colors and how over-the-top they had gone with the theme.  Even with the dizzying pattern overkill, these areas of the home were still sort of cool and made me want to try to salvage some of what the owners had been trying to create.  But, alas, the home has since sold and I am sure the new owners will rip out all remnants of this home's past coolness rather than working with the good bones and keeping some of the quirky decor.  Maybe I should slip some of my design mags under their door with the cool wallpaper pages marked for them?  

I really should not give anyone a hard time about ripping out and replacing anything in their older home.  There are many aspects of ranch and split-level homes of the 1950's and 1960's that I love, but sometimes that love does not stay warm in your heart once you have lived with something kitsch for a while.  Take for instance the room that got me the invite to the "save the pink bathrooms" group.  Below is a before shot of my lovely pink bathroom, complete with the old owner's ruffled curtains and seashell wallpaper.

OPkBthSink

We lived with that window and the matching shower curtain (see it reflected in the mirror?) for almost three years before the final breakdown.  There were other rooms in our home that definitely needed more work and were much harder on the eyes, so we gave them what I call "the mini makeover" treatment first.  Basically, a thorough cleaning, new paint, switched out hardware and pulled up carpet to reveal hardwood floors.  The easy stuff that makes an impact and helps you keep your sanity while living in a cosmetic fixer-upper.

After much thought about what to do with this space, everything from a simple spruce up, to taking the seashell theme to new kitschy heights, to just ripping all of it out and starting over.  We ended up deciding that it did not make any sense to rip out perfectly good tile and fixtures and a simple spruce up was all that we needed.  I spent a week pulling down the wallpaper, resurfacing the marred walls, priming and painting in a subtle shade of gray, to pick up on the contrasting band of gray tile along the floor.  We added a new, but vintage inspired light fixture because the old one did not cast enough light and we changed out the only broken element, the sink faucet.  New towels, shower curtain, refurbished wooden shutters and a "frame" set around the mirror and we were in business for a fraction of the price that most people pay for a modern makeover.  No, our bath does not have luxurious real stone tile, or a multi-spout shower head, but it does have a nice sized space, a more subdued palette and it still matches up with the rest of the home.  Plus, after all these years of doing my makeup in this room I have realized that pink really is my color!

;0)

E

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My Space

August 6, 2008 06:22 by ehouston

Today I thought I would share my workspace with everyone.  I live in a rather small, well normally proportioned (in other words, it's not a McMansion), home that was built in the 1960's.  My office and crafting space is set up in one of our three bedrooms and last year I switched the space up with what had been our bedroom.  The old office was an "L" shape, but the new space is just one big square with two nice windows.  One window is an outlet to the tree-filled back yard and the other looks out the end of our home and down the yards of the other houses on our quiet little street.  This room has brought me great pleasure, being able to think, design, craft and just plain old surf the web in peace and quiet.  This room is also filled with my collection of girlie items...things in styles not really seen in the other parts of my home.  I spare my husband from the frilliness of it all, but because there is this little spot in my heart for all things pink, flowered, soft and weathered with time, I had to make my mark in at least one part of our home.  The color scheme, though very popular now, was actually inspired by a lamp I bought while thrifting way back, long ago while I was in high school.  Said lamp is ceramic with a deep chocolate colored base and a cross-hatch overlay in pale turquoise blue.  The shade is a long drum style that came ripped and stained.  After years of using it "as-is" and thinking that I would one day find a better replacement for that shade, I realized I loved the shape and I finally just repaired it instead.  After fixing the rip I spent about a week and a half of evenings gluing hemp cording around the shade to give it a nice color and texture- good as new!  So, this lamp was a great find years ago and I decided then and there that one day I would have a room decorated in these colors.  Well, fast forward about 17 years and here I am sitting in my office with the pale blue walls and dark chocolate brown accents.  It may appear that I just took my idea straight from any magazine on the shelf, but the heart loves what the heart loves and life is really just to short to worry.  I have included a link to my FLICKR photostream to show my messy, but somehow calming space.  It even has a lounging area with vintage fabric, vintage pillowcases and vintage T-shirt pillows that I made.  I have hung vintage barkcloth drapes with a great vine pattern and installed shelves with mod wire brackets.  There is even an atomic clock to help me know when to stop blogging and get back to my nine to five.  ;0)

So, what does your space look like?

I hope you enjoy taking a look at mine!

E

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The lamp that inspired it all....


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