Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Simple Outside Mount Roman Shade Tutorial

Green paint is up. I love. And oops, purple screwdriver on window ;)
It's May!  That time of year when all of a sudden my calendar starts to become ineligible because it is over flowing with activities (baseball, golf, play practice, award ceremonies, teacher appreciation, end of year picnics, etc.)  Things like blogging take a back seat, probably for you too, so if you are reading, I thank you!!  In anticipation of the craziness of this month, I kept my consulting calendar pretty light, which has allowed me some extra time to work on projects in my own home, mainly the office.

I have a pretty modest budget for the office, so when the workroom quotes for roman shades came in, I was a bit stumped by the high cost of labor.  I did a little research, found a plethora of online tutorials, inspected my girlfriend's shades and decided to attempt to sew my own. I am not an experienced seamstress at all.  My skill set is just just beyond threading the machine and winding a bobbin, so when these turned out so beautiful, I knew I would want to share my process.  If I can do it, you can too.  I did make a test run shade that I hung in our powder room with some spare fabric before I cut into office shade fabric.  I'm not totally crazy.

First, these shades are a bit of cross between a relaxed and flat roman. If I had used dowel rods at every pleat they would have the very tailored and structured look of a flat roman.  I didn't want that in this space, but I also didn't want a completely relaxed and flouncy roman either.  These are sort of in between, lots of stacked pleats like a flat but with a bit of the movement and casualness of a relaxed roman.

Supplies Needed:
3/8" dowel rods cut to size (one per shade)
shade fabric
lining fabric (I used white cotton muslin bought at Joann's)
roman shade string 
sew on rings for roman shades (I used brass, but plastic would be fine too)
cord cleat
1x2" board cut to size of shade
3 small metal eye hooks
L brackets (the number you need will depend on the size of your shade.  1 used 2 per shade)
plaster or dry wall screws to mount the brackets
sewing machine
needle and thread

Step One: Measure Shade Size
Measure desired shade size, length and width.  Have 1x2" board + dowel rod cut to size.

Step Two: Cut and Pin Fabric
Shade Fabric: Add 4 inches to width and 6.5 inches to length
Lining Fabric: Add 1/2 inch to width and 6.5 inches to length

Place right sides of fabric facing each other.  Line up edge of lining fabric with edge of shade fabric and pin on one side.

Step Three: Sew In Lining
Sew a 1/4 inch hem along the pinned side of the fabric.  Remove from machine and pull the lining across to the non-hemmed side of the shade fabric and pin.  Sew a 1/4 inch hem on the other side.  Turn fabric right side out.

Step 4: Press and Sew Top and Bottom Hem
Iron the shade. Double check that it is the correct width for the finished shade. Then fold top of shade over twice, an inch each time, and press.  Sew top hem. For the bottom hem you are going to create a pocket for the only dowel rod you will use for this shade.  Sew a 1/2" hem and then fold over 1.5" and sew another leaving an opening for the rod.

small 1/2" seam, then fold again and sew in pocket

That's it for the sewing machine!

Step 5:  Measure, Mark and Sew Rings
I used a yard stick and a pencil. You will make three columns of rings on the back of the shade.

Spacing: Place pleats 8-12 inches apart. I did mine 8 inches.
Starting Point: Take your desired spacing and divide by 2, then add one inch.  This is your where your first row of rings will be.  For example, my pleat spacing is 8 inches, so my first row of rings was placed 5 inches from the bottom of my shade. (8 divided by 2 plus 1 = 5).  Hand sew the rings in place. I folded the shade in half to find my middle and then marked it lightly with a pencil so my center column of rings would be straight.  Keep measuring up 8 inches from the last row to sew your next row.  I stopped 20 inches from the top of the shade.
This was the step I dreaded the most and it wasn't that bad.  I sewed each ring about 5-6 times and then tied in about 3-4 knots.  Each shade took about 20-30 minutes to measure + sew on the rings.

I laid the shades side by side to get a sense of how finished shade would look.  You can see here how the fabric repeat that is showing on each shade differs.  I love this fabric so much and since it will be in the up position most of the time, I like being able to see the two different views.  If I wanted them identical I would have needed more yardage.  

Should have ironed a bit better. 

Step 6: Screw Eye Hooks to Board + Attach Mounting Hardware
I lined up the board with the shade and marked where eye hooks should go. I pre-drilled holes and then screwed them in.  Attach L brackets, pre-drill holes and them screw in.

Step 7: Add String
See diagram for how the string flows through the hooks.  The string farthest away from where you will pull and lower will be the longest and go through all three hooks on the board, the middle string will go through two and the side where you will lift and lower, only one.  Attach the string to the bottom ring with a few knots and then thread it up through the ones above.

Step 8:  Attach Fabric to Board
I used velcro instead of staples.  That way you can easily adjust the shade position if you need to.  My shade weight was very light with a linen fabric and a muslin lining.  If you have a heavier shade, you might prefer staples. (*note: I made my shades 1 inch wider than my boards for just the slightest fabric overhang.  This isn't necessary, but you see in in the photos so I wanted to mention it*)

note here where I placed the velcro on the board and the fabric

Step 9: Hang Up Your Shade + Give it a Test Run
Once up, insert the dowel rod in the bottom pocket and slowly raise your shade, helping the pleats along as needed.  Add the cord cleat to the wall and wrap three strings around it to secure the shade in place.  Marvel at all the money you just saved.  :)

The desk will go right in front of this window.  Not sure why I didn't place it here before, but as soon as I did it made such a big difference in the room.

**Please let me know if you have questions.  Tutorials aren't really my expertise, I find it difficult to stop and take proper pictures when I get into the flow of a project.  I also did all my sewing at night or early in the morning over a rainy weekend so the light was non existent, hopefully it all still makes sense. ** 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our Office | The Perfect Green Gray Paint

My post title should really be... The Perfect Green Gray Paint - FOR MY HOUSE.  Because no matter how good a paint color can look in one room, under different lighting, with different furniture and textiles, it can look unrecognizable.  This is probably the reason paint will always be one of the trickier elements of interior design.  Yet, it continues to be one of the first sources I check in the back of magazines when I find a room I love and it is also one of my most frequently pinned items on Pinterest.  Even looking at the photo on the left isn't as helpful as I thought it would be because all the colors look so darn similar even though when they go up on the wall, they all look very different.  To me at least, my boys think I'm crazy and say they all look the same no matter what. :)

Finding a color for our office that I loved was actually pretty easy.  I really loved everything I put up. Nantucket Gray was probably my favorite of the bunch and would have been my top choice IF I wasn't also painting the ceiling and doors and trim all the same color.  After living with it for a few days, I decided it was just too dark, especially in the evening.  I didn't want the office to feel heavy and cave like - that might put a damper on productivity! Ha!  The French Gray was just a bit lighter and looked perfect when I put the sample up.  The Ball Green looked lime green, almost sickly, when I put the sample up.  And then the paint dried.  The Ball Green became the perfect mossy, not too dark, not too yellow, not too minty, shade of green.  The French Gray had turned too dark, too gray and a bit too cold for our room.  I went ahead and painted a sample on all four walls of the room, looked at the paint different times of the day and in both sunny and gray weather and it was perfect in every situation.  It was the most green of the three and the best compliment to the green found in the wallpaper of our adjoining bedroom.  Done.  Farrow and Ball Ball Green it is. (Glad all of you on Instagram agreed! :) Whew.)

Office BEFORE: I apologize for this, but it will make for a great before/after post in a couple months. Ball Green on left of secretary, French Gray on right. (desk chair will be road side soon. can. not wait. If you could have seen my face the day Jimmy brought that thing into our home....)
Top to bottom: FB Ball Green, BM Nantucket Gray, FB French Gray

My personal tips on testing + buying paint:
1.  Paint samples directly on the wall if you can.  Painting on a white sheet of paper and taping it up is ok for narrowing down choices, but it will always appear darker on the white paper than on the wall.  I don't know why, but this has been my experience. (Painting a large foam-core board would probably work well too.  I just don't usually have those on hand and I'm too impatient to test out the colors..)

2.  Apply two coats of the sample color to get the most accurate version of what the final color will look like. (All the samples above are two coats)

2. Paint large enough samples on as many of the walls as you can.  Paint can look so different depending on where the light hits.

3. Always test.  Always.  Even if your decorator swears by a color, or some design expert on pinterest says "no fail color. my go to. always works."  I have yet to find a color that always works.

4.  If you love Farrow & Ball colors, invest in Farrow & Ball paint, especially for walls.  (I'm not being paid to say this).  The Estate Emulsion for walls is so different than your typical hardware store latex based paint.  I do wish they made an oil based paint, so when I want oil I will have FB colors mixed for painting wood work.  I regret not using oil on our kitchen cabinetry, I used their recommendation for woodwork and I don't love it as much as I love their wall paints because it chips more easily than traditional oil.

Here are some examples of he above colors in use.  For the most part they look completely different than when I tested the colors in my room.  (For reference, our office has eastern and southern facing windows and gets good light the majority of the day, we also have lots of trees, so in the summer the light is very filtered.)

Nantucket Gray

FB French Gray

FB Ball Green


Friday, April 8, 2016

Our Home | Office Design Plan

master bedroom, office through doorway on right
It's hard to believe that we've lived in our home for more than 9 years and still have rooms that haven't been touched, but we do.  I tend to move slowly, part due to budget and part due to indecision.  When we bought our home we were a true dual career family.  After I quit my job when Charlie arrived, we really had to prioritize our spending and some years there just wasn't a lot of extra for pretty, but non functional updates.  I don't like to talk about money, because I know it is all relative.  I am grateful to live in a beautiful home, stay home with my children, and have a fun little part time business on the side, and if that means I can't always buy what I want when I want to, that is a very easy price to pay. (though I'm guilty of virtual shopping.. filling up the cart and not checking out...  tell me I'm not alone! :))

Our upstairs office has always been low on the priority list. However, it connects to our master bedroom (which I LOVE) and the two spaces couldn't be more inconsistent.  I thought this year it was time to prioritize replacing the 60+ year old carpet (Ew.), but once that decision was made, I really wanted to finish the rest of the space.  It is a small room that gets gorgeous light.  It looks out to lots of trees, with magnolias blooming in the late spring and the sound of birds singing at the first sign of a winter thaw all the way till the first frost.  It really does have potential!  It is farther away from the rest of the house too so it is a quiet and wonderful place to work.  While I call it Jimmy's office, I work in here often. (That's how I justified keeping this a very feminine looking space. ;))  I believe it was originally intended to be a dressing/sitting room since it has 3 closets, two for clothes and a linen cupboard.

A little green room inspiration...
Lauren Liess, her new study from Instagram
Laura Ashley favorite I've had forever and shared before

Here are my plans for the room... Blue and green, classic fabrics, dark wood antiques, and an English farmhouse feel (I'm consistent! )

The Lee Jofa floral (that Im obsessed with after using in a few client projects) is going on roman shades || the Les Indiennes small indigo print on a custom lamp shade for a large brass table lamp that sits on an antique bachelor's chest || the ticking will go on a wingback desk chair slipcover || the carpet will be a 100% wool berber || still debating on desk lamp versus table lamp (leaning a bit more toward table lamp) for on the desk but I love this desk light from Rejuvenation Hardware  || I just bought a 200 year old portrait (not this one) in an eBay auction.  Fingers crossed I love it as much in person as I do online since I exceeded my budget. || We have an antique secretary in the room already - not as nice as the one pictured here but same feel || the walls, windows, ceiling, closet doors, trim will all go green (I'll do a post next week on my paint contenders) || Lastly, I'll add blue and white pottery over the secretary and on the bachelor's chest.

I knew I wanted to find an antique portrait for this room and I've searched for a long time (2+ years to be exact).  They are tough to find in the right size, quality, and look.  1st Dibs has a great selection, see here but they are pricey.  Some can look a little creepy or mean, couldn't have that.  Many were just way too big.  I wanted a friendly, New England looking gent.  Graphically they are so great in a space and it is the one "masculine" addition I'm making to the office.  Here are some examples of using old portraits from pinterest...

Southern Living

Lee Ann Thornton via Coastal Living

I'll be back next week with before pictures of the office (they are scary) and a discussion on green paint.  I know my updates are coinciding with the One Room Challenge.  I thought about joining in, but I felt it would create unnecessary pressure.  I have painters and carpet installers scheduled and fabric ordered, so things should move along at a decent pace, but you never know with me. ;)  Looking forward to sharing the process with you regardless.