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KyahsMum 11-25-2011 11:43 AM

Interior Decorating with Paint Advice- Newbie, Please help
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My family purchased a 2BR/1BA fixer-upper home in Arkansas. Itís a starter home as our family is only us and our 5-year old daughter. Iím not exactly thrilled with the house itself and really only bought it for the land. Honestly, I despise the layout of the house, which is very closed in and has no open space. Also, we only have about 900 sq. ft., which is meager, at best, in my opinion. It would be more tolerable, perhaps, if I could knock down some walls, but the house was built in 1902 as, what my husband calls a ďshotgun houseĒ that was 3 rooms where you could look into the front door and see through the 3 rooms and out the back door. There was no kitchen or bathroom until the 1960ís, when it was sold and apparently added a 4th room to the ďshotgunĒ style, a hallway was built that runs along the entire west side of the house. From the hallway is the 2nd bedroom in the southwest corner of the house, the Master Bedroom in the center west side and the bathroom on the northwest corner of the house. Eventually, the storage room with become my craft room and office. We donít have a lot of money, so I have to decorate around the items we already have (couches, beds, etc). The floors are all 1970ís laminate, so I was thinking of pulling it all up and getting those wood planks you can get at discount stores and lay yourself or paint the floors and distress them using a technique I saw on some DIY show I was watching. So this is what the house layout looks likeÖ

Now the old lady who had this house before me, had all the walls white. Bit its not white paint. Itís white drywall texture and no paint on topÖ except for the master bedroom. Itís this sky blue color that reminds me of 1953. I have a color palate in mind, but need some ideas in tying the house together as I tend to like an eclectic style and colors. So Iím going to put my ideaís here and if anyone has some ideas that would tie the rooms together and are willing to share, I would love it!

Bathroom: Itís very long and narrow. Iíd like to do a Cape Cod theme with burgundy, grey, and nautical or cloudy day blue color. Perhaps some cream.

Master Bedroom: I fell in love with a comforter set (one of those sets in the bag with the comforter, pillows, matching curtains, pillow shams and dust ruffle. Itís a rich dark chocolate color with gold flourishes. As you can see on my little drawing, the bed is on the same wall as the window (because thatís the only place it will fit, ick). So, thereís an awful lot of that design in that one wall. I also want to make a canopy on this bed and I have the old design in style that you imagine from the play A Christmas Carol that Mr. Scrouge dies in when Christmas Future visits and the gypsies are robbing his bed of the draperies of him still in it. Know the one? I do intend to have the side draperies on it. My color scheme in this room is chocolate, cream, pink and gold. My vision is rich, rustic, inviting, curl up in the bed all cozy and read a book or take a nap; the kind of bedroom that when you walk into it, even if itís not yours, you want to ask if you can climb under the covers. By the door, as shown in the sketch, there is an oversized armchair thatís upholstered in cream, pink and milk chocolate stripe fabric. There are lots of throw pillows on the bed and chair in shades of pinks, goldís and browns. I thought of maybe a pink accent wall behind the bed to break up the browns and then chocolate on the remaining walls with cream or gold trim? Would that make the room seem closed in? Or gloomy? Too overdone? Too artificial or snooty or stuck-up? I like the concept in my head, but Iím not even a novice at interior decorator and so Iím very concerned about how this is going to convey because itís so very dramatic.

2nd Bedroom: My daughter wants a rainbow room with ponies and castles and princesses. All I can say is, thank goodness my husband can draw well and can draw murals on the walls. Enough said.

Hallway: This space has zero natural light. I do not want even one single white wall. Iím really at a loss as to what to paint this space. Eggshell, off white, antique white all count as white as far as Iím concerned.

Foyer: My husband promised to build me a box with a hinged lid to put our shoes into in the foyer and have a place to sit down to put shoes on/ take them off. I donít really have a color scheme in mind for this space. This space is uninsulated (more like an enclosed porch than foyer, but I think the word ďfoyerĒ is pretty) and the only door is a screen door. The front (solid entryway) door is inside this space. So, this space can be viewed from the outside (only if youíre looking through the storm door) so Iíd like it to have some dťcor. We really only use it to hang coats, take off and store shoes, etc. The main focal point will be my little storage bench and Iíll add a pretty cushion. Iíll also probably be adding coat hooks and nice rustic homemade shelves for coats, gloves, scarves, hats, dog leashes, etc. Originally, I was thinking of simply hanging a cherry colored paneling but read an article that said paneling made spaces look smaller and this space is probably only 8 feet by 5 feet.

Living Room: I have a dark purple sofa and loveseat with dark purple, a Gettysburg green and very light tan plaid pillows. Weíve added furniture, over the years, around those pieces and have cream end tables and entertainment center. I was thinking a cottage type light green color for the walls in this room with dark purple and light tan or cream accents?

Dining Room and Kitchen: I have a thing for ladybugs. When I was married, my grandmother bought me a dinner set of square place settings that are red on the outside and red on the inside. Very modern and a little oriental looking. She said it reminded her of my love for ladybugs. I adore these place settings and have actually had to contact the manufacturer to replace broken pieces because the line has been discontinued. Needless to say, my dishes allowed me to collect ladybug knickknacks, teacups, salt & pepper shakers, wall dťcor, etc because they match my dishes and I like them. I made my square dining table myself and the bench seats that run on the sides. My china hutch is also in my dining room, although I donít have china because I wouldnít use it, so I use my china hutch to hold my teapots and ladybugs (both of which I collect). I would like to paint the walls in the dining room and kitchen red. I want to paint the doorway and window trim black. I would like to paint the cabinets and drawer holders white and I would like to paint the doors to my cabinets and my drawerís with chalkboard paint (that way recipeís can be written on cabinet surfaces, or when I run out of grocery items, etc).

Mudroom: The mudroom is where the washer and dryer are in this room, which has a concrete floor and lots of counter space for ironing, folding laundry, etc. It also has my hot water heater closet and is my craft room with my sewing machine, scrapbooking table, etc. This room is also my office. Iím hoping to, eventually, move my office and craft room into the storage room and let the mudroom become a true utility room and also house overstock of canned goods and such. I donít really have a color scheme in mind for this room either.

1. With all that said, does anyone have any ideas to help me unify all the rooms in the house? Even though they each obviously have a distinctive style, I donít want it to feel like walking into a whole new house every time you move into a new space.
2. Anyone have anything they can tell me for my master bedroom.
3. Does anyone have any ideas for my poorly lit hallway that needs to meld well into almost every room in the house without being white?
4. Does anyone have any suggestions for the foyer?
5. Does anyone have any ideas for the mudroom?
6. Do I paint the ceiling the same color Iím using on the walls or use an accent color orÖ?
7. Anything else that Iím missing? Iím really not good at this. It looks good in my head, but every time I actually try to do it, blarf! Help! Please!
Thank you!

user1007 11-25-2011 01:26 PM

I will try to get back to this. Meanwhile, why not paint the spaces a few hundred times if you want. The virtual painting programs from the major companies---Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams come to mind---let you try any of the colors in their collections on rooms like yours. Or, if you have patience you can upload your own photos, mask them off, and then paint them over and over again. Once you find a scheme that works. You can just copy the chip names or numbers and try a quart or something to make sure you like it.

They are free by the way. Some are online only but you can download the Ben Moore one.

Tube skylights are a great way to add some natural light to dark hallways---at least during the day. They are easy to install (or have installed) and are inexpensive.

mnp13 11-25-2011 01:49 PM

My house has color, major color on the walls. The living room is dark red, dining room blue, hall gray, bathroom dark green... I unified the whole thing by using the same color trim paint through the entire downstairs. And the rooms that I wanted different color trim I used the trim color for the walls, and a color for the wood work - dark green in the office and dark gray in the kitchen. I also used the same color for the ceilings throughout all of the rooms.

In my last house, I used a very pale version of the wall colors on the ceilings, which had a really nice effect as well.

mnp13 11-25-2011 11:35 PM

I'm looking at your house layout, and that hallway is an amazing amount of wasted space when you don't have any space to waste in the first place!!!

Have you considered getting rid of it? With a few relatively minor changes (if you consider moving walls "minor") you could add square footage to a couple rooms.

For example - if you get rid of the living room wall, your living room will be bigger, and your daughter's bedroom would open up into the living room. Or move her door to shorten the hallway, and add the space to her room.

If that's out of your realm of possibilities, here's another thought - I'm guessing the door to the storage room is in the hall? If so, you could put a window in that door - frosted if you want to block the view of the room - to let some light in.

KyahsMum 11-26-2011 11:53 PM

Thank you...
First, thanks for sharing your wow color! I love it!!!

That hallway... ugh. Isn't it horrid?!? I wanted to take down the walls between the kitchen and the dining room. My husband is a jouneyman and hangs and finishes sheet rock for a living, so a know's a thing or two about structure. Decorating, forget it. He's useless, but the man can build ANYTHING!!! lol.

In anycase, he says that, although he's never seen it before, it appears that all of the interior a weight bearing walls. Since the house is so old, we're concerned that attempting to take down walls could cause some serious structual damage and perhaps even a collapse. So frustrating

Sherry In Central Arkansas

Gymschu 11-27-2011 08:13 AM

Kyahmum, if your really that unhappy with your new found home, why not do a few improvements using your husband's skills, put the house on the market, and begin a search for a house you really want. Seems to me you are going to be limited by what you can do in the current house. Just a thought.

KyahsMum 11-27-2011 01:55 PM

That's been in the back of my head now for a bit. But, it took us a really long time to purchase our 1st home. I did settle, but hoped I would be able to do some bigger renovations. We got such a fantastic deal on the house, that we were able to buy, free and clear and $50k under budget, which left that for remodeling. I'm loyal to a fault, I guess. I always need to make the best with what we've got and I really don't want to mess with my toddler's head with another move. She didnt take the move well and we had some behavior issues for a good 4 months. I really do want to stay. The land is what was worth it! We've even talked about building another on this land (it is, after all, 11 acres) and living in this house in the meantime. Then, we would use this house as my office and studio. Meanwhile, I'd still like to, at least, give it a facelift and make it something I might actually appreciate looking at after a long days work. Right now its just so... undone. I want it to feel like home. The walk through the door, take off your coat and put your briefcase down and take a nice big sigh with a content grin on your face. lol
Sherry in Central Arkansas

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