I live in a modest four square with a “winterized” porch off the back that serves as a mudroom, office, and most recently, dog den. The house computer sits here, wires and all, taunting our six month puppy and his insatiable chewing habit. The office came first, after my husband and I spent a night into the wee hours cutting, laying down and adhering together wall to wall carpet squares and setting up an old desk and computer. The carpet served to cover a not so pleasant existing laminate glue down floor. Think Brady Bunch brick. Replacing/cleaning dirty carpet squares would be so much easier than cleaning/replacing an entire floor of carpeting, we reasoned as we headed into our fifth hour of slicing and sticking.
Over the years and having a child morphed the office into a repository for shoes, keys, coats and stuff to go out to the garage on the next exit, a place to kick off boots, hang wet snow and swim suits, wipe feet/hands/whatever before heading into the kitchen. Hence it became The Mudroom. With a Computer. A muduter. The carpet squares? Never replaced. Nary a one. I did have a professional cleaner come by once and after spending an hour on the floor proclaimed that they were better than before, but that he wasn’t “a miracle worker.”
Now on to the puppy. I thought the muduter would be a great place to house a pup while he learned that the indoors was not his open toilet. But the carpet squares took a beating like nothing before. I learned that my sweet puppy could devour a carpet square in a minute flat, fiber, rubber backing, sticky tape and all. The carpet seemed to absorb all smells and transfer them to random parts of the house, no matter how much of the world’s greatest carpet cleaner I used.
So the nasty carpet squares were finally ripped up and thrown out. Which now leaves the brick glue down floor. I am going to replace it with another glue down floor because I need something easy to clean and not something the puppy can easily dig at and pull up. To make the new floor lay as flat and tight as possible I need to pull up all the old laminate and get down to the plywood floor. So this is where I’m at today:
Right now in the Midwest we’re in the midst of a “wintry mix” of subzero temps, snow and wind. I don’t complain about it because I did choose to live in Chicago as opposed to Hawaii (Aloha mom!). I do have a love/hate relationship with rock salt though. It’s a damn necessity here. It will certainly cut your chances of ending up in traction post porch stairs slip. One winter I went down the back stairs so hard that my car key flew out of my hand and landed somewhere in a pile of snow. I had to wait a week for the snow to melt before I could find it.
So I use rock salt. But I don’t like it. It gets tracked indoors onto my wood floors. Wood floors and rock salt are a bad mix, like my mother and Chicago winters. Rock salt is generally made from sodium chloride, which will take off the finish from a floor, and if it’s left to sit for too long, it could cause the wood to split and/or rot. Use a good wood floor cleaner, or at the very least water, to clean up any rock salt residue from your floors. Use mats at the door that can be washed often, and make everyone takes off boots and shoes before they come into the house, regardless of whether it’s snowing or raining out. No one should walk around a house with outside shoes on anyway. The dirt and grime from shoes ruins carpets, not to mention the gunk that they trap in the carpet fibers. But that’s a post for another day.
Someone asked me the other day if we had a sump pump for our basement. I said, no, we never get that much water…and then of course we got hit. Our basement is half finished, so luckily the water stayed mostly in the unfinished part. But because we’re thinking about finishing off the rest of it, I want a floor that is more durable than carpet, which is what we have now.
I just had a stone laminate floor installed in a client’s home similar to this one:
Laminate wasn’t my first choice but it fit the budget, and now that it’s in, I have to say it looks great. It is very hard to tell it isn’t stone. It’s durable and made from post consumer materials. We opted for a stone look but there are lots of nice looking wood options out there too.
The choice I’m really leaning towards though is stained concrete. There are so many color choices to chose from, and I can just throw down rugs where I need them. If the rugs get wet, I can get them cleaned.
If you are looking for a cute + affordable coffee table/bench seating/storage option, then check out Ballard Designs Amelia storage bench!
It comes in lots of different patterns, colors, fabrics, so you can find something for every decor. The construction is solid and I think this looks a lot more expensive than it is. It’s the perfect height & width for a coffee table and it’s stable, sitting on substantial solid feet. Check it out!
I’ve been doing a lot of rug shopping lately. Besides the fabulous custom choices I have encountered at the Merchandise Mart, I have come across some wonderful mid range retail price options. My number one favorite? The Asimi rug by Crate and Barrel:
This is a wonderful, 100% wool rug with an oriental flair of flowers and vines woven in a warm pattern of chocolate brown, sage green, gold, red and steel blue hues, making it extremely versatile. It would be perfect in a living room or dining room, either a contemporary or traditional setting.
If you require two rugs in a room or in rooms that flow together, pair it with the Library rug from Room and Board:
This is a durable rug, made in 100% New Zealand wool, making it great for a family or living room. What ties these rugs together? They are unified in hue and intensity even though their patterns are disparate.
I’ve been on the search lately for a new doormat. Doormats sometimes are an afterthought, right? And it’s hard to find ones that are both cute (if I can call a doormat cute) and effective. Below are several I really liked. The “Hi. I’m Mat.” is actually an old favorite of mine. I dragged ours from our last two apartments to our house before I finally had to say goodbye.
Lately I’ve been working on a project of my own: updating our sun room. We’ve lived in the house for almost three years now, and with the exception of hanging some embarrassingly cheap window treatments, I’ve done zero in here.
The room faces east and gets amazing sunlight due to windows on three walls (hence the name). We use it mainly as our computer room, but because the back door is there, it also serves as our dumping ground for shoes, bags, etc.
Last weekend I finally had enough of the white walls and the hideously-old- and-terrifyingly-dirty berber carpet. We (the room and I) needed a change. The rest of the house is fairly contemporary with lots of neutrals, so I decided it was time for color. It’s a small space and not seen from the rest of the house, so why not just go for it.
First, the design. Because the room has exposed rafters, a ceiling fan, and lots of light, I went with cottage. But I wanted a bold cottage, not a muted shabby chic kind of affair. I want Caribbean, or West Indies, or something hot and tropical. I wanted turquoise, to go with all my red accents (it’s my relationship corner, so the red accents had to stay. Well, the red is mostly in the adjoining bathroom, which is a terrible place for a relationship corner, but that’s another discussion. Sigh.) There isn’t a lot of wall space here, so I could use a big color without overwhelming the room. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Laguna Blue. This is a serious blue. This is an all out, better have your coffee before you enter, take no prisoners kinda blue.
On to the floor. Buh bye Berber. I think I pulled about 1,000,000 carpet staples out of my floor in the past two days. I mean, it was like the carpet installers thought that the carpet was going to suddenly take flight at night and run off, never to be seen again. This carpet was locked down. But after several hours of hammering, pliers and lots of internet radio, I finally said goodbye to the carpet and hello to…fake brick linoleum. Fake brick plastic floors. You know, I wasn’t holding out for wood floors per se, but this really threw me. I mean, fake brick. Like, was brick in such hot commodity forty years ago that everyone was running out and getting imitation? But whatever. It’s there and I have to deal with it.
My first choice was to cover the floor with a lovely seagrass carpet. The neutral tones and the texture would go so wonderful with the bright walls. But seagrass carpet wasn’t in the budget, so I went with my second choice: Flor carpet tiles in 2 of Hue Cream. It has the same color and texture as seagrass, as well as being as eco friendly, but it was way cheaper.
Before I can lay the tiles though, I need to address the giant gaps that now exist between my floor and the walls. The old carpet hid the gap somewhat, so now it’s gone I can really see the major difference. I first filled the gaps with some aerosol insulation but now I need to replace the wimpy baseboard with something more substantial (and prettier). I decided on 4 inch baseboards. They add some interest to the room as well as cover up those gaps.
While waiting to get the baseboards, I went ahead and reupholstered an old favorite chair of mine. A discount coral fabric was all this chair needed to make it into the new space. This chair is going to look awesome against the blue walls.
My budget was tiny and I used all the existing furniture. The only piece I bought new for the room was the fan. I really like the room now: it’s pretty and interesting and a nice place to sit and have coffee and check emails.
Outdoor rugs are a great way to freshen up a patio and to bring your great interior decorating style outdoors. With all the overstock sources out there, you can get a great looking rug for not that much money. You can get synthetic, bamboo, hand-made, machine-made, etc. The possibilities, colors, sizes, styles are endless. Have fun shopping!
The one drawback to a rug left outdoors is…smell. Obviously if you leave your rug out there all day, every day, rain and shine, it’s gonna get wet. Wet breeds mildew. And therein lies the smell…er problem.
You can help stave off smells through regular vacuuming and occasional steam cleaning. Vacuuming and cleaning help remove the dirt and mildew that cause the odors. Anther quick tip is to hang your rug over a fence and let it completely dry in the sunlight after a rain. The quicker it dries the less chance of odor.
Enjoy your rug and hopefully the only smells come from the garden and the grill!