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Basement Floor Options

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.

Both laminate flooring and stained concrete would work well if we ever get water again. And if we do, then maybe I’ll finally think about that sump pump.

 

 

Pretty storage bench

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!

My favorite rug (for now)

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.


Come on in!

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.

IKEA Trampa $14.99

Cost Plus Cherry Blossom $14.99

Bisou Boutique Pied a Terre $29.95

Amazon Hi.I'm Mat.$17.95

Anthropologie Welcome To Nantucket $42.00

Bambe Co Recycled Plastic Branch $35.00

Even decorators get the blues

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.

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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.

Fresh as a Daisy

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!

Far and Away

Here’s an interior decorating tip for those of you doing a kitchen or bath remodel: If your space is small or narrow, lay large tiles, say 12 x 12 or 16 x 16, on a diagonal rather than straight across the floor. The diagonal pattern helps to visually push the walls away, making the space appear larger and wider. Also, there are less grout lines with large tiles; more grout lines makes spaces look smaller.

Floored

My mother and her husband recently installed engineered oak wood flooring in their Cape Cod home. As you can see, it’s beautiful. What you can’t see is that it’s also practical. Solid hardwood wouldn’t have fared so well here: those ocean breezes are refreshing but also humid, and humidity and wood aren’t the best of friends. Engineered wood is made by layering hardwood to softwood (often a plywood base), and that plywood improves moisture stability. I can’t wait to see it in person and get my sandy toes all over it.

Carpet tiles are the way to go

You should totally use FLOR carpet all the time in any room of your house. Then you can just wash out the wine and baby food stains with their special fancy soap or any number of eco-friendly cleaning products. Next year when you decorate your house again you can just send the tiles back to the nice people at FLOR and they’ll recycle them for you.