Friday, May 7, 2010

Where do you start?

So basically every. single. time. I finish up a big project, I swear up and down I’m going to take a few weeks and do nothing but finish up little projects around the house.

It’s all the little unfinished stuff that no one else notices but me, but it’s also the little stuff that drives me just a teensy bit nutso every time I walk by – molding corners that need to be caulked, holes that need to be spackled, spackle that needs to be sanded, sanding that needs to be touched up…you see where I’m going.

The BORING stuff. Yawn.

So yet again, I’ve found an excuse to not do it.  ;)

Our office has been calling out for a redo for quite some time. I really love it, but (yet again), we never had an overhead light installed in this room and we’ve been told it’s virtually impossible (save tearing down the ceiling) to get one in there. Awesome.

I’ve decorated it in dark, deep tones for all the six years we’ve lived here, because I figured I’d work with the stupid-no-overhead-lights-decision-because-I-was-cheap and just go warm and cozy:

office

Hubby has always loved the darker tones but it’s always driven me a little batty. Every time we’re in there I ask if he thinks we need another lamp and he tells me the four we have in there is probably just fine. Ummm, I must have more but there’s no more outlets. Gah. I need light folks!!

So this week I made a decision – the room is getting a redo! A light and bright redo! A beautiful redo! A cheap redo!

I hope to show you what a difference just fabric and paint can make to a space. In my head it’s absolutely transformed – and in my head there is molding so we may have to add that to the whole fabric and paint transformation thing. The difference fabric and paint and molding makes that is.  ;)

So when you are decorating a room from scratch or starting over completely – where do you begin? Well, I always suggest what I NEVER do. This is another do as I say, not as I do thing folks.

I highly recommend you start with something that inspires you – it could be just about anything… a piece of art, a vase, a pillow, drapery fabric. Anything! I think it’s WAY easier to start with one of these inspiration items than to pick a wall color and work backwards.

Ask me how I know. And then ask me why I keep doing it. I’m a sucker for paint chips I think.

Case in point – our master bedroom:

fireviewOK, actually…let’s just say every room in our house. I ALWAYS fall in love with a paint color first and then get all giddy and gung ho and start painting…and then try to find drapery fabric or pillows or any kind of accent color and it’s always a major pain in the booty.

I painted a lovely grayish green color in our bedroom all by myself, stood back and adored it, ooohed and ahhhed and maybe rubbed my cheek up against it. (Or not. Maybe. Shhhh…) I loved it! Then I started looking for new bedding and couldn’t find anything that worked with the color.

I ended up going with a white duvet with a chocolate brown accent, which we do love – but I’d love to be a bit more daring with the fabrics in this room. Picking the paint colors first really narrows down your options.

I picked the dining room wall color before anything else (told you I do this in every room!):011I fell in love with the paint so much that I figured I would just make the fabrics work.

Luckily I did – but the drapes are a bit of an illusion:DSC01962

The design looks chocolate brown, but it’s really has a green tone to it. If you hold them up to the wall color and really look close, they don’t match!

No one would ever notice, and I adore that fabric, so it works. I loved the wall color so much I was prepared to just use a solid white drape if needed.

I painted our family room before we even moved in, and I totally lucked out with the Sisal color from Ralph Lauren:

010

Six years later and I still love, LOVE, love it. It’s a great neutral and pretty much anything works with it. LURVE.

Overall I would save myself a TON of time and effort when decorating our house if I would just stop working backwards. :) So for the office, I’m practicing what I preach!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked through the fabric store and lovingly touched the rolls of beautiful fabrics -- wishing I could use them somewhere in our house. This time I decided I would start with a fabric I loved and use it at the jumping off point for the whole room.

I went to Joann’s and found a fabric (or three!) I adored – and I’m working the redo off of them. This is so different for me, but I can already tell it’s going to be SO much easier working this way, rather than working off of a wall color!

The room totally fell together in my head as I looked at these:

office fabricAren’t they gorg?? I am in love with them! Can you believe I’m using BLUE again? Yes, I’ve already checked my temperature and it’s normal. I think I may just be a blue convert. (Never say never.)

Now, instead of staring at a paint deck forever, or standing at the paint chip display at the department store for hours ever…I have the wall color picked out for me already!:

 009 010 

You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out which color that is and where these fabrics are going!  ;) Yippee! I’m so excited to get started on this one!

The spackle can wait, yes?

So how do you do a redo? Do you go backwards like I usually do or do you start with inspiration?

 

Thank you to my latest sponsor!:

Web

69 comments:

  1. I just used these fabrics for a quick color punch in my bathroom! check it out here if you'd like :

    http://annakarli.blogspot.com/2010/01/despite-lack-of-pictures-things-have.html

    -Karli

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  2. I go backwards, and it is annoying! My sister told me to choose a color from a fabric when I was first decorating our house, and little miss "know it all" me didn't want to hear any of that nonsence! I had chosen my colors and they were fab! (now I wish they were different) Last week I was in Joann's and saw the best fabric for my new kitchen chairs, but it didn't match the color I JUST painted in the dining room. GAH! I remembered my sister's advise (same as yours) and from now on I will always try to go with the inspiration first! Thank you for teaching such great decorating tips, I love when you do!

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  3. Oh my goodness that paisley fabric on the left is what my duvet and shams are made from and I bought them at TJ Maxx a few months ago. I must have the coordinating fabric to go with it! I think I will have to go by there this weekend! I can't wait to see what you do!

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  4. I made that exact mistake when re-doing our bedroom.... found a gorgeous wall colour in a display home that I just couldn't live without and just went ahead and painted. Took me ages to find bedding that matched but I did eventually...and I do ADORE it! I did however start with the linen when I did my sons room!

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  5. With this one post you have probably saved me from years of anguish. I have a 5000 sq ft to decorate from scratch and I am having real trouble just choosing a few colours! I have heard before that you should choose drapes or another major decor item first and work from that... but I ignored it and as a result I just cant make a decision.

    Tomorrow I am going fabric shopping and will let my love affair with a fabric dictate the wall colour.

    Thank you for making me see sense.

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  6. Ahh... you guys are so smart! I always start with paint! Well except for existing pieces of furniture. But here I am 4 years later and I want to paint again. I will definitely do the fabric way first. You know like in the bathroom. I painted it a color I love and then it took me forever and ever to find a shower curtain to go with my scheme. Then I found the perfect one and it was very expensive. UUgggghh.

    Thanks for the tip!

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  7. I've always ended up starting with an accessory as inspiration. Not because I have a science to it- I just end up falling for something! In my living room, it was my Pier 1 peacock feather curtains. In my guest room, it was a coverlet set (Pier 1 again!) If I painted my house by colors I loved without having an accessory to narrow it down, my house would look like a circus tent!

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  8. Insomnia at it's best has pulled me into my Facebook world to check out what Thrifty Decor Chick is up to! I see the dining room you painted Sisal from Ralph Lauren and I totally get it! My whole house is sisal from RL! I also have a dark green for one boys room, and a chocolate color for another boys room. Another color I have from RL the LoVEly is Crab Apple. The very first item I bought for our brand new home was a mirror for my entry hall. It is still hanging in the same spot. For our family room, we have a massive armoir, which is the focal point - I guess you could say that is where I started with my decorating. I few pieces - one an accessory another a major piece of furniture - BEFORE the paint came along that helped to shape our home to what it is now.

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  9. I totally go backwards.

    Fabric is my problem. My master bedroom and bathroom are partially done. I hate them. I was working off colors. The paint is actually pretty neutral but the accessories are picked out and now I'm having the WORST time trying to find bedding and fabric for the bathroom.

    Maybe I'll start over? Accessories are cheap. Instead of looking for bedding with my 3 colors in it I should look for bedding I love then accessorize.

    You're just about genius!!!!!!!

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  10. I've gone both ways. And starting with an inspirational piece is so much easier!!!

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  11. I'm alot like you too, I choose the colors first then look for everything else to fit. I love the challenge! But I also have a habit of buying fabrics I like then trying to figure out where they will fit in to the house, which often they don't. LOL!

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  12. I think I learned the hard way to always pick my fabric first and jump from there. Working in retail for years will do that to you especially when you are in the bedding/drapery dept and people came in with paint chips and wallpaper borders (remember those....) It taught me a great lesson.

    I am currently working on our master bedroom and I am on the hunt for a comforter/duvet cover that I love so I can build around it. I am soooo impatient!

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  13. I used to work logically and then I started working backwards. Working backwards is sooo much more difficult. I'm all over the doing things the right way!

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  14. Because I have an addiction to fabric, I start there. I usually know what color scheme I'd like to work with and then start hunting fabrics I love in the color. And I "KNOW" when the fabric is right! It is that feeling in your gut, the almost panic feeling. ;) It's an addiction!

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  15. Now I FINALLY understand why we have such a difficult time decorating...mu husband & I have always picked the paint FIRST. GRRR!!!! How many fights could have been avoided if we had caught onto this sooner???

    There is an accent wall in our bedroom painted this crazy dark teal color, which seemed so "perfect" when we purchased it on the car ride home after disembarking from our cruise to Bermuda...B-A-D idea. Needless to say, we have a crisp white down comforter & crisp white drapes--not much else can make the bold color a little less loud. lol

    Erin D

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  16. I think I have a sickness now, to redo my house!! Ahhh! I think your craftiness is addictive!
    Anywho, wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy Mother's Day! Hope you get a day to enjoy your family and your beautiful house, you're such an inspiration! :)

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  17. Love those fabrics. I've been eying them to cover our dining room chairs for the longest time.

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  18. oh, I definitely start with paint...and then totally regret that I have to wait begrudgingly...er, patiently...for months/years to figure out how to put the room together. I would totally redo my kitchen knowing what i know now (but I really don't want to paint the cabinets AGAIN!!) Can't wait to see what you do with the beautiful fabric. Those happen to be my fave colors at the moment - our guest room is painted in that beautiful powdery blue (Morning Fog by Olympic, I think). It's my fave room...so calming and serene. PURRfect for an office, I think ;)

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  19. Yeah me too. Life long backwards planner. The wall color is the most important thing to me I guess!
    Kathy

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  20. Oh yes... your office is indeed dark and cozy. Hope your hubby likes the new colors you have selected.. I can't wait to see it all done!

    Di

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  21. I've done it both ways myself, too! Even though I also preach the inspiration piece then the paint. : ) I did the same thing in my master bedroom and chose the paint first, but I just fell in love with the color {and still love it}. Although, subconsciously, I may have been looking for that color all along because my existing drapes worked really well with it. Love the fabrics you chose and I can't wait to see how your office turns out.

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  22. Love your fabrics. They are fabulous. I can't wait to see the room. Hugs, Marty

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  23. The room with no overhead light...we have one too. Doesn't it just drive you crazy!!! I ended up taking an old hanging lamp that I found at the thrift store, painting the hardware white, updating it with a new shade, and adding a little bling on the pull. It's plugged into an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch, so you don't actually turn it off with the pull. It helped lighten the room up sooooo much! I tend to stay away from hanging lamps but this one turned out pretty cute and the difference is amazing!

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  24. Those fabrics are beautiful!! I understand about the color. Not everyone is comfortable with the warm, dark colors and you have to be comfortable in your home. I can't wait to see how you incorporate those fabrics!

    I thought I was a follower since I have you on my blog but my little face wasn't popping up so now you have a new follower that is an old follower!!

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  25. For my home and for all of my final projects as a decorating student, I chose a colour scheme first. I then go looking for the fabrics that I like/love and will reinforce my idea. For instance, for my last school project I was in love with the idea of a navy blue and light pink scheme. I then found fabrics that went really great together that made it a navy blue, light blue, light pink, hot pink scheme. I love it when it all comes together !

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  26. I ALWAYS pick paint and then moan and groan about picking fabric to match. Which is why I have "natural" toned Ikea drapes in every room on the main floor. Hopefully, this is temporary.

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  27. I have done it both ways, and usually when I pick the paint color first it screws everything up! I stared at the paint chips for months this time and got nowhere, but alas once I found some fabrics that I loved, the paint colors just fell into line! Can't wait to see you newest project....love those colors by the way!

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  28. Love the fabrics & patterns! We have the same issue in our house w/ no overhead lighting & I hate IT! We live in a rental & all the walls are painted the way the owner wanted & she won't let us repaint. :-( Thankfully the bedrooms & living room are nice shades of blue so it's easy to work with except the magenta bathroom & yellow kitchen. :-/ Can't wait to see the den re-do!

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  29. Well, apparently I don't know how to post- I'm trying again! :) For some reason, with our latest house I have found myself choosing wall paint first- it has made it such a headache to decorate. I've found a great website for fabric: fabric.com. (Fabric swatches are only .75- I'd highly recommend getting swatches first- the fabrics never look like the colors on my monitor.)

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  30. Can you send me a link to that blue paisley fabric? I want to use it for curtians in my new apartment! I've been searching for the perfect fabric!

    www.girltobride.blogspot.com

    You can leave it as a comment!

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  31. Goody, goody. It's fun to see you in action. :)

    Most of the time, I start with an inspiration and add a paint color that will go with my inspiration. Not always, though. Once I bought a house with bedroom walls that were SW's "Mystery Green." I wasn't up for painting that bedroom, so I decided to make it work. And I'm glad I did. . . I've lived in two houses since then, and in both of these houses I've painted my bedroom Mystery Green. I still love it!

    By the way, four lamps is not at all too many. You can never have too many lamps. Surely.

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  32. Can't wait to see the office...LOVE those fabrics.

    I went backwards in 2 rooms in my house and got SO frustrated with trying to find anything that went with my paint choices that I have to remind myself every time I touch a room to not even look at paint until I have the fabrics, etc picked out...it is SO hard.

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  33. Oh my goodness! I had to laugh as I read your post. I had the exact same problem with paint colors, there are so many! So I went to Joanne's to find some fabric I liked. :) Guess what fabric I came home with. The EXACT same one you did, Waverly Down the Lane in glacier. If you're interested the green stripe is almost exactly Benjamin Moore# 494 lewiville green. I used the stripe fabric to make roman shades and then a few others fabrics for throw pillows. If you're interested I can send you pictures. It still isn't really "finished."

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  34. You have a really beautiful home. I'm totally the same way, I start a million different "little" projects at home, but get distracted by the big fun ones! :)

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  35. My guess is you will be using that gorgeous green color in the striped fabric on your walls?
    Beautiful fabrics!! Can't wait to see the end results!!

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  36. So, I read this blog EVERYDAY, and decided I had to comment for the first time in the blog world.... I almost died when I saw this post! I was in Joannes last night until they closed (which they were not happy with :) ) deciding between that exact fabric and a sister fabric that has darker colors (brown, green, dark blue, and aqua). I would literally stare at the paisley fabric, then go stare at the darker fabric and go back and forth between the two...lol... I eventually decided on the darker fabric, but I am IN LOVE with the paisley fabric! I hope I find somewhere in our new house to use it! But to answer your question, we will be moving in to our new build in a couple weeks, and with every room, I have started with fabric first. It's given me such a good starting point to find other accessories and it has been so much fun, and much less stressful!

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  37. Love the fabrics. I have done it both ways in the past. Yes, picking the paint last is easier if you are shying away from neutrals. I used to have "color" on my walls...many colors...all coordinated, but made it difficult for "change" and since I am ALWAYS changing things (accesories mainly) the last time we painted I choose 3 neutrals, all in the same family to use on the walls. And, I LOVE it! I can now freely change decor without the huge expense of painting.

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  38. I totally understand what you mean! I recently found a great red paint color that I thought I just had to have for my dining room. I've seen so many great dining rooms in red and wanted one myself. So, we painted the room. Now I can't find ANY fabric I like for drapery or recovering the chair. To be honest, I'm not even loving the red anymore and just want to start over...dreading how many coats it will take to cover red, though! Good luck on your office! :) Can't wait to see the results.

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  39. Well.....normally I'd do paint first. Alas! You've changed my mind with sound reasoning! My LR/DR/KIT/BACK HALL all flow together - should be interesting! Will go home tonight with a new eye for my cherry & mahogany and see what I come up with! Maybe I'll take a trip to JoAnn's! Will also have to check out RL Sisal (love a good neutral with black framed photography)!

    Guerrina
    Ledyard, CT

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  40. I can't wait to see what you come up with!!!!! I think you're my new fav, I just keep coming back for more! LOVE IT!!!!

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  41. a room redo for me depends on what the paint colour currently is - if it's fairly neutral, sometimes just using some new drapes and pillows is enough. otherwise, usually some kind of photo has provided me with inspiration that includes changing the paint colour (much to the griping from my husband).
    Your home looks lovely btw! : )

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  42. I know exactly what you mean by "the little stuff" that needs to be done, but only you and I see! To avoid doing my "little stuff" today I spent a couple hours driving around looking for yard sales! What a bust ! Nothin !
    Should have just stayed home and done that "little stuff". lol
    P.S. Im only anonymous because I dont know how to do it any other way!

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  43. Love the fabrics!! I can't wait to see what you do with the room!

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  44. I've done BOTH! Our kitchen is a green color (guacamole) that I like as a color but HATE where it is. With our rounded corners, we have to sometimes wrap a color around into another room. So, the guacamole color looks SO icky with our burnt orange and blue living room. I found a blue I like and will probably be painting over the green soon! Now, in my son's room (we are about to go big boy room too!) I'm going off a plaid comforter that was given to us for free! I only like *some* of the colors in it, so I'm pulling those ones out to use all over. So, we'll see how it turns out. So, I'll let you know what is better once I do the room :)

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  45. Oh, this is so Sarah Richardson! She would use these fabrics in her den at the new/old farm house.

    Becca

    Stop by my linky party and link up, if you have time. http://becca-homeiswheremystorybegins.blogspot.com/

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  46. Shut up...I just bought a pillow made with that paisley fabric for my master bedroom clearance at TJMaxx. I love it and decided it was perfect for the new window treatments I need to do in my kitchen. I just didn't know where to start to find it. Now I know...JoAnn!

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  47. Living in apartments, I rarely get to paint walls, so it's usually a piece of furniture or a pair of drapes that I fell in love with. I bought a pair of drapes at IKEA um 3 apartments ago and they are the basis of my living room each time. In my last place, I pulled a blue from them for the walls and didn't realized until after it dried that it was the exact color of my favorite chair. lol Oops.

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  48. I think I start in the middle.

    There's something random I want, or love, and then I go outwards from the middle. : )

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  49. LOVE the fabric choices! Where did you find the blue with paisley fabric? That might be exactly what I am looking for!! Thanks!

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  50. I've done that sometimes - picked out paint first.

    Ok - I LOVE that fabric you choose. I can't tell you how long I have been looking for fabric for my family room. Our couch is a green/neutral mix. It's really light. For the past 4 years I have tried to figure something out for that room. Today when I saw your post and that fabric - I DIED. I am sorry to say, but I think I am going to have to copy your fabric choice.

    If you'll be so kind to share, what is the name of it? And I am so hoping that I can find it at Joann's. Oh please, Oh please be there!!

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  51. that material is gorgeous! can't wait to see it. I have never actually gotten to fully redo a room. Ive only owned my house since August, but I am in the process of doing some now, and I go backwards!

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  52. O my gosh! I did the same exact thing! I finally just reasoned with my husband that I was using the walls as giant paint chips trying to find the right one. LOL! He wasn't so down with that since I kept buying RL paint...yeah, and 30 something bucks a gallon, I was starting to peeve him off! Funny thing is the color I landed on and LOVE too is Sisal! I ended up using it in every room in one way or another, and I don't regret it one bit! Such a FAB color! COMPLETELY agree with you!!!!!

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  53. What timing you have!! Most of the rooms in the house could really use a good paint (it's been years...poor thing!) so my husband and I were all ready to pick paint colors and go for it!!! But then I started to realize how are we going to choose a color without knowing what type of furniture and fabrics we will be using? lol! So we aren't sure where to go from here!! I LOVE the fabrics and colors you have chosen for your office and can't wait to see the transformation!!!

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  54. I learned that choosing paint to coordinate is best the hard way, too. :) Can't wait to see if my guess is correct!

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  55. For my bedroom, I was inspired by a tea bag! Tazo green ginger :)I can't paint my apartment (boo!)so I just have to accent. Love that color! and tea! which is, sadly, no longer made :(

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  56. Stopping by via Six Degrees of Blogging & linked you up on my page too. I really love your ideas & will certainly be back to find more. Stop by to visit us too!

    http://lumpsonablog.blogspot.com/2010/05/six-degrees-of-blogging.html

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  57. beautiful fabrics!

    you probably already consulted with an electrician about your overhead light situation, but if not, i highly recommend it! i have a dear friend who was in the same boat as you - home office with no overhead light and they were told that there couldn't be one. but they consulted with an electrician who was able to run a line up inside one of the walls and into the ceiling and installed an overhead light for them! and it didn't cost very much.

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  58. I guess that you are not a 'blue' girl either! I do love the fabric choice but I just don't do blue. I love it but for some reason (I think it was the blue shag carpet I had in my house 23 yrs. ago) I never put it in our home.

    I can't wait to see the fabric put to use.

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  59. Hope you have a happy Mother's day!! And I hope this is the right spot for commenting for the giveaway! I have 4 boys and I think one of the things I love about being a mom is you are their favorite girl, until they become teenagers! I have a 14 year old and just figured this out!

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  60. Love those fabrics! And I am right there with you, I can not seem to leave blue alone for some reason.

    I really don't have a specific process for starting on a room. Sometimes it is an inspiration picture, sometimes a paint color, and sometimes a fabric. Maybe if I had a set order I would not want to redo things so often though!

    We had the exact same problem with an overhead fixture in our office. We solved it my making lots of holes running wires and then covering the bad patching with crown molding. It worked beautifully!

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  61. So, I guess you don't have a husband who has a shit fit about every single thing you change in your house! I do. :(

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  62. It depends, I usually start with a paint color or idea and then decorate around that. But, in a coupel rooms, I have a piece that inspires the whole room design-like a painting in our living room that inspired the colors, accessories, furniture, everything.

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  63. Hi..I’m Barb….I am from FF.. I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @ santasgiftshoppe.blogspot.com
    & get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well. Nice to meet ya
    New friend!!

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  64. Oh absolutely do it backwards. Birds of a feather, I guess...I Love looking at paint chips, and paint finishes, and paint techniques, and paint books...ymmm! Yup, then I have to blend in everything and buy stuff that goes with it.

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  65. Just a few questions,

    Where did you get that fabric and is it still available?

    And where did you get that amazing wicker chair in your office. I am totes in LOVE.

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  66. Where did you get those fabrics? Their names? I love them and they are EXACTLY what I have been looking for.
    Thanks, Zizette

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!