Thinking about…

sophisticated, neutral living rooms.

via house and home

It’s so much easier to fantasize about a beautiful, serene living room than deal with the fact that we still have to pack up the kitchen.

via House Beautiful

I think neutral upholstery is the best foundation for a living room. We have an Ikea Manstad sofa that is in desperate need of cleaning, but is really suited to our small space. What I love about all these rooms is how warm and personal they feel; not at all beige and boring. Our living room is feeling a little blah to me right now, even with our fancy schmancy new ottoman. I’m on the hunt for a few things to add a little warmth and color to it. Pulling inspiration from these photos, I’ve got my eye on a few things…

this (washable!) indoor-outdoor kilim rug

This brass lamp. Loving, loving, loving black lamp shades

and a few of these…Now that we took away the other coffee table, we need some toy storage.

Now, I’m not planning to run out and buy any of these things right away, but if I stumble upon them in my thrifty adventures I’ll be a happy camper. We are hunkering down this weekend and truly working on clearing some space in the basement so we can bring the old kitchen cabinets down there. The weather is supposed to be awful (winter’s last gasp? I hope so)and it will hopefully motivate us to get our inside space a little more put together. I hope you all have fun weekend plans!

kisses, H

Dear coffee table.

It’s not that I don’t love you. Your reclaimed wood top, and funky, industrial-chic casters are gorgeous. Not to mention your amazing storage shelf that’s perfect for storing toy baskets.

Your problem is that those gorgeous gams of yours are a baby danger magnet. Lucy’s daily tear inducing encounters with your shapely edges mean that it’s time for us to move on, and for you to go into storage until you can reemerge into the finished basement someday. Whose taking your place, you ask?

Something a little more baby-friendly and  little lighter, not to mention more comfortable for our feet.

It’s from Target online and was pretty affordable due to one of their 15% furniture promotions and free shipping (yippee!) It’s just what our living room needed. Now I just need to go buy a can of Scotch guard to make it a little more “life with a toddler and two pets” proof.


Adventures with iDye

So, whilst trolling the internet one day, I stumbled upon these deeply discounted slipcovers at Worldmarket. 50% off? yes please. I stopped by my local store and picked up a pair to save on shipping. These covers are cotton velvet. Dyeable cotton velvet.

I’ve been hunting for slipcovers for an ugly pair of upholstered dining chairs I picked up at a thrift store for $5 a piece.

See? Ugly. They are so ugly that my camera took an ugly picture.

I grabbed a pack of iDye from my local Dick Blick art supply.

I figured that choosing a gray-ish color would mean that I could simply over dye the slipcovers without color stripping them first. Epic fail.

I ended up with olive drab covers. Not so exciting. So I went a grabbed a couple packs of iDye color remover and set about removing all the color from these ugly ducklings. iDye color remover and dyes are super easy to use. I grabbed a big pot, filled it with water, added the color remover dissolving packet, and my fabric. 10 minutes later, they weren’t looking that much better. My kitchen was a little smellier though (this stuff is noxious, and a little toxic, so be prepared to sacrifice a pot to this because it can’t be used for food once you use it for dye removal.) Also, pk, don’t be mad that I ruined borrowed you clam pot.

I was feeling a little discouraged, but 10 minutes later…

Progress. They were looking alot more like they did when I originally bought them. So I left them in for another 10 minutes.

MUCH better. For good measure, I tossed then in the wash with some bleach. Once I had removed all traces of the dye remover I started the dying process again. I was a little freaked out about dying something in my machine, but its really not that scary. Dye packet goes in, add a cup of salt and enough hot water to cover your fabric.

I set my machine on soak for an hour and then just ran a wash cycle as usual. Then I did another cycle on cold with a little detergent to make sure the dye was totally set.

The final result?

Much more like what I expected. and wrinkly, but we’re working on that. with an iron. The color is better though.

Lesson learned, don’t be lazy with fabric dye, play it safe and make sure you are starting with a clean slate. If you are dying over a vivid or dark color, use dye remover first. I’m still not totally sold on the fit of the covers, but the dyeing process was kind of fun. There’s definitely a few things in my closet that might benefit from a little dye and now that I know what to expect from the process I won’t shy away from future attempts. iDye has a lot of different color options and a whole line just for polyester/nylon fabrics. I was really impressed by how straightforward and easy it was, even if I’m not falling over in love with my chairs.
Have you guys ever dyed anything before? Is it bad that my cheapo thrift chairs make me want to by an expensive new rug for the living room?
Happy weekend!

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