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Painting Rooms: Let’s talk color – Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore

December 25, 2013

BM Pale Oak 1We finally got around to painting our master bedroom!  Ha ha, take that builder’s beige!   It took me a long time to pick a color and I wavered between white and grey for quite a while.  The color I finally settled on, BM Pale Oak, is actually a great compromise between the two.  It is such a versatile color too.  I could totally see this fitting with any type of decor style.  It would look equally as good with modern white furniture and pops of bright color or a more country style with linen furniture and neutrals.  If you want to go with a white room but don’t want a stark white this is an excellent choice.  It doesn’t have any odd colored undertones either.  It’s just a nice reliable pale grey.

BM Pale Oak 2

No full room pictures yet because this room is not even close to being finished.  In fact, it is in a galaxy far, far away from being finished.  But at least we aren’t on the “dark side” anymore.  Here’s what it looked like before.  (Note: This is an MLS picture from the former owners…not my decor!)


Benjamin Moore Paint Pale OakI’m really thrilled with how this color turned out.  It is going to be the perfect backdrop for what I want to do with this room.  And it’s NOT beige!!!

What are your favorite paint colors these days? Signature2 blue


Paint Screen Turned Jewelry Organizer

August 13, 2013

Don’t you love it when a simple solution to a problem presents itself?  I know I do!  I’ve never really had a great way to store/organize my jewelry and lately it has been encroaching on the bathroom vanity and the shelves of my walk-in closet.  I tried using different containers but having it in something where I couldn’t actually see it doesn’t work for me. Out of sight out of mind, you know.  My original idea was to put screen or some kind of small wire fencing behind an empty picture frame but that wasn’t a perfect solution either.  I have tons of bracelets (I love me a good arm party!) and will more than likely continue to acquire them and the whole picture frame thing didn’t really solve that issue to my satisfaction.  So I got Mr. Sturdy in on my dilemma knowing that he would more than likely come up with some good ideas.  True to form, he did.  He took me shopping at the hardware store and we walked up and down the aisles looking for things that we could use in a different way.  That was kind of fun in and of itself.  Try it sometime.  Open your mind and look at things not as what they are intended but as, “what else could I do with this?”   Thanks to that outlook I found this guy.

paint screen







He is a paint roller screen for 5 gallon buckets of paint and is usually used like this. (via

Paint screen 2
















It initially caught my attention because of the screen and when I picked it up and took a good look at it, it became the perfect jewelry organizer.  Sometimes you have to turn things backward and upside down to find it’s true potential.  That’s a little Sandyism for you.  We bought some S hooks and a handful of small corks to use as spacers and that’s it.  The whole shebang cost less than $12.00 (and that was for two.)  Eventually I’m going to spray paint them white but I just needed to get myself organized.  When we get ready to paint the beige walls in the Master Bathroom then I will go ahead and paint these babies too.  Take a look.  FYI, they also come in silver.

Turn a paint screen into a jewelry organizer

Now let me show you the minimal work it took to make.

DIY Jewelry organizer

The best part is that the basic object is already made.  You just need to add spacers, hang it on the wall, add some S hooks and put your jewelry on it.

It can’t get much easier than that.    Here are some more views.

paint screen jewelry organizer by Sturdy design

paint screen jewelry organizer by Sturdy design

paint screen jewelry organizer by Sturdy design

This super simple solution has me feeling so much more organized and put together.  I love having a place to put my jewelry where I can see it and have it easily accessible.  I’m linking up with Tutorial Tuesdays at Hope Studios  and One Project at a Time at Bowl Full of Lemons.

Have you used anything in a unique way lately?Signature2 blue

True Colors…the quest for the perfect grey paint

July 24, 2013

Let me get this out of the way first of all.  I spell grey with an “e” not and “a”.  I’m not British, I just prefer it that way.  Grey is a moody color like mist, smoke, or storm clouds and, in my opinion, when spelled grey the word itself looks moody.  Like looking through half-closed eyes.  When you spell it gray it looks all bright eyed and cheerful which is not what what I think of when I conjure that color.  Silly?  Yes.  That is just a small sample of the strangeness that is my brain.  See what I have to deal with?

On to paint.  Choosing a grey paint to be more specific.  Yikes!  Grey is a hard color to get right.  It can really be a chameleon of color.  With undertones ranging from blues, purples, and pinks to browns, yellows, and greens, it can be a trick to pick the perfect one.

Our fireplace only has rock up to the mantel then is drywall the rest of the way up to the ceiling.  We talked about painting the area above the mantel a grey color that would tie in with the grout and stones of the lower portion to help it look more finished.  It would also add an accent color to the wall color we want to use for that room.  So, that didn’t seem too difficult really.  Just a medium grey, right?  Based on paint chips I had collected I tried a test can of Benjamin Moore Rock Gray (they spell it with an “a”).

  That looked absolutely navy blue in my house. Not a freakin’ hint of grey to it.  Next I tried Benjamin Moore Sabre Gray.  This color does not look blue at all on the chip or in the can. But guess what?  On my wall, it looked blue.  Unbelievable!  A greyish powderish blue.  See that’s the thing with color, it reacts to light and to the things reflecting around it and so you can’t just see a color on a chip, or in someone else’s home, or on the internet and expect it to look the same in your home.  I guarantee you it will not ever look the same. And this wall has very little natural light and it comes in from a weird angle so I knew this was going to be a hard nut to crack.  Next I tried Kendall Charcoal also by Benjamin Moore. It was too dark for my taste and also (I hate to say it) did start looking blue to my eyes after a while.  I started to think that maybe there was just something wrong with my eyes and I could now only see colors in shades of blue.  Oh that would be bad!  My husband liked it and said he didn’t think it looked blue at all.  Then I was sure I was going bonkers.  Still not happy I went back to the drawing board (or should that be the paint palette?)  On a trip to visit my parents I started looking at a brick fireplace that my mom had painted.  It was the prettiest smoke grey and it looked like the perfect color for our fireplace wall.  It was Behr paint called Anonymous.

Behr Paint Anonymousd148a7049ea_300











Mom told me that she had lots of paint left over and I could have it to take home and use on our wall.  So it came home with us and I tried it out.  Womp womp.  On my wall it didn’t even look grey.  It looked tan!  At least it wasn’t blue.  Thank God for small favors.  At this point I began to seriously question my color picking ability.  An ability that I used to depend on, and trust, and have confidence in.   Then I started looking at the two painted swaths on the wall, one was BM Kendall Charcoal that was too dark and the other the Behr Anonymous color from my mom, and my brain started mixing those two colors together.  I pondered this idea for a while and then I did a little test.  I mixed two tablespoons of each color into a plastic tub and tried it out.  Painting it on it didn’t look good and I figured I was in for another failed attempt, but when it dried, magic happened!  A perfect shade of not blue, not too dark, not too tan, grey!  So pretty and almost the exact color of the grout in the rocks of the fireplace! Needless to say I got right on mixing a bigger batch of paint.  Once finished, the clouds parted and a shaft of light beamed upon the newly painted wall.  Actually it was just the light that I turned on above the fireplace but it had the same effect. (The beige colored walls look different in the side by side picture but it’s just due to different time of day lighting.)

before and after fireplace paint















It was kismet really.  Had I not struggled to find the perfect grey paint I wouldn’t have had the ingredients to create the perfect grey paint.  Boom. Mind. Blown.  Plus I really like the idea that I have a color that no one else has.  I think I’ll name it “Grey With An E”.

P.S. My dream job would be naming paint colors.  Seriously.

P.P.S. My mantel already looks different. It is such a massive thing that everything I was putting up there looked teeny tiny and ridiculous.  It’s getting better.  I’ll do an updated mantel post soon.

P.P.P.S. If you take anything away from this post let it be, “Always test your paint out before you commit to the color and don’t be afraid to mix your own color. Magic just might happen!”

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Painting Rooms: Let’s talk color – Willowdale by ACE paint

July 8, 2013

If it is possible to have a love affair with a paint color then I think I’m having one.  Sorry Honey.  I’ve had a crush on minty greens for a while now and I never thought I would really go for it because, you know, it’s minty green.  But then I kept seeing pictures all over the internet with this wonderful color on the walls such as this room makeover by the amazingly talented Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior.

Hunted Interior Photo2Kristin has such a way with colors (and I love a room with lots of color!)  There aren’t many people I would allow to redecorate my house for me without my being involved but I would give Kristin carte blanche on my home any time.

Then there was this beauty by Kate Spade, of course.

























and more like this…













via pinterest

and this…




















via BHG

What I really love about this color is how it acts as a neutral with all the other colors going on in the rooms.

Since I was so smitten, I knew I would be disappointed if I didn’t just go for it.  First I came home with a test pot of ACE paint, Mint Julep, but it didn’t last.  Mint Julep came on too strong.  I don’t like that in a paint.  So just when I was wondering if my crush would ever bloom into real true love…I was introduced to Willowdale.  *sigh*

Willowdale by ACE PaintsWillowdale by ACE Paints

Willowdale by ACE Paints3

The pictures don’t do it justice.  Trust me.  It is the perfect light minty green hedging toward aqua.  It doesn’t look as white as it does in the first two pictures but it is a very pale color yet not too babyish and not too hospitalish.  Just perfect.  I told my friend, Cyndi, that I loved this color so much I wanted to lick the walls.  Too much?  All righty then!

I can’t wait to watch the evolution of this room now that I’ve got my perfect wall color.  As you can see from my granny squares throw on the end of the bed I want to bring in lots of bright colors grounded with black and white.  The heirloom bedspread was a steal at $15. Eventually there will be a little upholstered headboard DIY going on in here.  I’m also picturing brass swing arm lamps on the end tables and a gallery wall.

The first of the boring builder’s beige rooms is officially transformed and I’m so glad I was brave and went with my color crush.  What colors have you been crushing on lately?

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Painting Rooms: How to paint edges without using tape.

July 8, 2013

We started painting over the builder’s beige finally!  We tackled the guest bedroom first because it is the smallest room and the only one that doesn’t have a vaulted ceiling.  So it was easy.  I don’t have any pictures because the room isn’t completely put back together yet.  But I must say, even just having one room done helps my outlook so much.  I love walking in there and taking a break from all the beige (there isn’t a wall or ceiling in the entire house that isn’t that color.)  It is like having an oasis in the middle of a beige desert.  Ahhhhh!  I could go on and on about how much I love that room but I wont.  You’re welcome.

What I will go on about is how much I enjoy painting.  I know.  I think it’s something you either love or hate.  Me, I’m a luvah. One of the things that helps me with painting (because I’m a “let’s just get on with it!” kind of gal) is not taping off edges before cutting in a room.  It save a boatload of time and in my experience most of the tapes don’t really seal paint out unless you do a whole lot of extra steps (fugetaboutit!) or the tapes that do seal well are super spendy.  Me, I want to crack that can of paint and start going for it.  After laying out my drop cloth of course.

So I thought I would share my process of painting the edges of a room without taping.  I am using the baseboard as an example but the steps apply to any edges.  Windows/ceilings/doors are all edged using this process.  So without further ado…

Begin1Step oneThis may be obvious but I’ll mention it…the side of the brush with paint on it needs to be the side that will face the wall when holding the brush with the short end facing you and the point end of the brush away from you.  Sorry, I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence.  Just trying to be a clear communicator.

Step twoStep threeStep fourStep fiveCeiling tip

The ceiling tip is only for rooms that do not have crown molding.  If your room has molding around the ceiling use the steps as described here.  If you don’t have trim around the ceiling and you have textured walls paint will have a tendency to splooch into the tiny little indentations of the texture along the transition from wall to ceiling.  This will give a gloppy looking line.  Using an artists brush with a flat line will give you more control by pushing it up to the top of the wall giving you a nice clean line.

I hope this helps!  I’d love to know your painting tips too!

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We have arrived! Introducing our new house.

April 23, 2013

We moved into our new house on April 1st with sunny skies, green grass, and blooming trees to welcome us.   After leaving 5 feet of snow on the ground and nights still getting below zero that was a warm welcome indeed.  Our first house offer fell through at the last minute so I ended up flying back down by myself in February to go house hunting again.  That meant that the love of my life moved into a house he had never been in.  I did take video for him so he sorta knew what he was getting into but still…that is a pretty huge amount of trust he had in me.  But he continually reminded me that home is wherever we are together not a specific house or geographic location, so that helped me not feel quite so pressured.  I didn’t have to worry after all, though, because as soon as I walked into this house I could just picture us living there.  It was US.  It is a bit “builder’s beigey” but we have a lot of ideas for making it our own and customizing it so that has me excited about future projects.  For instance, we want to make built-ins on each side of the fireplace and also build an island for the kitchen.

So, without further ado, meet our new house.  (Some pics are from MLS listing so have previous owners decor etc.  Some are post us moving in and have paint test swatches all over the walls.)

house1 house2 house3 house4 house5 house9 house10 house11 a053 a058 a060 a062 a072 a086Signature2 blue

decorating for the future

January 22, 2013

Our house is due to close in about a week!  That means I’m busy packing and cutting the weak from the herd (that is taking the stuff I don’t want to our local free box.)  I could swear we sold about 3/4ths of our belongings this summer in a yard sale but getting down to packing it still feels like there’s an awful lot of stuff.  In a couple more weeks we are going to have a furniture sale and hopefully get rid of the bulk of that collection as well.  Yep, we’re gonna go bare bones for a while.  I’m actually looking forward to it.  It’s time for a fresh start in every way.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be getting a fresh house with fresh bare walls.   An empty canvas!

When we were out house hunting with our realtor we had narrowed it down to two houses.  That night Butch and I were talking over the pros and cons of each one trying to make the choice and I was quiet for a while.  He asked me what I was thinking about.  “Oh,” I sighed, “there is just a lot going on in my mind.  Right now I am simultaneously redecorating two houses at once!”   Was he surprised?  Not one little bit!  We did finally end up with one particular house and the ball is rolling on that purchase as we roll to the end of our other house selling.

So in my down time (what little bit I have) from packing I’ve been playing around with different decorating ideas on Olioboard.  Haven’t heard of Olioboard?  It is a digital mood board tool that you can use to create 2D or 3D visuals for decorating rooms utilizing their extensive library of furniture and accessories by all your favorite brands.  And it’s a whole lot more than that too.  The Olioboard community is a wonderful, friendly bunch of amazing decorators and artists.  If you’ve never tried Olioboard it is free.  You can always upgrade if you want to which does cost a monthly rate, but I’ve been able to do everything I need/want with it in free mode.  What I like most about Olioboard/making mood boards for rooms is that it helps keep you on track.  Not that I have to buy the exact items on my board or that I can’t get something that isn’t on it.  I think it just helps you realize the look you are going for.  And by referring to your mood boards you can decide whether or not something is right for that space instead of bringing home random things and trying to make them work together.

This is one of  my  idea boards for our future living room.

Sturdy Design Living Room

Kinda cool, huh?  You can really get a feel for colors and styles of furniture and how everything will look together.  You can actually put together a whole 3D room.   Here’s another one for a dining room.  This one is a 2D mood board.

Sturdy Design Dining Room Ideas

I guess you might say the look I’m going for is sort of Farmhouse/Industrial with some modern touches thrown in.  The table is something we plan to DIY.  A live edge wood top with some kind of industrial iron legs.   We would love some industrial lighting or to make our own light fixtures with some cool bottles or something unique like that.  I had originally picked out different chairs but they didn’t pass the husband test so I went back and picked out 7 more examples of styles that I thought we could both agree on (although none of them are the color I am imagining.)  I want to keep the room a tad more on the casual side because we are more casual people.  But my husband thinks that table is very classy and doesn’t want to bring it down with casual chairs.  I say it’s like wearing a fancy top and jewelry with a pair of jeans.  They balance each other out not too fancy, not to casual.  And I was completely in love with those curtains (World Market) until I saw the zoomed image and realized they were not the colors I thought they were.  Bummer.   Ha ha, here I am agonizing over curtains for a house that I don’t even live in yet!  Yep, that’s me.

Do you ever decorate spaces in your head?  Have you tried Olioboard?  If not, you definitely should at least go look.  It is very inspiring!

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