Lighten up: Metamorphasis Monday

It's time for another Metamorphasis Monday at Between Naps on the porch. New relaxed shades in off-white burlap (only $3.99/yard) let in plenty of sunlight, but still provide some privacy.
A new slipcover (I made it, so forgive the imperfections) in cream cotton provides protection for the sofa from the beast, Cleopatra.

Here is my living room as it looked when we moved into the house in Oct. 2007 after completeing the post Katrina renovations:

Not bad. A warm, masculine room, but heavy. Definitely a little heavy with the dark chairs, the black faux leather on the sofa (doesn't faux leather just sound so much better than pleather?). I did enjoy it for a while, but it started to oppress me. And quite frankly, two cats and a large dog had taken their toll. The rug became one of Cleo's favorite chew toys, and quite frankly, Todd Oldham's pleather was no match for pet claws. I also lost the two Nate Berkus burlap pillows in separate housebreaking and foster pet incidents. The cloth on the the side chairs was defective and frayed at the seems. And as for the dark trim--what was I thinking? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it always reminded me of a 1970s McDonald's. And it's not clear in the pic above, but the glass panels in to the door were covered with old-fashioned shirred panels in a woven fabric that resembled bamboo. (Those panels were a major point of contention--I say leave the doors bare and let the light in--the house is dark enough. Thomas hates the lack of privacy.) Any way it was time for a change. The first change, as seen in the opening photo was to paint the trim a deep cream and change the door color to a fresh green. Then, in the spirit of compromise, I made relaxed shades for the door panels out of natural burlap. It lets in much more light than the bamboo panels, but it provides enough privacy for Thomas. So much for the easy part--now the sofa needed to be tackled.

Replacing it was not an option. Number on4, we can't afford it. Number two, we both really like the sofa and find it comfortable. So, then came the question, "Recover or Slipcover?" Honestly, I would have preferred to recover it in an outdoor fabric--one practical way to have light coloured upholstery. However, I really didn't want to spend the $700 or so dollars it would take, and I could slipcover it myself, so slips it was:

I did as fitted a slipcover (including back zippers) as my limited sewing skills would allow. I don't mind the rumpled look at all, but I didn't think a really sloppy look would fit the retro lines and tight upholstery of the sofa. I also did a short, tailored faced hem to show the legs and keep the sofa from feeling too heavy (please ignore the pins in the hem and the hanging threads--a work commitment prevented me from finishing completely, but I was anxious to show the makeover). I found the cream cotton twill for $7.99/yard and bought during a recent sales tax free weekend.

I finished it just in time...the little fellow in the back showed up on our porch that same night.

It's not the first time I've had slipcovers. I've lived with them off and on for the past 15 years, so if you're not familiar with living with them, here's the whole truth:
1. Making them is not difficult (especially if you are naturally precise), but it's very tedious. For a first timer--a large chair with separate back and seat cushions might take a whole weekend. Professional labor starts at about $350/chair and goes up depending on the workroom and the complexity of the design. Honestly, to do it yourself, all you need is a good sewing machine, basic skills, and a good set of instructions which are readily available. And pins....lots and lots of pin. And thread...lots of thread....much more than you ever think you can use...because if you don't overstock the thread---you will run out, after the store is closed, with only one cushion left to make.
2. Unless they are extremely well fitted and made out of a stiff fabric, they will rumple and wrinkle somewhat. Deal with it--that is the nature of sleepcovers--they are inherently casual. It's like wearing linen--if the wrinkles bother you, it's not the fabric for you.
3. The washability---the truth is that it is nice to be able to wash the covers. you can get rid of lots of stains, everyday debris, and pet hair. If you pick white, the ability to bleach does make it fairly practical. That said, there might be stains that cannot be removed. Slipcovers make it easier to get out stains--but it's not foolproof. On a previous sofa, a guest fell asleep with make up on and left a mascara stain that managed to persevere through numerous bleachings. Like all stain, regular maintenance and quick action make the difference. In other words, if you see the red wine spill and can immediately strip the slip and tend to the stain--you'll probably get it out. If you find it the next day, probably not.
All in all, slipcovers are a good option for kids and pets, especially if you want light-coloured upholstery. But most importantly, it's a look I love and a great way to prolong the life of a piece of upholstered furniture that's seen better days.


House Beautiful Color Quiz

Maria Killam of Colour Me Happy (here) tagged me about the recent House Beautiful color quiz. I've been blogging a little over a year (not very consistently I must admit), and I've never been tagged before. I'm such a fan of her blog and work, I feel like I'm in high school and one of the cool kids just asked me to sit at her table. Before I start, if you're not that familiar with me, don't let the white paint of the blog title fool you--that's just a metaphor. I love color and really only like white when it's used to enhance color, and for me personally, it's usually strong color that I prefer. In fact, this pic from Decorno is one of my favorite inspiration rooms, and helped inspire the palette of my upstairs. Now that you've been warned, let's begin: 1. What's the first color you see in the morning? I am not a morning person (to put it mildly), so my eyes do not open until after at least 1 cup of coffeee. Therefore, the first color I really notice is usually Benjamin Moore's Pale Avocado in my kitchen.
2. What color are your eyes? They are blue with a touch of green.

3. What color do you wear the most? Add paint spatters to the shirts below and that pretty much looks like my closet.

4. What color do you never wear? Lime green and any shade of yellow pretty much make me look like I have jaundice

5. What color do you wear when you want to feel sexy? In summer and daytime (especially with a tan)-Aqua. In fall/winter and at night --charcoal grey
6. What color gets you the most compliments? Shades of bright blue, especially aqua and royal
7. What color is your lipstick? N/A (at least most of the time), but I'd like to think I could rock a vintage look:
8/9 What color was your living room and bedroom growing up? I combined these questions, because my childhood home was (and sadly still is) completely covered in a lovely wood paneling similiar to the one below. Maybe all that sad brown wood is why I love color so much now.

10. What color are your sheets? I prefer white
11. What color was your favorite crayon as a child? I always ran out of black first because it was so useful.
12. What color is your car? My pickup is Disco (it sparkles) Smurf blue
13. What color was your prom dress? No prom dress (though if I ever go for a political office I'll have to hunt down the photos that exists of me in high school fundraiser where I wowed the crowd in a turquoise and black halter winning the Kilbourne High Miss Teen Luscious of 1989 crown). For prom, I wore a black tux with a tie and cummberbund that unfortunately matched my date's baby blue dress.
14. What's your favorite gemstone? turqouise (are you starting to see a trend?)

15. What's your favorite flower? Daffodils
16. What color makes you happiest? Orange

17. What color depresses you? Beige --I even find the name sad
18. What color calms you? I love those indefinable blue/green/grey colours that switch according to lighting. My favorites are Benjamin Moore's Misted Green and Grey Cashmere,seen in the powder room below:

Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, Oyster Bay (two of the colours I use the most--I've never had a client not love them), and Ocean Breaker, which has been discontinued, but can still be mixed.
19. What color makes you grind your teeth? It's actually two colors that are indistinquishable from the materials. It is orange varnished woodwork and maroon brick---I hate those things and often have to fight clients tooth and nail to paint them. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful old brick and fine woodwork, but that's not what we're talking about here.
Typical exchange:
Me: Let's paint the woodwork and brick a creamy off-white--It will really lighten and update the space.
Client Husband: But it's brick!
Me: Yes, it's brick. It's ugly brick. In fact, brick that ugly will probably take two coats of primer--I'll make a note for the painter to bring extra.
Client Husband: But it's brick!
Me: And it will soon be painted brick.
The conversation continues, until the client remembers I charge for by hour and finally gives up and the brick gets painted. Which they always like afterwards.
20. What color you like to try, but are scared to? I've already tried almost all of them. In fact, I painted one early apartment so often, friends claimed the paint thickened walls had eaten up floor space. However, I usually avoid red. I find it a little overpowering, but the real reason is that I usually do my own painting, and it is a pain in the ass to paint. Without using the right primer and three coats, it usually looks this:

And to get rid of it, it can take two more coats of primer. And as someone who has cleaned up a lot of paint spills, let me tell you---nothing stains like red paint, even latex.
Hope you enjoyed it.


Lost Puppy Love

Last night, our fierce watchdog Cleopatra Schwartz alerted us to an unathuorized visitor to our front porch: It was this little fellow. He has a blue collar but no tag. He's a male, approximately 4-6 mos. old. He's a sweet fellow, appears to be kennel trained. He is very affectionate, seems okay with our cats ( and right now we have 4 in the house--no, I'm not a crazy cat person yet, we are cat sitting), and has been loving playing with our large dog. Ignore my presence in the pics, it was the only was we could stop he and Cleo from playing long enough to take his picture.

Most attempts to photograph them looked like this:
If you are in the New Orleans area and the dog looks familiar or you have the urge for some puppy love and want to adopt him, please contact me via email at hmitchellsettoon@hotmail.com.


Ultimate Bachelor Pad

I've been working with Donna Russell of Provisions Interiors (here) on a great project lately- a bachelor pad in a converted warehouse. I've shared the progress through the bedroom (here), office/guestroom (here), and a faux paint treatment to hide an unfortunate sheetrocked beam (here). Well, here's the almost final product:

Before, an empty living room:

I'll start by apologizing for the photos: it was overcast and drizzling, and I had to return the better camera I was using. But I was so excited about the project, I could wait and snapped a few pics.
Entering the front door of the condo, the open kitchen is to the left underneath an original beam from 1895. We added the dramatic dark grey paint, pendant lights, and the fabulous tile that runs up the entire cabinet wall. The granite and cabinets were already in place.

There's a small dining area adjacent to the kitchen, and we continued the grey onto that wall to unify the space. The grey also acts a great complement to the exposed brick. Taupe linen grommet draperies soften the windows and blend into the brick, allowing it to take center stage. A new oversized dropped drum shade lights the dining area. The fabulous twig mirror provides interest, but again defers to the great textures of the brick and beams.

The custom floating buffet provides storage and serving area while maintaing a slim profile. The faux bois paint treatment ties it to the existing beams.
A view of the dining area from the staircase.
The sleek sofa is a Candice Olsen design covered in a durable outdoor fabric that resembles a man's herringbone suiting fabric. The zebra throw adds a graphic accent.
A leather chair and ottoman provide a comfortable reading spot. We added the fake beam and custom entertainment center under the wall mounted tv to provide storage for the electronics and a display area. The paint treatment makes it blend with the original column seen in the left of the photo.
The leaning mirror is a custom piece with a waxed natural finish.
The unit includes a private terrace through glass doors.

The metal console is a custom piece. The ikat pillows are made from Robert Allen outdoor fabrics.
Underneath the staircase was a large walk-in closet that we turned into a wine cellar.
Wall hung racks provide storage for wine. The homeowner's monkey makes a great butler.
I painted a custom art piece for the client.
Underneath the counter is a built in wine fridge. Unfortunately, because the room is so small, I couldn't get far enough away to take a pic of it.
Well, this is what I've been working on for the last month or so. Hope you enjoyed the tour.


Crunch Time

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I'm working on a deadline trying to pull together the bachelor pad (here) before his weekend guests arrive--no matter how much planning, prep work is done, etc., there always seems to be so much to do at the last minute, especially if contractors are involved. Anyway, by Sat., I should have some great new pics of the bachelor pad living area.


Wrap It Up

I love to wrap presents. In fact, I like to wrap presents much more than I like shopping for them. Though, technically, I like to decorate presents--the actual wrapping, like any thing that requires precision, is not really my speciality. In fact, the less exciting the gift, the more time and effort I spend on the wrapping. This gift is for the fabulous Visual Vamp (here), who is having a birthday party. I'm very excited, not only to see Valerie and Alberto, but becaue the party is in this beautiful home (posted at visual vamp). I hope she'll like the present, a vintage gardening book written by socialite C.Z. Guest, with illustrations by Cecil Beaton and introduction by Truman Capote, but since it's only a small token, I tried to jazz it up with a bow substitue, a wooden cross accented with bottle caps from a local brewing company similar to ones I've seen in local boutiques. After painting the cross with metallics and attaching the bottle caps, I found a beautiful handmade paper at world market with similar colours. I felt that the parasols ecohed the bottle caps. I used a ribbon I already had to tie it all on, and voila, a present is ready for presentation.