Monday, June 30, 2014

Touring Through Blogland

Hi ya'll! Welcome to the Decorating Duchess. My name is Alyssa. Whether you are an old friend and follower or are just visiting for the first time, I'm so happy you're here.

With my boys Jackson and Gage
 I don't usually do tours so I'm new at this, but I couldn't say no when my friend Christine at Little Brags Blog invited me to join in. She is by far the most friendly blogger I have "met" and has been very encouraging to me. Her blog always makes me smile especially when she adds in that cute little bunny of hers. She has a very warm rustic style in her design which I, of course, appreciate. Be sure to stop by there too on your tour!

So let's get started. As a part of the tour I am supposed to answer a few questions. Here goes...

1. What am I working on?

More like what am I not working on. My entire house is always being tweaked and is constantly a work in progress... as well as my brother's house and my mother's house and the occasional friend's house. Right now ,though, my focus is on my bedroom and my closet. So you'll see a lot of posts coming referring to those areas of the house.

Master Bedroom in progress
Closet in progress

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I know there are a lot of decorating blogs out there but there are also just as many different design styles. My style is a mixture of rustic warm elements. I like to call it Tex-Mex. Because I live in South/Central Texas, I am influenced by all of the cultures around me from Spanish Missions to rustic ranches and everything in between. I even mix in some more modern influences from Austin and Houston.


Laundry Room Remodel
 I tend to do a lot of DIY and often it's a project that I'm just making up that I've never done before. Therefore, I am able to share the mistakes as well as the things that work. I'm assuming if you're looking at my blog to learn a DIY that you haven't done it before either. So, maybe I'll spare you some headaches that I had when doing it!

Pantry Remodel
3. Why do I write/create what I do?

As with many other things that I do, I literally woke up one morning and thought, "I'm going to start a blog today." So I "googled" blogging and just got started. Oddly enough, I had never even read a blog before that, but had an idea of what they were all about.  I used to decorate professionally and once my kids were born, I decided that I wanted to be home with the them full time. What I didn't realize is that you just can't hold back a passion to do something that you love. So, of course, I still continued to decorate for myself and close friends and family here and there. Sharing the projects that I do is really just a fun hobby for me. It allows me to unite with like minded people and helps keep me connected to the world while still being home with the kids.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

Basically, I would be doing all of the projects that I do , with or without the blog. With it, I just need to make sure that I document everything and take pictures during my progress. (Which sometimes I forget to do because I get so wrapped up in something!) Once I complete a project, most of the work is already done in writing the blog. I know more professional bloggers take the time to "plan out" future posts but I pretty much wing it. I have found that you just can't force writing. It has to be something natural for me, something that I'm "ready" to talk about for it to work.

Gage's room

Port Aransas House (Cowabungalow)

As a part of the tour, I wanted to share three other bloggers that you may not know.

First of all, visit Kelly @ She shares great DIY's, recipes and the decorating of her charming lake house.

Secondly, Tricia @ This is a direct link to her cottage house tour. You won't be disappointed if you love a warm neutral cottage look.

Lastly, I like to visit Becky @ when I want to get my virtual flea market fix. She is in to junkin', fixing up and repurposing old treasures.

 Thank you again for visiting. If you think you might enjoy some of my future posts, you can have them sent right to your email for free and I promise that your address won't be used for anything else!  For more information on my blog, you can check out the search bar above or my tabs section at the top. Thanks!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Closet Project ~ Pretty Rods

The details in a room can be very important, I think. One detail that has always bothered me in my closet is my clothes hanging / rod situation. First of all, the rods went all the way across the room on both sides of the closet. Who needs that much hanging room? I'm not Mariah Carey! Builders tend to think that a closet should consist of a couple of rods and a few shelves. Does this really work for anyone?  Where do you put folded clothes? A hamper? Hang belts and scarves? I know, there shouldn't be any complaining on the yacht, so to speak. I'm lucky to have my own closet. There is still always room for improvement.

So, my first project was to cut down the rods so that I had some wall space for furniture and other things. I'll show you this in a later post when I reveal the entire closet. I don't want to give too much away. Then I painted the rods an antique gold and made sure to put a couple of coats of  polyurethane to make them durable.

The ends looked like they needed a little something so I added these metal rosettes. I bought them at Forge Imports for $8 a piece. They put on screws for me, but in hindsight, I think just using hot glue would have been fine.

I used different colors only because they didn't have all of any one color.

One thing I should mention, they came with leaves but when I tried to screw the top ones in, the shelf was in the way, so I had to remove them. (which was easy by just moving them back and forth) They eventually just popped off. It was a happy accident as I actually like them better without the leaves anyway! It is a very rare occasion that I try something new and it works out perfectly without having to make any changes. This also occurred with one of the jewelry hanging projects that I will be sharing with you later. Today nothing was easy!

It's funny, but this project has been the first one that I have taken on where my husband told me, "Maybe you do need to get a job?!" He thinks that I have run out of things to do but he should know better. This is actually one of the most fun things that I have done. I am well on my way to having my WoMAN cave!...Anyway, I know some of you out there "get" me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Closet Progress ~ Sugar Skull Stencil

Day of the Dead sugar skull stencil for walls, pink and gold paint with stencil.

I knew that I wanted to do some type of stencil on the back wall of my closet but I wasn't sure at first what it would look like. You might have read previously that I was doing a Junk Gypsy inspired room and they actually had a show where they installed skeleton stickers in a closet. Then I thought, "Skeletons in a closet, how cute is that?" I have always loved the sugar skulls from The Day of the Dead and being from San Antonio, I thought these were perfect! It was a little tricky making the stencil but I'll show you how I did it.

First I drew out a pattern on poster board. If you fold over the poster board, you will have the matching pattern on the other side.

What I didn't realize at first is that the part that is cut out will be the part that is painted. Therefore, you would only see the shapes and not the skull itself. Then I realized that I could first paint the stencil on the left in gold and then paint over with the wall color with the stencil on the right to get the effect that I wanted.

I started the pattern by placing the first two skulls near the ceiling but so the pattern would end up going between the windows and then measured out from there.

Next, I used the other stencil over the top of the first one for the face details using the wall color.

I felt like the teeth needed to be filled in so I added a few lines at the mouth. Also, I wanted the cheeks to look more like flowers so I added a circle to the center. Even though this ended up being a three step process, it went pretty quickly.

The gold gives a really neat effect as it changes as you move around the room, where some skulls show up more than others as you move around. Now I literally have skeletons in my closet!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pretty in Pink (Closet Makeover Paint)

The winner was pink. Julia Roberts would be proud. (Steel Magnolias reference) Although pink is not MY signature color, I did want something really girlie. In case you didn't know, there is a lot of testosterone in my house.

I'm only showing you half of my closet right now because that is how I am having to paint it. One half at a time so that I can still have all of my clothes hanging and not strewn all over the rest of the house.

I must say that I was a little worried when I first started painting. It was a little Pepto Bismolish. I know that colors always look lighter at first and darken when they dry so I kept on going. Now I am completely happy with it.  It is hard to see true color in a photograph but I will try to get some better pictures as soon as I finish the other side. I am definitely feeling the Junk Gypsy vibe here. (My inspiration for the room.) This is a little bold but I think this is a perfect place to take a risk, so why not.

Please come back to see my other projects. I am planning a stencil on the back wall, some bling and color on the chandelier,  changes to the rods,  rearranging of furniture, storage ideas and maybe some wall art too.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Closet Cabinet Makeover Before and After

I was so excited today to get started on my closet after writing about it yesterday. I was going to paint the walls first but I needed a trip to Home Depot for that and I new that I already had everything here to refinish the cabinet in the closet, so I started there. I have a turquoise color that I have used before called Gulf Winds from Behr. You might have seen it on my kitchen island redo post. I thought it would be perfect so I got started.

This is the cabinet before. You can't really tell from this picture but the top had drink rings and it was a little beat up and not in a good way.

I started out by sanding the entire piece. I used medium grit sand paper. For a really good finish, you can start with that and then go back over with a more fine grit but I like things a little rustic anyway. I just need the paint to stick so I feel like it's a waste of time to go that extra step. You'll need to wipe down everything after sanding to get off all of the dust before you start to paint.

Next I painted. I left some of the brown stain showing through to give more of an aged feel to the piece. When you do this make sure you are painting in the direction of the wood grain.

To give even more of an antique feel, I went over the paint with a gel stain. You need to use a bristle brush here. See how it gives the look of a grainy texture? Gel stain is better than regular stain because it is thicker and easier to work with on a vertical surface. I used a maple stain because that's what I had on hand but aged oak would be nice too.

I decided at the last minute that I wanted to use different hardware. The hardware that I had, however, did not fit in the predrilled holes, so I had to fill one hole and put the new hardware covering the other hole as that hole was to big for my screws. This would have been much easier if I had decided to do this BEFORE painting it the first time because I had to get all of the paint and stain back out to patch the hole. Ugh!!!

This is how the drawers turned out. I kept the old hardware for the cabinet doors (below) for now but that could change later. We'll see. Nothing is ever set in stone with me.

The before and after. I can't wait to accessorize it! One project down...a dozen to go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Junk Gypsy Inspired

HGTV Magazine

I'm taking a little break from the Master Bedroom to give a shout out to two girls who totally inspire me to be more creative and fun. If you haven't heard of them or had the pleasure of watching their show, you can check out The Junk Gypsies on GAC (Great American Country channel) on Thursday nights at 9/8c. Their new season started last week. I spent the entire day last Thursday binge watching last seasons episodes and I was so impressed by their ability to take junk and transform it into treasures. Their style mixes rustic with glam as you can see from the photo above. Their look is not very practical but boy would I love to live in their world. Their look is dreamy and whimsical and as one of their customers said on the show, " I want to be a Junk Gypsy when I grow up."

There is another reason that I'm bringing them up now. As you may know, I have been dragging my feet on my closet redo. It might sound funny, but because I have the closet all to myself, it has actually made it more challenging for me to come up with a concept. I don't have anyone else's opinion or needs to take into consideration. Having a blank canvas almost makes it harder to get started. Well, the Junk Gypsies were all the inspiration that I needed! I might not be able to get away with their look in the rest of the house, but I'm totally doing it in my closet!

The first question for me, since it is one of the main things in the room is wall color. I'm thinking either pink or turquoise. (Gypsy inspired of course.) Maybe turquoise walls and pink chandelier??? That sounds very Betsy Johnson, right? I'm really more Lucky brand so I need to think about that.

I think the real point of their style is to just do what you want and not be too worried about what you're "supposed to do" or to get to caught up in making something too perfect. Being a rule follower,  I think I can learn a little bit from them here. I like that they don't take themselves too seriously and that all off their designs have soul. That is really more of what I'm going for here than a literal interpretation of their design style. It still has to be ME.

There's the turquoise closet. What do you think?

Love the pink too. Here we go.....decisions, decisions. HELP!

Ok folks, I hope you get to check out the show. You won't be disappointed. You know what I'll be doing tomorrow night and it's not painting my closet...not yet anyway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

7 Ideas to Freshen Up Furniture and Accessories

After painting the Master Bedroom and hanging drapes, I decided that some of the furniture in the room needed to be reinvented. I started with this ottoman, painting the base and recovering with some leftover fabric and a burlap rug that I found. (The burlap rug is from Armoires and Accents)

This was the ottoman before. This khaki color just does not work in the room.

My nightstand from World Market was all one color which made the iron detail on the door hard to see. I painted the inside a grey-blue to make the ironwork stand out.

Now you can see all of the beautiful detail on the cabinet doors.

I have a wood and upholstered chair that I bought from a model home sale a while back that had a light stain. I wanted to bring in a little of the grey-blue without recovering It, so I took a dry brush and went lightly over the carving.

This is what the chair looked like before.

Here is the after. The carving stands out so much more now.

Next, some accessories got a makeover. This wooden box had a recess at the top so I took some wrapping paper that I found at Homegoods and decoupaged that to the top to give it a little color and interest. I added a little bit of aged oak stain over the top and sanded down to give it the look of an antique box.

Rosary beads were painted white.

Picture frames were painted to match the new color scheme in the room.

Remember these trunks? Cute in this before picture but painted to match the bedroom now...

The small one is above the armoire now.

I whitewashed the large one and now it sits at the end of the bed.

Making a few small color changes was easy. I only used 2 colors to do all of these projects. (the wall color and the blue-grey) Spreading out the two colors throughout the room gives a more cohesive look and ties the entire room together. All of these items were things that I already had and just reinvented. So when redoing any room, take a look through your own house first and repaint, recover and reuse. You can't get any more frugal than that!