Recent Articles

May 11, 2010

Dear Debbie;


We are moving into a condo and I want it to be chic and pretty. For the floors, I liked the idea in one of your columns where you described rubbed white, wide wood planks. Is the white wood process too difficult for a senior to do? Is it expensive? Thanks so much for your consideration.


Judy

 

Dear Judy;

You can buy pre-finished laminate floor boards with a whitewash look, which is what we used in the condo you mentioned. Check with your local flooring specialist and they will direct you to the correct product. This is your easiest and probably the least expensive option. If you want to stain or paint a new raw wood floor, then sand first to open the wood grain. For a whitewashed effect, apply white wood floor stain. This creates a fresh patina that suits both cottage and modern style. For solid white, apply two coats of white floor paint and then 2 coats of varnish for extra durability.
 

May 11, 2010

Dear Debbie;


    I have a Bentwood Rocker that is pretty beat up and I’d like to refinish it in white to fit in with my bedroom. The seat and back is rattan and I don’t know if the paint will chip off? Is there a special paint or procedure?


Leslie

 

Dear Leslie;

    Follow the same preparation for both pre-painted surfaces and the rattan back and seat that most likely have a sealer finish. Before painting, sand the wood and rattan lightly to rough up the surface so that paint will adhere. If you have sanded down to raw wood (on the frame or rattan) then apply a wood primer to seal the wood before you paint. The easiest way to paint rattan is with spray. A brush tends to leave globs of paint in the holes and cracks. Be sure to protect your work area as spray paint becomes airborne. Spray the front and let dry, then turn over and spray the back. Use thin coats to protect from drips, and apply two coats per side.
 

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May 11, 2010
Create a welcoming entrance with refurbished furniture, hardware and accessories.

Dear Debbie;


We have an old house, and the front door enters into a mud room/laundry room off the kitchen. How do you make an entrance like this more inviting as well as very functional? How do you make it flow into the galley-style kitchen? I’d appreciate any ideas.


Jan

 

Dear Jan;

    The mudroom/entrance hall is the first space you see when you enter the home, and sets the tone for what’s to come. Let’s start with your last question first. Since your entrance, laundry and kitchen sit open to each other and are therefore all viewed together, they should complement each other. You can do this with colour as well as style. You don’t say in your letter, but since yours is an older home I’m going to assume you have traditional elements. I would take advantage of this nostalgic mood and decorate with a combination of flea market finds, wood pieces old or new, and some clever innovation.
    I discovered a family mud room designed with imagination in a new book called Junk Beautiful by Sue Whitney and Ki Nassauer, Douglas E. Smith photographer, Taunten Press publisher. The space is fun, full of character and packed with practical solutions that you can adapt to suit your family needs. The main component for a successful entrance way is storage that’s easy and accessible. If the area doesn’t have a built in clothes closet, which is often the case in older homes, then look for an alternative. Shop or scavenge for gently-used dressers and cabinets that can be freshened up. This old cabinet found at a yard sale has been reconfigured to maximize on space. Layers of custom shelves were built under the cabinet to store high boots and shoes. The cabinet has been divided up for girls and boys, a trick that might stop some squabbling. Line up plenty of hooks to keep the floor clear. Hooks can be store bought, or keep your eye out for old handles and hardware that make a unique alternative. In your laundry area add an aged wooden cabinet or shelves above the machines. Match up the sink and any counter space with what you have in the kitchen. 
    To maintain a good flow, paint the walls throughout the entrance and kitchen the same colour. Add crown moulding, heighten the baseboards, and even lay down the same floor – cork is durable and comfortable. These details will ensure that the mudroom is well integrated into the rest of your home.    

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