Tutorial: A chair rail tale

Oy.  This was a doozie and this picture of Shanna says it all.

Our first attempt at chair rail ended up looking something like the picture below and this actually looks tame compared to the eight foot piece of chair rail we blew through trying to figure out ANGLES!  Angles are now my enemy, my brain works in straight lines only I have come to realize.  I thought adding chair rail to my staircase would be a cinch.  Bing, bang, boom, three or four mitered cuts and voila.  Bahahahaha, did I have another thing coming.

I started by creating a painters tape template just to get a visual.  This went all the way up the stairs so I could get a feel for the height I liked and moulding ideas for the bottom half.

Shanna and I pretty much got hung up immediately, we spent two hours cutting as many angles as you can imagine just hoping to stumble on the angle we needed.  We were praying for a miracle that never came.  We watched you tube for help and read articles and to our complete surprise, no one had a tutorial on how to get these angles to meet up at the top and bottom landing.

I have to give a lot of credit to my co-worker who is pretty handy and he helped me draw out pictures that I could use at home.  Once I had the stairs drawn out:

The easiest thing to do to find the angles for the chair rail is to make this diagram on the wall.  Lay the chair rail across the vertical line where you want the two chair rail pieces to meet.  Our angle ended up being 22.5" mitered cuts, funny we couldn't figure that out since that's common cut on the saw!

You can see it a little better here.  The chair rail will cross over where you see the dotted line and then you can just draw that line directly onto the chair rail:

You will do the same things at the top landing to find that angle as well:

Once you find the angle to cut the long straight piece going up the stairs, the small boards for the landing are much easier.  They are cut on the same degree but you will have to move the miter saw to the other side so the two angles match up. 

I also made a smaller version of the chair rail once I figured the angled cuts that I needed to make to help me keep the visual in my head and use the smaller pieces as guides when I kept running to the basement to cut the new pretty pieces of chair rail.

If I can give one piece of advice it would be to practice.  Its OK to mess up and you may have to buy a piece that will be come scrap just so you can practice but this is much better than nailing something to the wall and the realizing it's wrong.

After all the measuring it was time to get started.  We literally made four cuts to fit all the pieces together.  We used construction adhesive and painters tape to hold the chair rail in place while the glue dried.  This was originally the only thing we had planned to use to keep this attached to the wall because this is a cement party wall.  We weren't sure nails would actually go through the cement. 

Apparently my walls are nowhere close to flat so we had to try nails to hold everything close to the wall.  The glue kept separating and leaving very large gaps:


Finally!  All of it is up so now you can caulk any gaps and cracks.

Once the caulk has dried you can paint-yahoo!  I chose a white semigloss that matches my trim.  I wanted the illusion of beadboard and I liked the contrast against the rice grain colored walls. 

Here is it with the new mirror :)

You will have another after as soon as I hang my Ikea Ribba frames up the staircase.  I have decided that I am not going to make moulding boxes to avoid over-doing the framed look.  As always, stay tuned!

If you have any questions about angles or how we did this project let me know, I am happy to help!

See you swoon,

Swooning over this week's Pinterest finds

This site is seriously my guilty pleasure each and every day.  I have to just pop in to see what I can find or search for  inspiration to use for my home decor.  This week I found myself stopping in to reassure myself that painting my brick wall is the right thing to do.  Yes, yes it is and I hope I can find the time this weekend to do it!

So here is my inspiration picture for the brick wall again, ahhh yes, so pretty:

And just for some more Pinterest fun this lovely Friday!!

Love, love, love this ceiling:

I love this little key chain with the year you were born, year you met, year you were married and then a cute little disc that says lucky us:

Since I love all things shiny, I am so doing this to my keys! 

This chandelier may be the newest addition to my dining room sometime very soon:

And a final inspiration picture for an upcoming project in the master bedroom :)

Happy Friday everyone!  What are you working on this weekend?

See you swoon,

Swoon Reader Poll! Bamboo Blinds: A Color Conundrum

Happy Thursday-almost Friday! Yahoooo!  Who wants to do a poll?

Every once in awhile, Jamie and I need some help with decisions in our homes. Usually (ok, every single day.  all day.  all the time), we consult one another about decor, paint colors, patterns, rugs, basically you name it.  But sometimes, we are both stumped.  That's when we need your help!  Poll time. 

Up today is a big debate I'm having: which color bamboo blinds to order?  I definitely want to put bamboo blinds on most (if not all) of the windows downstairs:  the living room, dining room and two kitchen windows need the blinds (and I'm thinking maybe the den windows too, since the sun really streams in in the early afternoon).   Here is a little round up of my windows:

dining room

living room


kitchen w/ Coco 

breakfast nook
The kitchen and den are painted "Mindful Gray"(a true, medium gray); the living room is painted "Alabaster" (a warm, crisp white); the dining room will eventually get a chair rail with molding boxes (all painted white) on the bottom and a dark gray on top.  

There are two colors of blinds I'm torn between: (1) Light (aka Petite Rustique Bamboo Blinds) and (2) Tuscan Bamboo Shades (a medium brown tone), both from Overstock.com.  I truly can't decide.  So I am putting it to a vote!  

(1) Light Bamboo Blinds

I keep coming back to these light blinds!  I love the way they look with grey walls and how they're a different tone from the wood floors.  I like that they still have that texture I want, but a light and airy feel.  I also think they're a bit less formal than the darker blinds and a bit more cottage, which is very much my style.  Here are a few pictures of this color in other people's spaces ...

Thrifty Decor Chick
Image courtesy of Country Living

Image courtesy of Oh So Beautiful Paper
Image courtesy of Aesthetic Oiseau
(2) Tuscan Bamboo Blinds

These are gorgeous as well. Just when I think "ok, I want the light blinds - for real," I will see a picture of this color and change my mind. Jamie has them in her home and I adore the wood tone - it's warm but not too dark, adds depth but does not suck the light out of the room.  I love how this color blind looks with grey.  Here are some rooms that I've found with this color blind! 

Image courtesy of Decor Pad
Jamie's front room!

Image courtesy of Use Your Indoor Voice
Image courtesy of The Lennoxx
So, now it's your turn!  Please help me make this decision and vote away!  You can see the results after you click your choice.  Thanks!

I'll be sure to report back with the results and my decision. Have a terrific day!
See you swoon,

Lancaster PA, the perfect little vacation

Last weekend Shanna and I visited one of our favorite places on earth, from the title you already know where, LANCASTER!!!!  We are well aware that it was only a year ago that we took our first trip to the Pottery Barn outlet and decided that we would make that trip a bi-annual event.....YEAH RIGHT!  I m not sure who we were kidding but since that day we have visited Pottery Barn oh maybe 5-6 times and this last trip really topped them all off. 
Shanna found an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G deal here:

Oh yeah, we stayed overnight this time and when I say amazing deal,  I mean $69.00 each for the room, dinner and breakfast included and a coupon book for the outlets valued up to $650.00!  We had an amazing dinner with filet mignon and crab cakes and the breakfast bar was beautiful and delicious as well!  Shanna and I both agreed we need someone to make a buffet like that for us every day.  Anyone?

Mother nature certainly tried to throw a wrench in our plans:

Some may have been discouraged but did we let that stop us?  No!  Hi Shanna :)

We had split the day up with plans to go to the PB outlet, Christmas Tree Shops, and Goodwill in the morning, break for lunch and then head over to the Tanger outlets to finish the day with some much needed clothes shopping.

We were the first to arrive at Pottery Barn, they must have thought we were slightly nuts.  There were about twelve associates standing behind the counter when we walked in and they all turned at the same time to see who the heck was coming to shop.  Hehe, don't mind us!

It's official.  Shanna and I do some of our best work with inclement weather conditions.  We had come to realize our very first trip last year was this same weekend and it snowed.  We have come to realize this is a very good omen for us because both visits we have made out like bandits. 

The clothing deals were amazing and we really did use our coupon book, you never know with those things but it really was a nice surprise to have coupons we could actually use. 

A funny little story about a big purchase I HAD to make (there was no choice, you will see why in a minute).  So the day before we left Shanna and I both got our Pottery Barn outlet email with the weekend deal.  They were offering $200.00 off if you spend $1000 or more during their upholstery event, insane right?  Right.  I mean $1000.00 is a boat load of money and I had other plans for that money but I said to Shanna, just like this, "If I see my beautiful Pottery Barn Manhattan leather chair for $1000 and they give $200 off I am so buying it"..............  ..............  .............

This my friends is exactly what happened.  Talk about being held to your word!  I of course was not forced to buy the chair but I wanted it.

I thought and pondered and thought some more.  Measured and talked to Shanna and the store asscoiates and seriously, this chair was $1073.00 with $200.00 off.  Shanna made a very good point too (thank you Shanna), I would never find this chair for less, EVER.  She was very right in saying this and with that statement, the deal was done.  Welcome  home PB leather chair, welcome home.

I should have taken pictures of everything Shanna bought because she had a great day too!  I am sure she has some plans to show you in her upcoming posts.  I will also have some fun pictures coming after I change a few things in my den so stay tuned for that!

Soooooo anyone out there ever run into a situation where you spent more money than you had planned but got an amazing deal on an item you have been dying to have?  Tell us about it!

Happy Hump Day!

See you swoon,