...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.26.14 / Made Me Smile

me and the kiddos

It was one of those weeks where I feel like I was a good mom but not a very good blogger. (I rarely feel like I’m good at both simultaneously.) Steve was out of town. The kids and I visited family and friends, hosted a sleepover, went on nature walks, took in a live performance of Mary Poppins, picnicked on the deck and spent time at my dad’s catching frogs by the pond and finishing up the clubhouse. (The reveal is next week!) Needless to say, by the time Friday night rolled around I was DONE. Then Mabrey ate mulch.

Besides the kids’ bedtime, here’s what else had me smiling this week ;)

*I am having so much fun watching Paula revamp her rental home. She’s still in the early stages of decorating but it looks great already!

modern home in dayton, ohio

*Sometimes it feels as if all the good design takes place on the coasts and we middle states are left with nothing but recliners and microfiber. But that’s so not true. There is noteworthy design right under my nose.

*Thanks to my girl, Freckles Chick, I finally picked up my first issue of House & Home. I’m totally gifting myself a subscription as a consolation prize for making it through the week.

*A husband speaks up for his blogger wife. (Why do women chastise their own gender so much? Surely, it isn’t getting us anywhere.)

*Thoughts on (not) potty training.

*After the third kid, people stop congratulating you. (In my own experience, this happened after the second.)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I am visiting my sister’s new place to take measurements and come up with a design plan for her. In return, she’s keeping the boys overnight. Yesssss.

images: 1) Dana Miller 2) Juliana Sohn

back_at_the_ranch-sea_ranch-living_room-stool-leather-chrome-chair

The current issue of Dwell magazine features a home with no drywall. The ceilings are plywood and the interior walls are either board-formed concrete or wood. On paper it might sound a bit stark or cold but when I was poring over the images, I didn’t notice the absence of drywall. In fact, I had quite the opposite reaction. Everything felt really warm and inviting. A particular sentence within the article struck a chord in me.

“No part of the house is drywall, which Sheine (the architect) describes as a kind of crutch – the material of last resort.” - Fred A. Bernstein for Dwell magazine

It got my wheels turning. Where I come from, drywall is standard for walls and ceilings. You might see a planked wood wall, a stone wall, some paneling or an exposed brick wall in a house from time to time but that’s as exotic as it gets. And it’s usually just one wall – not the entire house. (In older homes, including ours, plaster walls are common as well.)

Drywall does have its advantages: efficiency of installation, ease of repair, relatively inexpensive, thermal resistance, availability, various decorating options like paint and wallpaper, etc. But, if you think about it, it does innately lack depth, warmth and texture. Maybe that’s why so many of us gave those sponging and rag-rolling painting techniques a try in the ’90′s. (FYI – I’m guilty! I totally rag-rolled the hell of out the bathroom walls in our very first home. Gulp.)

back_at_the_ranch-sea_ranch-living-dining_area-douglas_fir-black_walnut-dining_table

Admittedly, I don’t know anything about installing interior concrete walls. How do you run electric? What about structural concerns? Can you add them to existing structures? Doesn’t everything sound echo-y? I’ve seen them popping up everywhere in the design world though and I’m intrigued. I’m especially fond of board-formed concrete. THE TEXTURE.

back_at_the_ranch-sea_ranch-guesthouse-interior-sconce-rug

And what about plywood? It’s so warm and handsome. Surely, the extra moolah would be worth the beauty but do you have to take special precautions for fire resistance? Moisture? Sun exposure?

Anyway, I’m completed fascinated by this idea of no drywall. Am I going to rip out all the drywall in my house tomorrow? Obviously, no. (…as Steve breathes a sigh of relief) But I will be filing this no-drywall house into my inspiration folder.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on unconventional materials for interior walls. Have you ever stepped foot in a house with plywood or concrete walls? Do they exude as much warmth in person as they do in photographs? Do you agree with the architect’s statement claiming drywall is a crutch? It’s something I hadn’t considered before reading this article. Just an idea to throw at you today!

See more of the Sea Ranch house and read the full article right here.

images: Mark Mahaney

engineer print trend 4

Framed engineer prints are everywhere. Have you seen them? I especially love the ones featured here, here and here. I had been looking for a large piece of artwork to hang in the boys’ room when it dawned on me that an engineer print might be the ticket.

I had taken a photo with my phone of Layne and Everett on our recent trip to Florida. They’re mid-air jumping into a pool and it just exudes BOY. I had the photo blown up into a 2′ x 3′ black and white engineer print at Staples. (I quickly ordered the print online.) One day and $3 later, I had the print in hand. Since the print was so inexpensive, I “splurged” on a wood poster frame.

The print isn’t the highest quality and the paper is thin but for $3 I wasn’t expecting perfection. Also, the image doesn’t fill out the entire 3′ length – it’s more like 32″. This probably has something to do with the fact that I took the photo using the VSCO app. I might DIY a mat but next time I want the image to fill the entire frame. The frame itself is nice for a poster frame. The wood gives it a more expensive look and the facing is acrylic (not glass) which is ideal for a kids’ room.

engineer print trend 3

Layne and Everett LOVE it and that’s all that matters anyway. The plan is to switch out the print for a current photo of the boys each year. I really like the idea of this being a feature that evolves as the boys grow. And at $3 per print, we can afford to change the imagery whenever boredom strikes.

Have you tried enlarging a candid photo into an engineer print yet? It’s so easy and inexpensive and instantly adds personality to any space.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I get a surprising number of emails asking whether or not I use rug pads or non-slip rug grippers. Up until a few weeks ago, the answer was no. I’ve never liked cushy rug pads for the sake of padding alone. For me, they make vacuuming more difficult and I feel like they’re just one more thing to collect and hold dust. And the good ones are expensive!

As far as non-slip pads go, most of the larger area rugs in my home either have a built-in, non-slip backing (living room sisal, boys’ Flor tiles) or are anchored by such substantial pieces of furniture (dining room kilim, master bedroom jute) which render rugs pads unnecessary. The shag rug in the living room is layered over sisal which has a textured surface that holds the shag rug in place. The cotton and jute rug in Mabrey’s room rests directly on the wood floor. When I first bought the nursery rug, I was sure we would need a pad of some sort to keep it from shifting so I was happy to discover that it stays put. I think it’s because the room is so small and doesn’t see a ton of foot traffic. The 4′ x 6′ sisal in the entry has a built-in, non-slip backing.

entry and kitchen rug  HouseTweaking

I don’t use a pad / gripper under the kilim near the kitchen desk – nor under the Persian rug near the kitchen sink. The kitchen is a high traffic, high mess area so I’m frequently taking the rugs outside to shake out crumbs and dirt. A gripper would keep them from shifting but I don’t want them stuck to the floor. I tried the cheap mesh grippers that you can cut to size but found them completely useless. They bunched up and only stuck to themselves. If we had elderly people in our household then I would consider anchoring the rugs properly (or forgoing them all together) but we don’t find them to be tripping hazards. We’re all subconsciously aware that they’re here, I guess.

The only rug that has given us problems is the seagrass runner in the hallway. (Btw, do you call it a hall or a hallway?) It has a cloth backing and due to all the traffic it sees, it shifted easily. I was constantly repositioning it and, more than once, it posed a tripping / falling hazard. Since the only functioning bathroom is the master, we and our guests have to walk down the hallway to use the restroom. Most OH SH@#! moments occurred as someone was exiting our bedroom and entering the hallway. I called it rug surfing. Fearing someone would inevitably experience a full on wipeout, I finally bought some gripper tape to keep the rug in place.

rug gripper 1

After measuring my runner, I bought two boxes of rug gripper.

rug gripper 2

I removed the runner from the hallway. I vacuumed the floor then wiped it down thoroughly with Bona and a microfiber cloth to ensure the gripper tape would have a clean surface to adhere to.

rug gripper 3

While the floor was drying, I vacuumed the underside of the runner. Preparing clean surfaces for the gripper tape is essential.

rug gripper 4

I applied the gripper tape around the perimeter of the (backside of the) rug then ran an extra line down the middle for added adhesion. This used up the majority of the two boxes of tape.

rug gripper 5

I removed the yellow backing from the tape then carefully put the runner in place and walked around on it to press the tape to the floor. Easy!

The rug has been in place with the aide of the gripper tape for over a month now. It hasn’t budged. Not even with kids running wild and weekly vacuuming. If you’re curious, I vacuum the rug weekly and use an attachment tool to vacuum the narrow space between the rug’s border and baseboards.

While we’ve had great success with the tape, the reviews are all over the place and, from what I can tell, results vary depending on the type of flooring and rug. It doesn’t look like it works well on carpet or on rugs with highly textured backing. But with our wood floors and fairly smooth cloth backing? Two thumbs up. Even so, I expect the tape will need to be replaced at some point in the future. But if it keeps people from wiping out in the hallway then I’m all for it. (FYI – I used this same rug tape in our previous home under a small rug in the entry. We had hardwood flooring in the entry. When we were preparing to move, I took up the rug and tape and there were a few sticky spots of residual adhesive but they cleaned up with a little Murphy’s oil soap and elbow grease. There was no damage to the wood floors.)

What about you? Are rug pads / gripper tape necessary in your home? Is there a particular pad you would recommend? Oh! In case you’re wondering, the seagrass runner is from Overstock. I love the texture it brings to the bland hallway. I can’t wait to add art to the walls.

P.S. – See who won the ShoeMint giveaway here. I added sources for my entire outfit since so many of you asked.