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Do it yourself: Room Divider

12/09/2011

Ingredients:

- 3 wooden panels (here 60 x 180 cm)

- 1 pot 0.5l paint, brush and a small roller

- Fabric (here from Ikea, 6m long, dependent on the size of the print)

- Saw, sanding paper,

- Sewing machine, thread, Velcro, press studs

- Screws and hinges

- A few hours free…

When I proposed to put my desk back in our bedroom, so that our daughters could have their own bedroom again, my condition was that I needed a room divider to split to office part en the bedroom part of the room. As I could not find any to buy, I decided to make it myself (with my husband then).

I am sensitive to energies and I knew that the energy of a bedroom does not combine very well with the energy of a (home) office. The room divider was my solution to this problem. Believe me or not, but the first nights we spent in our (new) bedroom without room divider (Which was not yet finished), I did not sleep properly, whereas I did after we installed it…

Before we even started, we spent quite some time thinking about the design (and asked for help). We were afraid that simply making a frame of wood would not be strong enough, so we choose to buy panels. But as those ones are really heavy, we ended up removing 2 square pieces in the middle as well (as per drawing).

I wanted to find a nice fabric to cover the wood. I wanted to fix it in such a way that I could remove it to wash it or to replace it later if I grew out of it. I also wanted the room divider to look the same from both sides. So at the end I had to buy quite a few meters of fabric. You also need to take into consideration the length of the print (here about 85 cm, so I could fit 2 in the length) and the width of the print (here I had to use only half).

We first painted the panels. Then we cut out a piece of wood from 1cm x 52cm, leaving 4cm on each side, so that the fabric could slide in. Then we fixed the hinges. To close the fabric (but not so that I could not remove it anymore), I used Velcro. I was not completely happy with it so I also used press-studs.

It is now in use en extremely useful!

Do it yourself: Bookcase makeover

16/08/2011

Ingredients:

- 1 bookcase,

- 1 pot 0.5l paint, brush and a small roller

- 1 roll of matching wallpaper,

- sanding paper, sanding machine

- glue for wallpaper

- a few hours free…

I had already refreshed this bookcase once, after I had bought it from a thrift shop, but this was long ago and it needed a new look. Now it is perfect to go into one of my daughters’ bedroom.

The first thing is obviously to sand it properly; otherwise painting would be a disaster (I am talking from experience). We used a sanding machine and finished it with sanding paper. That already takes up quite some time…

When you are ready with that, you can proceed to painting. I recommend you do 2 layers (in some places 3 may also be necessary to cover it properly). We used the brush and a small roller. We also painted the shelves underneath.

Then you may prepare and glue the wallpaper on the inside of the bookcase. As this one was wider than the width of the wallpaper (generally 53cm), it meant paying attention to the print to fit both parts together.

Some shelves were damaged or not so straight anymore, so we decided to replace them in the process. We used MDF, 1 cm thick, and we had it cut in the shop. But it is never perfect so you always need to adjust it yourself as well. What you also need tot think of (we didn’t) is that you will loose a few millimeters because of the wallpaper on both sides.

We also had 2 small parts fixed in the front of the shelves, we painted them and put them back, but glued them instead so that we would not see screws or nails.

You can now fill it in!

Do it yourself: Doorstop

13/07/2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Fabric (remains),

Thread,

Sewing machine

Gravel (or something small and heavy)

Small plastic bags

Ribbon of small cord

 

Cut a piece of fabric about 15 x 30 cm (+3cm for the hem, so 18 x 33).

The finished pyramid will be about 15 x 15 cm.

Sew the sides with a zigzag stich, and then fold the fabric in 2 to obtain a square. Place a piece of ribbon (about 18 cm long, folded in 2) inside so that you will sew it too.

Sew 2 sides of the pyramid.

Here’s what you get:

Fold now the last side so that you make a pyramid shape. Only sew a few centimeters on each side and let the middle free so that you can turn it and stuff it. Prepare small bags with gravel (close them well!) and put them in the pyramid. When it is heavy enough (between 500 and 700 g is good), sew it manually to close it completely.

You can now use it!

 

 

Sunday : time for DIY

29/05/2011

Needed:

- fabric (Ikea) + fabric for the inside

- a zip

- buttons

- patience!

My daughter asked me this morning: Mamma, I would like to do something like the cushions. What she is referring to are cushions I made some months ago for our new sofa. I had found a nice fabric at Ikea that was perfect for adding buttons, so I did!

So, this morning, I think about what else we could do, and I come up with the idea of making pencil cases the same way. Meaning I need to make 2 as I have 2 daughters…

So here we are! First they pick the zip, then buttons which match the color of the zip. The dimensions of the case is about 10 x 20 cm, one is a bit bigger as the zip was bigger.

We sew the buttons, 13 per case.

Then I sewed the case itself, then the zip, and finally I made another one to put inside that that it looks neat when finished.

I like the result, do you like it too?

Are you sure it’s your house you want to sell?

19/03/2010

Your house is for sale. The pictures are published on the internet. About 15 to 20 of them. You did your best to make your house look good and attractive. Or maybe you did not? Because when I look at the pictures below, I have the feeling that you want to sell something else than your house…

Your wood stove for example. Because it stands right in the middle of this picture, and you don’t really know where you are here. Are you in the middle of the living room or somewhere else?  What kind of room is this?

Or your toilets, regardless of their beauty and originality, please don’t put a picture of your toilets on the internet! (and yet, we are lucky, those ones are closed…). My point is, nowadays nobody goes in the garden anymore, everybody has a toilet in their house, so why do you need to show it?

I also found pictures of surroundings, streets, entrances of apartment buildings. Yes, sure, the street is empty and the hall looks clean, but what does this picture bring to the attractiveness of your house? Will people buy your house because of the empty street or the plants in the hall?

You have a parking spot in the garage under the building, that’s great, easy to park! But do you really need to show us 2 pictures of your parking? Do you live in your car in the parking, or upstairs?

On this one I doubt whether you wanted to sell the red chair or the painting. This picture does not show how big the room is and the red chair is right in the middle. Isn’t there any other corner where you could take a better picture, in order to show more of the desk for instance?

When I look at this picture, the first thing I see is the wallpaper. Because it’s sooo outspoken. Then (and only then) I see the bed, but also the pictures on the bedside tables, the boxes (ready for the move) under the bed. But not really the bedroom itself. Do you have for example enough space to add a closet or a chest of drawers?

This is obviously the laundry-room. But I also know for sure that you can turn it into a bedroom. And I know that an additional bedroom is always more attractive to the potential buyer than a laundry-room. Was that really the only option you had to store the washing machine en the dryer?

This is certainly a nice flowery composition and it has a definite style, but this picture does not say anything about the room itself. I see a table and some chairs but that’s about it. Do you think that the potential buyers would want to take this vase and flowers over from you?

Here again, it might be a nice boot, and you can look at the water outside, but this picture is very dark because of the focus on the window. Moreover, it does not say anything about the room itself, which kind of room is it, a bedroom, office, living-room?

You definitely like red. So do I, but I think that not everybody does, and that this intense red color may work against you with some potential buyers. On the picture I also see a nice collection of pans, are they for sale too?

I would expect those 2 pictures on Ebay, with everything on it for sale! Cleaning and clearing the space is really the first thing you should do when preparing your house for sale… Do you want to sell your children’s toys or do you want to sell the space your house has to offer? Because if you want to go for the 2nd option, I would definitely advise you to prepare these rooms in a very different way…

This article was inspired by the website www.foutehuizen.nl (literally translated to: Wrong Houses), where Jacqueline and Nicolet are collecting (wrong) pictures of houses for sale on the internet (although I took mine directly from www.funda.nl where you can find all houses for sale in The Netherlands!).

How far do you need to go with renovating your house before you put it for sale?

03/02/2010

You took a big decision. You are going to sell your house. Preferably fast and for the best price. How are you going to achieve this? You heard about Home-staging, it all seems very logical, and you want to prepare your house so that it will attract lots of visitors (potential buyers). However, it is already a few decades old, and what was then trendy is not trendy anymore. So do you need to renovate it completely? Or should you let the buyer do that? Because he is going to change it completely, right? I will help you and give you some advice, so that you can decide easily what it is that you absolutely need to do before putting your house for sale.

When something does not work anymore…

Let’s take for instance a dripping tap, an electrical socket which does not work or is broken, a skirting board where a piece is missing, a lamp that does not give light anymore, etc. All those problems have to be fixed. Think about it, if you wanted to buy a house, what would you think, as a potential buyer, if you visited a house which seemed not to be very well maintained? You would probably think, what are the other problems in this house, and you would probably skip it and go visit the next one. If one thing does not work, it is highly probable that it is not the only one…

When something looks old…

Take for example a 30 years old stairs. Any visitor will see that it has been highly used and that the paint is going away. Whereas, if you first sand it and paint it, the only thing the visitor will see is that it is well maintained.

Take a good look at the carpeting. Does it need a powerful cleaning? Are there any stains?

Look at the window and door frames. Is the paint going away? Are they damaged?

When something is outdated…

When you had this house built, or when you bought it, brown tiles on the floor was quite trendy, an easy choice to make. If you had to do it again now, you would make a completely different choice, of course. Your taste has changed and the trends as well.

Look at the ceiling. What are you going to do with those dark beams?

The walls are from small brown bricks. Do you need to change them, and if yes how? Because if you want to make the wall flat, that’s quite a piece of work!

How should you go about it?

  1. Everything has to work properly. Lamps, electrical sockets, taps etc. Fill in all the holes in the walls and the frames. Check that the wallpaper is well glued, if not glue it again.
  2. A pot of paint does wonders! Use only light colors, in order for your house to look lighter and more spacey. Paint the old stairs, the window frames. Paint the brown wall in a light color, even if it’s not yet flat, but it will already look much better in off-white. If you have an old kitchen (or an old bathroom), where the tiles do not look nice anymore, you can paint them (don’t forget to first apply a tile-specific under layer) to freshen them up. Paint the walls which have a bright and outspoken color (like red…). Because your goal now is not anymore to have a house that fits you, but a house that is attractive to a bigger public.
  3. Nice decorative accessories do wonders too! Take for example a nice cream carpet on the dark brown tile floor. If you have a dark sofa, use light colored cushions to compensate. Use accessories in order to bring light and a peaceful feeling.
  4. Remove pieces of furniture (not all of them, of course, but often more than what you would first think of). Empty closets and book shelves. Not completely, but about half of them. The visitors will experience the space as being bigger.

As you can see, (re)decorating your house is as important as renovating it. With a proper decoration, you can achieve a lot without having to pay too much for it. So please don’t go too far with renovating, but think first about the costs and what it will bring. If you can get the same results for cheaper, the choice is easily made…

If you are still in doubt with your house, send me pictures and I will give you some advice!

Good luck with the sale!

This article was first published in its original version (in Dutch) on the blog http://www.descherpepen.nl (a webblog specialised in real estate) where I am guest blogging.

9 mistakes not to make when decorating your bedroom

05/01/2010

It’s late. Time to sleep. You need it desperately but you can fall asleep yet. Why is it so difficult to sleep well and get some good rest in your own bedroom?  Is there anything hindering your energy? Is it too light, too dark, too noisy, too messy? How could you look at your bedroom in an objective way in order to understand which mistakes you may have made? I am going to help you and describe here 9 common mistakes, so that you can “make it right” in your bedroom. Because what is even better than correcting is preventing!

  1. 1. Which color(s) do you use? For your walls, but also for your floor, your furniture, your decoration accessories. Who did not yet have the following experience: looking at a room, finding it nicely decorated and at the same time not feeling very well in that space? The color of the walls is the most important, because it occupies the most space. Be therefore very careful with your choice of color. Avoid if possible dark colors. Take grey for instance. There are plenty of different nuances of grey, but when is grey too dark? Feng-Shui advises to use pink in your bedroom. I admit, it’s a bit feminine, but there as well you can find so many different variants, you can mix colors, you can also paint a wall in a different color than the 3 other walls. Blue is another commonly used color in a bedroom, but don’t use it in a (already) cold bedroom. You can also use red, but don’t expect to sleep well ;-)
  2. 2. No TV, no computer. It is well known that the waves sent by the TV and computers are bad for the human body. I agree that it feels very nice to watch TV in a warm bed, but don’t you think it cuts communication with your other half? And that the Wii should stay in the lounge in order to play with the rest of the family?
  3. 3. No old picture of you /your partner /your kids. You can of course hang picture in your house. However, if they are 10 years old, they don’t represent who you are now but bring you back to your past. Is that really what you want? Wouldn’t you prefer focusing on going forward? And for kids’ pictures, yes, but not in your bedroom…
  4. 4. No picture or painting of man or woman alone when you share your bedroom with your partner. That would be an invitation to go elsewhere…
  5. 5. No desk in your bedroom (at least not without a good separation!). I already mentioned it in a previous article, if you don’t have any other place to put it, then do it, but please make it a separate space by using a draught-screen or a curtain for instance. Be creative if needed, but make sure you don’t see your desk (and everything on it) when you are in bed!
  6. 6. No bicycle. Do you know why? Because it would literally mean that your relationship is standing still. Wouldn’t that be a shame…
  7. 7. No big mirror (and not above your bed either!). For different reasons, le Feng-Shui for one advises to avoid mirrors in the bedroom in order not to lose your energy and to be able to sleep well. Some people also prefer not to see their face directly when waking up ;-)
  8. 8. Tidy up! It does not have to be so bad that you can’t even walk without hitting something on the ground, to be disturbing. Too many books on your bedside table, you don’t even remember which one you are reading. Too many clothes on your chair that you need to remove. Too many magazines etc. This « too many of » is polluting your energy, and you can’t help it but you keep saying to yourself that you need to tidy up!
  9. 9. Avoid asymmetry, especially if you live with someone or if you want to meet someone! By that I mean that it is better to have 2 of the same kind of bedside tables, 2 lamps, and an even numbers of cushions on your bed. But if you want to stay single then make it asymmetric!

I hope I gave you some clues to look at your bedroom with a fresh eye. If you are in doubt and don’t know what you need to do about it, send me a picture that I can put on my blog and I will give you some advice!

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