Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener v. 2

Last you saw this wall-mounted bottle opener (see here), I had not yet hung a cap receptacle.  I fixed that this afternoon after picking up an ASKER container at IKEA.

The ASKAR is flat-backed, so it hugs the wall nice and close.  The bottle opener, by the way, is the Classic Zinc Starr X from Amazon.

A perfect excuse for a Sunday afternoon beer.  Go Jayhawks!

Note: I’m not actually a Jayhawks devotee, but I have a few friends who are and I’m easily swayed by others’ sports enthusiasm.  See: the 2011 World Series.  See also: my friendships with Emily Cripe and Jenni Wu.

Also note: I must give credit to Andrew and Lanie – their sweet setup gave me the idea to do the same.  Check it!

Gallery Wall: In Praise of Chopsticks & 3M

When Jarrod and I order sushi the quantity is such that no one can imagine we’re feeding any fewer than five people, so there are a lot of extra chopsticks in this house.  Which is fine by me because they’re great for all sorts of alternative purposes, like shims and paint stirrers.  (Although, let me clear, getting raw fish into my mouth is their greatest purpose.)

I decided to hang a collection of frames on our back dining room wall.  In tackling this project, I put chopsticks to work twice.  First off, I wanted all of my frames to be black so I spray painted a few to match.  Chopsticks work well for holding a frame off the ground unobtrusively, allowing you to spray paint at all angles.

Secondly: one of my IKEA frames was warped from, ya know, hanging on the wall like it was designed to do.  Good work, IKEA.  In The Furniture Doctor, George Grotz recommends using the sun and consistent pressure to heal warped wood, which gave me the idea of using chopsticks in a tourniquet.  I tied soft rope (so it wouldn’t damage the wood) around the frame and then tightened it by twisting the chopsticks in the rope.  I tied the chopsticks in place so they wouldn’t unwind and then left the frame in the sun for the day. It noticeably improved the warp, and could have removed it entirely had I been patient enough to leave it in the sun for a few more days.

(Side note: The Furniture Doctor, or The Furniture Whisperer as I like to think of it, can be had for $0.03 on Amazon and is an enjoyable read if you’re into that sort of thing.  It begins:  Hello, out there! And welcome to the strange but happy world of people who are always fussing around with their furniture.)

Moving along!  I arranged the frames into a pleasing formation on the floor.  I had various things I wanted to frame, so I didn’t worry about what would be in the frames at this stage.  Take a picture of the arrangement before you start hanging them so you don’t forget the order!

I started by placing the bottom row of frames along the floor, using a tape measure to space them evenly.  I read online that 57″ is a good middle point for hanging pictures, so I used that as a guide.

Here’s where I pitch 3M Command strips.  Guys, they’re amazing.  And you can take my word for it, because there aren’t enough people who read this blog for me to get paid to hype a product.  They’re great because as soon as you get them into the position you want on the wall, you can press them into place and know that that’s where they’ll stay.  No budgeting for where the wire hangs in the back, or where the hook is, or anything like that.  It’s WYSIWYG for the decorating world.

So I got the bottom row up and fretted that it was too low and looked weird, took the picture above and called it a night.  The next day I tackled the top row in the same way, using a tape measure to space them evenly and my laser level to provide a guide for the baseline.  I even secured it to the wall with a Command strip, which worked great.

Here’s the finished product once I made my art choices:

If you’re curious, here’s what’s on the wall:

1) This one is to be determined.  I have some big stencils I like but haven’t successfully stenciled anything yet.  That shit’s harder than it looks!

2) The awesomest yard sale sign ever, drawn by Jeffrey Brown for a yard sale we had a while back.  If you know anyone who’s really into cats, Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations should be on your holiday shopping list.

3) I’m unsure of this one.  Vote below!

4) A collection of photo booth strips.

5) A screen print I made of a Jack Johnson patent illustration.  He was issued a patent for a wrench he improved while in prison.  I work in the intellectual property field and the illustrations on old patents are a public domain image source goldmine.

6) A picture my brother, Andrew Droz Palermo, took of my aunt and uncle’s pecan grove in Rich Hill, Missouri.

7) An original illustration by Pia Guerra from Y: The Last Man, which is a pretty awesome graphic novel series if you’re into that sort of thing.

8) A picture of my mom and aunt looking like babes on a boat dock, taken by a newspaper photographer when they were in college.  Because they looked so hot it was newsworthy.

Returning to frame no. 3: I think it’s too small and throws off the balance.  See the badly-Photoshopped mock-up below for what it would look like if I removed the frame and shifted the bottom row.  What do you think?

Option A:

Option B:

UPDATE: Per Kate’s suggestion, I hastily Photoshopped Option C, which swaps the two top right frames.  I think this does succeed in breaking the symmetry that makes Option A look kind of rigid/formulaic, although the bottom left frame is still looking a bit puny to me.  Something to think about.  Thanks for the idea, Kate!

Shagadelic

The pictures I included in the last post had me thinking that two big flat-weave rugs looked too, well, flat and what I needed instead was a low pile rug for under the dining table and a plush rug for under the coffee table.  I picked up the VITTEN at IKEA this past weekend.

The rug pile is smushed down from being rolled up – I need to rake it.  Did anyone else have to rake their grandparents’ shag carpet?  (My cousins will know what I’m talking about!)  It was a satisfying chore: the carpet looked so groomed when you were finished.

I think it’s a nice rug, but in the context of this apartment, with our mostly vintage furniture, it looks way too retro.  Like we’re two steps away from setting up a tiki bar and tossing our keys into a bowl.  It’s shagadelic, and the fact that this rug brings to mind Austin Powers catchphrases makes it pretty clear that it’s not a keeper.  I don’t want anything in my home that reminds me of Mike Myers. (That said, I might make an exception for Wayne’s World.)

Doozy likes it, though.  It makes him feel like a jungle cat.

Another rug up for consideration is the Arrah Dhurry Wool Rug from Overstock.com (or O.co as they’re trying to sell us on these days).

(Never mind the brown around the edges: I just rolled it out on top of our current rug.)

Two people have already compared it to a barcode, which certainly isn’t working in its favor.  It doesn’t look quite as stark in person: the lighter stripes are a very light tan, not white, as Doozy helpfully demonstrates.


I’m very “eh” about this rug.  One thing I’m not “eh” about, however, is our new Ekornes Stressless recliner.  Craigslist has bestowed upon me two great finds since we moved into our new place: 1) the previously mentioned STENSTORP island, and 2) this totally awesome recliner.  I had an alert set up for “recliner” on CL and had seen at least 700 (easily) before this chair popped up.  The photo was so dark and the item was so buried amongst everything else he was selling that I almost missed it.  I clicked past and then realized “hey… that one might be good.”  It’s so hard to find a chair that meets Jarrod’s need for comfort and my need for stuff to not be ugly (and, as we’ve seen before, nearly all recliners are hideous).  These chairs are $2,000+ new, but I scored this one for $50.

The leather was in poor shape: very worn and sun-faded, with lots of oil in the headrest and pounds of food in the seat crack.  Here are a few Before pics:

I found a woman who reconditions leather (on Craigslist, of course), who made our chair good as new and even swapped out – for free(!) – the undesirable mahogany wood base for a medium brown base.

(It doesn’t dwarf our sofa as much in real life as it does in these photos.)

And there you see yet another rug option: the JORUN from IKEA (no longer available).  I love it, but it shows cat hair like crazy despite our very regular vacuuming and furminating.

Got any rug suggestions for me?  I’m starting to go insane.

Project!: Living Room and Dining Room

For the record, my blog’s namesake is not Project Runway.  My blog is named in honor of the 1995 hit Clueless, which had a major impact on my susceptible teenage brain.  I remember poring over the JC Penney catalog for plaid pleated skirts and sweater twinsets. GoFugYourself.com hit the nail on the head in this Wallace Shawn post: “It’s the first movie I ever walked out of with the reaction, “’That was hilarious! I need to go buy some clothes immediately.'” (One year later, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet proved an equally compelling call to action, but that time it was “That was sad. We need to go make out right now.”)

So, when I say “project!”, I’m channeling Cher Horowitz and her love of makeovers.  I was unable to find this scene on YouTube, which left me with no choice but to rent the DVD from Netflix, set up a tripod in front of our TV, and record this clip for you with my digital camera.

My favorite sort of project is one that I can tackle within a few days with little-to-no money spent. Our living room and dining room will not be that sort of project, but I’m looking forward to it all the same. Right now, it is a blank slate. It took some work getting it to this state – check out the wall colors before we moved in (please note: that’s the previous tenants’ stuff):

Yikes. It is now Behr’s Irish Mist, which is a very light gray. Here’s what I’m workin’ with:

(Never mind the headboard leaning up against the wall back there.)

Clean and spacious but also barren and flat. Suffice it to say there are long to-do and to-buy lists for this space. Both rugs will be replaced: the dark gray/blue one in the living room isn’t the right size and the brown one in the dining room is too brown. I’m waiting for the perfect colorful rug to appear in my Craigslist feed, and then I’ll let that guide the other decorative decisions. In the meantime, I have a steady stream of fabric samples arriving from Fabric.com:

The dining room and living room chairs will be reupholstered (by myself and by a professional, respectively). I’ll layer in more textiles with curtains and pillows and more textures with lamps (brass?) and side tables (glass?). A leather recliner will be added to the right of the couch and some sort of console table will be worked into the dining room. The light fixture above the table will be replaced. Plus mirrors and art and plants and lions and tigers and bears. There’s a lot to do.

Project!