Soft Stuff – Part 1…

Teddy Bears – Clouds – Curtains?

No. We don’t own any curtains – or clouds – or teddy bears.

I am talking about our area rug and a few upholstered cubes.

I referenced both of these during the last story in regards to color and pattern.

First up is the area rug,  since it arrived before the cubes got a new look – and were sort of the reason the cubes got their new look.

Our living room area rug is made up of FLOR carpet squares. It is a bit nontraditional, but lovely nonetheless (in our opinion).

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Why carpet squares you might be thinking?

The simple answer is that it fit all of our personal requirements for an area rug in size, color options, pattern (or lack thereof), and material. Also, we have other area rugs made with FLOR carpet squares – the mudroom & my desk area – and we really like them.

Here is an explanation of our requirements and why these carpet squares are perfect for our living space.

We measured out our living room and furniture placement many times. We discussed and debated the various size options. We eventually decided that we wanted only the 2 front legs of the sofa on the rug.

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We wanted to create a walkway from the front door to the rest of the house without walking/tripping over the area rug in the living room.

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The size we eventually agreed upon was 7′-8″ wide X 13′ long, give or take 1-3 inches. We also thought it would be cool to have a rug that could fit around the fireplace hearth and floor outlets. These requirements threw us into the custom size and shape arena. The standard 10’X14′ or 12’X14′ didn’t work given our fairly specific size requirement – plus, the fireplace hearth and floor outlet cutout thing…

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As you can see, FLOR squares allowed us to cut to a custom size, and cut out around the hearth and floor outlets.

As for color, I wanted something bold with green (because I love green – as I have mentioned before), yellow (to make the yellow entry work), maybe orange (because the sunroom, which you can see from the living room, is orange), and definitely grey (the new walls are all grey and the kitchen floor tile and countertops are grey, which you can also see from the living room) – in an effort to tie all the various colors within our open living space together. Tad wasn’t completely convinced of my vision, but he also didn’t have any suggestions. I believe his comment was something along the lines of “I’ll know it when I see it.” I thought some sort of pattern could be fun. Tad was pretty much against any pattern suggestion I had – no flowers (too grandma), no abstract designs (too uppity), no Turkish style designs (too busy and vintage). Tad likes stripes. I don’t. Good news, though! The FLOR squares come in a bazillion different colors and patterns that can be mixed and matched to create whatever design you desire.

Tad got a few subtle stripes!

Tad's subtle stripes...

I got some green – and yellow – and grey!

Kellee's green...

When it came time to decide on material, I deferred to Tad because he spends a lot of time lounging and sleeping on the floor. He lays on the floor every day. He likes the floor. Anyway, he voted against wool, which I had initially suggested for it’s durability and ease in keeping clean. I believe the tiles we ended up with are some sort of synthetic material made from recycled stuff – and are recyclable. I normally prefer natural fibers, but this material has met all of our requirements – non itchy, easy to keep clean, perfect for yoga, and comfy enough for Tad to lounge and sleep on.

Another benefit to this carpet square thing is the mix and match potential. I like that we can change out a few squares to get a completely different look if we want a color or design redo without having to buy an entirely new rug. For example, we had some left over squares that Tad suggested we use in our front entry. I liked it, but it felt a little too matched for me. We ended up mixing in a few left over mudroom cow print squares for a slightly different identity. I like it. In fact, I think I might like it better than the grey striped patterned pieces in the living room rug – that Tad chose :)

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A few final miscellaneous Q & As:

What is with the obsession, fitting the area rug around the hearth and floor outlets? It has to do with a few things. First, the hearth sticks up from the floor about 1/2 an inch. The carpet squares happen to be about the same height as the hearth, making it all feel flat and seamless. We like that.

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Second is that fitting the area rug around the hearth was conducive to our furniture layout. Our two main furniture pieces (sofa and chair) are arranged around the fireplace hearth. The rug wrap around the hearth allows for the two front sofa feet and all four chair feet to be located on the rug. Otherwise, the sofa and chair would have been wobbly with just one foot on or off the rug.

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Finally, we just thought it was cool to cut out around the floor outlets. We did it just because we could do it! Here is that photo again…

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Did the rug tie together the open living space as you had hoped? Yes. I believe it helped by bringing in the yellow from the entry, the green and grey from the kitchen, and a last minute decision to add charcoal to soften the black granite fireplace.

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What about orange? Why didn’t you incorporate orange into the area rug? I eventually decided that we didn’t need orange in the rug because we have a ton of natural cherry wood and it’s natural orange tones in the living room already. Yep. I believe that was the right choice.

How did you decide on the design? We played with a few different designs on paper and in person when the tiles arrived. We initially thought some sort of repeating pattern would be best.

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In the end, we liked a random design. We just moved the squares around until we liked how it felt. We did intentionally avoid putting the charcoal next to the black fireplace hearth, and we obviously didn’t want 2 of the same exact tiles directly next to each other. However, we didn’t mind it 2 of the same exact tiles were diagonal to each other.

Random Pattern...

Are these carpet squares compatible with radiant floor heat? Yes, these particular squares won’t stain or damage our hardwood floors. I did call the company to double check because these tiles do have some sort of vinyl/rubbery backing – and we have radiant floor heat – and I wanted make sure our new hardwood flooring wouldn’t get damaged. So far, so good. Though, I did alter one thing during installation as a result of previous experience. The sticky circles that are provided to hold the squares together do not hold up to radiant floor heat. In fact, the sticky goo seems to ooze out onto the floor below when it gets warm. That sticky goo is very, very difficult to get off hardwood flooring. I have found that basic blue painter’s tape is the way to go. It keeps the tiles firmly together and doesn’t get all over the floor below – even with radiant floor heat.

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Why does Tad lay on the floor all the time? I don’t have an answer to that question. Tad doesn’t even have an answer to that question. Some questions just can’t be answered. As mentioned above, he just likes the floor.

You are so nice to let Tad choose some stuff – and you work hard to incorporate his design ideas whenever possible – how do you do it? I guess, I just feel like he lives here too, so he should get some say – when it works with my ideas.  And – thanks for pointing out that I am nice!

Welp. We don’t have time for upholstered cubes today. We will cover those next time as “Soft Stuff – Part 2…”

Use What You Have – Scrap Wood…

Last week, I was all on task to clean the garage. That was going to be my “project” of the week.

I got sidetracked.

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It all started with me gathering together a bunch of small scrap pieces of wood that were scattered around the garage – left over from the wood work during our renovation 6 months ago.

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I didn’t know what to do with all the small, seemingly unusable, pieces of cherry wood. I got mentally stuck on these scraps. What to do with the piles? I couldn’t move on until I decided what to do with the scrap wood. Or, maybe, I was looking for an excuse to procrastinate the garage cleaning task. I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t want to just throw the wood away. On the other hand, I didn’t want to stack it up in the corner somewhere to be forgotten.  Eventually, I decided I needed to use it or loose it. I opted to use it. Also, I justified this side project in my mind – technically I was still cleaning up the garage by getting rid of the scrap wood? Anyway, the jigsaw came out and I started cutting. Two hours later I had cut 32 pieces of wood for an art project…

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I hand sanded the sharp edges a bit. I liked the contrast of light and dark of the different pieces so I opted to maintain that. The already older, darker pieces of wood got a coat of oil. The light pieces of wood stayed naked – without oil. A spray finish was applied to everything. I, then, glued the pieces together to create flowers…

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I thought the flowers looked pretty good, but they didn’t feel quite finished…

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I remembered my fancy hardware experience from just 2 weeks earlier – The Secret Project. This project was going to be out in the open. It needed some fancy hardware, so off to the neighborhood hardware store I went.

Yep. Fancy hardware was the detail these flowers needed to feel finished…

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I will pair these posies up with a cow in a sunflower field print and call it an art installation – for work.

Cow in Sunflower Field...

Put your orders in now – we’ve probably got another hundred pieces to transform into something fun :)

God Bless America…

Did you think this was going to be about Independence Day?

It isn’t.

This little blurb is about a pillow. A really great pillow – in my opinion.

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In the past, I’ve mentioned that I am always on the look out for a good pillow. Well, I just happened to be at the mall to procur some Godiva macaroons for my mom’s birthday (those macaroons are delicious, by the way). While walking towards the Godiva shop, I stumbled upon this fluffy resemblance of the USA. I generally don’t do my housewares shopping at the mall, but I couldn’t resist. I think I hit the jackpot with this pillow.

It is embroidered with all the natural and manmade wonders of our country.

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I am honored and thankful every day to live in this amazing country and this pillow is a cool reminder of what our country has to offer.

It kind of makes me want to go on a really long cross country road trip. I think that could be fun – or at least mostly fun!

And, it has a cute little bow detail on the back.

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Now you see why I couldn’t resist…