Saturday, November 23, 2013

Under Construction

As you've probably noticed, our blog is going through some massive changes. The most important being a name change: California Poppies is now A Happy Narrative. We are super excited about these changes and we can't wait to have a blog re-launch which should occur in the next couple of weeks. In the mean time feel free to look around and check us out. Just don't be surprised if the next time you visit us things look a bit different. We are working on fine-tuning our look and cleaning things up. Thank you for you're patience! ~A Happy Narrative

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Tale Of The Ever-Changing Door

My house still has the original 1953 heavy, plain wooden door. Did I mention that it was plain? Just one big ol' slab of wood. It was painted the same off white as the rest of the trim and was looking pretty haggard. I decided to spruce it up last year.

I bought cheap, flat black paint right off the shelf at Home Depot.  

Believe it or not, this flat black look was a vast improvement from the boring white color that existed before. I loved it. But it wore on me over time. It looked like a giant, black hole. Seriously. There were times when the screen door was closed and I couldn't tell if the door was closed or not. I love the black door look, as you can see here. However, I discovered that my house did not rock the black look quite the way I wanted it too. Of course it might have helped had I not went thrifty and spent the money on a nice, glossy charcoaly-black. 

As you can see in the above picture, our house is painted a shade of gray right now (well, partially. We are still in the process of painting it.). I really love it. It used to be a minty green color that my husbands grandfather (who had the house built in 1953) loved. I thought it would be nice to paint the front door a minty color in homage to grandpa Alfred. So I went to Lowes and picked up a quart of Mint Hint. My inspiration door was this.

The color looked so beautiful in the can. I couldn't wait to get it on the door!

And this was the result. Talk about a totally underwhelming moment. Unless you stood right next to the door and used the white molding for contrast, you couldn't tell that the door was a minty green color. It just looked...white. A cleaner white then it had been originally, but it did not read green at all. 

Boo! But at least it no longer looked like a giant hole.

So back to the paint store I went. I settled on a darker, moodier, gray-ier blue called La Fonda Villa Fountain.

 I really tried to work in a La Fawnduh reference but I couldn't think of anything clever.

This color was much darker and right out of the can I could tell that it was going to be a better option than the too-light Mint Hint. (Maybe next time I'll just get mint, and not the hint.)

And voila! Much better! Of course the door itself is nothing to write home about. It's old. But we have other, much more pressing projects underway (like installing laminate wood floors, remodeling the kitchen, replacing the bathroom floor, etc.) so this door just needed a little paint to keep it bearable for a bit longer.

After I painted the front of the door I decided that I wanted to paint the entire door the same La Fonda Villa Fountain color. Say hello to my kitty Weasley!

As you can see, I'm playing with paint samples on the wall. When we first moved into this house, we had lived in apartments which means we always, always had off-white walls. Something called...almond white. I painted every surface of this house a dark color, thus the mocha color on the walls. While pretty, it's no longer the bright, light look that I'm trying to achieve. The new color is called Quill by Olympic. It's sort of a nice gray-beige that I think will work great in this tiny space.

And I love it. Much better than the ivory white. Once the walls get painted and the flooring gets installed (see it there in the bottom right hand corner? I'm dying to install it!!) it will look so much better.

To paint doors, I had read that you should use a foam roller. However, it left so many air bubbles that I decided to just paint the whole thing with a brush. The door has so much visible wood grain that the brush strokes just blended right in and worked much better than a roller. 

Don't you just love front doors with color on them? Such a nice diversion from the traditional white.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Poplar Corner Shelving Tutorial

After a very, very....very long hiatus here at California Poppies, we are up and exploring again. Much has changed in our personal lives over this last year. I wanted this first post back to just be about one of the things we love most here at California Poppies: creating. There is something magical and therapeutic about building/making/creating something. I personally have really missed the sharing aspect of blogging our creations and adventures as well. So here's to a fresh start and new journeys!


My husband and I finished turning our single car garage into a very large (and very nice) master bedroom back in March just in time for the birth of our second child, Severin, in April. I have since then stared at these massive blank walls that I had yet to decorate. So I decided to build some shelves. I have this little corner of my room with a little desk that I am fondly calling my writing nook since I love to write. I needed somewhere to put books I was currently using for research, writing utensils, and other what-nots that I use for inspiration.

We bought 1x8x10 Poplar boards at Lowes for about $30 each. Because I wanted to make corner shelves, my husband cut three boards 2' long and three boards 2'8" long. Then I sprayed some clear sealer on the Poplar.

We also purchased 12 white metal Hillman brackets from Lowes for $1.23 each. I failed to take a picture of the pre-painted brackets but you can find them here. I then used bronze spray paint to paint the brackets.

My husband then used the pocket jig to join the boards together which you can just make out in the above picture next to the right shelf bracket. This is a really important step because without joining the boards this way, the shelf would not be smooth and even where the two pieces of wood meet.

We then used drywall anchors and screws to secure shelves to the wall. It was impossible to find evenly spaced studs so these anchors worked amazingly well. 

Poplar has to be my favorite wood color and grain. It is smooth and has a beautiful pistachio green color running through it. 

I have left the screws the original silver color. I am not sure if I want to paint them the same bronze color as the bracket or leave them. I am kind of diggin' the contrasting metals right now. I will just live with it for now until I decide I'm over it I guess!

I am so happy with how these shelves came out. I want to put them all over my house...though I'm going to try hard to not do that. My house was built in 1953 and these shelves feel very mid-century modern to me (don't know if they really do fit in with that look, but I think so). I love this idea of making your own shelves way better than buying the cheap pre-made laminate shelves that can be just as expensive (or more!) than making your own wooden ones.