Monday, February 28, 2005

Porcelain vs. Mexican Tiles

I’ve continued to research the best type of tile to use on my countertops. My first parameter is color. I want a cobalt blue countertop. My color preference is one of the reasons I am considering tile at all. I couldn’t find laminate in any shade other than grayish blue. I found a great solid surface (Corian) in a color I love, but I can’t afford the $85/square foot price tag. I was under the impression that tiles came in every color imaginable, but I am finding it difficult to find tiles in my requisite shade. I found glazed wall tiles in Antique Cobalt Blue at Florida Tile (at right). While the color is great, I was warned away from using this tile on a countertop because it easily scratches. Louisville Tile didn’t have the correct shade of blue at all, but when the saleswoman unwittingly mentioned Mexican tile (which they don’t carry), I was intrigued.

Mexican tile is supposedly a popular souvenir for American tourists. I’ve never been to Mexico, and don’t plan on visiting any time soon, so I shopped for Mexican tile on the internet. I spent a day ogling gorgeous tiles at Color y Tradicion and Tierra y Fuego. I found fantastic patterns (such as the tile at left) and considered interspersing patterned tiles with blue field tiles on my countertop. My mind was set on Mexican tiles until I visited our local tile mecca: Mees Distributors.

I am kicking myself for wasting time at Louisville or Florida Tiles. Not only does Mees have a great selection, they also have a friendly and knowledgeable sales force. Unlike the other stores I visited, I was offered help within five minutes of entering the store. I accepted and told the saleswoman that I was looking for blue tile for a countertop. She recommended porcelain tile because it is more durable. She showed me a porcelain tile in a blue I really like and sent me home with a brochure.

Besides the color requirement, I want a tile durable enough to take countertop use without scratching or breaking. According to the Ceramic Tile Floor website, a tile intended for countertop use should have a Porcelain Enamel Institute classification of 4. (Tile used on a wall can have a PEI classification as low as 0 or 1.) While I can’t find a PEI for Mexican (terracotta) tiles, the general consensus seems to be that Mexican tiles are softer than porcelain and therefore more easily scratched. I don’t know the PEI for the porcelain tile I was shown at Mees, but I should be able to find it in the brochure.

Now, I have a dilemma: Mexican or porcelain tiles? The Mexican tile is cheaper and comes in exciting patterns. However, it is probably more prone to damage. The porcelain tile is expensive and plain, but more durable. The porcelain trim is very expensive ($22.50 for 8 inches). I’m considering a compromise. I could do the backsplash in Mexican tile and the countertop in porcelain. I am undecided on the counter trim; I may use wood.

The finished kitchen will have a blue and white theme: white cabinets, blue hardware, white beadboard wainscotting, blue tile. I may paint trompe l’oeil Mexican tiles along the top of the walls (where the sunflowers are now). A blue and white color scheme is sharp, but a little boring, so I’m painting the walls bright orange. I am going for a clean, bright, but a little exotic, theme.

With that in mind, what do you think of porcelain vs. Mexican tiles?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Back to the More Difficult Projects

Paint is great: instant change and instant satisfaction. I’ve got the painting bug and want to tackle other rooms in my house. I’m trying to resist, for now, and refocus my efforts on the two areas in progress, the kitchen and the stairs.

I’ve painted the kitchen cabinets white and replaced the handles with cobalt glass knobs. The room is vastly improved. (I wish I had taken some post-paint pictures.) The next two projects are removing the painted over wallpaper and replacing the kitchen counter. I have the tools to tackle the wallpaper; I just need to get started. I’ve made the decision to build and tile a countertop. I found that the Ortho Start-to-Finish Cabinets & Countertops had some fairly easy to follow directions. I ordered a used copy from Amazon. (By the way, I just learned that I have ordered 92 items from Amazon in the last three years. Are they a publicly traded company?)

I am gathering the items needed for the countertop. Actually, I am still working on finding the first item on my list: cobalt blue, matte finish tiles. I visited two tile stores on Monday, Florida Tile and Louisville Tile. Florida Tile carried only one blue tile. It was cobalt blue, but with a glossy finish (will show scratches) and the tile only came in square and bullnose pieces. I would prefer a tile line that includes corner caps and other sorts of trim. Louisville Tile carries a nice line of matte tiles that come in a variety of shapes, but no cobalt blue. The closest is military blue, which is about the same color as the blue laminate I was able to find. The shade is too muted for my tastes. I’ll visit Mees and another tile store on Saturday. Does anyone recommend an online tile dealer?

The second project in progress is the staircase. I cleared the first of the two glue-covered stairs. One stair remains, but I have made no progress since we brought the new cat home last week. Instead of renovating, I’ve spent my evenings patrolling the house with a squirt bottle, ready to break up fights. Actually, I’m just using Mimi as an excuse. I need to get off my duff and start scraping the bottom stair.

After the glue scraping is complete, I am a little unsure on how to proceed. My original plan was to remove the carpet backing from the remaining stairs with a sander. Next, I would sand all of the stairs and refinish. However, upon a suggestion from Gary, I am considering not sanding at all. I can remove the carpet backing with the heat gun and scraper (I’m hoping it will be easier to remove than linoleum glue), then remove the current finish from the stairs with solvent, and finally stain and seal. Are there any drawbacks to that plan?

So, while I’m dreaming of painting the guest room lavender and wallpapering Mike’s office, I need to buckle down and work on my more substantial projects. Does replacing the bathroom faucet count as procrastination?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Asparagus Photos

At last, photos of the asparagus dining room. . .

View from the living room. This picture is a little darker than life.

View from the kitchen.
My goodness, the room is tilting!

The very green corner.
I need to hang something on the left wall.

The very best photo (an udate of this shot) didn't come out. I will retake it and post it soon. You can view the before, during, and after shots at the Dining Room flickr set. The set also contains a good photo of the completed Roman shades and a picture of my paint buddy, Kathy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Backyard Resumed

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on whether I should throw money at my lumpy, muddy backyard. My greatest flaw (and greatest strength) is that I am stubborn. If I set my mind on an English Cottage Garden in the backyard, I will do anything to accomplish it. My obstinance becomes a liability when I disregard reason in order to accomplish a goal. For example, when we couldn’t get the queen-sized box spring up the stairs, I was ready to rip a hole in the outside wall and install a door. Similarly, I was ready to bring in a crew to dig up the yard, install drains, level the soil, build raised beds, and install a flagstone patio in pursuit of a backyard oasis. I even left messages with three landscapers. In the end, your advice, and the fact that the landscapers NEVER CALLED ME BACK, has finally percolated through my mulish mind.

I am going to listen to Brit and Brian Heckel (a landscaper from Wisconsin) and my mother-in-law and modify my plans. I’ll concentrate my efforts on the established planting beds and container gardening (thanks Brit!). As Brian said, my money would be better spent on the front yard, enhancing our curb appeal. The final bit of input that changed my hard head was an email from my mother-in-law, Kim. She said: “ makes a big difference that you plan to stay in your house only a couple of years and then resell. From what I have seen both in renting out and in buying and selling property, is that almost matter how much work you do, or how nice something looks, the new owners will want something else. Their own "stamp" so to speak. I would recommend just keeping the yard neat, maybe a few border flowers, some blog person suggested containers of flowers which is a wonderful idea. Just keep the yard as a neat and clean 'blank slate' for a potential buyer. It will save you money and probably be good for your resale value. (Some people will actually be put off from buying a house with a yard that, although beautiful, looks like too much work.)”

With that in mind, I’ve scaled back my plans. Just cleaning up the yard and a few small planting projects should keep me busy. I still want a fussy, overblown garden, but for now, I’ll content myself with lurking on the Cottage Garden forum. I may have delayed my plans, but, in the words of my sister Cynda, “I’m never giving up!”

A scaled sketch of the backyard.
Click the image for a larger view.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Easy Being Green

My dining room is now asparagus green. On Sunday, my friend Kathy and I went to Home Depot to buy the highly recommended grass cloth green paint. Upon viewing a Behr Styles Color Combination card, featuring grass cloth, I decided it was too yellow. Asparagus is very close to grass cloth, but a little greener. I was brave, and selected the new color without bringing it home to deliberate over first. The mixed paint was looked yummy, like mint icing. I remained confident until we got it home.
In Trading Spaces style, I loaded a paintbrush and swiped it across the wall. It looked putrid. Imagine asparagus against pale peach. Kathy was supportive. She convinced me that it would look good once the walls were covered and the peach gone. I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be that I would hate it and repaint next weekend.
I've never had help painting. Help is great! The job seems to go faster, because you have someone to talk to, and actually does go faster, because you have twice the labor. It probably took us longer to tape the trim than to apply the first coat. After Kathy left, I did the second coat myself, and it took more than twice as long. The finished color was vibrant and the eggshell finish was lovely. However, without Kathy's support, I began to doubt my color choice.
Mike came home late that night. I awoke and came downstairs. The first thing Mike said to me was how GREAT the dining room looked. I began to feel a little better about my very green dining room.
Today, we "loaded" the room. I like it. As I expected, the green makes the red accessories "pop." The brown items look less boring. The white trim looks especially crisp. The only negative is that it makes the other, white rooms look blah. Now I have the painting bug...I have grand plans for the hallway!

Behr's example room in asparagus.
(I'll have photos of my own room posted soon)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Backyard Halt

I’d love transform my backyard into a charming cottage garden. I picture myself in a hammock under the maple tree, enjoying a warm breeze, birdsong, and the heady scent of my flowers. However, my plans have come to a screeching halt before I’ve even begun. As I attempt to come up with a landscape plan, I keep running into problems with the amount of light, the slope of the yard, and the quality of the soil. I have decided that I must address the most basic issue first, the fact that my yard is a lumpy clay pit.

I’ve been “walking” the cat in the backyard, and her slow pace has given me plenty of time to study the yard. First, the ground is incredibly wet and spongy. I sink in a little with every step. Second, the ground is dangerously lumpy and peppered with holes. I wonder how it got that way. Is it the freeze and thaw cycle or the work of the previous owner’s dogs? There also appears to be a shallow “streambed” running from the high point to the low point, a “pond” under the maple. Although the yard has a drain at the low end, the drain is higher than the surrounding soil, making it useless.

Now I have a dilemma. Do I just ignore the backyard or do I have the entire thing dug up to address the drainage, lump issues? If we were going to live in this house forever, it would be an easy choice. I would fix the ground, and work up from there. However, I am counting the days until Mike graduates and we can move westward. I understand that “fixing” the backyard will add to the house’s resale value, but will it add nearly as much value as this project will cost? Will potential buyers even notice what we’ve done?

I am willing to get dirty and perform hard labor, but I don’t have a degree in landscape engineering. At the very least, I will have to pay someone to draw up plans for me to follow. Presently, I’m intimidated and overwhelmed. Any advice from the Internet people?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sunday Night Crash

On Sunday night, we were awakened by a loud crash. Actually, Mike and Cleo were awakened by the crash. I woke up too, but recollect hearing nothing. Instead, my eyes flew open to see Cleo startle and jump off the bed and Mike sit up. The first thing I thought (remember, I heard no crash), was that Mike was dreaming and had spooked the cat. I couldn’t see his face. I just rubbed his back and hoped he would lie back down and go to sleep. When he continued to sit up, I thought he was awake and had seen a ghost. (I’m always looking for ghosts in the house.) I peered at the darkness at the other end of the attic bedroom, but saw nothing. Eventually, another thought occurred to me – there was a prowler in the house.

I asked Mike, in a whisper, “What’s going on?” He explained that there had been a crashing noise from downstairs. Because I normally awaken at the slightest noise, I didn’t believe him at first. I started to become convinced that he really had heard something when he quietly crept out of bed and into the closet.

I assumed Mike was looking for prowlers in the closet, and then I realized that no one could ever have snuck into our closet while we slept because even the cat makes a racket going up the stairs. I then thought that he must be getting dressed before investigating the rest of the house. He surprised me when he came out of the closet, naked, brandishing a roller shade.

I had gotten out of bed at this point. I followed Mike to the top of the stairs. I expected him to quietly tiptoe down the stairs (even though, as previously mentioned, that is impossible on our creaky stairs). Instead, he went thundering down. I remember thinking how smart he was to give the prowler some warning to run away. After all, Mike was only armed with a window treatment.

Downstairs, Cleo and I followed him as he cleared the dining room and kitchen. We looked into the living room and could see that the front door was partially open, but the security chain was engaged. The crash was evidently the sound of the door opening and then catching as it reached the length of the chain. The most sinister detail was that the front porch light was out.

As I watched Mike creep down the hall to secure the bathroom and other bedrooms, my sense of the ridiculous began to itch. Here was this naked man, wielding a roller blind, tiptoeing down the hallway. Following him was a little black cat, also in serious stalking mode. I had to bite back the giggles.

After determining that the interior was safe, we moved to examine the front door. Mike upgraded his weapon to a fireplace poker and put on some pants. There was no one outside. The front porch light had simply burned out. There was no evidence that the door was forced. It was a windy night, and we assumed that we had not fully closed, or locked, the door and it just blew open. In fact, two days later, while Mike was in the living room, it blew open again.

In the end, it was all sort of funny. I remain tickled to death by the roller shade weapon, attack cat, and naked man. We took the fireplace poker to bed with us, and, I have to say, I felt safe between my big, bad husband and little, badder cat.

The Exterminator

Old houses and cats are a natural pairing. The combination isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it’s practical as well. You can’t find a cuter mouse trap than a cat.

Our foundation and walls are secure. We have no rodents. However, we also don’t have any other sort of small pest. No insects. No spiders. I expected my vicious kitty to be a good mouser, but never a good debugger. I’ve seen her in action, though. I’ve caught her catching and eating a cricket and, this morning, a spider. I’m no fan of creepy crawlies, so my hunter’s wide range of prey is welcome! I wonder if she'd eat a cockroach...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

2-Cat Family

In case you weren’t already aware, I overanalyze almost every purchase I’m about to make. I remember my Mom being quite proud of me for considering a pair of $5 earrings from Claire’s Boutique for a few days before going back to buy them. Now that I earn more than $5/week, I am more prone to the impulse buy, but, as a general rule, I think about every acquisition carefully. It isn’t just the money; I have to consider, “how will this thing impact my life?”

When it comes to the decision to add a new animal to our family, I can think for a loooooooong time. In fact, I’ve been considering a new cat since November 23! Tonight, we are finally going to “interview a candidate.”

According to Mimi’s ad, she is a fun-loving Sagittarius who enjoys long walks on the beach and warm dishes of cream. Well, actually, she was described as silver and black, female tabby who is very affectionate towards people and friendly with other cats. I’m hoping she’ll be Cleo’s new best friend.

Right now, I’m Cleo’s best friend. Unless she’s sleeping, she follows me everywhere I go in the house. I’m flattered by all the attention, but she needs someone her own age, and species, to play with. Cleo and Mimi WILL be best friends. I will make them.

But once they are best buds, I’m afraid I’ll miss my dependent kitty. It was sort of gratifying to have Cleo run to me as soon as I stepped in the door from work. Mike barely looks up from his studies. Perhaps I’ll miss being awakened four or five times each night by a kitty meowing for attention. A kitty that puts her snotty, cold nose to my lips if I don’t wake. A kitty who bats my nose if I don’t pet her long enough before I fall asleep again. Well, maybe I won’t miss dependent kitty…

We meet, and hopefully adopt, Mimi tonight. I’m quite sure I want a second cat. Ah, Mira, Mira, quite contrary, how does your family grow!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Jewelry Board

I've always had a lot of jewelry. When I was younger, I had a second hole pierced in my ears so that I could wear more than one pair of earrings at once. I kept my collection organized by placing each pair of earrings in a zipper top plastic bag. While this keeps the jewelry from being tangled and mismatched, it is also somewhat cumbersome. As I've gotten older, I've gone through multiple organization systems, trying to find something that keeps my jewelry from becoming a hopeless jumble, yet still easily accessible.
In a "Martha Stewart" moment, I created the jewelry bulletin board. I mounted the board inside a closet board, and created hanging pegs with pushpins. Now my necklaces are tangle-free and easy to view. I also use the board for more delicate earrings and bracelets (as pictured).

My jewelry board.

Just a little organization tip, from me to you.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wild Kingdom Returns

I just came home to more birds in the house. Thankfully, they were not in my bedroom this time. I think I’ve finally figured out how they are getting in.

Today I’m sick. As sick days usually turn into cleaning and shopping days, I went out to grab a few things at Target. When I came home, Cleo did not run to the door to greet me, as she usually does. Instead, I spotted her low-crawling into the sunroom. From her odd manner, I thought she was hurt and started calling her. I followed her into the sunroom and saw that she was stalking two birds.

I closed the sunroom door and let her have her fun for awhile. I still feel bad about spoiling her hunt in my bedroom. The birds flitted and pooped. Cleo twitched her tail and meowed. I searched the house for the breach.

I think the birds are coming in through the kitchen exhaust fan. It is an old-fashioned fan. When the blades aren’t spinning, something as large as a bird could enter the house. The flap that covers the outside is ajar, leaving the entry wide open. My suspicious were further confirmed by bird poop on the stove.

After the birds had been sufficiently tortured, I ousted Cleo from the sunroom and opened the screen door. The birds flew away. Kitty Cleo is mad at me again. I suppose I am in for an afternoon of bad behavior, like houseplant munching and chandelier boxing. Now I’ve got to figure out how to make the fan bird-proof.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Mission Roman Shades: Completed

True to my word, I finished the Roman shades!

I only learned how to use my sewing machine a week ago, so I am no sewing wizard. I am good at following directions. (I can show you my grade school report cards as proof!) I used the step-by-step instructions on creating a Roman shade found in Sewing 101. I recommend this book to the new sewer. Your library probably has a copy if you don’t want to plunk down the cash for the book.

I won’t repeat every step from the book. Instead, I thought I’d present a few highlights:

1. This project takes a long long long time. I slaved away on two shades all weekend. The most tedious and time-consuming part of the assembly is sewing the rings on the back of the shade. (The rings channel the cords used to raise and lower the shade.) Each of the two shades required 24 rings. My fabric store (Hancock Fabrics) sells rings sewn to binding, eliminating the need to sew on each ring individually. I may try those on the next shade.

2. Measure everything twice. Amazingly, I had no measuring errors. I think I measured everything four times. Given my record of drunken decorating, I abstained from alcohol for the duration of the project. I need all my faculties before cutting a swath of material that cost $50.

3. Read the directions four times. First, read them before you commit to the project. Second, read them before you buy materials. Third, read them before you cut anything. Finally, read the directions for each step immediately before attempting the step. I cannot count the number of “Aha!”s I uttered as each fresh reading brought new understanding.

4. Paper-backed, fusible web tape. I’m not sure if I like it. It didn’t “fuse” the hems well, but the problem could have been my poor technique.

5. Cat is not a good helper. When I needed to cut material, she laid on it. When I moved material, she clawed it. When banished from the room, she meowed and stuck her paws under the door. She thought that hand sewing was a fun game and chased my thread, clawing and biting me in the process. She did not think there should be plastic rings sewn to the back of the shade and attempted to remove them with her teeth. Batting my pin cushion and scissors off the table was also great fun. ARGH! If she wasn’t so darn cute….

The greatest moment of all was when I showed my completed shades to Mike. He didn’t understand how they worked, so I asked him to hold the top, and I pulled the cord. He was simply amazed when the shade raised. Oh ye of little faith!

The shades are complete, but not installed. That may or may not happen tonight. I put off a number of chores, including grocery shopping, to finish the shades and I need to catch up this evening. I will take pictures as soon as they go up, but, because I have an old-fashioned film camera, it will be awhile before they are posted.

The completed shades look very nice, but was it cost effective to make my own shades? I’m not sure. As I mentioned above, the elephant material cost about $50. I love the fabric and I probably could not have found ready-made shades that I would like as much. I had to buy quite a bit of the material because the two shades plus hems would not fit side by side on the bolt. However, as a bonus, I have material left over to make coordinating placemats. In fact Sewing 101 has directions for that project as well!

2/24/05: Roman shade pictures are posted.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Roman Shade Weekend

Perhaps, if I make a solemn vow to the internet that I will make my Roman shades this weekend, it will happen.
I pomise to make Roman shades. (Not the same as "promise.")

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Green paint chips

I picked up three paint cards from Home Depot. I thought it would be interesting to see how true to color they would scan and then post. I suppose they'll look a little different on everyone's monitor. The true test is how they look in my dining room light. All the same, I'd like your feedback.

Paint card 1 of 2. I ike "grass cloth," second from top. Posted by Hello

Paint card 2 of 3. I like "mother nature" at the top. Posted by Hello

Paint card 3 of 3. I like "sagey" at the top. Posted by Hello

Almost Doggy

Yesterday, I seriously considered getting a dog.

One of the great things about living in a house is that you can have ANIMALS! I did have illegal beta fish in the barracks and my two apartments, but they didn’t satisfy my pet urges. Sure, it was satisfying to watch the fish eagerly swim to the surface and chow down when I fed it, but I wanted an animal I could cuddle. Fish aren’t cuddly.

Soon after we moved into our house, we got Cat. I love cat, but she isn’t too cuddly either. She hates being picked up and will not sit on your lap. I also can’t take Cat on walks, although I am leash-training her. (Mike thinks a leash-trained cat is an absolute abomination.) I have a fenced yard and a place in my heart for a doggy.

Yesterday, on the bulletin board at work, I found a dog, for free. She’s an American Eskimo, just like the dog our family had when I was growing up. We adored our little Eskimo, Portia. I was so excited at the thought of getting another one.

Mike picked me up from work, and on the way home I told him about the dog. He was noncommittal about the whole thing. I asked him if he’d walk it and scoop the poop. He said, “Yes.” Then, I asked him if he would LOVE it, and he just asked me, “What do you want me to say?” I didn’t want to get a dog for myself; I wanted a dog for us. If he didn’t want it, then I didn’t.

As I rode the bus to work this morning, I silently mourned the loss of the pet that almost was. Then…I started thinking about the less fond memories of Portia. For instance, she had a fondness for chewing on the most disgusting things – like used maxi pads, dirty underwear, and, once, poop (not her own). Her long, white fur required monthly grooming, including a butt trim. She bit people. When I pictured my life with the new dog, I imagined snuggles and walks, but also less savory images. I pictured dog shit all over my backyard and my nascent garden dug up. I thought of mud tracked in from the backyard to the house. I imagined the dog shivering and whining in the backyard while I was at work and Mike at school. Finally, Cat would NEVER forgive me.

No dog for me - at least not now. I’ll content myself with leash training the cat and forcing her to snuggle up with me.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Renovation Workout

Home renovation HURTS. I knew this after my three day and three coats painting jag in November. My back ached so much that I refused to jump or lift anything for 2 weeks. After recovering, I forgot how much repetitive labor can hurt.

I have been scraping linoleum glue off one stair for the past three evenings. That sentence makes it sound like I toil for hours each night, but actually, I can only stand a 20-minute session before I’m ready to weep. Although I alternate hands and grips, my wrists are screaming in pain after twenty minutes.

The heat gun helps. I don’t think I could have scraped anything off without it. The glue is so tenacious that I have to use high power and hold the gun about an inch and a half from the patch I’m scraping. When I started, I was afraid of starting a fire, so I used it on low, about nine inches from the stair, and kept it constantly moving (as the manual directs). The gentle approach was completely ineffective. This is war!

On the plus side, scraping the stairs is great workout. Obviously, my arms are being worked. Unexpectedly, I am also improving on my flexibility, as I contort myself into odd positions, and my core strength, as I stabilize my body against the ferocious scraping. I work up a lovely light sweat before bed. (Yuck.)

I’ve got one stair done and one to go…I hope my body holds up.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A green room with white trim and brown and red furniture/accessories. Perhaps a color like this would work for me. Posted by Hello

Green Dining Room?

My dining room walls are apricot. It isn’t a bad color…but it doesn’t mesh well with my things. As if I don’t have enough projects on my plate, I am considering painting the dining room. The question is: what color?

Currently, the dining room is filled with brown furnishings and accessories, with a few red items thrown in. I love the idea of a red dining room. A deep rich red appeals to my dramatic side. Red is supposed to stimulate the appetite and warm a room. However, I am afraid to use red on the walls because it will inevitably clash with my red accessories, which vary from tomato red to magenta.

Taupe is a nice neutral, but with brown floors, brown furnishings, and brown crystals in the chandelier, it would be a little too neutral. Brown, brown everywhere is boring and dark.

I thought a medium, sage green on the walls would be nice because it would coordinate with the brown and make the red accents “pop.” I can tie it into the current set-up with the bits of green in the future roman shades and plants. (I plan on replacing the bamboo shelf in the corner with a tall palm.) The green would nicely frame the view of our usually, very green backyard. Green supposedly makes the walls recede and a room look larger.

I have a few reservations about green, though. First, I am afraid that, if red stimulates the appetite, then its opposite, green, turns one’s stomach. If we were dieting, this could be advantageous. I am also worried that green walls and red accents will look too "Christmasy.” Finally, I’m worried that green will look as awkward as the current apricot.

Any suggestions or comments?