[Photo Credit: Thomas Murphy at bloodandchampagne.com]
The trials and successes in remodelling and decorating my house.
Complete with frustrations, how tos, how not tos, and hands on advice to other intrepid homeowners about to remodel, build, or add an addition to their home.
[Photo Credit: Thomas Murphy at bloodandchampagne.com]
Many modern home designs now feature a two-story foyer with an open stairway. But how exactly do you hang a chandelier in that space that looks correct from multiple angles? That was the question posed to me by Sylvie. Read our email exchange here:
I want to hang a chandelier from the ceiling of the second floor of the house down the staircase. The staircase is about 3 to 4 feet wide. There is a 14 feet 6 inches drop from the ceiling of the 2nd floor to the 1st landing of the staircase (and about 9 stairs up from the main floor to the 1st landing).
I had picked a chandelier from Starfire Crystal Company, Halo model ....19 inches in diameter and 24 inches height although the band of crystal/light in shape of the halo is only about 6 inches wide.
I've read many articles but have found no information about hanging a chandelier in a narrow staircase like ours, most articles refer to grand foyers and staircases.
From your experience, do you think the 24 inches height will be sufficient? Looking up from the landing, the chandelier will hang 11 1/2 feet above our heads, is this too high?
The company offers other models: one with a 28 " diameter and 36 " height and the other with a 22" diameter and 60" height. Would one of these models be a better choice?
Is there a formula I can use to calculate the correct length I need to hang this type of chandelier?
Thank you in advance for any information you have on this subject.
Just so I am picturing this correctly ... is the chandelier completely over the landing or over part of the second floor floor too?
If it's just over the landing, i'd probably lower it a bit. Like another 12 inches seems right to me, maybe as much as 18 inches. Think of it like a room, you want it low enough to look right and give as much light as possible. The lower, the more the light. If you're 10 feet above the landing, that's like a high ceiling and seems right to me. Of course, if it's over the floor, this may be too low.
BEFORE you cut anything, have someone hold it at the decided height. Then have someone else, look from all angles to see if it looks right - including from the first floor. It's really all about proportion. Remember it will look much different from below and above.
I think your width/circumference is correct since it's a narrow area.
Good luck and let me know if this helps and how it goes.
Sylvie answered back:
Thank you for your quick reply.
The chandelier is completely over the landing. Today with the help of the builder, I took a second look using a prop and we concluded that 24 inches would be too short! We think 36 inches will work but my builder's advice was for me to buy a chandelier where the cable/chain can be adjusted on site and do as you suggested i.e., look at all angles before cutting the cable/chain! Sounds like it's the right way to go to be happy with the results.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Thank you again,
It's nice to know that the builder agrees with me. I'll confess while some of my knowledge comes from direct experience, much also comes from gut instinct from indirect experience. Confirmation is always nice.
This question came from Mollie:
I purchased a new soft red sofa and purchased black/beige check curtains. I have a rattan chain that I would like to paint, it's dark green now. Should I leave it green or paint it black or do you recommend another color. I live in an apartment so painting the walls is a no way. The carpet is beige. I would like to get another side chair but am unsure what type. I have looked at the armless chairs but unsure if they would be comfortable enough for people to sit in. And what color should they be or could they be a print. As you can see I have a lot of questions? I hope you can help me.
Here's my response:
I'd paint the chair black. Then create a cushion with fabric that is predominantly red but has beige and black in it too.
For the second chair, I'd get whatever is comfortable in black too. Add a throw pillow in the fabric of the cushion or pillow you used on the rattan chair that uses all of the colors: red, black, beige.
I have a dilemma. I live with 5 Persian cats, and I'm wanting to replace my carpeting with pet friendly flooring. It seems that I have fur balls upchucked now and then and, if I'm not home, I don't want that to ruin the floors. I have talked with several people who have chosen Shaw floors rather than hard wood. What do you think? ~ Gayle
I can empathize. Three children and two dogs are hard on my hardwood floors. Here's my response.
Great question. Yes, laminate floors would be a good idea. I've even thought that would be better with my dogs than the hard wood I have. Tile is an option too, but is not as good for rooms outside of bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, unless you live in a really warm climate. The laminate also looks very authentic these days without the upkeep. ~ Julie
To learn more about laminate flooring, check out this site, www.laminatefloorings.net.
[Editor Note: Photo is courtesy of LaminateFloorings.net]
This is my #1 question of all time. Read below for the email thread between Kelli and myself.:
My problem is this: I have a very open floor plan. I 'm talking shared wall in the living room and dining room, shared wall with dining room and kitchen, shared wall with kitchen, foyer, and hallway. Basically, when you walk in my front door, you are looking at one big room in the shape of a square. On the right is a half wall that separates the kitchen from the foyer (which is not even a real foyer but an area to put shoes, etc. that we made with tile; it works because a little bit of the wall on the left when you first walk in juts out about 3 feet, creating a little nook). From the "foyer" you walk right into the living room. If you go left, then you will begin to walk down the hall. If looking directly in front of you as you walk in, there is a large wall that has a sliding glass door going from the area designated as the living room to the back porch. In this huge space, I only have four walls, plus the half wall with a column that goes up to the ceiling, which are cathedral style and come to a point in the very middle. Standing just inside the front door, the highest points are to your left and right, one being in the kitchen (right) and the other in the living room (left). The front wall, the one that the front door is on, goes all the way down a hall to the left.
I know that this description is probably confusing, so if you are willing to help, I will be happy to take and send pictures. It sounds complicated, but if you keep in mind that the "foyer"/nook, living room, dining room, and kitchen are all enclosed by basically four walls (save for the nook created by the wall jutting out to your left just inside the front door) , that might make it a bit easier to understand. I just don't know how I'm going to get away with anything but painting every wall the same color, although i would like to do an accent wall (preferably the dining room/kitchen shared wall, which comes to a point due to the cathedral ceiling and also houses most of my kitchen cabinets, which are a honey-colored oak). I want to do a warm golden-wheat yellow, and maybe a brick red or terra cotta/orange. Another idea I have is taupe and red, taupe being the main color, and red being the accent. The nook created when you first walk in is a little bit of a challenge as well. Although the room is basically one big square, it does get tricky by the front door. The foyer/nook is created by the wall jutting out to the left, and a half wall to the right, which only turns into a half wall after about 3 feet (matching the jutting wall to the left, thus creating the nook). However, the tall part of the half wall does not go all the way to the ceiling, but stops about 3 feet from the ceiling, creating a ledge at the top, finished with molding. Since there is this space at the top, the wall that my front door is on shares a wall with the kitchen, thus making it impossible to paint even the foyer a totally separate color. In short, every area in the room shares a wall. Basically, there is not one wall that does not go into another area!
Again, if you have any ideas, I would greatly appreciate them. I thank you for your time, and for your sharing of ideas and story on your website!
Here's my initial response:
Here's my favorite way to tackle this:
Paint all the walls the same. Then use complementary accent colors in the rooms so that each room shares at least one color of your palette and your drapes/curtains, furniture, rugs, accents reinforce that. For example, use taupe paint (my favorite, by the way, of all neutrals). Then use the red you mentioned in a rich pattern/floral in your dining room drapes. Have one color from those drapes - perhaps it's a moss green from the floral or gold or rich brown - for your furniture in the living room then make throw pillows from the same fabric in the dining room drapes. Have a flower arrangement on a small table in your foyer nook using these colors and also in throw rug on the floor. Continue the idea in the kitchen - perhaps the red but solid. You could also paint a wall that's only in the kitchen - or perhaps shared between the kitchen and family room - in the red that matches from the dining room. Then use the red in your accents - towels, curtains, etc.
Kelli replies back:
You're suggestions make PERFECT sense, and your descriptive instructions are crystal clear. Tying the space together has been a huge problem for me. I'm the kind of decorator who buys things she likes then hopes they go together in some way. Fortunately, I have been pretty lucky so far, but to prevent my style from looking too crazy-eclectic, I've stuck with safe colors/patterns/design choices. However, I'm ready for the space to have a more cohesive feel that also makes a statements and I have a great feeling that your ideas are going to do just that. I especially like the idea of connecting boldly patterned/colored drapes to the throw pillows on my couch. GENIUS!
May I ask what brand and color of taupe paint you use? Do you have any brand/color suggestions for a red as well? I have been bringing home swatches for the past few weeks and just cannot seem to find the right colors or combination of colors. I normally use Behr brand paints but am open to anything at this point.
I plan to take before and after pics, so I will be sure to send you some so that you can see your ideas come to life. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to respond to my question and for giving me such great advice. I'm feeling SO MUCH better about this; I was almost to the point of giving up. Thanks again!
And here's what I offer as paint ideas:
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad it made sense.
My favorite brand of paint is Benjamin Moore. And all of the painters I've worked with will use nothing else. But note, that if you find a color you like in a different brand, a paint store can match it. Just be sure to keep the formula.
My color was actually a Pratt and Lambert called Toasted Wheat that I had formulated in Benjamin Moore. Other Benjamin Moore colors to look at are:
Beach House Beige
Go to Benjamin Moore's paint color fandeck
For reds, I used a Ralph Lauren in my dining room (surprisingly the painter was ok with that). It was . Reds are tricky - it depends if you want a deep wine red (with blue undertones) or a barn red (a more true red, and very popular in kitchens and dining rooms - notice the food element, the warmth encourages eating) or an orangy red. Some copper/bronze colors are popular now too. So for reds, I'll need the direction you're leaning.
Let me know how it goes. Thanks again.
I need to find one of those shower curtain holders that attach to the ceiling and the hooks sort of roll along. I think they are similar to ones used in hospitals. I put a beautiful tub in my bathroom and wanted to forego a shower but I really need a shower. So I am trying to install something that goes back out of the way so it does not block my view. In other words I don't want it visible. If you can help I would appreciate it.
After clarifying that it wasn't a suspended rod, I found this that I think she was looking for. Note, there is a suspended short pull for hanging a drape. The hardware also comes in an L-shape so she can make a corner.
See all of the hardware and more options at www.ceilingshowerrod.com
[Editor Note: Photo is courtesy of CeilingShowerRod.com]
Judy sent me this dilemma about the stairway and walls in her raised ranch. Read her story below.
Wendy wrote to me in a panic about a major remodelling project she's doing. Lots of decisions and not much time to make them. See our conversation below.
I'm doing a whole house remodel and its killing me We havent had much time 1 month get everything together. My dilemna's What color would you do open concept -kitchen ,living room and dining into a step down fireplace room? Two 10ft high ceilings. Clear knotty alder cabinet with Jamocha granite formica counter top. Kitchen is 11x15 with a u shaped island looking into living room space and the dining area by patio doors the floor is antique pine and couch green and chair various shades.
I am tired of yellows which is what I have had Dorset god Concord Ivory and some terrible greens Henderson buff (nice in day ) pea green in night. The entrance where tile is is our main entrance (Monroe bisque) and as is fireplace room which then lead thru to a hallway Laundry straight thru Bathroom to right and spare room to left. The kitchen cabinets will have a darker brown crown molding on top be about 11/2 ft to ceiling from top of cabinets( Crazy I hope not )and a pantry will be on righ of kitchen window toward dining area.
And would you take the Monroe bisque into the hallway as well from the fireplace room (large opening )
Confused??? haha I am And I havent got a clue where to start dont have much time at all
I'm not completely sure how your rooms lay out, but it sounds like:
1) You want to use the Monroe Bisque that's currently in (what remains) of the fireplace room and extend that.
2) You don't want golds and yellows.
3) Your kitchen, living room, dining room, and fireplace room are all pretty open.
If this is correct, see my advice below. If not, email back and correct me.
1) I'd use the Monroe Bisque in the fireplace rooms, hall and kitchen .
2) I'd use a different yet complementary colors in both the dining and living rooms. Tie them together by having a Monroe Bisque color in your drapes, sofa, pillows, rugs, etc. In other words, have a red dining room, but be sure to have a bisque-like color in the drapes - along with the main color - that brings the the bisque into the room but allows you a different color .For example, the dining room drapes could be primarily bisque with red accents or color in it.
3) do the same thing in #2 in the living room but with another color.
4) If three significantly different colors seems too much, then take colors that complement each other. Use a taupe in one room or a warm grey. Still have your furnishings and window colors carry the common room color (Monroe Bisque) to pull it together.
In short, you can use different colors in the more formal rooms as long as you have elements that repeat the Monroe Bisque. That gives you continuity and pulls it together.
I'm also not a fan of reds for walls anyways. I am looking to put travertine or honed squares of something up the back splash just dont want it to be too much. The monroe bisque would look okay above the cabinets ??
I'm not sure what color taupe is there are many taupes I'm just not to confident on the reds .Brown that I think are taupe have usually green undertones which is fine. We have tons of windows so everything changes quite fast.
Taupes can vary, but I usually like more of warm deep tan than green. But slate (a grayish, taupe-y green) is quite popular now and could look great with some of your furniture based on the swatch you showed.
The bisque would be fine above the cabinets.
I don't have something I can send you.
I would paint the ceiling BEFORE the cabinets as the paint could easily drip on them. Hardwood floors should be installed but not finished. Tile floors should be done in advance.
I hope that helps.
Hi Julie, thanks,
My problem seems to be I get them bring them home and then they are totally different or I freeze because they seem so dark but really are too light when they go on the walls /Its more what color number by what company that would be much more helpful then I could get a good Idea of which you are referring to I have tried a few by Benjamin Moore which may be okay. The Monroe Bisque will stay in the hall entrance but does not need to stay in the fireplace room I have not tried it in the big room yet.
Sico is another brand out here as well as Beautitone. That would be helpful as far as knowing what colors you are referring name and brand.
I'm so tired I can barely even think anymore but Thank you for responding. Wendy
Let me say this, it is quite common to have a unifying paint color throughout your home. I have one color through my kitchen and family room since they're open and another in all the hallways and foyers. It just ties them together as they flow from one to the other. So I think your Monroe Bisque can be used in many rooms and even as your unifying color.
As far as taupes, check out Benjamin Moore Ashley Gray.
And to take some of the pressure off of yourself, remember that paint is the easiest thing to change. If you paint something one color and decide in 6 months that you hate it, you can change it easily. You wouldn't want to go through the mess again, but it's easy and not expensive to fix it. It will all work out and your new home will look beautiful.
Add your ideas in the comments. I'll update this post as Wendy and I keep going!
Terri is a long time friend and reader. She sent me this dilemma a while ago. I'm finally getting it up on the site. See her question below.
Read my thoughts in the comments below. And add your own.
This email came from John in Massachusetts:
Like your site..you have a lot of good ideas just not sure how you find time! I am trying to remodel a small bathroom (8' x 3'), any ideas about a small pedestal sink (less than 12" deep) or nice wall-mounted unit? The house is circa 1885. Haven't had much luck searching for sinks on the internet, most are too big.
See the rest of our conversation in the comments.