Living Room Decorating Help Needed! Warning: long and lots of pics - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so excited! After 11 years of marriage and 4 kids, I am finally getting new furniture that *I* picked out. Up until this time I've been living with hand-me-downs and stuff that DH had in his apartment before we got married.

DH and I picked out a new couch and loveseat, but that's about as far as we've gotten. I tend to like comfy traditional or transitional or even country decorating. Although there are elements of modern and minimalist style that I appreciate, those styles feel cold to me. I love homes that are warm and inviting.

I'm having a few issues when trying to come up with a new scheme for our living room.
1) we have wood molding/trim. Although I'd love to paint it all white, DH does not want me to do this, so I'm stuck with wood molding. In addition to this, we also have light colored wood laminate flooring. The amount of wood is a little overwhelming, and I'm not really a fan of rustic/cabin decorating.
2) we have an open concept home with vaulted ceilings. I have such a hard time knowing what to do with the vaulted celings because when I hang pictures at eye height, there's just SO MUCH wall extending to the ceiling. I also have a hard time knowing what to do with paint colors because everything is so open. Should I stick with one color for the living room/kitchen/dining area, or can I use 2? 3? colors? Currently the walls are a nice (not stark) white, with one yellow-orange accent wall.

Here's what I like about what I currently have:
1) a warm feeling. The orangy wall feels so nice and inviting to me.
2) the dark red curtains in the dining area. Again, it feels so nice and inviting to me. The curtains are washable silk and I feel like they really class up the joint
3) The Klimt print on the wall in the living room.
4) I love the piano, but I'm never sure how to decorate it.

Still with me? Here are the pictures:
We've ordered this couch and loveseat.
We've ordered this ottoman to use as a coffee table.

Here is what the living room looks like today. Sorry for the crappy lighting. With the windows, I have such a hard time getting a good shot.
http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d1...%20Feb%202010/

Here's what I don't like/plan to change:
1) I hate the CD rack in between the piano and TV. I need to do something different with this
2) I don't like the bookshelf in front of the railing. It constricts the space. I'm thinking about getting a bigger? bookshelf to go in the currently empty corner of the living room that would accomidate both books AND CDs/DVDs/video games.
3) I don't like the lamp on top of the piano
4) although I like the prints on the walls, I'm ready for a change. I'm looking for pieces that are more contemporary, less traditional.
5) I'd like to find a side table or two and put lamps on them.
6) I'm still thinking about a rug. We don't have one right now, and it doesn't look/feel too cold to me, but I'm wondering if getting a rug would help to tone down the overwhelming wood effect. If I got one, I was thinking of a wool rug (maybe from overstock?) with a traditional feel, predominantly warm neutrals with some red in it.
7) and of course, the big question- paint. What color should I paint my walls? They're currently white except for the melon-colored accent wall. I love warm colors- yellows, oranges, warm neutrals. I've been thinking about a golden maize color for the accent wall and leaving the rest white for the moment.

If you've made it through all of this, THANK YOU!!!! Any thoughts?

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#2 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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your photobucket account prompted me for a password... couldn't get in, just FYI
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#3 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
your photobucket account prompted me for a password... couldn't get in, just FYI
same here...

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#4 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it fixed now?

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#5 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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Yup.
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#6 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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Do you have/can you get an iPod? Then you could put all the cds on it and get rid of the cds.

Can you return the ottoman? I'd suggest one that has storage built in/and or the flip top so it's soft one side, a tray the other.

You mentioned putting the loveseat where the brown sofa is. Where are you putting the sofa?
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#7 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have/can you get an iPod? Then you could put all the cds on it and get rid of the cds.
I've thought about this, I'm just not sure if it's in the budget yet. I think what will probably end up happening is that the CDs will end up on a bookshelf in our basement (that DH is currently finishing). Maybe I'll just put them down there right now.

Quote:
Can you return the ottoman? I'd suggest one that has storage built in/and or the flip top so it's soft one side, a tray the other.
I could cancel the ottoman, we haven't taken delivery yet. But this is the only one (at that store ) that DH and I could agree on. One of the things I love about this one is that it is truly comfortable to sit on. Because we have 4 kids and we entertain somewhat frequently, comfortable seating is important to me. Maybe I'll go out and look for alternatives this weekend.

Quote:
You mentioned putting the loveseat where the brown sofa is. Where are you putting the sofa?
The sofa is going to go where the cream colored loveseat is right now. Our current setup is a little wonky and crowded because we moved furniture around to accomodate the Christmas tree and I never got around to moving it back the way it was before. Our living room is so small that there isn't really a good way to rearrange the furniture. Every time I've tried to move the furniture away from the walls, it's a total failure. That said, I'm open to suggestions for alternate layouts- maybe someone here can think of something I missed.

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#8 of 31 Old 02-09-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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If you paint all the walls that orangey color you like, the wood trim and kitchen cabinets will blend in rather than stand out. That might help your issues with the wood tones. It might make the place seem more unified and less chopped up.

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#9 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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A golden maize color would do the same thing, unifying the space and wood tones...

I'd rather not have the couch and loveseat straight across from each other... It's kinda confrontational, lol. Can you put the piano under the window where you are planning on putting the loveseat? Or is that against the rules of pianos (to have them against an outside wall with more temperature changes)?

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#10 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 03:14 AM
 
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Here's my stab at it.

I usually love sofa and loveseat facing each other and perpendicular to the window. But I agree with PP that them facing each other along the wall and railing looks "confrontational" in your LR. It's a bit too far apart, yet the room is too small to put them nearer together and have a traffic path behind.
  • I like the style of your new loveseat, but I would buy it as a sofa instead so you have the larger seating capacity (see chair comment below). I would place it on the wall the piano is currently on.
    Above that (now or when finances allowed) I would hang a HUGE single piece of art. Your open concept will give an amazing view of that art from the kitchen.
  • I would place your piano underneath those windows. The unconventional pattern of them looks awkward with the sofa, IMO. Where you were thinking of a small entertainment unit in the inset corner by the front door, I would put a plant stand.
  • I like the general idea of your new ottoman, but would have chosen some of the other (cheaper) similar ones that popped up sidebar. They look a little more refined and less heavy than the one you've chosen - better match with your new loveseat IMO.
  • I would put two matching chairs along the stair railing, thus having sofa, and pair of chairs instead of sofa/love. Would preserve a more open look through the railings. Something like a contemporary update on wing-back chairs.
  • Yes, do an area rug.
  • I would sell your brown sofa to get cash to buy some second hand chairs. I see nice paired chairs for sale all the time on Kijiji and I think your sofa is working against your new furniture.
  • I would turf the TV to another room.

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#11 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 04:25 AM
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The floors are fine and it's not an overwhelming amount of wood at all. I would paint all of the walls orange, though, and perhaps choose a good ceiling color as well so that it's not stark white. a creamy yellow would look really nice.

because the dining table and chairs seem to be the same color as the floor, a rug under that table that brought in the reds of the curtains, the oranges, and yellows would look really nice.

but, Scale and Placement are your two big issues.

Placement

The pictures are hung too high. If you hang them at true "eye level" they won't look disjointed from the room itself as they do now.

the furniture is pushed against the wall and in a strange configuration. I know that people think this means "more space" but in truth, having things *away* from the walls makes it look like there is more space. in this case, there are only two or three things i would have against a wall: the piano, the tv, and the bookcase. but not on the same wall.

looking at the space, the door opens to a wall. there's a window on one side of that entry and a wall on the other (that touches the banister). I would put the bookcase on that wall or one on each side of the TV or one on each side of the piano (to give both of those items more presence). The TV should go on the wall where the large sofa currently is, and the piano can easily stay where it is.

I would then put the sofa by the banister, but *away* from it with enough room to walk between the sofa and the banister (in decorating circles, you need only 18 inches to be a pass through). Then, perpendicular to the sofa, with the back of it facing the piano, i would place the love seat, and then the ottoman in front. this way, you walk in the door and see an L shape. A side table should go between the sofa and love seat, and if there is space, you might consider a console or placing the book shelves *behind* the love seat. You might then place an "occasional chair" (wood and fabric by the window that is by the front door. Another option is a tree that has a nice shape--such as using a dwarf orange tree in a very structured (square, french, fence-like) pot.

Scale

The pictures are too small. If you are going to get new art pieces, i recommend making them personal. Using your own photographs or children's art, choose the top 12 or so, and frame them up the same. hang them in groupings that are multiples of 3 (3, 6, 9, 12, etc). make sure that they are comfortably spaced.

you want them to be the same size and shape once framed, btu here's the trick to making that work: mat board. say you have a favorite black and white 5x7 photo, but you have chosen 12x18 frames. mat board fills the rest of the space. Mat boards should also be a neutral tone (perhaps the creamy color of your ceiling or a warm cafe au lait color). Your child's art is only 8.5x11--mat board.

the benefit of having frames (and mat board) bigger than your art is that you can standardize it. some photos are up and down (7 high and 5 wide) and some are side to side (5 high and 7 wide). some art is 11 x 17 or 17 x 11. by using mat board, you can keep the frame going the same direction, but the art can be any direction that it is. KWIM?

Then, you hang it in straight lines in groupings of three. It's likely you'll find a lot of homey, beautiful and personal art in your home collection. And anything can be framed. I frame a lot of plain paper (from the fair trade shop) and fabric swatches. Anything that floats my boat really. Frame it up and it's art. Who needs prints?

So, for example, in your dining room, you could hang 9 personal art pieces from basically the mid-point of the wall up beyond eye level. This changes the scale of the artwork. It makes it look like a collection and has a presence. do the same near the piano. three across the top (that would extend beyond the ends of the piano visually.

The issue of scale with the TV and piano is that the walls are situated such that it wants to have a "full" feeling (imo). so, if you put book cases on either side of the tv and either side of the piano, it has a more "built in" look and warms up or fills in the space nicely. makes it feel balanced.

so, here is really how i would design the space all the way around.

1. paint all of the walls the lovely orange color and paint the ceilings a creamy color;

2. add red curtains where ever needed;

3. put a rug under the dining room table to give the table more presence (and differentiate it from the floors and banisters since the wood matches);

4. keep the piano on the existing wall and put bookcases on either side of it (in the same wood tone if possible);

5. put the TV where the big sofa currently is, and if needed, put bookcases around it so that it has that 'build in' look (might also look on craigs list to see if you can find a unit that would fit the space);

6. put the new furnishings in an L configuration with them away from the walls (with at least 18 inches pass through if possible)--the sofa goes where the loveseat currently is, and the new love seat goes perpendicular to it "blocking" the view of the piano;

7. choose a side table for the corner of the L between the sofa and love seat--i would recommend a round top pedestal table in the wood that matches the book case, tv stuff, piano (even if the table is higher than the ends of the sofa, this is ok. you could use a small cafe table sized table, for example, that height, and it will be find as long as it is a lovely table--again, try craig's list and the like. there are a lot of lovely tables out there that people are trying to get rid of).

8. in the corner window by the front door (nearest the wall that i would use for the TV), consider an occasional chair or a plant (an orange or lemon tree in a nice planter). My own tastes are minimalist so i would leave this corner empty or perhaps put a basket there to hold blankets and such, but i would likely keep it empty.

I hope this answers your questions on how i would do up the space. it's actually quite a nice space, without too much wood at all.
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#12 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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Haven't read the other posts, sorry, but here's my stab.

Placement - Move the piano into the dining area. Move the tv to the piano's old spot. Leave the couches faces each other with a chair to the corner. Anything else is going to have a weird traffic flow and disrupt the entire area (you obviously can't put a sofa with it's back to the door and you can't put a sofa on the piano wall because it'll be past the walkway into the kitchen).

No ottoman. If that's your front door and gets used a lot, people will be shimmying around it everytime they walk into another room. It's going to be tripped over a lot. I'd use side tables instead.

Move your pictures! Pictures should never be hung at eye level. They should be anchored to something, not free floating. The ones above your piano need to be about 8" above your piano and spaced closer together (spacing pictures out more to fill a bigger space actually makes the pictures look smaller). The one on the skinny wall should be brought down (it's too high) and placed about 8" above the light switch. Same with the picture by the floor lamp. It needs to be centered and placed about 8" above that light switch. I'd also reframe them in larger frames and/or get bigger pieces.

Move your CDs and DVDs out of their cases and into books. They take up WAY less room and aren't eyesores. They should all fit in that console that the tv is on.

You need some COLOR. The window treatments are awesome - run with that! I'd add some bold pieces - throw pillows, artwork, rugs, lampshades.

I'm not a fan of the orange, I think it fights with the wood tones. I' do a brown sugar or lighter and REALLY add color in other ways.

And my biggie - plants.

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#13 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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Ok I have read none of the responses so I could give you my first impressions of what I would do. First off, mentally empty the room of furniture. I would leave the orange-yellow wall and I would paint the living room walls and the ceiling a *very* pale green (like sage) or a light cafe au lait (as someone mentioned now that I've gone back and read, I think that might be nice) that coordinates with the existing wall color. I would leave the wallwith the curtains in the kitchen/dining room the existing white. The pictured that's above the light switch panels on the little funky wall by the front door? I'd leave that, it works well there.

Furniture. Where you have the sofa now that is between the windows? I'd put the piano there. On the wall space where the tall lamp is by the front door I'd place the bookcase, flat against the wall on the front of the house in that space there. For the sofa I'd place that against the rail as you have one existing sofa. For the loveseat I would do it a bit differently. I would place that about 3 feet into the room from the front door, perpendicular to the railing. The ottomon would go in the center of the 2 sofas behind the piano (a rug may look nice there). If possible I would find a different stand or entertainment center for the tv (it doesn't have to be large) and center that on the wall where the piano is now. The pictures on that wall are ok, however, you have them centered around the piano and not centered on the wall, and I think it makes the dimensions look odd. Center the tv stand in the middle of that wall and center any pictures around that.

I would get a nice looking basket and place all of the magazines in that to clear off the top of the bookcase. I'd set this on the floor at the end of the sofa by the railing. For the top of the piano, lose the lamp. Find some fabric and make a runner (or buy one) that has the green, yellow, and a bit of red in it to go across the top of the piano. It dresses it up and protects the surface. A nice little lamp with a cute shade may look nice there as well, or a nice gold tone directional lamp if needed. I would also change out the pictures above the dining table to one oversized print if possible.

You have a very interesting space to work with that has a lot of potential for neat things! Ok off to read the other ideas now
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#14 of 31 Old 02-10-2010, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you SO MUCH for all of the suggestions! I spent all afternoon pushing my furniture around, trying to see how all of the different furniture placement ideas would work.

I think I like Zoebird's suggestion best. I don't have room for the piano anywhere else, so that has to stay in the living room. The TV and stereo also need to stay in the room for the time being. However, if we choose not to get the ottoman, we'd be able to afford a flat-screen TV that we could mount to the wall. We could then ditch the TV stand and put the stereo on a shelf in the corner near the front door.

For color, I think we're leaning towards painting the WHOLE room (living/dining/kitchen) the same color- maybe a buttery yellow or a creamy beige. With a fairly neutral palate, we could add color with some warm colored throw pillows, rugs, art, and maybe colored lamp shades. I love the idea of putting a rug under the kitchen table- I'd never thought of than before. Of course it will require more vacuuming, but I think it would look really nice.

A couple more questions:

1) I forgot to mention that I really love the pictures I have hanging in the dining area. They are paintings I bought in Ethiopia when we travelled to bring DS2 home (he's adopted). Any ideas about how I could keep those pictures? I'm willing to have them reframed. Would bigger frames help, or a different arrangement? Two of the pictures are about 10x13", one of the pictures is about 7" x 14".

2) If I go with Zoebird's furniture placement idea it will look something like this and this (only with new matching couch & loveseat). We'd get a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall in between the windows to free up some space, and a rug on the floor (probably some combination of reds and neutrals). My question is- would it look okay to leave the piano where it is and get an Ikea Expedit bookcase to put in the corner? I think it would be too tight to actually sit at the piano bench if we move the piano to the center of the wall and put bookcases on both sides.

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#15 of 31 Old 02-11-2010, 12:01 AM
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first, lets talk about how to think about scale in real terms. you need a plan!

start with graph or plain paper. Label the upper left hand side with the name of the room and then measure your room getting the dimensions of each wall, window, door, etc. you'll also need to know the 'swing space' of any doors if it would hit furniture (particularly useful when doing bedrooms. i find it is also helpful to mark where the electrical outlets, phone, etc are. put these in a list under the name of the room.

once you have all of your measurements, then you choose the down scale for your drawing. i use 1/2 inch equals 1 foot. it just works for me. i put this on the upper right hand corner of the page so that i remember.

next, i measure each piece of furniture that is staying (ie, piano), and i get the precise measurements for whatever i'm bringing in. (eg, the ikea piece is both too high and overscales the piano. you need something in scale with the piano--and i'm very experienced with that particular piece. it's very popular in yoga studios. it would dominate the piano. you could have just that piece or the piano and smaller pieces. i'll give a few examples later).

i then take another piece of paper and i measure each piece of furniture and cut it out. this way, you can play with it, but also decide that you need bigger or smaller furniture.

when you are doing your placement fun, you need to remember about pass through spaces and this is where the scale is important if the scale is 1/2 inch equals one foot, then 3/4 of an inch is 18 inches. Let me be honest, that is a rule of thumb of what is *needed*. but what i *prefer* is 2-3 ft for pass through spaces *for myself*.

what you might discover is that what you have purchased is overscale for the space that you have then, it will look overcrowded or cramped. but this doesn't mean you go with petite furniture either. it just has to be the *right* scale.

a lot of furniture companies such as Calico COrners (also does fabric) and Ethan Allen and so on, can scale the furniture to your needs. You order the style in the appropriate scale for your room.

hopefully, you will discover that the sofa and loveseat that you have ordered will fit your space. if it doesn't, then consider cancelling the order or seeing if the same set comes in a different scale. you may be able to order it in a smaller size.

when making your cut outs, see what it would be if the sofa was 6 inches smaller or 8 inches less deep, or even if the back was 4 inches lower--how would that change the "look" of the space? would it still fee warm and full, but also spacious and uncluttered?

ok, so that's enough on getting the scale right.

lets talk about that piano wall for a bit. it's fine id you do not center it, but whatever you put over there with it should nto be taller than it. you also want it to be only as wide from the wall (deep really) than the piano sans the bench, and if possible, *narrower* than the piano. you want something that looks like you put it there for the piano, to off set it. the piano is the show piece, not the shelves.

so, ikea offers a number of styles, and this one offers a similar look on a different scale. now, it may be too long for the space you have chosen for it but here are the take aways from that particular item: 1. it's lower than the top of the piano; 2. it's the same wood family as the color of the piano (from what i can tell) and also solid wood so it looks like it "goes"; 3. its narrower as well.

now, if you can't find the furniure off the rack, consider a carpenter. and if you do, get a small one to go on the other side of the piano (either a corner or just narrow one). then, you know it will fit.

As for the art in the dining room, of course you can keep it. Reframe it with some family photos from the trip (if any exist), etc, and you have a whole theme--it's about your child's adoption and homeland. if all of the frames match and it's taking up enough space, then it will look fabulous.

i agree that a flatscreen TV is in order, because then you can center it on that wall. it does need to be centered, btw, because it looks strange off center in the photo. sometimes, you just have to go with it.

i dislike torcher lamps, so i would get rid of it if possible. that's just me, though. i'm completely weird about lighting and i admit it. i rarely use overhead lighting, only task and dim/mood lighting. i do like pot lights (recessed lighting) as a part of mood lighting, but i hardly used mine before.

otherwise, i think the layout works nicely. how do you feel about it?

and it may be a good idea for you to find a carpenter to make the right sized shelves for you)
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#16 of 31 Old 02-11-2010, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zoebird, thank you so much for talking me through all of this. I've read so many decorating books from the library and looked through a ton of decorating websites, but I have such a hard time applying the concepts to my house. I sort of understand why things look nice in other people's spaces, but I get lost trying to translate that to my house. And then things just end up looking half-a$$ed. I think another part of my issue is that I've been attempting to do things frugally and so I settle for something that kind of works and is cheap, or I just make do with what I already have instead of finding a piece that would really look nice.

Anyway, as for the bookshelf issue, I'm still exploring my options. I've looked at this Ikea expedit bookshelf, which would just fit if I place it horizontally. I don't think it would compete too much for attention, despite the non-traditional shelf placement. Or, I'm sure if I asked DH, he'd make me shelf to fit the space. But he has so many projects of his own right now, I'm not sure how long it would take him to make the shelves. I could also make do with the shelf I currently have (which is not quite wide enough for the space) by painting the shelf a brown color, and centering everything (including the piano) on the wall.

Still searching for rugs and scouring craigslist for end tables and lamps... okay, off to work and then the paint store

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#17 of 31 Old 02-11-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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If an area rug under the dining room table turns out to be not practical (food falling on it?), a table cloth would break up the "too-much-wood" effect as well. You may also already have one you can use to try it out.
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#18 of 31 Old 02-11-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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A few thoughts -

I like the accent wall color - I'd consider leaving that wall the same color and use a paler yellow or yellowish-off white for the rest of the space. I think that these kinds of golden colors really help offset the 'lots of wood' well.

I'd rehang the dining room artwork somewhat trianguarly - large piece centered but up somewhat (say, 6") and bottom two below it and somewhat off to the sides (kinda like this with the 3 images). Since the ceiling on the wall angles upward, it'd fit the space and they'd be somewhat more grouped (as it is, they're hanging at the same level and your artwork in the other room - they'd probably stand out more either with additional images - like photos, or slightly different grouping).

Shelf-wise, and as someone who also has a 'clutter problem' I'd consider something tall with doors for the space to the right of the piano (like this). I just find that it really helps things seem less crowded when you can't see everything (as much as I like open shelving) and it's been amazing how less crowded a room can be replacing short shelving with taller shelving. Two shorter ones with drawers on either side of the piano could work out too.
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doors on the shelves are a great idea. it is my preference.
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For color, I think we're leaning towards painting the WHOLE room (living/dining/kitchen) the same color- maybe a buttery yellow or a creamy beige.
This seems like a great idea! A warm color won't contrast as starkly as the white vs wood work does right now. It will also update the space and make it feel more cohesive.

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With a fairly neutral palate, we could add color with some warm colored throw pillows, rugs, art, and maybe colored lamp shades. I love the idea of putting a rug under the kitchen table- I'd never thought of than before. Of course it will require more vacuuming, but I think it would look really nice.
A monochromatic themed (yellow beige walls, with layers of deeper or warmer yellow accents) room would help to keep it looking unified and feeling warm without feeling cluttered.

I would skip the colored lamp shades. Or even colored lamps. White ceramic would look nice in your space considering your color and style preferences.

A very durable, indoor/outdoor rug would be easier to keep clean, as would a floor cloth type rug you could take outside to clean.

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1) I forgot to mention that I really love the pictures I have hanging in the dining area. They are paintings I bought in Ethiopia when we travelled to bring DS2 home (he's adopted). Any ideas about how I could keep those pictures? I'm willing to have them reframed. Would bigger frames help, or a different arrangement? Two of the pictures are about 10x13", one of the pictures is about 7" x 14".
If you love these, play them up! More substantial frames and mats would certainly help. For a sense of scale, I just framed a 5x7 silhouette in a 10x13 frame, with double mats. The frames don't have to be identical, but using similar ones throughout the dining room and living room would help.

No need to pay big $$ to have them reframed. AC Moores, Micheals, et al have 50% off coupons regularly. You can just do multiple transactions.

I love the blog Young House Love for ideas for displaying art -- and decorating how-to's in general.

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2) If I go with Zoebird's furniture placement idea it will look something like this and this (only with new matching couch & loveseat).
This seems really crowded to me and doesn't really allow for good flow. If you aren't open to two chairs instead of a loveseat, then scale will be even more important. Your space isn't designed for oversized, overstuffed furniture.

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We'd get a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall in between the windows to free up some space, and a rug on the floor (probably some combination of reds and neutrals). My question is- would it look okay to leave the piano where it is and get an Ikea Expedit bookcase to put in the corner? I think it would be too tight to actually sit at the piano bench if we move the piano to the center of the wall and put bookcases on both sides.
What about centering the piano and putting narrow bookshelves on either side? Off center, your room is going to feel visually off balance. With the staircase where it is, there isn't a way to balance it either. I just sold off two hardwood matching bookcases for $100 on craigslist. Non-upholstered furniture is great to look for secondhand. You could try searching with the key words "danish," "modern" "mid century" to find clean-lined bookcases similar to the Ikea ones.

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first, lets talk about how to think about scale in real terms. you need a plan! ... hopefully, you will discover that the sofa and loveseat that you have ordered will fit your space. if it doesn't, then consider cancelling the order or seeing if the same set comes in a different scale. you may be able to order it in a smaller size.
Yes! Scale is a huge factor in making this room work. We also live in a smaller-than typical, open space and finding furniture that doesn't overwhelm the scale of the room is key to making it work.

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lets talk about that piano wall for a bit. it's fine id you do not center it, but whatever you put over there with it should nto be taller than it. you also want it to be only as wide from the wall (deep really) than the piano sans the bench, and if possible, *narrower* than the piano. you want something that looks like you put it there for the piano, to off set it. the piano is the show piece, not the shelves.
This is another great way to have the shelves not compete and fight with the piano.

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i dislike torcher lamps, so i would get rid of it if possible. that's just me, though.
I don't like them either. They seem super dated. And they aren't that effective at task or ambient lighting. What about an arc floor lamp? A more traditional floor lamp? Or some table lamps?

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I think another part of my issue is that I've been attempting to do things frugally and so I settle for something that kind of works and is cheap, or I just make do with what I already have instead of finding a piece that would really look nice.
Oh, I can relate to this! For me, the key has been patience. And craigslist. Coupons. And yard sales. And above all, only buying what I love.

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Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
Still searching for rugs and scouring craigslist for end tables and lamps... okay, off to work and then the paint store
If you haven't already bought the paint, Color Me Happy is a great blog about choosing and using color. How to make bold color act as a neutral. How to pick colors to promote flow in a space.

She also writes about color trends. For example, the common neutral is shifting from brown to gray. If you pick a beige, you might want to go with a more gray-taupe instead of a yellow-beige. Or if you pick a yellow, pick one with gray undertones. It will make finding accessories for the next decade a lot easier.

One other area where the scale is off is your entry. Consider adding a second row of pegs above for hats and adult coats. Or a round mirror, a mail organizer or even art you love. It needs something above it to balance it out.

The picture in the corner with the floor lamp is too high and might look better as part of a grouping. Did the chair used to be in that corner? It looks like it goes there instead of where it is next to the sofa now.

The picture window you have (above the TV right now) is incredible. Any interest in a circular stained glass piece there? It would look fantastic and be a great focal point when you look across from the kitchen/dining room.

End or console tables? I don't see anywhere to put a book, set a drink, have a reading lamp, etc.

What about moving the large floral print from the wall between the living room and kitchen over to above the piano or elsewhere in the house?

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If I had a taupe colored couch and a dark ottoman, I would paint the walls dark red.. in a minute. I love that color. I have heard that it takes extra coats though.
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#22 of 31 Old 02-12-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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If I had a taupe colored couch and a dark ottoman, I would paint the walls dark red.. in a minute. I love that color. I have heard that it takes extra coats though.
We have a cranberry powder room, which is DEFINITELY in the red family. SIX COATS of paint. SIX! I love the space and it was totally worth it, but I am super glad it is a tiny space.

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#23 of 31 Old 02-12-2010, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of the continued suggestions! It feels like I'm living and breathing home dec, and I'm STILL not sure what I want, but I'm working on it...

I've started painting, and should be done with the living room area tonight. I picked a creamy-yellowy-beigey-golden-warm color. It's Sherwin Williams' August Moon. I'm using the Harmony no-VOC paint. It's still a little smelly, but nothing like regular paint. I called and cancelled the ottoman this afternoon. And DH was thrilled to pick out a new flatscreen TV

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This seems like a great idea! A warm color won't contrast as starkly as the white vs wood work does right now. It will also update the space and make it feel more cohesive.
I hope so

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A very durable, indoor/outdoor rug would be easier to keep clean, as would a floor cloth type rug you could take outside to clean.
I looked at a few of these today, and none of them felt very nice I'm leaning towards a wool rug, probably multicolored to hide the inevitable stains from my 4 kids.

Quote:
If you love these, play them up! More substantial frames and mats would certainly help. For a sense of scale, I just framed a 5x7 silhouette in a 10x13 frame, with double mats. The frames don't have to be identical, but using similar ones throughout the dining room and living room would help.

No need to pay big $$ to have them reframed. AC Moores, Micheals, et al have 50% off coupons regularly. You can just do multiple transactions.
I have several questions about this. My plan is to keep the Ethiopian pictures in the dining area. I also have an Ethiopian cross and a few baskets in the kitchen. But how large should the frames be if the pics are about 10"X13" and 7"x14"? And should the frames all be the same size, even though the pics are different sizes? How should they be grouped? How high should I hang them- a few inches above chair-back level, eye height? I keep reading different advice.

OR, would it be better to put them in the living room and leave the dining area wall bare?

I was at Michaels today, I saw that they are having a 50% off framing sale... so the same prices as with the coupon. It would be about $200 to have the 3 pictures framed. I know my grandma used to do framing. Maybe a trip to her house is in order

Quote:
I love the blog Young House Love for ideas for displaying art -- and decorating how-to's in general.
That's the blog! I remember reading it a year or so ago, but couldn't remember the name of it. Off to peruse...

Quote:
This seems really crowded to me and doesn't really allow for good flow. If you aren't open to two chairs instead of a loveseat, then scale will be even more important. Your space isn't designed for oversized, overstuffed furniture.
The pieces we ordered should fit okay with the proposed furniture arrangement. I've been playing around with grid paper, and it *should* work. I really like the look of 2 chairs, but the logistics of a loveseat work so much better for our family. I have 4 kids, and it's important that we all have a place to sit in the living room.

Quote:
What about centering the piano and putting narrow bookshelves on either side? Off center, your room is going to feel visually off balance. With the staircase where it is, there isn't a way to balance it either.
I'm wondering if there actually IS any way to make the room feel balanced, since it has the vaulted ceiling at the end of the room.

Quote:
If you haven't already bought the paint, Color Me Happy is a great blog about choosing and using color. How to make bold color act as a neutral. How to pick colors to promote flow in a space.
Pretty!

Quote:
One other area where the scale is off is your entry. Consider adding a second row of pegs above for hats and adult coats. Or a round mirror, a mail organizer or even art you love. It needs something above it to balance it out.
Thanks for the reminder. I meant to put up a mirror when we put up the hooks, and I never could bring myself to spend the money. I'll have to add it to my list

Quote:
The picture in the corner with the floor lamp is too high and might look better as part of a grouping. Did the chair used to be in that corner? It looks like it goes there instead of where it is next to the sofa now.
The chair did used to go in that corner, but we rearranged to when we put up the Christmas tree, and I never got around to putting everything back.

Quote:
The picture window you have (above the TV right now) is incredible. Any interest in a circular stained glass piece there? It would look fantastic and be a great focal point when you look across from the kitchen/dining room.
We've considered this, but it would have to be a HUGE piece in order for the scale to work. And it just hasn't been at the top of my priority list

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#24 of 31 Old 02-12-2010, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a cranberry powder room, which is DEFINITELY in the red family. SIX COATS of paint. SIX! I love the space and it was totally worth it, but I am super glad it is a tiny space.
I had a red dining room in my old house. Red with white trim, a fireplace, and a huge picture window. I loved that room .

After using the (bright pink!) primer, it still took 3-4 coats to look good. Yikes, was that a lot of work.

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#25 of 31 Old 02-12-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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I've started painting, and should be done with the living room area tonight. I picked a creamy-yellowy-beigey-golden-warm color. It's Sherwin Williams' August Moon. I'm using the Harmony no-VOC paint. It's still a little smelly, but nothing like regular paint.
This is a really pretty color. I hope you decide to post pics after you are done.

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I looked at a few of these today, and none of them felt very nice I'm leaning towards a wool rug, probably multicolored to hide the inevitable stains from my 4 kids.
Ohhhh. This would feel sooo nice underfoot. I am too slack a housekeeper to really keep one with our dog and the two little ones, but you are probably much better than I am.

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I have several questions about this. My plan is to keep the Ethiopian pictures in the dining area. I also have an Ethiopian cross and a few baskets in the kitchen. But how large should the frames be if the pics are about 10"X13" and 7"x14"? And should the frames all be the same size, even though the pics are different sizes? How should they be grouped? How high should I hang them- a few inches above chair-back level, eye height? I keep reading different advice.
Do you have a closeup of the pics? I would frame them in the same size, same color and slightly different style frame with the appropriately sized mat for each. Grouped with a third, related item/picture, they would probably look better in different size frames.

I tend to hang art at the mean between my (5'5") and my husband's (6'2") height, but also break that rule depending. I have three pictures above our headboard, and they are much higher than eye level. I have a large (3'x4') canvas hung vertically over our couch and by necessity, it is higher than eye level.

I would hang the two at eye level and if you do three so that the middle of the grouping is at eye level.

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OR, would it be better to put them in the living room and leave the dining area wall bare?
Whichever you prefer. Since you seem to be leaning toward decorating the two areas as one -- which is what I would do, too -- they will likely look good in either.

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I was at Michaels today, I saw that they are having a 50% off framing sale... so the same prices as with the coupon. It would be about $200 to have the 3 pictures framed. I know my grandma used to do framing. Maybe a trip to her house is in order
I was actually suggesting something different. Micheals also carries pre-cut mat board and stock frames. DIY will be *much* cheaper than $66 each. I just framed something 11x14 for less than $20, frame and mat. And they look good. Even my friend who did framing for years said so.

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The pieces we ordered should fit okay with the proposed furniture arrangement. I've been playing around with grid paper, and it *should* work. I really like the look of 2 chairs, but the logistics of a loveseat work so much better for our family. I have 4 kids, and it's important that we all have a place to sit in the living room.
Awesome! Sorry for offering advice about something you had already chosen. I missed that.

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#26 of 31 Old 02-12-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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How big is the space? Just the living room part.
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#27 of 31 Old 02-13-2010, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a really pretty color. I hope you decide to post pics after you are done.
I definitely will. I'll probably need more help

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I was actually suggesting something different. Micheals also carries pre-cut mat board and stock frames. DIY will be *much* cheaper than $66 each. I just framed something 11x14 for less than $20, frame and mat. And they look good. Even my friend who did framing for years said so.
This is how it is currently. Kind of. The problem is that Michael's (or at least the stores around here) only have mats of predetermined sizes. My pictures are not standard sizes, so at the very least I'd need to get the mats custom cut. We bought some standard size mats and cut them ourselves, but they don't look very good.

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Awesome! Sorry for offering advice about something you had already chosen. I missed that.
No worries! I appreaciate all of your suggestions. It's nice to hear everyone's ideas.

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#28 of 31 Old 02-13-2010, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How big is the space? Just the living room part.
It varies, because of the open design. But the majority of it is 11 ft 6 inches x 15 feet 10 inches. This doesn't include the extra walkways or the entryway.

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#29 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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I really like the wall color and would go with that for the whole room. The idea to put all the cds on an ipod is a good one, and get all those discs out of there. Any storage needed in that room would be great behind closed doors or hidden somehow. I would update the ceiling light fixtures. I think a flat screen tv in the center of those windows is a great idea, I'd get a cabinet to put underneath to store dvds out of sight. Ikea has some great ones that aren't too deep. You've got a great space there, and I don't think it's too much wood. It doesn't look that way to me. Oh, and I also agree that you need fewer, but larger pieces of art.
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#30 of 31 Old 02-17-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Hmmmmmmm.

I would pick one color to unify your living room with your dining room, and paint the whole connecting wall that color. Make it a bold, warm color like a terra cotta, a barn red, or a golden yellow.

I'd paint the window wall a lighter, neutral color that matches, like a sandy brown or some other light color. I would honestly leave that wall blank, except for maybe some plants below it. Too much furniture in such a tiny space makes it cluttered. You have that red chair by the front door--move it over by the windows. Put some taller plant stands with long viney type plants in front of the windows.

Put the piano on the same wall, but scoot it over towards the corner a bit. Move the TV to the corner where the tall lamp is now. It's kind of a "Focal point" the way it is set up now, if you put it there, it's not the first thing you see.

Get a patterned area rug like http://www.potterybarn.com/products/...gs-multi-color this or http://www.potterybarn.com/products/...gs-multi-color this, and pull colors from that. Do the window wall in one of the blues from the rugs. Put some throw pillows on the couches with another color.....little things that tie it all together.

For the walls, I'd cluster the pictures in several small areas. A friend of mine took a bunch of 4x6 frames, glued them together in a big hodgepodge on the wall, and it looked like a big starburst of pics. It was awesome. There's no one way to do it. Google picture clustering and kind of go with it. Put mini-clusters all over the big wall, put one giant cluster over the piano.......

For fun.....I'd also hang up a wooden bead curtain in that doorway or something, in warm neutral colors as well.

Also, get some giant CD books, store all your CD's in them, and get rid of the cases and the rack. Get rid of the bookshelf all together. You can store your CD books in the TV stand.
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