March 31, 2018

Room Tour: My Bedroom

Sherwin Williams Mt Etna

I feel like I can't talk about our new house without referencing the shortcomings of our old house, which feels like a betrayal, like talking with your new lover about all the things you didn't dig about your old lover. This was our old bedroom. I loved it, too. Especially after I ripped up all that carpet, pried up every last staple and nail, and painted the floors white.

But in our newer bedroom, I feel like I've captured all of my weird tastes in one space. It's a collision of references, and it somehow all works: Weird antiques! Nautical! Granny! Global! Scallops! Midcentury! It's all there, and even though none of it "goes," it's like everyone has agreed to get along anyway.

I painted the walls Sherwin Williams' Mt. Etna, which is blacky, bluey, greeny color that gives me lots of feels, and then I painted the trim the same color (but in a glossier oil).

Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
black bedroom
Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
Sherwin Williams Mt Etna
the prince of tides
california tea towel tablecloth

The doors to our closet and bathroom are a new addition. I got them from the Home Depot website--they're supposed to be installed as bifold, but I installed them like french doors with these art deco antique doorknobs I got from this shop on Etsy. I painted them the Mt. Etna color. They weren't quite long enough, and there was a couple inch gap between where they ended and the floor begins so I put some garage door weatherstripping stuff at the bottom as an easy fix. I was worried it was going to look like crap, but it's all good.

In the closet, I put Benjamin Moore "Mystic Lake" on the walls and "Queen Anne Pink" on the ceiling. I'm tired just thinking about how much time I've spent painting all these surfaces, but it was worth it. This room has mucho soul. The light fixtures were a steal from Gilt, and I installed them myself. They're ridiculously large for a closet, and that's why they're exactly right.

benjamin moore mystic lake
sherwin williams mt etna
sherwin williams mt etna

March 20, 2018

A Solo Trip to Ocracoke

Last week, I went to the Outer Banks to work on my novel, a coming-of-age story that's been unfurling in my head for a few years. (I'm gonna finish writing this motherfucking thing this year if it's the last thing I do.) I needed to get out of its way and just be with my characters, away from emails, chores, errands, my kids and my life.

It was my first vacation by myself, and I went into it not knowing anything except that I was being called back by Ocracoke--the tiny island I had stayed on with my family four years earlier--and that I planned to write, put my phone down (except to take a lot of pictures of signs apparently) and just be with myself. What I couldn't know when I left Nashville is that, at age 35, I would be doing my own coming of age on Ocracoke.

Every single moment of those five days was exhilarating.

Even though I came for solitude, I still sought out connection, more earnestly and purposefully than I do in my "real" life. Every night I took myself out for dinner and drinks, and during the day I eavesdropped at the coffee shop and talked to shop owners and walked for hours. I smiled at everyone. I met some people--people I scheduled interviews with (the high school principal, a local historian, a librarian who let me leaf through old newspapers) and people who I ran into at night. People who were also summoned to Ocracoke. People who are fans of inky black nights shot through with stars and the quiet of the ocean and old boats as yard art. People who don't mind being isolated and who don't give a single shit about climbing the corporate ladder.

But the most important person I met on Ocracoke is myself. I had been buried for so long. Numb. I don't want to be that way anymore.

Some quotes I've been meditating on:

"I walked for miles at night along the beach, composing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me." --Anna Quindlen

"Jonathan and I sat on the small gravel beach and debated why large bodies of water are so alluring. I said it was all about color, and he said it was space. No one could pave it or build on it or sell anything on it. It's just a huge relief for our eyes, he said. But for me it's something more. The water always seems to be saying something to me, urging something from me, though I never know exactly what it is." --Lily King

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." --Ernest Hemingway

"I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people. Whenever it begins is the right time. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. And when it's over, it's over." --Anne Lamott

February 25, 2018

Pantry Makeover: Beadboard Walls + A Checkerboard Floor

How do you know if you really like a design or if a design style is "yours"? Pay attention to the rooms that make your blood pump faster, your brain light up, your nipples get hard and the goosebumps rise on your spine. Oh, is it only me who gets that excited about rooms? Well, then, I don't know what to tell you.

But there are two things that always have that effect on me--beadboard and checkerboard floors. (And now that shiplap has gotten through-the-roof popular, I think beadboard is a less trendy and less expensive way to get that classic country cottage look.) At the old house, I painted a green-and-white checkerboard pattern on my closet floor, but I guess I never blogged about it because I can't find it anywhere.

A few years ago I discovered designer Alison Kandler, who is based in Santa Monica. Her gratuitous use of cheerful poppy color has all of the aforementioned effects on me. Like, just have a look at this breakfast nook and tell me it doesn't bring you all the joy? This is in her own kitchen, but she has done checkerboard floors over and over again because you love what you love.

Another of Alison's signature moves is to bring an outdoor architectural element indoors--she often puts screen doors on pantries and scalloped/fish-scale siding in interior rooms (which is something I plan to emulate in Livvy's room this year). It was probably Alison who inspired me to swap my hollowcore pantry door for a door with character. Last summer I found this old lead glass door on Craigslist and talked its person down to $100. It somehow fit the dimensions of our pantry perfectly. Thus began my whole-pantry makeover.

Old door on pantry

First off, I LOVE this pantry, and I love HAVING a pantry. It was one of the things I was most excited about in the new house. But because the whole pantry was painted the color of the trim in our house (Sherwin Williams' Intellectual Gray), it was dark and it didn't reflect the appreciation I felt about having it. (Fun fact: Intellectual Gray is also the color of Joanna Gaines' bedroom.) There was also a very utilitarian light fixture in there that cast a harsh light. A new fixture was a must but it was a little tricky to find the perfect one because A) any flushmount fixture would have been jutting out crookedly on that slanted ceiling and B) any pendant would have to be very short because Nekos and I are not short people. 

Pottery Barn pendant light

The dimensions and price were right on the Pottery Barn Whitney Pendant, so we swiped it up and installed it ourselves. (It's for sale for $55 on the PB website right now.) Then I bought sheet after sheet of beadboard from Home Depot (it's super cheap) and cut it to size using my newfound skills with a circular saw (I taught myself how to use it when I was doing the barnwood paneling in our kitchen a few months earlier). At first I was gluing it onto the wall with this tile glue I had, but halfway through the project I started just nailing it up with skinny nails, which saved a lot of time and worked well. All my imperfect cuts got shellacked over with caulk and more caulk. And I painted the whole pantry from top to bottom with Sherwin Williams Alabaster, which is the color of our kitchen cabinets and just one of my favorite whites. 

Obviously, the finishing touch needed to be a checkerboard floor. I decided to copy Alison Kandler's blue-green color scheme: The turquoisey-green I picked out is Sherwin Williams Larchmere, and the periwinkle blue is the same color as my front door, Sherwin Williams Celestial.  

Sherwin Williams Celestial and Sherwin Williams Larchmere

I put the Larchmere on first. It was so lovely.

Sherwin Williams Larchmere on pantry floor

Then, I made a mistake. Or maybe I should say I took a risk. I decided instead of two colors, maybe I could use ALL the random colors I had on hand. I spent the better part of a day taping off this design and painting this hideous floor. I promise I wasn't even smoking grass (as my parents call it). I hated it right away, but I lived with it for a few weeks.

Painted floor fail

Then, I went back to Plan A, the plan where two bright colors is plenty.

Blue and green checkerboard floor

Success! Cheerful cottge-style pantry of my dreams complete.

February 21, 2018

For Realz This Time: My Kitchen Tour

Last time, I was all like "my kitchen is the room that feels done to me in the house" and then two weeks later I dramatically altered it by hanging House of Hackney's London Rose wallpaper and moving all the art that was downstairs upstairs and moving all the art that was upstairs downstairs (because: snow dazzzeee). And by hanging wallpaper I mean having it hung because I draw the line at DIYing wallpaper.

When I ordered this wallpaper a few months ago I intended it for our master bathroom but since I have a remodel of that planned that involves adding a copper bathtub from my peeps at Native Trails I didn't want to paper its walls yet. When my wallpaper guy finally texted one evening at 9 p.m. to let me know he was available the next morning, I made a game-time decision to stick this in the kitchen and frankly, I'm fucking thrilled about it. The morning after it went up, I sat in the kitchen chewing on my cereal and mooning over it in every sense of the word. If I could move into this wallpaper and just frolic around in it forever, I would.

So here's take two of the kitchen blog post, with more grandma wallpaper and less blabbing, since I talked about a lot of the stuff I did to the kitchen in the first post.

Colorful eclectic kitchen with wallpaper - Black and White and Loved All Over blog by Ellen Mallernee Barnes
micentury bar Black and White and Loved All Over blog home of Ellen Mallernee Barnes

micentury bar

Colorful eclectic kitchen with floral wallpaper - Black and White and Loved All Over blog by Ellen Mallernee Barnes

House of Hackney London Rose Smoky Rose wallpaper

Benjamin Moore Van Courtland Blue kitchen island

House of Hackney London Rose Smoky Rose wallpaper

House of Hackney London Rose Smoky Rose wallpaper

pantry with painted checkerboard floor

Photos: Caroline Sharpnack