365 Days of a Happy Home

I just recently finished the #100happydays challenge.  This challenge was to post (on my personal Facebook timeline) 1 post a day for 100 days  something that made me happy. I received great feedback and have decided to tweak this challenge for MJG Interiors.

Who doesn’t love a Happy Home? Starting today, we will post every day for 365 days, 1 thing that contributes to a Happy Home. Check back often for ideas and ways to make you feel happy in your home! As always, leave us comments! Agree or disagree, there is no wrong answer. However, there is lots to learn!

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Day 134: Lamp Finials!

by MJ Gourd


Day 134 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

A finial is the little threaded bit that holds your lamp shade on the harp of your lamp.  This small decorative item is a perfect place for some pizzazz.  I am not an advocate of going over the top with seasonal finials (think jack o'lantern, Father Christmas or a football) but something tasteful that fits with the decor.  Check these out...

These agate finials from Ballard Design can add soft color and sophistication for as little as $19.

These agate finials from Ballard Design can add soft color and sophistication for as little as $19.

In the proper setting this Maine Pine Cone Finial found on Etsy could be fun and playful!

In the proper setting this Maine Pine Cone Finial found on Etsy could be fun and playful!

These are a few typical finials that are commonly used, also from Ballard Design. 

These are a few typical finials that are commonly used, also from Ballard Design. 

This "Dynasty" Collection (yes, named after the 1980's TV show) from the Hillary  Thomas collection, can add just the right amount of color and height to a blah lamp.

This "Dynasty" Collection (yes, named after the 1980's TV show) from the Hillary  Thomas collection, can add just the right amount of color and height to a blah lamp.

Last, but not least, these coral finials would be right at home by the sea!

Last, but not least, these coral finials would be right at home by the sea!


Day 133: Wabi-Sabi!

by MJ Gourd


Day 133 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

Wabi-sabi is the traditional Japanese aesthetic of imperfection.  Leonard Koren in his 1994 book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers describes it as "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete." How liberating it would be if your Happy Home could be imperfect, impermanent or incomplete!  We have taken this idea of imperfection, labeled it and shown it here.  Would you agree these are beautiful?   

The checkerboard wood floors in this 1800's farmhouse show the patina of lives well lived. Imperfect, yes!  But beautiful!

The checkerboard wood floors in this 1800's farmhouse show the patina of lives well lived. Imperfect, yes!  But beautiful!

I picked up this table for my shop at a local antique fair.  The wear and tear on the claw foot legs is what caught my eye!

I picked up this table for my shop at a local antique fair.  The wear and tear on the claw foot legs is what caught my eye!

We used this Dash and Albert runner on top of 200 year old floor boards.  Without the brightly colored runner the boards screamed to be refinished.  But the beautiful runner muted the imperfections in the boards.  They work well together.

We used this Dash and Albert runner on top of 200 year old floor boards.  Without the brightly colored runner the boards screamed to be refinished.  But the beautiful runner muted the imperfections in the boards.  They work well together.

We like to add custom boot trays to our mudrooms.  This one is made from galvanized sheet metal and filled with rocks from locations important to the owners.  The rocks can handle all the mud and salt cast off from the boots while serving as tokens from past adventures.

We like to add custom boot trays to our mudrooms.  This one is made from galvanized sheet metal and filled with rocks from locations important to the owners.  The rocks can handle all the mud and salt cast off from the boots while serving as tokens from past adventures.

The paneling in this room dates back to the early 1800's.  The pearl finish of the paint mutes the imperfections but doesn't eliminate them. It allows your imagination to wonder how those imperfections came to be.  If allowed, the wood can reveal the secrets of the families that have lived here.

The paneling in this room dates back to the early 1800's.  The pearl finish of the paint mutes the imperfections but doesn't eliminate them. It allows your imagination to wonder how those imperfections came to be.  If allowed, the wood can reveal the secrets of the families that have lived here.

Here is another piece I picked up at an antique show.  It most likely dates back to the first half of the last century.  A house filled with pieces like this could be overpowering.   But one piece as a bedside table can be all you need. 

Here is another piece I picked up at an antique show.  It most likely dates back to the first half of the last century.  A house filled with pieces like this could be overpowering.   But one piece as a bedside table can be all you need. 

Would you allow your home to have the imperfections like we have shown here? We think the beauty is in the nooks and crannies of every Happy Home.


Day 132: Light Bulb Moment!

by MJ Gourd


Day 132 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

We are frequently asked "What is the best light bulb to use?"  I thought this would be a great opportunity to show you how the proper light bulb can change your mood from sad to glad, thus making a Happy Home!  

Thank you House Logic for posting this great graphic on when to use different bulbs!

Thank you House Logic for posting this great graphic on when to use different bulbs!

Just because a light bulb is on sale doesn't mean you should buy it!  Thanks to the FTC the mystery surrounding the wattage of the new light bulbs has been solved and is printed on the bulb packaging!  The new jargon for light bulb brightness is "lumens"!  The higher the lumens, the brighter the light!

Another important term to know is "kelvins" (K).  This references the color temperature.  To me, there is an inverse to the number of kelvins.  The lower the number the warmer the light!  Where candlelight is around 1000K and natural daylight is around 5500-6500K.  A clear blue sky would be 10,000K

Still another term to look for on the packaging is CRI for color rendering index.  This will tell us how well you will experience color and texture on a scale from 1 -100.  In other words, how satisfied or happy you will be in the space.  That will depend on using the right bulb for the space!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • LED's are good to light a path (think hallway!) or for task lighting (under your cabinets in the kitchen).  If you have an opportunity to light your ceiling with cove lighting, this is a good place for them, too! 

This chandelier is using halogen Edison style bulbs.

This chandelier is using halogen Edison style bulbs.

  • Looking to dim the lights and create a soft mood?  Think about a halogen bulb.  It renders color and texture beautifully.  Think about using them in your recessed lights in the ceiling of your great room or your dining room chandelier! 

West Elm Pelle table lamp

West Elm Pelle table lamp

  • Table lamps are a great place to use CFL's.  If you are just looking for light, try these.  But quality varies by brand. You may have to try a few different manufacturers before you find the one you like. 

  • The best light in a bathroom is "cool white" or "day light" 3500K – 6500K.  We used Pullman style vanity lighting above with cool white bulbs in this bathroom. 


Day 131: Stair Runners!

by MJ Gourd


Day 131 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

Is there a set of stairs in your house screaming to be noticed?  Or perhaps you have slipped off the wood treads one too many times.  Maybe it's time to bring these spaces to the next level.  MJG Interiors happens to like stripe runners A LOT!  Check out how we have "stepped up" these spaces: 

Before the renovation of this house, these wood treads leading to a play room were a hazard for the 3 active boys that vacationed here.  By painting the treads and adding this bound runner from Weave Tuft we not only added stability but FUN STRIPES! 

Before the renovation of this house, these wood treads leading to a play room were a hazard for the 3 active boys that vacationed here.  By painting the treads and adding this bound runner from Weave Tuft we not only added stability but FUN STRIPES! 

This cotton runner from Dash and Albert was a great way to liven up the stairwell.  We ordered 2 8' runners and had our installer run them up the stairs ending just below the top landing.

This cotton runner from Dash and Albert was a great way to liven up the stairwell.  We ordered 2 8' runners and had our installer run them up the stairs ending just below the top landing.

Our installer graciously stepped out of the way for the shot!  This Prestige Mills carpet was bound by the installer who also added the mitered corner so the stripe could flow up the stairs.  A nice touch in this antique home.

Our installer graciously stepped out of the way for the shot!  This Prestige Mills carpet was bound by the installer who also added the mitered corner so the stripe could flow up the stairs.  A nice touch in this antique home.

The back stairs at this mountain home is jazzed up by this Fleetwood Fox wool runner.  We like to leave about 5"-6" on either side of the runner to show off the tread.

The back stairs at this mountain home is jazzed up by this Fleetwood Fox wool runner.  We like to leave about 5"-6" on either side of the runner to show off the tread.

We finished this project a few years ago, but we still love this runner!  Too bad Karistan doesn't sell it any more.  We'd use it again.  

We finished this project a few years ago, but we still love this runner!  Too bad Karistan doesn't sell it any more.  We'd use it again.  

We like this Weave Tuft carpet, too.  It is the same style and colorway as the first image in this blog!  See how different it can look in this application?  These are "carpet grade" stairs (for the budget conscious) so the carpet is installed "wall to wall: And we have accented it with a gray painted trim.

We like this Weave Tuft carpet, too.  It is the same style and colorway as the first image in this blog!  See how different it can look in this application?  These are "carpet grade" stairs (for the budget conscious) so the carpet is installed "wall to wall: And we have accented it with a gray painted trim.

We would love to see your stairs!  Have any interesting installations to share?  Send them to us and we'll post on our Facebook page (with permission of course) and give credit to manufacturer, installer and photographer!


130: Silhouettes

by MJ Gourd


Day 130 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

We've all seen them, the image of a person or an animal as a solid shape, usually black, with its edges matching the outline of the subject. The interior of a silhouette is featureless, and the image is typically presented on a light background, usually white.  Silhouettes have been used through the years as remembrance of family members and even as art.  They have been in and out of fashion for centuries.   They are back in favor and can add a bit of whimsy to almost any room in the house.  Here are some examples:

Man's best friend is depicted by Ramsay Gourd Home in the fresh take on the traditional silhouette.  This pattern is available as a wallpaper and fabric. 

Man's best friend is depicted by Ramsay Gourd Home in the fresh take on the traditional silhouette.  This pattern is available as a wallpaper and fabric. 

Katie who writes the blog Little House of Four recently shared this hallway update she did.  It includes matted and framed silhouettes of her children.  Charming and timeless!

Katie who writes the blog Little House of Four recently shared this hallway update she did.  It includes matted and framed silhouettes of her children.  Charming and timeless!

Malva wallpaper by Scion takes artistic license with the repeating image of the leaves and branches, then punches it up with the color.  Shown here is "cinnamon" but available in yummy colors like "Mist" and "Licorice".

Malva wallpaper by Scion takes artistic license with the repeating image of the leaves and branches, then punches it up with the color.  Shown here is "cinnamon" but available in yummy colors like "Mist" and "Licorice".

The "Tree of Life" silhouette as seen here in the curtains from Country Curtains can add a bit of whimsy to almost any space.  

The "Tree of Life" silhouette as seen here in the curtains from Country Curtains can add a bit of whimsy to almost any space.  


129: Faux Marble

by MJ Gourd


Day 129 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

 

I dabbled in faux marbling when I moved into my first apartment after college.  I gave a coffee table I found at a local thrift shop a new top with my recently learned marbleizing techniques.   It looked great and I went on to faux finish other pieces.  Too bad I didn't documented them.  It's not hard to do and instructions are all over the web.  Do you have a hoe-hum piece of furniture in need of a shot in the arm?  Here are some inspirational pics to get your creative juices flowing!

I saw this image on the Homedit website.  This table top is actually covered with a marble look contact paper.  That's a quick option, too!

I saw this image on the Homedit website.  This table top is actually covered with a marble look contact paper.  That's a quick option, too!

I found this project on the HomeTalk website.  The author found these tables at Target on super sale, didn't like the tops...presto change-o (with Faux Marble Contact paper) and they look like they are marble top tables!

I found this project on the HomeTalk website.  The author found these tables at Target on super sale, didn't like the tops...presto change-o (with Faux Marble Contact paper) and they look like they are marble top tables!

This guy from Grand Illusion Decorative Painting located in New York City, is painting these columns.  Maybe you don't have columns this large in your house, but if you did...

This guy from Grand Illusion Decorative Painting located in New York City, is painting these columns.  Maybe you don't have columns this large in your house, but if you did...

Zoffany's Makrana Momentum wallpaper can be applied in blocks to a wall to make it look like stone.

Zoffany's Makrana Momentum wallpaper can be applied in blocks to a wall to make it look like stone.

Here the beige marble wallpaper by Piet Hein Ekk shows how to mimic slabs of marble.  Very impressive!

Where could you use a little faux marble?


128: Decorating with Mirrors

by MJ Gourd


Day 128 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

Do you have a corner of a dark room that is crying out for illumination?  Do you have a small space that needs to feel larger and more important (not unlike a young child)?  Mirrors can work wonders.  The first mirrors, dating back to 600 BC were nothing more than polished natural materials that reflected objects.  Later they would include beautiful metals like copper, silver or even gold.  Today we transform spaces with mirrors, old and new. 

Here the corner of an entryway is brightened by a re-purposed 

Here the corner of an entryway is brightened by a re-purposed 

We added mirror glass to the back of this wet bar.  It not only reflects the light, but the objects on the shelves. 

We added mirror glass to the back of this wet bar.  It not only reflects the light, but the objects on the shelves. 

In this tiny bathroom, we selected a bold round mirror with a tiny frame to make the space feel bigger.

In this tiny bathroom, we selected a bold round mirror with a tiny frame to make the space feel bigger.

The stairwell we placed a pair of these sconces in has lots of natural light.  It needed the help of the mirror in these sconces to reflect the light at night. 

The stairwell we placed a pair of these sconces in has lots of natural light.  It needed the help of the mirror in these sconces to reflect the light at night. 

This mirror was artfully placed to not only reflect light, but to bring the outside in! 

This mirror was artfully placed to not only reflect light, but to bring the outside in! 


127: Textured Walls

by MJ Gourd


Day 127 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

 

Plaster walls date back to 7500 BC when lime based plaster was used to construct dwellings.  In the 21st century we are using more than plaster to finish off the interior walls of our homes.  Creativity knows no limits! Check out a few of these options:

Yup, those are cow hide tiles!  Incredible texture and vibrant, natural hues!

Yup, those are cow hide tiles!  Incredible texture and vibrant, natural hues!

Here are just a few of the many styles and colors now available in grass cloth.  This gives a stunning result in any room.

Here are just a few of the many styles and colors now available in grass cloth.  This gives a stunning result in any room.

We love the crisp clean look of burlap applied above the wainscoting.  The trim with nail heads is an added bonus.

We love the crisp clean look of burlap applied above the wainscoting.  The trim with nail heads is an added bonus.

Here is another example of fabric upholstered walls (culled from the internet).  This would be great for sound absorption. 

Here is another example of fabric upholstered walls (culled from the internet).  This would be great for sound absorption. 

Here is a stone tile we used in a kitchen back splash.  This would be great in a mudroom, too.

Here is a stone tile we used in a kitchen back splash.  This would be great in a mudroom, too.

Oh, the texture you can create with this wood tile!  It looks like the end butts of timber.

Oh, the texture you can create with this wood tile!  It looks like the end butts of timber.


126: Maker Space in your Home!

by MJ Gourd


Day 126 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

what-is-a-makerspace2.jpg

What is a Maker's Space?  It seems to be the buzz these days.  Basically it is a space to CREATE, PRODUCE and INSPIRE!  What do you make in a Makers Space?  Anything you want!  So why not have the space in your home to make whatever you want!

3D Printers now come as table top versions.  What would you print if you had one?  How about your kids?

3D Printers now come as table top versions.  What would you print if you had one?  How about your kids?

Fly fishing dates back to the 2nd century!  The art of fly fishing is as intricate as tying the fly(bait).   Just look at all the product that goes into making these flies. Here is the perfect MAKER SPACE to tie everything from your Nymph to your Woolly Bugger!

Fly fishing dates back to the 2nd century!  The art of fly fishing is as intricate as tying the fly(bait).   Just look at all the product that goes into making these flies. Here is the perfect MAKER SPACE to tie everything from your Nymph to your Woolly Bugger!

This beautiful potters studio could be in an annex to the house.  The kiln gets pretty hot!

This beautiful potters studio could be in an annex to the house.  The kiln gets pretty hot!

Ideally your maker space for painting should have northern light.  Artificial light can do if need be, but is a definite substitute.  

Ideally your maker space for painting should have northern light.  Artificial light can do if need be, but is a definite substitute.  

Yes, a wood working bench is a MAKER SPACE! 

Yes, a wood working bench is a MAKER SPACE! 

So is a sewing room!  Betsy Ross must have had a great 18th century MAKER SPACE!

So is a sewing room!  Betsy Ross must have had a great 18th century MAKER SPACE!

Truly, any craft space can be a MAKER SPACE!

Truly, any craft space can be a MAKER SPACE!


125: Gallery Walls!

by MJ Gourd


Day 125 of 365 Days of a Happy Home!

A gallery wall is a flexible, mutable decorative process and creates the perfect opportunity to make a personal statement at home. As organic as the arrangement may appear, it actually requires time, preparation, and patience. What composes your gallery wall is not only personal, but varied. Include anything from expensive art to flea markets paintings, kids’ sketches to vintage photos to create a perfectly eclectic arrangement. Whether big, small or somewhere in between, a gallery with your favorite prints and art pieces can instantly elevate the style of any space.

In this cozy room, family photos printed in black-and-white lends an authentic and personal touch that compliments the neutral color palette.

In this cozy room, family photos printed in black-and-white lends an authentic and personal touch that compliments the neutral color palette.

This gallery wall is perfectly playful and smart. Even the aqua wall in this home office provides the perfect backdrop for an irreverent art collection

This gallery wall is perfectly playful and smart. Even the aqua wall in this home office provides the perfect backdrop for an irreverent art collection

These stunning prints provide a cohesive look to this gallery wall not only in its linear placement but also its botanical theme.

These stunning prints provide a cohesive look to this gallery wall not only in its linear placement but also its botanical theme.

An interesting interpretation of the gallery wall! Using shelves provides versatility, and saves your walls!

An interesting interpretation of the gallery wall! Using shelves provides versatility, and saves your walls!

I love the variety of sizes and shapes used here, yet the wooden frames and pictures keep the cohesive.

I love the variety of sizes and shapes used here, yet the wooden frames and pictures keep the cohesive.

This graphic art collection has a distinct feel of being thoughtfully collected over time. The bold black-and-white pieces match the pillow and rug, and pops of color add life to the room.

This graphic art collection has a distinct feel of being thoughtfully collected over time. The bold black-and-white pieces match the pillow and rug, and pops of color add life to the room.

This cozy collection adds an authentic warmth to this rustic room. 

This cozy collection adds an authentic warmth to this rustic room. 

We have a mild obsession with maps over here at MJG Interiors so I had to include this cool, old world map for inspiration!

We have a mild obsession with maps over here at MJG Interiors so I had to include this cool, old world map for inspiration!