Trying to Find the Perfect Gray Paint for our Living Room

On New Year’s Weekend of 2014-15, Ryan and I discussed changing the paint in our living room. We’d enjoyed the Tate Olive accent walls for several years, but after reupholstering the sofa in brown leather, replacing our white chairs with wooden ones, and switching out the glass and chrome Barcelona table for a baby-safe wooden coffee table, the whole room was looking too earthy and drab.

Case in point:

Living Room Brown and GreenRyan had the genius idea to go with a dark gray.  It would contrast nicely with the teak wood and caramel leather tones. We looked at paint swatches and then . . . well, we had a baby and everything took 5 times longer to complete.

This year, as New Year’s Day loomed, I decided that it was time to paint. The paper swatches had been sitting out for a year.

Going gray in the living room meant we’d have to repaint the rest of the open-plan living areas, because the dining room, kitchen, and hall all flow together. They are currently “builder’s beige,” which was great 6 years ago but drives me nuts now. And the pink-undertone beige does not work with charcoal gray. Add in the orange-brown cabinets, the beige tile floors . . . and you’ve got a lot of brown tones going on.

Dining Room Before | The Borrowed Abode

So . . . over the holiday we painted, starting with the charcoal walls of the living room.  Sunday morning we woke up and were disappointed – the charcoal gray with blue undertones looked way too blue in the morning light.  (It actually looks more neutral in the photo than it did in person.)

Living Room Blue Gray Walls In Progress

The walls appeared to change color as the day progressed. Our living room gets a ton of light all day, thanks to its exposure and large windows. That’s how we knew a dark color would work. It makes it really hard to get a consistent look from colors. In the evening the walls looked like just what we wanted – a dark charcoal gray.

Living Room Blue Gray Paint in Sunlight

Ryan and I are currently perplexed. The color we ended up with is a medium gray, and it looks pretty with the brown furniture. But it’s not the dark, dramatic, modern look that we were aiming for.

Living Room Darker Gray Paint Swatches

We tried two darker grays yesterday afternoon, and one clearly had brown undertones – so that’s out. The other is a darker version of what we just covered the walls with and complements the caramel leather well.

Living Room Gray Paint Brown Leather
Today I’m going to start painting the other walls the pale gray. It’s possible that covering the builder’s beige will help us make a decision on the dark gray living room.

Either way, it feels really good to get back to decorating after a busy holiday season with Janery! It’s always been my favorite way to relax.

PS: I created a new Instagram account for the blog, where I’m sharing more real-time updates and snips of real life.  You may have noticed that the Janery IG account is being used primarily for my business, so if you’re more into the blog, come follow @TheBorrowedAbode on IG!

Removing Wood Glue: Testing a Non-Toxic Solution

I tested out a trick for easily removing wood glue with a non-toxic solution on a vintage dresser, using something I already had in the house.  Here’s how it turned out!

This summer we added a new dresser to our master bedroom.  It’s a gorgeous vintage piece that I fell in love with a year ago, when I spied it in our favorite vintage shop in New Hampshire.Vintage Dresser Bedroom Printer Tray

Ryan and I actually purchased it then, intending to put it in Maple’s nursery.  But back pain and pregnancy complications meant we couldn’t return to pick it up until this summer.  In the mean time we found a cheaper vintage dresser for her room.

The good dresser was perfect for our master bedroom, since I’d had to move all my clothes into the master when I created the nursery.

When one of the glide rails for a drawer broke on my new dresser, I glued it back in place with lots of wood glue.  After it dried, I found that I couldn’t close the drawer because I’d glued the rail at an angle.

Removing wood glue seemed scary and nearly impossible without breaking the dresser.  The glue forms a really, really strong bond.  I searched online for ways to remove it, and was skeptical when I read that white vinegar would soften the glue.  Removing Wood Glue Easy Non Toxic Solution

But vinegar sounded better than removing wood glue with a toxic solvent, so I soaked some paper towels in vinegar and smooshed them around the rail, letting the liquid sit for a few hours.
Removing Wood Glue Easy Non Toxic Solution

Then I took a spackling scraper and slowly wedged it under the rail, loosening it bit by bit.  The vinegar had succeeded in softening the wood glue.  I had to add a little more vinegar to reach the middle of the rail where there was a lot of dried glue, but with patience I succeeded in removing the rail without damaging the wood.   Removing Wood Glue Easy Non Toxic Solution

*The wood didn’t sustain any lasting damage from all the vinegar soaking into it, but keep in mind that it was unfinished wood inside the dresser.  If you’re removing wood glue on the outside (finished) part of furniture, I think vinegar or any solvent would harm the finish.

easy and non-toxic wood glue removal trick

Balancing Business and Motherhood: My Interview on the Sarah R. Bagley Podcast!

Balancing Business and Motherhood: My Interview on the Sarah R. Bagley Podcast!

Do you listen to podcasts?   Today I’m discussing Janery and family, and essentially how I’m balancing business and motherhood on the Sarah R. Bagley podcast.

I listen to several while I work, and Sarah’s is one of my faves! It’s a lifestyle podcast focused on pursuit of a B+ life – something that she’s passionate about as a “recovering perfectionist.”

I have experience public speaking, but not so much on podcast interviews! While I was prepared to talk on these topics with Sarah, nothing prepared me for how nervous I got!   Just keeping it real.  I fear I may have rambled a lot, but we discussed things like my perseverance with launching Charlie Cushions at Janery, my inspiration for products, the dog that touched my heart like no other, and exciting life topics like laundry.  😉

And if you have any tips on balancing business and motherhood, please chime in on Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments!

Balancing Business and Motherhood Janery on the Sarah R Bagley Podcast Episode 93 Handmade Business

Introducing Winter Botanicals: The 2015 Janery Holiday Pillows

Every year I create a limited edition collection of holiday pillows. This year I designed a line of “winter” pillows that can carry your decor into the cold new year.Janery Winter Pillows Holiday Pillows

I released them last week and have less than a dozen remaining, so if you love them, now is the time.  Once they sell out, they’re gone forever!

Shop the Collection Button 250px

PS:  Next week I’m having my annual Cyber Monday Sale – it’s always the biggest sale of the year!  Join the Janery VIP Club if you’d like early access.