Stair Runners, Yea or Nay?

Isn’t it just like me to announce the blog is back and then not blog?  I’m sure those who know me well are not the least bit surprised.  Ha!

I’ve just been working on the backend to get my RSS subscription link switched over to Feedburner.  I think I’ve figured it out, so if you aren’t already subscribed, please join here.  I’d love to have you!

Now, back on topic.  I’ve been refinishing my stairway because it’s desperately in need of an update.  I posted the pic above to Instagram a few weeks ago.  I chose to stain the treads using a black stain & poly combo.  Since these treads aren’t in the best condition, I honestly think this is the best route.  It allows the natural grain of the wood to still show through slightly, while masking any unsightly dings & dents.  I’ve since finished all the staining, now I’m moving on to the risers this week. For the risers, I’ll be painting those white, along with the balusters.  And the top railing will be stained black, as well.  In the pic above, the railing and every other tread had only received one coat of stain.  I’m going for a look similar to these inspiration pics I pulled up on Pinterest.

This one is forever a classic and I will always love the contrast of the black & white runner.  I plan to go with something similar using the Dash & Albert Diamond runner in black.  I’ve gone back & forth between choosing a different color, picking something more neutral like a plain sisal, or using something with a less prominent pattern.  But this is where my heart is, so it would be my choice IF I decide to definitely go with the runner.  That’s where the post title comes in: Should I or shouldn’t I?  Would you or wouldn’t you?

I would love to hear more opinions on whether stair runners are necessary, functional, family friendly, or just plain stupid.  What say you?!

Since I’ve Been Away….

I’ve been plugging away at getting the rest of my site up & running.  Admittedly, I did take quite a long break, but that’s what we need sometimes, right?  I’ve made some sales through my Etsy shop and even made a few connections with people I’m excited to collaborate with over the next few months.  All in all, things are good.

Here are a few snapshots from Instagram on what’s been happening lately:

For more details and pics, head over to my feed here.

And We’re BACK!

It’s been such a long time since I last posted here.  I’ve actually missed blogging.  Go figure!  So now I’m back, feeling refreshed and motivated, with a better sense of direction for this blog and its purpose for Martin-Made Design Co.  I have a bunch of great content, tutorials, and videos (WHAT?!) planned that I’m really excited about!  I hope you can join me for the ride.  Let’s go!

Carpet Care for Allergy Sufferers

I live in a house where all of us have some kind of seasonal allergies.  Our reactions run the gamut – from extreme itching, rashes, and congestion to a few sneezes here & there.  Because of that, I was determined to get rid of the yucky carpet we inherited when we purchased this home.  The same day we closed, we removed all carpet on the first floor and stairway.  However, we waited (a pretty long time) to remove the bedroom carpet.  I just couldn’t decide between taking on the task of refinishing the original pine floors (that had some pretty ugly buckling and gaps to deal with), installing a floating floor over that, or installing new carpet.  After waffling back and forth several times, I decided on more carpet, surprisingly.  It was just the easier option for us since moving everyone/everything off the second floor was not at all appealing.

Once the decision was made, I researched everything I could to determine what product would be the best to install.  I needed something that had a great warranty with excellent stain-proofing. I was able to find an option at one of the local Big Box stores, and while there, we opted to also upgrade the padding to an option that is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and basically all around anti-allergic-reaction-inducing.

After that, I still had to figure out the best way to clean and care for our carpet in order to preserve it and to ensure the carpet isn’t a source of allergy misery.  The tips I found include:

  1. Vacuum the carpet regularly – around 3 times per week is good for us.  And that’s just about as long as I can tolerate seeing threads and lint on our light-colored carpet.  It’s important to note that using a vacuum with a HEPA filtration system is the absolute best to get the job done.
  2. No shoes on the carpet AT ALL – we have become a no-shoes-on-the-second-floor household and I truly believe that simple switch cuts down dramatically on the allergens, dust, & pollen that would otherwise get trapped in the carpeting.
  3. Dry steam the carpets regularly – We haven’t employed this option yet, as the carpet is still quite new but I do plan to have them treated every few months.  It’s important to hire a professional company that will not leave the carpets damp, that will use non-toxic cleaning solution, and whose system reaches a temperature of at least 180 degrees .  Those store bought machines don’t quite get hot enough nor do they get enough of the moisture out of the carpet to ensure that mold & mildew are not growing on the carpet pad.  Though we did purchase the mold resistant padding, I figure we can never be too safe in that regard.

And that’s pretty much it!  Hope this info helps you, too.

{LOVING} Tribal Patterns

Tribal patterns in fashion and design take on so many different shapes, combinations, and colors.  It’s no wonder why I love them!  Tribal patterns can be found in combinations of contrasting and bright colors and work well to accent almost any space.  

In interior design, I tend to favor spaces that combine these colorful accents on a bright white canvas.  This lends a fresh, sophisticated vibe that’s easy to master and appreciate.  


West Elm Inspired Storage Chest

I’ve been holding onto the pics in this tutorial for over a year now, so please excuse me if there are gaps in any of the instructions. I’m kind of playing this one by ear since my memory isn’t always the best, but feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I have no reason why it’s taken so long to get this written up, so let’s just jump right in, shall we?

During the last ORC I participated in, which was late 2014 (see those posts here), my focus was to redesign my living room/dining room area on a budget. That meant using a lot of what we already had in order to fill the space. We happened to have 2 Ikea expedit (now Kallax) bookshelves we had purchased a few years back just taking up space. One was being used in the corner of the living room already, and the other had been in the basement for about 2 years. The storage space they could provide was certainly needed. I just needed to figure out a way to get them to fit the design I had planned. 

Sources (clockwise from top right): 1 2 / 3 (unknown) / 4 5

Enter the West Elm Wood Tiled Dresser.  I conspired a way to transform: 

I began by painting the units with glossy enamel paint.  I created a custom color by mixing the Rustoleum protective enamel in Gloss White and Gloss Almond (approximately 2 parts white to 1 part almond) to get a soft ecru shade. Then, I installed 8 Kallax inserts with doors – 4 for each bookcase.  Side note: Though my bookcases are the older Expedit units, all of the Kallax upgrades do fit into them.  Next, I used iron-on wood veneer strips, cut into 4″ x 1″ segments, to achieve the wood ’tile’ look.  After ironing all of the tiles to each door in a running bond/brick pattern, I used a small paintbrush to create the same feel as the West Elm dresser.  I stained some tiles with wood stain, painted others white, & left some unfinished.  I just eyed it to determine which tiles to paint/stain and which tiles to leave unfinished.  After all that was done, I white-washed the whole door a few times (using very watered down paint) to get the overall effect of the West Elm chest. 

The whole process, albeit time-consuming, wasn’t difficult at all and this project turned out to be one of the ones I love most in the space. 

Winter Getaway: Would You Rather…

I know I can’t be the only one dreaming of my next vacation.  So, if you had the chance to get away now, where would it be?

A secluded Tahitian resort….

or a cozy ski lodge in Aspen?

Master Bedroom Design Board

The plans for my master bedroom have gone through a few iterations since we moved in 5 years ago.  You can see the progression of ideas here.  The room sits at the front of my home and is south-facing, so it gets great light most of the day.  My original plan was to create a moody, sophisticated space.  Though I loved the dark paint color initially (Sherwin Williams Gibraltar), I’m over it now.  Like the rest of my house, I want something brighter & lighter for this room.  I’ve actually hinted to the new plan on Instagram over the last few months.

The leopard fabric (Bosana by Kravet) and this cute watercolor vase I found at Home Goods were the jumping off points for my design.  Admittedly, I’m really trying to focus on finishing things I start, like my kitchen and my office/studio, so we don’t plan to begin this room anytime soon.  We did go ahead and have all new carpet installed in the bedrooms a few weeks ago, which will work wonderfully with the color scheme I came up with.  Though I’m not ready to get started on pulling the room together, I thought it would be cool to still share what I’m planning.

Of course I still can’t shy away from color, even though I’m going for a lighter & brighter feel in the room.  The accent colors – coral, plum, & indigo – will play nicely against the light yellow/beige wall color.  I’ll refinish the vanity/desk to a light, waxed wood tone.  Light blue drapes, brass wall lamps, a wooden bead chandelier, and a soft-toned wool wall hanging will round out the space.  Oh and of course some pretty greenery will make an appearance, as well.

I’m certainly excited about pulling this room together!  I’ll be patient, though, and really buckle down to finish my incomplete projects before I get started…..I think. 😉