Pretty Ugly: Attractive Options for Utilitarian Home Accessories - PART II

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We’re back with another installment of Pretty Ugly! The response to our first Pretty Ugly post was so enthusiastic that we decided to make these a recurring feature on the blog. Since we’re in the thick of the winter cold and slush season, we’re tackling over-the-door hooks, boot brushes and trays, and fireplace tools and screens. No need to sacrifice style for a cozy and clean home!

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Over the Door Hooks

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Pretty Ugly: Attractive Options for Utilitarian Home Items

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Have you ever spent an evening scouring the internet for a shower caddy that isn’t hideous? Do you use a stylish flower pot or utensil crock to hold/hide the toilet brush in the bathroom? Do you pick out shower gel based on how attractive the bottle will look sitting in your shower? If you answered yes to these questions, we see you; we are you, and we wrote this post especially for you. Utilitarian home products are an unavoidable necessity, and unfortunately most of the options out there are unattractive AF, but this doesn’t mean you can’t find aesthetically pleasing options. To save you the hassle of tracking them down, we’re bringing you a round up of our designer-approved picks.

P.S. If you like this post, please let us know in the comments, because we’d love to do some more posts in this series. Today we’re covering trash cans, extension cords and power strips, shower caddies, and paper towel holders, but we’d love to tackle dish racks, toilet brushes and more in the next installment.

Extension Cords & Power Strips

Buh-Bye Sad Grays, Hello New Neutrals! The Paint Colors We're Loving for 2019

By now you’ve probably already seen lots of fanfare about the various “Color Of The Year” picks like Pantone’s Living Coral, Behr’s Blueprint, and Sherwin Williams’ Cavern Clay. We’re loving this turn toward deep saturated tones, but we also have strong feelings about creating timeless and livable homes that work for our clients, which often means calming neutrals (especially in less sunny rooms!). For the last several years, interior design has been stuck in a depressing gray trend that we are so happy to kick to the curb in favor of warm and complex hues which also happen to work really well with some of the bolder paint colors that are trending this season! Keep scrolling for our guide to the New Neutrals of 2019, plus our tried and true tips for getting it right every time.

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For simplicity’s sake (and also because it’s our favorite and therefore what we generally use) we’re only discussing Benjamin Moore (BM) colors.  There are extremely close matches to all of our picks by Sherwin Williams, Farrow & Ball, and others which you can easily search for on the internet if you prefer to use a different brand.

Going Green: Versatile Greiges with Green Undertones

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Horizon Gray is a lovely green gray.  Just know that those green undertones aren’t subtle, so if what you want in your heart is true gray and not green-gray, steer clear of this color.

Grey Owl is one of the most popular grays out there right now.  It’s lovely, but boy does it like to play tricks! Here’s the thing- it’s dominant undertone is green, which, remember, can be warm or cool.  This is a cool grey, and when it’s in a room without loads of light or next to other cool colors, that green undertone can look A LOT like blue.  So if you have your heart set on this color: test, test test!

Moonshine is a very pale grey with green undertones.  This color can give a room a soft soothing glow, but in dim light it can go quite muddy, especially if you try and use it in combination with a warm off-white color.  Moonshine will bring out the undertones in those creams and make them look a terrible peach color. It needs to be paired with a true white to avoid looking muddy.

Above: A serene bedroom and hallway with walls in Moonshine with wainscoting and trim in Decorator’s White

Warming Up the White Walls Trend in 2019:

Simply White is a warm white, with a very subtle yellow undertone giving it a wonderful bright and fresh quality similar to that of a pure white.

A master bedroom in Simply White with trim in Decorator’s White

A master bedroom in Simply White with trim in Decorator’s White

Another incredibly versatile white, White Dove is warm and very pale, making it work equally well on walls and trim.

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Above: A kitchen in White Dove with Simply White Trim.  You can see how White Dove is just a hair warmer than Simply White (White Dove has slightly pinker undertones).

Above: A kitchen in White Dove with Simply White Trim. You can see how White Dove is just a hair warmer than Simply White (White Dove has slightly pinker undertones).

Navajo White (It’s baaaack!) After being wildly popular and then falling steeply out of fashion, we think Navajo White is ready for a comeback because it’s the perfect backdrop for the primitive decor and old world farmhouse trends we’re seeing the return of this year, especially in kitchens. Navajo White is a very warm, creamy white with strong yellow undertones.  This is a controversial HOT TAKE, but we think it’s a great choice (you might even say ‘classic’) if you want a truly warm, rich white. We especially love it for a vintage farmhouse feel or north-facing rooms that don’t get much natural sunlight.

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Above:  A dining room and formal living room, both in Navajo White.

Above: A dining room and formal living room, both in Navajo White.

King of the Cool Kids:

Decorator’s White is our pick for pairing with this season’s trendiest saturated hues, like hunter green, deepest teal, and the matte black trend we channeled in our recent radiator makeover because of the way it can make any color pop. There’s a reason it’s called Decorator’s White.

Above: Views of a bedroom with walls and trim in Decorator’s White

Above: Views of a bedroom with walls and trim in Decorator’s White

2019’s Hottest Pure White:

Although black walls and super saturated hues will continue to rise in popularity, the white walls trend is still holding steady for the time being.  If the warm primitive look isn’t your thing, Super White is an extremely clean and crisp white guaranteed to brighten any space. It’s the perfect backdrop for a colorful floor to ceiling gallery wall or as a foundation for layering textured neutrals.

Above: Views of a living room with Super White walls and Decorator’s White trim.

So, what do YOU think? Are you ready to trade cool grays for warm whites and green greiges? And how are you feeling about the bolder color trends like Living Coral and Blueprint? Got an all-time favorite paint colors that we left of this list? Let us know in the comments or on our IG account. We LOVE hearing from you!

xx

-Jennabel

Every Question You Have About Painting Your Radiator, Answered.

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Life’s too short for boring, grungy radiators. That’s why I’m sharing all the intel you need for a DIY radiator makeover! Keep scrolling for my simple how-to guide plus a round up of my favorite painted radiators to get your inspo on!

Can I just say that this is an old picture and the messy utensil crock full of colorful plastic just slays me (I’ve been purging our house of plastics and chemicals), but I can’t be bothered to clean and reshoot the kitchen right now, so here it is in all it’s brutal realness.

Can I just say that this is an old picture and the messy utensil crock full of colorful plastic just slays me (I’ve been purging our house of plastics and chemicals), but I can’t be bothered to clean and reshoot the kitchen right now, so here it is in all it’s brutal realness.

So You Want To Paint Your Radiator: A How-To Guide

1) First order of business is cleaning the radiator, because painting on a dirty surface doesn’t work so well (duh). So give that baby a serious wipe down!

2) Next, lightly sand your radiator to remove loose paint flakes and roughen up the surface, ensuring nice even paint coverage. For this you can use steel wool, sandpaper, a metal bristled brush…UNLESS you think there could be lead paint on it- then definitely do not sand it! Lead dust is no joke. (The U.S. didn’t ban lead paint until 1978, so if your home is older than that, don’t chance it!)

Isn’t she cute in her LBD? For reference, I went with a flat finish here and I’m very happy with it.

Isn’t she cute in her LBD? For reference, I went with a flat finish here and I’m very happy with it.

Don’t forget to tape the knobs before painting!

Don’t forget to tape the knobs before painting!

3. Before you start painting, there are a couple key steps to prep the area.

  • Open the windows for plenty of ventilation (this is not optional; your lungs and central nervous system will thank you!). Paints and cleaners are full of chemicals and proper ventilation is a serious matter. My father-in-law used a strong boat cleaner without proper ventilation and he lost most of his sense of smell as a result!

  • Use plastic trash bags or newspaper and painter’s tape to completely cover the surrounding floor and wall. Cover more than you think you’ll need to because the fine mist of spray paint can really travel and you don’t want to get stuck repainting walls at the end of this!

  • Make sure your radiator is OFF for the duration of painting and drying! This is a great summertime project, although I’ve done it in winter too.

This is what my feet looked like after painting, even though the floor looked clean! That super fine paint mist can be sneaky!

This is what my feet looked like after painting, even though the floor looked clean! That super fine paint mist can be sneaky!

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4. OK, time to pick your spray paint- you definitely want your paint in spray can form. I speak from experience: Using a paintbrush will end up looking shitty. Here are a few bullets to assist you in choosing the right paint:

  • Contrary to what you may hear or read, you do not need to use special high temperature paint because traditional residential radiators don’t actually get hotter than a couple hundred degrees.

  • If you have cast iron radiators, putting latex based paint directly on them can cause rust, so start with Rustoleum Red Oxide primer in the spray can if your cast iron radiator is naked. I didn’t use any rustoleum primer on my cast iron radiators, but I left the previous paint on and just sanded it a bit (after testing for lead to be safe) before spraying on a paint-and-primer-in-one and I’ve never had any rust issues.

  • Opt for a spray paint that includes primer unless you’re using the Rustoleum spray-on primer first.

  • Check the label on the can to ensure it’s safe for use indoors.

  • There’s a heated debate about oil versus latex based paint for radiators. Technically latex isn’t as durable, but I’ve never had any issues with it when used on top of an older coat of paint. Maybe that’s because I’ve used latex spray paint that includes primer. So really the choice is up to you, and depends on the state of your radiator.

  • The spray paint can take a couple of days to finish outgassing once the heat comes on, which basically means it will give off an especially strong new paint smell, but this is not harmful according to the can label and a few handymen I’ve spoken too. If you have a baby and you’re worried about this, please get a second opinion rather than take my word for it.

5. Paint and enjoy! You’ve successfully transformed a boring functional fixture into a fun room accent!  Need some inspo for your project? Our Bohoditional Style Pinterest board has lots of painted radiators for you to drool over. Scroll down for a sampling of my favorites:

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Perfect Gifts for the Decor Lover in Your Life

We’ve all heard the saying “It’s the thought that counts.”  And while, sure, this is true, there are few things in life that bring us more joy than finding the perfect gift for someone special.  We would love to get paid just to come up with gift ideas for people. With the holidays just days away, there’s no time to lose! So we’ve come to the rescue with a list of gifts perfect for all the design and home decor-lovers on your list.

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  1. Custom artwork - an illustration of their house or a fun portrait of them, their pet, or the whole family! Boston-based Dwelling Beauty Co. creates custom digital watercolors of your home, available in hard copy and digital download. Artist Joan Lemay creates custom pet and human portraits with a quirky wallpaper backdrop that she personalizes to represent the subject’s personality based on her consult with the portrait commissioner.

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2. A fresh flower delivery subscription, so they’ll always have fresh florals for styling the perfect coffee table, shelf, or centerpiece!

3. Bath towels from Dusen Dusen - an artsy take on a practical item that they wouldn’t splurge on on themselves, but will surely enjoy.

4. Homesick candles from all of their favorite places. These do a remarkable job of capturing the essence of a place and the descriptions are one of our favorite parts! Here’s how the Los Angeles candle is described on the Homesick site: From bright mornings to star kissed nights, enjoy the best fragrance of the City of Angels, from the clean sea breeze to desert sand kicked up from a hike in the hills. Citrus notes of orange zest and lemon slices combine with a floral bouquet of jasmine and rose to perfume any occasion.  

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5. True decor lovers take their shelf styling seriously. Why not get them some statement bookends like this vintage pair from Etsy or this earthy stone set from West Elm to take their shelves up a notch!

6. You can’t go wrong with one the chic and affordable works of art by Josh Young made using pages from antique books.

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7. A museum membership to a local art museum, like the MFA if they’re in Boston, for inspo gathering expeditions!

Happy Gifting!

xo

-Jennabel