Halloween Costume Ideas

It’s October, and time for our annual Halloween costume round-up!  Mera’s daughter Opal has declared that she is going to be a pink astronaut, but we adults are still trying to decide what to be.  Here are some costumes from around the web fun enough for a party but appropriate for trick or treating with the kids.

We love this arty Lichtenstein, and also love that it would be a relatively inexpensive costume, requiring little more than makeup and a wig.

One of the best parts of dressing up is getting into character – and in this costume you get twice the fun!

Just in time for Halloween


Talk about getting into character; how fun would it be to play everybody’s favorite wet blanket party guests from Portlandia?

If spending an evening as dour Candace isn’t quite your cup of (Portland’s finest organic, hand-picked) tea, maybe try this cute DIY disco ball costume from Oh Happy Day instead?

Both of us learned the hard way that mobility is an essential component of a good costume – but this narwhal is almost worth it (tortured expression required).

What’s your all-time favorite costume idea?

The Power of Trim

We’ve been writing Red House West for about a year and a half, and the other day I was reflecting on how much it has changed the way I look at houses and spaces and design.  I have a new lexicon of design terms (Anaglypta, portiere, and Gustavian – to name just a few), and a much keener eye and appreciation for design detail.  Writing posts has forced me to look critically at spaces, to analyze and verbalize just what I like about them, and to then look at designs and plans for my own home through this new lens.

I no longer stop at the thought, “oh, I like that.”  Now I also, almost unconsciously, itemize just why I like it.  One thing that I was completely oblivious to in the dark days before RHW (BRHW) is the difference that trim or moulding can make to a space.  I can’t remember ever noticing it, much less remarking on it, but now it’s one of the first things I see when looking at a room.  It may not be the star of the show, but it’s one of those seemingly minor design elements that has major powers of transformation.

When it’s done right, moulding works like a picture frame – highlighting the beauty of an adjacent room.  Like this:

The downstairs of our home is much more finished than the upstairs.  It was remodeled twice by previous owners, and since moving in we’ve done some work of our own – including painting every room.  I love the trim in our downstairs.  It is substantial but simple – a perfect complement to the 1930’s farmhouse architecture.

Red House West || The Power of TrimThe upstairs, by contrast, not only features a patchwork of industrial carpet instead of the original fir floors, but also has puny trim that makes it feel disconnected style-wise from the downstairs.  You can see what I mean in this photo of the doorway in our bedroom:

Red House West || The Power of Trim

Can you spot the RHW DIYs in this photo?

As we work on this house little by little, one of our major goals is to unify the upstairs with the downstairs by installing wood floors, using a cohesive paint palette, and by changing the trim.  The one space we’ve tackled upstairs is the Chamber of Secrets, and I think the trim goes a long way to making that room feel well done and connected to the rest of the house.

Chamber of Secrets trim before (left) and after

Chamber of Secrets trim before (left) and after

To make the trim we used a six-inch board as the lintel and four-inch boards on the sides with a one inch-wide strip sandwiched in between.  We attached everything with small nails and glue, filled in the cracks with wood filler and caulk, then sanded and painted.  We decided to make the baseboards thinner than the six-inch ones downstairs, so that they would seamlessly connect with the toe kick at the bottom of the bookcase and windowseat.

Red House West || The Power of TrimWe also trimmed out the closet to match the rest of the room:

Red House West || The Power of TrimI never would have guessed that I’d be so satisfied by such a simple change, or as excited as a I am to replace all of the upstairs trim to match the rest of the house.  Do you have anything new on your interior design radar?  Perhaps even something you didn’t notice BRHW?  Have a great week!


Look We’re Loving: Layered Rugs

A look we love is multiple rugs layered one on top of another.  We’re not talking about small, fancy persian rugs layered over sisal or jute – although we love that look too – instead we’re taking a look at rugs layered in a more carefree, jaunty way.  We like the insouciant drama of rugs that are strewn about, overlapping, or laid at an angle, and we love the added texture and interest such an arrangement can bring to a room.

This room is ultra luxurious and fancy.  Although it doesn’t tickle all of our style bones, the flokati layered over the Persian rug is a cozy surprise.

This space is also pretty formal, but the layered rugs keep it from seeming stuffy.  Their uneven placement creates a beautiful and inviting path to the window seat.

The layered patterns of the rugs in this bedroom are a clever way to add warmth to an otherwise minimalist space.

Picture this room without layered rug corners; pretty, but not particularly exciting or interesting.  That little bit of shared real estate elevates the whole room.

The color combination here is unexpected–peach, red, and bright yellow–but somehow it works.  We’re surprised by how much we like this room, and can only explain it by saying its sum is greater than its parts (that couch would never cross the threshold of either of our homes).

Finding a rug to fill this huge space would be really expensive, but cleverly combining these small rugs to define different zones really works.



A more basic rectangle would set too formal a tone in this bright, quirky family room, but the unexpected arrangement of petite rugs works perfectly.

In this small living room the layered, angled rug maximizes the usable space.  If the blue chair were just sitting in the corner without the colorful boucherouite, it would feel disconnected.  Its perch on the boucherouite helps bring it into the space.

This space manages to look both old-world and perfectly now.  For both of us, this room takes the cake.

Image found here. (If you know the original source, please say so and we'll update the link!).

Image found here.

Which room is your favorite?  Happy Monday!