Monday, December 26, 2011

Our House: Exterior Paint

I was so focused on getting the interior of the house move in ready last year that I totally ignored the badly peeling paint on the exterior.  This year it had to be taken care of while weather permitted.

I originally wanted grey body, white trim and a red door which my husband didn't care for.  He wanted something in the green family on the body of the house.  After tossing around a bunch of options, we compromised with a grey-green for the body, white on the trim and black doors.

I love interior lighting and it's almost always one of the most fun parts of putting together a room for me.  I expected to find exterior lighting that I loved and was really disappointed when I could find anything I loved at any price point.  Given the number of fixtures I needed and the cost of even 'cheap' fixtures, this was going to get expensive really fast.  I knew I wanted black fixtures and I was pretty excited when I came across some closeout fixtures at my favorite local lighting warehouse (almost the ONLY time I don't find better pricing online is when I'm shopping at this place) that I actually liked, even really liked the larger fixtures for at the front door.  I was able to get all 7 fixtures I needed for $140 instead of the $300 - $500 I was anticipating otherwise.


And after:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Union Jack

I love this rug on OKL today.  LOVE.  

I can't imagine ever spending 4k on something this trendy though.  $500 tops.  Am I nuts for thinking it would be a pretty quilt though?

About as Christmasy as I get...

I'm not a huge Christmas person, I don't get all into the decor or holiday itself typically.  But after being at the Christmas markets in Germany/Vienna/Prague earlier this month and with my in-laws coming to spend the holiday with us I was feeling it slightly more than usual.

I came across this picture on Pinterest last Saturday and suddenly I wanted a tabletop tree:

Later that day at a random stop at a thrift shop I came across a cute little teal tree that I knew had to be mine.  A few thrift store purchases and some scrounging around the house and in boxes in the basement I had this:

I wish I had a tray to put it all on but I think it's cute!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our House: The Living Room, Chairs (Business in the Front, Party in the Back)

Chairs are woefully expensive in my opinion.  As much as sofas in a lot of cases and often boring and very cookie cutter.  I really wanted something vintage that I could have reupholstered for my living room.  After spending months searching for a pair of vintage upholstered chairs in the right size and shape, at the right price point to justify the cost of new fabric and professional re-upholstery I decided to use my husband's grandmother's chairs that had been in our basement among my collection of furniture waiting to find a home or a purpose.  The chairs are comfortable, low enough that they could be placed slightly in front of the (when I finally find it) media stand/credenza without blocking the TV, and best of all FREE.

I searched for a few inspiration photos but I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted.  I loved the idea of doing a print but I loved the tufting (which IMO can be tricky depending on the pattern).  On a trip to Calico Corners I came across a bolt of amazing seafoamy blue/green velvet on super closeout.  Originally priced at something like $65 a yard it was $10.50 a yard if I recall correctly.  I've always loved the Dwell Plumes fabrics, have pined over the pillows in azure forever so I was thrilled when I realized that the birch colorway worked perfectly with the velvet as well as my sofa color.  It all just fell into place so perfectly.

For some ungodly reason I decided I was going to strip the original upholstery and caning myself (because I was going to paint the frames before giving them to the upholsterer). If I'd been thinking clearly I'd have taken both chairs (instead of just one to talk pricing and what I wanted) and had the upholsterer strip them for me before painting.  It was a miserable task, that I (true to form) waited until the last minute to do.  So there was blood, lots of cursing, blisters, and begging my (wonderful) husband to run to Walmart for me at 10:30 on a Sunday night.

Just a few hours before my in-laws flew in yesterday I picked up my chairs and I LOVE the end result.

There is enough of the velvet left to do the ottoman and I ordered enough of the Plumes fabric to do a couple of throw pillows for the sofa.  For less than the cost of one of the chairs I liked at Crate & Barrel, I  (will) have two chairs and an ottoman that are totally unique to me and my house.  I'm happy with the results.........and looking around what I can send to the upholsterer next!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

London: My Favorites

 I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along on my husband's business trip to London in October.  I have to admit I love having the days to myself to wander in solitude while he's working.  I can spend hours just meandering through neighborhoods admiring the architectural details.

A few of my favorites from the trip:

Neighborhood: Chealsea
It's just beautiful for the sake of being beautiful.  Their unofficial slogan seems to be 'nothing need not be beautiful'.

Item I wish I could have brought home:  This wallpaper
I still dream of it.

Building: Opera House
Not overly significant but I caught sight of the spire while walking to the National Gallery and it sucked me in.  I loved every little detail.

Shopping: The Burlington Arcade
Antique and vintage jewelry in cases and cases.  I could have died.  A pair of angel skin coral Art Deco drop earrings are forever burned into my brain.

Random photo:  I just love it

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kind of a Home Related Purchase

I've been begging and pleading forever to get a puppy.  Up until recently, my work schedule, my husband's business travel schedule and our personal travel all made the idea of a dog impossible.  But being fortunate enough to work from home now and having a friend volunteer to puppy sit when we travel was making the idea much more doable.  My husband saw a Cavalier for the first time while we were in London in October and before the end of the trip I'd been able to locate a puppy not far from us.  I'm so in love with her I can't stand it.

Meet Olive:

Ironic that she seems to like my husband best though!  Now if I can only get her to stop growing.....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Client Project: Kitchen Update

Between a trip to London, another to Germany, two good size projects in a crunch to get done before Thanksgiving and everything else going on I've done nothing but think about the blog posts I'd like to write.  Hopefully some of the stuff I have to share will make up for it!

I've been so excited about this project.  The client is amazing, I adore her personally and she was so much fun to work with.  I have to give her so much credit in that even though she couldn't necessarily see my 'vision' on a couple of the components we used, she was willing to trust me and go with it.  I think that leap of faith outside of our comfort zone can be really hard for a lot of people.

It seems that the vast majority of the calls that I'm getting lately are from people facing the same issue that we dealt with here.  The kitchen is 'fine', fairly new, but already feels dated and very builder basic.

It's no secret that I want to paint everything, but living in the Mid-West this can be a very unpopular opinion.  My carpenter rolls his eyes at me, the old guys doing other work mutter under their breath, everyone has an opinion.  I try to remind people that not all wood is good wood and sometimes your best option short of tearing it out and starting over, is to paint it.  This client was resistant to the idea of painting all the cabinets at our first meeting but warmed up to it quickly (thankfully!), but even then, her parents and family were horrified at what she was about to do.

So this is what the kitchen looked like at our first meeting:

My plan included the following:

  • Miscellaneous Carpentry Items:
    • Removing the planing desk and sorter over it, replace it with a new base cabinet with full extension wood box deep drawers for baking supplies
    • Removing the wine rack and retrofitting that cabinet
    • Retrofitting the cubbie that was housing the microwave, it was sized for microwaves that are no longer available
    • Add a shelf in the TV cubbie to match the shelf over the refrigerator
  • Have the cabinets professionally painted (doors and drawer fronts were sprayed in their shop, boxes were done in place)
  • Granite countertops
  • Backsplash
  • Lighting
  • Pull in some color and pattern with new window treatments, rugs, and hopefully chair seats.
  • Replace the clear glass in the cabinet doors with a patterned glass
  • Paint and accessories
In a little over 5 weeks we have this:

There are still some items to be finished up (outlet covers, roman shade for over the sink, new table & chairs, etc) but we really are 99% done and I couldn't be happier with the results.  I think it looks amazing and best of all the client is thrilled with the results.  It makes me happy just to think about how happy she is with it all!