Wednesday, June 30

First impressions...

Sometimes a great entryway is all you need. In my friend Jen's case, sometimes it's all you've got. Having recently moved into a new apartment she's found herself starting from scratch with her decor. Being a money savvy girl she's been taking her time making the place her own. I think this is the best way to do things. When people rush out and try to fill a room all at once it looks forced and cold. If you take your time and find things you really love it will always come out better.

So after major purchases like a couch and a bed, she went to work on her entryway. She found a great painted white console table (at TJ Maxx) and got them to give her a discount due to a few minor nicks and scratches. A total steal at the end of the day. Above it she hung a large square mirror from Pier One Imports. On the console sat a small hammered silver lamp and a rectangular tray to catch keys, change, etc. Beneath she placed a square basket (with hinged lid) and a blue and white Ming style urn. Of course I neglected to take a picture, and I'm sure I'm leaving out a few details, but the results were impressive. We stood in her entryway for 15 minutes admiring everything and chatting about her finds. It made for a great first impression.

We liked it so much we bought the same table, in black, right after we left her apartment, with her blessing of course. I'm hoping to spiff up our large front hall, but of course there is a major amount of wallpaper to be dealt with first. As usual I've dreamt up all these things in my head that I'll probably never find. But if I give it some time I'm sure I can find a few things to love to adorn the new table.

So no matter what your style is, put your best foot forward with a great entryway. I found some great images that reflect a variety of different tastes and function...

A great way to display a collection, whether it's vases, model boats or ceramic cats.

I love the use of pattern and color in this hall. And the recycling of an old dresser works perfectly if you have one hanging around. This could be great if you have storage issues. You could stash linens, winter gear or other miscellaneous items.

Funky, function, minimalist or glam, the key is to keep it simple. As you can see it doesn't take much to make a statement if it's done right.

Monday, June 28

Tribute to an old friend.

Oh domino, how I miss you. Domino magazine was published by Conde Nast from 2005 until 2009, when the recession finally took it's toll on the publication. The day I heard this news is one I will not soon forget. I got in on domino early on and was quickly hooked. As I already had a subscription to its sister publication, Lucky (a fashion shopping magazine), I was sent a preview issue of domino. I was sold. Not only did it have beautiful glossy images of chic homes, the best part was that it told you where you could find all of the items shown and how much they cost. It blended expensive designer items with bargain finds, listed paint colors, and gave alternatives for one of a kind or antique items featured.

Since the first issue it's been a great inspiration to me. I'm sad to say I don't have every issue in my library, but I do have a sizable collection. During one move I hastily threw away some of the early issues but I have not made that mistake again. Domino also had a great website that was unfortunately shut down along with the magazine. However, thanks to the internet many of it's images still live on. Here are a few of my favorites...

I can't say enough about this kitchen. Stainless steel appliances, gorgeous marble, my favorite color blue paint, and an over the top chandelier. If I could copy this exactly in my house I would, but I don't think it would translate as well with our set up. It is however a great inspiration photo.

I love the bold use of such a dark color in a children's room. A bit taboo one might think, but balanced with the bright white paint on the fireplace and brightly colored toys, it comes out quite fun. This kind of a room growing up would most certainly breed sophistication and cool into any kid.

Again, bold color, but when played off lots of white, whimsical prints and laid back artwork it all works. This room has a thrown together, flea market feel that's actually pulled together pretty perfectly. It's a bright and inviting, quaint little space.

Ah symmetry, a beautiful thing when done as well as this. A pair of twin beds has never looked so chic. The mix of light blue and bright pink, paired with crisp black and white is one of my personal favorites. I love the odd juxtaposition of the butterfly prints above the bed. I would have never thought to do that, but somehow it works quite well.

I almost forgot the best part! In 2008 domino released The Book of Decorating. A guide to domino style, chock full of pictures and how-to advice. It breaks decorating (I know, not my favorite word, but in this case I'll go along) into simple elements and tells you how to put everything together in a way that works for you. It retails for $32 and is available online through Amazon, Overstock, etc as well as in store at Anthropologie, West Elm and many more.

Friday, June 18


Someone has taken a liking to Maybe's new bed. Only of course when Maybe is nowhere around. When I'm in the office Andre likes to come in and hang out with me. Dave has informed me this is highly illegal, but I disagree. He looks so cute all curled up on the big cushion.

I owe you.

I know I do. Still no pictures of the completed study. Oh hell, can we go back to calling it the office now? It takes too much energy to remember to say study instead. It really only needs a little bit of work in there to be complete. I just don't want to take pictures until it's 100% done. So, a little cleaning, primping, vacuuming and a few diplomas to get on the wall. Soon I promise. There is just so much going on it's hard to steal a few hours to get it done. I don't think we have a free weekend at home until July 4th. There is too much summer fun to be had, work can wait!

Monday, June 14

Sometimes it's what you don't see...

Those are the things that can make a big difference. That was the theme of this weekend's accomplishments, not intentionally of course, but it turned out that way. We kicked off the weekend by replacing the broken bed slats with a new support system. My bed frame is very old and did not have any support slats when I got it.

Funny story here about that bed. In my family we have a tradition of sorts, which has now evolved into a joke most of the time. It started with my Grandmother's house, we would write our name with chalk on something that we wanted to take when it became available. It's evolved now to where actual chalk doesn't even need to be used, but you can "chalk" something, aka call dibs, without having to write your name on it. So anyway, a long time ago I was in my gramma's barn and chalked a wrought iron bed frame that I liked. Lord knows how old I was at the time. But, as soon as I got my first apartment she started calling me to ask when I was going to take that bed. While I had forgotten all about it, Grandma forgot nothing. So after some pestering the bed frame eventually made its way from the barn in Massachusetts to my apartment.

This is the closest likeness I can find to my bed, although this is a twin and mine is a full. Even the peeling ivory paint is the same! I still can't bring myself to photograph our bedroom with that hideous wallpaper.

After I acquired it I rigged some slats to fit across the old metal frame. I didn't have much to work with but I bought some 1 x 3" pine boards at Home Depot and had them cut to length. Then I used a hand saw to cut shorter end caps to keep the slats in place, and nailed those to the slats. It worked for a while, but nails were clearly not the best choice and the ends were constantly wiggling themselves off. So I'd pop them back on, sometimes put another nail in, and it would hold a bit longer. Several moves later most of the caps were lost as was one of the boards. Still, it all managed to hold up okay. Until this last move. I think there was only one board with a cap on one end, and nothing wanted to stay in place.

So Friday morning I took myself once again to Home Depot to fix this problem once and for all. I bought two long boards to serve as runners to hold the slats and the box spring firmly in place. And this time I bought screws. Although it was time consuming to line up and measure each piece to that it was even, it came out pretty well. Thank goodness for my drill and cordless screwdriver. It was all good to go until we went to set it into place. I hadn't accounted for a little quarter inch bump out at the corners of the bed, where the side rails meet up with the frame. Ahhh! So we took it off and trimmed down the runners with a hand saw until it fit.

Success finally! This had been on my to-do list for a few months now and I'm so glad it's out of the way. The new runners also made a nice clean line for our new bed skirt.

Also on the theme of things you can't see...drum roll please...we now have wireless internet! After many attempts, and a few calls to tech support both at Time Warner and the router company Dave got everything going. Hooray!

The weekend's biggest project was in the kitchen trying to repair all the damage to the walls from the previous 3+ layers of wallpaper and various shoddy repairs in between. You'd think this house is 100 years old, not 30, from the terrible shape of these walls. We are thinking that at some point the walls, or possibly the cupboards were painted blue. We found bits of blue paint in a few places that have us scratching our heads. After lots of careful scraping, sanding and spackling, the walls are nearly ready to be primed. I'm hoping that we've done enough to make them nice and smooth. It's hard to tell right now as everything is shades of various shades of white. It feels smooth, I just hope it looks that way once we get some paint on it.

Before and after of a tear in the drywall.

And a final view after we cleaned up all the dust and debris. All of this took much longer than we imagined. Our goals changed as the hours passed by. We went from getting excited to see the paint on the walls to praying that we'd be able to even get them primed. Well that didn't happen, but it does look much, much better already. Just a few more hours of prep and we'll be able to prime and paint. I can't wait to see that!

A new look!

Thank you Blogger, for finally making it easy to make some changes! I thought I was going to have to learn html. I may play around with it a bit here and there but for now I'm thinking this is pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 9

Let's shop West Elm.

West Elm is a unique blend of simple classic and modern furnishings, with a natural twist thrown in. As part of the William Sonoma Inc family, West Elm is like Pottery Barn's cool younger sister. Hip, chic and sophisticated, with a touch of ethnic urban funk. Pricing is also very reasonable, on all furniture and accessories. That includes the added cost of shipping, unless of course you are lucky enough to live near one of the 35 store locations nationwide.

I've picked up a few accessories here and there during my trips to New York, but no major purchases, yet. Here's a little preview of what I'm eyeing these days...

This Globe Pendant is at the top of my list. It lists at $99 for one or $269 for a trio, pretty reasonable as far as lighting is concerned. You could hang a few in a row, or in a cluster at varying heights. Clean and classic yet striking at the same time.

Seen here is a combination of the Butler Tray and Low Stand, found in the entertainment section of the site. For a total of $149, this pair, also available in Espresso, could serve as a side table or a pair could sit in for a traditional coffee table. They are quite low, at 14.5" they'd work best of course with an equally low couch or chair.

This bold Zigzag rug is priced between $39 and $649, depending on the size. It's available in two different colors patterns; Iron and Ivory, with a Fez Red band or Espresso and Ivory, with a Flax (their color names, not mine!) band at the ends. This could go either way, modern or tribal chic, either way it's definitely eye catching.

Love, love this Grid-Tufted Grasscloth Headboard. Prices range between $322 for a twin and $424 for a king, on sale now! Sigh. Sadly, as a cat owner, this is out of the question for me. With my luck it would be the first scratching post the little stinker decides to use. Anyway, this headboard puts a natural spin on a clean modern style. The grasscloth is actually a polyester weave so no need to worry about splinters.

Click the link on the right to do a little shopping yourself. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 3

Another Marshall's find!

This is Maybe's new bed. I'm just in love with the print of this fabric. I still have the fabric to make her another one, but in the meantime she took to this one right away. She'll need a few around the house anyway right?

Hmmm....technical difficulties.

I've been in the process of making some adjustments to the formatting. Unfortunately some of them decided not to take effect until 2 days later, which is messing with my header a bit. Until I can figure this out there will be no cute picture of Maybe, at least not within the blog header. On the plus side I've been learning (read: teaching myself) a lot about working in Html.

10 things I can't live without.

I'm a list girl, always have been, it makes me feel organized. This list, the top then things I can't live without, is in no particular order.

#1 Embryolisse

This French creme is a must have for all make-up artists, which is where my addiction started. I then got my sister onto it. For a few years after I moved home from Paris we found it hard to come by, even asking friends and family visiting France to pick some up. Finally we found it online, and later at a pharmacy in Manhattan. Its increasing popularity has only made it easier to come by. It's quite greasy so be warned it's not for everyone. More for me!

#2 M4 Notebooks

I've been using these for a few years now and I always keep one nearby. Neatly lined with four sections, separated by a colored edge of the page. I use them for lists, notes, addresses, jotting down websites I want to check out, ideas. Usually I buy a new one to signify a new start, a new job or a new challenge. Always accompanied by a Pilot G2 pen, these handy little notebooks have become a timeline for the last few years.

#3 Cheese

Glorious cheese. Quite possibly the only thing that has kept me from becoming vegan all these years. Soy ice cream is great, I love soy milk in my morning tea, but soy cheese just does not cut it. Recently my love of cheese has expanded, evidenced by the overflowing drawer in the fridge. I think we must have at least 15 different cheeses in there right now.

#4 My iPod

Quite possibly the best invention ever. A personal play list to my life, always within reach. I think you can tell a lot about a person from his iPod. Mine is true to my Gemini roots, half hip hop, a quarter rock, and the rest pop love songs and break up anthems.

#5 Flat shoes

Perhaps it's sheer laziness, or maybe too many years teetering around Paris's cobblestone streets in high heels, either way, I'm all about flats. It's hard enough to find jeans that are long enough when you're 5'-9", let alone worry about needing a few extra inches to accommodate heels. Thanks to Target and a nearby Marshall's shoe mega store I've amassed quite a collection.

#6 My camera

I purchased this Canon Powershot a little over a year ago. For the money it takes a great picture, and with Maybe around I've been taking a lot of pictures lately. It's small enough to keep in my purse at all times. A bit more bulky is my 1980 Minolta X-70 SLR 35mm camera. I purchased this used for a photography class and had all intentions of selling it back to the used camera store at the end of the class. Instead I decided to keep it and shoot film from now to then. It has some great features, and when I remember how to use it properly, it takes some really great photos.

#7 Tarte Cheek Stain

On most days, especially in summer, this amounts to the extent of my make-up routine. At around $30 each these gel blushes are not cheap, but they last forever so really the only reason to need to buy a new one is to get another color. I recall a shocked Sephora employee when I told her my original one was nearly gone. She looked at me in awe and said, "Wow, you must you it, like, everyday". Yes, just about.

#8 Twinings Earl Grey Tea

I'm not a coffee drinker, but tea has become my morning addiction. Maybe it's the Brit in me, but I need a proper cup of tea to get me going, especially on cold winter mornings. This need is sometimes to my detriment, as I've sometimes found myself being late in order to make my cup of tea. A good splash of soy milk and a lump of sugar and I'm a happy girl.

#9 Burt's Bees Lip Balm

If you've ever used this you know what I'm talking about. I have them stashed all over the house so one is never too far out of reach.

#10 Down pillows

I thought about putting cheese twice, but decided against it in lieu of honoring the great down pillow. Good pillows are not just recommended, they are mandatory for a good nights sleep. Splurge on goose down, or go for a microfiber down alternative. It's like a little slice of heaven every time you go to bed.

Tuesday, June 1

Big weekend!

Oh I wish we could have three day weekends all the time. We were super productive, even kicking off Friday night with a few hours of work after dinner. We carried that into a busy Saturday, partied on Sunday, and picked up the work again Monday, albeit at a much slower pace. We crossed a good chunk off our weekend to-do list, not all, but definitely enough in my book. While we did have some set backs, we had way more successes.

Our completed tasks included:
-Re-arranging the built in shelves in the study (yes, we're calling it the study now as opposed to boring old office, this weekend's work earned it an upgraded title)
-Painting the study a lovely shade of green
-Putting together our new patio set (as seen above)
-Putting together the rod hockey table game (this is where the major set back occurred, it is missing several key pieces, we didn't discover this until halfway through)
-Planting some annuals in our cool new outdoor pots
-Locating, but didn't quite get around to hanging, bamboo shades for the master bathroom (sorry neighbors, shows over!)
-Weed whacking the entire yard, including the pachysandra, which looks much better with a bit or a trim
-Cleaning up the yard and put another 10 or so wheelbarrows full to the compost pile
-Finding blue upholstery weight velveteen fabric on clearance to be used on the little pair of chairs we found not too long ago on Craig's List.
-Choosing the paint color for the kitchen, which is next on the painting list

Pictures of the study will follow soon. I have to pick up a few new outlet and switch plate covers to replace the wallpaper covered ones. And yes, there was at some point some hideous plaid wallpaper in the study. Thankfully it was bad enough for someone before us to take it down. The color came out great, and it was faster and easier than I'd imagined. Good thing because we have a lot more to paint in this place.

Someone found a new favorite sunny spot. Mom don't make me come inside!