Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ribbon Trim

The greek key ribbon trim shown on the window treatments in yesterday's post was my first foray into the world of jacquard ribbon trim.  Beyond greek key, there are so many beautiful designs out there that would be great for trimming out curtains, pillows, and other home decor projects.  One site that I love to peruse (though I have yet to place an order) is Les Bon Ribbon.

Here's my favorite from their site (so many lovely colorways):

Wouldn't this be cute in a teen girl's bedroom - maybe trimming out a fabric covered bulletin board?  

With it's particular shade of purplish pink - it reminded me of the beautiful Amanda Nisbet bedroom shown below (speaking of ribbon trim).   

Amanda Nisbet, photo by Pieter Estersoh, via House Beautiful
Love that headboard, bedskirt and roman shade.  Though those pieces are quite "matchy-matchy" (a particular weakness of mine) - the unique chair, awesome rug (hello greek key!) and punchy art keep this room from being "sweet" - and instead, make it interesting and sophisticated. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Master Bath Chronicles - Part 1

Before we get to the real before-and-after (to come circa May 2011), let's travel back to September 2007 to see what this bathroom looked like before we moved in:

Let's not discuss the toilet seat cover (yuck) and wicker storage shelves.

This one was actually taken last Jan, but I had to show the old medicine cabinet and "bonus" mirror.  I'm not opposed to the vintage art deco styling - but it was in terrible condition.  If only I'd taken a photo of the inside of that medicine cabinet (gross).

I mentioned it was tiny - approx 4' x 4'.  Clearly it wasn't a luxurious master bath that attracted me to the house, but I saw some potential in the vintage floor tile and classic black and white color scheme.  Nevertheless - I completely ignored this room for the first 2 years we were here. 

Last year, we decided to give this room a mini-makeover.  Here's the "after":

New paint (medium bluish-gray); new window; new window treatments (tutorials to come); new medicine cabinet (purchased here); and new accessories.  A new light fixture would have been nice - but, the fixture and electrician just weren't in the budget.   

I have to say - I'm pretty happy with the bathroom as it is and would have kept like this for a while.  So, why rip it all out just one year after the mini-makeover? 

Here's the main answer:

That would be our living room ceiling - remember the pesky leak I referred to the other day?  

The good news?  In order to address the leak once and for all - we'll have to replace the plumbing under both upstairs bathrooms, which means we'll get 2 shiny new bathrooms and our master bathroom will finally have a shower and a vanity!  And, let's not forget all the fun I have thinking about (err, obsessing over) the details.

Friday, January 21, 2011


After a very long day, I'm going to crawl under the covers, close my eyes, and dream of this...

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our House

Let me introduce you to our house. 

Here it is when we signed our contract - Fall of '07

Here it is during "Snowmaggedon" - February of '10
 It's a modest 1938 center-hall colonial that completely charmed me from the first time I spotted it in the real estate listings.  We had been house-hunting for over 18 months and had not found any other house that met our basic criteria (price, location, location, location, # of bedrooms) and our preference for a traditional colonial style as well as this one did.  Plus, I loved the fact that it had character, but needed some serious sprucing up....  project!

While the charm of an old house is nice - the inherent problems lurking beneath every surface are not!  The day we moved in, we found asbestos in 2 rooms.  Only 9 days after moving in (on Christmas Eve, no less) our living room ceiling sprung a leak (by the way, 3 years later - and the leak is still a mystery, hence the bathroom renovations that we're about to start).  And, about 5 months after moving in, we had a major flood in our basement.  Needless to say, our first year here was less than idyllic.  But, little by little, we've been able to make some improvements over the past 3 years.  Sadly, many of them were costly and terribly unexciting (e.g., abatement of the asbestos problem; new HVAC system; new flat side roofs; regraded backyard and basement french drain system; electrical heavy-up; multiple tree removals; and repointing of masonry). 

Fortunately, we've also been able to make some of the more enjoyable and aesthetic improvements.  Since we've moved in, we've had the interior painted, wood floors refinished, windows replaced and basement completely renovated.  Up next are the 2 upstairs bathrooms. 

I wish I had started blogging the day we moved in - it would have been fun to share details of our projects along the way (I think I would have spared you details of the HVAC replacement and heavy-up!).  But, my late entry into blogland won't stop me from showing before & after pics from along the way.  In any case, our mile-long home improvement list should provide plenty of new material for the blog going forward.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bathroom Lighting

We're getting very close to pulling the trigger on a contract to renovate our 2 upstairs bathrooms.  Though we're still a few months away from "breaking ground," I'm working on narrowing down the gazillion options for tile, faucets, lighting, toilets, etc.  I'll give more details on these 2 little bathrooms (and I mean REALLY little) soon, but in the meantime, here are a few of my inspiration photos:

Howard White via House Beautiful
(in my dreams)

David Jimenez, Photo by Jose Picayo, via House Beautiful

Newell Turner, via House Beautiful

Here are some of the contenders for light fixtures.  Both bathrooms will be pretty traditional - and mostly white with chrome fixtures, so, I think any of these could work in either bathroom.  Of course - the budget is tight, so I've tried to find reasonably priced options.  Most of these are around $100.

available here
available here

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available here

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available here

available here

Looking forward to sharing more of my ideas for these projects... and of course, looking forward to two shiny (but still tiny) new bathrooms (hopefully) by May!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

iphone 4.Verizon.It begins.

I'm so ready... I don't usually get excited about technology, but the iphone is really just so many good things all wrapped up in one smooth and shiny little toy.  Feb 10th cannot come soon enough!!

Before I start thinking about all the cool apps to download, I've been scouting out cute carrying cases. 

1) Grace did an awesome roundup of iphone cases which was also featured on Design Sponge.  My favorite from her list are the amazing bamboo cases from Grove.  I love this one:

They also have a DIY option where you can upload your own illustration to be engraved on the back.

2) Casemate has a DIY option as well - what's not to love about those 3 great letters?

3) Casemate also offers this chic little gold number... 

4) ... and this artsy model which reminds me of Seleta's recent post on similar-looking fabrics: 

5) Tory - can you please stop making such cute and tempting accessories!  (Adorable, but the sleeve is just not the most practical)

5) Again - don't think a sleeve is the best bet, but  I'm loving this one too. 
6) Finally, here's a more affordable option for getting the "wood" look.  Though, I'm not sure how much protection it actually offers.

Despite all these lovely options - one of the things that's so appealing about the iphone is it's sleek design.  It's a little sad to cover it all up.  Is a naked iphone doomed from the start?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Isn't she lovely?

The other day, while searching through the "frames and pictures" category on IKEA's website for white ribba frames - I came across this lovely lady.  I don't know if she's very me - but for some reason, I couldn't get her out of my mind and today, she came home with me.  Maybe she will inspire me to finally take some "after" pictures of our newly refinished basement.
my new pet

Truth be told, I think the whole zebra thing has been a bit overplayed in the design world of late, but they are beautiful animals... so graphic and bold.  I can still sign on for a little here and there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Headboard Inspiration

I'm thinking of making an upholstered headboard - our bedroom needs a fresh look!  So many decisions, though - simple rectangle or notched edges?  Solid or print?  Velvet or linen?  Matching or coordinating bedskirt?  Nailhead trim - check... but one row or two?  Individual upholstery nails or nailhead trim kit?
Here are some of my inspiration images:

Mary McDonald via House Beautiful, photo by Robert Trachtenberg

Miles Redd via House Beautiful, photo by Thomas Loof

Robyn Karp

Robyn Karp

Jacqueline Derrey Segura via House Beautiful, photo by Simon Upton

Robyn Karp

Southern Exposure (check out her awesome DIY)

Casa Sugar (another helpful tutorial)

Much more on the bedroom makeover to come... stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here I go!

It started at 12 Devonshire Place... my passion for design.  In London, we lived just a few moments' walk from the incredible shops on Marylebone High Street - Conran Shop, Grange, Skandium, the Little White Company, Daunt Books, Emma Bridgewater, Cath Kidston, Divertimenti, just to name a few.  A few more steps down to Oxford Street, and I would find myself spending hours browsing the homewares and fabric sections in John Lewis.  (Posts to come in the future about these amazing shops.  But, in the meantime, check out this site for street views and info:

Of course, hints of this passion were evident earlier on - whether turning a cardboard box into an elaborately decorated castle, rearranging my bedroom furniture monthly, or reupholstering my college dorm room's standard issue furniture (with a chili pepper fabric and a hot glue gun, of course - I hope it will become evident that my tastes have matured since then - though my love affair with the hot glue gun is going strong) - not to mention obsessing over every detail of my wedding. 

Yet, it hadn't crossed my mind to pursue a creative career.  Instead, I followed the left side of my brain to law school and have been practicing for several years.  Being a full-time working wife and mother of two wonderful girls has left little time for design - but, I manage to squeeze in a quick daily tour through the design blogosphere and somehow find hours to obsess over (and make some progress on) the ever-growing list of house projects.  Since I have found endless inspiration through design blogs, I hope this blog will offer the same to others.  I plan to share information, photos and tutorials about projects I'm working on; links to things, places, people and sites that I love; and lots more!