Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easy Breasy Makeover

We have these two sconces on either side of our bed.

Here you can see them in context (and catch a glimpse of why our bedroom needs sprucing up).

We will soon be replacing the black furniture with a beautiful mid-century set of dressers and nightstands that I blogged about here.  The new (to us) furniture has brass ring-pulls, and the new (as soon as I make it) headboard will have brass nailheads, so the brushed nickel sconces needed a facelift.  (That is not to say that all metal finishes in a room have to be the same, but I'm not a huge fan of brushed nickel in the first place - and I knew these would bother me next to all those yellow-toned metals.)

A few weeks back, I read about an intriguing product on Janell's inspiring blog.  This was the perfect opportunity to try it.  Enter Rub'n Buff, available at your local craft store.

I was a little hesitant at first, so I tried it on a hidden part of the fixture.  It went on smoothly and easily, so, I proceeded to "rub'n buff" the arms...

the mounting plate and cord cover...

and within about 15 minutes, I was nearly done...

with only a little collateral damage (word to the wise - protect your wall before you get started, not after you mess up!).

The finished product.

I have to admit - this stuff is pretty incredible.  It's so easy to use and looks very convincing.  I applied it with one finger (covered by a latex glove) and buffed with a cotton cloth.  I think a bare finger would have given slightly better coverage, but that would require washing up with pretty toxic solution (and this stuff is probably pretty toxic as well).  A tiny bit goes a long way and it dries almost instantly.  (Disclaimer - I've seen other people use it for lamps, but it does say "combustible - not to be used near flame or heat" - so, I'm not sure this is 100% safe.  I assume the combustion risk goes away once it's applied and dry - I hope so!).  

[Update (4/3/11) - I did the 1st sconce at night with dim lighting... after rub'n buffing the 2nd sconce today with ample daylight, I have to tone down my enthusiasm slightly.  The finish is a bit patchy and on close inspection, it's obvious that it was painted or treated in some way.  That said, we're the only ones looking at our sconces that closely - from even a foot away, I think it looks pretty good.]
The color is a little warmer and more coppery than I would have liked.  I'll see how it looks when the furniture is in, and perhaps I'll go over it with a little black to "age" it. 

Below, you can see it back in context.  Quite a transformation from the brushed nickel version on the left (to be done another day)!

Did you notice my masking-tape mock-up of the headboard?  I like a large-scale headboard, but don't want to go too high.  This is my 3rd or 4th try and I think this will be just right - it shows above the euro shams, and balances nicely with the height of the sconces.  Lots more work to do!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Too cute

I'll try not to make a habit of posting about toddler clothing, but these embroidered tee-shirts at the Gap are just too cute. 

I even considered buying this elephant one to turn it into a pillow or framing the elephant.  Sounds odd, I know - but it reminded me of our turquoise/orange nursery. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bedroom Progress

In order to make room for a new shower in our master bathroom, we will be bidding our existing closet farewell in a few weeks.  To take its place, we've decided to have wardrobes built on the opposite wall, with a window seat.

A few days ago, one side of our bedroom looked like this:

We happily parted with the IKEA wardrobe and the little vintage vanity that has turned into a cluttered and ergonomically incorrect computer desk.

This morning, it looked like this:

And, later today, it looked like this:

Hopefully, in the next week or two, I will have a true "after" photo to post.  A little snafu with respect to the closet doors has left us with this open storage for the moment.  Needless to say, the side with three sections (and 6 slide-out shoe shelves) is mine! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Girls' Bathroom Design Plan

Work on our bathrooms begins 2 weeks from tomorrow - I'm getting excited!  This is the design plan for the girls' bathroom. 

Paint color:  Benjamin Moore, i love you pink
Wall tile:  Tile Shop, 4" x 8" imperial bianco gloss subway tile
Trim tile:  Tile Shop, imperial bianco cornice
Floor tile:  Tile Shop, 2" hex tile, matte white
Bathtub:  Homeclick, American Standard Huron 4' recessed tub (it's a mini-tub for our mini-bathroom)
Toilet:  Homeclick, Toto Drake
Pedestal Sink:  Faucetdirect, 24" Kohler Memoirs Pedestal
Shower/Tub Faucet, Sink Faucet, Accessories:  Faucetdirect, Moen Kingsley Collection
Medicine Cabinet:  Faucetdirect, Kohler 15" Reversible Hinged Mirrored Medicine Cabinet
Light Fixture:  Faucetdirect, Kichler 5368
Towels:  Pottery Barn Kids, Essential Bath Towels in bright pink
Letter Hooks:  Anthropologie, Alphabet Hooks
Shower Curtain Rod:  Faucetdirect, Speakman Rod
Shower Curtain Rings:  Restoration Hardware, Hot/Cold Shower Curtain Rings (no longer available)
Window Fabric:  Insidefabric, Lee Jofa/Groundworks Daisy Daisy in pink/orange

Luckily, most of the items above were purchased at a discount.  To stretch our budget in home improvement projects, I always try to start searching early so that I can wait for periodic sales, search for online coupons, request price-matching, and negotiate (I was able to bargain some of our big-ticket items down by as much as 60%)!  I'm also a big fan of google's "froogle" service, which helps identify the vendor with the best price for any given item.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Come back, Spring!

We had a fleeting taste of Spring.  I hope it returns soon. 
Looking forward to our azaleas blooming in the next few weeks.
In any case, have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Beautifully Staged Bedroom

On a whim, with groceries (including ice cream) in my trunk, I pulled into the driveway of an open house the other day.  We're not looking to move, but I always enjoy peeking at open houses in our neighborhood when I have time.  The house is a brand new "green" "systems-built" (modular) home that is currently serving as a show home.  The interior design was done by a wonderful local shop called Urban Country

The charming exterior is what drew me in, but I was not disappointed when I stepped inside. 

In particular, I loved the staging in the master bedroom and had to snap some photos. 

This bedroom is so incredibly inviting and successfully incorporates elements of three very different styles: earthy/organic, classic/tailored and hollywood/glam.  There are so many things to love:  tufted headboard with nailhead trim; relaxed linen bedding; soothing shades of blue; neutral slipcovered chairs; bamboo roman shades, dark hardwood floors; and a chic little vanity.  This would be a heavenly retreat.

This bed absolutely confirms my plans for a new linen duvet cover and matching shams.

I've admired that french script fabric before.  It works perfectly on this sleek little vanity seat.

This light fixture must be especially lovely at night.  You can see a hint of the kaleidoscope-type shadow on the ceiling.

Nine times out of ten, I would prefer to tour a lived-in home, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sophisticated style of these hypothetical homeowners.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Swatches: Decisions have been made!

I finally settled on fabrics for the window treatments in our two (soon-to-be) new bathrooms.

Master Bathroom

This fabric is for a roman shade.  I found it at Calico Corners (on sale for 20% off).  I wanted a print that was not too graphic or bold.  I find this one to be lovely and soothing. 

Thom Filicia for Kravet - Griffith in Sky

This shows the various colorways.
In fact, this print reminds me of a beautiful book our older daughter loves entitled "Wave," by Suzy Lee

When it arrived at my house, I immediately draped it over the current window treatment to see how it looks in the room, and I am not disappointed. 

Amazingly enough, among the 50+ blue benjamin moore paint chips that I took home from the hardware shop, I did not find a single suitable shade of light blue.  I will have to continue my hunt for the perfect blue.

Before finding and falling for the bird print above, a different bird print had won me over:

Premier Prints - Barber in Taupe/Robin
I ordered a couple of yards of this (budget friendly) fabric -- and love it.  But, because I am going for a serene feel, I was concerned that this design might be too "busy" for the bathroom.  Still, the pattern will be perfect for pillows in my living room!

The other major contender for the master bedroom window was this:
Serena & Lily - Jaipur in Bark
This is gorgeous, and maybe I'll find a place for it in the future.  But, it felt a little bold for the space I envision.

Girls' Bathroom

For the girls' bathroom, I am still "thinking pink."  I plan to paint the walls a very pale shade of pink and make either a roman shade or a valance for the window.  I was unafraid of going bold in this room and this playful, punchy fabric by Lee Jofa/Groundworks caught my eye.  It was my first foray into designer fabric.  Fortunately, I only needed a yard, so it didn't put too much of a dent in the budget! 

Lee Jofa/Groundworks - Daisy Daisy in Pink/Orange

When it arrived, a similar draping process took place - followed by this crazy scene: 
This is my process for choosing the perfect shade of pink to coordinate with the towels and window fabric.  By this point, I had already rejected the colors scattered about on the bed.

Narrowing it down further...

Down to two -- the ultimate decision was whether to go cool or warm.

And, I think we have a winner.  I chose the cooler of the two shades, which coordinates better with the bluish pinks in the towels and window fabric.

A close second to the "daisy daisy" print was this similar design from Serena & Lily.  But, I didn't think a cotton sateen would be ideal for a window treatment.  In any case, I prefer the larger scale and brighter colors in the print above.

I'm not particularly looking forward to the shade-making process --I find it terribly tedious.  But, I hope I'll be able to document it step-by-step and share it in a future post.  Maybe that will motivate me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Washington Design Center's Dream Home - part 2

Today, I'm featuring the second half of the Washington Design Center's Dream Home - Jewel Tones of Design.  It will be open through December 9th, so if you're in town - go see it!

5.  Club Room by Savant Interior Design.  Jewelry by Pampillonia Jewelers.

I've always been a fan of canary diamonds.  In person, these are breathtaking.

Favorite elements in this space are the filigree rug and standout cabinet.

I like the stenciled wall panels.  I've seen so much great use of stenciling lately, I'm tempted to try it.

6.  Bedroom Suite by Zoe Feldman Design.  Jewelry by Shah & Shah Appraisers.

The dramatic mouldings, marbleized wallpaper and full-length bolster pillow were the elements that stood out most to me in this room.  The round-backed wicker chair brings back memories of my childhood crafts -- miniature versions of the same style chair (decorated with eyelet trim and silk flowers) served as "thrones" for my teddy bear kings and queens.

Love the table - it would be spectacular in a foyer topped with a dramatic floral arrangement.

7.  Reading Room by Robert Shields Interiors.  Jewelry by Chas. Schwartz & Son.

This is a 1925 Art Deco diamond and emerald Egyptian Revival brooch used as a clasp for a strand of grey Tahitian pearls.

Robert Shields explained how he translated his inspiration piece into the angled column bookcases -- a tribute to ancient Egyptian temples. Having lived and travelled in Egypt, I particularly appreciated the reference.

8.  Bedroom by Chad Alan Designs.  Jewelry by Tiny Jewel Box.

This necklace is -- hands down -- my favorite of the eight inspiration pieces!

The beauty of this room is in the details.  There is some serious creativity at play.

The fireplace wall is the reverse side of mirrored glass - treated to create the strie effect.

This is the piece de resistance... the leafy design on the wallpaper was hand-applied by the designer - using STAPLES.  I was really blown away by this - it looked amazing, and was so unique.  Apologies for the blurry image - I had to crop this to show the detail.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  This was my second visit to a design house - and I think I'm hooked.  I can't wait to see the 2011 DC Design House, opening April 9th.  Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home (one of my favorite blogs) is designing a room for it. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Washington Design Center's Dream Home - part 1

After a few frustrating days, it looks like my laptop is back up and running and I am happy to be able to blog again. 

Last week, I had the pleasure of exploring the Washington Design Center's 2011 Dream Home:  Jewel Tones of Design, consisting of eight rooms designed by local designers -- each inspired by a piece of jewelry.  If I had to capture the overall ambiance of the Dream Home in a few words, I would offer "luxury," "texture," "sparkle" and "sophistication."  Quite apropos of the theme!  I was thrilled to be able to meet the designers and hear directly from them how they translated their inspiration piece into a room.

Let's take a tour of the first four rooms - along with the inspiration jewelry for each.  Tune back in tomorrow for the rest of the home. 

1.  Atrium by J.D. Ireland.  Jewelry by Charm Georgetown.

Joe Ireland derived the circular theme from the blue stone in the necklace - recreating circles in the center display, along with the custom painted panels on the back walls and throughout the room.  He also cleverly adopted the little gold bead design from the necklace and created "jewelry" for the room (notice the tiny gold spheres above the crown moulding and along the iron gate element).

2.  Living Room by Susan Nelson Interiors.  Jewelry by Dina Mackney

Isn't this gorgeous?!

I like the feel of this room - sophisticated, yet youthful, with its cheerful color palette and modern accessories.  Notice the way the lavender and lime green are carried through the room in the curtains, sofa, pillows and accessories.  My, how I would love to take those bookcases home with me!

Talk about jewelry for a room - the chandelier dazzles.

3.  Media Room by Andy Staszak Interior Design.  Jewelry by Adeler Jewelers.

These earrings are made from 1st-century B.C. Roman silver coins depicting Cupid astride a goat.  Stunning.

I couldn't say it better than the brochure - the "organic elegance" of the earrings "is reflected in the neutral and earthy palette of the room."  That chair in white hide is so luxe.  The trio of nesting tables is simple, but much more interesting than a regular coffee table.  The photo doesn't really portray the coziness that this room evoked in person.

My favorite element in this room is the little lucite side table available through Donghia, which happened to be featured in this month's Elle Decor, along with a few other gorgeous designs.  A little googling also led me to a post about this line of tables at Peak of Chic.

4.  Sitting Room by Willard and Palmer Interiors.  Jewelry by Ann Hand.

What could be more "D.C." than this?

The large-scale check on the walls is a fresh take on a classic.  The coffee table is beautiful.  And, since I am in a navy blue phase at the moment, I particularly like the window treatments and navy accents.

More tomorrow!