Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two small yet stylish kitchens

This past weekend I saw two great kitchens that I had to post.  The first you probably saw in this month's (July 2011) Southern Living.  It's Southern Living's decorating editor, Lindsey Ellis Beatty's kitchen.

This kitchen is an inspiration.  They kept the existing cabinets (just raised them) and also added some new elements like the hardwood floors, tongue and groove ceiling, quartz countertops, built-in pantry, new appliances, hardware and the vintage style lights.

I really like how she raised the cabinets and installed floating shelves.   Do you spy the chevron patterned backsplash!!  I always thought I was a subway tile girl, but this might change my mind.  I really like it.

Such a fun breakfast area. 

I love how she added a double door built in pantry to echo the look of the refrigerator!  It anchors the space and creates symmetry.  

The second kitchen I spotted was the design of Amy Meier who (in my book) can do no wrong.  I love this kitchen.  It's timeless, classic with a hint of the unexpected.  To see the before pictures, go here

The (moody) navy columns (and moldings) are amazing in my opinion!  I love this detail.  And, once again, those beautiful subway tiles.  I believe Amy used black grout.  The contrast is stunning.  I would be scared to do something like that, but it totally makes this kitchen!

Don't get me started on those brass fixtures!!  I want, I want, I want!

And, an antique lamp she scored to add a touch of nautical to the kitchen.  Simply genius! 

So, do any of these kitchens strike your fancy??  I hope so!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Posting at The Vintique Object

Today, I've over at Camille's blog, The Vintique Object.  This is a relatively new to me blog and it has quickly become one of my favorites.  Camille is super talented with a keen eye for design.   And, on top of it, she is super sweet.  Join me while I kick off her guest series, Stylish ways to protect your kids and pets in your home (and your home from kids and pets)!  Go here.

Our expedit bookcase serving as toy storage.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Bathroom Accessories

I have bathrooms on the brain.  We're close to finishing our upstairs bathroom renovation and I'm excited.  The past 48 hours, I've spent hours searching for stylish yet affordable accessories and I'm exhausted.  First, I'll show you the ones I absolutely LOVE.

Norwell's Emily line.  I love the toilet paper holder.  It's my favorite.  CSN Stores sells this line.

While the prices are not outrageous, it's more than we want to spend on a bathroom that we won't enjoy long-term.  Now, here are the ones I bought from Overstock for half the cost. 

(I didn't purchase this. Couldn't justify spending $20 for a hook)

Overall, I'm pleased with what I found.  Overstock didn't sell the towel ring, so I purchased this one at Lowes.

Next up, shower curtain.  I am absolutely in love with the one (below), but unfortunately Lands End doesn't make it anymore.  But, I'm thinking this would be easy to make. 

It reminds me of Kate Spade's bathroom.  

Okay, I'm off to prime my sideboard.  Happy hump day!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mini Makeover: My Patio

If you remember in this post, I told you that we have teensy tiny patio I wanted to spruce up.  Our patio was virtually a place where we kept our trash cans and stacked garden chairs during the winter.  It is nothing pretty to look at by any means.


If we were to stay in this house longer, the first thing of order would be to either re-paint or spray wash the foundation and re-cement the stairs.  I also would replace the metal door and windows, but it's not worth it because we want to move.

If you remember, I also said I had no budget for this makeover so I wanted to shop my home and repurpose what I had.  As you can see above, we had two wicker chairs, a garden stool and an outdoor/indoor rug (not pictured).  All of these were to become the main ingredients for the mini-makeover.  

Above is the mood board I created for my project.  Here, you can see the rug I had to work with - definitely not my favorite, but it worked just fine.  I spray painted the wicker chairs glossy black and the garden stool an apple green.  I bought cream round planters from Joann's (out of all places) for 50% off.  And, I bought sunbrella chair cushions and mini lumbar pillows.  


Here is the after.  In my humble opinion, I really think the planters make it.  They add color and life to this patio.  So, what do you think?  Not bad for re-purposing what you currently own and using your green thumb!! 

Now if only the mosquitos would disappear, I could sit out here in the evenings!!!


Friday, June 17, 2011

All Time Favorite

One of my all time favorite homes is Ashley Putman's, which was published in Lonny April/May 2010.  I recently stumbled on a new blog (at least to me) called, The Semi-Designed Life, where the blogger, Lauren, actually got to tour Ashely Putman's home this past Christmas.  See here.   It's so good....I just had to post.

Ashley's courage to use a dark wallpaper in her bedroom is fantastic.  I always lean towards the lighter end of the spectrum when it comes to walls, but, I really like this look.  I also like the contrast of the dark walls with the feminine bedding.

It appears that Ashely switched the bedding for Christmas.  Love it and the monogrammed shams.

How adorable is the tartan pillow case?  

Another example of Ashley's fearless use of dark colors on the walls.  The infamous cobalt blue dining room we all love. 

Decorated for Christmas.  

A cool shot.  I love the eclectic mix of candlesticks. 

 I want to do this - the oversized brandy snifter filled with corks!

Perfection.  I don't know where to begin?  Black side door (always wanted to do this in our kitchen).  Hardware.  Kitchen table.  Appliances.  Open shelving.  Brick flooring.  Love it all. 

I love open shelving, but I also would need cabinets and I like how Ashley's cabinets are off to the side.

Clean lined console and a lovely vignette!

Ashley's staircase from Lauren's tour.  Looks like the 'For Like Ever' poster has a new home.  

A great combination - tartan, chalkboard paint and wellies!  

A house isn't complete without some lacquer!!  Again, more evidence of her courage!

The Putman's family room.  Chic and kid-friendly.  Love it.  

And, this is the room where they place their Christmas tree.  How lovely.

And, yes a pool surrounded by grass, my favorite.  This is the view outside of the family room.  

In the living room, Ashley opted for lighter walls.  I love how this room is casual and classic.  

During Lauren's tour, it appears Ashley has changed the sofa.  


I know I went overboard with the images.  However, I hope you enjoyed the new pictures and a special thanks to Lauren from 'The Semi-Designed Life.'  If Ashley's house is in the tour this year, I might just have to fly down to Houston myself to see it in person!!  Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Dining Room Inspiration

With the help of an interior designer, the colors have been selected for my dining room makeover.  My inspiration was this dining room by Palmer Weiss.

"Delicate grays accented with fresh citrine, bright white borders, burnished gold and light wood tones."
As I mentioned before, I wanted this makeover to be (hopefully) quick and inexpensive.  The creamy White Down color will be painted on the walls which will create a sense of space and calm that puts the room in the best light.  It also blends very well with the existing Revere Pewter that is in our living room right adjacent to the dining room.  Both these colors compliment the accent color citrine.  

The walls have been painted and my rug from Overstock has been purchased.  The next couple of weeks will be spent giving my existing furniture pieces a paint makeover (dining room table, chairs, sideboard and chandelier).  I also am in the process of selecting the fabric for my roman shades.  Once, I select the fabric, I'll post my mood board.  In the meantime, a lot to do......stay tuned!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Best Design Advice

The one and only room in our house that has remained untouched since moving into our house is our dining room.  I have no idea why.  Probably because we use this room for everything and I couldn't be inconvenienced with tearing it apart.  But, it's time. (As my mom would say).

One day I was talking  complaining to my friend about feeling overwhelmed with trying to get all my home projects done by summer's end (more on that later) when she recommended the best piece of design advice I've ever received. 

She suggested I contact an interior designer to seek some 'free' advice/consultation.  What?  That's brilliant.  Why didn't I think of that?  Oh, yeah, I have pregnancy brain!

In fact, I remember Kirsten from 6th Street Design School did a post on how to become a better designer and one of things she suggested is to hire a designer.  Now I know why.

Without hesitation, I put up a post on craigslist (under 'gigs') advertising that I was seeking an Interior Designer or ID intern who was willing to provide free consultation on my home in return for a Starbucks coffee of their choice.  No joke.  I recieved 5 responses!

Lucky for me, the interior designer that I contacted is new to the area having just moved from NYC.  She has her degree in Interior Design from a university in the U.K.  She is keen on starting her business here in CT and is building her client base.  She happily agreed to meet with me for a free consultation and we spent Saturday morning walking through my home.  I soaked up every minute of it!!  It was so refreshing to see things from her point of view.

For example, here is a paraphrased excerpt of our conversation.  The setting is my living room.

Her: "Do you mind me asking why you put your bookshelf over there?"
Me: "Well, I thought it looked good and that space was empty."
Her: "Well, I think it would look better over on that wall because it would provide symmetry to that wall as you have an entry way on one side and nothing on the other."
Me; "Oh, you know, I've never thought of that before."

What I learned is that every suggestion she made there was a legitimate reason for it.  Another example, she suggested I move my mirror opposite my window to provide more light into my room.

As much as I love design and think I have a good eye, I realize I approach design with my gut as oppose to relying on technical knowledge.  I think you need both.  It was refreshing to hear her reasons as to why things would work better in some spaces versus other spaces.

We focused a bulk of the consultation on my dining room throwing around ideas.  I probably was her 'worst' client as I told her that I had NO money for a real budget and everything in the room had to be repurposed.  So, her consultation didn't focus on sourcing furnishing, but instead helping me to finalize my thoughts, espeically my color palette. 

Needless to say, decisions have been made and progress is on it's way.  Painters are actually here today painting.  More to come soon!

So, lesson of the day, if you're interested in learning more about design - hire a designer (or buy them a coffee!).  You won't be sorry!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In My Kitchen: Before & After

I'd say our kitchen is the only room in our house that is 99% completed.  This makes me happy.  Of course, if I had unlimited funds, this would be up for debate.  But, given what we have, our kitchen is complete.  So, let me invite your into our kitchen:

Our kitchen is small: 11 x 11.  We redid the kitchen shortly after we got married and I moved in.  It was a gut job (including the ceiling and floor but the walls remained).  My husband and I designed our kitchen.  He performed a lot of the manual labor: installed ceiling, recessed lighting, cabinets, and appliances.  We had professionals install the flooring, granite countertop, moldings and subway backsplash.  

Since this is not our "forever" house, we decided against taking down the walls and just working with what we have.  While it is not large by any means, it's functional and quaint.  

There use to be nothing on this wall.  Just a aluminum rack to hold pantry goods and dishes.  Do you see my kitchen stool to the left - the only place to sit in the kitchen! :)

A close-up of our backsplash.  Originally, I was planning on going with Ann Sacks tiles, but given our tight budget, we opted for good 'ol Home Depot subway tile.  I love how it turned out. 

Okay, and now for the before.  Let me just set the scene.  This was my husband's house before we got married so when I moved in it was his bachelor pad.  The kitchen was exactly the same kitchen that existed in 1948!  His priority, at the time, was his basement (he loves woodworking), not the kitchen.  Go figure.  Oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm posting these pictures.  

Bleh...how about that copper kitchen clock?  Or the contact paper back splash?  That light fixture?  Those horrible dirty cabinets?  Do you want to see where the oven was?

Yes, right next to the refrigerator and do you want to know what was to the left of the stove?  Oh yeah, the washer machine.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of that.  The good thing about that is you could do a load of laundry while simultaneously cook dinner!  I think this should be the new trend.  :)

And, look at that linoleum floor!  Lovely.  I believe when we were dating, I tore out a tear sheet of a kitchen as inspiration and there it hung on the side of the refrigerator.  Well, all I have to say, is that after we got married, this kitchen was history.  As the slogan goes, "You've We've come a long way, baby!"