Wednesday, October 22, 2014

House Progress

I apologize for being absent.  My father passed away and the past month has been more than rough.   I haven't been able to work on the house much, but there is some progress being made.  Before I confuse everyone I need to tell you the story.   I bought the house from a national builder.  As to be expected, they were inflexible, and I wound up having to settle to do things after we moved in.  For instance, I could only use one cabinet manufacturer, and we didn't feel the quality was what I could get elsewhere for the same price ($325/lineal foot).  That buys pretty custom cabinets and all handmade out of real wood, not picturewood on cardboard that I could tear with my bare hands.  I'm not a strong person!

This is the shot I took as we left the house this evening.  Sorry about the cell phone shot (again)

Here is a before photo of the kitchen from my previous post. 

Much improved, don't you think?!!

Here is the awesome crown moulding:

Here is an other shot of the floor:

It is antiqued travertine.  for some reason it looks really vibrant in these photos.  In the house is looks like a pale cream color.  I am really proud of these floors, because my husband and I put them in ourselves.  We do stuff because we get tired of contractors on getting things right....and tile is something I get really picky about.

This is what I am thinking about for the backsplash:

I haven't ordered it yet.  I am supposed to get my counters tomorrow.  I'm not holding my breath.  Oh someday!

Moving on to other things.  The guest bathroom is almost done.   

Yes I know, what possessed me to wallpaper.... Well, I wanted antiqued mirrors, but it was turning into a Taj Mahal project so something had to go out of the budget.

Next item:  The houseplans have two french doors accessing the patio--to the left and right of this bank of windows.  These windows are in the family room, and when you sit down, there's NO VIEW.

Well, not any more:

Other things I am working on is carpet in the master (on the left)  and office (on the right)

so how would you lay the arabesque pattern?   If I lay so we are walking on the pattern when we enter the room, wouldn't it look funny with the bed on it to the left, going the other direction?  That's the problem with a non-square pattern.  I don't know why I am liking the geometric carpets, I just do.  Maybe I should order the same carpet for the 2 bedrooms on the other end of the house....

And then I am messing with fabrics...

I am looking at Vervain, Bennison and Chelsea editions.   I will mull things over.  I pray for a very quiet November. And progress on the house.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kitchen Remodel

If you've been following my sparse posts, you know I have moved and am having a house built.   Well, we got the keys to the house.  Hurrah.   This is what the kitchen looked like when we got the keys.

This is what the kitchen looks like now:

Sorry about the blurry cell phone picture. The wall is opened up so we can wire for cabinet lighting.  The tile is chipped up, the cabinets are (almost) gone.  In 10 days we get some fabulous cabinets.  I put free stuff on Craigslist and was happy to give things to people who couldn't afford much and were really excited about upgrading their kitchens and carpets.

Below is the door that Mark, a real craftsman, made up as a sample for me.

In the mean time, I have lots of decisions to make.   I have a Jack and Jill bathroom that needs some jazzing up.  Here's what I am thinking about:

It is calacatta marble tiles, 3" x 12"  Above it is in a diagonal herringbone.  Listed below are options of how to lay this type of tile.  What pattern would you pick?   I am tired of the herringbone, because I have done it a number of times.

After the house closed, we did take a break so we could feel like we had a summer.  We had thought we'd be in the house for a couple of months when we originally planned the trip. So we headed to Maui.  
 My favorite place to go is the Grand Wailea.   It's hard to stay tense about remodeling in this beautiful setting!

When we land on Maui, like everyone else, we stop at Costco to get suntan lotion and sundries, and of course, tuberose leis. My daughter and I had fun spending the afternoon in a cloud of tuberose. (Grand Wailea gives you orchid leis on arrival)

I don't really know how to relax, but I did have fun taking walks on the beach and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Now it is back to work.  I can't wait to get out of this apartment into the house!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Georgian Girl

I know I haven't blogged much even though there are alot of changes in my life.  The big move out of our family home has taken some getting used to.  I am thankful that I know all my treasures are boxed up somewhere.  

We do get our new house this Friday, and I will share with you all that "downsizing" stuff and let you know if it's going to work.

In the mean time, I thought I'd share one of my treasures I got before I packed everything up for the move.

She's a lovely little girl isn't she?   I  just had to have her.  Thanks Ebay.  I still love my coral fabric toile on my chippendale child's chair.  Blogged about here.

Given that all my stuff is being stored, using chairs as easels seems to be a habit of mine.  It also keeps off overweight adults who don't have the sense to not sit on a fragile chair.

 Above is a lovely antique handcolored print.  I can't resist anything old.  What can I say.   I really do miss opportunities to find treasures.  

I am trying to de-stress by gardening these days.   Below are some summer photos of the garden in Calif.

The flower carpet roses are doing really well right now.  They surround a lavender bed which has another flush of lavender.  Below is a photo of the other side of the walk--instead of flower carpet roses we have drift roses.  They are a bit lower in height than the flower carpet.  However I do not like them as well as they don't bloom as much as the flower carpet roses.  Note--we planted Red flower carpet roses--not scarlet, which I think turns more pink.

My son-in-law loves gardening, and took care of the property for the past 3 years.  He planted a huge garden, tons of flowers and grasses.
The zinnias do a great job of coming back every year and filling up spaces with amazing color.

The trellises were a summer project.  I designed the end cuts, thanks to an antique plate providing the perfect round template.  That wasn't easy to do.  My job was to draw the pattern on the board.

The zinnias have jumped the sidewalk on the left, and are now headed towards the open space.  We'll see how far the wind blows those seeds!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Designing a Bathroom

There are a few inspiration bathrooms that appeal to me.  After going through and looking at thousands of pictures, I am on overload.  I think every designer in the world is using white marble subway tile and white painted cabinets.

Here are some photos I've collected of bathrooms that I like.  One thing I like about the bath below is the windows and the ottoman.  I am thinking about the wall color and the use of cream on the tile and cabinets--the room seems very warm.

My husband, on the other hand, really likes the all-white marble bathrooms.  I think it is because of the hotels he's stayed at in Europe.  They're all ancient and marble ages beautifully.  Of course I'm a bit harsh on white marble, I use bleach products in the shower, which doesn't really noticeably etch marble (in my book), but it does eventually destroy grout.  I like to KNOW that my showers are germ free!

 I love the freestanding tub. However I am not able to design one into the house.  It requires the plumbing drain to be in the center, and we are past that stage in the building process.   We have something called a post and tension slab, and you can't cut into the concrete floor once it is poured.   Boo!   There are other tubs that drain left or right, but they are too contemporary for me.

There are many all white marble tile showers.  I do love them all.

The master bath is the shape below.  I like the L-shaped vanity wall.  While I am a big fan of symmetry, I am thinking of going with this design.  It provides a ton of storage which is important to me.  My bath measurements are 140" for the longer vanity wall, the shorter back wall is actually 86".  The tub is on the right like the photo below, and there is a doorway in the center that goes to a very large closet that even has a window in it!

 I had featured this bathroom in an earlier post "Shingle Style Meets Northwest" Sept 2013.  The doors with the X's intrigue me.  I'm not sure if I really like them or if I would get tired of them.  They seem sort of french country so that appeals to me.  The tower on the right with the two doors-- I would probably make that one door, and I am thinking about putting a mirror in it rather than glass.   I know I like to stage with nice towels, or fancy antique smalls, but I would also do well with mirror.  The mirror over the drawers would not be there, I really want to put a painting there to warm it up.

What do you think about the vanity?  The one above is very narrow, about 25".  I would do about 30".  I am thinking of putting a medicine cabinet in behind the center mirror.  I have to store my hairspray somewhere!

The vanity below was featured in Traditional Home.   What do you think of the two towers instead of 1?   My husband says he doesn't like the two sideways sconces, which I would have to do because of the electrical work already done.  (moral of story:  PICK OUT EVERYTHING before you build!)

There are many things I like about this vanity, I like the mirror with the rosettes in the background, I like the rounded doors, the Louis Philippe mirror, the very cool chair....  I could do this, but it would make the sink to the left of the vanity and bank of drawers to the right of the vanity smaller.  I would do a bank of drawers on each side, rather than doors on the bottom.  They would have to be about 11" wide.

What would you do?  A vanity with a single mirror or the two towers.  I suspect that the two towers would be more costly.

Here is what most people do in the development:
In the mirror reflection you see a shower.  I would like to build a wall between the tub and shower.  I don't like cleaning glass!  I think the vanity idea above is a huge improvement!

I did think about putting this  in the center of the wall, and then put the vanity on the right side of the "L", but I have already ticked off the builder and the hubby with the countless times I have moved the sconces.....

I did pick out some sconces:

The shades are more cream than white.   Depending on the marble/tile selection, I may have to swap it out.  Below is another bathroom where someone used them.  OK, OK, I'm in love with the antique mirror.  I don't own it and I should!

I have seen the bath below from Architectural Digest all over the internet.  (Designed by Suzanne Kasler).  I will take it, just like that!  Wow. White marble, white cabinets and all.

Notice the sconces, familiar looking?  (they are a different brand, over my budget)  Of course the Venetian mirror is killer and really helps make the room, not to mention the architectural windows that are so fun.
I really like the antiqued mirrors on the back wall with the rosettes.   I stopped by a glass shop, and they quoted me about $1300 for a 6' x 9' wall.  I know there are alot of do-it-yourself antiqued glass out there, I don't want it to wind up looking like a house from 1967, with the only thing missing is the red flocked wallpaper on the other wall!

Tile shopping has really changed in the last 5 years.  Of course we all want something a little different, so the market has responded with some really artsy designs with waterjet cut marble.

New Ravenna has tons of to die for patterns.  I just don't think that $300/foot is something that most people would consider, but they are in lots of showrooms, someone is buying them!   I am not sure what I will use.  I am thinking about using the limestone that I have picked out for the rest of the house.

I have a second bathroom that I am designing around a bargain I picked up.  This Restoration Hardware vanity:

Restoration Hardware St. James Vanity
I like the darker antiqued finish on it.  It is not so sterile looking.  I managed to get the faucets at RH for all the bathrooms.   I do like their product and catch it on sale, it is alot better than the Perrin & Rowe pricing.

We are thinking about lining the walls with marble subway tile.  I really like the idea of the antiqued mirror too--can't get it out of my head, and don't have a place to do it except here.

I have these sconces from Horchow that I may use in the room.

I have to get back to the cabinet guy on my design next week.  I will be busy this weekend, as that includes the kitchen.  I did find some lovely slabs of calacatta marble for the counter.  I was looking for a honed finish, and this one has a finish called Satinato.   Think of it as a slightly leathered surface.  It is smooth, with some ripples at the veining.  We really liked the finish on these particular slabs, as we've seen other leathered finishes that wind up being terrible on white marble, pitted, etc.

So leave me some comments with  your opinions.   I know thousands of you read my blog, so don't be shy, I know you're out there!   I get so stressed out with all the expensive decisions that must be made, and picking things from swatches here and there, making sure it all goes together is quite a chore if you're not careful.

I hope you enjoyed reading about all my bathroom musings!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ribbon Storage

Who doesn't have a collection of ribbon at home?   I suspect many bloggers are as OCD as I am.  How to keep them orderly is the question.   I tend to use old wood spools, but they are hard to come by.   Here's a cute idea:

Use old wood clothespins!  Isn't that great!   Store in a basket to keep them tidy.  That is another requirement, so they are available when you need them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lady of Shalott

Check out these beautiful blooms.  They are a David Austin rose "Lady of Shalott"

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

King Ludwig's Meissen Swan

Last fall we were in Germany, and went to Neuschwanstein Castle.   It was a fabulous trip and we had a wonderful time.  Best vacation ever!

 Any way you look at it, the castle was a feat--even if you'd prefer to live in one of the houses in the valley.

Inside, you can't help but notice the fascination that King Ludwig had with swans.  In addition to being known as Mad King Ludwig, he is also known as the Swan King.

On the tour we spotted a fabulous Meissen swan in the dining room.  

The swan is life-size.   - As in the size of a swan.

Isn't it awesome!  It is Meissen.  Of course, when I got home, I had to look for swans.

I found some antique ones at Westerhof

They are 15" x 15" and were made circa 1820. Oh yes, they are $22,000 for the pair.   The work is fabulous.
You can see the details of the feathers in porcelain.
I went hunting for more swans.   Sothebys sold this tureen for $37,500 GBP

But I'm baffled that all the Meissen swans do not look anything like King Ludwig's swan.

And then I found a swan.   It is huge.

Mine is earthenware, and is from the turn of the century France.

And pennies compared to what this one would go for!

Now.  Where to put it!

I am happy to report that it fits on my giant demilune sideboard.   

My husband reminded me that King Ludwig died under suspicious circumstances--his family was upset that he was spending too much money on all his crazy ideas.    Hmmm.   

My swan seems at home on the sideboard, the mahogany reflecting just like water on a lake!