April 22, 2010

The Case for White

Maybe because it is spring and the world outside my door is in a constant state of renewal, or maybe because of all this bright sunlight streaming in through my open windows, but I am having a serious hankering to lighten up inside. I would love to slipcover my sofas in crisp white, paint my hardwood floors a creamy linen, and lighten up all my dark furniture with a fresh coat of light gray paint.  I found this home on 1st-option and immediately fell in love. (p.s. don't follow that link unless you have a whole day to kill. Seriously, that is eight hours I will never get back. That website might be where my productivity meets it's demise.)

I am posting this over at The Inspired Room. Head on over there for more inspiring spaces.

April 20, 2010


Reading this...

Worrying about this...

Iceland's volcanic eruption via Reuters

Dreaming of this...

Hoping for this...

clear blue skies via trip advisor

April 14, 2010

House Stalking: Sherman Avenue

I drove through this neighborhood the other day and was curious about this renovation. A quick google search led me to Brach Design (isn't the internet great?) This tiny dilapidated house sat on a 25 foot wide lot in an up-and-coming district (though you would never be able to tell that from the before pics of this house). The size of the lot required that the design be approved by the neighbors and the city Planning Division. Brach Design was able to devise a plan that restored the original structure and its relationship to the street, while adding space above and below ground to achieve 2,200 square feet of clean modern spaces flooded with natural light.


During: The front structure of the house remains intact while footings are poured for the two story expansion.

After: I love that they kept the same lines of the old porch roof and updated it with the metal pergola. The slate porch ties in nicely with the new landscaping. 

After: View of the back of the house. A juliet balcony extends from the new master bedroom.  

Inside: Because the lot is narrow, so too is the house. This layout is very similar to a New Orleans shotgun style house with all the rooms lining up from front to back. Although the use of different flooring does set the living room area apart from the hallway, I would have kept the floors all the same material to allow the eye to flow more from the living room to the back of the house.  

The streamlined kitchen sits at the back of the home with a sliding glass door that leads to the back garden.

Small scale glass tile visually expands the space and a european style glass enclosure keeps this small bath looking fresh, clean, light, and airy. Lesson to learn: keeping the vanity low with the sink placed on top doesn't take up as much visual space as having a higher vanity with an inset sink. Something to think about if you are working within a small footprint such as this. 

April 13, 2010

You Get Me?

When I started this little blog a few months back I had no idea that anyone would actually read it. I started writing it when I realized that I kept turning to design blogs when I needed direction on our renovation and decorating adventures. I thought that if I was searching these sites for inspiration then surely others were doing the same and I wanted to share our experiences for other crazy people attempting to remove astro-turf from their porch or paint vinyl siding (oh yes, it can be done). I figured I would get one or two hits every once in a while so I was surprised and excited when I started getting such supportive and lovely comments from perfect strangers. Who knew there were so many people out there interested in the same things that I was? To top off this great introduction into the blogosphere I have now been given a Beautiful Blogger Award by Heather at Pixie Dust. Thank you Heather, and all of you for being so kind and generous to a girl you have never met.

You all know how this works, award recipients are asked to share 10 things about themselves. Here goes:

1. I started college as a dance major on a ballet scholarship and finished with a degree in English Literature instead.

2. I always dreamed of being an architect. When other girls my age were drawing unicorns and fairies, I   was sketching out house plans complete with exterior elevations and diagrams of cupolas and glassed-in conservatories. My favorite was a house with a waterfall running down both sides of the staircase into a stream that ran through the house. Oddly enough, my husband sketched out a very similar 'dream house' when he was a kid. Seriously, what are the odds that two architecturally obsessed kids would get together? And who knows, maybe an indoor stream is in our future!

Patricia Routledge (as Hyacinth Bucket) - BBC

3. I am obsessed with British comedies. My favorites are: Are You Being Served (shopping in a department store will never be the same), Keeping Up Appearances (Hyacinth Bucket 'nuff said), and As Time Goes By (I'll watch anything with Dame Judy).

Magnus Persson/Johner Images/Getty Images

4. I love to be outdoors. I would live in a treehouse if they came with indoor plumbing (which I admit is rather oxymoron).

5. If I could buy only one cable channel (don't you wish they came a la carte?) it would be the Food Network.

6. I only have one preset radio station in my car. It is tuned to NPR.

7. I have two cats: Sir Leopold, and Lucy Diamond. They were both rescued by my brother who is a sucker (he has five cats and a dog!) who then quickly called his little sister who is an even bigger sucker. What can I say? I have a soft spot for strays.

8. I am the youngest of six.

9. My favorite place to hang out is the library. The fantastic Salt Lake City Library combines my love of architecture with my love of books.

10.  This year I will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the day I married my best friend.

I am passing on this award to these great bloggers:

Jane @ Blondie's Journal
Karrie @ The Brick Cottage
Londen @ Sixty-fifth Avenue
Kifus @ Inspiring Interiors
Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden
Abby @ Tales & Trials
Pine Tree Home
Delightful Dwelling
Leigh @ Brabourne Farm

Thanks again for all your great comments and support!

April 9, 2010

Antiques: To Paint or Not?

Attention antique purists: avert your eyes! I have done something you are not going to approve of. I have painted an antique glass bombe chest (okay, I really don't know if that is the proper name but that is what I am calling it).

I just realized that I don't have any good before shots. I found this one from when I was replacing some broken panes in the side...

My paternal grandparents were avid antique collectors, so as a result my siblings and I have all inherited some really great pieces. When my grandmother passed away all the furniture was divided up among those who wanted it, and this was one of the pieces that grandma had designated to go to me. To be honest I wasn't really interested in taking it home, but the fact that my grandma had specifically wanted it to be mine tugged at my sentimental side, so I took it knowing that it wouldn't really fit in with my decor. I tried using it as an end table in the living room but it just looked off so it ended up getting banished to storage in the garage. During one of the several moves we have made in the last few years the glass tray top was shattered, and a glass panel in the curved side was broken. I was crushed. I had been careless and now a piece of my heritage was broken. So it sat in the garage for a few more years while I debated just throwing in the towel and donating it to goodwill. I had been instilled with the 'don't mess with antique furniture' rule so I was paralyzed by indecision. Do I replace the broken glass and leave it as it is? (albeit in the garage?) Or should I just go for it and paint it? Well you already know the choice I made and I am here to say it was definitely the right one. I love it! Best of all, it is out of the garage and in a corner of the living room where it will be used!

Instead of replacing the top with a glass tray, I opted to cut a piece of pine and glue it the top. The rest of the chest is oak, but I figured since I was going to be painting it anyway it didn't matter what type of wood it was. 

The broken glass pane on the curved side was surprisingly easy to replace. I just took the chest apart and removed the broken piece of glass, took it to Lowe's and had them cut me a replacement at the exact same size.

I love it's curvy little french cabriole legs. 

I kept the original knob because I was feeling sentimental.

I keep my prized possession - an antique English demitasse tea set that my grandmother gave to me when I turned 16 - inside the glass where my two unusually rambunctious kitties can't knock it over.

This board used to be red velvet but is now covered with a tan and cream toile. 

This project has made me realize that painting an antique is not the end of the world. I get that it may not be worth anything anymore, but I would never consider selling it, so the value is less about $$ and more about sentimental memories. Plus, before being painted it lived in the garage because I just didn't like it. Now it holds center stage and can be enjoyed. 

What are your thoughts on painting antique furniture? Have you ever painted an antique? Or do you think they should remain in their original state?

I am linking up to Miss Mustard Seeds Furniture Feature Friday

April 7, 2010

Project Pepto Phase 2: The Dining Room

Finally, a room fit for a candlelight supper a la Hyacinth Bucket style (it's pronounced Boo-kay, in case you were inclined to say it like it's spelled). it isn't quite finished (is there anything in this house that is?) but it IS closer to looking like the vision that has been swimming around in our heads for sooooo long. If you have visited our silly little blog before you will remember that we started Project Pepto last year (last year!?!) to help cure some of our space problems. To catch up on the previous posts from this project read this and this.

Now for the evolution. This is the dining room as we first encountered it as we stepped foot into our cottage that had been ravaged by a teal and pink lovin' generation. Ah the forties, those were the good years...

We were moving to this house from another state and we needed it to be livable in a hurry. Wallpaper removal and paint did the trick for the interim...

As you can see from the above picture, the space is tiny. There wasn't enough space for my antique hutch AND the table, so the table had to be pushed up against the wall. When we had guests over for dinner (which wasn't very often due to my embarrassment of our lack of a real dining room) we would pull the table all the way into the living room and move the sofa and the chair over, effectively rearranging our entire house. In a word: chaos. So my brilliant husband came up with a plan, steal two feet from the Pepto room (which was slated to become the master closet), recess the hutch into the wall, and surround it with two built-ins. Genius!

During renovation. We had to bring in a beam to hold up the entire house (I am not exaggerating, this house was most likely framed by a crack head because all the trusses overlap in this one spot. All of them. Good plan crack head). The far wall you see was actually partially removed after this picture. We will eventually bring the whole thing down when we redo the kitchen but for various reasons part of it has to stay until then.

Voila! The finished (mostly) space!

We still need crown molding and base board, which has to wait until the new hardwood floors come in which have to wait until the wall into the kitchen comes down which has to wait until the kitchen remodel. Oh yes, there is a method to the madness, and the madness always inevitably leads to more madness. Such is the long and windy road (Frobisher style for all you Damages fans) of a whole house renovation that is done in stages instead of all at once. Sigh. 

You may recognize those wooden boxes, and no I didn't steal them from Layla. I was the lucky winner of a White Flower Farmhouse giveaway hosted by Layla of The Lettered Cottage. I have never (NEVER!) won anything before so you can imagine how giddy I was. Aren't they the cutest? They come with attached hangers to hang (which is how Layla used them and they look amazing!) but I loved the texture and earthiness they bring sitting on the shelves.  

A money shot of the built-in that Mr. poured his blood, sweat, and swear-words into (this was his first foray into inset cabinets!). We have a secret about how these were built, but I am going to save that little nugget for later. Stay will be shocked!

Since the original door knobs in the cottage were glass and I have been using them around the house (in the bathroom, and the master bedroom) I wanted to continue that theme here. We bought these from an amazing local hardware store called Silver Star Hardware (we prefer to give our money to the mom-and-pops) but Restoration Hardware has some very similar to this. 

In the picture above you can see the wall I was talking about removing. We have already taken down one side (where the pantry is), and behind the other lies the kitchen. Once we start on the kitchen reno the rest of this wall will come out and the whole room will be open to the kitchen. 

We are almost done with Project Pepto! We have already started on phase 3 and I'll post those pics when we are a little farther along - right now it is a big gaping hole, which seems to be common around these parts.

Thanks for stopping by!

p.s. I am linking up to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land. Go check it out!


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