Saturday, December 24, 2011

the Nordic Christmas

My mom is a designer, best known for her elaborate Christmas decorations. My tastes are more subdued but I take my queue in selecting a theme from her.  For the past few years, I have been focused on a natural, earthy, simple theme.  Leave it to Domino for summarizing what I was going for - Nordic Christmas.  This Christmas, I kept it even easier, adorning the tree only with handmade snowflakes, wicker stars from IKEA and organic candy canes (which have a traditional look to them) and of course lots and lots of white lights.  But I was inspired to wrap my own branches with yarn for the fireplace and window vignettes.  Hei Norway!

Inspiration (image via Domino)

Inspiration (image via Domino)

2011 Tree

Tree branches from our backyard



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the Serenity of White

Is there anything a coat (or 4) of white paint can't fix? 24th came with an authentic 1960's faux stone fireplace, not only is the location totally random (square in a corner) but the stone was just horrid.  We plan to tear it down during one of the fantasy phases of our remodel but needed to do something in the meantime.  I was procrastinating on painting the million nook and crannies until a designer friend re-enforced that white was a way to go.  A slow Friday night and we set forth with several cans of BM super white.  Upon completion I was concerned that we went from the 60's to the 80's, but after it settled it was a definite improvement. (Notice the couch got a hit of white from a new slipcover too)
Living room before we moved in
Close up of faux stone fireplace

Current fireplace

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the Love of Stripes

OK, I am obsessed with stripes, both for clothing and decor but especially rugs.  I have been coveting the Madeline Weinrib Atelier wool black and white rug for years.  I see it in countless magazine shoots and always oogle over it.  Unfortunately, 24th came with standard beige carpeting throughout and the floors are usually the last part of a step-by-step remodel.  So I will stick to loving from afar....

 MWA rug (image via Domino)  
MWA rug (image via Domino)
MWA (image via CocoCozy)

(image via DwellStudio)

IKEA version (image via Dwell)
Stripe Jute, what could be better? (image via West Elm)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the Doors

It is amazing the impact new doors can make.  24th came with old, hollow, dark grained interior doors and a dilapidated front door.  We knew for certain we wanted something simple and clean and decided upon a single panel shaker for all the interior doors.  We also added a door from the kitchen to the hallway to help separate noise from the front to the back bedrooms.  

Dark and dingy, but the kid is cute
For the hardware, we went with satin nickel round door knobs from, which had a great selection.  We considered using levers to match with the style of the house but decided with young children the harder to open knobs were a better selection and has since worked out well.  

Separation Door
For the front door, we went with something more traditional. The goal was to let in as much light as possible while maintaining privacy (our front door opens directly into our living room, the only draw back of 24th).  We found a solid oak door with 6 small panel windows on sale from Caldwells in San Francisco.  To the dismay of our painters, we painted the outside but stained the interior.   I don't have a before picture of the exterior door but it was bad, a worse version of our previous interiors.  Here is is now.
Exterior Door

Saturday, November 26, 2011

the First Thanksgiving

We officially hosted our first Thanksgiving and made it out alive!  It was a small, but distinguished gathering of close friends and family, together to give thanks, but also celebrate my son's first birthday.  After moving into 24th the week of Thanksgiving two years ago and then of course in the hospital having a baby last year, I was eager to have a mellow, cozy encounter.    Because our kitchen was is so outdated and the oven can be, shall we say... temperamental, we decided to grill our bird outside and it worked out beautifully.

Inspired by a local and organic Thanksgiving menu, I kept the decor natural.  Lots of white and earth tones.  With 8 plus baby guests, I had to keep the table minimal and decided on a row of spider mums in (surprise!) mercury bud vases.  The runner is from West Elm with a large piece of canvas from a local fabric store underneath.

Thanksgiving table
The buffet adorned some large cali lilis grown in our own backyard and a bouquet of green fillers from Whole Foods.  My oldest son assisted with the name tags, making hand "turkey" place cards from nontoxic gold paint by Palmer (found locally at Flax Art).  I used the extra canvas fabric for the buffet as well.

Buffet close up
hand turkey place cards
And we couldn't forget the baby's birthday!  I made the sign to fit in with the decor, printed on recycled paper and strung together with garden twine (I love this stuff and will use it to wrap my holiday presents this year). 

 All in all, our "First Thanksgiving" was a success!  PS - Red wine does come out of canvas ;)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the Love of Mercury

Currently, I can't get enough of mercury glass.  The obsession started when I bought a tiny vase at Anthropologie years ago to put pencils in.  Now, every time I see one of those tiny votives I want to buy it.  Over the past year, my love has expanded to large vases, bowls, bud vases, Christmas decorations, etc.  Here are some of my favorite finds.

(Image: West Elm)

 Beloved votive holders, love the different styles and textures they provide

(Image: Anthropologie)
 Trinket boxes, perfect for a nightstand or bathroom

(Image: West Elm)
 I have the short round vase, works as a planter
(Image: Crate and Barrel)
 Mercury glass is so beautiful for Christmas decorations, I picked up these this year and they were a steal compared to the restoration hardware ornaments I splurged on last year.

(Image: Etsy)
Classic in their simplicity

Fell in love with this lamp from HD Buttercup

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the Death of Domino

Ok it's nearly three years, but I am still distraught over the end of my beloved Domino.  I finally got my fixer, where I could invest in real renovations and design experiments and my favorite inspiration was gone.  Thankfully I kept most of my back issues so when we moved into 24th I was able to pour over them again and get fresh ideas for the new space.

But here are a few of my other favorite destinations for the design obsessed...

Lonny Mag - ex Domino staffer, magazine designed web-site, easy links to items and new "my lonny" file saves.  I miss flipping through a magazine although I do appreciate the "green" benefit
Living Etc.  - it has great style, similar to Domino, showcases where to buy, but it's a UK pub so links to UK stores/sites
Anthology - gorgeous, thick paged magazine. An arty approach to design, with in-depth profiles.  So pretty I use them to decorate with (see last picture)

Remodelista - I look forward to this newsletter everyday, awesome inspirations from around the world
22mornings  - this is a designer friend of mine in Buffalo, she has a great sense of style.  She always manages to keep things simple yet intriguing
House*Tweaking - just came across this blog, she has some crafty DIY ideas and I am enjoying her own experiences of living through a renovation
Design*Sponge - will admit, might have been the last to hop on this bandwagon.  It wasn't until I got her book that I started reading her blog.  The sneak peeks are my favorite

the Right Paint Color

New House, check. Tons of possible projects, check. No money, check. Where to begin....

First, we needed to free ourselves from the passion of pink, so our first move was to paint as much of the house as we could. Initially, I wanted a fresh slate and thought to just paint everything white but when my savvy husband convinced some painters we had used in the past to do a cheap day rate, I figured we should pick real colors if we were going to use the pros.

Before picking colors, a little bit about me. I love neutrals and tend to decorate in white, wood and metal. Since buying 24th St, my style has become a bit more modern but when I describe anything to my husband the word "rustic" comes out time and time again. I really can't get enough grey and tend to always gravitate towards that when picking a shade.

Back to the house, I had 3 days to pick my colors for the living room, bedroom and dining room. I had been obsessing over a picture in the now defunct (shed a tear) Domino Mag that highlighted muted metallic walls.  I was determined to do a shiny champagne in the bedroom but upon further research found that the metallic colors weren't as successful in real life especially with our textured walls (thanks Browner Brown).

(Image via Domino)
The Inspiration

Upon further digging, I discovered the room in the picture was actually that of editor Dara Caponigro (love!) and in another story she referenced that the room was painted in Benjamin Moore's Early Morning Mist. But our room faced west and without the direct sunlight the color looked too creamy.  I went with a similar color from Benjamin Moore called Light Pewter, which was slightly more grey and loved the results so much, I ended up doing all three rooms in the shade.  The bedroom was done in an eggshell to give a slight shimmer (it wasn't metallic but who was I kidding?)
(Image: Benjamin Moore: Early Morning Mist)

(Image: Benjamin Moore: Light Pewter

Before Living room (OK not pink but still needed help)

Living room in progress

Before Bedroom
Bedroom in progress

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the Before

24th Street. We got her and moved in just a few days before Thanksgiving 2009 (note to self, provide wiggle room between when you think escrow will close and when you have renters moving into your current dwelling). We had just enough time to get our boxes in before heading back east for the holidays. And because we were delayed with the close, we had to move our stuff in the day BEFORE the painters came. Not ideal but I had to get rid of some of the pink that covered both the inside and outside of the house. See some highlights from the realtors original pictures of the house.

Living Room
Kitchen, got to love that yellow Formica
Dining room, or is it a bedroom? What you
can't see is that it has an open wall to the
kitchen but also a full closet.
Master Bedroom
2nd Bedroom

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the Find!

15 months. Yes, 15 months! That was the amount of time it took us to find our home in San Francisco. Of course, we were being picky and had quite the wish list...
Primarily: a fixer that had good bones that we could live in while remodeling piece by piece
3+Bed and 2+ Bath as our growing family was getting cramped in our current 2/1
A backyard
Specific neighborhood
Oh and it had to fit into our budget (did I mention we live in San Francisco?)

After countless let downs and a serious consideration to move north to Seattle where the houses were bigger and cheaper, I found it. 24th Street as we call her. As soon as I walked in, I knew it. It met all of our criteria, a sad little house with a lot of potential. "Let's put in an offer" I told my husband after I saw it. He was on the other side of the country on a business trip. "Can I see it first?"

This blog is dedicated to the trials and tribulations of remodeling our first fixer.