Tackling the “to do’s”

We are finally getting around to crossing off the items from our to-do list. First up, the dining room. 

Here is a reminder of how it looked, and what we had planned to do:

– rug: bring in oriental from family room (pictured below).
– install curtain rods (and pick curtains).
– replace chandelier (go for fresh/younger/funky vibe)

Here are the choices we made:

And ta-da! The finished product, (set for our Christmas dinner):

In reality, it felt much less like a “ta-da” and more like a marathon – who knew it was so hard to pick curtains? And curtain rods? 

So let’s go back to the beginning…I started out with the two inspiration shots below.

(Photo credit: @changoandco )

(Photo credit @amberinteriors)

I wanted somewhat traditional, but with a little funk. Is that a technical design style? Traditional funk? 

It also had to be approachable and comfortable. Not too formal or stuffy.
We already had the table and chairs, and the rug was a family heirloom that we moved in from another room. So the key items we needed were:

– chandelier

– curtains and hardware

– side table for storage/serving

For the chandelier I wanted a bit of a statement piece, a more modern counterpoint to balance out the decidedly traditional rug, table and chairs. A little funk. A little whimsy. Here is the roundup of the contenders:

In the end, we loved the sputnik look, and were comfortable with Restoration Hardware quality, so we went with their Sputnik Elliptical Filament – and I’m in love. It really brings warmth to the room with the gorgeous filament bulbs.

Here it is right after install:

I also wanted to use the side table/storage console to bring in some modern, clean lines. It also needed to be very functional, with lots of storage for linens, candles, placemats and silver.

We decided to go with a bureau, because we wanted lots of drawers, as opposed to shelves. I’ve long admired the furniture at room and board, and settled on the Berkeley Dresser – with clean lines, beautiful walnut wood, and satin nickel pulls to echo the nickel metal in the chandelier and curtain hardware.

Here it is in our space, partly set up for thanksgiving dinner:

And another picture, including the chandelier:

For the curtain hardware I knew I wanted a simple design without any end filial. We priced out Restoration Hardware and compared it Pottery Barn, and the price difference was minimal – so we went with  the Endcap and Rod set from RH, where everything was in stock and ready to be shipped. 

At first, I thought I wanted a bit of subtle pattern in the curtains – and so we tried a pair of Linen Ikat beauties from west elm. 
Here they are mid install:


And up close- peakaboo!

I really did love them, but they weren’t perfect for this space.

Next, we tried an all white pair, that had a little bit of chevron texture:

Again, they were beautiful, they draped so well and had a lovely subtle pattern/texture. But they were too light for our room.

We ultimately fell in love with the Belgian Flax Linen curtains from West Elm. I absolutely love how they turned out:

So that’s the story of our journey from this:

To this!

Demo day

Demo started today on our master bathroom. 

Within three weeks I am hoping it looks like this:

Rather than this:

We are updating the shower with 4×8″ subway tiles, a slightly larger size than the traditional 3×6″ with the hopes of fewer grout lines.

The shower floor, bench and threshold, as well as the new vanity counter, will all be carrera marble.  

For the floor of the shower we chose a chevron pattern – we had considered a more traditional basketweave but the chevron felt a bit more fresh.

 The new shower walls and door will be frameless glass, a huge improvement over the current glass block situation.

1. Sconces – we recently used these in our family room and playroom, and love them in person. So this was an easy choice for us. 

You can catch a glimpse of them from afar on the walls of our family room next to the fireplace below:

And here they are in our playroom:

2. Mirrors: I had admired a similar one at Pottery Barn, but this is a fraction of the price.

3. Faucets: We will add a second sink with a new vanity. There is plenty of room, so I’m not sure why there weren’t two all along – this will be a nice update. I saw them used here and love the classic look:

4. Accessories: We will use the same Moen line that we used for the faucets to update all the accessories (toilet paper holder, towel ring and bar, etc).

5. Vanity: I’ve seen this used on a few design blogs, (most recently by Emily Henderson) but was skeptical of the quality. It turns out that a friend of ours had used this same brand in their master bathroom reno a few years ago and so I was able to see it in person. It’s a beauty, with soft close drawers, and marble top. It has held up really well, and the price cannot be beat. We will plan to change out the hardware when it arrives.
Here is one of my inspiration pictures:

6.  Shower head and trim: Classic, matches well with the faucets, and price can’t be beat.

The goal is to have the bathroom work wrapped by by February 15th. I’ll be back with updates!

A room, by any other name, would never be as sweet.

These days, we spend a lot of time in our playroom. A lot of time doing art. A lot of time playing make believe.

The light in our playroom is some of the best in our house – so it’s a treat to spend lazy Sunday’s lounging here.

It is a transitional room – it used to be our dining room, right off the kitchen. But with small kids around it begged to be reimagined. A seperate space to congregate toys, books, art supplies.

It’s also the perfect spot for a visiting canine to nap in the sun.

Or for the 1-year-old-in-residence to “read” a book.

This room won’t always be a play room – at times I find myself anticipating the day that we can reclaim it as an adult space. Perhaps with leather club chairs, bookshelves, and a game table for poker and 1000 piece puzzles. 

Yet in the same instant, I feel the panic of time slipping past. I know with utmost certainty that the moment I sink into that future leather club chair, I will mourn the playroom that it had been, and everything it signified: The messy, chaotic, perfectly imperfect years of raising our babies.

A place to hang your hat

When we put the addition on our house two years ago, we knew we wanted a mudroom – a space to collect coats, bags, shoes…and the literal mud that is tracked in.

This summer we finally took the time to organize and decorate, and I put together this inspiration board as a guide. In the end I didn’t pull the trigger on the pillows. Maybe one day.

And here are some pictures of the final outcome if you’d care to see…

The cotton awning stripe rug is from Dash and Albert. It’s not technically an indoor/outdoor rug, but it washes easily in the washing machine, and it’s inexpensive and soft.

The drawings on the wall are from my childhood, and I love seeing them every day as I come and go.

An antique bureau serves as the dumping ground for “stuff” as we come and go. We found it at an estate sale – solid pine, and I’m told it is over 100yers old. It fits perfectly, as if it were made for that space. The wooden tray on top holds key, sunglasses, spare change. The drawers hold anything from umbrellas, to flashlights, to extra diapers.

There is a cubby nook to the side with bench, hooks, shoe storage below and storage bins above.

Here’s a closer look at the woven bins, which hold our winter gear: scarves, gloves, hats. The oil rubbed bronze hooks are solid brass, from Rejuvenation.

We love having this spec to serve as a collecting ground for shoes, coats, bags. Though it doesn’t always look this clean!

How about some eye candy?

Houzz. I could browse for hours. And in fact, I did. 

Here are some of my recent favorite kitchen finds, if you’d like to take a look…

So peaceful, and bright. The rustic wood island adds the perfect touch of warmth.

Navy, brass, crisp black lines and classic white subway tile for the win.

The unpainted wood island is stunning with a more elegant marble top. Larger subway tiles are a fun modern twist. I wish the stools were different – perhaps a splash of color would have been nice? Burnt orange or lime green perhaps? I have my eye on these beauties:

Serene. Perfectly mixed metals. Those copper pendants!

Some color! Bright, fun, but still feels timeless.

I love the black window sashes, the farmhouse sink, the simple shaker cabinets. And the view.

A distressed oriental rug adds so much character to an otherwise neutral space.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I think I would go with #3 (but with the lime bar stools swapped in!).