Thursday, May 9th, 2013
No, I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole or get buried alive by the giant piles of snow that fell this
winter spring in Minnesota.
I realize it’s been a while since I posted. Ok, I guess that’s an understatement as I see my last post was last June, before we had finished updating our floors. But I have a really good excuse, I swear. Wanna see it? You will forgive me instantly, I promise.
This is Eleanor Mieko Slack. Born July 30, 2012.
I’ve been working over the past 9 months, but with the little bit of free time I have, I’ve chosen to spend it with this amazing little girl rather than creating new blog posts. The time has flown by, and we are having a blast. But I also want to reconnect with my readers and share all the new design inspiration and products that I’ve discovered recently.
So here is my quick version of Eleanor’s first 9 months, to get it out of my system, and then we’ll get back to design. Though I’ll probably have to post an occasional cute kiddo photo because I can’t resist. And I’m a new mom, so what do you expect?
How quickly they grow! She’s only 7 weeks old here but look at all that hair! It was cool to see how soon her personality started shining through.
3 months old and already visiting a job site to help me during a window treatment installation. She was so happy to be my design assistant for the day.
She was sitting up by herself at 5 months, and then wanted to get back to practicing standing as much as possible once she’d mastered sitting. Here she is at 6 months showing off her balance skills and love of bright colors. (We dubbed this hoodie her baby camo, since it went with every bright piece of clothing.)
I don’t think you can read the shirt in this photo, but it says “My Mom is a Fox.” When I was a toddler I had a t-shirt that read “Foxy Baby.” This is her version of that, though I think my mom saved that t-shirt so we can put Eleanor in it too. She’s 8 1/2 months old and so happy to be cruising and walking around (with our hands, of course.)
Yesterday she flashed those new 2 front teeth at me, and you can see what a happy kid we scored.
Insider tip: if you get a chance to meet her, she’ll think you are awesome if you do Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider or Wheels on the Bus. You’re welcome.
Aren’t you impressed how few photos I included? My folder of favorite photos has 242 images right now, so be glad we aren’t in the era when people invited you over to watch a slide show on their dining room wall. Would that take 4 carousels or more? Do you even remember those?
Alright, thanks for indulging me. Next, an update on those floors from last summer. They look fabulous and have been a great improvement, just as we hoped. And I’ll make sure Eleanor photo bombs at least one picture.
What kinds of posts would you like to see from me moving forward? I have some new ideas, but I’d love to know what kind of information you enjoy the most. New posts coming this year: 3 things I’m loving, behind the scenes project photos, innovative products, etc.
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
I thought my clients might enjoy seeing that I have to live through construction mess and chaos too.
Here is the before view into our kitchen with the previous owners’ furniture. The maroon carpet was hiding beautiful original wood floors, and unfortunately the slate tile in the kitchen was a DIY project by others that was already failing by the time we moved in (I believe the kitchen was updated within 2 years of our purchase of the house.) Loose tiles, significant tile height variation (toe kickers), and grout chipping out were the key issues, plus the floor sloped in a multiple different directions.
Here is Flooring Day 2 before the tile setters arrived to demo the slate. Flooring Day 1 was having a plumber come over the day before to disconnect the plumbing and gas lines to the appliances so we could move them out of the kitchen. You can see the raw wood floors that were hiding under the maroon carpet. We removed the carpet a few weeks back. Refinishing of the wood will happen after the tile floors are done (proper order of construction projects is a key!)
Flooring Day 2 – Mid-morning. The guys made quick work of ripping out the slate and the underlayment. Unfortunately I didn’t have shoes handy when I came upstairs from my basement office and I got to walk across the whole kitchen worth of rubble to get out. My bad.
Then when they got to the entry the discovered two additional layers of tile under the slate. Here the poor guys are debating how best to jackhammer out the top layer. Have fun!
By the next time I came upstairs to check on progress they’d cleared out all of the debris and the floor was ready for the self-leveling base to be poured.
Here you can see that the entry/ hallway area originally had both wood flooring and tile under it.
After the self-leveling base was poured and cured for a day we have this lovely starting point for Flooring Day 4. (Day 3 was drying time.)
At the end of Flooring Day 4: The majority of the tile has been installed and we just have to be patient as the thinset sets up. It’ll look even better once the tiles are cleaned off and grouted, but I’m soo happy with this new modern look that’s finally level!
Next week I’ll show you the finished product. Then we just have to refinish the hardwood floors and then we can put our whole house back together. (The large dining room and two bedrooms are being refinished, which necessitated moved the majority of our furniture, clothes, books, etc. to the basement where they’ve been for weeks.) It’ll be great to get the nursery set up before the baby arrives; let’s hope she’s on time and not early!
Friday, June 8th, 2012
Happy Friday! I’m headed over to the ASID Showcase Home for the last weekend of tours. I can’t believe how the past month has flown by! I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to tour the house and support our organization as well as the charities that benefit from this event.
I wanted to start your Friday off right with some beautiful things that have caught my eye recently.
First, I watched a marathon of Kitchen Cousins on HGTV recently(one of the few shows on that network I can stand because they do real construction with real budgets and show their problem solving in action. Though I don’t understand clients letting them pick the backsplash with no input.) I’m impressed with their building knowledge, creative reuse of historic building materials, and well designed kitchens.
I like this kitchen they did for one of the designer’s parents. They completely flipped the layout of the kitchen, opened up the traffic flow, and utilized a lovely mix of materials. The tobacco stained upper cabinets are lovely. Mixed with the white lacquer lower cabinets and a handmade Moroccan backsplash, it’s a modern yet eclectic mix. My husband dug the wall graphic on the far wall.
The fact that they do the majority of their work in Hoboken, NJ (just across the river from Manhattan) makes the show extra special to me since my aunt lived there for decades and I’d spend my breaks during college hanging out with her there. (I went to Vassar College, which is 1.5 hrs north of the city, up the Hudson River.)
These orange accessories would fit in lovely with the concept I developed for my deck (see the post here). And the nautical hook, blanket and basket seem so perfect for a Cape Cod retreat I can dream of having (though the commute there is rough on summer weekends – round-about anyone?)
This kitchen has a lovely mix of classic white cabinetry and well worn vintage details and an abundance of natural light. The designer really played with scale (the etageres on the back counter, the chandelier) in a unique way that really takes this room beyond the typical.
The color palette, fabric selections, paneling, wall color and high ceilings in this room are so different than anything I’ve seen in a while, and that’s so refreshing! Look how the designers mixed mid-century armchairs with a Jansen style daybed, French iron side tables and Murano glass lamps with a bone inlay table. What an inviting solarium (though I think any solarium would be lovely with all that light spilling in)! The rest of this D.C. town house is equally well designed, so check it out if you have access to a copy of the May issue of House Beautiful. Or just click through to the article on HB’s website. The kitchen backsplash is amazingly transformative.
That’s all for this week, or this post would be a mile long. Next week I’ll share a soon-to-be completed bathroom project that’s ALMOST done and looking fabulous.
1. Bruncon.com – Brunelleschi Construction
2, 3, 4. House Beautiful May 2012
5. Mercury Mosaics 2012 catalog
Tags: Brunelleschi Construction, Cape Cod, House Beautiful, interior design, Kitchen, Kitchen Cousins, living room, Mercury Mosaics, nautical, orange, solarium, vintage, white
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Friday, May 25th, 2012
Perhaps you’ve seen the preview photos of the mural we created for the Gift Wrapping & Sewing Room at this year’s ASID Showcase Home. If not, check out this past post.
Inspired by that design I decided to paint a similar design in my own nursery.
My original color palette was going to be a medium deep red, navy and jade green with perhaps a crisp white accent to tie into the trim and furniture color. But my husband, John, thought it would be too sophisticated after he saw all the patterns and prints at Babies R Us for kids blankets, clothes, and crib sets. Normally he doesn’t care strongly about my color selections (especially since I do all the painting), but since he had an opinion I decided to tweak the plan for his sake.
I was originally going to have the stripes wrap around the two left walls above, but he asked me to carry them around the short wall on the right to die behind the large bookshelf that will go back against that wall. The image above shows how the stripes would have died into the ceiling originally, so I needed to tweak the tape placement for the wrap around to work.
Here is the adjusted overall layout.
The next step is to determine how many colors you want to use, and then subdivide each wall section using your painters tape. Keep in mind that the color will go in between the tape lines for the outside stripes, but the inside stripes are only illustrative of the width you want. You’ll have to go back and retape those areas once the outside lines have been painted with multiple coats.
You can certainly keep your stripes a consistent width the whole way, but I think it would actually be trickier to eyeball, and I like the dynamic motion the changing widths creates. Don’t forget to press your tape down thoroughly! They’ll be less touch up later if you do this now. Pay special attention to inside corners as paint especially loves to drip there.
I think this was after 1 or 2 coats of the first round of paint colors had been applied. Certain colors are more transparent and will need more coats to reach your ideal finished color. Reds and oranges are definitely in this category.
After 3 coats of each color had dried I was able to peel off all that tape and see what I had. Love it! I decided to use the base wall color as a stripe between the orange and green. I simply used a wider piece of Frog Tape to mask off that area, giving me a nice width line without effort.
Now those stripes look great from across the room, but up close you can see there was a fair amount of fine bleed through along each stripe. But don’t let that scare you! All you need is a tiny paint brush and your wall color to fix that. You can see at either end of the orange stripe above that the line is wavy instead of crisp. The middle section is sharp because I’d just gone over that area with my base wall color and my little paint brush.
When I say “little brush” I mean it. My brush is probably the equivalent of the smallest brush on the right side below. This is a set from Dick Blick.
The key is to rest your hand against the wall for stability, and to work in small sections. The 3 coats of your stripe color you painted will have created a small ridge at the edge where you had the tape. The brush will glide along this edge the same way you cut into a ceiling line. Start by putting your paint brush down just a little ways away from the ridge and glide down to the ridge to paint over the color bleed through areas. It may sound like a daunting task, but I find it addictive (“Just one more section before I go to bed…”), and I don’t think it really takes that long.
Before I started working on cleaning up the edges of the completed stripes I masked off my last color. If you place your tape right up against the ridge created by the adjacent paint stripes and press FIRMLY along the entire length of the tape, you might not have to do ANY edge clean up on the last color. This is because that ridge helps block any paint that wants to sneak under your tape.
I did 3 coats of the blue as well since it wasn’t coming out quite like the paint sample and I wanted to make sure to give it enough coats to reach it’s full potential. While that dried between coats I was able to work on my touch ups around the red, orange and green stripes.
And here is the completed mural! It may seem like this took a lot of work, but the whole project only took 7 hours over 4 days. For a large impact like this, that seems really quick! Especially since the mural at the Showcase Home took us closer to 30 combined hours. Painting over the paneling and trim at the Showcase made it much trickier, plus all the extra trips back and forth. When it’s your own house you can take a break between coats of paint and come back an hour later. The amount of paint you need for each color is minimal. I probably used about an inch or so of paint from each quart paint can, so you might even be able to achieve this using only the sample size pots of paint they now offer. Or you could reuse existing paints from other projects.
I’ll show the completed room down the line, but the hardwood floors need to be refinished before I can move anything back into that room, so it’ll be a little while.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Friday, March 30th, 2012
Happy Friday! Here at Fox Interiors I’m always on the hunt for something beautiful to enhance my current and future projects. This week I stopped by Mercury Mosaics, run by my dear friend of 8 or so years, Mercedes Austin. We met at the annual Minnesota Tile Festival at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis back when she was running her business out of her live/work studio in St. Paul and I was just starting a business designing custom throw pillows. All these years later, she has 5 kilns, a great team of tile craftsmen, and an inspiring design studio not far from me in Northeast Minneapolis.
I love visiting the studio because they are always developing new color blends and tile designs that showcase just how many possibilities there are when designing with their handmade tile. I’ve shared finished projects of theirs before with you (first see the process and then the finished results for this stunning bathroom), but I thought you might enjoy seeing the different styles that caught my eye this week.
The bubbles with organic edge field tiles is one of their most recognizable designs, and one of their most popular. I love the color variation in the Denim blue tiles. Did you know every tile is cut and painted with glaze by hand?!
This board was created for a client trying to decide between two different colors of Stix to anchor their Bubbles. Notice they were going to have the Bubbles floating on the wall without all field tile above. A great way to make an impact (and save a little money). Which would you chose?
Here you can see how a band of Bubbles can be framed out with liner pieces to create a focal point, like over a stove, while the rest of the backsplash could be in a white field tile. Throw in a few clusters of Bubbles around the room to continue the theme. This is good for both the budget and the design. Check out their portfolio online and you’ll see some beautiful examples of this concept in practice.
The Bubble Grid Stagger is not utilized as much as some of their other styles, but I was really struck by how great it looked on this mirror. The Olive Green glaze has a nice range of variation to it, which adds interest without adding in a handful of colors. I love how the grout color becomes a strong element of the design. Imagine it with a khaki or charcoal gray grout… really changes it, doesn’t it?
The Moroccans is another fun mosaic shape, and I love this fresh color palette… so springy! It looks great in the dark reds and browns you may have seen them feature in the past, but this color palette really showcases it’s versatility.
Here are more examples of the newer color blends Mercury Mosaics is showcasing. The new leopard texture on the green Moroccans is fabulous!
You may have noticed the pricing on this panel and the mirror above. You might recognize Mercury Mosaics from their very popular Groupon classes. You get to come in and make your own art panel or framed mirror, and you even learn how to grout it yourself. It’s a super fun class, and the pieces they develop during these classes are for sale in the showroom. I love how this panel utilizes a field of Stixs and a few Bubbles that were cut on the wet saw to add additional movement to the piece. I think this could easily be recreated on a backsplash or fireplace surround.
In a similar vein, this little panel showcases the variation of the Denim glaze and I love the rings of Bubbles integrated with the field tile (I’m guessing that’s a 2×6, but Mercedes could tell you for sure).
Finally, this piece showcases Mercury Mosaics custom mosaic capabilities. I think this overlapping concentric circle design is beautiful and such a work of art. They’ve created some custom designs in the past that incorporate this style, and I’d love to see more examples.
For more examples of their work, be sure to check out their portfolio on Houzz. If you haven’t played around with the over 385,000 images in this database yet, you are going to be ADDICTED! All you need to do is set up an account with an email address, set up a couple of Ideabooks to tag your favorite images into, and then go crazy! Fox Interiors has a portfolio on Houzz as well, (search “Fox Interiors” under the Professionals category to find us) and you can see my Ideabooks if you need ideas for categories. What’s great about this site is that you can add notes to yourself about what you like in each photo so that you remember it was the light fixture or the color palette that caught your eye. Oh, and there’s an iPad & iPhone version too, especially handy when you’re bored waiting in line. =)
I also love that once you’ve created an Ideabook you can Share it with others, including… your Designer! It’s a great resource for helping you figure out your style that you can then pass to your designer to help them understand what you are looking for.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of Mercury Mosaics and Houzz!