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, March 16th, 2012
It’s another record setting beautiful weather day in Minnesota, and it’s Friday, so needless to say I’d rather not be sitting in front of a computer. (76 degrees in March? It’s beyond fabulous!) So I’ll keep this short and sweet for everyone’s sake.
I just finished reading “Organizing” from the Best of Martha Stewart Living collection, and I found it really inspirational. So if this warm weather makes you want to fling the windows open, dust off those blinds, and do a little spring cleaning/ organizing, this is a great new resource for you.
This slim reference book covers the key spaces in homes most in need of organization: Entryways, Kitchens, Bedrooms, Closets, Bathrooms, Kids’ Rooms, Home Offices and Utility Rooms.
The kitchen section has great examples from past featured kitchens as well as Martha’s many kitchens. But it also combines some top tips from over the years. I’ve been using the “Spice Jar Reminder” idea for years, and I remember the first time I saw the “Helping Hands” tip. Now that I have large drawers like that in my kitchen and a kiddo on the way, I’ve already started looking at how I can rearrange my kitchen cabinets to accommodate a drawer like this for the kid’s plates, bowls, bottles, etc.
Toy storage is always a challenge (with kids of all ages), so I appreciate all the detailed thought that went into this toy chest. Having “parking spots” for the cars could help interest a kid in actually putting his cars back in the proper place.
There are plenty of other creative and less complicated ideas for kids’ rooms as well.
Finally, I’ll leave you with editor Kevin Sharkey’s utility room/ closet. Compared to the entire building Martha has at one of her properties for cleaning supplies (see this past post), Kevin lives in a NYC apartment where storage is at a premium. He cleverly transformed a coat closet into a very functional and organized laundry room with a place for everything.
Here you can see the right side of that closet (the end of the dryer is in the corner of the top left picture above). I love the grid of cleaning tools hung on the inside of the door. All the different types of hooks and baskets he utilized allow each item to hang properly without having to be wrangled into place. Now don’t we all want that? Who likes to fight a broom back onto a hook after sweeping?
Be sure to pick up a copy now since it is for sale at local bookstores and drugstores (most places you buy magazines) until April 30th, or they run out. At only $9.95 it’s a steal.
Now go out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. And maybe organize a drawer or shelf while you’re at it.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Usually it’s the September decorating issue that seduces me into buying a copy of Martha Stewart Living at the news stand (or the grocery store since we don’t really have NY style news stands here). But a cover like this with such a bright cheerful kitchen and the promise of more great kitchens inside? I give in.
But this issue isn’t just about great kitchens. In fact, my husband stole it before I could even sit down! He declared it a great purchase because there are also articles on sandwiches (his favorite food group), and topless terrariums (my new dining room table is quickly being taken over by his growing plant collection).
You know my love of organizing runs deep, and Martha’s does too.
Not only does she have great tips in her classic “Good Things” column, but she also has a multi-page article on creating a room just for her cleaning and organizing supplies! (see below) Holy moly!
I have nice 36″ wide drawers that are perfect for storing pots and baking dishes, but if I had to organize them in a traditional cupboard I like this solution above.
Hanging the cleaning bottles on a tension rod under a sink is brilliant. It looks so tidy plus you get bonus space underneath them if the bar is set high enough.
I won’t make you green with envy by showing the photos of the giant room she has for her “homekeeping” supplies, but I like these detail shots showing how she groups supplies by function. I don’t think I need to stockpile 3 bottles of each of her cleaning line for Home Depot, but the bins work well for grouping smaller collections of similar cleaning supplies. Imagine all your different wood polishing creams and tools in one convenient place for the Saturday you decide it’s time to oil the teak and polish the walnut? Ahh, the joys of organization geeks are endless.
I’m not a knitter, but these knit stool slipcovers are brilliant! I have a pair of plain Bosse bar stools from IKEA from our previous home that I was planning on hacking into counter height stools until I can pick the perfect stools (which of course means I have to decide on chairs for the dining room since they are right next to each other, so this will take a while. See my previous post on the issue for the full story.)
Here’s the Bosse stool. Now look at the examples above. I think I could shorten the legs, paint the ends an accent color and add a nubby knit topper and have a completely reinvented stool for a tiny amount of cash! Too bad I don’t knit. Any volunteers?
As for another kitchen? Well, here’s another sneak peak to entice you…
Isn’t the pop of bright green wallpaper on the back of the open kitchen shelves wonderful? Not only do the colorful dishes stand out against it, but so do their white bowls. The rest of the finishes are classic neutrals, allowing the bright accents to shine. Making a commitment to color this way doesn’t have to be scary. This could easily be updated with another wallpaper or fabric covered panels down the line when you want a new look.
Thank you to the Martha Stewart Living team for another inspiring issue!
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Do you notice the sets in TV shows and movies and wonder where they found all those great pieces? Set design is such an important part of the story telling process for shows and movies because they convey without words the personality, financial situation, and lifestyle of the characters. The same is true about homes and offices – the selections we make reflect our values, lifestyle and the image we want to project to the rest of the world.
Do you want to have an inviting home that all your teenager’s friends want to hang out at? Is your home a showpiece set up for fundraisers for 150 people every month? Do the piles of toys that never seem to be completely put away reflect your values that your kids are your focus and where you spend the majority of your time so formal entertaining isn’t a concern? These are extremes in different directions, but I think they help convey the idea.
One new TV show I’m watching this season is “Ringer.” The main character has taken over her twin sister’s life in NYC in a posh high rise building (due to a complex set of circumstances I won’t get into here.) The first introduction we get to the wealthy sister’s life is a visit to her beautiful home in the Hamptons. It clearly sets her place in the world in that she can afford such a large, beautifully furnished home.
Then we are introduced to the posh home in the city through the struggling sister’s eyes. The furnishings are so well done. I have a hard time focusing on the plot sometimes because I’m studying the light fixtures, accessories, side tables, etc.
So I was so pleased when I spotted these wing chairs and recognized one of my favorite fabrics on them!
That fabric is this fabric:
It also comes in other lovely colors – such as charcoal, peacock, and grass. My favorite version that I already have in my box of inspiration fabrics:
How fun is that to know that you could have a wing chair (or other style piece) made for your home with that same fabric?! I love recognizing details like that. Knowing the resources is a big part of my job so it’s really satisfying to recognize a light fixture or end table and know exactly where to find that piece or something similar for a client.
Do you have a favorite TV or movie set? I know the kitchen in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” starring Diane Keaton is a perennial favorite. Crisp white and classic, just like the character, Erica. For more images of the home, if you haven’t seen the movie, click through to this site.
- Four room shots via CW TV full episodes online.
- Fabric samples from Schumacher (fabrics sold only to the trade (aka designers), so if you are interested in anything you find there please let me know!)
- Something’s Gotta Give kitchen photo from Modern Country Style blog.
Thursday, September 1st, 2011
I know you are supposed to live in your home for a while to get a sense of how you will actually live and move in it before you start making big changes. But how many of us can resist plotting changes to a new space the minute you find out it’s yours? I think I have it worst than most as an interior designer since I am constantly finding new fabulous products that I’d love to live with myself, not just put into clients’ homes. Of course with the wide diversity of styles I like, if I did some of everything my house would look like a hot mess (I love that expression!)
So I’m working hard at being patient, letting the house speak to me, and keeping my eyes open for products that fit THIS house and OUR life. (I have a hard time writing the word “lifestyle” in print thanks to a high school english teacher who hated that word and was adamant we never use it in front of him.)
Our kitchen was completely remodeled by the previous owners only a year ago, and while they made some real improvements, some of their finish selections drive me bonkers. The rough slate floor varies in height by up to a quarter of an inch tile by tile, creating the effect under your feet my husband equates to walking on rocks in the Boundary Waters. I’m just waiting for that first toddler still finding their balance to try and walk across it…I foresee lots of tears and bruising. Yikes.
Here is a picture of the kitchen the day we moved in.
IKEA cabinets, black granite countertops, stainless appliances – a good foundation. I was pleasantly surprised how much I can store in these cabinets (the 36″ wide drawer units are fabulous!)
Since the kitchen is the heart of the home (geographically and figuratively), I’ve been trying to select new floor and wall tiles since pretty much the day we first visited the house to make it ours.
Now here’s where the waiting pays off. I recently was flipping through a design magazine and spotted an ad for Ann Sacks tiles that caught my eye and totally changed my vision for the backsplash.
Now before this I was looking in a couple of different directions to pull together the colors in the adjacent rooms.
I still love this tile I had in mind for our previous house, and it could work here.
It has some beautiful blues in it as well as browns, grays, whites, etc. The shape is updated from the typical glass squares you see in every big box store.
Then I thought about going with a ceramic with texture like these examples from Pratt & Larson Ceramics.
The shimmer effect of these glazes really sets them apart.
But with the darker cabinets and black granite countertops, these options were feeling too dark. The Ann Sacks ad made me think what I need to embrace it a lighter color palette, maybe even a gold tone to get that sophisticated drama I like in the copper tiles on the left above. Totally not my usual direction, but that’s the fun of it afterall.
So I did a little research and discovered a gorgeous kitchen example on the Ann Sacks website using this tile.
Talk about a picture selling a product! I’m loving it even more now. The light fixtures are a brilliant pairing and the lines of those stools would totally work in my house too. I just wish my cabinets were white too. Oh well.
Another idea is this beautiful arabesque tile, but I don’t think you would get to really appreciate its form in a space only 18″ high. Maybe that’ll be in the master bathroom (later on).
So now I’ll marinate in the idea of that tile and see what I think in a month, two months from now. If I’m still in love I’ll have to start looking for the right floor tile to coordinate with it. Stay tuned.
What would you pick?