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Archive for June, 2010

Coming from a landlocked state to a state with generous coastline, I love anything “sea” related. Ocean stuff and aquatic life is so novel and exotic to David and me. We should really be playing up our proximity to the ocean in our home decor. We have a few things but I really should have went “coastal cottage” out. When your dog is out on the deck barking at seals barking, then you have a right to have sea-themed decor.

Coastal Living white dining nook

I lust over oyster lighting. It’s a bit “brutal” in appearance and too “Grotto” for my decor. But, oysters are another cool thing about living next to the water. David and I have learned to love raw oysters. We aren’t oyster snobs yet, but I see it happening. It happens to people in the Seattle area. Anyways, I found these 2 rooms on Coastal Living website.

The first room is a white dining nook with incredible views. This room would be awesome regardless of lighting. But, I love the lighting/chandelier. It adds to this stark white space. *On a side note, I’ve realized that we’ve really underutilized white in our home. We have no rooms that are white. We are so obviously first time home owners that rented for many years. White didn’t seem appealing because we’ve stared at white apartment walls for years, but now I see the appeal. White is so seaside and coastal. But, if you do white, then do white. I like when everything is white.

The other room from Coastal Living is an adorable kitchen. It also features an oyster chandelier. It’s a white and rustic room. Rustic goes with a seaside cottage.

Coastal Living kitchen

Something is different with this oyster chandelier. It has pops of aqua. I love the pop of chartreuse on the cabinet door. This is a great way to deal with and work with a house if your cabinets are less than perfect. Take off the doors, paint everything crisp white. Keep one rustic door and paint it a bold color. It doesn’t even need glass. I would have added a bit of fancy trim to the top, but that’s me.You know the more I look at this, is this a kitchen or a bathroom? Anyways, you get the point.

I like oyster lighting, but I know there are many haters out there. They think it looks ugly, dirty, etc. That’s why I like it. It’s nature. Things in nature aren’t always beautiful or glimmer like crystals. The sea is rough and gritty. I think these are a cool way to bring that inside.

Now, these things are expensive. These “chandeliers” usually retail for $1k+ I know everyone looks at them and says, I can make one of these. They probably can, but I have a feeling it isn’t as easy as it looks. After collecting a ton of oyster shells either from a bar, the beach, or purchasing them and eating oysters for months, and you’ve drilled through 60+ oyster shells and secured them with wire, you’d charge at least $700 to do it for somebody else. And if you work full-time. It’ll never get finished.

These “style” of chandeliers are found at little seaside shops, especially in Savannah, GA. And on www.cottageandbungalow.com. (Great lighting on this site but expensive. Oh, check out their blog. It’s adorable).

-Victoria

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OK. So this is my first recipe attempt. I want this to be more of a “home and life” type of blog. Hopefully, we won’t be renovating forever! Stop smirking. I keep telling myself that there is more to life than renovation!

We are getting a first round of seasonal berries raspberries in here in the PNW. They aren’t the best but they sure are good when you haven’t had them in a long time. Since they aren’t at their peak yet, I decided to make raspberry truffles. I took a recipe from Epicurious.com (don’t you love iPhone apps!) I am one of those people who uses recipes for ideas. I usually use them as vague guidance and do what I want. This recipe is from Gourmet December 2004. Here’s the recipe. What did I do differently? Well, didn’t have brandy, used cream sherry and I used 2 1/2 tablespoons. My fresh raspberries kept disappearing, hmm, David, perhaps? So, I had lots of ganache left over. I couldn’t let it go to waste so that is why my truffles looks so odd and globular. The rest of the ganache David ate with a spoon after planting hedges. (BTW- got hedges for $2.50 a piece!) This recipe is so easy. I put those deformed truffles in the fridge for about 2 hours while I tended to the garden and did chores. I then took the truffles coated them in a plastic baggie of organic unsweetened chocolate. And here they are:

My raspberry truffles

I just purchased this cake stand and couldn’t wait to use it. Isn’t the Eiffel Tower a cute touch? 🙂 The truffles didn’t last very long. It wasn’t me, it was David, I swear! A few were left out the next day. The cocoa powder begins to settle strangely on them. It doesn’t help that they were in a glass dome in our dining nook. The dining nook has windows and it was a sunny day in Western Washington. The flavor was still great but they looked pitiful. I’m sharing that information in case you want to make these for a gathering or something. Heat is not nice to truffles. Duh, huh?

This is a super easy recipe and I didn’t change much. I can’t wait to do chocolate covered cherries. And figs…

-Victoria

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I’ve craved quirky and bold color combos lately. I blame it on summer. Summer makes me go for crazy colors. That’s what got our home in the mess that is in 🙂 I chose the colors during the hottest month in the PNW. We ended up with overly energetic/obnoxious colors. I spent most of the winter months hating them/criticizing my design choices and now I love them. My house would be fluorescent/day-glo if I lived in a warmer and sunnier place.

Colorful room with pink floors

I have found these two rooms on-line. I love them. They are wild and unexpected but still classy. They don’t look “dormy”! This first room is bold. I can’t remember where it came from. I wish I knew because I would love to explore the entire house. You don’t get any bolder than paining your floors hot pink. And you definitely don’t get any bolder than painting your floors hot pink and your trim yellow and your walls with polka dots. I’m in love with this space. It’s so bold that even I don’t know if we have the guts to “go there”.  This is my dream interior for a New Orleans row-house or a Caribbean mansion. I love the insane-o colors mixed with the dark woods (mega-contrast). The “accessories” are so classy but unexpected with the colors. I mean wouldn’t that chair with the pink upholstery be bold in any room? In this space, it is looking very tame. And don’t you love those chintzy rose curtains? It adds a needed shabbiness.

This other room is a bedroom found at Marie Claire Maison. This is another fun, quirky space with lots of hot pink. It’s much less bold than the room featured above being that the floors aren’t Barbie pink and the walls are a neutral color. This Marie Claire room is all about the accessories. They transform the space. I think this an adorable room for little girls and big girls. My weakness is bold painted trim. It’s easier to do than what people think and it

Marie Claire Maison quirky pink bedroom

totally changes a space. I wish we did the trim crazy throughout our house. I did one room but I wish I did the entire house. I need pink trim throughout the house 🙂 This room has so many quirky accessories and textiles. This room is all about the “treasures”. These treasures add whimsy to the room. They are cute but they sure are creepy. That’s my favorite genre for home decor. I love this bedroom because it seems so livable. It isn’t a huge room. This seems like a room that regular-ole folk could get even though I know that some of those accessories are pretty darn pricey. *Note that creepy baby doll in the glass dome! But, I like this room because it can be transformed by switching textiles. You can also hide stuff under the bed and nobody would know. The shelf is a nice touch but I don’t think I can sleep like that. I’d be so paranoid that my $175 tray and all that glassware would come tumbling down on my face while I sleep. I do live in an earthquake zone, so that is a bad idea.

So, yeah, I hope that these rooms have inspired you just as much as they have me. I now know that there is no such thing as too bold. Just look at these 2 rooms!

-Victoria

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Our garage door

This is our beautiful new garage door. It’s solid wood with a flawless finish. It makes the rest of our exterior look cheap and awful. The goal is to get the exterior to look like it is as classy and jazzy as the garage door.

David and I were given free home show tickets by the local nursery that we buy from. We didn’t know what to expect at such an event. We went because it was an unusually cool spring day in the PNW.  The show was OK, I guess. It seemed to be more for new constructions. Most of the vendors were too “contemporary” for our tastes and for our house. It was nice to see what other people are doing with their homes. There is lots of new stuff out on the market. We stumbled across this floor model garage door for a steal. We had just contacted our contractor a few days prior about a garage door. We called him up, luckily he didn’t order the hideous one from Home Depot yet. We ended up getting this one for under 1k (1k cheaper than retail since it is being “discontinued”).It really looks original to the home and resembles the original carriage doors on the homes in the neighborhood. I just have to upkeep it yearly by applying a sealant. No fun, but so is home ownership.

Why have I not added lovely carriage door hardware? Too tight of a squeeze. 😦

-Victoria

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These beautiful “classic” white bathrooms are way out of my budget and priced out of my neighborhood, but I do like them. I seriously do not like the mega bathroom that HGTV and real estate agents drool over. I like a tiny, get in, get out kind of bathroom with adequate storage and luxurious fixtures. If I had a nice, old home in a pricey marble tile neighborhood, these would be the kind of baths that I would “invest” in.

bathroom by Bunny Williams

bathroom by Bunny Williams

The first bathroom is a tiny glimpse of an elegant bathroom designed by Bunny Williams. I love the crisp lightness of the bathroom paired with that rustic door and antlers. I love a back mounted faucet. I’m not a fan of wainscoting but I like it from floor to ceiling in this space. The vertical lines of the wainscoting work wonderfully with the “column” vanity. The sink has enough room for bar soap (I’m old school) and a candle. A candle makes any bath luxurious, right? And somehow this bathroom remains expensive and elegant looking even when we can see where they store their TP. This is impressive.

The other bathroom was featured in House Beautiful. There are many bathrooms featured in elegant home magazines that make think “where the heck do you live? On a private island. Or are you an exhibitionist?” This bathroom is lovely but one entire wall appears to be solid windows. This provides the most amazing light for a white bathroom but it does seem a bit unlikely for those of us that live in the city or in neighborhoods. However, you see the curtains and the curtain rod. It’s a classy and elegant fix that still allows for light to illuminate the space. What I like about this bathroom is that it “classic” the colors are simple, the floor is completely timeless, the clawfoot is elegant, and the light fixture is over the top. I can tell that I am not a fan of the bathroom vanity. It is trying to hard to have that Parisian flea market chic-ness. I can ignore that. This is a very luxurious bathroom done in a very classic style.

House Beautiful bathroom

I do have a question. Why do people put upholstered chairs in bathrooms? What am I missing here? Does this have some cultural significance that I am missing because I raised in the hood?

-Victoria

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I found this DIY project on Sunset’s website. It seems easy enough. It just takes paint, a design, and time. And I’m sure patience. I’ve painted on canvas with acrylics many, many times so I’m sure this would be a piece of cake and I have all of the supplies. I’m just wondering if anyone has done this. How durable could this possibly be? How would one clean canvas covered in paint used as a rug?

I found online that there is a Fredrix Floorcloth. It’s pretty much a pre-primed canvas pre-cut in popular rug shapes/sizes. I’m unsure of the retail price because the Fredrix website isn’t helpful for that. I did find 6 yards for about $120 online. If I remember correctly, I thought one could get about 6 yards of “regular” pre-primed canvas for about $50. It has been sometime since I’ve stretched my own canvas. I think the Fredrix stuff is thicker and made for being stomped on. I would love to do a simple zebra print rug or even a nice gothic silhouette. I’m sure this a floor canvas isn’t very durable, many of the rugs in my budget aren’t. I don’t really see a rug as an “investment”. I see it as something to keep my feet warm, something to protect my aging hardwood floors, and something for Frink to try to tinkle on when my back is turned. I would like to give this a try when I have less renovating to do and more information on floor canvas care.

*I’ve been thinking of purchasing a round floor canvas to put in the dining nook. Remember our groovy wallpaper from the kitchen of all of the mod faces? I’m thinking of putting that print on the rug. It’s a nice reminder of how far we’ve come along.

-Victoria

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I must apologize for totally neglecting our home blog. As you can imagine, we’ve been really busy with life outside of renovation. We both work full-time. David got a new job and a promotion! His nerd skills worked in his favor earning him the title of manager of IT. I’ve been working and going through the grad school application process. Tons of other things have happened these past few months. Including a computer issue that left me without my home inspiration folder and a few of our before and after pictures 😦 This last thing got me down. But, hey, maybe I needed new inspiration. So, I’m pulling up my boot straps by admitting that I’m a slacker. I’m on the hunt for new inspiration. We have done so much to the house that I haven’t share. I have so much to show you and I’m manic with design ideas. This blog will be updated 5 times a week. (Thanks, to my new lady-of-leisure schedule. Now I remember why I don’t work in private sector and instead in the schools: summer!)

And you have to forgive me. (More apologies!) Since I have so much more time on my hands, I’m getting a bit more Martha Stewart-ish. And I’m currently obsessed with creating new and exotic fro-yo flavors. My newest dream, forget my current career, drive around and sell exotic fro-yos and custards from a vintage ice cream truck in Portland. I’ll have to share my creations with you. Forget cupcakes. Designer fro-yo is what all the cool kids are doing.

And I’m sure I’ll be doing so much to the house this summer. We still have much to do. And I’ve got to raise a well-adjusted frug. He needs constant enrichment. Does snacking on paint chips count as enrichment? Oh, and we have a garden! Our first one ever. I’m loving it.

Stay tuned…

-Victoria

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