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Archive for July, 2010

House and Home white bedroom

Canadian House and Home white bedroom

I love both of the bedrooms here because I like their simplicity. Both rooms have dark metal/iron beds. Both of these rooms remind me of the Tudorks bedroom: dark metal bed, antique luggage, fancy lighting. What do I want after seeing these rooms? White bedding.

This first crisp white bedroom was featured in Canadian House and Home. This is one of those rooms that would be pretty even when standing empty. The ceiling has interesting lines and the floors are stunning. If we were to refinish our hardwoods, this is the stain that I would use. There really isn’t a more classy look that light walls and dark hardwoods. This room has nice accents. I love metal beds and old suitcases and luggage used as storage. This is a winning combination. What would I have done differently in this room? Well, I wouldn’t of painted the window trim a darker shade of white for a needed contrast. People underestimate the power of that little trick when they have bright white walls.

The other bedroom is beautiful as well. I do not recall where this room was first featured. I apologize. It reminds me of the first room because it is white, neutral and the dark metal bed adds needed contrast. This second white bedroom is much more rustic. It looks less new than the House and Home room. This white bedroom has a very old home shape. It looks like the bedrooms in our home. It really looks like a smaller version of our studio.This room also has a dark metal bed and dark pictures for high contrast against the white walls. This room’s floors are the opposite, painted white. It’s such a beautiful look. This room has such a fresh feel but it is grounded by rough antiques. This grit gives this white bedroom character. And note to self: We have walls like the ones in this room and I haven’t put pictures up. I love the row of low paintings. I need to do this. Great excuse to hang

Rustic white bedroom

Rustic white bedroom

up my Audubon  bird pictures.
I really do love both of these rooms. They are my “style”.

I’ve been going through the house taking so many pictures lately. Next week will be the 1 year anniversary of our home ownership and our home restoration. We’ve done so much but it’s easy to think you haven’t when some things are still a wreck. I’m happy we have pictures to remind us of all our hard work. I’m trying to get before and after pictures ready to share. You’ll get some giggles out of the “befores”. Who else do you know moved in a house with a 13 foot mural/silhouette of  a naked lady? Who else do you know had to peel faux fur off of every door in their house? Who else do you know was peeling adhesive off of the ceiling where mirrors used to be? Geez…

-Victoria

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The Brick House Pipe Shelving

Photo from The Brick House

I love an industrial look. You see many of my posts featuring that antique warehouse “raw” feel. So I was delighted when I cam across 2 tutorials for pipe shelving. One is on The Brick House. This shelving unit totally transformed the space. I would love to put one of these up in the studio. The other isn’t as much of a tutorial, but it features lots of nice motivating pictures. It’s on Apartment Therapy.

It looks like making your own pipe shelving isn’t so difficult according to these two DIY posts. For under $200 you can really change a space and add a bit of an open and industrial feel.

I also like the thought of using a pipe shelving unit like this as a shelving unit room divider. It could be mounted from floor to ceiling.

I do worry a little about installing one of these on our lath and plaster walls. I’m sure that installing any shelving to our walls will mess it up. It’s one of those situations. I hope that you’ll see a tutorial of our version of pipe shelving in the future…

-Victoria

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Last month’s (June 2010) W Magazine was awesome. It took us into the home of the reclusive fragrance genius Serge Lutens. My other blog is www.eaumg.net. Believe it or not but renovation is not my obsession. Fragrance is. I was delighted to see this article. It merged my obsession with something I’m beginning to be obsessed with, homes. My heart fluttered when I heard of this article. Serge Lutens home is so well, Serge Lutens. It’s exotic, over the top, and complex. In my little girl fragrance fantasy head, this is how I imagine this genius of a Nose living. I couldn’t believe that this is really how he lives.I’m totally intrigued and in awe of this home that took 35 years to complete. (Shoot me if I’m still trying to complete this place in 35 years). I can see why this project became an obsession. I can also understand how he wants to walk away. So much energy to complete such a project! I want to walk away after 1 year of trying to complete a project! I usually don’t like the whole “Moroccan” decor because it is a bit HGTV and I’ve seen so many bad suburban interpretations that embarrass me. But this one is breathtaking. It’s eerie. It’s perfect. Serge Lutens is a master of the senses.

Here is the complete slide show of his reclusive casbah on W Magazine’s site. I have to share this space. I rarely swoon over “celebrity” decor or house tours but this is unbelievable. It’s dreamy, verging on nightmare and that’s why I had to share.

-Victoria

Serge's garden complete with moody night-blooming flowers

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David and I are trying to take control of our space. We have rooms that we never spend time in. I think we are used to living in a smaller space. Those “other” rooms aren’t really useful. We spend most of our time doing “desk” things from writing, blogging, and inking. I’m thinking of establishing “mini-offices” throughout the house. A mini-office for inking, his and hers laptop mini-office etc. Here are 2 quaint studies that I like. These have an industrial warehouse type of “raw” vibe.

Anthropologie "study"

The first one is a open loft room that I found Anthropologie. This space is nothing like my home. It’s big and open with exposed bricks. Terrible overhead lighting. But I love the look. It’s raw and rough and if I had an urban loft, this is what I would want it to look like. This “study” is obviously not a study, except for a study of the Edison style lighting sold at Anthropologie. But, like I said before I like the feel of this. I’m thinking we could have a little desk like this with an aluminum stool in the studio or something. We could do computer stuff, something like that. I really just want a place to put my industrial lighting and apothecary jars of old knob & tube wiring we have from the house. Why am I such a sucker for industrial rustic look?

This other room or “study” is from Rejuvenation. It’s a bit more functional of a space and it resembles my home more than the Anthropologie loft. The Rejuvenation space has exposed bricks as well, but better lighting (expected from a lighting retailer). This space has the same industrial, antiquarian vibe as the Anthropologie loft. Both of these spaces could be used a study nook or a Tesla-like mad scientist workshop nook. A little off subject, but I love the brass lighting featured here. I didn’t know that I liked pendant styled lighting so much.I knew I loved brass.

Rejuvenation study

I obviously do not have a turn of the century loft to call home. But, I feel I can get this same feel and vibe in my house. I also like the idea of shoving a mini-office in any room. It makes me feel like I’m creating more versatility in my living space. However, I fear that if I put a desk in more than one place that it will get loaded with unsightly papers, bills, etc. They’ll never look as industrial chic as these 😦

-Victoria

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Cleaning antique hardware

One of 8 sets of door hardware I cleaned. About 80 years old.

Restoring the hardware in your home is typically not difficult, and not something so time-consuming or expensive that you shouldn’t learn how to do it for yourself.  Now that our renovation is mostly complete, I look back at our hardware restoration dollars spent as having the highest return on investment of any task we took on.  The value of the hardware in our home makes me want to part out my house and Ebay it like an old car.  I stripped multiple coats of paint off of all of the copper, brass, and chrome hardware in the house and most of it came out perfect.

Warnings:

1.  The actual condition of your hardware is unknown.  There might be a good reason it was painted.

2.  Plated metals are really hard to work with.  Chrome plating much older than 40 years is almost definitely toast.  Don’t expect much good to come out of these procedures if used on chrome hardware.  There is still hope for your chrome hardware, but that’s a different procedure than this article will address.

3.  Some of the chemicals used here are corrosive and produce toxic fumes.  Wear goggles, chemical resistant gloves old clothes, and a canvas or rubber apron.

4.  Let the chemicals do the work! Don’t go grinding and scratching furiously on your hardware or you’ll destroy it.  Then you’ll end up with hardware that will look a lot like it could have been very nice.

Your shopping list:

1.  Chemical Resistant Gloves: I got mine at Wal-Mart in the “janitorial” section.  They’re cheap, if you have much to do, buy two pairs.

2.  Goggles: get the full coverage style you remember from science class.  Probably overkill, but blind is forever.

3. Canvas Apron: a good cheap way to put another layer of protection between your skin and the stripper.

4. Paintbrush: gel stripper works best if painted on with a brush.  Buy a new one so you can be sure it’s clean.  Tag this brush so you don’t accidentally ruin a bucket of paint with it.

5.  Klean-Strip KS-3: a good gel-based stripper. Gel is safer because it clings to surfaces and is less likely to splatter.  I read a lot of people recommending citrus based stripper products for environmental reasons, but I haven’t tried it.

6.  WD-40:  You probably have some around already.

7.# 0000 Steel Wool: Don’t step up in grit and think that your work will get done faster. This is for polishing and cleaning, not sanding/abrading.

8.  Wire Brush: Get one that’s just soft enough to brush against your skin. More bristles will move more gunk and scratch less.

9.  Fine tools: toothbrush, razor blade for getting into tiny spaces where the stripper has a hard time penetrating.

10. White T-shirt Rags: just go ahead and buy a box of jersey rags because you’ll burn through tons of them.  The white color is so you can clearly tell what is getting removed, and so that no dyes or screen printing dissolves while you’re working.

11.  Metal or Glass Tray or Pan and a Soupcan: thrift store cookware will be fine here, or grab a cheap metal paint roller tray.

This is all commonly available, and all adds up to a little under $100.  I told you this was cheap! (more…)

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Outdoor seating

Featured in Country Home

I really should be cleaning off the deck and scrapping paint off of a vintage aluminum picnic table so that I can repaint it, but I it’s easy to procrastinate. Even when it is beautiful outside. Are you surprised that I don’t want to scrape paint in the midday sun?

I was very excited about having a deck this year.  It is very nice but I thought it would be a great outdoor living space. It’s not. It’s nice to set on and nice to eat on space. That’s it. I always see this whimsical fantasy pictures in decorating magazines featuring beautiful daybeds outside (outdoor spaces here featured in Country Home and House to Home). What’s the purpose of these spaces and where are they? I assume that they only exist  in photographs and couldn’t make it in this harsh, cruel world. They are better decorated than my indoor living space :). These fantasy spaces have comfortable outdoor seating with throw pillows, paper lanterns, outdoor rugs, and even coffee tables. It’s all beautiful but far from practical. I say that if you are at the purchasing an outdoor rug stage in your life then you need to reevaluate your life and maybe get a new hobby or go on a vacation with that expendable income. Maybe I’m clueless, this is very possible, because I live in the Pacific Northwest. We have nice summers, not very long and the rest of the year it rains. I’m better off investing in a nice deck stain than nice patio furniture and paper lanterns. Maybe you can live like this in Southern California? I see these in pictures on resorts in Mexico. Maybe you have to haul this stuff in and out every day? I don’t know. Regardless, these outdoor living spaces take a wonderful picture and I always wish I was relaxing on one of those comfy outdoor daybeds. I won’t have a perfectly decorated living space but I’ll have a nice one if I just get out there and pull it together. And these pictures have motivated me to do so. Time to pull together my budget-friendly and totally practical “outdoor living space”. This is the cool new way of saying “deck” or “patio”. And if you say “outdoor living space”, you sound really rich. Have a great weekend!

-Victoria

Outdoor daybed

Featured in House to Home

David’s Commentary:

I find this idea to be the kind of irrational thing that a designer comes up with without thinking about too much.  The moisture, mold, insect, rodent and bird-poop assault that would be pressed on your furniture in this setting will make almost any textiles nasty in under a week. One slight rainfall on a foam cushion will keep it moist enough to mold for weeks.

Perhaps this gets pushed by retailers so much because it’s a really attractive concept that requires that you replace the items used 3 times a season?

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For the first time ever, David and I have too much bookshelf in our life. After making a cross country move, we purged and donated lots of books and records. This house has 4 built-in bookshelves in the great room. I don’t know what to do with them because I’ve never had this much space to work with. I’ve collected pictures on-line to inspire me with bookshelves. I’ve figured out what I like about the ones in the magazines but I can’t achieve that in my home.

All the magazine ready bookshelves have these things in common:

-All the books are to the same scale. They are displayed by size. Most of their books are large. It appears that nobody in the magazines have City Lights Pocket Poets Series.

-Never do I see paperbacks! And most of the books appear to be for decoration. For example, they all look antique or old. They are like staged books.

-Cool things are incorporated in the shelves. These cool things, either pictures or knickknacks, all have a common theme. This theme can be white glassware or black & white pictures, you get it. It doesn’t feel so random.

– Sometimes books are grouped by color. I don’t know if I like this.

Tudorks bookshelf

A glimpse at one of our built-in bookshelves.

Here’s my problem:

– My books are all over the place in scale. I have giant hardbacks and teeny tiny City Lights Pocket Poets Series.

– I have paperbacks and books that look new.Many of the books have obnoxious, bright spines.

– I have too many cool things and they are all over the place in theme. I can easily choose a theme but it may take years to get that “look”. I want my theme to be old stuff that I like. Creepy, old stuff, almost like an apothecary. And pictures in black frames. I also want tabletop antique radios on the top of the shelves.

-I may have too much shelf. See this pic above and below. I have 4 of those from floor to almost the ceiling. Because of they are so spacious, they’ve been a catch all for all our random stuff. You see that shelf: antique lighting shades, antlers, 1930’s Guerlain, apothecary jars filled with exotic resins, and pictures of random people with bags of moneys. This has been were we put our stuff to keep it out of the way of the renovation. The bottom ones with the doors have been great storage.

Tudorks Bookshelf

A view of the entire bookshelf, now, add 3 more.

Our great room/living room is a disaster. This room has the most potential but we intimidated by the large space. Also, our furniture doesn’t fit and it will take time to save up to replace it all. Because this room is so useless and ugly, we never go in there. We never use it. I thought the easiest (and cheapest) thing to tackle at this stage would be the bookshelves.

Now what should I do? I’ve been thinking about getting rid of most of the books. I know this doesn’t fly with some people but I would love to go paperless except for antiques. If I can get it on a Kindle, then I should get rid of it. If I want a book, that’s what the library is for. Do I ever go  to that bookshelf and take a book off to read it? No. The only ones that I look at are the antique ones. How do I make my “theme” look intentional during the collection stage? Right now I feel it is all so random, because it is. I don’t want my bookshelves to look like me-maw’s curio cabinet of Swaroski knickknacks and Home Shopping Network collectibles. How can I make these shelves functional? Any ideas?

H.G. Lewis autograph

Had to share our H.G. Lewis autograph

I have to share our Herschell Gordon Lewis autograph. This was one of those too cool things we had boxed away. Who doesn’t want the autograph of the man that started “splatter film” and junk mail. What great contributions to our society!

So, yeah, here’s a peek at one of our many messes. I’m open to suggestions. I feel this is something that I can tackle and maybe this will motivate me to get the great room together. The room isn’t finished. We need a mantel and a sofa that is better scaled for the space. But, the bookshelves just need TLC and editing.

-Victoria

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