Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BBQ Essentials

Summer is here!  Well, not officially, but for those of us here in FL, Summer has definitely begun.  All I need to do is look at the thermostat (currently 88 degrees) to know that.  So, with Summer here, BBQ season is in full swing.  Here are a few fun essentials for your backyard party.

And of course you need a fantastic cocktail for your drink dispenser:

My Favorite Summer Cocktail
2 cups Citrus Flavored Vodka
1 2-liter Citrus Flavored Soda Water (e.g. LaCroix Lemon Sparkling Water)
1 Bottle of Simply Lemonade Raspberry Pink Lemonade
Sliced Lemons and Limes
Lots of Ice

Combine all ingredients into your drink dispenser and enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ideas for Personalizing Your Space

An accent table is a great way to add personality to your room.  These small side tables are perfect next to a chair or sofa, and can be the right solution as bedside tables in a small bedroom that will not fit much else.  As with any furniture item, you will find a wide array of styles and prices, but you can find some great looks for a small investment.  I mention accent tables specifically as a good way to personalize your room because they are minimal investment pieces, are small in scale, and you can take a risk and choose something really fun.  Just be careful, and don't overpower a tiny table with a huge lamp.  Better yet, nix the table lamp completely and use a floor lamp if you are in need of light in that area.  Just dress your accent table with some books, a decorative object, or some coasters so you have a place to set your drink. 


Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Inspiration

Happy Monday - I hope you are having a great day!  I have recently been asked to help a friend with a new home she and her family are moving into.  Our focus right now is on the master bedroom and the children's bedrooms.  So here are some inspiration photos I have found with the children's rooms in mind.  More to come soon on that project.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fun Target Finds For Friday

Happy Friday! 

I am so excited!  I am finally learning how to do a few things on this blog that I have been trying to figure out forever!  Here is my first collage!  Hooray!  I am halfway there.  Next I have to master overlaying text into the picture, but I am working on it!

Anyhow, this collage is just a few fun home décor finds from Target.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Finishing Things Up.

Today I am going to go over a bit of paint colors, and some general suggestions, finishing up my overview of Lea's house.

After going through the photos of the house, I have a few general suggestions I wanted to make note of, and I have some paint colors to recommend. 

  • Currently, the trim (baseboards and window moulding) in the Family Room is stained, where as the trim in the rest of the house is painted white.  I would suggest that stained trim be painted to flow with the rest of the house.
  • Something to think about is to case (or apply wood moulding to) the doorways of the Dining Room and Family Room.  These are really better described as pass throughs rather than doorways, but as of right now, they are just drywall wrapped.  The best way to do this is to apply wood trim to either side of the pass through, and then continue the white trim color all the way around.  This will look like the pass through is clad with wood all the way around, but will save you time and money.   This photo of the Dining Room shows some of the pass throughs I am mentioning.

  • I would also recommend painting the stained pine wood wall paneling that is in some of the upstairs bedrooms and hallway.  As well as the window seat bench and the bit of unpainted paneling below it.  It appears as though someone started the project of painting the paneling, but did not take it to completion.  Here is a photo of one of the rooms with paneling.

  • One upstairs bathroom has black and white tile, and would really look great with a nice spa blue color on the walls. Here is the bath,

And here is a lovely spa blue color, Sherwin Williams SW7613 Aqua Sphere:

  • The downstairs a really presents a definite color scheme in with the tile. Short of ripping out all the tile, Lea will need to work with the yellow and black that is already established.  She should try to find a fabric that features the yellow and black with a cream or white.  This will allow for off-white or cream walls to make sense and tone down the drama of the black and yellow.  Another alternative is a fabric that is simply black and white/cream, like a graphic print or a toile.  Also, most of the fabrics I had noted in yesterday's post would also work in this bath.  Here is the bathroom,

And here is an example of a toile fabric.  This one is mostly black, but I really like the pattern,


  • Lea and I had discussed her desire to bring a grey or greige(grey beige) color through the house's main areas, so I am going to suggest a few. 
Sherwin Williams Repose Gray SW7015

Sherwin Williams Alpaca SW7022

Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige SW7036
Sherwin Williams Popular Gray SW6071
I am also going to suggest that the light fixtures throughout the house be replaced, as well as the bathroom mirrors.  I hope to be able to find the time to do a post next week with some well priced light fixture selections for Lea.  Be sure to keep watching for it!

Hope this helps!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 2 - Tackling the Kitchen

Today we are on to discussing the kitchen in Lea's house.  Here is an overall view of the kitchen,

So Lea has let me know that they would like to replace the kitchen cabinets and countertops in a budget friendly way, and that we will need to keep the current appliances.  She had already mentioned Ikea as a source of cabinets and wood counters.  Here are some details:

This Shaker style cabinet from Ikea is a classic and versatile style.  Shaker style cabinets are like chameleons, depending on the hardware choices, they can look traditional, transitional or contemporary.  This is a perfect choice for this project because this versatility will be especially appealing to any possible future renters.

Ikea also has a nice looking and nicely priced butcher block counter top option.  Butcher block is a great choice for counter tops as long as it is cared for properly.  Proper care for butcher block includes immediately cleaning up any spills, regular cleaning with mild soap, disinfecting with undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle, and periodic application of mineral oil. 

With a butcher block counter top, I would really recommend an apron front farmhouse style sink.  With this type of sink, the water is better contained.  You will have less spill over and splash which will help with  your countertop maintenance.  Also, the advantage of a farmhouse sink is how it physically sits in the counter.  You will not have to worry about cutting around the counter to drop in a sink; nor will you have to have any sort of counter seam (where two pieces meet) in the sink area.  Fireclay farmhouse sinks can be pretty pricey.  Luckily Ikea has a nicely priced version at $312, most other farmhouse sinks will run around $600+.

Ideally, this sink will need a faucet that has a pull out spray, otherwise you will have terrible trouble getting the whole sink clean.  I sourced one at Lowes that is a budget friendly $104, and has a nice traditional feel to it. 

And here is the cabinet hardware I would recommend,
Cup Pulls for Drawers
Knobs for Cabinet Doors

Both of these pieces can be found at Lowes, the cup pulls which are $8 and the knobs, which are $3.

To pull together the look, a subway tile backsplash would be visually clean, versatile, and in keeping with the classic look that is coming forth in this kitchen.  I would recommend a standard white glazed ceramic subway tile in a standard 3' x 6" size.  You can find this at pretty much any large hardware store, and it is relatively inexpensive.  I am also recommending that you use a white grout.  This will keep the backsplash looking fresh and clean.  A darker grout color in this application can create a look that lends more toward the industrial or contemporary feel.

Traditional Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Designers Gast Architects

 Lea had expressed an interest in possibly a grey or greige  paint color for the kitchen, and I will discuss some paint color suggestions in tomorrow's post, but I do think that a light version of either tone would be a good choice.  Based on the photos I have received, the kitchen has a very nice amount of natural light, which is a very nice feature for a kitchen (the most used room in the house) and we really don't want to take away from that.  Keeping it neutral in paint color also makes it more appealing to possible future renters. 

Lea had express some concern over the fact that the appliances are a mix of black, black and white, and white.  While this may not be the ideal situation, sometimes, when you have what seems to be a roadblock in design, you best solution is to embrace it.  What I mean by this is to incorporate the black and white into the décor of the room.  This can simply be done in the décor of the room.  Fabrics and a rug that incorporate black will help the large black refrigerator to feel more like a working element of the space rather than the proverbial pink elephant. Here are a few ideas to work toward that:
And a few different ideas for bold fabric patterns incorporating the black:

Fabric and accessories can be used to incorporate the black for as long as needed, and when the time comes that you want to change out the appliances, the look of the room can easily be adjusted. 
Hope this helps for today!



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This is how we do it...

I was recently contacted by a friend of mine, let's call her Lea, requesting some help with her newly purchased home.  The tricky part is that I have never seen the house in question, and, due to the fact that it is located many states away, I certainly will not be seeing it anytime soon.  To make things even more interesting, my friend Lea has not actually ever seen the house either.  Being the adventure loving girl that she is, and also due to location circumstances that they cannot control, Lea and her husband chose their new home based on photos they received.  This makes things a twinge more difficult because some of the questions that I would want to ask, Lea does not yet have the answers to.  Not until she moves back to the U.S., that is. 

So, armed with a bunch of photos, we go to work.  Lea has mentioned a few key points that she would like me to work on, and I will address those points over the next few days.  Lea has also mentioned to me that we really need to be budget minded, and we also need to consider the very real possibility that this property will be one that they will rent out in the foreseeable future. 

The main points that Lea mentioned were a kitchen renovation, fireplace rehab, paint color selection, and painting of wood paneling in certain rooms.

Today we are going to tackle the fireplace. 

Here is the fireplace as it currently stands:

The perspective in this photograph is a bit deceptive.  It makes the hearth look very deep, but based on other photos, and based on the assumption that the existing tiles are 4x4, then the depth of the hearth is approximately 12 inches. 

While we have a few different options for treating the fireplace, they all include getting rid of the shelf that is currently serving as a mantel.  It has got to go.  And luckily, that appears like it should be a really easy first step. 

Scenario #1  - The easiest and most cost effective idea for this fireplace is to remove the existing terra cotta colored tiles and retile with a neutral travertine mosaic like this,

In this scenario, you would paint the drywall surround the same color you are going to paint the wall, and hang a large piece of art above the fireplace.  Easy and done.  The tricky thing with trying to add a mantel in this scenario is that because of the way the whole fireplace unit extends into the room, any mantle would have to either die at the ends (which would create a blunt end on the front of the fireplace and look odd) or it would need to wrap around the sides (which I will address further down).

Scenario #2- Ideally I would like to either eliminate or change the existing hearth.  This is really going to depend on factors that we do not currently have the answers to.  I am hoping that you will be able to remove the carpeting in this room and find lovely hardwood floors underneath, like those that run through the rest of the house.  That would be great.  Assuming that is the case, you would be able to see how the hearth was built, either on top of the floor or within it.  How the hearth was constructed will determine how easy it is to remove.  If it can be removed, then I would suggest running the mosaic around the fireplace opening, sides (6"), top (6") and bottom (taking it all the way to where it meets the floor in the bottom), then creating a new flat hearth from 1 row of 12x12 travertine tiles that extends from one edge of the fireplace surround to the other.  This would be flush with the floor. 

If the construction of the existing hearth is such that it is not easily removed, another option is to add on to the sides of the existing hearth (using what ever type of material the hearth is made of, wood, cement block, etc).  You would extend both sides of the hearth so that it is as wide as the whole fireplace build out.  Then you would cover the hearth with travertine tile. 

So this leads me to Scenario 3, my ideal scenario.  Once you have determined the revamped hearth, tiled it with travertine and surrounded the fire box with travertine mosaic, a bit more work and some minor carpentry know how can get you an end result that looks something like this:

Contemporary Living Room by Toronto Photographers Peter A. Sellar - Architectural Photographer

I know that it may look daunting, but this is mainly just straight cuts with flat stock MDF.  Depending on how crafty you are feeling, this is really something that can be done, or can be a relatively easy project for a carpenter or handyman.  To make it even easier, you can use a piece like this premade mantel cap shelf for the mantel piece.  Just be sure to miter it at the corners and wrap it around the sides of the fireplace like is done in the photo above. 

I hope that this gives you plenty to think on.  I will be back tomorrow with another post on some of the other points we discussed. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Inspiration for Monday

Happy Monday!  We spent a lot of time outside yesterday, enjoying what is probably the last of the pleasant weather before it starts to get unbearably hot here.  So, I was looking through some patio/outdoor photos, and I found a few I would like to share with you.

Eclectic Patio by Houston Interior Designers & Decorators Sally Wheat Interiors

I love the circular vine treatment on the back fence wall.  What a great way to dress up a boring old fence!

Farmhouse Porch by Atlanta Architects & Designers Historical Concepts

Notice how the beadboard ceiling is painted a very pale shade of blue.  This is a Southern tradition, and I have been told many different reasons for its' origin, any of which could be true.  But no matter the origin, it is a lovely and classic way to treat the ceiling of a porch.

Traditional Landscape by San Francisco Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Sally Stoik Landscape Architect

Curved lines are almost always more appealing to the eye in landscaping. 

Traditional Porch by Millbrook Architects & Designers Crisp Architects

The combination of the farm house table, galvanized chairs and slate floors gives this traditional porch just the right amount of rustic feel to make it look so comfortable and live-able.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mother's Day Ideas

Mother's Day is right around the corner.  And so, I figured what better way to make my husband's life easier than to give him a little list of ideas of items I would love to have.  This way I will not end up with some sort of undesired kitchen appliance.  Just kidding, Dear.  Well, not really.

Anyhow, you might find something fun for yourself too!

(So I will stop accidentally taking your keys)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Budget Friendly Room Re-Do

So I was looking through the Target website and I decided to create a room re-do with items just from that site.  I am starting with the idea of a cream colored sofa, the only piece I did not source from Target.  Something like this:


Now add one or two fun accent chairs,

A Fun Floral Chair from Target is a great look for about $270. Great to be paired with a cream colored sofa or used as an accent chair in the Master Bedroom.  It definitely needs an accent pillow, though.  A cream colored rectangular shaped pillow would work well.  The solid color helps tone down the busier print on the upholstery, and having a texture to the solid pillow fabric helps add interest.  Something like this:

This Textured Chenille Pillow   pillow is at Target for $20.

Then, for the sofa:

One of these,
And a pair of these,
A great floor lamp for next to the chair,

A decorative table for next to the sofa,

A lovely cocktail table,

A cream ceramic garden stool to be used as a side table next to the printed accent chair,


A fun rug.  Notice that the rug's graphic pattern compliments, not competes with the chair's large scale floral print. 

I would just keep the wall color a neutral tan, along with the window treatments.  This allows the room to have plenty of color (through the furnishings and accessories) but still not be overwhelming.  The window treatment could be drapery panels like this,

When using premade drapery panels, using two on each side of the window will allow them to look fuller and more expensive.  Just be sure to bring out the drapery rod further on each side (outside edge).  This will make the window appear wider and more dramatic.   A simple panel like this can easily be made to look custom by buying decorative fabric tape or trim and sewing it down the front edge (lengthwise) of the panel.  You can find decorative trims at your local fabric store. 
One of these days I am going to have a chance to figure out how to make an image collage in blogger, and these kinds of posts will look a lot better!  I just keep reminding myself, one step at a time!
Thanks for reading!

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