Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bicycle Art for the Living Room

We went to Southern California on vacation a couple of weeks ago.  The vacation started with a family reunion on a lake, then to the beach to see friends, then out to the Palm Springs area to spend time with more good friends.  We had a great time!   While in the desert, my good friend and I hit Home Goods.  As soon as I saw this picture, I was smitten!

I love canvas art, love flowers, love the bike, love the colors....  But, I had recently found a piece of typewriter art that I loved too.  I thought about it overnight, then rushed back to Home Goods and luckily it was still there.  I decided that I would change out the art as I change out the pillows with the seasons since I love both pieces.

I found these blue/green ticking pillows at Pottery Barn.  (I made the little pillows years ago)

I made this pillow recently.  You can see how to make one HERE.  I have a neat bicycle graphic that I will use on another pillow.  (The darn job is certainly getting in the way of all of the crafts I want to do!)

I found this birdhouse at Home Goods too.  It was on clearance. I love when that happens!

My sister and her boyfriend sent these beautiful flowers.

Thank you for your visit! 


There are only a few days left in the Palatin Remodeling, Inc. contest for Most Innovative Blogger.  I'd love it if you'd vote for me HERE.  There's nothing to sign up for, it's just an easy click and you're done.  (My blog is Our Adventures in Home Improvement)

I am linking to the following parties:

Savvy Southern Style's Wow us Wednesdays

Cottage Style Linky Party

How to Spruce up a Bathroom to Give it a Posh Look

After a long workday, what can be better than relaxing in a hot bath or standing under a shower, letting the jets of water pummel away your stress? Yet, the bathroom is often the last room that people consider when redecorating a house. A plain bathroom can easily be spruced up to give it the posh look seen in home magazines.

If one wants to change just one thing in a bathroom, the lighting should be the first choice. The way a bathroom is lit can affect the entire mood and look. Decorative wall lamps can give it an elegant look. Overhead lights are available in stylish shapes and fittings and offer a plethora of choice. However, harsh overhead lights can make the bathroom look crude, so care should be taken when choosing them. Mirrors should be lit evenly from both sides so that one can see one's reflection without any shadows. For the ultimate opulence,
light chandeliers can be opted for. Floor fittings are a comparatively new concept but can make a bathroom look stunning. Muted floor lights fitted around a tub imparts a romantic, iridescent glow, and are a modern twist on candles.

Tubs and showers are other ways to change the look of a bathroom. For an antique feel, rounded bathtubs on raised, beautifully carved legs can be used. Sunken tubs look more modern and are great if one wants a minimalistic decor. Bathtubs inlaid with pebbles or bricks on the outside are very popular for nature themed decorations. Showers can be easily worked into a theme. 'Rainfall', 'Jet' and 'Waterfall' showers are among the options available in the market and can be used for this purpose.

Particular colour schemes and highlights can complement the look of a bathroom. A bright, solid colour on the walls paired with black and white striped shower curtains look funky and modern. Muted cream walls with golden highlights can make one's bathroom look like something seen only in movies. Grey walls with glass and chrome fittings will look sleek and chic, while a pale turquoise and white combination looks delicate and pretty. As long as the fittings are coordinated with the wall colour, one can experiment with unlimited options.

The bathroom accessories give the final touch that makes your bathroom look as posh as can be imagined. Wrought iron towel racks, bronze basins, full-length gilded mirrors and glass and chrome cabinets are accessories that can be used to complement any theme. Adding some scented candles and fluffy soft towels are sure to spell luxury and relaxation. With so many options, the bathroom can easily become the poshest room in the house.

Total Whirlwind

We had a CRAZY week last week getting ready to put our house in the market.  I don't even remember how many 2-4 hours nights of sleep we got last week.  We did pretty much every project we'd ever planned to do "eventually" in the span of 9 days.  Our house was full of contractors helping us and I attempted to pack up and keep things running in the office, which became pretty much impossible.

Saturday morning (the day of the first open house) we woke up early to get started on our unfinished projects.  At 6, Dave ran to Home Depot to buy a new drill because we'd packed ours up and sent it to live in the Pod for a month... he added the missing hardware on the extra kitchen cabinets we'd done a year or so ago. (Yes, until this point they'd been just sitting there, naked and topped with plywood... On Friday the carpenters came and installed the butcher block and did the trimwork.)  I ran around with only one contact in (I tore my left one in the rush) pretty much legally blind in my left eye, squinting to do the paint touch-ups.  (It was at this point that I almost lost it...  I'd been pretty chill the whole 9 days along but when I realized I couldn't see it was - Dave- "It's almost over."  And me- "But I can't see!!! How am I supposed to look at anythig with a critical eye if I can't see?!!!"  --- Yes, I really said that.  Not my best moment.  He knows me pretty well and just didn't say anything.  God I love that man. )  I frantically cut hyrangea & spread them around the house in jars, all the while worrying about the funny smell of the paint in our basement because the contractors had just finished with the ceiling.  Every time I finished with a room, I'd close the door and the kids' security clearances were revoked.

{Yes, that's a muffin squished into his eye.}

 (By the end they were relegated to the foyer as our realtor helped them put on their shoes and fed them cookies & that's when I knew it was the home stretch.) I jumped in the back or our minivan to feed (wailing) baby Luke as Dave turned the car on and "blasted" the air at my behest while people arrived early for the open house.   Dave ran through the yard with the lawn mower (Him- "A mowed lawn is important to men.") as Christian & Justin got extra allowance for picking up sticks.  I watched and thought about how I'd wished I'd gotten more weeding done in the gardens as the van (which was blasting air) got hotter and hotter.  I opened the door because the hot air outside was better than the inside.  The baby's tiny little body stuck to my dress and we were a sweaty mess.  When Dave finally showed back up to load the kids in the car it was, "Oh sorry babe, I'd had the heat on." 

We drove a few houses down so I could feed the baby before driving to the eye doctor's.  We watched as the cars came pouring down our street for the open house.  (I know that sounds creepy and I hoped no one would notice us, but with the hungry baby, we really had no choice.)  As more time went by and none of the cars had left yet, we felt a little better.  Anytime there was a lag in the stream of cars, we worried.  We noticed cars leaving, driving around and going back.  That was a good sign. 

Once the baby had had his fill, it was off to the eye doctors' and then to my mom's house where we showerd and promptly DROPPED.  (We had already decided we were not going home Saturday night because there was no way we could keep our house clean for even a night for Sunday's open house.)  We waited for news from our realtors and I was in total shock as they called and told us the good news.  (I typically worst-case scenario everything at the last minute, and by the end of the day had convinced myself that no one could ever want our house.)  Saturday night was great as two of my best friends stopped by to celebrate (One who I haven't seen in over a year just home from Paris!) and we gorged (or maybe it was just me who gorged) on food from the Lebanese Taverna. 


We stayed at my mom's all day Sunday and reviewed offers that night.  This (below) was the awesome note we came home to:

{The "Buy me" note was a last-minute attempt as I dashed out of the house before the open house}

...We are now officially under contract and are set to move mid-September!!!  I'm definitely sad to leave this place (getting teary honestly) but I am so happy that the people buying our house seem to love it as much as we do.  I think they'll take great care of this place we've poured so much into & I'm sure they'll make it their own in no time.  I'll miss some of our neighbors terribly but know that they're friends for life & moving won't change that. 

I'll be back this week to share some long overdue before & afters of our house...  sort of a little goodbye string of posts I have planned.  I am DEFINITELY making a video tour of my house before I leave so I can "visit" whenever I want.  (I know I have issues ;)

Also, thank you so much to all of the readers who came out to see our house!!  Hope you enjoyed & thank you so much for the support!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Neat Old "Maid of Honor" Sink

I was out doing my normal Saturday garage-saling this morning and not having any luck!  I probably went to six or seven different sales without buying anything.  I then went to the west side of the city where I have had pretty good luck in the past.  Yes, I found stuff immediately.  (hmmm, maybe I should start on the west side from now on!)

I met a lady who was selling beautiful jewelry.  She had some banana boxes and old metal stuff off to the side that really caught my eye.   At first I was interested in the banana boxes, and although they were fabulous, they were pretty big and pretty much over my budget.

I then asked her about this sink. She gave me a price and I told her I'd think about it. As I was driving away, I decided that I had to have it! I quickly ran to an ATM and got more cash and hurried back and bought it.

It wouldn't fit in my car, so we came back later with the truck.  She said that several people had stopped to try to buy it.  I'm so glad I went back immediately when it hit me that I had to have it.  :)

I cleaned it and brought it in the house for now.  I might use it as a party cooler or maybe put it out on the back patio with annuals set in the tubs.  In the meantime it's in the downstairs kitchen.

She asked that I please not paint it.  I promised her I wouldn't!   I love the patina and love the rusty legs and wheels.

She was so sweet that she even gave me this picture as we had discussed our mutual love of gardening earlier. I love garden friends!

What a fun day of shopping!  I love the fact that I'm not looking for anything in particular when I go out, yet I usually come home with something that makes me very happy.

Thank you for your visit.


I've been nominated by Palatin Remodeling, Inc for Best Innovative Blogger.  The voting ends next week.  I'd love it if you would vote for me HERE!  You don't have to sign up for anything, it's just an easy click!  Thanks!

I am linking to the following parties:

Ivy and Elephants What's It Wednesdays

Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style


Friday, July 27, 2012

Open Shelving in the Kitchen- the great debate

Wow.  Our house is officially for sale today!!!  I'm feeling really great about it.  But putting your house on the market makes you take another look at it, from a buyer's point of view and makes you analyze every little thing.  I used to do real estate staging & a large part of it is de-personalizing the home vs. making it unique & personal (which is what I do now.)  One of the things I think that's more personal & taste-specific in our home is the open shelving in our kitchen. (In our kitchen we have a mix of open shelving and upper cabinets but the main wall is all open shelving.)

{our kitchen}

People seem to have very strong opinions about doing open shelving in the kitchen instead of upper cabinets.  They either seem to love it or hate it.

I thought I'd share my experience with them since I've had them for three years now.

I orginally opted for open shelving because I wanted to give my kitchen an open & airier feeling. It's a great way to make a kitchen feel larger.  My kitchen felt a bit confined & heavy to me so I wanted to visually lighten it up.  The assymetrical angle of my kitchen ceiling looked too awkward with a row of dark upper cabinets calling attention to it. 

{my kitchen "before" with the awkward angles}

SO.. I thought I'd give it a go, more for form over function but I ended up loving the "function" side of it too!

{my kitchen "after" with open shelving}

One of my favorite things about open shelving is that I can see everything at a glance.  Guests too can grab what they need easily or put things back without searching through every cabinet. 

One of the biggest "cons" I've heard brought up about open shelving is that your things "get dusty" and dirty with cooking grime.  Dusty & grimey things have never been an issue for us in our kitchen.  We use almost everything on our shelving daily or weekly and it comes off of the shelf perfectly clean because it's constantly getting use.  I store a few barely-used items on my upper shelf and when I take them down once or twice a year, there is some dust on them and I simply rinse them off before using them.  (Just as I have to rinse off the rarely-used items in my dining room sideboard before use.)  Friends of mine who have open shelving have said the same thing.  I find it's people who've never actually had it (or who don't frequently use the things on their shelves) who seem to worry the most about this "dust" issue.

I also love the look of functional beauty in open shelving.  A kitchen is for cooking and eating & so I love seeing my "tools" displayed around me. 

I have collected my platters and bowls and pitchers over time and love being able to enjoy them even when they're not in use.  I think they're beautiful and I didn't want to hide them in cabinets.

Working in our kitchen is so easy because everything is within reach and I can get to it quickly.  (In our house, we move like crazy people.  It seems we're almost always rushing -gotta change that- and I can grab things off the shelves like  a speed demon.)  Putting away the dishes now seems like so much less of a chore than it did when I was putting everything into cabinets. 

{Sally Wheat}

Another "con" I've heard about open shelving is that it looks cluttered.  I think this is more a matter of personal taste.  For me, I think the key to our open shelving looking good is that we've limited what types of items we put on our shelves.  (In our kitchen I have white ware, glass ware and stainless steel for the most part and I sometimes mix in other colors/ materials seasonally.)  I do have some patterned and colorful dishes on my open shelving but from standing in the kitchen, they are viewed from the side and from below, so they look white.  However, there are some open-shelved kitchens look great because the homeowners are less rigid with what they put on their shelves and they come across as charming and homey: 

I reserve closed drawers and cabinets for food items and kitchen appliances and my open shelves for the things we use all the time.

As with many things in design, I don't think think there's a general wrong or right in uppers vs shelving, just wrong or right for certain people. 

Personally, I won't ever be without my open shelving in the kitchen (and plan to do it again in our new house because it's perfect for our busy, casual lifestyle- once you go open, you never go back ;) ;)  but it's all in the eye of the beholder.

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cute Minty Green Bookcase

Our friends have been searching for a display cabinet for their daughter's dolls for a couple of years. A few weeks ago, my husband offered to make one for them. They got exactly what they wanted.  And, being custom made, the beadboard and feet match the other furniture in her adorable room. 

It took him two weekends to go from boards to the finished product.

I love the mint green color.

He added a couple of pieces of moulding to make a pretty crown.

She now has a place to display all of her favorite things.

It was funny that one of our friends came over right before we delivered it.  She said, "I hope they don't like it, because I will buy it immediately if they don't!"  (They did like it)  :)

Thanks for your visit.  And thank you for all of the heartfelt comments about Max.  I sincerely appreciate the love!


I've been nominated for Best Innovative Blog at Palatin Remodeling, Inc.
I'd love it if you voted for me HEREYou don't need to sign up for anything, it's just one easy click.  Thanks!

I am linking to the following parties:

Cottage Style Linky Party
Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday
Thrifty Decor Chick's Before and After Party
DIY Show Off