Monday, September 24, 2012

Flowers in Another House

A business colleague of mine was married on Saturday and I thought
I would share some of the beautiful flowers.

The flowers were done by the inimitable Shelley from Bow Street Flowers.  

The centerpiece on the buffet table.

On the right is the top layer of the cake with its sugar orchids.

My favorite was the bride's nosegay.  Isn't it beautiful?

The fall flowers are also all across the city.

Our urban garden center has switched seasons almost overnight.

There are seas of mums...

...pumpkins and grasses...

...and a large variety of cabbages and ornamental kale.

I love going to the garden center in the rain.  There's no one there and 
I have the whole place to myself.

It's almost like a walk in the country.

I'm sure there are plenty more fall flowers at Jane's party.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Trompe L'oeil Bamboo Chest

It was love at first sight but it's taken several weeks to get everything cleaned out
for the yard sale and this new gem moved in to place.

I love September.  Gone are the air conditioners and fans in the windows.
September provides cool nights and fresh, dry afternoon breezes that let us
open the windows to get a little wind in our sails.

It's the perfect time to clean out, freshen up and make a few changes
around the house before we're stuck inside for a long, cold winter.

This circa 1880s English chest from Darby Road has found a new home
in the guest bedroom which is where I've kicked off my shoes
each night since I started work on the master bedroom.  

This narrower chest allows me to fully open the door
which makes the room feel much larger.

Transforming a simple chest with a painted bamboo design like this would be
a great DIY project so I thought I'd show some of the details close up
so you can copy them.  Should we have a contest?

The design uses three shades of gray and black.

Painting the straight lines would be a biggest challenge.

I've chosen a few sea-inspired items to go on the chest.

The antique Chinese bowl is the perfect place for a watch and few coins to
keep them from the paws of bad kitties entertained by pushing things
over the edge in the middle of the night.

A pulls are wooden and painted with the same treatment.  Their surface
is "polished" by years of use almost making them look porcelain.

Detail of the ogee edge and the simple gray line on the side.

Let me know if you undertake this faux bamboo technique.

I love to see and share it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Vintage Wallpaper

The vintage wallpaper piqued a lot of interest.  
But I have to confess...

...I just tacked it up as a backdrop for the photo.
Progress has been slow on this bedroom.  I've replastered the areas of the wall that peeled but wanted to wait several weeks to see what happened.  Knock wood, so far so good.  I'll do another post on what I did differently this time around.
I also tested the floor in a few areas and found the paint to be holding quite well to the old surface.  There were just a few trouble spots that started peeling for some reason.  I have gone over square inch of the floor with a scraper and an orbital sander which I think should provide a much nicer finish in the end. 

I really love this wallpaper.  The background is that wonderful greenish-blue similar to Benjamin Moore's historical color Wythe Blue.  I bought the wallpaper thinking there would be enough to do the entire room.  I carefully measured and plotted out the seam lines and there's just not enough.  I've considered just doing the bed wall but I'm still considering another option. 
I was also playing with a few possibilities for the floor color and picked up some Farrow & Ball paint samples.  It's nice to have the place close by that sells the little sample pots.

The one on the left is Shaded White which is too light and little peachy.
The other is Snoop Dog's favorite Farrow & Ball color:  Mizzle.
As much as I love the vintage wallpaper, I think I'm falling in to the same trap of having the upstairs look so different than the downstairs.  I like too many styles.  Does that happen to you?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vanity/Sink Options


First, blogging friend and Urban Cottage supporter Tricia Rose from Rough Linen has received some wonderful news.  She's been nominated as a finalist in Martha Stewart's "American Made" contest!

Martha Stewart!

If you don't know Tricia already, she makes/sews the most beautiful linen products you've ever seen and she could use your support.  This is a great opportunity to support a small business without having to spend a dime, although you might find something pretty to buy too!  Please take moment to learn more about Tricia and show your support by voting.  

Go on.  I'll wait right here for you.

via Tokyo Jinga

Thank you for supporting Tricia!

Back to the bathroom.  Someone asked me if I would be doing a period bathroom for the downstairs/guest room.  And that's my difficulty with it.  The house was built in 1842 so a period bathroom would look a little something like this:

This might be a little too rustic so I'm looking for something a little more timeless.

Photo courtesy of Donna Seger, Streets of Salem

I've always felt a console sink would be a perfect timeless choice and I was happy to see 
 Edith Wharton's home built in 1905 in a recent blog post by local historian Donna Seger.   A console sink does eliminate the opportunity to incorporate some storage but it also maximizes visual space in a small bathroom.  But in a way, I feel it's a cop out.  I'd much rather have the challenge of finding something unique to repurpose.

One major limitation I have is space.  In the architect's plan, they've placed a 30-inch sink.  It appears like I might have a tiny bit of leeway but not much as all.


My biggest complaint about bathroom sinks is they tend to be too small.  They're fine for rinsing your fingers but try to wash your face and you've usually got a counter floating with water.  Don't you?  Maybe I just have a bog head.  

I do love this old chest with what looks like a chunky square basin.  I also the wall mounted fixtures on the marble tiled wall.  But vessel sinks seem to come with higher maintenance.  How do you clean behind it?


Here's another handsome bathroom with a vibe that fits my house but no storage underneath.  I don't mind the exposed plumbing at all.  If this had a lower shelf, a few basket could provide additional storage.

This has long been a favorite of mine since I saw it in--was it Country Living?  Rustic meets modern and little shelf below for storage.


This one's perhaps a tad too country but, again, I love the juxtaposition of the old chest and modern sink basin.  And it looks like a nice large one too.   And a little closed storage too.  

A big sink in a small space sacrifices counter space... 


...but maybe an adjacent built-in would provide a place for guests' toiletries...

..or perhaps a little narrow shelf above the sink for a few special soaps and toiletries
for a guest to pamper themselves.

So I have my mission.

I'm off to look for sink solutions.

Thanks to Camille whose bathroom Pinterest board I totally raided for inspiration.  I love your taste!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Yard Sale

Ever since my Cleaning Out, Paring Down post in May, I've been going through every drawer, every closet, every shelf, box and cabinet in the basement and throwing things in plastic storage bins.  I've been pricing items and organizing them by "department."  Housewares, lamps and lights, textiles, vintage, furniture, books, CDs appliances and home improvement.
I placed ads on Craig's List and posted flyers on telephone poles around the neighborhood.   Through the tiny bulkhead, I dragged the undercounter refrigerator, the rugs and rolls of fabric, the microwave (which I'm perfectly happy to live without), the tables and chairs and the several bins of collected and unused stuff out for a yard sale.
The crowds came. It was a madhouse for about an hour. I could have sold some things three or four times. People were gleeful. People shelled out good money for CDs, used duvet covers, mismatched drinking glasses, odd silverware, kitchen towels, pillow shams, old light fixtures and a pull-down map of the world. And, thank God, that refrigerator!  I was cleaned out.  Only eight items made their way back in to the house.

Not only did I clean out the house, I gained an understanding.  I understand how so many people NEED yard sales.  Students need yard sales to set up their first apartments.  Teachers need yard sales to buy music, books and supplies for their students.  The man who helps new families coming from the Dominican Republic needs yard sales to buy pots and pans, bedding, drapes and towels.  The down-on-their-luck need yard sales to stretch a dollar just a little farther.  The Jamaican woman who lives in a one-room apartment at the elderly housing complex needs a yard sale for a quick "sit-down" and a friendly ear to hear about her diabetes and how to make a proper green plantain porridge. 
On Tuesday, the chiropractor straightened out my back and I licked the wounds of my reality smackdown.  I am lucky.  And I am truly humbled.