Decisions, Decisions…

We’re in a bit of a lull right now, just waiting for the countertops to get installed. They were templated last week and should be in by the end of this week or early next. In the meantime, I’ve made some decisions.

I finally decided on a light fixture. Mostly based on budget…which is basically dwindled down….
I first found this beaut on Pottery Barn


But the price tag wasn’t the best. And that’s when I spotted this amazing deal on World Market.


Boom! Well, I had to check with Ry first and I gave him an option of that light as well as this one:


I liked them both but the difference was really their sizes. Which I then turned to elevations to help make the decision easier.


I apologize for the crap picture, but I drew it up quickly, snapped a phone pic and sent it to Ry to see what he thought. So what you’re seeing is what he saw. We both agreed once standing in the kitchen that the large would feel too overpowering in the small space so we went with Henry. I liked that he was cheaper too, so that helped. Regardless if we loved the light or not once we install it – at least we didn’t break the bank, and we could always replace later down the road. Henry should be in this Thursday, so I should have a photo of him installed soon. I love that the ORB look will tie in the new faucet and handles we picked out. Simple, sleek, industrial.


Then came a decision on shelves. I pretty much had my mind made up, but then our contractor asked how many shelves and if we wanted them wrapping the corner and I started to second guess myself. Back to the computer.

I did an elevation to decide how many shelves – took a vote at work, all my fellow designers agreed that 2 was the way to go. I sent it to Ryan and he took a poll at work and all the men chose 3. Go figure. So 2 shelves it is.

Then came the wrapping the corner debacle. I broke down and did a quick sketch up (again sorry for the crap photos / iphone screen shots) and I’m glad I did. The practicality of more shelf space would have made me chose wrapping it, but once I saw it I realized I had to stick with my initial gut instinct and go with no angle/wrap.


I love the symmetry and something about the angled shelf reminds me of our old awkward angled shelf that used to be in that corner. Speaking of…Let’s take a quick check point look at the kitchen….

Oh yea, our hood got installed too! Can’t wait for this project to finish up! Is it the 4th yet?


The Changing Of Colors Continued…


Remember that Benjamin Moore Gray Horse color that was painted on my Living Room wall for maybe a day or two? Yea, it was too blue, and I thus went on my Gray paint extravaganza (spoiler alert: yes, that gray has since changed…haha seriously someone get me some ‘I paint my house too much’ help). If you missed my Gray Issues post, see it HERE.

Well since I had purchased a gallon, I found a home for the Gray Horse… behold, the powder room that we get a lot of compliments on, but hadn’t done a single thing to since we moved into the house…


Nothing horrible, but the green wasn’t my favorite. Nor was the lighting and lace. So, enter Gray Horse stage left….



Picked up these two light fixtures at Ikea and gosh they make a world of a difference. Also picked up the frame and art insert seen above.



Even though the lace is gone, I still need to replace the window treatment. Roll down shades just don’t do it for me. Oh, and the door knob. Honestly, I kinda like that it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, however it isn’t working functionally and we actually had people get stuck in our powder room! Quite embarrassing (and yet hilarious) when you’re throwing a 50th birthday party for your parents. Too many phone calls from the bathroom being made in our house. Not good. See all the details of the party HERE.


Powder Room To-Do List:

  • Replace window treatment – maybe nix a treatment and stencil frost the window instead?
  • Replace or spray paint the towel bar
  • Replace the light switch cover plate
  • Replace the door knob (spoiler – this has been done! – update soon!)
  • Paint the ceiling white ??
  • Paint the sink base and mirror (gray? white?)
  • Update the toilet with a white low-flow, ‘green’ one
  • Sand down the door so it closes easier
  • Paint trim & door
  • Tile floor with a nice dark slate tile


As you can see from my list there’s a lot of ‘Replace’ and replace takes money, which in my case means this isn’t happening overnight. Still debating on if I should paint the ceiling white and/or the sink base and mirror. Any thoughts?



Fall: The Changing Of Colors (a few times over)

Ok, so way back when we bought the house, the walls were green and the trim a pinkish, yellowish white. blah. So last you’ve seen (other than the sneaky peaks of wall decor updates that clearly gave colors away) this is what we were left with.

Before we even moved in, I had wanted grey walls and a blue dining room. Why? Well I’m weird I guess, but that’s just what I wanted. I thought light grey walls in the living room and a darker blue in the dining room would have a nice contrast and compliment each other. And so I continued to paint the living room Porpoise by Behr.

Please ignore the yellow color on the right, that has nothing to do with anything Traub Mansion. But this is a googled picture of the color swatch because, well….Porpoise didn’t stay long. I don’t even think it lasted a week. (and the only picture I took of it was on my old crackberry (which I didn’t seem to send to the new iphone when I switched over to the good side) Once it went up on the wall it looked lavender. Not grey. Fail. All it took was asking two of Ryan’s friends what color the walls were when they first came to visit the house and I had my answer: Home Depot and on to more painting.

I guess the light lavender had me screaming inside, and I went the total opposite as to not make the same mistake twice and went dark (blueish) grey. Enter Behr Dark Ash:

Note the old curtain solution! Ugh, why was updating those not closer to the top of my list. I think we lived with our windows like that for far too long. But the roll down shade and dirty-as-hell lace curtains just weren’t cutting it….

You can also see above the change in the dining room (obviously not blue anymore) and the addition of the Lack Ikea shelves (man do I luuurve them!)

And so the walls stayed this Dark Ash for well over a year until I got the painting itch again at the beginning of October. (Yes, I’ve been a little busy and this update is coming not so up-to-date).

I still had the desire for a grey living room. And something not so cave like. Our lack of lighting in the living room and only getting northern and western light in the room didn’t help much either. So I hit up my Benjamin Moore paint deck and found a new love. Gray Horse.

Ah, she seemed like the perfect grey-beige. I spent many a night googleing (funny how that’s a verb now…) other rooms that had been painted the same color. Gosh it seemed perfect!

Crisp, clean, fresh and most importantly GRAY!

And so a can of paint I bought and I immediately put it on one wall (just to be safe!)
A little blue, am I right? Why oh why me!? Ok so even though Home Depot had the Benjamin Moore color in their system, I have this gut feeling it wasn’t mixed correctly. But alas, instead of fixing the coloring issue, I went back to the drawing color swatch board.

I just wanted straight gray. No red or purple or blue hue added. My answer, I went to a color swatch book that I acquired in college and took out all the grays. I picked the ones that went best with the beige in the dining room, taped them to the wall and picked my favorite. Home Depot did a color match for me and although I was shocked to see that the color match had colors other than black (the swatch was pure gray – good old Color Theory class) I went with it anyway. I mean how was I going to get closer other than having them only add black to a can of white (which was bound to come off more blue anyway – black tends to do that with interior paint). If anyone fancies this color – I will certainly share my mixture recipe they gave me (and I kept for future reference)

I took the same approach and just painted the walls (2 coats each) one at a time. Here’s an array of progress photos…. (thinking I may have to spray paint my deer head – something about the orange just isn’t clicking….)

That’s about as nuts as my living room has looked in a long time. I’ll be sure to upload a final, put-back-in place photo soon. As for the left over Gray Horse? Well I used up the rest of that too….where? Ah, you’ll have to wait and see…

What are your thoughts? Are you loving/hating the new gray? Does anyone else out there have as many gray issues as I?!?

Watermelon (colored) Birthday Chair


You’ll notice that I’ve (yet again) updated the look of the blog. To be honest, it’s still probably not done – gosh, I feel like no project is ever really finished with me. There is always room for improvement. But loving this layout for now.

On to another project. For the past few birthdays my mother has had Allie sit in a chair to open her presents while having the gift giver sit next to her. I’ve found this little tradition to be so adorable – this way everyone knows who the gift is from and it allows the giver to feel special sitting up there with the b-day girl. Well, seeing as we were decking out this event belovely style, after passing by a chair on the curb, I couldn’t pass up making Allie her very own birthday chair!

And here’s what I started with:

With the help of my work gloves (I can’t stand the feel of sandpaper so I wear them quite often!) I got to sanding down the chair to get any extra finish off along with old sticky stuff, and/or dirt.

After I quick wipe down and dry off with my amazing microfiber cloth she was ready for color!

Boom. Watermelon. Perfect with our color scheme for the party. Miss Pinkalicious loves her some pink.

After the first coat I had some time to kill while it dried, luckily I had this guy keeping me company out back. Such a cutie.

After my second coat on the chair was all dried up I flipped it over to make sure every angle got covered…

After the chair was perfectly pink watermelon it was all ready for some pizzazz. Oh, yea…lots of ribbons! I picked up some ribbon from Michaels – specifically 3 different rolls of 3 different pink prints.

…and tied the first print on one side of the chair. I just tied the ribbon into a knot and faced the excess off to the one side filling in the void.
And I did the same for the opposite side..

Voila! Now for the center…

I got more of a shear ribbon in a more purpley-pink color to stand out in the center more. These ribbons I cut longer than the sides since I was putting less ties and needed the length to tie them into bows.


Just love the way it turned out! And the best part is now she has a chair that is clearly Allie’s! I planned for her to keep it to have as a special chair to use for every birthday, or for a tea party or pretend Barbie playhouse… haha – the kid has quite an imagination and anything pink she can find a place for.


Bad Bathroom Goes Good

Here it is. What you’ve all been waiting for…and the biggest change in our house to date.

Remember this?

…I know what you’re thinking – I wish I didn’t! But alas this bathroom came with the mortgage and I was in no way taking a shower and getting ready for work in its (then) current state.  So as I mentioned before, our tax refund went directly to this project.
Almost as soon as we signed the 2,500  50 odd pages officially giving us the house, Ryan started taking the hammer to this guy. Soon enough the bathroom started looking a little more like this:

Toilet was the first to go! And I’ll throw in for laughs that it sat on our front porch for a good couple of weeks before we figured out what to do with it. (habitat for humanity wouldn’t accept toilets, so donating was out… and seeing as it wasn’t in the best condition – who would want it?). My mother continually joked every time coming over that we should put a plant in it. (which we did end up hiding keys for our contractor in the tank part later on funny enough – oh hide-a-key how we toilet thee). But in the end it became trash. (apologies to all those who were excited at the hint of suggestion that I might turn it in to a planter)

Anyway, we quickly discovered that the walls were more of a plasticy material that was just placed over layer, upon layer, upon layer of wall. Poor Ry ended up demoing really like 4 times the amount he thought he would.

You can kind of get the idea that basically wherever the brown color is was glue holding up the plastic type wall on top. Plus the wall that you just saw wasn’t standard drywall, but more of a hardboard. And that yellow tub? Ok, maybe having a yellow tub wouldn’t be the worst thing (if it were new!) cause I’m sure I could have designed around it, but since we were demoing we took it out, and took it ALL down…

I should mention that the “we” I just mentioned was really just Ryan. He did the demo work.
He took down all the walls and dealt with the insane amount of dust (yes he wore a mask) seeing as the final wall (beneath all the other crap) was plaster. He also put up that sweet temporary light. Strange that I would call a temporary light sweet, but I still hadn’t really seen my honey in action putting up lights (he’s an electrician) until this this bathroom project and the temp light seemed so professional in its temporary way. And just wait till you see what else he did…

…wait for it…


Voila! A new bathroom!

…And check out that super awesome light in the shower! – Thanks Ry!

Ok, not the fanciest of pictures (I’ve got to work on taking/staging photos specifically for the blog) but this is real – and at the time I was using Garnier Frutis (I just use whatever is on sale) haha, and we had a paint stick in our trash can. Whatever.

So the labor breakdown:

Ryan did all the demo and electrical… then we had a contractor (Jeff) come in and frame and put the walls and new toilet/tub/sink/window as well as tile work in. I did some spackling and did all the sanding, and then I did the priming and painting. Result of all that hard work and many ‘sweating in a tiny room working hard during the summer in a house with no a.c.’ hours = new bathroom.

Oh, I guess I should also give myself design credit, cause it does look pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I’m a huge fan of subway tile so I knew right off the bat that I wanted to use them in the shower. Then Ryan and his dad found that perfect light fixture (maybe my favorite thing in the bathroom) and it looked like it was meant to go with the tile.
I decided we needed a pedestal sink due to the strange layout and lack of space, and we were not going to spill even more money into this project to relocate things. So yes, the mirror not being centered is a little awkward and weird – but hey, it works for us. I guess I could put one on a swinging arm and have it hang overlapping the window a bit just to have it centered with the sink, but we also wanted a medicine cabinet for a little extra sink storage. Not to mention having a mirror cover part of the window would possibly irritate me even more than our solution.

We did get a Water Sense toilet and are loving it. Have not had one problem with it in the year we’ve had it. It flushes so fast and there’s no hearing the water filling the bowl back up for the next 3 minutes. It’s almost instant. So quiet. I recommend em. We’re thinking about replacing the downstairs toilet with the same in the near future. My only note about the toilet is that it did come with a plastic seat, but that didn’t last long –  about $15 and a trip to Home Depot later and I had that problem fixed.
Since we already decided on the subway tile, I knew that I wanted a rectangular floor tile to mimic it. Who said I had to use floor tile? Nobody. So we used a wall tile on the floor. Smart.
The floor tile may be the thing we get the most compliments on. Not only does it mirror and work well with the subway tile, but it’s just beautiful and neutral. It was also the item that we kind of splurged on (remember the floor DIY sanding?).
I then pulled a beige color from the tile and painted the walls. I’ll note that I purchased a different color than I meant to – I initially wanted it to be a little more lighter grey-beige, but after I put this color up I didn’t hate it…  well, it grew on me. So it stays.

The ceiling lighting fixtures are just two recessed lights that Ryan put on dimmers, which may have been the smartest bathroom move (hitting up the bathroom in the middle of the night calls for a dim light so that we don’t completely hate the world (and daylight) even for a few minutes).

Lastly, we added a storage cabinet (from Bed Bath & Beyond) to hold the items you’d put under the sink. Even though we have that huge linen closet (that still needs to be painted) just outside the door, the bathroom needed another element and it’s nice having a surface to put things like Q-tips and a tissue box on (and toilet paper and cotton balls in).

All-in-all we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Jeff even made sure to try to match the base trim of the bathroom to the thicker moldings that are throughout the rest of our home. (perfect!) So even though it’s a little more modern and up-to-date it still has a little bit of character and seems to blend well with the rest of the house.

I think this brings us up to around the end of June. The floors were finished and the bathroom was done. (Plus we had done some painting downstairs on the days Jeff was working in the bathroom). So by the time 4th of July weekend (2010) came we were moving into our first home….