Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Progress: Dining Nook

Vintage kilim, vintage milk glass hobnail vases, some's coming together. Next: blinds.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Project: Inspiration Wall

As a professional fashion photographer, I get to read magazines as part of my job. I know, poor me. If I see images I especially like, or want to make a note of, I rip them out and put them in notebooks. I also have a folder on my computer, which is insanely large.

Lately, I've seen a few photos of interior design that incorporate magazine cut-outs, and since this *is* my office, my haven of creativity, it seemed perfect. I'm nowhere near done, but it's a start.

Yum: Nutella Croissants

There was a period during my first semester and winter break, freshman year of college, when I decided Visual Media/Communications was not for me, but I didn't know what to study. I had always loved to cook (I invented a crepe batter recipe when I was three. Really. Last lines read "add chess, roll up crap and eat."), so I thought culinary school was the way to go. I figured I would finish out the year, see where I was, then apply if necessary. But then I took an amazing Art History class and changed majors, so I never actually went to cooking school.

Which is partly why I like everything to be homemade. Which is also why these nutella-filled croissants are especially evil. Oh noes--Pillsbury! Premade! Processed! Really, if you're eating chocolate pastry, you're not looking for health food, so get over it. These are super-super easy, and super-super decadent.

- One tube of Pillsbury mini croissants, in a tube (or how many you want, one tube makes eight.)
- Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Unwrap dough, divide triangles, and lay out.
3. Take a dollop (maybe about a teaspoon) of Nutella and place on the bigger end of each triangle of dough. You may need two spoons to scoop and scrape.
4. Roll the croissants, from big end to small end. The ends will be open, but they shouldn't be, or the chocolate might melt out. I recommend pulling over the little flaps to seal the sides. Not as pretty, but you don't want to lose your precious chocolate!
5. Bake at 375 for 13-14 minutes.
6. Buy new pants, as you will eat all of them in one sitting.

You're welcome. :D

Apologies: Comments

So here I was, thinking, "poor me, no one reads my blog--no comments!", and then I went to my Dashboard, and saw there were a few waiting to be approved, since I seem to have mucked up my settings. That seems to have been fixed. Sorry!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Opinions: Mantle Lamps/Art

Ok, I found a solution for the remote control lamps. Turns out the transmitter is designed to be plugged into a socket, but it has holes for the actual plug. It looks like a socket protector for kids, but not actually protecting anything. Plug the lamp into the transmitter, which is plugged into the wall.

Since we have two working sockets next to the mantle, it only makes sense to have lamps on it, and I think I'd like a matching set. As of right now, we only have one table lamp, a vintage chrome ball lamp that's about 32" high. I found a match on eBay, so we could use those. As for the art over the mantle, it's coming down to two options: 1.) an enlargement of one of my fashion prints, and b.) the vintage silver mirror I found at Urban Ore. I know I don't want silver with silver, so I don't want the mirror with the ball lamps. Either We hang the mirror and get new lamps, or we use the lamp(s) we have and go with the photo.

What do you think?

Project: Remote Control Lamps

As I have mentioned before, we don't have ceiling lights in every room of the apartment except the bathroom and kitchen. When we enter the apartment at night, it's completely black, assuming we haven't left any lights on. As of right now, we are using one of my photography lamps with a 100-watt CFL bulb, but I reeeeeally don't like it, even if it's temporary. The idea was to have a lamp on a side table to turn on as soon as we walk in, but the closest socket is 15' away--I just discovered the socket on the same wall as the table has been sealed shut. Plus, a lamp by the front door isn't that central, so it wouldn't illuminate the room as much as it would need to.

Here's what I'd like to try, if it's possible: get two lamps for the mantle (maybe find a partner to our silver vintage ball lamp), and have them attached to a remote control that would stay by the front door. We could walk in, press a button, and turn on lamps with the same ease as flipping a switch.

Except, I'm not sure how this would to investigate.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts: Color

Since we're still moving in, I've been literally facing how much we have. And frankly, I'm not happy. It's not only a lot of stuff, but I'm just....past it all. When The Boy and I were first decorating (and by "we", I mean "me") there was a lot of color for the sake of having color. Now, it all looks so...young. Color is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but color for the sake of having color just seems too in-your-face and overwhelming to be mature. We're now on apartment #3 in three years (and probably not going anywhere anytime soon), and I'm fascinated by how my taste has changed. I have more appreciation for shape and tone rather than outright color. I'm gravitating towards classic and elegant, but with bite, which is similar to my fashion sense. Vintage, but not kitschy. I'm comfortable with color, but I'm 25 now, and I feel like I can have an adult's apartment, if that makes sense. I don't think I can do minimalist, but I can certainly tone it down, which I'm trying to do.

This means I have a LOT of stuff to get rid of. Jonathan Adler pillows, a giant poster of David Bowie, a very cool, but very green, vintage MCM lamp...they should be enjoyed by someone else.

I Like To Shop: Vintage Nightstands

Our old nightstands were mattress-height, circular, and 20". They took up too much space, had next to no storage (a teeny, tiny drawer that wasn't big enough to hold anything fun? please.), and I kept hitting them in my sleep. No, really. I've hit my head, eyes, nose, and/or chin against my nightstand about 30 times since we bought them three years ago. The Boy was completely oblivious, as if cursing in my sleep was a common occurrence.

I gave up. I bought these two nightstands on CL a few days ago for $45, total. Yeah, they're a little wobbly, but they look soooo cool. And look, storage! And they're not too tall! Intact teeth and lack of facial bruises FTW!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Like To Shop: Vintage Placemats

I like food. I like birds. I like vintage. These made sense.

All four from HeyChicka on Etsy.

Project: Spice Racks

I still have to install a shelf on the other wall, hence the mess, but the spice racks are officially done. Not sure what to put in that last jar. Bay leaves? Lavender? I don't cook enough dairy desserts to merit lavender, but it would be pretty. Lemon verbena? Or in this case, "Verbena, Lemon". Then I wouldn't have to reorganize the whole set.

No Y chromosomes were harmed, or even used, in the making of these spice racks. :D

Chicks with power tools FTW!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Like To Shop: Vintage Rug

Ooooohhh, I love this rug. It really ties the room together. Bedroom, that is. It will go in the corner, by the window. The mirror will go on top, propped against the wall. The jewelry tower will go in the corner, sort of overlapping with the mirror, and I can put a lamp on the jewelry tower for more light, which can not only fill the room by itself, but reflect in the mirror for even MORE light. it's brilliant, no pun intended. Photos are of the rug (obviously), but also a little montage of the rug, mirror, cabinet, and preexisting stuff from before.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Opinions: Another Contender (Dining Rugs)

One more...

At this point, I'm thinking about what's easiest to clean.

Opinions: Dining Rugs

We have since replaced our dining table with the IKEA Docksta, the Saarinen knock-off, which I had been eyeing for some time. The chairs were already ours; the plastic was very infamously used in a nudie photo shoot. You've also seen our wood/chrome/gray/black shelves and spare chair.

I would like to break up the red of the floor, but I've decided I can't fight the vaguely southwestern tile and homey counters, I can only make them chic-er. I'm leaning towards something slightly vintage with a soup├žon of ethnicity (though embarrassingly not mine).

I've decided I want to layer two rugs to get more color and pop in the dining area, with the bottom layer a light neutral jute rug to lighten the dark floor, and top it off with something southwestern, like a kilim. These are my three choices. Since the center would be covered by the table pedestal, I went with all-over patterns. I'm leaning towards one in particular, but I would love opinions. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Like To Shop: Mirror

As mentioned earlier, we do not have ceiling lights in the bedroom (and living room. and hallway), and lamps aren't cutting it. I wanted a mirror near the window to reflect any light we could get. Plus, the only floor-length mirror we have is on the back of the bathroom door, which isn't ideal, especially with a roommate and no lights in the hall.

Enter this behemoth. It is 6.5' high and 4' wide. And heavy. Our friend Jeff helped us move it, the saint. But I love it! CL is awesome...

Project: Kitchen Shelving

Confession: towards the end of our stay in the old apartment, we gave up on trying to keep things in our teeny-tiny trash can, we just had a giant trash bag we kept out until it get filled. Ditto the recycling. I hated it. Messy, ugly, and I felt like a pig.

So when we moved, and we had even less room for a trash can, I knew we had a problem.

Solution? Wire shelving! I wanted to combine the shape of an over-the-toilet etagere with the shape of a buffet, and have enough room for oversized items like cookbooks, a produce/fruit bowl, and serving dishes. Three square, chrome trashcans fit perfectly underneath--one for garbage, one for bottle/can recycling, and one for paper recycling. The other side has room for a guest dining chair (we have our two, but my best friend stays over quite a bit)

These are InterMetro shelves from the Container Store (Jason in Walnut Creek was unbelievably helpful) with butcher blocks. The cans are also Container Store. The chair (which needs to be cleaned) is vintage, from Urban Ore.

Any ideas on decorating that wall? It's really the only open space we have in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Project: Art

I am a professional photographer, which means having pretty pictures to go on the wall isn't hard. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it is too self-congratulatory to have one's own art on the walls, but I figure I can always sell the prints if I get bored or change my mind. Top photo (long exposure) will go over the mantle, middle photo (on the sand) will go in our new pipe and board unit, and the last unit (turquoise tide) will probably go in the kitchen. White frames for the first two (I like white on white), and I'm undecided on the third.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dilemma: Bedroom Wall

The bedroom is pissing me off. The walls need a fresh coat of paint, period, but the white walls don't match the obviously beige trim, and I HATE (hate, hate, hate) white with beige. It just makes me want to scrub the dickens out of everything to make it fresh and bright.

We have estimates for painting, but it's somewhat low priority right now. And very expensive.

But I digress.

What's really stumping me is furniture placement and lighting. As of right now, we have:
--one queen bed with headboard
--two round nightstands (not shown)
--one big black dresser
--one tall vintage wooden armoire
--two silver desk lamps, one for each nightstand

We also have, but not in the bedroom as of right now:
--ornate silver wall mirror ($40 at urban ore, then painted silver. FABULOUS. the one shown is close to what we have, but not nearly as awesome.)
--tons of art

And I'll also have that jewelry cabinet I'm making, and I'd love to get a really nice framed full-length mirror. We have a mirror in the bathroom, but it's on the door, and in order to get a good look at yourself, you have to open the bathroom door and stand in the hall. Not convenient.

We're also working with the problem that we have no ceiling lights in the bedroom, so all light has to come from lamps or the window, none of which provide that much light.

As of right now, the dresser faces the bed and is next to the window, the armoire is at an angle in the corner, between the dresser and shoe closet. I like that arrangement, and given the size of the room, it makes the most sense.

I'm thinking the jewelry cabinet with the ornate mirror will have to go in the corner next to the shoe closet, near the bed, with the long mirror on the empty wall near the mirror.

Things I'm thinking about:
1. Color: we don't have it. The furniture is all brown, the bedding will be gray, the walls are white. Maybe new end tables, painted a nice color?

2. Will the jewelry cabinet be too cramped in the corner?

3. Lighting: how do we incorporate more without it getting too cluttered? Mirrors help, but we needs lamps.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Project: Pipe Bookcase

We have a corner of the living room that's a but awkward. A long, big, empty wall with some floor space, but not a lot. We were hoping to use that space for entertaining, like for food and drinks when we entertain. The wall is too big for a hutch, buffet, breakfront, or any kind of ree-standing piece of furniture, and the floor space is too small for a formal dining table.

The solution? This great wall unit! It's made of pipes and boards, which can be painted/stained and treated. As soon as we've moved in, we're going to try it. I even like the design of this--long counter for a buffet, bottom shelf for decorative serving platters, top shelf for more...things, and a gap for a piece of art. It's perfect.

Well, almost. Our walls are plaster, not drywall, so we'll need to be reeeeally careful with the installation.

Idea and link courtesy of Morgan at The Brick House:

In Progress: The Office

The walls have been painted, and the bench is being stained and treated. The landlord is also hoping to get a custom mattress pad for it for guests. But it's already such an improvement!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Project: Jewelry Tower

When the dust has settled (ha, ha), and we're more moved in, I want to attempt to make this, courtesy Angie at Ikea Hacker. It's made out of three Fira drawers from Ikea. I'm hoping to have a different base (something more Saarinen-inspired), and I might turn the drawers around and attach handles, but I haven't thought that far ahead. But I have a LOT of jewelry, some of which needs to lay flat, to the point where a simple box or three won't suffice.

In theory, this won't be hard, I just need the time to prep the wood, and someplace to actually prep it.

The link:

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Like To Shop: Entryway Table

(Ignore the clutter in the back--we've obviously moved in and are still unpacking)

Found this table at the Alameda Flea Market yesterday. I LOVE it!!! It's not actually vintage, but the base is. It was made for a photo shoot by the dealer (who is also a set/prop designer). It was originally part of a pair for a husband and wife team. The wife liked hers so much she kept it, and the dealer/designer came home with the other. $65, and only one other person in the world has one!

Since we don't have any ceiling lights in the living room, we needed a lamp by the front door to turn on immediately, and someplace for keys since we're always losing ours. So, now, we have room for a lamp AND keys!

Before: The Rest

Nothing too exciting here. We have one closet for the whole place, but it's surprisingly big--you can't really tell from the photos, but there's the small, "main" closet part, and then you turn that corner, and it's like a bigger alcove. Like, you could fit a person in there. And the main hallway. Nothing too exciting.

We do, however, have access to a garden in the back, which can be seen from my office and the kitchen.

Before: My Office

The primary reason for the move was so I could have my own office. As a phorographer, I work from home, and the old apartment didn't give me enough space for work. My desk, now nicknamed "Hemingway" because it is ginormous, wooden-ish and very manly, took up a good part of the living room, and since I often do my own fashion styling, I would often have boxes and boxes and boxes all over the place. Set pieces would take over the couch, lights were trapped in my closet, magazines in piles around the coffee table---it was bad. I joked with friends that we looked like we were on an episode of "Hoarders", and we're really not that messy.

By having such a cluttered, messy, ugly living room, it prevented us from having friends over, unless they were pocket-sized (like my best friend, who is 5'2" on a good day). The Boy and I had plenty an almost-fight about the living room and the clutter. There are other reasons behind the move, far more sordid and mysterious for a blog post, but having my own office alleviates a LOT of the tension about the clutter. I get my piece and quiet, my privacy, more storage, and I can make is as personal as I want.

These really are before-before images. As you can see, it had some shitteous (shitty and hideous, get it? I made a funny.) wood paneling. Wood floors, plus wood walls, plus a wood desk would be too much wood for one girl to handle--insert naughty joke here.

This is where our landlord is a saint: The Boy thought he saw wallpaper under the wood paneling. While visiting my family in DC (and trying to figure out what the hell to do with those walls), I emailed our landlord and asked him what he knew about the original walls, and mentioned the wallpaper. Next thing I knew, he had gone ahead and taken down the paneling! Turns out, he hated it too (he's another photographer, a fellow "sensitive artist-type", and he was looking for an excuse to update the room, but didn't really have one until us.

At this point, the paneling has been taken down, drywall installed, and the walls are primed for paint. For consistency with the rest of the apartment, the walls will be white, but I'll make them pretty....

As for the bench-thingy, we're investigating a custom pad sleeping/lounging. An extra-tall mattress is actually fairly close in size, but right now, we just have the twin that came with the place.

Before: The Kitchen

This room is really, really important. I was very close to becoming a chef (thought about dropping out of college to go to culinary school before I discovered Art History), and I LOVE to cook, so I want this room has to be special. The red curtains aren't ours and have since been taken down, and I'm playing with a few ideas.

I actually submitted our kitchen to Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn makeover feature. In it, they pick a kitchen from a batch of submissions to offer decorating suggestions, then open it up to readers. We got picked. They confirmed my suspicion about the dining table (our current table is an awkward size for the space), but they helped me come to love our counter tile.

We have plans for the kitchen. More on that later.

This is the link to our Apartment Therapy consultation:

Before: The Bathroom

To be honest, I don't care about the bathroom. It needs good light, a toilet that flushes, and a shower that actually gets me clean.

This bathroom is oddly shaped, which, again, I find oddly charming, though I do worry about The Boy hitting his head when he pees since he is a giant. But everything it made better by the shower. See, in our old bathroom, the shower head was really low. Really, really low. It would hit me in the nose, and The Boy around the shoulders. The water pressure was non-existent, and any time one of our downstairs neighbors turned on their showers, we lost ours. The guy below us was especially evil since I'm convinced he waited to hear us turn on the shower before he started his, which was usually on mornings I had an early call time for a photo shoot and already cranky. So yeah, for two years, we had weak showers, but an excuse to strengthen our thighs.

I bought a new shower head. It's "S"-shaped, and made for tall people like us. I actually bought it two years ago, but the water pressure wasn't strong enough to push the water north through the new head. But I held onto it, and thank goodness! Literally, the first thing I did in the new place was change shower heads. Not only do we now have a shower head that encourages good posture, but the shower head is actually one of those that makes the water come out like rain. And it's wonderful! With all the moving and unpacking, I've been taking a lot of showers, and they make me happy.