Tuesday, April 22, 2008

master bedroom before & during. meow...

I admit it's not exactly fair to the previous owners to show pics of a messy room. They were in the midst of packing when I took these, so I apologize to them. They are cool peeps. However, I also will admit that the "during" shots make me look like a talented muther fecker in the interiors department. The pic above, by the way is this interesting mini alcove at the top of the stairs, the kind of nook that inspires everyone who sees it to offer their idea of what should fill it. Mostly I hear that a small shelf or book case would look very cute. People seem to want to fill it.
This is the same space after painting and carpeting. (Yes, that's tiger on the stairs, meow.) My idea for the nook so far, and I don't say "so far" lightly, as I am susceptible to changes of heart that make Bryan sputter and choke as if he's being waterboarded, but my idea is to throw a pretty pillow down as an invitation to perch, maybe with a book.  
The office. I think my least favorite wood is oak and my least favorite paint choice is sunny yellow. 
I still have to buy a desk. I'm liking the Parsons table at West Elm. In white. 
Their bed.
Our bed. The headboard and frame are due to arrive in mid-May. I'm still wondering how to work the night tables, which we don't have, and the lamps, since the windows are so low. I might move the whole thing over to the wall on the right. We don't even sleep up here yet. 
More oak, but cool built-in dressers. I thought it was a clever use of space, and it meant that we didn't have to buy dressers. I did buy some nice drawer pulls, however. They just arrived today, about three weeks after their scheduled delivery. Ah, renovations.
As per my instructions, I had Bryan paint the skylight walls light blue, the same Benjamin Moore "Quiet Moments" that the stairwell was done in. Yeah, I got the idea from Domino. But it might have been Met Home, now that I think about it. Whichever it was, sigh.
So the stairs. 
Whoa! I knew I wanted pattern on the stairs. I originally wanted something graphic, but at twenty-plus dollars per square foot, or yard, I can't remember, it was out of the question. Then I saw this tiger, and wasn't sure. But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't say no. And it looked even hotter at the sale price of $3. Wool, too. Stella meows at it. Hamish and I think it's rock and roll. The banister still needs to be painted in a dark semi-gloss for enduring all those fingerprints. I have run the gamut in my mind: eggplant, hot pink, chartreuse, cobalt. What about you? Any ideas? I thought a shot of color could be cool against all those serene colors, and give the tiger a like-minded friend. And the light blue on the walls isn't showing at all in the picture. The sun is pretty bright right there at certain times of day. It had me second-guessing my choice, wondering if I should have gone for the brighter sky blue instead. But we used that new Aura paint and it is butt-expensive, so I'll be dipped if I'm going to repaint before a decade passes. And it will pass in a blink anyway. This is an example of what drives my husband to the brink. I didn't even share this one with him. But I share with you. How lucky you are! 
More office.
And the same spot after. Well, during. The chair was a floor sample from Pottery Barn. Half price, ka-ching. Not sure if the painting will hang there or not. I will need to put a book shelf somewhere in this space. The idea with the chair, this is revolutionary I know, is to sit there and read or type on my laptop and look out the window and be inspired, lose myself in deep thought that won't ever ever be interrupted by children and their incessant needs. Bless their sticky hearts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

master bath, in progress

The previous owners added a master suite addition in 2002, a dormer on the second floor. Can a dormer be on the first floor? I dunno. The bathroom was and is huge. I was not a fan of the country kitchen look, deeply paneled cabinet doors, ceramic pulls, 12" x 12" periwinkle floor tiles... but it seemed like a waste of money to change it for only aesthetic reasons.
Glub glub.
Those are my contractor's feet. He wore pointy boots the day we met.

The shower stall the previous owners installed was tiny, with a fiber glass floor. Bryan and I both wanted a tile floor and wouldn't you know it, the only way to tile the floor in the shower was to rip out the whole thing.

So we did. That's Claudio, our tile guy. He does woodwork too.
Holy shit.
In the end we kept two things: the Corian countertop, and the Whirlpool tub.
But Claudio made us a new surround out of teak and these oversized subway tiles I found in our old Brooklyn neighborhood.
The subway tiles are 4" x 16" and cost the same as the usual 3" x 6", around $2.50 per square foot. I could not resist, and was bonus-buoyed by the blurb I'd read in Domino Magazine, something about oversized subway tiles being a future trend to watch out for. Oh I am a happy sheep. Baa. And then I saw in this month's issue, the one with Drew Barrymore on the cover, a bathroom done (or was it a kitchen? Where's my fact-checker?) in the same jumbo subways with green penny rounds like mine. Will there ever come a day when I don't need validation from a glossy magazine? Time will tell.

When our contractor and tile guy suggested a Roman shower, sans curtain or door, and instead simply utilizing a glass block wall, I drooled.

Since we kept the countertop, the only kind of faucet I could use had to fit a 4" span. Not too many choices. I had to let go of my cross-handle dreams, but am happy with this. It's Danze, in case you're wondering about brands.
Enlarging the shower and wanting to keep some symmetry didn't leave much room in the toilet area. (We will be replacing ye olde oak toilet seat cover with a streamlined white one, by the way). Anyway, that square-shaped hole in the wall on the left is our $140 toilet paper cubby, or "niche" if you will, still in progress. I'm thinking about silver leafing it once it's in. Oh I joke. But seriously, I made the mistake of forgetting to ask for a shampoo niche in the shower wall, but when I heard it would be another few hundred to create (and they'd already tiled the wall), I decided that instead, I'm going to buy one of those white resin tree stumps from West Elm and create an ironic comment on outdoor showering, and rest my shampoo on that for half the price.
  See that huge sunflower showerhead? Just like the great outdoors.
My celadon penny rounds. Loving them.
The tub filler matches the sink faucets, and comes with a handheld attachment which, I am sorry to say, leaks. They already sent a replacement part, but as is the way of contracting, it was the wrong part. We are still working on it. We are hoping the next round of shipping will be a success and that any further leakage can be resolved with some Teflon tape.
Almost done. We can't wait to use it. Still waiting for drawer pulls, trim tile, threshold, and other odds and ends, plus fixes for those pesky leaks. Yes plural. The sinks leak too. 

Monday, April 07, 2008


I haven't taken the "after" photos yet, although, not to get all new-agey on you, but when exactly is "after"? It's all feeling interminably like "during." We have gotten so much done: carpeting, painting, furnishing, requisite field trips to Ikea, and so forth. And yet there is still so much to be done: painting, furnishing, hanging something, anything, on the walls, going back to Ikea, unpacking more of the endless boxes and wondering how the hell we ever fit so much crap into our old apartment.

Mostly we are stealing time whenever we can to get stuff done and then stealing time from our stolen time to sit and vegetate and read or do a crossword or check email. One of my new favorite pastimes is to stare out the window at the trees with my mouth hanging open while I marvel at the beauty I'd been missing the dozens of years I was in New York, and pray that I will still appreciate it when it's not so novel. Although of course I miss my amazing friends and my life there, like, duh, the space and the beauty here are truly restorative, which is a huge relief given the level of my anxiety about making such a move. And the addictive rush of getting the house settled is better than sniffing glue. Poring over collected issues of Domino Magazine and figuring out a way to replicate a five-thousand dollar dining set on a mostly mid-level floor sample budget is fun for me. Like, really fun. Choosing paint colors, window treatments and lampshades could not be more interesting. Which means that I am so boring these days, I could put a sugar-hopped four-year old to sleep.