Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Boycott That Occurred In My House

I liked the color, a great coral called Charisma. The powder bathroom was certainly lacking any traces of that characteristic and I was yearning for a wonderful pop of fabulous color in this room.

But as soon as the paint covered the walls the boycott began. The kids would come home from school, rush to find a bathroom, only to skid to a stop yelling out, "I'm not going into that room!"

So I asked my husband. "What do you think?"

"Did you see my reaction when I went in", he replied, insinuating the answer was obvious.

"No, I missed that."

"Here, let me reenact the moment."

Hilarious. I get your point.

So I stepped out into garage to see if there was a quick fix and spied a nearly full can of Quietude. Exactly what was required to calm this family down.

As soon as a big swatch of the new color was painted, the thank yous and the happy dances began.

Must they be so dramatic. It's just paint for goodness sake.

I myself liked the color. I had even planned on adding a wash for a subtle striae effect and to add depth.

But peace within the family is more important, (not to mention accessible bathrooms)..and I do like the Quietude. Now I just need to run the new color to the ceiling. Or perhaps I'll skip that and just add some crown molding!

And I still like the idea of adding a wash, to add depth. 
But good grief, decorating has apparently become a democratic process in my house.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Living Large: Fitz and the Tantrums!

I adore music, all kinds: classical, jazz, blues (hey, I did live for years in Chicago!), and of course pop. When working on the House of Fifty music mix with my husband for the premier issue, we just had to include Fitz and the Tantrums, a band with a sixties retro feel that serves up "an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor" music.

When the people behind Fitz and the Tantrums saw we'd included them in the mix, we were asked if we'd like tickets to their Portland show. Ah...yes!

There is nothing like enjoying music live, and Fitz and Noelle were electric.
A great start to a long weekend...

Enjoy yours!

Friday, May 27, 2011

House of Fifty Has A Blog!

I'm excited to announce, if you haven't already stopped by for a visit, that House of Fifty now has a blog!

We are excited to be adding this new feature to the House of Fifty website. Through the blog we will have the opportunity to present more frequent content on the topics featured in the magazine. We'll be covering some of the stories seen in the magazine in more depth and provide additional stories, building upon the idea of finding inspiration in the everyday.

In addition, we are looking for contributors for the House of Fifty Blog, to cover topics including interior design, organization, food, beauty, fashion and the likes! 

If interested, please email me at janell@isabellaandmax.com for more information.

And most importantly, enjoy this extended weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proud Mother Moment...

Please indulge me while I enjoy a proud mother moment. Last Friday Isabella was invited to read a piece of her descriptive writing to her entire school, and we were on hand to cheer her on!

She was full of nervous anticipation before her name was called...
{and see those cute sandals? mine! what is up with the raiding of the closet these days?!}

...yet she spoke beautifully during her moment!

Writing is obviously a BIG thing in our household! 
Her piece is going to be used by the state as an "exemplary example" of creative writing.
"Get out!", the mother says.

We thought we'd head out for a nice treat afterwards, but instead her choice was to come home and bake an apple pie! So Isabella and her Dad got busy. I supervised from afar, this was their project.

It turned out just right. Here is the recipe below, should the mood strike you to bake a delicious apple pie anytime soon.

Blue-Ribbon Apple Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water

2 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith or other tart apples such as Newtown, Pippin or Crispin  (1 lb)
2 cups thinly sliced peeled Braeburn or other all-purpose apple such as Empire (1 lb)
1 cup thinly sliced peeled Rome or other firm baking apple such as Baldwin or Winesap (1/2 lb)
1 cup thinly sliced peeled McIntosh or other tender apple such as Gravenstein or Jonathan (1/2 lb)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons fat free milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; cut in butter and shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar and enough ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until dough is moist. Divide dough in half. Gently press each dough half into a 4-inch circle on heavy duty plastic wrap, and cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll one half of dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle; chill. Roll other half of dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle; chill.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

To prepare filling, combine apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle over apple mixture, tossing well to combine.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap from the 12-inch circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, allowing dough to extend over edge of plate. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Spoon apple mixture into crust. Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap from the 11-inch circle, and place dough, plastic wrap side up, on top of apple mixture. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together; fold edges under, and flute. Cut 6 (1-inch) slits into top of pastry using a sharp knife. Brush top and edges of pie with milk; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake a 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 (do not remove pie from oven). Bake an additional 45 minutes or until golden brown. (Shield crust with aluminum foil if it gets too brown). Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Mirror Redo: More Paint Removal!

Yes, here is yet another lovely item I snatched up for a steal, only to turn around and cover it with black spray paint. This time a beautiful silver leaf mirror found at a Crate & Barrel floor model sale. Apparently I was taking to heart the advice I'd heard that every room needs a black accent.

So while that period was my "cover every great find with black spray paint phase", apparently I'm now in the "remove all spray paint with Smart Strip phase". Which begs the question...what phase will be next?

The test spot. Leaving on the paint remover for a few minutes exposed the silver leaf beautifully.

So I slathered the stuff over the rest of the frame.

The challenge here was to let the Smart Strip sit long enough to remove the layer of spray paint...

...but not so long as to begin eating away at the silver leaf.

I mostly succeeded. Because of this limitation it was hard to get all the black paint removed, but I quickly realized a little remaining black would assist in achieving the final result I was after.

Next I pulled out a tube of another favorite product of mine, Rub 'n Buff.

Just enough, not too much, leaving traces of the silver and black showing through.

I wanted a touch of gold as the fixtures in the powder bath are oil rubbed bronze, and these two finishes look great together.

The gold also will look fabulous against the new wall color...which is a work in progress. I have some plans!

For some reason the frame reads and photographs with a much deeper gold tone in the powder room.

But look at how great it looks next to the botanical print frames! Another item rescued from the actions of a previous paint job. Next?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inspired By A Riot Of Color

One of the highlights of the trip to NYC was having the opportunity to visit the Kravet showroom, and the next day their offices in another part of town.

A riot of color and pattern in a new installation of Lilly Pulitzer at the showroom.

And the fabrics and trim seen at the Kravet offices.

 Not that I needed a push. But I've been craving more color in my home.

You don't even want to know the comments that ensued upon opening this can of paint, over the past weekend. But I figure if I don't get a raised eyebrow or two I'm not pushing myself hard enough. And don't worry, there is more to this plan than meets the eye.

And do you notice the mirror in the corner of the above picture?
That is a project I'll share more about tomorrow.

While I wait for more brass chain to arrive, to hang the fixture in the dining room, I'd thought I do a quick little update to the powder bathroom. This is a room which has not gotten one ounce of attention to date. I've decided to hang some of the artwork I recently acquired, redo the lighting, work with the existing mirror and do something happy and bright with the walls. It's a small space, I think I can get away with it.

I know, I sense you are as worried as my family. But trust me, something good will happen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The $1950 Light Fixture I Attempted to Sell on Craigslist for $50

Even if nothing else about the trip to NYC proved to be beneficial (which wasn't the case), it would have paid off in this way: I now know the value of my light fixture. And I am just a little surprised!

An identical brass light fixture is currently available through Arteriors for $1950. I paid around $190, snatching up a floor sample a few years ago. A good move on my part for making the purchase! But then I took a misstep and covered it with a layer of black spray paint. Why on earth did I do such a thing? Because I just wasn't that into brass way back then...were you?

Afterwards it hung in the kitchen nook for awhile. But eventually I took it down, never completely happy with the look of it, having lost much of its luster with its new finish. The fixture lived in the garage for an extended time, and I even listed it for sale on Craigslist in its paint covered condition for $50. I didn't get any bites. Thank goodness, a second misstep averted. (Can you imagine how I would have felt spying this fixture in the showroom last week had I managed to sell it on Craigslist?!)

Later when looking for a fixture to hang in the dining room, I realized if only I could figure out how to remove the paint I'd have a wonderful contender. These posts show that journey of discovery. Through trial and error I eventually found success with Smart Stripe...and oh am I glad I did!

{mid paint removal}

Yes. Identical. Wow. Happy Me. 

The fixture is all clean of paint and has just returned from the lamp shop, getting a longer wire to allow it to hang from the high ceiling above the dining room table.

So now I'm curious, do you have a story of a great find, of regretting altering a piece, or of an averted misstep? Please do share!

(p.s. This experience has furthered my resolve to be mindful of what I paint in the future!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

What is the Happiest City In America?

Did you know that America's happiest city is Boulder, Colorado?

Bedroom Window contemporary bedroom

Breathtaking surroundings, sunny skies, healthy lifestyles...they apparently add up to a great and happy life. To see more beautiful examples of homes from Boulder and the surrounding area, read my latest Ideabook for Houzz.

And speaking of having a great life...for the last year I have enjoyed writing a weekly Houzz Ideabook and posting about them here each week. However, with the launch of House of Fifty I'm looking hard at my commitments and what simply has to go...so I can continue to enjoy a balance between my work life and personal life, which for me equals enjoying a great life! As a result, I've had to say goodbye to this weekly writing assignment. I'll certainly miss it, but at the same time it will free up a few hours for other things, so it's a good decision.

What about you? How do you balance the various commitments in your life?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Remarkable Lineup of Talent

As I travel home, let me share part of the stellar lineup of talent the organizers of Blogfest 2011 gathered together this past week. Amazingly fun and inspiring!

The endearing Barbara Berry and Lakeitha

Suzanne Kasler, who was incredibly down to earth and friendly, in a beautiful vignette she created.

The handsome and brilliant Thomas O'Brien at the same venue...

...I found myself nearly at a loss for words.

With Bryn. I have to say...they looked pretty great posing together!

My strange picture with Thom Filicia. Who cares, I ADORE his fabrics!

And finally, the new powerhouse behind Architectural Digest, Margaret Russell.

I'm exhausted. This is the most talking I've done in weeks...and I seriously can't wait to get home! It's nice to know while all this exciting stuff is going on, meeting the most amazing people and seeing some inspiring design stuff (that I'll share in a post or two next week), that most of all I just missed being home and being with my family.