Friday, September 30, 2011

{Super} Busy Working On...

If it seems like I've been somewhat missing in action...and have posted virtually no progress on my latest redesign, the bonus room, there is a reason.

With one month until the release of the next issue of House of Fifty, I'm a little preoccupied!

Here's a little preview of what is to come: a feature on the work of one VERY talented photographer and the story behind some of her absolute favorite shots. I can't wait to share!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously? I Would Have Never Seen This Potential!

Adri and Jeremy of Dream Book Design have been one busy couple, turning their fixer into a keeper!
And this project of theirs is insanely fabulous.

"A couple of months ago J bought this massive card catalog from Craigslist. It is from a closed down old Phoenix Public Library. It was so incredible, but yet we had no idea what the heck to do with it. It sat in the garage for a good four months until one day my hubby had a "light bulb" moment and decided he would take it apart and transform it into the most beautiful buffet ever...really, ever!

This is what we started with..."

And this is what they did:

1. All 72 drawers were removed and numbered with tape {so each could find its way back home later!}
2. The outside plywood casing of the original cabinet was also removed.
3. Next the four sections of 18 slots that were stacked 4x1 were taken apart from one another and reattached side by side.

4. Then two 4'x8' sections of oak plywood, cut to size at Lowe's, became the new top and base. The original casings were used for the sides to preserve the character of the piece.

5. Eight legs from Lowe's were attached to the base sheet of plywood in a diamond pattern to support the weight of the card catalog.
6. 3/4" trim was used to edge the new base.

7. Everything was sanded, re-sanded, and sanded some more to really smooth things out.
8. All 72 drawers were painted with Primer-in-One from Home Depot and Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint in Rhino.
9. Stain, Minwax Dark Walnut 2716, was then rubbed all over with a small brush and a few rags to give the antique look, followed by a little more sanding and then a layer Minwax wipe on polyurethane to seal it.
10. Finally, the original hardware was reattached to each drawer.

I'm exhausted just thinking about this project...but completely and utterly impressed!
If you haven't been by their blog, here's the link to do so.

{Thanks Adri for letting me share your project on my blog today!}

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chairs For the Bonus Room, Using What I Have

I need chairs to place at my newly beautified table in the bonus room! While I would love to just go shopping to pick up a few, I have four "spare" chairs sitting in the garage, extras we bring in when lots of people come over for dinner. Instead of sitting in the garage, why not "store" them in the bonus room!

The problem? They are not looking so hot! Purchased when we moved into our first house, a couple years ago I refinished four of them to place in our kitchen nook. 

The "after"chairs in the nook, sanded and repainted a fresher ivory, they look new!

DIY Bamboo Light Fixture project also pictured above }

I had intended to refinish to the remaining four at that time, but you know how it goes! Once you even take a brief "pause" on a project, it's hard to get back!

Last time my approach was to sand them and it was a huge job...strangely I'm feeling a bit too lazy to go down that path this time around.

So I slathered on a bunch of Smart Strip to see if it removed the finish, for an expedited process. 

....24 hours later...

Oh, not bad! Wiping off the Smart Strip I see nearly clean wood. 

Still, don't expect this project to be complete overnight!

Friday, September 23, 2011

If You Missed Out Or Were Disappointed...

If you missed out or were disappointed with the Missoni offerings at Target, consider splurging for the real deal!

{Missoni Scarves at Anthropologie}

I was given a Missoni scarf ten years ago, wear it constantly for a dash of color and pattern, and the scarf looks as fabulous as the day I received it! Sometimes it does pay to go for the "real" deal.

Did You Ever Wonder Where All That Gorgeous Marble Comes From?

Whenever I thought about where marble comes from, I didn't quite envision this!

Images of a quarry in Carrara Italy.
The vastness is simply amazing, it hardly looks real.

And here it is, ready to be cut into slabs.

And placed in fabulous kitchens...

...and bathrooms.
{Dream kitchens & Bathrooms that is!}

 A Steve Giannetti Bathroom.

All images from Cote de Texas via Pinterest

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Just Had To Find Out Where This Came From!

I was at a location that will be featured in an upcoming story in the Holiday issue of House of Fifty and just fell for this tufted ottoman. I inquired where on earth it had been found, and no one could exactly recall.

Well, a little research (well, a lot actually!) upon returning home served up the answer. It's the Maison Tufted Ottoman, over scaled at a grand 58" x 42".

The beauty comes from this shop, and while not inexpensive, was less than I thought it might be at $803.

{Lisa's find in Dubai}

Which reminds me, I saw a very similar one on Lisa's blog several weeks ago. Okay, now it makes sense why I was so excited to see a version in person!  She found hers at Bloomingdales, in Dubai. Of course after seeing hers I went online to Bloomingdales on the off chance. No luck, of course. Lisa recently moved to Dubai and is busy pulling together pieces for her new home there! If you haven't visited her blog, you should.

Wish I had a spot for the ottoman in my house, but can't wait to show you the space I spotted it in. 
Look for the latest issue of House of Fifty, out November 1st.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Tribute To A Wonderful Man: Tom Sanberg

I'm taking a moment away from posts on design and other topics to honor a wonderful man, Tom Sanberg, who passed away this past Sunday.

Tom (pictured at left) was the wonderful father of Mory, the little girl I helped to take care of years ago in Chicago. I may have been the nanny, but Tom, along with his wife Lora and the extended family, treated me as if I were family. They taught me so much about what I hoped to have someday with a family of my own, and Tom was a strong father figure to me during the many years I lived away from my own family.

My heart goes out to Lora (in gray above) who was and has continued to be my "Chicago Mom", a wonderful supporter of me ever since meeting in 1987. (And oh, did she try endlessly to set me up with some well-to-do man, so she could stop worrying about me!)  

And my heart goes out to Mory. She was adored by her father, he championed her wishes and dreams and nothing was too good for his beautiful and talented daughter Mory. 

He set a wonderful example while living a full life, he will be missed and remembered. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

After All The Efforts, They Grow Up & Redesign The Room Themselves

After all the efforts of working together to design a room she was thrilled with...

{Girl's Dream Bedroom - No Boys Allowed}

...she grows up nearly overnight and decides to redecorate. All of her own, without even a requesting a consultation!

But she knows what she wants. She doesn't need my help...and that's okay. Because really, isn't that what we hope for?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Liming Wax! My New Favorite Product

I am so happy with the result of the refinishing job on this table...which once belonged to my grandmother, sitting in her kitchen nook. I have fond memories of many wonderful meals at this table!

A layer of Smart Strip removed most of the previous finish...

...and after a quick sanding job it was ready for its new finish.

After some debate I decided to try Briwax's Liming is my test. I got a bit carried away and nearly did the entire table top...I just wanted to see what it would look like! Really, how can one see what you're going to get from a tiny spot on the underside of the table?!

Luckily I liked what I saw and didn't have to backtrack. At first I applied little dabs of the wax and rubbed it in, but soon I decided to just slather it on and go for it.

The more I applied, the more I liked it.

This table has been around, and there is no pretending it is in perfect condition. This actually lends itself to this type of finish: it is meant to look aged and worn and imperfect, highlighting variations of wood tone, nicks and dings.

When my aunt read one of my previous posts on this table she shared its history in more detail. It was originally hers when she and my uncle lived in Athens, GA. Then it traveled with them to Key West, later crossing the country all the way up to Seattle and later made its way down to Portland, finding a spot in their home in Lake Oswego. When they eventually moved to California it was given to my grandparents. But years later it also traveled to California after my grandparents passed away, and it came to live with me when I moved to San Francisco from Chicago. It has yet to make a full circle, that would require my moving to Athens and taking the table with me, but for now it is back in Portland! Confused? 

But back to the finish. The wax seemed to take differently to the apron and legs, concerning me. But I kept applying layers and eventually they looked right alongside the table top. I think that is the key as well, accept that the wood from the different parts of a piece of furniture may react differently to the wax. It's not meant to be perfect and variances are all part of the look.

I am so glad I went with a lighter finish rather than the tinted brown wax...the table looks wonderful against the dark walls.

The wax has a beautiful subtle sheen...

...and I adore how the liming wax brought out the gray tones of the wood.

Okay, now where are some chairs?!

{This table did come to me with three chairs, but of course I've already refinished them and they are happily living in other rooms of my house!}

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Are there any other moms out there feeling just a bit of glee with the return of school?

Yes, I adore summer and lazy periods of simply hanging out with my kids, but it does require a lot of strategic multi-tasking and planning to get anything done. But now, with both kids in school for several hours? It is amazing what one can accomplish! I'd say it is practically joyful to be able to complete work quickly, get back to Pilates classes on a regular basis and run to the grocery store without hearing complaints: "I don't want to go get is soooooo boring!"

I'm doing a happy dance.

{Since gifting my old camera to Isabella she is having a ball, taking photos....}

{...and going crazy with outrageous editing! Fun stuff.}

With all this time, I've completed liming the table, have even begun a new refinishing project and am busy working on the new issue of House of Fifty! I'll be posting updates on Friday.