28 February 2011

kitchen odds and ends

We made major progress this weekend in the kitchen, and are so so soooooo close to the final reveal! Can you tell that I'm EXCITED?!?!?!?!!!!

After two and a half months of kitchen mess, I am over it, so my excitement is as much about being able to clean up the rest of our 1000 square feet as it is about the end of the work and the joy of the new kitchen. (My mantra: "We're so close! We're so close!")

So check out some of these extra little bits of storage we've added, thanks to the nice folks at the Container Store, to help make our kinda dated kitchen a lot more functional.

This one is my favorite: the pullout shelves we added to the cabinet next to the stove. This is where we keep a lot of our pans and strainers, and it used to be a big mess with mysterious things hidden in the back. Now we can pull everything out and see it.

Those shelves are about $45 a piece, so not a total bargain, but worth it in our case for the functional storage.

Like our lower cabinets, our pantry is narrow and deep, so there's lots of potential for mystery things to lurk in the back and get totally forgotten. We added some door-mounted storage to make more of the contents accessible.

The top rack holds zip bags and aluminum foil and that sort of thing. The bottom one is regular pantry storage. Make sure if you install shelves like these that you check before you bust out the drill that everything will clear and doors will still close, shelves on the rack don't bump into shelves in the pantry, etc.

Have you added any hidden or more functional storage in your kitchen, or anywhere else in your casa? Please share your tips!

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25 February 2011

good bones

We design-minded folks are into good bones. A house with good bones... a room with good bones...

I would dare say that many of us would rather have good bones than an already-perfect home, because something that's already perfect isn't very DIY-friendly. But if a place doesn't already have good bones, then it's just lipstick on a pig.

Here's what we tend *not* to think about when we're talking good bones.

Yep, that's my left femur, tibia, fibula and patella. And I'm told they're all spectacular. How do I know? Because after three lovely days of skiing fresh powder in Alta, Utah, here's where I spent most of my afternoon:

Look how sweet and concerned Mark looks. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Not to worry. I'm assured that I have good bones (read: lots of DIY potential), and mostly good ligaments, too. Just a bit of an ACL and MCL sprain that requires a brace and a week or two of hobbling around. But the snow was so good that I dare say it was worth it. :-)

For those of you who are into that sort of thing, here are some pics from the trip, precious few though there are. I'm the one dressed like a ninja with pink accents.

As for the knee injury, I won't go into detail about how it happened, because I'm told that describing how your knee twists 180 degrees will really oog some people out ("oog" is a technical term). But suffice to say that my new powder skis, which I've dubbed the She-Devils, made me do it. Just check out those eyes on the Rossignol S110Ws.

They're like the painting of Vigo in Ghostbusters 2. When you look into her eyes, you do crazy things.

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18 February 2011

home office inspiration

We haven't even started househunting for our next place yet, but already I find myself designing my next home office in my mind. Granted, I have been working from home a lot lately, so it's a very top-of-mind subject. But still... designing a room without an actual room to design around doesn't make much sense.

Oh well -- that's what we call inspiration!

In my overactive imagination, I would love an office layout like this (though of course it doesn't really take into account doors, windows or a closet):

Notice the lack of guest bed? That is deliberate. In my dream scenario, my home office won't have to multitask as a guest room, especially since the reality is that I will be working from home and don't want to barge in on guests at 7 a.m., announcing, "Move over! Time for me to work!"

My current home office, really just a corner of the guest room, and also Mark's full-time home office. Too much going on in one room.

But even though it wouldn't be a guest room, I do love the idea of having a sofa or chaise in the room so that I can lounge more comfortably while reading longer documents, or for the occasional change of posture while sitting on my many daily hours of conference calls. Though I am not a fan of the whole "cave" terminology, with the sewing area and sofa, you could kinda sorta call the vision for this room a "woman cave."

(Sheesh. I can't believe I actually wrote those words. Next thing you know, I'll be casually throwing around terms like "zen" and "spa-like.") :-)

But back to the inspiration. Here are some home offices I love, from all over the blogosphere:

From Honey We're Home -- I love the x-leg desk, the use of the Ikea Expedit cube bookshelf, and the feeling of openness in the room. I do NOT want my desk to face the wall like it does now.

I love the x-leg desks in these cool, gray settings, from Life in a Venti Cup and the UK Daily Mail. I find cool grays very calming, and calming is a must for a home office.

Love this color scheme, and more of the beloved x-leg desk, from Centsational Girl.

Oh, to have a gorgeous view like this, from the Decorista. Even without the view, I love the softness of the curtains, and the overall vibe. Yes, it's very purple, but it reads as very calming and almost neutral in context.

I would feel smarter working in this space, from I Suwannee.

After x-leg desks, white cabriolet-leg desks are my favorite. This one is from Life in a Venti Cup.

From loving. living. small. -- such a great, "finished" space with just the right amount of color.

The perfect credenza, from Apartment Therapy. And great use of the bargain-priced ($69) Ikea Expedit shelf.

More great Expedit organization -- white boxes in cubes -- from Google images.

Do you like any of these? What would your dream home office or (gasp!) woman cave include?

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16 February 2011

subway tile is social tile

Can I tell you how much I am loving the new subway tile backsplash tile in our soon-to-be-finished kitchen? Yes.

Can I show it to you? No, at least not the whole thing, at least until it's all finished. I have to keep *some* suspense!

A little preview

Tiling a backsplash is about the easiest thing in the world, certainly a lot easier than reframing doors and moving heavy appliances, and rehanging cabinet doors all by myself. I'd go so far as to say that tiling a backsplash is downright relaxing. (Maybe that says more about how stressful work has been lately than it does about tiling, if you catch my drift.)

But at least for our kitchen, whether tiling was relaxing or not, at least it was social. My friend Edward came over to help, mainly so that he could learn how to tile. But the result was a lot of singing along to Lady Gaga. (I could post lots of quirky photos of Edward from various Halloween celebrations in West Hollywood, but I love him, so I'll be nice.)

And much as I'd love to tell you all the details about the process, I'm blogging from the airport, where it's possible I've had a little wine, and therefore my normally verbose blog will be more picture-heavy today. Fire away if you have Qs. :-)

My hatred of the tile saw is well documented (read this and this), so I used the scorer/snapper for this, and it worked swimmingly (with some tiles lost along the way, but at least subway tile is cheap).

Here's the first part of the process, starring Edward...

And then we ran out of thinset, so the party ended.

But I picked it right up the next morning (did I mention this was all the same weekend, when the cabinet doors, floors and trim all went in, and therefore part of the surprise for Mark?) for the slightly more challenging but still easy behind-the-stove tiling and side flanks. Behind the stove required some blue tape so the tiles didn't slide down while drying, since there was nothing on the wall below them to hold those bad boys up.

A few more pics for fun.

Boarding call! Gotta dash! (And my hearty thanks to T-Mobile for providing such smoking fast wireless at LAX!)

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15 February 2011

skiing made you eat what?!

I'm sure you've noticed that it's really, really tough to eat healthily while traveling. For some reason, it's even harder for us to eat healthily while on ski trips, in part because few ski resorts even offer healthy options, and because with all that exercise, the greasiest foods quickly become the most tempting.

And sure, when faced with one cinnamon roll, or one big basket of fries, it doesn't look that bad. But I thought it would be eye-opening (and possibly horrifying) to put all of the food we eat while skiing together in one place.

Here are some of things we've eaten *just this year*... and the ski season isn't even half over.

And then there's the food en route to skiing, including the deadly Chik-fil-A in Elk Grove, on our way to Tahoe. (Those of y'all who live in the south have easy access to Chik-fil-A, but we don't, so this is a rare and special treat.)

And the food after skiing, like this diner meal in Truckee.

Or this food before skiing, at another diner in Truckee. (Yes, we ate that and then somehow managed to roll ourselves out of the restaurant and onto a chair lift. See the sprouts, though? At least I tried.)

Eeek! Horrifying, indeed! Do you have any times in life or travel when you find yourself indulging in your worst habits? Please share, so that I don't feel like a glutton all by myself. :-)

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