29 July 2011

green with envy

So I was catching up on a little HGTV off our DVR, when I tuned in to last weekend's episode of the new show My Favorite Place. It's basically Elle Decor or Architectural Digest, but in TV form. You get to see into the homes of celebrities and famous designers. Most of the celebs have these monster homes to furnish, so I can't really apply much of what I see in their homes.

But then...

They showed HGTV designer Taniya Nayak's condo in Boston. (Cue the angels singing.)

All images of Taniya's apartment from Apartment Therapy house tour

If I were to use words like "swoon" or "yes, please" as exclamations, I would use them here.

I love absolutely everything about it:
  • the pops of olive green and chartreuse throughout the entire home
  • the otherwise neutral, unified color scheme, but...
  • the fact that it's not all beige or white, rather the neutrals vary widely
  • all the texture, and the plush look of everything
  • all those shaggy rugs
  • the modern look but welcoming feel
  • the green Womb Chair that I secretly pine for
  • the birch branches in the vase that are way more original than most sticks in vases (and I adore birch)
  • the outdoor fabric covering on the dining chairs that you'd never guess was stain-proof (genius!)
  • that she has a GIANT television, but that's not where your eyes go immediately
  • the way they've made the interior mesh with the exterior, and the view is as much part of the decor as everything inside
Also, they don't show it in these photos from Apartment Therapy, but on My Favorite Place, she had a few more little color accents to contrast with the green, including a few orange fuzzy pillows in the guest room and some show-stopping dark magenta pillows in the living room. They looked amazing together. Olive/apple green and magenta... who knew?!

Seeing Taniya's home is mega inspiration for me. Perhaps we'll be seeing a similar approach to color in our new house??? Olive greens and chartreuses already play a prominent role in our current place, so this could be right up our alley.

Stay tuned!

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28 July 2011

getting closer, aka fun with mortgage lenders

I have been all ants in my pants over here, both wanting to share details about our soon-to-be new house with all my favorite readers, and not wanting to jinx anything with the whole mildly hellish mortgage process. I'm way superstitious like that.

But we've answered all the questions like...

Are you SURE you're going to make the new house your primary home? Yes, we're sure. We can't wait to live up in the Sierras because it is kick-your-ass beautiful, and Truckee is the coolest small town ever.

All those little $200 deposits into your savings account, can you explain those? Uh, we like saving? We sock money away whenever we can? Isn't that a GOOD thing?

You both state your employers as A and B, but on your paychecks it shows your employers as X and Y. Yeah, both of our companies use one name publicly but have a different legal name. Ever heard of "doing business as"?

Can you please provide an official statement of your homeowners association dues for your current condo? Official? In our tiny building? That's cute. How would you like some meeting minutes and a canceled check or two?

And now we're in the home stretch. Our loan is with underwriting for final approval (which is good, since our deadline to sign off on the financing contingency is *tomorrow*... eeek!).

Assuming all goes well, I can start sharing the whole stack of posts I've got lined up on the whole-house color palette we're thinking about, the layout and design for all of the rooms, the few improvements we plan to make (it's not a fixer, so there aren't a ton... at least not right away), our vision for landscaping (do you know how excited we are to have LAND to SCAPE?!), and all sorts of other fun stuff.

Thanks for sticking it out with me! ;-) Keep your fingers crossed that we have no more hurdles!

UPDATE: We got final loan approval late today, so it's on! Lots more good stuff to come.

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25 July 2011

star spotting at the santa monica flea market

Living in LA, it's pretty typical to see celebrities while out and about. And mostly you learn to just take it in stride. Maybe you sneak a few sideways glances to see, "Is so-and-so as pretty in real life as on-screen?" (Sometimes no, but mostly they are ridiculously beautiful in person.) The whole LA thing is that you pretend you don't notice them. But yesterday, at the Santa Monica flea market, I was taking a look at some carved wood Chinese foo dogs, when I thought to myself, "I recognize that voice." And lo and behold...

There's Emily Henderson, the most recent HGTV design star, and star of her own fantastic show, Secrets From a Stylist, looking cute as a button, and styled almost exactly like this:

Image from HGTV

She was looking over some vintage art and frames, and then this cool old map of Long Beach. 

So I know I was just talking about how I don't get that excited at celeb sightings, but I got all kinds of crazy excited about seeing Emily. Though "flea market chic" is not totally my thing (and long-time readers may recall that I've only recently gotten over my abject fear of flea markets), I am a huge admirer of Emily's style. She is truly gifted at mixing an enormous range of styles, and she's just so darn likeable on her show. I don't think I would like hanging out with Candice, David or Genevieve -- even though I might occasionally swoon at their designs -- but I would ABSOLUTELY hang out with Emily. And I would love to live in her rooms. Any of them.

Naturally, I got way too nervous/embarrassed to take a picture, let alone say hi to her. I know, I know, it would have been so easy to just say, "Hi Emily, I love your show," and then keep walking, but I just felt like too big a dork. And the woman was WORKING, for crying out loud. She was possibly training a new assistant, too. But for a good minute or two, I just really enjoyed hearing her talk about the pieces they were scoping out for the show, while half looking at items for myself.

And then she sauntered off into the wide blue yonder, never to be seen again, until next Saturday's new episode of Secrets From a Stylist. :::Le sigh:::

That adventure over, I turned my attention back to the flea market, and the reason I'd come in the first place: Forks.

You see, I saw this cool pic on bhg.com (and pinned it), and thought: I need to do that.

And, to my delight, there were forks everywhere. I selected these vintage beauties, for a total of $7.

I love the detail of the tines, especially the skinny one that reminds me of Neptune or Poseidon, and the one just to its left that has great asymmetry. 

So that will be a project soon. I need to decide, though, if I want to hammer the forms flat so the little notes don't protrude forward so much. Decisions, decisions.

I also found this great Bombay-style nightstand, which I'm envisioning in a rich, glossy peacock or navy blue in our new house. Price: $40.

That was a pretty good day at the flea market for me, still being pretty timid about the whole haggling thing. That Shakespeare bust at the very top of this post REALLY wanted to come home with me, but I couldn't justify spending $75 on it, and couldn't muster the courage to try to haggle it down... although I can't imagine that they would have come down to $20, which is about all I would have spent.

Here are a few more sights from around the market, just for fun.

Have you had any good flea market or thrifting finds lately? And what about celeb spotting -- who would make you get weak at the knees?

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19 July 2011

planning the new house: my office

Beware, y'all... once this starts, there's no telling where it'll end! I'm planning out the space in the new house!

(I totally confess, by the way, that I'm jumping the gun slightly here. While our loan is approved, the bank is still looking at all the documents, and homeowners know how nerve-wracking that can be. And the home inspection is today, so fingers crossed that the inspector doesn't see any red flags!)

But back to decorating, since that's much more fun to think about. I'm a firm believer that the first step to designing functional space is to develop the space plan first, i.e. how the plan will function. Basically a floor plan, but without the specific furniture dimensions, since specific furniture choices should come later. We planned the living room in our current place around one chair that we found and loved, and while the whole thing ended up coming together, it was a bass-ackwards way to design the space, especially considering how small it is.

First up: the loft area, soon to be known as my office.

Here's what it looks like in with the current owners' stuff:

First off, let me say that the photographer did not do the property any favors. The exterior shots in my last post are halfway decent, but the interior photos make it look smaller and darker than it is. BUT... if that means that fewer people asked to see the house and as a result it was available for us, then hooray for bad photography!

But back to the loft...

I have about 50 thousand inspiration pics on my Pinterest workspace album, but when I looked back through everything saved there and in my many tear sheets, these were my absolute favorites, from UK magazines Living Etc. and Ideal Home, respectively:

I love that first one so much that I'm going to copy it almost exactly, except with a stainless steel-wrapped table top instead of laminate. Those trestle legs let the table raise up, which is perfect for a sewing table, so I can cut out patterns and fabrics without bending so far down. All of those components are from Ikea, so they're super affordable.

In the bottom image, I love the wraparound desk that doesn't force you to be too far away from the corner. That will work perfectly under the window, but I can do it more cheaply, and avoid that wasted far corner space by buying two table tops, one supported in part by a drawer unit, and joining them together with joining plates, to make one big L-shaped desk.

The drawers are the same ones I have as a part of my desk in LA:

I also absolutely adore all of the wall-mounted storage above both desks, and even the architect lamps. The light and bright color schemes are totally working for me too. 

So with all of that inspiration in mind, and thinking about the potential of the space, here is the plan I have worked up.

Did you know, by the way, that you can download and print free graph paper online? Genius.

My total estimate, including tax, is $610 for everything. While that's not exactly the world's most bargain basement office, I think that price is pretty awesome for a storage-PACKED, functional, multi-purpose space that I can make mine, all mine. :-) I love Mark and all, but sharing an office all day, every day, is getting a little old.

Can't wait to bring it to life and show you all about it! Stay tuned for more room plans... you know that my life is now consumed with graph paper and tear sheets!

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11 July 2011

under contract!

Hopefully that post title gives a little hint as to why I've been MIA. After some marathon house-hunting, soul searching and money stressing, we are UNDER CONTRACT in Truckee, which means that soon we'll have a house in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe.

Did I mention that we feel like the luckiest kids in the world?

Wanna see the house? Here's a little preview...

I'm too superstitious to talk more about it, lest we jinx the deal, but assuming it all goes through, I'll have TONS to share about DIY updates in the new house (on a new, more frugal budget), furnishing it on the cheap, figuring out what to move, living in the mountains, and so much more.

Oh, and for those of you who are curious, we're keeping the place in LA. (Hence doing everything on the cheap now, or even cheaper than what we're already in the habit of doing.) We're envisioning splitting time until we figure out if we can do small town life full time. If we love small town life, then we'll sell the LA place and make our monthly budget more comfortable. But for the time being, we'll be those jerks with two places. (Which I'm so crazy excited about. Not the jerk part, of course. Just the city-near-the-beach and the mountains-near-awesomeness part. It makes all the coupon clipping worth it.)

Hope you guys are all doing well! I have SOOOOO much catch-up reading to do!

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