27 January 2012

warm design

If you've perused the photos of either of the places we've decorated, you've likely noticed that I am much more drawn to cool colors than I am to warm colors.

Hmm... blue much?

Yes, I'm totally predictable like that.

But then we moved to the mountains. And you know what I learned? It's cold here! (Kidding... I knew that going in.) Not cold like people complain about in LA... for real cold.

One morning last week. (And those numbers are in Fahrenheit, lest any Canadian readers think I'm a huge wimp, or that our indoor temp is inferno hot.) 

So the thing about living in a cold place is you start craving all forms of warmth: a warm fire, warm drinks, warm clothes... and warm colors.

You read it here first: I want warm colors in my home. I know. I'm as shocked as you are.

I'm not talking about anything crazy. There will not be any red walls, textiles or accessories sneaking into our home anytime soon. But since we're all-in on this yellow-green theme for the house, stretching it to include real yellow and even orange-yellow isn't actually a stretch at all. Right? Right?!

The main place where I'm thinking about introducing some warm tones, aside from small accents here and there, is in the family room.

The light makes it look like those walls are already yellow, but they're really just a slightly yellowy white. But what if the big wall with the octagon window was something more vibrant and cheerful like this?

I kinda love it. Still working on Mark to make sure he's okay with it, since it's a BIG AND TALL wall, and not one we'd be eager to repaint if we didn't end up liking the color. And then there's that whole issue about accent walls: I often end up wishing I'd just really gone for it instead of painting just one wall. But we've already painted three accent walls in this house, so this seems like a funny time to draw the line.

Please give me some advice. Have you made a major leap of color faith? Have you ended up wishing you'd stuck to your normal style, or were you glad you took the leap? I need some nudging to be sure. :-)

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25 January 2012

stick a fork in my office

... because it's done-zo. (That doesn't preclude me from changing things up down the road, of course. Maybe even tomorrow. But this qualifies as our first official "after" in the new house, as opposed to "progress." As Dr. Dre would say -- or is it Eminem? -- "Can I get a hell yeah?")

Let's get down to business.

The long, narrow loft space has come a long way, baby. And now I'm gonna tell you how it got this way.

When we first saw the house, my future office was crammed with messiness, and looked like this:

That giant wine fridge (which we totally coveted, by the way) made it hard to tell how much space the loft actually has. But once we measured and realized it could serve several purposes, I came up with a plan for the office that looked a little something like this:

While my original wish list for a home office had envisioned working with a more traditional space, kinda like...

... I was able to squeeze everything except a sofa (that was really just meant to be a guest bed, which it turns out we don't need in this house) into the space.

As inspiration, I really loved the idea of this sewing table, from Living Etc.

And this L-shaped desk, from Ideal Home.

And this color combo, from Apartment Therapy, totally floated my boat.

So, naturally, I put all those things together to come up with a pretty and functional space that does everything I need it to do.

Step 1: Improvise the L-shaped desk from pre-fab Ikea parts.

Step 2: Paint the big wall bright peacock blue (after first growing the cajones to pick such a bold color).

Step 3 (and steps 4 and 5): Add the sewing table, lots of under-table and wall-mounted storage, and some contrasting curtains.

Ready for the full tour? (From now on, I want to make a point of better explaining the floor plan in my photos, since I know it can be weird to just see all of these disparate rooms.) Here goes...

You enter the loft/office from the end of the hallway on the second floor. Our bedroom door is to the left, but if you turn right...

One day I'll pretty up the bookcases near the entry, but they are absolutely good enough for right now. The only thing I'd really like to change: getting more light into the space than the one recessed can and my strongly down-pointing lamps. But since I don't want to pay more for said additional light, it's probably not gonna happen anytime soon.

No matter. I love the room, it does everything I need it to do, and -- most importantly -- it's totally separate from the rest of the house visually. Meaning: I can make a huge mess in here and no one else will ever see it. For this long-time city dweller (i.e. small, multi-purpose space dweller), that is the ultimate luxury.

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23 January 2012

great room tour: january progress

Our great room has turned a corner, and is now really feeling like the cozy, welcoming place that we've been envisioning. And since it's the very first thing you see when you come in the front door, welcoming is the number one quality we're going for.

Thanks to a new rug and some warm wood additions and accessories (almost 100 percent used/antique), it is giving off a warm, inviting vibe in a big way. It's also skewing a little midcentury modern now, which I didn't plan, but I am loving the unintended result.

(That used/antique thing is important to us. We didn't want to fill our new house with a whole bunch of new things that require resources to manufacture and transport. I've come a long way since my not-so-distant fear of flea markets and antique stores. Once I realized that "antique" does not necessarily mean "country," everything completely changed for me. And I will never complain about the cost savings that come with shopping this way, most of which I'm sharing here.) 

Still to do:
1. Paint the walls a warm white, to help brighten up the slightly dark space (northern exposure, small windows, no skylights).
2. Treat the new dining bench with teak oil, to match the first bench.
3. Get a buffet with closed storage and wine storage, and move the stand-in buffet next to its twin.
4. Replace the goofy fish-shaped hanger near the wood stove with something more modern.

Welcome in!

New: twin sleeper loveseat, rug and pillows
Used: Armchair (original upholstery, $50 at Reno Consignment) and walnut coffee table ($70 at Long Beach Flea Market)

Say goodbye to Mr. Fish on the wall. His days are numbered.

The dog bed will soon be replaced by a secondhand globe and stand I scored at my last trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The dogs don't really hang out downstairs anyway since it's warmer upstairs.

The framed prints on the wall are all by Michelle of Quail Lane Press, my favorite Etsy vendor.

New: only the books and magazines
Used: Formica and brass console table ($135 for two at Virginia Street Antique Mall in Reno), 1960s California Originals foo dog ($20 at Long Beach Flea Market), green spiral vase ($12 at Second Time Around in Reno), Danish-style walnut two-tiered dish ($10 at Virginia Street Antique Mall) and glass decanters ($10 each at Council of Jewish Woman Thrift Store in LA)

Also new: the hazelnuts.

New: David Trubridge pendant light, alder hardwood dining table, benches, armchairs and table runner, white owl umbrella holder ($2 at TJ Maxx!)
Used: Danish-style side chairs ($100 total for all four at Rose Bowl Flea Market), Nagel candleholders (one from my dad's house, the other two from Etsy Vintage for a splurge-level $52 including shipping, which is not crazy for Nagel), console table (part of the set from Virginia Street Antique Mall), accessories on console table

New(ish): Books
Used: walnut ice bucket with lid ($16 at Long Beach Flea Market)
Gift: silver bowl (wedding present), carved owl figurine from Turkey

Used: glass jars (blue from Wertz Brothers Antiques in Santa Monica, green from Long Beach Flea Market)

New(ish): Napkin holder
Used: Salt and pepper shakers ($8 for set at Long Beach Flea Market)

The left bench has already gotten the teak oil treatment and the right bench still needs it.

Given the high ceilings in the room, painting will be a bit of an undertaking. So I'm thinking we're not getting around to that for a while, even though we've now had the paint we're going to use (Benjamin Moore "Swiss Coffee") for months. But I can definitely live with the room like this for the foreseeable future. It really is the best feeling when I stop thinking "I need to change this, and tackle that project, and move this over there..." whenever I'm in a room, and just enjoy it. We're there.

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