Sep 30, 2013

grady's bathroom reveal + source list

finally, a look at grady's finished bathroom, with photographs by the very talented (and funny and chic) sara boulter.


flooring: 12 x 24 black montauk slate purchased locally from modern tile

shower tile: dal tile 2 x 4 from home depot

wall color: cumulus cloud, benjamin moore

countertop: absolute black granite

pendants: joss + main (purchased about a year ago)

vanity: logan vanity, restoration hardware (discontinued)

mirror: tj maxx homegoods

polished nickel toilet tissue holder: ebay

moving buffalo print: print collection

vintage buffalo lithograph: ebay

jado faucet: ebay

wire baskets: target

shower curtains: marshalls (similar)

towel holder: vintage, ebay

wood stool: tj maxx homegoods

cork map: custom made by sweet pickle designs

pit stop sign: made by me

happy monday!

Sep 28, 2013

Create Tone and Atmosphere through Lighting (a guest post)

You will find that when most people begin to decorate a room in the homes there is always one important element that they overlook and only address towards the end, but really it should be thought about right from the beginning. This is not the floor, wallpaper or furniture, it is the lighting. Lighting is hugely important in every single room in the house, and when done right it can make any room like bright, welcoming and attractive. Lighting also has the ability to create tone and atmosphere, so it can also be used as part of the interior design style that you are using in your home. 

Whether you are going for an ultra modern look or more of a traditional interior design style you will be able to add to this through the use of light, and it should play a large feature in your design plans for each room. It can be used to highlight certain items in a room like some artwork or the furniture, it can also be used to keep some areas darker for a blend of light and dark in one space, and as well as this the type of light can be used as decoration too. For example you can get some beautiful chrome ceiling pendants that can really add some style, and when this is in tune with the furniture and decoration you have in a room it can really look very smart and professional.

Getting it Right
If you have ever walked into a lounge or similar room in someone’s home before and taken note of how they have used light, then you may also have noticed that they have used a few different lighting sources to get this effect. This could be a combination of ceiling lights, decorative lamps, spotlights, wall brackets amongst other types. Of course you do not want too many different sources omitting different types of light, as this would make the room too bright and uncomfortable to be in, so you are best off with just a few different sources, and use them to highlight certain areas in the room. It can be difficult to get right, but with a bit of pre planning and experimentation you should be able to use lighting as part of your interior design style and create atmosphere and tone with it. 

You will want to find the most stylish and widest range of light types, and this is why it is worthwhile visiting a lighting specialist, such as Scotlight Direct. It is remarkable the difference that good lighting can have on a room, so make sure that you use this tip to your advantage when decorating your home.

Sep 27, 2013

design plan + new light for my teeny, tiny vestibule

there are a few small, (even teeny, tiny) spaces in my new house.
often, spaces like this are overlooked and larger spaces are decorated first. since i am trying to stretch my budget, and the larger rooms in my house will require a lot more "monetary attention", i am tackling those smaller spaces first.

the first tiny area i will be working on is a vestibule that separates the entry and great room from the master bedroom and powder room. it is about 4 feet wide and 5 feet long.

 as you can see, i have already put my super slim console table and oly knockoff mirror here. (i have owned both of these pieces for over 10 years!)
i adore having the table in this spot---it makes the space feel more like a ROOM!
we will one day add some pretty leaded glass to the day.

one of the challenges of this space is the number of utilitarian items that need to be minimized.
-light switch
-thermostat (we bought the nest and we LOVE it. i will write a post on it soon!)
-doorbell. ugh. they had it placed on the entry wall originally, and i freaked out they moved it to here...better there than right when you walk in, but STILL, not fun to decorate around.
-smoke detector

 at first, i wanted the walls to be really dark---black, even.
i want this little space to feel very different from both the powder room and the main living area.
however, the more i looked at the space the more i realized that unless i painted all of the door casings the same color as the wall, i would not get the look i was hoping for---it would have felt very chopped up, since there are 3 doorways in this teeny, tiny space.

so then i started thinking that i should go a little lighter on the walls, but add some texture.
here are my thoughts:
*add texture and interest with a fabulous wallpaper. this is such a small space, that it wouldn't cost very much.
*add some drama with the lighting. right now, i have an $8 fixture up there that i grabbed from lowes when we were building the house. i didn't want a "look at me!" type light, just something that will give some directional lighting, and create more of a gallery feel.
*get the dark, intimate feel of the black i originally wanted on the walls by painting the ceiling dark.

here is the plan for the space:

i was contacted by and asked to do a product review of a light fixture. i was super excited to select this little spot light for the ceiling:

wac lighting 826 low voltagesurface mount spotlight.
(it is also available in white and brushed nickel!)

it will add a pretty, soft pool of light on the wall, and will blend in perfectly with the black ceiling.
i am excited to see my vision come to life!

Sep 25, 2013

my new AGA range

it has been three months since i have had my range, and i wanted to write a review on it after i felt it was fair to formulate an honest opinion.

here is some basic information about my range:
AGA PRO Plus APRO36DFBN 36-inch Dual-Fuel Range, (which means that the cooktop is gas and the oven is electric.)
here is some more detailed information on it that i am too lazy to cut and paste into this post.

we purchased it from an ad we saw on KSL (utahs very own version of craigslist).
we had seen another model in the ad, but when we called and described what we were looking for, we were pointed to this one, (which was recently discontinued) by jerry, the dealer.
when it arrived, it was crated and packed really nicely. the delivery was quick, professional and ON TIME. i was impressed.

just a side note:
we (of course) were on a VERY tight budget while looking for a range. these 36 inch and larger commercial style ranges are NOT cheap. one day, i walked into a local appliance/furniture store and when i asked if they had any 36" ranges for "around 2 or 3 thousand dollars", i felt like julia roberts in pretty woman when she walked into that rodeo drive boutique in her hooker get-up. the sales guy was not about to waste another second on an obviously deluded lady who was looking for a bargain. jerk.
anyway, on with my story....

before we purchased this range, i was not at all familiar with AGA.
(pronounced "AH-guh". yep. i even had to ask a pro the proper pronunciation!) 
i had to google the brand and read some reviews to make sure we weren't getting the YUGO of ranges! i read some very mixed reviews on this particular model, but since we got it for such a steal, i wasn't planning on returning it even if it turned out to be the worlds worst range.

first of all, i love to cook, so this thing gets used every day. i have never had a "professional" range before, or a convection oven, so this was a big step up for me.

ok--onto the important stuff:
it's pretty to look at!
ha! just kidding of course! looks aren't THAT important, but i have to admit that i like the way it looks!
i like the simple knobs and display and the look of the door.

the cook top itself is pretty wonderful!
it is easy to clean, has plenty of space for multiple pans and it is very easy to control the temperature. i have been particularly impressed with the lower heat settings (for simmering).
the center area is for a large pan or a wok. i really don't do a lot of stir frying, so i use this eye less than the others. i would have rather had a griddle here, but i cant complain about having an area for an extra large pan!

the oven has two more racks that i have taken out. i think these would only come in handy of you were baking cookies for a small country. i took them out, because otherwise  there would be no room for anything taller than a sheet pan or casserole dish.  the trays have a telescoping feature, which makes getting things in and out of the oven really easy. removing the racks and changing the position is also really easy. i have read some negative reviews on this model on the glass door shattering, so i have been extra careful not to shut the door unless the racks are completely pushed in.

i am still trying to figure out the convection oven and all of the features. even without the convection on, it seems to cook HOT compared to other ovens i have had. i have stopped using the convection feature, and usually turn the temperature down 25 degrees from what is needed. even then, it seems a little hot to me. i really need to get a thermometer and test it out.
i also think that it takes longer to heat up and is slower to cool down than other ovens i have had...i am not sure if this is just the way "commercial" style ranges are, or because something is up with my oven or what?

this oven has a "weird" feature (and probably one of the reasons it was discontinued!) that i am certain i will never converts from ONE oven into two smaller ones. i stuffed all of the gear used to convert the oven into the lower drawer.

kinda weird, right?
or is it just me?

the storage drawer is nice sized, and if i ever feel like i need more storage in my kitchen, i may remove the conversion kit and pack it up in a box and toss it in the basement. (as soon as my basement is organized. which should be sometime in the next 4 years. ha!)

the knobs are easy to use, as well as the timer and the light. the oven also has a "timed cooking" feature that i have not figured out yet, but i think it would come in handy on those days when i am running back and forth in the afternoons, shuttling kids all over town!

overall, i am really, REALLY happy with my aga range!

if you are looking for commercial style appliances at bargain prices, here is where we found this one:
jerry martin, owner of for your kitchen.
he always has some listing on KSL as well.

we had a wonderful experience with this company and would reccommend it to anyone!

Sep 24, 2013

lighting crush: west elm

just spotted west elms new lighting collection, and i have to say BRAVO!
there are some pretty fantastic finds:

 capiz orbit pendants

 faceted capiz drum shade

melissa joy manning chandelier

 foxed mirror drum pendant

metal honeycomb drum pendant

how gorgeous are these?

Sep 22, 2013

my first stenciling project

all-over stencils are a great way to get a high end wallpaper look at a fraction of the cost of wallpaper. i personally love the way they look, and think they are a smart and budget conscious way to add that extra layer of pattern to a room. since i have been renting for the last 5 years, i haven't tackled a stencil project...until last weekend. i am considering another stencil project for one of my daughters rooms upstairs, but decided to test out my skills in my closet first. boy, and i am glad i did!

after an exhaustive search for the "perfect" stencil, i stumbled onto a site called stencil boss and ended up purchasing this one, called the "ada morocco" stencil.  this shop has a great selection, including many stencils that i have never seen before.
 i wanted something that was feminine without being frilly, and i loved the balance of geometric shapes and softness of this particular stencil.

i wanted the paint to be a soft gray, and also have some shimmer to it, so i added some gold craft paint to a few gray samples that i had around the house. by the way, the gold paint did absolutely NOTHING to the color. nada. zip. i looked into buying a metallic glaze from lowes, but it was nearly $14 and i decided i would see if the craft paint would give me that slight pearlescent look that i was after. the soft gray was nice, but there was NO metallic sheen to be, if you want that soft, shimmery look, you may want to NOT be a cheapskate and get the metallic glaze!

anyway, onto the stenciling---
what i thought would take 3 hours took NINE.
yes, nine.
and by the end, i was pretty exhausted and feeling very impressed with all of those other people out in blogland that have attempted this project.
now keep in mind that i was stenciling around all of the closet built-ins and shelving, which make the task quite a bit more difficult than it would have been on a flat wall....but still--it was not easy!

about half way through the project, i had to stop and wash off the stencil, which took nearly 45 minutes, and made a mess out of my kids tub. i was not prepared for how long it would take to get the paint off of the stencil, but really impressed with how well it held up to my scrubbing!

after the major work was done, i realized that i still needed to get the corners!
it was already 10 pm at this point, and i was getting grumpy.

instead of cutting or bending the stencil to get into the corners, i decided to tape them off and paint a charcoal band around the ceiling, at the corners of the walls and around the closets shelving.

all in all, i am reasonably happy with the way it came out.
would i RATHER have a great thibaut or schumacher wallpaper in there?
yeah. probably.
and maybe one day i will cover up my masterpiece with something that i fall in love with, but for now, i love the dimension and personality that the stencil adds! it makes it fun to get dressed every morning, and adds the perfect feminine touch to a space than many of us neglect to decorate.

(another  weird panoramic iphone picture. it was midnight and i guess i was having trouble keeping my hand straight!)

i will have some great finished pictures of this space coming later in the week, so stop back by!

what about you? 
have you tried an all-over stencil project in your house?
any tips for me, since i will most likely still attempt another stencil in my daughters room?

Sep 20, 2013

Tips for Creating a Warm and Welcoming Home (a guest post)

When decorating your home you will want to have a warm, attractive and welcoming atmosphere created that you will be able to feel as soon as you walk through the front door. This atmosphere will help you to unwind and relax whenever you are at home which is of course hugely important, but not just this it will also mean that any guests that you have over will also feel welcomed and able to relax too. This is sometimes something that you may have felt when you have visited a friend, and they will have achieved this tone and atmosphere through their interior design style.

There are a number of things that you can do to create this warm and welcoming feel in your home, but generally it comes down to planning and good decoration. It is a good idea to incorporate colours such as deep reds, browns and oranges, and then this works very well with wooden furniture too. It is also important to buy comfortable chairs and sofas but not clutter the area too much, and as well as this it helps to have some personal decoration in the form of artwork, family photos and more.

The Benefits of a Wood Burning Stove
Another top tip for creating a welcoming atmosphere in your home is to have a wood burning stove in one room, as this can make any room feel instantly ‘homey’ and relaxing. We all find fire very appealing and even hypnotising, and with your own wood burning stove in place you will find that you will spend time simply watching the flames flicker. This is not the only advantage however, these stoves can also act as a terrific heat source for your home, and they could help you to save a large sum on your energy bills each month, and this way you are also being eco friendly too.

Wood burning stoves can look great in any home, and you can also find ones that will fit with whatever interior design style you have too. By visiting wood burning stove suppliers, like Glowing Embers, you will find a wide range of stove types like cast iron stoves, contemporary wood burning stoves, enamelled stoves, inset stoves, flue systems and plenty more.

Following these tips will help you to create that all important warm and welcoming feel in your home, and by bringing in a stove you will also be bringing in a fantastic heat source which could save you money as well. This makes it a great investment and something that will add a huge amount to your home in terms of aesthetics and practicality.