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Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Project: Pantry

The pantry has been an annoyance ever since we have owned our house. The entire kitchen has been renovated and I ignored the pantry. Shameful, I know! So...nearly 18 years later, we are finally going to fix it. I don't know about you, but I especially loathe vented shelving in a pantry (except the metal racks for dishes and/or small appliances if you're lucky enough to have a big walk-in pantry) as well as for linen closets. In the 90's it was all the rage to install them. The building industry wanted consumers to buy into the concept that things needed to be vented, when actually they just wanted to provide the cheapest product possible. If your house is properly ventilated, this is nonsense for clothes and linens. And, venting food? C'mon???!!!

Step1: clear out all the food items, toss away what was expired and what nobody seemed to like?
Step 2: put all shelves at the curb for trash/recycle, so there is no putting it off yet another year!

Never again will I have to deal with things tipping over and falling through the slats,
 including crumbs that always seem to find their way to lids of cans!
 Step 3: spackle holes
Step 4: sand

The original tan paint. Not my selection and not exactly the best color choice for a small box!
 That's as far as we got. I'll be spending the weekend with my this little closet. How about you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn, Oh Joy!!!

I don't know about you, but this has been one summer that I am all too happy to see come to an end. It  truly was the long, hot summer. Of late, there has just been rain. An insane amount of rain. It's going to rain again this weekend. But, I refuse to let it dampen my spirits because I know my favorite season and all the beauty it has to offer has finally arrived. And not a moment too soon!

When I think of fall, I think of crimson, green, gold, brown and most of all orange. All the tones of orange from the color of pumpkins to the deepest russest tones. If you ever wished you could do your whole house in autumn's most showy color, here's a little tour to welcome the season!
Welcome! Simple natural items are the best way to greet guests.

May I take your coat? A series of nature's art pop against this color!

Doesn't grandma's sofa look so fresh? Make yourself comfortable, pour a drink while....

I put the finishing touches on dinner.

The seasons bounty, hope you're hungry!

Shall we take a walk after dinner?

I enjoyed the pleasure of your company, but it's off to bed for me. After I read my book of course!
                             Happy first day of Autumn everyone!!! 

                                     Images courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Metropolitan Home, Google. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Ding dong. Hello, come in. Please excuse the cheap plastic doorbell, I've been meaning to replace it.
Sound familiar? Or perhaps you're like the majority of people, and the thought of changing out your doorbell has simply never  occurred to you!

Last weekend, we went to a friend/neighbor's house for cocktails and to see their new deck. They have a beautiful home inside and out. Their backyard, in particular, is to die for. It feels like you could be in Charleston and far, far away from suburbia. When you arrive, you are greeted by a beautiful landscape, lush grass and flowers spilling from elegant urns and a 17 year old plastic doorbell, courtesy of the builder.

French flourish
 We've all heard time and time again how important curb appeal is to the beauty of our neighborhoods and subsequently the value it adds to our homes. We landscape, we hardscape, we buy the perfect urns or pots, we change our house numbers, paint our front doors and put on beautiful new hardware. Then we leave the ugly cheap plastic doorbell. Why???!!!


It's a really easy fix. I've had 3 different doorbells since we owned our house. Recently, I saw two interesting styles, so of course given the fact that I am hardware obsessed, I went on the hunt to see what else is out there. Trust me, there is a shape and style for everyone!

This is my current (3 years old) doorbell. It's the same one featured in the first image above from Baldwin brass.
I loved the round shape and the oil rubbed bronze with brass beading coordinates with the lanterns and door hardware.
 If you look closely, you can see the outline of the old one. It was rectangle and brass.
 The house is getting repainted, hopefully, next month. Is a new bell in order?

I went on the hunt to see what's out there and I found plenty to choose from, most are around $25-$30 and only a few over $50.  It's the perfect budget friendly and quick little fall spruce up. So, don't be a ding dong, find the perfect doorbell for your house!






Elegant and stately! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Latest Project: What The Yuck!?

A couple I worked with on a renovation a few years ago called to see if I was interested in doing a whole house renovation on an income property they own. It was built in the 1970's and they have owned it since the mid 1980's. As newlyweds, it was once their residence. My response...when can I see the place!?

If you have read my blog for some time, it's no secret how much I love renovations. This is such a unique project to be able to work on something from scratch, or nearly. Even though I won't be doing any decorating since it's going to continue as an income property and in 2 years it will serve as a first home for their college age children, still I am enthusiastic!

At first glance this seems like a really decent townhouse. It's a large end unit that has a tall side window and that means lots of natural light in the stairwell. It's almost all brick with a wide side yard that has a path next to it, and backs to a private tree lined no build area. Very promising!

The landscaping and grass need some attention and a fresh coat of paint will be in order, plus a new light.
 New windows and storm door were added the week before this photo.
Looks can be deceiving...

Shall we start in the kitchen? Come in, if you dare. Welcome to the latest episode of hoarders. The male version. Two single men, I'd say in their early 30's (yes, I met them when I came over to do the measurements) have lived here for 6 years. They both move out at the end of the month.

The purses on the counter belong to me and my client. I had to grab a paper sack and to rip sheets of paper from my notebook to put our purses on so the bottoms wouldn't become a petri dish! I was tempted to ask the husband to hold them. My measuring tape was wiped down with a Clorox wipe the minute I got home. Can I pour you a drink? There must have been over 300 bottles of liquor throughout this house. That explains a lot....must be hard to clean when you're drunk all the time.

The clients did warn me the place was in bad shape and used primarily for storage. Hmm...not exactly how I would describe it, but within 5 minutes I can envision major changes and a dramatic outcome in the kitchen and regain my enthusiasm.

Other side of the kitchen. If I get the structural okay, this wall and door are outta here!

and goodbye vertical blinds and hello beautiful tranquil view!

Shall we go downstairs?

1970's stair rail. I wanted to rip it off the wall the moment I saw it! Why is an old screen still here?

This is the basement powder room. It's the cleanest bathroom in the house.
Trust me when I say I truly wish I was kidding. It gets worse. Much worse.

This hallway between the powder room and utility room is just such a waste of space. This is the ideal
spot to add a shower, but a special contractor is required to do a foundation drill on an attached property. 

Under the basement stairs. Scruples, really??? A closet appears to be in order here.

These stupid stick-on mirrors will likely require all the drywall to be removed! There is actually a nice stone fireplace behind the skull (Jolly Roger) flag. The fence and deck are very nice, they just need a little power washing.
Let's go upstairs. Please forgive me for showing you these. Perhaps this will explain why I've had no time to blog. This past week, I have been completely immersed in coming up with plans for a new kitchen design, hopefully a bathroom addition, plus things like carpet, flooring, lighting and a whole lot of YUCK!
The master bedroom. I had to push this box out of the way the way to get to the bathroom.
Cue the Psycho  music...

Who thinks design is glamorous work? There was also plenty of mold in the hall bath too. But, I love my readers
far too much to pile on any more torture. The smell of mold was so strong the minute I reached the upstairs landing.
The mold had spread from the shower to the bathroom floor to the carpet in the bedroom!!!
 Even though I showered as soon as I got home, I ended up with a 2 day mirgraine and was feeling quite sick.
I insisted my clients get a mold abatement specialist in to do samples and testing before we go any further.
The results are due in today. 

It has rained for 8 straight days. A stream now runs through our backyard. I rush home every day to see if the basement has flooded. All this craziness makes me feel compelled to end on a pretty note. I fell in love with this gorgeous linen embroidered quatrefoil fern fabric and ordered a sample. Why is the sample so small you ask? It's $295/yd. I can not afford anything more than a few pillows at this price I could have pillows made using antique textiles pieces. If the damn leaf had been centered on the sample, I would frame it!!! Seriously. I thought about having it printed, but it's an exclusive design and can't be copied.

However, thanks to blogging and new friendships, I have found a beautiful fern alternative that can be custom made by a super talented man in the colors I love.  I plan the fern fabric in my kitchen. I look forward to sharing all the details as soon as the work is complete!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Weekend of Summer...

Enjoy the last easy, breezy days of summer!