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Ninja Turtle Sibling?

22 Jan

Remember this dresser restored by the lovely Brittany as memorialized in this post?  She worried she had turned it into a Ninja turtle dresser!

Well, she’s gone and done it again, this time with nightstands.  She had some leftover veneer and paint and renovated these lovely little beauties too!  I think they look awesome.  What about you?  I especially like the Orla Kiely wallpaper pattern in the back.  Despite all my ranting, I am obviously in a co-dependent relationship with Orla.  Will I never be free?


And voila!




Ikea Maskros

21 Jan

Wow.  Yet again another extended holiday from the blog.  Emphasis on holiday because the holidays did me in this year.  Starting a new job and juggling all the chaos around Christmas and New Year was more than I could handle and the blog suffered.  But things did get done, believe it or not.  The happiest of which are the new fixtures in our bedroom.  We had Brett’s parents over for dinner last night and Ida the Great commented that our new fixtures were a bold choice!  Bold indeed and I love them.

Okay, I know it’s overdone.  And I know that even in a short amount of time, people are sick of it.  There are some really amazing Ikea-hacks done to the Maskros lamps, too.  However, I like it as it is.  I just like it.  I fell in love with it when I first saw it in the post I did on Farralone, where is hangs in the guest room that Marilyn Monroe stayed in.

Frank Sinatra

And yes, when IKEA first showed it at the ICFF it started to multiply all over the world like rabbits.  People began to whine about seeing it everywhere and I am sure I will get a response to this post that makes me seem unoriginal and banal.  (Probably not.  All you people are too nice for that.)

I would like to argue that perhaps what we have on our hands with the Maskros is a classic (or a new classic according to this post on Houzz).  Design-forward, unique, accessbile.  Aren’t these the criteria used by our favorite MCM designers to guide their work?  Why does good design need to be exclusive to the elite?  None of those designers would agree with the design snobs of today and are likely rolling over in their graves in despair of those who ‘just don’t get it’.

Well, we get it.  And we fell in love with it.  To replace these decade-appropriate fixtures with something so fun and bold seemed to me the perfect thing to do.  (And, according to my husband, much easier said than done.)

house 33

Plus, I love the way the Maskros echoes the design on our window panels from West Elm.


First of all the top of the Masksros is a narrow cylinder about six inches in diameter.  The hole cut for these lights is more like 12 inches.  We found some covers at Home Depot for less than $10 each.  Granted, I would have prefered a style without the faux molding around the edge, but we couldn’t find any.


And let’s be honest, putting these fixtures together is quite time consuming!  They come in this little box with the usually unintelligible IKEA directions.



And the pieces look something like this…


Ummm…yikes.  So I got on the handy dandy internet and found this lovely stop-motion video about assembling the lamp.

Mind you, I put on the flowers before hanging the lantern, but either would work.

To show the progression, the room has gone from this… (You can’t see the flower printed wallpaper!)

To this…

To this…

And now with the lovely Maskros…



Almost there, but not quite.  In the nook at the end of the room where the dog beds and random nightstand live, I imagine a lovely gray chaise lounge like this one from West Elm.  (My entire bedroom is becoming an homage to West Elm!)

Lorimer Chaise

And perhaps a hanging floor lamp like this one.

Overarching Floor Lamp - Natural

Thought that might be a bit much with the Maskros lamp.  Not sure, but I want something softer than an overhead light for reading in my perfect little corner.

And of course, we need some area rugs and artwork.  As mentioned in this post, I think a painting by Maeve above the bed would be the perfect finishing touch.  And she is already working on, so stay tuned!

Reader Re-Do: Dresser Makeover or “Did I just morph my dresser into a ninja turtle?”

12 Nov

I have mentioned Brittany in the blog before, as she is one of the readers who sends me interesting mail from time to time.  I even did an inspiration board for her a while back.  Brittany said she was also inspired by Maeve’s dresser re-do and gave it a go herself.  The lovely Brittany below.  (And she’s married and a mother of Bayley, so don’t get any ideas.)

Which brings me to a slightly panicky email I received from her sharing the results and asking my opinion, which I of course love giving wholeheartedly.

I need your opinion on something. I’ve been pulling my hair out after I found an awesome MCM dresser on Craigslist and decided to refinish it. So, I refinished it and then realized it was way too orange. It’s hard to tell in the pics but it looked like a carrot. So, after much debate, I decided to get a good rest and then start all over. Well, I screwed up and sanded too far into the veneer. So, my only option was to go buy new walnut veneer or just paint the whole thing, which I did not want to do. I googled for a while and found some pretty cool before and after’s, so I thought I’d meet in the middle and paint half and veneer the other half. I picked the green from the Orla Kiely pear canister and stained the new veneer a dark walnut. I feel like I’ve ruined a good thing, now that I’m finally finished. I am one to NOT paint over perfectly good wood, but in this case, there was no way I was re-veneering the whole beast of a dresser. And plus, veneering is HARD and stinky.  I would love a second opinion. I know you did something similar recently with your daughter’s low boy dresser and I LOVE the results. But I am not sure what I think about mine. Maybe I have been staring at it too long?

Suffice it to say, I can see the carrot and understand the dilemma.  I asked her to share more about her experience with veneer, as this is something I have never been brave enough to attempt.

 It’s not too spendy, I went to Windsor Plywood and bought a 2×8 sheet of black walnut veneer that came to around $36. Cheap, considering I ruined the original veneer, which I can’t believe I did. But I was not going to just paint the whole dresser. It would’ve been a crime. So, I thought up re-veneering.

I traced out the dresser drawers on the back side of the veneer and then cut out the shapes with a really sharp pair of scissors. I cut it a tiny bit bigger than the size of the drawers so I could have some wiggle room when veneering. I painted a thin coat of contact cement onto the drawer fronts and then another thin, even coat onto the back of the veneer. It’s MESSY because the contact cement is drippy. So don’t do it in your bedroom like I did. Also make sure the room is well ventilated, or you’re going to faint from the fumes. Let the contact cement dry for about 15 minutes, until it looks like a satin finish and is tacky to the touch. I would suggest two people doing the laying of the veneer on the drawer fronts, because it must lay down properly, or it’s ruined. Once the veneer touches the drawer fronts, the contact cement automatically glues to itself, and the bond is strong, so make sure you have it exactly how you want it to lay. Have a rolling pin on hand and roll the veneer with force, to make sure there are no bubbles under the veneer. You can cut out any rough edges with one of those really sharp hobby knives that look like a surgical tool. And then sand on the edges to make sure they are even.

Then sand the veneer lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to prepare it for the stain you will use. It’s really not as hard as it sounds and is a cost effective way to keep wood grain in your piece instead of painting the whole thing. The green color I used is called “Olive tree” from Benjamin Moore. It is the closest match to the Orla Pears as I could find. The paint I used was water based, but I decided to use Minwax oil based wipe on poly in Satin, to get a really nice, hard and smooth finish. It gave the green color an even more mustardy look, which makes it look even more vintage. It definitely toned it down, which I like.

When I told Brittany I really liked it and thought it looked lovely in her Orla inspired bedroom, her response was…

Yay! So glad to hear you like it! I was staring at it going, “Did I just morph my dresser into a ninja turtle???”

I love the walnut and olive together.  I think it turned out to be a gorgeous piece.  What do you think?  Have you had any experience with ‘re-veneering’ something?

Master Bedroom Redux Part 2

6 Nov

I’ll get to the punchline and save you any more suspense after yesterday’s post:  It worked.  Oh yeah, it really worked.  If you didn’t read yesterday, what worked was painting over the bedroom wallpaper.  We followed m all the steps:  gluing down loose seams, mudding over them and sanding down the mud when dried.  To be honest, the wallpaper walls look better than the one with the wallpaper removed.

Maeve and I headed to Home Depot to find the right gray for the painting.  You all know what challenges I have with picking gray paint.  And Maeve, my artist extraordinaire, has an eye for color and I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong.  I needed a gray that was more tan than blue.  After much debate and her convincing me that this was the right color, we landed on Silver Tinsel by Behr.  The premium Behr paint has primer in it and I was hoping this would help with the pattern of the wallpaper.

And it did.  Only took one coat.  Seriously.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen Brett so happy about a paint as he was about this one.  Got painted in just a few hours and then I could hang my art work and really move in.

We started here:

And currently are landing here:

What is still outstanding…

light fixtures…maybe these?  I think they’d look nice with the patter on the curtains.

MASKROS Pendant lamp IKEA Projects decorative patterns onto the ceiling and on the wall.

Also, art is needed above the bed.  The pop art piece is too square.  I think it needs something long and rectangular.  If I were a bazillionaire, I would buy this piece from one of my favorite artists Barbra Kruger.

Unfortunately, there aren’t even reproductions of this available.  (That I could find anyway.  If you know where to get one, please please tell me!)  I started looking on Etsy because I love supporting small production artists.  I found this by Jestsetretrodesign:

Mid Century Modern Art Painting Eames Era Tiki 60's Retro danish modern Modernist 60s

I think it would look great above the bed.  And while the price isn’t too precious ($250), it’s still more than I want to spend on something that isn’t Barbara Kruger.  I wonder if I could get Maeve to paint something similar.  Bet I could.  What do you think?

Master Bedroom Redux Part 1

5 Nov

For me, the bedroom is my sanctuary.  I don’t have a room of my own in this house, as I have bemoaned in other posts.  The girls have their bedrooms. Brett has his man cave.  So for me, the bedroom is the closest to my own little private world that I have.

The idea of what I want my bedroom to look and feel like has been rolling about in my head for months.  The first decision I landed on  was gray.  I wanted a gray bedroom because I find it to be soothing and enveloping color.  Then I decided I wanted gray with yellow accents.  The search for the perfect duvet ended at West Elm.  So did the search for the perfect curtains.  Not the ones I thought I would want; something even better.

Linen Cotton Duvet Cover + Shams - Slate

Queen Anne's Lace Printed Panel

I tried these out with a yellow pillow and my favorite pop art painting. My bedroom isn’t really my bedroom until that painting and my Buddha wall hanging grace the walls.   At first, I liked the idea.  Still needed more to flesh out, but the right direction.

But, how fickle is woman?  Especially me.  Ans especially under the spell of something gorgeous and orange.  And because I was on a West Elm tear, I couldn’t resist these lamps.

Mia Table Lamp - Paprika

Okay.  Plan B.  Not yellow.  Orange.  Put it all together.  Nice.  But.  There is still the matter of wallpaper.  I won’t hang pop art or Buddha until the wallpaper is down and the walls are a lovely shade of gray.  Ugh.

Thus began the tedious process of wallpaper removal.  And you all know how much I love doing THAT.  In fairness, I did painfully little of it.  Brett, a steamer and a scraper spent the better part of two days and only conquered one wall.  We are lucky to have a very large bedroom.  Unlucky however in that it means a ridiculous amount of wallpaper to remove.  The wall stayed blank with no paper and lots of glue for a few weeks.  The next step was to use TSP to remove the glue.  Feeling badly that I hadn’t helped with the removal of the paper, I offered to do the TSP.  Brett has a major aversion to this job and avoid it until I volunteered.  Now I know why.  Excuse my language, but that job is a total bitch.  I spent a Saturday with TSP and a scrub brush and multiple towels removing copious amounts of sticky gooey glue.

And I hate to admit it.  But it beat us.  It beat us down good.  We surrendered to the wall paper.  Over dinner one night, we had the conversation that started with ‘What if…’  As in, what if we painted over the rest?  What if we broke the cardinal wallpaper rule and just painted over it?  Writing that makes me a little nervous even now.

I mean, we’re rebels, right?  I think I was recently described as upscale bohemian nonconformist.  I am modern woman, carefree and unencumbered by convention.  (I am starting to feel like a maxi-pad commercial.  Or one for Virginia Slims.)  Plus, we’d flirted with this before and painted over impossible to remove wall-paper backing.  Successfully. 

So the more wine we drank, the more we decided this was a clever idea.  Plus, to be honest, the state of the wall behind the wallpaper we removed wasn’t all that great.  That’s one of the biggest issues with removing wallpaper and carpet.  You  never know what you’re going to get.  (Oh wait, that’s a box of chocolates.)  I did my research.  Some people paint over wallpaper successfully and live to tell about it.  In fact, the DIY network even has a video tutorial on how to do it.

You know how much I love leaving you in suspense.  We did it.  And tomorrow, I’ll share the results!

Other People’s Homes: Bay Area Town House

31 Jul
What I love about this house in particular is the the cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms.  I think it’s difficult to find new cabinets that echo the style of the true wooden mid-century ones.  These do the trick for me.  Enjoy!
(Via Modernica)

Living room featuring two vintage Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear chairs.

A beautiful replica of a 1950’s armoire was built for the entryway.

Dining room featuring Rody Graumans’ 85 Lamps chandeliers.

Kitchen was designed by architecture firm Zack | de Vito.

Bedroom was designed with storage in mind.

Bathroom was designed by architecture firm Zack | de Vito.

All photography by Ethan Kaplan. Interior Design: Antonio Martins. To read this complete story and see more photographs of this beautiful Bay area home, pick up a copy of CA Home+Design on the newsstands now.

Gray and Yellow Bedroom

30 Jul

I have been on a quest for the perfect set of bedroom linens.  After much hand-wringing and disappointment at the oh-so-anticipated Orla Kiely bedding at Bed Bath and Beyond, I decided that gray was the way to go. I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms and I like the sleek and minimalist design that soothes and comforts.  Deeper tones with a minimal splash of color here and there.

At first I thought about a splash of orange.  Our bedroom is just to the left of the orange accent wall at the end of the hall and I wanted a transition that wasn’t too jarring.

But then I realized that would look weird with the piece of art that always hangs above my bed.  I’ve written about this piece before and it has become my #1 most popular post.  Everyday.  I am not sure why.  Maybe people just like the piece as much as I do.  Maybe the world’s search engines decided I am the expert on pop art.  Regardless, this has made me shift my color decision from orange to yellow.  This and the fact that pretty much every bedroom I pin on my Pinterest board is gray and yellow.

And my urgent need to make decisions about my bedroom come from the fact that I finally found the perfect gray linens.  At West Elm.  Of course.  I always end up loving their linens.  I just needed to wait around until they had the ones I wanted.  They are a perfect summer combination of linen and cotton.  Plus, I got them for 20% off.  What’s not to like?  (Okay, what’s not to like is that I can’t ever leave West Elm with only what I came for.  I also ended up with some lovely vases and a planter.  On sale too.  Does that help?)

I just propped the painting on the headboard for now.  The photo below gives you a sense of the vision.  Minus the wallpaper and the lighting above the bed.  And the green curtains.  And the mirror and other art stacked against the wall.  Yeah, you can imagine it if you squint.  I also think we need much larger lamps.  Eventually.

The bedroom is very long.  Long enough that the other end is almost totally empty.  And also long enough that window coverings are a challenge.  Neither Brett nor I appreciate waking up with the sun at 4:30 in the morning and I think our moods might improve significantly if we had better drapes.  

But when I say long, I mean LOOONNNNGGGG.  The stretch of windows to the left of our bed are 155″ in length.  The stretch on the other side of the room is 108″ long.  Yikes.  I really like the look of ceiling to floor drapes, but they usually come in a standard 48″ width, which means that someone with a sewing machine who loves me would need to sew together some panels to make them fit all the way across.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who that could be.  (Actually, I really should probably learn how to sew myself.  Maybe that person can teach me.  You know who you are.  Cough…Ida….cough.)

I love these panels from West Elm too.  I think this is the wee bit of pattern that I want.  They even feature them with a yellow chair!

Pinned Image

I also have visions of a writing desk at the other end with a lovely yellow Eames chair.  Except they don’t make them in yellow anymore.  I have seen vintage ones on Ebay that are a fortune.  I guess I will just keep looking.

And so long as we are at it, I am considering these colors.  We all know I am gray challenged when it comes to paint.  I want something a little more on the warm putty-ish side than the cooler purple I always end up with.  I found this set of paints on Pinterest and I really like the Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.  But please…if this looks TOO purple, someone stop me.

Pinned Image

Of course, now to start all this, we must first remove the wallpaper.  The extreme amount of wallpaper, which you know is not our favorite things.  Sigh.   We’ll get it done.  Someday.

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