Tuesday, April 26, 2011

T-Ball Demon

The last few days have proved that spring is trying to make an appearance in Seattle, but oh my gosh, it's sure testing my limits. Yesterday was another gray, wet day and it made me want to throw in the towel and crawl back into bed.

But you know it's really spring when you have to start sitting on cold, wet bleachers to watch your kids swing at a t-ball stand... I mean... When you get to watch your kids play sports and learn how to be a part of a team!!! (Does that second one make me sound more enthusiastic? A little bit? Good).

But my favorite part of t-ball is this little face in those white pants:

Brooks is about to lose a front tooth, it's hanging on for dear-life right now.

Play ball!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A little bathroom glamour

I spent the day working on a clients master bathroom and powder room. Bathrooms should be functional (of course - that goes without saying) but should also reflect their owners sense of style. Whether it's ultra modern, cottage, traditional, etc - every room should tell a story about the people who live there. These bathrooms show the glamorous side of their owners.

Image via House Beautiful
The tile in this bathroom combined with the shell sink is drop dead. I bet the light in this powder room is very forgiving.

Design by Seattle's very own Carrie Hayden.

Image via Traditional Home.

Design by Kendall Wilkinson

Lovely and chic. But, in my house they'd be covered with little finger prints just like my stainless steel appliances.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TRADhome - Lauren Gold & Sasha Adler

Every one's talking about the collaboration between Traditional Home and Lonny Magazine - TRADhome. There are some great designers featured in the premier issue. But this house in Arizona from Lauren Gold & Sasha Adler of Nate Berkus Design took my breath away. This house has the perfect balance of traditional and unexpected modern pieces to be timeless.

The dining room might be one of my all time favorite dining rooms. The rustic farm table with the glam dining chairs and chandelier combined with grass cloth and great casual striped rug. Dreamy and inviting.

Love the entry and gallery hallway. How cute are Lauren and Sasha!

The Great Room is a show stopper as well. Perfect restraint used to make it interesting yet livable. I love everything about this room.

Hello Paris bistro chairs and back splash... And the casual eating area is perfection. My favorite dining chairs and table combined with casual kid friendly benches.

Master bedroom and bath - again the perfect blend of antiques with modern clean lined pieces.
Bottom line - this house is perfection.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I've finally found "the one"

Remember when I used to do "good finds" on Fridays? Well, I thought I'd lean back in to it and right now, there is one thing in particular that is rocking my world. I've finally found the best mascara.

For years I have struggled with mascara ending up under my eyes mid-way through the day. Every brand I tried, it never helped. I wore waterproof and it crumbled, water-resistant and it gave me raccoon eyes almost instantaneously. Only made worse by the fact that I am super lazy about properly taking it off, so the waterproof mascara was caking up for days.

Enter Trish McEvoy's mascara. It's totally different and took some getting used to, but it's the kind that comes off in "tubes" with just my face wash and doesn't crumble off during the day because of it's crazy mascara voodoo-technology. I LOVE IT -- anything that makes me look a little less tired is tops in my book.

It's a good find.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No pants, No Shoes, No Service

My family tells me that my house has "no rules." I don't understand what they are talking about...

Hmmmm. This is just a typical day in my house. I turned around from furniture scouting for a client and my six year-old was helping himself to a milkshake. Without ANY pants. Just shirt and black socks. Brooks can rock that look like no other.

The good news though is that my house is the testing ground for all my clients. If I tell you it will hold up, chances are, I know all too well. Because either someone has pooped on it (dog or babies) , spilled wine on it (me), kicked a ball against it (my oldest) or rammed his head into it (my youngest).

This is no ordinary house! It's hard for my neat-nick husband, but good for you. Pray that we make it until college in one piece.

(photo credit is thanks to my husband @directorius -- always johnny-on-the-spot with the camera)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring @ Zara

Have you looked on Zara lately? Stuff is good, real good.

Two things I love about zara: guilt-free trends and being in Seattle, it's not available in a brick and mortar store, so it's relatively secret. I used to feel that way about H&M -- when I'd go out of town, I'd pick up a few things and then back home, no one had seen my purchases, so it was total secret squirrel bargains that no one else had. Zara is still best in my opinion because the quality is better than others at this price point and the trends are done in a more age appropriate, wearable way.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces that I might be picking up when I go to Vancouver in a few weeks.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Market Report: Soaking Tubs

I got a great email from a reader yesterday urging me to do a tub post, because she's considering remodeling her bathroom -- thank you for your email, it's a great idea. Her question to me was specifically about soaking tubs and the advantages or disadvantages of various styles, as well as materials that retained heat. Jets aren't her thing because of how much of a pain they are to clean, and frankly, I've never liked the idea of jetted tubs. It's just never the look I go for if I'm starting with a clean slate -- save it for the backyard and wine coolers ;)

I pulled a few images that are always my go-to's when concepting. To me, they are all timeless and upscale from top to bottom, and all of them have awesome tubs.

Brooke Gianetti

Decor Pad

Brooke Gianetti
Also, what a great treatment with the panel moulding-esque treatment to the tub. A really inexpensive trick with pencil that makes the shower/tub area feel very custom and elegant.

M. Elle Designs
Like you're surprised to see this one. I think it is on every designer's brain permanently. The tub from Lefroy Brooks is insane. I would die to even be in the same room with that tub. And what do you know, Kohler is making a verrry similar one.

This is how I like to do drop-in tubs. I prefer to incorporate them with a wainscotting-type surround and top it with stone. The same goes for "unincorporated" free standings: make it a statement of it's own if for some reason a traditional soaker doesn't work for you. For ideas, Michael Smith's Kallista tubs are all shown on the website like this.

Turner Davis Interiors

I think this is a great example of an amazing tub in a small bathroom. This tub is probably up against a corner, but it still feels luxurious because we get the wonderful shape and it was probably a creative solution for a small bath. Kohler, I believe, has corner tubs in this style.

Nate Berkus
Another silver tub, I know, but it's a great shape so indulge me. The bottom is more contemporary and the sides have a more severe angle to them. To me, it's a more masculine tub, almost industrial, and it would still be beautiful done in a monochromatic scheme.

On to options. I have to come clean, I love Faucetdirect.com. I think it's an awesome resource and their pricing is consistently great. I buy fixtures, fittings, the whole lot right from them because I've had great luck and their inventory on high-end items is extensive. Most of the tubs from below are from them and even on sale.

Porcher - $1000.05 (on sale)
Cast iron drop-in, I'm not as crazy about the shape, but overall it's a good looking tub that still incorporates cast iron at around the 1k mark. Because, of course, cast-iron is out there, but the challenge was to find them at the lower price range. In a traditional bathroom with high-end finishes, I think this shape would work well.
Porcher - $882.05 (on sale)
It's acrylic, but personally, I think that unless you upgrade to a radiant or inline heat system, you're never going to win the battle against cooling water. Cast iron will help, but if bath time is your only "me time" you probably are hiding out in there for awhile... it's not just me... right?

Kohler - $768.72
Another acrylic tub, but by Kohler and a great shape and an amazing price.

One of my first stops for cast iron tubs are always the salvage yards. This cast iron tub happens to already be in great condition and is gigantic - it's a two person coming in at 75". But because this one is already near perfect, you'll pay for it. I've found tubs in terrible shape and had them re-furbished at a cost that doesn't even compare to what I would have paid for one in good condition. To find a salvage yard near you, try searching for terms similar to "architectural building salvage (insert your city)." You will be surprised at the hole-in-the-wall places that pop up near you. Craigslist too -- I've driven way too far to pick up tubs, but for $150 bucks, it's worth it!

I also couldn't resist this cast iron beauty. It's beautiful and while it's not in the cheap and cheerful category, I don't think it's unreasonable for a freestanding soaker made from cast iron.

And while it's definitely not in the inexpensive category, for serious bathers who don't want to lose heat, MTI makes a large assortment of tubs with "Thermaltherapy" options. They have a number of patents out there so to a certain extent, they have got bathtub heating cornered. Their inline heating system is operated with on/off switching and does not necessitate jets in order to work. It gently recirculates the water -- no disruptions and no cooling off. Additionally, they have a "Radiance" heat system that can heat the tub itself, much like a radiant flooring. No chilly tubs and cold metal when you put your shoulders against it.

Good luck on the remodel, Katerina! Go for it, it's always worth it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ina & Her Garden

It sure doesn't feel like it, but the calendar is telling me it's April and that means it's time to start thinking about what I want to plant or how I'm going to make this yard I have presentable. One of my all-time favorite ladies also has one of my all-time favorite gardens -- Ina Garten. If you're in her camp, you can go on and on about her, just like me I'm sure. There is something about watching her shows that has the "books on tape" effect on me -- it's soothing and totally mellow. No squawking and exaggerated made-for-tv accents that so many shows have. And the occasional glimpses of her house are always a draw. Sometimes I daydream about a life filled with Hampton's houses, gay best friends in my kitchen and a cashing in my tight pants for a closet full of big, square Eileen Fisher smocks.

Her garden makes me swoon, so I found some pictures to try and get a better idea of what she has going on -- it's all beautiful. 20+ years of gardening and planning is paying off in folds.

Those boxwoods make me crazy, I love them so much.

My scanner is killing me lately, but here is a photo of her home as shown in one of her cookbooks.

Ina hosted an event for the East Hampton Historical Society, I thought this photo was a fun real-life example of her "how easy is that?" motto in action -- simple and elegant backyard cocktails.

There are some super sleuths out there --an aerial view of her estate shows the set up pretty well. The land was purchased a long time ago, and in the past two decades, they have added the gardens and fruit tree orchards. Recently, she built the barn/office/studio that was so widely covered in House Beautiful.

A little out-building off of her main house. In one of the interviews I read on her garden, she talks about her attempt at casual but organized and elegant gardens. Her philosophy is to edge every thing neatly and then have what's inside be organic and natural, but in a tight color palette. She doesn't stray far from purples, blues and greens. Her thought being that it helps everything look better longer, giving things order, even when the beds are actually less thought out.

Her barn addition.

Another view of an out building.

The barn at night.

I believe this is her herb garden right off of the barn. Pea gravel and bordered beds in a small courtyard -- so gorgeous.

The entrance into the herb garden.

In the garden with Food Network

I spy lettuce and Rosemary.

Total celeb porn for me: Ina and Gwyneth in the same photo, I couldn't resist adding it. It's from an issue of Gwyneth's Goop newsletter featuring recipes in How Easy is That?

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