Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go! Go! Go!

We are getting so close to the end that we've been running around making loads of last minute choices and decisions (hence the lack of posts lately...). At this point, we risk missing our move-in date if we don't answer every single call from our builder...and there is no shortage of calls. The thought of them waiting on our decision for 24 hours just isn't an option any longer. Go, go, gadget go!

While the interior of the house is fairly close, the exterior is a few months behind. It looks like we'll be living in a construction zone well into late January or early February. In fact, if I posted a photo of the outside of the house, you would think that nothing has changed. Our friends actually gasp at the state of the house when they visit..."right you'll be moving in before the holidays". It really is too bad that the exterior doesn't match the interior at the moment, but what can you do?

Just because images seem to make posts more interesting, here are a few of the recent "express purchases" made via frantic phone calls or midnight internet sessions.

Front door hardware from Hamilton Decorative

Remember the posts about how much I loved our exterior door handles? How I loved them so much that I ordered them for our interior door handles? Well, all of the hardware for our house was ordered with the exception of that for the front door. The Front Door! Total oversight on our part.

Front entry exterior hanging lamp by ELK Lighting

Post lanterns from ELK Lighting

Again, some of you may recall my agonizing over exterior lights for the house. A while back we ordered the wall fixtures, but I never came across anything that caught my eye for our front doorstep or our post lanterns. Everything either looked too ordinary or way too ornate. Well, there you have it folks, I finally threw my hands up two nights ago and ordered ourselves some ordinary and ornate lighting fixtures. Whew, it feels good to check another item off the list.

There has been a great deal of hustle and bustle at the house recently so we'll get some photos up soon. Hope everyone is doing well!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Family photo wall

When my mom and I were recently ransacking New York, we discovered Calypso Home. Oh be still my heart. It quickly became our favorite stop...so much so that we returned to the store three out of three days! ( Yes, I did reassure them that we weren't stalking their staff...not sure that they were convinced). We ended up purchasing bedding for two rooms, a rug, a wonderful table, and I am still considered two more tables. I know...stop the madness!

Part of their decor that I fell in love with were their display shelves (and yes, I realize that we couldn't purchase those...but I almost tried...). They were chunky wood beams covered with gorgeous white, cream, and natural colored goodies. Here is a photo from a while back from the internet.

I love how natural they look, even coupled with the dark brackets. In fact, they kind of gave me the same vibe that the lovely Bella Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley did.

I have blogged before about my wish for a family photo wall. I'm already imagining standing in front of the walls gazing at wonderful images with our friends and family. It will be located on the second floor landing and the photo has always been a huge inspiration. Because I've been so drawn to the displays at Calypso Home and Bella, I'm now thinking of modifying it to use more natural wood.

In a moment of weakness (or more likely foolishness) this morning I bid on old barn lumber on ebay. Now I am the proud owner of four 60 inch pieces of lumber that hopefully can be used for our family wall.

Seriously, what was I thinking? Now that they are mine, I'm thinking that I was a bit too eager in bidding on these. At a price of $24, I suppose they aren't going to break the bank. Hopefully they won't be too warped or distressed to be able to use. Once again, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two beds for five rooms?

No that really doesn't add up, does it? We're really looking forward to picking out funky bed frames as we travel over the next few years, but ultimately, we need a little something for our guests to sleep on. Room and Board offered a good solution with the Perspective queen bed and Parsons day bed.

Perspective bed from Room and Board

This bed looks like it will be used in our downstairs guest room. It's actually fairly low to the ground which will offer lots of wall space to have fun with.

Parsons day bed from Room and Board

The day bed will actually be used in the future playroom. We should be able to cover it with enough cushy pillows that it will double as seating when it's not needed for sleeping quarters.

Overall, Room and Board was really easy to deal with. They shipped to our freight forwarder for free and allow for additional items to be added onto the order over the phone. This is especially helpful when you don't have a credit card billing address in the US. So there's the update for today...we're now up to four for five rooms with sleeping arrangements. Novel idea in a home, huh?

Bath accessories

Towel racks, toilet paper holders, shower caddies...galore! Who knew that there was so much to choose from? Actually I'm slowly realizing that the abundance of options is what often leads us to indecision. Would that one particular item give a little added pizzazz? I often find myself wondering if I am going to get suckered into this on each and every decision. (Answer yes if you belong to this household.) I'm sure no one is going to enter the house and proclaim the beauty of our towel racks. With that being said, if you feel so inclined...

The order for our bath accessories was placed today and hopefully they will arrive shortly. We went primarily with the Ginger Surface line. Ultimately it was their hand towel rack that stole my eye. (Yes, yes, get a life, I know...)

But then began the dilemma about whether we would get more use out of the double towel rack or the hotel shelf (with a rack of course) in our master bath. Back and forth (a few too many times) and the trigger was finally pulled on the double towel rack. Check back in a few to see if hotel shelf has been installed in its place.

Ah...it's nice to know that there aren't too many more decisions to be made (or changed for that matter!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wood floors and wall tiles

Excitement galore! A quick sneak away from the office this afternoon put a huge smile on my face. Our wood floors are almost complete.

The color is perfect...dark but still warm. They work really well with the windows and exterior doors. Now we get to look forward to the doors and window sills being stained the same color. I know, I know, I'm getting ahead of myself once again...

Dusty but beautiful wood floors

It was equally as exciting to see that the wall tiling in our master shower is close to complete. A little rumor made it to me that one of Mr. Big's buddies walked into the master bath this weekend and quickly proclaimed it to be a spa. Perfect! If a guy gets it, we've done something right! :)

Close up of the floor and wall tile (how crazy is the optical distortion on this image?)

A little eye relief

The cobalt blue countertop for the jack-and-jill bathroom was also in progress. In a few days, the entire wall should be covered in wall tiles. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing this bathroom once it's finalized.

The grout for all of the wall tiles should be completed by the end of the week. That's the plan anyway...

There is currently a lot of activity at the house. Our move-in date isn't too far away. It's a bit hit or miss on whether we'll be making that date. We've given up our current condo, but finding a friends place to crash wouldn't be too difficult. The real challenge is that we have family arriving to stay in the house very, very soon. Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ceiling light

The front entry ceiling light has been perplexing us for a while. The standard white flushmount fixture just didn't seem exciting enough for the entry of the house, especially as it will be helping to highlight our fisherman painting. I was hoping to find something with a bit of pizazz. Unfortunately, that hoping has spanned a period of many months (not dissimilar to many other decisions!).

While recently in Orlando, we stumbled upon a lighting store chock full of lighting...so much so that it was actually difficult to see individual fixtures from one another. A turn around a corner...and wow...there it was. The perfect fixture for our front entry. The ET2 Larmes fixture was hung with the glass bulbs only a few inches from the flush mount base (as opposed to the image below). It twinkled amongst the rest of the lights and I was smitten immediately.

I had seen it on websites before, but it is much more impressive in person. One more decision down...and one more fixture to anticipate getting installed.

Car...I mean rug...shopping

What size do you need? What color? What? You don't know this information? Tsk, tsk. It was surprising to find that carpet salespersons are not to far off from their car counterparts...on top of you, at least in my experience. And rugs are far from inexpensive. Definitely not a purchase that you want to be rushed into. In a nutshell, the whole experience was pretty overwhelming without having lived in the house yet.

Fortunately our trip was not all in vain as we did pick up two beauties. Ultimately, the cotton flatweave collection from Madeline Weinrib consistently grabbed my eye. When I returned back to the island, I was surprised to find that I chose the exact same pattern in different color combinations.

Platinum for the main living area (or possibly master bedroom)

Delf blue for the two Mediterranean blue-and-white rooms upstairs

Her rugs are definitely worth a peek for a more casual comfortable rug option. Beautiful!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Casesarstone countertops

Our kitchen and mudroom countertops have been a bit of a trouble spot for us. We found a gorgeous limestone that manufacturers warned us about time and time again. Apparently it was just too porous and would be very difficult to maintain. We went back to the drawing board and considered granite, concrete, and pretty much any surface under the sun.

Our designer had suggested that we look at a product called Caesarstone, which is a manufactured quartz product. For those that have already raised their nose at a surface that is less than 100% natural (it's only 93% natural...), feel free to move onto the next post. For those that are interested, let me tell you that this product is FAB!

Caesarstone is more heat, scratch and stain resistant than granite. But more importantly to me, they have lots of options that are fairly uniform in color. Because we have floor and wall tiles with lots of movement in them, I was looking for something exactly along these lines. While I pined over concrete, this will give Mr. Big the comfort of countertops that won't require loads of maintenance.

We decided on the Desert Limestone color for our kitchen and the Concrete color for the mudroom. They look gorgeous with our door, tile, and floor samples. I positively cannot wait to see them once installed! With our dark cabinets, the kitchen should roughly look like this:

For the mudroom, we decided to go with the Concrete color to add a bit of contrast to our light cabinets and wall tiles. Once again, it looks fab together. (This color also looked great in the kitchen, but the lighter color seemed to brighten everything up).

Boy, am I ever excited that we've made a decision...and hopefully such a good one!

All sorts of trouble

Last Saturday was a real treat...my mom, Mrs. Designer Extradonnaire, visited Mr. Big and I on the island to see how the house was progressing. We spent two days visualizing, explaining, imagining the house as a finished product. But the best part was yet to come. On Tuesday we boarded a plane to fly to Orlando for two days followed by a trip to New York for four days. Yes, we were let loose with a credit card in hand. I'm fairly certain Mr. Big has been taking deep breaths each time he sees my number roll up on his cell phone over the past week.

Truth be told, we have not gone entirely hog wild. It's been relatively tame. We've had the time to see what is in the stores, browse bolts of upholstery fabric, and confirm (or unconfirm) choices previously made sight-unseen. But we haven't actually pulled out the cash or credit card too often.

The next few posts will take us through what we found as it's too much to put into one post. We've honestly been shopping (i.e. hunting) for no less than 6-8 hours a day. Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Inspiration weekend?

Not sure what got into me, but apparently I'm back to enjoying the work of others. This is a restaurant in London that jumped off the pages at me. Gorgeous!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More great rooms

Continued from the previous entry...

Dark kitchen cabinets in a neutral setting from LivingEtc, March 2005

Greys and greens from LivingEtc, July 2005
Blue grey walls (dark but nice ) from Home and Gardens, June 2006

Neutral walls accented by textured wallpaper from 25 Beautiful Homes, August 2006

And just because these are beautiful stairways from Desire to Inspire, I thought that I would share with them.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Yes, it certainly is cool. As in, air conditioned cool! We were pleased to get into a refreshing house yesterday. With the bevy of activity that is taking place, the workers must appreciate it as well.

Take a look at the size of these air conditioning units...holy smokes! For those that aren't aware, Mr. Big is 6'5", which gives some perspective on how big these puppies are. We went with units with very high energy efficiency ratings and hopefully will end up saving some $ in the future. Either that or we're complete suckers.

So here's a run down of where we are at:
  • Base boards are currently being installed
  • Barn door has been hung (it's b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l)
  • Ceiling painting should be starting imminently
  • Wood floors should be installed on Monday
  • Appliances should be installed in the next two weeks
  • Light fixtures have been ordered
  • Outdoor kitchen appliances have been ordered
There is obviously quite a bit more taking place, but this is about all that pops to mind at the moment. Happy Halloween everyone!