Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sucker for accessories

When I was ordering our kitchen sinks, I fell victim for the optional accessories (wood cutting board and stainless grids). I was not sure if Mr. Big would being rolling his eyes at me (once again) when they arrived. When the sinks were installed, the accessories didn't materialize, and to be honest, I completely forgot about them...

...until about a month ago when we found them stuffed away in a forlorn cabinet. It was like receiving belated birthday gift.
Mr Big: Ohhh, what are these?!?
Moi: Wow, in the madness of building, I forgot that I ordered those.
Moi to myself: Oh no, here comes the eye roll.
The first grid went in and I got a lukewarm reaction. Ugh, here we go. But then the cutting boards went on and it was all high-fives and "right on's".

Honestly, the cutting boards have been really nice. Obviously they are good for cutting veggies at meal time, but they also serve to hide used coffee mugs, that forlorn plate that hasn't made it into the dishwasher, and all the ugly scrubbers that we have. We also use them a lot for drying pots and pans. And it's so nice that they exactly match our sink size.

So while I was pretty unsure on whether this would end up being a silly indulgent purchase, they have been worth every penny of the $49 we spent. Yeah for wives...even if we are suckers!

Jewelry for your bed

This Botanica felt throw by Selina Rose is so much fun. Why, oh why, do I still find things like this?

She's based in the UK so be careful before venturing to her site (exchange rates can easily cease enthusiasm...)

Tea towels

Decor8 featured these fun, lively and modern tea towels by Tikoli. Wouldn't these make great holiday treats for girlfriends?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Amazing stairs

While I previously blogged about the importance of ensuring that your stair treads are the right size, I couldn't resist sharing some stunning staircases with my friends.

Photo by Alexander van Berge

Photo by Sara Remington of the NY Times

Designed by Clare Cousins Architects via Desire to Inspire

Designed by Guard Tillman Pollack

From David Hotson Architect

Designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune

Photographed by Art + Commerce artist William Abranowicz

Hide that TV

Another interesting way to present your television.

Room designed by Delson or Sherman Architects as featured on Desire to Inspire

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cobalt blue and white

We currently have a jack-and-jill bathroom and two rooms decorated in various shades of mediteranean blue and white. Nick Olson at Dominomag's Daily Dose has highlighted a number of accessories that would work well, even in our outdoor space which we are contemplating continuing in the same theme.

Rothko print from

Garden stool from Pier 1

Tangiers rug from West Elm

Bento Storage Boxes by Pottery Barn

Window covering solution?

This really should be part of our "Building for Dummies" series as we were appropriately forewarned to consider our window coverings during our design stage (and obviously did not heed the advice). I wanted big open windows without any coverings. The final product is absolutely beautiful and exactly what I had imagined.

As you can imagine, there have been a few practical challenges with my decision:
  1. How do you change (or shower, or do anything else remotely private) in the evening without window treatments?
  2. Most window treatments end up covering the window frame. Our window frames were specifically chosen to match the decor of the house (and we love them). We're not entirely sold on covering them up.
  3. For the treatments that I did like, being the sleek in-the-window-frame option, they don't work with our windows that tilt-and-turn in (as opposed to casement windows that open out). Duh!
I was really pleased when I ran across Apartment Therapy's feature of Trey Russell's apartment in Laguna Beach. His window treatments would work very well for us, although I might just try a slightly more tailored version.

Photos via Allen J Sheiben of the Los Angeles Times

I like that they are flush with the ceiling, still show the window frame, and are fairly simple. In fact, one of the upholsterers here on the island may be able to assist us with something along these lines.

Mr. Big is all for this option. Actually, after having to squat everytime he gets dressed for the last 11 months, he would probably be for any option. Ah, another delimna down...

Oh la la

This succulent felt bench cushion from Be Sweet is would you describe it? Luxurious? Natural? Incomprehensible? I can't even fathom how long it would take to make one of these (hence I'm hesitant to seek out the price tag).

Imagine this on a bench in a guest room...mmmm. A place where it wouldn't be used too often to get dirty (can you imagine cleaning it?), but would still bring out your fancy.

Introduce yourself!

This blog was originally started to keep family and friends back home abreast of our home building process. Slowly there have been a few others that have peaked in, which we have been pleasantly surprised with (insert surprise that we had readers at all, let alone new parties...).

Lovely stationary from etsy seller InvitaPaperStudio

We would love to learn a bit more about those who are visiting us. Are you building a home of your own? If you are, what stage are you at? Are you family or friends? What posts do you enjoy most? Which are most useful?

We are coming to the end of our building process, but this blog has allowed for a slightly creative outlet. We'll probably continue, but would love input for the future direction.

Can't wait to hear from you!

Give this house an A

After a morning of preparation filling up as many containers that would hold water (including bathtubs) and moving pretty much everything outside into the garage, it was actually rewarding to have Hurricane Paloma strengthen to a Category 3 as it passed by us. In a strange way, it made all the preparation and heightened emotions worthwhile.

We had three friends stay with us as their places were in vulnerable spots on the beach. We started out with a great lunch of Mexican food, accompanied by flickering lights, a power cut, and the inevitable cessation of water. Bundled up in comfort clothes (although it was still 80 degrees outside), we enjoyed cappuccinos, lots of great conversation, and healthy discussions about whether Jordan would be safe in the garage. The wind and rain were howling outside, but the house felt like a thick blanket keeping us snug. Eventually the power came back on (and would stay with us throughout the duration of the storm). Through all of this, little Jordan kept sneaking out of the garage to watch us inside.

What a silly dog? Please get out of the hurricane and back into the garage...

Ultimately, we decided to bring him in, more to ease our minds than anything. His very first trip into the house...

Okay, you win...

For dinner, we enjoyed a feast accompanied by great wine and desert wine. Note to those in hurricane belts: consider inviting a chef to your house during a hurricane. The evening finished with a marathon session of 24, although most of us were snoozing (some snoring) by the fifth episode.

When daylight broke on Saturday morning, everything was in order. We have a few crooked trees, but nothing to worry about. The windows and doors held everything perfectly. During the peak of the storm, we observed them flexing (as is expected), but we had no water or leakage anywhere.

So overall, the house did remarkably well in a sizeable storm. So well, that we enjoyed an impromptu sleepover bash, often forgetting that there was even an event taking place outside. A heartfelt thanks will be sent to our builders this week...

Friday, November 7, 2008

I guess you could call this a test drive

After Hurricane Ivan stormed through our little island as a Cat 5 storm, we sought out the manufacturers of the best windows that withstood the storm (I was so impressed to find that hurricane windows work...even in big storms). We wanted the "mack daddy".

Pretty much out of the blue, we are faced with a Cat 2 storm, Hurricane Paloma, projected to be a direct hit in 10 hours. So how will our windows hold up? Their moment to shine is upon them...and we're eager to take them for a little test drive.

This hurricane will hit us this evening. And unfortunately, it's moving a bit slow at 8 mph, so it will probably be with us for a little while. I have to admit that I prefer daylight hurricanes (as if you could order your choice off a menu?). There's just something that makes the whole experience a bit more intense at night...the winds shrill louder and the unknown is a bit more "unknown".

Anyway, our home is going to be facing it's first real test. Too bad we won't be able to see all the action....