Sunday, May 30, 2010

Love our mac

Yes, we've turned into a home of mac junkies. I don't really recall how it happened, but it's far too late to turn us back now (Mr. Big loves that store...). These skins from Karvt are actual wood and are available in loads of different wood species and stains. Fab!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ideas for costal decor - part II

I can't seem to turn the faucet off! In just browsing through some photos online, here are a few more decorating ideas for a coastal decor that just feel right.

These three pots of grass on the table are beautiful. I love the natural terra cotta against the dark wood. And white slip cover couches and chairs feel effortless. I suspect that the covers could be easily bleached and thrown in the washer in the case of little fingers. (Does anyone have experience with this?)

I love the spray of tall grass on the kitchen countertop. It give s a bit of volume with the high ceilings and again adds a natural element. The very modern piece of artwork is great in this room as well.

Similarly, the tub filled with lots of palm fronds feels "easy breezy", yet adds just a bit of depth. Imagine how dry this room would feel without them.

And again...palm fronds in a glass vase just couldn't be easier. I like the combination of a few on furniture and some on the floor.

Source unknown

Another example. Actually the consistent key appears to be just a few arrangements, glasses vases, and fronds (which you can now get in very lifelike silk versions for maintenance free living). And check out how cool this coffee table is with the big blown vases on top.

These are perhaps a wee too dramatic for everyday living, but could be good on the ground or would be bold as a centerpiece for a party.

Could you imagine having a hanging daybed on your front porch? Pillows and a mattress covered in Sunbrella would hold up to the elements. And while I probably wouldn't put the rug at an angle, it sure does add to the cozy feel.

Rooms with neutral bases can easily be updated by the season with pillows and throws. This quick dash of tangerine is quite fun.

Everything I've picked up above is probably very obvious to those of you doing coastal decor, but it's a bit neat for me to look at something new for a change. Any more sources for ideas on finishing touches? I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ideas for coastal decor

A good friend recently built a beautiful new house reminiscent of Diane Keaton's home in "Somethings Got to Give". They have beautiful grey wood floors, white plank walls and dark wood accents, including amazing beams across their ceilings. And of course, there is the gorgeous white kitchen with rough black granite countertops. For a family with two little boys, its completely liveable, with just the littlest touch of elegance to it. Although I'm not there to go shopping with her, I couldn't help doing a bit of etsy browsing on her behalf. Maybe something here will catch her eye.

We're starting a bit nostalgic, but I could really see these recycled Coke glasses in her kitchen, which is emphasizes family time. Imagine how cool her boys would find them, especially when friends come over. And when not in use, they would add just a peep of color and humor through her glass.

From etsy seller angelicglass

Keeping in the same vein, I could see a collection of blue glass jars in many places in her home. While it would be easy to put them in the kitchen, they could look great on shelves or countertops in their office, living room, or boys play areas. I think the key here would be to have 3 or 5 in varying color/shapes to make it look like a collection.

From etsy seller jwhite2

And for outdoor dinner parties, a modern table could be beautifully illuminated with some painted mason jars. Just enough to give a quiet nod to the kitchen inside.

From etsy seller alyssaettinger

These large pebbles make me think of the beach. A nest of these could be really cute on a bathroom countertop with family members names, or if more humor is desired, "wash up before dinner".

From etsy seller sjengraving

They have this great area outside their boys' rooms for them to congregate. They will soon be riding their bikes all over the street. This image reminds me of boardwalks and the big packs of bikes that you find outside seaside cafes. It would be great in a common area like they have. The modern aesthetic could appeal to mom and dad, while an image of bikes would likely never disappoint a 5 year old.

From etsy sellerbicyclepaintings

In the same vein, this photo of a beachside swing set would be great in a common area or playroom. It keeps with the nostalgic, youthful theme, while not getting too "goopy". It leaves a bit to the imagination. Can't you just imagine yourself there right now?

From etsy seller JP Greenwood

A sign like this would be really fun in the boys bathroom (which is shared). Or even better, put it next to a guest shower/bath and give your friends a good laugh. Another idea would be to put it above dog water bowls (even if outside). Maybe a bit corny, but I got a laugh out of it.

From etsy seller johnwgolden

A large black and white image of the two boys would also be great in a play space. It also has a nostalgic feel, without being to obvious or sugary sweet. There is no question that their two boys would have a great pic to turn into a great wall piece.

From etsy seller phunklab

Turning our focus to "big kids", these would be pretty pieces on a cabinet top, hanging on the wall, or on a side table. But be warned, I've found that Mr. Big ties to use these types of bowls to store things (mail and paper). The nerve! How dare he think that a bowl is for using... :). Nonetheless, I like how modern the first piece is. To make sure that the house doesn't get too beachy, a few items like this would keep balance.

From etsy seller steeltoehome

From etsy sellerisabelleabramson

Personally, I find that it's really nice to have a few natural elements to keep the house feeling fresh. Etsy seller floresdelsol always has something captivating on her site.

Etsy seller floresdelsol

Etsy seller stemsandthings

Returning back to the coastal decor, a few pretty shells always look nice in a wooden bowl or on a wooden tray. With youngsters in the house, clear tack may be necessary to keep them in place without breaking, but it would be worth it.

From etsy sellerblueroompottery

Or combine them on a table top with a few more modern vases and it will keep them from getting too beachy.

From etsy seller sarapaloma

As long as it's not overdone, a few pieces of coral also is dramatic. Similar to above, I would mix them in with some more modern elements. There are beautiful cabinets in her formal living room that are begging to be filled. However, sometimes these areas can be intimidating...if not done properly, the glass cabinets can look cluttered. A few pieces of coral, combined with some shell topped clear bottles would look right at home.

From etsy seller seashellcollection

From etsy seller seashellcollection

From etsy seller peacockstainedglass

Pillows are always good for a quick pop of color without a huge price tag. This pillow has a beachy feel without being too obvious. It could go on her current sofa easily to lighten it up and give just a hint of color to her living space.

From etsy sellerantracitproduction

With beautiful wood paneled walls, I would be worried about hanging artwork. It would have to be artwork that is worth potentially damaging the walls for (in my case anyway). While the kids artwork will likely be a bit more playful, more modern takes on coastal images can keep the house "current" (no pun intended).

Both from etsy seller AaronOverstreetArt

And after building their house from scratch, there is no doubt that they have a special feeling for the home that they have created. I love the idea of framing your front elevation plans or having a handprint of your street view on your walls. Go ahead and celebrate what you've accomplished! This again carries the nostalgic theme through the decor.

She has a stunning front entry to her house that is begging to be shown off. Nothing to fancy, but something that makes you feel happy when you walk in the home. Although the space is wider than what is shown below, I like the distressed table with a few special items on top. It wouldn't seem too difficult to have a piece custom made by a local carpenter for the space.

I love the lazy baskets below as well. Add a few sprays of eucalyptus in a tall glass vase for a natural element. Or the hydrangeas in the pail still carry out the casual theme.

From interior stylist Atlanta Bartlett

Above the table, I like the idea of framed sea fans. I saw this recently at the Catch restaurant at the Casa del Mar (see two posts below). Please excuse the personal photo, but the sea fans are framed behind me here. I loved the texture that they added to the room. They worked perfectly in the restaurant as it was right on the beach. However, they were really cool, rather than kitschy.

With the width of her entry, she could easily have two rows of three or four framed fans. With each one being slightly different, they really do look like pieces of art. How beautiful is this?

Sea fans available from etsy seller seashellcollection

So, I may have gone slightly overboard, but that's only because I wish I was there to have fun finding stuff for her house with her. Hope that there might be something in here that would work.

Anyone else have good resources for modern, yet coastal decor that she can look at?

Inspiration vs. Reality: Photo wall

While we're not totally there yet, our photo wall has been coming along.

Inspiration pic

Progress so far

For some reason, I was worried that our wall wasn't large enough for four shelves (not sure why because I measured it no less than eighteen times). Just a reminder for all the lovely ladies out there...sometimes its not best to go with your gut. Math really does work. The walls would be mangled if we adjusted them, so this is how they will stay.

To me, the larger frames on the lowest shelf looks better than the smaller ones on the top. If all frames were the size of those in the top row, there would probably be too much space between the shelves. But of course, larger frames means less pics...and what fun is that? Maybe once all rows have large frames, I can throw some of the smaller ones throughout.

Nevertheless, I love looking at it as I leave the house for work every morning (it's at the top of our stairs). I'd love to get thoughts or suggestions!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kitchen ideas for a condo

Recently we've been considering updating a condo (emphasis on considering). The budget is pretty small so we'll need to be resourceful.

Ikea cabinets immediately came to mind for a new kitchen. The poor guy in their kitchen showroom was stuck with me for hours, but we have some good ideas. And the best part was that our fab new kitchen cabinets would be less than $2k. Mr. Big initially wrinkled his nose about this possibility, but after viewing few of these beauties and a test run in their showroom, he was sold.

Ikea website

Living etc. April 08

Living etc. December 08

Designer Carol Reed has a great blog entry about using Ikea cabinets. She uses them quite a lot, but emphasizes not to go with an entire Ikea fit out (i.e. use other brand appliances and fixtures).

Any experience with Ikea cabinets?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, Ca.

Recently my brother got married at the Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. I must admit that I haven't spent a lot of time in Santa Monica and I wasn't too sure what to expect from the hotel. It's got a lot of history and the main areas have a bit of an art deco feel to them. And then they take you to your room...

Well, hello dolly! Treat me to an oceanview room that looks like this anyday. While certainly a bit more traditional than our typical style, Mr. Big and I fell right in sync with the hotel.

Darrell Schmitt Design Associates remodeled the hotel in the past few years...and certainly impresses. It's difficult to tell in the following photo, but the Catch Restaurant and Wine Bar, is a design dream. Covered in creams, pale blue, and natural accents, I was in heaven. It may seem odd, but they had some of the greatest chairs that I've seen.

Best of all? The staff of the hotel were fantastic. I'm not sure if it was because we were there for a wedding or what, but they took amazing care of us. Room rates definitely aren't cheap, but if you can get a promotion, it's not to be missed. I would definitely return for a little R&R in the future.

(PS. The runs on the beach in the morning were fab!)

Doing the dishes

Sometimes I secretly wish for a dish fairy to come and clean up after a meal. No, it's obviously never happened, but heck, what's the harm in wishing? Recently I found a little extra boost for this chore...Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, especially in her Geranium and Basil scents.

Not only are they all natural and clean like the dickens, they smell so good. No, not like that manufacturered apple smell. Like a candle...while you are doing the dishes!

Case and point. On Monday night, Mr. Big and I made a big bowl of popping-hot spicy chili. Being lazy (shocker I know), I left the dirty pan in the sink to soak with some of her Geranium scented dish soap. This isn't going to be a good reflection on me, but three days later I finally dumped the water (and other stuff) out to clean the dish. It still smelled good! Like really good.

Another time, I had a tradesperson call me back two days after finishing our job. Want to get paid? Nope. Forgot something at the house? Nope. He wanted to know what type of hand soap we had by our sink because it smelled so good. A tradesman!

Check your grocery shelves for this good stuff. There is an entire line of household products worth taking for a whirl. Let me know what scents you like and what you think!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Open kitchens

Just a few pictures to enjoy wide open kitchens