The Flooring Is In. [Wood Porcelain Tile]

And on the 104th day (yes, I did the math) the Lord said, “Let there be flooring.”

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And may I just thank Him for that?

Of course, I’ll go ahead and thank myself as well, because DAMNNNNNNN. That’s some fiiiiine looking floor!  I mean, once it’s grouted and cleaned up and finished, it’s gonna be fiiiine. This is just a little sneak peek.

If you are interested in using a porcelain wood tile product, I’ll go ahead and prematurely recommend, based on looks alone. Price ain’t too bad either. These are just in-stock Marazzi Montagna tiles from Home Depot in “Gunstock.”

We chose to do tile after our contractor pointed out (correctly) that after a flood ruined our wood floors, we were seriously delusional to consider wood again. I mean, God forbid we should have any water issues again, our insurance would *totally* drop us. However, I just don’t love a tile floor in the kitchen. We’ve always had wood. I have a hard time wrapping my head around tile.  Don’t get me wrong. Tile floors can be absolutely gorgeous. But for me? This whole entire house has wood floors. Some of them are even painted. Granted, they don’t match up very well, they are scratched and dulled as all get out, but still. They’re wood. I wanted the continuity. I wanted wood.

Then I saw this tile at Home Depot. I was all, “SAY WHAT NOW?” I purchased a sample piece and then promptly shoved it into the face of anyone who came through our front door, frantically asking, “WHAT DO YOU THINK?!?!!”  Luckily, I got the thumbs up from all queried.

So with my wood vs. tile dilemma solved, I began the obsessive compulsive google/Gardenweb internet forum/ Houzz research phase of the project. Obviously, I had nothing but time on my hands since this renovation didn’t want to begin, ever.  Anyway. One thing I didn’t realize I needed to know was that you want your tile to be laid like wood. I know. What? What does that even mean? Just lay it on the floor already! I’m tired of stepping on exposed nails and needing tetanus shots!!!  Ahem. Well, the point is, wood comes in random lengths. Tile does not. So you want your tile installers to lay the tile as if it does come in random lengths. Otherwise you get a very uniform (and artificial) look to your tile.  Kinda beside the point, right?

That being said, even though I discussed this with our tile installer, and he agreed, I found that three rows in, he was installing the tile in an “H” joint line– meaning the joints were lining up every other row. Apparently, this is not the proper way to install it if you want it to look like wood (thank goodness I had previously read that judgey and overly critical forum discussion in my obsessive late night porcelain wood tile research!). I just asked him if he could place it in a staggered pattern going forward- or in his words- “more crazy?”-  “yes, please”- and I think it looks great.  PS- I love how I use the term “H” joint like I have any clue what I’m talking about. Everything I know I learned on the internet.

Another thing I learned was that the smaller the grout line, the more your wood-look tile will look like, well, wood, and not wood-look tile.  If you look at old hardwood floors, you notice that the joint lines are darker than the flooring itself, so if you want to mimic this look with the tile as well, you should use a darker grout.  We (I am generously including Kase in these design decisions, but you can go ahead and read the “we” as “I”) asked for a 1/16″ grout line using the darkest brown grout we could find off the shelves. This was Mapei’s  “Chocolate” brown grout, which can be found at Lowes.  Similar dark grout can be found at Home Depot- but the “Sable” color was out of stock at our store and I’m impatient.  If you prefer a more contemporary look, go with a bigger grout line and lighter grout for added contrast.

The only issue we ran into was the transition between rooms.  Three different types of “wood” all meeting up- the wood tile, the old wood transition which was a honey oak plank, and the 100 year old 3 inch hardwoods in the family room. Wood floor party!  But no thanks.  I decided we’ll just bite the bullet and use a marble transition, rather than try to match up the old wood transition piece.  Since we’ll have the marble countertops, I figured what the heck. It will all tie in. Plus we have a pretty substantial door frame leading into the kitchen, and I think it will help to highlight the entryway. Well, that’s my story anyway. I’m sticking to it. And crossing my fingers. If you’ve got a better idea, lay it on me. Floor pun intended.

PS- If you edit this post about 30 times, the word “floor” starts to look really, really, weird. Seriously, read this 30 times. See what I mean?

The Low-Low Project

Have any of you been watching the show, “The High Low Project”  on HGTV?  I am obsessed.  I love how Sabrina Soto manages to create $40,000 rooms for a fraction of the cost. And of course, she uses tons of stuff from Target, West Elm and Ikea, so I can get down with that!

Around here, I like to call my house, The Low Low Project. I am a firm believer in the idea that if you have a child, there’s no real point in “investment pieces.” Also, I’m just not allowed to have nice stuff. It’s along the same lines as why I don’t gamble. I’m a sore loser. Similarly, if I were to own something expensive and it were ruined, I would kill myself. First, I would kill the person who ruined it. But then, I would kill myself.  And let’s face it: that is not the healthiest of attitudes. So, Ikea it is.

But. BUT. Have you seen this Ikea hack?  Have you?!?

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 That is a $70 black metal bookcase from Ikea. $70! They spray painted it gold. Geniuses. As you know, I love me some Ikea paired with antique brass spray paint. Hello, lover.

We certainly don’t need anymore bookcases around this joint, but there is something I have always wanted. Something that will make me a real grownup.

A bar.

Yup. I want decanters and highballs and all that crap. I want to basically live in an episode of Mad Men, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

We’ll start with the Ikea Vittsjo laptop table. It’s a mere $39, people. I mean, how can you *not* hack it for that price? Which we will do by taking our tried and true Krylon spray paint in Gold Leaf and spraying that sucker down to resemble a gold leafed console table. And then top it all off with some accessories and we’ve got a bar. Place it under our Ikea Grundtal mirror which we also spray painted and we’ve got an insta-bar. Sweet!

Now, I just need to turn Kase into an alcoholic so he understands how badly we *need* this.

Black and White and Red All Over. Or Pink Here and There. Whatever.

Back when I was mocking up new rooms for Colin and still using his crib as a jumping off point, I created a couple of modern and bold nursery mood boards. I wasn’t planning on sharing them since I would not be implementing them myself and really, I just created them for fun, but then a couple of people asked me online if I would share some other ideas.  Working off of the Olin Rug from Crate and Barrel which I still love, I took it a step further and decided to create a modern, graphic nursery that while pretty bold, can be gender neutral:

Rug/ NYC Print/ Crib/ Stool/ Poster/ Bookcase/ Glider/ Pillow/ Throw

I love that Ikea footstool- it’s a perfect way to incorporate the whole cowhide trend that seems to be a hit right now.  And I still love that ABC print, which is from Ikea as well- I loved it when I was pregnant with Colin. So graphic. And hey, when they get to be Colin’s age now, that’s just a little less time you have to sing the ABC song. Ad nauseum.

An important note: pretty much everything can be sourced at IKEA. Which for all you soon to be new parents out there? Is a good thing. Trust you me. Diapers and formula will bankrupt you soon enough. Keep it affordable where you can.

Now, while I love black and red as a graphic combination, for those of you with little ladies on the way, I went ahead and mocked up another option, using the grey Olin rug with some sweet girly accents:

Rug/ Crib/ Pillow/Throw/ Picasso Dog Print/ Bookcase/ Glider/ Stool/ Audrey Print/ DIY Poms

God, I love that Audrey print. LOVE IT. I need to have a little girl. Or decorate someone else’s little girl’s room. Any takers???? Call me. No, seriously. I’ll work for free.

To recap, I used a  lot of the same elements in each room, a mix of items from affordable places like IKEA, West Elm and Crate and Barrel (but mostly, IKEA), because, let’s face it: This could merely be the first in a long line of bedroom re-do’s for your kiddo. If you’re anything like me.

Actually, each of these rooms can easily be transitioned from a nursery as you kid grows. In fact, I would love that pink room myself. I would. Unfortunately, I am married. And my husband keeps talking about this word “compromise.” Blah blah blah.

So what do you think? Would you ever go for a bold nursery?

I changed my mind.

So I changed my mind. That’s my prerogative, and I’m allowed. Also, I blame the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.

My first mistake was not throwing it out immediately, which is usually what I do, but now that most of my shows have finished for the season, I’m a little light in the DVR. So I saved the Pottery Barn catalog and took a little look see the other day. And Colin decided to join me. And then he picked out his big boy room.

I swear that is exactly how it happened.

Given that we will most likely be moving Colin to a “big boy bed” within the next 6 months, it didn’t make sense for me to plan a room  scheme around the color of his crib. He gets to be a little boy once. A little boy who happens to be obsessed with cars.  So I took that and ran with it.

Theirs: 

Mine:

rug/daybed/shelf/car/airplane kazoo/vw bus poster/ parking sign/ monaco poster/ quilt

I really love the Pottery Barn Madras quilt and have loved it for a while. And while I am usually not a huge fan of using primary bold colors, it is fitting for a little boy’s room. Colin is already the proud owner of that sweet red speedster. He rides it all around the house, both backwards and forwards, so I thought it would be fun to tie that into the design, and I was very happy to find that Monaco poster above. I love vintage inspired posters, and Kase and I have a soft spot for VW busses – one day we want to own one.   And I got the idea of the parking sign from the inspiration picture above. Did you know you can order custom parking signs? And not pay a million dollars from Pottery Barn kids? I love the internet.

This is a longer term plan.  I will slowly begin to source and accumulate things, since we’re not made of money. And I just want to reiterate, it wasn’t my fault. If you had seen Colin tear through that catalog (literally) yelling “Car! Truck!” you would have signed right up too.

So what do you think? Perfect for a little despot? Also, I’m always drawn to white, but also considering the high gloss red for the bookcase. Thoughts? The new high gloss options from Ikea are really quite nice. And did you know you can now pay a fee ($99) for them to pick out and deliver your order?  We’re in trouble now.

The Fox and the Hound(stooth)

Houndstooth is so very in right now. Just ask Lady Gaga:

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Not overdone at all. Not even the nails, or the special cue cards she had made for her use while hosting the view.  There can never be enough houndstooth. On this, the Lady and I agree.

Especially when it shows up in an unexpected place. Like your floor:

Or even better for those of us who like a nice subtle print?

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Be still my taupe-loving heart. I want it. I think I am totally due for a “Thanks for being such an amazing wife present”, don’t you? I mean, this is sweet and all, but let’s think beyond leaving me sweet little nothings on the fridge using chewed on magnetic letters, kay?

Awww, that's sweet honey. But say it with a new rug.

If you are into the traditional and very graphic black and white houndstooth, I found this one on sale. Jonathan Adler also has his own design, too. God help me.

Painted Floors

Back in July when Kase and I were at the cottage in Maine, we purchased a new rug for the living room.  We thought we had taken the correct measurements, but as you can see below, notsomuch:

Your eyes do not deceive you. Whoever decided to paint the floor maroon, decided to do so *around* the existing rug.  And I thought I was the laziest person in my family. Guess not. (Also, your eyes do not deceive you. That *is* a brown plaid couch. At a beach cottage.)

When my aunt and uncle stayed at the cottage after we left, they took a sample board to the paint store and had that 50 year old maroon paint matched in order to finish off the floor, so no more floorboards peeking through. It’s nice and crisp now, and even though it’s maroon, it works.

Which got me to thinking about the popularity of painted floorboards nowadays. Check these out:

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So the floors are done, but we still have a fugly couch. Er, what I mean to say is, when I was up in Maine at the tail end of last week visiting my parents, my mom and I picked out a new couch to replace the gorgeous brown plaid pull out. Shocking, I know. First things first, we need to get rid of the existing couch before the new couch can come and live with us and keep the maroon floor company.  New kids need to stick together, right?

Lucky you though, if you live in Maine, you can pick that puppy up for FREE!  We listed it under Free on Craigslist, but if you have any other ideas of how to get rid of that beast (other than paying $100 for 1-800 Got Junk to come and take it away) do let me know!  The new couch comes Wednesday!

Trailer Trash

When I was growing up, my older brothers and sisters liked to joke that I was picked up at a K-Mart as a “Blue Light Special” – which I thought was awesome. I mean K-Mart is rad. It’s where I got my jellies every summer. And my Lee Press-On Nails. It’s also family lore that when I was about 6 years old, I told my parents that when I grew up I was going to drive a Fiero. That, or a Trans-Am. No Beamers for this chickadee. Only fine American-made autos for me, thanks.  And I had a belly button ring at one point as well (though, that was when I was a bit older. Not during the jelly -wearing, Fiero-dreaming years). You can go ahead and say it: I was trashy. And yes, I did grow up in New Jersey. How did you know?

But the point is, ain’t no shame in the trashy game.

I could totally see myself living in a trailer, for example. I’d fix it up real nice-like.  And I will admit, I like the inherent ability to just pick up and move whenever the fancy strikes me. After all, we have moved at least 5 times in as many years. Now, don’t get me wrong, my particular mode of transport would have to be an Airstream. I’m no dummy and appreciate classic style.  But I mean, it’s still living in a trailer.

But I believe you need a special license to drive a trailer, right?  And since I just took my fourth trip to the DMV within a month, I am loathe to return just to grab myself a special C-Class license, or whatever trailers require.  So when I spotted this hotel, I knew I could get down. It combines two things I like- Travel and Trailers.

Do you see what I see? I spy with my little eye……

Dudes, it’s a friggin Rooftop Trailer Park!!! And it’s in Capetown South Africa, at a little hotel known as “The Grand Daddy”.  I’m. In. Love. Sorry, Kase. Move on over. There’s a new Daddy in town. (Gross….)

Check out more of the eye candy:

Yes, I’d like to go to there.

Family Style

Just sharing some of my “Pins”. I’m dreaming of a new and improved  family room. Calm soothing colors, clean and clear surfaces. NOT a cramped family room with alphabet letters all over the rug, a stroller in the corner and laundry waiting to be folded. A girl can dream, right?

Ahhh. Just looking at these rooms makes me calmer. Now where did I put my blinders?

ABC+MAP= LOVE

We all know I have a little obsession with world maps. And that I am forcing this appreciation onto my son.  I can’t help it. Using maps and globes is such a simple way to decorate.  So when I saw these over at Urban Outfitters, I knew I had to have one.  Perhaps the letter C?  Yes, please!

I also love the “You might also like” feature down below there. Yes, I do like! Thanks for the suggestion!  I’ll take three of those globes, please.  Rut ro. Trolling the interwebs is always trouble. Trouble I tell ya.

Birthday party inspiration

One of my favorite things to look at on Ohdeedoh is the amazing and creative birthday parties readers create for their children. I wish I had an ounce of their creativity, but the pictures are seriously inspiring. I won’t be doing anything even close to this for Colin’s birthday (I know my limits), but  check some of these out:

How great is this for a little dude?  I love robots and little boys. Colin? Not so much. Hasn’t taken a shine to them as of yet. But I will continue to force the issue. I mean, cmon!  Robots are so fun!

I love the simplicity of this party.  And I doubly love that sweet little flag banner. I do want to make a flag banner that we could use every year. It’s sweet and simple. Love it.

O.M.G. Stop it right now. Look at those tiny little mustaches!  The theme of this party was “Little Man”. ADORBS.  Is it too late to decide on a theme for the party?  And to figure out how I can copy those invitations? Obviously, my other favorite part of this is the Cafe Du Monde canisters they placed the mustaches and ties in. Too cute. That Beckett’s got great style.

This theme is simple and genius!  And we all know I love an orange party.

Going to the Source

I stopped into one of my favorite stores the other day- Paper Source- in order to pick up some elements for somebody’s first birthday party invitations. I’ll get to those later, but in the meantime, I spotted these:

Sorry for the poor quality of this iphone photo. Apparently, the despot is not a fan of paper stores. He’ll learn it’s futile to resist.

Anyway, you all know how much I love a vintage inspired calendar, not only to use as a calendar, but also as wall art.  Remember this project?  Before the bird calendar, I used a $20 vintage travel ad calendar I got on sale for $10 and created about 10 different pieces of wall art using the cities which we had visited together, which I framed in gallery frames picked up from Michael’s and Ikea.  Then when we moved to our condo, we chose one that we liked best to display in our kitchen area.  You can *kind of* see it in the background here. Pretty ironic considering not even two years later, we were off to Boston:

These are on sale on the website for about $20 each.  Super affordable art if you are in the market. I personally love the botanicals (great for a dressing room or bathroom) and the vintage scooters (perfect for a bachelor pad- but not in a liquor ad kinda way). So get on over to the Paper Source and make some cheap art!

What I’m loving in Lonny

It’s always hard to choose, because Lonny, next to Better Homes and Gardens, is one of my favoritest inspiration magazines ever. I just love to flip through and take it all in. I love how they mix high and low- modern and classic and traditional, neutral and colorful and monotone. Here’s what I am loving in Lonny this month:

Making the Bed

So you may remember my child slept in a closet? And then he didn’t?  Well, that left us with a closet. A closet with no shelving, mind you, but a closet nonetheless. Which we had to make functional again.  So we did.  Months ago. And I am a bad blogger, because I never shared that with you.

So we had the management office come back and install our shelves again, and we were able to move our clothes back into the closet. But first, we had to brainstorm about what to do with the items that were formerly in the Nurfice (office/nursery) such as the desk. Oh yeah, that.

We ultimately decided to dismantle the desk and use the filing cabinets as bedside tables, and move the dressers into the closet.  Remember where I got that idea?

Now to be honest, this all happened months ago.  But I kinda lost steam.  And then I noticed I never made the bed in the mornings and was always shutting the door to the closet because it was a disaster in there after we threw all our clothes onto the shelves.  Let’s just say it was not a restful place. I literally would walk in and shut off the lights and immediately go to sleep. That’s not good people. That means you don’t like the space. It means you hate it. Just sayin’.

So I finally got my act together, cleaned up the closet, made the bed, switched out some artwork and now? I really like it.  Wanna see?

Just a reminder of how it all looked before:

And now? It looks like this:

To break it down for you, I did a couple of things.  We kept all the same linens, but I replaced the “Sparrow” shams and added three large Euro pillows with plain white pillowslips from Ikea.  Easy Peasy. I then added my favorite color scheme to the room (grays, taupes and white) by mixing up some pillows I already had and adding in some new ones from Target.  Love that felt bow pillow!  Am I alone in thinking it’s cute? Oh well.

The other major change was to move the former bedside “tables” (really, Ikea Malm dressers) to the closet and replace those with the Pottery Barn Bedford file cabinets.  The Malm dressers were placed in the closet and add great storage and style to the closet. It almost looks like a custom built closet. But not.

Lastly, I switched out the too-small frames for other kinda too small frames above the bed. I printed out some black and white photos from our wedding and put those puppies in there. Free art is awesome. Free black and white professional photos? Even awesomer.

And for those of you out there who are into looking at other people’s closets? Here ya go:

Guys, I gotta tell ya. There is something about a well made bed and a clean organized closet. I head downstairs to the bedroom early now and read in bed at night. I like to spend time there. Which is a shame really. Because I have no desire to step outside of my air conditioned shangri-la to enjoy this:

Eye Candy [beach houses]

Our beach house is really just a cottage, built way back at the turn of the last century.  Up until a few years ago, most cottages were similar in that they were not winterized and were considerably older structures.  Now? Not so much.  It takes away a little of the charm for me (no more single story cabins with knotty pine paneling!), but some of these houses sure are purty to look at:

What I love about this house is that obviously, beyond being gorgeous, it has an unobstructed view of the ocean. I also love how they allowed the beautiful wildflowers to just grow on their (side) yard. You may not know this about me (but it will soon be clear), I am a sl*t for grey wood shingles and white trim.  And lastly, my very favorite part?  That coral red door!  I die.

Grey house with white trim? Check!  Lime green door? CHECK! Marine porch lamps? You slay me, house. Slay me.

Yes, it’s another grey house with white trim. But what I love most about this house? The little custom deck for the red adirondacks that overlook the ocean. Well played, house. Well played.

Surprise! Grey house and white trim! But wait, what do I see here? Wrap around porch? I want!

Not too shabby, huh? One day I would like to own a house with this view:

That’d be the life. In the meantime, I’ll just pretend.

Pixel Impressed

As you know, I like to shop. But more than that, I like to share fun shops I find.  Whether it was on my road trip to Kennebunkport or in New Orleans, I always try to share what I like to call Eye Candy.

When I visit a shop, one thing I always try to do is explain that I write a blog and would like to write up the store, and I always ask before I start snapping photos.  Some people are open to the idea, and sometimes, they aren’t. What makes it harder is explaining what I do exactly to people who aren’t familiar with blogs.  I always end up writing down my information (name, blog address, etc) so that they can check it out for themselves.  Which seemed, I don’t know, amateur.  So I decided it was time for a calling card:

To say I love it is an understatement.

I found Pixelimpress on Etsy.  Pamela has tons of designs- as you can see, her card is the Ikat print she offers. How cute is that? I was torn between stripes, chevron print or the Ikat. And forget choosing a color- I went safe just because I figure I will definitely order more in the future. You have a choice of design, type, font color and wording.   Pamela also has a blog– check it out!

So now that I’ve got a handy little card to hand over, where should I go next?  Got any suggestions?