Ready to cozy up by the fire

September 7, 2010

As the weather begins to cool down and the season changes from summer to fall, I am really glad we decided to add a fireplace to our first floor living space.  It hasn’t gotten cold enough yet to light it up (and I’m grateful – I’m not ready to give up summer yet!) but when the temp drops enough, we’ll be ready!

I posted a couple of pics during the early stage of install: Fireplace and Fireplace (part deux).

The FINAL touches were put in place about a week ago.  Our mantle has been installed!  I love the way it turned out. We were lucky – our contractor found a remnant piece of Caesarstore in Raven, which was one of our preferred favorites when we were scouting our options.  So we were able to save money and still get a great look. Yay!

Caesarstone mantle in Raven


AND – my shelves were installed up top to create finished bookshelf cubbies! I’m so happy! With the mantle in place, I have lovingly dusted out all of my bookshelf cubbies and filled them up with a bunch of my favorite books for a bonus splash of color and interest.  I LOVE the way they turned out.  I totally recommend to anyone installing a fireplace in their home to think about adding some storage shelving into what would otherwise be wasted space.


Pretty + organized functionality = very happy me.



Fireplace (part deux)

July 27, 2010

Last week, Ayesh was in LA for work and it was an uber busy week for me at home. I furiously worked to put the bathrooms in order (finally!), catch up on laundry and chase rapidly multiplying dog-fur dust bunnies around with the Swiffer.

Oh yes, and witness the fireplace come to life with the final placement of drywall, tape, mud and primer.

As Stacy London would say of any fabulous transformation, “bonjour!”




July 16, 2010

One of my favorite features of the new house is the fireplace we’re having built in the front part of the livingroom. Because the main staircase borrows some living space at the front of the house, it makes this already cozy entry a perfect den, suitable for big arm chairs to curl up in, in front of the windows, on any evening. Plus, both of us have always wanted to have a working fireplace in our home. This one is gas – very urban living friendly.

We got it installed roughly right before our move and our crew has been framing it in and drywalling around it on a couple of occasions since. They were at the house working on it today, in fact. Here are some photos from last week. I’ll have to post the updates later as I am now heading directly from work to the Container Store to finish designing my Elfa closet system that I want for the bedroom. More on this another time 🙂



2nd coat of bleach on floors last night, poly tonight!

May 5, 2010

I haven’t been able to go in the house for the past two days!  Monday morning I stopped by and saw that the floors were freshly sanded, so I didn’t dare step in with my dirty tennies. 

The white oak got it’s first bleach treatment Monday afternoon, and the floor guy came back last night to do the second coat.  I peeked through the back glass sliding door this morning, and it looks incredible.  The yellowy color that stood out after they were freshly sanded is softly muted down under the whitish gray of the bleach and they look kind of “beachy” and relaxed to me.  I love it.

I think they get the first coat of poly tonight, and from what I hear, we’ll have to wait two days before it completely hardens and we can walk on them.  Which means that our kitchen cabinets, that have been sequestered to the dark and dreary garage, may actually see the light of day and earn their rightful place inside the house next week!

Meanwhile, the upstairs bathroom vanities are being installed, and the ipe is going into the master bath.  I hope to get some photos tonight if I can get in through the back stairway.  Oh, the anticipation!

Me and Ayesh peeking in the glass door at the bleached floor


1st floor bath partial reveal

April 30, 2010

Like I did with the master bath, I wanted to share an idea of the transformation of the first floor bathroom to date.  Even though the primary bath in the house had received an update at some point in (I’m guessing) the late 80s – it was a sad little beige blah. 

From being smack-dab in the center of the first floor, we moved the bathroom to the back of the house, near what was to become our new back entrance – and which will likely be a primary daily entrance and exit once we move in and begin parking in the garage. 

Hello quick and easy potty run and “last potty outs” as my mom says.

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Siding inside…

February 13, 2010

Uh, yeah.  All of our siding is inside the house.  Mother Nature has really not been very cooperative lately.  She obviously doesn’t realize that I would REALLY like to change the appearance of my house from ghetto-demo to shiny and new – at least from the outside.

Here’s a teaser:  dark slate gray cement board siding (AKA Hardie siding which is waterproof, more environmentally friendly than vinyl, can withstand significant winds, rain, hail and is extremely fire resistant).  We’ll match the main trim but frame out the windows with white for a nice bold contrast.

Someday.  We’ll do this someday.  Hopefully soon.  I guess I should be thankful that we don’t have 40 going on 70 inches of snow piled up on the house right now (sorry D. C.).  And I am. But I’m selfish and impatient and I want it done now.


Floorplanner fun

November 23, 2009

After searching and searching, I found my newest, most favorite tool on the web.  For anyone planning out a new space, reconfiguring a remodel, or simply inspired to move furniture around, I recommend checking out  

This FREE online resource is super easy to learn to navigate.  After only a couple of hours, I have a nearly complete draft floorplan of my ground floor.

Ground floor in 2D

I’ve been using graph paper, pencil and ruler for the past week, trying to accurately draw out the first floor so that Ayesh and I can really start to get down to the business of designing our kitchen, determining furniture placement (and thus junction boxes for the dining room chandelier, for instance), and figuring out electrical wiring needs.  I’ve used Better Homes & Gardens’ Arrange-A-Room tool before, also FREE, and although it is a good tool for very simple furniture arranging, it does have limitations in terms of multi-room design and customization.

Ground floor in 3DAlternatively, there are so many great things about the floorplanner tool.  You can split walls, create arches, insert any number of different kinds of windows and doors, as well as stairway configurations, and this is the first tool I’ve found where you can design in 2D and then view your plan in 3D from a whole 360 degree of angles.

Ground floor in 3D

I also love that I can customize many of the finishes for the pieces that I select and insert into the basic frame.  For example, Ayesh and I are considering a white-washed hard wood floor look.  I was able to select a wide-plank hardwood and customize the color to a look close to one we are thinking would look cool.  Additionally, knowing that we already have a number of pieces of furniture, I plugged in the dimensions for several of those (like the couch, seen below) and was able to place it for a relatively accurate sense of what the space would look and feel like.

Ground floor in 3D

You can also adjust the elevation for pieces, like a wall-mounted television, for example, or kitchen upper cabinets (which I’m still figuring out exactly how to create) and the television, which we want to mount to the wall opposite the couch.

So much fun!


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