Monday, February 28, 2011


This weekend I embarked on my maiden voyage to the "Swedish House of Deals."  (That's a fancy way of saying I went to IKEA for the first time).  This may be a regular occurence for some folks, but for me it was an "event." 

The nearest IKEA is more than 2 hours away, so shopping there calls for a roadtrip!  It also means that since we're going ALL that way, it would only make sense to visit Ballard Designs, Frontgate and Grandin Road as well.  Luckily, I had 5 fun friends who were up for the adventure (and a night away from kids!).  On Saturday morning, my shopping companions piled into a minivan armed with coffee, overnight bags, wine, wallets, decorating ideas and dreams of great deals.  And away they went.

Unfortunately, I could not ride with them because I had to coach my son's basketball team.  I'm sure they really missed having me with them, because I am an awesome backseat driver.  Just ask my husband.

After my team won (Go Seahawks!), I hopped in my car and drove down there like a bat out of drove at 10 and 2, obeying all traffic laws until I met up with my friends at our destination.  They were kind enough to have shopped at other outlet locations until I was able to join them.  Word on the street is that IKEA is INSANE on Saturday, so we opted to shop at Ballard, Frontgate and GrandinRoad, and save IKEA for Sunday. 

The shopping gods were not favoring me on Saturday, but Rhonda scored two lighted topiaries from Ballard.  They were eventually dubbed "Lionel" and "Bertie" (from The King's Speech, which we saw later that evening)...

(Good thing I drove separately.  Looks like we're going to need the extra trunk space.)

After a great evening involving dinner, the movie, and the wine I mentioned earlier, we awoke ready to shop til we dropped. 

We approached the Mother of all Megastores ...

Got our carts and bags and hopped on the elevator...

And shopped til our carts were filled...

and our stomachs were grumbling.  We ended our Swedish shopping excursion with true international flavor... Swedish meatballs... Yum! 

Perhaps you are wondering what I brought home from IKEA, aside from indigestion.  Well, here are a few of my finds...

IKEA was a "great deal" of fun, and we got some great deals.  I would definitely venture there again.  Stay tuned for my next roadtrip to a completely different destination coming this Spring.

Also, I'll be back soon with an update on the bathroom remodel.  Dare I say we're getting close to the big reveal... 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mishaps, Mood Swings and Momentum

On Wednesday evening my 10-year-old asked me if I was sad.  I explained that I wasn't sad.  I was just frustrated by the remodel.  He said, "well, at least you have something to blog about."

It's true.  Through all the ups and downs of the remodel rollercoaster, blogging has helped me to put things in perspective and find the humor in otherwise annoying situations.  After all, if the remodel went off without a hitch it would be wonderful, but it wouldn't make a very interesting story.  So, I sat at my computer and tried to write about the day's events.

I tried to come up with an amusing way to tell you that I had spent a good part of the day painting one of the bathroom walls, because no one from the crew was here to do it, and the plumber was ready to install the tub against that wall.  I thought I'd title it, "If You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself."  But, try as I might, I couldn't take a light-hearted approach to that one.

I tried to craft a funny anecdote about how the painter (not me... the "professional" one) left a wet paint pan on top of a box containing my very beautiful and very expensive tub filler.  And about how we discovered said tub filler completely covered in paint.  And about how I spent an hour soaking the tub filler in warm water and scraping the paint from every nook and cranny with a tooth pick and still couldn't get it clean.  I don't know what was wrong with me, but the tone of the writing was more bitter than witty. 

I was in a bad mood and blogging couldn't change it.  I knew whatever I wrote about that night, I would end up regretting in the morning. 

Luckily, Thursday came along, and my mood lifted.  There seemed to be a surge in momentum on the job site.  Things were coming together again, and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Or, maybe I was just seeing the light because all the sconces and can lights were finally installed.

 My tub finally made it out of the box, and I'm happy to report that I LOVE it!

The paint that isn't on the tub filler made it's way onto the walls. 

And, though it's not nearly as glamorous as the tub, the toilet is now functional.

Despite the mishaps, my mood is better and I'm hoping the momentum continues.  TGIF and one more day til my IKEA roadtrip... YAY!  Have a great weekend :) 



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giveaway Winner and A Shocking Confession

I am so happy to announce the winner of the Whimsy Studios gift certificate...
Congratulations to Elizabeth, who wrote that she would love "A Latte Love."
Elizabeth, I hope Lori's art brings a smile to your face every day :)

And now...

Hold on to your $10 shower curtain, because I have a shocking confession to make.  I have NEVER been to IKEA.  I know.  It's risky to admit.  The blog police could show up at any moment and strip me of my blogging privileges.

Well, before they're on to me, I am road-tripping with some of my girlfriends to what we're referring to as the "Swedish House of Deals."   I've heard it can be completely overwhelming in there, so I'm trying to prepare ahead of time.  I'm going to go through my house to see what I could use, and then hopefully hunt down some good deals. 

I decided to do a little research on the IKEA website, and found some items that could work in my home.

I'm always on the lookout for a good storage basket.  I use them for everything... toys, magazines, hats and gloves, recycling.  I keep one at the bottom of the kitchen staircase for any of the boys' junk that belongs upstairs.  The idea is that they should carry it up and put the stuff away where it belongs.  Let's just say it works great, in theory.  I love this little IKEA basket...
Two of the boys' bedrooms have vanities in them.  (Apparently, another popular design choice in the late '80s.)  The set-up functions quite nicely, but there is white carpet in their rooms.  Boys, blue toothpaste, white carpet... enough said.  I think this rug would be great by their sinks to protect the white carpet from the inevitable. 

Although our two-day heat wave has come and gone and snow is falling once again, I'm in a Spring state of mind.  And, Spring means fresh cut flowers.  I'm hoping the peonies I planted last year will do well enough that I can cut them and bring them inside.  I adore these pretty little vases.

I'd love to hear from some seasoned IKEA shoppers.  What were some of your favorite finds?  What should I be sure to check out there?  Please leave comments soon, because we hit the road on Saturday.

Does anyone else hear IKEA... and think I I I Kea (sung to the Cha Cha Cha Chia Pet song)?  Or have I just gone 'round the bend?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cue the Crickets

Shhhh!  Do you hear that?  Nothing?  Do you know what that sound is?  That's the sound of complete silence coming from our master bathroom.  No hammers, no drills, no nail guns, no work being done.  I've been listening to that silence for 4 days, and I've got to tell you...  I don't like it.

In our house, there is always lots of noise ... children fighting, crying, and whining laughing, giggling, squealing with delight; mom yelling humming and whistling whilst she works; dog barking (and this week with a virus also coughing and gagging); piano and guitars being played, pots and pans being played; video games beeping and whirring; TV and iPods blasting.  One would think that quiet would be a welcome change.  And, believe me, when the remodel is complete, it will be more than welcome.  The only sound I want to hear when I am in my sanctuary is the peaceful water filling the tub.

But, until that day comes, bring on the power tools! 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go to my happy place for awhile.  Oh, I didn't mean to be rude.  You're welcome to join me.

Coastal Living
Ahhhh... Do you hear that?  That's the sound of complete silence.

Don't forget that you only have until 8pm tonight, February 21st to enter my giveaway, a $30 gift certificate to whimsy studios' etsy store.  Check out the details here!  Lori's art is guaranteed to bring you to a "happy place."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Crown Jewel

Every good bathroom remodel begins with a chandelier.  Okay, I know that's not exactly accurate.  However, I sort of fell in love with a chandelier and bought it before I even hired a contractor or had a design plan.

When my husband questioned the sanity of that decision, I said reassuringly, "Trust me, honey.  I know about these things, and the chandelier is really a necessity."  Wow!  Where did that come from?  It must have been my upbringing in that huge mansion with all its fancy light fixtures.  Except that the mansions I lived in were actually a 1970 ranch and a 1979 Colonial, and although I can't recall the exact lighting scheme in each bathroom, I do know neither involved anything dangling from the ceiling. 

So I guess my idea that a chandelier is essential in a bathroom must have come from these inspiration photos that I swooned over for months...

Lori Tippins

Brooke Giannetti

When I found my sweet chandelier at a local architectural antiques store, I knew I had to have her and work her into the room.  She has been wrapped up securely in a box in my closet for months, and today she was finally unveiled.  

Isn't she pretty?

I love her as much today as when I saw her hanging from the rafters of the old antiques place.

She is the little crown jewel of the room, and I can't imagine the space without her.  I love that she has a history to her, and that she'll have a long life ahead of her in our home. 

I had originally planned to hang her over the bathtub.  Unfortunately, that is against "code."  I guess at some point, some idiot must have filled up his tub, stood knee-deep in water and decided to change a lightbulb, and now we all have to suffer the consequences :)  

Just remember, if my husband ever asks... yes, it is completely normal to start a major remodeling project with the purchase of an antique chandelier.

(I'm linking to debbiedoos' newbie party.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Progress and Setbacks

Remodeling lesson #5,231:  Never, ever let the following words escape your lips... "The project should be done by the end of the week." 

Those words are the kiss of death!  Well, perhaps that's a bit extreme, but those words could definitely turn around and bite you, as they did me.  You see, Tuesday I was doing a happy dance and singing the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" in my head.  Everything was rolling right along in the master bathroom. 

The shower was grouted...

The carrara marble sills were installed...

The crown moulding went up...

My little guy was living every 2 year old boy's dream, peeking into the room and watching power tools in action...

The countertop and sinks were installed ...

The cabinetry was being completed...

EEEEEEKKKKKK.... (that's the sound of screeching brakes)... let's revisit the cabinetry, shall we?

Do you see a problem?  I didn't notice it right away, but the faucets are not centered between the two columns.  In fact, there is a good 4" difference on either side.  Ugh! 

Long story short, our cabinetmaker had made some changes to the dimensions of the bottom cabinets, but had not made the appropriate adjustments to the upper cabinet.  Sadly, the result is that my spacious 24" upper cabinet now must be replaced by an 18" cabinet.  I'm not thrilled, but I'm learning that when it comes to remodeling, some things that you hope will be perfect may just have to be good enough. Hmmm... that's becoming a bit of a mantra around here.

It's amazing how one small mistake sets back an entire project.  We have to wait for the new cabinet before the trimwork can be finished, before the painting can be completed, before the tub and plumbing fixtures can be installed, before the electrician can hook up all the light fixtures, before I can soak in the tub with a glass of champagne.

I thought I would be revealing the completed bathroom today, but now it looks as if it should be done at the end of next week  it will have to wait.

**GIVEAWAY REMINDER**  $30 gift certificate to whimsy studios' etsy store.

You still have until Sunday, February 21 at 8pm to enter.  Giveaway is open to everyone, whether you're a regular follower or just stopped by for the first time!

This print from whimsy studios really spoke to me this week ...

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My First Giveaway!

****The Giveaway Has Ended****

It's been just over a month since I started my bathroom remodel and blog, and I am so thankful to all of you who have been along for the ride! I appreciate all your sweet comments and encouraging e-mails.  You have been awesome to me.

To show my gratitude, I'm hosting my first giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive a $30 gift certificate to whimsy studios, courtesy of my dear friend, artist and illustrator, Lori McDonough.  Lori's whimsical art is fun, upbeat and heart-warming.  (Just like her!)

These are a few of my favorites ...

For the coffee lover...

If only I had a daughter, this would be hanging in her room...

This one makes me a little happier about doing housework...

This serves as a good reminder to me when I realize I've spent more money on my dog's meds than I have on the bathroom remodel...

Perfect gift for a dear friend...

Unique Christmas decor...

For that special someone...

A sweet sign of Spring, which we could use about now...

Giveaway Details...

The prize: 

A $30 gift certificate to Lori's etsy shop.

To enter:

1. Pop on over to Lori's etsy shop here, and pick your favorite art print. 

2.  Leave me a comment here telling me which is your favorite of Lori's prints.

3. If you would like an additional entry, please tweet, blog or facebook about the giveaway, and leave me a comment letting me know that you have done so.  

(Please be sure to include your e-mail address in your comment if your blogger profile doesn't include an e-mail address.)

Giveaway is open until February 21st at 8:00pm.  I'll announce the winner on February 22nd.  Until then, I'll leave you with Lori's words of wisdom...

Thanks again for being so wonderful to me.  Good luck!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Naked Truth (with photos)

I have to be honest.  I am afraid that my new shower could ruin my reputation.

When I tell people that our bathroom will have an "open shower," they don't fully grasp what I'm talking about.   The conversation usually goes something like this...

Them:  "Oh, so you won't have a door?"
Me:  "Right.  No door."
Them:  "Will you just have a wall that you walk behind?"
Me:  "No.  It will have two half walls, but it will be open."
Them:  "Ah.  So you'll just have frosted glass on top of the half walls?"
Me:  "No.  There won't be any glass.  We'll pretty much just be showering out in the open."
Them:  "Interesting."

And, by "interesting," I'm sure they really mean "Okay, crazy.  Didn't realize I was dealing with an exhibitionist."

Here are some photos of the shower as it is progressing...

Although there is tiling and grout and fixtures still to be done, the shower will be just as it is.  No door.  No glass. 

Now before you judge me, please know that this was not an easy decision to make.  When Dave the tile guy first suggested this shower design, I turned 3 shades of red, and told him emphatically that "I was not that kind of girl." 

However, after careful consideration, I realized that from a design and maintenance perspective, this shower was our best choice.  The bathroom is at the front of our house, and has two large, tall windows in it. (Now I really feel you judging me.)  There just was not a natural location for the shower that didn't close off the room or create a wall in front of the window.  I am not a fan of glass block, and I don't like cleaning glass, so the open shower seemed to be a good option.

Open showers are quite common in Europe, but apparently, we Americans are a bit more modest?  I know I am.  (I wear skirted bathing suits, people.) I won't lie and say it will be perfectly normal to shower in the open, but for the sake of good design, I'm willing to give it a go.

We have been known to have some peeping Toms in our neighborhood.  Just the other day, I caught this guy looking in our kitchen window.

But don't worry.  The shutters will be closed when the shower is in use.  I have no intention of frightening my neighbors.  And that's no lie.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Star Sighting

The Back Story

Just a few short months ago, I was virtually unaware of a place known to insiders as the "Blogosphere."  I knew that people wrote blogs, but I didn't "follow" any of them.  I didn't realize how many people were living in this parallel universe, writing posts about every imaginable topic.  The sheer number of home design/decorating blogs out in the Blogosphere is astounding!

Need to know the perfect color of black paint for your front door?  You can find it in a blog.  Want to create the perfect tablescape?  There's a blog to show you how.  Want to make curtains out of your old maternity clothes?  Someone in the blogosphere can help you do it.  Blogs are filled with before and after pictures, tutorials, and loads of inspiration.

It didn't take too much time in the land of blogs for me to determine that there are definitely some reigning queens of the Blogosphere.  They are the women whose blog name appears on every other blog; the women who have thousands of people following their blogs, recreating their design style and seeking their advice.  One blog that would definitely qualify for royal status is "Thrifty Decor Chick." 

My good friend and blog-enthusiast, Valerie, introduced me to the blog, "Thrifty Decor Chick."  Sarah, who is thee thrifty decor chick, shows readers how to create beautiful homes without spending a lot of cash.  She is witty and creative, and has a HUGE following. 

Valerie and I have had many conversations that began with, "Did you see that Thrifty Decor Chick did ...?; "Thrifty Decor Chick would probably do ...?"

The Sighting

I have 4 hours a week without any children at home, so this morning I decided to use some of that time wisely by cleaning my house, grocery shopping, heading to my local Home Goods store.  I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the store and immediately spotted my friend, Valerie, in the lamp section.  (Great minds think alike!) We chatted, perused the lamps together, and then parted ways.  I made my way over to the bath accessories (of course!), when I recognized someone else I knew.  I was about to say hello, when I realized that I didn't really KNOW this person... I just knew who she was.  I did a double take.  Could it be her?  Was it really one of the reigning queens of the Blogosphere?  Thrifty Decor Chick herself?  I ducked behind the shelf of dog beds, grabbed my phone, and called Val.  

"Thrifty. Decor. Chick.  Can you hear me?  Get to the back of the store. Stat."  At this point, a guy stocking the shelves began to eye me suspiciously.  (Nothing wrong here, buddy.  I'm just stalking someone.  Go back to your work.)  Val came over right away and the two of us began following behind the woman and confirmed to ourselves that she was indeed "the chick."  We took a moment to gather ourselves.  Val steadied her shaking hands, and I applied some lipstick.  We then approached her...

Sarah and Valerie

Sarah could not have been sweeter or more gracious.  (I'm calling her Sarah now, 'cause we're on a first name basis.  Although in my excitement, I'm not sure I ever told her my name.)  Val expressed that she loved following her blog and mentioned to her that I just started a blog.  Of course, being a shameless self promoter dork, when she asked me the name of my blog, I could barely answer audibly.  I felt like a chorus member in a 4th grade play telling Meryl Streep that I was an actor. 

It's a Small World

When talking with Sarah, I discovered that we graduated from the same high school and she knew my brother.  She said she remembered him as being smart.  (She was probably wondering how such a smart guy had a sister who was stalking people at Home Goods and could barely put together a sentence.) 

So the moral of today's story is this... although she is a queen and I, a mere peasant, the Blogosphere may just be a small world after all.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter White

Snow and ice have been falling all week.  Outside is covered in a coat of pure white...

And thanks to Sherwin Williams, inside the master bathroom is covered in a coat of "Pure White" ...

Goodbye yellow wallpaper.  Hello wainscoting.

We even got a sneak peak at part of the cabinetry that will be installed.

I love the way the white cabinetry looks against the blue floor tile.  (Even when the tile is covered in dust!)

Do not be alarmed by the cabinetry feet.  They haven't been attached yet.  We just stuck them under there to get an idea of how it would look.

So I'm wondering... if the wainscoting was painted "Pure White" and there was a snowstorm outside.  What will happen when the walls are painted "Sea Salt?"