Saturday, January 31, 2009

living room rug

Here are the window treatments we're thinking for our family room (from Ballard Designs). I really like the grosgrain ribbon detail. Though I hope to make some of the other window treatments for the house, there are certain rooms where we need something up immediately for privacy. I'm happy with these for the family room.
We're leaning towards these slipper chairs (also from Ballard) in the family room to provide additional seating. We can order it in a cream color sunbrella fabric which is extremely stain resistant.
Here's the accent chair we've already purchased.

Today we took a rug sample (from Crate and barrel) to the store to try to see if it might work with the sofa and accent chair fabric. While the colors are complementary, we ultimately decided that it was just too much blue and too busy.

We're now leaning towards this area rug for the family room. It's less expensive and fully reversible. I think it will be beautiful with the pieces we've already purchased.. thoughts?

Powder room vanity

Here it is for real. We had to stop at the cabinet place to confirm the hall bath vanity and I was able to stap a photo of our exact vanity (they sold us the floor model at a discount!).

Here's a close up of the countertop.

Here you can see the farmhouse sink.

So it's all in one place- these are the sconces that will go on either side of the mirror.
And here are the shades that will go on each of the sconces.

Kitchen island

Look at the beadboard in the back of our island. I'm also thrilled with the way the supports turned out and love the trim along the top of the cabinets.

Bedroom setee

We just purchased this settee for our bedroom! Two chairs were just going to be too big and neither one of us loved the idea of doing a desk there. We found this a couple of weeks ago, hugely marked down and it's been in our minds ever since. When it was still there today and the measurements worked, we took it as a sign and bought it!

Many thanks to our dear friends who will store it in their home for us until our move in date. It's pretty funny how many pieces of furniture we have scattered around-- a farmhouse table on a friend's sunporch, the dining chairs being delivered to my inlaws, a rug in M.'s choir room.... It will be a fun day running around collecting it all.

I'm thinking I can sew some pretty throw pillows to break up the monochrome a bit....

Friday, January 30, 2009

nightly progress report

A couple photos from last night.

For the floors, 12x12 carrera with a basketweave border. The basketweave will also be the floor in the shower.

For the shower walls, the same 12x12 but with a subway tile border going around to break it up.

There was a giant mound in the middle of the back bedroom, M. swung the flashlight over and I lifted the dropcloth-- paint! (well, primer) so that must be coming soon.

This is not a good photo, but it's our soap dispenser and kitchen faucet inside our beautiful Shaws.
Looking forward to Saturday to focus in on more home stuff. Not too much time to spare when we're working- so Saturday is our day. On the high priority list is floor stain, LR area rug, ceiling fans, and exterior lights. We also have to stop by the cabinet place to confirm the hall bath vanity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

more kitchen progress

They started the moldings on the top of the cabinets. Looks beautiful...

Also, our Shaws farmhouse sink is in place!!! Boy is it something to behold-- stunning. I'm just over the moon about it.

I'm just overwhelmed with happiness about this house. I told M. that I feel like the little kid that woke up at 3:30am on Christmas day and peeked under the tree. Now I'm lying in bed, knowing that the dreamed of new bicycle is sitting there along with a bunch of other treasures that Santa brought.... just completely overwhelmed with the anticipation... and gratitude... and excitement....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

kitchen cabinets

I'll let the photos do the talking tonight... because I'm about speechless at this point. The more progress is made, the more surreal it all is. The kitchen cabinets are going in and they are gorgeous.
View from behind the island-- as if your back is to the refrigerator. I love the bookshelf above the desk-- perfect for cookbooks and the pull out drawers in the pantry closet are beyond my dreams. In the old house our kitchen was a tiny corner. Our "Pantry" was on wire shelving that was on exterior shelves down to the garage. You also had to go down those garage stairs, through the garage, to get to the laundry room (actually the utility room with a W/D in it). More than once the laundry basket would send a can of soup rolling down the steps and, stooping to pick it up, I'd drop clean clothes onto the dirty, cold garage floor. To have our pantry and laundry all inside is just incredible...
Here's the view from the dining room. The stove will be in that empty space beyond the island. Desk is to the left.

Close up of the desk/pantry area.

Another view from the dining room. The empty space in the island is where our microwave will go.
View from the other side of the dining room into the kitchen. The hood surround is beautiful-- I'm so glad that linen white worked out for us!

Meanwhile they are busy hanging doors. When I left this evening around 6pm, Jay(?) was still working on these. This is the view entering through the front door. To the left are the pocket french doors into the music room. Straight ahead are the mini french doors into the kitchen. I love the ORB hinges-- can't wait until we get door knobs.
They are templating for soapstone on Thursday and the painting might start ahead of schedule because the kitchen install should be done(!!) tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

cabinet install begins

I joked with M. tonight that we're going to have to tell our builders to slow down because I'm getting overwhelmed and simply awe-struck. When we walked into the house last night all my giddy excitement again quieted and I was aware of my heart beating. Alan had called me earlier in the day to report that our kitchen cabinets had all arrived and were being installed, three guys where there working on the trim, and he would be meeting with the painter to talk schedule and believes that the painting should all be done by valentine's day. We talked door stops and floor stain and I told him how thrilled we were with the progress, even admitting that I had woken up at 4:30am unable to go back to sleep because I was filled with excitement that our kitchen was arriving.

It is so bizarre and wonderful to see all our cabinet frames in our house! One gets a sense of how that space will feel when it's built in. They leave the doors for the very end so they don't get dinged up, but the one thing we could see (mind you, with a flashlight) was the hood cover and it is GORGEOUS:
I am happy and relieved that linen white looks like the perfect choice!

Here's looking into the kitchen. M. walked over to the corner cabinet and said, "I mean this surface alone is how much bigger than any counter space we've had, ever?" The big box to the right is, of course, where the refrigerator will go. The trim will bring the cabinets all the way to the ceiling.

And the windows are almost all trimmed out. Here's in the family room:
...and here's in our master bedroom. The beauty of the trim does not come through in these photos. It is stunning.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

two of my heros

Okay, so these guys were not so keen on being photographed. They were too modest and too hard at work today (saturday!).... So these aren't the best photos, but I wanted to post these anyway because they are currently two of my favorite people in the whole world. They, along with our incredible architect, Brian, are responsible for rebuilding our house. Here is Anthony, cutting some of the molding to trim out the windows:

And this is Alan, hiding behind the saw, with dear husband (right).

I can't say enough good thing about these guys.... I told them that things started looking up for us once we met them, and it's true. They are masters at what they do. It amazes me how they've coordinated this build-- from the ordering and delivery of material to scheduling the subcontractors, and meanwhile always being available for our questions/concerns. They have put up with my... uh... attention to detail. They have, thus far, brought the massive project in ahead of schedule and under budget. They are also just amazing people-- truly at the end of all of this, I hope we can call them friends. It seems we share similar taste in home stuff- which is reassuring on this build, but also I think they share our sense of humor and love of life. We have utmost respect for their work ethic but I also feel a keen sense of affection for these two-- they are putting their hearts and their hard work into making this house into our home. They are building the spaces where we will celebrate holidays, where we will entertain friends, where we will raise our family, where we'll call home for many years to come..... It's a pretty special thing and I hope even after our build is complete these guys will come hang out with us!

all in a day's work.

We had a long, but productive day today. About to have dinner, but here's the quick run down:

We went down to Gardenstate Soapstone and chose our actual slabs for our kitchen counter top. One is honestly more beautiful than the next, but we knew almost immediately when we saw this one. They had oiled down the stone for us previously so this time they just sprayed it with some water so we could get an approximation of the veining. When I uploaded this photo tonight, it made me laugh because you can see our reflection. Anyway I'm really enthused about our soapstone-- one more (big) decision down!

Another decision we have ahead of us is floor stain. We would like to go on the darker side, but not too dark or too red. Our neighbors recently did a large remodel; we loved their floors and they were kind enough to let us stop by today to have another look, with our fan deck in hand. Here is their adorable daughter (our new floor designer!) posing with our fan deck. We're currently between "English Chestnut" or "red Mahogany". Ironically of the two, "English Chestnut" appears more red. Anthony and Alan (our builders) said they can put a portion of each on the floor when the time comes (soon!) to help us decide.

Alan and Anthony were at the house today starting at 7am-- hanging doors and working on the trim. They were still at work when we stopped back at the house at 5pm. Here's one of the windows all trimmed out. It looks amazing....

And here are two of the doors-- this is in our master bathroom....
It's incredible how quickly things are moving at this point. Tomorrow (sunday!) the spackle guy will be back to complete the kitchen because on Monday our kitchen cabinet install will begin. Alan said he expects that Jay (from gardenstate) will come up around Wednesday of this week to template for the soapstone-- meanwhile they'll continue to install trim and the tile guys will start soon. My head is just spinning with it all... and M. and I are trying to focus in on replacing the things in the claim which were highly depreciated-- everything from mattresses and furniture to a vacuum, television, artwork....
The plan is five weeks from tonight we'll be home. I have to pinch myself to believe it at times.....

something to stand on

We were actually speechless as the door swept open to reveal..... our hardwood floors! A. (our builder) had called me at the office around noon and I said, "Hey I heard the floors are going in today?" He responded that they were already done-- they had five guys over at the house starting early and they were finished by noon! I was giddy with excitement heading over to the house with M. after work... but seeing the floors was weirdly overwhelming. M. said his heart was pounding as we walked around and we only spoke to one another in the hushed tones you might use in a large cathedral. (Usually we're laughing and excited and running around like kids in a candy shop).

So this was a bit odd.

I think, honestly, even after a year and a half we're still in a bit of shock over the whole thing. I was saying to my mom yesterday how there's still a phantom house in my mind-- our old house-- that some part of me thinks that we're headed back there.... seeing this new house is sometimes, well, overwhelming. Wonderfully overwhelming, don't get me wrong, but it's funny when emotions bubble up to the surface that you're not expecting. Another thing I said to my mom is that with each step of this progress I've felt a weight lift off my shoulders that I didn't even know I had been carrying around. Seeing the hardwood floors... wow, big weight lifted. It looks more and more like a real house.

View into the kitchen/dining/family room.
Front bedroom.

Master bedroom.

I don't even know what else to write except: wow. I really would have been fine living in the glorified tree house (before the sheet rock was even put up) this, now, is like beyond beyond. I can't imagine what I'm going to feel when the kitchen starts going in (on Monday!!!) or the tile.... or paint or, my goodness, when our furniture actually goes in.
We're headed over to the house now-- our builders have been there since seven am. They are hanging interior doors and trim. Then we're heading down to the soapstone yard to hopefully actually pick our slab. I should have lots of photos to post this evening....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Master bedroom odds and ends

We got the new Pottery Barn bed and bath yesterday so I took it on the train to peruse. Here are a few things that caught my eye for our master bedroom:

I love toile. Not all toile, some is way too over-the-top for me, but I like the gentle toiles like the Matine toile that Pottery Barn is featuring currently. This light blue/grey would be a pretty accent in our "paris rain" colored bedroom. My plan is to buy two roman shades to cover the windows immediately and then sew some panels once we're home to add to it. As much as I like this blind, I anticipate we'll probably do a natural woven blind, but I have room to daydream about what the panel might be... and maybe there's still a good way to incorporate this fabric-- a pillow, or a bed skirt, or...

I've had my eye on these frames for awhile. I clipped an inspiration photo awhile back that has the frames all actually touching, in a kind of geometric line accenting a corner and it was stunning. I think the finish on these is lovely and I like the contrast of the thick and thin boarders. I could see a small grouping in our bedroom with some of our favorite black and white photos.... Again, I think it will look particularly nice with the paint color we've chosen for that room.

I'm stumped on what to do in front of the windows in our bedroom. It's the perfect place for a little scene.. but there are a few options. One is to have a single upholstered chair like the one above (from PB), along with a floor lamp (for reading), and a little side table. I like that the chair above is slip covered and I think the pleated skirt on it is pretty. I could imagine curling up with a book (or a design magazine!) in a scene like that.

Option number two is to do two upholstered chairs similar to the one above from Ballard designs, with a small table between them. This is the way I was leaning-- thinking we could play a game of Scrabble, say... but then I got to thinking that 1. it might be too crowded for the space. 2. would we really sit there together ever? 3. it's not the greatest chair to curl up with a book in by oneself.....

Another option is to do two smaller chairs like this slip covered Parson's chair from Ballard on either side of a table. That lessens my concern about it being too crowded.... but still has the other issues as above. Yet another thought would be to do this chair with a desk. M. has his eye on going for his PhD in the next few years and talked about where his work station could be-- it would be a perfect place to pen the book about the past year that I would like to write-- but is our bedroom the best place for this?

The weird trickiness that we have is our insurance claim.... which basically is set up to define our furniture allowance. If we don't spend the amount that our old furniture was valued at, then we won't receive that full value back... and we have to submit all our receipts at the beginning of March which is right when we're suppose to move in. All's to say it's a unique challenge... to completely furnish a home in such a short time span and without having actually lived in the spaces.


So my little sketch lead me to the idea of putting a wreath over the fireplace. I was feeling a bit of pressure to find the perfect piece of artwork to put up there. Since it's an open floor plan this area becomes a central focus for all three areas (kitchen/dining/family room).... and it was difficult to even imagine what an appropriate piece would be. As I was sketching I kind of threw in the wreath and it seemed to fit. When I showed M. the drawing it was the first thing that caught his eye, "hey, a wreath, that's a great idea for that place!"

So look what I found from Napa Valley Grapevine Wreath Company. Here's from their website, "At the Wood Family Ranch in Napa Valley, winter brings a second harvest. The pruned cuttings from Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines are gathered, stripped of leaves, and bundled. Talented craftsmen take great pride in their work... they weave the recycled grapevine canes in a traditional style known for its symmetry, consistency in thickness and durability."

M. and I love wine (our one cat's name is Zin -- short for zinfandel)-- so I love the idea of the wreath being made of actual grapevines! I also like the idea of decorating it with xmas tree lights during the holidays or little springs from our hydrangeas (i really really really hope they survived their transplanting) in the spring...

a little sketch

Here's a little sketch I attempted on the train last week. It's my vision of how our living room might look. Now that I've scanned it, I am noticing all these things that are off like the fact that the line of the ceiling is way too high and the windows are too small, the back wall too far away and the side walls a bit too close..... In my own defence I wasn't working from a photo or anything-- just from my memory of the space. I tried to put in the pieces of furniture we already have (sofa, chair, the armoire, coffee table, and two ottomans). I still have to add in "M's" chair, window treatments and figure out the rug.
This was a fun little exercise for me though. I googled how to draw a room in perspective and learned about vanishing points. I have room to improve (as it were!) but I'm proud of this little sketch. I had to point this out to dear husband, but I even put a game of scrabble on the coffee table (we play all the time). It was also how I got the idea to do a wreath over the fireplace...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

tape, mud and flooring

We had our fingers crossed and sure enough when we checked in on the house last night, they had started taping the walls and our flooring had been delivered. Mind you, when he picked me up at the apartment, dear husband looked exhausted after a long day. Amazing how a stack of wood can change one's outlook:
This was kind of funny- look at the stilts in the corner. They must use them to tape the ceiling- a heck of a lot faster than dragging a ladder around, but it wouldn't have occurred to me. Now-jovial husband wanted to try them out (I put my foot down on that one). Actually they reminded me of dancing in Balanchine's "The Nutcracker"-- for a few years I was one of the children who came out dancing from under Mother Ginger's skirt. The scariest part was trying not to get stepped on my Mother Ginger who wore stilts much like these along with a giant, heavy, dress! If he (yes he) stepped on you, not only might you break a toe, but the potential was there that the whole thing would come toppling down! ...anyway back to the house: Doesn't it look great? The upstairs was less complete and I guess they sand it down and do multiple coats, but progress!

This was actually taken before the weekend, but it's been an on-going laugh since. I got so excited when I saw that we not only had a garage door, but our garage door opener had been installed. I noted the name of it and started singing, "The LiftMaster-- it raises my garage door and my spirits!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

We have heat!

No photo to share, but it is FREEZING COLD tonight in the garden state. Home from work, we went over in the dark to the house, pushed open the front door-- and it was warm inside. Incredible. They also cleaned up alot of the mess (nails, saw dust etc.) from hanging the sheet rock. I was getting worried that we might be behind schedule, but I confirmed with our builder today that we're still on target for a March first move in. (Huge sigh of relief.) Tomorrow we meet with the painter first thing and then we're escaping to VT for the weekend with friends... I'm bringing my design magazines and fan deck and house plans (i go no where without these!)-- but also my crocheting, a book, and my snowshoes. It will be nice to have a little break.

Okay, I can't Not post some photos. Today the window treatments and sconce shades arrived from Ballard. The sconce shades are for our powder room. I've posted this before, but our vanity/sink looks like this (only in a cream color, not black):
Here are the sconces from RH that will go on either side:

And these just in (literally!) the sconce shades from Ballard. They look really great in person. I had ordered a fabric sample and the brick red is so pretty. We'll have a kind of slate grey floor in there and BM "alpaca" on the walls. I think it will be a nice country-esque yet refined look.