Archive | October, 2010

Oh, Spokane. You’re such a charmer.

29 Oct

So, I’m in Spokane—so are a lot of great antique stores. And, I happen to be here with my friend, Shela-Lyn who is quite frankly, the most creative person on this planet. I’m serious. She wrote a book on giving the perfect gift. Shela-Lyn has never said a word about the book because she’s as humble and selfless as they come. Let me shoot straight with you. Buy the book. Her ideas are terrific. And if you implement them, you will come off as one of the most thoughtful people on the planet—a terrific giver of gifts.

I spent hours roaming around an antique store with her. Every time we turned a corner the words “What if…” came from my mouth to which she replied, “You could…” I love that woman.

Here’s what you can find in Spokane.


Oh, if I were only traveling by land instead of air… That chair would be m.i.n.e.

 

Letterpress Print Cabinet

 

A very old phone that I’d like to hear ring.

 

Old plans for a beauty salon—might be cool framed in a powder room.

 

I’ve never seen these before. They are old plates for printing newspapers. They are embossed and a texture lover’s dream come true. I snatched one about WWII that will look absolutely terrific next to a framed American Red Cross Flag and a vintage typewriter. The journalist in me couldn’t resist. Just could not resist. SOLD.

 

If only I could have gotten that orange chair home. Oh, well.

Well, I guess we’ll just sit around and read books then.

27 Oct

When I’m at a loss for things to talk about, I bring up the TV/fireplace/visual and mental fiasco through which I walk. Perhaps fiasco is dramatic? This idea came forth a week or so ago, I’m just getting around to talking about it because I’m playing catch up. I’m presently losing—in case you’re wondering.

I was looking for something entirely different when this idea presented itself as if to say, “Here I am, the solution to all your where-will-you-put-the-television woes.” BRILLIANT. This is nothing short of brilliant; everything about this is right. Grade A idea, I say.”

From House Beautiful

Of course, this started a hunt for easels. (I recommend eBay and Craigslist.) Quite frankly, new easels are about the same price as a piece of furniture. And, I’d rather have remnants of paint hanging around, telling their own story while adding character to what an alternatively ho-hum entertainment center.

You would know that this will not work in my living room. Reasons too many to explain. I am not going to get into just how illogical my daydreams come across sometimes. But I get an A+ for effort. (And, yes, the grade counts even if you give it to yourself. It’s fine to look yourself in the eye and say, “Good effort, kid. You keep bringing those ideas to the table. They’ll work in somebody’s house someday.”)

Making it work in my living room, would mean striking the couch and adding bean bags to the room. I’ve already lived the bean bag season of my life. I’m past it. But you keep rocking it if that’s where you are. Lounge your heart out. I’m hoping the easel idea will work in the comfy end of the kitchen and once I find the right easel—one that has been well-loved and well-used and costs less than my monthly house payment—I’m going for it.

And, of course, I’m still figuring out the TV/living room thing. Maybe I’ll just forgo the TV and start a book club instead. Nothing says welcome to my home like a required reading list.

Easels to jumpstart your brain.

From Craigslist

I have no idea. Google the word easel. You’ll find it.

From eBay

Windows

25 Oct

The latest at Bradford is this….
We have windows—lots of windows.

Other than windows, not much has changed in the last week. I’m still working with Brad and he still notices every single angle and line. If something’s even the slightest bit off, he sees it—which I am thankful for because when it comes to the mathematics of building houses I only noticed major errors. I try to make up for my mathematical shortcomings by bringing my a-game to conversations about color, design elements, and visual space.

We (Amy + Nichole) stared at the side of the house and he waited for the two of us to tell him if we noticed anything. We threw out responses like Is the third window a little lower than the rest? Is the space between the windows supposed to be different? I stood there thinking, I have no idea what he sees right now that is so wrong but I have enough sense to know that something must be wrong or he would not have us out here standing in the street staring at these windows. Welcome to my life, chock-full of teachable moments. Seriously. You have no idea how much new information I have acquired since June 30th. No earthly idea. And it’s good information.

Nichole and I stood in the back yard with Brad and stared at windows. I noticed what he noticed which means that something was really uneven. I am happy to report that all wrongs were made right and the windows sit nicely in their frames at Bradford. Now we wait for the doors. Any day now…

Come and knock on my door.

19 Oct

If the Three’s Company theme jingles around in your head all day, you’re in good company considering I’ve been singing it to myself since I wrote this post.

Meet Russ.

Russ is a carpenter, creator, door-maker, shop-builder and all around nice guy.

Before all this Bradford Avenue business, I looked at a house on Montrose. While I was there I walked down the street, where a front door stopped me in my tracks—it looked like it belonged on the cover of something involving Martha Stewart or House Beautiful.

When I started working with Brad, we drove around neighborhoods looking at roofs, siding, doors—you name it—determining what might be right or wrong for Bradford. Brad wanted me to see a front door that was custom-made for his friends’ home. When we drove up I realized it was, of course, the door I admired on Montrose. Stuff like this happens all the time. The door complements the mantle inside their home, both have the same beautiful detailing. Life is just one big fairytale, isn’t it? I wish I had a picture of the door. It’s a show-stopper.

We met Russ and he quickly captured the vision we have for the house and determined that he could take what was in our minds and make it a reality. I love people who can do that sort of thing. He started drawing on his iPhone and Brad got that look he gets when he’s tracking with someone’s vision and I got that look I get when I don’t have any idea what’s going on anymore. I believe I said to Brad, “This door thing is all you. You just make sure I’ll like it.” Russ started sending e-mails with pictures like this to help people like me.

Last week we met Russ to see a few models/samples and finalize a few details. His wood shop happens to be located in the middle of God’s backyard—nobody complained when we got “lost” trying to find it. I use the term lost loosely. I consider lost to be a moment when you are no longer sure which state (Tennessee? Alabama? Is this Arkansas?) you’re in and you have no idea how to get home. I knew we were still in Tennessee and I could have gotten us home.We were never lost. We were wandering. I love to wander.

While we’re talking doors, I’d like to mention at this time that I think painted doors are about as charming and friendly as it gets. Mine won’t be painted, at least the front door won’t be. I suppose I’ll have to step up the charm and friendliness in other ways. But, if you are considering revamping your door with paint, here are a few to inspire you.

From Blueprint Magazine

From This Old House (It’s a dutch door…)

I have no idea where this came from….

From Country Living

From Better Homes & Gardens

If you’re really thinking about it, go straight to this link and check out these colors. House Beautiful knows what’s what when it comes to front door colors.

 

Where did you say we should put the fan?

15 Oct

Clearly, I am odd. That is all there is to this. I’m sure it’s me. It must be me.

Let me tell you what my smarty pants framers + contractor came up with that absolutely blew my mind and continues to wow people who walk in this house. Once upon a time the back bedroom—which has now become the sitting area in the kitchen—had ceiling joists. I know. Shocker. You weren’t expecting that were you?


When they vaulted the back of the kitchen, out went the ceiling joists and in marched light and air and space and a feeling of wide-openness that makes me happy and settles my soul. It’s just nice and I absolutely cannot get over the thoughtfulness the guys give this project. Grateful. Grateful is what I am.

The ceiling joists  were tossed aside for a bit but have since been repurposed. This is the smarty pants part. The ceiling joists became exposed beams that span the master suite. And they look great. The guys are kind-of out doing themselves in my book. Now I’m on the hunt for some old vintage/weathered bolts to bring a little of the industrial vibe to them.

So, we met to discuss lighting and I showed them my fancy lighting plan. Somebody won the award for client of the year when she made a color-coded floor plan. I’m just saying… We walked through with the electrician and he noted where we want what. And then we got upstairs. And the ceiling fan topic resurfaced. (A few days ago I said, “The only trouble with these beams is you can’t have a ceiling fan.” Brad says you can. You just mount the fan to the beam.)

I am a fan person. I like them in a bedroom. A lot. But I just don’t know about mounting a fan to these beams. I’m not sold.

So, the electrician asks about a fan (and I am tired of calling him the electrician but his name is French—maybe the French version of Jack—and I can’t really come up with the spelling at this early morning hour so he remains the electrician for this post). I explain to fabulous-electrician-with-a-French-name that I cannot do it. I cannot mount a fan to these beams.

And they look at me like this is not the big deal I am making of it.

And, then I said it again. Slowly, with feeling. I can’t do it.  I can’t do it, guys. I cannot mount a ceiling fan to the beams. And, the electrician says every body does it. He just wired a house with four ceiling fans mounted across a room of beams.  And I want to go all 5th-grade-common-sense on him and say, “Well, if everybody jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?” But I didn’t say that. Because that would be rude. And I have finally learned not to say everything I think. And I really like the French-named electrician. And nobody likes a smart alec.

Those beams make such a pretty clean line across the room. And I’ve never met a ceiling fan that I thought made a room look better. But I’ve met one that made a room feel better.

And, I don’t know. I might get over it. Because I really would like a fan.

The butcher. The baker. The cab-i-net maker.

11 Oct

The cabinet guy came to my house for the first of what I’m guessing will be a couple of meetings. Brad met with him to get the cabinet stuff started. At this time, I would like to tell you that I have been driving a cabinet catalog around in my car for no less than three months. I chose my style three months ago. I am ahead of them… so ahead of them on this one. I even drew a floor plan, which is likely going to become irrelevant because three months ago is not the same thing as today. Profound. I know. I’m blowing my own mind this morning.

So, like I said, I’m thinking about cabinets. I should think about other things, I’m sure. Counter tops will be concrete, cabinets white, wood floors, open shelving, some cabinets with glass doors, and then regular cabinets, too. The island will be 3×8. I was thinking of using some industrial/factory table legs. Not sure I’m still thinking that—more on that later.

These kitchens are from House Beautiful.

I’m wild about the fact that there’s a farm sink in the island.So clever. So very clever.

 

I don’t know so much about mirrored cabinets doors….

This is not very Amy but I saw it and thought… Huh. The oven is in the island in a way I never thought of….

 

I did not intend to post white kitchens—such strong inclinations I have.

Now, if you have any kitchen cabinet advice I’d love to hear it. I mean, what’s the one thing you wish you’d done differently about your cabinets? Seriously. What would you do if you were me?

 

P.S.

While I’m in the kitchen, I should mention one of my very dearest and best friends, Julie. Very dearest means so much more than dearest, just so you know. Everything she posts on this blog is trustworthy. You’ll enjoy it.

Let there be light.

8 Oct

If only it were that easy.

Next week is wire-the-house week. That makes this weekend obsess-about-lighting weekend. Who wants to obsess alone? Not me. I assembled a “lighting committee” to help me because I concluded that this girl—who likes to keep her options open at all times—has lighting commitment issues.

I was in a foul mood (as in noticeably unpleasant) when I met Brad to discuss lighting yesterday. I might have said, “But I don’t like can lights” when in fact they are fine. I might have acted like ceiling fans are disgusting when in reality I have one in my present bedroom that I turn on every single night. I might have rolled my eyes. He might have wanted to look at me and say, “How ’bout you go to your room and don’t come out until you can act right.” I might need to pause now and thank God that I am not working with a standard contractor because standard might have looked at me and said, “Pick your lights, lady. And take a couple doses of St. John’s Wart, too.”

As for lighting, here are some things I’m thinking through this weekend.

Lights on the sides or a single light above?

 

Pendant or flush mount above the sink?

 

Pendants in the hallway. Maybe so…

All of these images came from School House Electric or Rejuvenation. If you, too, are in the market for some new fixtures, here’s my list of favorite lighting vendors.

P.S. The Rejuvenation site is full of ideas—dig around.