Friday, January 31, 2014

Mudroom Makeover

After living here for over a year I finally tackled this room!
Actually, it's really more of a pass-thru than a's a hallway that goes from the kitchen into the den, with a door leading out to the back patio. It also has louver doors (not shown in photo) which hide the washer and dryer.

The built-in cabinet was already here...they used it as a broom closet, we changed it to a coat closet since we come in from the garage this way. It began as almond colored laminate and was painted Benjamin Moore's Harbor Gray.  The table is from our old house...the back legs were removed so it stands flush to the wall without the radiator getting in the way and it's a great spot to charge phones and drop keys. The fabric bulletin board was custom made which you can read about here.

I wish I took more "before" pictures but this one is all I was shot it during a visit before we even bought the house...
You can see how this hall is off the kitchen and the walls are covered with wallpaper from the 80's.
The walls were primed and painted with Benjamin Moore's Palladium Blue. One of my favorite things about this makeover are the pulls that replaced the old ones on the cabinet doors...
They are window pulls from Home Depot. I think they look so "industrial chic" and much more interesting than standard pulls.
Clockwise from top left: Yes, you can paint laminate! Just use an oil-based primer and paint with something durable like Benjamin Moore's Advance line of paints; the old pulls were plastic and almond colored; the table is so handy for dropping gloves and keys; window pulls in an oil-rubbed bronze finish from Home Depot.
The old dated light fixture was replaced with this drum shade from Lowe's. 

Still have so much more to paint but at least this room can get crossed off the list!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Purim Basket Prep

The holiday of Purim is March 15. I've already gathered most of my supplies for our Shalach Manot (food gift) baskets but if you haven't, now is the time to start thinking of what to give. It's so much fun to put these together and give to friends! I love to have a makes it easier to come up with what to put inside and also gives your gift a cohesive look. 

The rules are easy:
1. Include at least two food items of ready-to-eat food or drink in your basket.
2. You are only obligated to give a food gift to one person, but you may want to make a list of recipients especially if you developed a terrific theme!

Here are a few beautiful basket ideas...
Breakfast Basket filled with homemade muffins or scones, jam, coffee and juice.
Just add ice cream box filled with cones, sprinkles and syrups.
Hikers backpack filled with snacks and a water bottle.
Italian Colander filled with pasta, sauce and olive oil.
Lunchbox filled with a juice box, chips, packaged cookies, fruit-roll ups.
Taste of the Tropics basket filled with dried fruit, coconut water, nuts.
Black and White gifts filled with licorice, salt and pepper, black beans, black and white cookie.
A Cupcake basket filled with cake mix, frosting, cupcake papers and sprinkles.

Are you inspired?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Post Renovation: The Kitchen

Our new kitchen was completed in April of 2013. Since that time I've received many e-mails from readers asking me if I am happy with my choices, so here is a run-down of what I love and don't like about our kitchen.
At first I thought about going with Ikea--I love the way they look in the stores but assembling all those pieces?  No thanks! Instead we went with Diamond cabinets from Lowe's. I was really taking a chance...I didn't know much about them but in the end, I LOVE them. They have the soft self closing, are easy to wipe off spills, and they look great. They are super tall (I use a step stool to reach the top shelf) but there's tons of storage so I'm fine with that. I also love the tuxedo look (white on top and a gray stain on the bottom.) The two shades really play off one another.
Since my design called for white counter-tops,  granite was not an option, and I didn't want marble since it absorbs stains like red wine. Aside from a laminate or concrete, that basically leaves a solid surface like Corian or a man-made stone like quartz. Yes, it cost more but the quartz is awesome! It doesn't absorb (great for a kosher kitchen) and it's so easy to wipe clean. The only negative is there is already a small chip on the edge of the sink where my husband was too sloppy dropping a dish!

Our Vigo sink is ten inches deep....need I say more?

OMG...I love the Grohe faucets! They look so modern and function so well. The faucets and the sinks are from which has some great deals.

The limestone tile from Tile America is not only good looking but the gray grout is easy to keep clean.

Recess lights were installed in the ceiling and the fixtures above the sink and peninsula are from Schoolhouse Electric. They are very beautiful but here's the truth: the Edison light bulbs in the clear glass pendants don't give off much light at all and are just for show.

Oven/Cooktop & Hood
We are lucky to have gas in this house and there's nothing better than cooking with a gas cooktop. We got the GE Cafe line oven/stove we love (with a Shabbath mode) and saved on the hood from Ikea. Because they are both stainless they look great together and I love cooking with both.

Brass Pulls
The Martha Stewart pulls from Home Depot were only a few bucks each but feel and look like they cost so much more! They are the "jewelry" for the kitchen and really make the dark cabinets come to life!

The conclusion? I'm pretty thrilled with our choices and it's a pleasure to cook here everyday!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Knock-off Ferm Living Copper Cups

You can create these pretty copper-colored cups for your desk in less than an hour and for under $30.00...
They are knock-offs of the Ferm LIVING copper cups below.
Ferm Living is a Danish company that designs and manufactures interior design products with a graphic touch. Their cups are made of stainless steel with a copper finish made by electrophoresis--I guess that explains the $100 price tag.

Mine are glasses found at the thrift shop covered with copper metallic Con-Tact paper.
There is plenty on the roll to do this and future projects.
Simply cut the size you need to cover your glass and smooth carefully to get rid of bubbles.
Copper, along with brass and golds are all the rage right now so this is an easy way to introduce a little bit of glam onto your desk.
These cups would also work just as well in a bathroom or dressing table to hold combs, clips, cotton swabs and more!
Linked to:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY a Custom Bulletin Board

Why settle for a standard cork bulletin board when it's so easy to make a custom board with your choice of fabric in any size, perfectly fit for where you need it?

I decided our mudroom was a good place for ours to hang. It's where we drop our keys, charge our phones and hang coats when we enter through the garage door. Because you can see this room from the kitchen I wanted something that looked fresh and colorful.
I found the fabric 50% off at Joanne's and had my local lumber yard cut and miter the molding exactly the size I needed to fit on the side of a cabinet. They also cut some homasote board which is under the fabric. Ever since I saw a story in an old Martha Stewart magazine, I’ve been wanting to make a homasote bulletin board--it’s a type of building material made of recycled paper and it makes fantastic bulletin boards, either plain, or covered.
My local lumberyard offers a shop service...I simply draw what I want and give it to the guy in the shop. He does the cutting, I put it together and paint.
 The fabric was cut about one inch larger than the homasote board.
It's easy to staple since the board is soft.

The frame is not a necessity but I like the way it finishes the whole thing.

Next up: finish painting the whole room which I'll share next week!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Spiky Art

Here's what I made last's hanging on our living room wall.

Let me explain: When we vacationed in Kennebunkport, Maine last summer I was in awe of the decor in the beautiful bed and breakfast we stayed at.  One the things that I was smitten with were the spiky looking metal art pieces on the wall. 
Are they art? A flower? Who cares! They are so dramatic and add texture and interest to a dull wall. 

So, when I was shopping at the local garden center buying potting soil and saw these green things mixed in with the leftover Christmas ornaments I had an ah-ha moment.

The shape looks like the cool spiky things I saw on the wall in Kennebunkport.

Since everything's better sprayed gold I got to work.
I used six in total and put them together in bunches of two, tied together with some floral wire. 

The wire was slipped onto Command hooks that can easily come off without leaving any damage to the wall...
just in case my husband finally notices them and asks "what the heck is that?!"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Faux Barnwood Wall on Design Sponge!

Today, my faux barn wood wall we built last year is featured today on Design Sponge, one of my favorite blogs!
Head over to Design Sponge to read the post!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Master Bath Dilemma

I just received this e-mail from a reader, Tamar:

Hi Rita,
I was wondering if you might be able to offer some advice on a little design quandary I am having. 

My husband and I are installing a master bath in our new home and we are acting as our own general contractors for the project due to us being on an extremely tight budget. We received so many estimates for this project (7-8) but they were absolutely exorbitant amounts. We knew almost every vendor we would need to get the project done and decided to see if we could handle it on our own. It has been quite a journey but I think we are moving along at a pretty good pace (it helps that my uncle is a plumber!). Anyway, I have attached some images of the bathroom and the "pieces" we have already purchased/found. We've had to be very resourceful to stay on budget. The tile we found on auction as well as the sinks. The vanity is a media stand with an electric fireplace heater that my husband found on sale at home depot that we plan to convert into a vanity. We found our shower door on (image also attached) and I am still searching for the perfect faucets and shower heads.

Here is my quandary: I am concerned that the tile is a little disconnected from the vanity and sinks (tone and style-wise). I think it can work if I play my cards right but was hoping for your input. I love incorporating nature into my design choices while still maintaining a certain polish - which is how we decided to utilize the river rock accent tile as the shower floor. We will still have a few 12X12 squares of it left over for some accent uses but not much. Maybe just enough to create some sort of border in the shower. I was hoping maybe the perfect paint color might be the ticket to cohesiveness. I love these sinks and the vanity and am hoping you might have some innovative ideas on how to turn this mish-mosh of auction-purchased and budget items into a cohesive but unique look. 

Thank You!!!
Here are the photos she sent:
First of all, great job Tamar! 
It's not easy doing a master bath when you are picking up bargains from all over the place.

It looks like you ended up with a cool gray tile for the shower walls and warm earthy tiles and stone for the rest of the bath which need to blend together to make the room work. I love your idea about incorporating some of the earthy tile tones in the shower and adding a border.  The 12 x 12 tiles would be too large but if they are cut down to 4 inches hopefully you'll have enough to work with and 4 inches is a good size for a border.   

As far as painting the walls, go with taupe or greige. It's the perfect combo of gray and tan and will mesh your two tile tones together.  
Here are just a few Benjamin Moore taupes--some are more gray and others are more tan.
Buy some sample jars and brush paint on the walls looking at the colors in different light before choosing the winner.

I would also paint the vanity to make it look custom--preferably with an oil based high gloss paint for durability. Maybe in a charcoal gray to bring more of the gray tones from the shower like this...
or go crazy and paint it high gloss chartreuse, eggplant or orange like I did here! All three colors go beautifully with taupe. It might be nice to keep some open shelving below the sinks like this...
and two mirrors instead of one large one over the sinks will keep it more modern.

It looks like you have room to add a comfy bench under the can upholster the seat with terrycloth like this one from Better Homes.
Of course that storage drawer is great, too.

For faucets and shower head check out efaucets.  I bought my kitchen faucets from them...great quality and prices.

Can't wait to see the finished bath!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Treat Bags for a Lego Birthday

Our grandson, Yosef is turning four this week and like many four-year-old's requested a Lego birthday party. Ariel is baking the cake and I'm doing the treat bags (which I love to make!)

You can't have a Lego party bag without Lego candy, right? I found this adorable Lego candy online from Oh Nuts.
Stickers, balls and small toys were also added to the bags.

The yellow bags are from Joanne's and they were enhanced with circles cut from foam to look like a Lego. I used my Martha Stewart circle punch which made cutting them easy.

After downloading their logo from the web, I added the rest of the type in Picmonkey.
I printed out the sheets in color at my local Kinkos.

All set for the party this week...
Can't wait to see Yosef's face when he sees these!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Store Crush: Paper Source

I walked into a Paper Source store this summer in Westport, Connecticut and I didn't know what to grab first!  They sell the most gorgeous paper goods and more.  If you're lucky enough to have a store near where you live (I don't) you can hold, touch and see things before you buy. Otherwise, like me, you'll have to shop online.

Here are just a few of my favorites...
 1. I plan on making paper flowers for the holiday of Shavuot. This kit gives you all the materials already cut and ready to assemble.
2. I'm always looking for great containers for my Shalach Manos baskets for Purim and these chevron stacked boxes would make a beautiful presentation.
3. Such a pretty birthday banner.
4. Love typography on anything--including pillows.
5. They call these tea light bowls but really they could hold all sorts of small things...especially cute in a little girls room to hold hair clips, rings and ponytail bands.
6. Kate Spade designed the most stunning erasers I've EVER seen.
7. Dipped pouch is really cheap and so practical. 
I was not paid to write this post (I wish)--just love their things!
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