Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Basement Inspiration

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Posted by Rebecca, April 14th, 2011

Since Mike has finally introduced the basement, I figured I’d show you a little of our plans for it. We just started to actually have a clue of what we want it to be (other than AWESOME). It started with this floorplan.

Mike doodled this one Saturday night when we were out to eat. I carry around a little pocket sized notebook to jot down blog ideas and whatnot. So when I wasn’t understanding Mike’s idea, he drew this.

I often say how I completely trust Mike’s ideas and well, his sense of style. I would seriously trust him to go to the mall and pick out an outfit for me right this second. I don’t take his suggestions lightly, in fact, I take most of his suggestions very seriously. Though when the situation is reversed, I usually have to talk him into things 🙂

So Mike came up with this floor plan that I probably wouldn’t have thought of and now I had basement on the brain. Sometimes it just takes that one little aspect to come together to finally be able to visualize a space that you have been completely idealess about. Since most of my inspiration comes from HGTV, it’s no surprise that the Dream Home episode brought about another revelation.

Light walls and light floors. Two different concepts for me 🙂

I am also in love with the open shelving in this mini-kitchen/bar area.

All Mike and I really knew about the basement, besides what we wanted to use it for, was that we didn’t want it to look like a basement. I also don’t want it to be dark (besides our theater area). We’re fortunate to have large windows and high ceilings throughout most of our basement and I don’t want to ruin that. The light floor concept came into play when we decided that we’d like to move our litter boxes down there. We use the all-natural (and wonderful!) Feline Pine litter. It is literally finely ground wood chips, which cause me to vacuum our current dark floors at least once a day. It’s very light in weight, and color, and tracks everywhere. It is still much better than that clay stuff that got dust on my floors, in my lungs and stunk horribly! ps- did you know that clay litter supposedly has carcinogens in it? No bueno.

Back to the basement! This week, while we are on a basement kick, Mike sent me a link to none other than HGTV.com and a gallery of basements by Candice Olson. Can this woman ever do wrong? Every time she does a room, even if I hate the color and the furniture, it looks wonderful. Her basements are no exception, so here’s some eye candy.

They are all completely different but share that put togetherness. They all have classy elements (light fixtures, curtains, built-ins, french doors) that most people wouldn’t bother putting in a basement. We don’t have an exact plan yet, since we’re nowhere near ready to start this project, but we know that we want a similar vibe. We have dreams of french doors, bookcases, back splashes and open shelving. And once we put the pool table in place on Saturday? It was another turning point in the visualization of the basement. Finally, something that will be staying down there, that we can physically walk around and get a feel of the size of the space.

But for now, we’ll just keep dreaming up ideas.

Back to the Drawing Board

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Posted by Rebecca, April 7th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I headed to Ikea to check out the Arholma outdoor collection we were thinking of as an inexpensive alternative to my beloved Crate & Barrel set. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling it.

That’s my sad face. Not to be confused with my some dude is circling this couch as I’m trying to pose for a picture for my blog and I feel totally weird about it, face. It’s just very low, the cushions are meh and I just wasn’t feeling the material. I wanted to like because it was affordable, but I don’t even think adding throw pillows would make me like it. I think it would be good for a small patio/city balcony area, but I think the scale would have been off for us.

After this, I figured we’d have to suck it up and go with the West Elm set.

We stopped in there this past weekend to see if they had their outdoor furniture displayed yet. They didn’t, but said they would have it in a few weeks. They asked me what I was looking for and when I said the Wood Slat collection, they told me they had a lounger in the corner I could look at to get an idea. I excitedly ran over only to realize I had walked by it minutes before, but I didn’t notice that it was what I was looking for because it looked black. I really want a nice wood tone to go with our upcoming stamped concrete patio. Whaaaamp whaaaamp #2.

So I was back to the drawing board. Then our friend Robin informed me that Pier 1 had a set similar to the Crate & Barrel/Ikea one.

We also went to look it and though it was still low, it was a step up in quality from the Ikea set and could work. But the table only sat 4 people so we’d still have to find one of those.

I’m feeling a little defeated at this point and I think I’ve lost track a little bit of what we want. Though I love the Crate & Barrel Ventura set, I think I need to stop trying to replicate it and just find something else that I like. So I revisited some sites with zero expectations, as if I was starting from the beginning. I was strangely attracted to the Target Belmont Collection, even though I have seen it and even posted this picture before.

I’m still not in love with this conversation set, but I think it may just be how the picture is staged. I looked at some of the other pieces and I really like them.

I think I wasn’t sold on this furniture the first time around because of a) the conversation set looks a little awkward to me in that first picture and b) the color of the cushions. But before I wanted a West Elm white and navy look, I wanted a bright color. I figure I can still do white and navy throw pillows since the striped pillows pictured here are not included. All of the items in this collection ship for free, except for the armless chair. Just an added bonus to think about…

As I told Mike yesterday, the last thing I want to be picky about is the color of cushions. An affordable price and a good shape/base are much more important to me. I think getting a bold color could be a fun challenge to work with. Margarita green anyone? 🙂

S’more Patio Furniture Options

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Posted by Rebecca, March 23rd, 2011

Mike and I are currently in the midst of a slew of unfinished projects.

1. I have to order fabric for the office, but I’m waiting for the price to go down since I swear I once saw it for half the price!

2. We have to finish our chair rail/fake wainscoting project we started this weekend. I LOVE this project. I loved using the saw. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I can go on and on and on. I am just counting down the minutes until Saturday morning when we can chair rail the downstairs!

3. Patio, patio, patio. Contract is on it’s way 🙂 Though we’re not doing the actual work on this…

These are all being sandwiched in between my graduate course load, full time jobs and a bunch of parties and other plans that the spring always seems to bring. Slow and steady wins the race though, right?

Today I received an email from West Elm about their new outdoor collections, so my focus was thrown back towards the patio for the day. After our friend Jon commented about how awesome the Crate & Barrel outdoor furniture is, I had to look around a little more. There has to be some sort of solution out there and thank you to all of you who have sent recommendations my way 🙂

So, the results of my (minimal) research today.

West Elm Wood Slat collection:

Considering the price of the Crate & Barrel Ventura collection, I was expecting this set to be astronomical in price, but it is strangely reasonable. Not as cheap as Target, but the table is $399 which is half of the price of the Crate & Barrel one. Each chair is $149 compared to Crate & Barrel’s $300, plus the chairs are stackable for storage! So really, who on earth is Crate & Barrel trying to sell their stuff to? Though their set is still my favorite, I’ve given up hope 🙁

I like the West Elm set, but the couch isn’t very cushy and inviting looking. One thing I love that I hadn’t thought of? White cushions. The white cushions with the dark frame look so nice. I love the idea of white and navy pillows, so very Grecian paradise!

(via)

I also remembered that Ikea had a Crate & Barrel knockoff last year, so I figured I’d check their website to see if it was listed yet. Sure enough, I found the Arholma collection

This little sectional is just $650, now that’s a better price! I have heard that the cushions look cheap, so I googled for some better images. I found this one from a previous Ikea catalog…

(via)

The good? The cushions appear to be white to go with my new inspiration, it’s affordable and I like the color of the rattan. The bad? The cushions maaay be cheap and the table that goes with the set is missing an umbrella hole! Being the pale person that I am, this is a deal breaker.

But! I am not giving up hope on the lounge furniture. The pieces are all sold as separates, unlike the Target furniture, so I would be able to pick and choose the pieces and sizes I want. Plus I am thinking that if the white cushions look cheap, I can fancy them up with some white and navy outdoor pillows along the back of the seat. I even found some options that I like from fabric.com

Waverly Sun N Shade Parterre Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Finnegan Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Faylinn Atlantic

One of the 5 Ikeas in our area has the Arholma collection on display so we’re going to go check it out in person. If we like it? Maybe we’ll go with the West Elm table or something similar. I think that a wood table and chairs would add more interest to the rattan furniture vs. trying to match it. As of today, I like this mismatched, white and navy lil Grecian paradise plan. It feels nice to have a plan, since just a few weeks ago I couldn’t pin down a plan for any sort of outdoor space. Thankfully it came to me, literally, in the form of a West Elm email today.

Patio Progress

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Posted by Rebecca, March 22nd, 2011

I took a little blog break at the end of last week because it was absolutely GORGEOUS out. This was what my car said when I left work on Friday…

Thursday was equally as beautiful, so it felt like some sort of crime to spend my evening hours indoors on my computer. Sometimes life interrupts blogging in wonderful ways 🙂

Anyway, the nice weather gave us an opportunity to finally get out to the backyard to figure out what to do with our patio. We saw a patio display earlier in the week at Lowe’s and the gazebo was 10′ x 10′. Since that size seemed reasonable for a sitting area (and we were clueless about size) we thought 2 of those areas would suit our needs. So we guesstimated we’d want a 10′ x 20′. Sounded huge! I looked at Mike in Lowe’s and figured we were screwed for our estimate on Saturday. So when we ventured outside with a measuring tape on Thursday, I nearly died when the area we planned to cover measured 16′ x 32′. Hello budget buster. A 16′ x 32′ patio sounded not so reasonable, though we were relieved to see that it didn’t eat up a large portion of our yard.

Concrete guy came on Saturday morning. We told him from the outset that we wanted some sort of creative design that we could not come up with. He seemed enthusiastic and up for our challenge, which was definitely a plus for us! I like working with people who can bounce ideas back and forth and in the end can out think me. As much as I have ideas of my own and know what I want, I always look forward to suggestions and things I haven’t thought of.

We broke out a can of spray paint and started playing with shapes. We also asked him to price out a walkway from our driveway to the patio. Mike and I briefly talked about this, but it didn’t exactly process in my head. I was happy that he brought it up, but terrified of the price. Concrete guy measured, then gave us a book of patterns and colors to chose from while he wrote up an estimate. We knew exactly what pattern we wanted, so that part was extremely easy. He came back with this little doodle and description…

That says 34′ x 18’… this thing keeps growing! We showed him this actual picture of the pattern/color we wanted…

He had something similar in his portfolio, though it was a little lighter. He warned us that something too too dark would burn the heck out of bare feet in the summer. That was definitely something I hadn’t thought of, even though I am rarely without shoes…even indoors.

In the end, we were pleasantly surprised with the price given all of the extra square footage we added with the walkway. We liked the guy a lot too, so I think we’re going to go with it. He said he wouldn’t start jobs until the first week in April so hopefully we will have a patio soon!

I ventured outside to take some pictures of the spray paint action.

That’s one side. I quickly realized I couldn’t fit the whole patio into one shot without going upstairs, so I tried going into a spare bedroom to get an aerial shot 🙂

Ignore that semi-circle line. The curved area on the right of this picture sold me. I’m not sure why, since it’s not necessarily something we hadn’t thought of, but seeing it was an ah-ha! moment for me.

Just once it was more rounded (the outer line) it felt so cozy. I immediately pictured a grill angled in the center of this curve.

We were also very relieved that we still had a lot of yard beyond the patio. Sometimes we forget that our property extends into the tree line and that we’ll still have plenty of land for the future.

The arrow points to the property stake, which is visible when the picture is enlarged. I once climbed back there to get an idea of how much land was there and it was not a fun trip. Plus I looked like the crazy neighbor…again. Oh and did I ever tell you that we originally chose the lot to the left of this picture? Thank goodness we didn’t, holy house in their backyard when the trees are nakey.

Wait, you’re wondering why I’m ignoring the fact that our nicely stacked wood piles were demolished during a windy snowstorm? Because we’ve been ignoring them in real life for weeks….

Birds of a… Fabric?

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Posted by Rebecca, March 9th, 2011

I know it’s Wednesday, which is normally What I Ate Wednesday, but Mike and I are being super lazy this week. I’m on spring break from school (yay!) so we’re trying to enjoy my stress free days with lots of catching up on shows and ice cream on the couch. We made shepard’s pie again this week since we loved it so much last week. We’ve been eating the leftovers of that, plus some pizza and bagels we got from a visit to my parents’ this weekend. So we’ve been rather uneventful food-wise… as well as house-wise. We’ll be back to our normal antics this weekend 🙂

One thing I’m hoping to decide on this week is the fabric choices for the office. Here is where we are as of tonight…

These are all from the Ty Pennington collection at fabric.com. Who knew Ty made fabrics? Weird. I was drawn to them because of the mix of greens, grays and white that would perfectly compliment our gray stripes and green carpet. Plus I could have sworn they were around $8/yard compared to the Dwell Studio or Waverly fabrics which were around $16/yard. But of course, after I order samples the prices go up! Or maybe I’m imagining things…

My number one choice from these options is the one I thought I would love and the reason why I chose these fabrics- the white “kaleidoscope” one as Mike calls it…

It’s the blossom pattern in chartreuse.  I love this for a few reasons… 1) it has both shades of gray from our stripes 2) it has a white background to lighten up the room 3) it has a circular pattern to compliment the linear-ness of the stripes. Online Mike thought it was too girly, but after seeing the sample he agrees with me. This pattern will make our curtain panels, plus it will cover half of our Ikea storage boxes.

I want another pattern to add to the mix so it’s a little more interesting in this space. The second fabric will just cover some of the storage boxes so it’s more of an accent, I suppose. I thought this one was a shoe-in, but after seeing it, I don’t think it’s graphic enough or bold enough in the color department to compete with the stripes and blossom…

Then I thought maybe this bright green one would be good since it has such a visually appealing pattern, but I think it’s too much green…

So I was left with this guy, the birdy one…

Online I wasn’t crazy about this, but once I put it next to the blossom pattern? Something happened. And I liked it.

I like that it has a dark gray background, as well as some light gray birds to blend everything together nicely. Besides owls, I’m not a big bird person. The fabric isn’t appealing to me on it’s own, but within this context? I like it.

However, Mike does not. He’s not feeling the birds… or the butterflies. I’ve tried, it ain’t happening. Whaaamp whaamp.

I pick and choose my battles and this just wasn’t worth any sort of battle for 2 little boxes. We try very hard around here to make rooms we both love and enjoy, so if Mike really despises the birds, I’m not going to use them. I’m thinking of ordering one more sample in this pattern…

I know there is no green in this one, but I think that it’s the dark gray of the birdy one that makes me like it. We’re planning a couple of other green things around the room so I’m not sure I necessarily need any more green.

Halfway back to the drawing board I go! Goal: to get the perfectly gender neutral office!

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