Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wedding Photography

Choosing the photographer for our wedding was more difficult than any of the other vendors. This was something Brian was picky about from the start since he loves photography himself - and something I became pickier with the deeper I got into the planning. If this much cash is getting shelled out for one stinkin day, I want it to be documented beautifully!

After researching more than 30 photographers, I stumbled upon Kimberly Sink's website. Her style caught my attention right away - her photos are honest and fresh; more emphasis put on the subject and composition rather than her photoshop editing capabilities. So many other wedding photographers' photos look like they're trying to be the cover of a romance novel, or have so much editing done to them, its hard to imagine what the original photograph looked like. That is definitely not me and Brian's style. We're fun, creative and goofy - and a little quirky. I think we found a pair of photographers that match our style.

Kimberly Sink and Branton Hoblit are teaming up to shoot our wedding.......I would have been happy with just one of their amounts of talent - but to get both of them is going to be even more amazing!

Here are their websites:

And here are my favorite wedding photos from their sites!

Kimberly's wedding photography:

And her not-so-wedding photography:

Branton's wedding photography:

And his not-so-wedding photography:

(Wish I could live in that house! Very English countryside
......I would have a garden and some goats, fo sho)

I'm getting more and more excited about the big day the closer it comes!

I'm so glad Branton and Kimberly will be a part of it :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 2 of Bathroom Demolition

Well, Brian and I only had time to work on the bathroom one day this week. Luckily, my dad came over Saturday evening to do the plumbing work for us. Soldering copper pipes in order to connect our new bath/shower components was not something Brian or I wanted to tackle. Pretty sure that would be a disaster ending with leaky pipes and a burn victim.

Before you see what we accomplished this week, you can check our the previous work done here.

This week we worked more on the demolition. We removed the ugly tri-mirror medicine cabinet that hung on the wall. Just taking that out visually makes the room seem so much larger!

In the shower, more cement board went up and we started on the framing. My idea to enclose the shower a bit is to create more of a human-size scale. The ceilings are so tall that it always felt a bit odd in there. I was however, afraid that it might make the bathroom seem smaller as a whole, but actually, it makes it feel a little larger........and showering will feel much cozier :)

Since we are closing part of it off, ventilation is another thing we had to think about. To take care of this problem, we are installing a light and a fan above the shower

In addition to removing the medicine cabinet, we also took the beaded board off the wall on the left. Unfortunately ALL the paint was peeling off underneath (don't think it was properly primed) so lots of scraping had to be done. Next step will be to smooth everything out with drywall compound.
Can't wait to get rid of the banjo countertop that DOESN'T go over the toilet, as well as that hideous light fixture with only two bulbs currently in it, haha. Actually it was sooooo bright with all the bulbs that you would be blinded in the middle of the night should you have to use it. I'm down to two and its still extremely bright in there.

Ugh, wish us better luck for this week. I'm really getting tired of showering in the basement shower equal to Silence of the Lambs in creepiness. However, with the start of two new client projects this week, as well as a staging move-out and a holiday weekend, I don't think too much is going to get done.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Home Alone House is on the Market!

Rarely do I let my two different jobs collide- my interior design business with my full-time job at Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors as a graphic designer/advertiser/marketing assistant/anything else that needs to get finished. However, after visiting the Coldwell Banker national home page this morning, I couldn't resist this post!

Home Alone is my favorite Christmas movie and I watch it every year. I've also always wondered about the house. Its currently on the market for $2.4 million and is in the Chicago area. Looks like the interior has had quite a bit of updating since the movie. No more flowery wallpaper, teal and maroon carpet, victorian furniture, frou-frou draperies, or gold fixtures. Don't get me wrong, when the movie came out it was hot stuff. Now, looking back.......well, its funny how quickly things change (including the awful clothes and hairstyles!!)

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Monday, June 27, 2011


"a residence, as an apartment, for part-time or temporary use."

Here are some "before" pictures of another project in the works. I realize these photos are incredibly boring - just a big empty room. I think you'll find the "after" photos to be a bit more interesting :) I'm hoping to have them posted within the next couple of weeks. This project is already in the styling phase but everything takes longer to complete since the client is only in town for short stints of time. He bought this house because of the totally separate bonus room off the back of the garage with its own entrance. He hoped to create an apartment he could use while in town (instead of paying for hotels), while at the same time renting out the rest of the house.

The challenge of this project was first and foremost, the amount of space we had to work with. The room is roughly 17'x20'. Within this space the client wanted separate living and sleeping spaces, a kitchen and a full bathroom.
temporary use."
Another project in the works is this sall studio apartment. It is in the finishing/styling stage right now and will hopefully be finied by the end of the week. This project has taken awhile due to ienly being in to

Stay tuned for more pictures and the creative space layout I designed in order to fulfill all of my client's wishes. The finished product contains very contemporary furnishings mixed with the client's own beautiful Thai antiques, silks, and hand paintings. We also managed to fit a full-size stove, range hood, and refrigerator in the kitchen; perfect for entertaining. n on shorts stints of time. Here are the "before" pictures.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pepto-Bismol Bathroom

Seems an ironic color for a bathroom........I guess its better than brown! :)

Here are some before pictures of a bathroom I'm currently working on for a very pleasant client. At this point the flooring and shower tile are in, cabinetry and countertop are in, and the lighting and giant mirror are installed. I will hopefully have the "after" photos up in the next week or two.

It's actually a fairly large bathroom and the counter space is incredible! Lot's of room to create a perfectly relaxing space to bathe and unwind. Here's a little bit of what I have in mind:

Earthy, yet soft and feminine with a zen vibe.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Basement Fiasco

So the plans (or rather, ideas of plans) for the basement have come to a complete halt. Basements in general kinda weird me out because I never had one growing up so I don't know how to deal with their quirky aches and pains - i.e., dampness, smells, noises, etc. I thought having a basement would be cool and envisioned the additional 1250 sq ft as a blank canvas to divide and conquer as I saw fit. This spring pretty much stabbed my dreams in the heart.

We were told that the basement never flooded in the past. I actually kinda believe that because there's a house on our street who's owner told us theirs hadn't flooded in 17 years and this spring had 21 inches of water hanging out down there. Makes me not feel so bad about our .5-1 inch of water that crept in. However, now that the water made it's little paths and tunnels through the walls and floors, it has flooded during almost every rainstorm since. And when I say "flooded" I really mean a slight trickle mostly coming through the backdoor and some coming through the seams between the floor and walls.....let's not get carried away here. Still, that's too much water to even think about laying carpet or starting our movie theater. The big problem now is that there is serious mold growing on several of the exterior walls, as well as the interior drywall in the room the previous owners had started to finish. The walls are presently holding around 30% moisture. Anything over 20% is not good. Its damp enough that it feels wet to the touch. We had a mold test conducted for the air upstairs on the main floor and it's at high levels. Like in the "toxic risk" zone. Kinda scary huh? Since the furnace and duct work are located in the basement, the mold down there has the perfect opportunity to blow its little spores around through the rest of the house.

We met with a basement sealing company last night and our final estimate came to just under 15k!!!!

Brian and I don't know what we're going to do about it at this point (I guess I can kiss my future mini-cooper goodbye). I want our basement to be finished but I'm not sure its worth all that extra money. BUT regardless of whether or not we finish the basement, we have to do SOMETHING about the water issue or else it could lead to serious foundation problems down the road. The tar that they use to waterproof the outer walls of a basement breaks down between 60-80 years. Considering our house was built in 1923, that would give us until approximately year 2003. So great. We bought the house just in time to have to deal with this issue.

Please leave a comment if you any helpful ideas/suggestions about this. Like I said before, I'm not a basement person.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding plans and such

The Big Day is about 2 and a half months away. I have tons of planning under my belt but still feel like there are a million more things to do until then. Everyone I meet asks how the planning is going and I always simply reply "its going good." What I really mean is "I'm having more fun than I ever imagined possible planning such an extravagant event for 200 guests. I can't wait to have all the details come together to create one giant expression of Brian and myself. It's going to be beautiful and I can't wait!"

Of course that's way too long for a casual verbal response, and I rarely reveal that kind of emotion unless you really know me, so instead (and since this is a blog centered around design) I'm going to give you a glimpse of what Brian and I have planned for the big day. Keep in mind this is just my concept board for the wedding so the ideas are kinda vague and abstract. Instead, concentrate on the mood and the overall feel of the images blended together. can click on the image to make it larger.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let the Work Begin!

The bathroom demolition has begun! Here are some photos showing our progress thus far. Right now the work is at a stand still because Brian and I have both been so busy with other things. Hopefully we can pick up the work some more today.

Here is before: The bathroom wasn't totally awful. It was at least very clean when we bought the home. Just in need of some updating.

Gotta love the toilet seat being left up. Classy. And I'm not sure why there's both glass shower doors AND a shower curtain rod. There's no way the previous owners were concerned with privacy having both a window and a mirror in there.....just sayin.

My dad started us off on the right foot by removing the glass shower doors for us. Apparently neither Brian or I were intelligent enough to figure out how to do this, haha. Makes you wonder about us doing the rest of the bathroom, huh??

I'm sooooo cool, this is how I work.
Just kidding.
Really, I didn't have any "protective eye wear" and the thought of shards of ceramic tile flying into my eyes was something I preferred to avoid. Aviators sufficed.

Whew! All the tile is off!Add Image

Unfortunately, the mirror "tub splash" is still up. Who would ever want to watch themselves bathe? Can't imagine the person installing this and thinking "wow, this is a GREAT idea!!"

The removal of plaster and lathe strips went fast. It also revealed the lack of insulation in the walls......I'm hoping the entire house is not like this!!

The rest of the plaster is cleared away, insulation went in, vapor barrier installed, tub in place, and one wall of cement board is complete! Debris is removed and shopvacced......with a huge one we found a garage sale for 20 bucks. woo hoo!

If the shower is taking this long, I don't want to think about the rest of the bathroom!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Treasure

Brian and I found these awesome art deco vintage theater seats at Daddy Katz over the weekend (coolest store ever by the way!) Although our basement theater is far from even being started, we couldn't pass on these! Should make a fun winter project restoring these. Wish we could find some more!

Super cute detailing.

Rows P and R......too bad we're missing the "Q" for Quinn right in the middle!!

Out with the old, in with the new

This is the new design for my....I mean "our" bathroom. I tried to incorporate some craftsmen elements since it is a craftsmen style house. That's where the hammered copper and bronze fixtures come into play. However, I just can't give up my love for contemporary. I always think that kitchens and baths can be more contemporary than the rest of the home.

The sink was ordered from Mexico and is even more gorgeous in person! The counter will be floating but will be slightly different from the photo. It will actually be curved and completely custom to better maximize the bathroom's space. The light fixture is by Minka and the shower curtain is actually a window drapery from Anthropologie that will hang floor to ceiling to enhance the 9' ceilings. The flooring is the part I'm looking forward to the most and I admit, it was Brian's idea. (yep, he's cute AND creative!) The floor will be done out of pennies and then will have a clear lacquer applied to seal everything in.

Can't wait to watch it all come to life!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meet the Elsmore

So I know I posted a story in the past about purchasing my home, so I figure it would be nice for you to actually see some photos of it! Especially since my next post will be about the bathroom Brian and I are remodeling ourselves.

So here's Bedroom Number 1: This will be our bedroom because it actually has a decent walk-in-closet. Surprising in a 1923's home.

The previous owners hand-painted the beautiful craftsmen style border but we wanted to choose a wall color that would compliment it better, as well as the furniture and draperies we will eventually be putting in here.

So we ditched the Christmas theme and painted it this nice gold color which is much prettier and less mustardy in person.

Bedroom number 2 is just slightly smaller than bedroom number 1 but has a teensy closet (that will be Brian's muahahahaha) This room has beautiful original windows that were an upgrade when the family built the house because they are not in the original plan. Another upgrade was the basement. The original plan called for a 7' basement.....we're so lucky that our basement ceiling is 8.5'! This bedroom has since been painted an olivey green color that really compliments the wood tones. However, you will have to wait until this guest room is finished in its entirety before I post pics of it.

For some reason this is the only photo I have of the living room. This was after we moved some stuff in even though neither of us were living there at the time. In fact, I didn't move in for a good month and a half after we bought it because I was house sitting. It was very difficult to wait!

In this picture Brian and Dadio took down the giant mirror that hung above the fireplace and found this cool vintage wallpaper. We took the wallpaper down so that we could paint but we saved a large piece of it and put it in a frame.

Well, that's about it. For some reason I don't have any photos of the dining room, kitchen, basement or attic. I will just have to add those later. And as for the bathroom, you'll see that in a bit as well. Ever see a mirror in a shower instead of tile? Well, you're in for a special treat, haha.


p.s. this is right after Brian got his wide-angle lens for his Christmas/birthday present. Can you tell he's slightly more than obsessed??