Friday, December 30, 2011

My top 10 from 2011

This has been a great year for me both in my personal life, as well as my business life, in taking big risks and making big moves. This has been my first year for consistently writing my blog....well since about June anyway! I'm hoping to keep it going throughout 2012 as well. I hope you'll stick around!

Here's my Top 10 favorite posts from 2011......I hope you enjoy them!

         We actually purchased the home in mid December of last year but I didn't actually move in until late January because I was house-sitting. This blog shows some photos of my new home before and during the move.

       This Bedroom seriously rocks and these parents must be super rich, haha. I found this project while searching for inspiration for the children's room I designed for the Oakwood Showhouse......

.........which brings me to my next post, 

#8 - Who Wants a Castle?
This year was my first year participating in Dayton's showhouse that takes place every other year to raise money for the Dayton Philharmonic. I did the third floor space and designed it as children's playspace to encourage use of their imaginations. One of the main items was a large two story playcastle I designed and built with my father. 

     This was a project I spent much of the spring working on for a client as a small apartment for when he was in town. It was difficult but also fun )what can I say, I love challenges!) 

       This artist is amazing and her under-water shots never cease to amaze me!

       This project was particularly fun because it was for my little sister as a wedding present. I redid the entire bedroom while they were on their honeymoon!

         This was a fun project beginning to end. It's always great when a client is super easy going and listens to your every idea! This client truly was a dream client and I'm looking forward to more projects in the future. 

        A monumental event for sure this year was tying the knot. I don't think our photos could have turned out any better :)

        This project was a little different for me - it's a little funky but a lot of fun!

      This project took so long to complete and took place amidst all the busy-ness of the year. I'm so glad it's finished for us and guests alike!

Happy New Year! I had fun reflecting on the past and am looking forward to the future. 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pinterest......It's Addicting

So I finally joined Pinterest after months and months of thinking about it. To tell you the truth, I'm not really into all this online social networking stuff (getting burned out majorly.....especially with facebook) and I thought of Pinterest as just one more thing to soak up even more of my time.

Well, I was right. Pinterest is addicting and I find myself spending more time on there than I do writing blogs. Pinterest is the epitome of instant gratification. It can also be visual overload after awhile. Just type in what you want and BAM! hundreds of beautiful images meet your eye instantly. Its easy to save them to any board you create so for an interior designer, this is actually a tool I can use with my clients (another excuse for wasting more time on there!) Want a white sofa? Well what kind? Do you like this style or this style? You get the idea -  I can create boards with inspiration specifically for them and they can add their own images as well. A pretty nifty idea.

Anywho, if you care to follow me along on there, I'm added a Pinterest button just to the left :)

I'll see you there!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Light for the Kitchen

Here's one of my favorite gifts from this Christmas: a new light fixture for the kitchen from my sister and brother-in-law. I love it! Thanks guys!



Did you get any goodies for the home for Christmas this year?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Home for the Holidays

This is our main tree in the living room in front of the window. Its a very cute tree but next year I'm hoping to get something bigger : )


 Part of the mantel decorations - I feel lucky to have fireplace if for no other reason than decorating it at Christmas!

And the dining room - originally I wanted both trees in the living room but they took up too much space. This one works nicely in front of the large dining room windows. I'm sure the neighbors get a good view of it from their backyard, haha. 

I love the color of the dining room walls, it goes so well with the decorations!

p.s. don't mind the piles of furniture on the right hand side of this picture - those are all future projects!

Merry Christmas Eve's, Eve's, Eve's, Eve's, Eve!


Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm so ready for Christmas

Sorry about being a bum lately when it comes to writing good blogs - I have been super busy with all things Christmas, as well as frantically moving into my new studio space! (more on that later!)

This week I'm trying to relax and focus on my first Christmas bein' hitched. The house is decorated - inside and out.I've made Christmas cookies. And we've vowed to have a Christmas movie marathon this week watching one every evening. Last night we watched the Nutcracker - that was the first time I had ever seen it but Brian loved it as a kid. Yep, Brian loves musicals. I knew it was true love the night Brian and I sang along with The Sound of Music instead of watching the Superbowl game.  Not too many guys that would do that!

Anywho, Merry Christmas!

via sweet house decorating

via favim

via feniture

via cha-ching on a shoe string

via christmas home decoration

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bathroom Countertop Tutorial

In our recent bathroom remodeling project, the main focal point is definitely our custom countertop. It looks beautiful now but it was quite the process getting there!

The bathroom is very tiny and is especially narrow when you first enter making the position of a vanity awkward, no matter where it's located on the wall. The vent in the floor and needed standing room for when you get out of the shower also limited the possibilities. This meant the position of the sink had to stay in the same place. Shallow depth vanities are difficult to find and are usually not very attractive - especially in this bathroom where it sticks from the middle of the wall. Since I knew I wouldn't find one I liked, and custom is always better than plopping in a store-bought cookie-cutter piece, I started playing with the idea of a full-length counter top to span the entire length of the bathroom.

Once I figured out the full length, free standing counter top was what I wanted to do, I had to start working on a template, as well as a material choice. Granite, concrete, or another kind of solid surface was out due to the weight (not to mention the cost!). I thought about laminate but I really wanted this counter top to be "carved out" rather than built. Looking at the redwood slab table I used in the Home and Garden Show, it hit me: "what about wood?!"

Originally I wanted a slab of wood, preferably with unfinished edges. I spent an entire day researching and calling lumber yards from Cleveland to Kentucky to find something the right depth with one unfinished edge. I knew it could be planed to the thickness I wanted. Unfortunately, after an entire day, I still couldn't find what I wanted! Most places just did not carry pieces that wide (21"), or they were ridiculously expensive.

I don't know how it popped into my brain but a few days later I thought about butcher block. I thought maybe if I could stain it and clear coat it I could still get the effect I wanted. I started searching for butcher block and found the perfect top at Ikea, for $59! Awesome.

Once I had the countertop the first thing I did was (well, after it sat around my house for a couple of months!) cut it to length and then cut it to the depth I wanted. I wanted it as shallow as possible leaving more space in the room but still deep enough to accommodate the vessel sink and still look balanced. The faucet was offset to allow us to cut it back an extra couple of inches. Once the depth was cut, we traced the located of the sink onto the top and cut the hole for that. Then I traced the rest of the shape onto the top from template I created based on the curve of the sink and the door swing. This took some time to get right and once it was cut it took even more time to sand all the curves until they were perfectly smooth and graceful (thankfully my awesome brother did that for me!! Thanks John!)

Once all the edges were sanded, we carried it down to the basement where it was stained with my favorite stain color, dark walnut by minwax.

After about 3 coats of the stain I began the polyurethane. This was the hardest process of the entire thing! I could not get an even coat on the countertop without getting a bazillion bubbles in the finish. I followed the directions to a t: sand lightly between coats, wipe off all the dust, and even bought the recommended brush. Thinking a new brush would do the trick, I bought a total of 4 different brushes at more than $10 each.....almost doubling the cost of the countertop, haha. At least the brushes can be used again. I bought all different types of bristles trying to find the right one. Eventually I gave up and got a different polyurethane. I've had great luck with this one in the past but didn't go with it originally because its water soluble and being around a bathroom sink I didn't think it would hold up. So far it's worked like a charm - I love Rustoleum products! It goes on super smooth with no bubbles. It also has a milky color to it when it goes on so you can make sure you have an even coat and see exactly where it's been applied. It also dries harder than regular polyurethane, has a faster drying time AND cleans up with soap and water. I highly recommend this product to anyone! After about 5 coats of polyurethane (I seriously lost count!) it finally has a nice glassy coating.

To install the countertop, we simply ran a 1"x3" board along the back wall and one of the sides. The other side already had a wall built out that the original banjo top sat on. This wall was left and the new countertop took its place. The countertop was screwed in place from underneath. We also added decorative brackets on either side of the sink for extra support at the deepest part. Its pretty sturdy but so far I haven't been brave enough to try to stand on it.....Maybe I'll make Brian do that, haha.

That's about it for the countertop. I gave up a little bit of storage space from the vanity but I feel it was well worth it. The curves in the vanity soften the lines in the bathroom and visually make it seem much larger.  The huge mirror that runs the entire length, the long back splash, and the streamlined light fixture all help carry the horizontal emphasis making the room feel longer - a success in my book!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Cozy Cottages

This colder weather really makes me want to snuggle up in a tiny, cute room like one of these. I want a down comforter, warm slippers, cup of hot chocolate and a good book!

And to top it off.......a nice bubble bath.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Penny Floor Tutorial

One of the more unique features of our new bathroom is the penny floor made up of real pennies, not penny tiles. The floor was super easy to do - but it is difficult finding the patience to lay the pennies one by one. Brian and I worked on the floor little bits at a time.

The first thing we had to do was remove the vinyl floor that was previously installed. This was a huge pain and was the hardest part of the floor project. We got a special floor stripper to help remove the glue. Underneath the vinyl was the original tile that we had hoped to keep but once all the vinyl was off we saw it was not on very good condition.

It took hours and hours to get the entire floor to look as good as the photo above! Once all the floor was scraped and smooth (and after some minor repair work to fix a crack) the tile floor was primed and painted a dark gray. I would have been happy leaving it the dark gray but Brian insisted we stick to our original plan of the pennies.

We gathered as pennies as we could from family and friends and then went to the bank to get the rest. We started in the back corner of the bathroom where it wouldn't be obvious if we screwed up and started gluing them one by one. We just used tacky glue and regular ol' Elmer's glue to glue them down. One thing we learned was to go in one direction the entire time. We started going in multiple directions and because one of the walls was crooked, our lines got a little off. Because the penny floor is busy, the mistakes aren't that noticeable.

Once the floor was covered with pennies we sealed them in and down with a thick coat of a high gloss polyurethane. Since polyurethane is a softer material, for the final top coat we used a clear epoxy similar to this photo:

It had two bottles you pour together, and then pour over the entire floor. We had out dehumidifier plugged in and sat in in the bathtub to help dry it out faster. It also helped the fumes from getting too strong in the rest of the house.

That was pretty much it! Easy peasy. I have more pictures of us laboriously laying the pennies that I will post later (they're not on my computer right now). It really was an easy project and it looks beautiful now that its finished. The pennies are all different colors and some are shiny while others are dull. Here's some interesting facts:

The entire floor cost about $100 so there are roughly 10,000 pennies on the floor!
There are 23 Canadian pennies on the floor
There are19 wheat pennies on the floor
The oldest penny we found was an Indian Head from 1893. We did not put that one on the floor but it IS in the bathroom somewhere :)
The oldest penny actually on the floor is from 1945.


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