Monday, March 30, 2015

Once You See It.....

....there's no going back.

If you're like me, and I assume you are since you are here reading this, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about when I say that details stalk me.

Even when I'm not trying to find them, they find me.
I could be watching T.V., a movie, or innocently reading the newspaper (just kidding. I do no such thing. It just makes me sound more sophisticated if I say that I read the paper) but then, something in the background will catch my eye. 

For example, I was perusing some design books, getting inspired, while my daughter was enthralled in some kids books at the bookstore, and somehow I managed to catch this teeny tiny corner of this one can barely even see it....

Do you see the Greek Key border?
At the very bottom edge of the basket weave?

Here is the actual page so that you get the idea of how hard catching this detail should have been:

What kind of normal person would immediately zoom in on that tiny little corner?!?!
It's blurry even!

I bought the book. 
I had to.

It's Elements of Style by Erin Gates.
I love it!
I do not regret this impulse buy/business expense one little bit!
Even though the Greek Key border started stalking me in my dreams. 

I searched online. 
Let me tell you, it is NOT EASY to find!

Then, because it needed to torment me further, it snuck up on me at a tour of the Pabst mansion in Milwaukee. 

If you're a Greek Key psycho like me, you would see it right there, above the second step.
It's barely visible, but it's there.
It's even in the foyer inside.

The hubs tried to sneak a pic and it didn't work.
I guess that's what we get for breaking the rules.

I searched forever on the internet and then after a trip to the Kohler Design Center, I found it across the street at Ann Sacks. 
I mean, of course I would find it at Ann Sacks. Duh....and for about a billion dollars per piece.

Nuh. uh.

Then, I got my girl at Biehn's Floorworks on the search and she found me some for less than a billion dollars!
It took her weeks of searching, but she DID IT!!

There it is, in all it's Greek Key glory.
We finally found each other!

I will have to empty my piggy bank to buy the pieces that will surround my tub, but at this point, it would be wrong not to.

Now, what am I going to do about this squirrel that is stalking me...


It really needs to live in a fancy secretary cabinet like this:

I haven't lost my marbles. 
I believe that unexpected, totally out of place objects that also make you laugh, are the best. 

Note the Greek Key-esque upholstery...the stalking continues.

We are finally getting to an exciting point in this house adventure....we may actually break ground in less than 6 weeks! The lot is even getting staked this week.
That is a HUGE step forward in my world!

Who knew some wooden stakes could make a girl so happy....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dreaming of My Kitchen.....

We just signed with a company that is going to "consult" with us on building our new house.
They are technically not a "builder" but they pretty much act like one, if I want them to.

So, the first thing I did to celebrate was start dreaming about my new kitchen again!

First, I REALLY miss my old kitchen.
Second, I haven't even allowed myself to dream about the new house for quite some time.
Third, kitchens are everything to me!
I would blow my entire budget for the house on my kitchen.
This is why logical husbands are good to have around.

The past ten months have actually been very depressing and stressful.  
I know, with all the problems of the world, it's rather silly to get upset about not having your very own house, or your very own kitchen, but living with other people and their things, gets old rather quickly.
Especially after 10 months! 
And lets face it, a person like me needs her own home.

I never realized before how much I LOVED my kitchen.
Life is so cold without my kitchen.

Here's the plan for the new kitchen:
It's all about contrast.
Not the typical, black and white sort of contrast, but contrast through lines and mixing different eras.

I want a really fresh, modern feel, with an old soul.

There is an "old" feeling with some classics:
-Wood floors
-White porcelain subway tile
-Marble used here and there ( Yes, for the love of Nancy, I know it scratches and stains!) 
-Open shelving (only a little bit because heaven forbid our things get dusty)
-Antique lighting
-Detailed moldings

The modern edge is created with shiny new things that have clean lines:
-Clean and straight hardware
-Shiny modern faucet ( the Delta Trinsic is my favorite at the moment)
-Counters with straight lines, no bevels
-Modern/abstract art
-Modern Dinnerware
-Modern utensils

As for cabinetry, I think I will forever be a painted cabinet kind of girl.
I love wood and all, but I just don't like it above eye level, unless it is installed as some sort of backdrop to lighter objects or as a ceiling detail.

I am really loving the look of inset, framed doors, but I have a feeling that they come with a hefty price tag.....

....they just look so clean and elegant!

If inset Shakers are not in the budget, some overlay Shakers might do the trick....

It can be hard to tell the difference, but one takes much more precision than the other.
Precision = dollars.

We'll see just how much precision I can afford.

I am mostly excited to have a kitchen large enough for seating.
The old kitchen required guests to stand if they wanted to hang out with me while I cooked. 

I am all about cozy seating in the kitchen.

image via Celery Kemble Interiors

I personally prefer lower seating in the kitchen because my legs are long and they go numb very quickly on high bar stools, so we will have normal seating heights and lower counter stools for maximum comfort.

Expert tip: It is easier for older people to get down from bar stools than to get up from standard height chairs. Something to keep in mind when trying to accommodate older people.

Another hot topic for the new kitchen is the appliances.



GE Monogram.

There was once a time that I would have gone without chocolate AND coffee for like a whole day if I could have a Wolf or a Viking.

I'm not gonna lie, I really fell hard for the Viking.

It has shiny stainless steel and matte gold!
I sorta molested the showroom model at Abt.

Then, I tried to pick up one of the stove grates with one hand.
NOT possible.

Then, when I put down the heavy grate, it scratched the stainless steel surface underneath it.
NOT good.

I don't know about you, but I am way too lazy to use both hands to lift one grate.

Also, when I have to use the grate as a weapon when an intruder is in the house, I will need to grab the grate with one hand in order to bash his head in. 
There just isn't enough time for grabbing a grate with both hands when it comes to home invasions.
If I have to stop and be like, "Hold on a second.... I need both hands to grab this damn grate before I can bash your head in",  he will totally see it coming.

Now the grates on the GE Monogram.....

 ....are totally manageable weapons.

Each grate is separate and easy to lift.
And get this....they are REVERSIBLE!! 
You can flip them over to use a wok or any curved pan or bowl! 
How smart is that?!?

Then, I opened the stove doors... was so beautiful! 
It brought tears to my eyes.

All three racks had the easy glide hardware with stainless steel ball bearings.
The Viking, without "upgrades", only had two.

The griddle comes with a cutting board...

Not that I need another cutting board, but the fact that it fits between the burners is pretty smart if you ask me.

So, I had to break it off with Mr. Viking.
He was all looks and no brains.

I honestly expected such an expensive appliance to be engineered with a bit more practicality and a few more bells and whistles. 

I may still be vulnerable to the looks of Mr. Viking if he gives me a 5 year test drive for free.
I mean, I need some convincing.

Now that I am much happier and we are steadily moving forward with the house, I may blog more often.

I see a post about staircases in the near future.

Does this one look familiar?

Every time I watch American Horror Story's Coven series, I get all caught up in the decor and totally ignore all the crazy witch business going on.

My husband is usually very disturbed by all the blood and violence and I am totally lost in the details of the house. He'll be like "OH gross! That's. just. sick. She's stabbing out her own eyeballs"!
And I'm like, "what?? That settee is so perfect and all the white details with the dark paintings......perfection!!"

I can't help it.

More to come on the house once I have an idea of what it will look like!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Act Like A Lady....

I know I haven't mentioned a whole lot about the progress on the house lately...that's because there isn't much to report.

Well, I have had MUCH to report, but most of it was not blog appropriate.

This is how the whole building thing has gone so far:

After our builder ditched us last August, we had to wait FOREVER to gain the rights to our own home plans.
The very same plans we had already paid $5,000 for.
Then, we had to wait another 76 years for him to sign ONE piece of paper.
Of paper.

Once I turned 109 years old, he finally took care of signing the paper.

THEN, it took an additional 20 years to finish the plans and get bids back from builders.

Well, one builder was extremely efficient, thank you Parmentier Builders.
I obviously have a favorite.

A few builders even said they would bid on our house and seemed VERY excited to do so, and then they disappeared. So, rest assured that when you THINK that you have 5 or 6 builders lined up to bid, you probably only have 2.

THEN on my 129th birthday we found out that the home we thought we could afford, thanks to the first builder that disappeared, was $200,000 OVER our budget.



So that is where we are at.

After selling our house nearly 5 months ago, we are now scrambling to find a plan that fits the covenants of the neighborhood and also fits our budget so that we can start building this spring.

 If I don't lose my  #$%^@# mind before then!

Speaking of cursing like a sailor....

....sounds like a plan to me!

I can already see how I would decorate my boat....

and my boat bath....

and how I would wear my sailor shoes....

....and wear sailor knots...

.....all the time!

I can totally do this living on a boat and cursing like a sailor thing!

Until next time....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's The Thought That Counts...

I agree. 
I even take it one step further.
I think the "thought" should be wrapped around the entire gift giving experience.
Right down to the color of ribbon.

Exhausting, aren't I??
I can barely keep up with my own demands!!

Why does Christmas have to be red and green if you know the person's favorite color is pink or yellow??

I like to use craft paper with colored ribbon and cute tags no matter the season because I don't want to worry about storing 308 different types of wrapping paper under my bed.

That's just silly.

AND It may sound quite harsh, but if I'm not feeling it, I just don't do it.
I HATE when people stress out, rush around, and inevitably turn into monsters, only to give thoughtless gifts that are haphazardly thrown into a bag. 

Most times, this particular kind of thoughtless gifting offender will not even bother putting your name on your gift. I mean, for all you know, you were probably given the "emergency" gift that was stuffed under the tree for an unexpected guest.

Please. If that's you, for the love of Christmas, just don't bother. 
You can look like a thoughtless ass or you can just be honest and say, "Sorry....(insert your current life story) so.... uhhhh.....hang tight...Christmas could be in January..or February....not really sure..."

There isn't anything wrong with that, and if your friends and family have a problem with your reality, I strongly advise that you declare yourself a misfit and move yourself to the island of misfit toys.

(That's me in the middle.)

The thing about brutally honest people is that you can rarely be mad at them for simply stating the truth. 
In fact, most times, those very honest people are admired for their confidence and more importantly, in their confidence in you, and the fact that you WON'T hold their lack of obligatory gift giving against them. 

So, in this season of giving, I encourage a deeper look into your giving style and your expectations of other people's giving. 

Are your expectations in line with the spirit of giving or the spirit of receiving? 

Is it too much to take the time to really think about a person before you buy something for them?
If it is, maybe try again later.
No one really wants another flashlight or pocket knife or a Packers stocking that bad. 
(unless it was quite seriously on their list)

Maybe you know someone who LOVES old hardware...

What is going on in your giftees life?
 Maybe they need $$ to get through school or gas $$ to get from A to B. 
Are they having a tough time? Maybe paying medical bills?
Are they short on time and need help with an oil change or fixing their dryer ?

Are they usually alone doing puzzles and might just want someone to do a puzzle with?

Are they a couple of very opinionated designers/engineers who are currently building a house??

I don't know any of those people.

Thoughtfulness is key.

Collect your thoughts all year round and then gift giving isn't so stressful or so hard on the wallet come this time of year. It really makes it so much easier and basically gives you permission to shop any time of year!

Like I need one!?!?

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and receive the most thoughtful of gifts!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Feature: Small Space Decorating Magazine!!!

We are so excited to share our 10 page spread in Small Space Decorating!!

The magazine is chalk full of beautiful spaces and brilliant ideas!
If you're like me and have a crack-like addiction to high-gloss pages filled with smart interiors, you might want to get a copy!

Here is a peak of our feature...

We have been waiting to share this feature that was photographed by Anne and Gary of
Gridley & Graves since August of 2013!

Let me summarize what prepping for a photo shoot is like:
Throw all that crap in the closet!! Put your underwear away! People don't want to see that!! Were you raised in a freaking barn?!?!"

I went a wee bit crazy with cleaning and styling.
Wee. bit.
Only to find out that Anne and Gary mean SERIOUS business and they do all the styling themselves.
If I knew that, I would have slept for more than 54 minutes the night before!
Especially since they did a WAY BETTER job than me!
Despite my lack of sleep and running on pure adrenaline for a week, it was such a fun experience.
Watching pros work with their kick-ass equipment is pretty awesome.

I loved sitting back and eating baked goods while they worked their magic!

See that little pic of Bailey's closet???

IF a photo shoot ever happens at your house, don't think for a second that you're gonna hide all your clutter in the closet where they won't see it, because they WILL.
There are NO secrets.
 If there is a possible photo op in the closet, they will clean it out, rearrange it, make it pretty again, and then take photos of it.
As well they should.
It's why they are Gridley +Graves.

My Audrey room.....I miss it so :(

I miss styling those shelves for the different seasons....

...and cooking in my little white kitchen.

I'm not crying. I just have allergies.

I hope you can enjoy your own copy of this glossy, magazine version of crack. that Anne and Gary so expertly and artfully created!!

to Small Space Decorating for featuring our home!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Natural Beauty

A master bedroom inspired by photos taken at Jackson Hole.....

STUNNING images taken with the client's iphone!

We were so excited when this client came home with such amazing images to share!!

We were even more excited to find out that she was expecting another baby and that we needed to get the master bedroom done before the baby arrived!

Well, the baby arrived TODAY and we just put on the finishing touches!
We are so excited that when she comes home from the hospital she will come home to her new, beautiful bedroom that will hopefully remind her of their latest vacation.

This client likes things simple and clean, so we kept the pillows to a minimum.

The paint color behind the bed is Dark Knight by Sherwin Williams. 
The smokey blue and purples of the pillows were pulled right out of the mountain image. 

We worked with the existing duvet cover and just added some wildflower print sheets. 
A great way to balance the decor budget is to work with what you already have and just add in some highs and lows. The highs here are the custom throw pillows and the lows are the reasonable, but high performance sheets from Target and discounted headboard from Macys.

We accomplished a subtle rustic/outdoors-y feel with an overall classy/traditional look.

We didn't even coordinate the paint color with the patina of the lanterns! 
Perfect coincidence!

Look at the blue water in the bottom of the image and how that blue travels out of the image and down onto the blue leather box. The acrylic tray, glass vase and ring holder are all inspired by the water.

Mixing vintage accessories with clean, modern accessories is always on our to-do list!

The vintage leather box is a cool find from Ruby Lane and serves as the perfect hiding spot for the husband's wallet and watch. 

The frames have a rustic wood look and a hint of elegance with the champagne details.
Wood + Champagne = my kind of rustic!

A cozy reading corner was also in order....
 for when this Mom wants to escape and put her feet up...

Just for her...

The old door just happened to add some warm wood tones to the space.

The only thing that I would still like to add to this corner is a bell that she can ring for service!

IF you are about to have a baby and want to come home from the hospital to a fresh new room, you should give us a call! 

I mean, why do the babies get all the loot?? They won't even remember any of it!

Know what I'm sayin?