Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Finds - New Zealand in Color

Mr. P and I make the most of long weekends and family trips, squeezing in lots of good travel.  We haven't been on a week long vacation, just the two of us since our honeymoon though! We needed to remedy that so we started looking around for inspiration.  We wanted to go big while we still have relatively few responsibilities so we looked at Japan, Hong Kong, UAE, Peru, and Ecuador just based on whatever sparked our interest (views, history, language, etc!).  We priced several options and kept coming back to the drawing board.  And then.  And then Mr. P was browsing Bloomspot and we came across a deal.  New Zealand.  AND. Fiji.  Done.

So off we go.  TGIF indeed.
Clockwise from Top L:
Claudine Garcia Things - Asymmetrical Rimu Ink Blot Earrings
Logan Moody - New Zealand Rugby Provinces Giclee Print
Malaysian Jewelry Maker - Kiwi Bird Pendant
Erupt Prints - Ma is White School Rhyme Print

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Office Nook Inspiration

Putting the desk in the closet wasn't an original idea. You've probably already seen a feature or two on your favorite blogs. Mr. P and I hadn't seen one in real life though, so we started out a little hesitantly.  Then I searched around for inspiration and really liked this feature on Country Living:
There's a few differences from our intended nook look - namely color, style and doors.  That may not seem like much left for inspiration, but I drew several lessons that we're going to try to incorporate.

1. Custom desk - We already have one file cabinet that we weren't sure how to incorporate.  Now I'm thinking we round it out to two and make our own desk so that we have storage as well as control over the dimensions.  If it's one thing I despise is shopping around for very specific dimensions.  It's a time drain.

2. Shelving - I think the shelving makes this space look purposeful and also doubles as useful storage/display area.  The floating aspect keeps things light.

3. Color - the paint and wall paper define the space.  While we won't be wall papering, we do want to paint the trim half way down the wall a nice crisp white to match the rest of the trim.  I'm also thinking a two tone scheme (a neutral above and a darker anchor color below) will help define the space and compliment the larger room.

Given these takeaways, I built a little inspiration board with a more traditional look that suits our tastes and the character of our flat:
Clockwise from Top L:
Pottery Barn - Crown Molding Shelves
Crate and Barrel - Colette Side Chair
Pantone Palette - Antique White, Almond Buff, Espresso and Persian Red
Crate and Barrel - Harlow Vanity Desk

Now, I'm on the hunt over at Craigslist to see what sort of second hand treasures I can score that will achieve the look!

Monday, June 25, 2012

We Broke Out the Power Drill

A friend recently asked me if I was holding out on the blog about house progress.  I only wish.  It seems like the more we move, the longer it has taken to officially settle in.  Another correlation is that our past 3 moves have been to drastically different places (moving two households into one, a major downsizing and then a minor upsizing with a very different layout).

You may remember from this post that our living room wasn't quite put together yet.
Then we moved to a slightly better point.  We had the couch where we wanted it and were slowly moving the furniture around trying to hit the sweet spot.  Originally, we had planned on our second bedroom being an office and either using an air mattress there or putting our pull out couch in it.  However, the room was smaller than we thought and the couch would have taken up half the room leaving a tight squeeze for the desk too.  So we nixed that plan and decided to dedicate it as a guest room.  That mean the desk also needed a new space.

Everyone who has come over has commented about the large closet with glass doors in this room.  The previous owners had a bunch of fancy audio equipment and the glass doors facilitated using the remote for it.  I had stuck our vacuum cleaner in there, but that obviously wasn't going to be the centerpiece for behind the glass doors.  We had a desk needing a home and a closet needing a purpose . . .
After pulling the desk in and sketching out how it might look with a rug and lamp, we decided to live with it for a while before making it permanent.  The desk we have now actually doesn't work with the electrical box that is installed, so we're going to try to find a better solution.  I actually love the lamb skin rug, but I'll have to see if it works with a potential new desk.  We looked at it from different angles, at different times of day and even consulted Ollie about it.  He's a big fan of one more horizontal surface to make his throne.  Then it hit us.  We just didn't like the doors . . .
So Mr. P removed them. We broke out the DeWalt and man, it felt really good to open up the cubby and bring that sq. footage into the room.  The extension of the hardwood floors ties it in nicely and we're convinced with some paint and styling, we can make it a bona fide office nook.  The Asian IKEA screen is just a place holder for something more traditional (there's some storage back there we might eventually build out to look like a built in unit.  We also have some filling and painting to do around the trim work so that it looks like an archway and not like it's missing doors.

Has there been progress? Well, sortof.  We're in a more advanced stage of unsettled.  We're unsettled with a purpose. Tomorrow, I'll be back with a little inspiration board for finishing it out.  The nook may very well be the first settled corner of the house!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Finds - SF Summer Look from J Crew

After some ridiculously nice weekends, I think June Gloom is in full effect. I want to wear summer colors and shoes, but I find the most weather appropriate choices I have to be autumnal or winter colors. So I did some virtual window shopping and if I wanted to drop several hundred dollars on a weather and color appropriate outfit for the SF summer, I would choose this.

Clockwise from Top L:
Tessellate Necklace
Creatures of the Wind Striped Cardigan
No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Light Rose
Blythe Blouse in Shallow Sea

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Skip to My Loo - the Afters

Every bit of the bathroom has been staged since the afternoon I posted the before pictures, EXCEPT for hanging the art on the walls.  For two weeks, we used that room every day and glanced by the sad art on the floor waiting for it's chance to shine.  Having guests over on the weekend gave us the kick in the seat of pants we needed.  Ta da!

The budget breakdown went something like this:

Light blue rug (owned previously): $0
Light blue towels (wedding gift): $0
Purple towels (Home Goods in Cupertino): $10
Cat toilet brush holder ($5 off coupon at BB&B): $20 
Dark purple trash bin (clearance at Target): $7.95 
Love art (gift from wedding planner!): $0
Light blue glass bottle (thrifted): $1
Lavender candle (Target): $5.95
Wine print (gift for birthday): $0
Wine print frame (Michael's 40%): $15
Cat soap holder (gift from Aunt): $0
Basket under the sink (owned previously): $0
Sconce, toilet and sink (already in house): $0
Mirror (craigslist, IKEA originally): $20
Pink vase (inherited): $0
Potpourri for vase (Home Goods in Cupertino): $10

Total: $89.90

There's still things that I would like to change (threshold doesn't cover the tile but sits beside it, open plumbing under the sink, etc.), but this is what we're going with for the foreseeable future. Besides the obvious kitty stuff, I really love the injection of color.  After complaining about white walls, the blue is such a nice change (even if the plaster has been poorly patched over for the better part of the last century).

Ollie moved too!

Oliver loved perching on the tops of our wingback chairs, but our chairs weren't loving him, especially when his SoftPaws need replacing. Hmmm.

Then one day, I was walking around PetCo like I do with kitty litter under one arm and Fancy feast under the other, when I came across a kitty condo that made me look twice.  This condo looked like a cross between a Tiki Hut and Pottery Barn storage solutions wall, so I put the fancy feast under my chin and struggled my way to the check out line. Our stinker thinks it's pretty nifty.

And in the same vein, we ordered this cutie patootie return address stamp from Save the Date Design.

I know it's a silhouette, and I'm a crazy kitty mama, but I think it really looks like Ollie! He puts his paw up like that when he wants attention.  Thankfully I'm not crazy enough to get Oliver his own address stamp (1 Cat Perch Lane, Purr City, USA), but I am coockoo enough to sign off by saying that Ollie is all meow-ved in.

Over and out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Foster Children, BBQ and Baseball

BBQ might be my most recent passion of the three, and advocating for children in the foster system might be the most important, but the combination in one event is something pretty special.  I've been proud to volunteer for the 2nd Annual Bay Area BBQ Championship, an annual fundraiser for Alternative Family Services.  On July 7th, you can taste out of this world BBQ, take in America's pastime and all the while know the proceeds are helping place local foster children with families (the kids also get a pretty cool baseball clinic with the Oakland A's!).

This event touches my heart on a few levels. On the deepest level, it conjures memories of growing up next door to an amazing boy who survived the foster system and was adopted by our neighbors.  Then, I knew him as the neighbor's kid and we would play H-O-R-S-E on the driveway or ride bikes.  Now, I'm aware of the needs, policies and challenges facing the system.  For him and for all of the children right here in our backyard who deserve stability and love - I support this event and the greater work AFS does.

On another level, it reminds me of the love of the game.  Watching Moneyball again recently, I was struck by  Billy Beane's observation that baseball is a romantic sport.  You may not feel that way about baseball, and I don't think I can do it justice by explaining it, but there's something about rooting for your home team, the sound of the ball cracking against the bat, and generations sitting together that makes my heart swell.  It's romantic, I'm romantic, just hand me another slice of apple pie and play "Proud to be an American."

Finally, I love 'cue.  No matter how you spell it - BBQ, barbecue, Bar-B-que - I got bit by the bug when I lived in NC and I just can't get enough.  Unfortunately, San Fran is a bit of a BBQ desert.  In Durham, you could walk into almost any restaurant and count on the pulled pork to be a solid choice.  Here, I stay away.  Far away.  That's why having a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned championship is a huge deal.  It brings the mouthwatering BBQ right here to Nor Cal.
Photo courtesy of AFS

For the kids, for the love of the game and for a big bite of BBQ, head over to the Coliseum 4th of July weekend.  The event is uber family friendly, there's a beer/bbq pairing tent, you can buy tickets online or onsite, and there's some live entertainment lined up too! Check out the details:

Thanks for reading and your support.  It's because of blogging that I found the volunteer opportunity for this event! Bloggers rule!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Finds - Black and White Dining

For the most part, Mr. P and I have similar design sensibilities.  We can walk into a store and both like the same lines, colors, shapes, etc.  Where we tend to stray apart is function vs. form.  Mr. P's engineering mind is always thinking of function. I often think, well that does what it's supposed to (as in it's a chair you can sit in), but I like the fabric, nail head trim, or something on another piece.  It's a bit that way with our dining room.  Currently we have a small scale expanding table with one bench.  We bring in outdoor chairs when we have guests.  Hmmm.  

So I was thinking a big farm table with upholstered linen chairs and perhaps an antique cocktail cabinet.  Mr. P, however, saw an intimate bar area at the Menlo Grill (really excellent, btw) and got hooked on the idea of creating a more lounge feel than a formal dining room.  In trying to strike a balance, I pulled these items together.  I think it hits the comfortable bar atmosphere note, has a high degree of function (hello storage in that hutch!), and with the right amount of candlelight could be warmed up into a really inviting space. The only downside is that the table and chairs are not bar height - something we'd really like to try.  

How do you balance style differences?
Clockwise from Top L:
Crate and Barrel - French Kitchen Table
Crate and Barrel - Lowe Onyx Leather Side Chair

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sidewalk Sweepers and Me

In SOMA, professional street cleaners wash the streets and sidewalks with pressure washers, forcing the street dirt, the unsavory, the filth into the depths of the sewer system.  The regular cleaner does it all with a tip of his hat as he redirects the spray from my path as I hurry to the KT line with a fine mist clinging to my hosiery.

In Bernal and Mission, on my leisurely mile walk to the 24th and Mission BART station, I see shop keepers and home owners sweeping the sidewalk. The elderly tacqueria owner pushes his industrial broad broom catching cigarette butts and leaves but passing over the chewing gum wads.  Then there are the two Asian land ladies, backs hunched over primitive grass bunches tied together with twine.  The dichotomy of the new world and old world breaks into my morning routine as I walk on reconciling their faux Adidas trainer pants, latex gloves and grass brooms.
SIDEWALK PERFORMANCE, Jo Hanson, San Francisco, 1980, photo by Jim Weeks. via
There is a bit of smeared canine diarrhea on the walk in front of my house.  It's close to the curb and I can easily avoid it. I could bring the hose around from the laundry and attempt a cleaning myself. Instead I wait for the rain and wonder how to come to terms with my value of personal responsibility, which I laud when I walk by it in the Mission, and my laziness at my own home.

The rain came and now there is no evidence of my disregard to the condition of our sidewalk. Yet I pass by her again this morning with her grass, sweeping in what I would call an inefficient manner, the object of her cleaning intentions swirling in unruly fleeing attempts against the uneven branches.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mr. P Found My Camera

And he made a fun little series at dusk. The views from the new place don't include water, but we'll take 'em!  I'm posting these SOOC because I love the hazy peach quality.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Making the Potty Pretty

First of all, split bathrooms are the bomb-diggety. Is that TMI? Whatevs, it's nice for many reasons and we'll leave it at that.  Since we have separate rooms, it just means that I have one more space to decorate.  Cool.

Let's start with the before pics:
 Nice tile, good light, classic hardware ...
 Cute and practical side sink ...
 Nice light blue wall color ...

Besides a good bleaching (which we immediately did after moving in!), I knew we had some good bones.  I was happy with the hardware and lighting.  The wood blinds are staying.  The mirror was a craigslist find (originally from IKEA) and the waste paper basket was on clearance at Target.  Everything else, we already had.  But yeah, I'm getting a blah, yawn, blah vibe.

When we were at Imagery Winery with my parents, I saw a print and fell in love. It was a perfect birthday gift (thanks Mom and Dad!). The prints are all of their artsy wine labels and besides the amazing colors, I love that it represents something local.  They don't still have the print for sale, but mine is signed and the colors are similar to the inspiration below.  These are the colors I'm looking to incorporate based on the paint that's already there and my new print:

After lots of time in a white rental and some not so subtle critiques from Mr. P, I think I'm diving off the deep end into some color!

Anyone else have a split bathroom? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Finds - Pierogi Fun

Make 'em. Buy 'em. Eat 'em. Love 'em. They're hearty little pasta pockets stuffed with all sorts of goodness.  Anybody else's grandma feed them pierogies?

Clockwise from Top L:
Garbella - P is for Pierogi Baby Onesie
Rhymes with Twee - You Fill Me with Piero-glee Greeting Card
Pierogi Picnic - Full of Love Organic Top
By Beeps - Pierogi and Butter Plush Felt Food Toy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oliver the Salesman

When some people look at Craigslist ads and see a cat in the picture, they think, "Ew gross, pet hair is all over that thing."  When other people look at Craigslist ads and see a cat in the picture, they think, "Amazing! and they like cats!"

Mr. Palindrome believes my Craigslist ads featuring Oliver will scare potential buyers away.  I believe they will draw the buyers in.  The idea of fellow cat lovers buying my junk/treasures warms my little kitty lovin' heart.

Are you deterred or drawn to pets in sales pics? Do you want to buy any of our stuff?