Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gone to the Cats

Fixing the hole in the wall was step one of several in our attempts to make it look like we live in the house, rather than just moved in. Another step is going to be incorporating our bay window in to the livable space of the family room.  Right now, it's cat central as modeled by Oliver.

It's a pretty sweet view, but as you can see, the only things enjoying it are Oliver, his cat tree and few feathery mice. A lot of grooming and sunbathing happens in that tree.

Ollie like to survey his kingdom and I like to do cool camera things like catch his sphinx like reflection.

It's got such great bones and it's just not living up to it's potential as a cat playground.

Sooooo . . . I got to looking around online . . . and . . .

Sort of fell in love with the idea of making it into more seating as a focal point in the room. We need some blinds of some sort because the afternoon sun make TV watching impossible (gotta start prepping for Sunday afternoon football marathons!).  And I still want Oliver to feel at home napping there :)

I made a little inspiration board that reflects the inspiration above but ties in more of our colors:

Clockwise from Top L:
Pottery Barn - Kilim Pillow Cover
Pottery Barn - Grain Sack Striped Pillow Cover
Pottery Barn - Mila Suzani Embroidered Pillow Cover
Calico Corners - Mirth Lark Pattern
Calico Corners - Stubb Club Stripe in Khaki/Sand
Pottery Barn - Cozy Cableknit Throw in Neutral
Copper Coconut - Inspiration Roman Shades and Seating
Calico Corners - Wool Velvet in Ivory

We'll see if we can't get the Ollie stamp of approval once we're done!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Boring House Fixes

Plumbing, spray paint scraping and now hole fixing. You know us, Mr. and Mrs. Exciting House Projects.  We've been doing a lot more of the responsible home owner stuff than the fun home owner stuff, but our hope is that it's all out of the way soon!

The previous owners had mounted their flat screen and brought wiring and electric through the closet behind this wall. Thankfully they threw in some money for us to fix it at closing. Because we were dealing with plaster walls, we thought about hiring a handyman with plaster experience to patch it. After reading some online tutorials though, Mr. P was confident he could tackle it.

We headed to Lowe's for a few basic items including wired wall patches and joint compound. I wasn't around when he layered on the first coat, but I was pretty shocked to find hot pink patches when I got home! Of course, it dries white.

After the first application of the compound, we were a little nervous that the wire mesh seemed to be bubbling through.

Thorough drying and another coat took care of the bubbling issue though.

Since the original plaster walls have a texture to them, we also picked up a can of orange peel texture wall spray.  Mr. P did two passes it and figured we could always build it up more if we needed to.

The only thing left was to paint it again.  Thankfully the previous owners left us a ton of quarts for the paints around the house and we just had to pry open the right container.  This is Benjamin Moore's Mocha Brown.

The colors above all take on a different hue as the light in the room changed and as I edited them slightly differently. The finish wall below is probably the best representation of the chocolate hue.

And a tiny bit closer up, you can see the finish isn't quite as clean as we had hoped. We probably could lay on some more orange peel, but after the project spread out over two weekends with the drying time in between, we were done.

Have you successfully used wall patches before? Did you have a trick?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Knock Knock ...

Who's there?

Wrinkly curtain and spray paint frosting. Like whoa. 

These are the details that I did not notice when I was head over heels and making offers on this place. Now that we're in? I'm over this look like Katie's over Tom.

We've got some great bones with the trim colors, red doors, tiling ad matching doormats. But those privacy solutions . . . they've got to go!

Mr. P's mom has a dog and ideally would love a solution that has an open and closed option so that the dog can see out during the day, but so she can have privacy at night. Also, you can't see this, but her key and locks are worn out. You really have to jiggle just right and her key is very difficult to make working copies of. New locks would make things so much easier!

On our side, privacy is less of an issue because you can only see the stairs up to our place. I can't help but think of graffiti every time I see this. It's one of those things, once you see it, you can't unsee it. We also have some unseen issues - namely some worn out weather stripping that allows the wind to slam the door and nearly shatter the glass.

So here's our plan:
1. Scrape fake frosting from glass door on the left.
2. Find matching solution that allows animals to see out and creepers to not see in.
3. Find and install new matching hardware.
4. Add a few accessories - wreath? topiary?

Besides Target's Smith and Hawken line, do you have favorite outdoor accessory type sources? Or anybody have experience with front doors with glass in them?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Finds - Hall Tree Style

We fill our recycling bin with catalogs from the previous owners.  I read most of them before giving them the heave ho, leaving me with  a large stack of "inspiration" pages.  One of those ideas that would be great in someone else's house is a hall tree.  I love the way they're styled in the catalog pages and how they make a house look so relaxed and lived in. It feeds the part of me that looks forward to lining up little shoes and lunchboxes as kiddos head off to school.

No matter how much I love them, our entry starts immediately with stairs and small landing that cannot accommodate the more furniture type pieces. Our NC house also had a small entry with no wall for a hall tree. So for those of you with a wall and a will, here's a behemoth I love and a few accessories to boot.


Clockwise from Top L:
Bloomingdale's - Hunter Boots in Classic Glossy Red
Ethan Allen - Logan Hall Tree
Pier 1 - Round Water Hyacinth Basket
Gap - Striped Straw Fedora

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Executive Assistant

He knows more keyboard shortcuts than me.

And he does a mean impression of my laptop fan.

Love this crazy cat.  Even though he's typo-prone.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bernal Heights Then and Now

Our old house is just about to celebrate its 99th birthday and I loved finding some old photographs of our neighborhood from around the time our house was built.

The model T in this photo illustrates why the garages are so small!!! And look at that little cutie on the bottom right.  Maybe he was the babe in our nursery?

To highlight the differences 100 years later, check out this amazing time lapse video from a local resident:

It's amazing to me how much landscaping has changed with plants and trees! Have you uncovered any fun photos from your house's beginnings?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Wine Aftermath

If you remember this, then you might be wondering how we fared. After Mr. Palindrome had wiped the wine off his face and we surveyed the damage, I made quick work of sprinkling baking soda over all of the fabric surfaces and rug.

We let the baking soda sit for around 24 hours.

Then we vacuumed up and I was super pleased.  That good ole Dear Heloise trick was just the ticket to saving our furniture. The only reason we were able to laugh about it prior to the vacuum and seeing the evidence was because we paid the extra insurance when we bought the couch for just such reasons!

While the couch and rug survived unscathed, Oliver's white coat, which I did not pour baking soda on, left a few spots.

His nose and forehead had small reminders of his leap until he finally was able to groom them out.

Have you used baking soda successfully for wine clean ups before?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Finds - Restaurant Styled Place Settings

Mr. Palindrome and I have been visiting a lot of brasserie style, new American, locivore type restaurants. In fact, that's where Mr. Palindrome got his idea for decorating our dining room.  I've been thinking more how the Liberty Blue China I've been collecting doesn't really strike the same note. I'm not overly attached to it though, so I decided to browse for weighty restaurant inspired pieces that can stand up to our dishwasher and be easily replaced if broken. Solid white plates would be the foundation. Heavy flatware without embellishment would decorate the sides. These base pieces could always be spruced up with a few little changes (like napkin color, fun dessert dishes, or seasonal glassware).  And since the current idea is to have a marble top cut to size, I thought some brown craft paper covering would be a cheap way to protect the marble from the wine that would be undoubtedly consumed. While more modern than I normally go for, I'm digging the accessorizing possibilities!

Clockwise from L:
Pottery Barn - Great White Traditional Dinnerware
Bed, Bath & Beyond - Towle Alpine Flatware
Amazon - Kraft Paper Table Cloth Roll
Crate & Barrel - Charlie Glasses

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Insult to Injury

Yesterday. Yesterday started at the emergency vet's office with my mother-in-law's dog (dog ok-ish now). Actually, it started yesterday on my way to the vet when I scraped the car backing out of the garage. After a long day making up work and at language class, Jason and I relaxed with some wine on the couch.

I finished my glass and bid J good night.

I gathered my phone and book.

In my periphery, I saw a white cat gunning down the hallway.

In one fell swoop, a kitty hind leg leaped over the back of the couch into the glass of wine.

And the wine splattered.

On himself.

On Jason.

On the couch.

On the carpet.

On the coffee table.

In my computer bag.

And to all, a good night!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Undoing a Nursery

There was a darling nursery when we saw our home staged. Certainly the tot who laid his head there was quite at home, but we thought our guests might enjoy a different decor and more proper bed. (Even as I'm typing, I'm thinking with a British accent - a bit too much Downton Abbey???)

Listing Photograph

We had quite enough painting in Carolina, and we liked the color well enough, so I thought I could build around it. From there, we had a blank slate, but I knew the feeling I wanted for the room.  I wanted guests to arrive and feel as thought they had a cozy spot at a Bed & Breakfast. From there, I did a bit of Craigslisting and inspiration hunting to put together a little mood board.

Clockwise from Top L:
Pottery Barn - Mini Gilded Gold Mirrors
Craigslist - Hand Painted Headboard
Pottery Barn - Hadley Ruched Bedding
Craigslist - Antique Faux Bamboo Wood Side Table
JC Penney - Turquoise Ceramic Table Lamp

I think it needs a bit of warm golden tones - perhaps pillows or curtains? And then a traditional rug?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Finds - Coming to Summer's End

My summer has wound to end with professional and personal responsibilities kicking into high gear next week. Especially in San Francisco, I'm nostalgic for childhood summer memories - clinging to the last few, hot, boring days in August, waiting for thunder storms to roll through and catching the last lightening bugs of the season. Of all the suburban things I miss, I think the smell of fresh cut grass is near the top of the list!

Clockwise from Top L:
Kitty Grrlz - Handspun Merino Wool in Summer's End
Chifonie - Handmade Polymer Clay Buttons
teresamariegrandy - 4 Fleur de lis jars
Emily Jeffords - Summer's End Little Original Oil Landscape

Thursday, August 9, 2012

There Goes His Modeling Career

As I was taking laundry down, I saw Ollie peeking between stalks of sunflowers - a picturesque moment. Frameable really. Of course, by the time I got my phone out of my pocket and the camera app booted, he was completely obsessed with another part of the deck. I coaxed him back to the flowers, but bugs were wayyyyyy more interesting.
 So I moved the flowers to create more interest, but the only thing he got interested in was going inside. It's something deeply psychological in mammals I think that when the door closes, the only thing you really want is back inside. Did your parents ever tell you, "In or out before I lock you out!"? It's totally a psychological trip to desire the other side of the door.  Even for cats.
 Mama, please. Let me in.
Apparently this diva didn't dig my artistic flower vision and preferred this come hither sprawl. Talk about artistic differences.
For the next photo shoot I might try treats. And reading pet photographer tips. 

Have you had luck posing your pets for photos?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Point Reyes National Seashore

My streak of National Park visiting continued with a trip to Point Reyes National Seashore. We broke out the our zoom lens and UV filter to try to take a few beauty shots.
While mostly clear, the wind swept across the cliffs - further reinforcement that all of my outfits should be built around my fleece.
When hiking to the lighthouse, several other park goers pointed out what they thought were whales.  It was late in the season, but possible - alas, I couldn't spot one!
The lighthouse was pretty cool and the park ranger was super knowledgeable about the workings of the lamp inside. It's automatically controlled now, but back in the day powered the lamp with coal.
Along the cliffs, happy California cows grazed with some of the best views in the state. I briefly entertained becoming a happy dairy farmer.
In each National Park, I'm amazed at the diversity of the natural beauty and landscape. Even the moss and fungus on the rocks created a striking contrast.
We only had time to do one hike, but we're already talking about going back to walk on the shore and seek out more wildlife. I particularly would love to see the whale migration in the winter!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reading on BART

I thoughtlessly reseated myself in another row at Montgomery. The window-seat sitter, desperate to get off was merely an annoyance as I was planted firmly in the imaginary realm of reading. I felt the flapping of chicken wings against my cheek and  willed it to die with the next stroke Gabrielle Hamilton took with her dull hatchet. Tasting the tough and rubbery bite at the hostile table with her father I became aware that I was both holding my breath and the train beat had skipped. The predictable influx and emptying of the car had stopped. In two blinks, I realized my predicament. I was under the bay, hurtling towards Oakland and away from my office.

That's what you get for reading on BART sometimes. I dove back to the scene as the train descended back under the bay. Not quite as taken into her world, holding firmly to the overhead strap and glancing up in search of signage, I disembarked at Embarcadero. Tonight, I will reembark on both journeys.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Finds - Fiji and the Sea

A full recap is coming up, but to end cap my NZ Friday Finds, I thought I'd pay homage to Fiji where we closed out the great globe trot of 2012!  Snorkeling was one of my favorite activities on the islands as evidenced here:

And these finds are mostly inspired by the sea - TGIF!

Clockwise from L:
Michael Uhlenkott Design - Fijian Tapa Block Print
World Treasure Collection - Fiji Vintage Coin Earrings
Grey Dog Studio - Sea Glass Cheese Knife
Quercus Design - Fiji Beachcombing Fine Art Photograph