Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet Joe!

I have two very special "Joes" in my life. One is my cousin's beautiful baby Joe. This kid could rule the world with his smile. When you have two awesome parents you're bound to be amazing, right? The second Joe in my life is located at the Pulitzer Foundation located in the theater district in Saint Louis.

Joe is a large sculpture created by artist Richard Serra. It was commissioned by Mrs. Pulitzer as a way to honor her late husband Mr. Joseph Pulitzer. Her office window overlooks the sculpture in the courtyard.

Joe also has the honor of being the place I said yes to becoming Mrs. Shane Thompson. That is right folks this is where my husband proposed. I'm proud to say we were the first couple to become engaged in the sculpture. There have been a few others since so needless to say Joe is a romantic place to be.

The sculpture is made from several large steel plates/walls that have been connected together to form a large torqued spiral. You walk through it like a snailshell shaped maze and end up in a center courtyard that blocks out all of the city noise. It is an amazing place to be. It was an honor to become engaged within its walls.

The husband and I try to visit the sculpture when we can but we are always running here and there. For my birthday Shane wanted to take me there for a visit so we took time and made the pilgrimage There was Joe just as he always is a reminder of strength, beauty, and most of all love.

Of course as always a photo shoot must happen. Thank the heavens we don't have kids because we would have more photos of Joe than them. His walls are starting to age and like Paul Newman or Steve McQueen he is only getting better. We took several detail photos of this beautiful new patina.

We have quite the photo series from this last trip and I can't wait to get them framed and installed in our master suite. I can think of no better way to wake up everyday than with images of Mr. Joe.

Once I get the photos framed and installed I'll be able to do a more thorough post on the master suite and share its' details. If you have never been to the Pulitzer Foundation or have not been in awhile I highly recommend it. There are two art installations right now that I thoroughly enjoyed and while you are there don't forget to visit Joe!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Final Touches for the Family Room

Getting back into the swing of things and continuing on the path of renovation has been hard. Our professional lives are busy and in the evenings the chill in the air leads to lots of snuggling on the sofa near the fire and not much physical labor. As I mentioned in my previous post there are plenty of projects in the planning stage and until those get underway I wanted to tie up some loose ends and finally post on those spaces that just needed a few finishing touches to be blog worthy.

Starting this series of buttoned up spaces is the Family Room, the room that sold us on the house. Not because this room was attractive. As you can see from the before photos it was that awful shade of dirty off-white, had a dark fireplace, and odd trim around the doors and windows. Don't even get me started on that terrible audio equipment rack. On the plus side the room had a good square shape , the fireplace is a nice size as well as being flanked by windows, and the most important thing - adjacent to the kitchen.

This is the one room that didn't take major surgery to update. We removed the trim, painted the whole room - including the fireplace, and the rest was decor'. I chose a palette of navy and pale grey (I know you can hardly believe it) The majority of the furnishings came with us from our last home. We added new window treatments, some thrifted finds, and a few inexpensive accessories to work with the new color palette.
This room has turned into a cozy space that feels great to come home to at the end of a long day. I feel like some of the great pieces we had in our last home finally have room to breathe. Having space allows them to shine now.
There are quite a few details in the room I love. My favorite space is the reading corner. Our beloved Eames lounge is hanging out with some of my other favorite pieces. This grouping is quite indicative of my style mid-century - meets industrial - meets metallics and texture. If I had to pick one photo to sum up my design style it would be of this vignette.
Another spot in the room that is such a simple thing however makes me smile every time I see it is our fire tending area. It started out with a vintage milk crate and was rounded out with a two-toned painted basket to hold firestarters and some basic tools hung on bamboo hooks. Having a fireplace is a luxury to me so I have to make the most of it.
Speaking of that luxurious fireplace some would be horrified about the painted brick. I have no qualms over painting brick especially ugly orange 80's brick. Eventually we would like to re-clad it in stone but for now making the brick a lighter tone really brightened up the space. I accessorized the newly painted fireplace with vintage pottery and artwork that features one of my retro loves Mr. Steve McQueen. In this house however he is just Steve. It is hard to see but the piece in front of Steve is an original blueprint of my childhood home. A few years ago my Mom gave me the whole set and someday I hope to frame them all together.
Lastly, I added a bar cart, again something we've had for years I re-purposed. That cart has held printers, tools, and more recently scrap wood while we were working on the kitchen. I would like to have a nicer bar cart so I'll have to add it to my thrifting list. However, for right now this was free and is a nice contrast against the navy backdrop. The husband doesn't mind his precious rum collection being handy either.
I'm glad the wheels are starting to move, albeit slowly. As I mentioned before any step forward is progress. One space checked off the to do list a million more to come! Have a great week!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

On to the Next!

Now that the kitchen is done, again our biggest project to date, it's time to start thinking about what is next. The next logical step is renovating the upstairs bedrooms starting with one of the guest bedrooms. This is where our second television is located so I also want it to serve as a comfy place to watch movies. I threw together a mood board with some of the ideas I have been compiling including a quick sketch. As with most of my projects there will be a bit of DIY like making an upholstered headboard and re-doing some existing furniture pieces. First up is to paint the walls a deep teal, a color I fell in love with after seeing it on a metallic vinyl I have in my work library. I'm still a few weeks away from beggining the project however bringing all the inspiration together is always a good step towards getting started.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My First All New Kitchen!

Not that I have a readership but if I did it would notice I have not posted in months. I was so excited to launch a blog about the work in our homes and between our day jobs and the laboring on our home posting anything has seemed impossible. I hope to do better, to be more commited to posting. There are tons of things we have completed and I would love to write about them as well as the many projects we have ahead of us. So enough talking it's time for showing. Let's look at the Kitchen project!

Here are the lovely before photos.

What can I say? It was Oak-A-Palooza. It was very 80's and had not one quality finish in it. The layout was poor, builder grade at best, and the pantry was small. So what did we do?

We introduced this kitchen to our sledgehammers and sawsall. If you look closely you can see the outlines in blue of the Kitchen to be. I had my set of plans but I always recommend a full scale layout to work out the details. So after 3-4 months of dedicated labor...

It is finally finished!
It has all new cabinetry, appliances, flooring, lighting, and paint. I have never had all new before. Those cabinets are wonderful. Made fairly well and soft closers to boot! I still have to personalize the space with artwork and reupholstery of the Kitchen chairs. We also will have to get stone or solid surface countertops put in and backsplash tile. However, for now I am completely smitten and anything in addition will be icing on the cake.

This was the biggest project we have taken on to date and we are very proud of our hard work. Our friends and love ones keep saying "what's next?" They know me all to well. Many things are next however I have plenty projects to share that we have already completed. Hopefully it will give me lots to post on while we take a break from physical labor and enjoy the holidays. Then some other room will get well aquainted with my tool arsenal. Be very afraid rooms, be VERY afraid!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Lake House Kitchen

This is a project that has been completed for some time however it is one of my favorite re-dos. I love the kitchen at the lake house due to its simplicity and functionality.

Because I love my Before & Afters here are some pictures of the kitchen when we bought lake house. Lots of cream and burgundy, not my thing, very cottagy, also not my thing. These cabinets are not in the best of shape and doors hanging level is not going to happen so what did the last owners do? They painted the cabinet frame one color and the doors/drawers another. Basically this screamed "LOOK I'M CRAPPY OLD CABINETS!"

Now here are the afters! This kitchen was a product of lots of drywall repair and lots of paint. Dark warm grey paint and new hardware drew the attention away from the wonky cabinetry. Open shelving, storage baskets, and art rounded out the space. I had always wanted a kitchen with open shelving for the uppers but in our last city home it would have taken away much needed storage. I keep the lake house kitchen pared down to the essentials so this was the first home I could pursue a more open concept.

My two favorite touches are the deep blue-green island and the vintage motel sign photograph in a similar shade to the island. The photo I took at one of the original motels on the old strip at the lake. I then altered the color and had it enlarged.

This was a fairly easy kitchen to transform, we were lucky. Work is being done to prep the city house for kitchen demo. This is going to get intense folks! Unlike the Lake House we have to live in this construction zone full time. More details to come!

The Master Suite is 95% done basically it just needs artwork and accessories. Posts on that space coming soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Craigslist - A Tale of Addiction

My name is Holly and I am addicted Craigslist - "HELLO HOLLY!" That is how it would go if there was a Craigslist Anonymous. To be honest my addiction isn't as bad as I am letting on maybe ten or so purchases over the last two years but last week I made two purchases from CL. TWO PURCHASES PEOPLE, TWO!!!! Also to be fair I have been on the hunt for a few things and when you find something that fits the bill you have to jump on it (or them as it were)

Exhibit A - The Lounge Chairs

Aren't they a couple of Mid Century beauties! They need a bit of love and even though the seat cushions are in decent shape they also need some TLC. It won't take much to make these shine again. Some cleaning, touch up, and new upholstered seats and they'll be back in business. I can't wait to get them fixed up for the family room. Stay tuned for their makeover segment.
Exhibit B - The Dining Chairs
I have a new love - well four new loves in the form of new dining chairs for the kitchen. Look at all that chrome and cantilevered goodness! We were fortunate enough to get these as they were part of a set and the seller was kind enough to break it up and sell us the chairs. Like the lounge chairs they will take minimal work to integrate them into our home. New upholstery and a bit of Mother's Chrome Polish and we are set. Again makeover details coming soon.
Well I'm off to finish several other projects. Anything to keep me off Craigslist or my always patient husband will be Googling good divorce lawyers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Completed Project! The Half Bath

I begin my journey into blog land with the first project completed in our new home, the half bath or powder room as some people still like to call it. I always say you have to celebrate the little things although renovating any room in a home is no little thing as any DIYer will agree. A half bath generally is a little thing and ours is no exception however it is a decent size and serves its purpose.

The half bath is located on the main level adjacent to family room and will most likely be the most used bathroom in the house. In our last home we had 1-1/2 baths. The half bath was actually the master bath and the full bath was in the main hallway. The full bath had to be thoroughly cleaned up anytime guests showed up and good luck if they arrived early and you were still showering. You were hoping they wouldn't notice as you sprinted in a towel down the hall and into the master bedroom. Having a half bath for guests feels very luxurious.

Let's discuss some before and afters, shall we

Here is the half bath before in all it's light house wallpapered, oak vanity having, antique brass fixtured self. Not only was the space outdated the finishes were worn. The previous owner's cat had a claw party on the wall in a few spots. That cat will come up again as I post on other rooms. It definitely left its mark throughout the home and not in a fun way.

I wanted some drama in the half bath. Design 101 - you can be dramatic in a powder room because the drama is in small doses and easier for people to handle. I am an interior designer and can live with dark walls. I had an all black bedroom for two years in my last home. I LOVED IT! I only repainted it when we considered putting the house on the market. So here it is - a half bath with some drama.

The old wallpaper and border were removed and replaced with a black strie' wallpaper, white detailed molding for the chair rail, and a light warm grey paint for the bottom half of the wall. My mom, the one woman dynamo, is my wallpaper installer. I learned all I know about maintaining and decorating a home from her. You couldn't ask for a more detailed oriented person and always goes above and beyond for her clients. She has a business of her own decorating, painting, wallpapering, and staging. She lives in Camdenton, Mo. however she works on projects all over the states. If you are looking for any of these services I would be glad to pass her information on. You will see projects she has helped me with from time to time on FG&C

I repainted the vanity with a semi-gloss warm grey paint and swapped the old antique brass hardware out for some lucite and chrome ones from Lowes.

The flooring is a great vinyl tile product called Traffic Master Allure. I like it because it is thick and can be grouted like porcelain or ceramic tile. One other advantage it has to stone and tile products is that it generally stays room temp. so you don't have cold floors under your bare feet all the time. We installed this product in a larger subway size in our last home's kitchen and said if we could we would use it again.

The light fixture is one we have had for years. It was actually installed in the full bath of our prior residence. We replaced all the fixtures in our last home before it went on the market so we could bring our lighting with us to the new place. The new chrome faucet is from Home Depot. The new rocker switches, outlets, and cover plates are from Lowes.

Lastly, I installed a new mirror found on clearance at Gordmans and some artwork from our large stash of existing pieces.

We are pretty proud of our 1st project completion. The master suite, family room, and library are in various stages of remodel as well. I will be posting on them within the next few weeks. Come on back if you want to see more!