Stylin' Mamma: Travelin' Light

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer travels by plane, bus, and car have had me searching for the PERFECT black dress.  You know the one: won't wrinkle, will be comfy on the four-hour drive to the mountains, can be styled appropriately for dinner in East Hampton...the Do-Everything Dress.  With my suitcase packed for our two-week vacation and 55 minutes to go before picking up the kids from camp and hitting the road, I set out on a mission, a quest, to find this dress.
Of course, I came home with two.

For the Sporty-Spice mamma, there's Lucy.  The fabric is a little on the tennis-y side but the neckline is flattering as heck and the built-in support avoids the constant summertime Undergarment Conundrum.  With flat sky-blue sandals, statement sunnies and a beach bag fit for a family of four, it's a travel no-brainer.

For a slightly softer look, consider this from Curator. Throw on a few happy strands of beads, replace the flip-flops for something a little sexier, brush out that beach hair and call the babysitter.  Mommy's got a date. 

- Jaime

Table Refinishing Project

Monday, August 26, 2013

A while back I blogged about my client's living room which I've been working on.  Here is the concept board from a while back.
You can see on the left hand side a photo of a table that she'd inherited from her mother.  We knew we wanted a sort of washed finish on this to coordinate with some of the other items in the room like the settee.  Well, it's sort of amazing how much people will charge to do a small job like this. So, I figured that since I knew what we wanted I would attempt to tackle it (and cross my fingers that I didn't lose a client in the process).  So here is the table after the first sanding. I managed to remove a drink ring from the burled top without ruining the veneer which was nice.  And I didn't have to sand all that much since it seemed like someone had already sort of stripped it somewhere along the line.
And here it is with some stain on the top, which we decided to keep dark to show off the burled grain.
And here is the scary part where I applied a grey oil-based paint on the rest of the body of the table to give it a washed appearance.  Eeeeek! Reminds me of a cheesy shabby chic redux that you'd find at a flea market (LA peeps, you know that stall at the Rose Bowl).
Here it is the next day when I applied more paint but did a bit more rubbing and sanding. Looking a little less scary!
And getting closer to the final product.
Finally, after a coat of polyurethane.  Not bad! Can't wait to show it to you all in the space.

Digging in the Dirt

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Now that our interior is mostly complete (for now that is - until I decide I can't stand my office or the basement), I've decided to focus my energies on some inexpensive upgrades outside.  Our landscape in the front yard was seriously lacking.  There is a nice cherry tree, some laurels and azaleas in front of the house and a beautiful hydrangea net to the porch that you can't see, but there are no planting beds persay. In other words the grass (which is probably 30% weeds) runs straight up under the azaleas and is impossible to trim.  So for my birthday I told Scott I wanted to spend the day gardening and let him take care of the kid.  I also conveniently got some birthday bucks from the in-laws that allowed me to buy some plants for the front as well for a little DIY curb appeal. 

Here is what it looked like before. Ick!  Look at that long grass in the planting strip between the walk and the driveway.  That was from when I planted pansies and our yard guy seeded grass over top.  At least we can say that our lawn did some serious growing due to the recent rains.  Green and lush and out of control!

I got out the spray paint and painted myself a line for where I wanted to create my beds.
Then I got to work digging with our pick axe (which by the way is seriously useful when you are digging in hard packed dirt - I'd say more so than a shovel).  I attempted to use our neighbor's roto-tiller for a while until I jammed it with all the grass that got tangled around the blades.  In the end the pick-axe was more labor but also more effective.  Here is the final product.  The plants look sort of dinky but they will grow in and in person this is a huge improvement.  Eventually I will add an ornamental plum to the planting strip up closer to the house.  I think the purple foliage will contrast nicely with our yellow door and help to soften the right hand corner.

What sort of projects do you have planned for the end of summer?

Goin' Back to Glen Arbor

Thursday, August 15, 2013

As most of you readers know, this blog has followed me through the renovation of our house in LA on Glen Arbor and now our house here in NJ.  One of the things I never got around to doing in LA was the kitchen.  There was so much potential with the 1940's glass front cabinets and the vintage stove.  Before we left, we slapped on a coat of white paint and changed the hardware to freshen it up. But I'd always had plans to paint them a dark color, put in new counters, rip out the tile floors to expose the concrete as we had in the family room, and add a window seat.  If you recall, here are the photos from our house sale (of course the fish eye lens helps):

Well, luckily we sold the house to a great couple and their vision was pretty much on par with what I had planned (not that it really would have mattered if it wasn't). The new homeowners revamped the cabinets in a hunter green, put in new subway tile backsplashes and carrara counters and added a stainless hood.  The did exactly what I had hoped with the floors and added a super fun rug to complement the space.  Don't you love the result? 

Stylin' Mamma: Monochrome

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Greetings from August in the City by the Bay!  Those of you who've traveled here on a summer vacation (or read any Mark Twain, for that matter) know that while these may be "summer-casual" months at the office, they are also foggy & windy months at the park, which is why most of us default again and again to denim.

A recent foot injury has me re-thinking footwear to accommodate arch supports or medical tape at least a few days a week (you know how I love my heels...), so I'm making like a hipster in Chuck Taylors (the hi-top feels fresh, no?) and black super-skinnies, with that most versatile wardrobe staple, the White Tee.  A bunched-sleeve blazer will work equally at the office or with a funky LBD at the occasional summer soiree.

Because a girl can still dream...this upside-down diamond ring is tough and glammy (unleashing my inner Gwen Stefani), but back in reality-ville a subtle arrow necklace is appropriately understated.

A final sneak peek: The Powder Room

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I posted a while back about our amazing Cole and Sons powder room wallcovering. Well, they did end up shooting the powder room for the Woman's Day shoot and it's not all that different than the photo from my original post- below (with a bit more styling):

However, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the other minor progress that WD didn't shoot. Not knowing what would be shot and what wouldn't I figured I'd better get some art up in the powder room.  I had an extra gallery wall frame lying around and I figured I'd use it.  Keeping with the monkey business theme,  I did a little contour sketch of some bananas. I like that it keeps with the whole tongue-in-cheek theme of the room.

Alright guys, that's it for the sneak peeks.  I think I'll have to move on to more posts about the work I'm doing for clients, progress in the yard, and at some point, what's going on with my mess of an office.

A final sneak peek: Breakfast nook

Monday, August 5, 2013

OK, I realized after I said that the living room was the final sneak peek that there are a couple more spaces I wanted to show you guys. First off is the breakfast nook. Not all that much has changed. But if you recall, it looked like this before.

I wasn't crazy about the artwork. I sort of just hung those two pieces there temporarily. Then in the process of unpacking (yes, we are STILL unpacking) I found some of the photos from our old gallery wall and thought they'd work out nicely here. I like that they add some personality and there are pops of black and jump off the wall.  So much better than before.