The island - final product

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Well, my Jacquelyne Baskets arrived from Pottery Barn the other day prompting me to a complete re-organization of the kitchen.  The baskets have been installed on the island, containing items that would be OK for Bryan to pull down (tupperware, plastic wrap and foil, sippy cups and plastic bowls, and plates, wooden salad bowls, and lots of contained kids food and snacks).  Pots and pans have migrated to our large drawers next to the stove and the pantry is now more open and accessible.  It's so nice to have more storage space!  The baskets fit perfectly and finish out the look (and I think do a good job hiding the items inside).  Whaddayathink?

Basement update

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Well, I'm not sure if I've ever shown you all our basement.  When we bought the house it was damp and unfinished and there were two large oil tanks. 

We had the tanks removed and switched to forced hot air and finished out the space. The original space was just one large open room with some columns in the middle so we divided it into a rec room (with laundry and a slop sink behind french doors) and a guest room (which actually turns out to be the largest bedroom in our house).  And we added a full bath with a shower in a little bump out area.  It's a full on suite down there for the parents when they come.  We were worried that the ceilings would feel low, but there is a surprising amount of headroom.  I'm loving the painted concrete floors in the two main areas.  And our old furniture from the LA house works well for the rec room.  I'm not crazy about all the cast-off stuff in the guest room, but it works for now and one of these days I'll come up with a real design scheme to wow our over night visitors.

The bathroom works well although the mirror is a stand in from Target and is a tad small, and one day I hope to do a glass shower door (there is something about curtains on stand-up showers that bothers me - sort of reminds me of the gym). 

I've also used the space above the ledge in the stair way as a storage area for cleaning supplies.  It's super practical although I'm trying to think of a fun way to dress it up while keeping it open and accessible.  Any thoughts? A fun paint color? Another stencil? 

The Island - another update

Monday, February 25, 2013

I showed you the kitchen island last week with it's plywood subtop. Well a few days after that post, my marble counter arrived to match the marble on the rest of the kitchen counters. It looks fabulous! The overall look of the island sort of reminds me of a Parisian bakery (minus the sippy cups and towels in front of the french doors). 

Can't wait to show you the final result when I get my storage baskets!

On the drawing boards...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I've been taking on a few small projects in the city as sort of e-design clients. I meet with them once at the beginning and once for an install and all the rest is done mostly via pinterest, email and phone.  With all the wonders of modern technology, it works well, especially for clients on a tight budget. 

One such client is KB.  She works long hours and just recently started a job that doesn't require relocating every year. So now she's ready to do some nesting and buy a few investment pieces.  Her one bedroom apartment is pretty typical of the city and her furniture was in dire need of replacement. 

We decided on a layout conducive to entertaining and lounging.

And I came up with two design schemes which I like to call "Modern Bohemian" and "Urban Eclectic" 
 Which do you prefer?

Stylin' Mammas: Blues and Blossoms

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'll be honest: I've been feeling a little uninspired in the fashion department lately.  The holiday excesses followed by the 49ers run for the Superbowl, coupled with two sick kiddos, added up to weeks and weeks of too much junk food and not enough fresh air, and I'm just now starting to bounce back.

It was this jacket that finally jolted me out of my doldrums.  

How to style such an item, such a statement in and of itself?  Not one to shy away from a challenge (or a vigorously loud print, apparently), I propose the following:

A striped top: If Lucky prints it, it must be so: florals and stripes always go together.  I like the wide stripes (and the subtle yellow accents) for weekend, but for work I would probably go with the darker, more conservative top.

Dark skinnies: A no-fail option.  This new length is darling with booties in winter or flats come April.

Black and Blue skirt: Picks up the stripes in the shirt while toning down the brightness of the jacket.  Hot pink flats, booties, or heels: you can't go wrong.

Bright jaquard pants: Just how much of a pick-me-up are you looking for here?  I'm thinking fah-bulous green heels to finish...

Booties: A few ideas.

Flats: Bright bright bright.  Shoes are always neutral, I always say.
Heels: Go for it.

Done.  Get out there and cheer up.

- Jaime

The snuff bottle display

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back in LA we had my snuff bottle collection displayed on an acrylic tray on our coffee table. This worked fairly well since the table was large and our space could accommodate it. And of course Bryan was not mobile yet so we didn't have to worry about his little hands. Now that he is into grabbing and throwing everything, the snuff bottles, as well as anything else breakable go up and/or away. Luckily I'd kept the West Elm mirrored wall shelves that I'd used to display the snuff bottles in our previous apartments in Brooklyn and LA.  So back out they came. 

I was worried that they'd sort of go away in a dark corner of the dining room, but it turns out the mirrors add dimension and light to the space.  Of course mounting four wall shelves exactly the right distance apart was a little tricky and required quite a bit of checking and rechecking and work with a level and ruler. But in the end, the result looks great and actually makes more of a statement than the snuff bottles did on the tray back in LA.

The Kitchen Island

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First off, thank you for all the compliments on the kitchen floor.  It was by far one of the biggest DIY projects I've taken on and I'm so glad it was such a success.  But you didn't think the kitchen was complete, did you?  Next on the docket is adding the island, creating a cushion for the window seat, doing some shades at the windows, and then figuring out some sort of table to go at the breakfast nook.  And of course getting our deck built come spring so we don't fall out of the french doors. 

Well, the custom island arrived.  It sat on our porch in a crate (which you can see in some of the front door photos) for a while and was finally opened by my GC when he came to do the door.  It's been put in the kitchen and really adds so much more counter and storage space (again I apologize for the lack of staging). 

It will be getting the same stone top as the rest of the kitchen and some storage baskets below to keep things corralled and looking neat (gotta re-organize now that I know Bryan will pull all the baskets down).  The casters lock which is great when you have a toddler.

When it's time to party I think we can wheel it over in front of the bench to use as a buffet and increase flow.  We could even wheel it outside to the deck if need be. I also love that I added the towel bars on the end - and one day when Bryan is bigger and we don't have to worry about breakage, we could even store wine on it since the horizontal bars are just the right width apart.  I love the french bistro feel of it all.

The New Front Door

Monday, February 11, 2013

We've been waiting for our new front door for what seemed like forever. If you recall, the front of our house used to look like this, with faux shutters next to the door, covered up side lites and a solid metal door. No fun.

You can see from the photo above that the side lites were on the inside but not the outside!

Well, the front door came in probably 2 months ago. After some issues with the door frame and then with the size of the door, we were finally able to get it in. It really livens up the front of the house and lets in so much more light to the living room (not to mention so much less cold air).  The trim is going to be painted the dark brown and the side lights will be white to match the other windows, but we have to wait for warmer weather to get that done.  I'm happy with the results for now.  The pop of yellow makes such a huge difference!  And it made for a nice backdrop for our Nemo snow lounge chair that we built in the front yard this weekend.

And the winner is....

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stephen!  Please provide me with your email address (you can email me at jessadavis at so that I can get you in touch with Cutting Edge Stencils to receive your prize!  Great selection of the herringbone - I can't wait to see your table redo!

Stylin' Mammas: The Sun Will Come Out, Tomorrow (Won't It?)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oh, late January.  The resort collections are everywhere, taunting me, while the weather stays stubbornly dreary (and, in some cases, downright frigid).  The fall/winter clothes in my closet, which in September seemed so alluring, so covered-up, so...grown-up, are now tired reminders of the pale skin and static hair they are designed to protect.

My sister and I decided to beat the midwinter blues with the midwinter sales a couple of weeks ago.  With her new baby in tow and a mission to outfit her for her return to work after maternity leave, we spent the afternoon browsing and buying, and scored some awesome deals in the process (Ahem, Anthropologie.  Stop reading and go there.  Now.).

This is the time of year when I start fantasizing about Mother Nature cutting us a break, offering one of those rare days when the sun comes out long enough to warm the legs a bit and remind us that someday, but someday, we'll be needing the SPF in earnest again.  In anticipation of such an event, a playful dress might come in handy, with layers -- a vintage cardi, a "come Spring" raincoat -- to ward off the chill (or peel off, in the event that temps climb above 65).  For the walk to work, sensible and timeless rain boots, a sturdy but playful umbrella, and a good tote to keep everything together.  For the walk to lunch as the sun shines high in the sky, some still-sensible and still-timeless wingtips, a killer pair of cateyes, and a necklace that evokes spring just around the corner.

It's all in the details...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This post may strike some as trivial, but to me, a house doesn't really become a home until you've really ironed out the details and all of your belongings have also found a home.  Up until last week we were getting by with our paper towels just sitting on the counter.  Like this. 

But we really have limited counter space (at least until the island arrives) and I wanted to get them up and out of the way.  I hate those wooden paper towel stands and I couldn't do a hanging under-counter paper towel holder. So I found this one on amazon (right after signing up for my amazon prime account - hello! Free shipping!).

I mounted it to the windowsill next to the microwave so that it's practically out of view unless you walk all the way into the kitchen and turn to face the sink. I think it works well and is unobtrusive. I'd considered spray painting it to a brass finish to match the hardware but I think the oil rubbed bronze is more low key and doesn't draw attention to itself which I like.

On the other side of the kitchen, we were having another issue.  We'd moved the cat food and litter to the basement to keep it out of the way of wandering toddlers.  However, that presented the problem of how to let the cat go down to the basement without letting said toddler tumble down with her.  We'd considered a cat door in our basement door but didn't want to cut a hole in the original door.  Enter an extra large vintage styled gate hook.

It's super sturdy and I mounted it such that when the hook is latched there is about 4" for the cat to squeeze through and go down the stairs but Bryan can't follow her.  It works well, is simple and looks nice.  Now that to do to make my utilitarian basement staircase with it's cleaning supply wall look a little more fab.

GIVEAWAY: Cutting Edge Stencils

Friday, February 1, 2013

Well, you saw my final product yesterday and today you get to take it on yourself.  Cutting Edge Stencils is offering one lucky reader a free stencil of their choosing.  I know I had a super hard time selecting the stencil for our floor because they had so many great designs out there.  Oh, and did I mention that their how-to videos are super helpful.  I definitely recommend watching them before you start in on your project.  Anyways, here are  just a few of my faves.
Clockwise from top left: Herringbone, Paisley, Vision, Ikat Samarkand

All you have to do is comment back on this post with your favorite stencil. And if you want extra entries, you can like Cutting Edge Stencils on Facebook and follow their blog

The Fine Print:
- Stencil can be up to $50 value.

- US residents only
- giveaway closes at 12pm EST Thursday, February 7, 2013