Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas nutcrackers - before & after

I posted some of my Christmas decorations yesterday, but wanted to add a before and after of those big nutcrackers I had on the credenza in my living room.   I saw them at Joann Fabrics a few weeks ago but they were $140 each.  Uh, I don't think so.  But I happened to be back at Joann a few days before Christmas and all the holiday stuff was on crazy discount, like, 70% off.  I was looking for a big "statement piece" (for lack of a better word) for the space in front of my living room window, and thought that these would be just the right size.  But the color scheme, as you'll see below, was just plain ugly (I'm not a huge fan of the green and red color palette for Christmas).  So I decided to spray paint them white lacquer, which made them super fresh, if I do say so myself!  Here's the before:

And again, here are some after shots!  Much fresher and crisper and more fun, I think!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmas!

I hosted Christmas Eve at my house for the family last night and, while I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to take pictures of everything set up, I did want to get some photos of everything still looking kind of Christmas-y this morning.  And yes, I did finally sign up for instagram, so I've been a little out of control with it lately.   Not much time to add tons of commentary here today, but just wanted to post some pictures from around the house!   

Those enormous nutcrackers were a hideous green/burgundy when I bought them and I spray painted them white lacquer - will post before/after pics later.  

I DIY'ed that table runner for crazy cheap!  Just a big long piece of gray felt...

...cut with a little chevron at the end.  And look who's there in the foreground?  Mr. You-Know-Who with a Christmas bow on his neck! 

Same shot, this time through instagram filter. 

Cute deer with Christmas holly

Sorry for the dark shot - window is backlighting the whole thing.

My first (fake) tree! 

Christmas bar!  I painted that deer head above (will post before and after of that as well, later on) - a big improvement over the bar I had there before.  More on this change soon!).  

Pretty Christmas coffee table!

A very tired Kevin after all the Christmas celebrating!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

guest bathroom, before and after

My new place has a whopping FOUR bathrooms, which is a real treat after coming from a condo that had only one.  Trouble is, though, that I wasn't too crazy about the tile/vanity cabinets/lighting/faucets in all of them when I moved in.  At first I considered having the countertops switched out - they're a dark granite, which isn't really my style - and painting the cabinets, since they were also a dark cherry-tone wood, which to me seemed a little dated.  But after living with them for a few weeks, I decided I could probably make the rooms work with some minor changes.  For example, I did change out the lighting and switched the hardware from what was previously a hideous brushed nickel (why does anyone like brushed nickel?  It's just so horribly ugly) to a shiny chrome, which immediately made things look better.  I was finally able to accept the marble tile in the master bathroom - pictures of that later - but the tile in the second floor guest bathroom was a hideous ceramic beige blah nightmare.  Even worse, the shower had a decorative tile border, which made me want to kill someone.  Case in point:


In order to save money, I opted to have the shower tiles reglazed to bright white, which made things a whole lot better (although the company I used, and which shall remain nameless, ended up charging me more than they originally quoted, so if I had just paid a few hundred bucks more, I probably could have gotten the whole shower retiled.  Ugh.  Lesson learned).  After:

Not as amazing as a newly-tiled stall, but still: enormous improvement.

 Once the shower was white, though, the bathroom floor was even more disgusting, so I decided to take the plunge and get it re-tiled.  Here were my choices - and seeing them against the original floor makes it even more clear how heinous it was:

I ended up settling for the tile all the way on the right: a basket weave carrera marble that I think really worked in the space - it included the bright white of the newly reglazed shower tiles, but also had some dark tones within the marble, which picked up on the dark countertop.  The tile itself was a little pricey for me ($14/square foot), but since the floor space was so small, I decided to splurge.  And here's how it turned out!

After the tiling was finished, I was initially like, 'whoa.  That's a busy floor.'  But I'm getting used to it now and really like it - it's so shiny and clean looking, and I feel like you can never go wrong with a classic basket weave tile in marble.

The question after the floor had been laid was what color to paint the room.  My mom has been helping me paint some of the rooms in my new place and offered to paint this bathroom for me.  So I picked out what I thought would be a sophisticated mustard-y yellow with a green undertone, and put her to work while I was out of the house at a meeting.  And when I came back to find the bathroom halfway done, I was mortified - the yellow was straight up McDonald's arches yellow.  So ugly and bright and wrong.  I felt bad after my mom had done so much work, but I think even she agreed that the yellow was pretty ugly.  I had also initially considered doing the room a nice shade of lavender, but nixed the idea, thinking it would be too close to the mauve-y gray I painted my bedroom, but after the mustard yellow catastrophe, decided to just go for it, and promptly went to Home Depot to get a gallon of what ended up being a really pretty shade of light purple:

And here it is!  I still got my dose of mustard yellow with that tortoise shell I got from the Nate Berkus line at Target right now, and the other stuff hanging up I already had.  Once the painting was all said and done, the countertop and vanity cabinet actually looked really nice, and the granite top is kind of a tortoiseshell finish (black with some mottled browns and grays), so I'm really actually kind of liking the counter now, believe it or not.  I still need to get the faucet switched out, but the light fixture is new, too (I'll look and see if I have a picture of the old fixture - it was terrible).   I think the dark countertop and the wall decor are the right colors to keep the lavender from looking too "sweet" - I didn't want it to come off as juvenile.

Here are a few more images:

The towels are from West Elm, and the jar in the corner is filled with old hotel soaps that my paternal grandfather collected in the '50s and '60s when he went on business trips.  They're so special to me and have a lot of sentimental value and a bathroom seemed like just the right place for them.

More to come soon!