Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Toy Ducks and Colorful Birds

While hunting down some files in my mac today I found out my computer is not nearly as organized as my house-a problem I really need to fix as soon as possible! Even though it's not what I wanted to do with my Wednesday afternoon, it was a bit of a treasure hunt. I found all sorts of pictures of the kids I hadn't seen in a while and I also came across these cute little drawings Angela and I did a while back. The duck is going to be available on our Etsy shop and on Zazzle, as soon as we can get our shops up and running (hopefully in the next couple of weeks). No plans for the colorful bird as of yet, but he's got so much personality, we need to use him somewhere!
 I better get back to my web design work, not my favorite thing to do, but necessary at the moment and will be well worth the effort!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So The Bathroom Flooded The Other Day......

The bathroom flooded here at the Stern residence day before yesterday and it's a bit of a mess around here. I do have to say we're so very lucky it wasn't worse. Most of the water went straight down into the garage. We called the insurance and they brought in a wonderful crew to clean up the mess and replace all the damaged drywall and vanities in the bathrooms, which also got soaked. The hardest thing about all this is that my husband and I realized that our beautiful bathrooms we remodeled ourselves are going to get all torn up again. If we had hired people to remodel the bathrooms I don't think I'd feel so bad, but it was 2 months of hard work to make them beautiful and we only did it 2 1/2 years ago, so it still seems very new to us. Dave and I ended up getting a bit nostalgic over the whole thing and I decided to go through some pics of the remodeling and thought I'd share.

 It's hard to tell from these pics, but it's a Jack and Jill bathroom. I'm standing in the doorway that separates the two rooms. Very odd set-up in my opinion, but we do technically have 2 bathrooms, so I don't complain. Out townhouse was built in the 1970's and had never been updated until we bought it 7 years ago. Although they were far from glamorous, they looked nice enough and we really had no intention of redoing them at all, until we had plumbing that needed fixing and we were forced into it. We had a 4,000 budget, which was very puny for 2 bathrooms, so we knew we were going to have to get our hands dirty. I called my lifelong BFF Veronica and begged to borrow her husband for a weekend to help us get started (he worked in construction for several years). They both agreed and we flew him out a few weeks later to start.
A couple of days before he got into LA, we started tearing the old bathroom out. Wow is that a cheesy pic of us or what?

The kids especially enjoyed tearing out the tile that was under the existing floor. They were so cute in those giant goggles!

 We literally gutted the bathroom as you can see here. There is a puddle of concrete on the floor for the tub to get set in in this pick.

This was the last pic we took before we tiled and put up the beadboard. We were so tired at this point!

 We were so excited to be done and were very thankful to Jeff, Mike and Ned who helped us get the project done. We couldn't have done it without their guidance!

I love love love my subway tiles in the bathtub! The checkerboard accent tiles were big square sheets that we cut into strips to add a little interest, which I also love.

And last, but not least is our beautiful little shelf that we added in. I couldn't bear to stick ugly shampoo bottles on it, so I got pretty soap pumps to use instead. I went to Michael's and found little plastic scrapbooking letters, which I attached to each bottle, so I could tell them apart. I feel so fancy now when I wash my hair in the morning!

I'm hitting the sack now and thinking good thoughts that my contractor won't tear up too much of it!

Sweet dreams everyone!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Decorating Using What You Already Have In 5 Easy Steps.

So this week begins our latest design project helping a friend who's budget is tight, as is with most first-time home buyers. It's a great space for the size and has loads of potential. She has numerous collectables she has acquired over the years and needs help fitting them all in a small space. To help her stay within budget, we will "shop" around her house and use items that she already has. We will combine them together in new and interesting ways, while eliminating other items to create a fresh new look.  As we were making notes for her, we realized the tips we were giving her could help others as well, so we're sharing the basic tips today.

Step #1: Find An Inspiration Photo

We chose this one from the Better Homes and Gardens website as an example to work from. This magazine is great to use for ideas, because they don't generally do anything over-the-top or expensive. Now it is important to choose a realistic inspiration room that has similar elements to what you already have. Remember you are going shopping in YOUR home and if you pick a completely different style and color scheme from what you already have, it's going to be a very sparsely decorated room.

Step #2: Get Organized

It's now time to start de-cluttering and organizing your stuff. This is where your inspiration photo is the most important. Start by first going through your home and find everything you can that looks like it would go nicely in your inspiration room. Using our inspiration photo here, we could start by going through the entire house looking for blue and neutral toned items. Organize them into a pile and then go back through and get rid of everything that does not fit your vision (furniture included). These items can possibly replace what you have pillaged from the rest of the house or they can be sold at a garage sale when your project has been completed.

Step #3: Paint is your friend

Now it's time to take your photo to the paint store and chose a wall color. Use you photo and get numerous similar shades of the photo color. Just because the color you see in the magazine is beautiful it doesn't mean it will look good in your home. You might have to go lighter, darker, warmer or cooler, depending on the light in your room. Take the sample paint chip cards home and see how they look. Chose several favorites and go back and get sample cans of each color. This will give you a much better idea of how the color is really going to look in the room. It's almost impossible to tell from those tiny little cards. You will also want to match up your picture frames, which would also require a few cans of spray paint. Are all the pictures in your inspiration room black, as in the photo below and yours are an array of different colors? Take the frames off and spray them. It really unifies a collection of art or photos.


Paint may also be needed to transform a table into what you see in your picture. The photo below is a great example. A can of blue paint will make that mahogany table of yours look like an entirely different piece of furniture.


Step #4: Decorate!

Once everything has been painted, you get to start doing the fun part - decorating! Start playing with the furniture and try different arrangements. At this point you may find that some pieces don't really work and may need to be removed. More often than not, less is more and just because something fits your vision, it may not fit inside the room. After your furniture is in place, you can bring in your pictures and accessories to complete your look. If your missing key elements and can't finish your design, don't worry, we can handle that in the next step.

Step #5: The Wish List 
Now that you're done decorating, you step back and realize that perhaps there are a bunch of key elements missing, like that amazing bookcase in the picture that you don't have. This is where the wish list comes into play. If you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll be able to find it somewhere. Garage sales or perhaps an inexpensive retailer like IKEA will have what you need. This also keeps you from straying and buying on impulse, which will most likely be something you don't need and doesn't fit your design.