Construction: Progress Report

Just wanted to check-in with a little progress report on the construction.  I don’t think it’s fair to just post a perfectly styled “After” picture without showing you what’s happening along the way.  It’s not fair to you and not fair to the process of what a remodel really is.

First off, I’m happy to report that the electrical is all done.  Probably could have been done a little faster, but in our case we have A LOT of cables.  We are running cables in the wall for everything you can think of.  From fire detectors, to TV cables, to network cables, every single wire that we can think of and more, (since our contractor has decided to add in other cables e.g. intercom, so that the cables are all there should we decide we want to add such a feature down the line), all are being buried in the wall.  The electricals have come a long way.  Notice in the before picture the not-quite-up-to-code outlets (read fire hazard) and the now neat and elegant cables.  Wires may not be exciting, but when done this well, I think they’re kinda sexy.

I also wanted to show you what a couple of rooms are looking like. Below you’ve got the sunroom.  Not quite an even before and progress shot, since I took the progress shot with my good camera and the other one with my trusty point and shoot.  The latter doesn’t quite have the same wide-angle lens option.  Anyway, back to the Progress, you can see all the new windows are in and properly sealed for weather.  The other thing you might notice is that we said Bye Bye to the unnecessary dropped ceiling.  The soaring ceiling plus wonderful natural light make this one of my favorite spaces in the house.

The pictures below are of the master bathroom.  Can you believe the before picture?  It doesn’t even begin the capture the awkwardness of what the space used to look like.  In the Progress shot you can see we’ve doubled the space of the master bathroom to allow for a double vanity, a separate shower and tub and WC.  We’ve replaced two small windows with one larger one to give us more wall space above our vanity.  You will note, all the plumbing rough-ins are in and electricals installed.  The picture doesn’t show a skylight that we are installing to bathe the corner furthest away from the window with more natural light.

Electrical – Done

Plumbing – 85% Done

A/C and Gas – 60% Done

We’re getting there.  Once everything that goes in the walls or under the floors is installed I know the reno is going to move quite fast.  Our contractor is already talking about wrapping things up. Can’t wait for the dry wall to go in, but I know we are still a couple of weeks away.

So, what do you think?  Not a small job!  What are your construction joys and pitfalls?  Would love to know.

Anna - Why oh why did people do dropped ceilings? And in a sun room? It’s anathema to the whole idea of what a sunroom is supposed to be! How much time has the contractor been on the job? I feel like this work is going pretty fast. And I’m very admiring of your new wiring. Our electrical looked like yours in our New Jersey house. We had some scary cables going all across the ceiling of the basement.

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Exterior Inspiration: Mid Century Colors

When we lived in Los Angeles, we became quite familiar with mid-century architecture as there are many gorgeous examples of post and beam designs there.  Our new house in the Bay Area is a mid-century home, as in it was built in 1953. However it does not have many of the characteristics that really defined that style of architecture, except maybe for the extra large window openings and the wood panelling.

Well, we’ve replaced all the windows and the wood panelling is gone, but I want the house to look like it was from that era.  The best way I can think of giving our house some of that character is with paint, since mid-century homes tended to have a very particular color palette.  Over at Mad for Mid-Century, they featured a great set of original Eichler colors, both for the Exterior Body and the Exterior Accent.  What I love about the color charts below, is that it calls out  the original paint colors that have since been discontinued, it also features the current Benjamin Moore equivalent.  Nice!

The exterior colors are neutral, yet quite deep.

The accent colors are bright and cheery.

Here are some of the exteriors that I have found inspiring:

via The Analog Eye

via HGTV

via Houzz

I am particularly drawn to the yellow door, I’ve always found them cheerful and welcoming. For the record, I am going with a yellow front door.  Now I just need to figure out the main house color.  Hubby wants something deep. I’m leaning towards a grey/blue color, but all the colors I have found so far are either too blue, or too grey.  The search for the perfect house color continues.

I’m all set with the door.  Just as well, since our new custom door from Crestview just shipped out to us. Below is what we’re expecting along with the hardware I’m planning to order. Now, just imagine it in that gorgeous yellow accent color. Yum.

Lee Warren - We just bought a MCM house which was built in 1953. I am interested in colors, design and anything that would help me decorate this home!

isadorag - Congrats on your recent home purchase. There are so many resources and inspiration to be found around the internet for MCM homes. Good luck.

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In the Mood: A Proper Gentleman

via The Suits of James Bond

OK, first off, let me be clear, I do not think 007 behaves like a proper gentleman, but I do think he dresses like one.  That is the inspiration for today’s mood board for my boys’ bathroom.  I like the idea of the boys having a bathroom that is masculine, not boyish. I want the bathroom to be something that will stand the test of time.  No Lightning McQueen in this bathroom.

1. Kingston Brass with Double Handle Buckingham Cross

2. Kingston Brass Triple Handle Wall Mounted Tub and Shower Kit

3. Kohler Bellwether Tub

4. Benjamin Moore paint

5. Ariel 36″ Vantage Modern Vanity

I’ve sourced many of my fixtures from, they have a great selection of brands, products and competitive prices.  They also have fantastic customer service.  Another plus is that it remembers your shopping cart for a while.  That way, if you are like me, and need to rethink some of your choices before committing, you can play around with your shopping cart until you are perfectly happy.

I built my design around the gorgeous shower/bath fixture.  I LOVE the exposed pipes and valve.  I think it gives the fixture a more industrial feel.  The long gooseneck rain shower is the icing on the cake.  For the tub, I wanted to keep it simple, with a clean fronted apron.  Finding the right vanity, for a price I was willing to pay, was torture.  I knew I wanted a black vanity and looked at a few different designs like this and this, but none felt right until I found the one.  I’m not 100% sold on the paint color, I’ll have to match it once I get the tile.

Speaking of tile,  you know I’ve been having a hard time deciding what to do about tile.  But I’m pleased to announce that I have figured out the tile for my boys’ bathroom.  Yippee! I can cross one bathroom off my list.  The starting point was this beautiful marble vein cut tile called Asher Grey from Ann Sacks at $12.95 sq/ft.  I like the charcoal lines mixed in with lighter grays.  I actually found the same tile from a local supplier for $3 less per square foot.  But, at the end of the day, this tile is going into the BOYS bathroom, and that  means spills and splatters. Probably not the best environment for such a beautiful material.  Enter porcelain.  While I really dislike faux stone that looks printed on, I found an Italian porcelain that masterfully replicates the variations in the stone, but doesn’t require all the maintenance.

The tile I have pictured is the Re-Use Marble 12×24 field tile that I plan to use on the floor.  I found it for $7.14 sq ft from a different vendor to the one linked to here (that’s almost $6 less than the Ann Sacks, granted the Ann Sacks one is natural stone).  For the tub surround, I plan on using a standard 6×8 white ceramic tile from Home Depot at $1.44 sq/ft, with a decorative natural stone mosaic at $5.46 (for a 3″x12″ strip you actually get about 4 linear ft if you cut it into individual strips).  It too is available from Home Depot.  Originally I was thinking of doing a white tile with a dark grout, but now that I’ve found this decorative tile that matches the floor tile perfectly, I think dark grout might be overkill.  Instead, I’m thinking of doing a horizontal pinstripe effect.  It’s a subtle reference to men’s suiting.  What do you think?  Dark grout, or pinstripe, or both?  Mixing high and low, that’s how I roll.

Note: I wouldn’t normally put natural stone right next to a ceramic tile.  Natural stones tend to be cut thicker, but this one happens to be of the same thickness, so it works.

Also, when I think of the idea of a proper gentleman, I like the think that’s what my boys will grow up to be.   Big Boy is on his way there, but Monkey is more caveman than gentleman. Here’s hoping!

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DIY: Have a Colorful Day Valentine

Honestly, I felt a little pressured this year to come up with a DIY Valentine that was as cute and creative as last year’s and that again wouldn’t involve candy.  So, I looked through the aisles of my local Target for inspiration.  When I found a pack of 24 mini packs of crayons with cool retro striped  packaging for $5, I knew I had the starting point for my project.  I racked my brain for a couple of weeks trying to think of ways to present this little item for a class Valentine and came up with the idea that I would include a design to be colored in. Once I decided on that, the other details fell into place quickly.  I hope you like it as much as I do!

What you will need:

1) Cardstock that I had on hand

2) Mini crayon favor packs (The link is for a more generic pack of crayons through Amazon.  Target only sells the seasonal ones in the store)

3) Cute tape. I got mine from on Etsy for $2.10 plus shipping

4) Print the template (below)

5) Cut and assemble

6) Let the kids enjoy

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Printable Download here.

20 fantastic DIY Valentine's Day cards - It's Always Autumn - […] This idea from Relocated Living for a Valentine card the recipient can color herself is […]

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Vintage Finds: Industrial Chair

I have been wanting to go to the Alameda Antiques Fair ever since we moved to the Bay Area this past summer.  I had been told by a flea market loving friend of ours that it was a great flea market, similar in size to the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles.   My husband agreed that this past Sunday morning, he would mind the kids while I scoured the aisles.  The flea market didn’t not disappoint, not only were there great vendors, but because the market was set up in a grid it was much easier to navigate than the Rose Bowl.   It was also well organized: shopping carts that could be rented, a loading area with flat carts that could be borrowed, countless gourmet food trucks and plenty of restroom facilities.  I could have easily spent all day there, but I limited myself to three hours.

On my way out the door yesterday my husband told me to have fun and said, “Don’t buy any chairs.”  So, of course, what did I do?  I bought a chair. Why did my husband say that?  Well, because when it comes to house stuff, I have demonstrated a weakness for two things, a) light fixtures and b) CHAIRS.  I love chairs with interesting lines.  If I rounded up all the chairs in our possession (including the ones that are currently in our PODS) we would likely have about 30 chairs.  When we get all our stuff out of storage I will take a picture of all the different chairs so you can see what I mean.

But how could I pass up this beauty?  Gorgeous industrial lines and details, with cheerful and immaculate original yellow upholstery?  The vendor originally quoted me $35, but let me have it for $20.  So happy I brought it home, but I promise I will sell some of my other chairs on craigslist when all is said and done.

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