Interior Inspiration: Red, White and Blue

My Big Boy has really grown up a lot in this past year.  By that I mean that he is less a baby and more a boy.  He started doing things like skateboarding, loves to explore the science of things through shows like Mythbusters, and CAN READ. I think that our move to the new house is a great opportunity to give his bedroom a new Big Boy vibe and I am strongly leaning towards a red, white and blue combination.  However, I feel that I need to walk a fine line with this strong color scheme so that the room can still be a haven for rest.

Here are a few red, white and blue designs that have peaked my fancy.  I am particularly taken by the Union Jack flag, not only for its graphic qualities, but also for its not so subtle salute to my boys’ nationality.  (My hubby and both boys carry British passports).  Truth be told even though the house is still studs, I purchased a Union Jack rug.  It was on special on Joss and Main at a price I couldn’t pass up!

via Cox & Cox

via Modern Room Designs

via The Simplified Bee

via Nest Design Studio

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Vintage Finds: Nice Legs

We have to start buying things that will go in the house once all the construction is done.  But I have to be careful about what I get for two reasons, 1) budget and 2) storage.  An interior designer I recently met shared with me these words of wisdom, “Spend less money the further away you move from the walls.”  By that she meant, spend money on the plumbing, windows to get them right.  Then spend money on things like tiles, and light fixtures that are attached to the walls.  The further out, the less money.  Didn’t hurt that her husband owns a lighting company. 😉

That said there is some truth to what she said because stuff that is close to the walls or in the walls, tends to be permanent.  Therefore replacing or moving these items will be expensive.  I intend to get nice lights and nice tiles, but we’re not there yet on the construction side of things.

In the meanwhile, I came across this sweet desk at a local thrift store.  When I saw it, I knew that if the price was right I had to have it: nice peg legs, original hardware and clean mid-century lines. When the clerk told me the desk was a mere $40 I knew I would take it home.  Space or no space, I couldn’t pass up such a good deal!

Wanna know what plans I have for the desk?  Well, you’re just going to have to come back and see.


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I want muscles

Remember that cheesy eighties song by Diana Ross?  I bet it hasn’t come to your mind in many years, but after seeing the title of my blog post you’ll probably be replaying the song and the equally cheesy video in your head.  All of that to say that never in my wildest dreams did I think our home renovation would require the the kind of muscle this bad boy provides.

You might be wondering why we needed this kind of heavy duty machinery.  Well before we can concentrate on the pretty, we need to attend to the basics and our house needed a new sewer lateral.  I know, not sexy.  But having unfortunately experienced a sewer lateral that was not up to par in our last home, we figured that it was best to get it done right up front than live with the consequences… I wont get into details, but I’m sure you can imagine.

As they say, you live and learn, and we learned a lot from our last home.

Not sure if this is a backhoe or a bulldozer, my older son would be able to set me straight in two seconds.  But needless to say we needed it to dig a trench and using the right equipment makes  a difference.  Perhaps renting this kind of equipment seems less budget friendly, but ultimately it saves time.  And time is money.

Our new sewer lateral is in and passed with flying colors.  Yippee! One step closer to making the house a home.

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Interior Inspiration: Starting Small

The first room I started to tackle, at least mentally, is also the smallest room in the house.  It’s the main floor powder room.

I’ve always loved the apothecary sink from Pottery Barn but have never felt it was for me, because of the lack of storage.  However, with a half bath, something we’ve never had in our previous homes, I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the clean, spare aesthetic.  After all a half bath is intended to be passed through, not lingered in.  That said, I don’t want the space to feel like it was an after thought just because it isn’t one of the main bathrooms.  So for a small bathroom, that doesn’t require tons of storage, I think the apothecary sink is perfect.  Plus it is quite elegant and will help to elevate this small room’s design. My plan is to make every design decision in this little room revolve around my choice of sink.

But wouldn’t you know it, the sink is no longer available from Pottery Barn.  Not that I would have bought it.  I remember it costing upwards of $1500 just for a sink.  I need to spend the remodel dollars wisely and make every dollar count and unfortunately much of the budget is going towards what goes on behind the walls, e.g. modern wiring, proper energy efficient insulation, re-plumbing and much much more.  That stuff ain’t sexy, but it sure will make the house function a lot better.  So dollars spent on “pretty stuff” will have to be spent with a lot of give and take between rooms. Read, I need to make the most of every sale, coupon, discount under the sun.

But in the meanwhile, here are some great inspiration photographs using sinks in the same style (a.k.a sink consoles).

via Better Homes and Gardens

via Apartment Therapy

via Pottery Barn

via The Architecture Blog
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A New Beginning: Tearing Down the Walls

My hubby and I have undertaken a few renovations in the past, but none as substantial as this one.Our first house was a modest 1910 Craftsman.  It needed a lot of work and we put a lot of sweat equity into the house.  Our second house was a large 1926 Spanish style home.  It needed work, but was live-able so we were able to do the work over a few years.  In fact, we had just remodeled our master bathroom a few months before moving.  We had been dying to have a nice bathroom and of course did it, before we learned we were going to move to the Bay Area.  Our current home is a large 1953 mid-century home.  It is the “youngest” home we have ever owned, however, it probably needs the most work of any of the homes we’ve previously owned.  My explanation for that is that we are only the second owners of the house.  Which means the previous owner lived in it for almost sixty years and with that comes a lot of deferred maintenance.

We bought the house for several reasons, it had the bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage we were looking for.  It also has a flat backyard, something we took for granted in Los Angeles.  However, the Bay Area is very hilly and a flat yard that kids can run around in isn’t as easy to find as you might think.  And, last but not least, it was within our budget.  We did compromise on one thing, the location is not very pedestrian which I had hoped for when leaving car-centric Los Angeles.  However, the neighborhood itself is safe, family friendly, lovely and green. Plus, we got a bonus… a pool, but more about that later.  Our first priority is tackling the interior of the house so that we can move in.

And so it begins.

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