Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome Summer {Please Don't Stay}


 Summer is not my favorite.
I don't relish the extra hours of daylight, the heat is my sworn enemy, and the sun makes me feel sluggish.  The way a lot of people feel about winter is the way
I feel about summer.

So this post is just a collection of glimpses around the house lately, a distraction from the day's
hot and sunny forecast.


Russell Westbark is back, you might remember him from this post.  We had him along with his two siblings when they were just 6 weeks old.  He was adopted but then later returned {no fault of his own} so now he is a 4 month old loving playful boy looking for a forever home again.
He does an expert head tilt and is so cute it hurts.



Russell loves to empty the toy basket each morning and scatter everything all over the living room while Birdie keeps a close watch.


I put these flags on the front door for Memorial Day and decided they should stay up all summer long.  Once they were situated might as well leave them in place for July 4th and then for Labor Day.  


I used to have a tray on the entry table for mail but I never used that tray because I go through mail immediately.  So in its place I put an antique boxer that belonged to my grandma under a glass dome and an antique dish to hold mints.  


We've recently started watching TV with closed captioning turned on {you really do catch so much more!} so it's fitting we would have a dish of mints by the 
front door.  


I finally figured out what to hang between the brass lamps in the dining room.  This brass laurel wreath is from Restoration Hardware's holiday collection and I got it on clearance in January.  I didn't want anything to actually sit on the sideboard and deter from functionality but I also didn't want something just one-dimensional on the wall.  Laurel wreaths are so classic and this brings a dose of traditional to what is probably the most modern room in the house.  


Also, I'm considering having the metallic walls painted over.  They were fun when we first moved in but 3 years later they are starting to feel gimmicky.  During the day they look kind of cheesy but then at night with the lamps turned on they look pretty and sophisticated.  Luckily the walls have not set a deadline for the decision so I can waffle my little heart out.  


I found a huge platter at my favorite antique shop, Mockingbird Manor, and put it up on the mantel.  


Currently it is hung too high, but it is covering up some old nail holes that need to be repaired.  
Future plans are to move it down and get a brass or bronze museum light to hang above it.  


Trader Joe's eucalyptus is $3.99 a bunch and lasts for a long time.  
I love the organic look and it stays pretty even once it starts to wilt.



I'll sign off with a puppy pic: fosters Walter & Willa who were both recently adopted :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Welcome Chrome

Bathroom Renovation Reveal

Earlier this year we {and by "we" I mean a professional contractor} started renovating the downstairs bathroom and now it's time to show off the finished product.   

The bathroom had been through what appeared to be a semi-DIY remodel in 2004 and needed a lot of help looking more like a space fit for a 1937 Tudor style home. It was dark, so dark!  The walls and ceiling were dark, the tile was dark, no natural light, and the pedestal sink offered zero storage so the bathroom always looked cluttered.  It was not an enjoyable place to spend time in at all.  Also the shower was leaking and the poor quality tile was way past its prime 
{but actually it never had a prime}.

Here is a photo of what the bathroom looked like when we moved in...



  and here is a post-renovation image from the same vantage point.


The dinky pedestal sink was taken out and a vanity was custom built to fit the space and 
maximize on storage.  Plumbing was reconfigured so that the shower head and valve could be moved to a different wall making for a larger walk-in shower.  




This shower head is huge.  It is 12" in diameter, looks dramatic and feels luxurious.  Since we weren't doing double shower heads, double faucets, double mirrors, etc it was fun to be able to get exactly what we wanted.  I'd always rather have quality over quantity anyway and wouldn't have been willing to pick out such nice fixtures if we needed two of everything.  


Read about tile selections here.



The countertop is marble, the cabinets/trim are painted Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, and walls are Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee.  I really wanted a classic pivot mirror and ended up ordering the Kensington Pivot Mirror from Pottery Barn in chrome.  It is substantial and is even more beautiful in person than it appeared online.  


The taper sconce is from Restoration Hardware and it looks so charming on the entry wall.  Little details like this always end up being my favorite, it is on its own dimmer switch so I use it like a lamp and turn it on for atmosphere.  The sconce and candle make this corner feel like a living space adding a touch of cozy to the white and chrome bathroom.  


I didn't declutter the countertops for these photos, aside from getting ready in the morning this is how it always looks.  All of our stuff fits in the vanity and when not in use it is out of sight.  Our toothbrushes aren't even allowed to sit on the counter because they are such a buzzkill.  
The marble is stunning and deserves to be void of junk.  



Another detail I love is the monogrammed hand towel hanging on the side of the vanity.  Small personal touches like this make a room feel well appointed.


The new window shade is a Hunter Douglas top-down/bottom-up cordless shade.  Chosen primarily for the combination of natural light and privacy it allows by being operable from the top.  


Towels hang on the marble instead of the drywall so they can be left to dry 
without damaging anything.
  

Everything in this bathroom is white, gray, chrome, or glass, except for the rug.  It is  a 2.5'x4' Persian showstopper from a local rug store {Mansour's Persian & Oriental Rugs}.  It adds texture and warmth and checks off the hygge box for this room.


I don't plan to hang anything on the walls in the bathroom.  The marble, the fixtures, and the rug are beautiful to look at and I don't want any "art" cluttering things up. 


Polished Chrome ended up winning out for the fixtures because it has proven staying power.  Chrome does not tarnish and is simply classic.  Of course I was tempted by brass but I didn't want this remodel to seem trendy down the road.  The faucet and shower valve are both from the RH Sutton line {cross-handle model}.  



Notice the linear drain, it makes for a nice touch of chrome on the shower floor.  


A single sheet of glass and open shower entrance make the smallish bathroom feel 
as spacious as possible.  


This is definitely the fanciest room we've ever had and it feels right to sign off with a picture of Shep inspecting the dual flush toilet the day it was installed.  Quality Control is key.  

Click here for sources.

{Post not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned}


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Foster Roster

Back in February we started fostering puppies as part of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society's foster network.  We adopted Birdie from COHS shortly after moving to Oklahoma and have been involved with the organization ever since. Matt is currently on the board of directors and I volunteer regularly.  Fostering was something I always wanted to do, but was hesitant about how Birdie and especially Shep would react.  Turns out the key is puppies, they are small, easily contained, and don't seem as intrusive on the home turf as adults might.


We started out fostering one puppy at a time who was ready for adoption immediately and would always get adopted within a few days.  Then on a Tuesday I surprised Matt when he got home from work...I told him I was picking up a new foster that day and really did only intend to pick up one pup.  I came home with three pit bull siblings instead.  


Not only were there three of these puppies, but they were only six weeks old and therefore needed to be in a foster home for two weeks before they could be spayed/neutered and ready for adoption.  From left to right we have Quade, Queenie, and Quinta.  


Matt is made of gold and of course he warmly welcomed all three for an extended stay with open arms.  Foster babes always get pets before he left for work in the morning.


After having these three for a few days I decided they needed a playpen so they could feel like part of the action and be better socialized instead of always just being in the foster room {the living room side of our basement that I have turned into a dedicated space for fosters- 
more on that space another time}.   


The playpen moves from the living room to the kitchen throughout the day depending on where we are spending time and Mother Bird dutifully keeps them in eyeshot.  When it's meal time or they need to burn off excess energy they go down to the foster room so they can run and romp.  
And of course they're being cuddled or held any chance we get.  


Also, baby stuff is $$$.  I shouldn't be surprised, you always hear babies are expensive but wow.  I've never had reason to troll the baby aisles at Target until I decided I needed this playpen.  I picked out a nice sleek black one that was reasonably attractive but it was over $300. Ultimately I changed my tactic from good-looking to what's-the-cheapest-one-I-can-get and ended up with this blue one.  

Then I marched back up to the front of the store and splurged on a Starbucks.  Something I almost never do, but I was smiling inside that I didn't have to buy formula and diapers and felt a little feisty.  


After this precious trio was adopted two catahoula puppies came to stay with us...


Jack and Sally, they were part of a litter of ten.


Have you ever heard someone say they don't want to rescue a dog because they want a puppy?  
See these exhibits to know that doesn't hold up.  


I love the photo above because you can see Birdie peeking around the 
corner to check-in on the babies.


And this pretty much sums up Shep's feeling on the fosters. 
Matt and I are each holding a puppy, Birdie is close by, and Shep wants nothing to do with any of it but still wants to make her presence very known.  There's no use sulking if no one can see it!  



Current foster babes are these three retriever mixes.


From left to right Rolly, Russell Westbark, and Ree.  
They are staying with us until they can be neutered/spayed and then 
will be available for adoption.  


I was nervous about fostering because it's impossible not to love these creatures within 1 second of meeting them much less after they've been your houseguests for days or weeks on end. 
I cry if I need to when I part with them and then ask who's up next.  
There are always dogs who need help.  

The satisfaction of knowing fostering literally saves the lives of these helpless animals by far outweighs any sadness.  It also helps to know the Central OK Humane Society is a reputable organization and these pups will be going to good homes.  

We've started going out to a little celebratory dinner when our fosters get adopted and a steaming bowl of ramen lessens the sting.



Adopt Don't Shop!!
Breeders create unnecessary lives when the need is already so great. 
Breeders might be helpful if the number of loving homes exceeded the number of homeless pets, 
but right now there are millions of dogs literally dying to be adopted.

Peace, Love, & Puppy Breath



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Tile Styles

Our bathroom was gutted earlier this month!  

I think it's about halfway done- maybe more...honestly I'm not really sure but there have been people here working almost every day since it started and it seems to be moving right along.  Completely gutting a space has been a dream of mine for years and it's so exciting to watch the transformation.  I love the daily activity and each evening it's so fun to go in and see what was done.   

This is what the bathroom looked like when we first moved in, so dark. 
Such an odd choice to paint the main bathroom of the house.


After a few months of living here we had it painted and that definitely was an improvement.



I'm the first to acknowledge that the bathroom was fine, it had hot running water which is more than a lot of people will ever have.  But, the shower leaked.  We lived with it/managed it for a long time always knowing it eventually would need to be repaired.  


In order to remedy the issue the entire shower had to be torn up because the problem 
was with the shower pan itself {it wasn't just a simple caulking issue}.  
Bearing that in mind we waited until the whole thing could be redone.  


You can see from the before photos that the shower was an awkwardly placed "display box" in the middle of the back wall with a few feet of dead space on either side of it.  
The new shower pan, seen framed out above, makes much better use of the space by absorbing those extra square feet for a larger shower.  


Moving to the other side you'll see the pedestal sink was taken out and will be replaced by a custom vanity.  This is not a large bathroom and it is our "master" bathroom {old houses don't really have masters} so storage was a necessity.  The new vanity is being built thoughtfully making use of every available inch to maximize on storage.  


Above is the countertop I picked out at a local stone yard for the vanity.  Pieces were also cut off this remnant to be used for shelving in the shower niche and to be installed along the shower curb.


I love the paw prints in the quickset, Shep has been an invaluable help to the tile guys.  


The shower walls are 12 x 12 inch polished marble five feet up, then 4 x 12 inch polished marble subway the rest of the way up.  A marble chair rail breaks up the two tile sizes.  


The dark area is the niche framed out.  I chose larger scale subway tiles because I think it makes the bathroom look less busy.  Sometimes traditional 3 x 6 inch subway can start to look a little cluttered. 
The 12 x 12 inch tiles are nice because it's less grout to clean.  


The floor tile is 3 inch marble hex.  All tile was sourced from The Tile Shop.
  We decided to do the shower pan and the rest of the bathroom floor in the same tile for the sake of visual flow.  There will just be a large sheet of glass {no shower curtain} and I thought seeing two types of floor tile might be choppy.  


I'm excited about the drain- it's linear and looks sleek without being overly modern.


Today everything is being grouted and I think it is the tile guys last day on the job.  Laying tile does not look easy, the only tile that came on a mesh backing is the floor tile pictured above.  Everything else has been individual tiles and these guys are masters.  


It's good that the bathroom is small because all this marble would have been 
 very expensive on a larger scale project.  And it does coordinate nicely with Shep after all. 

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