Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Converting the Unconvertable

As I've mentioned before, Dave has a general dislike for wallpaper. I'm not sure if it's the expense (compared to paint), the difficulty in putting it up (not to mention taking it down) or just that he still associates wallpaper with the hideous cartoon borders and "grandma" florals that dominated our childhoods in the '80s and early '90s.

I tend to view Dave's resistance to something as a challenge to convert him to my way of thinking. I knew though that if I could find the "perfect" wallpaper for Dave, that he'd not only relent and let me wallpaper at least a few rooms in the new house, but that he may even end up liking the final result. Now there are a few things I know about my husband's taste: (1) he likes jewel-tone blues and greens, (2) he likes metallics, (3) he likes nature-inspired themes, and (4) he likes intricacy and ornate patterns over simplicity and geometics.

Last week I found this, the perfect wallpaper for Dave. It's from Graham & Brown and called "Enchant - Ultramarine". It hits all the right notes and in person it's even more beautiful as the trees have a translucent quality that make them appear as if they'd been carefully silk-screened, one by one, onto the paper (Graham & Brown will send you samples free of charge, you just pay shipping). What's interesting is that, while I suggested this wallpaper for the powder room, Dave loved it so much he wants to do an entire wall of it in his "man" room, and then paint the rest of the room in a coordinating shade of teal. I'm not entirely sure if the end result will be particularly masculine, but I do think it will be beautiful.

But now the important question:

While I managed to convince Dave of the virtues of modern wallpaper, we still need to decide on the "perfect" paper for the powder room. I've narrowed it down to our two favorite choices (Sariskar Banswara by Henry Wilson for Osborne & Little and Stella-Amethyst by Marcel Wanders for Graham & Brown) and would like to open this one up for a vote.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Week Nine: Lights Up!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm back again today with my weekly update on the progress over at the new house. [By the way, am I overloading you with new house pictures and posts?] We visited our soon-to-be-home on Sunday and were surprised to see how much progress had been made over the course of the past week. With the exception of the front door (which has not yet been installed), the exterior of the house looks 99% complete. I was particularly pleased to see that the columns got a good dose of "Afternoon Tea" to match the shutters.

Despite soaring temperatures and a continued drought, my builder saw fit to go ahead and landscape several weeks prior to completion -- fortunately for me, if they'll be obligated to replace the sod and/or any dead plants prior to closing. I just hope they water liberally. While I'm sure Dave and I will fill-in these beds a bit more (especially the ones left bare underneath the oak trees), I'm fairly pleased with their "standard" landscaping package.

Aside from the exterior, the most progress was probably made in the kitchen, where the backsplash was tiled (but not grouted) and the granite countertops were installed. Overall, I'm happy with interplay between the backsplash and the counters, though I still wish I'd been given some more options for backsplash (or that they'd let me install my own later). Ah well. I'm going to have to let that one go.

Another view of the kitchen. This sink and faucet were both upgrades -- the models that came standard just looked far too cheap for the rest of the kitchen. [Edit: That is apparently NOT my faucet. It's a "placeholder" until the one I selected comes in. Just goes to show that I have already completely forgotten what I picked out in the first place waaaaay back in February/March.] I am continuously amazed at the places many builders decide to cut costs and where they really go for the good upgrades. In my current house, I have cheap cabinets, but beautiful moldings and doors. In the new house, I have nice moldings and better-than-average cabinets, but cheap doors. It's just bizarre.

The chandelier in the dining room. Not my favorite chandelier of all time, but it's fine (though maybe a smidge too big for the room) and it will certainly work for the next few years until I can afford to replace it with something I love.

The master bathroom definitely went under some big changes this week as well. The Silestone counters are in as well as the under mount sinks. I really like the contrast between the light counters and the dark cabinets.

The tile in the shower came out pretty well, don't you think? Certainly looks a lot better now that it's grouted. There's a pretty ho-hum flush mount fixture currently in the bathroom that I'd love to replace with a small chandelier or Moravian star.

Here's a shot of the ceiling in the master bedroom. Don't you think a pewter metallic finish on the ceiling would be lovely here? The ceiling fan (alas) is going to have to go...I wonder if I can just replace the blades (in person they have a very strange plastic-y, tortoise-shell finish)? Does anyone know if you can purchase blades separately and swap them out?

The pendant lanterns in the entryway. I actually really like these but I'm thinking they should be lowered some more and sit closer to the top of the doorway (or at least below the clerestory windows). What do you think?

The window seat. Still my favorite spot in the house!

I saw the pendant lights that were going into all the bathrooms and nearly fainted. I hate them. I know, I know they don't look that bad here, but in person they look cheap and fussy and they completely don't match the antique bronze faucets and towel bars. So I'm going to replace them pronto. Suggestions on replacements are more than welcome!

The landscaping in the backyard is just sod -- so we've definitely got a tabula rasa when it comes to setting up the backyard just how we like it. The wrought-iron railings for the upstairs' porch also went in last week. I also love how the back of the house is brick and not hardiplank (like our current house!). It's always nice when the back looks as good as the front, don't you think?

Based on their current progress, I'm expecting the house to be complete (or nearly so) by the time we get back from our vacation, so I think this will be the last "progress" post before the "after" pictures!


Friday, June 26, 2009

When Decorators Go Bad

My good friend Christina sent me a link to the real estate listing for this home here in Houston earlier this week and I couldn't resist sharing it with you all. If you'd like to take a look at the full listing, see HERE. Located on one of the nicest streets in town just minutes away from downtown, right near Rice University campus, this lovely 5,000sf. home is on the market for just under $2M and would be a dream home for just about every Houstonian I know.

That is until you go inside and get a load of the decor. There's a lot here in this house that's "on trend" (the gray and blue color palette, dark hardwood floors, limed furniture) and yet somehow I think most of these rooms miss the mark -- and some by quite a lot. It's a bit hard for me to put my finger on exactly why I think this house is so "off", but I think it just looks over designed, overwrought and, well, just a bit over. In light of the obvious time and money that went into decorating this house, I'd consider that a real tragedy.

In the living room, I actually quite like the sofa and chairs, though I wish the chairs were upholstered in a different fabric (a print would have been nice or even just a nice chocolate brown leather for some contrast to the light gray sofa, light gray walls, light gray curtains...). The zebra pelt draped across the coffee table really irks me though. I'll admit that I'm just not a fan of animal prints -- especially ones that look so freshly separated from the animal. But draping it across the coffee table? Ick. Generally though, this room just needs some more color (and I'm not talking anything too bold either -- just some deeper tones and/or patterns). I'd also swap out the white deer on the fireplace with a beautiful piece of art (with some color!) or a mirror over the fireplace.

Both Christina and I agreed that this dining room bordered on the bizarre. While I am reluctant to criticize the large painting (love the scale and the fact that it has some color), it just seems out of place in this very minimal room. The sky mural in the ceiling reminds me an awful lot of the Cheesecake Factory. I suspect a lot of pieces may actually have been removed from this room (and the house generally) to get it ready to show and I think this is a lesson in how decorating and selling your house don't always mix. By taking away the layers of accessories, lighting, rugs, etc. that would make these pieces work in this room, the end result looks like you ended up stopping midway through the design process. But then again, maybe this was the intended end result, in which case I can only say (in my sweetest Southern drawl) -- oh honey no!

The breakfast room looks like it got a fresh coat of white-wash just in time for the open house. Yawn. Shabby chic at its worst, in my book.

The layout of this kitchen looks great actually -- and it's got all the modern bells and whistles from the double oven to an island sink (and the copper farmhouse sink!) to a pot-filler over the stove. These modern conveniences also suggest this kitchen was recently redone. Too bad the limed cabinets make it look like a throwback to the '90s. Ah well, nothing a little white paint couldn't fix. ...Actually, now that I think about it, how great would this kitchen look if the only thing you did was repaint the cabinets white (well and redecorate the adjourning breakfast nook)?

This room is actually my favorite. The blue-gray walls are a lot deeper here than elsewhere, the furniture looks comfortable and the art on the walls is gorgeous. My only concern here is the furniture arrangement -- what precisely does one do in this room other than sit around and stare at other people? It's been labeled a library/study by the realtor but I don't see any bookshelves and that desk at the far end looks entirely too tiny to get any real work done. This room may be a victim of form over function. Also, and this is me nitpicking here, but I think the rug is too large for this space. I prefer 12-18" of exposed floor on all sides and this looks like less than 6".

This house has 5 bedrooms, four of which all look roughly the same, though the picture on top is of the master bedroom. I think the headboard in the master bedroom is spot-on, but I detest the animal hide on the floor (which reappears in just about every bedroom). The chandelier in the master also looks like it would be better suited to a dining room and I think I would've gone for something lighter and airier here, maybe clear or smoked glass. Generally though, like the public spaces in the house, the bedrooms just look far too cold and monochromatic for my taste. I think if you're going to stick with neutrals, warmer tones work better.

This must be the coldest, saddest nursery ever. I just hope the owners moved a lot out of here for the photographs because it's positively spartan.

The house also comes with a fully decked out "carriage house" -- presumably for your in-laws or your live-in nanny. All in all, I think it's really cute and it comes off a lot cozier (probably due to its smaller scale and lower, more intimate ceilings) than the main house, despite employing the same cool color palette and traditional-meets-shabby chic style.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you like the look here?


Thursday, June 25, 2009

KWID Imperial Trellis at a discount!

Talented interior designer and blogger Shannon over at Pink Wallpaper is offering a great -- and incredibly generous -- discount on the iconic (and normally available to-the-trade only) KWID Imperial Trellis fabric and wallpaper for the next 7 days. If you've always loved this pattern, but couldn't stomach the price (or didn't have access to a designer), now is your chance to snap some of it up. While it's still pricey, a yard or two of fabric (or a roll of wallpaper) won't set you too far back and would be plenty to whip up a couple of pillows, recover a seat cushion (usually about 1/2 a yard) or wallpaper the back of a curio cabinet (or even just cut and frame it as art).

Shannon's offer also covers the new(ish) Imperial Trellis II fabric line, which includes my favorite colorway, the navy/ivory:

In fact, I just picked up 3 yards of this for the new house. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with it yet, but that's enough yardage to either make a couple of pillows or reupholster my existing dining room chairs (since I'll probably have to "make do" with them for a while anyhow).

Happy shopping!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ideas for the Study

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to incorporate my existing furniture, art and accessories in my new house. Certainly I can't afford to replace everything -- nor do I particularly want to as I rather like much of what I own, even if I want to go in a slightly difference direction for the new house. And so, much of what is in my current living room will be making a new home for itself in my upstairs den. Similarly, my guest room furniture will make a similar shift to one of the three spare bedrooms upstairs. As for the furniture in our existing study, Dave will be using the large mahogany desk in his "man room" (aka the media room, which we've decided to paint out in Benjamin Moore's Slate Teal -- and, yes, he picked that), but I'm going to be repurposing our existing daybed (the Overlapping Squares daybed from West Elm) for my new office, which will be on the first floor across from the formal dining room. I'll also be moving the wing back chair (recovered in Mod Green Pod's discontinued grand jubilee fabric in cream) that currently resides in my bedroom to my new study, since it's far too fabulous to be relegated to an upstairs' room.

Playing off of the creamy, feminine pattern of the chair, I've decided to go big and bold (shocking, yes?) and paint the walls a deep plum (Benjamin Moore's Purple Lotus) and the ceiling a lighter version of the same shade (Benjamin Moore's Beach Plum). The cream and plum color palette (which is a departure from, but should still speak to, the blue and white dining room across the entryway) will be accented with lots of shine (think chrome, mirror, crystal and silver). The end result will be a very feminine space, but since this is the one room in the house that is exclusively mine, I seized the opportunity to really glam it up.

Clockwise, from top left:

1. Thomas Paul "Feathers" wool rug from Weego Home (5x8, $676). This is definitely a rug that's been on my wish list for a very long time and, while it's a bit of a splurge, a 5x8 will nicely anchor the seating area in my study and tie in the cream and plum color palette perfectly.

2. Fairfield 5-arm chandelier from Pottery Barn ($199.99). The study is actually two stories tall, so a large-scale light fixture is definitely in order to help fill in some of that vertical space. While I would love to get a Murano glass chandelier, at 3 grand, it's just not in the budget. This clear-glass version from Pottery Barn is a fraction of the cost of the real deal and looks almost identical. I'm tempted to go ahead and buy this chandelier now since it's currently on sale.

3. Throw pillows from Crate&Barrel ($39.95-$59.95 each). I'm not normally a huge fan of C&B pillows, but these are all great. I love the graphic style (which also brings some great texture since the circles are all layered onto the pillow itself rather than just screen-printed).

4. Encore coffee table from ZGallerie ($399.95). I thought this table would relate well to the sawhorse work table. I'm envisioning two small "areas" in this room -- a seating area with the daybed and wing back chair and a work area with my desk, files, etc. I'll then tie these areas together with similar finishes and fabrics.

5. Sawhorse work table from West Elm ($449). I love the look of a classic sawhorse work table, especially in glass and chrome. This one is new for fall at West Elm and the price is reasonable, though I may do a bit more hunting to see if I can find a better deal for this. Since storage is always an issue with this style of desk, I'll also need to come up with a small cabinet or filing drawers (this room does not have a closet).

6. Overlapping Squares day bed from West Elm ($429) - ALREADY OWN. This daybed is currently in my study and outfitted in a great Pottery Barn fabric. Of course, the fabric will have to change (maybe a sturdy white cotton duck?), but I still like the style of the day bed. I'm thinking of painting it out in a glossy black to give the look of lacquer and play up the Asian feel of the piece.

7. Vintage wing back chair covered in discontinued fabric by Mod Green Pod - ALREADY OWN. I don't even want to talk about how much I ended up spending to fix up this freebie chair that I scored from a close family friend. That said though, I absolutely adore it.

8. Puma table from Modern Dose ($345). I first saw this table over at Revival Home and Garden (but in red) and I've been thinking about ways to incorporate it into the new house ever since. Fortunately, Modern Dose carries the same table in white (for $5 less, I might add) and I think it will work perfectly here. I just love how well dark, rich walls set off white furniture.

9. Spheres table lamp from ZGallerie ($169). Crystal lamps are timeless and they work in just about every space. The spheres table lamp from ZGallerie also happens to come at a reasonable price. Some simple grosgrain ribbon in black/plum around the edge of the lampshade will really up the ante on these.

10. Silver mirror (Ruffled edge mirror from Brocade Home ($599) shown) - ALREADY OWN. When my parents moved out of their house earlier this year they did a lot of downsizing and clearing out. One of the pieces I claimed for myself was a large mirror with an ornate gold-painted wood frame. This weekend I plan on repainting the frame in silver to help freshen it up a bit, but I rather like the contrast of a very ornate mirror with more modern furnishings. If you aren't a DIYer, Brocade Home has some great mirrors in silver or white that will give you the same look without the effort (though obviously, at a much higher price).

11. SKRUVSTA swivel chair from IKEA ($149) slipcovered in Clara fabric from Mod Green Pod ($39.75/yard). The truth is that most "work" chairs are hideous, high-tech monstrosities that look out of place anywhere other than a sterile office environment. That said though, if you're going to be spending a lot of time in a chair, it does need to be comfortable. The SKRUVSTA swivel chair from IKEA is comfortable, affordable and doesn't look half bad, especially when recovered in the fabric of your choice. I'm planning on using the Clara fabric from MGP, which is a very similar pattern in the same white and cream as the grand jubilee fabric on the wing back chair.

12. Bungalow tall bookcase from Crate&Barrel ($599) - ALREADY OWN. Every office needs some bookshelves, and I just so happen to have this one currently in my living room. This one will display not only my many books but also some of my favorite blanc de Chine and all-white Jonathan Alder pieces. I'm contemplating painting the wenge-colored wood a glossy black to match the daybed.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Week Eight: Trim, Paint and Tile -- oh my!

Sunday I managed to make it out to the 'burbs to visit the new house (which is feeling more and more "real" by the day, especially now that our current house is under option). I had always been under the impression that landscaping didn't go in until the house was nearing completion, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw that two small oak trees had already been planted out front. With the drought we've been having, I can only hope that they manage to stay alive until we move in.

The trim color has also begun as the garage doors and columns have been painted a very mellow shade of beige. I seem to recall the color I selected was a bit darker than this looks up though, so I'm hoping there are still a few coats to go and the final product will be just a bit deeper. The front windows will also have shutters installed in a great shade of brown called "English tea". I think it will really add some more dimension to the front.

Here's a shot of the dining room to give you a feel for the paint and trim work throughout the house. I can't wait to see how the walls will look once the dark wood floors go in. While the color turned out better than I expected, I still intend to paint this room out in navy before we move in. The question then becomes whether or not to paint the wall between the baseboard and chair rail in white (to mimic the look of true wainscoting) or keep it the same color as the walls above the moldings (as shown here). What do you think?

Here's a shot of the nearly-completed fireplace. We had the option of having natural stone put in all the way up to the ceiling, which would have been absolutely stunning, but alas it just wasn't in our budget at the moment. So we settled for the standard mantle, but upgraded the ceramic tile to granite tile. This is the same granite that will be in the kitchen (though in slab and not tile form). I'm not in awe, but I think a really large scale piece of art (which I haven't found yet) above the mantle and some built-ins on either side in those niches will really make this wall the focus.

The cabinets are in! The cabinets are maple, stained in a dark chocolate hue called "English leather". Again, due to budgetary constrains, we went with the standard door fronts (though we did have our choice of several dozen stains), but I'm happy with them. Since our house does not come with any hardware (this seems to be par for the course), I'll be picking out my own and I'd really like to go for something fabulous. Suggestions are more than welcome.

This is the breakfast nook as viewed from the family room. Isn't that back wall just begging for a banquette? Unfortunately, the cardboard is covering the tile work so you can't see it here but it's 20" tile laid on a diagonal and from the glimpses I caught of it last weekend, I think it's going to be fantastic! I'm hoping to start compiling some inspiration photos and pulling together a mood board for this space this week. Somehow I always find it easier to start with the small spaces and go from there. In light of that, I'll be putting off the family room for as long as possible.

Here are two shots of the master bath. They haven't grouted the tile at all here and it will look much less institutional (I hope!) once they grout as the grout I selected is a nearly perfect match to the pale tiles. We had the builder revise the vanity here to create two "his" sides as the plan called for one sink to be 6 or more inches higher than the other. Since the height difference between Dave and I is all of an inch (and we're both over 6 feet), we insisted both sinks be the same (high) height. There's nothing worse than having to crouch down to wash your face...well, having to kneel to wash your hair is also pretty annoying, but we made sure all the shower heads were placed well over 6 feet from the floor.

This is the upstairs' porch. The floor looks like slate, but it's actually ceramic tile and I'm thrilled with how this turned out. I was a bit concerned at the outset that the colorful tile would clash against the brick. Fortunately though, this works perfectly -- and I have to give all the credit to Dave here as he really insisted we go with this tile (I was going to use the tile we have in the upstairs' bathrooms, shown below) and this is so much better than my choice could have ever been.

This is the shower/tub in one of the bathrooms upstairs. I am really happy with the tile, especially given the limited number of options I had when selecting it. I also like how they've taken the tile up to the ceiling and around the window. This will definitely be neutral enough to allow me to decorate just about any way I want down the line. Right now, I'm thinking about getting the white ruffled shower curtain from India Rose.

I'm excited to go back this weekend before we go on vacation next Wednesday and see what sort of progress they've made. I expect they'll finish tiling/grouting at a minimum and I'm hoping that will include the backsplash in the kitchen as I am antsy to see how that turned out. After this coming weekend, I won't make it out to see the house again until the weekend of July 18th and I expect at that point we'll be in the home stretch as we're still on schedule to finish up by late July.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Bunny Williams and Beeline Home

Interior designer Bunny Williams is perhaps the most famous of the "society decorators" still in business today. Her clients are the true "blue bloods" (the likes of whom I didn't believe still existed until I went away to college in Connecticut): the folks who inherited their fortunes rather than those who made them in reality TV or in Hollywood. Williams' style is evocative of Parish-Hadley (where she spent her early years) and Dorothy Draper. Williams' style is (mostly) traditional and a very, very expensive mix of antiques and custom pieces. In fact, when I think of Bunny I think of cashmere curtains, in-laid marble floors, priceless antiques, and hand painted wallpaper.

While I acknowledge that Williams' style is purely aspirational for 99.5% of us and that this post may be a trip down fantasy-lane, I'd argue that, in the words of
Ms. Williams' herself, "If you look at the best it helps you buy better".

Bunny's online portfolio is subdivided by room, and her entryways were far and away my favorite shots -- perhaps because so many featured absolutely jaw-dropping staircases like the ones shown in the two shots I've included here. Of course, I'm not entirely sure if these stairs were designed by Bunny herself or by an architect, but either way, the wrought-iron work here is gorgeous and understated. The gorgeous marble and stone work on the floors are also stunning. For me at least, the hallmark of a luxury home is a large, gorgeous entryway. Entryways set the stage for the rest of your home -- and a large, grand house needs a similarly large, grand entryway to welcome the visitor into it. Beyond that, giant entryways have a way of publicly announcing the owners' lack of concern for economy. After all, these large two-story foyers are huge "space eaters", especially in areas where square footage comes at a huge premium like New York City.

While the fabric choices in this room are a bit too stodgy for my tastes, I absolutely love the color of this dining room. I think green is a rather unexpected choice for such a formal space and it really does seem to make it more approachable. After all, don't you usually associate green with the more casual spaces in your home like the kitchen or a sunroom?

This living room is one of my absolute favorites (and not just for the neoclassical reliefs, though those are pretty fantastic). While I'm sure this room costs more than my house, it still manages to convey a cozy, lived-in warmth that is a hallmark of Williams' style. I can just imagine flopping down on that sofa to read a book or watch TV. Speaking of, did you notice the TV inside the built-in cabinet on the far right of the picture? It's good to know that even high end designers like Williams acknowledge (and design around) modern necessities when designing a space.

If only I could have a huge veranda like this one. During Houston's milder fall and winter months, I'm sure I'd spend the majority of my free time outside, lounging on similarly cushy couches. My absolutely favorite detail here is how the shape of the cushions mirrors the shape of the wrought-iron backs. It's details like these that make me start to think the (presumably) exorbitant price tag might be worth it.

Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of most of Bunny's bedrooms, which tend towards too much fabric (huge curtains, coordinating canopies or half-canopies, etc.) and too much matching pattern. Sure, the above picture features walls upholstered in the same fabric as the curtains, but the quietly elegant bed linens and simple white floors really help calm the visual noise and the overall effect is very pleasant. I also love how beautifully the vintage settee finishes the room.

I love this room and the room below primarily for their spectacular wood ceilings. Despite their granduer, both rooms are dressed down a bit with more relaxed furniture and fabric choices (like plaid). The use of modern art in both rooms is also brilliant as the modern touches create very smart counterpoints to the traditional surroundings. Despite their grandeur, these rooms do actually look lived in to me.

Perhaps in an effort to reach a wider audience, Bunny Williams has just put out a new, tightly edited line of home furnishings called Beeline Home. While all the pieces are expensive (think over $2000 for a dining chair and $8000 for a sofa), they're nothing compared to what it would cost you to hire Bunny Williams (or her staff), since her clients' budgets for decorating are often well into the seven figures. [By the way, thanks are in order to Cristin at Simplified Bee for cluing me in to this new line.]

My absolute favorite piece from Bunny's line is the olive cotton velvet couch with nail head trim. Unfortunately, at just under $10,000, I'll have to make do with dreaming about it. What about you? What's your favorite? Also, do you think there is anything to be learned from a high-end decorator like Bunny or is she (and her ilk) only good for a little midday fantasizing?


Friday, June 19, 2009


Yup, just three days after my public display of despair (which in retrospect I am ever so slightly embarrassed about), we managed to sell the house for nearly 98% of our asking price. For the next ten days we'll be in the option period, during which time our buyer has the right to walk away should the inspection (scheduled for tomorrow!) or anything else go awry. Until the option period has passed, I'm a bit hesitant to be really celebratory, but I'm excited at the prospect of finally winding down this entire process. While I kind of enjoyed getting the house "ready" to sell, maintaining it in a pristine condition, running back and forth during my lunch hour to get the pets out of the way for a showing, and constantly waiting with baited breath for an offer was SO not fun. And I hope it'll be a long time before we go through this again -- though when and if we do, I hope we manage to apply the lessons we've learned from selling this house to the next.

If everything goes well, we'll be set to close August 21, which will be only weeks after the new house is finished. While the delay will result in us having to go to Dave's parents for a very short-term bridge loan, it will allow me a few weeks to paint, install blinds, etc. and just generally get the new house in order before we officially move in.

All in all, it's a great start to my weekend. I hope everything has a great weekend, too!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Favorite {Uninteresting} Things

Yesterday Sarah Klassen tagged me to list my six favorite "uninteresting things". Well, Sarah, while I'm not exactly sure what classifies as "uninteresting", here they are six of my favorite things (in no particular order):

1. Gift wrap. For me, the presentation is almost as important as the gift itself and I absolutely adore wrapping gifts (at Christmas, I'll even volunteer to wrap others' gifts). I keep a stash of gift wrap on hand at all times for random gifts -- you might even say I hoard it as I often have difficulty using my favorite sheets or rolls! My favorite online source though is Whimsy Press, which sells beautiful and heavy double-sided sheets. For inspiration and some innovative wrapping ideas, I always check in with A Gift Wrapped Life where Sande has perfected the art of gifting (and gift wrapping).

2. Letterpress. Mmm...letterpress. It's amazing how some subtle relief and texture transforms text and images into something truly magical and special. Bonus points if its printed on white cotton paper. Using traditional printing techniques and high quality paper just make average birthday greetings and thank you cards feel like an event. My favorite online sources for letterpress include Cotton Idea Studio, Ille and Tara Hogan.

3. Petit Fours.
I should state for the record that I'm a dessert person -- and I'm really not that picky about the form that dessert takes. While just about any baked goods will do, my absolute favorite are petit fours. Like cupcakes, their portable (and you can eat more than one without feeling like a total cow). Unlike cupcakes though, the icing is on all sides, thereby maximizing the all-important icing-to-cake ratio. My favorite petit fours of all time come from Moeller's Bakery, a local institution here in Houston. Birthdays, wedding showers, baby showers...whatever the occasion, I'll find a good reason to go in and order up a few dozen.

4. Fall Foliage. I live in Houston and since we really only have two seasons (summer and the rest of the year), I don't get to see all the beautiful colors that decorate much of the country for a few weeks each fall. Those few weeks of spectacular color are just about the only things I miss about living in New England.

5. Office Supplies. As a little girl, my favorite shopping excursion of the year was school-supply shopping. As an adult, I still have a weakness for office supplies -- especially cute ones. I suppose this favorite plays to my anal retentive, hyper-organized nature, but give me some cute file folders, a beautiful pen and some fun post-it notes and I'm a happy camper. See Jane Work has a great selection of fun and feminine office supplies, but I'm also a big fan of Target for sating my office supply fix.

6. Bubble Baths. I adore a long hot soak in the bathtub. But for a lack of time most evenings, a bubble bath would be a nightly ritual for me. Growing up, my father (a West Texan raised on water rationing) always got upset when I would run a long bath and I was often forced to keep my soaks to a minimum. Now that I'm an adult, however, I have no such rules restraining my bathing rituals, which means I'll happily spend an hour or more soaking and sweating away the stresses of another long day. In addition to some good bath suds (may I recommend this?), a good book and a glass of wine are also key to a perfect bathing experience.

To keep the fun going, I'll go ahead and pick each of the 6 lovely bloggers of the following blogs to share her own list (either here or on her own blog):

A 'Lil Welsh Rarebit

But, of course, even if I didn't include you in the list above (and please don't feel left out if I didn't! I just picked the first 6 that popped into my head that Sarah didn't already select), please feel free to share your little favorites with me!

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