black, white, and mixed metals

When we moved into our house, all I saw was a livable, welcoming space with lots of light and wood floors.  After we looked a little closer, as you now know, there were a few things we needed to change.  This one, the kitchen cabinet color.  I swear, when I first saw them they looked white:


This looks white, right?!  Also, note the knobs in the middle of the cabinet doors.  What’s with that?

But the second time, I realized they were really more of a cream/off-white. When we moved in and painted the walls, I hoped the lighter gray color would help, but it did not (see how white the marble is compared to the cabinets?)


So, I’ll paint them to match the nice bright white trim.  Which means I will have to take off the pulls and hinges.  Which means I have the opportunity to fill the holes made by the oddly-placed knobs, and find new ones.  Heck yeah!

We’ve already talked about how much I dig the brushed brass/gold look for this house.  But, I already have stainless and black-colored appliances that we are not replacing, as well as the black granite that I like more and more (it has little amber flecks in it that sparkle, and I cannot resist a little sparkle).  Can I mix and match the stainless/black/white with brass? Exhibits, please:

via Veranda Interiors…good stuff here, guys!

White subway. Black grout. Kitchen backsplash.:

I love how graphic the dark grout is against the tile! Wish I could find the original link, via Pinterest

Wood Kitchen Shelves with Brass Brackets

via decorpad

via StyleMePretty

Elizabeth Lawson Design | Photo by Jennifer Hughes Photography:

via Elizabeth Lawson Designs

Kitchen Styling || Studio McGee

via Studio McGee

According to these kitchens, yes!  It seems like as long as some of the colors are present within each other, like the black of a knob relating to the black counter top or cabinet, it works.  We could also go with black pulls, but it’s nice to know I we have options!  Still torn on those two-tone kitchens white the white cabinets on top and black on the bottom.  Too trendy maybe?  But dang, they look good.

All these back splashes look amazing.  Which also means I want that, too.  Stay tuned!

gold mirror cover

[gold] mirror mirror on the wall

So do you remember when I confessed my love for my Ikea Grundtal mirror here?  When we moved, our bedroom felt way too symmetrical for mirrors above our matching dressers or matching nightstands…too matchy-matchy.  I knew I had to use them somewhere else.  One found an easy home in the basement bathroom.  The other, though, I had plans for!

I feel like just about anyone with an eye for design falls for this inspiration picture:

another bench/mirrror combo:

via Amber Interiors here

Let’s back up a second; I feel so crazy falling for all this modern gold hardware, but isn’t it a breath of fresh air?  I’ve specified numerous stainless steel switch plates, accessories, pulls, window mullions [more like a brushed aluminum, but still] and, of course, appliances for the last 10 years or so that people have trusted me to pick their hardware. But now, I can’t help veering toward the warmth of gold.  So, for our little house, I decided to have some fun!

First, I loved this mirror, but I think it was sold out as soon as it hit Target stores:

via Target, check to see if it’s at your local store!

This is a beaut, and it’s huge!  43″ diameter huge…damn I want this! Find here

I would have loved to search for a really large one like Amber’s design [or the second one, above], but I actually have no wall large enough for something like that!  So, this is when I looked at my poor little stainless Grundtal I was not using.

Engagement Party, Robinson House, 5037, Choker 070

I taped all the interior of the mirror with Frog tape (ask for it at Home Depot or Lowes, best stuff around), trying to get under the stainless “lip” that holds the mirror plate in place.  If you do not press your tape down, you can secure plastic bags to the sticky side of the tape and lay them across the mirror to cover the reflective surface.  Much easier than taping all the reflective surface, or having to scrape off over-spray.

sprayed mirror

Annoyingly, it started raining so I had to wait another day.  When I did get to spray, first I did the back side, waited about 40 minutes, then I did the front.  This way I could re-spray any finish edges and get the best finish for the most-looked at side of the mirror.

I used Rustoleum’s Metallic Gold, bought from Home Depot

After another hour, it was go time!  I think you are supposed to wait 24 hours for it to fully cure, but I was impatient [and I really did not over-spray the crap out of it, just light layers from about 12-16 inches away].


Living Room Gold Mirror

living and dining with mirror

[Gold mirror on point…now if I can only get that dining room fan down…!!!]

home reno: basement episode 1

As soon as we knew we knew the house was going to be ours, we brought in a contractor to take a look.  There were a few items in the house I knew I just could not deal living with.  Some I could tackle.  For others, it was time to bring in the big [pro] guns.

Our basement had dropped ceilings.  I specify these all the time…but for offices, not for homes.  They had to go, the sooner the better!  I even started pulling a few down on my own [until various remnants of bugs and evidence of mice fell on me…then I decided to let someone else deal with it.]  The other odd part about the basement was that the bathroom was open to the laundry room area.  I have dreams of turning the basement into a loungey space that can transform into a guest area, so that odd configuration just could not remain.

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Reminder: this is what the basement looked like before we bought it.  Dropped ceiling and all.

One of the truths about buying an old house is that storage is virtually non-existent.  We are super lucky in that our master bedroom had a walk-in closet [as in, we can step in and step out], but we definitely needed more storage.

So, we started brainstorming about how to get rid of the dropped ceiling [including the crappy fluorescent lights], how to partition-off the bathroom, and how to get more storage.  I made a few plans to see how it could look…

Basement Plan

The dorky architect in me came out…


I first wanted to drywall the ceiling, but the cost was rough…and, we would lose major height.  While searching for a house we saw a house whose staging designers simply sprayed the ceiling rafters white. It looked awesome!  I actually did not remember it until we started thinking about how to fix ours.  A few weeks later we went to another house where the renovating contractor did the same thing, but with black.  Choices!  Here’s a few I love:

Melrose interior designer Justine Sterling’s finished project room for her kids.

Image via Boston Globe, design by Justine Sterling 


Image via Homedit

Image via here

We had two contractors come in; one was double what we wanted to spend, but the other, Alex, came in just right.  While we describing what we wanted with the bathroom/laundry room dilemma and the two doors or door swing issues, he suggested a pocket door.  Bingo!


After day 1


After day 3

For storage, I knew what we were going to do.  I decided we would take the whole back wall of the basement and turn it into one large, long closet.  It would take up precious floor space, but instead of swinging doors we would have two large barn doors that would bypass each other.


Bypassing barn door hardware from Amazon, buy it here.  As in, this is the exact one we got!


I had to make sure I liked how it would look before giving it over!

Hubs was on board, contractor thought it was great, and so we started Monday morning!  Here’s the progress:


After day 1


After day 2


After day 3

Now, I need to start thinking about what these barn doors will look like!  Can’t wait to share more!

cover image

one glass craft – wrap choker

Have you seen chokers popping up, like, everywhere?  Hellooo, 90’s!

There’s this one at Nasty Gal:

Vanessa Mooney Ride Out Wrap Choker - Back In Stock | Best Sellers | Back In Stock | Necklaces | Booties + Accessories

via Nasty Gal here

Sincerely Jules wearing this one:

via Sincerely Jules here

Mary Orton of Memorandum here:

how to wear all black this spring

via Memorandum here

And honestly, the Gigi/Kendall/random other gorgeous models and starlets gang have also been sporting them which made me feel a little left out.  My favorite was that Nasty Gal one, but it seemed ridonkulous to spend $40 on a ribbon.  So, I did the easiest DIY ever.  So easy, in fact, I did not even finish my glass of wine while doing it [hence the one glass craft title].

First, your materials:

Engagement Party, Robinson House, 5037, Choker 055

-3 yds suede cording [I used about 5 feet for my necklace, but you can wrap around your neck to determine the best length for you]

-a box of cord ends

-some charm type thing

-needle-nose pliers

Engagement Party, Robinson House, 5037, Choker 061

Second, just unravel that cord and use pliers to clasp the cord ends to the end of the cord.  If it does not clasp straight, just go ahead and cute it off and try again.  You can see from my picture it happened to me!

Third, use the pliers to pry open the charm ring, insert on to cord end, and clasp back down.

Engagement Party, Robinson House, 5037, Choker 062

Engagement Party, Robinson House, 5037, Choker 064

If you can tell, the wine was even still cool!

Here I am modeling my necklace, no judgement!


Shirt: Old Navy sold out, but dress here | lipstick: Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

lighting package – the whole shabang

I’ve been really thinking about how to transform the house bit-by-bit, but it’s hard when you want the whole house to have a consistency and “flow.”  So, for lighting, I decided I might as well do what I’d do for any project: a lighting package.

Part of me wants to embrace moody dark metal that would really pop against the light walls and trim in an industrial/transitional vibe (transdustrial…get it?!).  Then, my architect comes out and I steer more modern and simple…until I then see some awesome print and color combo that would really jive with fixtures that embrace a more traditional aesthetic.  Ugh, so many choices!

Lighting Packages

It’s a toss-up, although seeing the fixtures together I think I know where I’m leaning.  Here’s where to find them!


  1. dining room chandelier Restoration Hardware $999
  2. kitchen light here Lamps Plus $292
  3. swing arm sconce Lamps Plus $345
  4. ceiling light Amazon $80


  1. dining room chandelier Rejuventation $400
  2. kitchen light here Shades of Light $168
  3. swing arm sconce Photonic Studio $279
  4. ceiling light CB2 $60


  1. dining room chandelier Wayfair $614
  2. kitchen light here Shades of Light $450
  3. wall sconce Jonathan Adler at Lamps Plus $306
  4. other swing arm sconce Lamps Plus $398
  5. ceiling light Cedar and Moss $125

What do you think?  Have any favorites?  I have a love for the last ceiling light…and of yeah, let’s throw this guy in:


via Lambert and Fils here



the elusive art of rug layering

Have you ever found what you thought was the perfect thing, until you realized it wasn’t, but you could not let go of it?  I feel like this may be a metaphor for a lot of things in life… But, in this case, I’m talking about an area rug.

First, I bought an 8×10 that looks very much like the Moroccan shag carpets everyone has…a warm white with gray diamonds.  I knew it was very current/typical/at the risk of being basic, but I did not care.  Then, I realized my house is tiny and an 8×10 rug is HUGE in our little living room.  So that rug now happily lives in the disaster that is our bedroom and the real search for the perfect rug began.  I gave myself silly guidelines…look for somewhat geometric, neutral, maybe globally-inspired, max width 8 feet and max  length 9 feet.  It wasn’t a week until I ran into it in all it’s glory…neutral, a bit of a pattern, 5×8, little bits of navy blue and the same gray on our walls.  I fell hard for it!

Until I brought it home and it looks too small! But, I’m determined.  Have you seen the rug layering look?  Yes? No? Well, it’s a thing.  Here are a few examples I’m finding inspiration from:

Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung Living Room

Jamie Chung’s living room via decorist

Studio McGee's Latest Before/After

via Studio McGee 

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the “before” house tour

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, to say the least!  We signed the papers and closed on our dream “starter home,” painted a whole bunch that weekend, packed up the apartment and moved in on Thursday [with the help of my wonderful in-laws], unpacked and organized throughout the next week until my parents came in on Thursday [and they kicked butt making the house look good and got the yard looking a million times better], and then we threw a party!  More on the party in another post, but I am so thankful for all the help we’ve had and relieved that life is settling down and we can focus on the house!

So, here’s the tour of the house from the inspection.

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Living/Family Room

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Dining Room

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Ring Holder and house 019


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Master Bedroom

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Second Bedroom

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Upstairs Bathroom

The previous owners had really done some of the heavy lifting when it came to bringing the house up to 2016 standards.  The kitchen is cute, open and bright.  The colors were [mostly] neutral.  The upstairs bathroom was recently renovated with Carrara marble tile, a new pedestal sink and large shower/tub. Most people could easily live in the house as it was!  Sadly, architects aren’t most people.

Really, the only thing I really wanted to do with before moving in was paint the interior one color.  The house is small [technically 968 SF, although that does not include the basement], and I wanted it to feel as big as possible.  Painting the interiors one neutral light color creates cohesion between the spaces and makes the house appear larger.  It also serves as more of a backdrop for artwork and furniture as opposed to taking center stage.

After a few quotes that just seemed too high for a task I knew hubs and I could tackle (one for $7,000 that included ceilings and trim on all three floors, and one for $3,600 that was just the top two floors and no trim), we decided we’d do this job ourselves. I selected Sherwin William’s Gray Screen 7071.  We got a big 5 gallon bucket of it [make sure to sign up for their Paint Perks for sales!] and all the paint gear we could find at Home Depot [including this bad boy, an amazing paint sprayer!]  and we went to town.

With the paint sprayer we really had to tape everything off and cover anything that did not want a nice gray tone on it. Trim and ceiling were the main focus to avoid. We had a little learning curve with the sprayer…practice on your biggest wall to get the technique right!  We found that about 12-15 inches out in 2 foot sections really covered the wall.  I then went over it with a roller for an even texture. You may think that was an unnecessary  step, or that the sprayer was not good enough on its own, but believe me when I say that it is honestly so easy to roll over the sprayed paint and not need to get an evenly coat your roller.  It definitely saved us some backaches!  Note: do not get Home Depot’s cheapest rollers.  They shed, and you have to go around with a tweezer to pull out the roller fibers!



After a night of prep, day of painting, day of just me painting, then another day of painting, we finally [mostly] had done the kitchen, side hall, dining room, living room, stair well and upstairs hall.  As for the Master Bedroom, Second Bedroom, and upstairs Bathroom?  Welp, glad the previous owners liked various shades of light blues because I’ve decided they just aren’t that bad right now!

Now that we’re in I am so happy the painting was done.  More to come!