Monday, April 30, 2012

Places I've Been - Key West, FL

We recently toured the Florida Keys, staying on the island of Islamorada. Unless you are into boating, fishing, or boating and fishing, there's not all that much to do in the Keys. The area is not known for it's beaches; there are very few sandy areas that could be considered a beach. The hotels generally target fishermen. There is a completely different vibe in Key West however. It's sort of like Myrtle Beach with a little bit of Charleston mixed in. Along with the hotel chains, there are charming older homes and B&B's to be found in Key West, much like those found in Charleston. But mostly, people just drink. Alot.

This is the nightly Sunset Celebration in Key West's Mallory Square. This spot attracts visitors from all over the world to watch the sun set over the waters just 90 miles from Havana.

Most interesting Key West find: a street performer that features trained cats. Who says you can't herd cats? He had them jumping through hoops of fire.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bedding Terminology

Our bedroom is our most private retreat in our home as it is the one place we can call our own. When it comes to this intimate space, there are certain luxuries that a person should try to indulge in and bedding is one of them. Good bedding can provide a more tailored look for your bedroom, give you that upscale hotel feel, and make it feel so good to climb into bed at night. 

Do you know the difference between a blanket or throw? What about a duvet or comforter? If you don't know a duvet from a comforter, how will you know what to ask for this Christmas? Below is a general glossary of some bedding terminology. At least this way, you will understand what you are buying/asking for.

Common Bedding Glossary/Terminology
Bed-in-a-bag – packaged collection of bedding essentials that typically includes flat and fitted sheets, two standard pillowcases and a comforter. Be sure to check thread count, as these sets are often less than 250 and can be scratchy.

Bedskirt/Dust ruffle – decorative accessory of fabric that hangs to the floor to visually conceal area under bed where you hide all the big stuff. Comes in either tailored style with corner pleats, or gathered for a more feminine touch. Newer bed styles have a fabric covered platform so that a bedskirt is not needed.
Comforter – bed cover made with filling that is placed over bed sheets and blankets to cover them and the top of the bedskirt/dust ruffle.

Coverlet – topical lightweight bed cover (typically quilted in pattern such as "matelasse") that is best used during warmer months, or under a fluffier/heavier comforter

Decorativepillow/Accent pillow – decorative accessory for the bed to enhance styleand bring together colors, not used for sleeping

Down – feathery fill that is soft and used inside comforters. Down alternatives are similar in concept, but use synthetic materials. Check for thread count of covering so that you don’t feel the sharp end of quills poking you.

Duvet – removable cover or shell that fits over a comforter or duvet insert, like two sheets sewn together on three sides with a comforter slipped inside. Often the comforter will slide around within the duvet, so the entire package will need shaking out to re-distribute. Paired with a really fluffy down insert, this will give you that high end look that screams “jump on me”.

Euro sham – large square pillow cover that measures 26x26, use three across the back next to the headboard

Fitted sheet – bed sheet that covers the mattress and is a pain-in-the-butt to try and fold

Flat sheet – bed sheet that lies over the fitted sheet

Quilt – patterned bed cover composed of two fabric layers with an inside filling

Sham – decorative pillow cover

Sheet set – flat and fitted sheets with a set of pillow cases

Throw – lightweight cover that is similar to a blanket, but smaller in size. Excellent folded at the bottom of the bed to add color or coordinate with other colors in the room.

Skyline Furniture upholstered bed with nail head trim

Gathered dust ruffle, decorative pillows and solid green throw

 Throw and euro pillows from Barbara Barry at BBY, zebra print decorative pillows from ZGallerie

 Does your bedroom need an update?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Final Flight for Discovery Space Shuttle

Last Tuesday, April 17, was another significant event in the timeline of the US Space Program. The Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted on a 747 carrier aircraft, was scheduled for one last flight down the coast as it was delivered from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to its final home, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution in northern Virginia.

We arrived at the beach at 6:30 am and witnessed a beautiful sunrise.

At 7:00 am the shuttle appeared, flying low and slow down the beach to Patrick AFB where it would circle and return, then circle the NASA building so employees could get one last look before it continued it's journey to Washington, DC. This photo was taken with my iPhone, so it's not the best photography. But it was still awesome.

Here is another photo, this time by someone who knows what they're doing with a camera. I bet he was using a camera instead of a phone. This was taken in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the same runway that space shuttles used for landings after space flights for nearly 30 years.
Discovery, mounted on top of a modified 747 jetliner.  (John Raoux/AP Photo)
And after the shuttle passed, the crowd applauded to show their appreciation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A New Item For My Wish List

Today at One Kings Lane I bypassed the usual pillows, rugs, linens, etc. until I saw that they were having a sale of items from Diane Keaton's home. I have read about the homes she has designed and her love of authentic spanish colonial items. Here is the picture that wowed me.

This is a vintage chrome-finished stove with six burners, one "grillivator,” two warmers, two ovens and one broiler with white handles. O'Keefe & Merritt by Robert Shaw. This is stove is from Diane's Copa De Oro Road House which was featured in Architectural Digest. You can click here to see the other unique items.

While I don't tend to favor spanish colonial decor, I would build a kitchen around this stove. $6,999. Do you think she used it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Check Is In The Mail

I'm telling you, if you haven't signed up for ebates you are losing out.

A check each quarter for anything bought online? Sign me up. You should sign up too. Even if you're buying something from Lowe's or Home Depot. Looking for a about $100 off, free shipping and a 5% rebate sent back to you for buying it online instead of walking into the store and lugging it home?

Even and Target give 6% rebates for buying online. Don't leave money on the counter, sign up to get your rebates here. Oh, you also get a $10 gift card for signing up.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

We celebrated by going to the beach for a sunrise service. When we arrived it was very windy and cold, a gray cloudy day.

But lo and behold, as the service started the clouds parted and a beautiful sunrise appeared.

Hope your Easter was as beautiful and inspirational as this sunrise.

Friday, April 6, 2012

$100 Wood Countertop Tutorial

The Mustard Ceiling shows us how to turns doors into countertops. Less than $100 for kitchen counters!

I know many of you have read my posts about how we re-purposed three solid oak doors from Habitat for Humanity, turning them into kitchen counter tops.

We took these…3 solid oak commercial grade doors and turned them into…

First, we ripped out the ancient 1950′s laminate counter tops, the old laminate top is what we used to create a template for the cuts.

It was as easy as laying the old counter top on top of the wooden door and tracing the shape.

Sand, Tape…and cut

After making the cuts for the new counter tops, it is time for the fun part….installation.

The first part of installation is easy, simply lay the counter top on top of the cabinets.  We had to use one door + a couple of pieces from the second door to make the first counter top.  Above you can see where we had to add a couple pieces.
Next, simply screw the countertop in place.
Now it’s time to make these bad boy’s pretty :).
First step, we had to piece together the large portion of the counter top with the two extra pieces…easy
We simply used a wood filler and sanded.  I was a little concerned that the wood filler would not stain properly, but it worked beautifully.
Next, add the veneer edging.  When we first bought the doors we thought they were solid oak throughout.  Once we cut them we realized they were oak veneered with a heavy duty particle board filler.  Still a nice product for counter tops, but we had to add a veneered edge so the interior particle board would not show.
After inspecting the grain we decided to use a white oak 1 1/2″ iron on veneer for the edging.  I bought it on Amazon.

We bought the iron on edging.  I lined the top edge of the the veneer with the top edge of the counter top and started ironing.  The edging was a little wider than the width of the counter top.  To trim it down Alfred ran an exacto knife along the bottom edge, trimming it to size.
After we touched up the cracks and installed the edging.  We sanded the counter tops down a third time and wiped them to remove the sawdust. Then we applied wood conditioner, in preparation for the final steps…stain and polyurethane.

To stain the countertops we used Minwax color Special Walnut.

The stain was applied by brushing it on using even strokes.  We allowed it to penetrate through the wood a few minutes and then wiped the excess off with a soft rag (basically we followed the directions on the container).
After two coats of stain and 24 hours of drying time….it was time for the protective finish, polyurethane.
We used Minwax Wipe-On Poly in a satin finish.  It was applied with a lambs wool applicator (you can find these in Lowe’s in the wood floor re-finishing section).  The lambs wool applicator applied a nice, even finish to the countertops.  We applied one coat, let it dry, then sanded it down with a very fine steel wool.  This step we repeated approximately four times.  The Poly raises the grain in the wood, we continued to apply poly and sand until the counter tops were smooth and had a nice protective finish.

I cannot tell you how much I love our new countertops, they really add warmth to the kitchen and they are durable.  I had a question from one of my reader’s as we were going through the process.  She asked if we were going to cut on them, like butcher block.  We do not use them as a cutting surface, but I think as they get worn in they will still be beautiful.

Wow, this was a long post.  Thanks for sticking through to the end :).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Clearly Sophisticated

I had Lucite on the brain recently. 

Acrylic furniture, also known as Lucite furniture, is an easy way to punch up a boring room. Not only does it bring a hint of modern to a a very traditional space, it adds a bit of sophistication. Whether it's called Perspex, Plexiglas or Lucite, it's all made from the same material -- acrylic glass. Here are some of my favorite examples.

If you're short on space, a Lucite coffee table will give you the convenience of a coffee table without the visual clutter.

The iconic Ghost Chair. Perfect paired with a traditional desk.

Bar stools provide a great opportunity to use clear acrylic. Smaller condos and apartments don't always provide enough space for a bulky stool. These seem to float.

 These nesting tables provide form and function. They can be nested to take up very little space and brought out when company arrives so everyone has a place to put their food and drink.

 Or choose a two-piece layered look by nesting these tables either behind a sofa or in a foyer.


Clear acrylic traditional-styled table and chairs let the large painting take center stage and provide an airy feel.

In a foyer, another example of highlighting the art rather than competing with it.

Another classic, the X-chair. Often seen in wood or upholstered, this is a modern take and would hold your comforter during the night.

If you are short of space in your eat-in kitchen space, this set would fit the bill. Plus they have casters!

I love the pairing of clear acrylic paired with a fluffy flokati or animal hide rug. How sexy is that?
Would you add some Lucite to your living space? Or do you think it's too modern?