Saturday, July 30, 2011

Too perfect for words...

This weekend has been so perfect I'm almost afraid to put it into words.

Yesterday I traveled to my college hometown on the beautiful Main Line and spent hours with my dearest friends Jess and Kait. It was so good to be back- to drink dreamy chai from the Gryphon, enjoy an almost too good to be true veggie burger from Christophers, browse the eclectic (pricey) boutiques and catch up with such amazing souls. I seriously forgot that it was my first unpaid furlough day from work (knowing that I landed my dream job and will be escaping at least part of the budget cut also helped a bit).

Mike suggested we go on a Saturday adventure- starting with brunch at Andy's Diner home of the  97.5 The Fanatic broadcast. The all you can eat breakfast buffet did not disappoint- sauteed onions in the homefries=amazing. Since we were new to the area we googled "thrift stores," hit up a local Goodwill and walked away with handmade turquoise earrings, a curtain rod, bandanna for the dog and a budgeting notebook all for about $6!

Groupon happened to send me a deal for a fabric store in Philadelphia so we headed back into Philly and searched Fabric Row for upholstery fabric for our master bedroom headboard project.

This particular store had a very particular odor and isles and isles of fabric that weren't so easy to navigate...

The amount and variety of fabric was amazing- and the eclectic owners were quite entertaining, however we couldn't find a fabric that stole our hearts more than this $50 a yard (ouch!) fabric from JoAnns:

It's neutral enough to be able to change with our style over the years but still so boho chic!  
We continued our adventure back over the bridge at our local Habitat Restore where we ran into some friends and where we purchased a fabulous mirror (for our future bathroom remodel) and a few frames. We were hoping to find a few items to do a quick porch update but couldn't find the light fixtures or mailbox we were looking for. Then I made Mike go to a rug store I had my eye on- it was filled to the brim with exotic Persian/Turkish/Iranian rugs that made me drool. The owner was amazing and explained all of the textures, patterns and designs to us and I quickly learned how expensive my taste is. The good news is I found my dream rug- the bad costs $2,700.

We ended our adventure back at home where I spruced up the garden, harvested a few tomatoes

(Thanks Dad- some of these are from your garden too!)

and made the most delicious, homemade red wine tomato sauce...

It has been a seriously amazingly sweet weekend- and I hope you've had the same. <3

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Graceful Grey

The living room is painted! I can't even believe it myself.
I'm not sure that I LOVE the color but it was cheap (Sherwin sale!) and I think it will look really good once the floors are re-done. Of course its in the grey family... didn't you know grey is the new beige(<--- my favorite saying).
After several test swatches on the walls I finally settled on "Graceful Grey" but it was a Home Depot color so I took it to Sherwin to be color matched. As I handed the paint mixing man my color swatch he immediately recognized me from my last paint fiasco and asked "hey how did that blue work out for you?" Embarrassing. It took quite a few tries and we couldn't quite crack the Home Depot paint code so the paint we ended up with was pretty different from "Graceful" but it worked.

Naya the "graceful grey" helping me paint.

Painting and enjoying a little Real Housewives of NY...
The section with the paint swatches on it pops out from the wall a bit- in the attached twin it is exposed brick. I'd love to open this up but we aren't quite brave enough so we are going to paint it a darker color and do something like this:

Or this great faux fireplace/bookshelf:

This house really messes with me- I have no idea how to decorate with such dark trim but I can't bring myself to paint it. Any suggestions on how to work with dark trim- please send them my way!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kitchen Progress!

It turned out to be a not totally productive, very stressful week/end.
However- the kitchen is finally almost 100% painted (there is a spot above the refrigerator that we just can't figure out how to reach- anyone with super long arms?)!
The kitchen has always been one of my favorite rooms- whenever we'd tour the house we would end up spending most of our time chatting in there. It has a ton of space, custom cherry cabinetry (from the 70's but I love it) and lots of windows. The fellow who "renovated" the place before we bought it added cherry paneling all throughout the bottom half of the room- I appreciated the thought but it made the room feel dark and just too cherry. I'm glad I followed my intuition and painted the excess cherry paneling- it looks amazing. I wish I had a functioning camera (other than my phone to show you the real transformation).

BEFORE- so much cherry and drab beige walls...

AFTER- much much brighter and cleaner!
 (The grey is Palisade by Sherwin Williams and the white is Snowbound also by Sherwin) 
I seriously wish I had a better camera so that you could see what a difference the paint makes!

The frames are the first things ever to be hung on the walls of this house (since we've owned it anyway) and it makes me feel so accomplished. I was struggling to think of what pictures would look good in the kitchen...Mike suggested we hang large paintings of vegetables because they always look so good in Subway (haha he was kidding) so instead of committing to a photo or a veggie I went to Michaels and found these great scrapbooking pages:

I wanted to compliment the "Saffron" color of the dining room as well as yellow Fiestaware I was gifted and the green pyrex I've been collecting.

The Ikea frames make the paper look like art- for 10$ I think its totally worth it.
I also found this print at Michaels on clearance for 5$ and I'm hoping to find a really funky antique frame to go with it:

Eventually I'd like to replace the cheap white blinds with these beachy blinds...
Even after spending the entire day in the kitchen we still have much to do:
-Hang shelves
-Plant herbs to place on shelves
-Buy and hang grass shades
-Paint the random spot above the fridge
-Bring in a bistro table and two tall chairs
-Update light fixture with something large and modern
-Find a large indoor/outdoor neutral rug
-Eventually replace all black appliances with stainless steel
-Eventually replace the ugly linoleum floor

I'm super thrilled with the progress we've made- it feels and looks amazing.

And I leave you with a picture that warms my heart and reminds me how blessed I am to have a place where family and friends can come share this life with us...
Father and Son guitar time <3

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beach + Food = Summer so far

I haven't posted in a while because we've done a whole lot of nothing on 119 in the last month...unless you count starting at paint samples on the walls because I've done a lot of that. It's overwhelming the amount of things I want to do to this place and frustrating that there just isn't the money for it.  We went to Crate & Barrel this weekend for inspiration and decided that when we are rich we will just fully furnish our house from their showroom. We didn't buy anything but we got a whole lot of free inspiration like this amazing reclaimed barn wood table:

 Which reminded me a lot of this DIY reclaimed wood table I found HERE the other day:
 Now I'm stalking Craigslist to find old barn wood to make shelves or possibly a dining room table.

When I'm not daydreaming about house projects I've been busy enjoying my summer. I realized recently that I had accumulated plenty of vacation time and needed to use it or lose it so I took 2 weeks off from work. It has been amazing and I'm pretty sure someone is going to have to drag me back to the office next week. Here are a few photo highlights of the last month:

We just discovered that the beaches at Atlantic City are free and not totally disgusting like we had imagined. I've been three times in the last few weeks and I love that its clean, life guarded, has calmer waves and if you are smart you can find free 3 hour parking!

I also discovered that my bread machine has a pizza dough option and with just a few simple ingredients I can make the most amazing pizza this side of Mangias/Kate &Als. We've had this delicious tofu sausage, onions and peppers pizza twice now and this weekend experimented with a BBQ chicken and carmalized onion pie (using soy chicken nuggets)...amazing!

On my first day of vacation my Dad and I went kayaking- it was so wonderful to be out on the water again- away from people and cell phones, work and distractions. told my dad I felt like I was literally drinking in nature and it seriously felt like the first drink of water I'd had in ages.

Then we traveled back to the Jersey Shore again for the 4th of July weekend. Seaside and its wild ways never dissapoint! It was a great get away with friends, dogs, boardwalk food and gorgeous clear water. The only downside was the infestation of fish eggs which felt really awkward to pick out of our hair and bathing suits... the fish tacos however were perfection. Oh surf taco- it was so beautiful to see you again (I might have eaten 6 containers of salsa...maybe).  *the lovely photo of Island Beach State Park was taken by Vikki Bell <3

Seriously- could this post be any more about food? We stumbled upon this gas station gem after a morning of yardsales and we couldn't resist their claim to fame 4$ giant 12inch hoagies. We took a risk and we were not disappointed by Grandpa Dar's hospitality and our delicious 4$ lunch. Check them out if you are in South Jersey.

 I started this post with a bit of frustration about the lack of change around here but my Project Manager (aka: husband) just came home with a ton of ideas and a plan of action for this week so hopefully by next  Monday we will have at least painted over all of the paint swatches covering the walls.

Enjoy the sun!