Monday, May 16, 2011

Out with the Mold

Remember when Jason smelled mold in our bedroom and he ripped apart the entire wall to address the problem only a month before I was due to have Noah?  If you missed it, you can read about it here.  For a short time, my bedroom looked like this:

and I was just praying that Noah wouldn't decide to arrive early and this would be his welcome to our home.

Thankfully, he was late like his parents.

Instead of just replacing the insulation, fixing the window and re-sheetrocking the wall, we figured it would be a nice time to change things up a bit. 

Yes, we tend to take on big projects during monumental events in our lives.

Like the time we gutted our entire kitchen only weeks before our wedding.  In fact, I was so sick of doing dishes in the bathroom and cooking outside on the grill that our honeymoon was more than just a honeymoon . . . it was an escape from the chaos of my kitchen.  While we were away, our countertops were installed so that when we returned, Jason could finish up the kitchen.

What can I say?   We love stress.

Anyway . . . back to the story at hand.

I had  been wanting to give our bedroom more of a cottage feel, since it is such a small space.    I really love the horizontal plank walls that I've seen in Pottery Barn, Country Living and over at The Lettered Cottage.

The good news is that I didn't have to sell Jason on the idea. He actually welcomed it, since he hates to tape and spackle sheet rock.

Perhaps you remember our bedroom originally looked like this.

And then we got rid of the king sized bed and I had Jason cut our dresser so that it could be moved to make room for the bassinet.  If you missed that crazy adventure, you can read about it here.

That brought our bedroom to this.

We moved the jewelry armoire and mirror to make room for the beautiful PB bassinet that was a gift from my mother in law and her boyfriend.  Remember the sketch she did of the bassinet because it wasn't going to arrive in time for my shower?  You know, the one that hangs in Noah's room as a piece of art on the wall?

Well the bassinet arrived in time for Noah and it looks great in the space we created.  .

Did you notice the switches up on the wall?  Well, I've always wanted lights on either side of the bed for reading.  I'm not a Kindle kind of girl . . . I like good ol' fashioned pages to turn, which means I need a light so that I can read at night.  And I'm not much into little book lights. They fall off my book, run out of batteries and generally aggravate me.

So my husband who spoils me installed two lights - one on either side of the bed and each light has its own switch.  Once Noah was born, Jason took the lights one step further and installed a dimmer switch so that we could get up to tend to Noah in the middle of the night without flipping on a bright light.

It all came together really nicely and I'm growing to really love my slanted ceilings and small bedroom. I never thought I would, but it's become my little cozy haven.

We both hated the color of the walls so we figured that while we were installing the plank wall, we might as well update the color too.  We used white on the planked wall and went with Sherwin William's "Blue Hubbard" for the side walls (a color I'll admit I snagged from The Lettered Cottage's design).

We I still have a few things we'd I'd like to do in this room. As you know from reading my blog, I hate the color of the dressers and night stand. I'd like to try to refinish them in a lighter color. Originally, I wanted to paint them white, but now I'm hoping to go with a distressed gray like much of the furniture in Restoration Hardware.

I also want to get a new light fixture.  I'd love a chandelier, but our ceilings are so low, I don't think it would look right.  I've been looking around but haven't found anything that speaks to me yet.  Any suggestions?

Finally, I want to get rid of the towering fan on the night stand and update it with a smaller, silver more industrial looking fan.  Getting rid of the fan is not an option, as you might remember from my post Finding Sleep with a Fan.   While the current fan we have is a huge upgrade from the old boxed fan we used to  use, it looks Victorian, and just doesn't go with the room anymore.

I also want to ditch the old-school electric alarm clock.  You know how much I hate the look of electronics so I want to hide our alarm clock somehow.  I thought of using a classic looking alarm clock (you know the ones that have a little device that hits two bells at the top?)  but Jason says he doesn't want to wake up to such a loud alarm in the morning.  I've also considered just using our cell phones as alarm clocks, but J likes to see the time in the middle of the night so maybe a cell phone docking station would work? 
I'm still figuring it out.

So there you have it . . . our lighter, brighter and mold-free bedroom.

Linking to:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Zen Bathroom Inspiration

Have you ever had relatives tell you so much about their friends that you feel like you're friends with these people too? 

This seems to happen a lot with my sister's friends.  She has several friends who I consider my friends, yet I've never met them and most I've never even spoken to.  Sometimes I forget I haven't actually met these people because I feel like I've known them for a long time. I've seen pictures of them; they've seen pictures of me.  I know about their jobs, they know about my kids.  We're often friends on Facebook.

One time, one of my sister's friends -- Peter -- actually asked me on the phone, "Wait . . . have we ever actually met?"  He was serious.  And I actually had to stop for a minute and think about if we had ever met.
We hadn't.
Are we odd . . . or have you had this experience too?

Anyway, I got a text from my sister the other day asking if I could send her some Zen bathroom pictures.  Apparently, one of her friends, who I feel like I've met but I haven't,  is re-designing her bathroom and wants it Zen-inspired.

So here's to the friend of my sister who I've never met but I feel like I have .  .

So what makes a "Zen" bathroom? 

First, think minimalist, clean lines, neutrals and natural/organic colors and textures.
Many of the Zen bathrooms have natural/organic elements such as bamboo flooring, organic woven rugs, rocks or pebbles, and bamboo plants.  Bringing these elements into the design helps to create the Zen bathroom.

Most of the bathrooms also feel very spa-like.  To re-create this feeling at home, select towels that match the wall color, or are in the same color family.  The towels are often rolled and stacked in the Zen bathroom.  The other option is to just use all white towels to create a spa-like feeling.

Use as much natural light as possible.  Install lots of windows or skylights and bring elements of the outdoors in.  For example, use pebble flooring for the shower or bring plants into the bathroom.  Common plants used in Zen design include bamboo and orchids.

Leave the walls plain,or hang a few floral paintings or oriental designs.  Another option is to hang candle sconces.

Vessel sinks and seamless glass showers also seem to be very common elements in the modern Zen bathroom. 

In the end, the key to the Zen bathroom is creating a feeling of peace and serenity. 

So to the friend I've never met . . . I hope this helps! When you finish your bathroom, we'd love to see pictures!

To everyone else - if you're planning a re-design and would like me to find inspiration pictures for you, shoot me an email.  I'll create a post showing you what pictures inspire me for your re-design.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Garbage Pickers

I had this vision when I was working that when I was on maternity leave I would do a ton of home improvement and decorating projects and I'd post on my blog daily.

But then Noah was born and maternity leave started . . . and reality kicked in.

I'm exhausted.

I don't know where the hours in the day go -- I spend time with Noah, nap, clean the house, cook and then Imani is home on the bus. We do homework and practice violin and then Jason is home. The day is over and I don't know how it went by so fast.

When the weather cooperates, Imani and I go for walks with Noah and Maggie.  One day a few weeks ago when we were on one of our walks, Imani asked me if we could pick up trash in the neighborhood.  She had spotted a muddy grocery bag tangled in a shrub.

"No Imani. Don't touch it. It's full of germs and you don't know who touched it last" I said.

I realized I was saying this to a child who is constantly on the look out for treasures on the streets of New York city when we go to visit Aunt D.  I also realized it didn't go along with the "green" messages Imani had received in her elementary school. 

I was just feeling lazy and crabby and I didn't want to pick up garbage.

Of course, Imani was disappointed.

"How about we pick up trash on Earth Day.  We could wear gloves," she pleaded.

"Sure. Earth day. That sounds like a great idea."

I had no idea when Earth Day was this year . . . and I was hoping Imani didn't either.

And then one afternoon after school Imani and I decided to watch the Ellen DeGeneres show and lo and behold, Ellen spilled the news.

"Happy Earth Day" she announced as she gave everyone in the audience an abundance of green gifts.

"NO!!!" I wanted to shout. It was rainy and cold outside my window and I certainly didn't feel like schlepping around picking up trash.

Maybe, just maybe, Imani had been daydreaming and didn't hear Ellen's announcement.

"Mom! Did you hear Ellen!  Remember we are going to pick up trash on Earth Day!" Imani said with enthusiasm.

"Oh honey, Mommy is exhausted and it's so rainy and cold.  Maybe Jason will pick up trash with you when he gets home."

I'm a terrible mother. I couldn't believe I was bailing on the trash pick up promise.

"Well could you do it with me another day?" Imani asked.

"Definitely. I promise when the weather is nicer, we will pick up trash together" I said with certainty.

Of course Jason pulled through for me and picked up trash with Imani on the cold and rainy Earth Day 2011.

But I wasn't off the hook.  This weekend, the weather was nice and guess what Imani reminded me I had promised I would do?

I put Noah in the Moby wrap (which he LOVES btw.  For those of you with newborns, I highly recommend them . . . Noah falls asleep in less than five minutes when he's in the Moby), put on my rain boots because it was so muddy, Imani grabbed a bucket and we were off to pick up garbage.

I tried to convince her that we could just pick up trash in our own yard, but she insisted we needed to clean the neighborhood.

"I want people who drive through to know that this is a clean community" she explained.  I couldn't believe her determination to clean the sidewalks, yards of apartments and other people's yards. 

We found lots of trash and even when I told Imani something was too gross to pick up, she picked it up anyway . . . like a dirty sock.

At the end of our walk, we had half a bucket of trash and the neighborhood did look cleaner. I felt good that I had finally fulfilled my promise, but I felt even better that my child found joy in cleaning the Earth.  She could be inside glued to the TV or Wii, but instead she wanted to pick up trash.

Oh and we forgot our gloves . .  but don't worry. We washed our hands when we got home.   

Before she went to bed that night Imani said "Thanks for picking up trash with me mom.  Wasn't it fun?  Maybe we could do it again sometime."

Yes . . . maybe we will.

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