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More home addition progress

Things are still happening here on the house. Most notably, our master bath is close to complete! I wanted to wait and do a big reveal, but I’m too excited not to share. Everything works – our new dual-flush toilet, rain shower, and sink faucets – but there are still a few finishing touches left, like putting up the wood trim/moulding around the door, window, and floor, priming and painting the pocket door and adjusting the drawers on the sink cabinet to open and close properly. We’re talking about painting the bathroom door a fun color, but that is still undecided. Right now we’re just using a shower curtain, but eventually I’d love to have a frameless glass shower door put in. Unfortunately it costs big $$$, and there is still so much left to do yet in the rest of the house. And see that curtain? I made it from some Ikea fabric I had on hand, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out (simple as it is).

Two other notable occurrences include the professional installation of our ultra-high efficiency heat pump and the installation of our new bamboo floor. Being extra sensitive to sounds, our new heating system is taking a little getting used to, especially that only-noticeable-to-me “newly-installed” smell. I understand it is very quiet compared to most systems. Previously we had baseboards, which were almost noiseless except for occasional ticking. We used Pyramid Heating and Cooling, so if you’re in the Portland area, we would highly recommend them.

The bamboo floor was purchased from Costco, and David installed it himself over a couple of weekends. It’s noisy and repetitive work with all the pounding and sawing.   I had to take Chloe and get out of the house several times to save our sanity. It looks awesome, though. Makes me think of a ballet studio, so smooth and satiny. The above photo also shows a new-to-us Crate & Barrel sofa. My in-laws got a new sectional and drove this one out with them (from Colorado!) when they came to visit in April. It’s SO much more comfortable and better looking than our old Pottery Barn Basic sofa..

Things are really shaping up around here. Today David painted and installed lighting in our his-and-her closets. He wants us to move into the master bedroom before the baby comes, but for some reason I want to wait. It’s such a big change. I think I want to keep some sense of familiarity, plus I want to stay close to Chloe during this transitional time. Maybe I’m just silly. 🙂


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Musings :: Master Bathroom

I’ve been looking at a lot of bathroom photos lately, now that ours will soon be torn out. Some of these photos just blow me away with their beauty and style. Although the luxe options shown here are way out of our price range, the challenge is figuring out why they look so good, and if it is possible to glean some of their magic with more widely-available and affordable options. For example, I’ve noticed I tend to like the contrast of dark brown and white. I also like glass tile, especially in aqua and other shades of blues and greys. I think bathrooms are one of those rooms that can stand a little drama, especially now that we’ll have more than one.

And here are some important lessons I learned when we remodeled our existing bathroom 5 years ago:

1) Although I like the look, using 1×1 floor tiles and 2×2 wall tile leaves A LOT of grout to clean. Not making that mistake again.

2) In order to save money, we didn’t do any accents. The walls are white and the floor is gray. We call it “classic,” but it really just looks kinda plain.

3) Our current bath faucet doesn’t let us adjust for pressure, just on and off. We ended up buying a special bath toy so Chloe could play with a small steady drip of water in the bathtub and not a loud deluge.

4) We left the old ugly tub because it would have cost a fortune to replace (we’d have to rip out the exterior wall just to get it out). Since then I have always lamented not replacing that yucky thing. The effect of the remodel was ruined by how worn that tub was. It will be a relief when it is finally gone!


For fun, I priced the Heath Ceramic Oval tiles (shown above) at Ann Sacks – $75 per sq foot, meaning that the dark blue tile must have cost over $4000 alone, not including installation. OMG!


This vertical blue accent is striking. We’re going to do something like it in our shower, aligned with the showerhead and faucet. Maybe blue glass?

Feldman Architecture modern bathroom
We have gray glass tiles similar to this as our backsplash in the kitchen. Unfortunately they are on the wall that will be ripped away to open the kitchen into the new dining area. Oh well.


Sorry, I don’t have links to every photo – I didn’t collect them originally with the intention of sharing, but I did go back and find links for some.



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A Visual Guide to Stylishly Modern Camera Bags

Just a round-up of some pretty snazzy camera bags available. I own the Crumpler, a gift from my husband, which is a good fit for my lifestyle right now (aka camera/diaper bag). However, in a perfect world, I’d love to be able to design my own. If you feel the same, check out KATA’s Dream Bag Challenge. You can submit your own original idea for the chance to have your bag hand-built, and to win a professional photo kit worth $5000 (including a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR body, 2 Canon lenses, Gitzo tripod kit and Litepanels Camera Light).

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Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home


Jill-e Medium Chocolate Brown Suede

 

Epiphanie Lola Shoulder Bag

Emera quilted bag


The Kelly Moore Bag

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KaTa 123-GO-10

Tenba Messenger: Small Photo/Laptop Bag

 

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Clik Traveler


ORKIO Cafe SLR Bagz

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Acme Made Montgomery Street Backpack

Oliday Dark Brown Canvas Camera Bag

 


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Free Holiday Gift Tags – Updated Colors

I was hoping to make a brand new set of gift tags to give away this year, but time just seems to be slipping away! Instead, please enjoy this updated color set, or feel free to download the original color set. Why buy tags when you can download and print them for free?!

Also, the following downloads are still available from previous years:

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Holiday Gift Checklist 2007 / Happy Holidays Card / Printable Snowflake Giftwrap

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Holiday Gift Tags / Holiday Cheer Board Game / From Me to You for the Holidays

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Little Bird Notecard Set / Snowflake Placecards


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2009 Solar Decathlon, Washington DC

This is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to check out the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a competition between 20 colleges and universities to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Honestly, while it is interesting to learn about new and energy-efficient technology, mostly I go to admire the modern architecture.

This year, there were a lot more people turning out to tour the homes, so we only had time to tour three: Rice University’s , Penn State’s, and the University of Minnesota’s. Personally, I liked the design and layout of Penn State’s the best, except for the amount of plants inside (a little too messy). Our guide said that it was originally designed for “DINKS” which apparently stands for “double income no kids,” so I guess I won’t be living in one any time soon.

Event goes through October 18th, and I would highly recommend visiting it if you get a chance.


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Ben Rose home for sale


Photos from the Sotheby’s web site, photographed by Robert Harshman

Remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Well, it turns out the 5300 square foot home (with movie-famous detached garage) is for sale through Sotheby’s. The modern steel and glass structure, built in 1953 by architects A. James Speyer and David Haid, is named after photographer Ben Rose, who once owned it. Only $2,300,000. Wow.


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Modern Birth Announcements

Recently Patti left a comment asking what we did for birth announcements. I was embarrassed to admit that although we took the time to design our own, we never took the time to got them printed. Sad. Instead, we copped out and included a photo of our new family in our Christmas cards.

Etiquette experts generally say that sending a birth announcement up to 3 months afterward is fine, but I feel kind of weird doing it now. But if I did, and didn’t go with my own design, I’d love to use one of these online birth announcement sites:

Tiny Prints
They’ve gotten a lot of press lately, but they sure have some cute designs. I’ve seen several printed examples, including a holiday card, this birth announcement and my own baby shower invite (thanks Greta!), which all looked really nice. The branches with pink blossoms design below was the inspiration for the painting that Grandma Sandy painted on the wall in Chloe’s nursery.

Minted
I first learned about Minted via the Project Nursery Blog. Back when Chloe was born they were running a 10% off special, except there weren’t any designs that David and I could agree on. They have gorgeous letterpressed wedding invites and even offer professional calligraphy.

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Metro Baby Cards
I would say their tagline “Modern. Funky. Unique.” is pretty apt. I love that they offer coordinating return address labels. Their personalized baby Thank You cards are worth a look, and they also have birthday, baptism, holiday and shower cards.

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Updated 12/05/2009 to add: Paperculture


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Family Birthstone Stacking Rings

These are the little stacking rings I got shortly after Chloe was born. I had been looking for something symbolic to wear, to mark this very memorable time. I took a long time wading through the dozens of traditional mother & baby and family birthstone jewelry, but everything seemed to be too cheesy, too traditional, or beyond my budget. Then I saw a set of modern stacking rings – perfect! Stacking rings come in a variety of settings and birthstones (in our case, citrine for Chloe’s November birthday, blue topaz for David’s December birthday and garnet for my January birthday). Plus, if our family should ever expand, all I have to do is buy another matching ring to add to my set.

These rings were purchased on Etsy from BirkaScandinavia for a very reasonable price. The bezel cup/tube setting is ideal because there aren’t any prongs to scratch baby or catch on things. Also, for a while I used the rings to remember which side I last nursed on by turning them over after each feeding – if the topaz was on top it was left and if the garnet was on top, it was right.

Click here and scroll down for the modern birthstones list.


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Tea Collection

Not too long after we found out we’re having a little girl, I ordered two of my first baby dresses online. I had gotten a catalog for Tea Collection months ago, although I’m not sure how I ended up on their mailing list. Fate, maybe? I’m not on any baby or children-related mailing lists that I know of. Anyway, I just LOVED their asian-inspired styles. So once I knew, I got on their site to find that they were having a summer sale and that most of my favorites were 50% off! How could I resist?

So this is what I got:


Daily Tea Blossom Tank Dress (Check out the Video View…so adorable!)

Daily Tea Mini Blossom Tank Dress


Daily Tea Solid Bloomers (which matches both dresses)

It was kind of weird buying outfits in next summer’s sizing, considering she is not even here yet, but I didn’t want to loose this opportunity. I rarely see baby stuff I like this much, and their fall collection is Norway-inspired, which doesn’t really impress me the same way.

The package just arrived today, and they are just as cute as I’d hoped! I wonder if this color scheme could somehow translate to the nursery…


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Free Holiday Greeting Card

holiday card

free holiday greeting card

The free offering for this week – a Happy Holidays greeting card. Made of simple shapes and modern colors, it’s just in time to beat the holiday mail rush. Just download, print, fold and trim!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday Monday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. All offerings so far are listed in the upper right of this page. Feel free to check back next week!


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Holy Sh*#! – My Dream House is for Sale!

kaufmann House Richard Neutra

I just found out here that one of my dream houses is going up for auction. And OMG is it gorgeous! I’m talking about the Richard Neutra designed Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, California. I’ve never seen it in person, but after touring the Kaufmann’s Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright this past summer I just know that it will be similarly superb in every way. Even more so, perhaps, because it’s closer to my personal ideal of modernism. How I would love to live in such beautifully open spaces, surrounded by breathtaking views, streaming sunlight, and modern simplicity.

With all my heart I hope it is purchased by a preservation group that will allow visitors to tour this magnificent piece of modern historical architecture. Or at least someone willing to give it the care, admiration and love it deserves.

Read the NY Times article here. Photos shown are from this slideshow.

kaufmann House Richard Neutra

kaufmann House Richard Neutra


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A Modern Gingerbread House

modern gingerbread house

This is the coolest gingerbread house, ever! Hard to believe that no one has thought of it before (at least that I’ve ever seen). I came across it here while perusing Redenvelope.com“Every bit as edible as the original, this isn’t your grandma’s gingerbread house. We gave the classic holiday treat a mid-century makeover, complete with garage and rock garden. A unique gift and sure-fire conversation piece, it comes assembled and ready to enjoy.”

It’s a little spendy at $78 (for an extra $10 you can add personalization, like in the photo above) and it makes me a little sad that you can’t assemble it yourself. Isn’t that the fun part? Seeing this makes me think about trying to re-create one of my favorite modern houses, maybe Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse or maybe an iconic Portland-area Rummer home, complete with melted hard candy glass windows (see recipe here). Wouldn’t that be so awesome?!


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Crafting A Greeting Card

flower cards

For the past few days I’ve been feeling crafty, so yesterday I sat down at my computer and created a few designs for greeting cards. Nothing fancy, just something sweet and light. The photograph above shows the design I ended up using and I am surprisingly happy with the way they turned out. I think I might even list them up on my etsy shop, which I’ve sadly neglected for so long.

It all started with a trip to Michael’s for inspiration. I hadn’t been there in ages. Eventually I left with a package of Martha Stewart: CraftsFlourish” blank stationery and brought them home to try with my new Canon Pixma ip3500, which came free using a promotional rebate when I bought my imac. I did try using our color laser, but I noticed on the test print (with one sacrificed card) that the heat really warped this particular paper stock.

However, in order to truly fulfill that crafty part of myself, I took it one tiny step further after printing and glued on little cut-out circles for the flower heads. I like how it adds a subtle dimensionality and playfulness. My only regret is that I didn’t purchase more of the blank stationery while I had the chance, because the Michaels’ in my area have run-out. C’est la vie.

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