Monday, October 29, 2012


The wood decking is Ipe, inter-locking 12x24 tiles. The planters are self-watering  (up to two weeks) planted with horsetail (looks like bamboo). The bench and table are Crate and Barrel.

The magic of teak oil!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Black Band

The idea came from Sarah's House - the episode where she paints a white band on the craft room's blue ceiling. My ceiling, while not popcorn, has some bumpy texture so I knew I wouldn't get a clean line using painter's tape (which never works for me under the best conditions). I first went with a peel and stick, 8" black border. It took two hours of measuring, marking, cutting and rubbing. When I woke up the next day, it was in a heap on the floor. What you see here is Plan B - high gloss black duct tape! Yes, duct tape! It now comes in every color, finish, width and pattern imaginable. It is so easy to work with and so forgiving that I did a border around the front door too and had time to go to the gym.

The effect is a defined entry area that actually seems to open up as you enter the living room.

What? Color?

I had a color moment. Steve asked if I was OK. I think so, since the same color palette is used in all three pieces.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Story of The Magic Geranium

I remember reading this story in grade school. It's why I named the blog, "The Magic Geranium."

Mrs. Smith lived in a drab little house with a drab little yard in the middle of a nice little street. Her house was the drabbest in the neighborhood, but she did not know what to do about it. One day, her friend Mrs. Allen came by with a geranium in a pot. "This is a magic geranium," Mrs. Allen said. "It will make your whole house beautiful."

So Mrs. Smith put the magic geranium on the drab little table in her drab little kitchen. The geranium was so bright, Mrs. Smith thought it was a shame it was on such a drab little table. "I'll paint the table, so the geranium has a nice place to rest." So she went to the paint store and bought some bright yellow paint.

Once the table was painted a nice bright yellow, Mrs. Smith looked at it and said, "It's a shame that the chairs look so drab next to the table. I'll paint them, too." So she painted the chairs a nice bright red. When she was finished she stepped back and looked at what she had done. "My table and chairs are so bright, it's a shame they're in this drab kitchen." So back to the paint store she went, and painted her kitchen a nice bright color, and bought nice bright curtains to hang in the windows.

The kitchen was so pretty, Mrs. Smith said, "The kitchen is so nice and bright, but the dining room is so drab next to it." So back to the paint store she went and painted the dining room. When she was done she looked at the dining room and said, "The dining room is so nice and bright, but the living room is so drab next to it."

Pretty soon, Mrs. Smith had painted all the rooms in her house a nice bright color. When she was finished, she said, "It's a shame that the inside of my house is so pretty, but the house is drab. That' s not right." So she painted the house a nice bright color. When she was done, she looked at what she had done and said, "Now the house is nice and bright, it's a shame the yard is so drab." So she planted pretty flowers in her yard and soon had the nicest house in the neighborhood.

Mrs. Allen came back for a visit and was amazed at the changes. "You've done a great job making your house so nice," she said.

"I didn't do anything," Mrs. Smith said. "The magic geranium you gave me made my house beautiful."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Design Decisions

I think my top three design decisions were:

1. Wrapping the granite counter around the corner post to create a landing for keys/mail.
2. Painting black all doors and window seats.
3. Installing feature wood wall in bedroom.

But I have to mention a fourth: replacing baseboards and door hardware. Nothing contributes more to an update.

Here's what I'd do differently:

1. Lay a new floor over the existing one in the bathroom.
2. Spend less on countertops. I think I could have gotten the same impact with a less expensive option.
3. Not use Kraftmaid. The quality of my kitchen cabinets are fine; dealing with that company was laughable.

I really love my salvaged lamps! Thanks, Steve, for letting me take the cow rug from home. Oh, you don't see the wooden end table... haha.

The sliding barn door between bedroom and living room is very functional. I close it at night to cool bedroom only and keep them open during the day to expand the living area. Now, who was it that wanted to wall these up? Let me think...

I really like how this little corner from the 1960's turned out! The table is my best flea market story: An original Saarinen tulip table (with inventory tag from the PSFS building in Philadelphia - the first air conditioned high rise in the U.S.) We purchased it for $40. Saw one on ebay for $550.

I have a mural for this wall, but I like its starkness. No one else seems to agree.

We've had this chair forever. Painted black, it becomes just a silhouette -- and very modern.

Every room needs a feature, and in the bathroom it's this show-stopping faucet.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Drapes

 I don't really like drapes but these were necessary to provide privacy to the living room sliding doors (where there are no blinds). 
 It's exactly like the office set on Mad Men: White blinds, white sheer pleated drapes. An accident? What do you think?!