[home]: Updates and Blimps...


As I completed most of my son's bedroom, there was a wall that was left bare where I really wanted to do something special. I searched for inspiration pretty much everywhere - starting with the web and could not say that I was overly impressed with what I found as shared here. The problem that I created for myself (if you read this blog you probably guessed by now that I tend to make my life and decisions somewhat difficult for some random reason) is that I just had a general idea of what I wanted my son's room to look like and feel like, but no specific design in mind.

The reason I take this approach to designing our house is that I don't want to create expectations in my head of achieving something which requires certain budget, but like to be guided by general notions and feelings of resulting room that I envision in my head and allow for great deals, steals and finds to do the rest. What that means in reality is that approach that I think I might be taking, often times gets tweaked along the way. Specifically with my son's room that means that somewhere along the way everything turned towards air transportation - cool airplane hanging from the ceiling from PBK (clearance) and hot-air balloons picture (sale) set the stage.

I am not big on themes so I thought for a minute to throw a complete wrench in all of the vintage air travel design plans and draw black castle mural, but I decided to be patient. Well, inspiration came calling from Emily Henderson's living room and her blimp artwork. I was sold but was not sure how my son would react.. I was mulling everything over in my head too chicken to proceed....

I also happened on Pottery Barn Kids rocket wood plank that I liked which was my option #2 in case my son reacted with disgust at my proposal. He is into Star Wars currently and this is kind of "stars-y".. and "wars-y"..

I gave my 7-year old a choice between two above images which he looked at on my phone for all of 2 seconds. He immediately decided on the blimp! I was floored. Happy, but floored. Scared of work ahead, but floored. Just for the record, I never intended to do full on details in above artwork, just a simplified version only to have him ask me why I did not do all of those other details because he liked them...

So here it goes - the final product (as documented using iPhone):

[life]: Somewhat of a Serious Topic


I've managed to watch about a quarter or so of the Sunday's Oscar night before I dosed off... but not before seeing most of the interesting moments of the night.  I mostly like to watch the red carpet to see who wears what and personally felt a bit disappointed this year. Even as there were a number of nice dresses, most of them did not scream Oscar to me; some of them did not really fit people who wore them, nor the occasion.

The only look that really wowed was Scarlett Johansson. She looked amazing weather you liked the dress (or more specifically the collar) or not.

Other looks or dresses that I liked from that night were Cate Blanchet, Jennifer Lopez, Emma Stone and Rosamund Pike. The rest were just kind of meeh..

But enough about dresses that might or might not translate to fashion trends that might or might translate to decor... The reason I am even writing about Oscars has to do with Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech or more specifically the very end of it where she called attention to gender inequality when it comes to work places and salaries.

Lately I am finding that this and other forms of gender discrimination at work is written about and discussed more than ever. But all of it might just remain at acknowledgement of sorts as it seems that most people shy away from even discussing it.

Interestingly enough and the main reason I am even writing about it all is that just past week I was at one of the mommy and baby groups learning infant massage. Through conversation it became clear that 4 out of 6 women in the group experienced at present some sort of gender discrimination.

I was blown away by what I learned:

  • 3 were let go while pregnant or on maternity leave, 4th was told not to bother applying for promotion which was given to her childless report
  • 2 are in the middle of the legal action as they were not even offered reasonable packages for wrongful dismissal, while 2 just accepted the situation
  • they span industries from financial, IT, manufacturing and non-for-profit
While it is nice of Patricia to put herself out there with her speech, I am skeptical of results it can achieve in raising the awareness of the issues as I did not run into any talk topics discussing her calls or issue she mentions, so things will probably stay at that.

[style]: Kitchens - More Inspiration


Plans for our kitchen reno are kind of at a standstill - mostly because initial quote we received from the contractor really blew our expectations - and we are so preoccupied with many things life brings on daily basis that getting additional quotes has taken the back seat.  Since there is no timeline or deadline for us to work on design - things are kinds of lingering, but I am continuously thinking about layout, colours, options, tiles, flooring and so much more. It helps to go through all of the inspiration photos and here are a few more:

While I am not overly inclined towards two tone kitchens, I really don't mind the above combination perhaps as backsplash is carried through and seems to be an extension of upper cabinetry. It allows for lower, darker cabinets not to overwhelm the space, but just ground it and allow it not to be just another white kitchen.  This is what happens when you have too much time to plan something - you get to second guess everything and your tastes change depending on what you see. I also like how cabinetry is broken up by shelves.

The above kitchen is too rustic for what I am going for in our house but I just love how this farm table is used as an island or working bench really. I've been thinking of incorporating our long walnut table from the basement into the kitchen area and seeing the combinations of this in inspiration photos reinforces it for me. I would, however, go for more of a juxtaposition of sleek and rustic than all rustic.
As some of the darker kitchens are inspiring me lately, I've realized that I am drawn to more modern cabinetry in dark colours. The more I am thinking and rethinking of what do with our kitchen reno, I am realizing that I am liking dark mat and modern cabinetry on the bottom and something light and airy with glass on the top. I thought I was 100% against two colour kitchen but I am rethinking that... This will be a long process... 

This french bistro style works for me and I love this table again. I also like that hood is a statement but a main focal point of this space.

[decor]: Bed Deconstruct


Back in November I've announced the purchase of our new bed for our master bedroom. It was hard to conceal the excitement of finally getting a new bed after 13 or so years even though our Ikea one has served us pretty well.

So this is what our master (or part of the master) looked like up until a week or so ago minus the clothes and toddler for most days:

Headboard peeking behind our bed was a wannabe DIY that never happened and it is back in the store. Our West Elm Platinum Sleigh bed arrived just before the holidays and we picked it up some time in January. Everything was packed really well and installation appeared to be fairly easy which I proceeded to do on my own.

So why I am not sharing a reveal? Well, when I put it all together the bed just did not appear to be sturdy enough - not only could it be easily shaken but the screws could never be properly tighten. It takes a bad design to make you appreciate Ikea's design and how they secure their bolts. In West Elm's case, they give you a tiny wrench to tighten all the nuts - but the problem was that they become continuously unscrewed. So my first thought was that I've done something wrong and promptly brought my dad to assess the situation who was less than impressed with the whole construct of the bed. Why? Not only are these nuts and bolts unreliable to hold the whole construct in this way, but the middle beam and sides are made of wood compared to Ikea bed that we have which has a steel beam in the middle of it and steel sides.

Not overly discouraged with first assessment I was eager to see what can be done. We unscrewed all of the bolts to try and assemble the bed from scratch. In the process of unscrewing it the whole construct came out from one of the ends... Cue in the huge disappointment, 'why me' and 'you gotta be kidding me' feelings..

So my first course of action was to contact West Elm and they immediately said that I can either return the bed or they can exchange it. My second course of action was to research a bit and find some bed reviews. In retrospect, I should have started with that before buying a bed but I had blinders on ever since I fell in love with this bed. Reviews are horrible - too many people complaining about sturdiness, design, broken middle beam (which I could see why). Well, I was plenty scared. So even as we just love how the bed looks - I was ready to review the alternatives.

[decor]: Weekly Roundup


I've shared some of my weekly finds already in Elte post from couple of days ago. While I visited Target, Indigo, Crate & Barrel, Lowe's and Home Sense - I was mostly photo happy at Home Sense. Target's new collection while nice didn't really mesmerize me and there wasn't all that much that I wanted to get at full price.  Indigo's new pillows and other decor is rather nice, cheerful and spunky, but I am not ready to think of spring just yet. I left the store with a few clearance items - too good to miss - crewel mini dot pillow for $16 and $16, canvas storage bins for $4.

Onto Home Sense and what appears to be my obsession with pillows. These below are great values - these euro pillows (down feathers and cotton shams) are $24 each, while the metallic golden ones are 2 for $24 - also down filled. Finally, this down filled wolf one is $16.  I like them all and was hard pressed not to grab them with me.

I am liking some of the new items that are coming up in Home Sense - their modern lines (well, not really the chair on the right - that is just a really good priced item I spotted) but coat hanger and side table below.

I love to run into interesting art pieces and this trip did not disappoint. If I did not find already a nice art for my son's room I would be probably walking out with this Ferris wheel painting.

[style]: Framing the Views in Stockholm


I've been thinking of Russian Tea Room I've been visiting when I lived and worked in Stockholm some 15 years or so ago (feels like a lifetime ago).  It lasted some 8 months and I enjoyed every bit of immersing myself in different culture, way of living, and of course architecture and design. While most of the photos from that time are developed and were on film (read: not easily accessible) I don't get to share some of the beautiful places I've visited using my own work and need to search for images online. Since this Russian Tea Room gave me and a friend many afternoons of pleasurable talk and enjoyment in cozy environment with refined cakes and superb tea, I've set out to find it on the net.

Either I did not search very hard or there are no photos of it (who knows if it is still in existence there even as I enjoyed one in Rome) - but I happened upon an interesting hotel in Stockholm. During my stay in this beautiful city, I've spent 4 months in hotel and next 4 months in rented apartment. Living out of hotel was interesting to say the least and it was helped by some really good food from the restaurant (venison anyone?). While those days appear as almost a distant memory now, I am always drawn to interesting hotel rooms especially those that offer inspiration for own spaces.

Hotel in question is Berns Hotel with its 82 individually designed rooms and housed in an impressive 19th-century building. This image popped up in my search for Russian Tea House and while the one I visited was smaller, more colourful and cozier, I like this dining area as well. 

Here are some of the featured rooms from the hotel website.  As I've mentioned in one of the earlier posts, I am heads over heels for these old ceramic stoves/fireplaces (you can see it in the corner of the room). To have hotel room with one, is just dreamy and so Swedish. 

This next room has many things going for it - I just love black mat and frame on the wall art and how it place off another ceramic stove and carries through that stylish lamp and chair. While headboard is simple, pillows add some punch to the space.  I also love the desk and lines of that radio. 

The biggest star of this next room is the view and there is plenty to see in Stockholm. It is situated on 14 islands if I remember correctly and I had amazing views when I lived there so I count myself very lucky. What definitely helps the view in the room below is how the window is framing it.

[decor]: All Things Elte


This post started off as another weekly roundup but given the number of images and places I've been last week, I've decided to split it up. In this section - Elte, Ginger's and Elte Market.

It is hard to come into Elte and not leave with tons of photos. They suck you in right in the front of the store with beautiful baby and children decor followed by beautiful linens...

I zeroed in on the below sofa immediately - I love its lines, curved seat, colour, how deep and how comfortable it is. It is pricey but not terrible. That little iron console table would fit nicely in our hallway.

Noticing a trend?

I like the sepia images with white frames. Silver leaf console table resembles our basement coffee table.

When we came upstairs - my toddler's reaction upon seeing that large linen sofa was 'Wow'.. even at 2 she knows a good piece of furniture.. I just loved the sofa draped with beautiful linen.

Next up was Ginger's - some great sales on hardware and vanities, beautiful inspirations, tubs, and amazing linen towels.

Nearby Elte and Ginger's Elte Market has opened to replace Elte Outlet and offer a bit more affordable pieces and attract I believe a younger trendier crowd. 

While the space is interesting and the whole store less intimidating than Elte, what I did not like was not having more of vignettes of furniture throughout the store. For most part the similar looking furniture was thrown together. What Elte does really well, in my opinion, is to depict a room, a feeling, style and then you look at the furniture making it happen..  

What I liked were some of the accessories - colourful silk rugs, linen down pillows, whole black and white section and I am already thinking of how to incorporate those colourful cords.

As I was looking at beds (more on that in later post), here is a selection of them....

Finally there is a small section of the store at the very back dedicated to all things sale and clearance. And more horses...