Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat, Morning Glories, and the MIA tooth fairy

It has been h.o.t. in the DC area all week.

The only thing that seems to be thriving in our garden are the morning glories...
they are such champs! It's amazing how quickly they grow every night, clinging to anything within reach. Rich and I have been sitting out on the patio after we put the kids to bed, and often times I'll spend a little while guiding the tops of the vines to new railings or rungs of the lattice. Well, last night we didn't brave the heat, and I woke to see this....
amazing! Obviously our morning glories didn't bother to learn how to read.

In another news, Madds has decided that the tooth fairy must really dislike the heat because she decided to skip out on fairy duty a few nights ago. Totally unacceptable. Madds has been leaving notes, diagrams, and road maps all around the house and yard to help the little slacker out tonight....
Here's to hoping that tomorrow Madds will be one dollar richer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zoe Feldman's gorgeous Georgetown house!

I'm way way way behind on posting on all the beautiful homes I've been privileged to visit lately for house tours, but I just posted one today on Apartment Therapy and wanted you all to check it out.

Zoe is a talented local designer, and her home has such a refreshing "undecorated" feel to it while still being incredibly interesting. As it is with many of my house tours I spent much longer exploring her home than I had intended. I fell in love with many things in her home, but especially the way she brought life to usually mundane and overlooked details like her doors, which she turned into total showstoppers.
Here's a glimpse, and after you've had a look, go check out the full tour here!

All the photos are my own.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My DIY, Restoration Hardware Inspired Rope Mirror

Today at Apartment Therapy I'm posting on one of my favorite elements from baby Saf's room, but I had to share it here as well.
A few years ago, I incorporated RH's Iron & Rope mirror into my greenhouse garden bath that I drew up for a "dream bath" mood board for Apartment Therapy:

and I've been minorly obsessed with it ever since. So when I set about creating Saf's nursery, it was the one thing that I really wanted for the room. One reason I loved the mirror was its subtly nautical vibe. My grandfather, whom Saf is partially named after (his middle name) was a sailor, and I wanted to incorporate some nautical elements in without making the room beachy or too cute. The mirror was a perfect way to achieve exactly what I wanted, but at 35.5" and $650.00 it was too big and too $600 too expensive. I had about half of that for the entire room!

When I thought about how to recreate the look myself, I knew that the rope was going to be essential.
I finally got my inspiration while hanging out in my local hardware store (love to do that, it's where I get some of my best ideas) perusing the hinges and bolts when I spotted them--huge brushed metal eye hooks! After that the idea came together quite quickly since I already had a mirror in mind, IKEA's GRUNDTAL mirror which is a sizable 27.5" and a mere $29.99:

It has a raised stainless steel frame. It wasn't quite the bulky industrial piece that I has originally wanted, but when I pictured it with the rope and eye hooks I knew it would do the trick. 

Here's the process:

  • First I attached heavy duty picture wire to the back of the mirror, and secured a heavy duty picture hook to the wall (it's not an especially heavy mirror, but since it's in a child's room I went the better safe than sorry route)
  • Next I hung the mirror, and measured a half an inch on either side where I marked where I wanted each eye hook to go
  • Then I measured 1 foot directly above the center of the mirror where I marked the spot where I wanted the top of the rope to hit
  • Then I took the mirror off the wall, pre-drilled holes, and then screwed the eye hooks into the wall  
  • Next I screwed a regular screw into the wall at the place I had marked for the top of the rope to hit
  • After I filled the cavity of an antique doorknob with glue and placed it over the screw in the wall (purely decorative, the doorknob doesn't actually hold any weight, just masks the screw like a cover).
  • After, I tied the rope to one eye hook, draped the middle section of the rope over the doorknob , gently pulled the rope taught, then tied the other end of the rope to the remaining eye hook.
  • For looks and to ensure the semi-loose knots did not unravel, I wrapped black wax cord around the end of each knot. 
  • I didn't like how the rope sagged, so I hammered a small nail through the center of the rope on each side of the mirror which held the rope in place. I simply pulled one strand of the rope over the nail head to mask it so it isn't visible to the eye.
  •  Then I hung the mirror on the picture hook. Voila!

I think it's a pretty good alternative to it's $650 inspiration:

Sidenote: I was most excited about using the doorknob at the top. That was the one part that I hadn't quite figured out until I started putting holes in my wall :). I had thought about using this iron nail from BrookFarm General Store:

but it wasn't quite big enough for the rope I was using, and I wasn't sure how it would get along with our old plaster walls, so i thought I'd just put in a regular screw and hold out for something better. BUT when I was walking into the room I noticed that Saf's doorknob, original to our 1940s house, would be perfect! And, even better because I had an extra one since I had previously replaced the knob on my bedroom door with a flashier vintage crystal version (swiped from an old door buried in the garage of our previous home)--cha-ching!

The funny part is that I've been feeling like a total genius for the last several months everytime I look at that doorknob, but last week I spotted an eerily familiar sight on rockstar Eddie Ross's blog. He had used a doorknob as a hook too...with a mirror! Which I suppose still kind of makes me feel like a genius because, well, Eddie has a brilliant mind, and great minds think alike...right? Now if only I could come up with a approximately 1,000,000 other sweet ideas like Eddie and I'd be all set. Check out his beautiful doorknob/mirror combo here if you haven't already.  And all that brings me to my point, a point that I've been coming to a lot lately, and one that blogging makes very apparent, there really are no new ideas.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

garden spruce up--before & after

 actually, it's more like yard overhaul. and I shouldn't quite say "after" yet, since there are a few things we'd like to do, but friends, I'm just so happy to have a peaceful spot outdoors finally that I couldn't wait to share.

Since moving in almost 4 (!) years ago, we have sorely neglected our outside spaces, and this year we realized that if we were actually going to enjoy hanging out in our own yard as a family (as opposed to continually crashing my sister's who lives next door and who happens to have quite a lovely backyard--perfect for cocktail hour and soccer games) we would need to do a little work to our yard. Actually a lot of work. Because we when we moved in it looked like this...
why yes, that is a giant root bulb, and yes, you're right, that is an old door it's resting on... in the middle of the yard

I could go on and on about everything that wasn't quite the stuff dreams are made of starting with the world's narrowest deck (not even wide enough for a chair) or the yellowing lattice that made me wince everytime I looked at it.... but I'll spare you.  Let's just say that it was a little overwhelming when we already had so many things indoors to attend to, not to mention a couple of little people.

BUT, approximately one week or so past my due date with baby Saf, Rich decided to do something about it. We were enjoying a leisurely spring break and I casually mentioned that all we needed to do to make our yard awesome was rip up the old blue stone path and reconfigure the stones into a patio--piece of cake....or so thought this wildly pregnant woman with a belly the size of china, or at least something close to it. Because Rich is loving and generous and self-sacrificing. And perhaps because by now, he thinks it best to pick his battles, he obliged. But Rich doesn't do anything halfway so he completely tore up the area...

We actually thought about just extending the deck, but if we did, we'd always be looking into our neighbors' yards, so we thought a patio best. To disguise the lattice behind and the awkward muddy spot beneath, Rich put up privacy lattice at the front edge of the deck, which I think is much more attractive than the regular wider kind. In a perfect world, lattice wouldn't be part of the equation at all, but it does the trick. I had Benjamin Moore color match Restoration Hardware's "Slate" in a solid exterior siding stain and used that to paint the lattice. We still need to refinish the deck so I'm currently toying with ideas for that. Suggestions?

The whole project gave me an excuse to indulge my black thumb. And I'm very happy to report that it's more of a muddy gray than a pure black these days. Not quite green, but we're getting there. I managed to plant about 50 types of seeds in those little seedling containers. And I managed to kill close to 40. All but one of my veggies bit the dust. Call it bad luck. Or lack of daily watering. Or cold-hearted neglect. Whatever the case, my lone surviving vegetable is my little tomato plant (Rich calls it my "nemo"... all the rest of its kin are history) which still needs a permanent home in the ground.

However, quite a few of my flower seeds sprouted along with the lovely pictured at the top. I'm not sure what it is anymore, but it just bloomed today which prompted this post. I don't think I've ever planted anything so exotic or beautiful.

The other survivors are morning glories which I'm training to climb up the lattice. I've replanted them approximately 100 times, but they seem to be handling the trauma like regular champs. Huge fan!

Ok, now on to the pictures....

One more BEFORE:


The perfect spot for cocktail hour and early morning coffee. And after completing this bear of a project on his own (with a bossy wife looking over his shoulder) Rich deserves both...esp the cocktail.
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