Thursday, July 30, 2009

a time to work + a time to frolic

we all need to take a break once in a while, and for kevin + i, that time has finally come! and boy does it feel overdue....the last few months of this building project really had us reeling. physically, mentally and even me crazy! [well ok, please don't]

we're headed to northern michigan for a long weekend, to the glen lake/sleeping bear dunes area. everytime i'm there i'm reminded what an amazing place we get to live. so all you MI-haters, take that!

via flickr: matt callow

this photo reads more like a painting, doesn't it? via flickr: micstolz

i am beyond eager to get more material up though so i'll be attempting to post while on location there. here is a little sneak peek of what's to come.

any guesses as to what? where? or why??

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a view of the loo

i probably spent a disproportionate amount of time thinking about this humble room in our house. its the only bathroom on the main floor and i wanted it to pack just as much of a punch as any other space since we'd be using it all the time, as would guests to our casa.

as you may have guessed from other posts, i have a small obsession with lighting fixtures and this was another one that i couldn't tear out of my brain as soon as it entered. i first saw it during the fall 2008 parade of homes in grand rapids, in a gorgeous transitional-contemporary home by insignia builders.

i loved the thought of combining the huge scale of this drum with the small, tall bathroom, and doing double-duty with the striking shade by reflecting it in the mirror. it gives me chills just looking at it!!

unbeknownst to me when we ordered it, a local spot in kalamazoo called the wine loft actually hung this fixture all throughout their bar area and i love that idea too! the ambiance created is mahh-velous.

i'd also really hoped [and possibly begged] to have at least one plumbing fixture in the house be a wallmount since the look is just so sleek + modern. i love the look of this one by danze, floating between the frameless mirror and the square sink.

as for the vanity, our trimmer did an excellent job creating the look of a piece i'd seen in a brochure by ├╝ber-modern bathroom company porcher. one thing i love is that the 45 degree angled lines cut into the piece complement the criss crossing lines of the pendant above.
[and the zebra print towels i snagged from a pottery barn/west elm outlet just take those lines a step further, into the playful zone]

last but not least, i'm loving the added sheen in the room coming from this little friend.

its a tory burch candle that i admittedly ordered purely for the look of it....and thankfully, we're enjoying the masculine scent of it as well! my knees get weak when i look at tory's lovely logo and the box with its pale gold just WORKS with all the muted colors + shiny objects in the room.

the powder room paint color is a shade by benjamin moore called gray horse, and i'm just so pleased with this particular gray's slight undertone of warm aqua-y green. it is slightly reminiscent of restoration hardware's silver sage, but with the lightly golden shade of the drum it shows as a little warmer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

boy, you sure clean up nice.

believe it or not, i initially had a polar opposite scheme in my noggin for the laundry room. i was picturing the walls in palm green [an eddie bauer paint], with fun lime-ish green faux bamboo countertops [they looked sweet in person, i swear].

welllll, i kinda strayed from that plan a bit. here is the inspiration picture that captured my eye: swoon!

and i had NO idea when i came across this photo of dreams that it was from a fellow canadian and a little show called 'sarah's house'. [in fact, i just found that out moments ago while working on this!] all i knew was this space made me want to start laundering that SECOND and not leave the room until kevin pulled me out kicking + screaming.

so i set about recreating the feel of this room through a variety of whites, silvers, greys....lots of shimmer and lots of shine to shout happy thoughts at me every time i need to throw in a load.

we used the same harbor gray paint color that we used in the foyer, and i think the color turned out just right against the anthracite flooring [i heart ikea] and the punched aluminum countertops.

the glossy finish on this flooring makes me drool.

its hard to see, but we laid the planks in thirds instead of a brick pattern which you might expect [same for our bathroom upstairs, except in tile]. even the electricians were ogling these boards!

our countertop we came upon by chance during one of our countless trips to the big box stores for miscellaneous supplies. kevin first found a chip called 'brushed aluminum', and the rest was history. one measly 'punched' chip was hanging next to it [and we found out later that this particular store couldn't even sell us this specialty item!] i l-o-v-e-d the subtle similarity between the pyramids of this formica and the quilted metal backsplash used by sara richardson [above].

these aluminum varieties are not intended to be used as countertops, which made it all the more tempting to me crazy. i like the idea of using things in unexpected ways and despite this baby's backsplash status, i figured i'd never be running anything across it heavier than towels or jeans so why not?? [i think the installer, however, didn't quite share my passion. apparently in 10+ years he hadn't had this tricky of a time with a c-top - sorry!]

slowly but surely i'll start to fill in the cracks with decor....but i'm enjoying these little details in here for now.

the galvanized aluminum boxes i found during a trip to ikea this spring. they worked perfectly with my plan to build in some exposed storage for a fun + functional look amidst the rest of the cabinetry. so far they're holding cloths and rags. i figure i'll put anything in there that i might want to tote around the house as i work, like cleaning supplies.

this last 'vase' by the sink leads a double-life as my small mixing bowl.

battle of versailles

about a year + a half ago, i came across this light fixture called the versailles chandelier on i was actually helping my girlfriend look for light fixtures for her own house project, and while shopping the site the versailles just jumped off at the screen at me! i could not shake it out of my head and i swore it'd be hanging in my next house, someday.

lo + behold, we did end up building again just a year later and here it is....

AHHHH! i still love it just as much every time i look at it. i think it just screams modern glam attitude and yes indeedy, this became the muse for the canvas of our house.

one of the things i love is that visually it is light as air. we have an open floor plan from the kitchen through to the living room, and really throughout the whole first floor. so i loved the idea that while this chandelier is completely eye-catching with its crystals at the same time it simply floats on wires and barely takes up any room. [in fact, the wires are nearly invisible in the pictures below!]

and yes, whenever you move into a new home, whether its newly built or new-to-you, one of the most fun things has to be running around the house like a kid flicking every light switch a bazillion times....and don't get me started on testing out the dimmers! yep, this lady likes to steal the show after dark.

oh! and i almost forgot. it just happens to be a much more affordable version of this chandy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


i like shiny things. i'm practically a magpie the way i'm drawn to anything + everything that sparkles. in fact, i called the inspiration for this house 'modern glam' based on one fixture in particular that you'll see soon.

back to the foyer.

kevin and i happened to hit a restoration hardware outlet back in the fall before we had even broken ground on the house. at first sight it was mainly a ton of boxes scattered over rows of tables with miscellaneous other curtains, bath accessories & holiday decor thrown in the mix too. we spent some time digging around [enough time for a blizzard to ensue outside and delay our trip home by 2 hours] and voila! there she was, sitting discreetly on a shelf off to the side. this huge brown-mesh drum fixture with it, mind you, but we were in love from the beginning with its large scale and glossy interior. the shade was actually slightly damaged as well, but this worked out into not two but three tiers of discounts off the outlet price [and it turned out a little tube of glue fixed 'er right up]. thankfully the inner chandelier was all boxed up & good to go in another area of the store. score!!

turns out this pendant worked perfectly into our scheme of clean, modern lines (the drum) + sparkly glamour (the lights shining off the shade!):

we still need to get the rest of the bulbs in - she's not quite at full power yet....
but we're absolutely loving the shadow effect that the inner chandelier has on the foyer walls.

lights can truly make a whole room....whether its the sculptural shape of the fixture, the way its draped or hung from the ceiling, or the play of light created when its on. or all of the above!
the best part is you do NOT have to spend your life savings on getting the exact light that you fall in love with - there is almost always a cheaper alternative that will achieve the look or feel that you're after. [case in point, our RH fixture retailed for about $800-850. shortly after we snagged it for a song at the outlet, we also saw a very close cousin listed for a reasonable price on]

*sorry, but i just can't bring myself to say 'foyerrr' the american way. must be all those french classes growing up in canada!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ding dong

we're hoooome!

....and loving it!

come take a closer look, starting with our carefully swooped front walk way [primed for a little outdoor set like so down the road....although this is a little closer to our price range. i do love how both sets mimic the scissor styling of the famous and fabulous Barcelona chair]

here you are on our front porch, looking out over the gorge, as we affectionately call it:

and what's that? you say you'd like to see the inside already?

before you do, i have to mention that we carefully chose this door for its vertical lines and cohesive look with the vertical board + batten covering a good part of the front facade of our house. i also liked how both the door and window insert were divided into thirds which is always visually you feel happy looking at it? i do!!

i am also really liking the look of a single door on this house, even though some might think its on the small side for the scale of the house. for our last home, we chose a door that came complete with a transom (upper horizontal) window, as well as sidelights on either side.
for whatever reason, i find this single door feels much more cozy + inviting, especially the way its framed by the two craftsman pillars as well as the crisp white band of trim that lines each section of the front of the house.

oh! and i can't forget this puppy!

there are actually three of these friends framing the garage and they just happen to play perfectly into my point about using thirds [or groups of three] as a design element. they also illustrate another form of vertical line happening here at the front of the house.

so what do you think? sick of the teasers + ready to see inside already?!

Monday, July 20, 2009

the new house is here.

yes. that little birdie you heard it from was telling the truth. the new house is complete! (eeeeeek!)

TI-journal a bird on the wire

the sun has set on our 6 month building project (in all reality, it was more like a 9 month labor of love with the end result feeling quite like we truly had just given birth! TMI?) and i couldn't be more thrilled to share our new home with you. . . and to start living in it, of course.

check back here for stories from along the way, pictures, design ramblings, and just general rants about things i love and those who inspire me.

oh. and my maiden name really does mean 'the new house'. i guess i was born to love building houses?!

[e] liz

looking from our lot toward crooked lake, from the first days of building [winter 2009]