Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bathroom faucets

For the longest time, I have been pining over the following faucet for most of the bathrooms.

But now that we are ready to pull the trigger, I'm not sure that I want to spend $ for a brand that is not readily available on the island. This would mean that replacement parts, etc. would be difficult to get. So here we go again...Mrs. Indecisive. This is an alternative that has virtually the same design and would be easy to get on the island.

I know what the right answer is...go for the easy/available option. I'm sure we won't ever even notice the difference when we move in. So why can't I seem to let the first choice go?

Filling walls with art

This morning I stumbled across this beautiful room that was originally featured in Australian Vogue Living and revisited by Style Files. Talk about inspiring! The walls are covered in Aboriginal artwork throughout. And rather than have single pieces, the home dazzles us with the many different options available with artwork.

It would take a very confident homeowner to pull this off, but wow, is it ever impressive.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Canal challenges

One of the challenges about building on a canal is what do with the side of the lot exposed to the water. Friends with kids all warn us that we'll immediately fence it in for safety, but that seems to defeat the purpose of having a nice view. We've looked at different examples for ages, but never came across the right solution...until today.

A homeowner in the same area recently put up a beautiful stone and wood combination. We understand that it wasn't terribly expensive as he did all of the woodwork himself. Mr. Big is excited about the possibility of doing the same...with the help of others of course. :)

One of the reasons that this is so agreeable is that it only stands about 3 ft high, so it still allows a nice view from the house. The contrast of the dark wood against the sun-bleached stone is also really appealing.

We won't be doing this for quite some time, but it's definitely something to file away...the solution to our canal challenge.


The framing process has been really interesting. We finally have the opportunity to see how everything fits together in 3D. For the most part, everything has worked out well, but all along we anticipated finding some items that we would change.

The first item was the large fireplace/chimney feature in our great room that I wrote about here. When it was originally framed, it was a bit overwhelming to the room. It's difficult to see here, but this is how it was originally started:

It came out 3 ft from the wall and we have now modified it to only have a depth of 2ft 4 inches. When Mr. Big walked into the house this morning, he immediately commented that it was the right decision to make it shallower. Only 8 inches difference and it isn't nearly as overpowering.

The only other framing change took place again in the great room where we had two arches next to each other starting at different heights. Funny that we didn't notice it in the places, but we ended up making a 4 inch adjustment that finishes the area much better.

The framing is virtually complete now and the ceiling insulation and A/C has started. It sounds like we won't be seeing many noticeable changes until the windows and doors arrive in a few weeks. After all of the recent adrenaline, it doesn't sound so bad to let things slow down a bit.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Outdoor lighting coming to a close

After considerable research on outdoor lighting, we finally found the fixtures that had us both excited. Interestingly enough, they are made by the same manufacturer as the ceramic interior lights that I posted about previously.

Justice Design Group has some breathtakingly simple pieces, including the following which we would definitely use if $$ wasn't an object (isn't that always the case). The up-and-down lighting gives off a very nice ambiance (in our opinion anyway). The best part is that all of their fixtures come in virtually any finish, including bronze, hammered iron, etc.

So this was the look that we decided to go for. We may be able to get away with a few of the above, coupled with more palatably priced fixtures from Kichler.

It's not quite the same, but still offers the up-and-down lighting and simple design. Plus, it comes stock in a darker bronze color, which we were looking for.

So the final question comes down to: do we use any of the lights that we love or simply stick with the final option? And if we do choose to use some that we love, where should they go? The answers are not clear just yet, but at least we're closer...

To chimney or not to chimney

About a month before our construction started, my lovely husband threw all caution to the wind and decided that it was the right time to build his dream cabana. Scary? Yes. We were planning to do this in a few years but he reckoned that it would be more hassle to landscape and then tear it up shortly thereafter. While it does make things tight, tight, tight $-wise, I am really happy for him...he is more excited about this than any other aspect of the house.

Our architect drew up the plans as follows, but we just can't come to a conclusion on whether to keep the tall chimney or not. It's a bit of a Mediterranean feature that also encompasses the exhaust from the indoor grill. That being said, the grill could be vented straight through the roof. So what do you think...chimney or no chimney?

So let us know what you think. We're a bit all over the map on this one...unusual I know. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Risk free artwork

This is a really neat concept...grown up paint-by-numbers by Weego Home. Honestly, how many of us (ok maybe just me) want to try our hand at painting but just don't have the courage to do so? This is a great opportunity for us. The images are beautiful and you are provided with the canvas, paints, brushes, and instructions.

I'm slightly suprised that these cost $200 for a 32 x 32 grown-up coloring book. I suppose that you are paying for the original artist's design and the materials. Cost aside, this looks like a lot of fun...and plus, you can finally say that a canvas on your wall is yours!

(P.S. Their rugs are worth a peek as well.
Swirl has my head doing just that. Thanks to Design Milk for the site link).


Driftwood. When this blog was started, I couldn't think of a more appropriate word for how the building process had me feeling. One minute I was headed one direction...and then I would start leaning a different direction...and then back...and honestly, it was complete guessing game on where I would end up. (As if this has changed at all today...) So I likened myself to a piece of driftwood making my way through our decisions.

This weekend I was taking some pictures from the empty lot across the street when I almost tripped on this immense piece of driftwood...Cayman driftwood at that. How ironic. It must have ended up on the lot after Hurricane Ivan and was buried in brush until the lot was recently cleared. As if I needed further reassurance on how inconclusive I can be at times...apparently physical proof has been sent as well! Fab. Mr. Big thought it was so amusing that he now plans to use this gigantic (at least 7 ft. long) piece of driftwood in our landscape design as a reminder of the building process. And yes, he's probably already directly correlated the immense size of this piece of wood with the emotional toll that I am putting on him. :)

In any case, it might be time for a few more photos of the exterior of the house. There is nothing too new on the outside except for the fact that the roof has been completed. The tiles have set sail and should be here in a few weeks. Our architect has outlined the exterior finishings of the house, which will be ordered soon. The window order went in a few weeks ago (late unfortunately). We'll soon be choosing the color of the render.

It seems slightly unbelievable that we are this far along in the project. Many people have expressed their disbelief at how quickly the house has progressed, especially given the "soon come" attitude that you can sometimes get in the islands. It certainly makes for a lot of ad hoc and pressured decisions, but there is a great deal of excitement as it emerges in front of us.

So there you go...the most recent photos. Hope you all enjoyed!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More shapes

The first floor ceilings are almost completely framed now. It shouldn't come as a surprise, but I'm again overwhelmed by how hard these guys work. They are framing from sun-up to sun-down, including the weekends. Besides just their great efforts, they have offered a few ideas on small adjustments to make various aspects of the house better. How is that for service? And they have been right each time. Every time we visit there is something new to oogle over and somehow they seem just as excited as we are. It's great to feel that we are all in it together.

There were a lot of discussions during the planning phase about the ceiling design in the kitchen/dining room area. It's now taking shape and it looks really nice. This will be above a 6x6 square dining room table below.

So there you go...the walls and ceilings are virtually complete on the first floor. Electricians and plumbers up next!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lovely rugs

A wander through Modern Design 25 turned me onto Paola Lenti rugs. No, no don't worry, I realize that they are way out of our price range, but they are still worth a peek. Sigh...

Oh to dream...

Wow. Love the fireplace, roof beams, uplighting on the stone, all against a very neutral palette. Wow. (From Metropolitan Home, 2001)

The fisherman

Those who have visited our current abode will likely have noticed the fisherman. For those who have not, he's a painting. But he's more than that. The fisherman a reminder of all things peaceful, calm and simple. He never fails to elicit comments from others or inspire us. In the crazy world that we live in, he somehow reminds us that the most beautiful moments are often the very simple moments.

Mr. Big and I were traveling in Prague when we came across an intriguing art gallery with loads of beautiful pieces from a father/son team. (You can find them online at Gallerie D'art and if you're ever in Prague, you should stop in). We were hugely inspired, but rather than make a hasty decision, agreed to come back to the gallery later if we still felt strongly about our favorite pieces.

On our way to the airport we decided to make a stop by the gallery for one last look. Low and behold, Mr. Big and I each selected powerful pieces for our offices. With just enough time before our flight, we took a stroll down the drizzly street while the gallery was rolling the paintings.

Sitting in a little cafe enjoying hot chocolate, I mentioned that the single most inspiring piece in the gallery was definitely the fisherman. Mr. Big's eyes started to sparkle. There was no doubt that we both were moved my him. Why didn't we consider him when we were making our purchases? Did we feel that he was out of our league? Why were we suddenly so nervous, but giddy, like we were on our first date together again? We knew that we would miss our flight if we decided to purchase him, but we went back to inquire.

Well, it's pretty obvious what happened. The fisherman has been with us ever since. Yes, we missed our flight and had to spend another evening in Prague. We traveled through Rome, London and Miami with this beautiful 4ft tall x 5 ft wide painting wrapped under our arms. All that time we had stupid grins on our face...we had done it. And you know what, we've never once regretted our decision. Not once.

Now: Not surprisingly, we have actually designed a great deal of the house around our friend. He will greet our friends at the front door, but still be predominately displayed for our everyday enjoyment. His color tones have inspired our floor, cabinetry and countertop selections. His calm serene demeanor has set the tone for our decor.

So there you go...a rushed afternoon in Prague, filled with hot chocolate and damp weather, has lead us here. I suppose that you never know where your inspiration will come from...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just waiting for the tool shed

This is a great little device...a flashlight that is held on a tripod. No, I'm not saying that I don't enjoy helping Mr. Big around the house. I'm just pointing out that it might be useful for those rare moments when he can't find me around. ;)

I bet most homes could use one. It also might make for a good Father's Day gift. Mom, are you out there...? (no, I'll never grow up)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What a mess

This must be the underbelly of the construction industry. There is no doubt about it...our land is a complete mess. I had (naive) thoughts that we would be the couple that kept their building site tidy, but those wishes have been tossed from the second floor like a piece of plywood. We've got nails, roof studs, concrete forms, plywood, framing materials, Subway wrappers, Redstripe bottle caps, and pretty much anything else that you can name on our site. Our builders had committed to a clean site, but to be honest, these guys are busting their b*tts so it doesn't feel quite right to request more from them.

It's just that we aren't usually the neighborhood slackers (until now anyway). We are the new kids on the street, and so far, our first impression can be rated no higher than a C-. With friends, kids, and dogs coming through the house, it's getting a bit unsafe...let alone unsightly. Honestly, a 5 ft square area (in the clear part of the land) could have as many as 50 rusty nails on the ground. Ugh, I can just feel the lawsuit coming.

I've lately been considering a self-imposed clean-up to get all of the stray nails off the ground. It won't be a fun task, but it will feel much better when it's done. The ironic part is thinking of just how many times we will have the same sentiment over the upcoming years.

There we go, I've said it for the first time, this house is a mess...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Exterior Lighting

Exterior lights all start to appear that same after a while. However, these unique lights from Coe Designs are unique, simple, and very appealing (to me anyway). Let's all sing along..."we wish we had the budget, we wish we had the budget".

Just a few other options (for the record keeping):

Atlantis from Bellacor
(still too expensive but lovely)

Maxim Pueblo from Lamps Plus
(now we're in our price range)

Terrace Collection from Soho Lighting
(back in our budget and a bit more traditional)

And a surprise from Ebay
(more Mediterranean)

Apparently I am all over the map so there will likely be further discussion in this area. The first two are my favorites, but we'll have to keep working in this area.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Framing...who would have thought?

This was the smile that greeted me when we visited the house last week. Looks like a pretty happy boy, doesn't he?

It was likely because the inside form of our soon-to-be home is on its way up. Sometimes you just feel like letting out a "woohoo". :)

It's been exhilarating watching the exterior blockwork and roof get completed over the past three months. I honestly worried recently that I might get bored from this point forward because we wouldn't see so many drastic changes. Consider me corrected (and self-corrected at that!)

What a treat to walk into your home and see where the rooms will be taking shape. To walk through the passageways that we will be walking through forever is really exciting.

It's just framing at the moment, but you can feel the possibility. What will be said within these walls? How many friends will we entertain in these rooms? How will we live our lives?

Yes, I'm being a complete dork, but at least I'm an honest dork. The framing really excited me. And I suspect that this won't be the last time that I get excited before we move in. But honestly,...framing...who would have thought?

Talented people

Honestly, this world is comprised of so many talented people. Whether its masonry, landscaping, accounting (ha ha), or whatever you choose, it's so inspiring to work with talented individuals. Sometimes when you are holed up in your own profession, it's easy to forget that the world is full of intriguing and inspiring people buzzing around in other industries.

We have a pool on our construction plans, but the shape and design never really "wow-ed" us. A few weeks back we set out to find someone to help. I mean, who couldn't work with a list of requests along these lines:
  • 8 ft deep area for Mr. Big
  • 5 ft deep area for Mrs. Big
  • 1-2 ft shallow wading area for potential Big Jrs.
  • hot tub
  • lap pool for exercise
  • social pool for entertaining friends
  • built-up "step" or 1 ft barrier around the pool
  • planters around the pool for shade
  • automatic pool cover
  • oh, and all of the above on a budget...and we mean budget
Honestly, I didn't think that it was possible. Low and behold, we met with a pool designer tonight and he completely hit it out of the park. Unbelievable. He was able to incorporate everything into a modern and appealing pool. I'm so impressed.

Our discussions turned to deck materials, which we have been contemplating now for quite some time. We were able to find this image in the 2007 Pool and Spa Living magazine. The colors are slightly off on the computer, but trust me, this looks gorgeous in the magazine. I'm now on a quest to find out where this decking material originates.

And that's what talented people will do to you...make you run home and search the internet like a loonie for a single source of a pool deck...just because they have inspired you. I highly doubt that my clients leave my presence only to pour through accounting literature, but then again, we can all hope (or not).

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday evening internet finds

So I felt like shopping a bit this evening, and absent a mall nearby (no...groceries do not qualify as shopping), the internet provided ample entertainment. These are a few finds worth bookmarking...and no, I didn't indulge myself in any of the super amazing design sites. These are all actually from places that we could afford to step within.

Gorgeous, but ridiculously expensive, bamboo and wood chairs (Vivaterra)
(And yes, we have dining chairs, but I still reserve the right to be inspired...)

Lost my breath again at Vivaterra. Remember it from anywhere?
(After further consideration, I'm not sure that the light carries evenly through the flowers...?)

Outdoor mat from Anthropologie
(not so sure Mr. Big would allow it, but worth an admiring eye anyway)

Verde vases from Crate and Barrel

Hope you enjoyed this evenings shopping!

More love for the walls

Oh boy. Here we go again. While perusing the Decor8 blog (which is completely addicting by the way), I gasped when I saw even more wall decals from Apple Pie Design. Honestly, how gorgeous are these?

Poor Mr. Big...the last thing that he needs right now is Mrs. Big with fresh ideas. :)