Friday, August 31, 2007

Boys will like these

There have been quite a few "girly" posts recently, so here is one in honor of those boys. These fun items are found on the Urban Outfitters website and are sure to get a few "Man is that cool" comments out of the important-to-impress buddies.

The glass to the left would be a fun addition to summer barbeques. With that being said, I'm not sure some girls would be too keen to be reminded of all those calories (moi for instance).

My boy loves his rums and this dispenser had me wondering if something like this would be good in his outdoor sports bar (as we are now calling it). A permanent wall-mounted unit may not be appropriate in a few years when kids are around, but this fun contraption also can be countertop mounted. Perfect!

Note: If any of Mr. Big's lovely under-age family members are reading this, please let me assure you that this appreciation of fine rums came about well after he passed the legal drinking age...and he assures me that he always drinks responsibly!

Economic furniture finds

One of my favorite design blogs (Decor8) pointed out that Urban Outfitters has updated their website to include their newest products. They have a lot of great items at really cheap prices. Like the table to the cute is that for $29? It's not real wood and it's probably not going to last us our lifetime, but I'm sure that we could get at least that much enjoyment out of it. How cute would these be as outside bistro tables?

Other pieces that caught my eye:

Mid-century modern sofa for $480

Lantern $15

Bedspread for $34 (I would never have thought to put with bright pink, but it's so cute)

Convertible day-bed for $500 (how cool is this?)

For the record, I did pick up one of the rugs from Urban Outfitters that I blogged about previously. The quality is not spectacular, but it certainly adds a bit of color to our sitting area. You can see a corner of it in the following picture (with the new chairs that I previously wrote about as well). For $69, I'll certainly get use out of it for the next few years.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More fabrics

My very giving mom spent hours of her day today trekking through more fabric stores for us. These are the times that you wished you lived closer to home because it would be so fun to do together. But just to give her some ideas of various fabrics that grab our attention (haha...our attention...try my attention), I'm going to use this blog as a communication vehicle. Hope our friends out there don't mind. And of course, your comments are always welcome. :)

Kravet GWF-2589 - 68 (Lela Embroidery in tan, cocoa or blue) which is the top fabric here



Catarina possibility for outdoors...would go with plates we already have...have to match the plates! :)

Beachy Keen (upholstery actually feels like beach

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fun fabrics

We are going to have an interesting time trying to fill our home with furniture. It's going to take us years to get our home fully furnished. Very graciously, my grandfather offered to pass a few beautiful pieces our way. Some of the pieces will need a bit of work, but it will be really special to have pieces that my grandparents and family grew up with surrounding us.

While recently on vacation, we took a quick 2-day detour to meet with him, my mom (the interior design goddess), an upholsterer and a refinisher. Probably the most fun is looking for mom's favorite pastime. While I usually like fairly simple lines, I absolutely love texture and beautiful fabrics. In fact, I've been pining over the following image since we first considered building the house. The fabric manufacturer has remained a mystery. Probably a long shot, but any hints out there? For that matter, any good ideas on great fabric sites?

Swoon, swoon, swoon. While not for everybody, I love the delicate embroidery. Then again, I have no idea how it will ever hold up against Mr. Big's buddies and co-conspirators in trouble. I guess we have that discussion to look forward to... :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's looking like a house

We returned from ten days of vacation to find our house in the shape of a house! It's really exciting to walk through it now with nearly all of the sheetrock, mudding and taping done. The ceiling in the kitchen and dining room area was particularly fun to see. At some points in the design phase I was worried that it might look a bit overwhelming. In the end, it looks perfect.

The frames for the pocket doors were being installed today. To this point, these areas have been just extra wide passageways. Again, it's really good to see all of the walls and partitions in place.

Apparently the storm and other delays have held up the crew from completing all of the sheet rock work. Originally our first floor tiles were to be installed this week, but it now appears that will take place next Monday. (Keeping our fingers crossed).

The house is getting very tangible. We'll be looking at paint colors soon. This has been planned for so long and it feels great to get to this point...this building is turning into a home. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Sitting, watching, wondering, calculating, planning...all of this was taking place last week while we were traveling and Hurricane Dean was rolling through the Caribbean. Needless to say, it was unnerving being so far away an unable to do anything, unable to contribute.

As many can imagine, Hurricane Ivan is still fresh in our minds. In fact, so many aspects of our soon-to-be home have been amended as a result of our experience in 2004. The intimidating winds, the devastating flooding, the uncomfortable days in the still feels a bit raw three years later. The tension in people's voice as they prepared for Dean was a fresh reminder of that experience. Revisiting the conclusion that you need nothing besides your health and the health of those that you care about is easier now.

Thankfully, we escaped without incident. There will be more storms, maybe this year, maybe in the years to come. Hopefully we have built a house that will be safe and comfortable. But more importantly, hopefully everyone will emerge from their homes with their health in tact.

One last realize what great friends you have when they are securing your automobiles, condo and house in your absence...not knowing whether it is even warranted. With that being said, we have fantastic friends. A huge THANK YOU goes out to each and every one of them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Behind the lonely door

A while back, a friend and I were doing some "house research" in Miami and she recommended that we pop in (unannounced) to a concrete countertop manufacturer that she found through a magazine advertisement. Sounded like an adventure. We searched for the address, got lost, searched some more, ran into some suspect areas, turned around, tried again...all the time fairly concerned about our welfare (we weren't really in the best area in all of Miami). Just when I was about to call it a day, my friend bounced out of the car, determined to find our destination. It was one of those moments that you know you can't let her go alone...but to be honest, you really just want to get the heck out of there.

The next thing I know she starts banging on a huge metal door displaying the number that we had been searching for. It absolutely could not be our destination. The big metal door was the lone invitation on a building with no windows (but still with bars...yikes). I was pretty sure that was going to be the end of both of us. I held my breath as the door opened...

What we found inside was the most wonderful French couple that had recently moved their business to this location. Besides great conversation, we were treated to a trove of concrete treasures. "Oooh....aaaH". They walked us through their entire manufacturing process and introduced us to each member of their staff. It was wonderful!

After all is said and done, we've decided to go with their Swan Sink for our powder room. It's really simple, but impressive at the same time. The order will be placed shortly. So watch out because I'll probably be itching to tell this story to our visitors. And to think that I very easily could have missed out due to my lack of and learn!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Surround sound

We all know that boys love to show off their toys, but when it came to a surround sound system, Mr. Big and I were both in agreement on flush-mount wall speakers. Along the way, our designer told us (and told us again) that we needed to choose the system early so that we could make sure that it would work...but we didn't heed his advice. Tsk tsk. Once the walls were put up, we were informed that our lack of planning would mean that the planned wall speakers would be extremely unlikely.

Ultimately, we were required to compromise and this Canton Movie 201 Series was selected. It has received good reviews, and after getting used to the idea of wall mount speakers, it isn't terribly obtrusive. We will have two front, side and rear speakers, hopefully disguised as well as possible.

The good news is that plans have been made for the center speaker, amp and television. They will all be recessed in the large feature wall in the great room, which took further shape yesterday.

While we didn't get there 100%, it is still exciting to see these little details come together. Each day brings a bit more insight into what our dreams will look like. Stay tuned!

Moving forward, but behind

So the good news is that more and more of the house is taking shape. The entire second floor has been sheetrocked, although the mudding and detail has not started yet. And yes, I may be going back on my promise not to post pics of every room.

The upstairs gallery

Jack-and-Jill bathroom and bedroom

The stairwell

The Great Room has also been sheetrocked downstairs and it is really taking shape nicely.

Some of the ceilings in the downstairs have been completed, but there is still quite a bit left to do. This is where things get a little tricky because the schedule was to have all of the sheetrock, mud and detail done by today. Obviously our builder is running a bit behind.

In fact, the schedule calls for the floors to be installed this week. Instead, we found out on Tuesday that the wood floor for the upstairs hasn't even been ordered yet. (Yikes!) So we are at least a few weeks behind. We're not sure how this will translate to our move-in timetable, but hopefully we'll find out this week. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Someone stop me

We're months away from getting into the house, and I am absolutely drooling over this gorgeous mocha felt cut 2x9 from Brocade Home. It also comes in a 5x8 rug, but this is about the time when I need a little intervention. Wait until you are in the house, wait until you are in the house...

Why, oh why, do I torture myself by looking at all of the beautiful options available on the internet? Find them, get ridiculously excited, come across $$$ price tags, and start all over. In any case, they are worth getting inspiration from...

For the front entrance of the house (from Gulassa Co)

Wall sconce for bathroom (Neidhardt Lighting)

And just for the fun of it, these cute, cute, cute shoes that are taunting me all the way from Spain. Inspiration can come in all different forms. ;) Sigh...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Where is that ring coming from?

When a beep goes off in our condo, it's no small feat to decipher where it is coming from. Between three cell phones, two blackberries, two ipods, a netspeak phone, and a regular phone, gadgets are playing musical chairs with our minds. And why is it that when you need the cord for one gadget, you can only find those for the seven others? "I swear I saw the one I needed right there last time I looked." Someone, somewhere must be laughing at us all...

I was pretty pleased recently when I came across the concept of recharging stations. While we would need a few of these to get things under control, Hammacher Schlemmer has a potential solution for only $24.

I was not surprised at all to find a more female-friendly version at Pottery Barn (of course...) for $79.

A quick google search turned me onto this DIY option from Solsie for a whopping $3.99.

There is something slightly reassuring about finding out that we aren't the only ones facing this challenge. Gotta go...there's a beep going off as I type...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Paint effect

For quite some time I've begged my dear husband to paint one wall or bathroom in a really different, rustic paint finish. This image from the talented photographer Paul Massey has captured my exact desire.

We have a small powder room downstairs that will have fairly modern cabinetry and finishes. However, the wall tile will be a bit rustic. And even more special (or random depending on how you see it) is that this powder room is home to a secret entrance to Mr. Big's rustic wine cave. A single wall painted in this manner might just be the unique touch that we need for this space.

We've got a master bedroom

I've got a question for those in the construction industry...what is the difference between sheet rock and drywall? I hear (and use) both terms interchangeably so I assume that they are the same thing. ? And for fear that everyone one on our site would likely look at me like I have three heads if I asked this question, I have abstained to this point. So there you go...please accept my apologies if this post is not technically accurate. :)

On Sunday, we were ecstatic to find our master bedroom, wardrobe and bathroom virtually complete.

Master bedroom (view to canal)

Master bedroom (inside room looking back to walk-through wardrobe)

Master bedroom (inside room looking through wardrobe to master bath)

Mr. Big basking in the master bath

Don't worry, I won't actually make you look at photos of every room from every angle going forward. :) We were just so excited to feel the rooms take shape through the addition of drywall.

The entire house should be completed by next weekend. They will then start the mudding process. This is where I nod my head and pretend to understand what they are talking about. If I understand correctly, this is when the walls get rounded (yeah) and drywall lines start to disappear. In the meantime, there are huge piles of drywall like this in every room, just promising to elicit more "oohs" and "aahs" out of yours truly. This is a really exciting time!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Doorknobs and hinges

Honestly, how sad is that title...doorknobs and hinges? It's when you are writing about things like this that you realize that you probably need to get out of the house. But the fact of the matter is that our builder frantically needed to confirm them for our interior door selection this week.

Well, since we really liked the door levers on our exterior doors, that seemed like a logical starting point. Nothing turned up in a quick look through popular internet hardware sites. We went to the exterior door manufacturer requesting their source, but haven't heard back from them. A little deeper internet searching finally landed us at the right spot. So our interior lovelies will be the same after all. Pretty happy about that.

Then we needed to confirm the color of the hinges. The problem here is that you have to choose from bronze, light oil rubbed bronze, dark oil rubbed bronze, distressed bronze, antique bronze and about 10 other bronzes...that all look pretty much to be identical colors on a computer screen. Hmm. We ultimately took a shot in the dark and went with "light oil rubbed bronze". If anyone ever notices that our hinges and levers don't match, there are probably larger problems that need to be addressed. :)

Before I leave you all this morning, just thought one more photo of our nice new windows might be in order. Oh, so pretty. See ya!