Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our great room

It might be time to put up a few more recent photos of our main living area. It's actually quite cozy at the moment. We've gotten it to a livable state (only took us 8 months...) where I'm not pining over new furniture. Yes, there will be a time when we get real side tables (instead of the outdoor teak table) and other items, but for now we're pretty good.

If you happen to call and I seem distant, I'm probably far too comfortable in one of the cream recliners watching an episode of Law and Order (Why do they have to have so many marathons? They kill my social life!). In fact if you look closely, you can see my Harmony remote right next to my preferred chair in the first photo. :)

And we were warned about this when we were designing the house, but changing that light bulb is going to be a real b***h.

(Sorry to our sweet followers in Calgary...don't tell your mom that I curse...or EVER let her see this post. If that doesn't deserve it, I don't know what does.) :)

Girls only...

Does it drive you crazy that you need three different remotes to turn up the volume on your television? (Okay I might be exaggerating a bit...). They aren't inexpensive but if you have $250 to spare, this little gadget might just save your sanity.

It's's my favorite new toy in the house. All your remotes get programmed into this buddy and your in business. I don't even know where our remote graveyard is, but I'm glad that we now have one. It's supposed to be really easy to set up (the guys around this house did it). So switching from cable to satelitte to dvd to music and back is a cinch.

There are probably similar devices and brands out there, but I'm only going to plug the one I know (and hope to ever know). It's the Logitech Harmony One Advance Universal Remote.

Honestly, I thought that this was going to be Mr. Big's toy. No way, hands off my remote!


So this is how you are supposed to hide your television:

Photographed by Peter Margonelli


This house designed by Dowling Kimm Studios in San Fransisco is stunning. Simple, livable, peaceful and modern at the same time. A true inspiration.

Great countertops and "built-down" ceilings (so technical here...)
Can't you just imagine Sunday morning breakfast in this room?

Love the barn door entrance for the Master Bath.
I almost feel cool since we have a similar door to our the cool kids in class. :)

Serene shower with the oh-so-necessary cut-outs.
Walk in showers with glass just look so inviting.

Are you kidding me? I'm glad that I'm not a friend of theirs
because I might be that person that never leaves the party. How inviting is this room?
The design on that window is devine.

Oh and this must be the other sitting room. Nope, I'd never leave. if this house needed more...

This is a house that you could virtually applaud. Great job to the design team and home owners on this one!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Affordable photography

Check out Viewville. Their prices are competitive with those at larger chain home stores, but the prints are far more unique. As per their site:

Viewville is the best online resource for affordably-priced, gallery-quality digital prints. If you’re looking for beautiful and original photographs to decorate your walls, you have discovered the right place. Explore our exclusive gallery — all images are from the personal collections of professional photographers. We’ve selected the best of the best. So, you’ll find photos here that aren’t available anywhere else. Order your favorites and add some Viewville style to your life.

The smoke images by Paul Nelson are oddly beautiful.

Saturday morning treasures

Oh how I look forward to Saturday mornings. My energetic hubby sprints out the door by 8:30am to meet his buddies for volleyball and I get lazy, lazy mornings. Sleep in, listen to music, play with the dog...just decompress basically. Lately, I've been spending my Saturday mornings to slowly make my way through my favorite blog posts via google reader. (Yes, I'm completely behind the times on google reader, but I enjoy it just as much.) It's like spending my morning flipping the pages of a virtual magazine...without advertisements. Heaven.

We still have not finalizing our dining room table light. The temporary fixture from Bo Concept will soon be making it's way to our outdoor bathroom (of all places). It's been a cute temporary solution, but it will be much better suited in its originally intended spot. And it's far too small for the dining area.

And while I simply cannot get the Kou chandelier out of my mind, it's virtually impossible to imagine spending so much on a lighting fixture. Oh, but how I love it. Wouldn't it look great in the space above?

This week Design*Sponge featured the talented Alex Earl from Melbourne, Australia. His Butterfly pendant can be custom made in any size and provides a similar soft ambient light. It's modern with a bit of fancy to it.

This could be a real option, especially with our new gardens that surround our dining room. And I haven't done too much "girly" decorating in the house, so I think that Mr. Big might just be okay with it. And his Lionfish lightshade could be really fun in a boy's room.

So my lazy Saturday morning is officially over...I'm now up and motivated. Off to contact Mr. Earl to find out more on sizes and costs. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beautiful neutral interiors

Beautiful floor arrangement on shiny dark floors. So relaxing. Photographed by Jolanda Bukhard.

Great large, neutral artwork. Designed by ZK as featured on Desire to Inspire.

Elegant and simple entryway again from ZK Interiors as featured on Desire to Inspire

Perfection. Love the concrete floors and beautifully framed trees outside. So inviting. Photographed by Mia-Linh.

Crazy cool kitchen from MR Architecture and Decor.

Inviting elegant bath (although the mirrors seem too high?) Love the shower tiles. Also photographed by Mai-Lihn.

Lovely dark wood floors set off an airy living room by Stern McCafferty.

Chunky countertop topped with another striking floral piece. Photographed by Jolanda Bukhard.

Can we outlast the mosquitos? How about our own decisions?

As our outdoor boys room came up, we were so excited. A outdoor living space that gets amazing breezes, great afternoon shade, and more than it's fair share of mosquitoes. (Which of those doesn't sound like the others?) Moquitos you ask. Are they that bad? Do we really mind? Will it impact our grand entertaining plans? Unfortunately, after posing these questions for six months, the answer to all of the above was a resounding yes.

Once we decided that the mosquitoes were getting the best of us, it was time to figure out how to address them. Screens? Shutters? Doors? We ultimately decided on the later. And true to our construction experience to date, it is going to take quite a while to get them manufactured to match the rest of the house. Surprise, surprise.

Alas, the project is not entirely on hold. Last week we were fortunate enough to get the stained cedar ceiling in place. Wow, they really did a great job on it. Now that the floor is down, the ceiling in place, it is starting to look like a livable area.

And don't worry, the walls are not going to stay in the faux brick pattern as currently outlined. Eventually, they will mimic the textured finish on the interior of our front door entry. (Difficult to see but it is on the far wall in this photo)

The dark roof and light walls should keep the space very fresh and light, while tying in our dark doors. The team doing our finishing is m-e-t-i-c-u-l-o-u-s. They have even painted our outdoor speakers to blend into the stained cedar. Unbelievable. And not at our request!

So while it feels like we've completed the majority of the construction, that's really not the case. The doors will take a few more months, after which the cabana walls can be painted and the island installed.

So while we've effectively figured out how to deal with the mosquitoes, the question still remains as to whether we'll ever get out of our own way and let this house be completed. We're getting close (as we've been saying for over a year now...)

Master bedroom entrance

When we designed our master bedroom, the possibilities at the entrance excited me. We've got a blank canvas at the moment, which doesn't help the wandering eyes.

This wall piece from Heather Fraizer of Fraizer and Wing is whimsical. I'm currently enjoying monotone interiors complimented with texture, but this might be slightly dull for the space. On the other hand, I can imagine it fluttering as we walk past.

Or perhaps something like Susan Woods Spring Line would be interesting.

And there's no chance that I would have looked past etsy for artwork that might be interesting. Gollybard's skirt and trousers pair have piqued my interest, as has Deb Grossfield's Knees, Image 186. Not sure why these catch my eye, ...but they are a little out of the ordinary.

Has anyone out there seen any larger size wall artwork or sculptures that they would recommend? Any sites that I'm missing?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Smells like school spirit

I know, I's "teen spirit" in the song, but it fits this little story.

The first time Mr. Big and I watched a college football game together, he teased me that I was only watching to see the players run around in tight pants. (No doubt that my friends are either holding their breath or peeing themselves laughing at this point in the story). Boy was he ever in for a show. I scream at the television, call plays and fouls, follow practice reports, spend ridiculous amounts of hours on where high school kids decide to go to college. I'm nuts...and I can't do a single thing to deny it. Don't ask me why or how, but I was always big on the school spirit thing. Always.

At my high school graduation, I was planning to attend University of Washington and my sweet mom surprised me with a garden full of purple and gold flowers. A few months later when my plans changed and I enrolled at USC, my mom quickly had that garden teeming with cardinal and gold. Teeming. And yes, these are the types of things that I love.

When it came to our yard, we pretty much gave our landscaper full authority to do as he pleased. Image my utter amazement when the main planter bloomed....full of cardinal and gold!

When I first saw the blooms, I lost my was like my mom's garden all over. And in my favorite flower..have you ever seen a cardinal bouganvilla? Me neither! My mom and Mr. Big swear that it was purely chance. How ironic that this planter is just outside the pavilion, where we anticipate spending most Saturdays watching college football. LOVE IT!

Meanwhile, so does Jordan. Apparently these shady planters are a perfect way to cool down.

As long as his digging is truly behind us (or he doesn't doesn't touch my "Doheny" flower bed), we should be able to live in harmony. Probably not in his best interest to test how I respond to opponents... :)

Where have you been?

Sorry for the slow posting lately. There's actually quite a lot to provide updates on. But just so you don't think we're complete flakes:

Jack Bauer and season four of 24 started wreaking havoc with our sanity a few weeks back. Why do we get so caught up in this series? Our entire life gets put on hold until we finish the DVDs. Ok, not such a good excuse. But if you are a 24 fan, you know what I mean.

We then had a visit from good friends from back home. It was a real pleasure catching up and showing them this great little island. We miss their company, but Jordan is desperately missing all the extra attention. Thanks for the visit! :)

The last distraction was definitely the most serious. Mr. Big and I had a dear co-worker and friend fall very ill recently. I spent the last week with her and her mom in Miami. It was quite a sobering experience and a huge reminder to live our lives to the fullest. When I returned home last night, I found that our front yard had finally bloomed. What timing! If I could send every blossom to her in Miami, I wouldn't hesitate. But in case she or her family come across this website, consider this the image of happiness and continued health that we are wishing for you.

And for those of us who are fortunate enough to have our health, revel in it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Things are glowing in our canal

Bioluminesence...heard of it? About two years ago, it was formally discovered that our little island had one of the very few of bioluminescent bays in the world. In fact, some say that there are only 5 known to exist. With some friends in town a year ago, Mr. Big ventured off for a sunset kayak through the bay, coming home with wide eyes and animated stories of glowing water.

A few months ago, he started suspecting that we had bioluminesence in the canal behind our house. I wasn't so certain...we were just seeing little twinkles of light and it looked like stars reflecting on the water. And given his excitement previously, perhaps it was wishful thinking.

Fast forward to Saturday night. After a nice dinner out with friends we strolled on the deck to enjoy the evening breezes. Mr. Big was pointing out the twinkles again. Suddenly fish movements started to glow. WOW! We stuck a palm frond in the water only to see it light up with an unbelievable blue glow. I haven't been able to stop researching and talking about it since. And yes, I fully apologized to Mr. Big about questioning his assessment. :)

Apparently Puerto Rico has two of the bays so their websites have good information on them (as well as the photos above):
These areas are scarcely found internationally because of the delicate ecological balance they require. The concentration of dinoflagelates causes the bioluminescence. When disturbed by sudden movements, this microorganisms emanate their own light. In moonless nights, it's impressing to see them shine like misled shooting stars that poured down into the dark waters of the bay.
This was obviously a really neat find for us and I personally can't wait to find out a little bit more. So yes, we really do have things glowing in our canal!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'm weak

I have absolutely no will power. A moment of weakness hit this morning. Etsy seller Irene Wood (Irenemachine) had these beautiful 8x10 paintings taunting me for the past month. Not only do I love the neutral tones, she has finished them in a cool polyurethane for a glossy finish.

Treetop I

Treetop II

There are already have 2-3 different spots in the house vying for their attention. Side by side, they should be stunning on a bright white wall. I can't wait for them to arrive!

Wall application

Urban Outfitters has this wall application at a reasonable price at the moment.

No, they won't create a Jennifer Prichard fanciful wall (oh how I pine over her work), but they might be good for a test run. They would definitely be adorable in a little girl's room.