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25 July 2011

Are you on Pinterest?

Are you on Pinterest?

 It seems that the more I'm on Pinterest and 1stDibs, the easier it is for me to find 'inspiration' for blogging.

I was a blog reader for a very long time before Amy took initiative to get this blog going.

Often, after finishing another blogger's post, I think,...hmm..I really liked what she said, but didn't feel like the complete direction or goal of what she was trying to say came full circle.

And today, I ask myself the same question. Did I just start a post to 'get something out there?' Or was it content that someone else would find interesting, insightful or worthwhile?

So while it's fun to find photos from all the available sources out there, a good blogger is someone who will take further steps forward to inform or entertain the reader.

As a blogger, thats when your blog stats rise, your audience grows, and you start to become knowledgable about what you're passionate about.

So today, I'll inform you.

A month or so ago, Amy and I talked about a new project that we were working on for a Dallas consignment store. That project is now on hold, and we don't know if we'll get back to it.

However, we do promise to keep posting about other other projects. And we will find other opportunities. We are 2 fun and creative girls in Dallas!

Plus, Amy recently had a plummer come and rip out a large section of her bathroom wall! Exciting!!

We'll be back to share more about paint, bathroom hardware, and tubs.

I really like this photo. I love the twin-size bed. I'm not sure how often I'd feel like taking a nap in my kitchen, but this kitchen seems pretty special.

This kitchen also has a unique design element. 
Curtains that drape the floor. Via Cote de Texas

Thanks for reading!


21 July 2011

How do you use rustic elements in your home? Like this.

While my eyes seem to be resting on all spaces mixed with rustic and minimalism, I want to introduce an Austin, Texas architect.

Mell Lawrence of Austin, Texas

…not to be confused with the dramatic but lovable Martin Lawrence Bullard of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators.

Mell Lawrence is an award-winning architect who restores and builds homes around Austin. 

While Austin still has neighborhoods mixed with cottages and bungalows, the young and wealthy are frequently adding McMansions along the lakes and around town. Not Lawrence. His aesthetic style seeks to honor the best of timeless building traditions.

Lawrence is one of the architects on the scene providing contemporary updates with balance by keeping close to nature. He manages to keep the modern soft, by including wood, concrete, stone, and metal. His homes feature established Texas limestone and wrought iron.  

Things I love about this photo: concrete surface, casement windows and pendant lights

All above photos are Lawrence architecture/ David Peese interior design

Of his creative process, he says, “Be fearless about trying ideas, then edit with a mighty sword.” I really like this. 

A quintessential Texas porch! I appreciate rustic elements, so much...everyone should!

 And look at this bathroom.

And this one!

Notice the stone walls and concrete tub.

To learn more about Lawrence, visit his Q&A session at Remodelista or view his website, Architectural Polka.

17 July 2011

Decorating Styles for Achieving Timeless Design

When thinking about design and glossy magazines, its easy to forget that photography is the art that brings it all together. At the 1stDibs Photo Archive, an archive of photographed interiors, which highlights the photographers, you can choose an inspiring photo and then "search the look on 1stDibs" to find antiques and furniture that will create a similar space.

It's pretty awesome. 

Miguel Flores-Vianna

While searching through the photo archive, I was drawn to the minimalist decorating photos. It seems that this "less is more" style can be put together with many other decorating styles. Minimalist architectures use glass, steel and concrete in their work. The design focuses on including only essential items needed to fill a room. It intentionally leaves out prints, patterns and lots of color. 

I find myself drawn to minimalist mixed with rustic styles. I like the contrast of the wood with the coldness of the style.

Melanie Acevedo

 Pieter Estersohn

I love this rug. It provides the softness that would otherwise be missing from the setting. There are touches of Japanese influence. Traditional Japanese is part of the history of minimalism.

In this setting, the designer stripped everything unnecessary from the scene. The fire brings in the warmth to keep it friendly. The photo is from pinterest.


This living room is relatively bare with white walls. The worn leather settees provide the warmth and comfort, as well as the linen curtains. If the designer instead used a white slipcovered couch, like the ottomon, I wouldn't find this room as great. Photo via Cote de Texas.

What do you think about these photos, below?

 I really like the dark timber with the collection of bottles in the first photo, and in the next photo, the hanging pictures on the wall. It adds a level of interest and personality.

Too minimalistic? Or is it too rustic? hmmm.

Miguel Flores-Vianna

Now I'll be spending even more time searching 1st Dibs, finding matches to lust after and guessing how many thousands (outta my price range)...the pieces fall under.  I wonder if the photographers have this same dilemma after looking at their own work?   

11 July 2011

A Cool Conversation

Beat the Heat! The Dallas Mavericks accomplished this already, now the rest of Texas has to struggle through the remaining summer months of July, August, and September. We’ve had record-breaking, day after day, 100 degree heat…and wind. It feels exactly like opening up your heated oven and allowing all the hot air to free itself.

To help us all cool off for a minute—how about some Slim Aarons photography.

 Athens, 1961

 Acapulco, 1978

 Vail, Colorado, 1964

 Tropical Mustique, Caribbean, 1989

Verbier, Switzerland, 1964

Spain, 1971 

 Poolside Gossip, Palm Springs, 1970

Slim Aarons, 1916–2006, is a notable American photographer who followed the rich and famous around snapping photographs of their leisurely lives. Aarons photographed and befriended many of the most famous faces of the late 20th century including Howard Hughes, the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, and Kennedys.

I personally like the photographs that are of large crowds or unknown faces, the best.

All photos can be viewed or purchased, here.

If you want more, Amazon sells all four of Slim’s coffee-table books.

Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time, 2003
Slim Aarons: A Place in the Sun, 2005
Poolside with Slim Aarons, 2007
Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita, 2011

Thanks for stopping by!


06 July 2011

American Colonial Furniture and Antiques

Hope Y'all had a Happy Fourth of July!

This past Monday, after leaving the lake, I went with my dad to my grandparents home to pick up an old vanity that belonged to my grandmother. My grandfather had painted it with brown paint. It’s a heavy piece of furniture that I figure they purchased mid-century.

I am trying to decide whether to refinish myself or have it redone professionally. Here are some things that I will use to help me make my decision.

Antiques: 100 years or older. Restoring antiques should be left to the professionals. Restoring usually includes fixing broken legs, replacing hardware, repairing cracks, replacing trim pieces and fabrics with period detail. Basically anything that's required to get the piece of furniture as close to the original condition as possible is called restoration.

Refinishing can be as simple as stripping off the top layer of varnish, sanding, and applying a new one.

Contemporary American Colonial. Source

Steps to refinishing a piece.

1) Do a little research to determine its value, so you know whether or not you should try and restore it yourself.

There are a few things that you can look for to determine a piece of furniture’s age. Feel underneath—if the interior corners are sharp, then it's probably not an antique. Take out a screw and look at the threads. If they have inconsistent widths between them, then it's probably pretty old.

2) Clean Before You Start
A good place to start is to give it a good scrub with a sponge and some vegetable-based oil soap in warm water.

3) Sanding: start off with heavy-grit sandpaper, then move to finer grit.
Whether you're painting or staining, once you finish stripping and sanding, you'll want to give it another good cleaning. A clean surface is key to creating a professional finish.

4) There are many different kinds of stain, and each works best with different woods, so be sure to thoroughly research your options before proceeding.

So, as I’m cruising along the internet  ‘doing a little research’ I came across more information about wood. So I figured I’d post this information as a  continuation to  “What is Your Furniture Made of?” You can find more information from my source, here.

Before 1900 (20th century), most furniture was made with these woods:
  • Walnut, Oak, Mahogany, Rosewood, Fruitwoods, and rare wood veneers and inlays were common
American Colonial furniture, dependent on local availability, was made with maple, oak, walnut, birch, cherry, and pine. Because preferred furniture woods was readily available, (and less attractive/durable wood was only used for hidden, inside parts), pre-1900 furniture is almost always worth restoring.

Photograph by Miguel Flores-Vianna
As the 'preferred wood' became scarcer and more expensive, furniture started being made from more abundant woods, causing the traditional favorites to become rare.

The “more abundant woods” used today are
  • Ash, gum, poplar, pine, fir
How to Assess Wood
How do you begin to identify the type of wood used for your furniture? Ask yourself some key questions:
  • Consider the piece of furniture itself. About how old is it, and what style is it?
  • Look at the color. Although color can vary considerably from tree to tree, its tone is fairly constant within a species; the color intensity may change, but not the quality. 
  • Finally, look at the grain. Is the wood open- or close-grained? Are the pores evenly distributed, or are they concentrated at the growth rings? Is the grain straight or wavy, mottled or swirled?
Wood identification can sometimes be the deciding factor when you aren't sure if a piece is worth refinishing or if it should be thrown away. There's a good chance that a beat-up old dresser was built with what is considered a rare wood, today.

Wood Characteristics
A practical way to identify wood (and thus its value) is by its grain and color.

Wood grain and color: The cell structure of a tree, different for each species, determines its grain. Hardwoods have tubular cells called vessels that are visible as pores in the wood. If the cells are large, the texture of the wood is slightly rough, or open; a filler may be needed to smooth the surface. If the cells are small and has a smooth texture, described as close-grained, it doesn't require filling.

Open-grained woods: Oak, walnut, ash, mahogany, rosewood, and teak woods
Close-grained woods: Beech, birch, maple, cherry, satinwood, gum, and poplar woods
Furniture woods are chosen and valued for the character of their grain and color. This is why the old finish must be completely removed before you can tell for sure what wood a piece of furniture is made of.

In old furniture, veneers and inlays of rare woods were often used to form designs or special effects. In modern furniture, veneers are used primarily where solid wood is unavailable or too expensive.
Veneers are fragile, and they can be damaged by refinishing techniques. Veneers are common in modern furniture construction, so take a good look at your furniture before you start to work on it. Any highly figured wood is probably a veneer.

Tips to determine if its vennered
  • Sometimes the veneer is visible at the edge of the wood surface, a thin layer glued over the base wood.
  • If you can't see a joint at the edge, look at an unfinished area under the piece of furniture. If the unfinished wood looks the same as the finished surface, the piece of furniture is probably solid wood. If there's a considerable difference, it's probably veneered.
Wood combinations: Many types of modern furniture are made with two or more kinds of wood, to keep costs down. Rare woods are used where appearance is important, such as table-tops; the more common woods are used for less conspicuous structural pieces, such as table and chair legs. This multiple-wood construction isn't always easy to see until the old finish is removed -- a table you think is walnut, for example, may turn out to have gum legs, stained to match.

This Corsican chair, found on 1st Dibs, is asymmetrical and made from an astounding array of hardwoods including:

Ask, Beech, Spalted Beech, Cherry, Cocobolo, Zebrano, Indian Rosewood, Oak, Birds Eye Maple, Sycamore, Yellow Box, Pau Rosa, Wenge, Padauk, Bubinga, Sapele, Mahogany, Pear

...But don't be mistaken, this chair was not made with all these woods to keep costs down!  It was done as a project and will cost you an arm and a leg...if you get a deal.

Back to my vanity at hand
It's a heavy piece of furniture. I scratched off some of the brown paint to view the wood underneath. It has a light reddish tint. First guess, I would say that my grandmothers vanity is a red oak, but it probably isn't old enough to be a traditional favorite. It could be beech, poplar, sycamore or willow. I need to investigate the grain more, but not until I can get the piece stripped. Although my grandmothers vanity probably isn't an antique or an American colonial, it's still a valuable piece to me.

Red Oak






05 July 2011

Wishful Thinking: Backyard Theaters and Tree-houses

Hope everyone had a great 4th! We watched the Fair Park fireworks from the rooftop of the historic John E.Mitchell Building in Deep Ellum. Great view of the fireworks and downtown!

 Mitchell Building

If anyone cares, here is a brief history of the Mitchell Building: It was built in 1928 for the John E. Mitchell Company (founded in 1900), which was a manufacturing firm, and through the years made automobile and truck air conditioners and the ICEE soft drink machine, though it started as a cotton gin. During WWII, the plant made artillery shells and missiles for the US Navy. The company folded in 1981 and the building became a refuge for musicians and artists. In 1995, the city had to close the building because of code violations. Pan American Capital renovated the building into 79 loft homes, with Architect Ron Wommack designing the renovation, in 1999.

Mitchell Co. employees at work during WWII.

Back on topic...I've always wanted a backyard theater and a tree-house minus I don't even have a backyard. I have been digging up photos of what I would want my dream outdoor theater and tree house to look like. The only thing lacking in the outdoor theater photos are hammocks.

Here is a little eye candy...


Now for the tree-houses...

Boom Shaka Laka,

Amy B.