On the Nightstand: Fall Edition

October 5th, 2012

I like to read before I go to bed each night after I catch up on the news.  After all the serious stuff, I look for something lighter to nod off to sleep to and I turn to design books and shelter magazines a lot.  Here’s a roundup of some of the books I’m enjoying right now. 

books on nightstand

 

blue house beautifulAn ode to my favorite color is BLUE from the pages of House Beautiful which includes tips on decorating room by room and highlights accessories, furnishings, color pairings, and blue hues expressed in all variety of motifs. 

BLUE explores every shade that’s been used by decorators including paint colors and fabrics, and you’ll recognize spaces by Steven Gambrel, Tobi Fairley, Phoebe Howard, Miles Redd and many other talented designers. 

 

  blogging for creatives .

Blogging for Creatives is a helpful guide for any person (crafting, food, photography, art, design, etc.) who wants to share their creativity through blogging.  The book tackles most of the basics you’ll need if you’re just starting out including the technical side such as choosing a platform, design tips for your blog theme, and tips on writing good content, monetizing, and promoting your blog.  It’s great for beginners or those who’d like to use their blog to better promote their talents.

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first apartment

I’ve been a fan of Kyle Shuneman for years (read our spotlight interview here) and I’m so excited about his first book.  Kyle is a master at creating stylish spaces on a budget, and The First Apartment Book is perfect for those just starting out or living in small spaces, and all of us who love clever interior design.

Kyle highlights ten different styles of decorating from Preppy to Bohemian and he coaches you through simple ideas from fabric backed bookcases to repairing chipped furniture.  Congratulations Kyle!

 

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Tiling Around a Window

October 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I showed up at the shelter kitchen we revealed earlier this week to make sure the mosaic tile backsplash was getting installed by a skilled volunteer, but unfortunately the tile guy never showed up.   We never got an explanation as to why he didn’t show, he just didn’t.  With an inspection looming, Warren (our partner at COTS) and I looked at each other and decided we would just get ‘er done ourselves that day.

Installing a tile backsplash is not difficult, and it involves following just a few steps from prepping the wall to applying the thin set adhesive, cutting and setting the tiles, and then grouting and sealing.  The more challenging part is tiling around a window with mesh tile so that the grid stays perfectly aligned.  At first glance you’d think it all lines up easily (basic math right?) but we learned that’s not the case – here’s how we got it just right.

tiling around a window

 

First, I’ll apologize for the quality of some of these in progress photos!  I had no idea on this day I’d be tiling when I showed up to the house so I didn’t bring my good camera.  Many are shot with a cell phone in bad light, but hopefully they will be illustrative.   The project took two days, with me working one side of the kitchen, Warren working on the other, and then we paired up to tackle the feature wall together.

There are plenty of detailed tutorials online for installing a simple glass mosaic tile backsplash, including this one from This Old House, but I’ll do a quick review.  What you’ll need:  paper or drop cloth to protect countertop, tile, thin set mortar, V notch trowel, tile saw, grout, grouting sponge, level, acrylic caulk.

First, prep your walls so they’re smooth and ready for tile and double check you have enough tile to complete the project.  (It’s good to have 10% more than your square footage for horizontal or mesh installation, more like 15-20% extra with diagonal installation due to all the cuts.)

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