Freestanding Bathtub Beauties

April 9th, 2014

In the fixer we’ll be working on soon I’m already thinking about upgrades in the bathroom. The home has plain Jane builder grade tubs and I’m considering a fresher  look with a freestanding tub. I’ve never installed one in any of our homes but I’ve stayed in a hotel rooms with a claw foot tub and the look has always been a favorite. 

I can’t deny the convenience of a sunken drop in tub with a tile or solid surface surround for placing soaps, candles, towels, etc, but my heart goes pitter patter for a freestanding version in the traditional claw foot and more modern shapes. Swoon!

There are architectural considerations with this choice, most require a floor mount tub filler which is pricier fixture and definite splurge, but I just love how a freestanding tub opens up a bathroom space and makes it feel less cramped.

freestanding tub housetohome

 freestanding tub muse interiors

 

freestanding tub black and white bathroom

house to home / muse interiors / mark williams design

 

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Mixing it Up with Melamine

April 8th, 2014

This last few days of sunshine have me excited for warmer weather and for casual spring and summer table settings indoors and out. I’ve never been the matchy matchy type when it comes to dinnerware, I like to mix patterns from several sources old and new, it feels far more collected and original that way.

I’ve spent some dollars on collections of melamine plates over the years for serving up summer hors d’oeuvres or savory meals without worry. Melamine plates became popular in the 1950s and now this resin based dinnerware is again in vogue. Many retailers are now offering stylish yet practical collections of melamine plates and platters for casual appetizers, suppers, and impromptu picnics. Modern versions mimic their ceramic sisters but have the benefit of indestructability. 

A few weeks ago, I bought these melamine accent plates and last week these watercolor floral napkins in a fresh color palette with an aloha feel – together they’ll be lovely in spring and summer for dining al fresco in the courtyard.

yellow melamine blue and yellow watercolor floral

  

To inspire, here are a few favorite melamine plate + cloth napkin combos, layer them with your basic whites for a fresh look this season!

blue and black plate napkin

 

mod and jade mix

 

blush plate floral napkin

 

blue and yellow plate napkin

 

yellow and gray place setting

 

stripe and pattern plates

blue striped plate / intersect napkin / fanfare napkin / middleton platesblush plate / villa napkin / isola napkin / coral blue plate / yellow rosa plate / gray chevron napkin / striped napkin / bazaar plates/  

Are you a fan of melamine plates and platters too? Where have you found your favorites?

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Lemurs & Lenses

April 7th, 2014

What a great weekend we had! My mother-in-law and her husband came to visit so we took them to a place we’ve always wanted to see and only 30 minutes from our home called Safari West. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Wine Country, this place is yet another reason to do so. Safari West is not a zoo, it’s a 400 acre preserve in the heart of Sonoma County that is home to several hundred animals and bird species native to Africa and South America, many of them endangered. Together with the kids and grandparents, we set out on a perfect spring day with sunny skies on a safari adventure! 

In anticipation of the visit, I rented a 18-200mm lens like I’ve done before to capture the animals in their habitats. It came with a hood and allowed me to zoom out to capture wide panoramas and zoom in to capture faces! 

lens rental

I love the idea of “try before you buy” so this was a great opportunity to take this versatile lens out for spin – I rent from Borrow Lenses and pick up at a local photography shop. This one is so great for vacationing outdoors when you take along your DSLR – the range of 18-200mm allows you to capture so much while on the go and without ever switching lenses.

The adventure begins on an all terrain vehicle (it felt a little like Jurassic Park) with an experienced guide and you ride all the way through the preserve up and down and into valleys where different animals live on a two hour tour. 

all terrain vehicles

 

guide in preserve

Some of the animals come up right next to the vehicle which is so cool but many of the animals are 20 to 100 feet away. Some habitats are enclosed (rhinos, cheetahs, monkeys) but many are not.

Antelopes and giraffes and zebras cross your path as you travel around, here’s a glimpse at a few of creatures captured on this beautiful preserve. There are hundreds of animals here, these are just a few favorite shots straight out of the camera using the borrowed lens.

lemur on branch

 

zebra in preserve

    

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