Spring in the Living Room

March 31st, 2014

It rained all day Saturday and the kids’ games were canceled so we stayed in our pajamas for much of the day. Rainy days inspire indoor creativity so I decided to paint some new artwork for the living room. My 10 year old daughter loves to paint too so we spread out newspaper on the dining room table and opened up our sketchbooks and collections of acrylic paint. 

Late last year in my quest for more masculine touches, we painted the living room above our DIY wainscoting Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray and I also painted the French doors black. The two together are a perfect moody neutral combo but with spring arriving I was craving more color.  

Coral is all the rage this year and I’m also lover of the hue – it’s so chic especially with gray and gold, so I added pillows to the tufted sofa in that colorway.  

gray and coral in living room centsational girl

The gray zebra pillows used to live in our master bedroom (originally from Z Gallerie but no longer available). I found the geometric coral Lulu pillow covers at Ballard Designs on sale, the embroidered floral is Tar-jay.

The walls held only two prints (one of them is one of my most favorite souvenirs from a trip to Paris) but there was a bare spot between them and I needed a third piece of art to fill it. Black and white made sense, not a charcoal, not a print, something whimsical and botanical.

practicing swirls

branch painting

I was inspired by none other than Matisse – I saw his Le Buisson framed print for sale at Joss & Main and thought it was perfect but even more perfect if I painted my own version of a black and white botanical for pennies.   

matisse

I just loved the simplicity of the Mattise painting so I tried the tree with twigs and leaves but after a few attempts opted for a simpler set of branches instead.

attempt at tree

 

simple branches

 

gray and coral pillows centsational girl

   

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BOTB 3.28.14

March 28th, 2014

Ugh, you guys I’ve spent the past 48 hours fighting off another cyber attack to the site, this is never fun. So many of you wrote to me, thank you for your concern. Long story short, there are sophisticated evil hackers out there, and it takes A LOT of work to defend yourself. Thanks so much for your patience!

It’s time again for another round of ‘Best of the Blogosphere’ with many inspiring ideas to share! My thanks as always to Amanda who helps me scour the web for all the talented projects, enjoy the roundup: 

Tour a glam blue and white bedroom at Nathan Walker complete with mirrored nightstands and a stunning metal pendant over the bed!

blue and white glam bedroom nathanwalker

 

This deep blue vanity is divine as are the rest of the details in this bathroom reno at The House Diaries.

house diaries bathroom reno

 

We love this impressive budget cottage kitchen remodel by Jen at Tatertots & Jello with so many great details shared in the story of the transformation.

budget kitchen remodel tatertotsandjello

 

I’m ready to tackle a set of plain closet doors in my office after seeing this upholstered door project over at Design*Sponge.

upholstered door nailhead trim

 

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Kitchen Countertop Options: Pros + Cons

March 26th, 2014

We’ve been doing a lot of research lately on countertops since the fixer we’re buying has 25 year old Formica tops in the kitchen which will need replaced – more details on the house coming soon! Seven years ago when we were choosing countertops for our own kitchen I exhausted myself researching all the choices that were on the market and finally settled on a marble countertop + wood on the island combo. I’ve never regretted it, I’ve loved those choices ever since. But seven years have passed and much has changed in the world of kitchen countertops.

We have other kinds of countertops in our home, white laminate in the laundry room, wood in the hall bathroom, and modern cultured marble in the master bathroom. All have performed well based on our expectations (images here). Innovation is inevitable, trends come and go, so the decision as to which countertop to choose in a kitchen remodel requires much consideration. Let’s start with a classic favorite.

Marble

Marble will never go out of style so for the price you pay, you do get the “timeless” label with the investment. Always elegant, it complements both Old World and modern kitchens equally; for bakers it’s a favorite, no surface is better for pies and pastries.

marble kitchen countertops

better homes & gardens

Properly sealed marble cleans up easily with a mild cleanser and cloth. Marble can stain so it must be sealed, and since it’s softer than granite, it can chip easily (we’ve suffered several small chips around our kitchen sink).

emprador marble kitchen countertops

christopher gaona

Any acidic food like citrus can etch the surface or leave white stains. There are two varieties of gray and white Italian marble that are similar in appearance, both milky white with gray veining, and they are Carrara and Calacatta. Carrara has more delicate, lighter veining; Calacatta is a rarer, pricier stone and has bolder more defined strokes, yet both are a desirable luxury stone. Calacatta Gold and Crema Marfil marbles have brown or gold veins and offer homeowners warmer tones. Prices vary between $40 and $250 per square foot based on the type of marble chosen.

 

Wood

Wood countertops are having a moment in the spotlight right now with butcher block being so affordable from sources like IKEA and many bloggers installing natural and stained versions in their kitchens. Wood countertops are higher maintenance than stone, they require sealing with various natural products like beeswax or mineral oil, or waterproof varnishes like Waterlox.

bhg wood kitchen island countertop

better homes & gardens

Wood countertops cannot withstand heat which requires the consistent use of hot pads or trivets. Water spills or rings can leave permanent marks if moisture is left too long, but they have classic appeal and add a warmth that no other countertop can compete with, especially in traditional, craftsman, or cottage style homes.

 

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