Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Cure foyer style file

So much has happened since Apartment Therapy's Spring Cure started seven weeks ago - a trip to Maui, swine flu, Queen's Day in Amsterdam. So I haven't exactly been keeping up.

My goals were to do a deep treatment of my closet and kitchen, and do a one-room makeover of our foyer. I got my closet and half the kitchen done, which, following the law of entropy, has since reverted to chaos. When one is discouraged by one's own clutter, there's no better solution than to go day dreaming on the Internet. So here is my style file for the foyer makeover.

The image up top is my inspiration photo. Alert readers may observe that this is not actually a foyer. What I like here are the photo gallery and the bookshelves.

Below is my actual foyer. I give it high marks for tidiness. However, it is also dark, stark and boring. I feel like Igor shuffling to the entrance to greet visitors.

I want to create a photo gallery in the foyer, improve the lighting and add a soft, welcoming rug - all for almost no money. Future improvements would include adding bookshelves.

Here is another photo gallery inspiration. This is from a Banana Republic store display. I like the mixture of frames used.

These bookshelves ($330) are from The Door Store. They come in two sections, which allows you to change the length of the shelves, which is handy for folks like us who seem to move every other year.

This Ikea Barometer track lighting is only $50.

Here's a selection of rugs from about $20 to $50 from Urban Outfitters, JCPenney, World Market and IKEA.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Should I break up with my sofa?

Reasons I love my sofa:
  1. It was a surprise gift from my husband
  2. I've had it almost as long as I've been married
  3. It's long enough to sleep on
  4. It's neutral
  5. It's good quality

Reasons I should get rid of it:

  1. It's 15 years old.
  2. The cushions look grimy (although they've been cleaned.)
  3. The cushions are flat and bulging out at the front. (Would cost about $100 to restuff.)
  4. The couch is 8 feet long and a pain to move or fit into any apartment we've lived in
  5. It's more traditional/shabby chic than I am.
  6. It requires a row of lumpy pillows along the back.

Reasons I like this sofa:
  1. It's clean lined
  2. It's half price
  3. It's neutral
  4. It's a shelter sofa (arms are as high as the back), which is a style I like
  5. It's long enough to sleep on
  6. It's almost two feet shorter than the sofa we have
  7. The tufted buttons are cute
Reasons I'm not sure about this sofa:
  1. The fabric is light, and the previous light sofa was a pain to keep clean
  2. I will jinx my marriage if I get rid of the old sofa
  3. I will have to part with some cash
  4. It can't possibly last 15 years
  5. What I really want is this sofa in charcoal grey.

Spring in the City

Spring is the season of the bulb. And the bulb is the right life for the city.

The bulb is tough and self-contained. It copes with cramped spaces. Flourishes in flower pots. A true apartment dweller, it hunches its shoulders and wraps up in its roots in tiny forcing vases.

It is obscenely ugly, hardly distinguishable from an old dog dropping. It can lie dormant in a drawer, in a refrigerator, in a dry clod of dirt - for months - and survive.

But place it in dirt or water and wait for the sun to stay out late and life bursts forth. Roots first, then flower. Gaudy. Sexy. Sweet. Suddenly one day in May in formerly shabby parks, tulips are throwing kisses by the thousands. Their petals pucker in every shade of lipstick - Ruby Red, Frosted Pink, Magnificent Mauve, Wicked Wine. And you forget about the gray days in February when the parks department put out rat poison, and you stepped over soggy corpses on your way to work for weeks.

Now everywhere pansies smirk. Daffodils nod. And in some strange twist, it seems that every tree in New York City is a species that blooms. Survival of the fabulous. Shops sell flowers on the sidewalks for $6 to $10 a scanty bunch, yet nobody picks the blossoms in the parks.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry is
Busting out like nobody's biz
And all along the BQE
Makes a pretty sight - and it's free.

More so than holidays does spring unite the world. Every yard is decorated in pink and white. Every windowsill blossoms. Even the poor have dandelions.

Spring costs nothing. It draws us out. Opens us up, lowly bulbs that we are. And makes us pucker.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Fruit as decor

Unfortunately, fruit has a short life on my table. These two particular beauties have already been digested.

Love triangle

I promise this is it. This is the same as earlier pic with watercolor filter.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A bit more of the baby

I'm sorry. I can't stop. I don't see him very often, and, as you can see, he's quite adorable. Above we've captured his form of locomotion in lue of crawling. (Weird crawling habits run in the family. My oldest cousin Beau crawled using only one arm and dragging the other one along. My youngest cousin Ryan required two or three butt lifts before launching in a forward direction. Brock prefers plank position, which he pirouttes into a bit of a salchow.)

Great-grandma with Gabby and Brock.

Bye-bye baby face.

Inexplicable Ohio home design

My neighborhood seemed normal to me growing up. Then, somewhere in the past 20 years, it started looking decidely retro (that's happening with a lot of things lately). Ohio never really recovered from the late 70s and it shows. Many of the houses and buildings are a time capsule of the boom years, which has a sort of charm to it - when you accept that what you have is a 70s house, like the one above, not a manored estate, plantation or farm.

Instead there's a lot of this going on - 70s house with Victorian gingerbread.

Then there's this. Cute house but where is the door?

You can tell the 90s houses because cars get as much room as people. There's nothing prettier than a great big garage door out front and center unless it's two great big garage doors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duet with baby and puppy

Every time Gabby barks, the baby laughs. I did my best Brian Regan, and the baby didn't laugh that much. Upstaged by a lapdog.

Traditional Home - Better than I remembered

One of the fun things about going home is being reminded that my mother and I share many of the same obsessions - clothes, shoes, picture frames, books and magazines, except hers are to the power of 10. I subscribe to about five magazines. She must have 50. A side effect of this is that I pick up magazines at her house I don't normally read, like Traditional Home, which nowadays seems to have a surprisingly hip mix of traditional and modern.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brock's first face plant

We all sat with rapt attention, cameras rolling, hoping this might be that Special Moment when the little one first learns to crawl. (Hint: you may want to turn up your audio in order to fully capture the crunch of baby cheeks impacting plastic keys.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cabinet of curiosities

This is my mom's kitchen hutch. Hard to believe she gave birth to a minimalist. There are more tchotchkes in this one cabinet than I have in my whole apartment - over an entire lifetime. A part of me really likes this, though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ohio Party

This fresh lemon meringue pie was the first stunner to arrive and it was quickly followed by a dozen other handmade and homemade dishes, starting with the ham, lovingly and repeatedly basted by Uncle Beau using his simple recipe of honey, pineapple and cloves (a recipe that no one else in the family has been able to duplicate, so we are assuming the secret is in the frequency of basting or maybe talking to the ham.) Then there was:
  • Cousin Steph's homemade macaroni and cheese

  • Cousin Kassie's homemade braided bread. She was going to make fresh mozzarella, too, but Aunt Doris was unexpectedly out of rennet. (Can you believe not having rennet in the pantry at all times?)

  • Cousin Katie's salad

  • Mom's bean salad

Then around the corner we had fresh strawberries with a poundcake Cousin Kassie "threw together," Situ and Jeannie's really gooey chocolate cake, the previously mentioned lemon meringue by Katie and (not pictured) Aunt Doris' six-layer red velvet cake. It's the kind of food you want to eat and then rub into your face and hair because it's so wonderful.

We loaded up huge heavy crockery style plates and then basked in the setting sun like a pride of lions on the Serengeti.

Some portraits of kin taken by my dad. Below is my aunt and uncle.

My middle second cousin. Don't let that whimsical face fool you. His mom had the same expression at his age - right before she peed on the doll house.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bald and beautiful

Back home in Ohio now. Cousin Brock turned six months. He's a happy little guy who loves his chow.

Maui roundup

Days: 8
Airfare: $250 per person from Newark to Oahu on Continental. Miles from Oahu to Maui.
Hotel: $0 (Stayed with friends.)
Car rental: $0 (Friends loaned us a car.)
Food: $120
Gifts: $100
Gas: $30
Most unusual experience: Stalking goats on Haleakala
Best easy snorkeling: Kama‘ole Beach Park III
Most aesthetic beach: Black Sand Beach at Wai‘anapanapa State Park
Wish we would have: Worn more sunscreen
Glad we: Met so many great people.

Back from the road to Hana

Friday, April 17, 2009

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Got a little obsessed with the black sand at Wainapanapa State Park on Maui's north shore.