Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Master Bathroom Reveal

Can’t believe summer is coming to an end!
I have been MIA I know.  We took a much needed vacation to Provence, France and Geneva Lake, Switzerland in the beginning of July.  It was a great trip; Provence was soooo scenic and the best smelling place ever!  Imagine driving along country roads with fields of lavender, sunflowers, wheats on both sides.  The air smelled like a mixed of sun-baked lavender, herbs and wheats…just yummy! 
Geneva lake was also very pretty, we stayed in a small town among the vineyards along the lake and took a day trip to a glacier.  I’ll write a post on the trip when I get a chance. (But if you love nature and photography, Provence is a must!  It’s definitely one of my dream places to live, so far the list includes Paris and Tuscany)
After returning, we painted most of his parents’ apartment and redecorated their bedroom.  In between, we worked on laundry room and the basement bathroom…still works in progress.
BUT the good news is that I finally had time to take some photos of our master bathroom! 
It’s my personal spa! Living in NYC, no one I know has a bathroom this big, so the size of it alone feels luxurious. 
The color palette is water with touches of green and orange inspired by the sinks that I wrote about earlier.
Our shower stall is BIG, so to keep the costs down, we used white subway tiles (which we bought A LOT of in the beginning of the renovation when they were on sale) with some mosaic tiles of glass and marble.  The mosaic tiles add just the right amount of sparkles to make it special. They represent water running down.  For the floor of the shower, we also picked a mosaic of glass and marbles but in rounds to represent the bubbles/stones (of a river bed) when water hits the floor ( we worked a concept while tile hunting J).  The little circles really have been great to provide the right amount of friction (no slippery floor here!).   I will write a post on water-proofing and tiling a shower floor in another post. 

Oh, check out that 10" rain shower head, soo relaxing to just stand under that after a hard day of work, melts the stress away...well almost.
I know I wanted storage above the toilet for towels and toiletries.   I figured a cabinet would be best to keep the towels fresh from umm…the other bathroom smells that are not so pleasant.   Lucky for us, the kitchen cabinet from Ikea fits perfectly in the space.  The glass mimics the shower door.

Oh I forgot to tell you about the shower door.   I wanted floor-to-ceiling frameless glass with as little of the metal structure as possible but wowww, are they expensive!  So internet to the rescue! After much searching, we ended up getting one from Overstock.com.  The installation was pretty simple; HOWEVER, that thing is heavy!  And with only the two of us, it took us the whole Sunday night to install.
Onto my lovely tub! To me this is a big tub, it’s meant for two people after all. But with him being over 6 feet tall, he keeps saying we should have got a much bigger tub!  I think it perfect and this corner of the bathroom gets beautiful sunlight in later afternoon. I would love to soak in a nice bubble bath with the sun in my face but hasn’t happened so far, since we are always busy during the day.
The wall by the tub was very hard for me to decorate; I am still not really satisfied with how it is. 
We put some floating shelves for candles and some whimsical finds.  I also mounted a couple of  Staghorn ferns on wood rounds.  I wonder if I should replace the ferns with a huge photo since I am a bit lazy at removing the ferns every  week  to give them a good soaking :) .  But it will do for now, feel free to leave any suggestions.
As for the window, I guess the contractor forgot that it was supposed to be a bathroom (used to be a kitchen) when he ordered the windows.  We didn’t even realize it was clear until we started working on the bathroom.  To solve the privacy issue, we installed shutters that we got from Lowes. 

The chair is from a set of six (two of them are kinda like wing back chairs), I got them for  steal on ebay for....10 bucks! for the whole set!  they are really comfy! you will see them all around the house, redone in different fabric and paint.  I just finished one for the laundry room with wheels added :)
Hopefully we are will be done with the laundry room soon, can’t wait to share that!
And there is also the walk-in closet, kitchen …..so much to share! Stay tuned!

Some more photos

Friday, June 14, 2013

Manila folder sunburst mirror, aka a mirror that won't hurt your head!

On the first floor we have two bedrooms; the larger of the two is my parents’ room for when they stay over on the weekends. I am still trying to decorate their room whenever I get some free time.  It’s difficult because they have this huge wood king size bed with matching night stands that take up 70 percent of the room already and then my dad built this shallow bookcase to put their TV on, let’s just say they have certain requirements with little room for me to work around. 
The wall that the bed is against is empty, due to their fear of something will fall on their heads in the middle of the night.  It would be a legitimate fear if we were living in an earthquake-prone zone, but not in NYC.   Still my mom refused to hang anything there and it was driving me crazy whenever I looked at the empty wall.  A few weeks ago, I spotted these trio of mirrors in Target (turns out a lot of bloggers have them also, ahh bloggers and sunburst mirrors, we just can’t seem to say No); anyway, they were light (made out of some sort of plastic, I think?), so I finally convinced her to let me hang them over the bed.  However, it just didn’t seem right; the bed was too big for the mirrors. 
So, one bored afternoon at work got my mind wandering, I spotted some manila folders on the desk and the mind started plotting up ideas.  I remembered seeing a tutorial on making sunburst mirror out of poster boards on theNester.com.  I also have not been able to get this sunburst mirror out of my mind, and the room in general, sooo gorgeous.

So I cut the folder into half and folded it into three parts, drew a simple petal shape and started cutting.  I tried with one folder and it looked promising, I decided to curl the edge a little with a pen to achieve a look similar to the sunburst mirror in Architectural Digest.

Turned out pretty nice, I couldn’t wait to get home to try! But I did not have the time to tackle the project until the weekend.
It was pretty simple, here are the steps:
-Cut the folder into two halves (one side will be about an inch bigger than the other, but it’s okay)
-Fold each half into three, I just eyeballed it.
-Cut the petal shape (I drew the petal on the first one, then I used that as a template to do the rest)
-Use a pencil or chopsticks to curl the edge lightly in the direction of the petal. The curl helps to hide any imperfections in the cutting also.

-Each folder will give you six petals, I did about 10 folders, then I started assembling the “flower”. 
-I had some small round mirrors I got from the $99 cent store but in the end I decided it was easier to use one of the three mirrors from Target since it already had the hook attached.
-There is no specific pattern, I started with four (North, South, East, West) then kept on building out, trying to keep the shape pretty even. 

-Take a photo of the petal arrangement if you afraid you will forget.
-I used hot glue due to its quick drying time.  For the first four petals, I have the mirror facing down and glue from the back to make sure that I wasn’t blocking the hanging hook. For the rest of the petals I found it was easier to glue with the mirror facing me and just lift the mirror a bit to slide the petal under.  That way I can see how the petal is lining up.

-After I finished gluing together all the petals, I taped off the mirror (use nails or a sharp edge to trace off the excess tape) and  whipped out my favorite gold spray from Rustoleum to give it a quick spray.  The paint dried almost instantly on paper! Very good news for an impatient person like moi J . 
But I thought the finish was a bit flat. 
So I decided to add some dimensions using an artist’s brush and some gold leaf paint.  The gold leaf paint is a bit darker than the spray paint which creates shadows and adds “antiqueness” (ha, I just googled and it’s actually is a word!).  I brushed the paint to the tips of the petals and a bit on the undersides of the curled edges, but for the most part it was just random, whatever looked good.
And there you have it! A large sunburst mirror for under 15 bucks!
(crappy Ipad photo i know )

Can’t even tell if it’s paper if you don’t touch it! My mom loved it!  woohooo! Dad gave a thumb up too!
No picture of it in their room because the room is just not finished yet.  Everyone liked it so much that I decided to do another bigger one for the landing on top of the stairs! 

Please excuse the unfinished stairs and I still have not got around to hang photos along the wall (the sunlight is from the skylight on top of the stairs)

And of course the many angles :)

Looking around the house to see where else could use a sunburst mirror…I DO have one extra small mirrors to play with…hmmm

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bathroom Vanity

We are just about done with the master bathroom, which has been a very slow process once we started.  I think because it's tucked away (an out of sight, out of mind thing) and we are so used to using the bathroom down the hall; unlike the kitchen which we had to deal with everyday, so we worked our butts off to get that done ASAP.

My first taste at buying second-hand is a large french provincial mahogany dresser that i got from an antique dealer for around $250 (which is WAY more than what I am willing to pay today!). 
It sat there, moved around a few times (not far because it's damn heavy!), waiting for its day to shine. And after nearly two years, it's finally in its rightful place serving as a vanity for our bath.

The dresser had a beautiful  curvy top (which i am still wondering what can i do with it, too nice to throw away) that i wanted to copy onto the marble top (we decided on Carrara marble because I just LOVE it and it is not quite suitable for the kitchen...).  The stone company we used told us to do a template for them.  I tried drawing it free-hand but it was just too long and I couldn't get the symmetry just right.  So I decided to use some of that engineering skills and drew it up in AutoCAD, that way I could make sure the dimensions were exact.

The sinks are also one of those first purchases for the house, I might have bought them while we were still looking for a house!  They sat in my parents' attic for two years, I even forgot how they really looked like, all I remembered was that I LOVED them when they arrived.  The design in each sink was hand painted so there are variations.

We modified some cabinet drawers to accommodate the pipes.

So once we were done,  the DH decided to clean it with Windex and what do you know!? the patina I thought the wood had was just DIRT! YEARS AND YEARS of dirt.  The vanity is soooo much lighter now, it no longer look reddish brown but a reddish orange.  I like it because it matches the flowers in the sinks more.

Afterwards...which was like a few weeks later ( I told you we are slow on this project), I finally came around to buff it with Restor-a-Finish in Mahogany.

Look at the difference!

Cleaned the hardware using Brasso.


We paired it with an antique (dresser?) mirror, which is a bit over-the-top but I like how it contrasts to the subdue tones and clean lines of the rest of the bathroom, which I will reveal soon :) .  And look at the shell design, it was meant for a bathroom!

We used kitchen faucets because we wanted the height.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Refurbishing a Desk

A few months ago, i bought this old desk that i thought would be the perfect size to fit in the little corner of the living room. That would be where I work when I have to work from home until my office is ready upstairs (which could be a while since it's on the low priority list).  
I love the curvy design of the legs and it was structurally sound, so for $30 bucks, it was a good deal in my books! Here is the original posting from the seller

when I brought it home and put in the chair, it was a bit too short to fit my legs under.  
Fast forward about four months and a lot of uncomfortable sitting before we finally had time to squeeze this project into our renovating schedule. 
First I wanted to take the bars on the bottom off and extend the legs from there but after taking off one bar, the hubby convinced me it would be easier for him to just attach something to the bars instead.  

So I came up with this design

As you can see the stain was faded and dull and there was chipping.  I gave it a light sanding before adding the new stain.  I had Cabot stains on hand from staining the doors, so i mixed Red Mahogany and Brown Walnut together to get a reddish brown.

After two coats

The circles are for a project i'll post later, just killing two birds with one stone :)

I wanted to add some pazazz to it, so i decided to use gold leaf paint and highlight some of the details.
For the surface I taped off to get clean lines but for the legs and drawer fronts, i just a drew free hand.

(the color here looks orange due to the light)

I applied the gold with a small brush

I am impatient so i did not wait long before peeling off the tape (one hour at most).

Now some After photos of it in its little corner :)

I paired it with the bamboo chair that I upholstered in the same faux leather as the coffee table.  I love how the curves on the legs mimic the ones on the desk's legs.  Of course only I appreciate this, i pointed the similarity out to the hubby and got the "whatever you said, honey" look. 

I haven't decided if I will keep it here or move it to my office later on.
What do you think? I love fast refurbishing jobs like this one, so much gratification for not a lot of work!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Coffee Table

I have been in search of a new coffee table for the living room for a while now.  I wanted something brass with glass (storage on the bottom would be a bonus!) to open up the room a bit.  
Dmagazine  (i am so in love with this penthouse! *drool*)

The problem was that I also wanted one with an upholstered top (Yes, we are the put-your-legs-on-the-table-while-watching-TV type of family).   I searched and searched but nothing came close to what i had in mind.  So i figured it would have to be a DIY, our current table is a DIY so why not this one.
I really like this table but the microfiber was hard to keep free of lints and crumbs.  I also wanted to change the rug to a darker color so having a dark table would not work.
I also replaced the matching side table a few weeks before.

One night searching through Craigslist, I found this table from Crate and Barrel on sale, which I ended paying $50 for.  It had some scratches to the finish but I didn’t care, I was going to paint it anyway.
And here it is after I sprayed it with Rustoleum Gold Metallic. 

The upholstered top was a really simple and quick task.  It’s just a piece of MDF topped by 4 inch foam and covered in faux leather I got from Fabric.com.  I didn’t want to take out the sewing machine, so I just did folded flap corners. 

Drop the finished top in and that was it.  

And here it is all finished on top of the new area rug.  The faux leather is super easy to clean and has hold up good so far.