Saturday, June 30, 2012

Master Bath Window Treatments

Just after I posted my master bathroom reveal the window treatments arrived for this room but I did not have time to photograph them.   

For the record, I am NOT very good with window treatments.  I have generally flopped in this category.  At this point, nearly every window in the house has plantation shutters or simple white wood blinds, perfect for our SoCal sun.  One powder room has a small toile swag, but in general I find drapes and sewn material either too heavy or too prone to fading with our intense sun here.

My husband has ALWAYS wanted bamboo shades, though.  So, since we DO share this space, I went ahead and had natural woven shades installed.  He is happy with them.  :)

I really tried to achieve a yin-yang feel with the master bath.  Sure, it is super femme with it's free standing deep tub and all the touches of silver, but I tried to balance all of that with the dark flooring, dark mirrors, more casual dark baskets (see here for details) and these window treatments.

This is the shower/water closet area....

...and this is the vanity area...

I like how they tie everything together.

And should we need to ever move, the basic space is neutral enough for most men to deal with.  Maybe. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Practicing Focus

Just working on better understanding our camera and improving my photography skills!  I'm excited to start figuring it all out.  The sunflower was cropped and lightened a tiny bit...the rose is untouched, manual focus, flash off.  All flowers found within 25 yards of my home.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Orzo Salad: Perfect Summer Dish

Hi Friends!

I made this exceptionally tasty salad for my son's graduation party and thought I would share the recipe with you today.  It is served at room temperature (or cold) and is a perfect summer salad.  My mom shared this recipe with me years ago.

Here are the ingredients:

1 box of orzo, cooked (hot)
1C chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 small jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
8 ounces of fat free feta cheese
1C or so of fresh chopped Italian parsley

6 basil leaves
3garlic cloves
2T lemon juice
1 t. pepper
1/2t. salt

First, puree the dressing ingredients and set aside.  Place the hot cooked orzo into a bowl and pour the dressing over it, mixing well.  Cool to room temp.
Place rest of ingredients into the bowl and mix in well.
This is best if it sits in the fridge overnight and is then restored to room temperature before serving.  Taste it and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Feel free to add more veggies and change up the dressing or add extra.  This last time I used a light champagne vinegarette instead of the recipe above and it was great.

Let me know if you try it!  :)


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Mantle

Hello friends!  In all the confusion of finishing up the school year (the paid job), my eldest son's graduation party and the simultaneous wrapping up of our master bath renovation, I never changed out the fireplace mantle from it's spring trimmings.  To tell the truth, I didn't even notice it in all it's green glory until I decided to place some flowers and balloons upon it for the big graduation day.

So yesterday I shopped the house to see what I could come up with.  I am noticing that my design and decorating style at least inside the house has become more simple and minimal than in years past. 

I gathered a few items and threw them together to create a clean, coastal feel.

Above:  prints from my Guest Bedroom, one of my antique Japanese fishing floats (my only dark one), and a starfish that used to live in my boy's bathroom (renovation of boys bath here if interested!).

Below:  I moved things around a bit to see if I preferred the mantle this way.  Opposite side:  another print from the Guest Bedroom and some art by my younger son (this one is a shell done in pointillism), as well as a shell collected somewhere.

The mirror below is from IKEA.  I bought it quite a while ago with the intention of placing it in the master bathroom when we renovated, but it did not work.  I really like this mirror, though, and think I may place it somewhere in the dining room this fall.  I am tiring of the red in my dining room (again, back to more simple and minimal for some reason!).

Grays and tans are not terribly exciting, but that is where I am at right now.  Below is the feeling I would hope to capture in my decorating during this season (though I could never compete with God's beautiful creation!).

 (photo by Alyssa Welch)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun Graduation Caps

No, they are not healthy and yes, far too many wrappers are involved (the waste annoys me), but these little graduation caps are a fun and creative addition to a graduation party.  They are super easy to do.

Here is how you too can make them: 

First gather the will need miniature peanut butter cups, small squares of chocolate, "writing" frosting, and m&ms or chocolate chips for the tops of the caps..

Begin by placing the peanut butter cups upside-down on wax or parchment paper.  I actually stuck my peanut butter cups in the freezer for a little while prior to assembling these so they would be a bit easier to work with.  Next, attach the top of the graduation cap by squeezing a tiny bit of icing on the center of the peanut butter cup.

Using the writing icing, make a small "tassle" off of the side and stick a chocolate chip or m&m on top.

Place in fridge until ready to use.

And that's it!  A fun and easy little treat for your graduate!  :D


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Master Bathroom Renovation (reveal!)

Hi Friends! 

Here is our bathroom renovation!  I am still awaiting the installation of the window treatments, and we are changing the overhead lighting slightly after our son's high school graduation, but I wanted to start getting the bathroom organized finally.  I apologize for my photography...I seriously need a tripod and a wide angle lens would have helped.  But at least you will get the idea of the room.  :)

The renovation took 2 months...basically I designed the bathroom and a very talented contractor worked with me on every detail. 

Click here for some before shots of our bathroom in all it's 1970s glory!  :D  I started blogging about wanting to re-do our master bath years ago.  Some of my inspiration photos are posted here as well as on pinterest.  Years ago (I mean years ago!), I was very inspired by a piece I had read about Barbara Barry's home in LA.  I was just mesmerized by her use of dark wood coupled with bright and simple white.  While my style is not as contemporary as Barbara's, I always knew I would want a dark floor and white walls for my bathroom transformation.  So, that's what I did!  :) 

OK, onward we go......:)

The biggest change is that we replaced our awful tub and tile surround with free standing tub.  New beadboard and more substantial mouldings create texture and interest.

 I have tried to inject a bit of glamour into the space with some silver accessories, but I have also used natural, woven baskets.  The tile floor is beautiful and is made to look like hardwood.

We added sconces to the tub area and a double towel bar rack in polished nickel.

When the old tub was removed, there was quite a bit of wasted space, so I decided to add some shelving.  The contractor was great at creating this open cabinet.  Originally I was going to add a skirt to the bottom section (and I still might), but I found two matching baskets at IKEA that fit perfectly and tie in nicely with the floor and mirrors.

Below are our two sinks.  We kept the original sinks, countertop and vanity area intact.  We ripped off the overpowering expanse of mirror and replaced it with a total of three smaller mirrors.  We also replaced the sink fixtures with new fixtures in polished nickel.

I decided to hang this seahorse sculpture between our two sink mirrors.  He used to hang in our boys' bathroom before we updated it.  I bought this guy in beautiful Dana Point.

More silver accents....

The vanity side of the bathroom is below...we have a ton of storage in this bathroom!  A natural woven blind will be installed on the window here as well as in the shower area.

Shower area below...

Shower tile is white subway tile, with carerra marble flooring and insert/bench.

On top of the water closet I placed a few pretty items...

It took 2 full months for this project from start to (nearly) finish, but it really has been worth it!

Paint colors are Old Prairie by Ben Moore and Whisper by Dunn Edwards for all of the beadboard, trim and cabinets. 

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  :)


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Minimalist Shower

As some of you may know, we have been renovating our master bathroom which is something I have wanted to do for many, many years.  The shower tile is simple but so pretty that we installed a clear shower door on the shower.  I will have more photos of the bathroom as soon as it is finished!

UPDATE!!!  To view the completely updated bathroom:  click here!

There was no way I was going to ruin the beauty of this simple shower with a bunch of ugly shampoo bottles.  ;)  Plus, to reduce my carbon footprint, I had purchased my shampoo, conditioner and body wash in bulk but to be honest did not much like the look of these huge containers in our former shower.

**Did you know that many co-ops, health food stores and cosmetic wholesale distributors will sell things like shampoo in bulk (either monster-sized containers like I have or a refillable variety)???  Do a google search for your area!  I purchased my shampoo and conditioner directly from a hair stylist when the products were being discontinued, and our body wash is Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap-available in a gallon sized jug!**

I looked for stainless steel pumps for our new shower, but could not find any that seemed to be quality products that would last.  Either that, or they were the wall-mounted variety (and super pricey).

I was out shopping this weekend, however, and found these cool pumps on sale for under $5 each!

Younger son went to work labelling them for me.  (Yes, I know the label maker is not a "green" practice!  However, it was a gift I'd received before I was as environmentally aware as I am today, and I have had it for years without ever refilling the label tape).   

I like the look of these pumps in our new shower.  :)

I should also mention that there are many, many do-it-yourself home recipes for shower gel, regular soap, liquid hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and even hairspray.  Making your own (fill in the blank) is almost always a more sustainable practice, less costly, and just plain good for your psyche.  I have a few of these recipes on my pinterest board labelled "Homemade."  Check them out!  :D

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