Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Garage Addition, Pouring Concrete Floors And Saving Money On The Way

Good morning, yesterday I started a new project for a dinning room so I wasn't able to post. For today, I am showing you what we are up to at our house. We are under way for our garage addition which will turn out to be our laundry room with a master bedroom and en suite master bath. We don't have enough space in our yard (1/4acre) to build out, but we need the extra space. Our solution is to build out in to the garage giving us 4 full beds and 3 full baths, plus a beautiful split floor plan.
These are the drawings to give you an idea of what our layout will end up looking like.

There are challenges for doing a garage addition such as the loss of storage, but we still have attic space and plan to add a shed to the side of our home for the other extras. For any of you who have the bones of a good home but find yourselves needing some extra space, this is one of the most cost effective solutions that you can do.

Lucky for me my husband has been in the concrete business for 17 years. Pouring, finishing and cutting concrete is what his company does which adds up to huge savings $$$ for lucky little us. *For any of you in the Florida area you can write me and and I will link you to him if you are in need of these services.

Any-whoo, one of the ways that we are saving money on the concrete itself is to add a layer of sand to our garage foundation to raise the elevation so that less concrete needs to be poured on top. This is a very specific process which requires the sand to be 100% compacted and properly treated for termite and pest control and should only be done by an experienced professional. We are working on having the inspection approved today after which we can move forward with pouring the concrete.

The plan ahead is to polish the concrete floors and keep them bare and exposed. This is another way that we are saving money on the flooring, but fear not I will be layering lush drapes, an upholstered bed, chandeliers and overall glamerous style to the room which will juxtapose the rough hard edges of the concrete floors. It''s very modern and extremely exciting for a design risk taker like myself;)

Heres what it looks like now:

Leave it to a Floridian to have a sandy beach in their garage!

Here's what it will look something like when we are done:

Can you believe all those polished concrete floors?! It just goes to show that it's all in how you put something together, and I know how to put something together. Wish us luck on today's inspection and hopefully we will have some floors in there soon~

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Make A Designer Perfect Dining Room, Simplified

Good morning, since I am getting ready to start a project for a friend's dinning room I wanted to do a post about them. For those of us who are lucky enough to have a separate dinning room space it is really a chance to entertain and it needs to be done right. Sound daunting? Not really, follow these general guidelines and you can make yourself a beautiful dinning room that you can be proud of.

1) Every great dinning room will have feature lighting. For most that is in the form of a great chandelier light fixture. That is a very broad term and doesn't just mean a crystal light so think outside the box on this one.

2) Choose your table style. Remember that you can completely mix things around on this one. Do you want a round table or a rectangle, or possibly an oval table? How many people do you need to be able to seat? How large is your room? What style do you want (rustic, modern, traditional)? These are all questions that you will run in to.

3) Choose your chairs. Rarely will I ever buy a room with all pieces together. I will find random things from everywhere and put them together which is really what will give a room interest. With chairs you should look at the number you need, then the style you want. If you went with a rustic table maybe you should choose elegant upholstered chairs or slip covered ones. If you go with modern chairs then maybe your ends can be something completely different like an animal skin (or faux). Perhaps you want the informality of a bench at your table? Make a choice based on what you like and what works for you.

4) Choose your window treatments wisely. Does your room need privacy? Is there too much light pouring in that needs to be filtered? Do you want flowing curtains to adorn your windows and bring in the elegance you need? Do you just want two simple panels to flank the windows that can be opened and closed at ease? This is really a way to add another layer to your room. For me I have white walls with really high flowing white curtains that just add a feminine touch to my very rustic masculine table. It can also be a fun way to choose a fabric and have a local seamstress sew them for less than you think which is a very designer touch. What ever you choose just make sure to not skimp on the details since guests will certainly be in this room.

5) Decide if you want a rug in your dinning room....or not. It can either be a way to add another layer or it can be something that throws an open floor plan off. I have opted for no rug, for now. But there are so many amazing options.Just make sure it is a large enough size and you would typically want one that your entire table can fit on, or one that is simply for decoration such as an animal hide. Keep in mind that it is a dinning room so there could be food and spills.

6) Decide what you will put on your walls if you have them. Will it be a star burst mirror or a floor mirror? Will it be a series of art or photography? Will it be a large canvas or large art piece? This is a big element and will be seen by all so choose wisely.

7) Choose a buffet or display console if you have space. Will yours be a built in or stand alone style? Will it be wood, or will it have mirrors and other elements? Will it be rustic or polished and sleek? There are so many choices that can bring another element to your dinning room. They work well for storage, displaying your lovely treasures, and most of all give you a place to set your champagne bucket for your dinner parties:) Mine serves as a bar and as a place that I put my candles. If you have the space it is worth the investment.

8) What will you display in your dinning room? This seems to be the toughest question that I get asked. My suggestions are to keep it natural and never use fake flowers. Ok so maybe that's just me, but you do what you like. I recommend displaying things in a group of 3 especially on your table (or more if you can). Things that I have done are candles in hurricanes with sand in the base. "Fish" bowels with sand and real coral in them. Round large vases with moss. Round vases with drift wood in them. Basically I favor natural elements when possible. A large piece of drift wood down the center of your table is a great eye catching piece. And always use candles, they cast such a lovely glow and are universally flattering.  As a rule of thumb, switch your table scape with your dinner parties and always try to display real flowers or fruits and veggies when possible. It adds such detailed a touch for your guests.

These are the basics, that you can pick and choose from. Overall think outside the box and make it your own. You will know if something works or not based on how it feels. Keep in mind that a dinning room is about more than appearances. It needs to be comfortable and have the "feeling" of a room that one wants to spend time in for the night and many nights to come. Long gone are the days when we only use them for special occasions so make yours one to remember and one that begs to be used~

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perfect Shade Of Gray

Good morning, this weekend I had a chance to get caught up on much needed patching, cleaning and hanging projects. I also got caught up on the issue of Elle Decore which I have sadly been neglecting. To my delight it was the home of Courtney Cox and it was right up my alley. Take a look.

The perfect mix of color and texture bring this calm living room together in a very informal way.

I love how her all her living and dining spaces open up to the outside with those expansive windows giving you a true outdoor feeling and so much light.

Nothing too fancy in this bedroom yet it gives a feeling of being on retreat. I would love to wake up to coffee looking out those windows.

I love the lived in utilitarian feel to her kitchen areas. What a stylish way to get your hands dirty while entertaining in style.

My absolute favorite part of all however are all her outdoor entertaining areas. The color scheme which stays consistent from the inside out in the muted grays and natural textures and is just stunning as are those views. It is calm yet inspiring which is in my opinion what a home should be. You don't need punches of color all over to give your home character and precision in design, you simply needs lots of texture and visual interest.
I love how she has the glass wall around her seating area above to shield from the wind but takes nothing from the views.  I just love the all around feel of her home. It takes me back to my days in Marin County right outside of San Francisco to what was and always will be my dream~

All photos are courtesy of Elle Decor, read the full article here~

Friday, June 24, 2011

Taking A Design Risk, Glass Mirrored Mosaic Tiles

This morning I wanted to talk about an idea that I have for my new master bathroom. For me the bathroom is a very important place. I spend large amounts of time there taking my time to get ready, I love bathing, and I feel that its a place that we can go and lock the doors without interruptions.

The idea that seems to stick in my memory bank was inspired by a photo that for the life of me I can't find anymore. It is basically a wall of glass mirrored mosaic tiles in a small bathroom hung in a very curved design as opposed to straight even rows with a round mirror hung in the middle above the sink. If any fellow bloggers know this image I would love to see it again. PLEASE HELP.

None the less, I love the curved design idea but for my master bathroom I would either hang two separate mirrors for each sink which gives me so many options as far as the style goes, or I would hang one single rectangular mirror that spans the vanity. For that detail we shall see.

This is a big decision and comes with some risks, but it would make the small space feel enormous and would bring in so much texture and light. I also feel that since there are views of the bathroom  from the bedroom when the door is open, that it would make a statement as art and would add so much visual interest. I'm not sure how I can say no to the thought of it.

Though these inspirational pictures are not exactly what I'm talking about at least you can see these tiles for yourself. Feel free to let me know if you agree or not~

Now I just need to see how much these suckers cost!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Designers I Love: Kelly Hoppen

Good morning, today I wanted to share with you someone who truly inspires much of what I love about design. There are others and I plan to showcase them as well, however this one trumps them all. Kelly Hoppen. She is a true gem and her timeless endless style is compelling and remarkable. She isn't one who you will see using the latest trends or colors, in fact she is more the queen of neutrals, yet her style doesn't come and go as the latest fads do. She is quite the opposite, and I find myself pouring through her books over and over again never tiring of the beautiful images that flood the pages and my inspirational memory bank and here's why:

1) She uses a neutral color palette favoring white, taupe, cream, and greys and may add a pop of color here and there. Typically done with bands of color over things like a pillow which she says is a great way to unify a space. She also suggests mixing your light colors with dark colors for dramatic effect.
2) Play with scale, and don't over crowd a room. She says that large furnishings make a room feel intimate and inspiring.
3)Use task lighting in every room. Lighting is on the top of her list for design essentials which includes more than just chandeliers and lamps. Not in the budget? Even candles can change your space to an intimate setting.
4)Plan to the very last detail. By this she is referring to actual house plans which help you to see the bigger picture and help avoid costly mistakes.
5) Display your favorite objects and store the rest. She also suggests upgrading when you can and saving for what you really want. Who hasn't bought something that they weren't in love with but always longing for the real thing? Sometimes it's better to save and get what you want.
6) She says the sofa should be an elegant statement and best done in a L or U shape to create a focal point for a room.
7) She suggests that you use mirrors and reflective surfaces when ever possible since they reflect light and add depth to a room.

Of coarse when you go through her many books you will learn so much more about all of these design concepts, and she even has a design school in London which would be my dream come true. But here are some inspirational pictures for you to sink your teeth in to~