Tag Archives: mood board

medium waves

Let’s talk big moves, shall we?

Or maybe medium moves. I’ve got bigger moves in mind for later.

First up – the dining room may be the death of me. I am silently (or not so silently) cursing its very existence. Its very location. Just about everything related to it. I thought the living room was the project that would not end, but now I know better. The living room took awhile, but it’s looking so good, and we had direction, followed through, and carried on.

The dining room is vexing, and also covered in drywall dust and dropcloths and plastic, so let’s ignore it for now. Working on that room is like stepping into a black hole – it sucks the time and the life out of you, and I’ve got no clear direction for it yet – just floating ideas, and most of the good ones are M’s. I’m just stumped. Agreeing to ignore it, and moving on.

I should entitle this series “Projects to Plan and Start While Ignoring Everything Unfinished in My Life”. I’m okay with that. I need a room with less square footage, enclosed by four walls, and only asked to perform two basic functions: cleaning and voiding. I apologize if that sounds a little blunt.

I outlined some of my long term goals for this room in the Master Bathroom post here – including my first run at a mood board. I’m still thinking along those lines, but I’m honing it a bit. Indigo, white and wood – I really want to introduce some wood into the room. That might seem a little strange in a room that deals in water and humidity, but I love the idea of bringing in some wood of a similar color and style as the rest of our wood-happy house. I also talked about my thoughts on simplicity / utility made beautiful – as exemplified in Shaker style buildings and furniture and design.
click to enlarge
Currently, when the door is open you stare at a fairly large expanse of bare space – a luxury in a bathroom, I do think. We have an old pie safe in there, with four zillion coats of paint on it. My parents gave it to me when I furnished my first apartment, and did a lot of work to make it more functional. They even promised to pay for some cool leaded glass panels in the open spaces of the doors to replace the old chicken wire long removed – but in a move that was entirely my fault, I never took them up on it, never designed the panels, or had them made. It’s quite functional – you can access what you need from the cabinet without even opening the doors. But it’s cluttered, and no amount of cleaning / organizing helps with that.
Years ago I sketched up ideas for built-in white cabinets there – like the ones we have in all the bedrooms. But M kind of balked at the idea of turning every single room of our house into a custom white wardrobe wonderland. I think he’s right on that. I would love drawers – drawers full of magically appearing fluffy white towels that never look old or worn or tired. A drawer to hide all the contact solutions and static guard sprays and our one and only concession to my vow to never darken the doors of a Sam’s Club – the bulk razors. Can’t you picture a simple tray on top with a stack of white towels and my grandmother’s milk glass with fresh flowers? I’m sure that’s what M’s picturing each morning as he heads in there before dawn.
The wainscoting is started in there – it wouldn’t be difficult to finish out the verticals, and then to add a very modern, sleek rendition of the classic Shaker peg. I don’t really want to hang a zillion things from each one, but I could see a few beautiful things hanging there – a mirror or a brush.
As the season changes to longer nights and cooler temperatures, I find myself soaking in that tub more often. I’d love a room that can transform itself from straightforward morning business to simple evening luxury. Think lighting that can highlight and illuminate bright white ceilings and high walls in the morning, and then other lighting that can be darker and moodier and almost disappear into inky blues in the evening, almost candle-like. 
I have the blue and white sun prints I did awhile back that I would include in there, and I love this kikiandpolly piece that just might be on my Christmas list. That, and/or just about any Michelle Armas piece.

More wood in the form of a wood framed (oversized) modern mirror and maybe even a wooden beaded lamp for some tub reading. A wooden plank to rest a book or a glass of wine or a candle. Nothing overboard, just a hint of it in a few key places.

And finally, I’d like to repaint the black bottom of my cast iron tub a lighter shade – maybe inspired by the subtle gray waves of Abigail Edwards’ Seascape wallpaper  or Shibori.

These are all small moves (excepting, perhaps the dresser), but I think they would add up to a truly beautiful space – a retreat, perhaps, from the dining room debacle below.

the befores

Welcome to the living room.  We decided to tackle this project head on in January, and in our typical style, we’re getting around to it mid-February.  I’ll give you a bit of a tour of where we are and a few hints about where we’re headed.  We’ve been slowly packing up the pieces of this room in an effort to start fresh with a clean slate.

The packing began during the last big snow storm, and for every thing wrapped up and put into a box, one more thing was brought into the fray to work on by E.  The shelves on the wall were a score almost a decade ago – they were a floor sale item.  We’ve had them filled with photos and mementos of our time living in Italy and South Africa, but they don’t hold much, and always seemed to need dusting.  Our storage needs for books greatly exceed these three shelves.

Here’s the corner now where the leather storage bench currently sits, most often piled high with the backpacks and diaper bags for the following day.

Above it hang my three favorite photos from our wedding, now boxed up and waiting for readmission.  This bench serves a great purpose – it actually stores quite a few games and toys, but the reality is the things inside are not easy to access – the bench always has something sitting on it that requires moving first – so the toys that are in there are mostly neglected.  And if there is one thing that drives me crazy, it’s having things around that we don’t use.
The view into the dining room from the living room.  If it were an easy fix, the first thing I would do is enlarge this opening between the two rooms.  We actually did enlarge it – there used to be a 3′-0″ wide door between this room and the next (remember, this was just a three room unit originally), and we made the opening 5′-0″ instead.  If it were an easy and not outrageously expensive and time-consuming fix, I’d spend a few weekends scouring local salvage places for an old pocket door and reframe this wall to hold it.  Then, when the baby demands her third helping of eggs and sausage and oatmeal and individually segmented grapefruit with a glass of hand-squeezed grapefruit juice on the side (she did, in fact, eat that for breakfast this very morning), I’d announce that I was escaping for a moment to the library, slide the door shut and drink my coffee in peace.  I exaggerate, I know, but a pocket door would be lovely and perfectly in keeping with the slightly grander homes of the same period.
Here it is, mid-pack.  You can see the actual clutter of toys and stuff before being moved, and the visual clutter of the room.  The large cabinet holds our TV and various other electronics, and for the most part the doors are kept closed.  This is all coming out of this room – which opens up some possibilities for this wardrobe to actually become just that.  If you look through the opening, you’ll see the corner of a winter coat peeking out.  (You’ll also see the temporary snow-bound office, but ignore that.)  Just on the other side of that wall hangs the most undersized coat hook with the largest amount of coats that can possibly hang on it.  Which means that every time someone walks by, at least one of the coats fall off the hooks onto the floor.  We have a room that must do double duty – entry hall and living space.  The result isn’t always pretty – particularly in the winter.
This last wall has the original mantel with a period cast iron summer front from a local antiques shop.  The mirror is nice, but this wall really lacks any appeal.  The color in the room is very drab and hasn’t been painted in almost eleven years.  This was the first room we really moved into, and we’ve never done more to it than just the basics.  The biggest decorating effort comes around each year in December when we squeeze the largest evergreen into the space and cover it with lights.  Every January, once the tree is gone, it looks a little less inviting.  Neither of us are really moved by the color of the mantel.  The summer front is nice, but although painted a traditional black, the details are really lost.  The marble hearth is a salvaged piece, and the trim is all original.  I love the picture rail, and we use it.  We wish we had a working fireplace but have no idea the condition of the existing flue.  The floors are in great shape.  The windows aren’t bad (although single glazed and drafty).  Replacing them is a big commitment, and would require the replacement of our bedroom windows as well for continuity on the front of the house. 
Packing up.
This is actually the neat version of the shoe / boot corner.  This is not the norm.  For people that do not actually own very many shoes at all, they seem to multiply under feet at the entrance to our house.
This might have been the first piece of furniture that we bought together – and this has been a good couch.  It has held up well for a decade, and I’m sure it will eventually find a good home somewhere else.  I’d like something a little smaller in here, and in a completely different color.  The room has a really nice size and volume to it with the high ceilings and almost perfect square shape, but it’s not the easiest to lay out furniture in with room to move between the pieces and still navigate the front door.  Plus, this couch is all we’ve got in here, and I think our extended family is getting sick of sitting on the floor while hanging out with us.  Our friends don’t even bother.
And rug – just fine, but not the right fit or color for this space any more.  We definitely want a rug in here – a place to throw a game board on, or build a train track, but it needs to be larger, and square and there will be no fringe.  Guaranteed. 
The winner of the most boring award goes to the ceiling light.  It’s a really nice light from Restoration Hardware, and it certainly was an improvement over the bare bulb.  I think we actually might have purchased it on our honeymoon in Vancouver – we did a bit of damage in a Restoration Hardware sale up there.  Undersized and under-inspired – I want something that hangs down lower, is lighter and airier and a light that will help define the seating area of the space a little better.  I think I’ve got just the thing.
Ceiling Light from Normann Copenhagen – scored for a sweet deal.  Of course, we can’t do everything on the wish list below (and really – that’s my wish list, not necessarily ours), but I do hope to get a little bit further towards this, from what you’ve seen above.  And on that note – I’m off to work on those bookshelf drawings a bit more.

Living Room

Stay tuned for progress…

dining room mood board

Dining Room

One of the things that I love about these boards is incorporating my own stuff into them – photos of our family or flower photos from the garden, a cake from a local bakery, a flower arrangement that I love.  Plus, I can always dream of a Barcelona Chair, a cup of coffee and a good book…

For any of these boards, just click on the oiloboard link to see them larger, plus the individual items. Or start your own!