Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bathroom Transformation: Wallpaper

Edit: Hi. I know, I know, it's been 3 years! I'm sorry I've been remiss. I'm still as ever obsessed with interior design and making my house a home. Stay tuned!

After years of dragging my feet, I finally did it. I found a wallpaper I actually liked and decided to pull the trigger on revamping our guest bathroom. Goal: To feel like I'm a little critter living on the inside of a log in a forest.

My original bathroom isn't bad. I like the simplicity, but it's all so white and sterile. I do like our white hexagonal tiles and our marble countertops. But I want a bold, vibrant pattern, because it's such a little room. I've always loved dark florals, so I decided to go for that. Here's the original:




It's a very tight space with very little natural light, so going with a dark floral paper is definitely a bit of a toss up. But with the help of my friend Dan, who was in the market for wallpaper and wanted to use my bathroom as a guinea pig, I figured removable paper couldn't hurt. If it looks bad, I can just take it down.

So I found a pattern I loved on this great Etsy wallpaper store that specializes in removable wallpaper, Muse Wall Studio.

First, we laid out all four rolls to make sure the pattern matched up.


Like I said, woodland log.

Then, we just had to go for it. Starting from the top corner, going from right to left (against the instructions, but I figured I'd do the most visible area first in case my final cutting down was a failure) I slowly and very carefully began to peel off the sticky backing and using a hard edge window washer, methodically wiping out any air bubbles.

Using painter's tape to roughly figure out the lineup of pattern, it was actually very simple. If I messed up, I simply had to pull it back up and restick.


What to do about the towel rack?

Dan removed the towel bar and we very carefully used an X-acto blade to cut holes around the screw posts. Then voila, stuck the rack back on: seamless!



The wallpaper was amazing. We trimmed the excess off the corners with the same X-acto knife, and voila, it was done in less than 3 hours.





I can't get a good angle, but here's the finished product. We only did one accent wall so as not to overwhelm.

Here's the before again...

And here's the after!


I love the results!

One of my favorite things is that when you look at the (soon to be changed) mirror, you see a sea of forest pattern behind you, essentially giving you a visual rectangle of wallpaper on the opposite wall.




Would I use temporary wallpaper again? Absolutely. But this one is sticking around (no pun intended) for a few years while I get my pretend-i'm-a-squirrel-in-a-log-drinking-tea-out-of-a-mushroom-cap kicks.

In the meantime, I will continue transforming our guest bathroom. Next step: revamp that mirror and the vanity. More soon.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Weekend Treasure Hunt: Estate Sales!

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to scour the local estate sales and see if I can find any treasures before the collectors do. The usual chain of predator>prey in LA goes: Estate sale > collectors > vintage stores / flea markets > us. If you want to get a good price, the early bird gets the worm.

This particular estate was a film director's home in Eagle Rock. There was some fabulous stuff here and I got to peek into the house of someone who was obviously a fan of chinoiserie and laquered, bold colors. Recall in an earlier post I said that rich people love Asian stuff? Well, true here too.

The company running the sale promised a "mid-century pagoda in the sky..." and the pictures were promising!




A few of my fave highlights...

This amazing black and white Hollywood regency bathroom with nothing to buy, but what a gorgeous peek. Those striped marble floors!


This cool velvet flocked damask wallpaper that went all the way up on the slanted ceiling. Not my style, but fun to look at.


Lots of books to choose from in a very red library...


A pair of very pretty faux bamboo nightstands...


...A peek inside the drawer told me they were Drexel, a very respected mid-century brand.

And my favorite stuff, the waspy tchotchkes like these horse head book ends and this greyhound figurine.

I loved this vintage Italian brass letter opener, but couldn't bring myself to spend $55 on it when my fingers open letters for free.


Walked out of this one empty-handed, but the best part of the treasure is the hunt!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mangoes and Oranges and Loquats, Oh My!

Growing up on the East Coast, I was obsessed with growing my own food. One of the things I always dreamed about was having fruit trees in my yard - but alas, the closest we ever got was some juniper berries. My dad caught me eating flowers once, but that's another story.

Enter California! Dun dun dun!

When we first moved in to our house here in Los Angeles, one of the most fun things was figuring out what all the mystery trees around our yard were. I prayed for fruit.

Turns out the one cloaked in shadow on the right is...


Ta da! A mango tree!


Anyone who knows me knows that mangoes are my absolute favorite-est fruit and I would marry a mango if fruit-human relations unions were legal. My lifelong dream is to have a mango tree in my yard, and here it is. Dreams really do come true! *sob!*

Unfortunately, I didn't foresee the asshole squirrels...


Every morning, I would find one of my mangoes torn off the tree with one bite taken out and the rest discarded. I mean, one bite? ONE BITE?! Didn't your parents ever tell you there are starving kids in China, squirrel?

I still don't exactly know what kind of tree is on the left in that same pic up top, but fingers crossed it's a loquat tree:


My mother grew up eating these fruits in Taiwan. Here in LA, I've never seen anyone eating them, but I definitely see a lot of these trees dotting our neighbors' yards.

We also have a tree by our driveway. For the longest time, I thought it was a lemon tree, til I noticed the fruit were all staying green. Then I thought it was a lime tree, but come spring...


Oranges! Complete with fragrant and beautiful white orange blossoms!


Since there were so many oranges we couldn't keep up, and they were beginning to weigh the top branches down, I picked a little harvest a few weeks ago. A quick bath in our farmhouse sink...


And off they go to the neighbors.


Ahhhh...fruits. Is there anything they can't do?

Future plans: an avocado tree, a lemon tree, and a fig. But one thing at a time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Great Danes

Had a chance to stay in the adorable Landsby Hotel in Solvang, California, a weird adorable little Danish town nestled in Santa Ynez Valley (of Sideways fame) that was settled by Danish pioneers in 1911.

Having been to Solvang previously, I never understood why the town didn't capitalize more on the trendiness of the Danish and Scandinavian aesthetic and interior design. The majority of the buildings feel like they're out of a Hans Christian Anderson storybook, replete with windmills and thatched roofs. The majority of the hotels are motels, and the stores are stuffed with touristy tchotchkes with little windmills and angelic dolls. It's cute and all, but certainly on the campy side.


But then in sweeps the Landsby, like a hurricane of interior design and good taste. Somebody realized that Danish modern was, like, a thing, and finally decided to capitalize on it. And they did it beautifully!

The hotel is decked out with some seriously gorgeous design choices. Check out the waiting area by the check-in desk:


Love that bench! The hotel bar...


Small tile details on the stairs...


The restaurant/breakfast room:



...and the gorgeous lobby:


Well done, Landsby! For this appreciator of modern Danish furniture, you certainly pressed a few buttons. Of course, when I wanted my thirst for camp quenched, there was still plenty of that in the rest of Solvang. Plenty of quaint little streets and adorable stores:



In an old book store, I found these awesome old Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown books- a series I used to beg my parents to mail-order for me (they didn't).


What's that, you say? You want a toy that was made to capitalize on a NASA launch that later became a national tragic disaster? Here you go:



Who wants a horse-drawn carriage ride? How about a trolley ride? No? How about a horse-drawn trolley ride? (Has anyone called the ASPCA about this?)


Last but certainly not least were these delicious Danish pancakes with Danish sausages and cinnamon-spiced apples from the historic Paula's Pancake House. If you go, make sure to go early, or else expect to wait in line.





Monday, January 4, 2016

The Cord Wrangler

They call me...the Cord Wrangler.

I'll say it once and I'll say it again. I'll shout it from the top of the mountains:

I! Hate! Cords! Die, cords, die!

With our ever-growing dependence on technology, our house is slowly becoming a rat's nest of wires and cables from our multiple computers, laptops, monitors, hard drives, routers, speakers, and the like. So messy. So ugly. So... cordy.

I was reminded of this when we moved. Behind our TV was a huge tangle of cords, cables, AC adaptors, and plugs leading to who knows where. My OCD was triggering.

In an effort to make the home theater look cleaner, we'd already upgraded to a media console with closed doors (had to install an infrared remote to get the remote to be able to work through the doors). But man, just LOOK at the hellish landscape of wires beneath the thing!

 


In an attempt to remedy this...er, situation, I bought me a swiveling surge protector on the advice of my dear technologically inclined friend, and some 3M Command Strips, which I've decided are the spice of life. Isn't that how the saying goes? Command Strips are the spice of life? Seriously, these things can do EVERYTHING. Organize boots. Hang curtain rods. Show art. Did I mention rid your life from the rat's nest of cords that are plaguing you every time you look at your television?

I hired a professional electrician to mount the TV on the wall and hide the cords behind the drywall. Then I promptly let all those other organizational tools sit on top of the media console for another 2 months, further exacerbating my problem.

Finally, today I broke down and did it. I cracked it like a mathematical proof, piece by piece. I'm Beautiful Minded this dilemma!

First I unplugged everything and labelled the cords with washi tape and a Sharpie - yep, all 12 of them. That way, when deciding what to unplug, I'm not randomly pulling power from, say, the Wifi in the middle of a live stream about Star Wars. Just for example.



Then using the sticky strips from Command Hooks...


...I attached the surge protector to the back of the console. (Forgot to take a pic, whoops.) Then, using zip ties, I wrangled each cord so it was the minimum length needed to reach the plugs to prevent confusing tangles. Lastly, I stuck more command hooks to the back of the console and used them to hook any loose wires or wrangled cables together so it would be tidier. Phew!

I'll be honest, it ain't pretty to look at from the back...



... but it's a party in the front.



Here it is again! I hate to see you go...



...but I love to say hello.


Next up, I've got to wall mount that sound bar and hide the wire behind the dry wall (the single cord is killing me!) and figure out a solution for the fugly router and the bass amplifier. If anybody has any ideas for pretty-making that won't compromise sound and/or wifi access, let me know! And yes, I know it probably involves getting rid of that damn tattered cat scratcher.

Til then, death to cords!