Sometimes it is Just a Good Night

September 29, 2013

From Janelle:

The day after our 200 Year Anniversary Party I saw it and stopped in my tracks and gaped in horror.  We had been madly cleaning in preparation for the party for only a few days due to the continuing construction zone but it seemed that things were pretty well picked up.  I had not inspected under the bed as there is an inch of dust covering a lifetime of decorating magazines (see “Design Until We Drop”) and it was not something that I would be able to get to before the party.

The remodel has not yet hit the master bedroom/bathroom thus tidiness is key as well as a distracting focal point.  Holli Thomas delivered the bedspread I’d commissioned just the day before the party in the continuing evolution of the funky bed.  The fabric reminds me of my grandmother.  She had a straw purse embellished with peacocks in the 70’s and when I saw the pattern in the colors of my bedroom it seemed a perfect fit.

How and why I didn’t see it until the next day is beyond me but there it was, plain as day, as it had been the previous evening as sixty people meandered about checking out the new digs.


And no, I am not making it up.

From Lewis:

HA. Chicks sometimes worry about all the details nobody will notice. I’m sure we have not been ousted from any party list due to the dust under the bed but there must have been some conversation amongst anyone who looked further into things such as where we hide the sex toys.

Would you die of embarrassment or laugh or both?




June 16, 2013

From Janelle:

After a year of ordering samples, visiting showrooms, dragging wood pieces everywhere I went and accosting every friend I have with a spec of taste for advice, I have chosen a floor.  (Thanks Laura and Kevin!)

Many people don’t realize that design, as well as fashion, has trends.  A big style in flooring these days is “pickled” and I don’t care for it.  Reclaimed wood is hot as well and while it is gorgeous it just doesn’t fit my retro modern “rad with bling“ style (see March 10 “What’s Your Style?” post).  Dark and gray flooring are both hip now and every designer I’ve come in contact with over the past year tried to steer me in this direction.  I know they would both look amazing and that I would hate them.

I did find a couple lumbers that I really liked but they need to be oiled.  OILED.  Who in their right mind would buy floors that need to be OILED?  Maybe not annually but regularly every stick of furniture in the house would have to be moved so that the wood could be oiled.  No thank you!

For six months we had the 9” wide “farmhouse” oak floors laid out for daily viewing.  The workers moved them around, shoved them under the fireplace hearth stacked under trash, walked on them and an inch of dust covered them but still, I gazed at them, hoping a moment of clarity would show itself and give me inspiration.

We were in LA yesterday finalizing our cabinet hardware purchase at Liz’s Antique Hardware (thanks for your help Paul! and we even got a peek at Liz) and I stopped in a store called Croft House specializing in beautifully handcrafted custom furniture made from reclaimed lumber.  The pieces were beautiful, tactile and intriguing but they just don’t fit in with my design.  The salesperson/budding designer beamed when I told her how beautiful I found them and I lingered longer than necessary.

I finally decided that stained maple was the only solution and carried around a piece of the farmhouse board to match the color, hoping that we wouldn’t have to commission a custom stained product (custom means expensive!)  I visited several showrooms and then on a whim Lewis and I visited a store and voilà, there it was, a stained maple, 3 1/4” wide plank light brown, yes brown, (who knew?) floor.  The manufacturer is Lauzon in Canada of all places, the color Sahara in hard maple.  Let’s hope the wood is as beautiful covering the living room as it is on the 11” x 18” sample!

From Lewis:

Did we order flooring??? No way. Really? Which one are we getting? You mean it’s not from one of the samples all over the house??  It must have been in your car, right?  Well I guess we can move on then. What? I will take three weeks to get here?  From Canada!!  WOW!  So all we need to do now is level and seal and put in the radiant heat tubes.  Oh and let the wood acclimate to the climate for a week or two before it is installed. We are almost there.   The floors will be sealed so we won’t be able to walk on them for 15 hours.  It’s a good thing that Janelle is a monkey and can climb up the scaffolding…..


Lauzon sample over the farmhouse flooring.  The color brings out the shades in the hearth.

Lauzon sample over the farmhouse flooring. The color brings out the brown in the hearth.

Concrete floors before leveling.

Concrete floors before leveling.





Design Until We Drop

August 6, 2012

I’ve been planning a major project for 15 years, studying design magazines and accumulating a binder stuffed full of ideas.  We worked with an architect to transition a 1930’s bungalow into what would have been a beautiful house and everything we could have imagined in that space.  After much soul searching we decided that since our ultimate goal was to move to a nearby neighborhood, it made more sense to bite the bullet and make the move.

We purchased an 80’s ugly house with lots of natural light and good bones and planned to remodel soon.  Ten years later our project has begun.

Dana Jones of The Kitchen Consultant patiently created at least five designs until we finally arrived at the perfect one.  The kitchen and the “Cocktail Room” (formerly the dining room) spaces will swap, the kitchen will move towards the front of the house and the bar to the back with a 16’ counter connecting the two.  Every detail has been planned from where to put the trash cans and recycle bins so that guests can find them to planning where each knife, pan and spice jar will be stored.

After all these years of development, I still pour through magazines and watch designing shows for tidbits of new ideas.  Lewis (most of the time) uncomplainingly watches portions that I’ve saved for him or listens while I explain how the spread in the publication would fit into our design.  We will both be very relieved when it is done.

From Lewis:

Some girls have their dream wedding book that they take much time to put together.  Janelle has amassed about forty pounds of design magazines and numerous clips that are stashed under her side of the bed and the magazines still keep coming!!!  Sometimes I think that she has so many ideas she can’t keep track of them.  The Tivo is almost full of decorating shows that I must view over and over.  Most of the stuff doesn’t fit into the context of what we are doing but every now and then something just might work.

From Janelle

I had to get creative for space when we moved to our upstairs “apartment” which why they’re now under the bed (no need to have junk under the bed).  We have several ideas in our plans that Lewis garnished from watching the design shows, the most significant being a “shadow box” in an odd little “balcony” at the top of our stairs.  I never would have thought of that!

Kitchen Sketch

Our odd “Romeo and Juliet” balcony that Lewis figured out how to make fabulous!

Balcony Shadowbox idea from our Tivo playlist

Tagging Party August 2011

June 26, 2012

From Janelle

Remodel commencement dates are ambiguous.  Contractor schedules, vacations, and LIFE all come into play when determining when to begin such an endeavor.  Summer, however, is for parties.  Warm evening, outdoor barbecue centered, summer parties.  While the remodel trigger date hadn’t yet been determined, we were certain that it would begin soon and planned an August Tagging Party.

“Taggers” were invited to bring a felt tip marker and graffiti away on our pristine white walls.  Who knew our friends were so talented?  Mary Ann free handed murals in mere minutes, Debbie drafted 60’s era art and Tracy Metro, TV host and designer, went wild with a fluorescent orange spray can.  An unnamed party got a little crazy and spray painted a body outline in the carpet, complete with a wine stain for blood.  Seriously!?!

Mortgage interest rates dropped and refinancing the house was a no brainer until our loan broker informed us that the house must be “made presentable” for the appraiser.  Our beautifully defaced walls needed covering.  After a couple of trips to Home Depot to cover the markers that had soaked through several coats of paint the scribbling was a distant memory.  Most of it anyway.

The appraiser made his rounds, unaware that the Christmas wrapping paper strewn on the floor covered the life-sized body line, re-hung paintings covered holes in walls the contractor had cut for structural discovery and the strip of doodles remaining on an aqua wall went unnoticed.  Whew!  Our refinance concluded without a hitch.

From Lewis:

There really is not a good time to start a project. Just do it and get it done. You can try to plan but just let it run its course and start when you’re ready.

The party was a blast and everyone had fun. Too bad we had to cover all the artwork but we have plenty of photo documentation.  I wasn’t worried that we would be able to disguise our artwork although concealing the body on the floor with Xmas boxes and wrapping paper was pure genius. Of course, it was my idea.

Debbie’s artwork

Tracy Metro (famous designer!) graffiti

Lewis 3:00 AM

Lewis 3:00 AM

Someone didn’t make it home.  Can I keep the wall?

Marriage or Remodel?

February 3, 2012

From Janelle:

I love my husband Lewis more than anything in this world.  He’s my best friend, confidant, playmate.  We rarely argue and really never really fight but lately, we’ve been fighting.  What is the turn of events that has caused this unusual phenomenon?  We’re remodeling.

Actually, we haven’t even started our remodel yet and we’re fighting.  The project is expected to take almost a year.  Wow, this is really going to be fun.

We’ve had little squabbles over the past few months but when I decided that we should move out of the construction zone, at least for a few months, I was met with firm resistance.  My husband is usually a pretty easy-going guy.  We give and take but if I really want something, he’s usually pretty accommodating.  Not this time.

Taurus is known for loyalty….and stubbornness.  I’ve seen that side before but this time was different.  His heels were dug in, his jaw was set, and his tone was very firm.  Whenever the subject was broached and I asked why he didn’t want to move, his only answer was, “I just don’t see the need”.

He could live in a cardboard box.  Me?  No way.  In our early dating history he asked me to go camping in Yosemite.  “I don’t camp” was my response.  “It will be fun.  We’ll pack our gear, hike, pitch a tent in the wilderness and camp under the stars.”  “I don’t camp”.  A few rounds later he finally believed me.

We were going at it pretty hard about moving out for a few weeks until the house we were planning to occupy was no longer available.  We had planned to stay there while it was for sale (that’s my kind of camping) but it sold faster than expected.   The next day the fighting stopped.  He felt that he’d won the battle.

That space is no longer an option but I haven’t completely given up the notion of relocating.  When the plastic has covered our doorways and dust has blanked everything that we own, we’ll see where we land.  The battle may have been won but the war is not lost.

From Lewis:

It’s true. We rarely ever fight.  We don’t always agree but disagreeing usually does not end up in a fight.  I usually let her think she is right just because she is so stubborn and won’t accept that she may be wrong.  I’m fine walking away because most of the time there is nothing worth fighting about but this time I was not going to let her off that easy because she was wrong and nothing was going to change her mind.

We started this project with the laundry room. It turned out great but it was done first so that the cats would have a place to live during the construction and so that we would not have workers upstairs while we were living upstairs. I have already prepared myself to live comfortably in our upstairs “apartment” with a few minor inconveniences and I am not about to move away.

It will get dusty upstairs but not that much and we already have our bar set up in our bedroom and toaster oven and mini-fridge in our master bathroom.  What else could we need?

kitchen, mini frige

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