Category Archives: Design/Living

Kitchen: Finishing touches

As I said in the last post, we spent a lot of time this weekend working around the apartment. While the kitchen didn’t get any new touches, we did talk and think a lot about what it needs to make it feel complete… I need to upload a more recent photo, since we have added door pulls, etc. since this was taken, but as a reminder this is basically where the kitchen stands now:

We are struggling with how to hang art and shelves–the walls really are not in good shape, and we’re worried that we’ll make major trouble if we drill into them. On the other hand, I desperately want to run two shelves along that long left wall, one at the height of the top of the fridge surround, and one enough lower that I can store the coffee canister, etc. on it. I’d paint them white and we’d give them enough of a lip in front that we could have under-shelf lighting under the bottom one to light the counter. That would help with problem 2, which is lighting, which….sigh. I can’t even think about that right now.

We don’t know how to start with shelves. Do we shell out and have a professional come in? Do we experiment a bit with the lathing? I have become quite adept at using self-adhesive wire mesh and putty to patch large holes. Still, it’s overwhelming! But once we work out the shelf problem, we can also figure out how to hang some art above the sink–probably just my “Tea Revives You” print (which I need to frame), but maybe that plus a bunch of smaller things if we work out a good system. Maybe a hanging rail or something for a flexible system and fewer holes?

Keep Calm, Tea

On a simpler front, I am trying to decide between these two completely different clocks, both from Urban Outfitters. We nearly bought a really amazing vintage clock in France but we decided not to get entangled in issues of ancient battery sizes or hard wiring…

Choice One:

Choice Two:

Tricky! (By the way, the orange one is 8 inches wide; the white is 15 inches!)

Kitchen things

Ben ordered the new stove, and we’re thinking about hoods; scary and exciting stuff. Here’s what we’re thinking:

Hood: We need a recirculating hood because drilling through to the outside for ventilation will be a nightmare. Not sure what to do yet.

Stove: I saw the white enamel Viking in Domino at least a year ago and flagged the page, never imagining I might actually have a place to put it. Over the summer I saw it in person at the kitchen showroom where E worked. Stunning. Supposedly it is coming Friday! We will see if the plumber can actually detach our old stove in time, and come hook up the new one. Sadly, I leave for London Saturday night so I won’t get to play with the new stove much at all. (The photo is of the 36″ version–we’re getting the 30″, which will free up some space on that side of the room.)

I have ordered a bunch of prints over the last couple months (for all over the house), and when the last one arrives I will start thinking about how to frame them. I mocked these up at Frames by Mail… I’m thinking these first two, with some other stuff, would be good in the kitchen:
Amy Ross, Manshroom

Keep Calm, Tea

I adore Etsy artist Sk8ordiehard, and I’ve been eyeing her Fungi poster for many moons. But the bright colors definitely send things in a different direction than those mellow browns. Hmmmm.

I already have those first two prints (well, “Tea” is on its way), but they could live in other places in the Funghi poster seems like a better fit in the kitchen. What do you think?

Opinions, please

A quick poll. We need fireplace tools, stat, and I’m torn between two sets:

Choice 1

Choice 2

Downside to #2, which I prefer, is that the tip of the poker screws on instead of being one piece, as far as I can tell. Ben has expressed a strong preference for 1-piece tools so the poker tip doesn’t fall off into the fire. Heh. But does the practicality of #1 outweigh the prettiness of #2?

EDITED: Ok, that seemed like a pretty strong consensus. #1 is on its way; I’ll post pictures when it arrives. Thanks, guys!

On the road

I’m in NYC for a while, and hopefully will be able to cook soon–our accommodations do have a kitchen and internet access!

Meanwhile here are some before and not-quite-after pictures of the apartment. I haven’t even started to hang art, really arrange the furniture, etc. I’m struggling with how to balance out all of Ben’s very traditional furniture, along with the formal and traditional style of the apartment, with my more transitional style. I’m thinking once I get to lighting fixtures and rugs I will go sleek.

rmClick for the Flickr set!

Floral Bonanza

So… I was working at a conference in Boston earlier this week, and we ordered a couple huge bouquets to decorate the room. I brought both vases and one of the arrangements home with me, and Wednesday I deconstructed the enormous bouquet into smaller, more usable bunches. (We lack a grand entryway with a library table or something similar that could carry off a 2.5 foot bouquet.)

Here’s the arrangement:


The preparations:


The results (the Klassy 6-packs in the corner are party leftovers that don’t fit in the fridge!):


And my kind of tabletop flowers, after:


The entire house is full of flowers now, especially since I still had a bunch of spider mums and yellow aster from the dinner parties last week. Everything smells like peonies!


We’re headed off for the long weekend, and I’m so sad to leave all these gorgeous flowers behind! Maybe I should bundle them up and bring them with me, but that seems a bit extreme.

Why we buy old

Scrappy Girl asked today about buying real/knock-off vintage furniture, and it got me thinking about why we love old things. Ben and I are true suckers for old music, houses, furniture…You name it. Our wedding song was “I’m Old Fashioned.” The (big) band played only standards—the music Ben also plays on the piano. So of course when we started apartment hunting we focused on things built before 1940, and especially before 1920. The apartment we ended up with was built around the turn of the 20th century, and it shows. The layout is long and narrow, with the kitchen and maid’s room (my study!) at the back. The exterior doorknobs are brass, with beading details around each one. The inside knobs are either brass of painted wood, depending on where they’re located. The double crown molding ends in picture rails around every room, so I can hang art with picture hooks instead of making holes in the wall, if I want (the inspector was impressed that I knew what they were). And then there is that pantry that I already posted pics of… All those details are what make a house feel special to us, and we feel really lucky that we found something that is nearly perfectly intact.

At the home inspection on Tuesday, I took a closer look at the fireplace, which I was already in love with:


That is….not a great photo. But the gorgeous mantel aside, the fireplace is surrounded with narrow green subway tiles, and a border of white ones. Tuesday I actually leaned into look at the interior, and here is what I found:

fp inside

Ooooh. I think it’s a cast iron liner? I cannot wait to see it with a fire lit!