Thursday, June 23, 2011

If I...bought this fab townhouse in Manhattan

I found this townhouse in one of my visits to Brown Harris Stevens. I just love their site and all the floorplans.

This house was recently renovated and the floorplan rocks. Garage (!) and kitchen on the first floor leading to the garden. Dining and living rooms on the second floor. A home gym (and I'm assuming the floor has been extra supported). Lots of really large bedrooms. Master bedroom on the top floor that has a balcony with Central Park views. And no worries if you're tired after a long day and don't feel like climbing 5 flights of stairs - there's an elevator.

I actually really like the way the house is decorated and would take it fully furnished. Well, I'd replace the table in the dining room - but wouldn't have to immediately. Here are some shots from the website

The main thing I would change is the kitchen. It just screams early 2000s. The color of the cabinets and of the granite counters. The ginormous pot rack in the middle of the room. The layout is fine - I probably wouldn't change that - and I'm sure the appliances are still great, but everything else is getting ripped out.
* I'd make the back and side cabinets white - possibly ever so slightly off white - and have the majority of them with glass fronts to add some light to this space.
* Then I'd have an island made out of reclaimed wood - nice and rustic.

* I'll have a hood hanging down - I think it's a mistake to remove it when you have a professional-grade stove (which I will, natch) - but mine will be brass or maybe aged copper to go with the lights.

* Because I"m replacing the lights with these Hicks egg-shaped pendants from Circa Lighting. Love them! I'll have two gigantic ones on either side of the hood and then two (not sure big or little) above the kitchen table. And all four will be evenly spaced as though they were on the same axis.

* Then I'll have a couple of porthole-style flush mounts on the far edges of the room. No recessed lighting for me! But I also don't want 50 bajillion eggs hanging from the ceiling.

* Finally, I'll paint the walls and ceiling Ralph Lauren Impressionist - a lovely and bright greyish blue. The ceilings on this floor ar 8'6" - nothing to sniff at, but the ceilings in the rest of the house are 10-12' high. So I'll try some tricks to make this floor seem as high as the others, including painting the ceiling the same as the walls.

I also like that they have a real couch as seating for the kitchen table - definitely recreating that. I'll also have a TV somewhere in here that I can view from the table or the stove. Because while this room will look like all kitchen, it really will be half family room.
Anyone have an extra $26 million lying around? Plus a bit more for the renovations...
Side note: this is part of a new series, related to What Would Debbie Do, but I'm liking the If I... title better.  This whole blog is just me playing around so WWDD could make a comeback someday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

mmmmmm-mah jongg!

My friend, Anne, got me playing mah jongg about a year ago and I'm hooked.  I love getting together with this group of women (and sometimes a man or two).  We'll chat about our lives, but mostly just talk smack to each other while playing the game.

Also fun is all the different mah jongg sets out there.  They can be all sorts of colors or have different patterns or pictures on the back.  Me?  I went with the gold glitter ones. 

To play, you turn all of the tile face-down in the middle of the table and shuffle them by moving them around to break up any patterns from the previous hand.

Next, you line up the tiles in front of your rack in a double row.  As you play, you push out each row counter-clockwise and from there you draw your next tile.  Then you save or discard the tiles as needed to match them up with one of the patterns in the little booklet.  When you have them all matched up, you call out "mah jongg!"

Usually it takes until the last row for someone to get mah jongg.  Here's my first winning hand of the night with just a few tiles left to go!  If you click on the picture and squint, you can see that I was matching the pattern in the second section of the middle of the card.  I had never tried to match this particular pattern before, but it worked!  Gotta say, I play a mean game of mahj.

Mary Beth won next when we were still only halfway through the third row.  That's impressive.  When you call for mah jongg, you put all of your tiles on the top of your rack so everyone can check your work.  This picture is still from my perspective (with my oh-so-close hand!).  MB's winning hand is on the right and all of our discarded tiles are in the center.

Emerson and I had a thing at the end of last year where I would go "eeeeeee-YAH!" and she would giggle and mimic me.  One time I changed this to "mmmmmmmm-MAH JONGG!" and well, that was a winner.  For months, whenever I saw her she would say "mmmmmmmmm-MAH JONGG!" at me to goad me into playing the game with her.  When I decided to write this post,I thought it would be fun to get a video of her saying it.  And, of course, that was the day that she had no interest in our game at all.  This was the best I got out of her:

And why was she so distracted?  Because I had brought over a bubble maker.  Mah jongg is fun and all, but it doesn't hold a candle to bubbles!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I want a bench

And it would go here, underneath Zephyr.

To make room for 14 people at Passover, I moved the small dresser upstairs to the spare bedroom.  I've always intended for it to go up there, I was just waiting until I found the right replacement. 

Well, now I'm loving not having a bulky piece of furniture as I enter the house.  I have a straight chair there for now because I do like it as a place to put my purse when I come home.  Plus if I got a real dresser to put there, it would be that much more difficult to make room for my next dinner party for 14. 

So my current brilliant idea is a bench.  Something with a bit of interest.  Maybe tufting?  Maybe nailhead trim?  Maybe a fun fabric?  It should be high enough to be a normal seat (sometimes benches are more footstools in height - not a fan) and just wide enough to fit along my dining table, possibly wide enough to fit three people (we'll stick the skinnies over there).  I also would not turn my nose up at a bit of storage space, though it's not necessary.

Now, I haven't measured any of these, but this is what's going on in my head.

Horchow's Peacock Bench on sale for only $878! (btw - that's sarcasm. Though I do adore the fabric. Hmmm - maybe when they have one of their near-weekly sales?)

Ballard Designs' Simone in Celeste taupe easy-care fabric $329 (much better)

Or maybe in Domino green $345 (would have to check the color against my curtains)

Crate & Barrel's Colette in lilac linen $599 (I've liked this one for a while)

Anyone see any others I should check out?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bonnaroo 2011 - my home away from home

I went back to Bonnaroo for the fourth time this past weekend.  This time, my Roo Crew and I decided to go VIP.  I will also have more info as well as a list of VIP perks over at DebbieRoo, but wanted to share with you my little home away from home here on my home blog.

Each year, I know a little more and buy a little more to be better prepared and this year I went all out.  My tent was all sorts of tricked out and with my brother-in-law's skills at rigging a tarp, our camp was just about as good as a camp could be. 

Welcome to our camp!  You can enter through the east courtyard...

into what started out as our afternoon lounge and turned into the foyer. 

Our courtyard faced east so we thought we'd hide from the afternoon sun here and from the morning sun in the other half.  But it turned out that the morning lounge didn't get that much afternoon sun so we just kept our chairs over there.  Unfortunately I never got a good picture of our setup over there, but it's very similar to above, except without the rug.

Oh, yes, we had a rug.

My brother-in-law brought a few broken-down boxes to use as a rug, but as you can see in the picture above, the edges kept flapping up and tripping us (read: me) so he took some white duct tape and made a grid pattern

Pretty cool, right?  I brought the white duct tape thinking it would be good to highlight any stakes or guy lines that could be tripping hazzards, but we ended up using it for a different type of tripping hazzard.  And got a fab carpet at the same time.

So those were the public spaces.  Moving on to my tent.

I've always been jealous of other campers' tapestries and fun colors.  In previous years, we had an old, solid gray shower curtain and a poorly tie-dyed sheet which worked great at blocking the sun, but didn't add much to the overall aesthetic of our camp.  Last year I bought a small tapestry, but I wanted more this year. 

It all started with an on-sale striped shower curtain I found at Target.  Then I added a polka dotted one bought cheap on Amazon along with a navy paisley tapestry.  And then I remembered that I had some navy & white polka dotted fabric that I used as a tablecloth for a Labor Day party I had when I first moved into my house.  I added a few tarps and was set!

I set up my Coleman Sundome 5 tent underneath my 12x12 Sierra II EZ-Up and hung the various fabric all around.  The super bright shower curtains went in the front

and check out my paper lanterns from World Market!  We hung them from our various EZ-Ups along with some battery-operated Christmas lights my sister brought.  Really made the space special at night and we always left one on for the last person who came home. 

On one side I had the large tapestry and one piece of the navy polka dots and along the back I had one of the tarps to really block my tent from the people camping behind us.  The second piece of navy polka dots was just wide enough to cover the mesh on the last side of the tent, but I wish I had a few more pieces so it would have gone all the way down. If the wind caught the fabric in the right way, one could still see inside my tent. But it was fine because that side of my tent faced my friend's tent and not some stranger's.

See - the whole point of all this fabric was so I wouldn't have to close up my tent to sleep or change clothes. This tent is great for summer camping because it has two almost fully mesh sides, but that's not so great when you're camping at a festival. I didn't want to have to put the rain fly up every time I wanted to change my shirt so I went with the fabric. Bonus was that the cotton still let the air flow in.

Now, how about coming inside?

I loved how big my tent was for one person.  There was plenty of room for my cot and for all of my supplies to have their own space.  Next to the bed, I used the plastic tub as a nightstand, but also kept all of my tent equipment inside.  Great when I realized I needed another bungee cord.  And it kept my fan at the perfect height and I was able to easily grab my eye mask and flashlight when coming home in the wee hours of the morning.  Along the long wall, I had space for my clothes, toiletries and then my pile of stuff to bring into Centeroo each day.  And then all of my shoes were neatly lined up right inside the front door.

Best part was that since my tent was so roomy, I was actually able to keep it organized! 

My happy little home in the middle of a farm in Manchester, TN made me actually think about camping for real, not just at a music festival.  Craziness, right?  But if you came home to this every night, wouldn't you want to spend more time here, too?

Want to see more of what I bring to camping festivals? Check out DebbieRoo!

Friday, June 3, 2011

new idea for my TV stand!

I came across this photo from High Gloss magazine in Live Creating Yourself's blog and was totally inspired.

So inspired that I actually sketched out a little picture:

Picture it: a console table with a dresser or file cabinet underneath.  Enough of a gap between the two to fit my digital converter and DVD player.  Same TV on top.  Birdcage on the right.  A large vase on the left (I see these ALL the time at Marshall's and Ross).  Two gilt sconces on the wall flanking the quilt (these are probably the most confusing out of my squiggles). 

Right?  Right?

It combines everything I want in my TV stand.  I've long thought a console table would be great there, but then there's the question of how to hide the cords.  And then the converter and DVD player would have to sit on top which isn't terribly attractive.  And I never have enough storage and I suck at bringing my bills and such upstairs to file in their current spaces.  So having a file cabinet right there would solve the second problem - I can file immediately upon entering the house.  Touch everything only once, right?  Or if it were a dresser, then I'd have space for DVDs and table linens and all that crap.  Either way it's a winner.  And I feel like the console + cabinet combo would lighten up the nook a bit.  It wouldn't be all heavy with just a cabinet, but it wouldn't be all floaty with just a console.  The two would balance each other out.  And if the cabinet stuck out a bit more than the console, that's completely alright.  Possibly even preferred.

I loooooooooooove this idea.  And the best part is that I think I can pull it off on my budget!

Get the Parsons console from West Elm.  Probably in white, though I am drawn to the mirror.  And they've had a raffia wrapped one in the past which was crazy cool.  Maybe I could find that one on Craigslist or Ebay or something?
I used to think this console was too wide and I probably will hate it come Christmas time when I don't have a good spot to put up the tree, but I'll worry about that in December.  I need to decorate for the other 11 months of the year!

I'm having a harder time figuring out what goes underneath, but then I've been thinking about the console for almost two years now and the cabinet for maybe an hour.  But here are my ideas thus far:

As you can see in my sketch, my thought is for a wide cabinet with long hardware going across.  Ideally this hardware will be gold and be an open rectangle of sorts.  I kinda think the cabinet will be black, especially if I were to go with the raffia console, but I'm open to brown wood as well.  I do know that white would be wrong.  This is the grounding piece, after all.

I could get a regular old metal file cabinet from Staples and add some hardware to it or paint the existing gold.

Or then there's this one that already has gold hardware from Ballard Designs.  It's not exactly the right hardware, but I do still like it.  It's not overly girly or antique-ish.  It's still chunky.  And it comes in a rubbed black (that could be better than flat black) as well as brown.

I'm also open to getting a random cabinet cheaply at somewhere like Salvation Army and painting and replacing the hardware.  Or maybe this one from Ikea.  Take off the pulls, fill in the holes, give it a coat of paint and add the dream-rectangle pulls in the middle of the drawers. 
I might want the cabinet to be a bit wider, though, especially since the West Elm console isn't as chunky as the inspiration picture.  The console is 54" wide and this cabinet is 34.25".  It might end up feeling a bit skimpy.  It IS only $80.  Not the end of the world if it's only a temporary fix.  And it could always be repurposed elsewhere.  Wonder how goofy the notch at the bottom is in real life.  Hmmmmm.

I KNOW I've seen the cabinet in my sketch somewhere before but I just can't remember where.  I looked at all my usual furniture websites.  I could have sworn it was from Horchow but notsomuch.  Or at least it isn't available anymore.  I searched online but maybe I just don't know the right keywords.  Could have been another blogger's DIY project.

Has anyone seen a cabinet like this?  Do you remember where it was?  Or if you see it in the future, let me know!