Need to try!
Lithos Design aims to change the way you think of stone inlay designs by removing the traditional patterns and transforming them into modern interpretations. The Opus collection, designed by Raffaello Galiotto, explores the classical idea of marble inlay work with a whole new approach to it where they incorporate 25 different types of marble, five patterns, and 12 color ranges for a series of new looks.
Designed for the floor and walls, the patterns come ready-to-install as 60cm x 60cm modules, with patterns that can be extended depending on its intended usage. Full of geometric shapes and bold graphic patterns, the Opus collection offers a beautiful, modern look with a bit of a traditional feel.
At Pinch, Bob notoriously teases me for having a “PP problem.” No, it’s not what you’re thinking…. It’s a packaging problem. I am obsessed with packaging. So this month we want to highlight Tomorrow Machine, a Swedish design studio based in Stockholm & Paris that specializes in package product and food concepts.
The two projects “This too shall pass” and the “Sustainable expanding bowl” are both examples of how the creative designers behind Tomorrow Machine, Hanna Billqvist and Anna Glansén, focus on building a better world through research, new technologies, and intelligent material.
This too shall pass asks whether it is reasonable that it takes several years for a milk carton to decompose naturally, when the milk goes sour after a week? “This too shall pass” is a series of food packages where the packaging has the same short life span as the foods they contain. The package and its contents are working in symbiosis.
A package made of caramelized sugar, coated with wax. To open it you crack it like an egg. When the material is cracked the wax no longer protects the sugar and the package melts when it comes in contact with water. This package is made for oil-based products.
Gel of the agar-agar seaweed and water are the only components used to make this package. To open it you pick the top. The package will wither at the same rate as its content. It is made for drinks that have a short life span and need to be refrigerated – fresh juice, smoothies, and cream, for example.
Package made of biodegradable beeswax. To open it, you peel it like a fruit. The package is designed to contain dry goods, like grains and rice.
The Sustainable expanding bowl created for Innventia is a self-expanding instant food package combining different aspects of sustainability. It saves space in transportation by being compressed – at the same time, it is made out of a 100% bio-based and biodegradable material, invented by Innventia.
The project combines the knowledge of scientists and the creativity of designers. When pouring hot water into the package the mechano-active material will react to the heat and transform from a compressed package to a serving bowl. This is the new generation of sustainable package design, using materials that are both smart and environmentally friendly.
The Day and Night Light by Éléonore Delisse is not only a beautiful, richly hued lamp, it also has a psychological benefit. The way the colors oscillate within the lamp is coordinated with the body’s circadian rhythm, and can help rebalance our internal cycles.
Set to cycle every 24 hours, the light changes due to a slowly rotating dichroic glass. In the morning, it casts a cool blue light to stimulate wakefulness. In the evening, it shines a warm amber, resulting in increased melatonin production to aid with sleep.
By mimicking natural daylight, it helps stop the negative affects of winter. For those who may suffer from seasonal affective disorder, the Day and Night Light might be the perfect alternative remedy.
have you ever had baked doughnuts? they are surprisingly so delicious and a healthier option to satisfy your doughnut cravings! ivan is sharing this beautiful recipe with us today in partnership with our awesome long-time sponsor, almond breeze. we will be coming up with more fun brunch recipes in the coming months, so keep an eye out!
and how cute is this illustration that redcruiser made for us? i love her style…
BAKED DOUGHNUT BRUNCH
Makes 6-8 servings
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup almond breeze
• 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 4 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• coconut flakes
MAKING THE DOUGHNUTS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. In a small saucepan on medium heat, stir in the 1/2 cup almond breeze, 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 egg and 4 tablespoons softened butter. Stirring constantly with a whisk until butter melts. Combine the wet mixture to the dry flour mix until smooth. With a large spoon, pour the doughnut batter into an ungreased doughnut pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove baked doughnuts immediately from pan and place onto a cooling rack.
• 2 tablespoons almond breeze
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• food coloring (red, blue)
how to make: In a medium size bowl scoop in 2 cups powdered sugar. Add in 2 tablespoons almond breeze and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Mix well until smooth consistency (Add in additional powdered sugar for a thicker consistency). Separate the glaze into two even batches on an additional bowl. For the first pink glaze; one drop of red will do, mix well. In the second bowl use 5 drops red and 2 blue to achieve a darker hue of pink. Dunk in each doughnut and set back onto cooling rack (keeping a towel underneath the rack will ensure less cleaning time as the glaze drips until hardens) Garnish doughnuts with coconut flakes.
Building lights is sort of my thing. It is honestly my DIY spirit animal. That being said this light pushed me to the brink. Not because it is hard, but because I was trying to figure out the best way to do it in the most uncomplicated way possible (which complicates things). So after trying out 3 different types of wires and few hardware swaps I am SO excited to share with you the most simplified version of this brass bent arm chandelier!
A few weeks ago I was thumbing through a magazine and came across this gorgeous light from Circa lighting. I loved all of the different angles and the whole feel of it. I also love Lindsay Adelman and her branch lights so hard. I knew that I could use both of them as a jumping off point for an amazing light in the entryway.
After spending a few hours on Grand Brass looking at all of the parts that they had, and a lot of sketching I came up with a plan (and ended up with a lot of parts.) All of the serial numbers for the parts are listed after their description.
a. (12) 8in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM (PIBR08-0X8)
b. (12) 6in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM (PIBR06-0X8)
c. (6) 1/8F sides X 1/8F bottom X 1/8F top SMALL CLUSTER BODY (BOS2X8)
d.(12) 3-1/4in. SPOKED HOLDER CAST BRASS with 1/8F TAPPED HOLE (HO3-1/4S)
e.(12) PORCELAIN SOCKET (SO10045C)
f. (1)1/8F sides X 1/4F bottom X 1/8F top JUMBO CLUSTER BODY (BOJ6)
g. (3)* 12in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM (PIBR12-0X8)
h. (1) 1/4IPS PIPE PENDANT HANGING CROSS BAR SET (CB208)
i. (6) 1/8F X 1/8F ips. ADJUSTABLE FRICTION SWIVEL (SV140)
j. (2)* 1/8F THRU 5/8H X 5/8W STRAIGHT COUPLING (NE438)
k. (1) 1/4 PLUG WITH SCREW DRIVER SLOT (FI1/4PLUG)
l. (6) 1/8 PLUG WITH SCREW DRIVER SLOT (FI1/8PLUG)
m. (1) 8in. BRASS FLAT BASE W/RETURN (BAFL08NW) (We had to drill our hole larger, so if you dont have a tool to do this they have some that are smaller in diameter with a bigger hole.)
n. (12) OPAL 3-3/4" DIAMETER X 4-1/8" HEIGHT WITH 3" FITTER ROUND BOTTOM CYLINDER TUBE (GLC304)
o. (12) 22-10 Crimp Sleeve
p. (2) large wire nuts
q. (2) Medium wire nuts
r. (1) Wire stripper/cutter
s. Lamp wire
*dependant on the height of your ceiling
While this project isn’t horribly hard (now that we know the right way to do it) it’s definitely not on a beginner DIY level.
You are going to start by assembling your short arms (these are the arms without the bend) using the 8” brass pipe (a.), the spoked holder (d.), and the metal base for the socket. (Make sure that once everything is assembled you tighten the small screw on the socket base.) This will keep your entire socket from unscrewing when you are changing the light bulb.
Next you are going to assemble the longer arms using 2 of the 6” pipe (b.), the spoked holder (d.), the metal base for the socket (e.) and the friction swivel (i.)
Take apart the friction swivel (dont lose the little bits!) and attach each side to the brass pipe.
Wire your socket by checking for the textured edge on your lamp wire. The smooth one is hot and will be connected to the gold screw inside your socket. The textured edge is going to be connected to the silver screw.
Then feed the other end of the wire through your socket base and brass tube.
Attach the socket to the base.
When you get to the friction swivel you will have to split your wire to go around the post in the middle (I just split mine from the bottom, up to this point).
Reassemble the swivel using all the little parts that you didn’t lose (because you are AWESOME!!)
I didn’t tighten the screw down all the way until I was completely done with the light (it made things a little floppy) but it gave me a little more play with the wire.
The next step is connecting your short arm and long arm to the hub and adding a 3rd wire that will connect everything to the main body of the chandelier. This was hands down the most complicated part of the entire light.
So here is what I learned.
Starting with the fact that the wires in this picture are WAY too long. But it is all I had to show you so sorry about that ;).
Make sure that the wires that are coming into the hub are on the same sides (hot, hot, and hot, neutral, neutral, and neutral) this will give you a little more room because they aren’t crossing over each other and adding more bulk to the situation.
Cut and strip the wires as short as you can while still being able to mange them (I think ours ended up about 1/2”-3/4” long) Twist the wire together and clamp it with a wire clamp (we had to trim a small amount of the plastic off of the edge of the wire clamp)
Lay it in as flat as possible. Once you have both of your wires clamped and sort of inside, gently pull on the 3rd wire (it is still exposed at this point, it hasn’t been covered up by the brass tube) and suck everything inside the little chamber.
Then add the cap and the screw plug.
Thread your 3rd wire through an 8” piece of pipe (a.) and connect it to the main body of the chandelier (f.) The body of the chandelier is an egg shaped brass piece that screws apart. When it unscrews, the piece with all of the holes is the bottom section. (This is a mini version)
Repeat for all 6 arms. When you are attaching them make sure that they alternate which arm (long or short) is on the top.
Once you have all of your wires in the main center hub take all of the hot and twist them together, adding one more long length of wire. This will be the main wire that runs up the stem to the ceiling. We found that it worked best to twist one group and then after the wire nut was on to tuck it down inside so that it was out of the way before twisting the second group.
To assemble the stem that comes out of the ceiling you are going to use the 12” pieces of pipe with the straight couplings. The amount that you need is based entirely on how high your ceilings are and how low you want your light to hang. This will attach to the hole in the top of the upper body section. The bottom section has a larger (1/4”) hole that you will cover up with the screw plug.
Add the large screw ring for the canopy (it comes attached to the hang straight coupling), the canopy, then the hang straight coupling and the cross piece in that order. Tighten everything up. I mentioned above that the canopy that we ordered had a hole that was too small. We used a hole saw that we had left over from this project to make it bigger.
Now comes the fun part. MAKE SURE THAT YOU TURN YOUR BREAKER OFF BEFORE YOU WIRE YOUR LIGHT! (yes that was me yelling, it is critical.) Attach it to the ceiling with the cross bar, wire it to the house wires and bring the canopy to the ceiling and tighten the screw ring. Dont attach the cross bar first, and then try to screw the light into that, it will just twist your wire up. Get the hang straight attached to the cross bar first.
Apparently the ceiling beams are good for more than just looking awesome. How’s that for MacGyver?
When everything is wired, tightened and light bulbs are in, flip your breaker back on and cross your fingers that everything went smoothly!
The last thing is to tighten the screws on your swivel elbows, and finish it off with the glass shades.
If you make it through this entire tutorial, you are a rockstar!
So what did I learn rewiring the same light 15 times?
The first thing that I did was try a different type of wire because lamp wire was super thick. Even though it had a good amount of insulation on it, it was no match for the sharp edges of the pipe. Lamp wire was the only kind (I tried 3 different varieties) that didn’t have the coating stripped off of it. Go with lamp wire.
When something seems too small, that is because it is. The original main body of the chandelier was teeny. Too teeny to fit 6 wires into. Trust me I tried.
The bigger one that the final light ended up with was SO MUCH BETTER.
The last thing that I learned? The projects that push you to your breaking point and you hang in there and dont give up, usually end up being your favorite.
We’re thinking of adding them to the shop, so stay tuned!
Dont miss the Shop My House sale that is happening over at Joss and Main!!
Happy #100reveal Thursday!!
You guys. I have got the COOLEST project for you today. As I was brainstorming ideas for these fun GE reveal® light bulb projects my natural train of thought was obviously to do something cool with light. But we’ve already rewired a light, and made an amazing chandelier for the entryway.
Something different was just what the Dr. ordered.
So armed with $100 to The Home Depot, and a GE reveal® light bulb I set out on my quest.
You know when you get an idea that just seems so crazy, and when you tell everyone in your life about it they genuinely don’t understand what you are explaining? No? Just me?
This project describes that perfectly. I have been super obsessed with shadow art lately, but it is always done on such a grand art installation scale.
I wanted a way to be able to simplify it enough to use it in my house. And probably not use it to make human shapes because that would be terrifying to stumble across in the middle of the night.
So after thinking long and hard about it for a minute or 2 I set out to see if it would work. If I could actually do something using light and shadow.
I conducted a little experiment and here is what I learned:
It is entirely possible…IF you have the right kind of light bulb, and the right angle.
The light bulb is critical, it needs to give off enough light to cast a strong shadow and it also needs to be focused. A regular style light bulb disperses the light too much, but a reveal® indoor flood light worked perfectly.
The angle of the light, will lengthen + shorten your shadow, and the distance from the pegs will straighten out the letters (the further away the less skewed they are.)
So with this in mind we started with a little trip to my version of Disneyland…The Home Depot.
I bought a GE reveal® indoor flood light (and a regular one for the before and after) (4) 8’x1”x6”, a 3’x1”x1” wooden dowel and a 2×4’ sheet of underlayment.
After you’ve measured the exact size of the underlayment (this will serve as the backboard for everything) you are going to cut 2 pieces that measure the width of the underlayment horizontally (2’) and 2 pieces that measure the vertical distance between the 2 horizontal boards. This is a backer frame and will give you something to attach the face frame and the underlayment to.
Next you are going to cut 2 boards with 45 degree angles that have an inner measurement that match your underlayment.
PSA: For the LOVE cut these angles so that they look like this:
Not like this:
Court, I’m talking to you.
If you did not heed the above advice, head back to The Home Depot and buy yourself another couple of boards…#fun.
Once you have your boards cut the right way, use a nail gun to attach them to the back frame.
Then put your underlayment on top and secure it with a few nails.
To make the light I took apart this cute desk lamp that I’ve had laying around and a few spare parts from the Bent Arm chandelier build.
All I did was deconstruct this light that I bought a while ago:
And put it back together with the long arm in between the base and the socket (I wanted to be able to adjust the light angle as much as I need to.) I also swapped in a cord that looked better and had a higher wattage rating.
Then I drilled a small hole in the center of the frame and fed the cute new wire through. The last bit of light construction was wiring a plug on the end. Its time for a common sense disclaimer, these bulbs can get warm, this isn’t a light that you will want to leave on for hours and hours. Yes? Yes.
Once the light was hung inside the frame (with a small screw) it was time to place the dowels.
I did this part last so that I had complete control over the way that the shadow cast.
Once I measured and marked where my short dowels (they measure 3.5”) were going to live, I used a small amount of Titebond III wood glue to adhere them to the board.
A roll of painters tape works wonders to hold them in place while the glue dries.
Want to see what it turned into?
When the house lights are on and the spotlight is off you have this curious and delightfully inoffensive bit of wooden art on the wall.
When you shut off the house lights, and turn on the spotlight you get a friendly little message:
Amazing right?! I mean, who doesn’t want your decor to actually greet you!!? And for a grand total of less than $50 no less!
Because of the closeness of the light onto the board I was a little curious if you would even be able to tell a difference with the reveal® light bulb. Oh ye of little faith Mandi. Of course you can. Directly on the light it’s a little hard to tell a difference, but look at how much cleaner white the reveal® side is, and how much sharper the shadow. (Bulbs used were 40 W Soft White Spotlight vs 45 W reveal® Halogen Indoor Flood bulb.)
What do you think? Do you love it?!
Its time for another giveaway!! You know the drill, (10) winners will win a $100 Home Depot gift card, and a GE reveal® lighting package, all you have to do to enter is leave a comment and let me know what level of DIYer do you consider yourself to be and/or tell me about your favorite DIY project that you have completed!
I like the paint treatment in the "after" at the bottom. Been thinking about switching our bedroom with the guest room, and I'd love to paint the guest room like this.
What’s the first thing I thought of when I found out I’m pregnant? I’m going to be totally vulnerable and tell you that among my first thoughts were possible color schemes for the new kiddo’s room. You know, the important stuff. The interior designer side of me stayed up late dreaming of cute color combinations and mentally space planning our spare room for a crib and baby furniture. But one morning I had a redeeming thought pop into my head: Why redecorate a room for a baby who could care less, when I have a toddler who would find the whole process as exciting as I do?
I scratched my plans to makeover our spare room for the new babe and decided to ask Lucy about what she would want for the room instead. And what did my little firecracker tell me? “BOOOOO!” What color do you want the walls to be? “Boooo!” What color do you want your bed to be? “Boooo!” What color does mommy like least out of all the other colors? Bluuuuuue! But I set out to find a fun and fresh color scheme that was Lucy approved and wouldn’t require too many new purchases. I prefer shopping for home furnishings and accessories in our storage shed in the backyard.
Well, as our little girl ran around yelling “Booo woom! Boo wooom!” this week, we got to work at clearing out the spare bedroom and painting it a beautiful shade of light blue. Now we’re just wrapping up the painting, and I’m getting excited to paint and instal moulding this week. But first I thought I’d stop and take inventory of the things I’ve collected to far for Miss Lucy’s new room.
5 yards for $5.50 from Etsy
$41.07 for a pair from Amazon
$29.00 from Urban Outfitters
Valspar’s La Fonda Mirage #5003-5B
$14.99 from Target
$69.00 from Land of Nod
$14.99 from Amazon
$354.76 for 8×10 from Amazon
Lucy’s furniture was either found or given to us, but we’re still looking for a dresser. Her headboard is a beautiful royal blue ironwork piece that will add a nice feminine touch to her room, though I would’ve never chosen that color had it been up to me. Lucky for Lucy, we found it that way and I didn’t feel like undertaking a big stripping and refinishing job, so it sort of forced me to bring royal blue into the mix. Now I’m kind of loving it!
I’m planning on adding a picture rail moulding strip to the spot where the color changes on the wall. I’m hoping it will add a nice classic touch to the room, while helping a fickle girl like me keep from making nail holes in the walls as I change out the artwork from time to time. So far we’re loving the changes, but Lucy’s actually been the most excited. I’m just so glad we decided to give her the new room instead of the baby, because that gal sure is enjoying watching the transformation!
This week we’re heading out to my favorite inexpensive antique shops to look for an old dresser with lots of character. If all else fails, we’ll go for Ikea (cheap!), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can find something used. Wish me luck!continue reading
I love this idea. Chris is doing a book purge right now and it's making me rethink about how our "library" is organized.
Bookends are a great way to add a bit of style to your bookshelf, but what about when you don't really have room for a big ol' bookend? Or maybe you just want to keep things simple on your bookshelf. I had that problem recently. I needed a way to keep my books standing up at the end of the shelf, but didn't want to clutter things up with bookends, or ugly them up with thin metal bookends like the ones you see at the library. I just wanted my pretty books to shine in all their glory.
Then the thought occurred to me— Why not turn a pretty, forgotten book from the thrift store into a bookend, solving all my bookshelf problems? It's the perfect thin shape, looks great, and is a nice way to give new life to a damaged or discarded book.
See? No, you don't see, do you? That's because my bookends are practically invisible! They blend right into their environment while adding a bit of classic style to the ends of my bookshelf. A wonderful solution. Check out how easy they are to make!
Supplies (for two bookends):
-2 books with 1" spines
-2 thin metal bookends (I used these)
-1x6 board or a board of another dimension to fit your book (see notes below)
-super glue (I used gorilla glue)
Selecting Your Book and Lumber Size: My books measured about 5.75" deep, 8.25" high, and 1" thick. It's important to find a book depth that will correspond with lumber standard widths, so you don't have to do any unnecessary cutting of the lumber later. This is why I used a book with a 1" spine. I used a 1x6 board to fill the inside of my book, which really measures .75" x 5.75". This board fit my book dimensions perfectly! How did I know that would happen? Well, I brought my book spine to the lumber yard with me! There's a first time for everything.
If you can't find 1" thick books and need to fill out the inside of your book more, you can also find thinner sheets of lumber below the standard lumber sizes at places like Lowe's. Just stack and glue the boards to your desired thickness.
Feel free to read the contents later! Or discard the pages as I did. I was able to do this guilt-free, because I found my book at the thrift store and figured it was unloved and needed a new life.
Step Three: Cut the board to the length you marked. If you don't have a saw at home, you can do this at the lumber yard. They will make cuts for you for free.
Step Four: Cover the wooden blocks and metal bookends with moderate amounts of Gorilla Glue, as shown above. Don't get too close to the edges or it will seep out. Gorilla Glue foams and expands as it's clamped, which makes for a strong hold, but a messy final product if you're not careful when applying the glue.
Step Five: Once everything is all glued into place, use clamps to press it all together as the glue sets up. You should use scrap lumber as a buffer between the book and the clamps or the clamps will leave indents in your book. I made the mistake of not doing this, and got some pretty visible denting, especially on my orange book. Thankfully the dents aren't noticeable on my shelves. Whew!
Here are my invisible bookends in action. It's as if my books are saying, "Look, Ma! No hands!" -Mandi
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.
Being a DIY-minded girl, I often see pretty items being sold in stores and instead of thinking, "I want that!" it's usually "Can I make that?" I saw this cute little suede catchall dish online and my brain went straight to how I could recreate the idea at home. In case you aren't sure what a "catchall dish" is, it's a little dish or container that people keep on their entryway table or counter where they can throw their keys, loose change, or other items that are floating around in the vicinity. They're great! It's like a junk drawer for your keys! If you don't want to use suede, you could also make this with a thick wool felt—that would be pretty as well.
- suede (real or faux) in two colors
- scissors or rotary cutter and metal ruler
- leather punch (anything that will punch a hole through leather as big as your screw posts will work)
- leather glue
- 1/4" screw posts (4 sets)
- small square object as a corner guide
First you'll want to cut a square of leather that is 7" x 7" and another smaller square of your second color that is 4.5" x 4.5". Use the leather glue to glue the smaller square exactly in the middle of your larger square. Well, as close to exact as you can anyway...
Align a square object (like a small box or a square vase) with the corner of your inside color square and pinch the larger square sides up with your fingers at the corner. Use a marker to make a small mark on the outside of the leather where the corner is made.
Use your leather punch to punch a hole in that marked spot, pinch the corner in half again, and trace the hole you just punched onto the other side of the suede fold. Punch that hole as well so you end up with two mirror image holes. Repeat this process with each corner.
You can leave the corners pointed if you want, but I took fabric scissors and chopped them off a bit for a cleaner look. To get the sides to stand up straight at more of a right angle, you can fold each side in towards the middle, take a hammer, and hammer across the folded seams where the bottom meets each side. This will create a crease in the leather so it will be more willing to bend at that spot. That's it, you're done!
I love that this was such a simple project to make and it turned out so cute too! You could make a couple of theses at once to give out as gifts or be a little selfish and just keep them in different spots around your place. You can do all one color if you like (still cut out the two sizes of squares though so it gives the dish more shape), but I think the color blocked bottom is fun. Time to show my keys their new home! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
My dream kitchen has white/grey, marble-like countertops like these.
Let’s chat kitchen countertops today. Specifically, quartz countertops that look like carrara marble. Warning: this is a seriously long post and if you have no interest in countertops and kitchen reno’s, I suggest you just close’r down now. Or take a shot for every time you read the word “quartz”. That’ll make things a whole lot more exciting for sure. Just don’t play a blog post drinking game and drive.
Some of the decisions with our house reno have been made quickly, and others have been laboured over for a long while. This was the latter.
Here we are, countertop-less…
First step in any kitchen counter decision is material choice. There are so many options these days when it comes to counters – laminate, granite, quartz, quartzite, corian, marble, butcher block, concrete, soapstone, etc – and each have their advantages and disadvantages. We were constantly weighing looks vs price vs longevity and maintenance. Depending on your budget, needs of your household, and your style preference, your choice here is going to vary. I don’t think there are any “bad” choices – just different options to suit different needs. Our criteria came down to the following:
Looks: I wanted something that was light – largely white with a bit of grey – to tie the two colours in the cabinetry together. I like the veining that you find in stone, but didn’t want it to be overly busy.
Longevity & Maintenance: We are a young family and only just in the beginning of likely several decades of fairly major wear and tear on our house. We wanted something that would stand up to kids in the kitchen and would be as maintenance free as possible. I didn’t want to be having to wipe down a spill a split second after it happened because I was worried about staining, or have to seal the counters every year. I’m a low maintenance kind of gal.
Price: To get what we wanted in a) and b) above, we knew we would have to shell out some serious coin. In our overall kitchen scheme, we decided to save on cabinetry (IKEA) and backsplash (more on that in another post) in order to spend more of our budget on countertops.
After considering all of that, the choice to go with a quartz was pretty clear. It is an engineered stone, so you can get that look of veining as you would in a natural stone, but it is super durable and maintenance free. No having to seal it annually like granite, or worry about spills and staining like a marble. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those choices – we were just trying to choose what would work best FOR US. Here is an article on Remodelista more about the pros and cons of engineered quartz.
Once you get into the world of quartz manufacturers, there are tons of choices. Maybe too many, as it makes the decision process hard! I knew I wanted something that had white and grey in it like a marble, so I went out and started collecting samples and looking at slabs in person where possible.
If I even moderately liked what I saw, I brought samples home with me so that I could hold them up to my cabinetry in the light of my kitchen. There is nothing better than seeing something in your own space – way different than in a showroom under fluorescent lighting. FYI that sometimes it wasn’t super easy to get the sample pieces – it took some persuading and promises of bringing them back to the show room, so be firm if you go out looking. If possible have some sample pieces of your cabinetry and other finishes with you, so that you can see everything together in one place, if you aren’t able to bring home a sample.
If you are looking for a quartz that has grey and white in it and looks similar to carrara marble, these are the ones you might want to check out (this list is current as of March 2015 – manufacturers are always adding new colours). Please also know that these were just the ones I came across, I’m sure there are others out there!
Here are bigger screenshots of each countertop option, with links to the manufacturer.
After checking each one of those out in person, I narrowed it down to 6 for our kitchen. They all had a fair bit of white in them, and didn’t have the flecks or speckled look that you often find in quartz. It’s totally a personal preference thing – I just don’t like the little flecks and prefer a smooth look with grey veining.
At this point, I got detailed quotes for each one of these materials. All of these manufacturers are reputable, so price would definitely help us narrow it down. To be honest, I could have been persuaded to go for any of these.
Definitely the front runner for me initially was the Calcatta Nuvo as I thought the veining was just so striking and the grey and white were perfect in our kitchen. And of course, it was the one that was by far the most expensive. Isn’t that always how it is? Cut.
The Frosty Carrina was second most expensive and I wasn’t thrilled by how little veining there was in it, and it was predominantly grey rather than white, so it was nixed.
The last four came in at very comparable prices, so it was just a matter of looks: Tranquility was very white with quite dark, dramatic veining and lots of white space (I thought this one was going to be my favourite, but it just didn’t feel right in our kitchen); Coarse Carrara had some ever so slight flecks/speckles that I didn’t love; and Snow Drift ended up feeling just too busy. So left standing? Santa Margherita Victoria. Winner winner chicken dinner. I should also mention that I went out and saw a big slab of it in person before putting in my order. It’s such a major decision that seeing it on a small scale and on the computer wasn’t enough. I often found that I saw an option on the computer that looked ahhh-mazing, and then in person it looked so different from what I had imagined. So word of warning — always go in person!
Basically as soon as the installers were bringing the slab through the door, I knew it was exactly the right decision. The counters are bright and read like a nice white from a distance.
You got some sneak peaks at other elements in the kitchen there… it’s coming together, hey? Things sort of happened quickly all of a sudden. Probably because I was feeling the pressure of getting it close to completion for my last Globe & Mail article (coming out in tomorrow’s paper – my last in the 5 article series I have written). Anyway, more details on those finishing details soon!
What sort of countertops do you guys have in your kitchen? Do you love ‘em? We did butcher block in the basement kitchen, and I loved the look of those. So warm. Oh and I know some folks who poured their own concrete counter – and it looks amaaaazing. My parents have quite a stunning granite in their kitchen too, which has tons of veining and interest. It’s fun to have so many options, hey?
America has been suffering for too long from ‘too small rug’ syndrome. I see it virtually every day and it pains me, especially when it’s so easily avoided. I’ve been trying to figure out how this plague came to be I think I’ve finally nailed it:
1. Huge rugs can be expensive and can feel like such a scary commitment. 2. A 5×8 or 6×9 rug sound big even though they often aren’t. 3. Catalogs and magazines are misleading. I’ve styled a lot of catalogs where we have to use the sample size (months before the actual rug is available) and its only 5×7 so we ‘make it work’ and in the shot it’s okay, but in actuality that rug is way too small for the room. I also think that retailers know that 5x7s sell so much more because they are cheaper so they don’t stock 8×10’s in the store, so when people go to purchase they think, ‘Well, this must be big enough because its the biggest one’. Also ordering and waiting is less fun, so people just snag up the 5×7. Lastly nothing is more annoying than getting a rug home and deciding it isn’t quite right, then having to return it – so I think people just don’t.
Click through to see 25 8×10 rugs under $500 …
A rug in a living room should really ground the whole seating around – it tells everyone that THIS is where the conversation is, this is the focal point of the room, and a too small rug makes it feel disjointed and really just cheapens everything.
Here are a bunch of pretty rooms that they’ve tried to convince us have big enough rugs. They don’t:
Don’t listen to these rooms. They look fine in a photo because everything else is beautiful, but they are actually super awkward. If you have a beautiful rug like the one on the right (above) layer it over a huge sisal or another solid flat weave. I did that here and it totally worked.
These below are particularly funny to me because we are supposed to think that the people who own that art collection and that amazing loft space are fine with those teeny tiny awkward rugs:
I think that the first rug might be a bathmat. It must have been some sort of product roundup shot because otherwise I have no idea why there is a task lamp on the coffee table or a collection of vessels on the bath mat.
Living rooms almost ALWAYS need at least an 8×10 if not a 9×12. You heard it. Unless you have a TINY living room, stay away from anything under 6×9. Considering a 4×6? Don’t. That’s fine for next to a bed, in a kitchen, entrance, etc, but a 4×6 will assuredly not work in your living room.
Here are the two exceptions – 1. If your living room is smallish and your sofa is up against a wall, then you can float a 6×9 rug in front of it. For some reason this doesn’t look awkward or too small, probably because the seating area already feels grounded and intimate because the room is smallish and the wall is helping ground everything. And 2. If you use a cowhide. For some reason because of the sculptural shape of the hide, it can be smaller and its still pretty.
But otherwise, your rug should be big enough for at least two legs of all your furniture to be on it, and ideally all four (but I know that is asking a lot).
My rule has always been to keep it consistent – don’t have your sofa completely on it if your lounge chairs are totally off of it. Its better for them all to be distributed equally, visually.
Often 8×10’s aren’t even big enough to get all furniture on it, so before you purchase make sure that your room can’t handle a 9×12 rug and if so, please get that. I’ve never walked into a huge living room with a big rug grounding a seating area and thought, ‘Woah, these idiots have such a big pretty rug!!’
You need to make sure that your rug is first and foremost proportioned to your sofa – if your sofa is 7′ long (standard is 7′ or 8′) then your rug better at least be 9′ wide so you have a foot on either side. AT LEAST!! But don’t think ‘Oh great, I can just get a 6×9′ because if your living room is pretty big then your rug also needs to be proportioned to your room. A too small rug can and will make your beautiful living room feel smaller, choppy and generally cheap.
Tough love, today, I know. I’ve just seen it so often and it saddens me. If you love your too small rug, please just layer it on an inexpensive LARGE sisal (Ikea and Target both have affordable ones).
Meanwhile to combat this syndrome, nay PLAGUE, we have done a roundup of 8×10 (OR LARGER) rugs under $500. Brady searched for days because well, 8×10’s for $249 aren’t exactly everywhere, but we feel confidant and happy to recommend these bad boys to you. We chose $500 because there are a lot of 8×10’s under $1000 that are easy to find but the $500 or under price point felt like a good challenge and within most people’s budgets.
1. Criss Cross Rug | 2. Dot Tile Rug | 3. Wool Sweater Rug | 4. Yellow Striped Rug | 5. Grey Stripe Rug | 6. Mystic Blue Wool Rug | 7. Chunky Woven Jute Rug | 8. Elizabeth Blue Rug | 9. Gaser Shag Rug | 10. Fresno Shag Rug | 11. Royal Area Rug | 12. Mirage Diamond Rug | 13. Pattern Hemp Rug | 14. Grey Moroccan Rug | 15. Purple Wool Kilim | 16. Braided Wool Rug | 17. Navy Moroccan Rug | 18. Grey Striped Rug | 19. Neutral Morocco Rug | 20. South Padre Rug | 21. Overdyed Red Rug | 22. Blue Leather Rug | 23. Alvine Yellow Cross Rug | 24. Montauk Blue Rug | 25. Panja Rug | 26. Black Diamond Rug
For additional tips and rug size info check out this video I made years ago.
May your living room feel more pulled together, grounded and proportioned. Good luck, friends.
For Design Mistake #1 (the generic sofa) please go here and check our favorite stylish sofas for under $1000.
This public service announcement was brought to you by every designer ever in the world and probably your mom, too.
Stained glass isn't just for cathedral windows or Irish pub windows. It's also for plain ol' windows in normal folks' homes, like mine! I've discovered that lots of cities have places where you can actually learn how to make authentic stained glass, but I wanted to see if I could get a similar look using glass paint and metal strips.
I love the way my faux stained glass panel turned out, but I did learn a few techniques for achieving the best results. Check out my process below and learn how to make your own faux stained glass look even prettier than mine!
-glass panel (You can have a glass shop make one to fit your window or else remove glass from an unused picture frame if you don't need it to be a specific size.)
-lead adhesive strips (I used the entire package for this window.)
-glass paint (I preferred the consistency of the Gallery Glass brand to Martha Stewart.)
-sharp blade or scissors (I ended up preferring scissors)
-t-square or ruler
Step One: Lay out your backdrop paper and trace the outline of your glass panel. If you are using a t-square, make sure the glass panel is square with your table before tracing. Then design your stained glass pattern with marker lines.
Step Two: Lay the glass panel over the lines you made with the marker. Cover the lines with the lead strips that you cut to size with sharp scissors. I cut my pieces a bit longer than what I needed and then cut away tiny bits of the end until it fit perfectly. Use a stylus to press the metal strips into place. (The lead strips I used came with a stylus.)
Step Three: Outline the inside of each section of the design with glass paint. Be very careful to keep the line straight and go all the way up to the edge of the lead strips.
Step Four: Fill in the outlined area with a thick layer of paint, and use the tip of your bottle to spread the paint around. To prevent bubbles and to smooth out the texture, use glass brushes instead of the tip of your bottle. I didn't use glass brushes and had trouble with the texture of my paint showing in the final product. If you get bubbles, use a tooth pick or needle to pop them.
Step Five: Fill in all of the sections of your design with paint, working so that your arm will not accidentally get into freshly painted sections. You may wish to take your time and do random sections across the glass and wait for the paint to dry before doing another round of random sections. That's what I did, and it saved my sanity from having to paint so many sections in one sitting!
Use the best glass paint. I liked the runnier consistency of the Gallery Glass paint to the thicker Martha Stewart paint, but if you do decide on Martha Stewart glass paint for the color selection, be sure to select the liquid fill paint, not the gloss or frost paint. It smooths out better.
Apply thick coats of paint. Don't try to skimp on your paint, as I did in a few of my sections. I was running out of paint and didn't want to take another trip to the store to buy another bottle. Thicker paint will settle nicely and give less of a textural design in the finish as the light shines through and highlights your brush strokes.
Finish off the joints of your metal strips. Something I didn't do with my panel is to dab pewter glass outliner onto the joints to give a more realistic finish to the leaded strips. This will also fill in any gaps where your lead strips may have been ever so slightly too short. This is an added expense, but will give an added air of authenticity to your faux glass panel.
I bought mirror hanging hardware to mount this panel in my kitchen window, but I didn't end up having a wide enough mounting surface in my window trim to use the hardware, but the window trim along my window sill did provide a nice ledge to lean the panel against my existing window. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect hardware to secure the panel in place, but for now it's sitting pretty right here behind my kitchen sink giving me some much needed privacy next to the front door of our house. -Mandi
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection.
If you have a cat (or two!) and have ever roamed the pet store aisles looking for a good scratching post, then you probably already know about my personal anguish. Our cat Mac has taken to occasionally scratching on a few rugs and chairs that I would rather keep "unshredded", so I thought we should get him a post so he can direct his scratching instinct in a more positive direction. The problem with cat scratching posts is that most of them are pretty, well, boringly hideous. I mean, if I want a piece of furniture that's going to stand out in my house, I want it to be a cool vintage chair or plant stand, not a dull-looking scratching post. Thankfully, what's a girl to do when she can't find what she wants already made? You guessed it, DIY to the rescue!
We’re happy to be working with Fancy Feast, who just launched their Broths with Chicken (you can see Mac is loving it!). It's part of their #WaysToWow campaign, sharing tips to wow our furry little buddies. As part of our partnership, Fancy Feast is making an additional donation to Humane America Animal Foundation (behind Adopt-a-pet.com), who helps homeless pets get out of shelters and into loving homes. It's in conjunction with the brand's history of raising awareness about shelter animals.
You may already know, but I have a pretty big heart for the humane society and pet adoption. I adopted our first kitty Charlie over three years ago, and we loved her so much that we adopted a little brother named Mac for her a year ago. Since I have a husband that is on the road touring a lot for his musician job, it can be really lonely when he's out of town, and I have to say that the loneliness was really getting me down. As soon as I got sweet Charlie though, it was a million times more fun to be home alone and so comforting just to have another heartbeat around the house. Mac's playful spirit (and constant willingness to cuddle) has brought even more joy, and I always tell people that I feel like they rescued me instead of the other way around. I love those furry babies so much.
-18" round wood circle
-4x4 wooden fence post (about 20" tall)
-drill and long wood screws
-white 4x4" post cap
-150 ft of 1/4" nylon rope*
-pink and yellow dye
-bucket and salt (to dye the rope)
-staple gun (or hammer and small nails)
-white and pink (or white and yellow) electrical tape
*It seems like sisal rope is actually the rope of choice for scratching posts (I think it holds up to long-term scratching better), but it looked like I could get a brighter dye color and a whiter white with the nylon rope instead. Either rope works though and the sisal can be dyed as well.
So, the first thing you'll want to do is attach your post to your round platform. Find the middle of your platform, place the post in the middle, and use a pencil to trace around the edges of the post so you can see where to put the screws. Use a drill bit that's slightly smaller than your wood screws and drill four holes within your marked square that go all the way through to the other side of the platform. Flip the platform over and line up your traced square to be on top of your post (so basically your whole scratching post should be sitting upside down). Since you pre-drilled your holes all the way through the wood, you should be able to see where to screw in your four wood screws from the underside to secure the platform to the pole. (Get someone to help hold it in place if you need to while you drill. It's a bit awkward to hold yourself) Flip the scratching post right side up when you're done and paint the bottom platform with a few coats of white paint.
To dye your rope, you'll want to get a bottle of dye for each of your colors (I chose pink and yellow). Since I wanted three colors of rope to color block with, I dyed 50 ft pink, 50 ft yellow, and left 50 ft white. Fill a large bucket halfway with hot water and add 1/3 cup of salt to the water (the salt helps to set the dye). Mix in your first dye color and stir. You can control the color you want by adding more dye, more water, or simply leaving the rope in for longer or shorter amounts of time (I did one full bottle of color and left the rope in for 30 minutes). Just keep checking the rope to see how it's progressing and leave it in longer or add more dye if you want a darker color. When you are happy with the color, pour out the dye and rinse the rope in cool water until the color runs clear. You'll really want to rinse the rope until all excess dye is removed so you don't end up with dye on your kitties' paws. If you would rather not use a manufactured dye, you can also look into some natural dye options as well, but if you rinse the rope really well, the dye shouldn't transfer from the rope.
After the rope has dried, take your white rope and staple gun the end to the bottom of the post. (You could also use small nails instead of a staple gun.) Wrap the rope around the post as tightly as you can, pushing down on the rows every so often to make sure they are packed tightly together.
When it comes time to change colors, cut your white rope, take your white electrical tape and connect the end of the white rope to the beginning of your pink rope. The trick with electrical tape is that you want to pull on it and stretch it while you wrap it—that's what makes it really secure. Continue to wrap your pink rope around the pole and repeat the process of joining ropes again with the pink or yellow electrical tape when you switch to yellow rope, and again with the white tape when you switch back to the white rope to finish the pole. Remember to wrap tightly and push down on the rows every so often.
To finish your rope wrapping, cut your rope and secure the end with electrical tape. Use your staple gun to secure the rope end onto the pole. Glue your post cap onto the top of your post (I just used a simple epoxy glue to secure mine), and you're ready to show kitty the new scratching post!
I rubbed some catnip onto the sides of the post and brought Mac in to check it out. I did a few scratching motions myself on the post and it didn't take him very long to give it a try himself! If your cats aren't already using a scratching post, you may need a few tips to get them used to using the new scratching routine (check out this post for ideas). And man, I still really love those junk food cat toys I made recently and they still play with them everyday...
I have to say, I was a little worried that a cute scratching post might not be possible, but I'm so pleased with how this came out! Since the colors and feel of the post match the rest of our home aesthetic, it really blends in with the rest of the room and doesn't awkwardly stand out (and of course you can change the dye colors to match whatever your home colors are). It's cute, functional, and the kitties love it. So I would say it's a win for everyone! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.