Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ikea vittsjo marble makeover

The Vittsjo shelving unit from Ikea is a nice, albeit rather bland, piece of furniture. Fortunately, it's a really easy piece to customize. We freshened up this shelving unit with a few coats of white paint and some pretty marble paper for a guest room we've been decorating. This project only takes a few supplies and can easily be completed in a day.

Supplies used

4 cans white spray paint
2 sheets 25" x 37" marble paper
Elmer's spray adhesive
X-Acto knife
Mod Podge Matte
foam brush
clear tape

First, we gave the shelving unit and top mdf shelf a few coats of paint. Not shown: rushing in and out of the house between coats like crazy people to rescue the shelf from the rain. We got the brilliant idea to do this in November, when there was only one weekend warm enough to paint outside, and it stormed sporadically all weekend.

Next, we papered the shelves. We sprayed the right side of the marble paper with a light coat of adhesive, pressed the shelf on the paper, and sliced around the edges with the X-Acto knife.

To paper the bottom mdf shelf, we sprayed the top and sides of the shelf with the adhesive and placed the paper on top and smoothed it out. Then we laid some fresh kraft paper on our work surface, flipped the shelf over, and trimmed the excess paper. Then we neatly folded the corners, taped the excess paper in place, and coated the top and sides with Mod Podge and let it dry for a few hours. Once everything was dry, we moved the shelf to its new home, put some pretty things on it, and took a hundred pictures.

The purple and gold swirls in the paper coordinate perfectly with the wall color of the room and give the unit a sassy, luxe feel. The shelves looks so pretty in person that I didn't even want to put anything on them. I feel like I say this every time we make over a piece of furniture, but this is one of my favorite projects we've ever done. Simple, inexpensive, and super fancy! Though I solemnly swear I will not spray paint again until spring.

P.S. We'll share details about the dresser and the room soon!

Monday, November 24, 2014

currently loving

via Architectural Digest España

via Pella Hedeby

via Daniella Witte

Full House via Architectural Digest

Ace Hotel LA via Remodelista

by Tamara Magel, photographed by Rikki Snyder

via Domino

We apologize for being a little scarce around here lately. We've been catching up on a lot of mundane chores like painting walls, switching out light fixtures, and getting things cleaned up and organized before the holidays. These are just a few images of some light and airy interiors that have been soothing our eyes as we comb through the clutter and try to tackle some last-minute projects.

Friday, November 7, 2014

homemade facial toners

As much as I love splurging on a decadent face cream or a fancy cleanser, sometimes it's nice to create inexpensive beauty products in my own kitchen. Today I'm sharing two of my favorite facial toners that are simple to make and use all-natural ingredients that are perfect for sensitive skin. The first is a rosewater and witch hazel toner that I use after cleansing to control my acne. Most acne medications cause my skin to break out but this toner keeps my skin clear without irritation. The second toner is chamomile, lavender, and aloe that I like to apply as a mist after using the rosewater toner and before my moisturizer or whenever my face flushes from rosacea. This toner moisturizes and soothes irritated skin.

Rosewater and Witch Hazel Toner
makes about 8 ounces

1 cup distilled water
1/2 cup dried rose petals
1 tablespoon witch hazel
8 oz glass bottle (optional)

Add rose petals to a small glass bowl. Heat water until almost boiling and pour over petals. Allow mixture to cool. Strain petals and pour rosewater into bottle. Add witch hazel and gently shake. Apply with a cotton ball or pad after cleansing or whenever skin needs a bit of refreshment.

Calming Chamomile and Lavender Facial Mist
makes about 4 ounces

1/2 cup distilled water
2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
4 oz glass bottle with atomizer (optional)

Add chamomile and lavender to a small glass bowl. Heat water to almost boiling and pour over chamomile and lavender. Allow mixture to cool. Strain flowers and stir aloe vera into water. Add to bottle and store in the refrigerator. Apply after cleansing and before moisturizing or when skin is dry, hot, or irritated.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

rosemary gin cider

As much as I can't wait for a break from the ridiculously hot, humid summers we have here, I don't really go crazy for fall. Scarves make my hair all tangly, pumpkin patches are torture, and Halloween is just the worst. However, I can definitely get into making (and eating) fall foods. I especially love honeycrisp apple cider, so I couldn't resist combining it with gin, rosemary, and a bit of lime for a perfect autumn cocktail.

Rosemary Gin Cider

2 ounces gin
4 ounces honeycrisp apple cider, chilled (we used Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce club soda
Sprig of rosemary

Remove a few leaves of rosemary from the sprig.  Muddle the leaves with gin in the bottom of a glass. Stir in the gin, cider, and lime juice. Skim off the muddles leaves, then top with soda. Garnish with the sprig of rosemary, if desired.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

october beauty favorites: kathleen

1. A few weeks ago I headed into Rainbow Blossom looking for an Andalou Naturals serum. They didn't have it, but they had a tester of this 1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil, so I dabbed a little on my hand before I left. I seriously could not stop petting my hand for the rest of the night--it was so soft. I went back and purchased it the next day, and have used it twice daily ever since. It's a blend of oils including sunflower seed, rosehip, argan, and (my favorite) jojoba. After it sinks in, skin feels somehow not at all oily, just silky and moisturized. I definitely prefer the feel of this to the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate that I have used before. While I love the hot pink glass bottle, I should mention that my bottle's dropper doesn't work, so I can only get the one or two drops that cling to the end of the tube before having to dip it in again.

2. I wasn't expecting to like Laua Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide all that much, if not for the press and advertising overload then definitely for the price tag. Of course, I tried it anyway. I was completely floored by how just a tiny bit of this thin liquid covered my rosacea so well, but still looked completely natural. Be sure to start with exfoliated, moisturized skin, start with just a few drops, and blend really well. I will say that the packaging is not great--store upside down, shake with the lid off and your finger firmly over the opening, and try not to squeeze the bottle.

3. Essie nail polish in Smokin' Hot has been one of my favorite fall/winter polishes for a few years now. It's a beautiful purple-gray with a glossy, opaque cream finish. It's a great choice for when you don't want to commit to a super-dark color. I find Essie to be pretty hit-or-miss in terms of formula and application, and this one is definitely a hit.

4. As the weather transitions, my skin tends to go a little haywire--it gets dry, sensitive, and red. I picked up Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream (after I was so impressed with the 1000 Roses oil), and really love it. It's a really silky cream with a pronounced citrus scent. It sinks right in and isn't at all heavy or greasy. I can't say if the probiotics are responsible, but my skin has been staying moisturized and calm.

5. I am usually pretty wary of celebrity cosmetic lines, and I more or less dismissed Kat Von D's. However, the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bauhau5 caught my eye at Sephora, and I couldn't resist. It's a matte fuchsia that goes on as a liquid and dries to a long-wearing finish (like these, another favorite). I recommend a light coat first, and if you want a deeper, more raspberry color, apply a second coat after the first is completely dry, otherwise it ends up a little sticky and may transfer. I don't find this to be drying, but it will accentuate any dryness on lips.

Friday, October 10, 2014

the sort-of fauxdenza

The fauxdenza has been recreated on dozens of blogs ever since Anna of Door Sixteen unleashed it onto the world, and with good reason. It's an affordable and easy way to create attractive storage. The clean mix of white cabinets and dark wood made me swoon when I saw it on The Brick House a couple of years ago and I wanted to make my own so badly. Unfortunately, installing wall cabinets wasn't exactly a renter-friendly option, so I filed it away as something to maybe try when I own my own home in approximately 100 years. Fast forward to a few months ago, and I was still on the hunt for a credenza. I wanted something moveable, modern and minimal, not too expensive, and maybe even something that needed a little extra work or customization. Craigslist, flea markets, and antique stores were fresh out of exactly what I wanted, and though there were several store-bought options that were close, their price tags were high enough to make me choke. So I thought about those pretty little white Ikea cabinets some more, and decided it was time to make a fauxdenza 2.0.

Supplies used:

- 2- 30x30 Akurum wall cabinets
- 4- 15x30 Applåd doors
- 4 packages Integral hinges
- 2 packages Integral soft-close door dampers
- 1 4' x 8' piece of birch underlayment
- package of 100 #8 1-1/4" wood screws
- package of 12 #8 3/4" wood screws
- Liquid Nails Projects construction adhesive
- 6 inch flat brackets
- Weldwood Original contact cement
- Minwax Wipe-On Poly
- Minwax oil-based stain in Honey (sort of)
- birch iron-on veneer
- 4 Streamline knobs from Anthropologie
- drill
- circular saw
- miter box and handsaw
- cheap paint brush
- hammer

After a nightmarish trip to Ikea (Kathleen was scolded in the throw pillow section) and letting the parts sit in boxes for a couple months, I assembled the base cabinets.

Next, I flipped the cabinets on their sides and drilled two rows of two pilot holes on the sides of the cabinets that would be stuck together. The rows were staggered so that there could be screws going in from either side. Then I covered one side in Liquid Nails, set one cabinet on top of the other, and clamped them together. I let them dry for a while before driving the 1-1/4" screws into the pilot holes. Then I let the cabinets dry over night.

Once the cabinets were dry, Kathleen and I flipped them upside down. Then I attached the flat brackets to the bottom for more stability with the 3/4" screws.

I wanted the cabinet to have tapered legs, but didn't exactly want to pay $10+ per leg. So I bought inexpensive 12-inch Waddell legs and cut them down to 6 inches to remove the ugly feet. I screwed the square leg bracket to a piece of wood and clamped it to the table. Then I just screwed in each leg all the way before cutting it in the miter box so they would all be the same length. Next I stained the legs with Minwax Honey and gave them a coat of wipe-on poly, which I later covered with white paint. I originally planned on having five legs because I thought the cabinet would need the support, but the fifth leg looked weird and the cabinet was plenty stable without it.

Next I cut down my birch underlayment to size with the circular saw. We painted contact cement on the outside of the cabinets and the wrong sides of the wood pieces. Then we stuck them to the cabinets and hit them with a mallet to activate the adhesive. Then I covered up the ugly plywood edges with birch veneer. I had originally planned on staining the whole thing with the Minwax Honey, but loved the look of the birch so I decided to give it a very light coat of wipe-on poly instead.

Next I drilled the handle holes in the doors. I used some wood scraps to help line up all the doors perfectly and clamped them down before drilling through them all at once. This probably doesn't seem like the best idea to some, but I was really worried that all the holes would be off and the handles would look bad. This scheme worked great for me and all the holes were perfectly aligned. Lastly, we moved the credenza to its new home, I put on the hinges and doors (somehow the most frustrating part of the whole project), and put on the knobs. Then I stood back and did a little dance because it was finally complete.

Light, airy, and modern, it's exactly what I was hoping for. I'm honestly really proud of this project because I was worried it might actually end up being a disaster. Fortunately, it turned out just right and it can go with me wherever I move.