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All Hail King of the Blues


So we’ll set aside the kitchen renovation for the moment as it gears up for it’s finishing touches. What else has been happening? Well, after years of longing to paint every place I lived in and either pleading with landlords, or my husband as the case may be I finally get my chance to do what I want. Well the jokes on me. I froze. I couldn’t pick a paint colour for the life of me. There was one ‘general idea’ that I was quite set on, but then the specifics eek. I knew I wanted a dark room. Maybe dark grey…maybe dark blue, maybe bright blue. I wasn’t exactly sure, but I knew I had too many  in my inspiration folder to ignore.

Credits (Clockwise) :  Zoe’s Dark Bathroom | Martha Stewart | Molly’s dark bedroom  |  Braided Extension Cord | (middle) Emily Henderson’s old office

I really wanted the dark blue bathroom. As it is in the photo above. In fact, when we viewed the house, I thought, oh the bathroom is the perfect size to make my dark piegon bathroom. BUT, then I had warring loves with a certain tile and I decided to move on. So the guest bedroom seemed the next best thing. Somewhere I could make cozy and interesting. Now. which. blue. It took like 3 months to pick one..and then I tried out some samples and changed my mind. Then changed my mind and then I couldn’t even remember which one I chose. Then on Labour day weekend (the weekend before I realized I discovered I was pregnant, I spent the entire three days attacking the guest room, which is not large by any means. And I painted the heck out of that room. Badly. Oh, and guess what I didn’t even get to the walls, I was so busy trying to get rid of the maroon trim. Painting old windows is dreadful and when you have to have 3 coats, it’s 3x the fun. But oh-so-rewarding.

So this room’s checklist (not necessarily indicative of what is shown in the photos, but what is done in real life (blast these belated posts!):

  • Get rid of the horrible dark trim. Repaint walls dark colour with fresh white trim.  Nearly all the way done. A few touchups needed and doors need to be reinstalled but 93.5% there.
  • Replace light fixture  Done, but not featured in these photos. Ceiling mount fixtures are NOT easy to find for a decent price. I don’t LOVE any of them really and when I find something that I’d be willing to live with/part money for–I see the price and go, heck no if I’m spending that much, I’m going to get something I love! We found a decent shade at Ikea that I was happy with in terms of look (not amazing, just not ugly and a great price), but it did have a few headaches with the European sizing/holes I don’t know what it was. All I know was that I was responsible for looking things up on my iphone to tell David and his Dad (who was over visiting) what wires they should or shouldnt’ be touching. Stressful. One of those situations where my father-in-law knows exactly how to do this in the UK, but halfway through the process we find out that all the colours/roles of wires are all confused and different in the US. Gulp. No one was shocked/died etc. and the light works soooo, success?
  • Furnish with bed, side tables, lamps, dresser and rug at minimum 90% done but not featured in the photos. More on this later.
  • Find and hang artwork 2% done. We have a painting that was a gift from my last birthday that looks amazing popping off the dark blue wall, but has yet to find a home on the wall.
  • Find and hang a mirror 0% done. After 5 trips to Ikea and finding the Stockholm mirror out of stock they finally had ONE last week. I was waiting in line along with the rest of Brooklyn when I though to peek in the box. The mirror was smashed. So annoyed, but also delighted I discovered it sooner rather than later!! So still no joy.
  • Replace curtain rods (hung way too close height and width wise so they were covering most of the light even when pulled all the way open) . Explored the plumbing supplies curtain rods as I loved them but we were really worried about the weight…I liked the west elm fixtures but was worried about the costs adding up since we have so many to replace so we took a gamble on a set from Wayfair. Ugh. Mistake, we’ve put them up and I’m guessing no one will notice, but I’m not pleased with the quality and am not going to get any more. Anyway, they ARE set higher and wider so that’s good!
  • Hang new curtains-full length, no more of this cafe curtain business! 90% done. Again, curtains have been an unexpected challenge. I utilized my beloved Emily Henderson’s curtain round-up and went with her recommendation with the Aina Curtains from Ikea as they are fairly affordable for curtains,  nice shade of soft grey and dont’ look horribly cheap. The downside is that hemming them (which I did with the hemming tape) is a bit of a headscrew as you have to measure from the top as opposed to the bottom (which would be a lot shorter of a measurement) but the bottoms are massively uneven. One set are hung and the others are awaiting curtain rings. Because apparently a pack is only enough for one curtain. All those people out there just hanging one curtain…all 3 of them in the world.


I’m definitely less marooned out…although by now I’ve found out that painting old mullion sash windows is harder than opening a pickle jar without hands or arms. I looked up HOW to paint the windows, get a giant sense of relief that now that I’m prepared it will go better the next round…

Hah…then I laugh at my stupidity. It’s not easier and now I’m more annoyed because I’m ‘doing it right’!

Don’t let the joyful greenery outside trick you. This room is still nowhere near done.

By now everybody is going ahh…it’s so much fresher. But don’t get too attached. I’m about to switch it all up on you. Don’t worry it will all be okay.

One coat of the blue…and I seem to have straddled the ‘too school locker room blue vs. black’ line well and am generally happy with the hue-o-blue. If my memory serves me correctly we finally settled on Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. Of course that isn’t the ‘finished’ shot as there is another coat to go as well as the furnishings that haven’t been photographed, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll build the suspense (and actually take some photos) but I am pleased to announce this room was the first one that even resembled a finished room and has been for a few months.

It hasn’t had doors as it took us HOURS to get them off as the hinges had been painted over so many times that it required heavy digging to even find a screwhead let alone get some grip to take it off. We finally got them off and then I lost the will to paint them. BUT, thankfully we wised up to this renovation and realized with David’s back, my baby cookin’ and our limited time on the weekends + the less than easy crooked house to paint that we were going to bite the bullet and hire a painter to take care the rest of the house. The alternative was that we had the baby, raised him, taught him the way of the paintbrush and when he reached 16 we got him to paint the rest of the rooms. We decided against that route and I’m very pleased. We FINALLY called someone and they came out the weekend before Christmas to spec and started the day after Christmas (to all the Brits, can I just be clear I didn’t ask him to start then! ). He was supposed to be done last week but some unforeseen issues on another job have slowed him down a bit but I don’t mind a bit. Most is done and to be honest this whole process has sped it up so much a week or two over is ’nuffin’. Anyway I’ll get more into what else he’s done, but in terms of this room, he has added these doors to his pile from the other rooms and is dipping the hardware to strip the paint off, so this room will finally come to a close in terms of paint. Err, well there are a couple of areas that should really have a touchup but I’ll take care of that in good time–heaven forbid we actually finish something concretely!



Color Me Senseless

I’ve been known to run a race or two in my ‘past life’…an assortment of short runs and a marathon or two sprinkled around the world. But never have I run so excitedly around a giant parking lot/runway as I did this past weekend. My friend Darcy joined me in the deepest parts of Brooklyn to test my lazy bones for a 5k known as ‘The Color Run‘ (do you know how many times I have written color with a ‘u’ just in this post alone?!?). You’ll have to check out their site for their funny FAQ’s but for the CliffNotes version: it’s an untimed 5k where they douse you in different color powders as you go around…and you complete with a crazy powder fest at the end ensuring that your car and clothing will have just a little bit more life to them than they did when you woke up that morning at 5:45. Did I mention you wear white for it? …and that you’ll never look cleaner at any point in your life than you will when you look at before and after pictures from the day? I’ve always been a sucker for a motivational film (e.g. Nike ads) to get me up and ‘attem’ which explains why I signed up the day I watched their little film below. And if all other reasons fail: it’s an instant whitening tool for your teeth.

*photos above by the Mister


Decision 2012: Artwork

Decision 2012 might sound like some horribly misplaced political article or a terribly clean and unfunny Jon Stewart segment… but really it’s just my new household initiative. Adorn the wall with frames and then decide on some artwork, and get.it.on.the.wall. No spending months, years with empty frames waiting for the right thing to suddenly appear. Just make it happen. So pleased to introduce you to the  two new pieces of eye candy on the wall. First, I saw this fabulous ‘mermaid’ print on the blog of my favourite new obsession, the stylist Emily Henderson (seriously she needs a whole post dedicated to her and my stalking of her incredible style) but for now, I’ll keep it short. I love everything she does, she had some artwork on her blog. I saw, I liked and I purchased. In about a four minute turnaround. This is a completely foreign behavior, but apparently contagious because just a few short weeks later a great image of my Grandpa came through from an Aunt. They had found an image of him from on top of a Red Cross building in China during the War and with some clever help from my uncle they made a jpeg and literally THAT night, it was up on my wall. I’m planning on rewarding myself with more frames for the wall. And it’s because of this crazy behaviour that means I’ll never become President…Unless it’s of my own house and then I graciously accept the nomination. See ya at the polls David!

You can have your very own copy of ‘Married to the Sea‘ by Tastes Orangey for $25

However, I’m afraid you’ll have to find your very own cool & handsome Grandpa. He’s all mine.


A little story about…an elusive scarf

Oh Madewell…we’re going to come to blows soon. I’m batting ‘oh-for-five’ at the moment with you. Despite dedicating a significant portion of my income to you lately I keep guessing wrong as to what I should be paying full amount for (as I love it enough to not want to risk it being sold out) or waiting to pick it up in the sale. I think everything I’ve bought full price has entered into a very well priced sale state…whilst the pieces I loved but thought wouldn’t, have sold out! Number one on this list is the elusive storyteller scarf collection. I work across the street from Madewell…dangerous I know…and have literally been eyeing up the red/teal/green/orange map scarf for months. When I finally thought, ‘sod it…I obviously like it enough to splurge’ it’s gone! As are all the other scarves from the collection that use maps, typography and other fabulous bits and bobs in great colours to add glamour and cheeriness to any outfit. You can read a bit more about how they created the collection here on their blog, which will make you fall in love all the more. They literally cut up maps, and made collages, using real glue…in this day and age? Very impressed!  So please bring back the storyteller scarves Madewell…or be prepared to tell me another story. Perhaps the one about a new scarf, yet to be released, that I’m going to like even more than the previous ones. I like that one…and I promise I’ll buy it full price this time, so stop punishing me.


Man the fort…

In search of a holiday this spring/summer? Yep, me too and since Mallorca isn’t for us this year please just let me live vicariously through you and book the Cap Rocat in Mallorca. For the uniniatiated to the workings of the Mediterranean, Mallorca is a Spanish island in the Med Sea. And past that sea, housed on a cliff, in a former military fort sits this boutique hotel. This hotel is a little different than most as it can list in its amenities a drawbridge, bunkers and trenches alongside an infinity pool, outdoor lanterns and the best umbrella/tent combo I’ve ever seen. I am absolutely in love with the outside setting, with that fantastic umbrella covering and persimmon red rugs. I wonder if they’ll knock the price down a bit if I just set up camp outside?

You can find out more at Mr. & Mrs. Smith or check out the Cap Rocat website where unbelievably there are more amazing photos of the turquoise sea, the sun loungers you’ll never want to leave and more torches you can shake a stick at…

Looking for more boutique hotel action in Europe, check out this beauty in Mykonos Greece or the spring/summer holiday we took in 2010, also in Mykonos! It seems like these inspirational holidays maybe do come true sometimes!


Toe Polish…

It might be the spring solstice, the impending daylight savings time change…or just the fact that I’ve had a bit of vitamin d the past few days, but I AM READY for spring. Or more likely it’s just a growing obsession with neon, but I would loooove to have a pair of neon toe cap flats for my springy toesies. They seem to be ‘everywhere’ at the moment, but all at quite a springy price. I tried to pacify myself with a pair of £10 Zara metallic toe caps in the Christmas sales, but the feeling of what I can only describe as ‘binder clips on my toes’ is not a good look ( or feel). Can anyone vouch for Jcrew or Kate Spade flats and their worth/quality? Any justification can be forwarded straight on to me, Brittany  c/o the spring shoe fund…

From Top left (clockwise)

Pom Pom Ballet Flats from Jcrew $198 USD

Tipsy shoes by Kate Spade (in yellow) $128

Cece leather and canvas ballet flats (toe view) $128 USD

Miss KG Lychee Ballerina Flats

Pom Pom Ballet Flats from Jcrew (full view) $198 USD


Fancy more neon? I know the feeling. Check out theses diaries or these electric accessories