Lemon martinis, orange lacquer

Late last summer my downstairs neighbors bought the last unsold unit in our building up here on our floor, and set to work remodeling. The unit was nearly but not completely finished when they set about making it their own.

Last night their remodeler held a cocktail party to show off the finished product, which they're moving into next week. Lemon martinis and passed hors d'oeuvres had the place full, but today and tomorrow it's on the remodeled homes tour. They had a good crowd, but it cleared out around lunch time so I walked down the hall and took some shots.

They didn't change the layout of the entry hall, just the surfaces. They kept the marble flooring we all have in our entries, but hung a metallic geometric wallpaper, mirrored the columns (we have one of these in our bedroom, unmirrored), and added a pair of deco consoles and big mirrors with rustic chinoiserie frames.

Off the entry hall is a half bath. The walls are bronzed with the chinese scenery painted. The vanity is custom. What I'm really in love with is the chinese lantern hanging from the ceiling. The wall plates on the sconces have an asian lattice pattern as well although it's hard to see.
From the entry hall you walk into the dining room. To your left is this hand-painted mural over a beautiful console. Opposite (and I didn't get a pic) the wall is mirrored inside the panel moulding with the same smoked mirror used on the entry column. A round polished stone table is surrounded by simple, low slipper-like chairs covered in an ivory velvet with silver nailhead trim, and a glass and mirror chandelier.

Off the dining room in the original plan was a media room which they've turned into an office. The orange lacquer cabintry is incredible. In addition to tons of storage, it also holds a murphy bed which I'm sure their grandbabies will love. Walls are covered in a small-scale grass cloth, and inside that closet are the audio and video components for the entire apartment, which can be controlled from small, discreet wall panels strategically placed in rooms throughout.

Heading back through the dining room you hit the living room, and this gorgeous wall of built-ins. All cabinetry in the unit was built by an amish man in Jamesport. I made sure to compliment his work as it's all just incredible. Normally when I hear "amish-made" I think "colonial." Obviously I know nothing, this stuff is as up-to-date as can be. Opposite this wall, more cabinetry flanks the fireplace between archways to the kitchen/breakfast room

To the right off the living room is the master suite. The drapes are a beautiful ivory lattice fabric hanging on thick chrome rods. The paint colors are muted as they are through out, and are beautiful against the dark stained wood floor. I knew she had faux painters in there, and I'm not always a fan, but I really do like everything they did, especially the birds in here.

Doesn't that look like a pleasant place to wake up? Brett said to me "you want that headboard don't you?" Maybe not that one exactly, but something like it! Also note the use of mirrors, they're everywhere. Love.

Through the bedroom we enter the bath. Originally this unit had pretty much the same bathroom as ours, the only difference being another foot in size. They've completely reconfigured it and added much nicer finishes. Through the bath you enter the master closet by walking around either side of the mirror you can see through the doorway. The floor and shower are a gorgeous white marble.

More of the beautiful custom cabinetry, and her fun lucite-and-fur vanity chair.

Back to the living room, and looking toward the breakfast room area of the kitchen. These are corner units and get great light from the north and west-facing windows. That table looks like an antique to me, and the perfect place to start the day with a cup of coffee. Ignore me there in the mirror in my Saturday errand running outfit. Units here are all on one level, but because they wanted to move some things around in the kitchen, and we have 14 inch concrete floors, they raised the kitchen floor. (This building was originally a Cadillac dealership in the 40s. No lot, they parked the big beasts upstairs where we now live) When she mentioned doing this I thought it wouldn't work, but I really like it. The arc of the steps makes it really graceful, and with our high ceilings it's not tight at all, and adds some interest, almost making it feel like a sunken living room.
Here's the kitchen, with more of that beautiful cabinetry, this time in ivory and a metallic silver finish which is nice with the stainless appliances. Also nice is the deco-inspired chandelier centered on the whaletail counters with stools on both sides.

And finally, at the south end of the kitchen, a bar area with more cabinetry, this time in an amazingly beautiful gray cerused oak.
All of us were really taken by how breathtakingly beautiful they've made their space. The guest bedroom and bath are finished but the furniture hasn't arrived yet so I didn't take a picture. They're just as gorgeous as the rest of the place
If you're close to, or in KC (and I'm thinking of you Mrs. B) you should stop by tomorrow between noon and 5pm. TOTALLY worth a look.

Prada: The Spring 2009 Collection

Someone had a day at the puppy spa today! And since I basically shamed her daddy into making her appointment (he hadn't had her groomed in 6 months), and he had a 430pm shift to work, I picked her up after I left the office and brought her back to hang out with us for the evening.
As you can see, we've been covered with schnauzers all night. Nobody wants to miss out on anything, so where there's one, there's three.
Between each of these shots I'm sure the three of them must have moved back and forth between us at least three times. She's also found her voice since she was here at Christmas. It's high and loud!
And obviously she hasn't learned any boundaries either.
I kind of hate that I have to take her back.

Taking a break from the hand-wringing

Nobody has bought this pile, I mean scheduled a showing here at our comfortable home, in the last week and it's gotten kind of maddening. We're on the realtor tour this Tuesday, so hopefully we'll see some traffic from that. In the interim I'm perking myself up with some fantasy decorating. This time, the living room. All photos courtesy of the Baker website.

The house currently has a living and family room, divided by an interior wall that for some reason contains a large picture window, complete with it's original barkcloth drapes. We'll take that out, as well as the half walls that separate the entry from the living room, leaving one large space. There's a floor-to-ceiling panel of ribbed glass that divides the entry in half, and we'll reposition it to the left of the front door to visually separate the entry. Moving a closet in one of the front bedrooms leaves us with a perfectly rectangular entry, and to the right we'll place Baker's Chinoiserie Cabinet.
At the front of the house there's a large picture window, which should be replaced with something even larger, with oversized panes and a steel frame. In front of that we'll position a pair of Barbara Barry's reeded base sofas. Other than a shade of gray I haven't decided on fabric.
Between the sofas, Jaques Garcia's scroll cocktail table. You know how I love greek key.

And down toward the arch into the dining room, another small conversation area made up of a pair of the Architype collection tub chair. These covered in my perennial favorite, charcoal mohair velvet.

Finally, straight ahead from the entry, in the former family room, is a flat wall of stone that contains the fireplace. The perfect spot for lounge chairs. I love the shape of the Jacques Garcia Tuilleries chair. He has one called the Sorbonne chair that has an even funkier wing, but I think this would be the most comfortable for reading by the fire with schnauzers snoozing at my feet. Definitely in black leather.

Opposite the fireplace wall there's a wall of built-ins that we'll resize to fit a television and components. A small sectional should work there as we plan to open up the back wall of the house with three pairs of french doors out to the patio. I haven't found a sectional I think is perfect so I'll keep looking for that.
Your assignment for the week: think "Sell!"

One of the things I love about the man

Brett is a car guy. In the eleven years we've been together he's always leased, and there's a pattern. Something sporty and fun, in black, followed by something perfectly nice, but less exciting, in gray. The gray cars are often Acuras, and as you'll recall, while I find nothing inspiring about their design, theres nothing better for chasing a drunken 28 year-old through the streets of Kansas City.

The fun cars of late have been Infinitis. Or Infinitii. Whichever you prefer, they make some beautiful automobiles. I loved driving his G35 when he went out of town because I could gun it through Meyer Circle and it hugged the road like nobody's business. Alas, it was before they started making all-wheel drive and as anyone who lives in Kansas City will tell you, rear-wheel drive just plain sucks when we get snow.

The thing that's so sweet is that he likes cars so much that he gets excited even if the new car isn't his. He loves my LR3, and with his lease ending soon was thinking about one. But he had time to look, so there was no hurry, right?

Uh, no. When the car bug hits him it's all over, and today was the day. Rather than leasing he decided to buy a good late-model used car. Staying with the pattern, it was time for something fun, and as you can see,
something black. In this case, an 06 M35x. Sleek, black inside and out, and sexy as all hell. Congratulations baby, I love it!

When the culturally illiterate protest

A quick stop at urbandictionary.com would have been a good idea.

Listen to mama

Raina had a really great post earlier today that you should read. It's specifically about Pottery Barn, but I think it's indicative of retailing everywhere. Loss of focus, loss of identity, lackluster design and even worse execution-that's the real problem.

I feel the same way about Restoration Hardware. It used to be interesting to go, but now they have all these "lines" and everything comes in every finish and theres 50 fabrics each in 8 colors and...enough.

I don't think all is lost. As I commented on that post, I think PB does mirrors well:

And lighting too:
And while I don't have photos here, my master bath fixtures are Resto's Spritz collection, and we've bought nothing but their bath towels for years now.

So come on retailers, get with it. Yes the economy is scary, but people still have money to spend. We just don't have money to spend on crap. Put out a well-designed, well-made product that we can imagine living with for more than a season, we'll buy it. And when we're happy with that we'll come back looking for more.

David's Guide to Homekeeping and Organization

I like clothing. A lot. So my closet is chock-full at all times. One of the best things about moving to this condominium was the opportunity for a fully-fitted custom closet, which has in large part helped tame my beast of a wardrobe. What I'm good about is thinning the herd. When we decided to prepare to list this place weeks ago one of the first things I did was go through my closet to pull out things that no longer fit (because I'm thinner!) or that I no longer wear. The end result was four shopping bags of clothes, and a bag of shoes.

I often take things to a resale shop, and I've made some nice chunks of fun money in the past (and picked up an Etro shirt in perfect condition for 12 bucks!). The problem with the one I've used here locally is that you generally get a running review of your fashion choices before you get your cash. "Oh these really aren't selling" or "nobody wears these anymore..." I hate this, and I've often said something like "You don't have to justify, just pick out what you want." I hate it so much that the bags have been riding around in the back of my car for weeks, moved only when I needed to load something, or finally when I traded vehicles.

Flash forward to last Tuesday's twice-a-month consignment auction. A really nice sale, there was quite a bit of white ironstone. Pitchers, wash sets, tureens and platters, nothing terribly out of the ordinary, except for this:

It ended up being the only thing I bought all evening, but I didn't care. Six inches high and just over 11 inches handle-to-handle, it's in beautiful shape with just the usual crazing and staining (Connie, it's coming to visit you), and is by maker John Edwards.
I tried to get a detail shot here but I'm awful at shooting white. What you can't really tell is that the ends of each handle have lion heads.
So what do these things have to do with one another? I paid a lot for the bowl, more than I would generally pay for something that wasn't a piece of furniture. I could sell it on eBay and still make money, but I think we all know I'm not about to part with it. So to ease my mind on what I spent I loaded up my bags of clothing and headed up north to try a new resale shop I'd heard advertised on the radio.
The shop was fine, although their mens section was pretty small. The woman working was lovely, and after selecting all my shoes and over half of my clothes to buy, mentioned that they really needed good guys stuff. What she didn't take went into the Big Brothers Big Sisters charity bin. End result: My closet is in good shape, the lingering bags are gone, and the final net on a bowl I love is 20 bucks!

Things I love - Scenic wallpapers

Brett and I have always been lucky that our tastes in interiors, if not entirely similar, are easily compatible. We both prefer firm upholstery, for example, and rooms with a mix of styles. We think walls are better with color and both firmly subscribe to the "it's just paint" school when it comes time to freshen up a room. If it's not right, you can always paint it again.

The last frontier finding us far, far apart, is wallpaper.

The panel above is part of Tropical Views from Paul Montgomery Studios, which I recently discovered online. This is my favorite from a number of really great panoramic papers that are handpainted to mimic old woodblock printing, and can be customized in size and colorway to fit your application.

Picture it in grayscale, glossy white chair rail and panel moulding below, large crown above, and a black-stained wood floor. For a dining room we'll throw in an overscaled chrome chandelier. For a library we could swap the panel moulding for low bookshelves around the room. Black linen drapes on fat chrome rods work with either.

I'll get him there eventually!