MidMal Reviews: Ralph Lauren Candlelight

The second bedroom is demo'd and the electrician will finish up this week. Then Bill and Steve will be in for insulation/drywall and mud/tape, and finally we'll be ready for (totally sexy) French Dan to come refinish the floors. With that milestone in sight I needed to paint the dining room ceiling and crown moulding.

The room has the same big backlit moulding and coved ceiling we saved in the entry. I was so happy with the white trim and pale turquoise ceiling paint we used there that I decided to do the same thing in the dining room. It looked great when it was all done.

Ralph Lauren has discontinued a lot of their ancilary paint products over the years (I always thought their stencils were good), but still available is Candlelight. It's a clear topcoat designed to change the way light hits your walls. If you look at the pictures on the RL website its subtle and pretty. Hoping to enhance the already good looking ceiling this weekend I gave it a try. Here's a review.

The Product: You'll be stirring this for a while, you might want to ask your salesperson to run it through the shaker. Also note this stuff stinks like wet gym socks, and that odor will hang around for a day or so. Don't paint before you have people over for drinks like I did.

Application: Along with the paint you need a couple of specialty RL rollers, one 4 inch and one regular 9 inch. They're very shaggy to mottle the surface. They recommend completing an entire wall (or ceiling in my case) at a time, and also that one person do all the painting. The small roller is used to cut in edges, but only two regular roller lengths at a time. Then two regular strips are rolled on, filling the roller twice for each strip. Finally, X's are made in rows over the freshly painted strips, picking up the roller after each stroke. It sounds worse than it was, then again I'm very comfortable with paint techniques. Either way I think the whole ceiling took me about an hour and a half.

The Result: I'm not in love. I was expecting something subtly magical, what I got seems more reminiscent of semi gloss paint. The increased sheen is also going to emphasize any imperfections in your surface.

The Verdict: We're going to live with it for a bit and see if it grows on us, but I smell a repaint in my future.

Easy Closets Again

If that doesn't stem the tide of coats, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and umbrellas, nothing will.

Baseboard, a new light fixture and some doors and we can count the entry closet done. The system is the same Easy Closets that we used in the bedroom and again, I'm pleased. It took us about 3 hours start to finish but was no big deal. I'm still a fan.

Fashion Break

With the little break in our hellish weather I started thinking about a new fall coat. Wouldn't this unconstructed beauty be great? It's Lubiam's more casual LBM 1911 line.

Congratulations Michelle Bachmann

on your Iowa Straw Poll win! I'm pulling for you, I really am. And not only because your husband Ladybird is going to be skewered by SNL at every opportunity. Your inability to be photographed NOT looking bat-shit crazy will be the best thing about the upcoming Presidential campaign. Run you incomprehensible religious wingnut, run!

Enjoy your weekend

I've got some painting and odd little tasks to finish up, but shower glass was installed yesterday and the 48 hour silicone cure period ends Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning's shower should be the highlight of my weekend. Here's to no more pink bathrooms!

Modern Love

Mrs. Blandings has mentioned Joanna Votilla and Modern Love, her shop at 45th and State Line a few times, and with good reason. Joanna has a great eye and her place is always filled with beautiful things you'd love to own.

I drive by pretty regularly (Kincaid's is in the neighborhood as well) and when she was open Saturday I had to run in because in the window was this incredible lamp.

Simple, yes, but oversized in scale. The base is 13 inches in diameter and the whole thing is 40 inches tall with the (original, unadorned and unblemished) shade. Best of all though is its shiny, pristine, burnt orange glaze. Its not far off from the can of paint waiting to cover the sideboard that I'm anxious to get to work on.

When I picked it up over lunch today she said "Live with it for a few days and let me know." I've moved it around a bit and its great on a table by a comfortable chair (although probably not that chair in the first picture). It's also terribly handsome on the grey antique Chinese cabinet, but sadly big enough to block the tv that will hang there soon. So while I'm not exactly sure where it will end up, I'm absolutely positive its not going back.

Modern Love is open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to five, at 1715 West 45th Street (just east of State Line).

Confidential to HGTV

Ok HGTV, tonight I reached the tipping point. We've all been watching competition shows for a while now, and there's a systemic problem: the team challenge.

I know you think that drama makes good tv, maybe it does or maybe it doesn't. There's one thing however that I'm absolutely sure it does, and that is dilute the design.

David Bromstad told one of the contestants tonight, "We're a design network." You need to decide if that's true or not.

These people barely know each other and have wildly varying design backgrounds and personalities. When things inevitably go wrong its the room that suffers, and then we get to hear Vern tell the meeker/quieter/more polite of the pair that they should fight for what they think is right. Hey Vern, what exactly should Karl have done tonight to stop Cathy from overstyling the kitchen? He told her he didn't think what she was doing was right and it was obvious she had no intention of changing course. Should he have physically restrained her from stacking up more food?

The designers could have interesting ideas or points of view, but we never get to find out because you're emphasizing the competition over the design. And with the exception of David Bromstad, the competition hasn't even produced stars or compelling shows. Its time to do this differently.

Lindsey Adelman Studio

Via Decorno. How hard would this rock my dining room. If only it didn't cost as much as a decent used car. They're all good, check them out here.