Missing Summer.

I can’t believe that it is almost Thanksgiving.  I am definitely not ready for Winter or the holiday season.  I have been really busy at work and that coupled with the short, dark and cold days are leaving me longing for some fun, sun and warmth. 

In reminiscing about the warmer days I thought I’d share some pictures of our house from Summer.  The picture below is of a spider that lived in the plants in the front of our house.  He spent the whole summer spinning his web on the various plants near our stoop. One day he would be sitting in the middle of his magnificent web on the Zebra Grass and the next day he would be furiously spinning his web on the rose bush.  He moved often but did not stray away from the front of our house.  Then one day it got colder and he was gone.  

We painted the brown stone on the front of our house in Toucan Black by Benjamin Moore.  By “we” I mean Scott.  He also painted the stone trim around the door and the six windows on the front of the house.  I would generally not recommend painting stone but it had already been painted brown by the previous owner and there was no cost effective way to restore the stone to its original glory. We primed the wall first with Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Exterior Primer.  Then we used “breathable” Benjamin Moore Ben Waterborne Exterior paint  in flat finish so that there wouldn’t be any issues with water retention.

These pictures were taken in June 2011.


Another addition to the Dining Room.

Lighting the dining room seems to have been my recent obsession.  I added a light to the wood paneling (opposite the wall of photographs) to mainly light up the space but also to shed some light on a fabulous painting that I recently purchased on eBay.

Here’s a close up of the painting:

The light is the Beryll wall spot light from Ikea (which cost only $14.99).  It comes with a really long white cord which is perfect for lighting pictures and blends in to the white woodwork.  I used wire clips to secure the wire behind the painting and along the bottom of the molding so that there weren’t an unsightly tangle of extra cord on the floor. 

The Vestibule.

When we bought the house one of the first things that our contractor suggested was that we get rid of the vestibule.  I am so glad that we didn’t.  I love walking into the house and having a space to put my keys, hang my jacket and take off my shoes.   The vestibule also has the added benefit of keeping out any cold drafts from entering the house.  In the winter we shut the vestibule door which keeps out the cold air from the living room.

Since the vestibule is really small I opted to cover the walls in Moroccan tiles.  I have always loved the designs of the tiles but it would have been very expensive to cover a large area with Moroccan tiles.  We used Saltillo tiles for the floor.  I bought the Moroccan cement tiles online.  I wish I could remember the site but Berber Trading, Tazi Design and Casbah Decor all have similar tiles available.  Here’s a close up of the tiles:

The lamp is a vintage Spanish fixture that I purchased on eBay. 


The ceilings are really high and the space looked a little cold so I decided to cover the walls gallery style with mostly Kiran’s paintings and drawings.  I put the pictures up in inexpensive Ikea Ribba frames.

We have one rack for coats, scarves, and bags.  We also have another small rack for keys, mail, sunglasses, umbrellas and other smaller items.  These racks are for our everyday use.  When we have guests we generally throw everyone’s jackets on our bed.  My next project is  to finish the stairway to the basement and install a long row of coat racks so that when we have people over they have a proper place to hang their jackets.  Old row houses are notorious for having minimal storage space and ours is no exception. 

This is a wrought iron coat rack I bought years ago at Anthropologie. 

I bought the Triple Hook Up Strip in Olive (below) by Three by Three from Velocity Design a couple of years ago.  It comes with four small magnets which hold notes, checks etc.  The larger hooks are great for sunglasses and mail and  we use the smaller hooks for umbrellas, Kiran’s sweaters etc. 

In this picture you can (barely) see the floor tiles.  It took us forever to find Saltillo tiles.  Scott and I went to a dozen tile places and then we finally found a place on Washington Avenue that had these tiles.  I think that they complement the Moroccan tiles perfectly. 

The last thing that we need to do in the vestibule is to strip the varnish off the wood door, prime it, and paint it in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace which is the same white paint that we have used throughout the house on the moldings and panelling. 

When we bought the house the vestibule was covered in the ugliest brown, beige and cream tiles. Most of them were falling off and the space was just uninviting.  Unfortunately I don’t have a great before picture but this is what the vestibule looked like a few days after we bought the house. 

Dining Room Corner.

I feel like I have said it a million times before but my dining room is quite long and quite narrow so it tended to look like a corridor.  To make it feel like a room I have been trying to fill it up with art, photos and large furniture.  I have also been trying to add more light to the corners which tended to look a little gloomy and dark at night.  One of my latest lighting additions is this Patrick Townsend string light.  Not only does it look fabulous but it lights up the row of photographs very nicely. 

I just realized that the  photographs look really crooked!  I wish I can just reach in and straighten them.  I created a collage of pictures at the bottom of the wall so that Kiran can see pictures of Scott’s mother (who passed away), Scott’s grandmother who he rarely sees, and my parents in Sri Lanka.  He looks at them quite often and leaves his greasy fingerprints all over the glass!

Here is a close up of the string light with the flash off:

The Coral Pendant Light is up!

The old chandelier in the dining room was very ornate and a little bit too much for our dining room.  I have been admiring the Coral Pendant Light by David Trubridge for a long time.  I finally found a great deal online and bought it.  When it arrived it was  flat packed and the individual pieces had to be assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  It took Scott about two hours to assemble the light.

Even though it is huge (it measures almost two feet in diameter) it takes up a lot less visual space than the chandelier because of all the open spaces.

We installed a dimmer on the light switch and when the light is dimmed the shadows around the room are fantastic.  Even with the light off it looks like an amazing sculpture hanging from the ceiling.