The Back Room is Black!

I have been lusting after a black room for ages.  I have been threatening to paint out the back room (my room) all black for a while.  I started small by painting out one wall.  Then I started to timidly brush on some black on the other walls. Things stayed that way for a couple of months and it probably would have stayed that way for a lot longer.  However, our house was to be featured in the Passyunk Square Civic Association House Tour and the weekend before the tour Scott and I decided that we just had to paint the room. Scott wasn’t sure about the black but decided that anything was better than black streaks on all the pale pink walls!

This room is off the kitchen and tiny.  I was sure that if I painted out the walls, ceiling, moldings and the radiator in  black it would make the boundaries disappear and make the room look larger.  Well…mission accomplished.


I love the way the room looks (Scott does too).  It is super cozy and all the bright colors pop against the black.  I used Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Chalkboard paint because nothing else looks as matte as this paint.  This tiny room has bookshelves, a day bed, a desk a filing cabinet, a chair and two side tables! It definitely does not look tiny anymore. 

Kiran and I painted the old lamp found in Scott’s grandmother’s attic a few years ago.  I designed the lampshades at Fenchel Shades to fit the lamp.  The rug is a cheap kilim found on eBay and the curtains are from Urban outfitters.  I am considering painting one wall in our bedroom black as well…

Here’s what the room looked like when we bought the house:

And this is what it looked like after we renovated it:

Office Room Update.

The office room is finally a great organized space for us to work in.  I generally use this room when I work from home.  I love the sunlight streaming in from the south facing window.  I need to find another location for the printer which is currently taking up a lot of space on the desk. 

I moved some of the non cold hardy plants from outside into this room.  These tropical plants love the heat and the sun.  Most of my flowering tropical plants continue to flower through the winter in this room.

I spend a lot of time in this chair reading/writing and working: 

My view from the chair:

The nude drawing are by Scott’s mother and we found a bunch of them in the attic at his Dad’s house.  The lamp base is vintage that we bought at a thrift store in Dallas.  I designed and ordered the lamp shade at Fenchel Shades

The only thing left to do in this room is to install some shelves in the nook over the radiator.  I am hoping that when  Scott is off from work during Christmas he’ll have the time to install the shelves. 

Kitchen Inspiration.

When we purchased our house the one thing that we knew we wouldn’t need to spend any money on right away was the kitchen.  It was white, it had white kitchen cabinets, a decent counter top, a tiled back splash, and working appliances. Well, now we have been in the house for six years and the kitchen is falling apart.  Our microwave stopped working, the dishwasher stopped working, the refrigerator is in pretty bad shape and the cabinets just look ugly.  While we splurged on a Bosch dishwasher we haven’t bought anything else. I am dreaming of a brand new kitchen with lots of white subway tiles, cement floor tiles and lots of dark grout.

I am in love with this light fixture and the amazing white subway tiles with dark grout:

Via Desire to Inspire

I love everything about this kitchen.  I love the cement floor tiles, the white subway tiles on the walls with the dark grout and open shelving.

Source Unknown

I would really like to incorporate a sitting area with maybe a wall of bookshelves. 

Jenna Lyons Brooklyn  Kitchen via Domino

I love how you can just throw open these doors and bring the outdoors inside.  Also these tiles are amazing!

Via Dwell

Our kitchen is tiny.  Since Scott and I cook all the time we have been dreaming of a larger kitchen.  We hope to some day combine the kitchen and the back room (which I use as my room for my various projects)  into one large kitchen.  The kitchen is next to the dining room and the back room is next to the kitchen and leads into the back yard.  Unfortunately the back room is a cheap addition (built sometime in the 50s) and the wall separating the kitchen and backroom is  a load bearing wall. 

We would need to remove the entire back room; build a new room; and install an “I” beam if we wanted to open up the kitchen.  Also, I would like to install large glass doors that will open up into the back yard.  This renovation will cost a lot.  So for now I am just dreaming of what I would like my new kitchen to look like.
When we do the kitchen renovation I would also like to dig up the cement in the back yard and plant some bamboo at the far end of the yard, build up the walls on each side and plant a few small trees in the ground; and then re-cement the yard so that we can continue to have a table with chairs and an umbrella outside. Clearly none of this will happen soon.  For now I am content planning all the details. 

It’s a Jungle Outside!

I overheard Kiran telling one of his friends at his school that we have a jungle outside our house!  Every year we sprinkle several sun flower seeds in the tiny cement-less area where we planted our tree.  Every year when the sunflowers bloom and we get visits from the most amazing array of birds I have ever seen in Philly.  There are these small birds with bright yellow feathers who come several times a day and they are so beautiful to watch.  They hop from flower to flower eating something (seeds?).  At the end of summer we pick a few flowers and remove the seeds and dry them inside.  Once they are completely dry I wrap them in paper towels and store them to be planted next summer.

Kiran and Jai outside our house

A half eaten sunflower

Our little garden patch also has a cold hardy saucer hibiscus and Rose of Shannon which faithfully bloom every year. I also planted an ornamental grass which is HUGE now.  I had no idea it would get so big. 

The hardy Saucer Hibiscus and Rose of Shannon

In the front of our house we have several potted plants.  Most of the plants stay outside year round.  I move the pot of Canna Lillies and the purple pot with “Wandering Jew” to the basement during winter.  Most of the plants are perennials and I also have some ever greens.  This is really not a very good picture because most of the plants are not in bloom.  But generally the orange rose plant (Joseph’s Coat), the hydrangeas, the butterfly bush, the red rose bush and the Canna Lillies are in bloom from Spring through late Fall. 

The Front of the House

Tiles in the Fireplace.

I finally got around to buying tiles and getting them installed in the fireplace.  I LOVE the way this looks. 

// we first purchased the house there was a giant faux brick mantle with an even more giant mirror glued to the wall over the mantle.  There had clearly been a fireplace here but somewhere down the line it had been removed and used as a vent for the hot water heater pipes.  Since our house is trapezoid in shape this large space looked very awkward.  We decided to embrace and highlight the awkwardness of the angle by installing an old mantle.  We meticulously measured the space and carried around the measurements everywhere we went.  One day we stumbled upon a large mahogany mantle at a thrift store in Philly.  We immediately bought it!

Since Scott installed it something didn’t seem right about it.  It just seemed really big and the space inside (which would have consisted of the fireplace) just seemed bare.  As a temporary fix I filled it up with books  which looked great.  However, piling the books on top of each other was damaging the books and it was a huge magnet for dust.  Finally, we got around to buying some Moroccan cement tiles and getting them installed.  I couldn’t be happier at how the mantle turned out.  

Side Note: The drawing in front of the mantle is by Kiran and me and it is waiting to be hung in the dining room.  Since most of our walls are plaster I can’t just hammer in a nail.  I have to instead beg and plead with Scott to drill another hole for me in one of the plaster walls that he laboriously repaired.  

Sick of Being Sick!

I can’t believe that I am sick again. I seem to have been getting sick a lot lately. On Friday I found out that Jai had pink eye (he’s better now). On Friday evening I went to bed with a pounding headache, and congestion and I woke up at 3AM on Saturday with a sinus infection. I have had a cough for two months that just doesn’t seem to want to go away.  All this has resulted in me doing next to nothing on the house.  All my energy is taken up with work, spending time with Kiran and Jai in the evenings, cooking dinner, and putting them to bed.  After they go to bed I usually have work and email to catch up on.  Scott and usually sit around in the evenings with both of us doing work on our computers. 

We had our third floor office room and guest room painted almost a year ago.  While I managed to set up the bed in the guest room and make it nice (mainly because we have lots of guests visiting) I have hardly arranged anything in the office room.

This is what is the office room now (which used to be the guest bedroom).  Click here to see what the office room looked like before (when it was in what is now the guest room). 

It is basically a huge mess with papers everywhere.  I still love sitting at this desk, especially in the mornings, when the room in bathed in beautiful sunlight.  The drawings to the right were done by Scott’s mother in the 1970s in art class.  We found them all crumpled up in his Dad’s attic. 

At least the good thing about being sick today is I am getting lots of rest.  Jai is sleeping and Scott and Kiran are at the park.  Hopefully I can take a nap before Jai wakes up.

Black + White + Triangles

I am obsessed with all things black and white. Throw in a geometric design, especially some triangles, and I am totally smitten. My current obsessions are:

Ferm Living Triangles shower curtain.


Ferm Living Triangles tea towel. 

Triangle (Black) Tea Towel

Bookhu Triangle Zip tote.

ZIP TOTE - triangle

Triangles wallpaper by Lisa Gongdon for Hygge and West.

Super colorful triangles print from this etsy shop

Triangles N.2. (colourful & black). Geometric large print (A3). (Special offer: Get a 2013 calendar for free)
Finally, this star tray also from Ferm Living is stunning.  Actually, I think all the new items on the Ferm Living site are fabulous!

Beautiful White House.

Our house has not been photo ready for a while so I haven’t posted any pictures.  With two kids my house seems to be in a constant state of disarray.  To add to the chaos I really, really dislike the yellow paint in the living room and the blue paint in the dining room.  All I want is a white, airy open feeling home.  The first time I saw the pictures of this house, belonging to Orlando and Nicola Reindorf, my jaw dropped to the floor.  This is exactly what I want my house to feel like (now). I absolutely love everything about this place.  The neon orange accents on the table and bench in the image below are genius. 

Via Design Files.

Basements and the stairways leading to basements are often neglected and boring.  If I had rainbow striped walls leading down to my basement I would be thrilled to go down there. 

Via Design Files.

I am seriously considering having shelves installed on either side of our faux fireplace in the living room.  We really need more storage for our books. 

Via Design Files.

I wish I had an extra room that I could convert into a bathroom.  I would add a clawfoot tub in the middle of the room, instal a chandelier and add a few paintings just like in the image below. 

Via Design Files.

Via Design Files.

I love the blue and white wallpaper with the Muuto lamp.

Via Design Files.

This room is just perfect.  I love the mirror pendant light (Tom Dixon??) and the bright orange Jielde floor lamp. I really want a geometric wall sculpture like this.  I wonder how hard it would be to make one…

Via Design Files.

Via Design Files.

These matt black tiles in the kitchen look amazing. 

Via Design Files.

 I really like the dark exterior with the pop of color on the door. 

Via Design Files.

Seeing this home makes me want to start painting our house.  I have already started painting the dining room in Moonlight White by Benjamin Moore.  Now I just have to paint the living room, paint the back room, and paint the second floor bathroom. 

Kiran’s Room Update.

It has been a while since I posted pictures of Kiran’s more grown up room.  We replaced his crib with a full size bed.  We opted for a full size bed because there was ample space for a full bed and we both prefer to lay down in his bed while reading to him. 

// This room has four large windows and is flooded with light.  I hung some fairy lights over Kiran’s bed which looks magical at night.  There are a lot of different types of light in this room just as in the rest of the house.  I rarely use the overhead lights, unless we are doing a painting project, puzzle etc.  There is a yellow bedside light (Ikea) for reading, a desk light (for all desk activities also from Ikea), wicker light (Ikea) for when we have dance parties or when the room needs to look moody, and another task light over the settee for reading.  All the lights in his room were inexpensive.

The bedspread is from Urban Outfitters, the long cushion is a new Vera print bought on sale at Anthropologie and the other cushion is from Urbanoutfitters.  The dresser is Scott’s old dresser from when he was a kid.  I plan on painting it sometime soon. 

 The vintage Casalino yellow chairs were our gift to Kiran for his 4th Birthday.  I think I paid $40 for the pair on eBay.  We made the desk using Ikea legs and a table top (also from Ikea) that Scott cut to measure the space.  The vintage settee (to the right of the below picture) needs to be upholstered. 

 The view from the second floor hallway into Kiran’s room.

Wallpaper in the Hallway.

The wallpaper in the hallway is finally up! I blogged about the hallway here and here.  I bought the damask black and white wallpaper before we even signed the settlement papers.  I love the way the wallpaper completely transforms this very narrow corridor of space.  The smaller damask print and the vertical pattern emphasizes the high ceilings and somehow makes the hallway seems less narrow. 

Scott spend endless hours stripping the wallpaper and repairing the plaster.  We decided to hire someone to install the wallpaper (which only cost $325 for installation).  The guy who installed the wallpaper did an excellent job  however he hung it upside down! Maybe it was because I was pregnant, or maybe it was because I had too much going on at work but I wasn’t upset about it.

I absolutely LOVE the way the curved wall looks clad in the wallpaper. 

The light (below) is from Schoolhouse Electric.

Here’s a picture of what the hallway looked like before we removed the multiple layers of old wallpaper, repaired the horsehair plaster, and primed the walls.