Archive for January, 2008
We’d love to claim these before and afters as our own, but most of you know that our house is a one story ranch by now. Bummer.
Anyway, this is what the stairway at my best friend’s Washington DC townhouse looked like this morning:
And this afternoon:
Let’s give the girl a hand! Amazing transformation. I’m never one to endorse covering up gorgeous wood flooring- and this gleaming staircase is no exception. Doesn’t it look much better naked?
Of course she has some painting to do on those toe-kicks, but that’ll be quick and painless. The good news is that no sanding and restaining of the once-covered floorboards is necessary. Gotta love it when carpet comes up without a hitch.
The excitement began yesterday when we visited the stone yard to check out our granite slabs. And ended when we laid eyes on the giant hunk of Blanc Noir.
The small, white sample with gray & black flecks that we fell in love with months ago looked nothing like the huge, gray, polka-dotted abomination in front of us. We weren’t about to put that busy 101 Dalmations-esque pattern anywhere near our tiny kitchen. We had to hunt down another option. And fast.
Thankfully, several trips to Home Depot and a few local stone yards led us to our one true love: Pashmina. It’s everything that Blanc Noir isn’t: much lighter and less spotty with much more natural “movement” (think big wave patterns and veins, not heavy repetitive blotches on every square inch of the thing). Check out the side-by-side, close-up and full slab comparison below to see for yourself- but keep in mind that those full slabs are 20 feet long, so those unassuming grainy dots on the Blanc Noir are much bigger and more alarming in person:
I’m happy to report that the huge “sample” chunk of Pashmina granite that the stoneyard lovingly let us keep passed the home test and sent Blanc Noir running out the door, spots and all. It looks pretty darn perfect in our space. Subtle. Sophisticated. Not like a dog that a fireman would own. Here’s Sherry’s photoshopping to give you a sense of the old choice of Blanc Noir in our space, and the newer, lighter, more marble-esque option of Pashmina, on the right:
Note: Blanc Noir actually doesn’t even look that bad here, but covering every countertop in the entire kitchen with it would have definitely been a whole lot busier than our newer option. I think we just have a thing for a more organic, muted, understated and varied look- not something that’s grainy and high contrast.
The good new is that it’s actually manufactured by Stonemark, the same company who makes Blanc Noir, so the switch was relatively painless. Of course our new granite is in a slightly higher price bracket than the last, but isn’t that just how it goes? The few added bucks will completely be worth it in the long run, so now we’re just waiting to here if we can still keep our installation scheduled for next week. Here’s hoping!
While the majority of America seems to love hoarding and clutter, John and I are lone mice. Or whatever the opposite of a pack rat would be. But there’s a fine line between clean, uncluttered spaces and cold, stark rooms. It’s not an easy assessment to make on your own. But I was able to make an honest evaluation by photographing each of our rooms and then comparing each room in our house to rooms in decorating magazines and favorite furniture catalogs like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Ballard Designs.
I quickly realized that while our rooms were clean and simple, they were severely lacking in the design department. So of course I was spurred to action. I feverishly began to move furniture around. And when the dust cleared, I had a good idea of what was working, and what I needed to add to my wish list. The main shift occurred in the den, a room that’s always been tricky due to its long narrow layout. Another chair, an end table and a slew of rotated accessories really did make a big difference. Here’s the ho-hum before:
And the warmer and more welcoming after:
Seems less bare and boring, right? Plus there’s one more place to sit (and rest a drink). Total bonus. The crazy part is that the side table was salvaged from our basement’s garage sale pile. So nice to have a little “store” in our basement to raid for extra pieces.