Archive for June, 2012

Window Shopping: Around The World (Market)

We’re doing our best to keep our word to those who have requested more window shopping posts, so we decided to keep the fun going by hitting up World Market (and taking you with us). For those who remember these things, we just stroll around a store (we’ve done big chains, small local shops, and even random little stores that we find while road-tripping) and take photos of all of the things we love. Not for compensation or anything – these sprees are just for fun. So let’s all go skipping through World Market together, shall we?

First there were the pretty drinking glasses that were the reason for our visit (we got a few green and blue ones a few years back, but realized we didn’t have enough to fully set the table for bigger gatherings, so we grabbed three more green ones and three more blue ones).

At $2.99 a pop they rival some pricier versions we’ve seen at Sur La Table and Anthropologie, and we love that they come in four colors (blue, green, purple, and clear).

These nested dishes were $7.99 for the set of three, and I loved how they looked like they went together but weren’t completely matchy-matchy. They would look so pretty with little snacks like candy and nuts set out on a table (and could make a really sweet hostess gift).

These pretty butterfly bowls didn’t feel too saccharine (no glitter or bubble gum pink) so they were sort of sciene-y and cool. I thought a bunch of them would have looked sweet stacked on our open shelves, but I somehow resisted.

There were also these awesome colorful bowls that once again went together without feeling too matchy. Instead of buying all turquoise or all yellow I think it would be fun to get a few different colors and stack them on an open shelf or in a glass fronted cabinet – like the stack on the right of this pic:

But somehow I left the store without them. Might have to go back. Haha.

There were also butterfly mugs as well as pretty ceramic coffee cups with those handy rubber lids and bands that can be reused again and again. I also thought one of these could make a sweet gift for a coffee drinker.

These $14.99 tea kettles were fun and colorful too:

I thought these $9.99 cast iron trivets were really intricate looking and I loved the bold colors.  Not only could they protect counters or tables from hot dishes, but they’d also look really cool hanging in a grouping on a kitchen wall (you know, like how you might hang a group of plates for some graphic interest).

I was straight up charmed by this $9.99 ceramic container. Isn’t it retro and sweet? Might be great on a counter for holding anything from cookies to flour.

This $29.99 compost container was also pretty old-school sweet. We just use a white bowl for our scraps between trips out to the compost bin in our yard, but a charcoal filter would definitely be an upgrade.

These magnetic spice containers were fun, especially the turquoise one in the middle of the stainless steel cluster.

While this isn’t exactly decor-related, this Orange Blossom cream soda had our mouths watering. And if you were hosting something at your place or attending a little get-together, it might be a fun thing to pick up just because they feel special and less common than a six-pack of Coke. Update: Just learned this stuff’s alcoholic (we assumed it was like how birch beer is really soda). Still sounds delicious though!

These worldly turquoise and royal blue bathroom vessels (the thing on the left is a soap dish and the thing on the right could be for cotton balls or q-tips) were really pretty and I think the price was good (forgot to take a picture to capture it, boo!).

This funny little whale soap dish was $6.99, and I thought it could add some nice whimsy to a serious bathroom (maybe something with navy walls and a bit of a grown-up nautical theme, just to show people that you don’t take yourself too seriously).

These grilling planks are meant for… grilling. But they could be fun to use in a bathroom with a glass dome over them to create a little cloche – or even just as a place to put soaps and stuff for a natural look by the sink. Sort of like the soap display in this post.

These $3.99 glass knobs would look really pretty as the new hardware in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room (we actually used something similar in our laundry room last year).

This giraffe hook was $9.99 and I loved the bright color. Wouldn’t he be cute in a kid’s room or a mudroom for backpacks and jackets?

This sparked a little DIY idea so I thought I’d share the pic. If you have a frame that you could paint and then remove the glass, you could then add some burlap and a few hooks that you could twist into the frame backing to hold your jewelry. I especially loved how ornate the frames were and how simple the small hooks were (which could probably be found at a craft store).

These pretty open weave baskets caught my eye as a great place for anything from kids toys to books or magazines next to the sofa. They weren’t cheap (I think the biggest one was $34) but they seem like one of those things where you’d buy them and use them for years and really love that they’re a little more special than a plain old neutral-toned basket.

This tin pendant was $69.99 and I loved the bronze exterior with the happy turquoise interior – and all the little cutouts looked like they’d toss such pretty shadows around a room. I also thought it could spark a fun DIY idea (if you already have a pendant, you could paint the inside or outside of the metal with a bright color to punch things up). Just be sure the bulb doesn’t touch the paint (it shouldn’t ever do that anyway) and that the heat from the light has enough room to escape to keep the lamp from getting too hot (again, it should be made so there’s not a worry about this).

The winner for the item I was most in love with was this guy (so of course I got home and realized this picture was blurry- figures!). I was head over heels in love with this red, blue, white, and brown curtain panel. Perhaps because we’re loving our red patio chairs with our blue hydrangeas these days?

They also had them in an ochre, gray, charcoal, and white color scheme, which are also really cool.

Speaking of colors, their collection of bold storage baskets in nearly every color of the rainbow is always fun to stare at. I like to stand there and think “someday my linen closet will be full of these guys.” Someday…

Oh and although it’s going to be a while until Clara’s third birthday, these fun containers did catch my eye as a cool idea for party favors (you could get them in any color and stuff them with whatever pertains to your party theme). Even using the red ones to wrap small Christmas gifts and lining them up on your mantel or sticking them into a few stockings could be fun.

They even had adirondack chairs (and we all know how we feel about those!). These white and blue ones were a bit smaller than ours, but at $99 each they were priced to move!

So that’s what we found on our whirlwind World Market trip. Have you guys been window-shopping lately? What caught your eye? Any favorites from the items we shared above?

Psst- Once again for the people in the back, we weren’t paid or perked for this post, I just like taking you guys shopping with me. Check out all of our other Window Shopping sprees (both here in Richmond and on the road, in big box stores or small local shops) here.



Removing An Old Shower Tile Border

We no strangers to removing unsightly trees. In fact, taking care of the dead/dying/dangerous trees that we were warned might fall on our first house during our home inspection was a big part of the transformation of the front yard. But taking out these particular trees was a new challenge… because they were in the form of tile in our master bathroom:

We’ve never been crazy about the beige-on-beige color scheme going on when it comes to the tile in that bathroom, but at least most of it is neutral enough to not call that much attention to itself. Except for that tree-tacular border. Every time we walk in the opening chant from The Lion King plays on repeat in our heads. Feel free to listen to it as you read this post (you can bet your buns we were singing it throughout this project).

It’s just not what we would have picked to encircle the entire bathroom (it’s on all four walls, the same tree sketch on each tile, over and over again). It’s like groundhog day without Bill Murray.

Thankfully, tile isn’t permanent. And we’ve seen people cut out offending tiles (whether they’re broken, ugly, or both) and replace them with something more their style. We even tackled a little bit of that in our kitchen when we did some bracket-reduction surgery here.

So we debated for a while about what we wanted to put in its place, and finally decided on some classic clear glass subway tiles (sort of like the glossy and reflective cousin of the classic white subway tile). They were the perfect size and we felt like they’d help update the room like some of the other beige-to-white changes that we’ve made (painting the of-white trim, swapping out the beige toilet, etc). See how holding just one of them up to the old border sort of modernizes and freshens the whole room and breaks up the monochromatic beige-on-beige tile action? They sort of look blue here (since they’re reflecting the blue painting) but they’re clear glass in person – which is really cool since they pick up colors in the room, whatever they are.

After checking out a couple of sources (local tile shops and big box stores like Home Depot), we found these guys at The Tile Shop, which is also where we got our kitchen penny tile. And with our 10% discount (the code is YHL10, which works for everyone) we only needed about $50 worth of tile to redo the entire border. So it actually was a pretty quick and easy shopping trip… except for having to repeatedly peel Clara away from all of the displays. For some reason she’s obsessed with crawling in and out of all of the fake showers. And laying down in them. We call that last shot “The Crime Scene.”

Even though the tile was pretty affordable, the project total quickly jumped with the purchase of the tool that we’d need to cut out the old tile: a Dremel MultiMax. It (plus the special head for grout) ran us about $130. But I called it part of John’s Father’s Day gift (and a late Mother’s Day gift to myself, haha) since it was high time we “transplanted” those tree tiles. We figure it’s a tool that’ll come in handy a lot over the years (it has a bunch of different heads), so it’s not just a one-project-thing. We’ve actually used it on two other projects since, including the deck so it’s already paying off!

We were a bit hesitant to just have at it, but the Dremel felt like a pretty straightforward tool. We attached the special grout attachment, plugged it in, turned it on, and slowly pressed the oscillating head (it sort of just shakes back and forth quickly) into the grout line.

John got to take it for a spin first (new-tool-lover that he is) but I also got in on the fun. It wasn’t the fastest process in the world, but we liked that the attachment was strong enough to break up the grout – but not really strong enough to majorly scratch the tile. So if we slipped a little bit we didn’t have to worry about ruining the surrounding tiles (you probably could, but you’d have to lay into them with some force, and that wasn’t our game plan). Oh and once we got started, the groove between the tiles acted as a natural guide to keep our line straight – so that was nice.

Once we had removed the grout around one tile we half expected it to just pop off the wall with a light flick of the flat-head screwdriver. Nope. Instead it just chipped off a bit and came flying at us like a ceramic bullet.

In an unusual reversal of roles, I was just about ready to throw up my hands and declare this entire project too difficult (I’m usually the chipper we-can-do-it cheerleader while John voices his doubts). I think I was just riled up because that chipped piece of tile-shrapnel hit my neck and gave me a small cut. Thank goodness we were both wearing safety glasses so the eyeballs were protected. Since John’s neck remained unscathed (and he probably was enjoying this role reversal of being the one who soldiers on) he carefully tapped at it the edge a bit more with a screwdriver and hammer… and eventually was able to get under our first tile!

A bit more prying later and voila – we had one tile down, and about three dozen more to go.

You can see in these shots that it looks like these tiles were applied to drywall, not cement board. It’s not ideal, but not problematic enough that we were going to tear the whole thing off and replace it with with the sturdier stuff (this is not the shower wall, it’s the wall next to the toilet).

Did I mention this process was kinda messy?

The other rows of tile came off easier actually (the difference between thinset on cement vs. thinset on drywall paper) so the process speed up a little bit (although cutting out all of that grout was still more time consuming that we expected).

But by the end of Clara’s nap (about 2.5 hours this particular day) we had managed to get all of the tile off the wall successfully, without any more tile-inflicted wounds. High fives ensued. Update: A few folks have asked why there’s a light switch in the shower in the photo below this one, but it’s actually located outside of the shower curtain near the door to the bathroom, so it doesn’t get wet.

And we had continued to make quite a mess on the floor. More high fives were enjoyed.

Accomplishing any project within the span on one nap always falls within the “victory” column for us. After taking another half hour to sweep up and wipe down the room (followed by showering in the hall bath), the room was ready for tiling. But we’ll cover that tomorrow since we still have a few things to finish and some photos to snap before we can share that whole shebang. Who else has rocked some tile removal? Anyone use a Dremel (or similar rotary tool) for the task? Any high fives going on, or are we the only ones trying to keep those alive?

Psst- To follow this bathroom sprucing project from the start, check out this planning post, this painting post, this light-swapping post, this art and trim-painting post, this toilet-updating post, this window frosting and shampoo wrangling post, and this toilet selling/buying and door-cutting-down post.