July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Friday, August 30, 2013

A New York Beauty!

Hola Darlings!

I have to tell you, Manhattan is one of my favorite places in the world to visit.  Wish I could afford to live there, no lie.  I can't.  But I can dream.  And I can afford occasional visits because, remarkably enough, when it's on sale, the round-trip airfare between Milwaukee and LaGuardia is very reasonable.  The hotels, of course, are outrageous -- another story.

But I'm planning my third trip to Manhattan, I love it so.  This one will be without my Mr. Don. Sort of a test, I guess.  He died on October 12, 2012.  That happens to be the same day of another Hales Corners Chess Challenge coming up soon -- I think it is Challenge XVIII?  I cannot keep count.  What I can tell you for sure is that since Hales Corners Challenge VIII, I've been providing money for prizes for the chess femmes. 

Well, you all don't care much about chess, I'm sure, LOL!  But it's a large part of my life, and has been since 1999.  And before then, too.  Darlings, if you ever get the hankering to read a wonderful book about a couple of 1980's style (but truly timeless) female adventurers who get caught up in an international whirlwind that just happens to have chess as a main theme (and a formula for an elixir of immortality that just happens to be embedded in a chess board...), track down a copy of Katherine Neville's "The Eight." 

Back to New York. Our first visit was in May, 2005; our second visit was in September, 2009.   I often read The New York Times online.  Not everyday, but often enough.  I love particularly the articles about apartment and/or home hunting, and today, I saw this article:  Escape From Time Square!

Cracked me up, it did!   As a tourista, Times Square is great to visit, but she's absolutely right, I sure would not want to live there year round.  Oy!

Here's a photo - the only photo, actually from the article.  The perfect personification of Midtown Manhattan style!  Tres chic!  I love her combinations  of pattern, texture, and furniture styles and the black/white theme (tres chessboard and take-offs therefrom, such as the houndstooth.  Dogs, actually, have a venerable herstory in the game of chess -- but I won't go there at this blog, its dedicated to d├ęcor and fashion, and family trees, after all...)-- check out the photo:


I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to see young, confident and adventurous well-educated femmes moving to New York City (and, indeed, all around the world to major cities).  YOU GO FOR IT, GIRLFRIENDS! 

This young lady, in particular, certainly has her decorating stuff together!  Point on blue walls, point on tweed re-take of 1950's mid-century mod style sofa (but looks sink-in comfy with three seat cushions to go with that tight back), lovely patterned tone-on-tone pillows, the flat weave black and white striped rug -- well, what can I say?  And note also the mod-look but classically styled metal side tables, the MATCHY MATCHY LAMPS, and the odd avant guarde touch here and there -- no centered mirror or artwork above the sofa (such a refreshing touch, mes amis), a nod toward Midwest kichke in the animal horns on the table on the left.  This young woman has opted to use a slight variation on the theme of a symmetrical style for this part of her abode.  Can't go wrong, there.  Kudos!

What's not to love?  Seeing young women such as this one, gives me some small faint hope for the future of our planet.  Maybe it's not too late...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Project Update and I Want...

Hola darlings!  I started writing this particular post back on July 21st.  Fortunately, the weather did moderate away from 10 straight days of insufferable heat, humidity and insane dew points!


While I'm suffering through unbearable heat, humidity and tropical level dew points in SE Wisconsin, watching my front lawn shrivel helplessly under onslaught of no rain and sod web worm, I am slowly working on various projects around the house.

The Stairs

I have been seriously impeded in my progress toward refinishing them by having to chisel out staples that were used to install the chintzy padding.  Most of them are slightly buried below the level of the tread, making it impossible to get a grip on them with any kind of pliers or other tool that I have.  So, I've had to use a very small flat-head screwdriver, carefully pounded underneath the stable and then levered just enough to get it above the tread so I can "grab" it, and then pull and tug and huff and puff like hell to get it out!  I may have reported this earlier and if I have, sorry!  Thus far, because of this unexpected roadblock (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say a couple hundred roadblocks in the form of staples) I have only cleared two stairs!  Yep, two lousy stairs. 

Here is a container of the crap I've pulled from two stairs worth of staples:



I know that, in the end, this project and all the huffing and puffing and sore butt muscles (pulling seems to do something to my butt and makes it sore, ouch!) will be worth it because the stairs will look smokin' once refinished with paint and stain.  Because of the weather, though, and the press of activities outside on the weekends when the weather has been less horrid (few and far between), I haven't felt like picking up the mini flat-head and pounding it gently underneath staples when I get home from the office.  The weather is forecast to break Friday afternoon when a cold front is supposed to roll through, bringing a big storm with rain, strong winds and much cooler temps and lower dew points for Saturday and Sunday.  I've heard that song before -- and it didn't happen! 

I WILL finish this project, it may not be until winter, though.

The Family Room

No painting done, much wallpaper still remains to be removed and drywall damage repaired.  Sigh.  On a plus note, though, I got tired of waiting for dramatic change and as an enticement to keep going, I pulled out some of my new celadon and blue accessories and am loving how the space looks!  The color really shows up against the neutral backgrounds.  It doesn't pop, per se, but is noticeable nonetheless. I mentioned a new lampshade a post or two ago.  Actually there are two new lampshades and I will post about the chain of events in the future.  Meanwhile, here's a teaser shot of the shade that started the latest determination to keep improving the space, one small step at a time:


I Want...

...a ton of money so I can buy whatever I want and hire people to do all of the work for me and get it done nearly instantly!

...a new front (living) room.  Been hankering for one for awhile now.  I'm sure I've mentioned this in prior posts so I won't go there again.

Lately I've been entertaining myself on the bus rides to and from the office by making a mental wish list of what I would/could do if budget was not such a consideration.  I would:
  • Remove 23 year old light grey carpeting that has seen better days and put down hardwood flooring.  It wouldn't have to be through the entire first floor, I'd be happy with just having it in my 16 x 19 front room. 
  • New sofa
  • New chairs with ottoman (twin poufs or ottomans would also be an option, if there is room)
  • Remove china cabinet/buffet to the family room and get rid of the 1986 entertainment center that is there now. The upper glassed-in buffet unit holds lots of books, the lower enclosed shelves hold lots of paper records and accessories
  • New bookshelves, either flanking the fireplace or anchoring the wall opposite the fireplace wall

I've got no plan put together.  I could do a "mood board" and form up a comprehensive list of what is to be done, what will be kept, what will be removed, and what will be replaced, along with photos, lots and lots of inspiration photos.  A color palette.  Materials list.  Oh - and a budget!  The most important thing, LOL!  I've got no budget.  None.  Zero.  There are no funds available to pay for such changes.  That hasn't stopped me from window shopping online, though :)  For just a few things.  And dreaming is free.

I found a chair at Home Decorators that I absolutely fell in love with.  Now is this a delicious chair, or what -- here it is:


Moore Wingback Chair
Make a Luxurious Statement with This Sophisticated Wingback Chair
Item # 13388

  • 41.5"H x 29.5"W x 29"D.
  • Solid wood, bonded leather.

  • Price:  $549 plus $55 standard shipping ($604).  It comes in ivory, grey pebble, Havana brown and black.  I fell in love instantly with the ivory.

    I don't know what it is about this chair, it just "speaks" to me. Maybe it's the proportions; maybe its the modern take on the traditional wing chair, and I'm a traditional girl at heart. Whatever it is,  I want it!

    An equally beautiful and less expensive possibility, also featuring plenty of nail-head trim, is the Meloni arm chair, also at Home Decorators:


    Meloni Armchair
    Bring Personality to Your Home with This Armchair
    Item # 02848

    36.5"H x 34"W x 30"D.
     
    Price:  $419 plus $70 standard shipping ($489). There are five upholstery options and I liked two a lot.  The one in the photo above is herringbone brown; the other color I liked is dark beige linen.  The dark beige linen would probably be a better choice for what I have in mind in my imaginary redone room.  It's hard to tell from the website, but it appears that it is a lighter/brighter color option.  I like the lines of this chair a lot, as well as the nailhead trim.  I'm not a fan of the piping on the seat cover; I think it would wear quickly, crackle up and start falling off in little flecks. Then what would I do?
     
    I envision either chair style accompanied by a generous ottoman of undetermined color and material, shared by two matching chairs.  Yeah, matchy.  I don't think my room is large enough to support two different styles of arm chairs in the main seating area.
     
    I found two sofas that I love!  The Brae sofa (below) that I found at Steinhafel's (a regional, family-owned furniture store) is my first choice!  Style-wise I love it equally with my other choice, but the price is much more manageable for my non-existent budget.  Just looking at this photo makes my heart go pitter-patter:
     
     
    Brae Sofa

    On sale right now for a limited time at 30% off for $1,887.27.  It's a Bernhardt sofa, woo woo!  Luxury abounds with down-blend cushions and I know that Bernhardt means quality construction.

    Dimensions:
    92.5"W x 43"D x 34.5"H
    Sku:
    201117810

    Features:
    • Kiln dried wood
    • Removable legs
    • Loose back pillows
    • Poly Dacron wrapped seat cushions
    • 1.8 density foam cushions
    • Made in USA
    • Removable, zippered seat cushions
    • High gauge sinuous springs, with double springs on each end
    • Other colors available by special order
    • Hundreds of fabric choices available by special order
    • Heavily reinforced and padded sides and backs for maximum durability
    • Down blend cushions

    I've no idea what the color of the upholstery is in the photo.  But, as a special order item there are LOTS of options available.  This sofa is about 8 inches longer than my present sofa and it would take some new floor plans to fit it in the room because the front door enters directly into this room and one crosses the room to get to the stairs and the short hall to the back of the house (kitchen, dinette, family room).  I'd have to remove some existing pieces that I am very attached to, and create an entirely new vision.  Am I ready for that?  Hmmm... 

    On the other hand, I love the tight back with the throw pillows; I love the nail-head trim and the three turned legs across the front, as well as three separate seat cushions. If it came in a bench seat option, I would buy that instead.  It irks me to see a huge sofa with only two seat cushions. Who sits on the crack between the cushions?  Nobody!  That means if you have a crowd, only four skinny people, or two normal sized people, would sit on the sofa...  I wish bench seat options were the norm!  On a bench seat cushion, nobody lands on a butt-crack!

    This is the other sofa, also at Steinhafel's, that caught my eye:

    The Kensingway Sofa

    This classic tufted tuxedo style comes in at 117 inches long; the "small" version is like 97 inches long - way too large for my space. The price is over $2,000, on sale ($2,007).  It's on back order until near the end of September, 2013.  I love the three seat cushions, tight tufted back, the nail-head trim, the three turned legs across the front.  I've always been attracted to this style of sofa.  This is gorgeous.

    The Kensingway is also a Bernhardt sofa, and features the same quality construction as the Brae sofa (above). 

    Oh well.  Perhaps I really should have married either of those two rich men years ago.  Hmmm....nah.

    New Console/Buffet Table

    Hola darlings!

    Things have been nutso around here and I haven't been taking time to blog.  Health issues have cropped up once again and let me tell you, what a pain in the rear end! I appear to be one of a relatively small percentage of people whose a-fib is not behaving according to normal medical protocols.  Sigh. Thought the docs and I had things squared away last November but, no.  A-fib has returned, with a vengeance, as if punishing me for having the gall to try and get it under control.   Lots of drama has been happening at the office too (the TV show ain't got nothing on us),  and I've been spending far too much time watching "full episodes" of various shows at HGTV online instead of taking care of "business" (like taking care of that unfinished family room and getting my butt moving on my bare, stapled-filled stairs). LOL!  What's a single girl to do?  Marry quickly, preferably to someone uber-wealthy.  Know anyone available???

    Anyway -- do you remember this gorgeous table? 




    I'd purchased it from my youngest sister when she and her hubby sold their house and moved up north earlier this year.  I always admired it's beautiful lines and color, and it's solid wood.  It now anchors a small wall area between the hallway into the kitchen/dinette area on the left and the family room on the right.  A gallery of photos of family and friends fills the wall above the table and I am SOOO happy with how it looks!  It took several tries but I finally got it to a place where I just knew it was right (for me).

    I love this table!  I also love my dining table and chairs, I got the set in 2003.  The problem is that these pieces that I love so much do not quite mesh together.  The issue is one of scale:





    My dinette set is - large.  The table has a column and plinth base, is 31.6" tall and has a diameter of 56".  It's big, but it's comfy and can seat six with room to spare.  The chairs are 42" tall with 21" wide seats.  The console, in contrast, is 27" tall, 47.6" long and 16" wide.  This photo shows the grim reality:




    The side table is - dwarfed. While individually the pieces are beautiful to my eyes, together they just don't quite work in the space.  I recognized the problem from the beginning, but I wanted to see if I could live with it and try to "disguise" some of the issues by decorating slight of hand.  Alas, my decorating skills are amateurish at best.  I didn't even consider, for instance, trying out the pair of tall buffet lamps that hold place of honor on my dresser upstairs.  I'll have to keep that in mind when I get my NEW console table set up!  However, adding height to the top of the table would not disguise its delicate lines and curves, in contrast to the more linear and substantial lines of the dining table and chairs.  [Note: In these photos the side table, which has a cherry finish, looks redder than it appears to me in person, where the finishes of the table/chairs and the side table look more harmonious.   The difference in color-tones in the finishes did not bother me.  But, I have to say my eyes are not what they used to be!]

    This is the Threshold Carson Horizontal whatever table/bookshelf/display case at Target:
    I'd been eyeing it off and on for awhile, and last Sunday I finally pulled the trigger during a 20% off sale, after reading a couple of reviews that included photos of the assembled unit in REAL home situations -- not professionally photographed to make the product look great.  Two proud new owners who assembled their units left the backing off and the finished piece looked fabulous in the photos.  I was sold!

    It arrived Wednesday and now, here it sits:




    Today, after doing my lawn cutting and gardening and long bout of relaxing out on the deck this afternoon, I am going to attempt to drag this HEAVY box into the family room, which doubles as my staging area/assembly room, and put it together.  I'm not kidding you, this box is HEAVY - like 65 pounds.  I was barely able to maneuver it from my front porch (where my fabulous UPS delivery person had carefully set it against a sturdy corner wall) down on to the threshold of my front door and from there, shoved it, heaving and heaving and huffing and puffing, into what passes for a foyer in my home (the front door opens directly into the front room).  There it has sat since. 

    I bought it in the espresso color, and I'm worried it may be too dark.  But it's hard to judge color finishes online.  The other colors of the piece at the Target website just didn't look - well, I'll see.  I may have made a grave mistake.  Which means maybe I'll paint it -- well, even though it's brand new it is not wood, it's MDF -- that's my excuse...

    But the size and scale will, I think, work much better with my dining set.  This Carson console/horizontal bookshelf is 32" tall (adding another 6" in height and definitely balancing the 31.6" tall dining table.)  x 54" long (adding 6.6" in length to anchor the wall) x 13.6 " wide compared to the 16" width of the current table.  So, in addition to getting a piece with lines that are more complimentary to the lines of the dining set (more hefty looking), I'll be getting more length and height, but less depth. I think it will all work together beautifully.  I'll see - and so will you :)