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Inspiration

Now that the floor demolition is complete, we’re in a bit of a race for time to get a new floor in place and have the radiators reconnected. Fall in upstate New York is an unpredictable thing; sometimes that first frost and freezing temperatures sneak up on you earlier than you’re expecting. It’s already down to 66°F today — I’m wearing a scarf and not sweating profusely! Between busy work schedules, the holidays this month and traveling plans next month (more on that later!), we don’t have a lot of weekends free to get the work done. I’m panicking a little, but we’ll make it happen.

First of all: We’re definitely going to put in new wood plank floors and paint them. That’s the vision I’ve had for the kitchen for a while, and even though salvaging the original subfloor didn’t work out, it’s what I still want. Aside from painted wood floors looking nice, it’s a very budget-friendly option. The pine T&G flooring we used in lieu of beadboard in the upstairs bathroom was about $1/SF — tough to beat. In an ideal world, we’d continue the same black pennyround floor from the downstairs bathroom into the kitchen (the rooms are side by side), but it’s just not in the budget. And that’s OK.

What I’m trying to figure out now is exactly how I want to paint the floor. For a long time I was thinking solid gloss black, but that might have just been because I’m so used to seeing the kitchen with a black floor already. Now that I’ve seen the floors with white paint (albeit primer over grossness), I can’t stop thinking about other possibilities. I definitely don’t want to do solid white, but…

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Photo by Frederick J. Karlsson for Alvhem / Styling by Sarah Widman (via sfgirlbybay)

Yeah. That looks really good. I’m picturing a pattern-filled rectangle around the big wood work island, sort of like a faux rug. I even love this exact pattern as-is (surprise, hah). I can see it also looking verrrrrry nice in reverse — white on black — or with colored crosses like the pattern in my sidebar. It would be so easy, too. If I ever wanted a change, I wouldn’t feel badly about painting over it and doing something new.

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L: Cecconi’s Mayfair London, interior by Ilse Crawford / R: Cecconi’s West Hollywood, interior by Martin Brudnizki

These floors are actually inlaid marble, not paint, which would also be really nice but would cost 400 billion dollars. I could do something like this with paint, though! I love that the thinner stripes run diagonal to the line of the wider “boards.” It would take forever to measure, mark and tape off the stripes, but it wouldn’t be particularly complicated. Just time-consuming. I could probably knock it out in an overnight, though, since it’s only two colors.

Barcelona kitchen
Photo from Micasa / Interior design by Egue y Seta studio

Speaking of time-consuming, can you imagine if I tried to paint THIS pattern on the floor? I posted about this Barcelona kitchen back in January, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. We actually priced out how much it would be to use those cement tiles in our kitchen, and it came out to more than $3000…which is obviously just not happening.

Seriously though, could I do it with paint? I mean of course I’m technically capable of doing it, but the three questions that immediately come to mind are (a) Will I wind up spending $3000 on painter’s tape?, (b) Will my brain melt out of my head? and (c) Will I ever sleep/eat/talk/laugh again, or is the rest of my life going to be devoted to painting rhombuses parallelograms on my kitchen floor?

In other words, I kinda really want to attempt it.

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As I’ve mentioned (but haven’t really shown), the last set of stairs in our 4th-story walkup is entirely inside of our apartment. I’ve already done a lot of work on the entry area at the top of the stairs, but I’ve really been ignoring the stairs themselves completely. I had a burst of energy late Saturday night, though, so I decided to take a look and see what could be done.

The first thing I should note is that these stairs are not cute. There is no decorative molding, the wood is builder-grade, everything is totally crooked, and despite being structurally sound, the entire staircase is in generally terrible condition cosmetically.

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Oof. The first thing I did was pull those gross little carpet treads off. They were REALLY grimy and worn down to the point of actually making the stairs more slippery than bare wood. I held my breath and yanked. They came off more easily than I expected them to — each one was held in place with 4-6 nails and some carpet tape here and there. The wood underneath was filthy, but an hour spent with a bucket of hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap cleaned them up reasonably well. They’re still spattered with paint and full of nail holes and deep gouges, of course, but at least I’m not afraid to walk on them with bare feet now.

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Next step, priming! On first glance you might think that the stair risers were painted in the same Deep Space color I’ve been using on the walls elsewhere in the apartment, but it was actually a kind of “dead” dark gray, a single coat of which appeared to have been applied with a scrap of burlap. Priming was a must. I went back and forth on whether to leave the stairs unpainted, and I’m still not totally sure where I stand on that. My hesitation isn’t because I think the wood is in any way worth preserving (it’s not, really), but because there’s so much unpainted wood elsewhere in the apartment that I think the stairs might look out of place if they’re painted!

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Photos by Thoroughly Modern Medusa (L); Jake Curtis for House and Home (R)

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The staircase at my house

By the time the primer was done, it was about 2:00 in the morning and I was fading fast. I got into bed and tried to plan out what I wanted to do with the stairs the next day. I looked at a post I wrote about staircases four years ago. My thought process went like this:

1. What about bright orange? What about a bright orange painted runner? I’ve been obsessing over Orla Kiely’s painted orange runner for years. Or maybe shades of gradated orange?
2. No, that’s silly. Maybe I should just go with white risers and dark treads like I have at the house. Just do what I know I like. But the more I think about it, the reason that combination looks good in the house is because the stairs and banister are so beautiful.
3. Maybe I should just leave the treads bare and paint everything else with Deep Space. The walls, too. Yeah, I’ll do that. When dealing with an ugly space, the best move is to go totally dark or totally light or totally crazy. No in-betweens.
4. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz…

But then when I woke up couldn’t stop thinking about bright orange…

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I found a good match for my favorite lipstick, MAC Lady Danger (I’m still using the same tube three years later) — Benjamin Moore Salsa. It’s a really bright hot orange-red. I picked up a quart of that along with a quart of Deep Space in satin finish (I really love orange and gray together), and headed back to the apartment to get to work.

This is where things went horribly wrong.

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NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Yeah. This is some hideousness right here, I know. It’s even worse than when I thought it might be a good idea to paint my entire hallway PURPLE — this was pre-blog, thankfully. It’s the kind of thing you know is just going to look terrible the second you stick the brush in the paint, but you do it anyway because you really think the outcome might somehow manage to match that vision you had in your head at 2:00 in the morning when you were passing out from exhaustion and primer fumes. NEVER DO THAT.

This is where I’m at now: I don’t want to have a super-dark stairwell that gets zero natural light, because the artificial light reflects off of it in a really depressing way. It’s just sad-looking. I also don’t want to mess around with trying to combine orange-hued polyurethane-coated wood with bright orange paint (I do have to give Evan credit for pointing out that there might be some clashing issues, but I was too blinded by MY VISION at that point to do anything but dismiss him — sorry, Evan!).

I do kinda want to revisit the gradient stairs idea, though, and this is also what my interior decorating idols Linda and John Meyers suggested when I asked them, “WWWMD — What would Wary Meyers do?” (They also suggested that I could do something typographic on the stairs with the Frankfurter font, but I am just not on that level of cool. Alas.) Wary Meyers have been my gradient-painting heroes since I spotted this awesome radiator way back in 2007, so I trust their suggestions.

So…how about THIS?

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Photos by Stacey Bode

That’s really nice, right? The fact that Stacey’s stairs are a lot like mine (totally un-fancy, kinda beat-up wood treads, solid walls on both sides, no banister, etc.) gives me extra confidence that this could look good in my stairwell, too. I think with some careful planning and experimental paint-mixing (Deep Space + Simply White in varying ratios, satin finish), I can make this happen. First I have to re-prime everything I already painted (ARGH!), but I’m not in a huge rush. I should probably also suck it up and sand the treads down a little, because they really do look awful.

I’ll have to find some other place to use that Salsa paint, though. I do LOVE the color. Maybe the entry door to the apartment? I’ll figure something out!

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

Late last year, I read in a Times magazine article (subscription only, sorry) that Irish designer Orla Kiely and her family had moved to a new home in southwestern London. Having been an admirer of her patterns, textiles and housewares forever as well as being more than bit obsessive about the inside of her former house — particularly once I realized it had roughly the same floorplan as mine — I’ve been very eager to see more of this new home! I’m really, really excited to see it featured in the September issue of Dwell.

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

Unsurprisingly, it’s gorgeous. I love spotting things that I recognize from Orla’s old house, like the light fixture, the print above the fireplace and the TV cabinet. I’ve always been impressed by the fact that she surrounds herself with her own work, too — she comments on that in Dwell: “Sometimes you have people who say, ‘I don’t want to live in my work,’ but, in the end, I love what I do and how it looks — so I’m happy to have it.”

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

THIS KITCHEN!! So cute. So bright! That center unit (designed by Orla and architect Maxim Laroussi) is so beautiful, with the colorful doors and the banded-edge cabinets. It reminds me of this Eichler kitchen, only fresher and happier. The green Marmoleum floor is particularly great.

You can see the full slideshow and read more about the house in Dwell. There’s also a great article and slideshow (with different photos showing more of the house, also by Chris Tubbs) online at The London Magazine.

And now, one last farewell to Orla Kiely’s old house, which I will always adore…especially those multi-colored tiles in the hearth. I hope the new homeowners love them as well!

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Photos: (1, 2, 6) Chris Tubbs; (3, 4, 5) House and Home; (7) Roland Bello

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Photo by Lönngren/Widell for Lovelylife

Last weekend we had another plumber come to the house to take a look at the work we need done in the kitchen — removal of two steam radiators, re-routing of steam pipes and, eventually, re-installation of one of radiators (we’re putting the other one in storage for now). While we’re waiting for his quote to come in, we’re trying to make a list of everything we need to get done once the radiators have been removed. It looks a little like this so far:

▶ Frantically tile the last two walls
▶ Frantically refinish one of the radiators
▶ Frantically pull up the existing VCT floor tiles
▶ Frantically remove the plywood subfloor, which was at some point used as a large snack for carpenter ants
▶ Frantically assess the condition of the original pine subfloor that’s underneath the plywood
▶ Frantically do something so that there’s a floor in place when the plumber comes back to re-route the steam pipes and re-install one of the radiators

But let me back up a little. A few months ago, amid all of the tiling chaos going on in the kitchen, I happened to notice that a few of our VCT floor tiles had come loose. One of them actually felt…squishy? Knowing that squishy floors are generally a bad thing (I learned that from watching This Old House), I peeked underneath the tile to see what was going on. ANTS! ANTS! ANTS!!!!! Yes, a swarming mass of carpenter ants. Ugh. The carpenter ants have since been eradicated (I may have a vegan diet, but, well, let’s just say I did NOT rehabilitate, foster, and re-home each individual ant), but the plywood subfloor is looking pretty terrible. It has to go. We definitely weren’t planning on replacing our floor — we installed it dirt cheap years ago (pre-blog), and I’ve always been happy with it — but it seems to be unavoidable.

I do know that the original pine plank subfloor is hiding under the plywood subfloor (which was already here when we bought the house — it was in decent shape, so we patched it up and tiled over it rather than replacing it for no reason), but I don’t know what kind of condition it’s in. In theory it’s the same as the floor in Evan’s studio (unfinished, dirty and rough, but mostly OK), but in reality it might have a lot of water damage, weird sections cut out of it from when the walls were reconfigured 50+ years ago, or any number of unknowns that might make it unsuitable to be exposed.

However it turns out, I know I want a painted wood floor in the kitchen. Tile just isn’t in the budget, and love painted wood floors anyway — especially in kitchens. If we luck out and the existing pine is usable, I’ll follow the same steps I did upstairs when painting them (probably black, but we’ll see). If they’re a total wreck, then we’ll install inexpensive pine on top. We used the lowest-quality cheap pine flooring available on the walls in our upstairs bathroom, and it was CHEAP — like $1/square foot or something crazy like that. Once it’s patched and painted, the knots and holes and stuff don’t matter.

Anyway, here are some inspiration photos of painted kitchen floors that I’ve been squirreling away for when the time came to make decisions about the kitchen floor, and that time is officially HERE! Assuming the plumber’s quote isn’t totally insane, this is all going to start happening really soon and really fast. GULP.

What floor color would be best in the kitchen? Stick with black? I do love black floors. Would white be too crazy-bright in there? The same gray color as the walls??

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Photo by Paul Massey

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Interior by B-Arch Studio / via Remodelista

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(L) Photo by Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer for Bolig / (R) Photo via Corcoran

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Photo from InsideOut

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Interior styling by Lotta Agaton

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Yeah, I could live there is a not-so-new, occasional D16 feature wherein I post pictures of homes I want to break into, kick out the inhabitants and move in. Today we’re traveling to 47 Park Avenue and the Edwardian-style home of Michael and Jonathan (and their dogs, Jacob Crackers, Oscar Wilde and Charlie Buckets) in Yorkshire, England.

I’ve actually been meaning to post about Michael and Jonathan’s houses (they have another one in London) for many months now, but I’ve had such a hard time narrowing down what pictures to share! Their homes are both so gorgeous and inspiring and perfectly renovated that it’s impossible to write about either without using 600 photos. Fortunately for all of us, Michael blogs about both houses himself! I discovered his blog through Jonathan’s location agency, Shoot Factory (a veritable trove of inspiration in itself — I’ve spent many hours clicking through all of those lovely London homes and fantasizing about all of my alternate lives).

So how about just one part of one house, then? The room I keep coming back to whenever I think about their Yorkshire home is the small bedroom they converted into a dressing room for Michael (Jonathan has his own dressing room, which is also lovely!). Oh, it is FABULOUS. Check out this side-by-side:

47 Park Ave, before/after

WOWZA. The room on the left looks like every sad, musty bed and breakfast, and the room on the right looks like…um, I don’t have a good comparison. It looks like a really, really nice dressing room belonging to a person with good taste and fancy clothes. (I’m such an observant and talented writer, I know.) Michael started working on his dressing room in summer 2011, and he’s still putting finishing touches on it — fortunately for those of us who like that sort of thing, he takes loads of progress shots along the way!

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The decision to leave the window casings and sashes bare wood while painting the baseboards, doors and floor makes me so happy. It also makes me want to strip off the 50 layers of paint on my own windows! I’m supremely envious of Michael’s ability to keep his clothes and shoes looking so nice on full display. If I put my own clothes and shoes in the exact same room, it would not look like that. Nobody wants to put old, scuffed-up Swedish clogs in a glass cabinet, you know?

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About a year into the project, the dressing room reached its first stage of being “done.” And it looked fantastic! An antique marble-topped mahogany dental cabinet at the center of the room, scaffolding poles for hanging clothes, a vintage Scolari chandelier, a super-duper-fancy glass cabinet for shoes…how can you possibly improve on that?!

The answer to that question is one I’d never have come up with for a dressing room, but it’s exactly right: TILE. Specifically, subway tile with dark grout. Ohhhh yeah. I don’t need to tell you how I feel about that (I feel like maybe my kitchen and Michael’s dressing room could be friends, no?).

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SO GOOD. I want to tile everything now. And how nice is that angled wall where the entry door is? The dark grout really brings out that wall and the slanted ceiling — it just looks so much more architecturally interesting, and, contrary to what a lot of people think about subway tile, the room now feels so much warmer and cozier. I really love it.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share your home, Michael and Jonathan! I’ll keep following your renovation progress at your blog (eagerly awaiting the shop, too!) and all of the beautiful locations at Shoot Factory.

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All photos courtesy of and © 47 Park Avenue

HELLO THERE! I just got back from a trip to San Francisco (more about that in my next post!), and while I was there, I became weirdly self-conscious about how my makeup was stored. Even though I don’t do a lot of long-distance traveling, I am constantly making trips back and forth between our house in Newburgh and our apartment in Brooklyn. I guess it would make sense to buy two of everything and not have to take anything with me, but realistically that’s not going to happen — cosmetics are expensive, and I’m super-fickle about which products I like to use on a daily basis…not to mention the life-span of products once they’ve been opened. Two coffee makers? Yes. Two tubes of $32 mascara? Not so much. As a result, I wind up throwing everything in various drawers and boxes when I’m at the apartment, and living out of Ziploc freezer bags when I’m traveling or at the house. Not cute. And much as I like the idea of keeping all of my stuff in clear lucite boxes like Nubby Twiglet, I know I’m just not tidy enough to keep everything looking pristine all the time. (Also, not everything I like to use comes in pretty packaging. Alas.)

Nomess Copenhagen Balsabox

Nomess Copenhagen / Balsabox Personal
Earlier today I came across this cool neon pink and balsa wood storage box by the Danish company Nomess Copenhagen, and it immediately went on my wishlist. It’s actually made up of three boxes, two of which nest inside the largest one. The lid lifts off completely and becomes a standing mirror! Such a great design. It’s not good for traveling, but it’s simple enough to toss stuff in without having to worry about fitting everything into tiny, specialized compartments (I’ve never been able to make those fancy professional train cases work for me). I still need to measure to see if it can fit on the shelves in my bathroom, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be perfect.

Coriumi pouch

Coriumi / Geometric Pattern Pouch
I own another, smaller pouch from the Lithuanian brand Coriumi, and I keep it in my bag at all times to hold tissues, sunglasses, a comb, band-aids and all of the other stuff that would otherwise be floating around loose and getting lost/dirty. It’s really nicely made. I’d like to add this one to my collection to stash all of my makeup when I’m in transit. It’s big enough to hold everything I need without being stuffed to the gills — it’s basically the size of a big Ziploc. Aaaaaaand it doubles as a very pretty fold-over clutch! I usually transport my makeup brushes by rolling them up in a paper towel, which would be easy to nestle at the bottom of the pouch.

IKEA Pallra box

IKEA / Pallra Box + Pokal Tumbler
IKEA has been nailing it lately with their small storage boxes (let us not forget the best box) and this happy yellow round guy is no exception. I haven’t seen the Pallra box in person yet so I’m not sure if the levels are fully separate or if there’s a swivel-hinge on one side (update: no hinges!), but I like that it’s not just one big open space. It’s only $10 and the yellow covering is paper fabric, so it really lends itself to being decorated (I’m picturing potato-stamped white triangles). Round boxes aren’t great for storing brushes, but how cute would that yellow box look paired with this pale pink stoneware cup? Yup.

Speaking of makeup storage and that kind of stuff, someone asked me how I care for my brushes. Nothing to it, really! Once a week or so, I wash them in tepid water and Dr. Bronner’s mild/baby liquid castile soap. I press out most of the water with a dry washcloth, then leave them flat to dry completely overnight — near an open window if possible. I’ve had some of my brushes for more than a decade now, so it must be working out!

OK, now tell me how you store your makeup so I can feel inadequate and disorganized.

Little Anna

I didn’t really feel like blogging last week, in part because it was a week of several very sad events around the world, but also because I’ve been filled with an enormous amount of self-doubt after posting photos of my backsplash makeover. That might sound ridiculous, but the closing sentences from that post are really what set me off:

An unexpected side effect of working on this project is that I really feel like painting. Not painting houses, but painting stuff. I feel like designing wallpaper, too. And pillows. And blankets. And everything, really.

Right. So I established the fact that I want to do things, but I am still not doing those things. Last weekend I even went to buy some supplies — paints, brushes, canvases, etc. Until yesterday, they were sitting untouched in my living room. I finally got sick of seeing them out of the corner of my eye, though, so I moved them to the kitchen. Where they are sitting. Untouched.

When I was a kid (and by “kid” I mean birth through age 20), all I did was paint and draw and make stuff with my hands. Both of my parents are artists. I grew up in an environment where expressing myself visually wasn’t just encouraged, it was the norm. That was just what you did. When it came time to go to college, I thought I was rebelling when I became an English Lit major — a terrible mistake, of course, and eventually I transferred to the Fine Arts program. I took lots of drawing and printmaking classes, but my concentration was in Graphic Design/Book Arts…and that’s where I wound up putting in the majority of my focus. By the time I was a senior, I was pretty much holed up in front of a computer all the time. I started my job as a book cover designer within weeks of graduating, and I’m still at that same job now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a graphic designer. I love what I do for a living, and I really do believe it’s exactly what I should be doing, but I always thought I’d eventually make room in my life for stuff that isn’t specifically for a client or a product. I don’t even necessarily mean stepping away from the computer entirely, I just mean working on things where I am the “client.”

You know what? IT’S REALLY HARD. Not having a specific purpose or goal in mind creatively is like paddling in the middle of an ocean with no land in sight. Where do you start? Who is going to give you approval? What is the product you’re trying to sell? And wouldn’t it have been easier to have just stayed on the boat?

On the other hand, I guess all of the work I’ve been doing on my house for the past 7 years is client-free creative work, right? Not really, though — at the end of the day, I guess the house is the client. There’s still a goal.

It comes down to this: I need to be pushing myself more creatively, and not because someone is telling me to. My fear of making ugly things and failing miserably is pretty intense, but what’s the worst that can happen? There is no worst. Best case scenario? I actually wind up liking my work without anyone’s approval, and maybe there will be a few other people out there who like it, too. What more can you ask for?

p.s. I need to go back and re-read this post I wrote last year about advice from Chuck Close. And then I need to actually listen to him.

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Photo by Weekday Carnival

I’ve been a fan of twinkly strings of lights for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, strings of Christmas lights stayed up in my bedroom all year long, and these days Patrick Townsend’s String Light sits waiting for me to find the right spot for it (I will, I will). I love the ambiance they add to a room — maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia for the feeling of holidays when I was a child, I don’t know.

Lately I’ve been really coveted a strand of Glödlampsslinga lights from the Swedish company Granit. They don’t ship to the US and as far as I know there’s no distributor for them here, so I’m relegated to admiring them from afar for now. If I ever get my act together and make a trip to Sweden (a.k.a. “the motherland” — I haven’t been there since I was 8 years old!), that’s at the very top of my shopping list. I have a couple of cheap-o sets of outdoor globe string lights in my garden, but they just don’t have the nice heft and presence of these black rubber-corded ones. Someday!

In the mean time, here are a bunch of the photos I’ve been saving of Granit’s Glödlampsslinga in other people’s homes. I hope you like them, too.

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Photos by (1) Regines kreativiteter, (2) Hannah’s Room for Plaza Interiör, (3) Elv’s blog, (4) Dusty Deco

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Photo by Frida Ramstedt for Trendenser

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Photos by (1) & (2) Mokkasin, (3) Fredrik Karlsson with styling by Sarah Widman, (4) A Merry Mishap

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Photo by Deborah from Ollie & Seb’s Haus for A Merry Mishap

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Photo of designer/stylist Susanna Vento’s home by Petra Bindel for Dwell (see more of Susanna’s home at Varpunen!)

You want a strand now too, am I right? Well, if you’re in Sweden (or have a nice friend there who likes to send you things!), you’re in luck! For those of us in the US, though, here are some other options…

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1. Glodlampsslinga, Granit / 449 kr
2. String Lights, onefortythree / $125 (coming soon)
3. Vintage Metro String Lights, Brookstone / $94.99
4. Vintage Light String, Restoration Hardware / $152 (on sale)

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Photo from Fjeldborg

It’s been such a long time since I posted a round-up of white floors! After spending the weekend doing some serious spring-cleaning at my house (Did you see my to-do list, by the way? Almost everything got crossed off!), I’m really feeling like I have to make the time to paint the second-story floors WHITE. They are so dingy, damaged and discolored, and they can’t be sanded down. I already painted the floor in the back room (uh, four years ago), and I meant to keep going into the other rooms, but I just…haven’t…gotten…to…it.

Between the high I’m on from completing so many tasks over the weekend and this latest batch of photos, though, I think I can feel it happening soon. I mean I bet I could get one room done each weekend! Or half a room. Or a quarter. I have to divvy it up, though, because I guess I’ll have to move all of the furniture out of the room and into another one while I do it, right? See, this is where I start to feel lazy. In the mean time…

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Photo from Fjeldborg

On a side note, how nice are those black cabinets? I love that the handles are the same color. Fjeldborg is such a pretty blog.

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Home of Majbritt and Jesper Johansen of DesignUnit / Photo by Gaelle Le Boulicaut for Elle Decoration

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Home of Majbritt and Jesper Johansen of DesignUnit / Photo by Gaelle Le Boulicaut for Elle Decoration

Same room, two different angles. So peaceful. Everything about this space is perfect (I’d probably spoil it with a rug, though). I especially love the side-by-side black & white Eames LTR tables. And what kind of tree is that?

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Photo via emmas designblogg

Can you believe this is a Swedish real estate photo of a home that was styled to be sold? Amazing. Not really the kind of thing you’d ever see on an episode of Sell This House.

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Johan Sellén for ELLE Interiör

This reminds me of my bedroom at the house! Now imagine my bedroom minus the orange floor (that wood looks so much better in photos than it does in real life, seriously). SO MUCH BETTER.

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Johan Sellén for ELLE Interiör

See how there are boards intersecting at a weird angle on this floor? No idea why it’s like that, but I love it. The upper-level floors in my house were put in at different times, and they’ll all arranged in different patterns/cut styles. I actually think that painting the floors white will make that more apparent, because the gaps between the boards would really show.

I’ve had these photos from British Standard saved in my kitchen inspiration folder for almost a year after spotting them on Remodelista, but I forgot about them until I started thinking about painting the cabinets in the kitchen of our new apartment. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon (for starters, I’d definitely have to ask the landlord first, and I’m waiting for him to fall in love with us as tenants before I start bringing up that kind of stuff), but now I can’t get this kitchen out of my head!

British Standard cabinets from Plain English

British Standard cabinets from Plain English

LOOOOOOOOOOVE. I mean beyond the inset, flush-mount doors (you don’t see those much in contemporary kitchens!), the exposed copper piping, the door latches and the wooden countertops, how amazing is that paint job?! It’s like the entire bottom third of the room was dipped in black paint. I love that it even goes right across the upper cabinets! So, so good.

Plain English (who make incredible kitchen cabinets that I’ve coveted for ages) created their lower-priced British Standard sister line as part of an apprenticeship in building skills program for the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. A custom-fitted Plain English line will run you at least £50,000 (gulp), but the no-frills, off-the-shelf British Standard cabinets cost about a tenth of that. They’re intended to be painted by the owner, which is good if the black-dipped thing isn’t for you for some crazy reason.

British Standard cabinets from Plain English

British Standard cabinets from Plain English

One more thing: You know I can’t resist doing a recreation of this kitchen using stuff that’s readily available in the US, right? Yeah. I’m going to leave out the sausage links, though.

doorsixteen_britishstandardredux

WHAT HAVE I DONE? Haha, this took forever. Geez, now I really want to do something like this in the apartment kitchen! That’s what happens when it’s 1AM and you can’t sleep…you wind up badly Photoshopping paint onto IKEA cabinets. Seriously, though, this would look pretty great. You could easily do something like this with existing cabinets, too—take down a few uppers, paint the cabinets, add new hardware. Wood paneling is really cheap and easy to work with, and it’s a nice alternative to tile in kitchens and bathrooms—just make sure to prime both sides before installing it. We used it in our downstairs bathroom (though not in the shower area, obviously), going a full 8′ up the wall instead of stopping at the usual wainscot/chair rail height.

1. EverTrue unfinished pine wall paneling
2. AKURUM/Ädel wall cabinet with glass doors, IKEA
3. AKURUM/Ädel base cabinet with drawers, IKEA
4. Rohl apron front sink
5. Rohl brass wall-mounted faucet
6. NUMERÄR birch countertop, IKEA
7. Esse Ironheart cook stove (I’ll bet this stove is a nightmare, but gosh…so pretty)
8. Factory Light No. 7 cable pendant, Schoolhouse Electric
9. Steel cabinet latch, House of Antique Hardware
10. Half moon cup pull, House of Antique Hardware
11. Coconut bristle and dust pan, West Elm
12. Fleet hot orange chair, CB2