Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh Napalicious.

We're off to Napa this weekend!

I love Napa for several reasons.

  • Three Thomas Keller restaurants.
  • Wine, pool, no children.
  • The opposite of Vegas.
  • Hotel Yountville
We stayed in Hotel Yountville last time we came, and it was paradise, and a haven of neutrals, which I could not get enough of.  Also it had fireplaces in the room.  And canopy beds.  And made me briefly consider living in California.

I love the subtle natural influence of nature in this room, the seagrass rug, the stump coffee table, the stone fireplace.  This is the kind of nature I like, the indoor kind.

I'm universally against bathtubs in bedrooms, it reminds me of motels, in New Jersey.  Shudder.  Still, when they're antique claw-foot tubs with English hardware, I can make exceptions.

This reminds me that (1) we were spot on with our grey tuxedo sofa in the living room and (2) that I'm not spending enough on statement lamps.

I love the accessories in this room, we need things like this, silver everywhere.

 We need an orchid.  Also a giant silver bowl full of white towels.

I'm not a big exteriors girl because I'm a city-dweller and I've given up pining for great exteriors.  Still, wow.

These double loungers were perfect.  They say 'children go away' to me.

Mmm, space.

The whole place was neutral, dark, masculine.  Just my pace.

See you next week!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Merit Badge: Silver Leafing

If DIY was the boy scouts, we earned some sort of kilimanjaro summiting merit badge this weekend.  We made, and silver leafed, a frame for the massive painting in our living room.

I hadden't really thought about the magnitude of this project because I wasn't in charge of it, my dad was.  After a bright and early run to Home Depot, he arrived yesterday morning with molding, silver leaf, black paint, and several types of glue in hand.  Also a saw and a miter-cut guide.

Aaron started wondering what happened to his relaxing Saturday.

We got to work.

Aaron went to the storage locker to get another identical and unused canvas for us to use as a guide for the frame.  All of a sudden the maddening fact that they came in packs of three became useful, score.

We used our bedroom as a work area, being the only remaning large area uncovered by a rug.

Aaron and dad started to measure the molding to make the frame.  I should note here that we really did just use regular molding, like you would put on a window or a door.

Dad, excited he had a young son-in-law to handle the labor, watched over Aaron as he cut the molding with a hand saw.

In the meantime, dad also brought some shiny black paint to spruce up the 'mass of matte black' on the right side of the painting.  This is the painting post shiny black sprucing.

Alright, all the cuts have been made.  I was told there were more than eight, because someone measured wrong, sad sad.  I came back to check out Aaron and dad assembling the frame, which was done with wood glue and nails.

Me, working hard, watching Aaron and dad put the frame together.

Well, that was exhausting so I needed to go take a break.  While I was on break, Aaron painted the entire frame black, because silver leaf needs a black background as a base.

After my break, I was called in to paint leafing glue all over the frame.

Leafing glue is very thin, like water that is slightly white.  When it dries, it is tacky, and stays that way for about an hour.  That's your window to leaf.

I had never leafed anything, but my dad was an expert, having leafed things in every home we'd ever lived in.  In his current apartment, he leafed the door hinges.

Leafing is not easy.  It involves taking wafer, wafer thin pieces of metal, in this case silver, and laying it over the tacky surface, and then rubbing it in with your hands until all the silver bits fall off.  We had two issues working against us: one, the leaf was so thin that when I picked it up it basically fell apart, oops, and we weren't sure we had enough, so I needed to stop ruining it.

Aaron was entirely uninterested in this part of the project, so he took a break while dad and I tackled the leafing.  Then I made him come back for moral support, and to take pictures.

Then, we were worried that the leaf was too bright, so we sent Aaron out for silver polish, which dulls it.

While he was out, we finished leafing, and took the frame off the guide, and put it on the real painting.

We decided that it looked amazing, and called Aaron and told him to turn around because we didn't need silver polish.  Such a good husband, wasn't even upset :)

Dad nailed the painting in place...

And then Aaron came back, and he and my dad hung the painting over the sofa after a long debate about how much measuring was useful.  I should note that my dad and I were exhausted by this point and probably poisoned by ingesting thousands of bits of silver, so Aaron had to work with those attitudes while hanging a massive painting.  We love you Aaron!

And this is what it looked like hung.

It was dark by now, seven hours after we started this project, so the lighting in the room wasn't that great, but I wanted to show you the final reveal as we saw it.

I love this picture of dad, staring at his work on the way out the door.

And this morning, much better lighting, so I snapped a few more pictures...

Ahh, done.  I spent quite some time this morning just looking at it, amazed we own it, amazed my dad painted it, amazed we survived the creation of the frame.

What do you think of the project? Have you ever silver leafed anything? Interesting in trying? Would love to hear from you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bathroom Wallpaper

One of the wonders of owning instead of renting is wallpaper.  Also hardwired light fixtures.

It turned out that wallpapering is expensive, so I opted for our smallest room (at the time), which was our hall bathroom.  Our smallest room now is our hall closet, which has been upgraded to a room since it has been transformed into glamourcave.

We got the wallpaper at Clarence House, on major sale, thanks to our friend Beck, who worked there at the time.  I think it was about $80 for enough to cover the bathroom, which was two small walls, which also had a door, and another $300 (ouch, compared to painting) for it to be installed.  Aaron managed everything about the installation, unprompted, which was random and amazing.

For those local readers who like details, we went with Wall Decor LLC for the installation, and had a great experience.

This was the wallpaper, in full on natural lighting.

And I can't find the one picture of the bathroom pre-wallpaper, maddening, so you'll just have to see the final result.

Note, the change in lighting, we're using Thomas Edison yellow bulbs.

Also, forgive me for the ridiculous framing of these pictures.  This bathroom is very, very small, and my camera almost fits in it.

Fun fact, the door paint is actually chalkboard paint, which I had specially mixed.  I figured, one day, one day when I was less lazy, I would get chalk, and write ironic things on the door, for guests to laugh at.

In general, big progress in the bathroom.  I mean, it dosen't take much to decorate a bathroom.  It's all there to begin with, just grab the toilet paper.

False.  Bathrooms are goldmines of unrealized decorating opportunities and this one is begging for love.

I'm thinking...

  • A floor lamp.
  • An antique persian rug.
  • Black and white gallery art in silver frames.
  • A new industrial light fixture over the sink.
  • A custom extra tall shower curtain, for which we already have the fabric, wee!
  • A tuffet.
  • A wet bar.
  • Chalk.
  • Something to hold chalk.
  • Something to clean chalk off.
In other news, we had left over wallpaper, which I creatively applied to the back of a cabinet in our hallway.  A full post about it is here, but I took better pictures this morning and wanted to share.

Is that last picture a little imposing?

I think the wallpaper looks a little better in the natural light, which makes me want to adjust our lighting in the bathroom...

So what do you think of the wallpaper? Are you planning on wallpapering anything in your home?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dad's Masterpiece

Art over a sofa is a serious decision, so we called in the experts.  Dad.

Dad prescribed a large, black and white modern masterpiece, which I imagined to be entirely unaffordable.

As luck would have it, with enough ego stroking, I was able to convince him, that he could paint it for us!  Thrilled.

I ordered three 48x72 inch canvases, from Dick Blick, because canvases that large are sold in packs of three, and not packs of one, which would have been preferable.

Canvas arrived, and we scheduled Dad's arrival and printed out a picture of what we wanted the painting to look like.

Winner! The painting in the bedroom of one Mr. Kevin Sharkey.

And if you're curious...

Runner Up #1:

Runner Up # 2...


I should pause here and note that all these paintings are knock offs of Franz Kline paintings.

This is Franz Kline, and a line up of his awesome work.

Ok enough examples, we get it.

I was on a business trip the first day Dad worked on the piece, and came home to a beige canvas with newspaper glued to it, forming several wrinkles.  Cool, still no idea where this was going, but I had faith in the perfectionist.

On day two, Saturday, I was around to watch him work.  It was 'white background' day, which looked like this...

Alright, we are cruising! We left the painting to dry for the day, and grabbed some lunch at Iris Cafe.  Oo, a poem.

And then, there was day three.  I wasn't around, because I had to go to work, so I came home to a finished painting, omg what does it look like?

It's amazing.

And here is the painting from a different angle, which includes the barcelona chairs, which is like triple threat.

I am so, so grateful I have a father who can paint like this, and who is willing to spend his time making such beautiful art for our apartment.  Thanks Pop :)

We're already thinking about the frame, which we're making ourselves, since a frame that size would cost more than a boat.  We ordered molding, and Dad is schooling us in his mastered techniques in silver leafing.  Stay tuned for a future post on that little project, which I anticipate will not be so little...

What do you think of the painting? Any kind words for Dad?