Viewing posts for the category decoration

made in the shade...or the dark, even

Thursday, dec. 24, 2009   |   12 comments

Look at our bed! It’s lost its mind!


It’s like we let it dress itself and it pulled together this insane little number and, like the over-tired parents we actually are now, we just went with it. That’s what you want to wear? On picture day? Sure, fine, whatever.

more words on: decoration, house-ing

fine dining

Saturday, dec. 5, 2009   |   32 comments

Lest you think all I’ve been doing lately is having babies and then complaining about said babies: We’ve also been decorating! (Wow. Could we be any more staid? I fear our break with the rebel alliance is now complete.)

After much consternation, and a great deal of trial-and-erroring, we’re finally done with the dining section of the house. But we sure did have to wend our way through a parade of tables and accoutrement before we got it right. (Eek! Sorry! The following epic description of this particular decorodyssey is super freakishly detailed…if you have a life to live, maybe just stick to judging the grainy, amateur photography?)


Here we see (back in the corner over there) our original square table from the Alameda flea market. Sadly, it didn’t quite cut it in the new space, what with being too small at its smallest and too big and cornery and hard to navigate when expanded. Also I didn’t love the jumble of dark and light woods going on between the table, credenza, and chairs. I don’t necessarily need everything to matchy-match, but this combo felt a little too “look what we picked up off the street on big trash day!” random.

We decided a cornerless (AKA round) table was in order, so next we Craigslisted this little number from CB2. (Marco is a master Craigslister, obsessively checking the listings multiple times each day.)


Unfortunately, this table turned out to be a little too little. Marco kind of liked it, but I felt it gave things a depressing “icky, flavored-coffee cafe” feel. Plus it didn’t have a leaf, so we would never be able to serve more than four people…not at one time, at least. And its dark wood-grained top actually exacerbated the wood-WOOD-WoOd problem.

So! Feast your eyes on our new, just-right Goldilocks table:


The table is vintage (spotted at Eames Loft by Marco’s friend Janet), and it’s in crazy-beautiful condition, all gleaming and smelling of polish and elbow grease. It comes with a built-in butterfly leaf, which means it’s stored within the table, versus in some tippy, hard-to-get-at corner of the garage. In its leafless state, it’s a good 10” wider than the CB2 table, and just that little added girth really makes it feel proportionate with the space. It was spendy at $440, but the dollars Marco made for selling the other two tables got us almost all the way there.

With the table down, all we had left to do was accessorize, which Marco and I just so happen to love to do to, perhaps to the point of unhealthiness?

Little green bud vase (with bundle of sage): Heath Ceramics. Taller white carved vase (with cheap-o Safeway flowers): Sara Paloma Pottery. The white chairs are from Crate and Barrel, and I think they provide welcome relief from all the wood. They also tie in the white-white Ikea cupboards found in the adjacent kitchen. Comfy, too!

Sadly our beloved credenza was too deep for the space — a table centered under the light fixture just doesn’t leave enough room along the side for much else. So Marco found us a new vintage credenza on Craigslist:


It’s very, very similar to our original piece, only it’s shallower by 7”, which fits the space much, much better. It weirdly was also the same steep $440 as the table, but Marco posted our original credenza on Craigslist and it got picked up as one of Apartment Therapy’s recommended buys for the week, which helped us get a tidy $460 for it. Net: $20!

Wooden iPod player: Vers Audio. Salmon-hued side lamp: Vintage, discovered by Marco in one of the antique shopies on the main drag in San Anselmo.


The white faux bois vase was a $3.99 shopportunity from Marshalls. Marco disdainfully says it “looks like celery,” but sometimes Marco is wrong? Little ceramic bull: Jonathan Adler. Bumpy white vase: Ikea.


Salty, peppery elephants: Daiso, $1!

Next up: Cuting up the Ikea-blank kitchen cabinets!

litteral frame of mind

Sunday, apr. 20, 2008   |   0 comments

One of my all-time favorite Onion headlines is “Want Boxes Of Shit In Your House? Get A Cat,” a sentiment that I know gnawed at tidy Marco just a wee bit when we first started talking about moving in together. Where, exactly, would Marbles’ dumping grounds live?

I’m a big fan of putting littterboxes in bathrooms, since they make thematic sense there. But the bathroom in this place is kind of an open book, with no nooks or available corners to tuck a box into. And the limited closet space is already dedicated to clothing, and who wants to smoke out their clothes with shit and piss fumes?

Ultimately we decided to put her box in the strange auxiliary cabinet that lives on the outer side of the breakfast bar.

Marco removed the door that was there and painted the inside an upbeat puce-y color, and I sewed up a little curtain using a fun woodgrain fabric I found on the internet.

And it kind of turned out okay! We use the miracle crystal litter (NOT the ball bearing kind), which sponges up the smell quite nicely so you almost don’t know the shitbox is in the room at all unless Marbles is actively mixing and scratching in there, something she likes to do for a good five minutes at a stretch.

But recently we’ve been talking about maybe converting the back room—which is now set up as a sort of second living room, with a couch and some chairs and my desk scenario—into an actual dining room, which may or may not help us break out of our bad habit of eating in front of the television. But if we do decide to refocus that area on serving food, I’m not so sure I want to have the shit where we eat?

So I’ve started doing some peering around at alternate strategies, scouring the design-focused sites for some examples of other people’s solutions for the problem. But there’s a surprisingly limited selection out there! Which I don’t really get—surely we’re not the only people who like having a cute-looking house but who also have an indoor cat? (And yes the whole feline toilet-training thing has been tried, but had to be abandoned after it triggered some nasty side effects along the lines of Marbles shitting up the bathtub, a fun habit that took years to break her of, yay.)

I did manage to find a few semi-interesting options (thanks Mosaic Maker)…

1. The Kattbank (via Design*Sponge, of course) is very pretty, and it comes in a satisfying array of colors, but at a whopping $1750, my sphincter says what? Also, do our friends want to sit atop a bench packed with feces? Don’t answer.

2. The Scandinavians sure know how to do meatballs, and also cat shitters. Meet the handsome Dog and Cat Cave (via Modern Cat, who knew?). Cost: a steep $480. Also I’m now thinking it’s not actually meant for litter, since there’s no way to get the shit out of there, which seems kind of key…hmm.

3. The Cottage Litter Box House, just $65. I kind of love the idea behind this, but I’d want to push it even further, with more ornate, Made With Love By Hannah-style detailing. Like a giant coo coo clock, or gingerbread house, only with shit inside!

4. I’m also weirdly attracted to the Red Barn Litter Box House option, also $65, though heads-up: “haystacks and sunflower pot not included,” which is a disclaimer I’m considering adding to my signature file at work.

5. Sara’s DIY wheel-away litter box (via Ikea Hacker), made from Ikea Snack Boxes.

6. Or Dee’s DIY kitty litter hideaway (same link as above, just scroll down) made using the Ikea Hol.

7. Dave’s Handcrafted Litter Box Hiders (via Apartment Therapy), $129.99. Dave makes these to order, and they arrive fully built, sanded, and ready to paint. Best of all, they’re “dog proof so they cant get to the litter and eat it.”

8. DIY Shoji Litter Box (via Apartment Therapy), another serviceable option.

9. Marly Gomman’s “Cats in Style” felt litter box (via Modern Cat), which you can actually watch in action. I LOVE this option, and really: a big, organically shaped felt box that mimics the birthing process with each exit, what’s not to love? But unfortunately even if I did have the millions of dollars it surely costs, I can’t seem to find it for sale anywhere, anyway.

And then there’s also the “Hide-in-plain-site” DIY cabinet, or the weird fake plant holder with hidden compartment, or the Merry Pet Cat Washroom, none of which are exactly quite right either. Shit.

more words on: decoration, marbles

a rainbow of credenza

Tuesday, apr. 15, 2008   |   1 comment

Marco and I have been looking and looking for a television pedestal for months now, measuring and remeasuring, poring over catalogs, emailing each other links, and falling in and out of love with a whole string of fun maybes and cound-have-beens.

Some were too public (where to run, hide your wires?):

Mondrian Media Buffet at CB2, $249

Too leggy and too dumbly named:

Jazz Buffet at Eurway, $299

Too tall:

Trollsta at Ikea, $349 (thanks to Better Living Through Design for pointing the way, I thought I’d seen everything Ikea had to offer?)

Way too tall:

mshelving at the design-your-own Loadbearing (first spotted in the SF Rare Device store, which uses these pretties as display cases), $1375

Or too dollarful:

webb console at Kerf Design, $1500

But then our search finally came to a big-yay end on Craiglist, with this mod-nod of a credenza, all cute and hand-hewn:

The doors arrived naked, just some unfinished slats of wood, so we went and painted them, with the theory being that we can just repaint them or even get new wood at not much cost if and when we got tired of the pursey colors. And four sides means four different color combinations:

So pretty, yet still brawny enough to support our Death Star television, even with its heavy load of Marco’s hockey, basketball, and baseball (who allowed such a devilish scheduling overlap?) — a total home run slam dunk hat trick!

more words on: decoration

a perfect match

Monday, apr. 14, 2008   |   0 comments

This nut-cracking squirrel has been wandering aimlessly around the house ever since the lovely Maggie gave him to me two whole Christmases ago. Frankly, we were a little worried he was never going to get a job, what with all our nuts arriving pre-shelled from Trader Joe’s and the like?

But then one shining day, it all just came together:

Doesn’t he look excited to be of help? So eager to assist? Fear nothing, Madam! I am here with the required sticks of flame! Tzzt, tzzt!