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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 122

The sorry tale of my sinking sink

I’m of two minds when it comes to appliances and fixtures that are getting up there in years. On one hand, the logical part of my brain says something like, “If it’s still working all right but looks a little outdated, that’s no reason to toss it to the curb. We’ll find some creative way to incorporate into a new decor scheme.” It’s the budget friendly choice. It’s the environmentally friendly choice.

On the other hand, my reptile mind is saying, “Baby, you’ve just found the perfect excuse to get that new sink you’ve always wanted! You can put it on your credit card…screw the environment.”

Long story short, my kitchen sink is currently propped up on a tower of paint cans to keep it from sinking any deeper into the hole beneath, and my reptile mind has already spent quite a bit of time pricing new sinks. What I discovered, of course, is that there are two kinds of kitchen sinks: the sort I can afford and the sort I actually want.

Model 58173:  Delafield™ Self-rimming Kitchen Sink - White

I can afford the sink above. It’s all right…it’s white, and I like my food prep and personal hygiene spaces to look invitingly antiseptic. It has two basins, which is what The Beard desperately wants in a sink for some odd reason. But the sink I truly desire? It is as beautiful as it is deadly to my bank account, as it would require a partial remodel to even fit it into our current kitchen set-up.

It makes me WANT to wash the dishes

My logical brain sang a little happy ditty when the contractor who came over to have a look at our sinking sink said that an el cheap-o clip could likely shore the whole thing up. Meanwhile, my reptile mind was somewhere sobbing in the background of my subconscious. *sniff*

Unfortunately, the economics of the situation has dictated that we go with the clip fix instead of a new sink, meaning I will have to live with my boring old stainless steel number for a little bit longer. Oh, but I’m putting my pennies in a jar and saving the odd dollar here and there so that one day I can approach our contractor and say, “Rip out the shite you see before you and build me the kitchen that I have mapped out for you in crayon on an assortment of cocktail napkins!”

Furniture porn, and I don’t mean that figuratively

As of this morning, there was a rather…unusual couch for sale up on San Francisco’s Craiglist. A certain Willow created a decidedly NSFW couch…not safe for work if your employer is really uptight, that is. Unfortunately, some uptight Craigslist users decided to flag the classified page before I could find out how much it cost, but a friend of mine just happened to grab the pics so I could show them to you.

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Experiencing the world from a home on wheels

Walking into most campers is like taking a time machine back to the 70s. I won’t lie — I’m a huge camper fan. I love the crazy old school ones that look like silver pill bugs! But unless a camper has been redone or began its life as a custom job they’re usually filled with bad upholstery, horrid colors, and cheap laminates. Bleah.

TerraCross vehicles are more than a little different. For one thing, they’re designed to stand up to harsh conditions and look good doing it. When you buy a TerraCross, you choose between upholstery made of fabric or leather, parquet floors or kautchuk, kitchen counter tops made of wood or stainless steel, cabinets with laminate or real wood surfaces, and more.

terra1.jpg
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You can enjoy your own blue period

Every now and again, my mailbox is inundated with home decor magazines. Where all of them have converged in recent months is in their liberal use of blue. It’s not just one particular sort of blue, either. There are Greenwich blues and icy blues and cornflower blues and cobalt blues. Light greenish blues seem to be dominating at this time, but there certainly seems to be plenty of room for other competing blues.

Did I mention that other than black, blue is my favorite color? There are millions upon billions of ways one can integrate a color into a home decor scheme. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do because there are so many options, but seeing what others have done can be all the inspiration one needs. Below you’ll find some blue interiors that will get your creative juices flowing.

OMG that floor is amazing

The thought of painting a floor never really occurred to me until just now. As it turns out, The Beard and I have an unfinished floor in the upper story of our home and I’m sorely tempted to start laying down color!

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Even more pillow talk

Avocado and Pumpkin Silk Eighteen-Inch Square PillowPale Green Silk Twenty-Two Inch Square Pillow
Red Silk Eighteen-Inch Square PillowRed and Butterscotch Silk Eighteen-Inch Square Pillow
Navajo Blue and Pale Green Silk Eighteen-Inch Square PillowNavajo Blue Silk Twenty-Two Inch Square Pillow

There’s nothing like a nice squishy tosser, as I’ve mentioned previously. In my little abode, throw pillows get sat on, chucked around, used as trivets, gnawed by curious kitties, and taken on long car trips. Huh…maybe that’s why none of mine are stuffed with down and covered in raw shantung silk like the colorful examples above. If your throw pillows lead a far less vigorous life than my own, perhaps it’s time to upgrade to something more refined.

Comfy looking, no?
image by scriptingnews

Doesn’t that look gorgeous? It’s the little touches–like funky pillows or an heirloom quilt–that make a space feel homey to me, which is why sitting on any of my couches and chairs usually involves moving a bunch of throws and things. What are the tiny details that make you feel at home?

Building up a kitchen from scratch

I like all things rustic, though I can’t rightly say why. When I was growing up, the dream home I envisioned in my head looked just like something out of a modernist furniture catalog. My maternal grandparent’s home may have been somewhat of an inspiration, as it was filled with triumphs of Danish Design. Long story short, my mother’s penchant for wood and so on mortified me beyond belief. Why I thought that any of my peers would be giving thought to our home and its trappings is utterly beyond me.

Buried somewhere in the books The Beard and I have not yet unpacked is a short work discussing the French kitchen. In my youth I spent a great deal of time hanging about German kitchens, but never had the opportunity to visit a French one so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the book’s assertion that the kitchens in France’s countryside don’t typically have built in counters or storage space. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

Drool slobber slobber want

After reading that, I was sorely tempted to rip out all my counters and cabinetry so I could start fresh with all manner of wonderful tables and cabinets. I might begin my kitchen re-imaging adventure with this antique pine and Vermont soapstone island. It comes complete with two roomy drawers with brass pulls so we’d have someplace to put all those odd little kitchen doodads The Beard’s mom insists on buying for us.

Can’t afford new? Revitalize!

Everything old is new again!

While thinking about rooms that don’t click yesterday, I was reminded of the fact that it’s easy to spruce up a room with a new piece of furniture but not always financially feasible to do so. Case in point: Moving into our new home meant spending a lot of time figuring out how we could use what we already have in new ways.

One way I’ve accomplished that involved refinishing furniture in various ways. A lot of people stay away from projects like that because they think that it will be difficult or complicated, when in fact that’s a completely erroneous assumption. How easy is it? Six steps worth of easy! All you need is an old dresser, black acrylic, Mod Podge Hard Coat, 400 and 150 grit sandpaper, toile print wallpaper, a sponge brush, a nylon brush, a craft knife, scissors, and a ruler.

1. Remove drawer pulls. Sand entire chest with 150 grit then 400 grit sand paper.

2. Basecoat entire chest Licorice using nylon brush.

3. Measure top and drawer fronts; cut a piece of wallpaper to size for each area.

4. Using sponge brush, apply Hardcoat Mod Podge to back of top wallpaper piece; position on chest then smooth out air bubbles. Repeat for drawer fronts. Let dry.

5. Apply a topcoat of Hardcoat Mod Podge over the entire chest (both painted and wallpapered areas). Let dry. Repeat with a second and third topcoat of Hardcoat Mod Podge, sanding between coats with 400 grit sand paper.

6. Using craft knife make a holes for drawer pulls then reinsert.

Ta da! You now have a “new” dresser, end table, or bed stand!

When a room just doesn’t “click”

I’m home a lot recently, which means I spend an awful lot of time looking around my abode with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. We moved in around October 1, and I’m still not altogether satisfied with the feel of the house. I’ve spent many an hour moving furniture and accent pieces from one room to another and back again. When I get dismayed, I just think, “Hey! It’s exercise, right?”

Lately, the focal point of my efforts has been the bedroom. Yesterday, I moved one of the kitchen table chairs into the bedroom. There’s only two of us, which means there’s no reason I shouldn’t spread the chair wealth. Then I went crazy hanging plates, mirrors, and quilts. The dang room still doesn’t feel right.

River Estates Trellis Bed (Queen)Enchantment Lattice Bed (Queen)
Shelby Bed (Queen)British Isle Poster Bed (Queen)

I’m beginning to suspect that what my bedroom needs is a new bed. A bed that isn’t partly held together with a metal reinforcement bar. A bed that isn’t a thousand years old. My bed is serviceable, but it’s not in keeping with my current tastes. It was once The Beard’s, which could be part of the problem.

A new piece of furniture can re-vitalize a space, provided you can afford the right piece of furniture. In my case, I’ll be spending another day schlepping stuff into and out of the bedroom…