When did the bedside reading sconce morph into a pendant? Sconces are much preferred over a table lamp, which I tend to find clunky both visually and functionally, but why the sudden fascination with pendant lights in the bedroom? Low hanging pendant lights, no less. Pendant lights that dangle much closer to the ground have been a growing trend, both in the bedroom and other rooms.
Would you do it? I’ve actually been thinking about swapping out the articulating sconces in our master bedroom. Then, last week, a 12-year-old with a strong throwing arm smashed the glass shade with a football. But I’m not sure I’m sold on the pendant light by the bed thing. Maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts?
Windows are always good. My first apartment in New York was a grim little one bedroom on a charming, brownstone-lined block, with windows that looked onto an air shaft. Being on the first floor, I had to stick my head out and look way up, in hopes of ascertaining the weather. I remember hanging out an investment banker friend’s apartment to watch the marathon, a sleek highrise with windows all around, and realizing that windows make all the difference.
I’ve since lived in much better places, all with much-improved window situations, though I still suffer from window envy. We have a great bow window with an architecturally appealing city street view in our living room but tour bedrooms are underground. The window situation is kinda dismal down there.
In three of the places that I’ve (c0)-owned, we put in new windows during renovations. I always start out thinking that it’s a boring use of a lot of money, but I guess I’ve since learned a lot about windows. Good windows certainly muffle noise and keep out chill (we had FROST on our windowsill INSIDE when we first moved to Boston). We recently upgraded the living room and family room windows; being able to open the windows, especially in the city, is huge. (Thanks honey for your insistence.)
It seems as though tiling over the counter would be most cost-effective, but I wonder what it would cost to demo the whole darn blocky vanity and put in a simple slab, which would really open up the space, or find a modestly priced floating bathroom vanity, like one of the glossy white sink cabinets from IKEA, or maybe even this Caro vanity that resembles plywood (I had obsessed over a plywood floor for the condo before settling on the cork floor). A floating vanity rather than a simple slab, would be a better for storage, obviously.
It’s true that the bathroom is fairly traditional, certainly basic, with (now) white tile and white grout, and basic white porcelain tub with glass shower doors, but I don’t think it’s a matter of choosing traditional versus contemporary bathroom style, but rather mixing the elements for a simple, clean, with maybe even a hint of Scandinavian style.
Here are 16 modern bathrooms with floating vanities.
As I continue my search for bathroom tiles (not to mention a tasteful light fixture for over the mirror to replace the one that looks like it should be in a starlet’s dressing room), I realize I’ve been seeing so many wood effect tiles, that it deserved its own post.
I first noticed porcelain tiles that look like wood when the condo board of our building in Boston finally decided to redo our lobby. (It had what looked to be tiles you might find in a hospital, complete with tile baseboard.) Our upstairs neighbor brought a few samples as suggestions. We decided to use them, so the lobby now has tiles that give it a New England-y feel, with medium wood effect porcelain tiles, golden walls, and wood baseboards in creamy white. A huge improvement. (Now I need to get rid of the awful, elaborately framed mirror.)
While I likely won’t be using wood grained tiles in our Florida condo bathroom, as it isn’t a good match with the cork flooring in the rest of the place (though would be an improvement over the existing flesh-toned pink tiles), I think there are some great options. I particularly like the pale gray wood effect tiles, and the idea of doing an faux wood tile accent wall in the shower. Have a look at these 15 bathrooms with wood effect tiles.
Hopefully you’re not too overloaded with floor and rug posts. I want to forge ahead with all the Florida stuff while I’m focused on it. Last year we had the pink-tiled master bath (photo at the bottom of this bathroom tile post) reglazed in bright white. Very cost effective at $600 if you don’t mind the all white grout and tile look, which I don’t. They did the bathtub too. (Maybe I can have them in again so I don’t have to clean the rust stains.) But I still need new bathroom floor tile.
Unfortunately, they recommend against glazing the bathroom floor tile because it becomes glossy and thus too slippery. So, while we have pristine white walls and a white (if not slightly dirty) tub, we still have pale pink bathroom floor tiles and a pink sink in a pink Formica topped vanity. (More on that solution later this summer.) I’ve been browsing for inexpensive slip resistant tiles at Tiles4All, Overstock.com, Home Depot, and Wayfair. Other sourcing suggestions welcome.
On one hand, I’m tempted to do identical (but slightly textured) white square tiles with white grout on the floor, for the simplest look. On the other hand, I love a contrasting floor, and a color or pattern could be fun, especially if everything else is a consistent bright white. The other thought is to do big pieces of a natural stone, like slate, for a durable outdoorsy neutral effect. I’m taking ideas!
Here are 20 bathrooms with contrasting bathroom floor tiles.
The cork floors have been installed in our Florida condo! And the walls are all a bright, sparkly white. So happy. The cork floor is amazing. It feels good under my feet (it’s not squishy though, more like a pressboard with a coating, like you’d find as the backing of a picture frame, as unappealing as that sounds), cleans well, and looks cool.
I was worried that the 1’x3′ tiles would read too traditional, but the look is practically seamless. There are a number of manufacturers of cork tile out there, in different shapes, colors, and finishes, though I chose the plainest one possible. (I wouldn’t have minded a lighter color, but this is probably more practical.)
The cork floor has the funky, almost unfinished loft look of the plywood floor I had been contemplating, but is much better in terms of feel and durability. The price was very reasonable. They even installed new sharp-edged baseboards. I’m thrilled. Thanks to Steve Gee/Tiffany’s Flooring for doing an impeccable job.
Photo by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot New cork floor in Florida condo.
Oftentimes windows are overlooked when it comes to adding flavor to a design. It’s almost always white windows on the exterior, and usually the window trim is painted white inside too. Sure, sometimes they’re stained, and black window trim can be incredibly striking, but one doesn’t usually see an eye-popping orange.
Cedar shingle homes in wooded areas, like the Vineyard, might sometimes have forest green windows, meant to add interest, but blend with the surroundings. When we designed the house on the Cape, we specified Benjamin Moore “Baby Boy Blue” as our exterior window color. I knew I wanted turquoise, although I picked that specific shade in kind of a rush. It’s probably a tad too light and Caribbean-esque, but I love it anyway. (There’s a photo at the end of this post.)
When the construction crew put them in, the guys on the job, including the plumber, had something to say. Skeptics! Ok, the windows don’t necessarily blend, but I love them. Even though windows seem like an unsatisfying expenditure, I’ve learned that deciding between various window types can really make an impact on not just the design, but the whole feel.
I’m a proponent of true divided light windows — that means there are individual panes of glass between the mullions. There’s nothing worse than cheap plastic mullions shoddily attached to the glass. Awful. There’s a compromise you can get away with, called full divided light, if need be.
Inside, our window trim is painted white. (Actually, everything’s painted white, except for the ceilings in the boys rooms and guest rooms.) It’s possible to get an amazing look with a contrasting trim, though I haven’t figured out how to do it myself. (I tried in my very first apartment in New York, and let’s just say it was an epic fail.)
Below are gorgeous examples of brightly colored exterior window trims, along with some very zingy interior window trims.
Every Fourth of July since I’ve been with my husband, we’ve celebrated with a beach picnic on the Cape., almost always at Corn Hill. He’s been doing it with his family and their friends and families for pretty much his whole life. We’ve brought a few of our friends in on it, who’ve brought their friends. It’s a really nice evening, and has a very small town, Americana kind of feel, which is of course fitting seeing how it’s July 4th and all.
It’s one of my kids’ favorite times of year, and not just because that’s the one day other than their birthdays that we let them have a soda. They love running around the beach as the sun goes down, and hiding behind the dunes with summer friends. I always bring tons of S’mores makings and dole them out once the kids have roasted marshmallows on giant sticks. And then there’s the fireworks.
Over the years I’ve collected some festive Fourth of July accoutrements, including a bandana beach blanket that I got my sister to make. We always seem to have an abundance of little American flags on wooden dowels too (maybe my father-in-law buys them at the hardware store… not sure). The newest addition to the Fourth of July decorations is a red and white striped tableclothbyLinenMe.
LinenMe is a third generation family business that makes towels, bed sheets, towels, scarves, and throws from high quality Lithuanian linen, which is natural and hypoallergenic. The company’s publicist sent me a linen tablecloth to try tout. It’s strong but soft, and has a really nice feel. I will be bringing it to Corn Hill with me on Friday for our Fourth of July celebration.
I played around with the LinenMe tablecloth last week before I came back to Boston for a few days. It would look great draped over a wood table too. Here are a few photos of the linen tablecloth with some nautical-themed letterpress coasters I picked up at the Kennebunkport Festival last month, plus one of these American flags, some dishware, and wine. (You may have already seen them on my Instagram feed.)
In addition to my mini tablescapes, I’ve pulled together a dozen other red, white, and blue tabletop schemes for Fourth of Julyentertaining inspiration.
Door or no door? There’s no question that a walk in shower is the way to go (nobody wants to climb over a tub), but do you do just a simple, frameless glass partition, or do you add a door?
I was just having this conversation with someone (though I don’t remember who), and she pointed out that it’s a lot less expensive if you skip the door, not just in terms of the glass, but the hardware and installation. There’s also the whole hassle of shower door seals.
A shower without a door is good for a smaller space. We used one when we renovated our master bath down in DC, and also in the guest bedroom on the Cape. You also need to consider the shape. We did a door in the master because it’s square. And of course, if you don’t like a breeze on your naked body.
The other option is to do a tile wall or half wall. Not sure how the pricing works out. I guess it’s a decent option for more modest folks, but it definitely closes in the space, whereas glass keeps everything light and open.
Here are 15 walk in showers with frameless glass partitions sans doors.
Like most things in my house, I tend towards simple with clean lines. While it’s true that in my living room in Boston, I have a bold Angela Adams rug and smattering of patterned pillows by Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, Hable Construction, and Judy Ross Textiles, the sofa and upholstered cushions on the vintage Scandinavian chairs from eBay are slightly textured solids
In the bedroom, I always keep colors and textures more subdued. When we lived in a bungalow in Chevy Chase, we had the loveliest bedroom, with pale lilac walls, a creamy wrought iron bed, and a beautiful quilt that my mother-in-law made for us as a wedding gift. The windows looked out on a magnolia tree in the backyard.
Our Boston bedroom, by contrast, is a dungeon. To lighten things up, we have a tall tailored headboard from Pottery Barn, upholstered in white cotton duck. The sheets and duvet are pure white. Not exciting, but the best we can do as everything else seems to have taken priority for the last dozen years. Happily the all white bedroom on the Cape is bliss.
The condo in Delray Beach is currently being painted white. White, white, and more white. The cork floor should go in later this month(!!!). If you’ve been following, you’ll know it’s decorated with white and pale wood furniture from Ikea (sofa, chairs), CB2 (nightstands, dining table), West Elm (bed), etc. and punctuated with pops of color.
The boys’ beds, of which i did a staged makeover, are back to its original style. While the bold graphic bedding looked better, it wasn’t the aesthetic I was going for. So they once again have the Ikea duvet covers in teal and grass green with organic patterns. While the fabric is slightly rough, I love the quality of the duvet inserts, pillows, mattress pads, and other bedding basics.
BeddingStyle.com was in touch recently about doing some sort of makeover using my choice of bedding from its site. There are a few great modern bedding brands, including Marimekko, so I’ve been contemplating whether to try one out in the Florida master bedroom. I had planned on using a sea glass colored Matouk coverlet I bought at the Matouk Factory Store in Fall River, Mass.
In trying to determine whether to go with a subtly colored solid duvet or comforter, or one with a pattern, I thought it best to pull together some examples. (The sheets will remain white; always white.) Here are 25 bedrooms with patterned duvets, comforters, or quilts.