Kitchen Living Room

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Water World

I love technology. I love innovation. However, I definitely have an appreciation for the beauty and design of old things. So, not surprisingly, I bought a very old condo (built in the 1910s) rather than one of the many, many new builds that are available in my city. As a result there are some challenges that come with the age of the condo and its building. 

One challenge relates to water in the bathroom. All of the fixtures work fine, but there isn't a FAN. So the bathroom gets really, really wet. And it doesn't dry out.

In an attempt to remedy the problem, I usually take a shower with the window open, even if it is cold outside. That is unpleasant, and plus, it doesn't really work. When I leave a towel in the bathroom after I've used it, it never dries out. And the bathmat is always a bit damp. 

Until recently, I had not considered the obvious solution: a dehumidifier. I think I thought of it at one point, but I immediately dismissed the notion because dehumidifiers are usually quite big. And the bathroom in the condo is quuuuite small. Teensy tiny.

Then I found the Eva-dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier. I didn't even bother looking at the dimensions, I just searched for it online and read all of the reviews across multiple sites. Some people really love it, some people think it just doesn't work. I figured it was worth a try. I saw found out that Eva is sold at Home Depot brick and mortar stores for $39.95, so I went and picked it up. Much to my delight, I discovered that it is tiny, just like my itty bitty bathroom! Yay.

Now I have taken to calling it Eeeeva in the same voice that Wall-E uses when he calls out Eve's name.

I first set it up Sunday night. Here it is just after it was plugged in at about 9 pm:

Notice how it fits right on top of the toilet! It's so cute. And here it is again after it ran aaaaalll night long:

Notice that it already has a good bit of water in it! And again, when I got home from work:

Only a tiny bit more water had collected, so I decided to turn it off. I haven't taken a shower since I started using Eva, but I intend to take one tonight to find out how well it does. I plan to run Eva while I am showering and afterwards through the night. 

So far the bathroom feels much more dry than it ever has. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mark 'Em & Cut 'Em

As you can probably imagine, everything does not always go as planned in the world of DIY. For example, I did not plan on washing my tile marking pencil with a load of laundry and effectively destroying said laundry in the process.

But, what can you do? Just scrub the gooey black marks off of your dryer and try again.

So that lesson brings me to better news, which is that I've slowly but surely been having all of the difficult tiles cut by various Lowe's employees. I've been having them cut in batches because quite honestly, I get tired of standing in my kitchen and measuring. I want RESULTS! So I measure a little and have a little cut. Take home. Install. Repeat. Repeat again. But I'm finally on my final batch, which I intend to take to Lowe's tonight after work.

Oh and also, actually acquiring more tile of the same kind has been a bit of a struggle. Since I bought every piece from the Lowe's closest to my house, they haven't bothered to restock. So I've been getting more tiles when I stay with my boyfriend in his city.

After this last batch is cut and installed, then it is time to move on to the grouting! Here are my tiles, ready to be cut:

By the way, if you want to DIY anything, I am always all for it. However, in my experience, the self tile cutters do notttttt work. This is the one I tried out:

I purchased it for $20 at Lowe's. Yeah. I took it back shortly after breaking approximately 10 tiles. So that just goes to show, sometimes it's better to leave things to the professionals!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dad's Living Room

For some reason, I rarely consider yellow when I am decorating a room. When I think of yellow, McDonald's is usually the first thing that comes to mind: golden arches, yellow french fries... Yellow should not be discounted however, because it is lively and happy and quite sophisticated! Below I've created a mood board for my dad's living room (click here to see my ideas for his bathroom).

Dad's Living Room

Dad's Living Room by louko on

The proposed room incorporates mostly yellow, gray, and dark wood accents. I also included a few Frank Lloyd Wright related pieces because I know he is one of my dad's favorite creative minds.

Here's a list of all of the items (most of them are from Target) along with links to where you can find them online!

Heller House Frame
$18 -

Metallic Vase - Tan : Target
$15 -

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Picky Picky Painter

Spoiler: I finally bought a gallon of paint for the kitchen. I color matched Eddie Bauer's Almond Oil to Olympic One at Lowe's. Olympic One is great because it's paint and primer in one, so theoretically you only have to apply one coat (we'll see). 

Here's a picture of the kitchen wall with my ultra artistic painting skills:

The really yellow color dominating the walls is the original color. The lighter yellow is the first color I tried. The sort-of-in-the-middle tan color is Almond Oil.

The color family I'm using reminds me of the walls in my last kitchen:

That is a picture of the kitchen by the way - the washer/dryer unit was in the kitchen. I loved that color but definitely wanted something a little different. However, I think Almond Oil was definitely inspired by having a yellowish/tanish kitchen prior to the current kitchen.

I'll let you know how it turns out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dad's Bathroom

Later this year in March, I am going to visit my Dad in Alaska to help him with some organization and design at his house. He was inspired by a discussion we had about the Feng Shui book I recently read.

I was inspired to create this mood board that will help me design his bathroom area. I haven't discussed this space with him, and obviously that will be a critical step, so this is just going off of what I know about him and his house.

Having been to his house, I know that his bathroom is very cold due to the temperatures in Alaska and because the space has a lot of cold tile on the floor and vanity countertop. As a result, I picked a brown and green color scheme to warm it up. All of the items I picked out are from Target - except the wastebasket which is from the Container Store. (See the list at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Dad's Bathroom

Dad's Bathroom by louko on

I like the woven-style bath rug because I think it adds an extra dimension of warmth and texture to the room, more than your standard plush bath rug would. And while I can't actually see my dad using candles anywhere in his house, tea lights in the brown antiqued-glass style tea light containers would add color and decoration to the room. I envision these lined up or even clustered on the wide windowsill that overlooks the side yard.

Although I'm not sure if my dad uses bar soap or liquid hand soap at the sink, I think the green glass soap tray would make a great spot to put a watch, change, or whatever else might be emptied from pockets.

Finding a suitable trash can with a lid is often difficult. However, it is good form to always use wastebaskets with lids in the bathroom for privacy. I think the bronze trash can pictured above is perfect for the room, but one should always sacrifice a little style for functionality in this area.

Here's hoping my dad likes my ideas!

Extra Product Details:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kitchen Organization Sneak Peak!

After clearing the clutter from the kitchen, clutter consisting of items I don't use or won't ever use and garbage, I decided to get busy organizing what was leftover. My kitchen is very, very, very small, so making the most of the space is extremely important. Organization is especially important because I also happen to love food, baking, kitchen appliances, and the kitchen in general.

My cabinets are fairly shallow and reach very high to the ceiling. Combine that cabinet design with the fact that I love to keep various spices, small packages of esoteric ingredients, and my vitamins in the kitchen, and you get this:

A hodgepodge of containers that are disorganized, layered, and most of which are impossible to see. So I made a stop at the Container Store (which happens to be my mom's favorite store, I think) to see what kind of organizational tools they offer.

I first considered the 3-Tier Chrome Cabinet Organizer ($11.99) solution from the Container Store:

But I quickly realized that the shelving unit was simply too big for my tiny cabinets. Plus, anything on the top shelf (of the tiny shelf unit, where the oils are in the picture) would have to be very short.

So as an alternative, I opted for the this Single Turntable in 10" ($5.99):

The turntable is a mini lazy-susan that allows me to spin it easily so I can see what's on every part. I keep larger bottles in the middle so I can see them even though they are partially blocked by the shorter items.

And as an added bonus, the turntable takes up less room than the bottles did on their own, so I now have an extra portion of space to the left. 

More kitchen organization updates, coming soon!

Note: I (OF COURSE) price checked the turntable at various stores. They are carried at Target and sometimes go on sale for $5.09. Plus if you have a Red Card that's an extra 5% off. Home Depot and Lowe's carry the two-level turntable, but I haven't seen the single level unit that I have pictured here. Overall if you're looking for the best deal and you're going to be purchasing a lot of organizational items, the Container Store definitely has the best selection. So as far as gas & times savings, that's going to be your best bet (assuming you have one near you). Also, the Container Store offers a much greater variety of tiered shelving units if that's the direction you're going. Target has lots of tiered units, but their prices are about 25% higher. BUT, if you only have a Target near you, the Container Store's shipping prices most likely outweigh their lower item prices. So Target brick and mortar is probably going to beat the Container Store online.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top Five Wines Under $20

I used to think wine was only going to taste good if I had tons of money to throw at a bottle, say $60 to $80, at least. Then I realized the key is to just keep trying. Cheap (or inexpensive) does not always equal poor quality in wine. I'm not encouraging you to scour the dusty bottom shelves of your gas station's wine selection (if you happen to live in a locale that allows such lascivious sales to take place), but rather I would advise that you go to your grocery store to look around. You don't have to go to the speciality wine  and liquor package store to get a good bottle. Just check out the store where you usually buy your groceries.

I've been exploring inexpensive (my favorites are under $10, but I will go as high as $20 at times) wines for about two years now. Here's a list of my top five favorites in order of increasing price. Each wine I've listed is a Cabernet Sauvignon because that is my favorite. 

1. Trader Joe's Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon - $3
The "two buck chuck," as it is commonly known, is famous for being awesome - especially for its price. I definitely agree. At three dollars a bottle, it is hard to go wrong with this wine. You can only buy it at Trader Joe's though, and they aren't everywhere. I recommend letting it aerate with a decanter or by simply allowing it to rest in your wine glass for awhile, however.

2. Newman's Own Cabernet Sauvignon - $9
I first tried Newman's Own brand spaghetti sauce. I spotted this bottle of wine at a Publix grocery store, and I knew I had to try it out because I trust the brand. I was not disappointed. This is a great bottle of wine, and I think it works well straight out of the bottle. 

3. Leese - Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon - $11
This Leese-Fitch variety is still affordable, but not every-day affordable (at least in my opinion). I can really taste a difference with this wine, which probably helps explain why it is a bit more expensive than the first two options. Like the Newman's Own, I don't decant this wine.

4. Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $17
The Vintner's Reserve by K.J. is a great wine. Most people who drink wine (that I have met) know this company, and it is widely thought of as being a very solid brand.

5. Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon - $19
I first tried this wine sort of on accident. I read an article that explains why you should always try a bottle of wine if you like the label (basically because if you like the design of the bottle/label, then you may have like-minded thinking to that of the creators, so you may have the same taste...etc.) so I decided to go to the package store and give it a try. I picked out this bottle because, well, the label is just cool. And I was not disappointed by the wine inside! The company actually named the wine Educated Guess because the process of picking out a wine involves educating guessing, as does the process of creating the wine. (I love it!) This is definitely the priciest of the bunch, but it is worth the extra cost. 

I hope this brief guide will help you out if you're out looking for an inexpensive wine to bring as a housewarming gift or to a party or just for your own enjoyment! Don't be afraid to try any wine you see in a store. As long as you're staying within the bounds of your own personal budget, you can't go wrong. Every bottle is a learning experience and will bring you closer to understanding what kind of wine works well for you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Little Details: The Living Room Series

This post continues my Little Details series. Since I've been carefully cleaning and organizing the condo, I've been putting effort into the little details that make it special!

A gold chain to keep the bad guys out alongside a pulley system that (used to) open a window above the door. 

Two little birds and a pomegranate-scented candle on a ledge.

A beautiful painting of the Tetons set upon a golden seat. 

Gray couch with a background of window dressings. 

Thrift store lamp on a pink table.

A comfy spot to read blog articles. (Pillow sewn by me! Ahem. Show off.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keeping the Bugs Out

I don't know if you're going to forgive me for this:

EEEEEK! Well, just be quiet because I'm the one who had to search through like one-hundred bug pictures to find this one for you!

Honestly I have no idea what kind of bug that is up there. But I was getting these huge bugs in my house that can only be described as gigantic gray stink bugs. With backs that look like humongous shields. So I hereby name them Giant Shield Bugs. Giant as in larger than my thumbprint. And I was pretty sure they were crawling in from underneath my dining room windows where the old windows hadn't been replaced yet.

So my courageous and awesome boyfriend caulked the entire apartment. I am not even kidding. He did this to every crack between the old-fashioned picture molding and the ceiling, the baseboard molding and the floor, and around the windows. Basically around every single strip of molding. He did all of this and it wasn't even because I was screaming about bugs (I honestly wasn't). Although I have screamed about bugs in the past. But I reserve the screaming for cockroaches.

Sadly (very, very sadly) I did not snap a picture of him doing all of this work. But this is the sort of gap he had to contend with (this is the dining room):


Some of the cracks, underneath the windows in particular, were so wide that he had to use great stuff first and caulk second. 

I just want to say that I have not seen a prehistoric dinosaur, I mean Giant Shield Bug since. Hooray!

(Now please look away while I furiously knock on wood.)