House Projects Update + Snapchat

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I gave myself a June 30 deadline to complete the major house projects and here we are – almost at the end of June! (How did that happen so fast?) Anyway, I’ll be traveling next week so I’m checking in with you a week early and I’m happy to say I got almost everything done. As I already reported, all of the lighting is installed, the laundry room got a little fancy and the cabinets in the butler’s pantry got painted.

In addition….. the wallpaper also went up in the butler’s pantry…..

cole and son vivienne's lace

The living room finally got that new sofa…..

The guest room got a fun wallpaper (called C’est Magnifique)…..

And the dining room got a new look…..

dining room

I donated the old dining furniture and brought in the table, chairs and lighting from the eat-in space in the kitchen. I also swapped out the art wall for this painting by Atlanta artist Nancy Westfall which I bought as a Christmas present to myself!

Obviously this means the eat-in space looks different too and I love, love, love it. Here’s a very tiny peek of that…..

eat-in space

I hope I can reveal all the full spaces here and everywhere else sometime soon!

The three things I didn’t get to are wallpapering the water closet in the master bath (can’t decide on paper), re-wallpapering my dressing room (glitch with the paper) and painting guest room #1 (can’t decide on color). I plan on getting these knocked out during the summer. I swear!

Then for the rest of 2015, I’m giving myself just one giant task: to clear out and organize the storage room and my office/studio. Both are overflowing and in need of some serious attention. I feel like I’ve got some good momentum going so I’m pretty confident I can do it!

Das Stue Hotel
Das Stue Hotel

So in other news, my first trip for the summer will be to Berlin next week. I haven’t been there since before the wall came down(!) and I’ve been wanting to check out its design scene for a while. There’s also been a lot of buzz around its food lately (really!) and I’ve booked some interesting sounding places to check out. Also, we’ll be staying at Das Stue Hotel which I blogged about back when I didn’t even have plans to go to Berlin but just really loved the design. So you can count on plenty of hotel pics on Instagram (@fromtherightbank)!

If you’d like to follow along on this trip, I’ll also be on Snapchat. Now let’s talk about Snapchat and Instagram for a minute.

On Instagram, I try to post only really pretty or interesting photos because that’s what I personally enjoy seeing. And yes, I edit the heck out of most of my photos to get them to look how I want. So hopefully, what you’re getting with my Instagram feed is a beautiful gallery of photos as opposed to just a bunch of snapshots. There’s nothing wrong with that of course but it’s just not how I like to use it.

Now enter Snapchat! I only got on it recently and I’m having so much fun posting snaps and videos of what’s going on behind the scenes at FTRB and random things I’m up to, all on the fly. So if you want to see it all – the unplugged, raw, unfiltered, etc. – join me there! I’m @fromtherightbnk – no ‘a’ in ‘bnk’.

Well, I think that’s enough from me for today. See you back here in a couple of weeks!

(Photos: FROM THE RIGHT BANK)

All The Lighting! (Done!)

Ladies and gentlemen, the longest quest in decorating history has finally come to an end. The last of the lighting on the first floor of the house is now sorted! Yes!!!

First, let’s talk about the biggest and most exciting piece…..

zanadoo chandelier

The Arteriors Zanadoo (large) chandelier has been installed in the family room! I have loved this style of light for almost 10 years now. So what took so long?  What held me up was that I was trying to figure out the lighting in the adjacent spaces (the kitchen and the eat-in space) at the same time and needed everything to work together. There were also the library sconces over the mantel to consider. Every time I found something for one area, it didn’t work with one of the other ones, etc. It was like a puzzle – like one of those puzzles for toddlers with only 4 giant pieces(!)

The first big step in solving my dilemma was to let go of the library sconces. I envisioned a certain look for this space and I had to accept the fact that they just weren’t going to work with any of the fixtures I wanted. I still really love them and as I told you earlier, they are going in the guest bath so they are not going to waste. In their place, the Currey Calhoun sconces got installed…..

Currey Calhoun sconces

They work really well with everything and gave me the freedom I needed while looking for the other pieces.

So to refresh your memory, I made a decision on the kitchen lights last year…..

circa goodman sconces

Goodman Pendants from Circa. I could not love these more.

So then I had to figure out what to do in the eat-in space and I didn’t want to limit my options by going ahead with the family room light first. Know what I mean?

Then, one fine day, I spotted this at a local vintage store…..

thorpe

A vintage Dorothy Thorpe lucite and brass chandelier! That’s when it all fell into place.

I’ve only recently started to calm down over my find. Here it is now over the kitchen table…..

Dorothy Thorpe chandelier

After staring at it (and staring at it), I realized how much it reminded me of this chandelier in the House Hotel in Istanbul that I blogged about 4 years ago…..

zenovitch

The Dorothy Thorpe is like its shorter, chunky sister. 😉 I remember specifically commenting on the lighting in that post and wondering who made it. I did some digging and found out that it was custom made for the hotel by a design firm in Istanbul called Autoban. It’s still one of my favorite fixtures.

[In sort of related news, we’re thinking of going to Istanbul this year and I think we may stay at the House Hotel so I’ll get to see the lights in person!]

So with the pendants over the kitchen island and this fixture in the eat-in space, I knew the Zanadoo would work in the family room so I was able to finally pull the trigger…..

Zanadoo chandelier

So that, my friends, was the convoluted thought process I went through to get to this point and I could not be happier with the outcome! I’m also just ecstatic that this lighting saga is finally over. I’m at the point now where I really want to just sit back and enjoy my house for a while without changing anything. You know, like a normal person….. at least for a little while!

(All photos by FROM THE RIGHT BANK except 3.1st Dibs 4.Autoban)

Wallpapering the Butler’s Pantry

I want to let you in on a little secret. Earlier this year, I gave myself a deadline of June 30 (first half of 2015) to finish up the major decorating projects in this house. By major, I mean things like painting, wallpapering, key pieces of furniture, lighting, etc. I kept this to myself because I wasn’t entirely confident I could pull it off and then I’d have a lot of splainin’ to do! But I actually think it might happen(!) so let me start filling you in on what’s been going on, starting with the butler’s pantry.

The color of the butler's pantry was inspired in part by the Veuve Clicquot orange.
The color of the butler’s pantry was inspired in part by the Veuve Clicquot orange.

I have had the hardest time deciding on what to do with the walls in there! As you know the cabinets are now painted orange. For a minute I thought I’d paint the walls as well but I think I knew all along that wallpaper would be better. So I looked at hundreds of patterns and just about every color combination imaginable with orange. But nothing felt right when I took into account how it ties in with the kitchen and dining room which it connects. (The dining room also got a makeover recently which I will tell you about soon.) What I finally concluded was that I need to go either gold and white or orange and white.

I’m still mulling over the gold and white options but here are the three orange and white ones I like best. My criteria were that it had to be orange on white (not white on orange), a true orange (not coral) and with no other colors. This may sound simple enough but other than some trellis patterns there aren’t many that fit the bill.

First up is People from Harlequin…..

Harlequin-MomV2-04

I find this one interesting because it looks abstract from afar but up close you see that they’re silhouettes of people. It’s kind of fun.

harlequin

Then there’s good old Tanzania from Thibaut…..

T16007

I’ve always loved this pattern (you know I love leopard anything) but I feel like I’ve seen it too much over the past couple of years so that has kept me from jumping all over it. But on the other hand, I haven’t seen it used in the orange colorway which is why I haven’t nixed the idea altogether either.

Finally, the one I’m leaning toward the most is Vivienne’s Lace from Cole and Son…..

coleandson

It’s whimsical and fun and feels really fresh to me even though it came out quite a few years ago. It also happens to be designed by Vivienne Westwood who is one of my fashion icons so that kind of feels like a sign. The only example I could find in orange was this…..

houzz

But here’s a better look at it (though it’s in gray)…..

pin:270708627573766566:

So if I go with orange and white, I’m pretty sure this will be the one but let me know if you have any other suggestions!

Once the butler’s pantry is done, the first floor of the house will be finished!!! Now that will be an occasion to pop some Veuve Clicquot if ever there was one! (If you’re wondering about the lighting situation on the first floor, I’ve finalized it all and could not be happier about it! I’ll share that with you in my next post.)

(Photos: 1.Veuve Clicquot 2-5.As linked 6.Houzz 7.Pinterest)

Sneak Peek of Project Laundry Room

 

IMG_9836

I sat down to write a post for this week and realized I never updated you on Project Laundry Room! Because I post snapshots of the house on Instagram (@FromTheRightBank) I sometimes think I blogged them when I haven’t. #scatterbrained

While I still can’t fully reveal all the house projects, I can give you a few peeks so let’s go…..

To recap, the Brazilliance wallpaper was ordered and delivered. But before it could get installed, I had to take care of the other thing I wanted in the room: a striped ceiling. If I had planned better, I could have had my painter do this when he was here painting the kitchen but since I hadn’t, I had to resort to doing it myself.

Yeah.

Me.

Painting a ceiling in any shape or form is no joke. The taping was what was most time consuming…..

I kept thinking of this poem I once read by Michelangelo about painting the Sistine Chapel…..

…..My brush, above me all the time, dribbles paint
so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless…..

I’m obviously not comparing a few stripes to the Sistine Chapel(!) but still.

[Speaking of the Sistine Chapel, we had to postpone our trip to Italy because of some unforeseen happenings here at home.  And after all the excitement in my last post, too. Oh well, I can’t really complain since I was just there six months ago(!)]

Anyway, I did pick up this handy tip on Pinterest or somewhere which proved to be helpful for catching paint drips…..

Just cut a slit in a plastic lid and push your brush through it. While you’re painting, the lid will catch any paint that drips down. So simple and clever, right?

While I was at the hardware store, I just did a quick scan for the most kelly green paint I could find and landed on Pine Grove by Behr. After two coats (and horrible neck pain), voilà…..

The edges could be cleaner but overall, it’s not bad.

So with that out of the way, the wallpaper got installed…..

laundryroom

and I celebrated accordingly.

And to top it all off, I installed that vintage chandelier…..

laundry room by FTRB

(The artichoke-like chandelier didn’t give off enough light so I went with this one instead.)

I plan on hanging some art in there as well but I always have such a hard time putting nails through wallpaper! I will get over it though and just do it.

So there you have it. I can’t wait for the day when I can finally show you entire rooms instead of just these snippets. It’s driving me crazy, I tell you!

(Photos: FROM THE RIGHT BANK)

Reading and Watching List For Italy (+ A Wee Little Bit Of Travel Advice)

roman holiday

Before traveling to another country, I always like to learn about the history of whatever location(s) I’ll be visiting, get some insights into the culture and brush up on current events. Not like I’m getting a Ph.D. or anything but just enough to help me appreciate the culture more. And for me, the most enjoyable way to do this is through books and films (as well as browsing local websites and magazines). I’ve always done this out of sheer interest but I’ve come to see that this kind of preparation really enhances the travel experience. It also heightens the anticipation too.

ladolcevita

This is true whether it’s a place I’m visiting for the first time or somewhere I’m returning. For example, I’m currently planning a trip to Italy in May. Having been there a number of times, it’s a country I know fairly well but I’m still preparing for it in the same way. It’s the perfect case to show you what I mean. And in the process, I get to share some of my favorite books and movies for you to enjoy even if you’re not going to Italy anytime soon.

enchantedapril

We’ll be going to Rome first then to Venice for the Biennale. On a side note, I’ve wanted to go to the Biennale ever since I first heard about it (I think it was in high school?) so to say I’m excited is a huge understatement.

So first, here are some Italian movies that I’m watching for the first time…..

Best of Youth (2003)
Bread and Tulips (2000)
The Golden Door (2006)
Open City (1945)
1900 (1977)

And here are some of my all-time favorite Italian films (or films set in Italy) that I could watch over and over…..

Cinema Paradiso (1990)
Ciao, Professore! (1994)
Il Postino (1995)
Bicycle Thieves (1949)
Roman Holiday (1953)
La Dolce Vita (1961)
A Room with a View (1986)
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Enchanted April (1991)

They cover many different genres and time periods. I like a mix.

The same goes for books. These are what I’ve picked up to read before and during the trip…..

 

And here are a few I read on prior trips and really enjoyed…..

(For book details, click on each image.)

I want to mention one last book. The other really important piece in my trip preparation has to do with food – what and where to eat. Good food is a huge passion of ours so it’s a big part of our travels. More often than not, our entire schedule will be built around restaurant reservations; in some cases, it’s even the whole impetus for a trip. If you’re not food-obsessed, that may sound insane but you foodies know what I’m talking about!

eating rome-pbkmech.indd

To plan our meals, I normally compile information from multiple sources (guidebooks, magazines, forums, friends, etc.) but for the Rome part of our trip, I’m relying solely on the just released Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli. The best advice always come from local foodies and I can’t think of anyone better to tell me where to eat than Elizabeth Minchilli who has written six books about and lived in Italy for nearly 30 years. Eating Rome is a fun read, very informative and it’s also going to save me hours (maybe days!) of research. I trust her implicitly and can’t wait to try her favorite restaurants, pizzerias, caffès and gelaterias that she shares in the book as well as some of her recipes.

Venice view
Taken on my trip to Venice last year.

Immersing myself in the culture of another country through books and films really enriches my travel experience so that’s my simple Travel Advice FROM THE RIGHT BANK for today. I also suggest compiling your own lists, focusing on your interests. There are thousands of books and movies about/set in Italy and I chose these based on subjects that interest me (art, history, food, slice of life…..) Questo è tutto. Ciao for now!