Monthly Archives: September 2009

Enter at your own risk

Q:My entry isn’t a formal entry… it’s at the right side of my long living room.  I know it will never be a proper entry area, but I’ve tried to create a more defined space by putting down an area rug and positioning the living room furniture.  What the space is lacking is a surface –  a place to throw keys and mail, but we’re working with only a sliver of space to do so. I was thinking a shelf with funky brackets, but I really would like a piece of furniture.


A: Looking at the dimensions, you’ve got an almost three foot wide space to do something in – between the doorway to the hall and the open front door.  Hmmmm.  dwg1 001 I would suggest something on the taller side.   Did you know that bathroom furniture is generally rather narrow? Well, it is.  That could be a pretty interesting piece to use. No, not a vanity… a storage piece.  Now the problem is to have it not look like it belongs in the bathroom…



Ballard Designs Vetrina Cabinet

pb modular

Pottery Barn Modular Bath Storage









There are also pieces of furniture other than bedside tables that will fit in that narrow spot, but some won’t be as tall and others may be too tall…

raie chest

Pier 1 Raie Chest 24"w x 31"h


Powell Cabinet 20.5"w x 44"h


White Horse Furniture 14"w x 30"h

blossom chest
Pulaski Blossom Chest 26″w x 30″h



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Hey, Buster! …you left something

This is my entry table… it isn’t really at the entry of the house, it’s up a few steps in a ‘traffic area’ between my dining room to the left and kitchen to the right. Weird, I know.  Its IMG_1386one of the first things you see when you enter the house and I’m sick of it looking so lame ass.  However, there is one big reason I haven’t addressed it yet:  

My Husband.  

Well, he’s definitely an accessory to the problem.  When we moved in, there was a big old AC unit in that wall.  Huge. My husband got it out, patched up the hole, painted and called it a day.

HELLO!? What the hell is that thing still doing there?!!  Oh yes, he left the power outlet up there in no man’s land.  Precisely 67″ above the floor and 29-1/2″ over from the wall at the right. Squint… you can see it.  I’ve been racking my brains to come up with a solution but since we are dealing with a man who will never get back to this part of the house I decided that I’m just going to have to cover it up. 

Ideally, I would have loved to hang a mirror there. I haven’t found anything big enough …or should I say affordable enough in the size I need.  Then, I thought about putting framed photos up in a collection, but everbody seems to do that and I didn’t want the same old thing.     

Then I came up with an idea I didn’t think would materialize into anything, because the last time I really saw one up close was in 8th grade wood shop: The Candle Sconce.  I did a quick search on the web and I was truly suprised to find a few that are right up my alley.  I thought this would be a clever idea because of how high the sconce could be placed on the wall.  I could use two of them symmetrically over the table and it could hang over the outlet on the right side.  A  real concern is mounting the sconce on the wall without disturbing the electrical box or conduit inside.  Hmmmm, I think I’ll let my husband hang them…  

(I tease because I love)

dwg2 001



Some of the sconces I came across on my investigation.  If you have a solution to my entry table problem – please let me know!!  I’d love to hear it!


Pottery Barn – Nina Mirror & Votive Holder
Ballard Designs – Antiqued Mirror Candle Sconce
Graham & Green – Mosaic Mirrored Candle Wall Sconce



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Death by mauve

Q: We are ready to redo our hall bathroom- it’s the one bathroom we pink bath 4haven’t gotten to since we moved in, but we are now ready to say goodbye to mauve.  Everything is going (yes, the mauve toilet, tub and sink are going!) and we’re thinking about doing it in another color, but we’re not sure what yet.  As you can see by the photos, its a full size bathroom and is one of the main bathrooms used the family -but also by guests since its closest to the area we entertain in.  We don’t have a very big budget and were thinking about doing as much as we can ourselves.  Can you offer some ideas that would help keep our budget down but not make it look like…we had to keep our budget down?! Thanks!

A: OMG. That’s a color.

So, you have champagne dreams but a Budweiser budget, huh? Who doesn’t -not to worry!

There are a few things I see right away in your photo that could help.  First of all, it looks as though there’s a tile wainscot around the room along with the tub surround.  There is maybe one reason to have tile behind the toilet…and if your kids are boys you’ll know what I mean. Kidding aside, you may want to rethink tiling only the tub surround.  I’m guessing there will be about +/- 70sqft of wall tile there (hard to say for sure… can’t see if tile goes to ceiling, let’s say it does).  If I do some more eyeballing, it looks like you have a 42”high wainscot around the rest of the space?  Not knowing the exact dimensions of the room I’ll guess it could add up to at least 50-60sqft more of wall tile which you don’t really need.  You could consider using a tile base at the floor to stop the spills.

as1 as2 as3


You mentioned that you don’t know what colors to do in the new bath… PLEASE don’t go with different colored fixtures again!!!  I say this because that mauve is burned into my retinas. No, I say this because plumbing fixtures in colors other than white or off white are generally more expensive.  Looking at the Kohler website, I’ve checked out the ‘Memoirs® Comfort Height® Elongated Toilet with Classic Design’ – the list price for the toilet in white is $907.85 (list price people… you can get it for less!) and the colored ones are between $230 – $430 list higher…  and that’s just for the toilet!  On the American Standard website, the Traditional Champion® 4 EL Right Height™ Toilet  has a list price ranging from $710- $1028.

If it’s color you want – paint is what you need!! One idea is doing the wall tile in a neutral tone and using paint and your linen selections to kick it with color. If you want to change the color scheme, you won’t have to change the tile.

I see you have a shower rod and curtain rather than glass shower doors. That’s another suggestion I would have made in keeping the cost down. Two upsides to having a shower curtain is that it gives you a chance to show off something fun in your color choice  and it’s much easier when you have to give someone a bath.  Don’t worry, cleaning the liner is a snap:  throw it in the washing machine when needed.

Now that you have some ideas on how to stick within your budget, one of the places you should consider spending some money on is the flooring. Think about using a natural stone floor – not the ceramic or porcelain flooring the salesperson says looks like stone, but real limestone or marble, slate… or even river rocks! Yes, it is more expensive than the faux stuff but it’s a great place to make your bathroom look high end. However, if this bathroom is going to be used primarily by your kids but also will need to look great for your guests you may want to consider ceramic mosaics – a less expensive alternative which can definately hold up to kids and has a more funky look than what you remember from the bathroom in your parents house.

wz 1 cm1

(marble & granite dot mosaic)     (ceramic tile mosaic)

Look at websites like and for discounted prices on plumbing fixtures like faucets, toilets and tubs among other things like bathroom accessories – toilet paper holders, towel bars, shower rods…

Have fun!

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Interior design question? Ask it

Do you need a little design help, but not enough to hire a designer?! Maybe I can help!  Post your question and include as much information as you can about it (even photos and measurements) and I’ll try my very best to answer.

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