Tuesday, July 26, 2016

South Philly Renovation Has Moved!

Good News.  South Philly Renovation (the blog) has moved to a new website! We will continue to live in our house and possibly renovate it for the rest of our lives.  I intend to post more regularly. We'll see how that goes.

Please follow me at www.southphillyrenovation.com

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Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to see you at the new and improved website.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Master Bedroom Update.

So after I went dark in the master bedroom all the furniture that we had just didn't work.  Fast forward a couple years and this is what the bedroom looks like now.  We got a black metal bed, Alchemy in matte black, from CB2 which blends in perfectly with the walls.  I am a huge fan of all furniture from CB2.  The black curtains (from Ikea) also blend into the wall to create one big expansive space with no boundaries.  I am really happy with the way this room turned out.  It is still one of my favorite rooms in the house.

I finally got around to having  a vinyl chair that Scott and Kiran trash-picked upholstered.  The fabric is a wonderful wool felt in a bright pink.

I can't say enough good things about this HUGE Hovet mirror from Ikea.  I have been wanting to get it for a long time and I'm glad that I finally did  it.  I was worried it would be too large for the space but it fits perfectly in this spot.

Scott just installed a row of Ikea's Pax wardrobes on the wall opposite the bed.  This was a nightmare project.  None of the floors or walls are level in this house and it took us forever to get the wardrobes level and looking good.  We ended up having to cut the baseboards because they were too high to accommodate the baseboard niche in the Pax wardrobes.  They are finally up but I'm putting off painting them the same color as the walls.  They would look amazing the same color as the walls but I really don't have the energy to tackle it.  I'm also putting off installing lights over the closet door. I've ordered some rose gold looking handles for the wardrobe from Schoolhouse Electric.  Once I throw those on and paint the radiator I will be done with this room.  Perhaps some time down the road I will revisit painting the wardrobes.  I really wish Ikea would make these in black.  The brown-black color that they come in are just awful.

The windows are filled with hanging plants and succulents.  The light in this room is gorgeous and all my plants thrive in this window.

Aah this shoe shelf...I am still in love with this.  I don't go out as much as I used to so a lot of my high heels just sit on this shelf.  At least I get to admire them and reminisce about the good old days!

I painted these lampshades in Periwinkle fabric dye.  They turned out much better than I anticipated. My next project in this room is to paint the ugly white radiator (black of course).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

More Thoughts on Kitchens.

The one thing about having a blog is you get so see how long you procrastinate on certain projects.  I wrote about our kitchen falling apart here in 2013! Since then we haven't done anything about it. Except for today when I finally painted the space where the huge Microwave used to be in chalkboard paint.  While we really really want to renovate our kitchen we keep putting it off because it will be a huge project.  Scott  wants to open up the kitchen to the back room.  I am fine with our small kitchen and I would prefer to renovate the kitchen and keep it small.  I don't understand the obsession with multitudes of kitchen cabinets.  I really want minimal cabinets, some open shelving, a small counter depth refrigerator and a really great gas stove.  I would also like to incorporate a small eating/sitting area as well with a short shallow table at counter height.

Here are some of my favorite kitchens:

I love the simplicity of the white subway tiles (or is it painted brick?), the Potence style lamp, and open shelving.

Source unknown

Here I love the clean look of the kitchen without any upper cabinets (although this would be a little impractical for us).

Via Jersey Ice Cream Co.

I love how this kitchen even though tiny has everything incorporated so well.

Source unknown

I definitely want black and white cement tiles for our kitchen and and minimal or open shelving for the upper cabinets.

Francois Halard Kitchen (source unknown)

 This tiny kithcen is so cosy, I love the lamp, the open shelving and exposed brick.

Via Blood and Champagne

This kitchen is perfect! I love that it is laid back and looks lived in.

Via Desire to Inspire

Now it is time for me to stop dreaming and commit to doing something with our kitchen.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Obsession: Kilim Rugs

My obsession with kilim rugs began along time ago.  Scott and I were browsing through an outdoor flea market in Monostoraki , in Athens, Greece.  I spotted a bright green hand woven rug with geometric shapes and fell in love.  The seller informed me that it was a kilim rug.  I wanted to fold this beautiful rug into my suitcase and bring it back to Philly.  Unfortunately the rug was too large (and heavy) and needed a good cleaning.  Since we were planning on traveling to Paros the next day and we were travelling light I left this thing of beauty behind.

After this first encounter I would search through many rug stores, flea markets and online sources for something similar but I could never find anything as beautiful or as affordable.  Then one day while I was scouring through vintage rugs on eBay I found a seller in Turkey selling the most beautiful and affordable new and vintage Anatolian kilims.  In my excitement I bought several rugs as they were inexpensive and I could combine the cost of shipping.  I am not generally an impulsive shopper.  I painstakingly measure, re-measure and mull over future purchases before committing.  This time was the exception. Without any forethought I  purchased the rugs.  I patiently waited several weeks for my heavy parcel of rugs to arrive.  The day they arrived the mail person had to carry the parcel into the house because it was that heavy.  Kiran and I madly ripped open the package.  Under the plastic and brown paper wrapping there were four stunningly beautiful kilims perfectly folded.  The colors were breathtaking and  the designs magnificent.  Over the next few years I moved the rugs around the house unsure of where they should go.  Eventually the vintage faded kilim in muted colors went into the back room.

This beauty was an odd shape.  At roughly 4x4 feet I couldn't find a place for it.  Then one day I decided to try it under our new coffee table in the living room and it looked perfect! If you are into rules then the general rule of  rug placement is that the area rug should fit under all your furniture. However, like most rules regarding decoration this rule can be ignored.  Here this smaller rug works because it adds pops of color and pattern without overwhelming the space.

Here's a close up of the rug.

Unlike Persian rugs kilims was generally disfavored as an inferior rug. Thankfully because of the little attention these rugs garnered from the rest of the world the kilim weavers maintained their traditional colors, designs and weaving techniques.  The designs mean different things and each region has its own style of weaving.  My most favorite kilims are the Anatolian kilims from Turkey.

In the last few years kilim have gained in popularity and there are numerous sellers on eBay selling these rugs from Turkey and other parts of the world.  However, with popularity comes an increase in price.  These rugs are now entirely out of my price range.  Part of me wants to just fold them up and look at them from afar.  However, what is the point of beautiful things unless you are going to use them and enjoy them every day? Every morning when I come downstairs I am stilled stunned by this beauty and I feel so lucky have this little kilim in my house.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Bookshelf in the Living Room.

We finally have a bookshelf in the living room!

I have been planning this bookshelf for years. Click here to see pictures of this wall without the bookshelf.   Initially we were planning on building bookshelves on either side of our mantel.  We decided against this mainly because this wall runs at an angle (our house is trapezoid in shape).   After we decided where we wanted the bookshelf I dedicated my time to designing the bookshelf.  I wanted something off the floor, white and mounted to the wall which seemed simple enough.  We had many carpenters come by and give us estimates and a lot of unsolicited advice.  Most of the carpenters had very strong feelings about my plan to paint the wood white.   I had no idea that painting wood could elicit such a strong negative response!  We finally decided to go with the Elfa shelves from the Container Store mainly because they could be wall mounted.  The fact that they were very affordable and came in white was an added bonus.

The shelves are super sturdy and blend into the wall which is exactly what I was looking for.  The entire shelving system is held together by one horizontal strip of mental attached to the wall.  I was afraid that the weight of the books would pull the shelves off the wall.  Scott installed the shelves and assures me that the shelves are anchored properly.  It took us several hours to get the shelves up mainly because I couldn't decide if I wanted the shelves to cover the outlet.  We finally decided to install the shelving over the outlets so that we could have easy access to the outlets and to avoid any fire hazards.  We had the vertical strips specifically cut to our measurements.

I could go on and on abut how much I love these shelves.  They are perfect for the space and are exactly what I wanted.  I have always admired the String shelving systems and the Dieter Rams Vitsoe shelving.  These Elfa shelves however cost considerably less and are equally appealing.

All our books fit on the shelf. The top shelves contain our Science books, Scott's Math books, Legal books, some Psychology books and Social Sciences books that we couldn't get rid of.  The rest of the books are our collection of novels, organized alphabetically by author (which took a really long time to do and Kiran was a huge help in getting this done).  The last two shelves contain my interior decoration collection of magazines (Living etc, Elle Decoration (UK), and Dwell) and books.

The photos are a bit grainy since I have a really hard time taking decent pictures with the light coming in from the windows.  I am so glad that our books are finally off the floor and organized.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hallway on a Sunny Day.

The second floor hallway does not get much natural light.  The only light the hallway gets is from Jai's room, the master bedroom or bathroom if we leave those doors open.  However, at certain times during the day, in Fall and Winter, the hallway is unusually flooded with light streaming in from the third floor hallway window.  This was one of those days:

The light in the house changes with the seasons.  The reason for this sudden luminescence in this dark hallway in Fall and Winter is probably because the sun is lower in the sky for us during these seasons.  This causes the sun rays to come streaming in through the third floor window into the hallway.  More information about the sun and its position during the Winter can be found here.  

We painted the railings recently in Benjamin Moore paint in Onyx  and chose a high gloss finish which is perfect in high traffic areas.  The print is from this shop on etsy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Less is Better...sometimes.

I have been clearing out drawers, closets, toy bins and almost any other place where things seem to collect. A few months ago Scott and I cleared out the basement of old furniture we weren't really sure why we were holding on to. All this editing has turned out to be quite fun. Recently I removed the living room rug. I had forgotten how beautiful the oak parquet looked without a rug!


Soon I will dismantle this gallery wall to make room for a floor to ceiling bookshelf:

We haven't decided whether we will build a wooden bookshelf onto the wall which will start about a foot off the floor (so that it doesn't hide the decorative oak inlay on the floor) or if we will install elfa shelves from the Container Store.   I will keep you posted.