check it out: Tenom, COS & Sasa Designs by the Deaf

Tenom Furniture/Konstantin Achkov

Tenom is a line of "puzzle furniture" designed by Konstantin Achkov, created without glue, nails or screws, just router cut plywood, guided by a computer. The idea tis o create unique, ecologically friendly, easily transportable furniture that reduces waste while looking amazing. See more about this Bulgarian bases line on their website


COS online store

If you haven't seen it yet, COS has opened online shopping for the US. A division of H & M, COS offers highly stylish, modern clothing for women, men & children at a reasonable price point. 


Sasa Designs by the Deaf

Sasa Designs by the Deaf  was establishes in 2011 to provides employment and fair wages to Deaf artisans in Kenya. You will find a really lovely selection of handmade jewelry. 


hacking it: our new sink

We literally spent months looking for a new sink for the first floor half bath. After much back and forth between a pedestal (which we prefer) or going with a vanity to add at least a touch more storage, emphasizing storage space or adding floor space, we settled on the LILLÅNGEN sink from IKEA. It was actually an early choice based on availability and price, but we we not pleased with the cabinet, so we wrote it off until I came up with an easy fix. We quite liked all of the LILLÅNGENs, but really liked that the narrowest model would do 3 very important things: add the most floor space, make it very easy for all 4 children to reach the faucet on their own and it covered up the most wall space (as in all of the mismatched tiles left behind when the original sink was replaced). I like the shape of the squarer and deeper models, but, really, the one we chose is the only one that hit all 3 marks. 


The sink is a narrow LILLÅNGEN sink and cabinet that nicely covers all of the mismatched tile while allowing for a big increase in open floor space. The sink make the bathroom seem twice as big plus everyone can reach the faucet on their own, which I love. We want to keep everything as easy as possible for the little ones, so we ended up with the ENSEN faucet because it's short and easy to reach without a step stool. I planned to add black hardware and I really wanted a black faucet, but since the IKEA black faucet pivots and the sink is very narrow, I knew we'd just have floods every 10 minutes and decided to wait on the pretty tall black faucet. The price on the ENSEN is low enough that replacing it later will not be a big deal. 

bathroom still in progress

bathroom still in progress

Now for the big, yet simple fix. We replaced the 2 doors that came with the cabinet with a single BESTÅ TOFTA door in high gloss white.  I really wasn't pleased with the LILLÅNGEN cabinet's appearance- the 2 doors and the material- were not what I wanted and working out building our own cabinet was not something that would happen fast enough. After looking at many door replacement options and while working on looking for a pre-made replacement cabinet, I figured out that the opening dimensions of the LILLÅNGEN cabinet & the one of the BESTA cabinets are the same. As a result there is a BESTA door size that matches up quite nicely and I much prefer the look of the single door. The BESTA door comes with the hinges and we just attached them in the place of the LILLÅNGEN hinges. Works just fine and the BESTA hinges are a bit more substantial which is nice. The high gloss on the door also cleans up quickly and is holding up well despite the constant water sloshing over the sides of the sink now that it's part sink/ part boat basin. No hardware yet, but i'm on to that next. 

LILLÅNGEN sink with BESTA TOFTA door

LILLÅNGEN sink with BESTA TOFTA door

our house: powder room blues {new sink}

Our new sink

Our new sink

We may just have one of the ugliest, little bathrooms you ever did see. It's been very difficult to come up with a valid, possible, plan of attack. We've met with 3 contractors and our plumber, looked at what we can do ourselves and still aren't sure where we will end up. But, we are currently attacking it bit by bit from the edges trying to sneak up on the issue at hand and render it less potent. The biggest issue is the tile. I prefer to save anything original that can be saved. We're planning to keep the original tile in the kitchen, but the bathroom is proving hard to warm up to. The wall tile is hideous. Photographs really don't do it justice. It's an awful color with awful trim, cracked in places, with mismatched tiles in others. Being set on a solid, massively thick bed of mortar and chicken wire within a space where there isn't room to swing even a tiny sledgehammer, this stuff is not easily removed, not easily covered up and not easily ignored. The floor rivals it in its insidiousness of color, crack and bother, but it is far easier to obliterate. I like the pattern, but the color and condition aren't really workable.  We can easily cover the floor with new tile, but need to finalize wall plans first.  Do we do whatever it takes to make the wall tile go away or do we do everything else around it and hope it's all bearable in the end? 

the old decaying drain

the old decaying drain

We were planning on not touching anything until we made the decision, but the toilet and sink both just couldn't hold out. The original toilet had been "fixed" before we moved in and it was constantly running through massive amounts of water and self-flushing repeatedly, while the sink (an inexpensive replacement pedestal not original to the house) was awkward to use, way too big for the room and rather disgusting. No amount of cleaning could spruce it up and the decaying drain was growing worse every day. Since we've just been through a removal and install for both fixtures, we're putting off dealing with the tile for now rather than go through it all again right now. For the moment, we are painting, hiding and ignoring the bad bits until we can work out a final solution. 

We have a new Gerber Avalanche toilet and a narrow, sideways oriented sink from IKEA. We had actually chosen a similar sink with a really lovely stainless cabinet, but realized quickly that stainless cabinet in the bathroom with 4 children was not the best idea. After looking at many, many other options, we decided to go with the LILLANGEN slightly modified. More on the sink coming up tomorrow. We've also added a RÅSKOG Wall Cabinet in dark gray, to cover the rows of holes in the tile from a set of plastic shelves that we've removed. For the moment the cabinet is acting as a mini-museum for a portion of the ceramics projects everyone brought home this year. 

Where we started

Where we started

Where we are now: Dark Pewter on the left, Gravel Gray on the right with a strip of Blue Note in the middle

Where we are now: Dark Pewter on the left, Gravel Gray on the right with a strip of Blue Note in the middle

For the final step in our temporary plan, we're painting the walls Benjamin Moore Dark Pewter (color to the left in the image above right), which did the most to make the tile feel more pink than bandaid/fleshy yuckus. We looked at about 40 shades of gray to find one that would pull out the pink in the tile without looking too blue, green or black. In this case, pink would be a blessing. It also pulls the brown trim to a darker shade of brown, closer to black at the bottom, which helps too. The rusty, brown radiator cover will be painted as well. If we pull the wall tile, we will probably re-plaster the lower half of the wall and will rethink the color then, but for now, we're hoping it will make a big difference. Eventually, the floor will either be a white or black penny round, a small running block pattern in white or something marble to match the marble threshold & window sill. More to come.

our house: update

I have realized that I I wait until I have time to properly clean, style and photograph ANYTHING in this house, I'll likely not show another shot until Mademoiselle L hits Kindergarten in the fall of 2015. So, the new plan is to just take it as it comes, mess and all and try to keep up with what we've been doing. I'm going to make it easier on myself and just shoot random shots on Instagram that I can pull together when I need to and shoot some specific shots when I need them, but try to keep my obsessive compulsive self from fretting over the degree of imperfection. If I wait for perfection, I'll be waiting forever. We have done something to every room at this point, but nothing is really done yet. We've done quite a bit of the kitchen & basement, started on 1 bathroom, torn out lots of stuff and not put it all back together yet and started working on paint choices.

Here's a bit of where we are right now. We are still only mildly painted- one bedroom, about half of the basement. We've had to re-waterproof much of the basement after a mini flood which has been a huge time suck (and sucked much). We've started some planting outside and lots inside. We've cleared out 2 old kitchens, made our scary basement stairs look almost lovely, but only managed to get through about half of the kitchen re-do and the main stairs are stripped of stinky carpet  but still patchy and full of holes.  We still have stained, insane asylum walls in our bedroom, every photo print and painting that we've hung so far are still just randomly placed on the errant nails that over every wall in the house. We still have bird tile in 1 bathroom and gold sparkle tile in another, but I no longer have to cringe every time anyones has to wash their hands over the decaying, rusted out drain in the first floor bathroom sink. We've laid 3 floors, installed lots of cabinets, shelving and all new appliances, but we have a long way to go. 

And I will try to keep it all on Instagram:

Instagram

things we love {for kids}: what's new at land of nod

Campaign Desk in Cobalt (also available in gorgeous emerald green)

Campaign Desk in Cobalt (also available in gorgeous emerald green)

I love Land of Nod. It's a great source for easily accessible, well priced, fabulous, creative goods for children- be it a super cool crib, desk, storage basket or a toy. They've just added 850 new items, so there's even more wonderful to go around. Here are just a very few of my favorites, most of which are brand new. I'd be thrilled to have any of these in my house and would love most of them for myself (the campaign desk & dresser are probably at the top of my list). 

going analog {great toys for kids}

going analog {great toys for kids}

going analog {great toys for kids}

My children are highly digitalized. If it doesn't run in a code based stratosphere, they are not really interested. On occasion we can manage to shift them over to playing with real, honest to goodness toys. It's not easy, but sometimes it does happen. LEGOs are a big hit and so we have a dining room table that is used more as LEGO central than for food. So far, our biggest obstacle to having a good selection of solid, touchable, useable toys & games has been "the little sister" who feels it her life duty to wreck, destroy, hide or mutilate any toy, game or puzzle to the point that we just can't come up with any way to use it. It happens again & again. Last summer, when we knew we'd have possibly a week or two with no TV or internet, we bought a big supply of games and toys that were ready to play once our router went dark and after the initial withdrawal wails started to die down. They lasted about 3 days I think. We didn't even get to play all of the games before she lost the pieces, pulled apart the spinners, hid the cards in her purse, ripped the boards in half. Puzzles last about 15 minutes. Even most of the furniture we bought for her doll house in somehow AWOL. But now, there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. She's getting a bit older and I'm getting better at working out good hiding places. If you're lucky enough to have normal children, you of course can start right from the start with real toys and have a successful life. Here are 4 of my favorite of places to look for real, hardcore toys. 

norman and jules

Norman & Jules is just a few blocks from my old apartment in Brooklyn and stocks the best toys. For those of us who no longer spend our days in Brooklyn (or never have), we have the website to appease us. If you need beautiful, creative, excessively fun toys, crafts, books or accessories for children, this is the place.  

land of nod

I always love so much at land of nod and the toys are no exception. You can always find something fun & unique at land of nod, as well as a whole slew of classics. 


mookla

Mookla's another online retailer that I've relied on for a great selection of well made toys. They focus on American and European made eco friendly toys, which is plus, and I can always find something fabulous for any age. 

hearthsong

This is a great option for a vastly wide range of fun & educational toys for all ages. I especially love their outdoor toys.