staffordshire vaseWe’re taking a trip to Paris in a few weeks, so I’ve been preoccupied with planning that trip, rather than doing a lot of things around the house. The biggest project I’ve tackled was replacing all of the plastic blinds in the living room with matchstick shades. I painted all of the window trim before we hung the new shades, so everything looks bright and clean. The new shades make a huge difference, but I can’t wait for valances I ordered from Etsy to come–I think that extra layer will look fantastic.

We did meet up with some contractors to talk about the kitchen and bathroom, but we’re still waiting on labor quotes. Since we don’t want to move plumbing in our kitchen, it’s a much smaller job and one we can arguably do ourselves, especially with the help of my dad. But our bathroom is a sorry sight and, more importantly, would function a lot better with a different layout. I might be returning to school for a grad program next year, so we’re trying to think in terms of what level of chaos we can stand before and after that happens. Redoing our only bath means renting another apartment for a week or more; redoing our kitchen means living on delivery food. Thus we may be switching the order of these projects!

Oh and it’s totally springtime! Which no doubt means it’ll be 90 by the end of the month. New York!

notes for the spring

spring 2015I know spring officially happened a month ago, but for those of us stuck in temperate climates, the season has been elusive. But the leaves on the trees outside my window are finally budding, and there have even been days without jackets. It’s here, for real. Sort of!

April is also national poetry month. I’ve been reading more fiction than poetry for the past few years, but I have a long Amazon list of collections I need to read or revisit. We’re traveling next month, which seems as good a time as ever to get back into poems. Here’s my shortlist:

What are you reading this month?

favorite floral fabrics

I noticed something very upsetting about my apartment today: it is severely lacking in the floral print department. I do have an excuse: I have three yards of an outrageous chinoiserie floral sitting in the corner of my guest room waiting for a purpose, so I don’t want to go out and pick anything else till I use that. That’s rational and prudent. But still, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to torture myself with the knowledge of all the other gorgeous prints out there.

And the world is on to me it seems. While I was researching this post, I came across an Etsy shop, Englishfabric, that sold vintage fabrics and mentally noted it. A few hours later, I got an email from the shop owner, offering to sell me some vintage fabric I posted about a long, long time ago. My “brand” appears to be the floral lady and I am completely fine with that.

So these are my favorites as of late. I limited the selection to larger scale florals and non-vine prints. Floral vines, while lovely, have less versatility because of their strong vertical orientation (they’re great for curtains, but tricky on pillows or furniture), but allover florals or bouquets can work in a variety of applications. #FloralScience

manor rose schumacherpink and brown floral duraleespring bling waverlyorangerie rose designers guildchinese flowers brunschwiggarden glories lee jofa

Resources: Manor Rose by Schumacher / Pink and Brown by Duralee at Decorators Best / Spring Bling by Waverly at / Orangerie Rose by Designers Guild / Chinese Flowers by Brunschwig and Fils / Garden Glories by Lee Jofa at Inside Fabric

kitchen color palette

forsyte saga interiorI was watching The Forsyte Saga on Netflix (the English and their smack talk!) when I was struck by this room. It’s very formal and fancy, but the combination of a steely blue and goldenrod yellow felt so modern. It’s also happily relevant, because one of the colors of linoleum I’m considering for the kitchen floor is yellow. And god, am I starting to feel pangs of longing toward damask again?

So then I got to scheming, and this whole business happened:kitchen color palettes

Really and truly I like them all.

Some colors are safer for resale though. With the Marmoleum floor colors, for instance, most people seem to have strong feelings about yellow. And while blue (I think?) is inoffensive, certainly most buyers would pout at a vivid blue. Yes, I could get color on the floor with a rug, but I don’t have my own washing machine–if I had a kitchen rug, it’d be a filthy kitchen rug. So maybe vintage blue or rosemary are safest, if I care about future buyers.

All of the paint colors are from Farrow & Ball. I’m partial to blue and green color palettes, but I’m telling you, the blue-gray and chartreuse-y gold combo is growing on me. Which now that I think about it is just another permutation of blue and green. I’m either in a rut or very, very consistent!

For countertops, all of the options are various styles of quartz. Calacatta Nuvo and London Gray are from Caesarstone, who offer both honed and polished quartz. Torquay comes from Cambria, and Silestone makes Helix. (Here’s Helix in action at last year’s Kips Bay Show House). I feel a slight qualm about using a material that’s pretending to be something else, but these patterns are pretty subtle and convincing. Plus quartz is just so dang durable.

Because it’s recommended Ikea cabinets sit on your finished floor, picking a Marmoleum color can’t really be a last-minute decision. I like the yellow the most because it’s unexpected and cheerful, but vintage blue would work perfectly well too. To further divide things, I think my husband is partial to petrol or rosemary. At this point I’d probably consult some fabrics for ideas, but I’m keeping the windows simple with the existing matchstick blinds, which is really the only spot to introduce fabric. And most of my dishes are white, with a smattering of blue spatterware, so that doesn’t eliminate anything either.

So what do you think? Keep the floor muted and limit color to accessories, for the sake of resale? Or just do what I want because everything else –the cabinets, backsplash, and counters– will be some shade of white?