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January 2015
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March 2015

let's play pretend

last week, i got a super fun/super unexpected/super inexplicable-yet highly flattering email from the community manager for the online store chairish, an "exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture." in the email, she wrote: We understand when choosing a color palette for a room, it can be hard to step away from basic neutrals, and going bold is a big decision. We'd love for you to share your taste for color by creating a styleboard around a vintage rug by taking a room from white to bright!

um, has she seen my house? it's nothing BUT white! however, i do love color, and there are moments when i crave changing a room and taking it 180 degrees from where it currently is. budget and reality constraints keep those cravings in check, but i loved loved LOVED creating a styleboard around a rug that i likely wouldn't have ever considered for my own home. and now that i've done the work? i totally want this room to be real!

after choosing the baluch rug from among all the options, i started with the story: where would this rug be happy? who would buy it? let me introduce you ...

first, the rug i chose reminded me of my first job in minneapolis. i worked for an ad agency in a revitalized building in the warehouse district (before it was the trendy north loop). the job was meh, but i adored walking to the building from the bus stop each morning ... grabbing a coffee at moose & sadie's, walking the three flights to our office, which was all exposed beams and brick walls, large arched windows with steel frames, wide-plank floors that were more than a hundred years old. the space was wide open and raw, and i absolutely loved the atmosphere and desperately wanted to live there.

so my styleboard is just that: a single woman in the city lives in a small loft in an old warehouse. she's a writer for the city magazine, covering the local arts & travel beat, but she aspires to work for a larger publication, traveling the world and writing about the people she meets. her loft's main living space, while small, is open and bright from the large windows and tall ceilings, but her bathroom is cozy and whimsical.

i based my plan on a modified version of a bathroom in a loft in milwaukee.

  Floorplanand here's the styleboard:


so ... visualize with me:

you walk into the bathroom, and straight in front of the door is the beautiful antique louis vuitton trunk (filled with extra tp, cleaning supplies, etc.) that our homeowner found on chairish, and above it are the art pieces and a few other trinkets, which create a small gallery. the floor is the beautiful noir hex tile, and the walls are papered in the fun cities toile ... a reminder to our homeowner of all the places she wants to go and see.

to keep her feet warm while brushing her teeth, she laid down the baluch rug that she also found on chairish.

lucky for her, when the bathroom was added to the loft, the baseboard trim was fresh and white and new, and a lovely modern shower was added. the shower has basic white subway tile surround, but our lady got handy one weekend and added a decorative border of honey onyx tile to create some visual interest.

the pedestal sink, both modern and vintage at the same time - especially with the antiqued brass faucet, is lovely but provides no storage. our girl found this gorgeous green vintage cabinet while browsing chairish, looking for the rug. it is now on the wall behind the sink, so she has easy access to extra towels (white, with a simple black hotel stripe), toiletries, the usual. the tall window lets in decent light, but there is also a great antiqued brass ceiling light and two gorgeous nod-to-industrial sconces on either side of the round mirror. she knew a medicine cabinet made more sense, but come on ... round is so much more decadent!

a big fan of the little touches, our girl was thrilled to find these brass and leather wall hooks while poking around at anthropologie one day. they were the perfect size to hang a towel from, so she bought a few for her bathroom ... a single hook for the hand towel by the sink, a double hook on the back of the door for her bath towels.

 it was a labor of love, and took more than a little of her paycheck each month to complete, but she is so happy every time she steps into her bathroom. and when her friends come over and gush over her amazing vintage finds, she says, "oh, you HAVE to check out ... it's brilliant! i check it out daily to see what else i can find. right now i really need a cocktail table ..."

- end scene -

if you had to start with one of the gorgeous vintage rugs from chairish, what rug would you choose?

floor tile: noir hex 2x2 travertine

shower accent tile: honey onyx medley

wallpaper: anthropologie cities toile

sink: kohler memoirs

faucet: legion antique brass

mirror: gilt minimalist

wall sconces: ironside sconce

ceiling light: traditional urban semi-flush

trunk: louis vuitton steamer trunk

cabinet: vintage

towels: hotel satin stitch

towel hook: equestrian hook

wall art: "me, in stitches"

wall art: "coney island"


wha ... ???

i'm having a very hard time wrapping my brain around this one, but yes: henry turns 15 today.


(technically, not until 6:50 this evening, so i have a few more hours of deniability.)

i'm truly floored each year, when i have another "my kid is how old?!" moment, that they are growing up so much more quickly than i am. but this? this 15 thing? no. i am not sure i can accept it.

i mean, come on:


that was 15 years ago?! granted, i barely remember ... but it wasn't THAT long ago!

little mr serious ... mr frowny face ...


this little buddha? he's 15 now?!



it happened way too fast.

just about one minute ago ...


it was all bob the builder and thomas the train, and he snuggled with me and was the cutest thing i'd ever seen. and he looked way, way up at his daddy.


he loved the water ...


and loved to read maps and instructions and figure things out.


truthfully, neither of those things has changed at all.

and there was a sweet spot, when he was so wonderful and funny, and we thought life couldn't get any better.

and then he became a big brother.


and he was in love with her, and she was in love with him.





but that hasn't changed, either.


he was such a sweet little boy, with so much personality.





but that hasn't really changed, either.



as fun-loving as he is, he definitely has a serious side. the side that wants to just do his thing, focus, achieve a goal.





he's always been ahead of the curve: held his head up the minute he was laid on my chest after he was born; consistently in the 95th-100th percentile for height; early reader, advanced classes. in many ways, he never felt like a baby. he's always been mature for his age, and now we are seeing the man he will become.

he is polite, kind, patient, intelligent, analytical.





he will be a great father if/when the time comes. and he's taken lessons from a great role model.


and the friends. oh my word, the friends. he's picked some great kiddos to surround himself with, since the very beginning.






it makes my heart so happy to see him with his friends, because they are always smiling and laughing with each other. always.




maybe he hasn't changed so much. maybe 15 years really isn't so bad. as long as i don't dwell on the "we've signed up for driver's ed and lifeguarding class, and he has to take the PSAT in the fall, and scholarship? he wants to try to get a swimming scholarship? for college in three years?", i might just make it through his 15th birthday.