September 22, 2011


by Shelly

As the hubs and I continue to creep out of our 30s and well into middle age, we are constantly shaking our heads at how Hollywood CANNOT for the life of themselves do something new!  I guess the magazines are no exception.  Now I get that the magazine I’m thinking of was probably trying to be artistic and edgy, but I’m just sick of people, movies, music…etc, etc…trying to be something or someone that has already happened.

Case in point….

Is it because Halloween is around the corner and this is her costume?  I know, I know…she has a movie coming out where she plays Marilyn.  I get it.  But I guess this is a deeper discussion. Michelle Williams….as….as MARILYN MONROE!? Fo reals?

Super cute but Marilyn?

Are you feeling me?

While we’re on the subject….

COME ON!  Do we really need another trio of wanna be Angels?

The real deal is so much better!

Ok, that’s all for my daily rant.

I’m blaming it on the Nyquil I took at 11:30pm last night that I think is still in my system.

1 comment

September 22, 2011


by Shelly

Things are slowly getting done around here at the Ugly Duckling house.  There is still a looooooong list of things to buy and projects to conquer, but those will all come in due time.  I don’t want to overwhelm my poor hubby with more weekend of sanding, painting, or tearing out of something around here!  And I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t had the time OR the energy to devote to decorating this place.  But it will all happen….eventually.

But for now we’ve finished this…..

Our built in entertainment center in our family room!  This has provided much needed storage for our many cds (yes we still have those), our video game consoles (we’re all total geeks) and hide away all of my design catalogs for work (my desk is just to the let of this picture).  Now to buy a new sectional with the right proportions for the room, so my two lovely blue damask club chairs aren’t awkwardly placed in the room as seen here.  It’s TIGHT right now!

And we also FINALLY finished the tile, put up lighting, hung the towel bars and had our custom double medicine cabinet installed in our master bath.  I will miss not having a bathtub, but it is what is. And maybe, one day we’ll be able to add onto this room, so I can finally have my beautiful free standing soaking tub. A girl can dream!

This was such a strange bathroom before.  And to be honest, it’s still a bit of an awkward little layout. But since we couldn’t knock down and build out, I had to make due with what the space allowed me to do.

Do you remember the before?

Pretty huh? God, was it DISGUSTING!

There was no way in HELL I was going to use that shower. There were rusty razor blades on the floor and mildew everywhere. Just gross.

The master bathroom remodel was NOT on the original budget for the house renovation!  When we went WAY over the budget the hubby gave me, I knew my chances for sneaking in this makeover was going to be a tough one.  But we did demo this room along with the rest of the house anyway.  We had the dumpster and we were going to fill it!  After just a week or so living in the house, he finally caved and said I could finish this room. Thank God!

So here’s what we did:

1. Ripped out the bathroom “island” and replaced with the Kohler Bancroft pedestal sink.

2. Tore out ALL the old tile and replaced with a very inexpensive 2″ marble hex tile that was a FIND! We continued the hex into the shower floor since the space is so small.

3. On the walls of the shower we used Ann Sacks Capriccio tile in creamy white.  It has such a beautiful handmade finish to it. We used the blue version in the guest bath.  We also added a new custom shower door.

4.  Lighting was replaced over the new sink and recessed lights were added to the bath and toilet area.

5. New fan for ventilation was added.

6. New window, moulding and baseboards.

7. Added new faucets for sink and in the shower.

8. New toilet to replace the ugly chipped pink one.

9. Installed a custom made double high medicine cabinet.

10. Added new glass towel rods, toilet paper holder, glass shelf and a pivot mirror.

And finally, we also had a custom dining room table made in the finish and dimensions I needed to fit this room.

I’m still planning on getting new chairs for the table.  These slip covered parsons chairs just aren’t cutting it anymore. I’m still debating between a mix of industrial with wicker, or all wicker, or maybe all director’s chairs.  Whatever I choose they have to be COMFORTABLE and allow people to sit around and chat after dinner.

Next up on the household projects is having a window seat cushion made for our master bedroom, installing a shiny new flush mount in our entry area, and adding a dining room chandelier. Stay tuned!

1 comment

September 15, 2011

Sweet Surprise

by Shelly

I’m a Twitter addict.  I used to think, “What’s the big deal?”, but now that’s a faded memory.  Last Friday working away but checking on my Twitter account every hour or so, I almost fell on the floor when I read this….

What the WHAT!!!???

Then I remembered….while I was in New York for Blogfest 2011 we were treated to a wonderful day at the House Beautiful magazine headquarters.  At the luncheon that day interns were walking around asking us bloggers what was the one thing in our home that made us happiest.  I thought for just a second and knew the answer instantly.  My happiest “thing” in our home happens to be a beautiful, vintage oil painting that my husbands’ grandmother bought from the artist while vacationing in Maui with her husband during the 1950s.  What was crazy about the painting (we would later figure this out) is that it was of the exactly surf break we surfed while he and I vacationed there for the first time!  Fate!

We had it reframed and it now proudly resides in our entryway right by our front door.

A few months after that New York trip I got an email from someone at the House Beautiful offices asking for a picture and a description of why I loved the painting.  Well, I had NO idea that our lovely piece would end up in the magazine!

My first magazine mention! Not much….but I will most certainly TAKE IT!  To be in my favorite shelter mag of all time is truly a dream come true.  But next time…yes because I’m banking on there being a NEXT time…. it will be for my design work.  Ya hear that House Beautiful?! I’m setting my sights and my work on your magazine!

Thank you HB for making a girl happy. Very happy.


September 14, 2011

Bring on Fall

by Shelly

Now that Labor Day has come and gone I am completely ready for the cooler weather of Fall to begin.  But here in Southern California we really don’t feel the change from Summer to Fall until mid to late October.  August and September can be quite hot!

In any case, I’ve noticed myself trying to force the weather to change.  Last weekend we had some wonderful friends over for an inpromptu dinner party and I served the most RICH, cooler weather meal ever.  The sauteed mushrooms on the side are a MUST by the way! TO DIE FOR!  The next day I got my nails painted in a rich plummy brown.  And I’ve noticed myself pinning more and more Fall inspired rooms.  Are you following me on Pinterest?

There’s nothing like a room painted in rich tones to make your guests swoon when they walk into the room.  Walls painted in peacock colors and tones of autumn look romantic when filled with candles at night.  Even if all you can muster is a powder room painted in a rich eggplant.  It’s a look that is bold and classic at the same time.  And it’s definitely worth a try….it’s only paint after all!

{via apartment therapy}

Many of us have a spare bedroom or den where we could try out this palette. Gorgeous peacock teal blue grasscloth and paint covers the walls and extends onto the bookcases.  The look is enveloping and cozy, especially when accented with brass lighting!  The soft orange pillows add just the right amount of contrast.

{eileen kathryn boyd via lonny}

Yes….this is quite a look.  But you know that brown boring sofa you have in your family room? Come on, you KNOW you have one in your home.  I’m betting on it!  I know, they’re safe and you can’t see stains.  But they are BORING and brown…so so BROWN.  So try this.  Paint your walls a rich deep eggplant, add accents of lacquered black and crisp white, then throw in pops of a contrasting color…here it’s burnt orange on the pillows.  The look is so rich, so inviting.  And that brown sofa now won’t look so blah.

{via simply seleta}

Want to give your guy a classic, timeless man cave?  Start with a dark, moody green.  No… darker…like the color of wet moss in a forest.  Then add tobacco leather.  A sofa, maybe a chair, or a tufted ottoman.  Add guy prints…you know…horses, old nautical prints of ships, vintage black and white photographs.  And then throw in pops of rich navy.  It will make the green sing!  Oh, and don’t forget a little animal print or (what my husband would REALLY like) a stuffed antelope head or the like from his day of hunting with his dad.  Yes, that IS what my husband would love. He’s from Fresno people!

{windsor smith}

Maybe it’s time for a dining room overhaul?  Let me guess, you have a dining set with a table and matching chairs….and maybe a sideboard or china that matches too?  Ok, I get it.  You can’t just run out and buy new stuff.  Alright, so let’s work with it.  Is the sideboard a hand me down or in “not so great” condition?  Paint it, throw on some new knobs…done.  Add a fun new chandelier by shopping estate sales or your local thrift stores.  Go for a great shape and if it’s not quite right, paint it with metallic paint, change the shades, and it’s as good as new!  Paint your walls a deep, mysterious eggplant with some mocha mixed into it.  Add a natural seagrass rug.  And then ask your Grandma for that old settee she has. You know the one with the needlepoint fabric on it with the flowers.  Yeah, that one.  Have a slipcover made or reupholster it.  Take out some of the chairs on one side of the table and throw in the settee. Cozy. Unique.  Not so matchy!

{via lonny}

And one of the easiest rooms to create a big change in is the bathroom.  Where I live many of the homes have quite tiny baths.  Most people do the norm…paint the walls white, beige or something similar and add powder blue or aqua accents.  Typical.  But what about painting the walls a dark high gloss black with a bit of navy in it? Stunning.  The white of the sink, toilet, and tub will just pop!  And then you can just run to Ikea and pick up some cheap white frames and add family photos or maybe vintage postcards and throw them on the walls.  It’s a cheap room to redecorate and get the most bang for your buck!

Now do you need some paint colors to achieve this look?  My favorites are always in the Ben Moore Historical colors.  Try some of these:

{HC-157 Narragansett Green…a deep blue, teal}

{HC 134 Tarrytown Green ….a beautiful, English racing green}

{2072-20 Black Raspberry…deep and mysterious}

{1630 Ocean Floor}

So do you have any Fall inspired walls in your home?  If not, are you contemplating a new look in one of your rooms?

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