Thursday, October 15, 2015

My Kitchen Mini-Fix

We rent an apartment in San Francisco. We started renting our place in 2009, it wasn't our first place in SF - I've lived here since 2002, Tony since 1997...however, we somehow assumed we would only be in this apartment for a year, two years tops...sigh...hindsight.

Fast forward to 2015, if we move anywhere, buy or rent, we're looking to pay double, at minimum of what we pay currently. We find ourselves, like many other San Franciscans, grateful for rent control, nice neighbors and a responsive landlord.

Since my business is interior design, I have asked our landlords if I could update our kitchen (keeping the vintage charm) quite often - I had one contractor offer to do the work at his cost, but the answer is always no. I guess I see the point, they don't need to because they don't have to update anything to find renters. As an aside, we are lucky because they do allow us to update our paint color.

BUT in July I finally persuaded them to allow me to update one thing in the kitchen: THE FLOOR! At my own expense but this too is something I've asked for before and they said no...I felt like this was a major win.

To keep with the vintage style but add contrast to the busy laminate countertop, I thought a black and white checkered floor would look perfect. I was contemplating turning the tiles on the diagonal, to make the kitchen look bigger - I still think design wise that would have been better but I didn't want to pay more for the labor and the material, since this is a rental.

Material Cost
Approx. $150 after shipping & tax.
4 boxes of tiles (2 white boxes, 2 black boxes)
White stick-on (sounds easy, right!?) tiles from Home Depot.
Black stick-on tiles from Home Depot.

Business has been great but as of late June, we wanted to give having a 2nd child a final shot (more on that later), so I thought I would take July and August easy, really minimize my overall workload so I could get pregnant...stress has a big impact on that apparently. I thought installing this floor would be relatively straight forward and I could get it done with a little help from my handsome hubby.

Here is a picture of our kitchen, back in July when I got approval to do redo the floor, after the tiles arrived I was so excited I had to start thinking about placement.
One option was to start the tiles at one of the sides, so you always have one straight edge. I did NOT like what that did to the center line of the cabinetry, the clear answer was to center the black tile. I chose the black over the white because at the back line I wanted more black tiles than white since the toe kick vinyl strip is black and that would minimize any wavy line distraction.

Here's the start of the installation...
 


No that's not my arm, nor is it my husband's arm either. This happened on Tuesday...which is in October, not August, as planned. Anyway, I wanted this floor done because the old floor was just so gross. (I really think the speckled vinyl floor has been here since 1971. I would scrub it three times and still I would get black marks on my socks - GROSS.)

Anyway, this talented arm you see is that of a handyman that I like to work with - I'm more than happy to refer him and other's on if you are looking for someone!

He did such a great job with the installation. He first found the center and then used a chalk line so he could keep that center line the whole way through. He heated each tile, before setting it into place. He didn't have a roller to use on top of each tile so he made one, on the spot, with the items he had in his truck. I can honestly say that this project was a success because of him. When we are done the labor will be under $500.

 Here is the completed floor...

Here is my new favorite addition to the kitchen - an early Christmas present from my mother-in-law: a Keurig! I've been resisting the Keurig trend for so long and after using this specific device, I was sold. Thanks Patricia!

This new floor and Keurig have made my week so great...walking into the kitchen I feel so much happier now. Ava wants to play checkers on the floor and enjoys jumping from black to black tile...so it's fun and functional!



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Spring Cleaning

I'm going to start this entry by apologizing to all of the people who have been talking to me lately because I cannot stop talking about, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."  Sorry. However, I feel as though I must 'shout it from the roof tops' because I feel so strongly about the lessons in this book. My poor husband is taking the brunt of it. We are in mid-purge...well, I am in mid-purge and he is quickly picking up on how not to hold on to objects that don't inspire joy in his life. If I'm not careful I might fall into that list - luckily he's VERY patient.

What I find compelling about this book and particularly its relation to interior design is the dilemma I often face when meeting with Clients. I'm usually brought in because the house is no longer inspiring the Client. One of the main things the house needs: a ginormous purge. I'm all for repurposing items - but only the items that truly make the Client happy. It's also not uncommon that the Client will hire a professional organizer to help them while also working with me on the design. I really hope that all Organizers out there read this book and incorporate the method into their practice. I know that this book has changed the way I will interact with Clients going forward.

The KonMari Method that Marie Kondo introduces is key. Starting with clothing, we can work through our emotions attached with each item. It's more of a process of self-discovery and in the process you get to know yourself better and what really makes you happy, which leads to you bringing more of that joy into your life.

For those of you that don't have the time to read but spend a lot of time in your car, like myself, there is an audiobook available through iTunes and Audible.com. I think this was a better way to approach the book because it wasn't until the first 90 minutes had passed until the book really grabbed me - that's when I really started learning a lot. That is probably why there is a summary version available. "A 15-Minute Summary & Analysis of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing"

Enjoy! Happy Saturday!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get it for Less - Chandelier!

They say imitation is the best sort of flattery...check out these two gems:

High Price: ($22k+)
  • 6'H, 46" diameter

Low Price: ($1,698)
  • 53"H, 29" diameter

(They differ from each other in size and illumination...)