Where Rustic Living Meets Refined Elegance

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tall, dark and handsome

That's how I describe my peppermill
Yep, he's a beauty.  
My brother was fortunate enough to be born with both sides of his brain working.  He's extremely left brained.  He thrives on numbers, databases, stock market and business deals.  I on the other hand hate math, do not understand the stock market (and believe me it's not for his lack of trying to explain it to me) don't like the "business" part of my business and sometimes struggle to remember how much I'm supposed to be digging out of my purse when I pull up to the drive up window at Taco Bell.  I am definitely more right brained.  But when my brother, (we'll call him "Left Brain") is tired of the numbers he goes into his garage and turns out some uber fabulous woodwork.  Beautiful custom cabinetry, custom pen and pencils and salt and pepper mills made from exotic woods.
So when I decided I wanted a pepper mill I told him I wanted something different.  Not like the usual. I said "Make me something curvy, like a woman in a dress.  Make it sexy" 
(Can you hear my right brain talking?)
And since Left Brain knows my love of black he decided to make it out of solid Ebony.  I KNOW! I've never seen such a thing. Ces't tres magnafique! It stands 22 inches tall, is smooth and curvy in all the right places.  He had to have the Cowboy weld an extension to the center rod to make it work because of it's height.  
Isn't it gorgeous?  I think so.  
I told him I didn't want a salt mill, would never use it so don't bother.  He said he couldn't help himself, that it just wasn't right to have one and not the other.  He was right.  He also gave me some lovely french salt that I had to prepare for the mill.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Let cool
And spoon into that curvy body.
It's absolutely delicious!
Don't they make a sexy couple?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where we're at now

So I figured I'd post some pictures of how things are now in the kitchen.  We are sort of about half way there and today it just looked kind of nice to me even though it's not done I just woke up feeling very cozy in this room today.
This marble table is used like an island.  I was trying to not have chairs around it but they keep showing up because this seems to be where everyone wants to sit.  I have to admit it does feel cozy right in the middle there.
Looking back the other way.  You can see my sink leaning up against the wall, it will go back in this weekend.  The window is a pass through to the pantry.  Eventually there will be a freezer on one side and a fridge on the other in place of the white one there.
Look into the kitchen from the dining table. Temporary island and it's sort of ugly from the back but I'll put something in front of it to help hide the ugliness.  So much to do still.  Wall finish, shelves for dishes to be put up, pot rack still needs to be hung, yep a lot to do still.
I still can't believe this little side table opens up to seat 10, YES 10!  We had some family visit recently for dinner and we had 9 around it comfortably.  I know we need a bigger or should I say heavier table here but for now it works great.
Looking back from the kitchen / pantry area.  Today my dad said he has two chairs that will work great for extra seats around this table.  I'm telling you my mom and dad are my best suppliers of gorgeous antique furniture.  The stuff they find is unbelievable and then my dad can fix, repair and rebuild anything so I've be a lucky girl I have to say.
Ok this is looking into what will soon be the walk in pantry.  The bookcase or cupboard is for my white ironstone but right now it's just holding an assortment of stuff to keep it off the floor. 
Looking directly into the pantry.  You can see my cute little apron sink.  Right now that is my only kitchen sink so you can see the white bucket on the floor to the right of the sink which is what I use to wash dishes in.  I set it in the right side of the sink, wash and then rinse on the left.  Tight quarters but it gets the job done.  
All the way into the pantry now.  you can see the pass through window behind the microwave.  I had a bunch of these wood shelving units from IKEA set up in our other house and just love 'em.  We went to put them in the pantry a couple of weeks ago and found they won't really work without a lot of remodeling so we put in a couple of pieces until we figure out the best way to take care of this.  The Cowboy mumbled something about just making a whole new set for me that would fit exactly how I wanted so that my be what we have to do.
And last but not least is my temporary studio aka the big mess.  The plan is for this be a nice little setting area with a large bookcase to hold my cookbooks and magazines.  A little sofa and a couple of chairs so that you can relax in the kitchen area and read and visit with the cook.  But right now it's still the tool drop off, vacuum storage and art studio.  

Well that's how it looks for now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some before & after stuff

First of all let me be very clear.....I am not in anyway a photographer!  I am trying to learn but it's not easy and as you all know even a good picture just doesn't do it justice.  Anyway here's what I've got for now.

Ok first off is my kitchen counters.  I'm really happy with these.  This a new finish I have learned and am incorporating into my business, Alexander Cook Custom Finishes.  If you remember I did my counters in the faux reclaimed wood temporarily until I could do this and once they were done I really liked the brown so I decided to go with a brown "marble".
 Deep chocolate with lighter shades throughout, white veins with some gold mica powder to create real gold veins here and there.
These are 3 times stronger than concrete, will not chip, crack or stain and can withstand heat up to 500 degrees!  I just went right over my old reclaimed wood finish which if you remember was right over plywood.  I'm lovin' these!  Just a couple of things to finish, like putting the sink back in and installing the faucet and then a couple of paint touch ups to the base and I'll have final pics.

Ok, now my bed.  If you remember I talked about this bed in my post called "Bits & Pieces".  This is the Pottery Barn Thomas Bed.
Very nice, cottage looking and it has served us well for 14 years. I was just ready for a change it didn't go along with the new decor of the room.  But the Cowboy was right, it's so well made and nice he just didn't want to see it go.  And the cost to replace it would not  have been cheap, so I had to get creative.
I absolutely love it.

Architecural ornaments glued on really help.  And I dont know if you can see it, (again my photo skills are really lacking) but I found some large christmas bead strings and bought them the day after Christmas at half off and glued them into the panels to create a carved look.
I'll work on getting better pictures.

The Night Stands
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!! My mom and dad, the antique hunters extraordinaire, found these and I sanded them down and gave them a little french blue finish with a coat of brown wax.  I love them!
However, I intended to use them by my bed as nightstands but they were just too small.  Actually in a smaller room with a smaller bed they'd be perfect but when I put them on each side of the bed they looked out of place so I've split them up and one will go by the tub, (I have a boudoir chair at the upholster's which will sit next to the tub and this table) and the other is in the water closet.  It really works well in there.
This way I don't have to put an ugly toilet paper roll holder on the wall, I just store a bunch right in this little open cupboard.  The walls have a golden textured finish called Bronze Silk which looks like old worn silk.  The blue goes really well in here. Still waiting on baseboards but we'll get to those soon enough.

Now, My Bathroom Sink

The Cowboy and I both are sentimental and like to use old objects.  He had acquired an old sink porcelain sink from an old house in the desert that had belonged to his grandparents.  We've had it for years waiting to put it somewhere.  We decided the Master bath would be perfect as I wanted a faucet that came out of the wall so it would all work together well.  However, I didn't want a traditional built in counter. But the space was on an eight foot wall so I wasn't sure where I would find the right piece.  Thank goodness for Habitat for Humanity our local Restore store.  What I found was was origionally a buffet from a mobile home.  

It measured just under eight feet! I couldn't believe it.  I had my dad come take a look at it to see if he thought it was sturdy enough.  He gave me the thumbs up and helped me haul it home. You can see the hole in the top where my dad cut into it to set the sink.
Then we had these feet that we took off of a couch that we got rid of and I rubbed a stone plaster all over them to get rid of the grooves and then added some ornaments like I used on the bed.  The Cowboy install them along the front and I sanded it down, added some blue paint, some gold wax and a graphic to look like an old french painting on the center door.  Then I put a faux stone finish on the top and Voilia!  A lovely old french sink.
Put the same "Zinc" finish on the handles that I did on the bathtub
I'm really happy with the whole thing.

I'm hoping to get the walls painted soon and a finish on the fireplace right away.

Oh and my office door is up.
It's an old french door that I stained dark and then the Cowboy put it on a double swing hinge, so no handle necessary just give it a push and go on through.

Well that's all for now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On the grand scale of things...

I don't know why it takes me so long sometimes to realize I can change things.  I've had this doctors scale for years.  I like to have it, but I hate the way it looks.  It was in the water closet of our master bedroom to keep it out of sight but it had to leave the room! I put it in the bedroom but just couldn't stand looking at it.
Then suddenly it dawns on me....I can fix it! A little black paint, (I love black!!) some french graphics and Voila! a cute vintage french scale.
Much better
I was even able to save the little medical emblem and put it back on the front of the little box next to the weight.
It's so cute I just may be tempted to use it now and then, maybe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I like to say Atelier but.........

I dream of a studio to work and create out of. A place where all my products are lined up labels out for easy viewing, all my brushes and tools organized and ready to be used for fun and fabulous things.  A giant easel to work on large canvases and a place next to a large window or door to photograph my work.

I spent the morning walking around my house looking for the best source of natural light to photograph my newest countertop overlay samples for my website, shooting quick shots to test the light and ended up shooting in my entryway.  After I shot this I realized I needed a stool to sit on to be able to get a steady look through the lens, oh if only I had taken the picture with the blue ice cooler next to the tripod as my place to sit.  Yes so luxurious.  If I showed you the storage container I am currently using as a studio you'd scream and poke your eyes out.  



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