MIA

So where the hell have I been?  I know, I know – life just got away from me.  I’ve been refocusing on myself a bit – trying to get healthier, taking care of some actual health stuff too.  Then a crazy girls weekend with my bests from college followed by getting sick for a full week just as I was cutting out caffeine and anything that tasted delicious….

Today’s gonna be a quick recap of updates around Chez Sledge.  Last when I left you, we were working on our office.  Since then we got our new chair from Wayfair:

New Office Chair!

And last weekend Jefe hung up some more art.  Can you believe he took those photos of Fenway himself?  The one of the stadium’s green seats with the single red seat is stunning.

Fenway Artwork

Fenway Artwork - Detail

The room is really coming together; I can’t wait until we can afford that armchair so I finally have my reading nook!  I’m planning to relocate that white chair to the dining room, scoot the shelf unit over and make room in the corner on the left for it, right by the floor lamp and next to the window.

New Office Artwork

Next up is a quick update in the master bedroom.  We finally managed to find a new nightstand for Jefe; it was made of solid wood with a reclaimed style to it.  It was the first time we ordered anything from Joss & Main and I was thrilled with the outcome.  Everything came pre-assembled and well packaged.  From date of order until delivery was less than 2 weeks!

Jefe's New Nightstand

Jefe's New Nightstand 2

We’ve slowly been switching out the furniture in this room and with the addition of the new nightstand, it admittedly looks a little more mismatched than eclectic at the moment.  That’s always the challenge once you move out of matching furniture sets to create a more curated look; it can look like quite the hodge podge of random items until you get close to the finish line.  Here’s a little refresher (with a few updates) of what I’d eventually love the room to look like:

Sledge Bedroom Revamp

If you’re following along on Instagram, you’ll notice that we’ve made some serious progress in our backyard.  But there’s a few more pieces to come so I’ll just leave you with this little before & after until I can give you the full recap.

BEFORE

Backyard - Before

AFTERIMG_6491

Lastly, I finally got around to tackling the lighting situation in our kitchen.  After a quick trip to HomeGoods during my girls’ weekend, I snagged a cheap, neutral drum shade to cover up that horrendous fake-brass boob light.

BEFORE

Kitchen Boob Light

AFTER

Kitchen Drum Shade

I still need to add a piece of fabric to it so you can’t see the ugly fixture it’s hiding underneath, but just by hanging the shade I can feel such a difference in the room.

Kitchen Drum Shade 2

Jefe and I also made a quick trip to Ikea last Saturday and managed to snag the Foto plug-in pendant and I can FINALLY see what I’m cutting while making dinner!  I need to use some white cord cover so it blends in a little more, but I’m really happy with it.

New Pendant Light

I tried hanging it with the ceiling screws included, but it turns out our ancient drywall is a bit crumbly in the ceiling so 3M hooks to the rescue.  I only wish I had tried them before I put giant holes in my ceiling but that’s what spackle is for, am I right?!

Here’s both lights in action:

New Kitchen Lights

All in all, we’ve been making some great progress around the place.  I’m really please with how it’s turning out!

 

Office Space

I’ve been keeping a not so little secret.  I teased it earlier this week but it’s time to confess: we revamped our office… in January.  Jefe had been working from home a lot and apparently had been really discontent with the state of our office.  So on MLK weekend, he sprung on me that he wanted to redo the office.  I hadn’t even gotten to finish the plans I had for the office and we were already redoing it!  Luckily what he wanted was in line with the overall plan I had for the space.  But with all that said, we spent our holiday off work driving all the way to Torrance for a coveted desk we had to have…

As a little refresher, here’s what we were looking at last fall:

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

And thanks to Jefe’s impromptu redecorating request, here’s what we’re looking at:

Updated Office Plan

We had already purchased the rug from Pottery Barn over Christmas thanks to their annual sale and that desk is the major purchase from our day of impromptu shopping.  It required contacting no less than 5 local World Markets to find the one we really wanted (the floor model we saw was just too wobbly and beat up to consider taking it home).  So we drove the 45 minutes to Torrance and got the only one left in the greater Los Angeles area.

During the redecorating discussions I also convinced Jefe to examine and remedy our currently too-short cord situation so that we can shift over the Expedit with the TV to accommodate an armchair by the window and floor lamp; his girlfriend needs a reading nook!  While at World Market we spotted this chair and I’m pretty anxious to add it to the soon-to-be vacated corner.

Charcoal Oscar ChairNow, let’s talk desk chairs.  The day we went shopping, after we had secured the desk, we made a quick stop at Target.  Much to our surprise they had a gorgeous grey linen dining chair with nailhead trim for $85.  DONE.  I was stoked to find something so beautiful within our price range.  I thought it was too good to be true.

Target Camelot Nailhead Dining Chair

 Fast forward two months and our desk is going strong (minus a small nick that I’ll cover DIY solutions for in another post) but our desk chair, not so much.  Apparently you get what you pay for:

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 3

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 2

Neither of us have any idea how or when that happened.  Needless to say I insisted on returning it.  Jefe was skeptical as it had been two months and he didn’t have his original receipt.  But I insisted.  One quick trip to Target later and we had our $85 back.  Lesson: never doubt the Target return policy… but be weary of their furniture!

As the chair was DEFINITELY an impulse buy, we hadn’t checked the reviews, which turns out, are quite mixed.  So I did a little digging and after some inspiration from Ellen’s Design Challenge, I decided to give Wayfair a try.

We really had liked the look of the nailhead chair but also knew it had to be sturdier than the Target version, have a slightly larger seat (as the one we returned was admittedly a little small) and have a chair seat height of 19″.  That’s a LOT harder to find than you might think.

But after a full week of research, I landed on this beauty which we are currently awaiting delivery:

Hudson Nailhead Dining Chair

I can’t wait to finally see it in the space.  My only hesitation is that it might be TOO close to the Oscar arm chair we want.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

For now, we’re still using one of our dining chairs at the desk until the new one arrives.  Not ideal, but it will do for now.

Office Revamp Preview

So what do you think?  I’m really loving the vibe the office is giving off.  A traditional, masculine study with a few feminine touches.

All About the Bass

After editing multiple of Sledge’s posts and being mentioned numerous times in each post…its come time to contribute myself to Sledgehammer with Style. As Sledge has told you, we moved into our new place in July and have been slowly working on each room in between our jobs and trips east to see family and friends. As Sledge has been focused on finding solutions for the incredible lack of counter space in the kitchen as well as focusing on planning out a solution for turning our 2nd bedroom into an office space for both of us (ok maybe it’s a little more for me), I have been focused on finding an affordable home speaker solution.

We are an Apple house first and foremost so we rely heavily on iTunes for our music needs, though Pandora is also frequently used and I subscribe to the Beats Music subscription service. So whether Sledge and I are looking to listen to the latest from Mumford & Sons or a Beats-curated “Best of the 90s Hip-Hop” playlist, we were focused on finding a quality speaker solution. For our previous apartments, we relied on using a Jambox by Jawbone or the bluetooth functionality of our Samsung soundbar in the living room.

Mini Jambox

Mini Jambox

For the most part, these solutions worked great, but as we moved into our more spacious apartment, we found ourselves wanting a solution for the office, kitchen and living room. Initially we relied on a Mini Jambox for the 2nd bedroom; this worked but like most people, we keep most of our music on phones so when we get calls the music stops and the Mini Jambox would turn into an awkward “experience” of using a speaker phone we never intended to while trying to disconnect the phone to take the call with greater ease.

Mini Jambox vs Sonos Play:1

Mini Jambox versus Sonos Play:1 speakers

The Mini Jambox did offer a high level of ease/convenience albeit at the expense of an optimal sound experience. The speaker is small, portable, includes a rechargeable battery, offers decent sound, connects via bluetooth, retails for only $130 and is easily controlled by your phone/tablet (iOS or Android). That’s a tough value proposition to beat.

Over the Christmas holidays last year, my brother was raving about (and showing off) his new Sonos sound system that he purchased for their 3 bedroom place in New York. Trouble was, the full system in all its glory (e.g., soundbar, subwoofer, two additional speakers for the bedrooms, etc.) can run $1,500+ depending on how you personalize it.

The major upside with Sonos is that it offers a full home music solution that allows you to play the same music throughout your home as well as isolate music to individual rooms. In doing some more research, I discovered the very well reviewed Sonos Play:1 speaker, priced at $199. In a recent trip to Best Buy (I was contemplating getting another Mini Jambox for the bedroom), I noticed an open-box Sonos Play:1 speaker on sale for $178 in the home theater section.

Sonos Play:1 Open Box from Best Buy

Sonos Play:1 Open Box from Best Buy

Given the modest price differential (vs. a Mini Jambox) and Best Buy noting on the box that the speaker had “No Damage,” I decided to give Sonos a try.

Sonos, as of September, gives you two options to setup a wireless speaker system. Via your home wi-fi network or through setting up a separate dedicated Sonos wireless network. I initially setup the speaker in our 2nd bedroom (aka “the office”) and was able to easily connect it to our home wi-fi network. I thought the office would prove to be an adequate test for the Play:1 speaker as we previously used a Mini Jambox here for our music needs and, with it being a decent sized room, would require a superior music solution. Similar to other consumer/tech site reviews, Sledge and I were admittedly very impressed with the performance of the Play:1.

Sonos Play:1 speaker in 2nd Bedroom

Sonos Play:1 speaker in 2nd Bedroom

The speaker is small enough to easily sit on top of the Ikea Expedit shelving unit we have our 32” TV on and fill the room with music.

Since our initial Play:1, we have purchased two more Play:1 speakers, also open box from Best Buy. We placed a white one in the kitchen, which we use a lot in the mornings and while Sledge or I cook in the evenings.

Sonos Play:1 Kitchen

White Sonos Play:1 in Kitchen

We placed the second speaker in the living room on a bookshelf (which allows it to serve as a much needed bookend), to offer us a modified “full home solution.”

Play:1 in Living Room

 

Play:1 on Living Room Bookshelf

The Sonos Controller App for iOS and Android works perfectly to allow us to play music from various music services like Pandora, Songza, Beats Music, as well as our iTunes Music on our iPhones and iPads. We have also elected to change the speaker setup: we now use the dedicated Sonos wireless network through connecting the Play:1 in the office directly into our wireless router.

Play:1 Dedicated Network

Overall, we have been pleased and highly recommend the Sonos Play:1 speaker to anyone looking for a home solution that offers a superior audio experience to the Mini Jambox or similar bluetooth speakers. There are tradeoffs, as the Play:1 is meant to be stationary and needs to be plugged into a wall outlet versus having a rechargeable battery, but we have been very happy with the overall performance of the speakers. In addition, through buying “open box” speakers at Best Buy we were able to outfit our place with 3 Play:1 speakers for less than $550 all-in.

Office Redesign

Last week I gave you a little preview of our office and today I’d thought I’d share the full plan and a little DIY!

For starters, gaining this space when we moved was a huge stress reliever.  Jefe works from home a fair amount so he needs a quiet space to take those 6am calls with his East Coast colleagues.  Our last place, although it boasted an open floor plan, left a lot to be desired if you needed your own, private space.  It made Jefe’s working from home and my keeping up with yoga near impossible because let’s be honest – I love him, but I’d rather he not stare when I’m going from downward dog into ANY other pose.

So – new room means new space to decorate.  As the space will primarily be for him despite my push to make it a craft room, I decided to focus the design around the few items he’s already got that he wants displayed… and I’d prefer they’re not sitting in our living room.  So thanks to shelves and shelves of bobbleheads and mini helmets, I’m aiming for an old world study with splashes of vintage sports paraphernalia.

The room is still a serious work in progress, but here’s where we stand:

DSCN1860

Current Office View #2

Current Office View #3

Current Office View #4

And where I hope to be:
Mood Board for our new office space - Nov 2014

Last weekend we picked up a Kallax at Ikea to replace that sad and lonely bookshelf along the wall with our diplomas.  It will give us space to finally set up our scanner, spread out our books (pulling a few from the full shelves in the living room) and accessorize a bit.  Hoping to have that built before Jefe gets home from a work trip on Friday!

While flea marketing a few weeks ago, Jefe also mentioned he’d be open to a new desk so I’ve got my eye on a few contenders; I’d still like something large enough that we each can have our own area, so I’m thinking an old dining table.  It will give a vintage feel while still providing a long, open workspace.

The rest of the mood board is fairly self-explanatory (and I’m getting a little wordy), so time for the promised DIY!

When we first moved and established this as the office, Jefe mentioned getting a dry erase board.  But why buy a boring, sterile looking thing from Office Depot when I can whip one up in a flash?  I saw this and knew it’d be a cinch….

Dry Erase Board

source

Famous last words.  I knew you could use dry erase markers on glass, so I immediately thought of just buying a huge frame with an edge we liked.  Then I’d slip some paper or fabric behind the glass to give it some added character.

Flash forward to his birthday, I got the genius idea to paint behind the glass with Benjamin Moore’s new Fenway Collection.  Nothing but Green Monster Green for my Jefe.  Well, apparently they don’t sell a New England baseball team inspired paint collection west of the Mississippi.  So after many phone calls to 20+ paint stores, I found one that called BMoore’s headquarters, got the color formula, and custom created it for me.  For those that would love to avoid this hassle, here’s the color formula:

Benjamin Moore Green Monster Color Formula

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

The rest was, in fact, fairly easy.  I picked up some matte board that had a bit of texture to it and just slapped a few even coats of the paint on it.  I could have painted directly on the back side of the glass, but wanted the option to be able to swap it out if Jefe ever got tired of the green.

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

Once dry, I slipped the matte board inside the frame and voila!  Instant, custom dry erase board.

Dry Erase Board Preview

I considered painting “Fenway Park” in white like it is on the scoreboard of the ACTUAL Green Monster, but second guessed myself.  Luckily, Jefe likes it better this way and we can always add it later if he changes his mind.

Green Monster

And for those still reading, I have some exciting news!  Jefe has taken it upon himself to prep a blog post for you guys!  Can’t wait to share it with you all in the coming weeks!

Isn’t It Revealing?

Yesterday after a great brunch with Jefe’s family, we FINALLY tackled some finishing touches to his parents’ place that were long overdue.

First we started in the office.  A few frames from Aaron Brothers and 3 college pennants later, and we’ve got a wall of artwork.  We choose a few long, skinny frames that were meant for 3 photos.  We ditched the precut mat, attached the pennants to the white backing with a little painters tape, and closed them up.  These 3 pre-made frames cost us a LOT less than the custom ones and they seemed to work just fine.  The pennants happen to represent the alma maters of Jefe, his father, and his brother so it makes it all the more meaningful.  What do you think?!  (Please excuse the bad lighting as I wasn’t planning to blog about this quite yet, but couldn’t hold in the incredible results….)

photo

Next we moved to the right, in the area above the desk.  Luckily, Jefe’s dad already had some great, classy artwork already framed that we popped up there.  It’s a print commemorating when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.    Just around the corner to the right, Jefe found this stellar metal sign – an old ad with Ted Williams.  It’s got great coloring, has vintage style and is sports-themed (Have I mentioned this is a die-hard Red Sox family?!)

Last week we relocated a plant from their dining room to really it give it an old-school library feel.  And that sucker has THRIVED.  It’s grown at least 6 inches in the last week, thanks to the direct sunlight.

And without further ado, the big picture, literally:

image

We haven’t tackled the artwork on the accent wall yet as we’re waiting to get a large poster custom framed.  Once that’s up, we’ll finish it off with Jefe’s dad’s diploma and a small gallery wall of Sox themed artwork above the globe.

Moving down the hall to the guest room, we finally tackled hanging the great Target mirror we ordered.  Much to our surprise, it was much lighter than anticipated.  It was also NOT painted red – it was the perfect shade of wood to match the bed frame.  Go figure.  So that was quite the happy accident.  And in the spirit of using what you’ve got, we hung a great picture of Golden Gate Bridge that Jefe’s parents already had up on the wall above the bookshelf.

image_4

We still have a few more to things to go in this room including his mother’s rug and painting from Ecuador as well as a planned family photo gallery wall.

But here’s the **almost** finished product:

photo

More to come soon as we’ve got our momentum going to really get this project finished.  And yes, I’ve recently become obsessed with the iPhone’s panoramic option.  It really is a quick and dirty way to get wide-angle shots in VERY tight spaces – an overworked blogger’s dream.

Are any of you trying to wrap up any unfinished projects?  How did you find your motivation?

Sledge Discovers the 21st Century

So I’m trying to up my design technology know how.  Before our last trip to Ikea with Jefe’s parents to check out my furniture choices for their office, I decided to play around with a room planning app.  I had heard great things about Google’s SketchUp, but time was limited so I went the easier app route with RoomPlanner.

The app, particularly the free version, definitely has some limitations.  But it is a great basic tool in terms of showing room layout.  After a few quick hours messing around on it, I showed my rudimentary mock-up of the office to Jefe and his parents so they were finally able to visual some of the crazy ideas I had.

Now that I’ve had a smidge more time to play with it, I thought I’d show you all where this office is headed.

gloria & harry office - 3D

Some things to note:

  • The bookshelf in front of the window is meant to be a halfsie.  I still have yet to figure out how to change height for objects.
  • The bookshelf between the 2 doors is also a halfsie.
  • The blue paint color is not exact but it’s close enough.

I’ve also included the updated mood board for the office space based on some modifications I made after the Ikea trip.

OB-gloria & harry office - v2

I’m pumped to spend some more time with the app and really see what it can do.  My only serious gripe so far is that from what I can tell, you can save your mock-up as a picture, but you can’t save your work so if you want to mess around with another project, you’re unable to go back to the first one and make changes.  It could be my inexperience with the app, but thus far after reading a few FAQ and RoomPlanner forums, I have not found a work-around.  You also have a limited variety of finishes for all the furniture, floors and walls.  I’ve found that it’s enough to get by, but this budding designer does love her options…

I’m hoping to find time soon to mess around with SketchUp, see what it has to offer and how it compares.  RoomPlanner is a great down and dirty tool though if you’re just looking to whip up something quick on your iPad while your resting your feet in the living room section of your local Ikea.  Now it’s off to bed before tomorrow’s big purchasing trip.

Room Redo – Bedroom to Office

So it’s about time for a new project.  Spring is coming and I’m feeling the urge to pull out my painting clothes…. So the first thing on the agenda is another room redo at Jefe’s parents place.  It’s a cute little Spanish bungalow in a great neighborhood in LA and is where my Jefe grew up.  But after a few earthquakes and raising two boys, their guest room and office could use a little TLC.

To start, I’m going to focus on the office as they both do work from home and Jefe’s dad could also really use a space of his own.  Right now the space is a little cluttered, dark and could really use a paint job.  A few challenges:

  • They’re in desperate need of more storage.  As I mentioned in our redo of their living room, Jefe’s dad is an AVID reader.  And even thanks to the new Kindle he got for Christmas, he’s still got quite a book collection.
  • A paneled wall.  But with some helpful tips from the king and queen of DIY, John & Sherry Petersik, Jefe and I plan to turn some ugly in to a great accent wall.
  • Sports memorabilia.  Jefe’s love of the Red Sox had to come from somewhere.  So we’re hoping to integrate it as much as possible.

So here’s what we’ve got to work with:

DSCN0560

DSCN0556

DSCN0564

Seeing as the space is primarily for Poppa Jefe, I’m aiming for an end result of old-school study.  It’s still a work in progress, but maybe a little something like this:

OB-gloria & harry office - v2

The whole thing will be done in stages, using as much as they already have as possible and the remainder on a VERY small budget.  I’ll keep you updated with the progress as well as plans for the guest room soon!