Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Marble Fireplace Surround


We got a new marble surround for our dining room fireplace! To recap, we inherited this beautiful 100 year old beauty a few months ago.

Immediately upon getting the new fireplace in the house Brent went to town tearing the old one out.

And we were left with this:

And like this it sat and sat......

We knew the first step to getting this ball rolling was to figure out the fireplace surround before we could put the new mantle in place. So late last fall, we made our way over to Construction Resources where we picked out the most beautiful remnant piece of white marble. They had a LOT to choose from so we had them pull several contenders.....

And after a little deliberation we made our selection.   

We loved this slab because of the beautiful color and movement in the veining, plus the size was right for our particular application. Once the slab was picked out we were ready for the Construction Resources' crew to come out and measure, but we knew this would not be your typical, measure/template/fabricate/install situation. Because of the integration with the antique wood mantle, our fireplace surround would have to be done in 3 phases.

Phase #1 - The Hearth 

Once the hearth was in place Brent moved the wood mantle into place and nailed it to the wall, so the guys could come back out for template round 2.

Phase #2 - Legs & Back

This was definitely the most visually exciting phase, what with all the exposed bricks finally getting covered up. However, because the wood mantle doesn't sit flush with the walls we were left with holes that bridged the new marble backing and the back of the mantle leg.

So the guys came out for a 3rd and final trip to template and a week later the last few pieces were added....

And we had ourselves a beautiful, finished marble fireplace surround.

We are so so so happy with the finished look. The elegance of the marble goes so well with the decorative grandness of the mantle. Basically this whole side of the room is just so fancy now and I love it. 

Now that the there is (finally) a check mark next to this item on the to-do list, what's the next step? Figuring out how we want to finish the wood mantle....dun, dun, dun......


We are currently stewing on this one and hope to make a decision soon so we can keep this room chugging along. 

PSA: If you are an Atlanta local, do yourself a favor and visit Construction Resources if you are in the market for anything countertop related. I've been to a lot of countertops companies and in my opinion, Construction Resources is always the best. Not only do they have a ton for you to look at in all different genres - granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, etc...but they are so nice and accommodating. Every single experience I've ever had with them has been great. From the showroom to the install and every piece of coordination in-between they make the whole process fun and easy. 

#notsponsored #justfacts #:)

All photos are my own. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

KBIS 2017 Recap

Last week I was in Orlando for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. I hadn't been to the show in 2 years so I was excited to go and see what was new!

Fellow Bell Designer Melissa Ahrens and I hit the show early on opening day and boy we were glad we did - the show was huge and there was SO much to see. My feet are still recovering. I have my favorite finds of course, but before we jump into that I thought we could talk trends. After walking the show for a day and a half it became glaringly obvious what the big trends for this year were going to be on the Kitchen & Bath front... Let's dig in....

T     R     E     N     D     S

Matte Black

Matte Black EVERYTHING. This finish was everywhere from faucets and hardware to appliances and cabinets. The finish reads as sleek and sophisticated and really looked beautiful on every single item.

Rose Gold

Photo via Kohler's website
We saw a decent amount of Rose Gold finishes, specifically in plumbing, and I really really loved it. The design world has loved on brass, copper and now it's rose gold's turn to steal the show. For me personally, I like how soft it comes across, it's bold without being so in your face which I think may give it the opportunity to feel a bit more timeless than other "it" selections. 

Marble Look-A-Like Countertop Options

Photo via Neolith's website
The world loves marble but as we all know, a lot of people in the world really don't want to worry with it's diva-like qualities (etching, staining, etc.). For years companies have been trying their hand at man-made options that look like marble, without the upkeep. And while they have been successful, the bar continues to rise higher and higher and the options continue to get closer and closer to the real thing. There were a lot of countertop companies at the show and every single one of them showed their best attempt at the natural stone look, specifically marble. 

Light it Up!

Lighting Integration was everywhere! Every time I turned around a simple item like a hanging rod for the laundry room had a light in it. We saw faucets and sinks that light up in addition to the ever popular drawer that illuminates when opened. It's clear that lighting will continue to play a big roll in kitchens and baths. 

Finish Mixing 

Photo via Brizo's website

There was a lot of finish mixing, specifically with the matte black look. This faucet from Brizo was just one of the many faucets, specifically from Brizo that was mixing and matching like crazy and I loved almost every single combination.

F     A     V     O     R     I     T     E     S

Ok, now that we've covered trends let's talk about my favorite finds from the show. Up first....

Formica's Writeable Surfaces

Photo via Formica's website 
I would typically breeze right past the Formica booth but as we walked by I saw all of these people gathered around writing ON THE COUNTERTOPS. This collection is so cool and I could see an option like the grid version pictured above being used in a craft room, a play room or even on a conference room table! 

Kohler's Choreograph Collection

Photo via Pinterest
The marble shower walls in the picture above are not marble. Nay they are made from Serica, a super durable composite material by Kohler. This material comes in a slew of decorative options and can be installed over existing tile! You can even get the look of the classic subway tile without the grout. If you are thinking of re-doing your bathroom this is definitely an option to consider to save some money and cut down on maintenance! Read all about this collection here

Coastal Shower Doors' Gridscape Collection 

Photo via Coastal Shower Door's website
If you are a fan of the steel window/door look then you are going to love the new Gridscape Collection offered by Coastal Shower Doors. Now you can incorporate this sleek vibe into your bathroom  through your shower doors. The doors come in a variety of grid patterns and you can opt for a sliding configuration as well as a swing. Love, love, love. 

All in all it was a good show and we truly did leave feeling inspired and excited about so many of the things we saw. The kitchen and bath industry is ever changing and it's fun to be along for the ride! 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Stair Runner with a Tail

It's a good day when you can get a present for your two kids, one human, one furry and they both love it. How did we accomplish this? A rug runner for our stairs!

Here is what we started with:

These stairs have seen a lot of action in the 14 months we have lived here. Croix enjoys climbing up them (100 times a day) and Luke sadly was falling down them nearly as often :( Luke is 13 years old and was having an increasingly hard time managing his speed as he came down to the landing and then made the turn to continue down to the 1st floor. We figured a stair runner would give his paws something to grip on to, plus it would soften any falls Croix might have as he works to grasp the concept that you can't go down the stairs leading with your head.

We changed out the runner in our last house, and while we were super happy with it, I wanted to do something a bit more fun and special this time around. I'd run across an image of a "stair runner pool" a while ago on-line and knew instantly that's what I wanted to do. Once I got serious about pulling the trigger on this project I started trying to research other inspiration photos and found there really weren't a lot of them. I ran into the same road blocks when I tried to find a company that could do the decorative pool detail. Finally I found the great people at Underfoot Design and they made the whole thing seem extremely easy. Here's how it went down....a representative came to the house, took measurements and talked with me about my vision. Within a week I received a slew of samples to choose from.

Once I selected the material I wanted to go with I gave them a 50% deposit to order the material and they set up an install date. A two man crew arrived right on time and while one guy installed the runner on the stairs, the other worked on the detail at the tail. He started by drawing the design on paper and then cutting it out to play with the scale and size.

Once I was comfortable with the paper template he laid the template on the carpet and began cutting out the shape.

Next, he got everything nailed down and........

wah lah! 

Our stair runner has a tail!! Isn't it awesome!?!

Croix and I watched the whole thing so he was very excited to try it out as soon as the guys gave us the go ahead :)

We are so so happy with the results! Not only does our new stair runner serve us all well from a functional stand point but it looks so cool and really adds so much warmth and interest to the stairwell. Underfoot Design was great to work with and I would definitely recommend them if you are in the Atlanta area and are in the market for something fun!

All photos are my own. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Our New Friend Alexa

Happy New Year everyone!

A new year and a fresh start always feels nice. I am coming off a nice long 11 day break and I can honestly say I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. 2016 was busy and the busyness was amplified as the end of the year drew near. We hosted Christmas this year and then threw a 1st birthday party for our Croix boy two days later. It was a lot, and on the 26th we were going 100 mph getting our house de-Chrstmasfied, but I will say I was one happy girl to be sitting in a clean house, all neat and back in order on the 28th.

With the house all tidy we were able to spend our "break" actually relaxing, checking fun things off our to-do list and playing with some Christmas gifts. Speaking of Christmas gifts, today I thought I would share one of our favorites.....Alexa.

Do you see her, tucked behind the picture frame? Alexa is the voice that speaks to you from the Amazon Echo.

Brent's Dad and Laura gave us the Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas and we have really enjoyed it! I had heard of the Echo Dot in passing but never really knew much about it, so I was really excited to find out all it could do for us. Basically the Echo Dot creates a "smart house" vibe in your home. You can literally say "Alexa", and she lights up which is your cue to ask her anything! For example...."Alexa, what is the weather like in Japan?" "Alexa, turn on 90's rock music" "Alexa, turn the volume up to 6". "Alexa, tell me a joke." She can also be programmed to work alongside your thermostat, alarm system and electrical outlets! She can even call for an Uber!! She is crazy cool and convenient, so much so that we decided to order another one for our 2nd floor. Now when it's time to go to sleep Brent and I don't have to rock/paper/scissiors for who has to get up and turn off the lamps across the room. We simply say "Alexa, turn lamps off" and POOF!

The Echo Dot comes in black and white. We have the black one downstairs and opted for white for our bedroom. I like both and really appreciate the the low profile size and sleek aesthetic of this little treasure. At just under $50 bucks you can't really beat the bang for your buck.

What do you guys think? Do I sound like an infomercial?? Sorry if I do, I just thought we could ease into 2017 with a little info on a jewel that just might make your life easier. I don't know about you but these days I'm all about anything that makes life a little more convenient and Ms. Alexa does just that.

All photos are my own.