September 24, 2009

Feeling Slab Happy

I dream of having a large, long table at which JJ and I can host many friends for dinner. A big table where JJ and I can work on "projects" (now) and our children can spread out and do homework (future). Currently I am loving these "slab" tables made from large pieces of wooden slabs. (Duh.) Often made from reclaimed wood, they are beautiful and full of life and character. I can get lost just looking at the burls and whirls and knots and stuff. (JJ - feel free to fill me in on the proper wood terminology here, as I am clueless.) I think that my boss is giving JJ and me a large slab of redwood from a felled tree on his property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I hope that we can turn it into the long-hoped-for dining table. We'll see. It's immaterial actually, because a large table won't fit in our current apartment. The dining area in the kitchen is teeny, tiny and is now even more cramped thanks to the addition of my Hans Wannabe-Wegner chairs. (Still love 'em!) We've tried coming up with ways of converting one of our two living room/office/tv rooms into a dining room, but haven't come up with a feasible plan. Until then, I look at these photos and get pretty excited! Slab happy, if you will.

What I hope to have someday...

(Image from Living, Etc.)

and what inspired me...

(The original inspiration - from Scott and Marie's House Tour on Apartment Therapy)

(A Modern Variant from

(Ash Dining Table by Terry Kardowicz from Michelle Kaufmann's Smart Home on AT)

(Slab Table from BDDW Furniture)

(Century Furniture version)

Yikes! Bikes!

It has been a very busy week and I haven't been able to post much. Mostly because I've been busy DOing things rather than BLOGging about things. I have many photos and posts to put up chronicling my various house projects AND, if I can get my butt in gear, I'd also like to "re-tour" the house because a lot has changed since I last posted photos (in January?). Of course, things are always changing...

In any case, here is some eye candy from BDDW Furniture to hold you over until I return to active blogging:

(Lake Dresser)

(Lake Credenza - Low)

(Mills Bed)

(Simple Bench)

(Mills Bed - Twin)

(Lake Credenza)

(Slab Table - detail)

(Slab Bed)

Gorgeous pieces, non? I'll take one of each please, especially the Slab Table. (More on that later...)
(All Images from BDDW American Handmade Furniture website.)

September 18, 2009

I'm sorry mama, I didn't mean to make you cry...

I heard that song "Cleaning Out the Closet" by Eminem earlier today and it reminded me that I have a BIG bag of dry cleaning and mending that needs to be taken to the cleaners. I also have a wine-soaked, bar and beer-stained wedding dress hanging in the bedroom that I need to get cleaned/stored/sold. This task is difficult for me because my obsessive compulsive side is at war with my sentimental side. If history has taught me anything, I think my obsessive compulsive side will win. (Currently, I can't sleep at night if the closet door is open and I can see the clutter inside from the bed. Oh, come on, you know you'd do the same and you all know I like a clean house.) In sum, our closet is a mess. Filled to the brim, it not only has clothes, but piles of miscellany, such as suitcases, picture frames, and purses packed in there so tight right up to the ceiling that I'm surprised nobody has hurt themselves yet trying to get something out. (Oh wait, somebody DID hurt themselves trying to get crap out. D'oh!) So, um, yeah, I need to clean the closet like Eminem says:

I'm sorry mama
I never meant to hurt you
I never meant make you cry
But tonight, I'm cleaning out my closet

You're probably wondering what this has to do with "cohabit8ing" or interior design. Nothing much, I guess. It has more to do with compromise. You see, cleaning out the closet isn't the easy task it once was when, being a single gal, twice a year I'd go through my clothes and donate/thrift every last piece of my wardrobe, excepting only my all-black basic "classics" which I told myself would last forever. After the "big clean" I'd then spend the next six months buying new clothes, only to repeat the entire process all over again. Cleaning out the closet now means that not only do I have MY half of random clothing to go through, but I have another person that I have to convince needs to do the same with HIS half. (Two people + one closet = barely controlled chaos.) Easy for me to throw away an outdated, ill-fitting shirt, not so easy for other people. *cough* JJ *cough*. Note: JJ if you're reading this, I will let you help me go through my clothes and "edit" if you will let me do the same for you.

Also, in the spirit of bad clothing and families, I have posted a good photo from Awkward Family Photos (easily the funniest website ever) and am silently glad that neither JJ, nor I have a sweater like one of those below. Not anymore, that is.

And now, I'm off to browse The Container Store website...

September 17, 2009

How to Make a Trestle Desk

My friend and longtime reader Malin wrote to me:

"Help me find a desk like this:

I like the legs. ...everytime I go on Craigslist I can't find anything."

Lemme see...

To start, you probably won't find this exact desk on Craigslist. As the NY Times article (the source of the photo) says, it's custom - made from an old door (and set atop some nice sawhorse legs). That's the bad news. The good news is that you can easily re-create this look on your own with a little help from the local hardware store (that would be Cole Hardware for you) and some creativity.

In no particular order:

  • You can source an old door (or even just get a nice piece of wood, such as a slab of Bamboo or the Numerar countertop from Ikea) and sand/stain/paint it. A local source of "old" and reclaimed wood: Urban Ore in Berkeley.

  • To make a nice, smooth writing surface you can go super custom and get a piece of glass custom cut to order.

  • The sawhorse trestle legs are SO basic. You would need to buy sawhorse brackets:

    (A pair like these shown are only $4.49 at Ace Hardware)

  • Snap/screw in some 2x4s (have them cut to the correct height, usually ~30" for a desk/table) and you're good to go.

  • To really make this desk your own, I would advise sanding and staining each piece of wood, from the tabletop to the 2x4s, in your color of choice. (In the photo above it looks like a darker walnut color stain. I'd ask JJ about this though, as he is the wood pro in our family.)

  • Other "trestle" leg desks you might like, especially if you aren't feeling very D.I.Y-ish:

    Braxton Table (from Target):

    Madison Table (again, from Target):

    Workstead Table (from Workstead - this is de-lux-e!)

    Or you can source some interesting trestles from Ikea's Vika line and use some sanded/stained planks:

    Hopefully this inspires you to keep your eyes open for a suitable slab of wood because if you find that, the rest is easy!

    September 16, 2009

    It's War.

    Remember THIS "cool" "vintage" army trunk that I was going to put at the foot of our bed? Yeeeaaah. That was going to be so awesome until I realized that the interior of this thing STINKS and the smell cannot be removed. As in, layers of bleach and Febreze and airing out and god knows what other strong products and it still stinks like mold and corpse almost one year later. (I suspect that rather than carrying around the belongings of Major Dean B. McNealy as he sallied forth, it actually CARRIED AROUND Major Dean B. McNealy.)

    Vintage Trunk = Smelly Coffin?

    And the vintage army blanket ("new condition") that I ordered from the internet? It stinks too. What gives? No amount of cleaning has washed awayeth its stench which wafteth forth like vomit into my linen closet. So, I am now campaigning to get them both out of the house. I must convince JJ that we need to send these items back to whence they came, namely Goodwill.

    Barf Blanket!

    Mood Board.

    Created this "mood board" a while ago. Maybe in April 2008? To me, the items on it are pretty classic. And you know what? I still dig every item over a year later, so they must be timeless. I imagine these items in a home office in a hip, urban loft somewhere like SoMa or Brooklyn or Amsterdam or South London. Don't you think it would make a pretty kick ass home office, especially with that big window? Although with that view, I probably wouldn't get any work done.


    Lest you think that the furniture/designs from Ochre are too... brooding? dark? moody? and that maybe you're not sure if you love or hate Ochre because of this "feeling" you get, let me show you something that might persuade you to like their stuff as much as I do. (See my earlier post about Ochre.) Because, yes, the photos from the Ochre website, while pretty, do have a certain stormy quality to them. Must be the dark and dusky earth tones and the "rough" textures. Who knows? Below are photos from co-founder Harriet Maxwell Macdonald's home as shown in Domino magazine (RIP Domino). As you can see, this is no dark and stormy home. It's bright and light and cozy and spacious - all at the same time. And yes, most of the furniture is from the Ochre store. You see, it's all about the mix.

    And may I add that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the bedroom? Especially the gray/blue wall color? (May I? and may I use ALL CAPS again? No? Okay, sorry.) :)

    If only I could mix furnishings like this. Wowza.

    (All images from Domino Magazine, taken by Elizabeth Zeschin)

    ALL CAPS are the new parentheses (seriously)

    Hey, just a quick mea culpa about the sudden increase in the use of the Caps Lock key. Before I used to put emphasis on my writing by using funny "asides" inside parentheses (hey, don't act like you don't do it, too) and of late I've been YELLING ALL OF THE TIME. I just want to get across to my readers, all 5 of you, that I am excited!!! about the things that I'm posting. Maybe it's the blog equivalent of underlining five times in your 7th grade diary the name of the guy you like. So, apologies for the electronic screaming, the not-so-witty witticisms (if any) and the overall poor grammar. All in all, I realize that my horrible writing is a result of one thing: laziness. Dear Readers, you should expect more from someone who had a perfect score on the Verbal (writing) section of the SAT. (I can brag, it's my blog.) What I mean to write is: I'll do better. I promise.
    FOR REALZ!!!

    Peace out,
    Tara :)

    P.S. (I'll never stop using exclamation points and smiley faces, however. Never!!!)

    I Ache for Ochre

    The most beautiful furniture combined with antique items sourced from all over the world, custom-designed lighting and amazing stylings... I'm in love. Ochre is: amazing.

    Per the OCHRE STORE website:
    "OCHRE was started by two friends at a London art school who started making things they liked regardless of the latest trends. Their elegant understated style proved very popular with a wide audience including the Design Press. Ten years later (and after a third partner had joined), OCHRE and I teamed up to open a shop on Broome Street in Soho, New York. The store is not just meant to showcase OCHRE’s beautiful range of furniture and lighting but also curates other people’s work; rare and exceptional pieces that complement the OCHRE line. OCHRE’s design philosophy always emphasizes the use of high quality materials and flawless craftsmanship to create objects which are both timeless and contemporary - and everything in the OCHRE STORE endeavours to echo these principles."

    Now, for some eye candy.

    (You see that chair JJ? I LOVE it.)

    And if you want to fall in LOVE too, you ABSOLUTELY must check out the two most amazing slideshows on the Ochre Store website:


    Or, just go straight to the source: OCHRE (Design - Furniture, Accessories and Lighting)and OCHRE STORE (Everything)

    (ALL images from Ochre website(s).)

    September 15, 2009


    Sitting at my REAL desk in my REAL office (read: barfy cubicle) I began to dream about my WISH desk for my WISH office...

    First, my George Nelson desk designed for Herman Miller:
    Then, a nice comfy desk chair such as the Saarinen Womb Chair (I think it's pretty ergonomic, don't you?):
    Then, some shelving upon which to store my design magazines, like the Atlas Industries AS4 Shelving:
    Some office a beautiful red Swingline stapler and a good, strong Ranger pencil sharpener:

    Next I probably would need a better computer so that I could check e-mail, send some tweets and update my blog. Maybe this gold-plated MacBook?
    And of course, some "motivational" artwork:
    Yep. This is how I wish my design studio would look. Oh, didn't I mention it? My WISH office is actually more of a WISH STUDIO for my MAKE BELIEVE INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM. (The overuse of the Caps Lock key is because I am LAZY today.)

    September 14, 2009

    Covet. Covet. Covet.

    Main Entry: cov·et
    Pronunciation: \ˈkə-vət\
    Function: verb
    1 : to wish for earnestly 2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably

    I love house tours. They inspire me and are fun and you can always get some great decorating ideas. But I don't ever want to forceably shove someone out of their house so that I can move in. That has changed due to "Scott and Marie's Perfectly Put Together Home" from Apartment Therapy. I want their place, furniture and all, and I am willing to push hard.

    Below are a few photos from the house tour posted on Apartment Therapy back in May, but really, you must check out the entire slideshow posted on the site.

    Go to the
    and prepare to be amazed.

    Dining Room:

    (Dig the "rough" table and the rug.)


    (Books! Books! Books!)

    Retro-fab Kitchen:

    If/when JJ and I move/buy/steal a house in SF, I hope it is JUST like this one, right down to the framed bat. *sigh*

    NOTE: ALL PHOTOS AND RELATED CONTENT FROM WWW.APARTMENTTHERAPY.COM (giving credit where credit is due. OH and you should check the AT site regularly. It is pretty kick a$$).

    September 11, 2009

    Modern Love

    This morning I was checking up on my favorite blogs over a cup of coffee and I happened upon the work of Belinda George Architects on desiretoinspire. Wow! So cool. I want this house! I know, I know, the other day I wanted a run-down Tuscan villa, but today I want a modern, uber-cool home. See...

    Internal debate ensued:

    Brain: "Make up your mind!"
    Heart: "Get them both!"
    Soul: "Ye-yeah!"

    Click HERE to see the original post and be inspired or go straight to the source: Belinda George Architects. If you don't want a modern house after visiting her site, then you are SO. NOT. COOL.