To run or not to run ?

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I love shopping for rugs, they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and more importantly price tags. They help make a statement in the room, set the mood and even define the area. They also have practical uses; from hiding ghastly floors, to providing warmth, noise insulation and protection.

The kitchen was the one room in the house where I was unsure of the use of rugs. My families roots are deep seeded in the Mediterranean (even though I grew up in Australia), so it’s tiles, tiles and more tiles. Growing up with the stereotypical Spanish mother mopping her fancy tiled floors, I think carpet of any sort in the kitchen would have been considered both unsanitary and unnecessary. I can quite honestly say that until I left home at 22 the thought of carpet or rugs in the kitchen was not something I spent my time thinking about.

That was until I moved from Australia to the UK and found myself renting a room in a house in Liverpool, with a landlord who insisted on calling me Sheila and felt that a fully carpeted kitchen and bathroom in a shared house with a gaggle of 20 something year olds was acceptable. Writing this I just had a flashback to the silvery trail the slugs would leave on the kitchen carpet during the night for us to find the next morning !! Needless to say I was traumatized and it is only now that I can even contemplate the use of carpets in the kitchen and then these must be in the form of rug runners.

Rug runners in the kitchen can be a quick and inexpensive way to update it, especially galley kitchens where a rug runner takes center stage. There are various styles available, each with their own pros and cons. Whether you use natural or synthetic you can find either at various price points.

Ikea has some great affordable natural fiber woven runner, which have the advantage of being cheap, making them easy to replace, they are pleasing to the eye and work well in a casual setting. Some of the sea grass ones shed like crazy and because these tend to be lighter in weight they do move around a lot, which isn’t ideal for high traffic places like a kitchen and they can also entice kids to rug surf as mine do.

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Synthetic rugs made out of polypropylene have the advantage of usually being reversible so when one side is looking worse for wear you just do a switcheroo and voila! The material is designed to also be used as an outdoor rug so they are hard wearing and easy to clean, they don’t shed and are stain resistant. You can find these in a range of plain designs or geometric patterns for a bit of fun.

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Then you have your cotton and wool rugs. Whilst these are at the higher end of the price point, wool rugs in particular are extremely hard wearing and a good rug can last you 50 plus year. This is probably not high on your list of priorities if like me you change décor every 3-5 years! They are on the other hand flame resistant unlike the highly flammable synthetic materials and lets be honest they do feel softer and more luxurious to walk on than their synthetic cousins.

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I’m currently thinking of updating my small apartment galley kitchen and a new runner might do the trick. I have a synthetic grey one from IKEA at the moment that has been turned around more times than I can count and after 3 years its starting to look old and tired. I’m leaning towards a wool one this time with a bit more color. I love the CB2 blue asa rug (top right). I like its traditional style look but think the colors give it a modern feel. The gray will balance the stainless steel and gray quartz countertops and the blues and yellows will make the white lacquered kitchen cupboards pop. Overall I think it will tie in nicely with the mid century feel of the apartment that I am going for. My only concern is that it will be too dark. Oh well I guess one can always return it and try others. Happy running!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let it shine

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Growing up in Sydney, warm sunny days were the norm more than not. They were never absent long enough to be missed. Moving to England in my early twenties I learnt that warm sunny days were a rare gift from the Gods. Now living across the Atlantic in Boston warm sunny days are something I look forward to. Here the seasons are marked by extreme changes that are hard to miss and after each winter I get that longing feeling for Spring. Its that same anticipation you felt as a child waiting for Christmas or your birthday to roll around again, knowing it would come but just not quick enough. This week (Tuesday to be precise) was when Boston began to shine again. The trees are green,  the flowers are blooming (along with my allergies), the boats are back in the water, al-fresco dining is back on the menu along with a clean crisp glass of Rosé and more importantly people are shining once again.

It was with this renewed gusto that I set about transforming my 50 square foot balcony space into a serene oasis suitable for enjoying long lazy morning coffees, sipping cocktails with girlfriends, enjoying long family dinners amidst the warm sea breeze, loosing myself in a good book, it was to be my place to shine. But who was I kidding? this was not so much about my longing for the impossible (I mean we all conjure up this space in our minds, right?) but more my chance to hide from sight the boys skis, sleds, lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, baseball bats, cricket bats, basketballs, soccer balls, endless array of water guns, beach toys and any other contraptions that a 7 and 9 year old boy requires which had taken over the balcony like a plague. Drawing inspiration from visions seen long ago in my travels  but not forgotten and with a budget worthy of IKEA, Walmart and TJ-MAXX only, I had my work cut out. Ultimately I wanted a space that was aesthetically pleasing whilst also functional, a constant battle when designing spaces in the city with limited square footage, kids and a measly budget.

Overall I think it turned out well, my boys love it, they insist on eating every meal outside which in turn I love as it means the inside stays clean and we can grill every night. My husband even went as far as saying ‘why didn’t you think of doing this sooner’ which I quickly took as a compliment. I no longer have to stare at the plethora of sports equipment through the window and whilst its shining outside I can drink my coffee and sip my Rosé.  So girlfriends come on over and shine with me. xxxx

A wall fit for a gallery

We’ve been in our new apartment for 19 months now which means that is how long I’ve been threatening to put holes in the wall and hang some pictures. My husband gets quite nervous at the prospect as I’m not know for either my patience or ability to measure straight. Like a lot of us out there I’ve also been obsessing over picture gallery walls. The more ideas I looked up the more obsessed and confused I became. I had some very grand ideas using different style frames and objects. In the end I decided to tackle the wall outside the boys bedroom with the intention to showcase both their artwork and photos of the boys and their friends. I used solely the IKEA black RIBBA frames and though I did not intend to  hang photos from ceiling to floor I’m glad I did as I think the end result is quite effective.  The boys love to see their art work on display, I just have to keep reminding them not too touch as I’m not convinced they’ll withstand their little hands. So far they are all still hanging 🙂

Floor to Ceiling Picture Gallery

Floor to Ceiling Picture Gallery

Turning a Swede into a Dane !!

I had been on the hunt for a console that had a Danish mid-century feel to it for a while, constantly scouring the internet as shopping with the kids fills me with certain anxiety. Unless off-course it’s to IKEA where they can be let free in the playspace. Living in a small city apartment with two boys, there is certain criteria that a piece of furniture must fit when entering my front door.

1. SIZE – Small, small and small !!!

2. EASY TO CLEAN – Why do kids insist on touching everything ?

3. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL – How much crap can I store in it ?

4.  PRICE – Limit tears if and when some harm may come to it.

5. STYLE – Must be pretty off course, there will be no compromise on style.

Not an easy task when looking for a specific piece of furniture, but I was up to the challenge.  Inspired by other IKEA hackers and consoles I had seen online, I turned to my favorite Swedish store IKEA. Starting with a white EXPEDIT bookcase as my blank canvas and using the Dumont Buffet from West Elm as my inspiration. Some maple veneer plywood, liquid nail glue and walnut stain later …. The transformation was complete.

My blank canvas

My blank canvas

My inspiration

My inspiration

My transformation

My transformation

I’m very happy with the transformation, personally I think it looks more expensive than it is, more importantly it meets all the required criteria and people who have seen it in person find it hard to believe that it started out as a little white IKEA bookcase. Who knew something so Swedish could look so pretty dressed up Danish !!

You can also check out the console on Jennifer’s you tube video by clicking on the following link http://youtu.be/SAIo7gyttVM

Follow Jennifer’s weekly videos on http://YouTube.com/momcoms

 

Going Green ……

My oldest who is 6 is constantly asking to move out to the ‘country’. The ‘country’ is what he calls suburbia. We live in the city and are lucky to be surrounded by a number of parks and open green spaces. We are even luckier to have outdoor space, by outdoor space I mean a small balcony and roof deck that has me breaking out in hives whenever  the boys are out on it.  But that is not enough, he wants his own backyard !! Having grown up in a house with such a thing I repeatedly tell him that the ‘grass isn’t always greener’. I still fret going to visit my mum for fear that she will ask me to help with the gardening. But his constant requests are enough to flair up the guilt complex and in a feeble attempt to bring a little ‘country’ into our city life, I purchased the cutest little greenhouse from IKEA so that the boys could do a little gardening at home.

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They loved it and best of all it kept them busy on a recent rainy Sunday morning. We planted some strawberry, tomato, cilantro and basil seeds. Unfortunately I must have read them ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ one to many times for they where sorely disappointed the next morning when nothing had grown. I think they where expecting to climb some sort of greenery !! I tried to reason with them ……. if I knew that I could pluck a hen that laid gold eggs from the sky, I would have started planting seeds long ago. They where not amused and my youngest suggested we open up a tin of Heinz baked beans and plant them. We are now on Day 3 and I’m constantly asked “when are they going to grow ?” and “it takes too long, why does it take so long ?”. I wonder how long it will be before I cave and go down to the garden centre and replace them with some established plants. For now our little greenhouse sits pretty on our balcony. This is as a much of a backyard as I can handle !!

 

 

Introducing an IKEA Hacker …..

My friend Jennifer has many talents; she is incredibly funny, is a great writer, accomplished producer and has amazing flair in the art of persuasion. It is this flair that got us into a private Albanian graduation party in New York’s swanky Gavensport Hotel one summers night, the same flair talked me into buying $200 worth of pampered chef goods that I’ve never used and it was this same flair that convinced me into filming a video for her incredibly funny you tube channel. Check it out following link below …… enjoy !!!!

The video features my IKEA ‘hack’ gold tables. You can watch all of Jennifer’s weekly videos on http://YouTube.com/momcoms

 

 

All that is gold DOES glitter !!!

Inspired by the other talented IKEA hackers out there, I decided to try out my first project. I had been looking for a pair of  gold coffee tables for the living room for a while now and hadn’t quite found what I wanted at the price I wanted.  I started off with the IKEA VITTSJO coffee table and some gold paint ………. The stuff is toxic but oh so pretty..

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Not quite the finished product as I’m still looking for some cheap scrap pieces of white marble that I can add as a bottom shelf. But overall very happy with the end result.

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