DIY Concrete Coffee Table

It is a matter of fact that no coffee table is currently safe in my home. We have been through 4 coffee tables in the past 4 years. Upholstered ottoman - destroyed. Glass Noguchi style - scratched. Metal industrial cart - scratched and stained (?!). Wood top - dinged. The latest coffee table is our wood one which is the perfect size and style for our living room and I just couldn't give up on it yet, especially not knowing what to replace it with that would stand the abuse of small children. My temporary solution is concrete refacing. Let me show you how in a few simple steps.

So easy a child can do it.

So easy a child can do it.

1) Remove table top from base,

2) Sand table top with rough sand paper so concrete mixture has something to stick to.

3) Apply concrete mixture (we used Cement All which is a rapid drying thin set mixture) with a trowel. Four parts cement to one part water.

4) Let dry. Apply another layer or two.

5) Let dry again (as fast a san hour but I let it set overnight) and sand it to a smoother finish.

6) Seal it for a little gloss and protection.

7) Reattach to the base and abuse the heck out of it.

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A funky tactile rough and smooth texture on the surface.

A funky tactile rough and smooth texture on the surface.

I don't expect it to last very long before its starts chipping. But this solution will buy me some time to find the "perfect" table or a more hardy wood top, cut to size. I do like the organic meets minimalist look it has going on, that it was a family project. 

Worth Noting 02

Friday already? Sure is. Some note worthy ideas that have been stuck on my mind, in a good way.

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1) Earthquake in LA + St.. Patrick's Day this past Monday? Um sure, why not. It will be a while before I forget that. On a lighter note, I wrote about decorating with green over at the Better By Design blog.

2) Homedrawn is the instagram feed of Christina Banos of all the highly coveted designer home goods she would like to have in her home. If you can't afford it, isn't illustrating it the next best thing? Brilliant.

3) Typically I would not describe myself as a Beyonce fan. More of a KCRW type. But her one song Drunk in Love is mesmerizing to me. Its sounds so different than any song I have heard with its mix of hi-low, genre alluding yet explicit sound.  I dig it.

4) This bohemian Venice family featured in Kinfolk is just too effortlessly cool for school. Style jealousy.

5) The order has been placed for this jaw dropping UonUon wood grain graphic ceramic tile on one of my current projects. We'll see the results come July. 

6) There is one massive beachfront house as you walk along the Strand in Manhattan Beach that boggles the mind in its sheer beauty and size compared its very well heeled and well designed neighbors. Every time I walk by I try to figure out who lives there and how it came to be. The mystery lives but at least I found out who the architect is. Michael Eserts is one talented dude.

7) Its nice to know he can do some more humble designs too. Drool.

March Madness

Oh March, you confuse me. You're hot and you're cold, you're yes and you're no, you're up and you're down, you're in and you're out. No wait, that's Katy Perry. Regardless, you are a weird month and I'm glad to see you are more than half over. Spring is around the bend so I've been bringing a little green indoors and I plan on auditioning another new houseplant or two soon.

It also means some sprucing up around the house, more so than usual. Deeper cleaning, new accents and needed accessories, and art. More on that when it comes together and I consider it "done". For now, a little floating shelf in Ilana's room that illustrates my notion of home: cute, comforting, minimalist.

The kitty bank we picked up for $1.50 (!) from Little Tokyo West because a girl has to start saving her pennies. The giraffes embody Ilana's notion of family (mommy, daddy, baby), and her favorite bedtime books are close at hand.

The kitty bank we picked up for $1.50 (!) from Little Tokyo West because a girl has to start saving her pennies. The giraffes embody Ilana's notion of family (mommy, daddy, baby), and her favorite bedtime books are close at hand.

Croma Express Kitchens

Wow?! This is Ikea? I'm blown away by the jaw droppingly gorgeous kitchens designed by Chroma Express with Ikea cabinets. It goes to show you how with a few small details like high end drawer cabinet hardware, luxury tile back splashes, and good styling a basic affordable Ikea kitchen set up can really look like a million bucks. The company has a neat model by which for a small fee you are provided with advice on finishes, a layout you can take to Ikea for ordering the right components, and specifications for materials from other suppliers. A great resource and inspiration for designing your own Ikea kitchen.

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Trends for the Evolving Kitchen

Kitchen renovations can be very costly; one of the biggest expenses when planning your remodel. Custom cabinetry, counter top material square footage, and new appliances add up quickly. Before you impart on planning your new kitchen, you want to make sure that you aren't putting money into something that will feel dated or worse, disfunctional, after a short time in use. Luckily for you, I have outlined some key considerations when designing a modern kitchen over at the Better By Design blog with some killer kitchens that exemplify :

  • an open space plan
  • elimination of upper cabinets
  • clever storage solutions
  • concealed appliances
  • unexpected finishes

And be sure that I practice what I preach and am incorporating all of these elements in the kitchen currently under development in Encino.

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Anatomy of a Room: Blogger's Corner

Sometimes, and only sometimes, when I see a home tour of a blogger I admire I am mildly disappointed that their real life digs don't line up with their excellent taste online. This was not the case with the home of Kate Arends of the lifestyle blog Wit & Delight. Her home is an immaculate blend of old and new, high end and thrifted. It is simple in the best possible way. I liked this bright little corner best and if you were keen to recreate it, here is how.

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Worth Noting 01

Truth be told I scan hundreds of images each week but only a few really stick with me. A collection of items worth noting and sharing with you.

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1) The Folk Fibers Denim Quilt has been an obsession of mine. I love the gradient shades of blue from worn jeans turned into a simple quilt. I can attempt to DIY, but my talented mother in law has hinted at making me one for my birthday. So I shall patiently wait.

2) Kerf Walls are a quintessentially cute and customizable plywood wall storage system I discovered during Modernism Week.

3) Which reminds me, I have been intrigued by walnut veneer on plywood as a kitchen cabinet solution. Examples here and here got my attention.

4) This minimalist Manhattan pad of photographer Alice Gao has made the rounds on the interweb, but I am still quite impressed with how airy and collected it all feels with so little square footage.

5) The Fire basket designed by Norm Architects for Menu is genius and the must have outdoor living accessory for this summer in my opinion.

6) Speaking of indigo blue, Urban Outfitters has a limited line of Shibori inspired bedding that would go so well with my future denim quilt.  

7) I think I heart camping now, and this T shirt will prove my point.

8) I love a good studio tour and One Kings Lane did a nice one for All Roads Studio. Weaver Janelle Pietrzak gives an inside look into how her awesome collection of groovy wall hangings come to life.

Back from the Desert

Happy Friday all. Having just returned from a mini break in the desert I feel like I am playing catch up while everyone else winds down.  I have more blog posts I plan to share with you, but for now a recap of our desert escape.

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The idea was to tie in an intergenerational camping trip with Modernism week in Palm Springs. We did indeed rent camper vans from Escape Campervans and spent 2 nights in Desert Hot Springs and 1 in Joshua Tree roughing it. The camper vans came equipped with all the gear we needed which was a low stress way to ease into it, but to be honest I was not psyched about sleeping in the back of a van at night. I felt more like a homeless person than someone communing with nature. Boo hoo. We did get a lot of positive attention from fellow campers for the hand painted murals on the side of the vans.

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To balance out the camping, I insisted we stay at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and spend a few days partaking in the lux accommodations, the loungey pool scene and some of the Modernism Week events that were going on about the town. The hotel grounds are always relaxing and inspiring to me, making me feel like a hippy living on some sort of artful commune, the people hanging around very friendly, and there seemed to be a ton of kids this time. This hotel is seriously one of my happy places and always a good time.

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My kids loved it and it was hard to leave, but we squeezed in a little more adventure in nearby Joshua Tree. Who could resist all those gorgeous rock formations? Scrambling up and around the large rocks and hiking through the valley was fun for all. We really went all out camping in Jumbo Rocks, a pristine site, with no running water or electricity our last night. A very memorable trip and a good recharge.

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Oh, and don't forget the date shakes. So good.