Monthly Archives: August 2013

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I am loving… all things Gold

Today is overcast in Phoenix… a bit cool (is it sad that the 90’s feel cool to me, and all I want to do is take a bath and drink tea??!) and just pretty much perfect. This has reminded me that Fall is just around the corner, and is absolutely the BEST time of year here. Warm drinks, scarves, boots (with shorts and tights…duh) – and updating the accessories around the house.

The accessories that I’m seeing are indulgent, textured and rich, and I absolutely love them! Where summer feels light, airy and a bit sparse, I imagine Fall as being layered and comfy, and this is something that is easy to translate into your home. Add to that the fact that so much of what I’m seeing is gold, and you’ve got me hooked. I’m a gold girl, to the core. The more gaudy, the better!

Here is a whole slew of awesome pieces, all from Z Gallerie. They are absolutely amazing for accessorizing while not breaking the bank. Everything in the store is color-coded too, which appeases my OCD in just the perfect way.

Z Gallerie, Gold pillow, Greek Key

Mykonos Pillow 24″

Gold, Octopus, Z Gallerie, Quirky Napkin Rings

Octopus Napkin Ring

Gold Candelabra, Z Gallerie

Phantom Candelabra

What about making a statement before anyone even comes into your house? This amazing gold feather wreath would be perfect on a white, black, grey or blue door. Talk about opulence!

Gold, feather, wreath, z gallerie

Gold Feather Wreath

This lantern would look amazing indoors or out. You could group it with a smaller lantern and possibly a hurricane, all with white candles, and there you go! Perfect little vignette for a gathering of your closest friends!

Z Gallerie, gold lantern, marrakesh

Marrakesh Lantern

You probably know by now how I feel about skulls. Love, love, love them. I don’t know if it’s the kid in me, the macabre creep in me, or the me that wanted to be a forensic pathologist. Regardless, I will never get tired of having skulls of all kinds around. Here are a couple of gold skull items that are calling my name:

Z Gallerie, Crystal Skull

Crystal Skull Trinket Box

Can you even imagine these skull bookends holding up your very coolest books? I am imagining my crime scene photo books held up perfectly between these shiny gold skulls. So awesome!

Z gallerie, Skull bookends, gold skull

Skull Bookends

And how cute is this? The skulls on this pillow are made a bit whimsical by the fact that they are printed in all different directions. They look kind of smiley, no?

Gold skull, skull pillow, Z Gallerie

Skull Pillow 24″

Here is a cool art piece – the gold skull is printed over a mirror, and framed.

Skull, mirror, z gallerie

Golden Skull

Morton Skull, Z Gallerie, Gold Skull

Morton Skull

Now, obviously, you can certainly break the bank a bit at Z Gallerie, if you want to. Along with trinket items for $20, they also have amazing and on-trend furniture. It isn’t cheap, but is sturdy and well-made, and tends to be a bit less expensive than other stores I’ve seen carrying trendy pieces.

Check out this dresser:

Palais Dresser, Z Gallerie, gold

6-Drawer Palais Dresser

I love that the metallic is not TOO gold, and could lean silvery too, depending on what colors you have this with. We’ve talked before about using metallics as neutrals, and this dresser is a great example. There are so many different types of room and color palettes that this could work with!

This black and gold pendant light is hurting my heart! The Greek motif makes it so classy, but the matte black shade keeps it from being too chintzy. Know what I mean? It would be great over a sleek dining table, a kitchen island, a lady’s fancy closet… oh the possibilities!

Meridian Pendant, black and gold pendant, z gallerie

Meridian Pendant

Now let’s talk about gorgeous lamps. If you are still doing the matchy-matchy, all the same lamp shade thing, you’ve got to get out of that rut. Yes, I called it a rut. A lamp is a great way to try a splash of color, a different material, a pattern, or something that might make you just a bit nervous. Try a black shade, try a metallic lamp, try something that doesn’t match at all! It’s just a lamp, and I know you can do it! Now this lamp isn’t “out there” by any means, but it manages to be classy while giving us some va-va-va-voom with the gold base! Stunning!

century table lamp, gold lamp, z gallerie

Century Table Lamp

In the same way that people in Alaska have to pretend like it’s daytime even when it stays dark 24 hours a day, or the same way people in gloomy cities have to have daylight bulbs to fight SAD, we here in Phoenix have to pretend like it’s Fall even when it doesn’t feel like it. Ladies wearing boots over skinny jeans when it’s 80 degrees? It happens. Yes, they are sweating buckets under there, but no, they won’t admit it! I’ve found that a great way to feel like the new season is upon us (and therefore change my summertime sadness) is to change things up a bit at the house with accessories. All of this gold, all of this decadence… it helps me to do just that!

Happy ALMOST Fall everyone!


Sun… sun, go away

Every year about this time, I mentally start to give in to the overwhelming heat of Arizona. I spend June and July talking about moving away and trying to pretend like I’m not actually burning my hands, my legs or anything else touched by the car seats, steering wheel, seatbelt buckle… Then in August, it’s like the heat has brainwashed me and I can’t fight it anymore. It helps that we get the monsoons with awesome rainy days and nights… and that we are that much closer to lovely, lovely winter.

I mean, I’m Irish and German. I’m from the Midwest. I burn easily, don’t like sweating and the only “tan” my legs ever see comes from a bottle. Needless to say, living in a house built in 1926 and made of wood doesn’t do a lot to keep the relentless summer heat out. So rather than continue to fight the inevitable, this year I decided to embrace the whole crazy “outdoor living” idea, and add a patio cover to the back of the house. The back yard faces east, and when it’s already 100 degrees at 8 in the morning, the back of the house gets absolutely cooked by the morning sun.

Phoenix, Historic Phoenix home, Alumawood patio

I did my research on different types of materials. I was leaning towards a standard wood cover because I thought it would match the style of the house better than anything manufactured, but the cost of real wood and the time it would take to complete the structure were more than what we were looking for.

I came across a product called Alumawood, which was pre-cut in panels (quicker installation), lightweight (I had concerns about the house supporting the structure) and never needed painting (hallelujah!). After getting a very reasonable quote, we were told that installation would only take a day and we would officially have a covered patio! Let the installation begin.

Phoenix, Historic Home Phoenix, Alumawood

Hi Harlow!

This back portion of the house is an add-on and houses my work area on the left, and the laundry room on the right. I’ve always felt that it didn’t look quite right, mainly because the roofline doesn’t match that of the original house. I knew that adding the patio cover would tie everything in and help to disguise the mismatched roof line and also camouflage the electric box and hot water heater.

They said it would be done in one day. Impossible, right? Nope. I left for work with no patio cover, and came home from work with a new covered patio! How amazing is that? (Special thanks to my brother who picked up a house key and plugged in the handyman’s extension cord since we have no power outside and had forgotten to leave it plugged in. Gotta love good family, right?)


Alumawood Patio Cover, Phoenix, Historic Home

The Alumawood patio is sloped away from the house to allow for proper drainage, and also has two downspouts. And let me tell you how the rain sounds when it hits the roof of the patio… I could listen to that sound forever.

I haven’t quite figured out how I want to decorate/arrange out here, but I knew I wanted curtains on the patio. Good thing I have a handy husband! A quick trip to IKEA for some cheap curtains and white rods, a couple hours of work, and we now have more livable space and shade for the pups when they’re outside.





Alumawood, patio cover, phoenix, historic home

We’ve been slowly finding pieces to use for seating out here, and also also redid an old bar cart (see post HERE) that will be used for drinks and/or al fresco dinners. I have three boxes of unopened string lights and brand new paper lanterns just waiting to be hung. I can’t wait until it cools down a bit, I can figure out some decor ideas and can invite some friends over for drinks. Hopefully we’ll be wearing scarves when all of this happens. :)

Out with the old?

First, let me say, we’ve revamped the blog a little bit due to issues with subscribing, so if you previously subscribed (before today) please feel free to re-subscribe with your email, or follow me on Bloglovin’! And as always, let me know if you have any issues with subscribing! I hope you like the new design.

Secondly, this post is a rambling mess of ideas and thoughts that I needed to get out and printed. If it makes you feel overwhelmed, just imagine being inside my head!

When we bought our house, the bathroom was not cute. And it has stayed not cute until this very day. My best guess is that it was remodeled sometime in the 40’s or 50’s, with a buttery yellow 4×4 tile wainscoting around the entire perimeter. This was capped off with a black tile moulding, and the tile has definitely seen better days.


Being that it is our ONLY bathroom, I’ve done my very best to ignore it and to try to see the “charm” that the bright tiles bring. Yes, they are kind of cute, but they aren’t in good shape (hairline cracks, some grout is molded, EW!) and whoever installed them hadn’t heard of using tile spacers. For a perfectionist like me, staring at the different sizes of grout lines could absolutely drive me crazy.

I’ve had ideas about what I want to do in the bathroom as far as remodeling goes, so I created two different digital design boards to pull them together.

Here is board #1:

OB-Tavarez Bathroom1

To me, this design is simple and updated, but still keeps the vintage feel. The paint color is just an idea, but you know how I feel about grey! The penny round floor tiles are pretty cute, but I’m not sure about the ones with the black dot in them. What do you think? The white subway tile on the walls and shower surround is a must. Pencil-thin grout lines with a medium grey grout is the way I’m leaning.

So then I started thinking more. I know I want 1-inch tiles on the floor, but what if I did something unexpected? Something like Carrera marble? OK, I know that is getting a little crazy, but it’s absolutely beautiful. There is also the cost-factor. It’s about 4 times as much as the regular ceramic tile, and is also a “high maintenance” floor, because it stains easily, and you have to seal it regularly. Is it worth it to pay more to also work more? I mean, look at how beautiful it is…

Board #2:

bathroom, design, marble floor, subway tile

See how the floor just absolutely sparkles? By the way, I stole the above floor photo from Anna’s bathroom remodel over at Door Sixteen. If you don’t already follow her, you should! She’s amazing!

I kept the pedestal sink and fancy toilet, just because those are already winners in my mind. I also kept the white subway tile on the walls and shower surround, but chose a darker grey grout (just a bit). Instead of the black cap moulding on top of the tile wainscot, I chose white, to simplify the whole look. I also added a black paint swatch because come on, if you want a dramatic bathroom, why not really do it up?

This photo from Apartment Therapy gives an idea of white tile wainscot with black walls. Pretty stunning, right? And they aren’t even using fancy tile or fixtures.



So I know for sure that I want the white subway tile with grey grout. I’m leaning towards a simple floor (so probably no black dot tile) no matter which tile I end up choosing. The ceiling in the bathroom is oddly high, so I’m also narrowing down choices for a pendant light hanging right smack-dab in the middle. IKEA has a couple of inexpensive choices that I think are just simple enough to look amazing. The Basisk is the white one, and the Foto is the silver one.


IKEA Basisk Pendant lightIKEA Foto Pendant light



I had considered a small vintage chandelier to hang, but I’m not sure if I’ll get tired of that too quickly. What about something like this?

small vintage chandelier

The pendant light that I pick will also affect the sconce(s) that I choose. I know we need a new medicine cabinet, but because the space is so, so small, I don’t know that sconces on the side of it will work. So maybe something directly over the cabinet. I also need figure out what kind of towel rack/hooks would work best. Right now we have some IKEA shelving that we use for my everyday stuff (makeup brushes, etc) and for hanging the towels, but they stick out pretty far and the bathroom just doesn’t have the room for that!

So I’m pretty much talking out loud here. Would you keep the yellow tile because of the charm, and maybe re-grout? Would you update the whole thing knowing that it’s a 4-5 day project and start thinking about exactly where in the backyard you are comfortable going to the bathroom?

All of these options and possibilities! They make me nervous, but also really excited for the beautiful room that is just waiting to be uncovered!


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