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Friday, July 25, 2014

{five minute friday} Framing Up Some Pinterest Fashionspiration

A lot of home design/DIY bloggers also blog about their fashion. Not me! I like clothes as much as the next girl, but I'm definitely not a trend setter. I am just happy if I catch on to a trend before it's already "so last season."

I tend to get into a rut and don't try new things when it comes to fashion, and this is especially true when it comes to scarves. Last summer I showed you how I turned cabinet pulls into scarf hangers. Getting my scarfs out of a drawer and hanging up where I can see them has really encouraged me to wear them more often, but I tend to wear them the same way all the time.

One of the first things I ever pinned on Pinterest was an image from showing 40+ ways to tie a scarf. But even after pinning it, I continued to wear my scarves one way and only one way because I never take the time to pull up Pinterest when I'm getting dressed. Well, I've finally found a way to solve that problem by printing out the image, framing it, and hanging it in my closet alongside the scarves.

I picked up an 11x14 frame with an 8x10 mat on clearance at Michael's yesterday, and came straight home to print the "knot guide" from Pinterest. This could have been a "one minute Friday" project, but because the image was long and thin, it took me an extra few minutes in Photoshop to do a little cutting and pasting to move the bottom couple of rows of scarves to the right side - making the image better proportioned for my frame.

Even with the Photoshopping that I did, it still took me only about five minutes to print the image, stick it in the frame, and hammer a nail into the wall to hang it.

I no longer have any excuse not to try new ways of wearing my scarves.

Many of the "knots" are easy enough to figure out just by looking at the images, but for those that require a bit more explanation, I'll now be motivated to pull up the tutorial on my phone rather than just going with my old standard.

Pinterest is awesome, but it can be easy for things to get lost among your hundreds or thousands of pinned images. This weekend, I challenge you to take a few minutes to think about what you've pinned on Pinterest that would serve you better if you printed it and placed it somewhere that you'll see it every day. Maybe it's printing out a recipe that sounds delicious and hanging it on the bulletin board in your kitchen, or maybe it's printing a motivational quote and framing it for your desk. Leave me a comment and let me know what you decide to print!

{Denver style} The New & Improved Union Station and the Crawford Hotel

Although I am not currently practicing law {since I am staying home with my boys for a couple of years}, one my favorite parts of my job representing metropolitan districts was getting an inside look at some of the major development and redevelopment projects happening around Denver and throughout Colorado.

Last spring, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take a hard hat tour of Denver's Union Station mid-renovation {and, of course, I blogged all about it}. Ever since that time, I have been eager to take another tour as soon as the renovations were complete. The official grand opening of the new and improved Union Station is tomorrow, but I spent some time there last weekend, so I'm excited to give you a glimpse inside!

Denver's Union Station originally opened in 1881, but was rebuilt in 1894 follow a devastating fire. Union Station was in its prime during the 1920s and '30s, but as train travel declined in the second half of the 20th century, so did Union Station. Beginning in the late 1980's, the City and County of Denver and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) began making improvements to the Union Station site to accommodate bus lanes and light rail transit. Read my original post about the Union Station redevelopment plans to learn more history and see some historical photos.

Then in the early 2000s, numerous entities began working together to plan for the future of Union Station. The plans included major renovations to the historic train station, as well as converting the surrounding 19.5 acres into a transportation hub to accommodate pedestrian traffic, bicycles, taxis, pedicabs, motor vehicles, the 16th Street Shuttle, the 18th Street Circulator, RTD regional buses, intercity buses, light rail, commuter rail, and heavy rail. Read my prior post to see illustrations and renderings of the Union Station site plans.

The front, center facade of the building that faces Wynkoop Street does not look drastically different than it did before the renovations.... 

...but on the other side of the station it's an entirely different story!

A new open-air train hall with a canopy that rises to 70 feet on the ends, and dips to 22 feet in the middle, provides shelter for passengers while preserving views of the historic station.

This is what it looked like when I visited last March when the structure was in place, but the canopy not yet on.

I always love the contrast of modern construction alongside historic architecture, so I just couldn't stop taking pictures of the juxtaposition of Union Station and the canopy structure.

I am excited about the transportation aspects of this project and what they mean for the future of the city and surrounding region, but I am equally excited about the changes that have happened inside the station! Union Station's Great Hall, which has always served as a waiting area for train passengers, is now stunningly beautiful. The before and after photos are a real testament to the power of white paint and the importance of great lighting!

Here's the before picture from my hard hat tour in March of 2013, and the after from last weekend...

The developers envisioned the Great Hall becoming Denver's living room, and from what I observed last Saturday evening, this description is right on. Couples and small groups of friends were stopping to mingle and take it all in on their way to dinner, and a bit later crowds of people were passing through as they arrived via lightrail for a night on the town. And all of this on a night when the Terminal Bar, the central feature of the Great Hall, was not even open yet, and the seating in the center of the hall was roped off due to to protect the Terminal Bar's recently sealed floors.

I just love the furniture choices throughout the space, and the details that nod to the glory days of train travel really make the renovation feel special. At the Terminal Bar, for example, the old ticket windows have been preserved, and throughout the hall, the signage resembles those would have once included train schedules.

Every detail of the renovated station is just gorgeous! The carved trim was previously painted a dark color, making the intricate details of the columbines barely noticeable, but now that the trim is painted white, these details have become focal points.

I can't get over the new chandeliers! I could have taken pictures of them all day long {and I kinda did}!

The old benches that previously occupied the Great Hall could not be salvaged because they contained asbestos {a discovery that had been made only days before I took my hard hat tour last spring}. While I know many are disappointed that the old benches could not be reused, from the history I have read, those benches did not actually date back very far in the history of the station. I think the darker wood color of the new benches provides a great contrast to soft white paint, and they are quite comfortable!

In addition to the improvements in the Great Hall, the remainder of the building is also now being put to good use!

On the first floor, the north and south facing wings house a number of new restaurants and casual dining options {the Kitchen Next Door, Stoic & Genuine, and Snooze, to name a few}, as well as a coffee shop, an ice cream shop, and retails shops {including the Tattered Cover, Bloom, and Five Green Boxes}. Some of these restaurants and shops were open when I visited last week, while others will open this weekend or shortly thereafter.

We ate dinner at the Kitchen Next Door, and it was so exciting to see the beams that I had photographed during my hard hat tour last year still exposed in the transformed space!

We also took a peek into Stoic & Genuine, where I spotted more beams I recognized. I think the hostess thought I was crazy snapping pictures and muttering about having seen those beam last year!

The second, third and fourth floors of Union Station's north and south wings now house the 112-room Crawford Hotel.

The hotel opened on July 12th, and last weekend Scott and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary with a little staycation at the Crawford. We didn't splurge for one of the more expensive loft rooms on the top level, but our third floor "Superior Classic" room did not disappoint. The room was a nice size, but felt even larger because of the 14 foot ceilings and the floor to ceiling windows.

My favorite element of the room was definitely the orange tufted headboard with the aged mirrored trim!

Another favorite feature was the wood detail overlaid on the frosted sliding door separating the bathroom from the bedroom.

Our room overlooked the front of the station with views of downtown.

The views from our room were lovely, but even more impressive were the views down into the Union Station Great Hall from each floor of the hotel.

On the mezzanine level of the hotel is the Cooper Lounge, which overlooks the Great Hall and sits below soaring arched windows with views of the city.

When we were there, the lounge was only accessible to hotel guests, but I understand that after the grand opening of the Great Hall, the Cooper Lounge will be open to hotel guest during the day and to the public in the evenings.

The Cooper Lounge is furnished impeccably with a wide variety of light-colored upholstered chairs and couches. Fitting to its train station location, numerous vintage trunks and suitcases are mixed in amongst the seating.

We had a lovely time staying at the Crawford, and it was fun to have the opportunity to be among the very first to experience this brand new hotel and to explore Union Station even before its grand opening!

Now I can't wait to bring our boys down to play in the new fountains in front of Union Station some weekend soon!

I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you live in the Denver area, make sure you get down to Union Station to check out the renovated station and all of the transportation improvements. And for everyone else, come visit!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{home tour} Modern Powder Room

The home tour continues, and this week I'm giving you peek into our main floor powder room. {You can also catch up on previous home tour posts here: kitchen, full second floor including boys' rooms, guest room, and laundry room.}

This half bathroom is located on our main floor, just off of our kitchen and around the corner from our entry.

It's a small room, so I can't really show you photos from different angles, but I will show you the before and after, and then walk you through some of the details and the changes we've made to this little room.

When we bought our house, the powder room had beige walls, a beige countertop, an unframed mirror {I know it kinda looks framed in the photo, but that's just the reflection of the door frame}, and a black light fixture with amber colored glass.

For the first three years that we lived in the house, it continued to look just like this, other than some art hanging above the toilet, but when we decided to do our kitchen mudroom addition, one thing led to another, and we ended up making some improvements to the powder room as well.

How did the kitchen mudroom construction lead to upgrading the powder room? I'm glad you asked!

It all started years before when we took a vacation to Costa Rica, and someone {who shall remain nameless} offered to house sit and accidentally sat a hot pot on our grey HanStone Quartz kitchen countertop, leaving a permanent white ring.

A year or so later, the kitchen mudroom plans included tiling our kitchen backsplash, and we knew the time was right for replacing the damaged section of countertop {it would have been much harder to replace later once the backsplash was in}. This meant removing about a six foot long piece of quartz. Since only a small section of the removed countertop was damaged, we wanted to find a way to reuse the remainder. We used one small piece below the cookbook shelves in the new mudroom space, but what to do with the rest?

We had never particularly liked the beige countertop in the powder room, and it always bugged me a little that it didn't match the grey counters in the adjacent kitchen, so it made perfect sense to use the remainder of the grey HanStone quartz from the kitchen in the bathroom! Swapping out the powder room countertop also gave us the opportunity make some other upgrades, including a new sink, faucet and backsplash!

I had always been a fan of vessel sinks, but had been hesitant to add one to our home because I'd heard people complain that they are harder to clean. But since the powder room sink only gets used for hand washing, and not teeth brushing or any other potentially messy activities, I decided to go for it!

The kitchen wall just outside of the bathroom is painted a slightly grey-ish teal, so we selected a very affordable frosted glass vessel sink from Lowes {only $73!} to help pull that color into the powder room. Then we selected a Price Pfister Kenzo vessel faucet that has a waterfall-like spout. Because of the depth of the vessel sink, we had the faucet installed to the right of the sink, rather than centered behind it.

We also dressed up the new countertop and sink with the addition of a tiled mosaic backsplash that features a combination of glass tiles in shades of teals, greys and black, as well as a few stainless steel tiles here and there.

We decided to keep rolling along with the powder room updates by also replacing the mirror and light fixture.  Since the bathroom has very high ceilings, we searched quite a while before finding the perfect mirror for the space. Most framed mirrors we found were either too short to fill the space. Or, if they were tall enough, they were also too wide. At last we found a great mirror on clearance at West Elm that had just the perfect tall thin proportions. The mirror's dark wood frame also ties in nicely with the dark cabinet and the other wood furnishings on our main floor.

With the new frosted glass vessel sink in place, the old light fixture with its amber colored glass had to go. After looking at what felt like a million light options, we selected a chrome fixture that provided the sleek, modern look we were after.

Room by room we are banishing the beige from our house, so of course this room also had to get a new coat of paint. Because the room is small, we wanted to keep it really bright - and what is brighter than white? Rather than a basic white latex, we decided to up the ante with Shimmer Metallic Paint in Snowflake White from Modern Masters.

We started by priming the room white, then applied the shimmer metallic paint using the recommended metallic paint extender.

The shimmer metallic finish is very subtle, but it really does help to brighten up the room and make it look a bit more dressed up than a standard flat or satin white. The paint looks a bit pinkish in these photos, but that's just due to the challenges of photographing in a space that gets zero natural light. The walls really are a nice, soft, shimmery white.

Finally, let's talk about the art above the toilet. These are my own creation, painted on thick stretched canvases in colors selected to tie in with the decor of our kitchen.

These paintings were very simple to do {I'll share a tutorial soon}, but they are very personal! Each of the white circles are actually sections of newsprint taken from the many published reviews of my husband's theater performances. {Have I mentioned before that, in addition to his other career, Scott performs professionally in plays and musical theater throughout Colorado and beyond? I'll have to tell you more about that later!}

Thanks for joining me on the quick tour of our small powder room.  It's come a long way since its builder-beige roots and I am really happy with the way it turned out! Don't forget to that you can tour more of the house on the Home Tour page, where I'll be adding a new room each week!

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