I have emerged from the shadowy depths of baby hibernation a butterfly transformed by your kind comments. Thank you for reading all about my room tour last week, and double triple googleplex thank you for letting me know you'd like to see more of them. I'm working up a tour of the nursery for next week, so please do tune in for that there goodness.

Today is not so much goodness. Both kids have/had crazy high fevers and I've gotten 4-5 hours of broken sleep every night for a week. Right about now I'd like to punch winter in the face. Since winter is an intangible being with no face to punch, let's talk kitchens for a minute or two.

You knew it would come to this, right?

So, Ben and I tried to strip a door in the hopes we might turn our dated glossy honey oak cabinets into something with this vibe:

And the door laughed in our faces. I'm guessing the finish applied to our cabinets is some kind of super space age polymerized diamond hard coating designed to resist grease and terrorists, because it is NOT COMING OFF. At least not like it does on tv, when you apply the stripping compound and 72 layers of paint slough off in one fell swoop, revealing clean and sparkly wooden goodness beneath.

First we tried denatured alcohol, then we tried lacquer thinner. Then we glopped on the citristrip and left it on for 30 minutes. Then we glopped on more citristrip and left it on overnight. Then in desperation we tried acetone. Basically, we dumped every chemical we could find on that door and only a fraction of the finish was removed.

And so, paint it is.

I'm pretty sad and keep mooning over this kind of stuff:

But maybe for the next house.

I did consider trying to copy this look by refacing our cabinets, but I think it's just not financially feasible. We may as well gut the kitchen and rebuild at that point.

Sadly, we are not rich. We're real people on a stupid real budget that makes me real mad. But at least we have a house and food and cars, so it's time to get over it and move on. Maybe to this?

But with light uppers, yes?

I'm still pricing out replacing our doors with paint grade shaker style doors. What we spend on new doors miiiigggght save us a few bucks in paint labor. Maybe. I'm not sure if it's going to be worth it or not.

While my kitchen plans continue to incubate, go check out the power of paint over at Styled Thing:

Not too shabby, Miss Julie.

See you dudes next week for the next tour.



New Blogs on the Block

This month has been insane in the membrane:  In addition to starting my new gig, I'm also preparing for the onslaught that is SXSW.  Not only am I helping a client plan the free booze and music party of the century (more info to come on that), but I've also been asked to speak on a panel during the interactive festival.  The gold all-access pass I receive in exchange for 55 minutes of discussion almost makes the anxiety worth while.  Needless to say, between working, planning, and biting my nails, I've not had much time to do the thing I love most:  catch up with all you dudes.  Luckily, I was able to set aside some time this weekend to sift through everyone's design blog posts and to discover some new ones. 

Our good friend, the Nerdy Fashionista, aka NerF, has set fire to her previous blog of the same name, and from the ashes Designers Brew has risen.  NerF (sorry, you're not shaking it) has separated the wheat from the chaff and is now zeroing in on interiors and decor.  Every post to date has left me drooling, especially the one above, which featured a CRYSTAL HORSE in a restaurant restroom.

P.S. How cute is that little pot with all the designy stuff a-brewin in her header?

Another DC favorite blogger, Raina, of If the Lamp Shade Fits has managed to find a bit of time between dishing out snark, chasing around a 2 year old and keeping the peace down-under in order to start up a SECOND blog:  The Daily Bed.  Raina has made a promise, disputed by me, to keep her mouth shut and only post pretty pictures on her bedy-by blog. It's sad, but I tell ya, the pictures she's been posting are more than good enough to make up for the lack of verbage.

Cassie's blog, Roseland Green has only been around for a couple of months, but in that time she's managed to post some of the loveliest rooms online.  Pictured above is my vacation home.

The curated blog,, has much to do with fashion, music, art, and, oddly enough, lots of nudity and very little to do with interiors but I am almost always guarenteed to adore the things they post.  Very rarely do I see goods sourced from other blogs on this site, their content is always totally fresh and cohesive.  Bonus:  unlike Erin and I, they actually send out a really good newsletter.  We'll send ours out... someday.

The new-to-me blog Les Carnets Du Design is filled with lovely interiors and art posts, and, as a bonus, each post is written in both French and English.  Seriously, I have enough trouble crankin this stuff out in one language, I think I'd jump off my roof if someone told me I had to type up each post twice.  I do enjoy pretending to brush up on my French, however:  Ou est la biblioteque?  J'mappelle Karly!  Ouvrez la fenetre!  That's really all I've got.

Speaking of blogs across the pond, Swedish artist, Sandra, posts daily images of her life and work on her blog, Smosch.  Following the photo essays of trips to New York and Berlin makes me want to uproot myself to stow-away in her suitcase.  Not only does her life imitate art, it exceeds it.

I suspect that Pink Wallpaper has been around for a while (hello, Washington Post and New York Times mention), but I've only recently discovered it.  I spent an embarrassing portion of my weekend trying to track down the swan pictured above.  If anyone has a clue where to find it, pretty please let me know... I really don't want to have to make my own.  But I will.

'Cuz Catching Up is Hard To Do

Normally the holiday season is especially slow for me.  Most people are thinking less about having a website designed and more about which Christmas sweater to wear to the big party.  Not this year, ut-uh-no-way.  Everyone and their sister needs a site, or an ad, or a poster laid out.  I've been enjoying filling my days with lots of multi-tasking and creativity, but my RSS feed is suffering dramatically.  The blogs I normally spend half my day drooling over have barely had time for a second glance, backgrounds have changed, trends have come and gone, writers HAVE MOVED TO NEW HOUSES for crying outloud, and I was none-the-wiser.  It is a sad sad state of affairs.  So this year for Christmas I'm submitting a very special request to Sir Claus for a little free time to catch up on some of the blogs I so adore:

It's no secret that I'm in love with blogger-down-under, Raina of If the Lamp Shade Fits, but as it turns out, there is more than one great design blog making it's way north from below the equator.   Designalogue chronicles the creative life and interests of miss Camilla Molders (check out her new wallpaper, above).  Camilla has exquisite taste, an insane art collection and her Aussie colloquialisms are sure to warm your icy heart right up.

Lauren Kilberg of Double Takes never ceases to amaze me with her super sleuthing abilities.  She manages to find thought-provoking images that are both intelligent and witty, her topics range from interiors to art to music yet they always manage to share a common theme and support the strong vision of this always entertaining blog.  I can't wait to catch up!

If it's Hip, It's Here is easily the most well-researched blog in my RSS feed.  Girl, where do you get all your information?  Each post is backed with 18,000 supporting images often showing a designer's process from start to finish.  Did I mention that she almost always debuts something I've never ever seen?  It's kinda unreal.

When I'm in the mood to literally salivate all over my keyboard, I cruise on over to fellow Craft Mafia member Jesse's blog, Bread Baby.  Jesse seamlessly weaves hilarious stories from her past with present day adventures in the kitchen.  Bonus:  each post is anchored with a new recipe.  Jesse is vegetarian and I assume she doesn't mind if I modify each of her suggested dishes with a healthy topping of bacon.

Do you see this screen shot?  You probably think it is just another gift guide.  Wrong.  This is Tula's list of possible gifts to give Amy Sedaris should she ever have the opportunity to meet her in person.  So, are you all with me in realizing that Whorange is one of the funniest blogs ever?  (PS, Tula, your hair looks great today)

When I want to see good design oddities or just be reminded that I live in Texas and it's hot and it never really feels like Christmas, I cruise on over to Even Cleveland.  As a reward for good readership I got to see how to make macaroni snowflakes.

For drool-inducing themed round-ups, Eye Spy is always a great place to stop.  The above is from E.S.'s most inspiring counter-balanced-weighted light round up.  How can something so ridiculously specific be so good?  I don't know, but ohmygod it was amazing.

For great art round ups I turn to le zebra bleu.  C'mon, where else are you going to find the works of renowned artists recreated entirely of vegetables?   These are things we have to see, people.

I'm pretty sure my ovaries did a little kick when they saw the kiddy costumes posted on Please Sir the other day (don't get excited, ma).   Cruise on over there for quick snapshots of art, fashion and interior design.

Exquisite Function is awesome times five.  Yep, there are 5 ladies contributing to this clean-lined design gem and every one of them always posts something great.  How does that happen?

Woodley Park Zoo chronicles the adventures of a new DC resident living on the Red Line.  Her love for the hot pink shoes above and proximity to my old hood keep her near-and-dear to my heart.

Austin's snarky misprint magazine has an addictive blog, which follows, in no particular order:  armored cats and squirrels, motorized unicycles, Norwegian death metal, and drinking pepsi out of cans found on the side of the road.  I read this every day, but mostly I wanted to add it to the list because I know that co-founder, Bryan, will crap his pants when he sees that I've rotated and drop-shadowed his logo.

And finally, when I need to be reminded that no matter how good I'm feeling about myself there is a 12-year-old girl in Chicago that always has been and always will be cooler than me, I turn to Style Rookie.

Right now I'm subscribed to exactly 80 blogs on my RSS reader.  On the rare day when every planet is aligned, I can see all of them, lately, I have seen very few, but to all of you out there that I haven't had a chance to visit lately, I hope to see you soon and I miss you dearly.  Find something cute for me!