Christmas Decor

I’m only a month late, but I’ll try to catch you up on everything we’ve been up to. First we had a spectacular Christmas. We hosted a wine party for friends early in the month and then Mr. S&P’s mom came for a Christmas visit. Between both events, we wanted the house to look extra nice this holiday and we put a little extra effort into the decorations. With the addition of our new pup, Berti, in early October, our little Arizona house was feeling very full and festive this year.

I added evergreen branches to a pot along with red cyclamen. These were scraps cut off from Christmas trees as they were packaged up to go home. Usually you can ask the guy running the lot if you can take them and they’re free!



Earlier in the year we painted the front door jet black with a high shine lacquer. The wreath looked great hanging on it.
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I got this idea from a Pottery Barn catalog. I hung wreaths in the middle of the big dining room windows with shiny gold ribbon.



Everyone in our neighborhood replaces their garage lights with red and green bulbs for the holiday. We liked the idea, but we make sure they’re on the right nautical sides  for port and starboard (red, right, return!)





Greeting cards are one of my favorite holiday traditionals. I love seeing everyone’s kids and pets on their cards. It can be tricky to display them, but I came up with this trick: hang a piece of ribbon straight down a section of wall. Staple the cards to the ribbon as they are delivered. You have a great display of all the cards and it’s easy to toss when Christmas is over!



My aunt baked these hermits and sent them in the mail with a note saying she read that hermits travel well. They do! We enjoyed them all week long and it was a nice treat to have baked good from family.


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Kitchen Decisions

This past weekend Mr.S&P and I checked out some countertop and backsplash tile options at Daltile in Phoenix. We were looking for a white or light colored granite and some subway tiles to match. While at first I was set on white backsplash tiles, I’ve also seen a couple of pretty grey options that I think would look amazing.

This page from the West Elm catalog is my kitchen inspiration right now.


Our counters will be light, but I love the white cabinets with the warm iridescent grey backsplash tiles. We’re adding open shelving like this next to the stove to make cookbooks, mugs, dishes and other “displayable” items readily available.

While I’m still going to check out a few more granite and tile places, here are some options we’ve narrowed it down to:

#1 Choice – Delicatus White. Love all the movement.



Choice # 2 – Bianco Romano



Choice #3 – Carrara or Calcutta Gold Marble. I love the all white look, but I’ve heard marble, even seal 10x, wears hard in the kitchen. The White Carrara would match our current kitchen island.

ImageIn our old condo we had Kashmir White Granite and I loved it, but we’re going to try something new this time around.


But now for the backsplash tile…. I’m still searching for something like the tile in the West Elm catalog, but we also found some other great options ranging from a plain white subway tile to light grey and warm grey to a white gloss subway tile with a beveled edge. We’re leaning towards the beveled edge just because it would be different and really add some structure to the kitchen.


Hopefully I’ll find some more options to play around with, but right now the Delicatus Granite with the Beveled White Subway tiles is in the lead!

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Feeling blue… house paint, that is!

We recently acquired an extra bed from some friends who were moving, so we decided to take one of the extra rooms upstairs and turn it into a second (yes, we have multiple) guest room. I’m not planning to go overboard with this room, just make it functional in the off chance we have multiple guests at one time.

Since we’ve painted pretty much every color in this house except a true blue, I figured it would be a good color for this new room. I started with some light and medium blues, but quickly gravitated towards a darker tone. They say that painting a room darker actually makes it look larger. Who would have guessed? These were the candidates:


The colors don’t really show up true in this photo, but we decided on the darkest: Nocturnal Sea. It’s a really rich navy that I think will work well no matter what the room ends up being in the long run.

Resources: Behr Paints: French Country, Americana, Neptune Blue and Nocturnal Sea.

While we were testing out the blues for the guest room, it inspired us to paint the outside of the front door. While I’m sure the HOA wouldn’t approve any of these colors (they only like tan), we’re going with it anyways. If they send us a note, we can always paint over it (with tan).


I used the samples for the bedroom paint on an old piece of moulding and then coated them with a gloss spray lacquer so it has a super high sheen. I’ll get a high gloss paint for the door and then do an extra coat of gloss. The only new color in this bunch is Rain Storm, a greenish peacock blue and the one I’m leaning towards.

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August 7, 2012 · 3:43 pm

Living Room can now be lived in

It’s been a busy spring and summer, so I haven’t posted as often as I should. Mr. S&P and I spent the month of July in Massachusetts soaking up the sun and sand as well as picking up design ideas. But before we left, we put some final touches on our living room, one of the last rooms to be decorated. While we’re still looking for some wall art and small decorative items, all the big stuff is now in place.

We started by painting the backside of the front door a teal color to match the dining room rug. I still don’t know if it will stay this color forever, but for now it’s adding some life to the room. 


The rest of the room plays off our grey neutral color scheme with dashes of teal and coral. We ordered a roll arm sofa, which has a bit more sophistication for this formal living room. The coffee table is a leather tufted ottoman, which is topped with a tray we found at Cottage Furnishings in Laguna Beach, CA. 

I also grabbed a couple great cube ottomans which can serve as extra seats or tables for company from Homegoods. 




Sofa: Carlisle Roll Arm in Dark Heather Grey Velvet, Pottery Barn

Chairs: Lorraine Chair in Sand, Restoration Hardware

Rug: Color-Bound Chenille Jute Herringbone Rug in Cream, Pottery Barn

Ottoman Coffee Table: Bently Bonded Leather Square Coffee Table,

Ottoman Cubes: Homegoods

Whitewashed Tray: Cottage Furnishings

Side Tables: Tanner Nesting Tables, Pottery Barn

Lamp: Cole Task Floor Lamp in Bronze Finish, Pottery Barn

Curtains: Pavillion Stripe Silk Taffeta Draperies in Slate, Restoration Hardware

Entry Hall Mirror: Large Trumeau Mirror, Restoration Hardware

Wall Colors: Almond Wisp, Behr and Slate, Restoration Hardware.

Door Color: Arrowroot, Martha Stewart Paints

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Dining Room (mostly) complete

We’ve been in the house for almost seven months now and we’re finally feeling like we’re making real progress. With the floors and paint done, we finished up the dining room this weekend. I’m still looking for a new table cloth or runner to add some color, but it’s now a room we can really enjoy! While the room is pretty large with a tall ceiling and large windows, we wanted it to feel warm and cosy. We went with warm brown colors in both the rug and drapes to achieve this (all are from Pottery Barn). The mid-centurn modern light is from West Elm and I picked up the mirror set from Ballard Designs. The mirrors really reflect the light and make it feel like their are windows on all sides of the room.

Some before and after photos:

















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Community Dinner at Liberty Market

This past Monday, Mr S&P and I finally scored seats to Liberty Market’s monthly Community Dinner. Each month, the chef prepares a pre fix menu wrapped around a theme. Everyone sits at large banquet tables where you can talk and meet your neighbors.

This month’s theme was “Double Market” meaning they took food from the Gilbert Farmer’s Market, which meets nearby, and brought it to Liberty Market to make dinner. Everything was fresh and local from the great vendors at the farmer’s market.

The chef prepared six courses, plus two amuse-bouche surprises: beef tartar with potato crisps and an orange beet smoothy. The courses were served with local Arizona wines.

Mr. S&P and I often visit the farmer’s market for not only veggies, but cheeses, pastas and meats as well. It was great to see how you can take these foods and combine them into really interesting recipes. Chef stopped by the table before each course to discuss what was coming out and share his thoughts on preparation and presentation.

Liberty Market is one of our favorite restaurants in town. In a place that feels very “new” and “big box”, we love supporting local businesses. The whole experience made us feel like we were in a small town instead of the very large town, population wise, of Gilbert.

First up was a delicious cauliflower soup drizzled with Lemon Olive Oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill. It was light and fresh with just a hint of creamy butter.







Then came a salad with duck. It was super moist and delicious.








The sweet potato ravioli was definitely the best. It was dressed in a delectable brown butter sage sauce. My only complaint is that there weren’t more of them on the plate!







I do not like salmon, so I didn’t eat much of this course, but Mr. S&P said it was fantastic.










I did eat the braised veal shank, which was cooked to perfection and dressed in a fabulous wine sauce. All in all, it was a fabulous meal and we’re hoping to make a repeat appearance at the next dinner!



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Almond Wisp and Slate Paint

A lot of people come across my blog because they’re looking for real world examples of paint colors. The two colors I used for the main areas of the house were Behr Almond Wisp (which can be found at the Home Depot) and Restoration Hardware Slate for the stair accent wall and upstairs hallway.

Because our house was “very tan”, we wanted to change the whole feel and go with warm greys. Colors painted on our walls tended to be “cooler” on the wall than in the can, so I went through a lot of different paint samples before settling on these two. The Slate has a real brown undertone that keeps it from looking hard and cold. Almond Wisp is beige by all accounts but takes on a light warm grey color on in the walls of our house.

Both Home Depot and Restoration Hardware sells samples of their colors, so I highly recommend painting a test patch before you make your final decision.

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