Friday, July 29, 2011

[ weekend project ]

TO PREPARE for the arrival of our shipment, when our sofa arrives and our beanbags move to their new home on the balcony (I know, it will still be a while), we've decided to put down some snap-together patio tiles on our balcony.

It will be a nice surface to step out onto and for our beanbags to sit on instead of the ceramic tile. I love that they are close to the colour of the wood floors inside and that they create a fun pattern when they're snapped together. And they are easy to unsnap if we decide to take them with us when we leave Dubai.

Actually it's not exactly a time-consuming project - we've already started and we'll probably be done in about a half hour! But in this heat, even half an hour feels like an eternity! Got any fun projects this weekend?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

[ snagging some bargains ]

WHAT DO $10 and Pottery Barn have in common? I know, usually not much. But when the Dubai location has a summer clearance sale in July, it means ridiculous bargains! Get a load of the under $10 goodies I walked ran out of there with:

a couple of buoys...

a bag of beach shells...

some cool tin boxes...

an aqua "coral" cushion cover and starfish pillow...

a cotton curtain panel (for a future DIY)...

a mercury glass ball and hunk of coral...

and some outdoor cushions...

All that for a grand total of $86! Isn't that insane? I felt like the woman on the IKEA commercial screaming "start the car! start the car!" as I left the store!

Don't you just love a bargain? Have you snagged any good bargains lately?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[ nightstand reveal ]

SAY HELLO to my sexy little nightstands! I almost fainted when we found them since I had almost given up and they fulfill everything I was looking for:

not too tall or too low for the bed and lamp
wide enough to hold a few things and in proper proportion to the bed
a light painted finish to contrast with our darker linen headboard
pretty hardware
a lovely shape

I rummaged around for a few pretty bits and bobs to style with for now (since I don't have much here yet)

a mercury glass ball and a couple of books...

a vintage scotch glass with a few blooms...

some ruffled pillow cases and starfish pillow...

I'm really happy with our choice and I can say good-bye to our cardboard boxes!


Monday, July 25, 2011

[ nightstand success! ]

HOW WAS your weekend? Mine was a combination of relaxation and a bit of productivity, especially in the nightstand-shopping department! After almost giving up completely and coming to terms with the the fact that I would be close friends with Mr. Cardboard Box, we fell upon the perfect thing!

I know, I'm such a tease! But that's the only glimpse you get until I have them in place and looking pretty!


Friday, July 22, 2011

[ happy weekend! ]

WELL I CERTAINLY know what I'll be up to this weekend....

I'm hoping to finally find something to act as nightstands! Everything I've seen so far has been either too tall, too short, too narrow, too wide, too dark, too gawdy, too cheap-looking, too expensive...

I'm determined to wrap up the search this weekend and say bu-bye to our cardboard boxes! {Although I have to say that Pottery Barn does have some good quality boxes!}

What are you up to this weekend?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

[ treat yourself for no reason ]

EVER HAVE one of those days when you just feel like treating yourself? No special occasion or anything, just to feel special for no reason at all?

That's how I felt yesterday and so while I was keeping cool in Dubai Mall, I happened to pass by Ladurée and instead of just walking by and admiring those gorgeous macarons from afar, I made a bee-line and stepped inside.

This shop is the epitome of pretty. The displays, the packaging, the gorgeous selection of sweets... how could I not want a tiny taste of it?

I settled on a little selection of 6 gorgeous macarons all nestled in a beautiful green box... chocolat, caramel a la fleur de sel, praliné, café and framboise.

Of course since my motto around here is always "sharing is caring", I did hold-off on eating the entire 6 and shared with my guy.

Have you treated yourself lately?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[ and our choice is... ]

YESTERDAY I showed you some great inspirational rooms using coffee tables and ottomans. All of them lovely, any of them would have been great in our space.

While out shopping, we did come across a couple of great options for coffee tables and thought that was the route we were going to take. Until we stopped to think about how we live in the space.

Since this is the only living space we have, it needs to fulfill all of our needs - that includes being able to kick back and put our feet up. And who were we kidding, thinking that a coffee table was going to do the trick for us? We knew that inevitably our feet would end up resting against the edge of it and so an ottoman won out.

We had a much more difficult time finding an ottoman - for some reason they just aren't as popular around here. And then we happened to wander into Bloomingdales (yes! they have a small store here!) to their furniture department at the back of the store. We don't normally look there because we expect the prices to definitely be out of our budget. And wouldn't you know it, we spotted this baby:

We fell in love with it right away. It was the right size, had a great finish on the legs, had a lovely shape and was done in the same Belgian linen as the bed we bought. It would add a bit of glam to our space without being too girly, wouldn't show dirt and was large enough to fit a good-sized tray on it. It was ticking all the boxes!

It had a Reserved tag on it and my heart sank. I decided to ask the sales person anyway and it was our lucky day - the reservation had expired and it was ours if we wanted it. The price was actually less than we expected and definitely doable so we have now given it a new home.

She has arrived and I think she'll look great on the seagrass rug. While she doesn't quite go with the beanbags right now, she sure is purdy!! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

[ coffee table vs. ottoman ]

I'VE BEEN trying to decide whether to get a coffee table or an ottoman. We've been using an ottoman for many years (a black leather tufted one that I've made slipcovers for) and if I had been thinking straight, I would have had it shipped here. But it's in storage now so we need to decide on something.

As I've been gathering inspirational pics, I've noticed how just the style of coffee table in a neutral space can really alter the feel of the room. In a room of white slipcovers and neutral upholstery, it can quickly go from formal to modern to casual depending on what type of table you choose.

An ottoman can do the same thing. It can make the room feel cottagey, a bit masculine or glamorous.

So what type of person are you - a coffee table person or an ottoman person?


[unknown; brabourne farm; caldwell flake; decorpad; house beautiful;
phoebe howard; 7,8 skona hem; 9, 10 houzz; style at home; country living;
houzz; midwest living; elle decor]

Monday, July 18, 2011

[ IKEA shopping in Dubai and a funny story ]

WE DECIDED to make a quick stop at IKEA on the weekend to pick up some odds and ends and as usual, it was a zoo! It is part of a mall in Dubai so that just adds to the craziness of it on a weekend.

So to lessen the time spent there, my guy decided to go get his haircut in the mall while I roamed around with my list, filling my cart with what I needed, thinking that by the time I'm done, he'll be done and we could skedaddle.

To speed up the process and avoid the herd of people meandering through the showroom section, I decided to take my cart and be one of those annoying people that goes through the store backwards against the direction of the arrows on the floor (I know, I hate those people too but everything I needed was in the marketplace area towards the back end of the store and besides, I certainly wasn't the only one!)

I kept my eye on my phone, waiting for the text from my guy telling me he was done and ready to meet up. After over 45 minutes, I was done with my list and wondered what could possibly be keeping him (his haircuts usually take about 15 minutes max).

So I texted him and waited. Finally the response I got back was "15 min - I'm getting a facial". WHAT? ok, seriously! I thought we were making this a quick stop and you decide to get your first-ever facial while I'm waiting for you at IKEA? By now I was rolling my eyes, itching to get out of the crowded store.

I parked my cart and waited near the checkouts until he finally texted me that he was on his way. When he finally got there, I asked him 'what the heck?' He said that he ACCIDENTALLY got a facial after his haircut!

Oh come on! How do you accidentally get a facial? Well, apparently after his haircut, the barber who spoke little English, was looking at my guy's face and gesturing and nodding. And while my guy thought he was indicating that he'll brush off the bits of hair, the next thing you know, he was lying on his back getting his face steamed and masked and scrubbed and moisturized! An hour and $100 later, he was done.

So that's how he accidentally got a facial. A classic case of lost in translation! What can you do but laugh. (his skin looked great btw!)


Friday, July 15, 2011

[ summer reading ]

IF YOU'RE looking to add a book to your summer reading list, I just finished One Secret Summer by Lesley Lokko and I really enjoyed it. What I thought was going to be just a light read, actually had a bit of a twist to it.

Basically, 3 women from very different backgrounds (one from London, one from NY and one from Somalia) find themselves all married into the same family and they eventually suspect there is something odd amongst the brothers in the family. I won't tell you more than that, but the secret does come out in the end.

This is the first novel that I've read by Lesley Lokko and I'll certainly be reading her others.

Have a great weekend everyone! What will you be reading this weekend?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

[ wires drive me bonkers! ]

DO WIRES drive you as crazy as they do me? My dream is to live in a completely wireless world! In the meantime, we've been shopping for a TV unit to house all of those unsightly components and their wires. I wanted something to fit in this space, low enough to not block the view.

I love the look of the industrial-style pieces at Restoration Hardware and have been hoping that I might come across something similar somewhere in Dubai. We discovered a furniture store here called Marina that carries a few pieces that share that same sort of look as RH and look what we found!

It's a larger version of this side table at RH:

They also had a side table similar (with only one shelf instead of two) so we picked it up as well. And at about 1/3 of the price of RH! Finally our TV will be up off the window ledge and our side table will no longer be a cardboard box!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[ living room story board part 1 ]

PLANNING A space when all you have is an empty room, furniture in transit and ideas in your head isn't the easiest thing. Without key pieces in place to help plan, measure and contemplate, your brain is just swimming with ideas and sometimes you feel like you're going to drown. So I decided to put together a bit of a story board so I can keep my thoughts straight.

Here are the pieces on their way on the slow boat and the new sofa currently on order:

While my guy wants to keep the leather club chairs as is, my plan is to make slipcovers for them just to lighten things up a bit. The little wooden "stump" table will sit between the chairs to provide a spot to set down a drink. Our union jack cushion is on its way from our Ireland apartment and will be great just for lounging on the floor. I'm not sure where the console table will go yet, since my plan is to put the sofa against the wall, but it could work in the dining area or even in the entry. The sofa is a pretty linen and I plan to eventually sew up a slipcover for it too, to help protect it from runaway pizza.

What we still need:

TV unit
side tables
coffee table

Ahhh... that's better. My mind feels clearer already! Now I just have to put one together as we find new pieces and hopefully everything will work together.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

[ over-the-top decor ]

TIME FOR another installment of over-the-top decor. How about a sofa and chair shaped like a picture frame? I could have bought these for our apartment! Was I crazy to pass them up? ;)


Monday, July 11, 2011

[ rug shopping ]

I HOPE EVERYONE had a lovely weekend! As predicted, we scoured the malls for more furniture, etc for our place. We found a few things and just need to wait for them to be delivered later this week. Stay tuned!

One thing on our shopping list is a rug for the living room area. There's a lot happening in the world of rugs right now and I've been seeing some beautiful patterns - geometrics, florals, stripes and the traditional Persians. I have admired so many gorgeous rugs in blogland - the options are endless!

I'm looking at creating a space that says "summer chic" and so committing to a bright patterned rug just doesn't seem practical for me. I love to switch things up so keeping the big pieces more neutral allows me the freedom to change cushions and art/accessories as often as I'd like without worrying about colours and patterns clashing. And when I see rooms like these, it's pretty easy for me to make my choice.

[stettvoll; tracery interiors; unknown; veranda; houseandhome; skona hem; elle decor; 
via chic coles; housetohome; country homes and interiors; house beautiful; 
gerrie bremermann; house beautiful]

Aren't those rooms gorgeous? I love the versatility of sisal and seagrass - it works in the most casual spaces or formal rooms to make them feel less stuffy. And they add such wonderful texture to neutral rooms. 

With our decision made, we started our search. Since most of the rug stores here carry wool rugs in any pattern you can imagine (beautiful, but just not what I was looking for), we were thanking our lucky stars that there is actually a Pottery Barn in Dubai! We settled on their seagrass with a natural twill border - timeless and the smoothness of the weave will keep it looking good for a long time to come.

I couldn't believe a 9'x12' rug would fit in our rental car but we managed to wedge it in and here it is in our space. I love the contrast of it with the wood floors and I think it defines the space perfectly. Now all we need is furniture! Our temporary Fatboy beanbags just don't do it justice!



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