Bee for Brian's Profile

Display Name: Bee for Brian
Member Since: 8/17/11

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"If I only had a cloche." If you can afford all those shoes, you can afford a cloche.

Shoes as Art: 10 Clever Shoe Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
7/24/14 01:29 PM

The underlying premise here: Many people like styles when they're "fresh" and want to discard them once they become "oversaturated" or "too popular." And that indicates that tastes can be fickle.

Many elements of our homes (furniture, tile, wallpaper, upholstery, remodeling) are relatively permanent, big-ticket decisions. And that indicates that tastes (in these things, at least) shouldn't be so fickle.

Unfortunately, a lot of style publications are written (and read) as if the fickle trends had some enduring and universal value: "This pizza oven is the accessory every backyard must have, even if you don't like making pizza." "Chevrons are everywhere, so if you like polka dots your style is dated and you have no taste." "Can you believe people used to like horrible avocado-colored appliances? Too bad they didn't know about poppy-colored appliances, which will be adored until the end of time." "Marble counters are timeless, which is why they were everywhere 100 years ago, completely disappeared for 60 years, and resurfaced recently when it became apparent that they have always been the only sensible choice."

I've said it before: A trend is not a statement that a design idea is good or bad or lasting or evanescent or right or wrong. A trend is nothing more than a mild shopping alert: "Hey, if your personal sense of decor favors colors like Radiant Orchid, now's the time to stock up, because you will never see as much of that color again in your life. And if you came up empty five years ago when you wanted a brass faucet for your kitchen sink, it's a good time to look again. Congratulations on getting that chevron wallpaper -- revel in it for as long as you like; it was a good investment, since you bought it because you've always liked chevrons and not because of peer pressure."

How Do You Know a Trend is Officially \"Over?\"
7/24/14 12:01 PM

I'd choose the full-size fridge. The function of cabinet storage can be compensated for in other places -- store your seldom-used wok and your once-a-year Bundt pan under the bed or in your basement locker. The function of refrigerated space can't be outsourced like that, and you'll be up a creek if, even once, you find yourself with several bulky things that need to be chilled. I'm thinking of a dinner party where you need to chill the wine AND the turkey AND the tres leches cake.

What's Better in Small Kitchen: More Cabinets or Full-Size Fridge? Good Questions
7/24/14 11:01 AM

If it's a "tin" that can only be opened with a can opener (like the oyster and blueberry examples), the herb planter idea should work fine. But the tea tins might be more liable to rust if exposed to constant moisture. If I were dead set on planting herbs in a tea tin, I'd line the interior with Plasti-Dip.

The paprika tin as a refrigerator magnet is brilliant! I tossed just such a tin less than two weeks ago, and I'm kicking myself.

9 Stylish Uses for Vintage Tins
7/24/14 10:51 AM

Discouraging to see that the closet wall was put up first and then the marble went down around it. That means that if any future owners want to reclaim that window and restore the room to its original intended layout, they'll have to deal with a big gap in the marble, or redo the floor.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/23/14 11:40 AM

My last house had an occasional mouse problem. I kept an opened box of Rid O Rat* in a zip-lock plastic bag, only to find later that a mouse or mice had apparently chewed through the bag to get to the delicious poison.

*It looks just like Skinny N Sweet ... except for the little skull and crossbones on the label.

Which Pantry Items Should I Keep in Airtight Containers? Tips from The Kitchn
7/23/14 11:04 AM

Your look seems to be on the spare side, so empty space is suitable and is certainly better than needlessly filling the space just so you can say "There's no empty space here."

That said, if you have some unaddressed functional needs, sure, put up a little rack for cookbooks, or a rattan bin for rarely used accoutrements.

And if you've accidentally kept your kitchen too spare, that is a nice gallery space for some substantial pretty thing that would be there just to delight. You could use a bit of color and organic shape, so I suggest something like this ceramic rooster -- -- mainly because I wish I had a good space for it.

What Should I Do with Awkward Space above Fridge? Good Questions
7/23/14 10:57 AM

I work in a building with lots of marble floors, and there are large doormats inside every entrance. This plan might be safe enough if they cover a good chunk of the precious marble with a rug or doormat, even though that diminishes the pricey effect and clutters up the "zones" they're creating. Still, that's probably what they'll do after the first rains, especially since this is a space designated for the removal of wet coats and shoes.

The rim of the wooden flooring looks like it has a pretty significant lip. Visitors are likely to be looking at the staircase or the glorious window closet, not the floor, so watch out for tripping.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/22/14 04:10 PM

Like SherryBinNH, I too was around when the original midcentury stuff was still being rolled out, and this blue, although gorgeous, doesn't seem to have anything to do with what we recognize as midcentury modern. Bright primary colors would be more reminiscent of Space Age ultramodern things (say, contemporary with when Lucite really started showing up) or the less tie-dyed end of the Flower Power spectrum. They're beautiful now, but if you put them in an average vintage MCM room they might be jarringly vibrant.

Before & After: Nightstand Nightmare No More
7/21/14 04:12 PM

The blog name is repulsive and vile, but this makeover is coherent and lasting (unlike the idea of doing color blocks or yet another white-and-wood treatment). The color and the legs and the brass tips all belong in the same world as those streamlined pulls. It's like the piece is being allowed to bloom as its true self, instead of having some DIY trend forced on it from outside.

Before & After: A Vintage Dresser Goes From White to Wow!
7/21/14 10:22 AM

Yes, they removed the fan (look at the blog pictures). Fans are helpful if you can keep the windows open, but some are more attractive than this one was.

Fan design is certainly something that has exploded in the past 40 years. My parents bought a house in 1969 that had a ceiling fan, and I remember that it was quite a novelty back then. In fact, it had to be salvaged from a department store, since they weren't marketed for home use. Since then, the styles have multiplied to the point where it's exhausting to shop for them, and there are SO many overly ornate ones. Fan designers do seem to be thinking "Ceiling fan ... old-timey ... brass ... scrollwork ... fluted frosted lamps ... that are etched with sheaves of wheat." Maybe it's cheap and easy to design new versions of fans, and that accounts for the fact that this fixture just keeps adding more novelty varieties and never seems to settle on a few classic, standard, reliable looks.

Before & After: A Dark Eat-in Kitchen Gets Brightened!
7/21/14 10:16 AM

Great house, great style -- full of heritage but not museum-like or slavishly stuck in time. The d├ęcor is flexible enough to include those Mediterranean pieces but not so ironic or "whimsical" that it's been obliged to accommodate, say, a ghost chair.

Question: What is that thing over the pot rack? It looks like a vent, but they have a vent already over the stove. My best guess is "electric giant Saran wrap dispenser," and THAT can't be right.

Jim & Laura's Light-Filled Providence Colonial House Tour
7/21/14 10:04 AM

I'd be interested to know the substance behind the objections to the curved valance. Is it just "That reminds me that the past existed -- I want the illusion that everything is brand new"? Or is it "In addition to erasing all color and organic texture from kitchens, I must remove curved lines because they interfere with my stark vibe"? If there's something "wrong" with the valance, specify what that is. "It looks dated" is not good enough, since many things are valuable BECAUSE they look dated, and so far nobody has proved that obliterating your home's previous heritage is the only path to success.

Also, removing the valance will not "give you another inch of light" unless you are doing the dishes while standing on a chair.

Before & After: A Dated Kitchen's Fresh Face-lift on a Budget
7/21/14 09:54 AM

There's no need to abandon all sense and judgment when deciding what to do with yard sale leftovers. This all-or-nothing, sell-it-or-burn-it, do-not-let-in-back-in-the-house approach is good for some people, but it's not the only way. My neighborhood hosts a yard sale Saturday every year, and I like to participate, so I know I'll have a chance to try to sell stuff again. Some leftovers do go directly in the trash, and clothes tend to go to Goodwill, but I have enough storage space to house several big plastic bins of the better stuff. And when the next sale rolls around, I have a bunch of ready-sorted items that are quick to put out. I've had a box of books in French that have been through at least eight yard sales without selling a one. But I held onto them because Goodwill wouldn't want them, it seemed a shame to just recycle them, and who knows, maybe I WILL brush up my French sometime. But at this year's sale, I happened to get that one special customer, who bought half of the books.

If you're ever planning to have a yard sale again, it might be worthwhile to ignore the purge-it-all martinets and save a couple of boxes of the better stuff. Having a critical mass of items is key to a successful yard sale. People will drive right on by if you only have a skimpy amount of merch, but those pre-sorted bins can easily give you the appearance of having enough potential treasures that it's worth parking and investigating.

After the Garage Sale: What to Do With What Didn't Sell Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer
7/21/14 09:37 AM

"She had even considered dragging it to the curb to give away for free, but it was too heavy to move!" Well, that's obviously not true.

Before & After: From TV Armoire to Built-in Banquette Bench
7/21/14 09:21 AM

We only have to wait another six months and then we will never see leather pulls again.

10 Dresser Do-Overs Anyone Can Handle
7/18/14 12:10 PM

I had wondered about the wisdom of covering the window with a closet, which eats floor space in a small room and eliminates light in a dark room. The snowshoe idea doesn't justify it -- if you have a basement, put the snowshoes there in the summer. Is it that important to keep them near the front door in the summer? The next owners will take out the closet and put up a hall tree.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: Building Back Up Renovation Diary
7/18/14 10:03 AM

If this is something that worries you only when you're gone for a long time, you could shove some heavy piece of furniture against the door, immobilizing the flap of the mail slot, and then go out the back door. Just make sure you're having your mail held at the post office.

How To Make My New Mail Slot Burglar Proof? Good Questions
7/17/14 11:13 AM

Judging from the selection here (and from a Houzz search for "black trim," which happens to include a lot of these very images high in the results), this idea is mainly for use with white walls. If you think you might ever want to change from white, the black trim might limit your options. Black + pastel? Not so great. Black + deep dark color? Possibly chilly or too Goth.

Or you might face having to paint white over black. Painting trim is tedious enough already without having to put on extra coats to cover a dark color. And trim starts to look iffy when the buildup of paint blurs the shape of the millwork. Black trim is a novelty idea that is best left to people who absolutely can't live without it and who are certain they'll be in the house for a long time to come.

Design Dare: Paint Your Trim Black
7/16/14 01:54 PM

The problem seems to stem from the conflict between the desire to be eclectic and the desire to look coordinated. There's only one way it would ever make sense to paint the silver nail heads, and that would be if your room required a lot of other elements that were all a uniform shade of some other metallic, making the silver nails look like a mistake. But since you're not going for that unified look, loosen up and accept that "eclectic" MEANS the silver doesn't have to match anything else.

The key is to make sure it's clear that the mismatching is intentional. Therefore, if you have other metallics, they need to individuate themselves distinctly: Throw in a bit of gold or copper or bronze, but avoid mixing the silver only with nickel or chrome, where it might look like you're trying to match, but failing. To avoid the "sore thumb" effect, don't let any one metallic color gain dominance; if you happen to add chairs with bronze trim, you'll want to toss in some accessory with some copper or gold, just to demonstrate that it's a metallic free-for-all, not a case where some of the metallics "should have been" in the other color.

Keep the old 60/30/10 design ratio in mind. Your sofa will probably supply the 60% silver, you can have a strong but subordinate dose of a second metallic, and an accent in a third metallic will ensure that it all looks harmonious instead of seeming like a fight for dominance.

As for your other issues, it's not too modern at all. I can see it coexisting with either rococo or rustic colonial or deco (but not all three!). The bluish color determines what will harmonize with it, but there are zillions of possibilities so long as you keep a bluish undertone (cherry red, not brick red; aqua, not wasabi) and avoid other grays that might look like they're trying to match.

How To Coordinate with Gorgeous New Slate Blue Sofa? Good Questions
7/16/14 10:54 AM