Caton Avenue

Even though we’re not planning to move anytime soon, I like to keep an ever-watchful eye on the Brooklyn real estate market. I’m not sure why, sometimes it feels like self-imposed torture. For instance, a few months ago I came across a property that had me convincing BC we should forget the big wedding and instead buy this house. It was actually affordable – by NY standards, anyways! The property is not too far from our neighborhood but in a bit of a thoroughfare with less shops and stores than we have now. But that was about the only downside. Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce you to Caton Avenue, the Brooklyn house of my dreams.

Aside from the airyness of the space and the handsome exterior, there’s a garage, 4 bedrooms, outdoor space and a full basement that could potentially serve as a rental income apartment. I can’t stop looking at the floorplan without imagining what I’d want to do in that kitchen. See where I drew the two red circles, those areas are my main locations for attack. And since I’m completely consumed with the idea of renovating this property, I thought I’d show you my “plans” for the space. This almost seems sad doesn’t it? Imagining the renovation of a house that’s not yours – sigh. On the upside, it does get my creative juices flowing…

Let’s start with the floorplan. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what I’d want to do. Mainly I’d make a minor tweak to the structure of the pantry so that you have a better view from the front door out the back and, the big change; to blow out that old school wall/bar and replace it with a huge kitchen/dining island. Since there’s little to no cabinet space, the other wall of the dining room would be fitted with custom floor to ceiling shelves framing a dining area.

Here’s a little more detail and visuals on each section of the space.

First order of business, creating that clear line of vision to the back door. And replacing that old wood framed door with something both heftier and more modern.

The kitchen wall isn’t a large space. I’d want it accommodate a larger fridge and a beautiful stove. I love the idea of tiling the wall with shiny, white subway tiles and then using the space to the left of the stove/oven to hang a gorgeous photograph or painting. I really want kitchens to feel like a room and decorated as such.

I’m not sure about the materials for the cabinets/countertop. Maybe a sleek wood with a white granite countertop? Or a matted black with a butcher block wood style countertop?

The kitchen island should feel almost like a piece of furniture, in fact, it could potentially be a huge, salvaged chest that is repurposed and re-designed to accommodate a sink, dishwasher, a bar, and all kinds of other custom elements. I might use different materials than the kitchen wall, but definitely they’d be coordinating.

Then there’s the wall of the dining room. Since the kitchen is so small, I’d create a lot of storage with a built in cabinet/shelf unit that has a center opening for a dining bench. I’d want the cabinets to almost create a frame for the dining bench and table.

As for the dining table, I could go for a chunky, organic wood slab table or something more modern, like the table below from Arta Vironi that I’ve had a crush on for some time! The dining bench should essentially be a sofa. The idea is that the room be fitting of formal occasions, but also be perfect for BC sitting there with his laptop, comfy while he works.

Then, finally, and I don’t know why I didn’t cover this at the beginning but the pantry would feel flush with the fridge and be perfectly organized and functional.

I wish I’d created a kickstarter campaign to buy that house. Wouldn’t you have liked to see that renovation take place?! We have a great deal on our rent so it makes sense to keep saving a few more years before investing in a house, especially with the wedding coming up. But still… It’s hard to believe a property like this will come to market again!

One final note, Salvaged Grace is all about repurposing and preservation, of course, but I also believe in renovations that keep the integrity of a space while making it more modern and relevant. That’s how I’d want to approach this or any renovation; keep the good bones and repurpose (kitchen island) or salvage (cabinets, appliances) as much as possible, but also bring in the right new elements to make a very lovely, modern traditional space.

Caton Avenue photos and floorplan via Halstead. Back Door: See from the front door to back via Heirloom, Modern iron french doors via You are the River/Vogue Kitchen area: White Tile via That Kind of Woman, Cabinets to the ceiling via House and Home, Impressive hood via Little Green Notebook, Large scale framed photo via The Aestate, Wood cabinets via Brabourne Farm, Black cabinets via Two Ellie Island Bar: Furniture like island via CocoCozy , Wood counter and painted Island via House Beautiful, Table lamps of island via Atlanta Homes, Custom elements via Southern Living Custom Cabinets/Shelves: Custom cabinets via Elements of Style, Cabinets frame bench via The City Sage Bench and Table: High back bench via Cote de Texas, Framed bench via This is Glamorous, Dream Table via Arta Vironi, Chair via Nightwood, Sofa via CS Post and Co Pantry: Flush Doors via Southern Living, Highly organized via IHeartOrganizing

House Marks

I have a long list of things I’ll want to do when we own our home; custom shelving, tear down walls, fancy closet systems… and you can bet I’ll also be thinking of ways to leave my mark on our home. Quite literally.

Sherry from Young House Love once wrote about leaving a capsule (or something similar) in the attic of her old home. Abbey from Aesthetic Outburst keeps a record of friends and family’s heights at the door. Carrie from Hazardous Designs posted about the presidential election noted in wood. I can’t even tell you the delight I would have in finding a housemark like any of those in my home!

When leaving a mark you want to last, it must be a challenge to think up a place that won’t be caught in the cross fire of a future renovation or so overt that the next home owners think it needs be hidden. Loose floorboards or tiny holes in the wall seem made to hide “notes to a future homeowner.” And probably the “writings on the wall” should be saved for attic beams or the like.

Have you ever left a “housemark” or found one? I’d love to hear your story!

Hope ya’ll have a terrific weekend!

Repurposing Cardboard for Kids

We decided to ask the gaggle of kids who are coming to our wedding to actually be IN the wedding (a la Kate Moss.) And I have to tell you, I get misty eyed every time we ask one of BC’s nieces and nephews or the kids of my cousin or friends to be in the wedding. The kids have been just so excited that I guess it makes me feel like they may realize (more than us adults who’ve been to so many weddings) what an important occasion it really is. We haven’t finished making all our calls yet (2012 has seriously slowed down the wedding planning) but at this point, we have 3 junior bridesmaids, 3 flower girls, 1 ringbearer, and a bunch of little ones under 3 running around.  I can only imagine how much fun I’m going to have on the dance floor with them all!

While we’re on the subject as kids, we all know that the best toy is a cardboard box and a little imagination. The ideas below are only the tip of the iceberg. And the drums and castle are proof that cardboard and imagination can go a long way for adults as well.

Cardboard Airplane via CafeMom, Cardboard Drums via Leslie Janson, Cardboard Castle via Sugar and Fluff, Cardboard Advent Calendar via Poppytalk, Cardboard Ball Run via Renest, Cardboard Boat via Anthropologie Catalog

The Thonet Bentwood Chair

I wonder if Michael Thonet had any idea of the longevity of his Model 14 bentwood chair design, when it was released in 1859? He was experimenting with bending woods and was looking for simpler and more economic means of production than the traditional methods. He discovered that a solid piece of steamed wood and a metal strap could be bent together in a certain way without cracking the wood, and after being dried out in a jig the wood held its shape. A strong chair could thus be made with less pieces and less joints, with screws replacing glued connections. This process also lent itself to economical mass production.

The Thonet bentwood chair consists of only six components (plus a few screws and nuts) and the design has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 150 years. The chair is simple while still being interesting, lightweight but very durable, and this combination has made it a favorite chair at cafés and restaurants since the 1860s. It was also popular with artists. Auguste Renoir and Toulouse Lautrec both featured Thonet chairs in their paintings and drawings, and Pablo Picasso had one in his studio.

Michael Thonet’s company has now passed through five generations of his family and Thonet bentwood chairs are still popular today. As you can see below, over the years other artists and designers have discovered ways to modernize up this iconic chair.

 Original Thonet via The Old Cinema, Pink Thonet via ABC Carpet and Home, Thonet with Socks via The Design Files, Patterned Thonet via Name Design Studio, Thonet history via Patrick Taylor

Repop NY

Oooh, I’ve been so in love with Repop NY for a super long time. They have incredible mid century and industrial pieces.  But (and I’m ashamed to say this) I just never made it over to their Washington Ave, Brooklyn store. Recently, I saw on their website (that I stalk so frequently for vintage loot) that they opened a Williamsburg store. Ca-ching! I also noticed something in their storage section that needed some checking out. And so, I asked BC to take me on a date night to see The Artist (so good!), which was playing at the Nitehawke Cinema (they serve dinner during the movie – phenomenal), which happens to be a few blocks down from the new Repop Williamsburg. And here are images from the new shop and some pieces I found and love from their online store:

I noticed that Repop seems to have a good number of multiple use pieces right now. A picnic table that folds. A fan in a table. Oh Repop, you know what I like.

And as for that “something in their storage section that needed some checking out”… well, it also needed some having. As in ME, I needed to have it. I’m still working out the styling and decor in the kitchen, but here’s a sneak peek of my new find in action.

Images via Salvaged Grace and Repop NY

Chateau Marmont

Let me preface this by saying “hello, again!” to the Salvaged Grace subscribers who were lost in transition from the old website design to the new. BC saved the day by finally cracking the code to getting the RSS feed emails up and running again. Thank you BC! And WELCOME BACK friends, I’ve missed you! 

One of my favorite movies is Laurel Canyon. It’s a story about a guy and his med school girlfriend who move out to the Laurel Canyon area of LA to stay in his mother’s house for the summer. But, unexpectedly, his music producer mother is still at the house, producing a new album and cavorting with the lead singer/guitarist, who’s a bit cheeky and half her age. And… things get complicated. The cast is unbelievable (Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Alessandro Nivola, Kate Beckinsale), the story is complex and interesting, and the setting, high in the hills of Lauren Canyon, is bohemian perfection.

The story culminates during a party in a suite at the Chateau Marmont. This hotel really doesn’t need any introduction – since the 20’s, Chateau Marmont has been the setting of many of Hollywood’s most scandalous stories . And the elegant, though somewhat shabby, design of the spaces are meant to convey a hotel steep in history.

Below you’ll find images of beautiful Chateau interiors paired with some of the most shocking stories happening offscreen in Hollywood. Glittering as it may be, the Chateau has its fair share of dirty laundry.

Dirt on the Chateau gathered from Wikipedia, Daily Mail, Flavorwire, NY Times, Hotel Chatter. Images via Chateau Marmont. Images (from top) via The Aesthetic Omnivore, Concierge, My Motels, Telegraph, AOL, TripAdvisor, Virtual Tourist

Assemblage Brass Animals

I adore brass animals and they are certainly not in short supply. This is only the tipping point!

Use them to fill space, as paper weights, as part of table centerpieces. The hard part is picking which one to buy!

Have a great weekend! (I can’t even believe it’s already the end of March!)

Animals not shown to size: Unicorn via Etsy, Armadillo via Buffalowinter, Squirrel via Kisslana, Elephant via Tatter and Fray, Camel via LotzoStuff, Pig via ReneeVintage, Swan via VintageEclecticity, Rabbit via SweetPotatoCake, Fish via BuffaloWinter, Snail via ItchforKitsch, Grasshopper via CheerfulOwl, Quail via Kisslana, Dove via Kiteless, Giraffe via HounddogDigs, Geese via CraftandGather, Rooster via BuffaloWinter, Peacock via G3QDesigns