Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Warm versus Cool

 
This is what I had in mind for the bathroom renovation. I'm only looking at the marble counter color and the contrasting white cabinets. I've always liked Emperador dark brown because it's "old world". So naturally, to get a nice light effect, I was going to pair it with white tiled walls and an beige tiled floor.


The look of white cabinets, after having dark or beige ones, is a refreshing change and will create a major impact. It also works the other way around. If you're tired of your white cabinets, do wood grain in modern straight lines. it'll be a welcome change. Going from dark to light, and from light to dark--It's all just a cycle.

 I totally love this cool blue-grey look

Anyway, mom mentioned that she really likes her blue-grey towels and bathmats and wants to continue using that color for a looong time. Ooops, that's a totally different color temperature. Here I was  thinking of something warm, and she was thinking of something cool (but didn't express it that way).  So much for "communicating with your client".  Blue accessories desired, therefore it shall be a cool color scheme!



I would never think of blue for me because I just naturally gravitate to warmer colors--yellows, mustard, ochre, burnt sienna, beiges, etc. After some online image research I see the possibilities. It really looks cool and relaxing. The walls in this bathroom look like Carrara marble while here they call it Kolakata marble (one supplier called it that, and spelled it that way too). I know Romblon marble looks just like it too. I would use it sparingly though, just for the countertops and maybe baseboards, otherwise the bathroom might looks like a mauseleum!



We will be able to fit in a dressing counter with an upholstered stool underneath so it will be nice to play with a print similar to this, and slip-covered with white terrycloth.



And this above is very similar to the layout of the current bathroom. Looks very promising. So it's decided,  everything will just be a cool white and the accent colors will be the towels, bathmats and other accessories.  If I use a rainshower, we might not even need a door, so it will just be open. For a woman's bathroom though, I prefer an adjustable-height telephone shower on a bar, for those days that you want a quick shower without having to shampoo your hair (the guys don't get this concept).


blue photos are from here.

Now to scout for some chrome faucets and lighting fixtures.  I already have some in mind.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Get to the Paris Flea Market


When I first started researching on how to get to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (the flea markets at St. Ouen) I came across a few online stories  and one in particular that went  "we didn't see any antiques, just a lot of leather jackets, junky sneakers, clothing from China, so we turned back"!  If I wasn't prepared, I would've also gotten disappointed. I'll show you what you'll see before you get to the "pot of gold" at the end of all the stalls.


Get on the number 4 train--magenta line on the Metro map--towards Clignancourt. No need to worry which stop to get off  because you want to get to the END of the line. So sit down, make yourself comfortable and try not to look too much like a tourist. ( Check out how to use the Paris Metro)

 Your view as you emerge from the Metro Stop. Cross the street!

When you get out of the Metro stop, you will have to cross a street to get to where the stalls are. This is already part of the flea market, but NOT the flea market you're expecting.  Walk through all these stalls selling knock-off sneakers, sweatshirts, gloves, etc. Walk straight on, one loong block.



You'll have to walk through stalls like this. Resist the urge to even take a peek, it will be a waste of precious time.


 Photo from here.

Then you will come to this, an elevated highway. Cross under it and you're almost there.   (A regular poster on the Fodor's online travel boards  posted up a whole bunch of photos of his day at the flea market. Check it out here.)

Finally you will reach Rue des Rosier. Turn left.



You are now in the main artery of the flea market, from which all the individual markets branch out. There are over 2000 vendors in 12 markets here. To your right you will see an  entrance  to the Vernaison market. Vernaison is only one of twelve markets, but this is the place you will probably pick up bric-a-brac or smaller souvenirs. Paul Bert and Serpette are favorites of interior designers--bigger furniture, chandeliers, etc.


Voila, you are at Vernaison! Lot of vendors with amazing stuff.



Stay the course, you will be richly rewarded!


Each of the markets has it's own map, displayed somewhere near the entrance of the market. You can also get a copy of the flea market map from any vendor. They will be more than happy to hand one to you.



You would have walked from the bottom right of this map, up until Rue des Rosiers.  Vernaison is the first antique market you'll see, it's the triangle in the map. Photo from here.



When I first saw this map, it didn't mean anything to me. I couldn't imagine how huge the flea market was. You really have to be there in person to get your bearings and relate it to the map. Now I look at the map above and know exactly where to go next time!

Check out Theadora Brack's flea market tips. She also recommends visiting Port de Vanves in the morning, and then taking a cross city bus all the way to Clignancourt in the afternoon, a wonderful full day at the fleas. Make sure to start early!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Planning a Bathroom Renovation

 I like the thick wood shelf here. And of course we can't have a hanging sink. We need storage.

My new assignment is a bathroom renovation for mom's home office (which was originally a bedroom I shared with my sister when we were growing up). It's at least a 30 year old bathroom with beige marble tiles. It was renovated once during the lifetime of the house, when we were both away at college. I remember painting and doing artwork in this little room because our bedroom had wall-to-wall carpet.

Yup, it's about time we got a new look!  Okay, I can't post a photo of what it looks like now or mom will kill me, so these photos are all just ideas to get us in the mood.

So mom, take a look at these...

 

To start, this is a more traditional vanity and design. I think we should have a light counter top. I would go with a stone (maybe not a solid surface?--it doesn't match the rest of the house) but then finding a nice white stone is kinda hard here. I'll ask Pam what she'd suggest. I'm not too thrilled with the agglomerate stones available locally, unless they have better shades of white now. Or maybe you don't like white?


We shouldn't do a black/dark top. First of all, if this will be your everyday bathroom, we need the glow from the reflection of a light-colored counter top. Secondly, black is not advisable because the water leaves white marks on it if it's not wiped up right after.


This one is promising, with a light-colored solid surface top and ample storage below. But I would put open shelves under for your rolled hand towels. We should have two light fixtures on either side like this.


This is between traditional and modern, and very practical. Enough storage below. Real wood floor is totally out because it can't take the humidity here, but we could use porcelain tiles that look like wood. But I have figure out a nice termination between the bathroom and the shower stall. I've seen some installations where the wood-look tiles are also installed inside the shower and it looks a bit odd to me--wood isn't supposed to get soaking wet, so it mustn't be inside a shower (tiles or not!). The cool grey is a nice updated color scheme too.



By now you would be tired of vessel sinks so let's not do this. But I thought you might consider also the open shelf below? Open counters are nice when you have other places to store cleaning supplies. Less dark, damp places to maintain.




Okay, I'm not considering this at all, but I couldn't help adding this here because I love the color, and I'm sure it looks fabulous in real life. But a bit to impractical for our needs. I once stayed at a hotel that had a similar look for the vanity. This was at the Westin in Valencia.



For a hotel it was great, but a bit  too modern for the house no? Okay, tell me if you like anything here while I look for a few more. I already have ideas. I just know that we have to re-tile and re-do the vanity, which is practically everything in the bathroom.

All photos (except for the last one) are from the archives of this wonderful blog, Simplified Bee.

The Color Yellow


Saving these sofa photos for future inspiration. I like the tufted look and the yellow accents. Don't remember where I got the photo above, It's been in my file forever.



These photos here (except for the last one) are from in interior design firm called The Wiseman Group, but I pulled it out of one of the design blogs I  check out every now and then, called Verdigris Vie



I like the subtle tufting of the sofas. Also love the bright, airy quality of this room.  No draperies, just clean lines that show off the window and French door details.




The same color scheme is brought outside. This house is in the Tiburon Peninsula in California so you can imagine hanging out here very comfortably. In a hot climate, there's only a small window of time you'd be able to use it.




I would love to have an outdoor trellis like this. The veranda of the Canoe Club in Honolulu is covered with a trellis similar to this.


Canoe Club's trellis

It looks like the wooden beams are inside a sturdier frame of formed concrete. Honolulu doesn't get much harsher weather than California, but it's much more humid and this trellis is right by the ocean. The vine or tree that has grown on top of it is also very massive so the concrete can support the weight easily.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Both French


Both beautiful, both French. These are roughly the same price. 
 Which would you rather have? 


A French antique bergere, from the Paris flea market (updated with new upholstery)

Or..

 Photo from here

A Chanel classic, aptly called the Petit Timeless Tote from the Classic tote line?




Thursday, June 17, 2010

LOST! Manoa Falls Trek


Nope, we weren't LOST, but this where they shot the TV Series LOST!  I remember watching the first few seasons and being totally engrossed until the plot got too convoluted. Then  my Sil who was watching a few seasons ahead said no one ever gets found!

 "Are we there yet?"

Suffice it to say, I LOST interest.  The Manoa Falls Trail trek is something hubby always wanted to do--I was just always too lazy to go with him. Now that the kids are older and more adventurous, I thought it would be fun to do as a family. It's a .8 mile trek to the falls at the end, and the same distance back on exactly the same trail. It took us 2 hours.


Good thing it didn't rain. The ground would've been all muddy and hard to trek. We arrived prepared: closed shoes with traction, and all exposed skin sprayed with Off. The bamboo walking sticks that we picked up at the parking lot came in very handy too.

 Off the trail, going down to where the river should be (if it were raining)

Some people were trekking with flip flops, and I even saw one person on the trail with a baby on a Bjorn! They were managing but they didn't look like they were having a very good time.


The trail went through a rainforest and a bamboo thicket. Most of the ground is flat, with a few areas that you have to climb just a bit. Can't stress it enough--good thing it wasn't raining!


In the same general area of the Manoa Falls Trail is the Lyon Arboretum, part of the University of Hawaii. With all kinds of tropical ornamental plants, it would have been interesting to visit this with mom. I don't it would have been too exciting for the kids.


I'm glad we finally did it. We need to do the Diamond Head trek next time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Top Ten Honolulu Eats




Loco Moco at Pineapple Room

There are lots of nice places to eat in Honolulu, but  after awhile, we gravitate to the same places over and over again.  Our favorites are easy, casual places since Honolulu is always a trip with the kids.

Mom's choice: the Mahi-mahi sandwich. Comes with a teriyaki dipping sauce

1. Alan Wong's  Pineapple Room. We order the plantation iced tea, then have a few of their bestsellers: the Loco Moco, Kalua pig BLT, Kalbi Ribs and the Mahi-mahi sandwich. I love the relaxed ambience. It's also perfectly located on the second floor of Macy's Ala Moana so right after lunch, I can easily do all my Macy's-related "errands" while the kids test-drive the new gadgets at the neighboring Apple store.


Maine lobster, Chinese-style at Legend

2. Legend Seafood Restaurant in North Beretania, downtown. Delicious Chinese food in typical brightly-lit setting. Service is also very good. We recently celebrated mom and dad's 54th wedding anniversary with dinner here. Legend is also very popular for their scrumptious dimsum at lunch time.


3. Maple Garden for equally delicious Chinese food. They have really good hot and sour soup and crispy fried noodles. My cousins Mike and Maria love to take us to here. They also bring us to Chiang Mai on South King St. for  authentic Thai cuisine.


Flavorful soup stock with clean-tasting cilantro at Asahi Grill

4. Asahi Grill on Ward Avenue. Asahi has one of the best ox-tail soups in Honolulu, according to Calvin, our local family friend.  The exterior is unassuming, interiors very basic, but the ox-tail soup hits the spot every time. Wonderful comfort food.

 Kalbi ribs plate lunch. Photo from here

5.  L and L Drive Inn. Typical Hawaiian plate lunch which is a whole lot of grilled meat, a scoop of macaroni salad and two scoops of steamed white rice stuffed in a styro clamshell. Lots of stores around the island, but the in-store branch at the  24-hour Walmart on  Keeaumoku Street is open up to about 11 pm. The serving is huge so  hubby and I usually share an order, then we get another one for the kids--then we eat theirs too! :)  L&L is a very successful Honolulu chain that is owned by a Filipino. They have branches on the mainland too.


6.  Panda Express, quick Chinese fastfood for when we've been out the whole day and the kids need to eat ahora mismo! Branches all over the island. Their dishes are flavorful and consistent: orange chicken, beef broccoli, tofu and eggplant. The girls like collecting the sayings from the fortune cookies so I usually buy a whole pack to take home.

Roy's Macadamia Nut-encrusted Mahi-mahi. Photo from here

7.  Roy's in Hawaii Kai. The few times I've eaten here has always been a great experience. Good east-west unpretentious fusion food. There is now a branch right in Waikiki on Lewers street, but we haven't been able to go back there in a while. Too many things to do, so little time!

Ribs and iced tea at the Canoe Club

8. Outrigger Canoe Club. Dad loves to take us here and although there is nothing we really crave from this place, it's wonderful terrace dining. Atmosphere is typical Hawaiian, relaxed and casual. We've had a private dinner function here in the past, and it was cozy and intimate.


The Canoe Club has its own little beach that allows us to avoid the Waikiki crowds, and offers a good vantage point to watch the sunset as well as the Friday night fireworks of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  It's a reciprocal club of the Manila Polo Club, and you can get a letter of introduction for $30.
Kua Aina in the North Shore

9.  Kua Aina Sandwich Shop for their legendary burgers, but only on the rare occasions we are at the North Shore. The shop is typical North Shore--casual, retro and ranch-like. With everyone, including the food courts at the malls, making angus burgers, I don't feel the need to check out Kua Aina any longer (so maybe this should not be on the list!). My nieces swear that the best Angus burger is at McDonald's (!)  but their brother who lives in Honolulu likes Burgers on the Edge on Kapahulu street.


 Bento boxes are convenient for an impromptu picnic. Photo from here

10. PICNIC! When we're feeling up to it (meaning energetic and motivated), we like to picnic outdoors. Honolulu has the perfect weather for a picnic, but we have to eat American-style--meaning at 6:30 pm. Anything later than that and it's already a bit too windy. With Vancouver-based Tita Lita, we are good to go with burgers on our portable grill--or with bento boxes from Don Quijote or Shirokiya.

Mom-style picnic: lamb, chicken, shrimp...

But with mom, that's not a picnic. No, with her it's always a feast. We have extra-thick lamb chops from Costo, grilled shrimp, made-on-the-spot salad and a whole paella, with matching paellera, brought from the house! Then no one can move after the picnic (except roll--haha).

-o-



In Honolulu, after a full day out on the beach of going about other fun stuff, it's hard to get moving again for dinner, even if we had previous plans to have dinner.  Before we even decide where to go, we've all sunken into our couch positions engrossed in a new toy,  like the iPad.  Then we'll end up having a home-cooked meal by mom.

 The view from the balcony on a Friday night

We'll probably have left-over Thanh Long-style Dungeness crab, lamb adobo, salmon sinigang, or left-over roast!  Sometimes I wonder why we even bother to go out with all this nice food at home. (Oh yes, dad spoils us and wants to relieve us of doing the dishes when we are on vacation! :)

Ps. For places you may want to try, if you don't have small kids with you:  3660 On the Rise, Orchids at Halekulani, Chef Mavro.

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