Happy Birthday to Me

I learned the fun way on my birthday last month that having a blog is almost like having a gift registry – it makes it pretty easy for people to know what you like!

Remember these?

photo-2 (5)

I’m now the proud owner of four place settings! Perfect for our family of four, and will also look great alternated with our stainless flatware for larger gatherings.

photo-1 (20)

I also got this fun poster – or as I like to call it, A Checklist of Things That I Need.

 

 

How To Get Invited Back

This is my favorite little trick to make a hostess gift look great. Instead of bringing a plain bottle of wine to dinner, wrap it in a pretty tea towel. A tea towel makes a great gift – everyone uses them, no? They have many uses besides drying dishes. Drying hands! Wiping counters! Hanging prettily from the stove handle! My Partner In Finds even upholstered the seat of a chair with a particularly beautiful one. If your recipient is not a wine drinker, this trick works equally well with a nice bottle of olive oil or maple syrup, and is a great housewarming gift idea also.

image

Towels with an all-over pattern tend to look best – as opposed to one with a design only in the middle.

image

Remove the price tags and lay the towel face side down. Place the bottle in this position.

image

Fold the bottom of the towel up to cover the bottle of the body but not the neck.

image

Roll it up!

image

Tie a bow tightly around the neck of the bottle to secure. Here I used twine for a rustic look.

image

Ta da! A gift any host or hostess would be happy to receive. For a more festive look, this bold striped towel and purple raffia do the trick.

Tea towels are usually not too expensive and easy to store in order to have on hand for last minute dinner party invitations. Pick them up when you see them and you’ll be prepared to be the best guest ever.

Here are a few I spied recently:

image

Top photo: Crate and Barrel, Bottom left: World Market, Bottom right: Anthropologie.

Towels used in tutorial above were purchased from World Market.

 

Instagram Anyone?

I’m sort of addicted to Instagram. I’ve never totally understood Twitter*, but I definitely get the “a picture is worth 1000 words” value of Instagram. I use it almost exclusively as a source for design inspiration. I won’t follow anyone who posts too many pictures of their cat (except you, cousin Emma)! I often share random photos I’ve taken of Design Finds there, thinking they’re pictures I probably won’t use on the blog. But it occurred to me as I looked over my Instagram pictures yesterday, even though I might not have enough to say about individual photos to justify a blog post, as a collection they are fun and inspiring. So here they are (some of them, anyway)! Sources, if I have them, are listed. If you like what you see, follow me @alexandradesignfinds.

My Inspirations:

image

If I could own a piece by any artist alive today, hands down it would be Dale Chihuly. My house isn’t quite big enough for this, but I would be willing to make do with something smaller. His work takes my breath away. Every time.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

image

The hardest thing about vintage is knowing you’ll never know the story behind the beautiful patina of age.

Trunk above and storage boxes below, Ekster Antiques.

image

image

Vintage Sideboard in a field. It could not possibly look as beautiful indoors as it does here. Could it?

Source: Rust and Feathers

image

Vintage midcentury switchplate. Private home, Bethesda MD.

Architectural salvage is so photogenic:

image

image

Sources: Reclaimed doors, Lucketts Store. Window from Philadelphia Civic Center, Teds Bulletin Restaurant.

I’m always taken with industrial style lighting:

image

image

image

image

Lighting sources, from top photo to bottom: Flora’s Feathered Nest, Crate and Barrel, Ekster Antiques, Crate and Barrel.

Of course, I take pictures of chairs. Lots of chairs.

image

Vintage school chairs at Ted’s Bulletin restaurant.

image

Yogurt shop color pop.

image

image

Sources: Houndstooth chair, Crate and Barrel, Blue Stools, CB2

Random Fun Things:

image

Mirror with frame made from reclaimed flooring from a North Carolina textile mill.

image

Day of the Dead decor – do you love it or does it creep you out? I can never quite decide.

image

image

Mirror: Lucketts Store Market. Throw pillows, artwork: Dwell, London.

*I don’t understand Twitter, but I am on it! Follow me there @alexdesignfinds

 

 

 

 

 

 

See-Through Solution

Our reclaimed wood dining table has the most amazingly beautiful grain and markings. (Check it out here.) When I set it for a big family meal, the last thing I want to do is cover it up with a tablecloth. Even place mats cover up too much, but place settings look a little lost on a bare table. And then I happened across these open weave Chilewich mats at CB2 in Georgetown – perfect!

IMG_4847

www.cb2.com

 

Behind Closed Doors

Hello! It’s another snowy day here. I’m itching to get out and hunt down some Design Finds, but that will have to wait! Instead, I thought I’d continue to make good on my promise to show you some more of the little details that I love about our remodeled kitchen. Today – inside the cabinets!

I am a huge fan of tall pantry cabinets. Look how much you can store – and the 15″ depth of these cabinets is just the right size to fit everything in and be able to see it!

image

The next pantry cabinet over is customized to hold our cheese/carving boards, baking sheets and muffin tins:

image

We didn’t have space in our layout for a Lazy Susan, so we opted for a blind corner cabinet with Hafele LeMans pullouts:

image

The pullouts are S shaped and snake out of the cabinet, allowing use of the normally wasted space in the corner. The bottom shelf shown here holds the food processor and the popcorn maker.

image

To keep the countertop as clutter free as possible, we installed an appliance garage for the toaster:

image

image

The appliance garage cabinet also provides a great place to end the tile backsplash.

We don’t have a ton of trash, but we do seem to have a ton of recycling, so we installed separate pullouts for each. This one is for recycling:

image

And this one is for trash:

image

The trash is right next to the sink and the main prep area. I have a large drawer right there to hold my knives and cutting boards. Everything I need in one place!

image

I’ve saved the best for last – this cabinet is in the dining room. As most of our mail sorting and bill paying gets done downstairs (even though our office space is upstairs), we installed a pullout drawer and an electrical outlet in one of our dining room cabinets so we could put the shredder downstairs. Very handy!

image

If you’d like to see to overall kitchen, click here.

Stay warm today – have fun in the snow!