Displaying Travel Mementos

We took advantage of the recent holiday break and headed off to Utah and Nevada for a vacation.  It was great to get away as a family, crossing four national parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, and Great Basin) off of our list, among seeing other sites in and around St. George and Las Vegas.

For years, I’ve collected shells, sand, rocks, twigs, leaves, and other interesting items, either on walks around our neighborhood or from places traveled.  While traveling, I carry ziplock bags with to put my treasures into, labeling each bag along the way.

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Once home, I empty the contents into test tube looking jars with corks in three sizes.

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On the bottom, I use a piece of tape and a super fine Sharpie to create a label of where and when to stick to the bottom.

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Until a few months ago, I stored the jars on the shelves of our guest bedroom.  Wanting a change, I brought the jars into the living room to place on the wide shelf above the tv.

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Two tall jars didn’t fit perfectly on the shelf with the others, so they stand alone on others.

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These jars are great conversation starters, and are great reminders of fun times had in various locations.

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Contents obviously vary depending on the location, some with fine sand, shells, and beach glass.  More city centered spots include tickets and wristbands.  Others include rocks, twigs, moss, and pine cones.

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More recently, I’ve started collecting vintage inspired postcards with pretty art.

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A post card from Zion National Park, depicting a high cliff side from a vintage travel poster tucked into a small stump is a quick and easy display.

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Want more ideas for displaying reminders of great vacations or events?  How about a custom coffee table book from Shutterfly dedicated to the trip?

Shutterfly-Travel-Book-Stack-on-Coffee-Table

Create an over sized print from a photo taken on a trip.

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Turn an old printer tray into a rotating trinket display.

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Do you collect items from vacations?  If so, what do you do with the items brought back?  Are they forever tucked into a drawer or box, or do you try to display the items that hold so many memories?

A Rustic Basement Bar

Between the nearly entire home remodel of one client, Ben and I squeezed in a basement man cave bar remodel.  Before, the bar had a traditional, but basic bead board clad bar.  It was fine and functional, but nothing our clients loved.

Rustic-Bar-Before

To create a true man cave, complete with adjacent pool/ping-pong table and theater space, we ditched the traditional and replaced it with rustic.

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On the drink making side, we pulled out the previous laminate counters, opting for a sleek and seamless stainless steel counter and sink.

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The bar top is made from a 4″ thick glulam beam, with a slight sanding to give rustic character.

Rustic-Bar-Countertop-Detail

Stained a light pecan, the wood oozes character, but still feels in keeping with an old school bar set up.

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For a comfortable seating arrangement, we added a 2″ diameter galvanized pipe to serve as a foot rail.

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Tucked into the under side of the bar top is a strip of ribbon thin LED lights.  The strip is concealed by a channel, then tacked into place with electrical staples.

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A remote control turns the lights off or on, even from the adjoining rooms.

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Even with the overhead lights off, the bar gives off enough light to softly slight the surroundings.

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Behind the bar, Ben built a mirror backed display case to store bottles and glasses.

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The owners added a unique touch with custom-made Montana backed stools, completing the look.

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Now, this Vikings fan has a hang out space to watch the game, entertain, and enjoy a good drink.

Burned Leather Ornament DIY

Let’s play a quick game of ‘Two Truths and a Lie: Holiday Edition’ shall we?  One: I’ve never sent out a holiday card, like ever.  Two: I’ve never forgotten about/misplaced gifts, only to discover and wrap them Christmas Eve.  Three: I make personalized ornaments for family and friends.

Based on the title and content of this post, you should be able to surmise I do, in fact, make ornaments.  The other truth?  I’ve never sent out a holiday card, but I do love receiving them.

Last year, I put my newest toy, I mean tool, to use by making simple wood burned ornaments.

Wood-Burned-Family-Ornament

Following a similar process, I decided to put a spin on the burned ornament by substituting leather for wooden discs.  To get started, I dug through my stash of leather scraps, then tested the wood burner to be sure it would work well on a small corner.  The natural finish leather worked best, whereas a metallic gold finished leather didn’t burn at all.

Armed with the knowledge my plan would work, I created a template in Photoshop, customizing it with family names, printing a sheet full.

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Just as I did with the wooden discs, I taped the template in place, with a small piece of carbon paper between the two.

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Using a ball point pen, I traced the design, transferring the design to the leather.  It’s a faint line, but it’s enough to follow along with the burner.  Moving steadily along, I trace the design, leaving a darker, slightly depressed design behind.

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Up close, it doesn’t look quite as smooth, but I also feel like that’s part of the charm of the ornament being hand-made.  If there are areas of a brand already on the leather, it takes the burning differently, kind of like a harder spot in a wooden piece.

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With a fully warmed burner and the right leather, an ornament takes less than five minutes to make.  Even with 12 days until Christmas, there’s still plenty of time to make ornaments for everyone on your list.  Give as a small ‘I’m thinking about you’ gift or use it as a gift tag for a more personal touch.

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Other quick gift ideas using this method would be personalizing a wallet or key chain.  Have travel plans for the holiday season, make a set of custom bag tags.

A Client Remodel: Living & Dining Rooms After

Last week I shared a kitchen remodel, now let’s take a look at their living and dining rooms.  Before, the living room was divided by a wall with two cut out arches.

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Using the same foot print, the dining room sits just off the kitchen.  A built-in bench with a walnut top runs below the window, offering extra seating.

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Though not the same angle, you can see the window and sliding door in this before:

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And a better look at the bench, with a beautiful walnut table that can extend to seat 10.

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One more before, just to drive home the point of how incredibly different these spaces are.  Though the openings allowed people to mingle between rooms, it made the kitchen work space cramped.

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The sofa now pulls double duty as seating and a movable room divider.  Shelves will eventually flank the fireplace, as well as curtains and art to add more of these lively home owners personality to the space.

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The knotty alder trim and dark rock fireplace seemed to swallow up all of the natural light this space had.

Fireplace-Before-Client

Now, the white shiplap fireplace flanked by white cabinets brighten the entire room.  Walnut counters, hearth, and mantle balance the bright elements, warming it up.

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Their chairs they already owned look stunning in the room, and contrast nicely against the cool blue sofa.

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Opposite from that cabinet is this gorgeous view:

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Before, the stairs were fine, but nothing great.

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In place of the old vertical spindles, a sleek black horizontal metal railing is not only functional, but beautiful.

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More to come soon, but are you enjoying seeing client projects in addition to our home?

A Client Remodel: Kitchen After

Raise your hand if you remember our client’s pine-clad space.  If you don’t, stop reading now and check out all of the before photos.

 

Kitchen-and-Dining-Before-Client

After demolishing nearly the entire main level, the remodel is drawing to a close and looking and functioning as a completely new space.  Hold on to your hats, because this is a striking difference:

Kitchen-and-Dining

Is that insane, or what?!  Okay, how about another, because I find before and after makeovers to be the best.  Before:

Kitchen-Before-Client

And after:

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I know, pick your jaw up off of your device.  That door that previously led to the garage was moved to the entry, allowing for a better kitchen flow and more cabinetry.  Removing the wall allows for easy flow between the living spaces, making entertaining a breeze.

A walnut clad vent hood adds much-needed warmth to the white cabinet perimeter, with brushed brass accents for a bit of bling.

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A 36 inch Bertazzoni range looks like a functional masterpiece.

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It’s hard to tell in the before shots, but the island was only 30 inches away from the perimeter, making opening the dishwasher barely possible.  Now, there’s enough room to have both the range and dishwasher open.

Kitchen-Range-and-Island

The dishwasher is tucked into the island, next to the beautiful enamel coated cast iron sink apron front sink.

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With all of the precise, hard lines, we chose a slightly varied subway tile to create a handmade look.

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The back splash is grey with a crackle finish, wavy in texture, and full of charm.  Truly, the icing on the cake.

Backsplash-Detail

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more before and after goodness of the living and dining spaces.  Until then, what’s your favorite part of the remodel?  I love the open, functional layout, the walnut hood, and the tile back splash.