Sunday, August 24, 2014

Office in the Closet - Before and After

In recent months I started a new job, we moved north across the Golden Gate bridge and started working on updating our 1970s style condo.  It's been fun. We officially have no kitchen floors or cabinets at the moment but with the help of pinterest, a contractor and lot of DIY painting the place is looking pretty good.

Our first completed project was based on my extreme pinterest love for offices in closets. I've always thought this was a clever way to save space in a spare room and in the new place we had just the guest room for the job. We painted the room, measured out the space and plan and then worked with a contractor to execute our ideal little closet office for Nic's workspace. Here are the before and pics.  

Before: An unneeded closet in our guest bedroom. 

Nic measures out the closet. Furniture and decor in this room was still the staged stuff from the seller.

After: Two bright green coats of paint, some lighting and bookshelves combined with books and a desk make for an awesome space efficient office!


Pretty cool, right? Now there's still plenty of space in the room for a little bureau and a big queen guest bed.


We realized without a closet guests don't have anywhere to hang things so we made a little hanging rack with hooks we bought from Anthropologie and a piece of plywood that Nic stained.



The room still needs a few more things hung on the walls and some sort of nightstand but otherwise we're feeling pretty good!

Stay tuned for more before and after posts as we work our way through the condo!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Great End of Summer Reading

After a long blogging hiatus I opened my computer today and thought it might be fun to do this again.  Many vacations, activities and the occasional DIY or new recipe have gone undocumented but today I felt like sharing some books.

This summer I've read a bunch of good books and since I'm always looking for a good recommendation I thought I'd share some recent favorites. For previous recommendations look here and here. Please let me know any good recommendations in the comments --- I'm always looking for something new!


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

If you liked "Unbroken" or "Seabiscuit" or love historical non-fiction with a compelling narrative you should definitely check out this book. This book has mass appeal despite it's uber specific subject - don't be scared off!

The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival among America's Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

I am a HUGE sharks fan and I am not talking about the hockey team. This book is all about the great white sharks, studies and history around the very sharky group of islands just 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco. This book is well researched and hugely entertaining. If you are at all interested in shark week, check out this book.  I started this book on Thursday and I have about 10 pages left.


The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

This was a super cool otherworldly story about a series of events that change the earth - all told from the point of view of a young girl. The characters and day-to-day plot are enticing but the background story of weird climate/earth changes make it such a memorable book. This is a cool one.

One More Thing: Stories and More Stories by BJ Novak

I'm not usually too into the idea of short stories- something about getting attached to characters in so few pages sounds improbable. This book totally changed my mind. BJ Novak (from The Office) is FUNNY and these stories made me laugh aloud. They are sweet and clever and make for a very quick read. Both Nic and I loved this book. It would be a great gift.

Rules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towels

This is a fun read set in 1920s New York that has kind of a Gatsby-ish vibe but still feels current and relevant from characters that talk and act like people you might know. I liked it.

What else should I read?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Converting An Old Door into A Picture Frame

Nic and I just finished a fun DIY project to spruce up our hallway wall that I'm pretty excited to share.   Like many San Francisco apartments ours has a long narrow hallway from the entrance and we've decorated the wall with an eclectic mix of framed pictures. Lately I've been eager to upgrade our frames.  I've been eyeing old barn window frames on Etsy to try to do something crafty  but the ones that are the right size don't have glass and the ones that have glass are the wrong size and overall I'm nervous to order something like that in the mail.  Finally last weekend Nic and I were window shopping on Valencia street and went into this very hipster antique shop that mostly sold vintage typewriters and had a pianist playing live music (I know, I know, San francisco!)  Just before walking out I saw the above pictured old barn door and pictured it hanging sideways in our hallway.  We managed to bargain down the owner slightly on the price and brought it home. He claimed they had flown it from an old house in France which we thought was a very romantic lie but the door was perfect.

This weekend I cleaned it, picked pictures to put in it and attached paper board to the back of it with metal thumbtacks to create the backers.  Nic broke out the tool belt and measuring tape and handscrewed 3 metal  hooks into the top of it so we could mount it on the wall. It turned out great and our hallway is now ten times more interesting!  I also love how long it is since we were able to fit so many photos on the wall in an organized way.  Check it out...

Here are some step by step pictures and tips in case you ever want to try this out yourself!

1. Pick out your pictures and measure them out so they will fit within the panes (I was impatient and mostly eyeballed it but measuring would be a good idea.) Cut the poster board so that it will fit the space (I had to use three sheets) then secure the backs of the pictures to the poster board with masking tape (it's easy to remove.)

2.  Attach evenly spaced hooks to the back of the frame and then attach the poster board with metal thumb tacks. I only tacked in the top so that it would be easy to adjust or change out pictures in the future.  Nic hand screwed in the hooks since the wood is soft and I just pushed in the thumbtacks by hand.  Once I had the poster board lined up with one tack I cut out a notch to fit around the hooks.

3.  Nic measured out the hooks to put on the wall to match the ones he put on the back of the frame. He used a level and a measuring tape to line it up correctly.

4.  Finally we just carefully lifted up the door and hung it up and now I get excited every time I walk down the hall!

Have a great week and happy crafting!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Easy End of Summer Dinner

We've had a sunny week to mark the start of fall out here and luckily it only got better this weekend with totally clear skies and toasty 80+ degree highs.

On saturday we headed about 40 minutes north of the city to Sonoma for a friend's amazing birthday party and pig roast at her family's beautiful home. We spent the day swimming, drinking cocktails and feasting on roast pig and a big spread of seasonal salads. People played lawn games, I got to jump in the pool off a diving board and we ate amazing strawberry shortcake. It was a perfect afternoon.

Impressed by succulents

When we got home on Saturday night I was a little tired and over fed from the sun, drinking and feasting and wanted to make something yummy but healthy for dinner. I went to my go-to favorite, spaghetti squash with sauce and a little chicken sausage. I added a little cottage cheese into the sauce to give it some creamy flavor and used some leftover corn on the cob to make a summery side salad... it turned out great. Here's the deal in case you too want a light and yummy end of summer dinner!

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara/Cheese sauce and Chicken Sausage
Ingredients: Makes 2 big servings 
For the sauce:
1 cup Marinara sauce (I like Trader Joe's Rustico)
2 tsps italian seasoning
1 tablespoon capers
A little sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup light organic cottage cheese
1 italian style chicken sausage chopped up ( precooked kind like applegate or trader joe's)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional topping)

1 spaghetti squash - cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the middle

-Preheat oven to 460 degrees.
-pour a few cups of really hot or boiling water into a pyrex baking dish or pan and place the two halves of the squash in it, the cut sides facing down.
-Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the inside (that was facing down) is soft enough that you can easily scrape it out with a fork.
-While it's baking warm up all the sauce ingredients above on the stove in a little pot or pan so they are  all warm.
-When Squash is done baking scrape out the middle and toss it in your sauce, add salt and pepper and a little parmesan cheese to taste.  Enjoy!

Arugula End of Summer Salad - Toss the below ingredients and enjoy!
-Heirloom tomatoes (I used mini ones chopped in half)
-Leftover (cooked) corn on the cob - cut it off on the sides with a knife
-Annie's Light Honey Mustard Dressing (you can find this brand in whole foods and many other super markets)
-A little salt and pepper