Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week's Cheap and Chic

I've been blogging for almost 4 years now, and a big part of the fun comes from reading peer bloggers' posts. A few blogs I follow have regular themed posts such as Lindsay's "What Didn't get blogged", Jennifer's "BlogTalk", Kerry's "Fancy Friday Love", and Sundeep's "If you had to pick", etc.

I consider myself a shopaholic (mostly online) plus bargain hunter, so if I have to come up with a regular topic I can stick to, what better than something along the line of random scores, or "cheap and chic".

So here you have it, going forward, I will have weekly (if not more often) "Cheap and Chic" post to inform you of decor and fashion items that look alike but have significantly different pricing; or places you could get designer items for a lot less or on sale.

Here is this week's Cheap and Chic:

The super fab Serena & Lily Herringbone Throw in Mist, $250.

Indigo's Woven Zig Zag Throw in Granite Green: on sale now for $22.50, regular $45. Also available in Yellow and Green.

Happy Shopping & Saving!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Foyer Tile and Rug

While we are still waiting for the glass shower panels and door, we also had our contractor re-tile our foyer. Remember to tune in later this week for my master bathroom reveal.

Let's say Goodbye to the ugly ceramic tiles and ginormous grout lines.

And Hello new Crema Marfil porcelain tiles with the teeny-weeny grout lines.

The new floor brightens up our front entrance.

This is a close-up of the new tiles -- 12x24 Crema Marfil polished porcelain via Ciot.

Now that the eyesore is gone, I've put myself on a new mission to color up to the rather monochromatic foyer. In addition to accessorize the white campaign chest with colorful decorative items, I would also like to add an area rug right by the door. Here are a few options that I am considering. Which one would you choose?

Option 1: West Elm Andalusia Dhurrie in Feather Gray/Ivory.

Option 2: West Elm Iznik Dhurrie in Citron.

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Sudden Death Carrara vanity top suffered. Just when I was oohing and aahing at the almost-finished bathroom, things took a dramatic turn. I saw the marble countertop snapped into two pieces in front of my eyes as my contractors were lifting it!

This is not my picture but you get the idea. I was too upset to take any.

What happened was that the bath store I ordered the vanity set from didn't bond/glue the undermount sinks to the countertop. Instead, they screwed four brackets into the countertop to hold the sinks in place (who does that?!). The screws obviously weakened the already-thin marble slab. My contractors sensed something was off as they were transporting it from downstairs -- the sinks actually moved around and almost fell off! There is a huge gap between the sinks and the bottom of the countertop. How the heck were we supposed to use it on a daily basis, and still expect there'd be no water leaks? After they laid the countertop onto the vanity, our contractors did the right thing by deciding to take it off to glue the sinks. As they were lifting it, the tragedy happened.

The completion of our bathroom reno was delayed until Saturday thanks to this sudden death. C'est la vie!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bathroom Reno Day 8

A lot of cosmetic work was done today including painting, moulding, wainscoting and grout. Tomorrow they will start to install all the hardware, tub, toilet, and hopefully vanity. I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I should probably stop posting progress pictures from now on, and save them for the grand reveal. :-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY Projects

Our contractor finished tiling today, started to put up wainscoting and paint the walls in our bathroom. I am still biting my nails over the vanity, so hopefully I will have some good news tomorrow.

Also, check out the recap of a list of my DIY projects under the "DIY Projects" tab.

Where Did You Get That..?

I've added a "Source List" tab to answer just that. Hope you like it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tiles Are Laid

Six days into our bathroom renovation, our contractor finally got around to laying the floor and wall tiles. I am pretty happy with how the Carrara Basketweave Carpet Accent turned out on the floor.

Immediately behind the Carrara Basketweave Carpet will be the freestanding tub.

In addition to the shenanigans with the shower set I mentioned the other day, another speed bump I ran into is the vanity. It's still sitting at a spray paint shop as we speak. One paint shop could finish the job within  a couple of weeks but they only had Benjamin Moore's Cloud White which is not white enough for me. Basides they would charge $900 because they would have to order in the Chantilly Lace color I wanted. Another paint shop the vanity was sent to would use the Chantilly Lace for a lot less than $900, and the paint shop owner promised it would be done by mid April. The owner of the bath store where I ordered the vanity from has been chasing after the paint shop for me on a daily basis, so there is really nothing I could do but to keep my fingers crossed. Not a good position to be in, I tell ya.

We are getting a day off from the reno tomorrow so I am looking forward to a quiet lunch with hubs at our regular spot.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2012

New Bathroom Stool

Thanks for your help with picking a bathroom stool. They say to just do with what your heart tells you, and that's what I did. It was love at first sight from years ago, and my affection for it never dies down. Today, it finally became mine.

Eames Walnut Stool arrived in the mail today.

It's part of my new master bathroom design. For now it's sitting in my living room.

Hope you all have a great weekend! It looks like we are finally going to get some much-needed rain, but why on Saturday?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bathroom Reno Speed Bumps

It ain't a major renovation without some speed bumps and roadblocks along the ride.

First one up is the Riobel shower system I ordered from Bath City.

Who knew such a pretty set could be such a pain in the neck? So far we've been back to Bath City FIVE friggin times for the same shower kit, and I swore today would be the last otherwise I am returning it!

Second Visit: First visit was to place the order. Bath City ordered wrong rain shower head, wrong handles, and wrong hand shower kit! They might as well gave us a completely different set they wanted to sell us!

Third Visit: We went back to pick up the correct set, and were guaranteed that everything should be in order.

Fourth Visit: We found out that the hand shower head had cracks in it, returned it and Bath City had to order a replacement.

Fifth Visit: We picked up the hand shower replacement.

Sixth Visit: Today just before our plumber was about to install the shower system, they found out the hand shower drop-ear elbow kit was missing. I called Bath City and they said Oops, they somehow forgot to include that part in my order. Fortunately they had spare parts lying around in the store, so for the fifth time we went back to the Bath City to pick up a missing part.

As if the shopping experience at Bath City could get any worse, and it did. While I was in the store today, one of the store owners with a strange accent gave me an earful of why I should've sent a plumber to buy the kit (whose plumber does that???), and that he had sold hundreds of the same shower systems before. I finally had enough so I gave it to him: "Who cares if you've sold thousands of them if you couldn't even get me a complete and correct set!" There was pin-drop silence in the store at that moment.

I might expect similar problem if I had only spent $100 at a local hardware store. But for more than 10 times the money I spent at Bath City on one shower kit, I certainly didn't deserve such sloppy order fulfillment and lousy customer service.

I've been fuming all afternoon, so I think I should just go and calm down before I talk about the second speed bump. Hopefully things will fix themselves tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Obsession Fulfilled

Remember two weeks ago I blogged about my obsession with the glass soap pump from Target? It's only available in the States, and is either on clearance or discontinued. It didn't appear the timing was on my side. I emailed my bud Ed, a Mosaic Artist, about it, and days later these came in the mail.

Aren't the sea-glass-inspired vintagey design dreamy?

Coincidentally, this past weekend I picked up two of these recycled glass tumblers from HomeSense.

Paired together, they add a retro and nautical touch to my new bathroom. I seriously couldn't wait to use them when the reno is over.

Hopefully I will have some reno progress pictures to share tomorrow. It's a such big mess in there that I could barely set my feet in.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bathroom Reno Day 1

And I already wish we didn't start this whole thing. Who knew a bathroom reno could be so stressful and chaotic, and we weren't even the ones to do all the work!

Anyhoo, whining aside, our contractor, the same one we used for finishing our basement, continued to do a great job so far. Lookie what they did today:

Recognize this room? It's half of my master bedroom. The day before we moved our bed into a spare bedroom, and will camp out there until the reno is over. Yep, we are "that" type of people that instead of sleeping on one of our spare beds in one of our guest bedrooms, we had to move our bed and mattress with us!

And did you see our contractor Saran-wrapped half of the bedroom to prevent dust from going in? How awesome is that?!

This is how our ensuite looks like now. Everything in there came off today, and our contractor had started to work on plumbing and wiring. 

This is where our future shower stall will be. All the pillars will come off tomorrow after they get into the attic to add a ceiling (to stop insulation material from falling down).

So far no red flags, and fingers crossed the project will continue to stay that way. I promised myself (again) that this will be the LAST major reno project in this house, go figure! :-)

Friday, April 13, 2012


So long, farewell to my plain old bathroom. It was good for its use for the past three years, and time has come for us to move on to something we could relate more to. We are taking our bathroom from this:

To this:

Our bathroom renovation starts on Monday! I also have some exciting news to share shortly (hint: they are on their way to me as we speak). :-)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

L'OCCITANE en Provence

The first time I learnt about L'Occitane brand was years ago when I went to a lady's house to pick up some antique framed arts she was selling on CList. We got chatty, and I found out she, originally from Lyon, was the one that brought L'Occitane en Provence into Canada from cool was that?! She ran the company for a few years as the President and later resigned to run their own supply chain company with her husband.

After that I decided to give the brand a try, and was since hooked! I particularly like their Lavender line, and I tell ya, L'Occitane carries one of the best lavender fragrances among all organic beauty products. And ladies, we are not talking about Yardley London's lavender lotion my grandma uses, rather it's the most soothing and faithful lavender fragrance you'd ever smell, very similar to the Primavera ones at Saffron Rouge.

This came in today's mail -- their Lavender Foaming Bath is to die for, and as a loyal customer, you will always get pleasant surprises! For example, I only paid for the foaming bath and hand lotion in the picture, everything else is free (except for the L'Othantique bath salt)!

Another perk of using L'Occitane is that their bottles are always so pretty and presentable that they will add elegant details to your bath retreat. As a matter of fact, I am doing just that by displaying a few things on the Restoration Hardware's Lugarno glass shelf once my bathroom reno is over.  

So, have you ever tried L'Occitane? Do you believe in the effectiveness of organic and sustainable beauty products other than the make-you-feel-good?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Which Bathroom Stool Would You Choose?

Who knew preparing for a bath reno would take so much time and energy? Over the past few months, I have been buying things in this design plan but the list seems to keep growing. So this is our final plan with all the elements already purchased except for the Eames walnut stool.

The most challenging part so far has been to decide on what materials to use, colors, finishes, looks vs. functions, etc. Right now I am really stuck on which bathroom stool to buy. First, I want it to be versatile -- a side table as well as a seat. Second, it should be easy on the marble floor. Third, it has to add some warmth to the bathroom yet doesn't stand out too much. Easy, right?

Here are the options I am considering:

Eames Walnut Stool
Pros: rich and warm wood color; easy on marble floor.
Cons: pricey. Wood and moisture don't go well.

West Elm Martini Side Table
Pros: great-looking, functional and affordable.
Cons: aluminum is hard on the floor unless the  entire bottom is covered by felt.

Tolan Lucite/Crystal Stool
Pros: sparkly, works well in a bathroom.
Cons: might disappear into the background.

Williams-Sonoma Cane Ceramic Stool
Pros: a popular choice in a bathroom. Easy to clean and low maintenance.
Cons: not cheap, might scratch floor, could be heavy to be moved around.  

So which one would you choose for your own bathroom? Which one do you think works the best in my design plan? Do you have any other suggestions?

In the Mail Today

These came in today in time for the master ensuite renovation commencing in two weeks.

Toasty warm bath towels, anyone? This is something I can't do without in a master ensuite -- Arnoca Electric Dry-lined Towel Warmer in Chrome from Costco.

The only thing about this towel warmer that doesn't excite me much is the curved bar. The cross bars in the pictures on Costco site appear straight. I hope the practicality will offset the look.

And should I say online order from Restoration Hardware is a breeze? I ordered this Lugarno Glass Shelf in Polished Chrome last week, and UPS dropped it by our door today!

This glass shelf will go over a double towel bar for extra storage, and to show off some pretty bath bottles and accessories.

Speaking of bath accessories, I am obsessed with this vintage-y look glass soap dispenser.

Fingers crossed I will find them soon!
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