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baby shower

March 27, 2014

Well, hello!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated here, and I thought I’d share a bit of what’s been going on at our house.  Lots of happy stuff actually:  I threw a baby shower for my dear friends who are expecting a baby boy in May.  I am so very excited for them.  I love dressing up our place for parties, and managed to snap some pictures before and after so you can have a peek at the fun too.

The decorations were largely inspired by Emily Henderson’s triangle-themed baby shower, though I didn’t go all out with the triangles.  I did make garlands to dress up the living room and atrium.  They are super easy:  just cut out shapes from card stock and feed them through your sewing machine.

To add more colour, our dining room wall got the giant confetti treatment (you can check out the tutorial here) and I scattered (normal-sized) confetti on every surface I encountered while setting up.  Even the dog got some festooning.  I picked jasmine from our yard, and added wax flowers, daffodils, and ranunculus in vintage jars on the table.

We had some gorgeous weather for the party, so I set up an outdoor seating area for our guests to enjoy our atrium and its very wild living wall.  (I love how crazy this thing has gotten.)

The best part of course was catching up with the awesome parents-to-be and everyone who came to celebrate.  We played games (some serious baby-knowledge-testing trivia), collectively crafted up a yarn pom-pom garland for the baby’s nursery, and ate lots of good food.  I got to reprise my Polish rice with plums and made these great ricotta crostini with an assortment of toppings.

The pom pom making was a hit even with the guys (it was a mixed shower).  Even all those little yarn bits were quite pretty and made me a bit sad to clean up.  I really enjoyed the combination of teal, cobalt, and yellow on my coffee table.

I hope this inspires you to embrace spring and colours that come with it.  Even if it’s still freezing where you are.  Or gloomy and wet like it was here today.  I have a feeling it will be summer before we know it.

All photos by Karolina Buchner


photoshoot with jetkat photo

September 23, 2013

A few weeks ago, the lovely and talented Kate Skogen of JetKat Photo came over to our place for an afternoon photoshoot.

This has been on my list for a while:  a photo session just for my husband David and myself.  Kind of odd for us, given that our engagement photos were selfies we took with a point-and-shoot film camera and we weren’t exactly at ease during our (somewhat formal) wedding photos.

Kate and I met through Instagram, where we discovered that we are neighbours in the same Eichler ‘hood.  Upon meeting in real life (before which I did some research, stalked her blog, and found her awesome work, natch) I decided to go for it and enlist her services.  Kate suggested we shoot at our home, which I loved because it helped us to feel a bit more comfortable and included what has become a big part of our life lately:  this house.

We had a nice afternoon hanging out, drinking tea, and chatting about home renovation projects (what else?)  Kate snapped pictures of us and our surroundings.

Winston made sure to be in most of the shots.  We were impressed by his ability to pose himself expertly in every setting.  Indulge me for a second, if you will:

Yep, that’s my dog.  Posing on a sheepskin in the guest room.  I think he really liked Kate.

I’ll leave you with my favourite shot, taken in our atrium:

Huge thanks to Kate for her fantastic work!  Make sure to check out her website and blog over at JetKat Photo.

All photos by the amazing Kate Skogen

eichler friends

eichler mini-tour: karen’s new home in walnut creek

August 7, 2013

One thing I’m discovering about Eichler home owners is that they are fierce weekend warrior types, with an incredible dedication to the original details of their houses.  Karen of Destination Eichler is one such person, who I had the pleasure of finally meeting this weekend!

Karen is a woman of many talents:  a ballet dancer, professional photographer, and product manager at YLighting.  To complement all of this, she recently became the proud owner of a Jones & Emmons designed Eichler home in Walnut Creek.  We met through a mutual friend and this blog, first over email, and I was very honoured to receive an invite to Karen’s housewarming party.  Karen has been blogging about the restoration of her home, located in the Rancho San Miguel tract made famous by this super-glam Eichler sales brochure.

That’s Karen, on the right, entertaining guests.

Karen’s house is a very similar model to our own, but has suffered from the dreaded Fairly Recent Renovations.  I have to say I admire Karen and John’s fearlessness in taking on an Eichler sheathed so completely in vinyl siding (not pictured, out of respect for their house!) and sincerely hope they are rewarded with pristine original wood siding underneath.  I am keeping my fingers crossed SO HARD for you guys!

Siding aside, Karen has already done an amazing job improving the interior of the house by painting and replacing light fixtures with some sleek mid-century styles, including a gorgeous Nelson saucer lamp in the dining room.  And I really like the all-white interior which you can see above.

And after only a month of living here, you can see plenty of great vintage finds in their home.  High fives on the vintage Acapulco and Bertoia seating.  I know that with Karen’s eye, this house is going to rock.

Besides the vintage furniture and the huge backyard, I am also quite envious of the gallery-style atrium wall, behind the Bertoia chairs here.  It would look really neat with non-textured glass, as I’ve seen in some remodels.  Because, as you know, you can never have too much single-pane glass in an Eichler!

After the party, we checked out the neighbourhood, as any self-respecting Eichler home owner does.  Every Eichler subdivision is a bit different in character and we enjoyed seeing the models here – actually a pretty big departure from the ones we’re used to seeing around Fairglen in San Jose.  Similar to our tract, there are about 350 Eichlers here with flat-top and peaked roof models, with a number of more exotic models as well.

This green one really confused us:  there is no front door!  The main entrance to the house is on the side somewhere.  I’d love to dig up the floorplan for one of these, or keep an eye out for open houses.

Construction on Rancho San Miguel started in 1955 and completed in 1959, with the homes near Ygnacio Valley Road being the first constructed.  The neighbourhood is shared by both Eichler and Jordan & Reed homes, which lead me to wonder if these are indeed Eichlers or not.  We even spotted a few with cinder block front walls and roofs shaped almost exactly like the Alexander homes of Palm Springs.  The variation in styles is most likely explained by the staged construction over these years, during which Eichler worked with different architectural firms (Ashen & Allen, Jones & Emmons, and Claude Oakland), based on a bit of neighbourhood history.  Since we found these models nearest Ygnacio Valley Road, I’m guessing they might be some of the earlier ones.

Huge congratulations to Karen and John on their new home!  Keep up the good work!

If you want to learn more about Eichler neighbourhoods, you can find a bunch on the venerable Eichler Network.

Acapulco chair photo by Karen Nepacena
All other photos by Karolina Buchner