blank'/> April 2014 | NidoBeato

My New Obsession With Bridge Faucets

This is my new love interest. Isn't it beautiful?

Oil rubbed bronze bridge faucet from Pioneer Americana series

Maybe I should explain that. Okay, so, we've established that I'm buying a new house, and that said house is to be in my possession NLT May 1, though if the current lazy owners manage to get their collective acts together and get out sooner, I could get the keys before that and start making my many dreams come true. Alas, it's one week to May 1 and I still don't have said keys to my future kingdom, so it looks like all that glorious remodeling will remain confined to my head.

That doesn't mean I haven't been busy. As detailed in my earlier post, I've been on a quest for flooring. I have the flooring for the hall bathroom and the guest bedroom in hand, and have been looking for something for the hallway and master bedroom that sort of matches the oak parquet in the livingroom/diningroom/kitchen. I call this (cough) compromise. Yes, Plan A - I wanted dark, hand-scraped remnant wood flooring, and no, Plan B - I'm not willing to pull up the parquet, which leaves me with Plan C - find something that will work with what I've got. On that note, I was in Lowe's the other day and found this::

Allen + Roth Gunstock Oak laminate flooring
You can't tell from the picture, but it actually looks like real wood. No, really. It even feels like wood. And the best part is (besides it being under $2.00 a square foot), it isn't shiny. I hate fake shiny cheap flooring. Real shiny flooring is okay, but the fake shiny stuff just looks more fake for being shiny. If you can understand my weird logic.

So, unless Lumber Liquidators puts something better on sale between now and next week, that's what I'm going with, though I'm not buying it until I get in there and do some better measuring. Plus, just in case something better comes along...

But back to my obsession. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore has become my new favorite hangout, and last week I scored HUGE. Just ask my sister-in-law, Fran, who is my usual wingman on these foraging expeditions. The week before we had seen these great solid oak commercial doors in the Largo ReStore for $20.00 each, and I was like, "Wow, these would make great countertops." And then, as if the Universe was eavesdropping on that conversation, the next day, during my obligatory daily perusal of Pinterest, I found this post about making countertops out of oak doors from the ReStore. It's kismet!

So we hopped in the truck Saturday morning and headed over to Largo to pick up a couple of those doors before everyone else got the same idea and bought them all. And that's when I found THE SINK.

Now let me explain something. Along with my new obsession for bridge faucets, I also have a strong, near-religious conviction that all kitchens should include a white cast iron porcelain enamel sink. My preference would be one of those huge farm sinks with the built-in drain boards, and I actually had the chance to buy one a few months ago for a mere $200 (complete with vintage metal base cabinet), but at the time I had no house prospects and no place to store it. But still. I love white porcelain sinks. I had one in my Wilder Ave bungalow and always vowed I'd have another.

I don't have a picture of this particular sink because it's sitting in Fran's utility room right now (her house is closer to my new house, so why drag it all the way over to my current house, and besides, it weighs like 3000 pounds). But I found a picture of the same sink online:

Koehler Brookfield self-rimming cast iron porcelain enamel sink with 8.6" deep double bowls

The sink has been discontinued, but it sold at Home Depot for $413.00. And this one looks BRAND NEW. Guess what I paid for it? You''ll never believe it. $30.00!! Yes, that's right. THIRTY DOLLARS! Thank you, Universe! I told you, if you don't shop the ReStores, what are you waiting for?

Now, I don't need to tell you how this changes things. The vision I had for my tiny beachy cottage kitchen? That's gone now. I have to build around this fabulous sink, which means no ordinary box store faucet is going to get it done. I need something equally vintagey to accent it. I need...a bridge faucet. And not just any bridge faucet. I need something bronze or antique brass to go along with the rest of my soon-to-be acquired accessories and lighting in my soon-to-be red and gold coordinated livingroom/diningroom/kitchen.

Naturally, after wasting spending an entire morning scouring the web for the right faucet, I found one I could live with on Wayfair. Unfortunately, it was $756.00, and that was one of the cheaper ones. The one I really liked was $1600.00, but let's be serious--that's not happening on my budget. (I hate being the voice of reason in my own head.)

Vintage Bridge Faucet by Whitehaus

While this one had that antique brass coloring I wanted (and BTW, I learned anything other standard chrome costs waaaay more), I knew I couldn't justify spending nearly $800 on a faucet even if I did get the sink practically free, so I headed over to Overstock. And that's where I found the Pioneer Americana faucet on sale for $255 with free shipping. The finish isn't exactly antique brass, but the oil rubbed bronze color isn't the nearly black of other oil rubbed bronze faucets I saw, so that's a plus. In fact, it has a bit of a copper tone to it, and that's just fine with me. I opted for the cheaper version without the sprayer because I never install those things anyway since they all leak within a year. Sure, it doesn't have the fancy pull out sprayer or one-handle operation everybody thinks is required now, but who cares. It looks vintage and will compliment my new sink beautifully. And that's all that matters.

Pearls & Coral - a new Crystal Creation

I've been a little busy lately with a writing assignment and getting my ducks in a row in preparation for taking possession of my new house, but I have managed to squeeze in some creative work for my Crystal Creations line. My latest creation was a piece for my sister-in-law, Fran. She wanted a little light for her bathroom using one of the Ikea lanterns with pearls and coral. It took me a couple of weeks to come up with a design and to find enough coral colored beads. Believe it or not, orange is a hard color to come by in bead world. I managed to find a couple of strands of coral beads in the clearance isle at Michael's, and after sifting through my ever-growing bead stash, came up with various orange and coral-like pieces that would work. While I like to stick with glass or stone in my beadwork, I had to settle for using some acrylic and plastic beads this time. I call the finished product Pearls & Coral, appropriately enough.

Pearls & Coral lantern lit up. I love the shadows these lanterns cast.
I spray painted the lantern and chain with a Rustoleum Metallic paint in Pearl Mist. The cap looked like a pearly white, but the actual color came out more silvery (though not as much as the pictures would indicate). And because I can never leave well enough alone, I used silver puff paint to add some more detail, then glued a strand of pearls around the middle.

lantern detail

At first I laid out all the drops the same - 24 total, using some rhinestone spacers between the pearls. But once I started assembling it, it looked, well...plain. There just wasn't enough bling going on, and a girl needs bling in her bathroom, right? So I extended the drops and doubled the amount, adding 12 with teardrop chandelier crystals and 12 with some plastic oval beads I had. Now it was looking better.

Pearls & Coral lantern detail (light on)

Pearls & Coral lantern detail (light off)

A funny thing occurred to me as I was getting ready to assemble the light. The drops reminded me of earrings, so I thought, why not hang them with earring wires instead of spending a couple of hours making wires myself? I have bags of earring wires of all colors in my jewelry-making stash. It made life so much easier. I think the light came out really cute and Fran loves it.
Pearls & Coral lantern (lights off)

Pearls & Coral lantern at night

Getting Floored - adventures in wood

As I may have mentioned here, I'm buying a house. Well, in truth, I've already bought it in the sense that money has changed hands, though it's currently sitting in escrow till the official closing date of May 1.

Naturally, that hasn't stopped me from redecorating the whole thing in my head, and some of that effort has spilled over into real life. For instance, last week when I went by to deliver the check, I asked the current owners for another peek inside so I could do some measuring. I actually wanted to measure everything since I have big plans for my little mobile home-cottage on the canal, but with the realtor breathing down my neck at every turn and the current owners in the middle of packing the place up to move, I had to settle for grabbing the dimensions of the bedrooms and hallway, since one of the first things I want to do is rip up the carpeting in there and replace it with some kind of wood/laminate/alternative.

By the way--that will NOT be tile. After living in two straight rentals with all tile floors, I never want to see tile on the floor again. Aside from being hard on the feet and back, you drop something on a tile floor and it either shatters into a million pieces or bounces into another dimension, never to be seen again.

The current owners of the house had kindly replaced all the subfloors and put down wood flooring in the livingroom/diningroom/kitchen, as well as the dressing alcove of the master bedroom. Don't ask me why they didn't do the whole bedroom; I figure it was to make my life miserable. Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), the wood they put down was parquet. Now I have to admit, at first I was kind of disappointed in that, but then I started to do some research and found that parquet is currently making a comeback, and who wants the same stuff everyone else has?

Parquet floors in the diningroom

Naturally, the bad side of that is parquet is more expensive than your lower-priced plank flooring, which is where my budget currently resides, and it's way more difficult to find. Both facts I didn't know until I started looking, but more on that another time.

Since I had envisioned my cozy wannabe cottage having beautiful old reclaimed barnwood floors (Pinterest will be the death of me yet), I went on a mission to resolve my heart's desire. Not wanting to rip out what was already there, I decided I'd settle for resolving my reclaimed wood fantasies in the hallway and master bedroom. That lead me to my local architectural salvage yard, Schiller's. I'd seen reclaimed flooring on their website, but when I got there, the reality was a little different. I needed 190 square feet for the hallway and carpeted portion of the master bedroom, and the 4-inch wide oak plank inventory I liked was less than half of what I needed. In fact, unless I wanted to pay $9.00 a square foot for actual reclaimed chestnut barnwood, they had nothing in the quantity I required. With a wistful sigh, I headed back to the drawing board.

I decided to check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in East Tampa, one of four in the Tampa Bay area. For those of you who have never visited one, what are you waiting for? It's a picker's paradise. Besides building supplies, I've found furniture and lighting super cheap there and years ago found the vintage yellow, five burner, double oven stove for my bungalow on Cornelius Ave for $100.

I started digging around in the flooring stack and came out with four boxes and a few stray pieces of a high-end dark engineered hardwood (everything they have is job leftovers, so it's hit or miss). That gave me roughly 48 square feet for $12.00 a box. With two other people eyeing my stash, I decided to grab them and hope I could find enough of something to match them for at least the guest bedroom, which is roughly 10 x 12. Ha ha, the joke was on me.

Dark wood flooring

Naturally, this was a discontinued item, and a search of the manufacturer's website turned up nothing under $6.00 a square foot, plus shipping. So I headed to Home Depot to see if they had something similar. Having never actually laid plank flooring, either wood or laminate, despite briefly working in the flooring department at Home Depot several years ago, I had no idea how much the interlock system varies for different brands of flooring. I wandered in on a busy Saturday with my sample plank of flooring under my arm and started comparing it to what they had available. Wrong thickness, wrong color, wrong interlock...nothing even came close. Ugh. Next I tried Lowe's--another bust.

That's when my sister-in-law Fran called to see what I was up to. Knowing she's been looking at new flooring for her livingroom, I suggested a trip to Lumber Liquidators. We decided to head over to the store on 22nd Ave N in St. Pete because it's located in the middle of a mile of nothing but flooring and hardware stores. We hit every single one of them and both came up empty. We even ran up to the ReStore in Largo hoping they'd have something, but all I found there was a great chandelier for my bedroom for $10 (more on that in another post). After hours of running around town, the only thing I saw that I liked was a hand-scraped hickory laminate at Home Depot for $1.39 a square foot, though it didn't come close to matching the dark wood I bought at the ReStore.

I was mentally kicking myself in the butt for wasting $50 on wood flooring I couldn't match when I got the brilliant idea of using it in the hall bathroom. 48 square feet should be just enough to do that floor. It wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind, but I could work with it. I'm not a big splasher in the bathroom, so water shouldn't be a problem, and if it did get ruined, so what--it was cheap.

With that decided, I figured I'd pick up the hickory I liked for the guest bedroom. I got up early Sunday and ran back to a different Home Depot. Turns out they had two different hand-scraped hickory laminates side-by-side, the second one with wider planks. Since it was early and the store was practically empty, the sales associate helped me pull out a few planks of each and lay them on the floor. I actually liked the wider one since it looked more like real barn wood and the great part was, it was cheaper. $. 99 a square foot!

Hand-scraped hickory laminate
I don't know how good it is, but for a spare bedroom that will get little traffic, it will work fine and I only spent $125.00 for the whole floor. Not bad.

Now back to my original quest--the hallway and master bedroom. Stay tuned.