Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cole & Son Birch Wall Paper • A Classic

Images of this birch print wallpaper keep appearing throughout the blogs and Pinterest. I do believe it is reaching classic status.


This wall paper pattern has started inspiring both decor projects using it and variations on this theme.

First check out the wastebasket upgrade by Benita over on Chez Larsson (one of my favorite blogs - might be my Swedish heritage showing through!). She includes a tutorial so you can upscale using any wallpaper if birch isn't your theme.


When I first saw the following shower curtain available at Urban Outfitters I thought it was the same pattern.  It isn't but there is a strong similarity.


Many are creating ways to create a similar effect on their walls. I especially like this stenciled bedroom nook by Whisperwood Cottage.


These example show that birch, which traditionally is so rustic and can scream "Adirondack", can also be used successfully in a very contemporary setting.

Here are some of my previous posts with birch as a theme:


©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Friday, March 30, 2012

Birch Update • Containers

Last spring before Pinterest entered my life, I did a series of posts on using the birch theme and birch bark in decor. When I started pinning I create a board about birch and have been collecting new ideas there for awhile.  Thought it was a good time to update my readers with the collection. Today I'll share birch containers.  Here are a series using birch bark to create or cover containers.

Look at this gorgeous basket crafted from birch bark. The beauty of this container is that it blends so well with its contents.....


I have recently posted about the beauty of bright green moss on the table here but look at it in the following photo with it placed in pots covered with bark.  There is a DIY tutorial in the links.


There is also a tutorial at this site for this closed birch container below.


You don't have to make your own. Here is a very pretty berry basket skillfully crafted from birch bark and available from Little Birch Farm on Etsy.


Gets me thinking about birch again!

Here are some of my previous posts of birch as a theme:


©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Laundry Room Progress

I have shared with you my plans to FINALLY finish the Laundry Room here and here. Today, I met with the plumber. I am planning to move all the utilities around to maximize usable space and I have no idea what code allows for. I didn't want to spend a lot of time trying to lay out cabinets in SketchUp if the solution wasn't practical. Good news. The plumber said everything was certainly doable and appropriate! Also note. I called two plumbers for estimates. Plumber One came today, on time, with suggestions and is doing a free water test. Plumber Two wants $67.50 to arrive and more $$$$ for time to do an assessment of the situation before providing a quote.  Hmmmm.

I also visited Lowe's and collected some information on stackable washers and dryers because that is part of the plan as well. I am looking for information about them. Is it inconvenient? Problematic?  It seems like a perfect solution yet so seldom is it done.  Does anyone have any knowledge on the subject?


I did learn that if my dryer dies (it sounds like a wild screeching bird right now) before the project commences, I can replace it with the matching half now. I am having a baby shower here on May 6th so I can't begin the project until after then. There is no way it would be done and I expect my family room is going to be lined with containers with all the items on those shelves for a few weeks to be sure. Time to purge!

Don't you just love a building project?

Other Laundry Room Redesign Posts:

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whimsey- Re-turned Penguins

I have spent most of today working on our taxes - personal and two businesses. No DIY, no design and (almost) no Pinterest! For my post I will share with you something that made me smile because my taxes sure didn't! Check out these wonderful penguins.

source • via

These little guys are filled with personality. They are crafted from reclaimed wood that has been layer together in such a way as to identify bird body parts when turned. I became aware of these cute dudes on The Designer Pad, a blog I've bookmarked and follow. They are created by Beller of Norway.


Hope they made you smile as well! 

Back to the taxes.

Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Monday, March 26, 2012

Design Trend Don'ts • Palettes

This is my second installment in a series on beautiful design trends that I won't implement. You'll note I said beautiful because, in many applications, I find these visually stunning but for other reasons I will not incorporate into my home. Trend 1 that I discussed last week was open shelves in the kitchen. Trend 2 that I'll address today is palettes and palette lumber. It is cropping up everywhere and in truly stunning ways.  Here are some examples:

Palettes as headboards are common....


and this one is quite handsome. But have you ever looked at that space under your bed and between your bed and the wall? If you don't have dust bunnies I'd love to know your secret. How do you dust palette wood? I am not an over-the top type cleaning person and I certainly don't dust often enough, but I do know anything made of rough palette board will be a nightmare of a dusting job. (Insert huge sneeze here!)


Some build beds with the palettes. Resourceful? Yes, but that is a rent controlled apartment complex for dust bunnies stacked under that mattress below! Allergy sufferers beware!

source • via

Some take it a step further and cover their wall with palette wood....


John Whitmarsh
Via Houzz

I can only imagine the spider webs and dust growing on this wall.

But what I absolutely can't understand, no matter how beautiful, is how can you put palette wood or any type of reclaimed wood in a bathroom?



Powder room traditional powder room

I know that if I forget to get mildew preventer added to the bathroom paint, I will have little black dots of mold creeping in from all the corners. Can you imagine finding it on these walls? And I don't live in a particularly humid part of the country. Additionally, the top corners are not even the most important wall in the bathroom to scrub regularly!


River House eclectic bathroom

source • via

I can only believe that these bathrooms are only for show and not for use. They are beautiful but as I said in my first post on Design Trend Don'ts, good design has to function beautifully as well!


Previous Posts in The Design Trends • Don't Series
  • Open Shelves


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Collecting Laundry Room Ideas

To start a big project like a laundry room re-do requires some research and in 2012 that means Houzz and Pinterest. I have been collecting ideas for a while and in both applications I have created collections to help me sort out my ideas.  I just love these tools and the range of information available on the Internet - just wish my connection speed would stay up there! That is a rant for a different day but AT&T are you listening?

Looking back through my collected ideas in Houzz I find the following items...

First, some examples of fold out ironing boards. I truly wish they would learn how to do away with ironing altogether but alas - not a day goes by that I don't have to iron something! I want an ironing board that will probably stay open most of the time but can be put away when I entertain. I use this room as a staging area during entertaining and then I'd like the ironing board to be gone. The first two examples are fold out options.

Crisp Architects traditional laundry room

ravinia nights - the laundry room traditional laundry room

Not sure if the door would be a problem for me to leave open. The swing out option below looks interesting but the ironing board is on the short side. 

Luster of the Pearl contemporary laundry room

I am planning to get a stacking washer/dryer like those below. My current dryer clearly has to be replaced. I just hope it will last until I get new ones. The stacking option just makes sense because of space requirements.

KBK Interior Design Portfolio contemporary laundry room

I was taken by this cabinet door treatment below. Because the room will be filled with cabinets it might need something to break up the expanse. Or I might use this type of treatment on the sliding doors that hide the utilities. It adds a little texture. Not interested in the dark wood though. My room has no windows so I will keep it light.

Sustainable Contempory/Ranch Kitchen contemporary laundry room

The colored knobs in this laundry room made me smile. I certainly hope to add a little whimsey to the decor. Anything that makes you smile in the laundry room is a plus!!!!

Laundry Room traditional laundry room

I had forgotten about the need for a hanging pole. I currently used a poorly placed pipe which I hope to place differently. I will need a hanging pole. The shelf above makes sense as well, with baskets!
Laundry room modern laundry room
Modern laundry room design by salt lake city interior designer Stephanie Southwick

Ideas are coming together. Tomorrow I hope to call some plumbers and start talking reality!

Other Laundry Room Redesign Posts:

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scary Laundry Room

My laundry room redo is a big enough project that I can't just do a before and after photo shoot and share in a summation blog post. No, this project has the potential of being an epic adventure with me learning important stuff along the way. Yesterday I shared with you my free-form shaped room and the initial idea. Today some "as is" photos.  You'll understand how important the upgrade is to our home.

Here is what my laundry/utility/pantry looks like today...

Scary view right? I had to use a wide angle lens because there is only so much space in this eyesore. There is some distortion but you can see the scope of the project. In looking at that back wall you can see the pantry function is important, and you can see that it is relatively organized but certainly not attractive. That indicates that I need closed storage. The things that will be kept here are not pretty.


There are several obvious inefficiencies in the current layout of this room. One is this huge wall over the ironing board. It should be cabinets and will be in the new layout. Just no reason for underusing this valuable space! I don't think I need to go into detail about how bad the lighting is. Upgrades there are essential.

This view is looking into the black hole of wasted space. I hope to rearrange the utilities (hot water heater and water pump) plus plumbing to make better use of this corner.  This is where I need expert advice. I need to know what is possible. I also want to inquire about a water softener system. We have extremely hard water and are always clogging every thing with iron filament. Now would be a good time to address this.

Here is the floor plan again. I made some revisions this morning based on input from my husband. He pointed out some obstacles in the utility area that I had chosen to overlook. I need to give more space to that area because of it. :-(



So folks, cheer me on! I've been saving my pennies for years for this upgrade and the time is here! Let the fun begin.

Laundry Room Redesign Links:

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, March 23, 2012

The BIG Project • Laundry/Utility/Pantry

I am getting ready to embark on a big home project, one that his been on the back burner for over thirty years! That is the finishing of my laundry/utility/pantry room. It is an extremely busy, well used room and it is still unfinished. The finishing of it will have to be done by professionals because it needs to be done quickly. We can't live long with the water pump and water heater disconnected as flooring is laid and sheetrock installed. So, I am getting prepared for contracting a big disturbance in our lives which hopefully will end in something beautiful.

I have started planning and you'll need to understand a few things about our home. First it is creatively shaped. I designed it and David and I built it ourselves (with much help from my Dad) back in 1978. Talk about a learning experience! Much of it was unfinished when we moved in and we finished new areas as kids arrived. Here is a floor plan of the first floor. See what I mean when I say "creatively shaped?"

The back wall is a berm wall and below grade. The house was designed as a passive solar home and we heat using wood harvested from our property. The berm keeps the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I have highlighted the room I will be working on in yellow. The house is on a slab which works as a heat sink so the utility/laundry room is my "cellar". It is still concrete wall, concrete floor and studding. Here is my current plan for it. Ever plan for a room shaped like this?


I am sure the details won't show up in the upload - Blogger really restricts the width of images - but I'll outline the details as I move forward. My list of dreams includes:
  • 1. Relocating the water heater, water pump and pipes to better use the space.
  • 2. Hide the utilities behind a removable wall - removable for maintenance reasons.
  • 3. Add studs where necessary (back wall) and sheet rock it all. ( It has a cathedral ceiling!)
  • 4. Add flooring - probably just vinyl. 
  • 5. Get a stacked washer dryer.
  • 6. Install cabinets EVERYWHERE.

To start I need some more advice. I 've got a dream but I need to talk with a plumber to discuss reality! That is the next step.

Right now I have been spending my project time relearning Intaglio, a floor plan program and Google SketchUp. I do plan to create a 3-d drawing before moving forward.

I expect I'll be sharing stories with all of you!

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring is.....Daffodils!

We have all been commenting on what a unique spring this is.  It is here early, after almost no winter. And as always it brings joy to the heart and daffodils to the garden.  The bright yellow and green against the still brown world is a welcomed sight! I want to fill my house with them. Here are some ideas to get me started.....

How about a wall decal?

source • via

Or an Origami project?.....










May your spring be filled with sunshine and daffodil yellow!

Previous Posts of Interest:
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kitty Jungle Gym

What a terrific idea! Here is a wall mounted kitty jungle gym. Our kitties are now gone but wouldn't this have been fun. I need to save the idea for the grand kitties! The DIY possibilities are huge!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Images • Learning a New Lens

Exceptional photography is truly important in making a visual impact in a blog.  David gave me a new lens last week and I really needed to spend some time exploring its strengths. Today, no projects - just photos. I have taken hundreds of shots, discarded most, repeated some, experimented. When you are in the DIY business, learning new things is a must. Here is some of my favorites in no particular order.

Detail of my stone lamp

Tiny turned bowl - beautiful Fine American Craft

Still fascinating with wood, logs and branches

Industrial Chic- Not everyone owns a ship anchor chain!

Always photographing nature.


Family Heritage makes a home.

Shaker boxes - beautifully designed storage from Amy!


My new lens has greater ability to create the blurred background so I went looking for subjects and compositions that helped me understand those parameters.  It is especially helpful when I want to emphasize an object.