Inspiration Files: Olya Thompson, Brooklyn Brownstone

I first saw this brownstone in the December 2009 feature in Vogue, and subsequently also bookmarked it on the WSJ (I have paper copies of all this goodness as well). The home belonged to Charles and Olya Thompson – she from Russia, and evidently very fond of the country and the broader Eurasia region as evidenced by her home. Samovars (Russian tea kettles, typically of ginormous sizes, because one drinks tea at pretty much all times, and after every activity), beautiful orthodox icons, gilded everything, color, pattern and texture on every textile (these rugs are enormously beautiful), a bit of red and leopard mixed in with modern art, and books – many, many books.… Read the rest

Lock, Set, and Ready

Wheeee. Sergey and I locked in our refinance rate. The clock is set and we’re ready to get this show over with. We have about six weeks until it’s all done, and in the meantime we have to get all of our documents together, paint away, and get whatever else done in the house that we can to best show it off. We will probably finish right around the same time three years ago when we signed up for this adventure.… Read the rest

Smooth Ceiling

I got back on Saturday evening from my trip, and we are fully back in the swing of things. We had our refinance consultation yesterday, and our contractors are coming back on Wednesday to tackle our to do list. My most pressing concern is what to do about front door (new? but expensive! old? but drafty! *yes it can be retrofitted, glazed and in general made as good as new, but neither one of us has the time, the skills, or more importantly the desire).… Read the rest

Hiatus Before the Storm

When we were renovating with contractors, I thought that things couldn’t possibly be moving at a higher speed. Turns out I was wrong. Getting the last few bits done as we gear up for refinance turns out to be even more hectic. Particularly so with travel on the agenda. I will be out this week and next, traveling to Russia to celebrate a very special 30th and 90th (!!) birthday. In the meantime, Sergey will be in charge of the VIB.… Read the rest

Inspiration Files: Barry Dixon, Capitol Hill

Row houses are quite peculiar–with their depth, width and general size limitations. Not to mention the always dark middle room on each floor (unless you are the lucky resident of a corner unit). And then there’s the layout, which typically means that all rooms are open and can be seen at once on the first floor. I actually love the flow that such layout creates, and I think the specifics of the way our house is set up pretty much equates to perfect flow.… Read the rest

Shiny and New (Old) Floor

The floors are done! We got back into town Wednesday night after spending New Years with Sergey’s parents in Connecticut. Pleasant surprise – the smell was not bad, actually non-existent pretty much. And of course the floors look shiny and new.

We had sourced three bids to re-do the floors. We went with the least expensive option, which still amounted to just over $2K for the living room, dining room, hallways, stairs and a small bedroom upstairs.… Read the rest

2012 in Review: VIB Chronicles

Wow. What a year for the VIB. The renovation, stage II, took on a life of its own and completely engulfed 2012 for us. It’s been exhilarating, exhausting, annoying, awesome, and all encompassing experience. We have both learned so much, from how to read architect’s blueprints, to the difference between Sheetrock and Blue Board, to how to listen and communicate better with each other (well we are still working on that one).… Read the rest

12 Days of Painting (and 1 Party): Days 9-12

Phew. We didn’t get it all done. but i am happy nonetheless with the progress that we have made in our 12 days of painting, which included hosting an end of the world party, and for which our halfway done staircase / hallway wall was the perfect backdrop )

Painting those walls really, really kind of sucked. Three coats! That’s because I did the second coat only in parts, which meant that it dried splatchey.… Read the rest

Kissing Balls

I saw these kissing balls online this year and was smitten. Must have me some mistletoe kissing balls. The shape works well with the rest of the holiday decorations, and is just somehow more fun and festive than a spring hanging in the doorway. However, it seemed like it would take a little too much time to make, between ordering all the supplies online (where in DC can I get a foam ball?!)… Read the rest