How to: Wallpaper

I have attempted to photograph the finished foyer multiple times, but the pattern has proved to be a tricky bastard. this is a combination of photos that Sergey and I took, with a caveat, that I wish a professional would come and help us out here. Also, this post took an inordinately long time to be published, in part due to time crunch with the fact that I have been selected for 6 week jury duty, in part due to picture taking troubles, and in part because I am still learning to operate on my new Mac…I hope to be back here more frequently soon.Read the rest


Great news – the VIB has appreciated by half of its original purchase price. We appraised well over the value that we needed in order to drop our mortgage insurance. In fact the VIB was valued high enough that we are able to take some money out (“cash out”) in order to pay down our credit card balance and then maybe do an odd repair job here or there. Or do something fun?… Read the rest

Exotic destinations and their wares: Rugs

We have a very exciting trip coming up in the next few months – Morocco. With an eye towards that, but also thinking ahead of all the other travels that I am sure we will be doing, I have been studying up on the oriental rugs. I am kicking myself for not acquiring a rug when I was in Turkey a few years ago – but back then I had not a clue of what to look for and no spare funds to spend (doing slightly better on both fronts now).… Read the rest

What to expect when you (your house, really) get appraised

So it happened. Months – almost a year! – of hard core renovation, plus some major upgrades in previous two years – A/C and repointing – and we were ready to get re-assessed. This is going to be the nitty gritty of what to expect, and is probably extremely boring for anyone not planning on this process. But the pictures are still nice )


In the run-up to the appraisal:

  • We locked our rate with the bank, which officially gave us 45 days to get everything done, including getting approved for the loan (lots of papers!)
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Bits and pieces fall into place

I am spinning my wheels a bit here. I suppose that happens when you get close to finishing a major undertaking like a gut renovation of kitchen/bathrooms in a 100-year-old-plus house. There’s lots more to post about, some bits are completely done and haven’t seen the light of blog (hallway lights!), while others are just waiting for their finishing touches that we will add more or less at our leisure (kitchen before and after is going to be so good!)… Read the rest

So Lustrous!

I love Farrow and Ball. And, there is no other paint quite like it. I questioned it before, but now I know that it does stand apart from other brands, in a class of its own. It’s not just the color – although that’s pretty damn good too, but the quality – the looks and feels of it on a wall. And I am not the only one who noticed the difference – Sergey did too, which means it really does exist!… Read the rest

Sputnik Chandelier

As I have mentioned before, we are replacing nearly all of the overhead fixtures in the house. My most favorite addition, by far, is a sputnik chandelier in our dining room (the red room). Pictures really don’t do it justice, it looks incredible in person.

I had bookmarked the tutorial on transforming the IKEA Maskros this beautiful chandelier more than a year ago, and have in fact had all of the supplies to make this just sitting and waiting for the right moment.… Read the rest

Fan of our Ceilings

Our ceilings are starting to look really, really good. We are so happy with quality of the work. The surface don’t look seamless or perfect, but perfectly smooth – kind of like it has always been there and was never graced by the ugliness of the swirly. And the ceiling medallions are fitting in seamlessly. I am not sure that the medallions were there originally, in fact, I am pretty sure they weren’t.… Read the rest

Inspiration Files: Mari Vanna (DC Edition)

While I was traveling in Russia, Sergey was back in DC, getting his Russian on without actually traveling to the place. Lucky him, he got press passes to the soft opening of Mari Vanna, a Russian-themed restaurant – operated, decorated, and staffed by Russians. We have actually checked it out together since, and I can say that the decor is right on point – drawing inspiration from a mix of Ballets Russes, the intelligentsia’s dacha, perhaps with a pinch of a communal flat setup in a pre-1917 mansion.… Read the rest

Doors (the never ending saga)

As we play the waiting game – currently on order: front door, front door paint, hallway lights, paint for kitchen and bathroom – I decided that there was no better time to address an issue that I had planned to leave for later. Bedroom doors. Those three (not counting the closets) doors are the last hollow core, very ugly doors we have left to replace.

We purchased salvaged, solid wood replacements oh about three years ago.… Read the rest