4 Charmingly Vintage Laundry Rooms

Apr 10, 2012 by

Laundry rooms and I have always had an eclectic relationship.  When my husband and I lived in the Hollywood Hills, our laundry room was outside on our deck, which was tucked into a gorgeous hillside with trailing leaves and lush foliage.  I loved doing laundry there – until the raccoons decided to live under our deck and torment our dogs.  When we lived on the slopes of Haleakala on Maui, next to the rainforest, our laundry room was also outside, which was fabulous unless the trade winds were not blowing – meaning the mosquitos were biting me as I was sorting our colors.  Now we have a somewhat “normal” laundry room in Los Angeles, which is jammed in a tiny room that dumps us out into the garage.  At least we have garage doors by Garaga!

Did you know that the average American household does 400 loads of laundry every year, according to the California Energy Commission?  That means we spend an inordinate amount of time washing, drying, folding, and ironing!  To help make our time in the laundry room as pleasant as possible, I’ve rounded up four charming, vintage inspired laundry rooms that can easily take the pain out of cleaning stains!

From Southern Living comes an enchanting laundry room in a relaxing soft blue (specifically, Sherwin-Williams Waterscape) that is especially lovely on the wood plant walls and ceilings.  Vintage charm from the porcelain enamel pendants makes laundry time lovely both day and night.  Using open shelving with glass jars makes the room feel airy, while lending aesthetic appeal.  With the washing machines and dryer tucked neatly under the black soapstone counter, I would not mind laundry day so much if it were in this charming room!


White and light grays are the perfect backdrop to clean laundry, as beautifully showcased by Cabbages & Roses.  The vintage accents, ranging from the tin sign and wash board to the metal canisters artfully holding detergent, can infuse personality into any laundry room.  I especially love the curtains below the counter, perfectly accenting the deep farmhouse sink.


The vintage industrial ambiance of this laundry room from Elle Décor tops my list!  I just love how the garden room and laundry room can live together so harmoniously.  The deep trough-like sink, vintage bottle drying racks (perfect for drying intimates – genius!), and the fantastic collection of galvanized watering cans make me swoon.


Home & Harmony  has created such a warm, relaxing, and achievable laundry room, and I especially love the vintage industrial touches throughout the room, like the galvanized locker-style baskets and the hanger, which are such genius organizing ideas.  Even the fruit baskets tie in beautifully with the entire feel of the room, along with the warm texture of the Roman blinds.

I’m inspired to transform my laundry room dungeon into a place that can cleanse my soul – and our family’s socks.  How about you?

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House Tour: A Restored 1800s French-Creole Cottage

Mar 16, 2011 by

House Tour: A Restored 1800s French-Creole Cottage

On the edge of Lake Martin in Louisiana exists a French-Creole cottage that takes you back in time, when the sounds you hear are water lapping and crickets chirping, without a note of urban hum. Maison Madeleine is a true work of restored art, a 1800s cottage that was moved and lovingly restored in its current place. Let’s allow the photos to tell the story, shall we?

Against the beautiful earthen walls, which were originally made of mud and Spanish moss, the entire porch exudes a gorgeous patina. If any home had a patina, it would be this one!

While the dining room may look original, it is a new add-on with impeccable attention paid to nostalgic detail, including a baking oven, a potager, and a cookpot over the fireplace.

In the original kitchen hearth, a French masonry stove utilizes charcoal to simmer. Le Creuset anyone?

The slightly exposed brick gives the wall such a warm, vibrant feel.

Inside this 18th-century-inspired outbuilding made of salvaged wood is the well pump. Who would have known?

The best part is that Maison Madeline can be yours – for a few nights – as it is currently being operated as a bed and breakfast!

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Ode to San Diego: City Without a Key Tour

Apr 7, 2009 by

Nostalgia is touching me as I say goodbye tomorrow to San Diego, who has been a lovely and faithful home.   As an Ode to San Diego, I would like to share with you some of my favorite places (that I have photographed) in San Diego and its North County. I hope that you may have an opportunity to visit a few on your next journey to San Diego!

san diego beach

Along North County, the waves gently wear away at the beautiful cliffs that are covered in moss and algae.  Moonlight Beach is exceptionally beautiful after it rains, as mini-waterfalls cascade down the cliffs to mingle with pools of seawater below.  While the best surf is undeniably at Swamis, beginning and intermediate surfers enjoy excellent rolling waves at Beacon’s Beach, which is just a few blocks from my (soon to be) old house.


On the cliffs of Swamis surprisingly sits the Self-Realization Fellowship.  If you are in Encinitas, this is a fantastic place to rejuvenate your soul and mind.  Around every corner and through every path, you stumble upon secret meditation spots surrounded in alcoves of green, as well as breathtaking nooks, such as….  san diego meditation

…this one!  It took my husband and myself about six visits before we found this secluded sitting spot, complete with marble benches that allow you to take in the ocean views while you contemplate life.

pannikin Leucadia

Most Saturday and Sunday mornings, you can find my fellow Leucadians and myself indulging in a cup of Joe at our local Pannikin Coffee Shop, which resides in a repurposed train station.

funky leucadia type

I live(d) in a town where our motto is, “Keep Leucadia funky.”  Traverse through Pacific Coast Highway in Leucadia, and you’ll see quirky shops and wonderful vintage type.

hideaway cafe

Despite all of San Diego’s commercialization, there are still a few places of mom-and-pop surprise, such as the aptly named Hideaway Cafe in Solana Beach.


While San Diego is not known as an epicurean capital, I have been enamored by Marakkesh, a Moroccan restaurant in the heart of La Jolla.  From its amazing ambiance to its wonderful staff, Marrakesh enticies me to visit weekly.  In fact, my husband and I had wanted to hold our Mainland wedding reception here!

balboa park

As we travel south to proper San Diego, I find myself roaming about Balboa Park every week.  There is magic in this park, stemming from its beautiful gardens to its stunning Spanish architecture.  From the San Diego Art Museum (who hosts fantastic Culture and Cocktail parties complete with a DJ) to the Japanese Friendship Garden, everything a soul needs in terms of culture can be found within Balboa Park.

arboretum balboa park

Of course, one of my favorite destinations in Balboa park is the Arboretum, where you walk into a tropical rainforest enclosed within beautiful architecture.  However, they are not open on Thursdays, so plan accordingly!


When I lived in Point Loma, I would frequently visit the lighthouse.  My husband and I like to picnic on the old bunkers and watch the waves.  The tide pools are always a fun experience, and I’ve found the most interesting rocks here.


A visit to the neighborhood North Park San Diego will treat you to the sight of mixed architectural styles and an eclectic array of restaurants, among many other things.

Goodbye San Diego.  You will always have a piece of my heart.

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House Without a Key: Courtney’s Chic Casa

Feb 10, 2009 by

We all enjoyed stylish Courtney’s fantastic typewriter light, and today, we are truly treated to visiting her home in this House Without a Key installment. Each room presents a medley of eye candy, complete with vintage treasures that all have a fun story to tell. Without further ado, I welcome you to chic Courtney’s casa, located “inside the loop” in Houston, Texas.

Vintage inspired living room

My coffee table serves as a rotating library for all of my favorite-of-the-moment art books. Right now I have it paired down to a box set of vintage Japanese books, which we do pick up and read from time to time. The fireman’s hose is one of my favorite oddities. It’s never been used, so the brass ends are still wrapped in their original burlap. I also have a thing for vintage science posters and found the Genetics chart while rooting around a prop shop on Houston Street in New York City. I like to hang them from curtain rod holders so they stand out from the wall and have a three-dimensional feel.  (pH note: I love Courtney’s combination of old and new, and the genetics chart is such a refreshing piece of conversational art!  I also love how her white Venetian blinds let in just the right amount of ambient light)

vintage and anthropologie inspired living room

I’m still as in love with Anthropologie’s Ditte Sofa as the day I bought it 2 years ago. It’s deep enough to fit my 6’5″ husband and long enough for us both to stretch out. When Elle Decor dubbed it “the best make out couch,” it was an immediate buy for my husband!

For our second anniversary, we drove to Pieces in Atlanta and invested in some furniture. We love our woven fiberglass chairs and because they’re insanely light, we’ve dragged them all around the house for additional seating where needed. The metal medical cart in the corner is our makeshift bar. With two shelves and a drawer, everything fits perfectly and it’s even mobile!

vintage inspired dining room

In the 70s, my Dad worked at a bank in Louisiana that was undergoing a remodel. When they started tossing Bertoia chairs to the curb, Dad snagged 6 for his unfurnished patio. 30 years later, I had them chromed dipped at a local metalworks shop. My dining buffet is from the now defunct Storehouse and the lamp is a thrift shop find. The vintage orange and white enamel cocktail set is from Austin Modern and the mirror is an old Kirkland’s purchase my mother-in-law had in her previous house.   I love how big and gold it is! We’re huge John Derian fans in this house as he’s one of the few artists my husband actually loves as much as I do. We exchange his pieces every holiday and it’s a fun common interest. My favorite are his Hotel Algonquin series, one hangs above the frog.

art easel repurposed

My husband and I love to ride our bikes around the neighborhood on weekend mornings. Someone was having a yard sale and I almost flipped over my handlebars when I saw this ratty art easel that’s covered in layers of paint and oil. For $3 it didn’t pay to leave it behind, so my husband rode the rest of the way home with it over his shoulders. I have a few funny (and granny) needlepoint embroideries and the hawk was a perfect fit for this nook in our bedroom. I, too, have the ubiquitous “For Like Ever,” but I don’t care. I love the fluorescent colors and teen slang, and it brightens up our overly brown room. My nightstands are a dirt-cheap Craigslist find and I had my husband build up the bottom so they’d be 8″ taller. They’re now more suited to our bed’s height and I use the extra room underneath to shove unsightly things like routers, modems, and endless cords; no one’s the wiser!


In Round Top, Texas, I found these neat hotel door numbers and knew I had to bring some home. I hunted down numbers to spell out our anniversary, “4” “20” “5” (we were married 4-2-05) and placed them above each bedroom light switch.  (pH Note:  How incredibly sweet and romantic!)

vintage and eclectic office

My “office” is located in the second bedroom, so it tends to be a more personal space for me than any other area. When I moved to New York, Mom framed a print of she and my grandparents in 1958.  (As seen against the right wall). My Grandfather, Arthur Ory, owned an appliance store in Louisiana and won a trip to NYC for selling them most Fedders Air Conditioners in his region. They put his name in lights on Broadway and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world for having this piece of family history in my house.  (pH Note: If only every office could be so personalized and nostalgic. Mixing old and new perfectly is certainly Courtney’s forte!  Doesn’t the vintage mannequin somehow look appropriate amongst her laptop?)

vintage bicycle

Thank you SO much Courtney for graciously inviting us into your inspiring home!

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KEDAI in Indonesia: Cafe Without a Key Tour

Jan 15, 2009 by

Imagine walking into a cafe filled with warm colors, creative furniture, and vintage Indonesian film posters — one that is a stark contrast to its minimalist, yuppie neighbors.  As the delicious aromas of coffee brewed from local Indonesian farmers fill your spirit, your eyes are surprised by all of the unique ways the restaurant design has been repurposed.   Welcome to KEDAI, a wonderful cafe located in Kemang in South Jakarta, Indonesia.

Tika is the creative proprietor behind this splendid cafe, where I know I would spend most of my evenings if I lived an ocean closer!  She was inspired to incorporate her love of colors, creative upcycling, used objects and second hand furniture to create a chic ambiance – with help from her power tool wielding mum!  When she went hunting through Jakarta looking for old wood that would become tables and cup hangers, she found much more than she had imagined….


Customers wash their hands at a tin bucket fashioned into a sink basin,which sits on a gorgeous table made from reclaimed wood.  Better yet, the water comes out from a chicken faucet purchased from a Bangkok market.


Forget particle board!   At KEDAI, you can be part of the alternative energy movement by dining at repurposed tables made from oil barrels that Tika cut in half.   Enjoy the cafe’s healthy food, clearly made without additives or MSG, and be inspired by all the creativity around you.


Using metal rice bowls commonly found in all Indonesian households, Tika created gorgeous lamps that let out the perfect amount of starry, diffused light.  She drilled the patterns into the rice bowls, although if you want to “borrow” this idea from KEDAI, you could possibly substitute vintage colanders for metal rice bowls.


Taking repurposed lighting to a new level of creativity, Tika fashioned a chandelier from vintage silverware pieces, and the result is magnificent!


Tika utilized reclaimed wood pieces, leftover from chair and desk projects for the local public schools, to create unique and charming chairs.   It’s also so lovely to see the entire ambiance of the creative cafe.


If two creative repurposed lighting fixtures were not enough to impress you, then dine under the “stars” created from upcycled bicycle rims. I absolutely adore all of the subdued lighting in KEDAI.  Not only is it inspirational for writing, but also the perfect place for a first date!

Now, are you ready for the best part?   Tika and her friends just opened the doors to Bikin Barang, a “Little shop of handmade knick knacks, vintage treasures, and craft supplies,” which translates into “heaven” in my vocabulary. 

Thank you Tika for sharing your wonderful space in this Room (or rather, Cafe) Without a Key Tour!  I hope to visit in person in the near future!

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Mid Century Modern in Ethiopia: Room Without a Key Tour

Jan 8, 2009 by

This week’s Room Without a Key Tour brings us to the lobby of an intriguing hotel in Dire Dawa, home to the  only occasion of secular mid-century modern design cosmopolitan traveler A. Davey witnessed in Ethiopia.   Can you imagine lunching amongst these gorgeous room mid-century modern inspired room dividers?


Intrigued by the presence of such western design in Ethiopia, A. Davey was kind enough to delve into the history of Dire Dawa, whose existence was largely influenced by a railroad that connected Addis Ababa to Dijibouti on the Gulf of Aden.   Decades ago, passengers frequently traveled this route, but its prevalence in commerce and leisure has since diminished.


As a French-Ethiopian enterprise, the railroad ran through Dire Dawa, creating a resting point for passengers.  Subsequently, the French may have very well influenced the design of this lobby, especially considering that the imagery on the room dividers represent coffee service — much more European in influence than Ethiopian.   A. Davey concludes that the brass containers that are showcased in the room dividers are most likely shell casings.


According to A. Davey’s research, the Dire Dawa hotel dates back to 1964, which concurs with the heyday of mid-century modern design.  I love how there is such strong mid-century modern aesthetic, made even more unique with the influence of local materials.  Thank you so much A. Davey for sharing your beautiful photos, knowledge, and travel experience for this fascinating Room (or rather, lobby) Without a Key Tour!

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