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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Project 6D: Study


 We added a closet in the study as the original closet was very small. 

One of the things that H & I love to do on our pass time is to walk around the city.
We often peek through windows of buildings and townhouses to see other people's apartments.
Built-in shelves are common sights and they felt very New York to me.
I really love those wall to wall built-in shelves. (The one with ladder attached is even more dreamy!)
They are aesthetically beautiful and functional.

H fell in love with the leather top partner desk. We were excited when the desk finally arrived.

We still need to find the proper desk chairs, replace the sofa bed, and get new lightings to make the room complete.
The study feels cozy and calm, and I love spending most of my time here.

Can you guess which side of the desk I sat?  Ya, the one facing TV. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lady Mandl's tea salon -- Afternoon tea in Gramacy

Another afternoon playing tour guide with my sister.
I had been eyeing  Lady Mandl's tea salon for their afternoon tea.  
It was the perfect opportunity to go.

The salon was part of a lovely boutique hotel called The Inn at Irving Place.  
We waited at the reception area before we were taken to the main dining area. 

The salon was filled with ornate and beautiful decor and furnishing in Victorian style. 
I LOVED the wallpaper panels on the wall.

It was definitely a chick's place.  I did not see one single guy in the salon.

The Afternoon tea has  five courses.

First course: spinach pastry

Second course: Finger sandwiches (Smoked salmon, cucumber, egg, & raspberry cheese) 

Tea set

Third Course: Scones with clotted cream & jam

Forth Course: Coockies & Chocolate dipped strawberries
Fifth Course: Caramelized layered cake. (So creamy and light)

Lady Mandl's Tea salon has specific seating time and accept reservation only,.
The five course afternoon is $35 per person.
It's a lovely way to spend the afternoon with your girlfriends.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Project 6D: Hallway

BEFORE             &              AFTER 
Entrance leads to this section of the hallway which connects to the kitchen, three storage closets, and the study.

H's grandfather carved the three angel on the upper right corner.
The family crests and  our zodiac signs were H's mother's works.

BEFORE             &              AFTER 
The end of the hallway connects to the master bedroom and leads to the bathroom.

To enlarge the small bathroom,
we moved the bathroom door and shorten the hallway in this section.

I was really happy to have found this adorable ceiling light for the hallways.
It is a reproduction of the schoolhouse-style shade from the era of 1925 to 1935 with a twist of hand-painted stripes.

The dark rich cocoa color paint matched the wallpaper on the accent wall at the entrance. 
I wanted a bold color in the hallway to be the backdrop of all the paintings and photos we put up, 
and to be the contrast to the rest of the apartment which is light and airy with plenty of sunlight. 
It was a risky decision, and I was nervous about how it would turned out.
I am relieved to say that I like it.  Do you?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Egg -- Brunch spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Egg is a popular brunch spot in Williamsburg where there is always a long wait on the weekends.

For my sister's 5th visit to New York, I wanted to show her Williamsburg and check out the restaurant.

The breakfast is served daily. There are some unique dishes on the menu.

Eggs Rothko: Easy-cooked egg in a slice of Amy's brioche and topped with Grafton cheddar. 
Served with broiled tomatoes and a side of meat or seasonal vegetables.
The brioche was soaked in egg & cheese, yummy.....

Biscuits & Gravy: Homemade buttermilk biscuits in sawmill gravy 
made with pork sausage or pan-seared mushrooms.
This is such a comfort food -- creamy, rich, and heavy. Perfect for hang over or a cold winter day

If you are in the neighborhood, definitely check out the restaurant.
Be Patient. The restaurant is small, waiting is most likely inevitable.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Project 6D: Entrance

BEFORE                 &                 AFTER

Two things I know very early on that I wanted for the entrance:  Chandelier & Wallpaper.

The rest of the entrance & hallway took shape once we had the wallpaper picked out.

I also wanted to add a shoe closet in this corner behind the entrance door.

95%  Completed: waiting for the coat hooks to be installed and bench cushion to be made.                                      

We were so happy to have found this Jacobean sideboard in a local shop that fit perfectly in  the space.

The entrance space hosted a collection of H's grandfather's oil and water paintings.
Most paintings were the sceneries of Gastein, Austria.
A few more paintings will have their spots on the wall once they are properly framed.

We added crown molding to dress up the ceiling.  It made the room so much prettier.
The wallpaper was a lot of fun.  I would do it in other rooms if I have the money and time to find the right wallpapers.
The whole entrance reminds me of a different time and place, like London in the 19th Century.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Project 6D: Prelude

I am not sure if "PLAY" is an appropriate way to label this project,
or perhpase "Borderline Masochism" is a more accurate way
to describe this whole experience.

Granted, I was naive as a first time home buyer.

Growing up watching my dad drawing up the floor plans,
going to the model apartment in the new development with him occasionally,
and gone through the renovations when my parents moved,
I always thought it was a must to renovate when we purchased our apartment.

Little did I know how much of a hassle it was to deal with
the contractors, management company, and co-op board.
Of course, I did not know that the scope of our renovation was such a big deal either.

With the vision of how we wanted our apartment to be and a lot of willpower & endurance,
H and I plow through this four month project.

Tears, arguments, ever expending budgets, set backs, mistakes, shut-down operations...
all the dramas that we could possibly experienced, we did.

Hours and hours were spent on researching on appliances, lighting fixtures, kitchen & bathroom supplies online
or running around from Loews, Home Depots, to all the big hardware & lumber stores in New York City looking for materials....
H lost ten pounds within the first month.
I lost count of how many sleepless nights that I stared at the ceiling wide awake, sick to my stomach with worries.

July 8th, four months after the renovation began,
our contractor came for the last visit to tide the the lose end.

The apartment that we live in now looks very much like the floor plan that I drew up
when we decided to make an offer on the apartment last November.  

Despite all the headaches of the renovation,
it was exciting when we saw our vision slowly came to life piece by piece.
All the effort became worthwhile and the process became so much fun.

Project 6D is about 95% completed at this point.

There are still smaller cosmetic projects to be done around the apartment, 
but the hard work is done, and we can finally come out to play!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sri Pra Phai -- Thai Restaurant in Woodside, Queens

Having lived in Manhattan for over a decade,
I must admit that I was guilty of being lazy to venture out to the outer boroughs.
Brooklyn's development over the past few years had forced me to confront my laziness.
Now no longer living in Manhattan, I guess it will probably be cured all together.

Apparently SriPraPhai is a well-known Thai restaurant for many years. 
The restaurant has a lovely garden dinning area in the back. 

The variety of food on the menu is amazing.
Good thing I came with three other people to sample all kind of food.

Tom-yum shrimp: With mushroom in hot & sour soup
The classic Thai dish.

Shredded green mango salad, With shrimp, squid & chicken
There are such rich textures and flavors in this dish.

Fried soft shell crab, topped with chili, garlic & basil leaves
I was not a big fan of soft shell crab before, but after this dish, I am hooked!

Fried shrimp cake

Green Curry
The dish was very mild and light

There are 5 pages of desserts on the menu.  Unfortunately I forgot the name of this one.
It was all kind of jelly with coconut milk and crashed ice.

Jasmin green tea jelly

A week later, I went back to the restaurant again.

Papaya salad w. crispy catfish meat
I always like papay salad, but the flaky texture catfish did not do it for me.

Stewed beef tendon
The Stew had this intense rich flavor.  It was so good!

Mango with sticky coconut rice.
It was not the usual dessert, but I liked it.

There are so many dishes offered in the restaurant that I only sampled a small friction of the menu.
There were a few dishes that did not make it to the blog:
Steamed fish was ordinary, and Pad Thai failed to deliver.

The restaurant did not accept reservation and often gets crowded on the weekend. 
If you go, try to get there early and sit in the garden. 
By the way, bring cash when you go. The restaurant does not accept credit cards.