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Friday, August 27, 2010

Project 6D: Living Room


We opened up partial wall between the living room to the kitchen. 
Finding the right paint color turned out to be quite a challenge as there are millions of colors available. 
I want a color that would match well with the kitchen yellow but enough distinction to separate the two rooms. 
The color also has to be a reasonable transition from the entrance.
Even though I am not a big fan of beige color on the wall, but in this case, beige seems to make sense. 
The lighting fixture installed, wall painted, floor sanded, stained, and polished. 
I wanted the modern chandelier since I first lay my eyes on it in 2005. 
We LOVED the look of a big farmhouse table and saw some to-die-for salvaged wood farm tables. 
Unfortunately, the prices of those salvaged wood furniture pieces broke our hearts. 
Although not salvaged, this table came close to second. 
It has extenable wings on both sides that could easily fit 10 - 12 people. 
(If only we know how to cook for so many....)
The opening between living room and kitchen created a nice flow of energy on this corner. 
There are still a lot of details missing in the living room. 
We need a few accent tables, an armchair by the TV armoire, 
and I know exactly what style of mirror I want to hang on the wall by the dinning table. 
We are not in a rush though... I like taking my time to fill up these personal touches. 
Here is the new addition: A lamp that we found in a antique shop in Cape Cod. 
The lamp is sitting on a wooden box until we find the right accent table. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pie 'N' Thighs -- Southern Cuisine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Another weekend that I hang out in Williamsburg.
It was a gorgeous summer day with not one ounce of humidity.
I found another southern restaurant for brunch, Pie 'N' Thighs.

Most brunch menus in the regular restaurants lack of creativities and can be quite boring.
I am never a big fan of omelet; eating too many eggs at once made me nauseous.
The southern brunch is appealing because the food is interesting and much more appetizing to me.

Brunch Menu, and many more options listed on the chalk board.

Summer Cooler: Lemonade with ginger ale & hint of mint.
(Very refreshing indeed.)

We saw a full tray of house-made Biscuit fresh out of the oven, and had to order one for ourselves.
It was flaky outside and moist inside without being too greasy.

Chicken & Waffles: The waffle was made with Buckwheat flour.
(How can anyone resist chicken & waffles? It was a match made in heaven to me.)

Smoked Pork Hash & Egg
(It's a very hearty meal. If you like smoked BBQ, this is the dish for you.)

Coincidently, a week after we visited this eatery, Wall Street Journal had an article about this restaurant.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Project 6D: Bathroom


Bathroom was the most challenging part of the whole renovation for us.
There was tears, screaming matches (with the management company), and many sleepless nights.
The original bathroom was very small and outdated with ugly tiles and yiky peach color sink & bathtub.
I wanted to break down the master bedroom closet wall and incorporate the space into the bathroom.

The hard part was to move the toilet to the closet space.
We did not know if the building structure allows such a move.
Licensed plumber who charges outrages fees must be hired.
The worst scenario would be that an engineer and an architect's drawings will be required
for complicated, costly, and time-consuming paperworks & city permits.

It was our first time dealing with the co-op board & management company,
and we were clueless about the proper procedure and best way to handle such complicated matter.
The bathroom renovation was stalled for a whole month and we were having nightmares about the bathroom.

It was a huge relief and very happy day when we finally made some progress.

H got his glass tiles for the bathtub and I got my marble tiles for the rest of the bathroom.

The vanity cabinet was custom made for extra counter space so both H & I can get ready at the same time.
Because of the structural beams underneath,
the toilet needs to be elevated on the platform so the pipes can be properly extended to the new location.

I chose this toilet for its clean look and sleek design.
There is no gap between the toilet and the wall so no dust can be cumulated behind the toilet.
The dual flush button conserves water and is very quiet when flushes.

I wanted a recessed wall-shelf to store the shampoos & shower gels and hide them from the plain sights.
Using the partial glass partition to make the bathroom feel more open and airy.

Being slightly obsessive-compulsive to keep my hands clean,
the single handle faucet allows me to easily turn on and off the water with one hand, or even just the wrist.
The high arch design gives me enough room to wash my hands without touching the sink.
Of course, the integrated sink allows easy cleaning.

Every single bathroom accessory was carefully picked out and planned for its location.

I picked a few of our honeymoon pictures from Bora Bora and made them photo canvas for the bathroom.
They were so relaxing to look at, and bathroom seemed like the perfect home for them.

In the past, I never took a bath in the rental apartment because:
A: there was no windows.
B: the bathtub was old and the grout and tiles looked dirty.
C: the bathtub was next to the toilet or exposed sink pipe.

Now, for the first time I feel comfortable enough to take a bath in my brand new bathtub in my brand new bathroom.
Ideally, I would prefer to have a separate shower and a craw feet stand along bathtub,
but I guess I will have to wait for the next apartment. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Park Avenue Summer -- American New Cuisine in Midtown East

Met up with a friend who shared my enthusiasm for dinning out for lunch at Park Avenue Summer.
A restaurant that changes its' theme & menu every season.

This is the summer decor.

The assorted bread basket was enticing.
I had to stop myself from finishing the basket before appetizers arrived. 

Grilled Prawns 
(You can't go wrong with this dish, yum yum yum....)

Salmon Tartare
(Light and refreshing. SO good!)

Free Ranged Chicken with Peaches & Basil.
(It is my own fault for ordering this dish.
Chicken is boring, and the sweet peach sauce just did not do it for me.)

Organic Scottish Salmon with Crispy Taro & Cucumber Salad
(Amazingly delicious!  The salmon was crispy outside and moist inside.  It was very flavorful.)

Goat Cheese Mousse in Phyllo,Honeyed Raspberries
(The goat cheese mousse was creamy and light.  It was wrapped in sweet and flaky phyllo.
Great option for someone who does not like heavy, rich, decadent dessert.)

Chilled Banana Parfait with Chocolate Crumbs & Banana Butterscotch Puree
(It's an orgy in your mouth. Need to say more?)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Project 6D: Bedroom

The association probably has no base at all,
but the bedroom reminds me of apartments in Paris after the window treatments were installed. 

The original bedroom has a tiny closet about 30" by 30" big.  It was completely useless.

I wanted to: A. seal off the closet door,  B. allocate the space to the bathroom expansion,

and C: build a bigger closet on this side of wall after the original closet was sealed.

The end result is that I now have a 10 feet long closet,

and still have plenty space in the bedroom.

I really adore the original crystal glass door knobs that belong to the apartment. (Picture shown on the left)
To match the style, I ran around all the hardware stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens looking for closet door knobs on hot & humid spring days
and thinking to myself, "why do I torture myself over some stupid door knobs?" (Picture shown on the right)

We spent the least amount of effort on finishing our bedroom.
The walls are still too bare. We still need to buy bedside lamps.
There is this way-over-my-budget delicious vanity mirror that I am drooling over.
And eventually I would like to get a king size bed since we do have the room for it....
The list goes on. But for now, it will do.

However, one thing that can not be replaced and I hope will never change,
is the view I see when I wake up and before I go to sleep everyday.

Okay, I MIGHT exaggerate a little.
The pictures were zoomed to get the closer shots of Empire State Building.
But even without the zoom, the view is still pretty darn good.

PS/ Just bought this unique lamp from an antique store in Cape cod.
The lamp is sitting on my night stand for now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Traif -- Pork & Shellfish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I have been spending a lot of time in Williamsburg these days.
Here is another quriky restaurant that has interesting menu.

Name of the restaurant, Traif, is a Hebrew word for un-kosher food.
The chef and co-owner of the restaurant is a Jewish and he serves many pork & shellfish dishes.

The restaurant has a small garden in the back with grape vines casting a lovely awning.

The restaurant serves dinner and weekend brunch. I was there for the weekend brunch.

The Costanza: Soft scramble eggs, lobster, mascarpone

Egg-in-a-nest, brie-roast portabello, grilled cheese

Bacon doughnuts, dulche de leche, coffee ice cream
The doughnets were sprinkled with bacon bits with caramelized sugar.

I seeme to come across to more and more dessert dishes that have salty ingredients in the recent days,
such as sea salt, basil, and now bacon.  Could this be a new trend?