Posted on September 23, 2012
My new macro lens arrived Friday, and after a quick spin in the backyard to document butterflies and do a test ring shot, I figured it was time to snap a few shots of our renovated bath so the lovely elements can be shared with Pinterest peeps.
In our cozy cottage, our hall bath serves as the kids’ bath, the guest bath, the powder room and my shower. Being multi-purpose, we wanted to replace our crumbling tile and swollen formica with something snappy, fresh and functional. I like small tiles. My grandmother had a guest bath full of tiny pink tiles, a pink sink on chrome legs and a wall heater with a nifty coil that would turn red as it took the chill off the shower exit. A Boston rental where I lived had a black and white tile bath that reminded me of older hotels. After pondering various hex tile patterns, I opted for penny tile in this earthy gray-green. I loved the little bronze edge of the tiles, and my contractor was impressed that this tile was just about $5 per square foot — some of it is much pricier. I purchased it at Melcer Tile.
Ever since I learned about Fisher Recycling creating countertops using colored glass, I was intrigued. It is a pricey project, but after considering a granite remnant instead, I decided to splurge since the bath is so frequently used. In addition to the cost of creating the countertop (roughly $60/square foot), the Granite Shop had to do the final edge cutting, polishing, sealing and installation, so that was another expense. It’s a fun process though — I visited the recycling center, where we picked the colors I liked along with the special elements including hunks of Coke bottles, oyster shells and touches of metallic glass upcycled from Urban Electric. Fisher produced a sample piece, and after approving that, they took about two weeks to create my colorful custom slab.
The old vanity was about 45 inches wide. We wanted to maximize storage space and many store-bought vanities come in standard sizes that are much smaller or larger. My designer suggested we have a vanity custom-built to maximize storage space. By extending the width a few inches and going from two wimpy drawers to six deep ones, we gained lots of storage. My designer also suggested raising the height of the vanity to 36″ — it made it so my son prefers to use the stepstool again, but it also made it more adult-scaled, so I recommend it. Our other bath has a countertop that is several inches lower, and it feels like it’s dollhouse scale in comparison.
Initially, we talked about possibly using reclaimed wood to build the vanity. When the contractor could not find a good resource for anything affordable, we opted for a painted vanity that could use cheaper wood. Still wanting the look of weathered wood, I looked for driftwood mirrors. I found several small ones and some cool shapes, but this one from Pottery Barn was the ticket. I’d bookmarked it and when I went to purchase it, it had dropped in price. Great score for $150! (Unfortunately, it’s no longer available.) The oil-rubbed bronze faucet is the Brantford style by Moen, and I bought it locally from Moluf’s when I purchased the undermount sink. I wanted the cleaner look of the one-handle faucet, plus it eliminates having to scrub tiny crevices between handles.
I love the bubbled glass knobs I found on Anthropologie. They pop off the Rockport Grey (Benjamin Moore paint) cabinet and tie into the Coke bottle pieces in the vanity top.
I ditched the towel bar and opted for wall hooks that could be a fun element and would encourage kids to hang up their own towels. I searched lots for bronze-finished wall hooks that were interesting and didn’t stick out into the room too far. Hardware can be so pricey (One favorite was $38 a pop!), so I was relieved to find these nifty sea stars on Amazon for a bargain price of $12 for four. They shipped promptly, but did not include hardware, so I made a quick trip to Royall Hardware for bronze screws. The shower curtain fabric and tasseled hand towels are from GDC, and I picked up the random orange beehive-textured towels at HomeGoods.
To brighten up our little windowless bath, the contractor installed a can light over the shower and switched out our bath fan for a fan/light combo. The bronze light fixture from Shades of Light features Fresnel lens globes, another nod to coastal living and the amazing lenses in lighthouses.
Although I searched around for some fresh bath art, I ended up using two Carolina Photosmith originals. “Beach Road” was taken on an anniversary trip to Little St. Simons Island. What a wonderful place! And “Dozen Cousins” has been around for a while, but it’s a family favorite.
Thanks so much to our contractor, Evan Chipley and to my savvy designer, Elizabeth Goff, who promises to one day embrace the Internet. I highly recommend them both!Pin It
Posted on January 24, 2012
Earlier this month, I joined a handful of photographers to spend a day with Fer Juaristi, an incredible photographer based in Mexico. Charleston has no shortage of local photography talent, but it is rare that busy, celebrated photographers travel here to lead workshops. Most professional development opportunities for photographers are centered around the huge WPPI convention in Las Vegas, smaller PPA events and conferences like Imaging USA, which just took place in New Orleans. What a thrill it was to learn to “see” more like Fer and to share ideas with other photographers, including ones from NC and DC, who made the trek.
Fer is both energetic and relaxed, and he really challenged us to think in a new way. I am not the only attendee who prefers shooting during the “magic hour” for the day’s last, gentle warm glow. Imagine my surprise when Fer encouraged us to seek out the harsh light, and again when he was more focused on that bright light than our gorgeous Charleston backdrops. I look forward to using a few of his techniques to add a bit more drama to my repertoire.
Following are a few shots from the day, including a few faves from two sessions with our gorgeous models, Robert and Megan Lange, who are really just a couple of married artists in love.
Posted on November 8, 2011
With visions of autumnal amusement in New York, I packed our bags, and we hopped an early nonstop to Gotham City for a special girls weekend in NYC. We met our cousins, who flew in from NC, to join us for a weekend heavy on memories and light on sleep. Alicia, the curly girly pictured several times below, took a similar trip a couple of years ago with her older daughter, so she had insight to add to our ideas. Our whirlwind itinerary included dumping our luggage at Hotel Belleclaire on the Upper West Side and walking a couple of blocks to the American Museum of Natural History. It would have been easy to spend the whole weekend taking in the amazing exhibits, but the unusually warm day beckoned us outdoors to frolic in Central Park.
After a quick clothing change, we hopped the subway to Rockefeller Center, where our 6:10 pm tickets proved to be the perfect time to watch the day’s light fade and all the lights come up. Top of the Rock was a definite highlight – especially if you can time your visit to watch the sunset. After dinner, we hit Times Square for quality Saturday night people watching, a jaunt to M&M World and the last ferris wheel ride of night at Toys R Us. Our heads hit our pillows at midnight, and we were all grateful for a quality snooze.
Day Two, rise and shine! Tavia and Cidney prepped themselves and their American Girls for another fun-filled day, which started with sidewalk sustenance at Isabella’s. Yummy brunch and a perfect morning for dining al fresco. Hopped the subway and headed to the Staten Island Ferry terminal for a free harbor cruise, breezy vitamin D and breathtaking views of Lady Liberty.
Posted on June 16, 2011
After a hopping spring photographing lots of wedded bliss, I can honestly say that I’m pretty set with my gear lineup these days. Over the past couple of years, I have slowly added to my lens collection as I’ve earned money, and I now have two full-frame cameras, a nice range of prime lenses and one zoom that’s proven useful in tight spaces at events and receptions. (And how did I live without my 27″ iMac?! Love it.)
But like most photographers, there are always a few other things that would make me giddy should I happen to pull a coat out of storage and find a $1500 bill in a pocket. And with a birthday approaching, I figured it couldn’t hurt to document my wish list.
First up, in the name of professional development, is this Visual Supply Co. workshop featuring Jonas Peterson and Sean Flanigan, among other very talented photographers, brand wizards and graphics gurus. Let’s face it — photographers could easily spend all their profits attending workshops in hopes of having remnants of greatness rub off on them. I’ve yet to travel to any conferences or workshops, although I have gleaned goodness from a few informative classes online. While I know it would be a fun few days to just revel in the creative process with people whose work is so inspirational, it doesn’t seem like a realistic priority as a play-at-home mom of two energetic tots.
But, if I had a spare $1500, I would beg my hubby to cash in some miles for a free ticket to San Francisco. I might even encourage him to join me for the weekend prior to the workshop and we could make a quick trip back to Point Reyes (one of our honeymoon spots) and dinner at Manka’s Inverness Lodge. Alas, the workshop fee (and lodging) would just be the beginning. Surrounded by talented photographers and designers, I would surely succumb to an expensive “re-branding” in hopes of defining my vision and brand and playing with the big kids. Guess I better stick to exchanging ideas with local photographers and studying online resources. For now.
Second is this stealthy retro camera, the Fuji X100. Another camera, you say? Sure! At the end of last year, after deliberating for a while, I bought a Canon G12 hoping to score an awesome point-and-shoot with great image quality and manual options that would keep me from feeling guilty about not hauling my hefty camera bag everywhere. The macro feature is nice, as is the HD video. However, the images from my G12 often lack sharpness, and it’s frustrating. Also, the menus are so full of options that it’s a lot to navigate through. Even when I don’t mean to change my settings, I hit one of the tiny buttons that leads me into a maze of choices. (“Press 5 if you didn’t mean to Press 3. Press the Star key if you’d like to speak with a human.”) I just want to press the shutter button and take a photo! Occasionally, I miss a decisive moment because of this menu madness.
Enter the Fuji x100. Built like a tank, it’s compact and delivers superb image quality with high ISO. It’s a fixed 35mm, just like the old days. It wouldn’t be ideal for every type of shooting, but everything I read about the lucky people who’ve been able to get their hands on one makes me want one a little more. Fuji X100s are out of stock everywhere, and when a store gets a handful in, they’re already claimed by wait-listed people who have probably feel like they’ve won the lottery. Instead, they’ve “won” the right to purchase this $1200 gem. I want to be like them. Read these reviews by Ryan Brenizer and Steve Huff, and you’ll want one, too.
(Hmmm. Late-night brainstorm. I’m sure this ubercool cam is included on some lists of Father’s Day gifts for the dad who has everything. Maybe I could give one to my husband? Surely he’d let me borrow it.)
Third, is this camera bag. Clearly not as exciting as the previous choices, but I figured I should list something realistic. Actually, the quest for the perfect gear bag is a continual one for many snaphappy people. And we all have multiple bags for different purposes. What this Epiphanie bag offers is a means for safely toting a camera and a few lenses (and even my MacBook) in a bag that doesn’t scream “Expensive Photostuff Here.” There have been other girly gear bags that people love, but this one is a my fave blend of function and design with the bonus of groovy braided handles and a poppy color. For those occasions and meetings where I need to run an errand before doing something camera-related, this bag would be the answer. In fact, I could have thrown my laptop in it earlier today when I met with a bride. Instead I toted my tattered black backpack from my days as a Kodak rep.
In the rare event you’ve made it this far, thanks for “listening” to my self-indulgent babble about stuff I think I can’t live without. What’s on your wish list?
Posted on March 17, 2011
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