Country Living...Island Dreaming

February 29, 2016

How to Not Commit to Patterned Tiles

We are seeing these gorgeous patterned tiles everywhere and I just can't get enough!  I would love to re-tile a bathroom with a beautiful patterned floor but I tend to be a bit conservative.  The patterns might be too much of a commitment for me!  Actually, let me reword that...The patterned tiles might be are too much of a commitment for my husband...I doubt he would ever agree to these.

But it's fun to dream...

Walker Zanger Tile

I love the above blue and white SO much but I think in a bathroom, I would go for black and white...

House Beautiful

Don't you just think this bathroom is beyond gorgeous?!!  I would spend my entire day in there.  Slightly out of my comfort zone but honestly, there is nothing I don't love and that tile is just incredible.  Too bad my husband would have a heart attack if he walked into our bathroom and it looked like this.  Totally not his style but I just can't take my eyes off it!

But being more realistic, if we ever remodel our master bathroom, I could possibly convince my husband to go with a basket weave tile.  These are definitely more on the conservative side and would be perfect for the floor...

Walker Zanger Tile

Walker Zanger Tile

Seriously, how could he ever say no to a bathroom like this?...(I'll take that tub too!)...

Even though my husband might not be on board with another renovation, (especially one that involved a huge patterned tile commitment), I would still love to add some pattern somewhere...

Luckily, in my many hours of online shopping, I have come across some beautiful patterned tile looks in more temporary items...

Barrington Gifts


One way I could get some pattern in my life and not frighten my husband is to buy a cute bag like this.  

But since it might be fun to frighten him just a little, I could go with something for the house...
West Elm Rug
West Elm

I have actually been eyeing up this West Elm rugs for awhile and just saw this one in person the other day.  I am still thinking..

Speaking of rugs...
Pottery Barn Scroll Rug

Pottery Barn

I have been in love with this Pottery Barn rug since the day it came out.  But my usual hesitation will cause me to wait too long to buy it.  Then they will discontinue it and I will regret taking so long.  

But if you also share my commitment problem, throw pillows are a good way to go...

Target pillow


As if we ever have enough of these and you can't beat the price either!


When things are on sale, I get a little more daring!  I actually took a chance and ordered this on sale rug online from Ballard the other day...

Ballard Designs Indoor Outdoor Rug
Ballard Designs

I bought it in a runner size in black.  I plan to put it in my back hallway leading from the kitchen to the back door.  
White Kitchen and Hallway - Calypso in the Country blog

I really need a rug that can handle high traffic in that spot back there and I thought it was a great place to add a fun bit of the tile look!  I hope my husband can handle it!  I will let you know how that turns out...

I know I mentioned a lot of different products here but I just wanted to let you know that I am not being compensated in any way to mention them.  I usually don't even post many pictures that aren't mine so I am way out of my comfort zone.  I guess I'm really living on the edge today...

So what are your thoughts on patterned tiles? 

Have you committed to tiling any rooms
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February 25, 2016

Shopping Success...Sort Of

Yesterday, I headed down to Princeton to shop at the Princeton Market Fair.  This small mall along Rt. 1 contains a few fun stores including Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Anthropologie and West Elm among others.

Pottery Barn table display

My goal was to check out more items in Pottery Barn which are not carried in the store closer to my home.  I have been looking for kitchen stools and a new kitchen table.  I had been hoping to see the Sumner Extending Table in person...


Unfortunately, the closest version they had on the floor was the Sumner Pedestal table but at least I got a good look at the finish.  I still don't know how I feel about those extending pieces that stick out on the ends of the Sumner Extending Table.  How do they look when not extended?  I still need to investigate this.

I also enjoyed browsing through West Elm but as expected, most of their pieces were too modern for my style.  Pottery Barn Kids was too babyish for my boys...so sad.  Why do they have to grow up so fast?

Overall, my visit to Princeton Market Fair was enjoyable and I felt satisfied with the furniture I got to see in person - which is always helpful.  

Afterwards, I swung across the highway to check out the local Pier 1 Imports.  I was thrilled to see they had the Ellie Counter Stools on the floor.




Since my local Pier 1 Imports didn't have the Ellie Stools on display, I hadn't had the chance to see them in person until yesterday.  I didn't want to bother ordering them online only to return them if they didn't work.  Well, after seeing them yesterday, I can cross these off my list as potential stools for my kitchen.  Although they were very comfortable and even cuter in person, the colors were way off for my kitchen.  Too creamy for my White Dove cabinets but in the right kitchen they would look adorable.  Too bad but at least I know now.  

While leaving Pier 1, I noticed a Trader Joe's across the parking lot.  I had some time so I decided to check it out even though it was pouring rain and I already looked like a wet rat!  

We don't have a Trader Joe's near us so I was excited to see what all they hype was about.  All you bloggers are always talking about how you picked up this or that at Trader Joe's...In fact, when I walked in, I quickly posted this picture to Instagram to get some tips on what to buy!  Thank you to all who left suggestions.  I am making a list for next time!

Trader Joe's Flowers

I thought the store would be bigger for some reason but I was happy to see so many organic options and interesting little snacks.  I picked up a pre-made arugula salad with lemon chicken and couscous for lunch.  I was surprised that they didn't carry any individual bottles of iced tea though.  Kind of weird but instead I found a Mango Smoothie.  What a treat!  It couldn't have been more delicious!  I was able to control myself and save a couple sips for the kids because it was just SO good!

Trader Joe's Purchases

Here are my purchases for the day (minus the salad which I had already eaten by that time.)  All their chocolates were delicious and the kids devoured those cupcakes!

Oh yeah, the other purchase I made yesterday was this cute bunny from Homegoods...

HomeGoods Bunny

This is all the Easter decorating I have done so far!  

Overall, I had a pretty successful day!  I may not have bought much but I was able to see some things in person and rule out some things that won't work.

Then this morning, this baby arrived...

New Kitchen Aid French Door Counter Depth Refrigerator

My old Kitchen Aid refrigerator died last week.  Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their opinions and suggestions for a new fridge.  I had a hard time deciding between the Kitchen Aid and the Jenn Air french door model.  The price difference was significant so I went with the Kitchen Aid.  They are basically the same fridge except for the handles and the logo.  It's not that important to me that all my appliances are Jenn Air.  I doubt anyone will come in my kitchen and say, "Why doesn't the fridge match?"  I mean, does that really matter?

Plus, if you notice, Kitchen Aid updated their handles to more of a "pro" look.  The only bad part is the red dot on the ends of the handles...

Kitchen Aid Handles

What sense does that make?  I have to figure out a way to disguise that.  It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George buys a cashmere sweater on sale for Elaine.  The sweater has a red dot on it so she doesn't want it.  Then he ends up sleeping with the office cleaning lady and tries to pass off the sweater on to her - but she notices the red dot too!  I will just call it my Seinfeld refrigerator...

Anyway, here is the before and after...
Before and After Refrigerators

Anyway, lots of shopping going on over here.  As my husband likes to say, "You're spending money like a drunken sailor!"

Have you bought anything fun lately?

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February 22, 2016

Seven Suggestions for Online Retailers

Like most of you, I shop online all the time.  Usually, websites are easy to navigate and I am happy with my overall shopping experience.  But sometimes shopping online can be frustrating.  Here are a few of my suggestions for any retailer who would like to listen...

Seven Suggestions for Online Retailers - Calypso in the Country Blog


Dear Online Retailers,

For the most part, you are awesome but as a frequent shopper, I have a few suggestions for you...

1.  New Items - When you have a "New Items" section, please only put NEW items there.  You are not fooling me when you try to sneak in a bunch of older items assuming I never saw them before.  Believe me, if I am clicking on the "New Items" section, I want to see the new stuff!

2.  Enlarging - When you have a little magnifying glass symbol that says "enlarge here", please actually enlarge the photo!  I have to laugh every time I click on to enlarge and the picture just moves over to the right.  Not helping me at all...

3.  Scrolling - When I scroll down the page and click on an item, sometimes I want to go back and scroll more afterwards.  Why do I get sent back up to the top?  I don't want to go back up to the top.  I want to continue where I left off before I clicked on the item!

4.  Passwords - Sure I am all for security and would be devastated if someone stole my identity, but if you make me go through all those security questions when I set up my account with you, why do you STILL have to email me a link to CHANGE my password when I forget it?  I thought the reason you asked for my town of birth and mother's maiden name was so you could just give me my password when I forget it!!  Do you know how many times I forget passwords?  I have a whole notebook (tucked away in a very secure hiding spot) filled with passwords now!  I don't want to dig that notebook out every time I go online.  I like to rely on you to help me out every now and then when my brain is not working correctly.  Is this too much to ask?

5.  Measurements - Okay, I get it.  There is a difference between 'Counter Stool' height and 'Bar Stool' height.  You are kind enough to list every measurement on the stools for me - width, back height, etc...but what about the SEAT height?  Some of you think that putting 'Counter Stool Height' is enough.  Let me tell you something...it's not!  My counters are standard height but under my island, I have a decorative molding.  Because of that molding, I can only comfortably fit stools with a 24 to 25 inch seat height.  Counter stools can range from 24 to 27 inches high!  Most of you are great about specifying this but some of you think I am psychic...which I sometimes am, just not in this case!

6.  Samples - Sometimes you don't have a physical store for me to visit or sometimes the closest one is much too far away.  I can't always tell what a fabric or wood tone is going to look like in person so I would really appreciate it if you provided samples.  Some of you are great about this, but some of you would rather have me just order the item and return it later if it doesn't work.  I hate returning things.  I do it all the time but I hate it.  I am a 'regular' at our local UPS store but I don't want to be.

7.  Reviews - I love reading reviews from people who have bought a product.  I like knowing if people are satisfied or want to share some assembly tips.  Since I don't expect you to list whether a counter stool is squishy or firm in your descriptions, I like to rely on reviews to tell me that.  Don't worry that the bad reviews will scare me away.  I read the good ones too and make my own decisions.

Once again, these are only my suggestions but I would be really happy if you listened to them.  I love shopping online and  I am looking forward to all your NEW spring products!  Just remember to put only those new spring items in the new section!  My credit card is ready to go!

Sincerely,

Do you have any suggestions for online retailers?
Please share in the comments below!

Seven Suggestions for Online Retailers - Calypso in the Country Blog


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February 16, 2016

Would you Recommend Your Refrigerator?

It seems like every week something is breaking in my house.  Just this morning we had the repair guy here to fix our humidifier and a couple hours later our refrigerator started acting up!


For a few weeks now, our refrigerator has been running more frequently and maybe a little louder but we weren't too concerned because it seemed to be keeping everything cold.  Then this morning we heard a very high pitched long beep.  Rosie, my golden retriever came running into my office because she hates any kind of high pitched noise...and fireworks...and fire trucks...and thunder...basically anything loud.   

We discovered the noise was coming from the refrigerator and when my husband opened the door, the temperature lights were off.  He pushed the button to turn everything back on and then about an hour later the same thing happened again.  It looks like I am going to have to move all the food to the fridge in the garage if this keeps happening.  Fun.  I am not sure if it is even worth calling a repair guy at this point because we have had this fridge for at least 10 years and I think we had it repaired once before.  I think it's time for a new fridge!

I just started reading about different brands online and it seems like there are lots of complaints out there.  Just great!  What I am looking for is another counter-depth stainless steel one that is 72 inches high and 35 1/2"- 36" wide to fit the opening.  My other appliances are Jenn Air but I am not committed to that brand...especially since I am less than thrilled with my dishwasher.

I am also considering a french door style instead of the side by side but I am not sure.

Would you mind helping me out 
and telling me about your refrigerator? 

What style/brand do you have 
and would you recommend it?

Thanks, I always appreciate your opinions!

UPDATE - If you would like to read about which refrigerator I chose, click HERE.


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February 10, 2016

Counter Stool Progress

This week I have been auditioning counter stools for my kitchen.


As you can see above, I bought a white leather stool from Kirkland's and the black and brown Stratmoor stool from Pier 1 Imports.  The other two on the side are the temporary ones we have been using.


Starting with the Kirkland's white leather stool...This one fits pretty well on the end of my counter where the overhang is only about 10 inches.  When we designed my kitchen, the overhang was actually about 12 inches in this spot but at the last minute, I had them move the island down a bit to give me more stove area on the other end.  While I like the space on the other side, I regret making this overhang so small.  Nothing I can do about it now!  This is one of the reasons I am having trouble with my counter stool decision.  This stool fits here but the wood color is a bit off so it makes it seem like I was trying too hard to match it to the island stain.  Plus, the leather color is too creamy and looks a little washed out when you compare it to the white cabinets.


Here is the stool tucked under the long side of the island.  The leather doesn't even go well with the counter top.  It might not show so much in the picture, but in person it is more obvious.


Plus, I know I could probably wipe up spills easily but I just can't see white leather lasting in my kitchen with my boys.  So this stool is out.

I also brought home the Stratmoor stool from Pier 1 Imports...


At first I felt like the Stratmoor stool stood out too much since the bottom is black and the top is a darker brown than the island.  Then my kids sat on this one and loved it.  It's comfortable, the right height at 25 inches and it swivels.  What more could boys want?  

But as much as I want to keep my boys happy, I have to really decide if this is the look I want in here.


When tucked under the island, the black isn't as jarring in there, plus the black picks up the black in the lanterns.  I had thought about going with black when I went shopping at Restoration Hardware recently.  You can read about that here -  Counter Stool Dilemma if you missed all the excitement the first time around.


I guess the black could work with the touches of black in the family room as well as the black that runs through the granite.  Don't look at the kitchen table and chairs.  They will be replaced soon...I hope.  


This stool sticks out a bit more in that end spot though.  It's diameter is 16 inches.  I just don't know.  It's hard just looking at one in the space but I am not going to try out four just so I can return them when I change my mind...

So, as of now, I am still undecided and still looking.  I will keep you posted.  I am sure you are on the edge of your seat waiting...

At least I am done with the bar stool decision for our ski condo.  If you missed that drama, check out my post - Our New Saying and the Almost Disastrous Bar Stool Purchase.  Never a dull moment here.

What do you think of the black against the island?
Am I wrecking my kitchen if I buy these?
Is there anyone in the world who obsesses about stools as much as I do?

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February 5, 2016

Our New Saying and the Almost Disastrous Bar Stool Purchase

Well, I might be a little dramatic using the word, 'disastrous', but then again I tend to get a bit extreme when I obsess over things...

Recently, we ordered bar stools for the kitchen of our ski condo in Vermont.  The old stools were a bit worn out from many years of renting the place and it was time we replaced them.  I spent a good month or so traveling to different stores, armed with paint samples to hold up to every stool I could find.  I finally settled on the Mason Bar stool from Pier 1 Imports.  I chose the rust color after rummaging through every leather swatch about 63 million times.  The rust color looked like it would work well with the olive colored walls in the kitchen.  Of course, I was a bit nervous but then again, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't nervous about making a big purchase.

I waited until the stools went on sale and we ordered four of them to be shipped directly to Vermont.  We had our rental agency deliver them to the condo so they would be there waiting for us on our next trip up.

The few days before we left for Vermont, I stopped by a Pier 1 Imports store - a different Pier 1 than the store I browsed through to find the swatches.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many bar stools they had displayed on the floor...until I saw the red one.

Ew, that's an awful color, I thought to myself.  Then I took two steps back and looked at the stool again.  OMG!  That's the rust color!...the one I ordered - or should I say the four I ordered!  I hated it!  It looked red...and not a good red - an ugly red.  I don't know if it was the fact that the stool was next to very dull colors or the fact that the lighting was different but I was not happy.  I raced home to check online to see if the order went through.  Well, lucky me...I received an email just hours before that my order had been SHIPPED!  Just great.

Killington Vermont
Killington Mountain

Fast forward to the night we drove to Vermont.  During the 4 1/2 hour road trip, all I could think about were those stupid bar stools.  I drove my husband crazy planning what we would do if we hated them.  We didn't really have many options.  There is no Pier 1 Imports close by to return them and there was no way we could fit all four of them in the car so we could drive them back to New Jersey to return them.  We figured we could always ship them back and pay a ton of money to do that.  Not my husband's favorite option.

Throughout the drive I imagined all kinds of disastrous scenarios.  Here are a few comments my husband had to suffer through...

..."I think the actual red was much brighter than the swatch....They are totally going to clash with everything in there....What if the red is really red?...What if our kitchen ends up looking like a 1950's diner?!!...Just great, we might as well paint the tiles on the floor in a black and white checkered pattern to match those stools!...Heck, let's go out and buy a Juke Box to go along with our new theme!"...

Yes, these were the actual comments pouring out of my mouth.  My husband is a saint to put up with me.

Now my husband knows when I really like something.  I usually cannot contain my excitement and I say "It's perfect!" a lot..like all the time.  When our cabinets were installed in the new kitchen, "Oh, they're perfect!", or the transom window, "It's perfect!", the plantation shutters in my office, "They look perfect!"  He has heard me say it over and over again through the years...

When we arrived at the condo, the huge boxes were sitting there waiting for us.  We opened the first box and pulled out the bar stool.  I stood there staring at it for a moment and said, "You know...they're not terrible."

And he replied with his sly half grin, "Great!  Not terrible is the new perfect!"

And from that moment on, we have been using "our new favorite phrase!"

Pier 1 Imports Mason Bar Stools

And honestly, they are not terrible.  In fact, I actually like them.  The color was what I expected when I originally ordered them.  They blend well with everything in there.

Mason Bar Stools

The stools are comfortable and lighter than the previous stools that were so heavy they made a scraping sound on the tile whenever we moved them.  Dare I say, they are perfect?  No, but only because that would mess up our new favorite saying...

Not Terrible is the New Perfect - The Story Behind our new phrase.  Calypso in the Country Blog

I really need to learn to relax about these type of things.  Just think of all the time I wasted obsessing over these stools for nothing!  

Now if I could only adapt my new carefree attitude when it comes to choosing counter stools for our home in New Jersey!  No, I haven't made a decision on those yet!

And now on top of that...my kids are wondering when we are going to get that Juke Box!

Do you ever obsess over purchases?


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