Lessons in Lighting

8 Jun

I heard once that lighting is the jewelry of a room. I can’t remember where I heard that phrase, nor do I know who originally said it, regardless, I love it.

If decorating my home had a focus for the year, it would be lighting. While my home is still home to many basic fixtures, I have made a conscious effort to customize my cookie cutter with lighting that reflects my personal taste. As with most areas of decorating, I wait for inspiration, hunt for a good value, and take it one small step at a time.

So what have I done in 2015 to up my lighting game?

  • Added dimmer switches
  • Installed ceiling medallions
  • Upgraded ceiling fixtures
  • Added floor and table lamps

Move over candles! Dimmer switches can add the same romance to a dining room that candles might. They can also add a relaxing ambiance to a bathroom perfect for a soak. I personally like to gradually raise the level of light in my bathroom as I get ready each morning.

Ceiling medallions add architectural interest. Last year, I installed a simple one Black and White Entry. This year, a more ornate medallion in the dining room.

Eryn Ceiling Medallion Dining Room | www.gustoandgraceblog.com |#decor #home #interiors #diningroom #chandeliers

Lighting can be costly, but I have scoured and scored over the past few months. My under-buyer habits made me walk away from a great deal on a vintage lucite and brass waterfall chandelier, but I didn’t get a mile away from the antique store before turning around, realizing that I’d regret not scooping up the steal. I ordered a new canopy and hung it in the hallway. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.

Vintage Lucite and Brass Waterfall Chandelier

For more than a year, I have hunted for a black glass chandelier for my entryway. Then, several months ago, I stumbled upon an affordable (!!!) glass company from Italy. It felt like a huge break, and I promptly placed a custom order for a chandelier made of dreams. It not so promptly arrived more than two months (twice as long as anticipated) later. I expected it to be plug and play, but it came vacuum sealed in pieces. For the price, I can’t complain, and I’m always up for a new challenge.

Black Italian Murano Glass ChandelierShe’s my sort of bizzarre, edgy, Murano glass beaut. Please excuse my continued drooling.

Black Glass Chandelier Murano Italy

For some time now I’ve admired the late French designer Serge Mouille’s lighting designs. Originals are cost prohibitive, but I finally pulled the trigger on a fantasic reproduction of his 3-arm floor lamp from France & Sons. At nearly seven (7) feet tall, the lamp has a considerable footprint and filled a large void in my living room.

Neutral Living Room | www.gustoandgraceblog.com | #decor #home #interiors #mouille #design #livingroom #brass #furniture #MyRH #Anthrofaves #mywestelmThanks for Reading,

♥ Dominique

Still Reppin’ Cheap Art

25 May

Large scale art can be expensive, and while I’m still working on gathering basic furnishings and decor as a first-time home owner, art just hasn’t made its way up the priority list. Just because splurging on an original painting from my favorite artist isn’t in the cards right now, doesn’t mean I want barren walls.

I’ve loved Ashley Woodson Bailey‘s dark floral photographs since the first time I saw them. Some of my favorite designers, like Kristin Jackson and Christine Dovey, have used her photograph’s in their homes and clients’.

via The Hunted Interior

I’ve also loved Ellie Cashman‘s wallpaper designs, which I believe are based off of Dutch painter Cornelis van Spaendonck’s work, but I’m not sure I am ready to commit to a fully floral bathroom yet either.

via Cupcakes and Cashmere

The affordable compromise? Framed Ellie Cashman wallpaper samples. They probably won’t stay forever, but I LOVE them. This time, I spent the extra $12 and had custom black core mats cut at Hobby Lobby. I still opted for my trusty IKEA Ribba frames.

Ellie Cashman Wallpaper Prints Art Black Paint Bathroom

Looking for more inexpensive art inspiration? Check out my free printable watercolour Prada Marfa print, the $2 marble art I made, and how I upgraded my IKEA Ribba frames.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Las Vegas Mini Guide, or, So Much More Than I Expected

4 May

After landing in Las Vegas, I remarked to the husband that I was surprised at how beautiful it is. While he had been before, our trip in February was my first time in Sin City. I quickly realized that Vegas would surprise me many times over the next five days.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

I kept hearing that three days was the maximum amount of time many visitors would stay, but I could have easily lingered a day or two longer than we did. While many people go for debauchery a la Hangover, I found that Vegas has infinitely more to offer than free casino drinks and wedding chapels.

Floating Street Artist Entertainer Performer The Strip Las Vegas

For us, having family to visit made the trip exceedingly more enjoyable, but I’d recommend a visit to everyone. Fun sites, new experiences, and amazing food: below I’ll list the things I’d hate for you to miss if you found yourself in Vegas.

Bellagio Las Vegass Chihuly Glass Ceiling

Chihuly Glass Bellagio Ceiling Las Vegas

The infamous Strip, lined with enormous casinos, really proved false the maxim, “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Just a couple of casinos could take you days to explore. I soaked up all things over-the-top, elaborate, and exuberant, like a good Vegas traveller would. A favorite of mine was the Bellagio, with the Chihuly glass ceiling, pictured above, and the world’s largest chocolate fountain, pictured below.

World's Largest Chocolate Fountain Bellagio Las Vegas

At the Cosmopolitan I grabbed a fortune from the giant Lucky Cat and a drink in the stunning Chandelier Bar, a three story lounge, draped lavishly in seemingly endless strands of crystals. The Monkey’s Uncle was a sweet concoction of Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, Creme de Banana, Cream, Nutella, House Made Cinnamon-Vanilla Syrup.

Monkeys Uncle Cocktail Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

At Caesar’s Palace we enjoyed truffles that freely dispense from the large clock at Payard every fifteen minutes. While we were there, I picked up a Raspberry Pistachio Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich. At Monte Carlo, bundled up in parkas, surrounded by ice sculptures and sitting on benches made of ice and laden with furs and hides, we sipped cocktails out of glasses made of ice at Minus5 Bar. Vegas has plenty of experiences for the books. While, I opted not to take a gondola ride in the Venetian, I loved hearing the gondoliers singing in Italian as we strolled to brunch at Bouchon where we devoured warm beignets. I loved the antique brass card holder, below, so much, that I came home and scoured Etsy for an identical one.

Bouchon Bistro Business Card Holder Las Vegas

While we were there, the casinos were adorned in Chinese New Year decor. The Venetian and Mandalay Bay were most bedecked for the Year of the Goat.

Chinese New Year Year of the Goat Floral Arrangement Firecrackers

Since we rented a car to day trip to the Grand Canyon, we spent a fair amount of time exploring Vegas like a local might. My favorite meals in Vegas were not prepared by the chefs on Las Vegas Boulevard, but instead on Rainbow Boulevard. I had perhaps my favorite foodie experience to date in Vegas. Following a spicy Thai meal at Lotus of Siam of Nam Kao Tod (crispy rice) and duck panang, I indulged in three course dessert at Sweets Raku.

My experience at Sweets Raku was off to a great start with an edible menu, rolled in a cookie ring, and served with dipping sauce. From there, I chose my courses: Pineapple Sorbet with White Wine Jelly, Strawberry Tiramisu, and a chocolate creme puff with raspberries. Anthony skipped the multi-course meal in favor of an indulgent Chocolate Souffle with Banana Pudding.

We loved the area so much, we returned another day to have lunch at the crowded, but wait-worthy Monta Ramen. Having Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin has really ruined me for ramen, but my Tonkatsu style ramen with black garlic did not disappoint.

For non-gambling fun, we headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard and visited the Neon Museum, a boneyard filled with the neon signs that Vegas is known for, from years past.

Stardust Neon Sign Museum Las Vegas Nevade

Driving from the airport to our hotel, a glimmer of silver glinted in in my eyes and I knew I had seen Gehry. Not far from downtown, we found it: The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. I know nothing about architecture, but love pretty buildings.

Frank Gehry Architecture Las Vegas Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

We also spent a little time on Fremont Street downtown, zip-lining on Slotzilla under the LED video canopy and walking through an old casino or two where you could hear all the coins clambering as people won and lost buckets of money, rather than swiping player cards as is common on The Strip.

Slotzilla Freemont Street Experience Las Vegas

I wanted to purchase a day pass to slide through the shark tank at the Golden Nugget, but it closes early and swimming was not allowed when we had the time. I suppose that means I have to visit Las Vegas again.

Shark Tank Slide Golden Nuggest Las Vegas

Have you been to Vegas? Tell me about your trip.

A Couch to Call Our Own

17 Apr

After an approximately twelve week wait, and a blue sofa saga I’ll save for another day, our new couch was finally delivered. Boy, was it worth the wait! Linen Orianna Sofa Anthropologie Grey Gray Tufted English Roll Arm Couch

While I’ll share more about our temporary teal couch and my near break-up with my favorite store, Anthropologie, later, look at how far this room has come! From the poufy tan sofa that made me cringe, to the brown leather hand-me down that served us well for almost two years, we are now onto the first sofa my husband and I have purchased and chosen, together or individually! This is a big day.

Amthropologie Linen Orianna Tufted Sofa

A bit more in the living room has changed, so head on over to the Home Tour page for a peak.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

This post can also be found on Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday and Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday LInkup.

The Glass Skywalk at the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam

19 Mar

I could not have imagined that a large rock formation could be so humbling and so awe-inspiring. If the Grand Canyon is not on your bucket list, it should be.

I did not comprehend it’s vastness or my own smallness until I visited the Grand Canyon. I could not have possibly imagined how large such a small part of one country could be. Helicopters descend into the canyon, and look like ants by comparison.

On our recent trip to Vegas, we took a day trip to visit the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. Despite the terrible online reviews we opted to go to the Glass Skywalk at Grand Canyon West. It is two hours closer to Vegas than the South Rim and, let’s face it, the National Park doesn’t have a glass structure that allows me to stand 4000 feet above the Canyon floor.

Grand Canyon Glass Skywalk

Photo provided by Hualapai Ranch | Skywalk at Grand Canyon West

Photo provided by Hualapai Ranch | Skywalk at Grand Canyon West

Grand Canyon West Glass Skywalk

If you are planning a trip the the Grand Canyon and choose to go to the Skywalk:

+ DO keep in mind that it will be more expensive than the South Rim

+ DO come to terms with the fact that if you want pictures on the Skywalk, you will have to pay

+ DON’T listen to old reviews: the road to Hualapai Ranch was completed fall of 2014

Jumping Grand Canyon

Coming from Vegas, I think the two hour and twenty minute drive was the right choice for us, but I truly think that you can’t go wrong with any view of the Canyon. I imagine that the South Rim is equally as breathtaking as the West.

Trail Closed

On the way back into Vegas we stopped at the Hoover Dam which was very evidently and charmingly 1930’s.

Hoover Dam

Photos of Las Vegas coming soon!

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Zebra Print Cowhide Rug

2 Mar

Lately, I haven’t had many projects, but coming back to the blog and looking at the most recently posted photos, I realize so much in my home has changed. It has changed slowly: one small project or purchase at a time.

The hope is that, soon, Gusto & Grace will be more reflective of what this home actually looks like currently, starting with the dining room.

Several months back, we picked up an enormous mirror for a song at Ikea. It is something like 7 feet tall, and we mounted it to the wall, so it looks even larger behind the alphabet chest. The Texas watercolour prints I made were moved to the barren walls in the living room. I shrunk the dining table to seat four rather than six, since there are normally just two of us. I also killed my fiddle leaf fig tree, which I miss dearly, and hope to replace soon.

The newest addition to the dining room is a zebra print cowhide rug which I special ordered from Discount Cowhides. I am now a raving fan. If you’re hunting for a cowhide rug, I highly encourage you to read the post Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles wrote about what makes these cowhides superior. The first several days after receiving it, the house smelled like a leather goods shop.

Zebra Cowhide Rug White and Black Dining Room

The new number one priority for the dining room will be a new chandelier.

On a side note, I’ve decided to narrow the focus of Gusto & Grace. Moving forward posts will be about one of two of my favorite things: the process of creating home or the adventures of travel. Look for posts about the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in the days ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Dominique 

Guest Bathroom Updates

4 Feb

The first home decorating project of the year is complete. In all honesty, I painted it about three weeks ago.

If you need a reminder of the bathroom’s before, you can look here and here.

For a grand total of about $50, I think the small updates made a big difference.

Mint and Gold Bathroom

Fresh paint (Valspar Mint Chiffon), art pulled from another room, new hand towels, a vintage milk glass tray, and a new curtain rod enliven the formerly beige room.

Printed Hand Towel

Rose Shower Curtain Hooks

Fire King Milk Glass Tray

Mint and Gold Bathroom Vanity

Ornate Gold Framed Mirror

Rae Dunn Knock on Wood Linea Carta Alphabet Plate

For a full list of sources, visit the Home Tour page.

The Best of Gusto & Grace: 2014 Edition

5 Jan

At the beginning of the new year, I love taking a little time  to reflect on everything the previous year held for me. Here are a handful of Gusto & Grace’s 2014 Highlights

The Popcorn Hydrangeas from the Circus Baby Shower I hosted for my friends and godson remains the most pinned image from the blog.

Popcorn Hydrangeas for Circus Baby Shower www.gustoandgraceblog.com

If you didn’t earlier this year, don’t forgot to bookmark this life-altering Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

When our box of ticket stubs started overflowing, I got creative and started using our bedside lamps to store our ever-growing collection of stubs. Read all about them here.

Ticket Stub Filled Lamps https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/ticket-filled-lamps/

In February I was asked to appear on Good Day Austin. With a squeal of delight, I accepted, and had the time of my life showcasing my DIYed wedding invitations. I even earned an invitation back!

FOX 7 | Good Day Austin: Make it Monday | DIY Wedding Invitations www.gustoandgraceblog.com

My home finally got some art on the wall and it all started with the Prada Marfa watercolour print I created. You can print out the full sized version for FREE here.

Free Printable Watercolor Prada Marfa Print www.gustoandgraceblog.com

I fell in love with the fact that San Antonio is only an hour away after an exploratory day trip.

Ocho_Hotel_Havana_San_Antonio_Texas

Gusto & Grace got a Home Tour page, which I am now realizing is in dire need of new photos. Grab a cup of something warm and a soft throw, and take a look around!

Black & White Entryway Inspiration

I made my first visit to Round Top, and came home empty handed. I still kick myself for not buying this gorgeous, vintage, lucite beauty:

Round Top Antique Fair | Gusto & Grace

For a grand total of $17 I turned my neighbors trash into my gaudy, golden treasure. Spoiler alert: The upstairs bathroom is in the middle of an update.

ornate gold frame mirror

On our one year anniversary, wedding photos hit the blog.

Bridal Party Socks Groomsment Photo Ideas

Jeremy & Kristin Photography

After our incredible one year anniversary trip, a.k.a. second honeymoon, to Paris, I may be on the road to becoming a Francophile. If you’re planning or trip, or simply obsessed with the City of Lights, you can read about my favorites sites (museums and monuments), shops and eats in Paris and oogle over Chateau Versailles.

Laudree Paris | Champs Eylsees

I may have gained status of Best Wife Ever by playing on my husbands weaknesses and planning Pizza Week: nightly dates with local pizza. Bufalina, however, won the award for best pizza we ate all week.

Via 313 Austin

In July, the console we commissioned our friend to build finally made it to Austin. I have talented friends, folks. It is a such a handsome piece of furniture.

White Modern Geometric Console

In July, my mom and stepdad, and sister and brother-in-law came down and the guys installed crown moulding in our kitchen and dining room.

Dining Room Crown Moulding

This fall, furniture made of dreams arrived on my doorstop, or, as my dad refers to them, thrones.

Neutral Living Room Hooded Balloon Porters Versailles Chairs

This holiday season I hosted our first annual Christmas party

Christmas Snow Globe Cake

…and learned my lesson about glitter wrapping paper.

Gifts with Glitter and Tartan

My love of Christmas has not diminished, as evidenced by my growing ornament collection. Read up for tips on hunting down the best traditional European glass ornaments!

2014 Christmas Tree

On the personal front, 2014 was a big year for Anthony and I. I finally found a job in Austin in January 2014. Anthony got his CPA, we bought a used car, removed PMI from our mortgage, and later re-financed our house. We welcomed a new newphew and a godson in March. In May, welcomed my sister and her husband home from New York City and bid adieu to Anthony’s brother and his family when they moved to a new wintry land. In October, paid a short visit to them in Minnesota to see their new digs. Last month, we took my first trip to Anthony’s happy place, Disney World (pictures to come).

If you missed last year’s recap, you can find it here.

Happy New Year!

♥ Dominique

Glitter and Tartan Wrapping Paper

24 Dec

The best advice I can give on glitter and tartan wrapping paper? Do not try this at home.

After spying the prettiest glitter wrapping paper at the end of the Christmas season last year, I promptly decided that next year I’d wrap all of my presents in silver glitter and Christmas plaid. Three rolls of paper, and 50 yards of wired ribbon later, I’m swearing to you that I will never do it again.

Gifts with Glitter and Tartan

Sure, it looks fabulous, and yes I do love it, but here is what the shining silver rolls don’t tell you while you are swooning in the store: tape doesn’t work on it. Yes ma’am, you read that right. I wrapped all of my Christmas presents this year without any adhesive. After, of course, trying and failing with all but duct tape.

Anthropologie Stockings

It does warn that you might end up glittery, but when it is still on the roll, you cannot fathom the table or the rug that look as if Tinkerbell has stomped and flown all over it. I imagine I will be finding excessive silver glitter in all of our Christmas decor for years to come. I also predict that all recipients of our Christmas gifts will like their presents a little less when the realize the mess we’ve left them with.

My fingers after simply picking up the above present to photograph it:

Hands and Glitter

I repeat, do not try this at home.

Merry Christmas,

Dominique

Snow Globe Cake

22 Dec

This year, Anthony and I hosted our first annual Christmas party. After all was said and done he told me, “We need to throw more parties. It makes your soul happy.” I guess it was pretty obvious to him that I loved every bit of “work” that went into it.

The centerpiece was an easier-than-it-appears snow globe cake. Christmas Snow Globe Cake

I never take shortcuts on frosting because nothing can beat a homemade buttercream, especially when it is Nutella buttercream. Everything else, I totally cheated on. Boxed cake. Premade fondant. Store-bought gingerbread house kit.

Snow Globe Christmas Cake

The depth of the gingerbread house had to be cut to size so the house would fit under the dome. I sawed through the gingerbread with a bread knife and realized later it probably would have been easier if I had worked with a wet blade.

Snow_globe_Christmas_Cake

I entered photos of the cake in a contest at work. Cross your fingers for me, there is $100 on the line!

Snowglobe Cake Red Christmas

Tell me about some of the best Christmas parties you’ve ever been to in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

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