Restored by the Fords: The Collins Family Home

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Last week I started watching Restored by The Fords and couldn’t stop watching it till I finished the first season in 2 days…

The show follows siblings Leanne and Steve Ford as they restore houses around Pittsburgh, their home town, and transform them into design showpieces.
Leanne, the younger of the Ford siblings, is an interior designer who spent years working in the fashion industry (which you can see from the stylish way she dresses) . She splits her time between Pittsburgh and LA and is charge of creating the design and floor plans for the properties on the show. Steve, the older brother, is a licensed contractor (and the owner of Surf Pittsburgh) is in charge of executing Leanne’s designs and maximizing the functionality of those outdated properties while making sure that everyone is sticking to the budget.

The Fords spend at least two months on each property, with other projects going on at the same time. I can’t wait for season 2 to premiere in Jan. It will consist of 15 episodes; almost double the amount of season 1 which was only 8 episodes.

For todays post I decided to share one family home. It is one of my favorites from season 1 and will have a different post for my other favorite from the same season!

The home I’m posting about today belongs to the Collins family. This project actually consisted of 2 phases ( in other words 2 episodes). The Collins loved phase 1 so much they brought back the fords to finish the rest of the house. Phase 1 was the living room, family room and kitchen and phase 2 was the master bedroom, the kids bedrooms, the 2 bathrooms and the pool area.

Anyone who knows me knows my love and obsession for mid-century modern furniture and architecture. I loved this home even before renovations began. I thought that his house is extra special because the architect who designed it was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students.  I was so worried that the renovation will completely take away the house’s identity and style but the Ford siblings did an amazing job restoring this home. They respected the history of this house, while turning it into a home that totally reflected its new owners!

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I love this living room. It’s my favorite room in this house… I love that they kept the stone fireplace, and added carpet. I know that a lot of people hate carpets but I really love them!. I also love the wooden walls which I’m glad they kept. They did paint them though to make the place feel brighter and more spacious which I think was a good plan because it did. I love how that Vladimir Kagan sofa is so clean and sleek and how the wooden vintage console table behind it is so old. Nothing matches yet everything works so well together!

 

 

Can you tell that Leanne loves white and neutrals? I think her colour scheme (or lack there of ) really suited this house. Look at that white Carrara in the kitchen are, I love it! I also love those acrylic barstools… its added seating without looking cluttered. Talking about seating I love how Leanne used those Norman Cherner dining chairs with that old painted vintage dinning table.

 

 

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Now, I know that a black pool isn’t for everyone … but I think that it works for this house. Leanne and Steve took a trip to visit Falling Waters House  by Frank Lloyd Wright for some inspiration, and thats where the pool insperation came from. “I wanted to paint it black so badly… which turns out is kind of hard to do… but of COURSE we figured it out and brought the pool up to par with the rest of the beautiful space” Leanne wrote in her blog. I think she is right… painting that bright blue pool black almost makes the pool look like a pond rather than an added pool!. I love it because it works so well with the house…   but also because it reminds me so much of the black pool at my grandparents farm house!

 

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The master bedroom wall had “fake styrofoam style stone” on the walls which just looked so dingy and fake. They kept them for added texture and just painted them. I have mixed feelings about that… but it works with the house nonetheless.

 

The master bathroom spa! It looks like a spa and feels like a spa… Leanne put a bathroom island right in the middle of it! I love the way it looks but have mixed feelings about that too.. but it’s only because I like to be close to my mirror when applying creams etc!

 

I think this is my favorite kids bathroom of all time! The design is so smart. The floor tile was a budget friendly solution yet looks exxpensive. They used two different colors of hex to create some interest in there. Then used black fixtures and white concrete finish on the ceilings and walls… This is a bathroom that the kids wont out grow!

So what did you think of this house and what do you think of the Ford Siblings restoration of this place?

Pictures via leanneford.com

 

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When Frasier’s Gang Dressed for Halloween

Who remembers this Halloween episode from Frasier?

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When Frasier hosted a Halloween party where he asked his guests to come dressed as their personal hero. … Roz dressed as Wonder Woman, Frasier as Sigmund Freud, Daphne as Elton John, Niles as his dad Martin Crane and Martin as Joe DiMaggio…. oh how I miss this bunch!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

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Victoria

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The 2nd Season of Victoria has been released and I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to write about it!

It’s impeccably written and staged. Aimed at the same audiences that enjoyed Downton Abbey, and The Crown.

Victoria follows the young Queen from the time she becomes The Queen of England through her passionate courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. The TV series Victoria dramatizes the romance and reign of the girl behind the famous monarch. Jenna Coleman is absolutely perfect as Victoria, and there are strong supporting roles like Tom Hughes as Albert and Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne. I have to say that Rufus Sewell is superb in the role of Lord Melbourne. He managed to appear supremely noble, with just a hint of sadness and vulnerability lurking beneath the surface!

I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian era and I love how the Queen and her Prince have changed the face of London to what we know it today! .. My favorite novels have been written in her era and yet I always imagined her as a sad lonely old woman!…..I guess it’s because she spent half her life in mourning the death of her beloved husband!

I can honestly say that this show made me look at her from a different light … I’ve gained a new admiration for the Queen! Here she’s been portrayed as an independent outspoken, and quite a determined young lady… Love that!

 

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The Queen’s links with Europe’s royal families earned her the nickname “The grandmother of Europe”! She and Prince Albert had 9 children, 4 boys, and 5 girls … They had 42 grandchildren, of whom 34 survived to adulthood. Their descendants include Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Harald V of Norway, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Margrethe II of Denmark, and Felipe VI of Spain.

 

 

 

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Vintage Photos Of The Academy Awards From the Golden Age of Hollywood

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 Humphrey Bogart and his wife Lauren Bacall arrive at the 27th annual Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theater in 1955.

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 Presenters Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait backstage at the RKO Pantages Theatre during the 1956 Academy Awards.

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Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed hold their Oscars as Best Supporting Actor and Actress in From Here to Eternity — a film that won eight statuettes in 1954, including Best Picture.

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Natalie Wood, Best Actress nominee for her role as Deanie Loomis in Splendor in the Grass, gets her hair done prior to the 1962 Academy Awards.

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 Grace Kelly and Clark Gable arrive at the 26th annual Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theatre in 1954

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Marlon Brando (right, with French singer and actress Line Renaud) casually holds his Best Actor Oscar for On The Waterfront at the 1955 Academy Awards at the RKO Pantages Theatre.

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Elizabeth Taylor walks through a crowd of admirers at the Oscars in 1961 — the year she won her first Academy Award, for her role in Butterfield 8.

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Last but not least…..The great, inimitable Charlie Chaplin — who had been living in self-imposed exile in Switzerland for two decades — blows a kiss to the crowd while accepting an honorary Oscar in 1972 for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century.” When he was introduced to the audience, Chaplin received a twelve-minute standing ovation.

 Pictures Via LIFE Magazine

The Crown

Anyone who knows me knows that I love costume dramas…  So it comes as no surprise that I have been waiting for The New Netflix production to be released!…..Other than “Games of Throne” “Downton Abbey” has been my favorite TV costume dramas until now….  “The Crown” to me is just another level of entertainment! It’s my new addiction!

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  “Downton Abbey” was/is fun to watch but it is fiction, whereas “The Crown” is based on fact, with a far weightier dose of history and politics, including issues of constitutional duty and complex political issues. Writer Peter Morgan and the director Stephen Daldry — have succeeded in balancing the seriousness of intent against popular appeal, and for Netflix, which I think has already attracted a huge international audience!

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This is not the 1st time that Mr. Morgan, the creator of the show, has written about the Queen…. He actually has extensive experience writing about her. His 2006 film “The Queen,” won several Academy Award nominations and the best actress award went to Helen Mirren as the monarch, facing public reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Then in 2013 came his successful play, “The Audience,” also starring Helen Mirren and directed by Mr. Daldry, which swoops through some 60 years of the weekly meetings between Queen Elizabeth and her prime ministers. And actually this experience of writing “The Audience” gave him the idea for “The Crown.”

Part of the pleasures of watching “The Crown” is its ability to offer glimpses of life at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences (The furniture! The objects! The clothes! The jewels!). But it also offers a history lesson in world events, politics and the social manners and mores of postwar British society, seen through the prism of Elizabeth’s reign.

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For example, I was really surprised by the relationship between Winston Churchill and the young queen! I never thought the either one of them struggled in this relationship! Never thought that either one of them ever doubted themselves… until now!

I don’t want to say more and spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched it yet… but here are a few reviews I read about the series … Both +ve and -ve:

  • The New York Times says it is “just an orgy of sumptuous scenes and rich performances” in its Review: Netflix Does Queen Elizabeth II in ‘The Crown,’ No Expense Spared.
  • Vanity Fair’s review, The Crown Is Netflix’s Most Expensive Series to Date, and Worth It, says “A grand saga about the British royals begins with a sumptuous look at midcentury monarchy.”
  • USA Today gives The Crown 3-1/2 out of 4 stars in its piece titled Review: ‘The Crown’ is sumptuous miniseries with the stellar cast!
  • From the Maclean’s review by Patricia Treble, ‘The Crown’ on Netflix is riveting. And not completely true. “Unlike many so-called documentaries that are little more than rehashed tittle-tattle and gossip, The Crown’s fact-heavy fiction puts dramatic meat on much more substantial and accurate bones.“

Medici: Masters of Florence

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I love historical dramas and have been waiting impatiently for this TV series to air this autumn! It is airing in Rai1 on 17th of Oct and although the series is in English, it will air in Italian. So far no dates have been set for the show to be aired on other networks!

Here are is the list of the incredible cast that you will see in the 8 episodes of season 1, the cast is composed by both Italian and American actors:

Dustin Hoffman – Giovanni de’ Medici
Richard Madden – Cosimo de’ Medici
Giorgio Caputo – Federigo Malavolti
Guido Caprino – Marco Bello
Stuart Martin – Lorenzo de’ Medici
Tatjana Nardone – Emilia
Annabel Scholey – Contessina de’ Bardi

I hate spoilers so I won’t mention anything about the plot, however, I thought of giving you a small background or a history 101 on the family to help you know what the series is about!

The Medici family have played an important part or I should say helped shape the history of Florence, Italy, from the 15th to the early 18th century (during the Renaissance).

They built their fortune from banking activities, rose to become the rulers of Florence with political intrigues and then became one of the most powerful dynasties in Europe. In the Medici family tree, there were countless Cardinals, two Popes, two Queens of France, and seven Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The Medicies are remembered as somehow very open-minded people, and as the greatest art collectors in history, who ignited the Florentine Renaissance: among the countless artists working for the family, across the generations, are the names of Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giorgio Vasari, and Benvenuto Cellini.

I have been lucky to have been to a few of their homes or rather palaces that have been converted to museums and I just can’t wait for the series to come out… I have a feeling that it won’t be a disappointment for those of us who love historical dramas!

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Mr. Selfridge

 My hubby and I started watching Mr. Selfridge and although it’s not as good as Downton Abbey it is still fun to watch and I highly recommend it!!!

The series is about Harry Selfridge, the American entrepreneur who had created London’s famous department store. He is known to have revolutionized shopping by simply making it fun!!! Sure, people always shopped, but it was more of a chore before Selfridge redefined the experience in 1909….

 Assistants working at Selfridges were encouraged to help customers rather than patronize them….He was actually the one who invented the phrase ‘the customer is always right’ !!!

Selfridges was the the1st place that had restaurants and hairdressing salon in-store and the 1st place that had lighting in shop windows that were lit at night.

Before Selfridge, cosmetics and toiletries had been hidden discreetly away at the back of the shop, considered too racy and taboo to be on display. He decided to move them to the front entrance of Selfridge’s so that people entering were assailed by a cloud of sweet scents…..He was revolutionary and full of great ideas.

I won’t say anymore although I am really tempted …. but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for my brother A 😉

Russell Peters In Muscat


Just what the doctor ordered…Yesterday Russell Peters made us laugh the whole night! Even after the show!!… We had a great time and really enjoyed every minute of it….. BUT I felt that he was making some of the stuff up as he was going along!!! Not sure why but I think its probably because they censored half of his jokes?!!!… Anyways it was interesting to see him come up with so many witty comments when he was talking to all the “smart” people who chose to sit in the front row!!!…. Some of the comments he came up with were hilarious. I don’t know how he came up with them, but it just showed how talented and funny this guy really is!

Tango Metropolis At The Royal Opera House Muscat

My husband and I traveled around some parts of South America for our honeymoon…. it was a great trip.. we tried to eat, drink, watch and breathe anything and everything that was part of that culture… we had a wonderful time and have been wanting to go back there ever since!!!…Well, today to my surprise we were taken back to Buenos Aires!!! We were taken there through the mesmerizing music and the sensual choreography of Argentinian Tango!!!…..Tango Metropolis was just brilliant….The dancers were so passionate, you could almost feel their chemistry!!!… And the music was just so uplifting, it brought back so many beautiful memories…. So glad we went tonight … I so needed this!!!

Il Trovatore At The Royal Opera House Muscat

Thursday was such a busy day for me!… I am not sure how I managed but I guess that I did!…. Well barely!!!...Anyways after a long hectic day, we went and saw Verdi’s Il Trovatore at The Royal Opera House, Muscat…..This was a modern production of the Opera (set wise)…..it was a high-tech multi-media production that featured massive projected images that created a dynamic 3D effect ….. I have to say that a lot of people didn’t like it!!!… but I loved it!! It was something that you don’t see every day and a nice change…. I got this picture above from the net for you to see what I mean!!! the stage was empty except for the people on it, the rest was all projected!!!… It looked so real… Thought that it was brilliant!!!…

The Opera was Directed by Cristina Mazzavillani Muti, conducted by Nicola Paszkowski,  and accompanied by the Orchestra Giovanile and the Coro del Teatro Comunile di Piacenza.