SPRAY PAINT: Pro Tips

Do you ever get the itch to DIY something? Ever browse through Pinterest and think, “What a great little weekend project idea” and then realize that the rest of your weekends until Thanksgiving are already committed to weddings, bachelor(ette) parties, baby showers, and dinners? Sad panda that you can’t fit in time for your project ideas?

SOLUTION: SPRAY PAINT.

Honestly, spray painting stuff is one of the most instantly gratifying, quick-to-finish, and easy DIY endeavors out there. And at $5-9 a can, you could forego your Oprah Chai Tea Latte for 2 days and basically break even on a project.

Spray painting projects are also great because you can have zero artistic / crafty skills and still do a perfect DIY job. But if what’s stopping you is that you’ve never spray painted before, here are a few tips to do it well:

1. SHAKE THE CAN A LOT: Before you pull the trigger, shake the spray can for at least 2 minutes. Shake the can up and down, and then in an “X” pattern by twisting the can at your wrist. Bartending skills? Do as you would a cocktail. VERY IMPORTANT: Every 10-15 seconds of spraying, shake the can vigorously again – just to make sure the paint stays evenly mixed.

NOZNOZNOZ - Spray Paint Pro Tips - shakin it

Semi-pro tip: bringing music may help you remember to shake the can often, and with vigor.

2. CHOOSE GOOD BRANDS: For most home applications, Krylon spray paint is just fine, and conveniently available at almost every hardware store and craft store. Krylon paints come in matte or glossy finish and are available in many basic colors.

But the absolute best brand I’ve ever worked with is Montana BLACK – created for artists (available in San Francisco at the beloved Flax). The brand comes in 187 colors, and you can change the spray tops for wider spray patterns. Montana BLACK “Goldchrome” is THE closest to a true gold / gilded / gilt look that I’ve used (on the other hand, Krylon’s gold/chrome/silver paints end up looking like you used a metallic-colored spray paint, vs. actually mimicking the look of real metal). You can also find some Montana BLACK colors online.

3. SHORT + QUICK SPRAYS: The instructions on the can will say this too, but make sure to spray at least 6 inches from your subject, and in short, quick motions – you’ll need a couple coats of paint no matter what, so don’t worry if your first coat doesn’t feel opaque enough. Do not hold the trigger down for too long in one place or get too close to your subject, or else the paint will start to streak and drip down your subject, which is a total giveaway that you spray painted it.

4. MIND THE WEATHER: Whenever possible, spray paint outside (city dwellers, find a rooftop and bring a drop cloth). If there’s any breeze, spray in its direction, and try to shield your subject from direct wind to keep debris from blowing onto the wet paint and stick). If there’s humidity in the air, consider that it will take considerably longer for your coats of paint to dry. Rule of thumb: in a hot, dry summer day, 1 thin coat on a non-plastic, non-metal surface will take ~30 minutes to dry to the touch. Otherwise leave at least an hour between coats.

5. PRIME IT: For the smoothest finish, make sure your subject is primed. If the object is porous like wood, sand and smooth the surfaces you’ll spray paint. In general, I recommend using a primer spray paint, especially if you’re trying to paint something plastic. Primers will make your color more opaque and “true,” as well as improving paint adhesion. The Krylon Dual Paint + Primer series works pretty well for a 2-in-1, but I found that I’d get a grey haze sometimes when using the black matte paint, vs. other brands.

This is the Krylon primer in "Red Oxide" – since the Unicorno figurine is plastic, a primer coat was really important before applying the gold spray paint.

This is the Krylon primer in “Red Oxide” – since the Unicorno figurine is plastic, a primer coat was really important before applying the gold spray paint.

6. CHOOSE OBJECTS YOU WON’T TOUCH THAT MUCH: No matter how completely gratifying spray painting feels, the stuff is sadly not magic – it can still chip or pick up your fingerprints. The longest-lasting DIY spray painting projects will often those that you don’t plan to touch / handle very often – for example: picture frames, decorative objects on your shelves, table lamps, etc. I’ll share some of my flea market transformations in a future post.

There are lots of other tips that I didn’t include here, but you can google “spray painting tips” and find more useful articles, like this one!

 

Best Beds for Reading (or Working) in

Hedge and I recently upgraded to a grown-up bed, after having both spent our single days on used mattresses and IKEA beds. Since Hedge loves to read in bed and I like to work on my laptop (read: fall asleep to my Facebook news feed) at night, I wanted to find a bed frame that was well-suited for these functions.

Surprisingly, my Google search attempts only resulted in disappointing links to books I should read in bed, and those hideous reading pillows that look like E.T. with a headlamp. So I realized, maybe no one cares has written about this topic. After 2-3 months of info-gathering online and in showrooms, I now have knowledge to share. Below is a roundup of the best beds for reading or working in:

LET’S START WITH THE BED I CHOSE:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Noz

The Jane Bed by Modloft was the highest quality option within our grown-up-but-not-yet-baller budget of ~$1,000. It’s sturdy, modern, and upholstered in nice neutral colors. Several sites also offer free white glove delivery + assembly with this bed. Also, before starting my research, I had sketched a design for my ideal bed frame, and this one came really close thanks to its slightly slanted, very wide headboard:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Headboard

Headboard is wide enough to rest your book/glasses/phone/iPad before you fall asleep.

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Profile

Slightly slanted headboard is a good angle because the incline starts after the top of the mattress. Another added bonus, in case you too have a small dog who likes to climb into bed, is that this bed has wide side panels, which can serve as a stepping stool (critical for Viv, since she’s not allowed to jump up/down from furniture due to a past back injury).

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Noz vs Hedge

Headboard angle is suitable for me to sit up against, and for Hedge to slouch into for reading. He is in a Jedi robe.

A FANCIER OPTION, IF YOU ARE ON THE $BALLER$ PLAN:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Bolton Bed

The ultimate reading bed, which I got to lie in at the NYC showroom, is the Bolton Bed by Poliform. The headboard is split at the middle, and each side is adjustable with a push latch: you can push it down to a lower height, or push it down again to bring the headboard back to full height.

Honestly though, this mechanism is a little excessive – I’d probably end up keeping the headboard at full-height all the time; but in general, the bed is stunning both in cloth and in leather, and it comes with optional under-mattress storage (the Jane Bed does not).

The price on this DeLorean of beds is (retail) $10K for basic fabric upholstery and upwards of $20K if you choose fancy distressed full-grain leather.

Side note: there are a few Poliform beds that get the reading-in-bed angled headboard right, but they’re all in the same general price range.

BUT WAIT – A BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Nyvoll Bed

IKEA has recently stepped up its bed game with the Nyvoll Bed ($179-249, Full-King). It’s not upholstered, so you’d want to prop pillows against the headboard for comfort, and the frame and headboard are too thin to rest anything on. But for the price, it’s much more functional than the ubiquitous Malm beds.

Another side note: IKEA does offer a bed with clunky angled headboard cushions but at $900 for a Queen, you’re better off with the Jane or any other bed, because that is a lot of money for a bed you’d have to put together with an allen wrench and tiny flat IKEA tools.

OR IF YOU’RE DIY-INCLINED…

I see a lot of DIY headboard projects, which are aesthetically great, but not suitable for reading or working on, because they’re all flat, parallel to the wall. Of course, you could get ambitious and build a headboard frame at an angle, but I love the idea of a thick cushion-headboard. I first saw this idea at the Ace Hotel in Portland, OR:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Ace HotelThe only challenge with incorporating this idea would be that regular bed frames don’t come long enough to sandwich your cushion-headboard behind your mattress, so you’d most likely end up sacrificing some bed length for the cushion (the Ace Hotel custom-built their bed frames long enough for this design).

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. If you’ve got other bed frame suggestions that you love reading or working in, share them in the comments!

 

CABIN TOUR: Lacey Acres

Hedge, Viv, and I got back a few days ago from an amazing 4th of July *glamping* trip – it’s an annual tradition (only the second year for me and Viv) at the stunning many-acre compound just south of Mendocino, CA, known as Lacey Acres.

On the property is a glorious cabin where big group meals for 50+ family and friends are prepped and served. The Laceys designed and built the cabin with the vision of being able to host large parties in a welcoming, open concept space – and boy did they succeed. The entire cabin, especially the main hosting spaces, is one of the most breathtaking and functional I’ve seen. And given that I suffer from cabin coveting (a side effect of having lived in cities the past 10 years) and suspect other fellow urban-dwellers do as well, I wanted to share some shots I snapped and reminisce:

THE KITCHEN:

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Kitchen

Arguably the grandest (and definitely the busiest) room in the cabin is the Lacey Kitchen, also known as the Two Step Cafe (because it isn’t breakfast without music and some light toe-tapping). The Laceys chose to use two different counter materials in the kitchen: Carrera marble for the counters against the walls, and zinc for the island. Throughout the home are antiques and vintage finds, so the old-fashioned warmth of the zinc counters enhances the nostalgic charm in an otherwise modern open floor plan.

Other details I absolutely love about the kitchen: the pot filler to the left of the range, the big 30″ griddle space on the range, the fact that the island is a farmhouse red with cookbook cubby shelves, and the view of trees from the Shaw farmhouse kitchen sink (large enough to bathe large babies in, so the sink is famously called the “baby washing sink”).

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Kitchen Sink

THE DINING AREA:

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Fireplace

Throughout the main floor of the Laceys’ cabin are stunning beamed ceilings with iron hardware. This fireplace establishes the main dining space within the open floor plan. It’s faced with local stone, and the firewood comes from fallen branches on the property.

(Art note: the painting to the right of the fireplace is by Brit Lacey, the second of three sons in the Lacey clan!)

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Dining

Another view of the main dining space, with a view of the window seat! The most amazing part of the kitchen-dining area is that the Laceys designed this cabin so that the dining table could be extended out French doors and onto their wraparound deck, to seat over 50 people. (The largest dinner they’ve ever hosted was for July 4th, 2013, where over 80 people joined!)

THE DECK:

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Deck

This deck is seriously inspired. If I ever get to design my own cabin, a deck wide enough for dining will definitely be set off the kitchen.

THE BAR:

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Bar

What would an amazing cabin for hosting be without an amazing bar? Not only have the Laceys collected covetable antiques to decorate the cabin, they were also super creative and resourceful to have found the bar countertop at a flea market and installed it here, just off the kitchen. The counter surface works well with the zinc island in the kitchen and the steel bar stools. NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Bar Detail

From behind the bar, another fabulous and fitting detail is that the cupboard doors + hardware are from antique ice boxes! (Don’t mind the blue painter’s tape – that was put there to keep us youngsters out of the good liquor cabinet!)

Honestly my photos don’t do the Lacey property any justice (especially since they were taken on the last morning after a weekend whirlwind and clearly not staged); this cabin belongs in magazines! Such a privilege to be invited back each year to celebrate the USA in this exquisitely American cabin.

IKEA Hack in Progress: Billy Bookcase Library

A little embarrassed that I haven’t posted in months, but I’ll have a cutie update about my new business soon!! In the mean time, I am also going to start primarily posting about my interiors / decorating / client projects / DIY / art finds. SUCH AS…

At the beginning of March, my boyfriend Hedge and I moved in together (since I owned my place, it made the most sense for Hedge to move in with me). Luckily, Hedge didn’t come with much stuff, but he did have one request for our shared space: to add bookshelves for his growing book collection (all my books could fit on 1 little CB2 shelf unit). Eager to oblige and make this place more of “Our Home”, I took to the interwebs for built-in ideas that would work with my new-entrepreneur budget. Inspired by a bunch of IKEA Billy Bookcase Hacks that DIY bloggers have posted, I convinced Hedge that the bedroom library should be our first-ever DIY project together:

  • STATUS: 75% completed
  • COST (so far): $220 for the 4 Billy bookcases on Craigslist, ~$40 for wood, hardware, and a miter box + saw from Home Depot
  • TIME (so far): 4-5 hours
  • HOW: (I’ll share a process/step-by-step on how we did our shelves in another post)

BEFORE: My Our master bedroom has always been the last room I think about designing, so it was high time to reconsider the layout. I’d had the bed pushed to 1 wall, with a big gaping space in front of it with just a chair. Previously there was a big Baughman sofa occupying the gape.

Before bookshelves - gape

AFTER: We upgraded to a King bed, and I decided to float the bed in the middle of the room, anchoring it with the chest of drawers that was previously on the opposite side of the gape. This layout opened up the bedroom, made the sleeping area feel more private, and also created a little “library” between the bookshelves and the drawer chest:

Billy Bookcase - View from entranceBilly Bookcase - Progress Billy Bookcase - Progress w Viv from bed DSC_0034 (Viv regularly gets all up in my interiors shots)

NEXT UP: I love that we have bookshelves in the master bedroom – it feels really rewarding that Hedge and I DIY’d the “library” together and that this room now feels the most reflective of both our tastes. BUT a few more tasks remain: those little baseboards running along the bookcases are just standing on end; I’d like to add molding to conceal where the bookcases join; I might want to add shelves up to the ceiling; and also I have a lot more *tjuzing* to do to the books/decor. A runner is also on its way to make the little library aisle feel warmer (it’s still in the bedroom, after all).

But for now, there you have it! What do you think?

ON TAKING THE PLUNGE

On Monday, I bade farewell to Houzz, the tech startup I’ve been working for since 2012.  It’s not the first time I’ve left a company – in fact, I’ve ended ties with jobs in almost every other way (contract expiry, leaving for another company, getting fired – that one was the best actually).  But this go-around, I’ll be plunging into the vastness of funemployment to do my own thing.

I don’t know if it ever occurred to me until recently that I might one day build my own business.  Thinking back to my childhood, I was always very practical. I recall more often having specific goals – buy a beautiful home, see the world, own a Gameboy Pocket – than dreaming about what I “wanted to be when I grew up”. My parents were also great at teaching me that working hard to earn a living would get me to those goals, without pushing me toward any specific career path.  So when I meanderingly discovered in high school that I was good at selling people on ideas, I set my sights on studying business in college and getting a job in marketing after graduating because that would be a smart, viable, lucrative career choice… and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Practical indeed.

Now, six years into a rather successful marketing career, I’m realizing that I never meant it all those times that interviewers asked “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and I answered, “as a Marketing Director.” And I wish I could blame my practical nature for why I’ve not been more honest with myself until now, but I think very simply that I’ve been afraid:

  1. My late father, born into the Great Depression and then interned during WWII, worked hard his whole life such that my sister and I were born into much better circumstances; and I’ve been afraid of squandering the opportunities for education and employment I’ve been given.
  2. I graduated in 2008, watched my friends lose their jobs as the economy fell apart, and I was just grateful to be working for a very stable packaged goods corporation.  Despite gradual improvements in the past few years especially in San Francisco, I’ve been afraid of the job economy and what would happen to me if I left my place in the workforce.
  3. I don’t know how to code, and being immersed in the SF/Silicon Valley scene, I’ve been afraid that building a business didn’t count if it wasn’t a tech startup.
  4. I’ve been afraid that if my career didn’t consistently progress in a logical upward-and-to-the-right straight line, I was somehow failing at life.

That said, in 2012 during my six weeks between jobs, I had figured out a business idea for guiding people’s discretionary spending in major lifestyle categories like apparel, restaurants, home décor, etc. I was very excited about the idea, but I didn’t think I was ready yet (whatever “ready” means), so I accepted my offer to join Houzz and tried not to look back. It was a great ride for the past year and a half, but in the last few months I’ve done a ton of reflection on what more I want out of my life, and it’s become clear that it isn’t in my dreams to work for someone else.

It isn’t in my genes either: my dad, in addition to being an actor and pro wrestler, started successful construction & realty companies; and his father, who immigrated from Japan in the early 1900s, started a popular Laundromat and opened a thriving hotel in Los Angeles before the War; and I’ve rather wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a part of the Nozawa legacy of entrepreneurs.

I’ll always be able to find a reason to hesitate and delay my plans – there’s never going to be “the right time”… So I’ve decided to just take the plunge and go after this business idea with my full attention and drive.

I promised myself that in 2014, I would stop being so afraid of my dreams. It helps tremendously that my boyfriend and my amazing friends are so supportive of my idea and believe in me.  Still though, to be honest I’m pretty scared. Maybe even terrified. But this is also the most alive and electrified I’ve felt about hard work in a very long time. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s the point. February 28th, I’m ready for you.

New Year, New Blog.

2014: the year I (finally) create this little blog and stop being hesitant or afraid. It’s funny how something as straight-forward as starting a blog has caused so much internal drama and angst for me. I’ve spent the last several MONTHS deliberating over what this blog might look like, what kinds of posts I’d write, what topics I’d cover, whether I should start all over the place with themes or start with a narrow focus, what topics might readers respond to, how would I even know they are responding – and at that positively, would this blog evolve into being primarily shopping tips and product curation so that I could convert this blog into a revenue channel one day and would that feel inauthentic, do I need to integrate my Instagram content with my blog, WHY and HOW are there so many fashion blogs filled with young pretty women and HOW can they afford so many things, and will anyone even read my blog if I don’t post pretty pictures of my outfits on rooftops and sidewalks?

Right around the time that I was getting tired of my downward spiral, some Facebook friends shared links to this old article from 2012. I read half, decided I didn’t relate to most of its message, and clicked on a link bait about Bikini Bodies or something; but then luckily one friend shared a quote from the article that hit me hard:

“It’s incredibly comforting to know that if you never create anything in your life, then no one can attack you for the thing you created.”

That, in a nutshell, explains why I first created this blog in early November and it’s now January 7, 2014. So I’ve decided to take the advice of my sage friends Bing and Kimberly and just start writing – I’ll find my voice and my future readers will inform me of the rest.

Side note, which I find funny: I set out to write my very first post this morning, and then I BROKE MY BLOG. I tried moving my sub-root directory; the support forum told me, “You will get an error message, and your blog will look like it can’t be found. Don’t worry, it’s fine.” By step 3, the blog was gone. So I had to start the whole blog over today – so for those few of you keeping track, YES I technically started this blog in 2014.

Image

This is Daruma – in Japanese culture, giving a Daruma doll is a gesture of well wishes and good luck. The red ones, as far as I’ve been told, specifically mean “Good luck with your new venture.” And so noznoznoz.com, and 2014, begin. Hello, world!