Monthly Archives: April 2014

A little living room DIY

April 30, 2014



Hi friends! So here’s a little project I’ve been working on off and on for the past week. You may have noticed when I gave the living room tour that I left out one of our four walls. It was on purpose, I’m afraid. :/ I just couldn’t bear anyone seeing our ugly black shelves…


But now they are no more! Thanks to one of my favorite ways to spruce up a room — paint. A small project like this can really brighten up your living space if you rent and your room doesn’t get too much natural light. Adding a pop of gold can give off the radiance of sunshine, almost like a faux spotlight, showcasing whatever collection you choose to place there. And I just really like gold right now, ha. #trending


What you’ll need:

  • Paintbrushes of various sizes
  • Sandpaper
  • Gold paint (I got mine from this amazing DIY home goods shop in Tokyo called Tokyu Hands.)
  • White primer (not pictured because I didn’t use it… and I regret it.)
  • White glossy paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • A painter’s easel (or a paper cup… whatev you’ve got works just fine.)
  • A dropcloth


Originally, what was placed on the shelves were just bits and bobs that were floating around our apartment. For this little makeover, D and I knew we really wanted to show off a cool collection of fun objects because the shelves are one of the first things you see when you walk through the door.

At first we thought “vintage cameras”! Yes, a great collection of vintage cameras can look amazing on shelves. So we headed off to a local hole-in-the-wall antique shop we had found near where we live here in Hong Kong. We found cameras from the early 1900s to mid-century that were so lovely. But, alas, their prices were not so lovely. Each one was about $120 USD. And we needed anywhere from four to eight…

Walking away, disenchanted and gloomy, we realized we happened to be right next to one of our favorite Japanese shops, Village Vanguard. (Think: Urban Outfitters home accessories, but way, way quirkier, and that’s Vanguard.) There, we found the fun mermaid teapot, a bowl wearing another bowl as a hat, an Indian lady made of three bowls wearing earrings and one $3 red elephant that all now align our top shelf. Total cost: $33.

Everything on our bottom shelf we already had and just did a little redesign on how it was displayed.


So back to the process! I painted the shelves in a glossy white after sanding them down and lining the edges with painter’s tape. The man at the local paint shop sold me enamel paint, though, which really isn’t the right paint for shelves. It’s more of a paint for trim or for metal, which I realized too late. To make matters worse, with every stroke, the brushes I was sold would lose their bristles, becoming embedded into my paint. Trying to remove the bristles with my hands only made it that much worse.

So make sure you get high-quality paintbrushes, especially when working with glossy paint, since any mishaps are much more noticeable. You also don’t want to use a glossy coat as your base for the gold (painting 101, which I forgot, of course) because it’s much harder for the gold to adhere. What would have been just a couple coats of gold paint, turned into more like eight. My arm hurts just thinking about it.



Overall, though, we really like how the shelves turned out. The gold gives us that little bit of sunshine we were looking for, while the white makes the space look a teensy bit bigger. Now I’m looking for more things I can paint gold… (besides my nails, ha).


☁ -Kristin


April 28, 2014

album cover 4

So how was your weekend? Other than painting our shelves gold (will be posting about it on Wednesday), re-watching 90s shlock (Tom Hanks season continues in our apartment) and catching up with friends, here’s the soundtrack to our last few days. Enjoy.

Where to stay when you wind up in Dingle

April 25, 2014

dingle quickguide

Hi there. Hope everyone’s week went OK and that you’re ready for the weeekend!! (We know we are, ha.) Today D & I are sharing with you one of the most lovely places we’ve ever stayed … and it just so happens to be on the ocean. Dingle is a quaint town on Ireland’s western coast in the Ring of Kerry, and was included as one of our five places to visit this year. It also happens to be home to Ireland’s most-famous dolphin, Fungie (who I sometimes accidentally call Dingie. Oops.).

Did you know Ireland had a celebrity-status mammal of the sea? It’s true. He’s the Flipper of the green isle, and he’s been living there for decades. You can take a boat out and Fungie will come right out and greet you, do some jumps and give you a little wave and smile.

So the place to stay in Dingle is Heaton’s Guesthouse. It’s a 4-star B&B run by an Irish couple, and the breakfast is to die for (read: fish caught fresh that morning). You can also walk to all the sites, like a hardware store that doubles as a bar and a cathedral that hosts indie concerts. There’s also a lot of great hiking in the area (we chose to scale “Mount Eagle”.)

You’re treated like old friends from the moment you walk in the door at the B&B, in a very genuine way. We kept seeing Nuala, one of the owners, everywhere around town. She would honk her car at us and wave, and would even remember our names. We were impressed.

The prices are quite reasonable — they vary by the season, but start at 55 euros/night (for a single room) and 80 euros/night (for a double room). The average price is about 110 euros/night for a double room.

And here’s a photo of Fungie in case you didn’t believe us:
fungie photo via Explore Ireland Tours

☁ -Kristin & Diarmuid

P.S. This post is part of a quick series on hotels that we are compiling. They may look sponsored, but they are not, we promise. These are all places that we’ve stayed at and that we love. We figured we always spend hours searching for a good place to stay ahead of a trip, so why not make it a little bit easier and compile a running list? In our opinion, personal recommendations from friends are always the best.

Here’s the other ones we’ve done so far for Bangkok, Tokyo and Prague.