One of my favorite stops on my trip to DC was the Botanic Garden. Filled with climbing vines and hanging fruit, vibrant orchids and lush palms, it’s dedicated to demonstrating the importance of plants to the well-being of humankind. Some of their plants were so fascinating – deep green hues and bright purples, stripes and patterns, etc. I wandered around there for hours – it was so peaceful and inspiring! photo credit kate zitzer
The month of October I’ve been swamped – lots going on over here and not a lot of downtime. As much as I hate having to shuffle my artwork to the back burner, house projects, travel plans, parties to prep for and friends to see have made it unavoidable. Plus when you are a one woman show, it can become quite daunting to manage all of the priorities by yourself, and sometimes certain things have to give. In previous years I’ve been very dedicated to my art. I try to set ambitious, but realistic, goals for myself. This year, because of everything else that’s going on, I knew that I would have to be a bit more flexible and not so hard on myself with meeting my goals. I hope to get back into the creative swing of things soon! Above are a few images of what’s been keeping me so busy lately via Instagram. Instagram has become such an amazing way to share life’s little moments, so if you aren’t following me there yet, be sure to check it out and please say hello – I’m always looking for fun new people to meet and follow!
photos source kzbykatezitzer Instagram
Any free time we’ve had the last couple of months has been dedicated to working on our new home. Rooms are finally starting to come together and I am thrilled with our progress! To save time (and our backs) we hired a floor guy that a family member recommended. In less than 24 hours he sanded down and stained all the wood floors a dark espresso color. I love it! While the floors were drying and curing, we started painting the walls. I picked out several different paint swatches and narrowed it down to a few different samples. After testing them out on the walls, we decided on Super White in a matte finish by Sherwin Williams for the main floor, Gray Owl in the family room and Half Moon Crest for the den both by Benjamin Moore.
Once the floors were dry and the rooms were painted, we moved on to installing the new baseboards. The baseboards are 5 1/4” tall and we choose a simple, not over the top, clean modern style. Marc painted all the boards first letting them dry over several days. We choose Ultra Pure White in a high-gloss finish by Behr. To install we used an air compressor and pneumatic brad nailer securing the nails every 12-16 inches along the entire length of the baseboard. Once they were secure we began caulking all the gaps, nail holes and seams following up with a touch up coat of the same high-gloss paint. We will be able to finish installing the rest of the baseboards once our new doors are installed and when that’s done we will be able to move in our furniture! Most spaces are still a work in progress but here is a peek of where we are at – walls are painted, window trim is being painted, speakers are installed, baseboards are being installed, electrical outlets are being switched out, new vents are being installed and light fixtures are being replaced. We have some major cleaning to do (like every surface in this house), but at least we are starting to see some of it come together. We’ve also gotten a lot of help with this renovation from our friends and family and we’re so grateful – thank goodness for awesome parents and free labor!
I also wanted to give you a peek at the progress we’ve made in my new studio. Here’s how it looks with new floors and fresh paint – a clean slate really! We just need to paint the closet, paint the window trim, install the door, trim and the rest of the baseboards, replace the light fixture and furnish! To see all the before photos of our new home, click here.
A few weeks ago while I was in DC, we rented a car and early one Saturday morning set off toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was warm and beautiful and no complaints here. The autumn colors were just barely starting to tip some of the trees. We made stops at Breaux Vineyards, 868 Estate, the Barns at Hamilton Station and Doukenie Winery. We wrapped up the day at Bluemont Vineyards sipping rosé, devouring fresh-baked baguettes and creamy mozzarella and watching the sun set off the terrace. I wish every Saturday could be like this.
photo credit kate zitzer
It’s hard to beat early autumn in DC and I’m sure you can see why. It was quiet there, no long lines or crowds and the warm sun was a nice break from the cooling Chicago temps. I got to see many, many monuments, museums and memorials, eat at some amazing restaurants, meet up with my sister and her fiancé, wander around the Botanic Garden (twice!), take a boat ride down the Potomac River with Marc and even got a little work done. Here are a few favorites:
Matchbox (casual pizza place)
Oyamel (tacos + ceviche)
La Tasca (tapas + sangria)
Portrait Gallery (meandering for hours)
HomeRule (goods for the kitchen, bar, bath, home and body)
Miss Pixie’s (reasonably priced vintage home furnishings)
Good Wood (apothecary, homegoods, jewelry, etc.)
The best thing to do in DC is walk. Start at the Capital, walk toward the Lincoln Memorial and admire all the beautiful monuments and museums along the way.
photo credit kate zitzer
I mentioned in this post that Berlin had the most amazing shopping! We stayed in Mitte – a funky gritty little neighborhood located in the center of Berlin filled to the brim with cool boutiques and one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes. It was full of young people with incredible style so it was a great place for people watching. Every wall, stairwell and garbage can was covered in graffiti – I took way too many photos of it because it was all so good. In the shops there were so many beautiful things, random things, treasures big and small. It was in Mitte that I decided if I ever opened my own boutique, I would come to Berlin for inspiration. Let’s shop -R.S.V.P. is a wonderfully well curated stationery shop supplying fine paper and writing materials from all over the world. Here you will find classic writing paper, notebooks and calendars as well an assortment of small scale series by international artists and designers.
Silo is bringing the best of Spain to Berlin. Run by three Spanish women and based in the neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, Silo is a concept store inspired by design and quality, love for raw materials, timeless elegance of traditional products and the singular beauty of handmade objects. marron HAY has so much beauty in such a little store. I wanted to buy everything. Their products range from furniture and textiles to stationery to accessories and decorative homewares. My interest in interior design and love for all things Scandinavian came together here.
Located on Neue Schönhauser Strasse a street lined with small independent boutiques selling Berlin-designed fashions and accessories, & Other Stories offers women a wide selection of clothing, shoes, bags, accessories and beauty products. All of their collections are diverse ranging from masculine tailoring to feminine chic and are designed to provide endless styling choices.Do You Read Me?! is a wonderful little gem in Berlin. Books and magazine lovers will most likely fall in love with it just as much as I did. In this shop, you will find hundreds of magazines, journals and books from over 20 countries covering topics from art, fashion, photography, design and architecture, to culture, literature, music and society.
Schönhauser Design has been stocking furniture, tables, lamps, chairs and home accessories since 1977, all in a modern and trendy style. It also offers a great selection of unique souvenirs and is definitely worth a stop if you’re in need of a gift.
photo source ilenia martini
Custom orders are a lot of fun. They push me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to try new things – from a bowl of fruit to an antique car or a mural in your child’s bedroom, I am open to try anything!
How does it work? Once you contact me, we will discuss your desired order – exchange ideas, discuss colors, sizes, materials, etc. I do appreciate some art direction – photos, fabric swatches, magazine clippings or anything at all. These things help me visualize while I’m painting and will inspire your custom piece. Then I will give you a price quote which will include a shipping estimate if necessary. I do charge a small fee for custom work, this fee is otherwise known as a commission. This covers any additional material costs and the extra time it takes to plan, sketch and paint a custom order – I really try my best to deliver exactly what you want! If the quote works for you, I will set up a custom listing in my Etsy shop, and once I receive payment, I will begin working on your piece. I have a full time job so I work on my art in the evenings and on the weekends. Custom paintings usually take anywhere from two to six weeks to complete. If you have a deadline, let me know. I am happy to work with you if I can. During the process I will send one or two progress images to give you an idea how your order is taking shape, and I will make any desired changes at this time. Once your piece is complete, I will wrap, package and ship it to you. If you’re local, we can arrange a pick up.
So now through the end of October I am offering a 15% discount on all custom orders. Already see something you like? I’m also offering 10% on all paintings available in my shop – including prints! Use coupon code “artobersale” at checkout. Custom artwork can be seen on my kate zitzer art board on Pinterest. I also offer custom colors and custom sizes on any of my paintings. Interested in working together? Contact me at kzbykatezitzer[at]gmail.com for more information.
photo source kate zitzer