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Friday, January 28, 2011

Let There Be Dust!

I sanded everything but the cabinet fronts last night!  It made such a dusty mess that I am determined to take the cabinet doors outside to sand even though temperatures are supposed to below freezing this weekend.  At least taking them outside will minimize the damage to our nose and lungs and our kitties that have to live in the disaster zone.

Hoping to urge the process along, I sanded them after I got home last night thinking that we would HAVE to paint this weekend - being past the point of no return - and, knowing me, the project would be completed by Sunday. 

The prior owners did some half-ass work evidently because when I sanded some areas the paint just started to peel off.  In other areas you can see the wood finish through the paint even though I just did a very light sanding job to rough up the surface. 

Regardless of their errors and misjudgements, our cabinets will be glistening and beautiful by weekend's end!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Furniture Wish List

With the kitchen walls and most of the trim painted, we are taking a bit of a breather before launching into the massive and certainly paintful process of painting all our kitchen cabinets.  My Dad had the nerve to ask "Are you going to paint the inside?"  Um, hell no!  No one needs to see the inside...the doors will be shut.  We want the project to take one weekend not one entire month!

In the meantime I have been doing a bit of craigslist shopping with no luck what so ever.  Somewhere in the last few months or so I have developed a fondness for mid-century furniture pieces. I am not certain if my love for danish modern is shared by J, but we will soon find out if I can find a piece that is both affordable and stylish. 

We are looking for a coffee table for the living room and also a low credenza for our flat screen.  Here are a few items I think might fit the bill though I have an inkling that the style may have never made it to Indiana!

I have to admit that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first credenza.  I was hoping that we could get something similar made to hide our washer/dryer but I dont know what we'll end up with just yet.  Personally, I think the elevated furniture makes the room look larger and I find myself drawn to raised dressers for the bedroom as well.

Isnt this just gorgeous?

And this one - I am not too certain its practical and I am fairly certain J would totally hate it - is completely wonderful and my sweaters would look perfect in it!

I know some of you are thinking about how you chucked a coffee table just like that one about 25 years ago or how you couldnt wait to get a dresser with fancy metal nobs or pulls rather than the plain front danish models.  I find the clean lines of scandinavian furniture pleasing and am not a fan of cabinet hardware, probably because there is so much ugly stuff out there, so these pieces are just what I am looking for.

Maybe something like this is next???

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Kitchen Project

The hubby and I are beginning the kitchen project this weekend.  We are doing a budget revamp of the space by painting the baby-poop brown walls and bringing some sophistication to the area with a new shade on the cabinets as well. 

Our dining room and kitchen are open to eachother and the living room is open to the dining room so our colors have to be somewhat cohesive.  We are using the same Behr Clamshell color on two of the walls and Behr Cinnamon Cake on the other two walls.  Our trim will be Ultra Pure White like the rest of the house and the cabinets are going to be a chic grey with Behr's Granite Boulder shade. 

The room will look instantly upated since the country style dark varnished window frames will be coated with the semi-gloss white.  Also, we are planning on taking off the cabinet doors to the section of storage that houses our white plates and dishes.  Since they are white and always neatly stacked, I thought it might add some charm and create more of an open feel - plus it will just be a nice change. 

All that means that tomorrow we will be sanding, de-hinging, and priming the area.  Saturday and Sunday will be spent hand painting the cabinets which may be a job reserved for me if J cant keep from making the paint drip.

Anyways, enjoy the before pictures since this will look vastly differnt in just 72 hours!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Color Coded Book Shelves

I added a post to Curbly today regarding my color coded book shelves.
Go check it out!

And...The Reveal!

I finally got my act together and took some pictures of the redone living room.  J and I worked extra hard last weekend putting out all our display items and finding appropriate places for most of them.  We also unpacked the last of our boxes as well so we should have everything out now.

We ended up dividing the room into two spaces, one for reading and working and one for watching tv.  In reality we would have liked to have less seating around the tv and have the conversational area be around the fireplace,  but right now we just dont have the furniture for that.

There are a few changes we will be making to this room.
First, yes, I did buy a lamp shade for the lamp on the round table.  It broke during the move and I hadnt gotten around to Target for one yet.

Second, the cable wires to the tv will be relocated at some point.  We are hoping to have the cable outlet somewhere in the vicinity of the tv  in both the living room and the bedroom so we dont have OSHA trip hazards across our floors - for now though, it works.

Third, we are looking for a large square or long rectangular coffee table.  Even if we end up switching out the cream sofa for a love seat or two chairs, the oval coffee table we have now just aint cuttin it.  The glass top is also pretty scratched up from multiple moves and grad student life.

Fourth, we would like a long and low storage unit for the tv.  It would be great if the unit would be at eye level and I am thinking of something slightly retro or scandinavian in design with sliding doors and invisible seams.  We'll see what craigslist has to offer, but for now they are coming up a bit short!

Fifth, I just bought fabric to make curtains for the window behind the cream couch.  We chose a beautiful Moroccan inspired pattern with oranges, browns, and greens that will help to add a little life to that large empty wall.  I found even found a curtain rod at bed bath and beyond on clearance for $11 that should work for the space.

Sixth, we desperately need rugs.  We would like one large one under the sofas and coffee table and a smaller one in front of the fire place.  I think they would help to define the space better and would give the kitties someplace soft and fuzzy to sleep. 

My favorite part of the room is how much brighter it is.  The wall color is warm and inviting without being south western.  By dividing the room up, we get to use all our existing furniture and create a comfortable space in a room that could have otherwise been too large.

Monday, January 17, 2011

All the pieces...

Getting this house to be how we want it is obviously going to take some work but yesterday one of the most important pieces may have fallen into place.

No, it wasnt a deal on fabric for curtains (though if I buy my fabric from Calico Corners today at lunch I get an extra 5% off) or an ideal storage solution for the shoes we ditch at the front door (sorry Mom).  I found an historic tub on Craigslist for 50 bucks!!

I am talking about a 350 pound cast-iron, enamel coated beauty.  This one is 2.5 feet wide and 5 feet long and it will fit PERFECTLY in the master bathroom.  It even has the original brass feet!  Weeeeee!

The seller said that I was only the second person that showed interest and that he wasnt sure how much it was worth but other similar acrylic tubs at Lowes sell for over $1000.  I had done my own research and had figured that if I found an original for between 300 and 500, I would have myself a great deal.  Mainly it seems that this individual wants the tub gone after having it posted online for multiple months.  If the tub sits in the garage until we are financially ready for a bathroom remodel, at least that is one less piece of the puzzle to worry about!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In progress...

J and I have decided to organize our books differently (by color rather than by category) and so getting the room together is taking a bit longer than I had anticipated.  If I had been left to my own devices, the entire house would be painted by now and everything would be in its place.  I probably wold have killed myself getting it done, but it would have been done.  Now J is having us take our time which, I have to admit, is probably better than murdering myself over it all.

Anyways, to prove that we actually did paint the living room this last weekend, here are some action shots.

First we primed...always exciting!

We were good and pushed what furniture we couldnt relocate into the middle of the room and covered it in plastic sheeting.  This worked fine since we werent repainting the ceiling (yet) and we mainly just didnt want kittie paws on our furniture if they happened to get friendly with the paint roller.

We picked Behr paint from Home Depot.  We had used it in the past with great results and found that it covered much better than more expensive Porter paints that Jonathan's parents had used recently for the bedroom remodel.  The colors we chose were Earth Tone for the accent wall and Clamshell for the main part of the room.  We wanted something light to counter act the darkness of the room.  There isnt a ton of lighting in there at night and we didnt want it to feel like a cave.

So even though J is the only one in the photos, I really did put in my share of the effort.  He is undoubtedly better at rolling on the paint than I am, but I am better at edging and painting the trim so we make a good team.

We were presantly surprised by how well the Clamshell paint coordinated with the stone fireplace.  We arent a big fan of the stones or the MASSIVE rustic mantle, but the paint color really softens the feature and will make it much more livable until we can do something about it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

BEFORE - Living Room

Friday we primed - everything.
Saturday we painted all the walls.
Sunday I added semigloss to all the trim and doors of the living room.

No longer does it look like this.

It helps that the furniture of the sellers is gone.

It helps that all the country stars have been removed from sight (except for in the guest bathroom).

It helps that its no longer the season for christmas decor.

But mainly its just clean, and neat, and ours.

Photos of the AFTER to come.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is Magic Eraser Really Magic?

With a new house comes a lot of cleaning.  Even if the prior owners were immaculate, most people would want to wash them away in some form or another.  In our case, we needed to clean, it wasnt just a matter of wanting to. 

I am not certain how these people lived.  Maybe they were sick all the time.  Maybe they had built up some super resistance to the gunk covering their entire home, but there is no way that I was going to test whether J and I had the same immune capabilities! 

To be fair the prior owners had a mastiff and a rottweiler - big dogs  - that left their big nose prints on  just about everything waist height and left their big tongue prints on everything else.  Still, these people were not clean.  Both showers were encrusted with soap scum, there were actual dust bunnies in the refridgerator, and the originally white doors of the pantry (and every other originally white surface) were a taupe hue from slobber and dirty hands.  They hadnt even bothered to clean out the saw dust shavings from the kitchen drawers after installing new hardware!  J and I finally had to clean the laminate flooring on our hands and knees to get whatever that residue was off with vinegar and water.  You know its bad when you have to resort to the "eve" of all cleaners.  :)

I had previously used the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser at our rental to clean the walls from the earlier tenants and found that it left strange looking smudge marks on the wall.  There was no question that the dirt came off, but I wasnt so certain that the dull area it left behind on the wall was any better so I stopped using them.  The Magic Erasers sat amongst the other cleaning supplies until we moved to our "new" and filthy house.

Out came the rectangular sponges of wonder!  They cleaned the fake wood pantry doors, floor boards, and windows frames like a dream.  They fell apart rather quickly which was a bit unfortunate since I used up the remaining 3 erasers in about 20 minutes flat, but the surfaces they had touched were pristine - or so I thought.

Yesterday while opening our now fully-stocked pantry I noticed a thin film on my fingers.  I wiped it on my sweats without thinking too much about it.  By the end of dinner prep, I had multiple white finger marks on my sweat pants.  My sense of awe in the powers of the Magic Eraser faded away when I realized that I would have to wipe down each and every surface AGAIN before I could be rid of the "magical" power of the erasers.  Its possible that the white powder currently covering my pantry, bathroom, and bedroom doors adds a resilient whiteness to the fixtures, but I am not so certain replacing one type of dirty dirt with another type of seemingly "clean" dirt is a good trade off.

Mr. Clean, you let me down.  The joy I gained from watching those dark smudges disappear from my home was fleeting and I now have to address the blizzard of powder emanating from all the gleaming white surfaces.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Merry Christmas To Me

This year for Christmas I bought a house.  Its my first place.  It looked decent in the inside and, although it smelled (and still does) of sickeningly sweet air freshener, it seemed to lack structural issues, old windows, and worn out mechanicals that would cause J and I to invest money in those big ticket items right up front. 
Its a 1400 square foot farm house built in 1880 but I think the interior looks more like 1995.  There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of which is a master suite.  The kitchen is large compared to our previous rentals and there is a double oven which may turn out to be a nice feature.  The house sits on a double lot and there is an area that is fully fenced for our future canine family members.  The two-car detached garage is already turning out to be a great feature as I dont have to clear my car of snow or wait for my frozen engine to come back to life before heading to work.
All in all there is a lot to work with here.  There arent many NECESSARY projects but there are a ton of things we would like to do to the place.  Aside from adding our personal touches, we would like to restore some of the 1880 charm while still keeping the space functional.
Right now most of the walls are baby poop brown.  This weekend that will change.  After cleaning the place from top to bottom, our first project will be to spackle, sand, prime, and paint the living room.  We were going to paint the bedroom first but it makes more sense to paint the living room so we can unpack those boxes of books and display items.  If I can find my camera amongst the partially unpacked boxes I would love to post some "in progress" shots of our efforts so check back later!

No promises

Generally I begin a blog with promises.  Promises to inform others about my kitchen happenings, important life events, or the steps I take to achieve a goal. 

I am not going to do that this time.  This time its all about what I want.  I dont want to feel like I HAVE to post pictures or be witty with my words on a somewhat regular basis.  This time the blog is for me more than anyone else.  In the past there have been times when it just felt like a chore to upload photographs.  Is there anything more tedious?! 

I want this to be a source of fun and encouragement.  A measure of where I have been and how far I have come.  I want this to be a source of inspiration when I feel that making this house a home is insurmountable.  I want this to document my successes and failures to make the path easier for others and to remind myself that its the journey that matters, not how you arrived at the destination.

Anyways, I may or may not post frequently.  I may post photos and from time to time I may even photoshop those suckers for your (and my own) viewing pleasure.