Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Work

I hope you had a nice weekend! We spent the weekend tackling our basement cleanup project that we've been putting off for some time.  Our basement is a true basement (just a hole in the ground, nothing pretty about it).  It's also "home sweet home" to a lot of spiders.  I hate spiders.  That's why I enlisted Jake to help me with this project because I knew if I saw a spider the size of a quarter I'd go running and screaming for higher ground (aka the first floor).  When we started, the basement looked something like this:

Pretty terrible, I know.  We made a trip to Home Depot and Target to pick up some supplies, broke out the Shop-Vac and got to work.  Besides the cob webs and spider eggs, we found some favorite hiding spots for mice and a stockpile of acorns.  We're armed with traps, but need to seal off their entry points.  Today I'm happy to say the basement is looking like this:

New welcome mat (The dog came with the house.  Can't seem to get rid of him)

I can see the light floor!
Bins and shelving for x-mas decorations, etc.

New storage closet for tools and paint supplies

I actually don't really mind going down there anymore AND it's super nice to have a dedicated spot for tools and paint supplies.  No more "Jake, where's the hammer??"  "Jess, I can't find the screwdriver." 

I had time to start a couple of projects in the entryway too.  Here's a sneak peak:

The beginnings of my wall of photos project.  The plan is to fill the wall with our favorite photos.

New Ikea mirror hung on the wall
New place to hang coats and bags

Getting the Ikea mirror centered took a couple of tries.  Apparently, two finance majors have trouble with measuring and one of them (ehh hem, Jake) was convinced that there are 12 centimeters in an inch.  I had to gently explain to him "no honey, that's not right." 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stop shopping, start doing

That should be my mantra these days.  I've acquired quite a collection of new furnishings and accessories, but I have no place to put them until I finish my painting projects.  Here's a sneak peak at some of the things I got.  I can't wait to start decorating with them.

Seagrass stools from Pottery Barn

Bedford 2-Drawer File Cabinet from Pottery Barn

Pierce Bedside Lamp from Pottery Barn

Queen Anne's Lace Printed Panel from West Elm

Songe Mirror from Ikea
J. Hunt Home lamps from HomeGoods

As for my goals this week
  1. Finish painting window panes in living room
  2. Prime master bedroom
  3. Find a sideboard/buffet for the dining room
I only accomplished #3.  Boo.  Better luck next week!  Oh, and I am repainting the buffet a lighter less neon-y shade of yellow,  We just couldn't get used to the brightness of it.  I felt like I took a time machine back to the 70s.  I think Jake described it best when he said "it makes me want to crawl inside one of the cabinets, smoke a joint, and do some mushrooms." Yea, I guess it's kinda like that.  Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's all daisies

Hello!  Sorry I've been quiet the past couple of days, but I've been up to my eyeballs in yellow paint.  My buffet project is almost complete!  I still need to apply another coat of paint in a few places and pick out some new hardware, but other than that I'm done.  Happy dance.  Here's how I tackled the project.
  • I made a trip to my local hardware store and picked up the following supplies:
    1. 100-grit sandpaper
    2. Kilz oil-based primer
    3. Ace Royal latex paint in Yellow Daisy
    4. Small foam roller
    5. Cheap paintbrush for oil paint (to use with primer)
    6. Paint mixing sticks

  • I chose to tackle the sanding and priming before I assembled the buffet.  I laid out all the pieces and gave them a quick sand with the 100-grit sandpaper.  The wood had an "antique" stain, but it wasn't too shiny so I didn't need to do much sanding.  

  • I cleaned off the dust from the sanding and then used the foam roller to apply a thin coat of the Kilz oil-based primer to each of the pieces.  I chose oil-based primer after reading that this was the best choice for painting furniture.  It's supposed to provide better stain-blocking and coverage than latex primer.  (It does have a very strong chemical odor. I recommend opening your windows when you use this).  I allowed each side to dry for a little more than an hour, then flipped them over and applied primer to the other sides.  I let the pieces sit and dry overnight. 

  • My original plan was to paint the pieces before I assembled the buffet, but I decided not to do this because I was worried that the paint would chip.  So with my pieces primed and dry, I dove into the assembly.  WARNING: The picture below may scare the crap out of you.  

  • I think that's the most amount of screws, nuts, bolts I've seen in one place before!  I made some good progress and was thinking "easy peasy" then I realized I had a piece on backwards.  Doh!  Glad I didn't paint first.  This guy would be chipping by now.
  • Once I was confident that I had assembled the base correctly, I started painting.  
  • And here's how she's looking this morning.  I kind of like her.  Sometimes I walk into the room and it's like "Damn, that's bright" and other times it's like "Damn, that makes me happy."  I'm not gonna lie, it came out a little brighter than I was expecting and depending on the time of day and/or lighting, the color looks dramatically different (example: pictures above and below).  I'm going to finish the other changes to the room before I make a decision to repaint her a lighter shade or not.  And yes, she is a she.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ikea Update

Ok, so just a quick post today.  I hope everyone survived their Mondays.  :) Mine was actually pretty successful.  I made the drive to Ikea and found the Stornas buffet along with a mirror, baskets, and some other organizational items.  Ikea is dangerous, yo!  Getting this beast of a buffet home was not the easiest task. Picture one girl (that's me) maneuvering 2 shopping carts (one that's carrying the buffet boxes) through the store and out to the car.  But, I made it with no injuries to report, and a kind Ikea worker decided to do his job and helped me load the boxes into the car.  My savior.   I have lots of priming, painting, etc. to do today so I better hop to it.  I haven't decided on the shade of yellow paint.  I'll let you know what I end up choosing and keep you posted on the whole furniture painting process.  Have a great day!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mellow Yellow

I have to admit, I'm recovering from a wonderfully lazy weekend (and I hope you are too!).  We got a few inches of snow on Saturday (the most snowfall we've had all winter) so Jake and I took Baxter on a hike through the woods.

Besides that, we watched episodes of Homeland and Shameless, cheered the Pats to a victory over Baltimore, and curled up by the fireplace. Awe - some.  However, this means that I was incredibly unfocused and unproductive on my home projects.  The living room windows still aren't completed (wah!) and I didn't tackle any new projects.  Last night, I started thinking about what I want to accomplish this week and I came up with a few things.  1) Finish those darn windows, 2) Start priming the master bedroom, and 3) find a sideboard/buffet for the dining room.  I've been working on number 3 for some time now, but I haven't found anything that I loveee.  Plus, I'm a little indecisive about what color I want.  I mentioned that I was working on a yellow/gray/navy combo for the living/dining rooms, but I hadn't decided where I wanted to incorporate the yellow.  Originally I was thinking with the area rug and I even pinned this rug on Pinterest.

Two problems.  1) It doesn't come in 7x9 (the size I really want) and 2) it's out of stock in 8x11 (the size I would settle for).  Bummed that I was having trouble finding the rug I really wanted, I started thinking about doing a yellow sideboard or buffet.  Problem?  Yes.  No one sells yellow sideboards or buffets.  I checked out some unfinished furniture websites to see what was out there, but I wasn't that impressed.  Also good quality unfinished furniture is e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e.  Did I really want to mess it up and paint it yellow only to learn that I hated it?  For the heck of it, I started perusing other blogs and by complete CHANCE, I stumbled on this post by A Place for Us.   Some things are just meant to be. :) The woman behind A Place for Us found a sideboard at Ikea, took the plunge and painted it yellow AND guess what?   I love it!

"Heigh-Ho! Heigh-Ho!  It's off to Ikea I go!"  Of course, when I return home and begin assembling this beast, I might will start cursing under my breath that I will never ever under any circumstances purchase another piece of furniture from Ikea again.  It's amazing how quickly one can forget the pain of an Ikea assembly.  Must be something like childbirth.  Or so I'm told. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fish out of water

I think I mentioned before that I'm not really crafty, but I really want to be.  I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics the other day to look at fabrics for my dining room chair upholstery project inspired by this Pin on Pinterest (originally created by  Walking through the fabric aisles, I felt like everyone was staring at me (they weren't, of course) - but I felt like they knew I didn't belong there.  Heck, I don't even own a sewing machine yet (Shhh!).  I found myself looking at some cool printed fabrics to discover "oops" those are quilting fabrics or "oops" those are outdoor canvas fabrics.  I finally made my way to the multi-purpose fabrics where they were rolled up in yards at the back of the store.  Was I supposed to carry that big roll to the fabric cutter?  Do they come and get it?  These are some of the things going through my mind as I'm staring at these big rolls.  I know, I'm pitiful.  Just ask someone, right.  Not me.  I decide to avoid the big rolls altogether and look at the special order fabrics instead.  Those are lined up in nice, neat little samples.  I find one that I like.  This one here.

It's a bit expensive, but I haven't seen anything else.  I could go to customer service and place my order for it there.  But, no.  What do I do?  I take a picture of it with my cell phone and decide to go home and order it online. Baby steps.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tree Removal Update

I left home for a few hours and when I got back the crew was gone and the job was done.  Amazing.  Here's an idea of what it looked like while they were working.

Yes, that orange spec is a person way up in a tree.

Chainsawing a tree in half

Using the crane to carry a tree to the grinder

They actually lifted the trees from the backyard over the house.  I wish I had pictures, but they did it so fast I missed it.  Major bummer.

Here are some before and after shots:



For some reason I was in landscape mood for the "befores" and portrait mood for the "afters".  Strange.  We also removed some trees on the back side of the house too, but I didn't capture it in pictures. What can I say, I'm an amateur.

I'm so happy with the end result.  Bring on the next windstorm! As a bonus, we have 10 years worth of firewood AND Baxter has a cool new seat.

It's raining trees

Today, we're moving from the interior to the exterior of the house.  It's tree removal day!  You don't know how excited that makes this girl.  I'm not a tree killer, really, but I've been living in fear.  You see, our property borders a state forest so we are surrounded by trees.  I really like the privacy and the nature, but  what I don't like is that some of these trees hang over our house or are within 20 feet of our foundation.  These aren't some puny little bushes.  These are some big a** you know whats. Within the first 4 months of living here we had a hurricane and an October snowstorm.  That equals me sleeping downstairs on a blow-up mattress out of fear that a tree would come crashing through our roof and crush me.  Damn you local news for scaring me!  But that was then.  Jake has since reminded me that I'm a big girl now and I need to put my big girl pants on.  So, I've adjusted to hearing the crack crack crack sound of tree limbs falling down and I sleep upstairs in the big girl bed. BUT I still don't like it.  So, I've been waiting in anticipation for this day and when I woke up to see this in my driveway, it was like Christmas morning.

The crew is hard at work right now and the vrmm vrmm vrmm of the chainsaw is music to my ears.  I'll post an update later today and let you know how everything turns out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hang time

The UPS fairy came yesterday and delivered these curtains that I ordered online from West Elm.

It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but they are royal blue velvet.  I got the curtain rod at Target.  Here's what the dining room looked like pre-curtains.

Pretty bare, right?

Jake broke out the power tools and helped me drill the holes for the anchors.

And here's what the room looks like now.

It already feels so much warmer!  Besides the curtains, the only changes we've made to this room are to remove the purple wallpaper (I'm sorry I don't have a before pic!  I lost my cell phone and the pictures on it) and paint the walls and trim.  We used Benjamin Moore's Light Pewter for the wall color and Benjamin Moore's White for the trim. The light pewter came out a little bit lighter than I wanted.  If I get the energy, I may switch to Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter.  The furniture we moved from our apartment and the chandelier we inherited with the house.  We plan to switch out the chandelier, add an area rug, wall art, and sideboard.  I might try a DIY project  and add seat cushions to the chairs with a cool fabric.  I'll keep you posted on the improvements!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Field Trip

My mom and my step-dad are redoing their kitchen and they went to pick out materials yesterday.  They were nice enough to let me go with them to the flooring, appliance, and cabinet/countertop stores.  What fun!  While I spent most of the time dreaming what my kitchen could look like, I did learn a few things.

  • Engineered quartz countertops are becoming a big contender to granite countertops.  There are durable, hard, stain and scratch resistant, and look like natural stone.  The material is made by mixing natural quartz with a resin binder.  Plus, you don't have to seal it every year like you do with granite. 
  • Wood tile is the new rage.  It's porcelain or ceramic tile made to look like hardwood.  It's supposed to offer the durability of tile with the look of hardwood.  I'm not completely sold on this yet.  There's a small seam between the pieces of tile that needs to be grouted so the look isn't completely authentic.  Also, I've heard it can cost more than standard hardwood.  In my opinion, nothing beats the real thing.
  • Thinking of placing a cooktop on a kitchen island?  Your options are slim.  My mom is adding an island in her kitchen and she really wants the cooktop on the island and the built in wall ovens.  Because the cooktop will be in the center of the kitchen and the kitchen is located on the first floor of a two story house, her contractor recommended a downdrafting cooktop so the smoke, steam, and odors would be drafted down through the floor and out the basement.  This is an alternative to the traditional overhead hood.  They like this idea, but when they started looking at downdrafting cooktop options there was only one in the whole store.  Also, they really wanted a grill/griddle on the cooktop, but they learned they can't do that with the downdraft option because the vent is not strong enough.  Small bump, but they decided to still go with it.
Most exciting of all, I found my dream refrigerator!  We currently have a white side-by-side model, but we'll upgrade to stainless steel french door at some point.  Jake really likes the water filtration and ice maker feature on the one we currently have, but I think it's a waste because it takes up so much valuable space in the freezer.  Well, enter this KitchenAid model:

The ice maker and water filtration system are built into the door, so it doesn't take up shelf space!  It has a number of other cool features and if the sales guy wasn't talking out of his a**, it runs on the same amount of energy as a 40 watt lightbulb.  One small problem, at $2,999, it doesn't come cheap.  A girl can dream, right?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Window Pains

One of the things that we love about this house are the windows.  They are longer than standard windows and really let in a lot of light.  However, what we didn't think about when we bought the house is that we (rather I) would be painting the panes on each and every one of them.  The trim and window panes in our house were painted a country white(ish) color, or beige,  or a shade of green (master bedroom) and I like white trim.  Also, the blue/gray colors that I picked for our hallway and living and dining rooms don't really pop against country white.  So, the trim needs to be white.  Sigh.  When I completed painting the dining room, I did tackle the windows and boy oh boy was it painful.  I got so fed up with the tape, that I decided just to wing it and paint the panes without using tape.  It actually came out okay, but the process was long and slow because I was being so careful.  Did I mention that there are only 2 windows in our dining room?

When I moved to painting the living room, I wanted to avoid painting the window panes at all cost (there are so many of them!)

I finished the walls and the crown molding and the trim around the windows, but the windows themselves just looked BAD.  You can totally notice the window panes are a different color (sorry for the poor picture quality.  Lots of light and no blinds = bad pictures).

So, I finally surrendered to the fact that I WILL BE painting all the window panes in the house. Tear.  Just for the heck of it, I Googled "painting window panes" and came across an instructional video on YouTube.  OMG it was so helpful!  I tried the putty knife and tape method and it actually works!  I wasn't using the putty knife to cut the tape before and man does that little knife shave off taping time.  Maybe with this method, I'll have the living room done this week.  Chuckle.

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