Tuesday, May 31, 2011

They said you was hung!

And they were right! (500 points if you can guess that reference)

After a whole weekend stripping glue from the front porch I ran out of paint remover with about 2 feet left to go. Bummer. I shuffled into the house with a decidedly forlorn look on my face and told my husband (who got stuck working on a big project all weekend) what had happened. To my surprise he said "oh good, I wanted to hang the bedroom light today" What?!?!?! I swear I grinned like a little kid given a large bucket of candy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm learning to be pretty handy with the whole fix-it mess that comes with owning a house, but working on anything electrical freaks me out. Naturally, that means it falls to Daniel to install light fixtures while I hold tools and cheer him on. Since work has gotten hectic for him lately I have a whole list of things that I assumed would be happening "sometime" in the distant future. I love when he surprises me!

A tip before you start, be sure to turn off the electricity! You can do this just to the room but I prefer to be safe and shut off the main breaker.

Here's the old light

It is a weird modern orange fixture that would look great in a more modern setting or children's room but it wasn't for us.

And After
Who's that cutie on my bed?? Norman insists on being where all the action is so naturally he is in 90% of our photos. (He's even helping me type this right now.)

And thank you to the man who got it all done! Look how handy he is!

I know it is a bit funky but I love the new light. I found it on craigs list from a couple renovating their 1920's house who wanted it to go to a good home.

It makes my room feel like a bordello. Love!
Check it out at night

Maybe it isn't for everyone but I think it is amazing (especially now that it is hung)

But now I'm off to get more paint stripper to finish cleaning the porch (i'll explain the whole mess process when we finish)

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope everyone is enjoying theirs! I've been whittling away at the front porch. I'm hoping at the end of the week I'll have a great reveal for you all but right now it looks like this...

Yeah, not so pretty right now. If they hadn't glued the padding under the Astroturf down with extra strength adhesives this project would be going much smoother. So much for my "weekend" project. **sigh**

Friday, May 27, 2011

Love your house...

I was trolling around the blogosphere today and found this article over on Hooked on Houses and I thought, My sentiments exactly!

Check it out!

And for those of you counting down the days until summer, here is something to help you out...

ahh, can't you feel that warm summer breeze... thanks Dominican Republic for having such beautiful beaches. We'll see you soon!

Take A Stand!

A hat stand!

I wanted a place to keep my hats from getting bent out of shape and to display them nicely as well. I was definitely inspired by these

but honestly I just don't have that many hats... Still...

This was my solution: 
1. Buy cheap candlesticks (I got mine from Ikea)

2. Buy glass globes (no bigger than your head) Mine are from CB2
3. Put them together. (I used a hot glue gun, the DIYer's best friend)
Originally I was going to paint the candlesticks but I sort of fell in love with the shiny surface of these. 
Here's what they look like with hats

I wanted the glass balls because they wouldn't stretch out the hat and so that when I am using the hat it doesn't just look like an empty candle stick. 

Currently I only have the two hats but with hatstands like these I'll have to add more! Maybe something like this
A royal wedding hat from here

Or maybe not...

But that floppy hat will sure come in handy when I start tackling the back yard this weekend....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Home away from Home...

I love my bath tub. I'm one of those weird people who takes hour long baths every single day (sometimes twice) just because I can. When I saw this bathroom I knew this was the house for me...

Here's what it looked like when we toured

Don't you just love the telephone handle rest?

Gorgeous I know. I could stare at that thing all day.

You may remember from here that I was waiting for the shower ring to come in for the tub. For those of you who don't know what a shower ring is, it is basically a shower adapter for old claw foot tubs so that you can hang a shower curtain and stand up to take a shower. Ours finally got here from Vintage Tub and Tile on Wednesday. (I've gotten so used to having Amazon prime that anything that takes more than two days to get to me seems way too long). We just got the ring since we didn't want to replace the original faucet so we will have to install the shower head separately. 

Here's what it looks like all set up

I got some tie backs to keep the shower curtain from bunching around your head when you take a bath.

An up close shot of the curtain

It has a subtle teal in the pattern that will be perfect with my plans for the colors in here. (Check out my inspiration board)  I had to drive to three different Targets to get this curtain but it was worth it.

The rest of the room is pretty undone still

I'd like to update the vanity at some point. It is kind of neat with the old cane inset on the door but not really what I am envisioning for the space. There is also a crazy wrap around mirror in that corner which I tried to take a picture of but it was near impossible without getting in the shot... 

Inspiration Board: Bathroom Oaisis

1. I saved this picture way back because I love the twist on board and batten. You can get the screening panels here. I want to do a bright turquoise like this but just under the paneling so it isn't overwhelming.
2. Love! It's light and airy and totally fabulous!
3. Shower curtains from here. Not to bright or floral, just right.
4. I wanted to make the bathroom remind me of our honeymoon in the Caribbean. We dove for conch and spent hours staring at the water. It was great!
5. Tiebacks for my shower curtain, to make it feel more luxurious.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

House Tour!

I added a new page to the blog! Click on the House Tour tab to see floor plans and a tour of the house as it looks right now.


Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

I wanted to get this done before the shower ring for our tub came in so in the midst of unpacking I figured it out.

Let's do the before and afters now and then I'll explain my process.



Much better! Even my husband said it looked like new. 

It was a pretty simple process. I took it apart and cleaned the whole thing inside and out. (which took longer than I expected). Then I sanded down the rough bits and cleaned it again. The previous owners left a lot of random paint in the utility room, one of which is the same color they painted the trim in the bathroom, so I used that to give it a new coat of paint. I let it sit out over night and dry on the front porch so in the morning all that was left was to add new knobs. I fount these at Cost Plus

on sale for $5.98 for 4. I only needed three but I figured if I ever wanted to change them it would be nice to have the full set for something else.

So there you have it, a "new" bathroom cabinet for a grand total of $40.98. And it looks great in its new home. Just wait until you see the rest of the bath once I get the shower ring up. FABULOUS!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Foraging for Furniture

One of the many things I did over the weekend was go get some new pieces I found on Craigslist.

Here's what I got:

A white cabinet for the bathroom (35$)

And a dresser for our bedroom ($50)

Neither of which are going to stay the way they are now.

Here are my plans:

I like the cabinet white but it is pretty beat up.
Exhibit A:

Nothing a new coat of paint and some new knobs can't fix though.  The dresser I plan to go wild with. I'm still not sure what I want to do with it. It is nice wood under that teat paint so I may strip it and go natural with it or paint it something bold like maroon lacquer. Realistically that isn't going to happen any time soon so for now it will stay the lovely shade of teal it is. I'm telling you, it's already starting to grow on me.

Currently though the sun has been out and it is derailing all of my house plans. I just want to go work in the yard. Which let me tell you, needs it.

See what I mean?
baby steps people...

Success! and a few lessons learned...

For those of you who know me you may not know that I have never in my life painted a room. I know, how could someone whose parents built their own house not have managed to paint even one wall? Two words for you: teenage angst. And let me tell you, I am kicking myself right now! Who would have thought one day I'd like to know how to tile my own bathroom...

But, with the help of my wonderful friend Amy (who used one of her rare and precious days off to help) I now have officially popped my painting cherry.

What do you think?



(the color was all wrong for this one but I didn't have time before CJ came to get one in better lighting)

There are still a few things I'd like to do to make the room feel more finished. It is definitely in need of art for the walls and some more pillows for the bed but otherwise I'm happy with how it turned out. The color especially is absolutely fabulous. (The walls are Behr's Smokey Blue and the trim Behr's Magnolia Blossom.) I might have even convinced my husband that color isn't so bad!

My favorite part of the room is the dresser-scape. The dresser and lamp both are recent thrift store finds. check out the detail on the lamp:

Isn't that great? $7.99 at Goodwill! I love that place! It needs a new shade but again no time. I was thinking something like this:

Everything else in the room we already had on hand so it was a pretty inexpensive re-do. It is still a work in progress as I said, but it was ready when CJ showed up Sunday morning which was all I really needed.

Just think, you too could stay in this fabulous room if you come and visit me...

But now for the tough stuff. Things I have learned:
  1. Painting is easier with two people (not to mention much more fun!) My friend Amy must be crazy, but she graciously volunteered to help with my project. Thanks Amy!
  2. It really is worth your time to tape off the trim and ceiling (at least until you've made it past beginners level). You may think you are steady enough to get right up to the edge but it is better to tape and be safe than have to go back and touch up. (The nice folks at Young House Love have a great tutorial on painting trim and cutting-in but I think I'll stick to taping for now)
  3. It's ok if you make a mistake. Paint is meant to cover. I'd like to think I will get better at this but as it was I had to touch up between almost every coat. Annoying as it may be you would never know when it is all done.
  4. Sand before you paint. Now this is optional if you have a nice smooth surface to begin with, but if the previous painters of your house were like mine it will look much better if you sand down those paint drips first. I'm going to go back and redo this when my house guest is gone but until then I know I will feel the need to point out that those paint drips were not mine.
  5. If you are painting over a dark surface with a light color be prepared to do multiple coats. Painting that dark brown trim white took me three coats (I was sort of prepared for this so I did the first coat with leftover ceiling paint that was left here by the previous owners). When I go back to do the doors I am removing them and spray painting them with primer before I even bother to paint. 
  6. Fill your holes! I didn't realize until I started painting the brown trim but apparently the previous occupant of that room had a dart board. The door and trim was covered in tiny little holes that when the trim was brown were unnoticeable, but when white were glaringly obvious. Another extra step I never imagined.
All said and done it took me about 8-10 hours over three days to paint this one room (and I had help for the first four at least). Not exactly an afternoon project but totally worth the effort. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starting a blog (or, how I stopped hating and learned to love DIYing)

Ok, I know everyone has a blog. Seriously, everyone. And believe me, when we started looking to buy a house, starting a blog was the last thing I was planning to do. But then the obsession began...

It all started innocently enough. The first house we bid on needed a LOT of work (I mean tear down a few walls, gut the bathroom kind of work) so I started looking in to how realistic it would be to do things ourselves. It didn't take long to stumble across the blogs Centsational Girl and Young House Love. If you have not read them before let me tell you, you are missing out my friends (says the dealer to the junkie). I was hooked! Between the practical advice and the amazing ideas it was hard not to feel like you could do anything you wanted to really make the house everyone dreams of out of wherever you live. These weren't the people in House Beautiful or Architectural Digest (another addiction) who have million dollar homes and endless decorating budgets, these were real people living in real houses. And they were making them look fabulous!

I mean seriously, can you tell which is which?

Of course like any drug, once you start you need more and more to satisfy those urges. Suddenly it wasn't enough that they posted daily, I needed more to read! That's when I discovered their lists of favorite blogs. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. There are so many people doing such beautiful work making their houses into homes. And the best part? They post it all for the world to see! How great is that??

So back to my original "but Emily, everyone has a blog". I say, so what!?!? There is nothing I like better than to spend an afternoon reading through blog posts getting new ideas, and there can never be too many ideas. As I know from being a teacher, we don't all learn the same way. Sometimes it takes that new perspective or way of explaining how something is done for you to really understand. Hopefully, I can show some other new home owner something to help them love their home just like the people who came before me did.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Dungeon Room

(AKA the guest bed. Sorry folks, no whips and chains...)

That's what my husband calls it. I kind of like it. Some people have their "Tea room" or "Rose Room", I have a "Dungeon Room".

When we moved in quite a few of the rooms were painted a strange shade of lavender (you might have noticed that in the MLS pics here). Not quite purple enough to be hideous but still not what I wanted for my rooms. In fact, the guest bed not only had lavender walls but also a lavender ceiling.

It also has only one window (so the whole space is slightly dark) and a strange extension of the chimney from the fireplace above. (I've been told it might have once had a wood burning stove there to heat the house)

Here's what it looks like now:

 Sorry for the bad lighting, still getting used to the new camera. That's Daniel there removing the old baseboard heater. (NOTE TO SELF: turn off electricity to the house before playing with wiring...)

Now, normally people don't start with the guest bed when decorating their house, but Daniel's friend CJ just got a job in Seattle and needed a place to stay while he looked for an apartment. He's coming Saturday which will be one and a half weeks after we moved in. So, while almost everything else is in boxes I am determined to have at least that room finished. And, since it is a guest bed room I thought I could get away with making it dark and moody.

I bought these curtains from Cost Plus (love that place) and am designing the room around them.

I'm thinking a nice deep blue grey... what do you think?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


So I don't know about you, but decorating gets me way too excited (I know, over share). I mean really how can this not make you excited??

No? Well, maybe you're reading the wrong blog then.

But my house is a long way away from looking like that. Right now it actually looks like this

Not surprising that moving from a one bedroom apartment all of our belongings could fit in a single room. At least all of the furniture is upstairs.

I'm having trouble not starting a million things at once (hyperbole I know but that's what it feels like). I guess first things first: unpack. Why didn't someone invent an unpacking fairy?? **sigh**

At least Norman is settling in.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meet and Greet

This is our house. A charming craftsman style bungalow built in 1902 on top of Queen Anne Hill (more on that later). There is just something timeless about this house. From the picture rails to the crown moulding, it is just perfect. 

Let's go inside! Now keep in mind these are the Realtor pictures with staging equipment in them, not what it looks like now.

When you walk in the front door this is your first view of the house. Not much of a formal entry way but I've got plans for that.  I just love the fireplace and chandelier. That view from the couch to the fire place is what sold me on the place. And the original hard wood floors.

Next you walk into the formal dining room (where I can not wait to have a big holiday meal) and through the kitchen into the breakfast area. I want to build banquet seating there and make it nice and cozy.

  Upstairs there is an office off of the dining room:
And the master bed and bath:
 The bathtub is the best. It is one of those old claw foot style soakers. THE BEST!

There are also two bed rooms in the basement. One we plan to turn into the guest bed and one will be the library.

Once things get a bit less crazy I'll get some pictures of the current living situation, but as all of you who have moved know, it is chaos here.