July 30, 2010

Porch Project: Part 3

May I just say that I LOVE GRAY?!

It's that simple.


The Beginning...

The Middle...

The (almost) End...

Joey's working on painting the door, window, and trim a nice, crisp white...

There's nothing like gray brick. I could paint my whole house gray (if Joey would let me)...

The porch walls are next! Wait until you see what color we chose for these! Any guesses? Pin It

July 27, 2010

1/2 Bath Demo Time!

Yes! We are starting a new project in the midst of working on many other projects! What can I say? I like to multi-task! Plus, there's something about the demo-process that is really enjoyable, really cheap, and really inspiring to me.

So, Saturday night, while Joey's younger brothers, Jared and Jacob, were spending the night, I got ambitious and decided it was time to begin the process of "prepping" the downstairs 1/2 bath for its up-and-coming makeover. Jacob thought this was a fun idea and decided to help me with the process. So, we had fun ripping down the plastic tiles that are glued to the bathroom walls. Jacob mostly worked on popping off the tiles, and I worked on scraping off the glue underneath the tiles. We made pretty good progress for just an hour and half of work.

Here is the 1/2 bath in its buy-it-as-is state. The wallpaper was ripped off on a previous occasion. Check out the awful plastic-y tiles on the walls. UGLY!

The tile-take-off process ended up being much easier then I originally anticipated. Here is Jacob in action as he used a hammer and screw driver to "pop" the tiles off the walls. Note the rubber gloves he wanted to wear for added protection! Safety first!

These are some of the phrases I heard coming out of Jacob's mouth...

"You're going down!"

"I feel like a man!"

In the end, we made a great big mess, but we got a lot done. Jacob stated "I am getting paid, right?" To which we replied "You got paid with a Culver's meal and ice cream!"

Only one small wall left to do around the window.

Once the tiles are down, beadboard is going up! And it's being painted gray. In fact, I found this picture of a bathroom that has a similar concept to what we're trying to accomplish! It has the painted gray beadboard going about 3/4 of the way up the wall - just like we're doing! And we're going to do the same type of trim at the baseboard, chair-rail, and ceiling. I'd like to put a wood floor down, if we can afford it budget-wise, and we'll probably install a pedestal sink (although I do like this vessel sink that mimics an old wash-basin look). Too bad we don't have room for those great built-in shelves...

So, stay tuned as there is more to come on this project!

*Edit: Inspiration photo is from Kara Payslay's house. See her blog, house, and designs HERE. Pin It

July 26, 2010

Kitchen Pendant Lighting Revealed!

Back in June, I requested your feedback on pendant lights that Joey and I were picking out as part of our kitchen renovation. In that post, I showed you 4 different options that we were considering purchasing to hang above the countertops and sink. If you'd like to refresh your memory on the original options, click here.

Well, after much consideration (and taking your comments into account), we finally decided to go with Pendant #2! We liked the traditional look of the pendant and felt it still complimented the light fixture in the center of the ceiling without being too matchy-matchy.

So, we purchased the pendants online back in June, and Joey hung the lights this weekend. And I must admit that I like them very much! Here is a picture of the pendant from the website...

And here are some pictures of the pendants hanging in our kitchen!

As you can see above, we hung 1 pendant above the sink and 2 in front of the windows for task lighting on the countertops. They do a great job of lighting up the space! Nothing like a bright kitchen for cooking and baking! The pendants came with several hanging rods giving us the ability to customize their height to our liking. In the end, we went with just 1 of the 3 rods to keep the pendants hung fairly high as to not block our view out the windows. And even at that height, they provide a lot of down-light on the counters.

Here is a close-up shot of the pendant above the sink.

I can't wait until the other pieces of the kitchen come together - paint, quartz countertops, the rest of the cabinets, and trim will make these little lights look even brighter!

So, what do you think? Don't the pendants add a nice "finish" to the space (even though the kitchen is clearly very un-finished at this point)? We want your opinions - so, don't be shy!

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July 22, 2010

Porch Project: Part 2

If you remember this story we posted recently, we started the process of renovating the porch on the back of our house. Given that it has been 1 week since the start of this project, we thought it was time to share a brief update on how this project has progressed.

While there have been a few noticeable changes to the porch, the progress has been slightly sloooow. In part, this is due to the busyness of our schedules this past week, leaving little time for house-work. Also, this has been a very HOT week in K-town, and so doing any project outdoors (even on the the porch) has not been on the top of our priority list.

Needless to say, here are a few pictures of where we started just a few days ago, and what we've got goin' on now.

Old Porch: Note the carpet, almost-no-paint-walls, and very old hanging light with cord strung across the ceiling.

Porch after some "clean up": No more carpeting or light fixtures, Junk cleared out, and trim replaced around the ceiling.

And here are some pictures showing what has been done this week...

Joey laid DUROCK cement board on the floor in preparation for the tile we are going to lay down. (Please disregard the shop vac and paint stuff on the floor.)

The ceiling has received 1 coat of white paint. That immediately brightened the space and made it feel more up-to-date and cheerful.

The brick wall is the last part of the porch that we got started on this week - although, it is not close to being done at this point. We began applying the first coat of primer to the brick - using a special for-masonry-and-brick-only primer to seal in any grease, grime, or dirt on the brick that may disrupt the pretty paint (the primer has the consistency of elmer's glue). Painting this brick is slightly time consuming. Even with a 1-inch nap paint roller, the roller really only covers the top of each brick and doesn't do much in terms of getting into the cracks and crevices. And so we're filling in the cracks using a thick paint brush, but even this takes a long time. You can slightly see that the brick on each side of the door has been filled in with the paintbrush compared to all the areas that we haven't brushed yet.

I'm praying that once we get this first of primer coat on the wall, that the next coat, which will be latex paint, will be much easier and faster to apply. And after we get the ceiling and brick wall all painted, we still have to paint the other 3 walls, bench, shelf, and interior door and window. Whew! Looks like this is going to take a while!

So, we'll continue to give you updates as we move along in the porch redo process, and maybe the next one will show some larger improvements!

Last, but not least, here's what Spike thinks of the porch so far....

Apparently cats prefer to watch others do the work for them. Pin It

July 20, 2010

Raise The Roof

While talking about the roof isn't my favorite thing in the world, we are eventually (like in the next 10 years) going to need a complete roof redo - including tearing off 3 layers of shingles to lay down a nice new layer and hopefully not uncover any other must-fix-this problems along the way.

So, although that project is (hopefully) years away, and the roof topic itself may not be my cup o' tea, I do love taking random quizzes! What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Well, today I came across this little personality quiz that will help match your house and your personality and come up with a custom roof color for you!

Here are a few examples of the questions I answered...

Question 1: You've got 2 weeks of vacation and a big bonus check. Where are you headed?

Visiting family/friends is almost always my first choice for a vacation!

Question 2: How would you like your friends to describe you?

Notice the question asked "how would you like..." and not "how would they..." - gotta keep people in dream world and not reality.

Question 4: Sort these crayons from most favorite to least favorite.

Of course, Yellow and Blue go first!

Question 6: If you could splurge on one thing, what would it be?

Being first-time-homeowners means needing lots of new furniture. The hand-me-downs don't cut it anymore!

After answering the 9 questions, I got my results. And the best-roof-color-for-me quiz results are (drum roll please)...

My first thought: Huh? They make purple and brown roofs?

But here's the breakdown for some clarification...

Purple says:
Purple is a combination of opposites—a blend of the excitement of red with the serenity of blue. So there is a creative tension that will always draw a second look. The bluer purples are more sedate and contemplative, the redder purples are high energy, while the deeper aubergine shades speak of a certain elegance. Purple announces that there are very creative or artistic people that dwell within. Unique, cutting-edge, intriguing, unusual, even a bit mystical are words to describe the reactions that might come from using purple on the exterior. This is an unexpected and unconventional choice that will definitely draw attention and interest.

Brown says:
The color of earth itself, brown is the shade that is most connected to substance, stability and a real sense of worth. There is a steady, wholesome, no-nonsense, organic quality that expresses comfort, harmony and a steadfast connection to quality. Brown is authentic and real, developing a sense of “belonging.” But it is not all about rustic and country—just like the earth from which it comes there is a richness connected to brown as well. Think coffee and chocolate browns, variations on a theme that brings a new perspective to the potential of brown as literally being in “good taste”.

Combine Purple and Brown and you get Summer Harvest!

So, what do you think? Are purple and brown accurate descriptions of me (and my roof style)? Or way off?

Take the quiz yourself to find out how spot on it is! Pin It

July 19, 2010

Fabulous Finds...

Sorry to disappoint you, but since Joey was out of town all weekend, not much got done on the home front (other than some more unpacking/putting-away/organizing). So, I don't have much to share today in terms of house projects or improvements.

However, I did have a great time shopping with my friend, Chelsea, on Saturday evening at some of my favorite stores - PotteryBarn (PB), Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma (W-S) - and although I could have spent thousands of dollars on the glorious goods that we oooh'd and ahhh'd over, I limited myself to a few little fabulous finds...

Find #1: PB Chancellor Napkin Holder
Price: $24.00
What's so exciting about napkin holder, you ask? Well, I currently have a napkin holder that "stands" the napkins upright in it for a supposedly easy-to-grab-a-napkin effect... I HATE this napkin holder. Why? As soon as you go to grab 1 napkin from it, all the other napkins pull out with it. Also, if the napkin holder is not completely full at all times, the napkins start to sag in holder, causing them to become wavey/wrinkled, which looks awful. Hence, it was love at first sight with this new napkin holder. It is the only item I bought that was not on sale (and I rarely fork out dough for full-priced items). This hand-polished gleaming napkin holder lays the napkins flat in it and comes with a weighted, decorative key to hold the napkins in place (great for outdoor dining)... so charming for the center of the table.

Find #2: PB Scattered Shell Placemats
Original Price: $8.00 per placemat
Sale Price: $4.79 per placemat
These will go great with the different colors I'm using in both the Dining Room and the table on the back porch. I only bought 2 though because I'm going to use them for the center of the table rather than as actual placemats. I can set a candle or other centerpiece on top of them for a pretty table-scape. The watercolor shells, sand dollars and red coral were hand painted by one of PB's in-house designers - each placemat has a slightly different pattern.

Find #3: Flowered PlaceMats
Original Price: $8.00 per placemat
Sale Price: $4.79 per placemat

I bought 4 of these specifically for use on the porch table in the summer - where my love of all things blue and yellow can come to life.

Find # 4: PB Double Wall Hurricane
Original Price: $49.50
Sale Price: $19.50
I bought this beautiful glass hurricane for its versatility. I can surround a candle with different objects, depending on the season - sand and shells, potpourri, botanicals, ornaments etc....

Find #5: W-S Dish Towels
Original Price: $18 for set of 4
Sale Price: $12.99
Good dish towels are a hard find, but I've heard great things about W-S dish towels, particularly for drying wet dishes, and once I touched the towels for myself, I was sold. They will be great for all sorts of tasks – from mopping up spills to drying pots and pans. The cotton towels are woven in a thick, absorbent twill weave. Can't wait to use 'em!

And here is my favorite item on the much-wanted-but-didn't-buy list - PotteryBarn's Sienna Paisley Duvet Cover and Shams...

Well, now you've seen a list of my newest treasures. Anything you've bought recently that you love and couldn't live without? Do tell! Pin It

July 14, 2010

Porch Project in Progress...

Say that 3 times fast!

We've decided to take a slight remodeling detour from the inside of our house to focus on the "outside" of the house. Not that the inside will be totally neglected - it still needs love too - but we figure that as long as the weather is nice and warm for a few more months, we may as well get some use from the outdoor space.... enter project Porch and Patio Renovation.

During our house hunting days when we toured this house for the first time, one of the spaces we loved was the 3-seasons porch off the back of the house. It is a great bonus space that is very versatile, and it gives us both extra indoor space and extra outdoor space - since the backyard isn't that big. When I entered the porch for the first time, the first thought that popped into my head was "this smells exactly like Grammie's porch in Maine" - that old farmhouse smell that I love (the Maine folks will know what I mean). The second thought that popped into my head was "boy, does this have a lot of potential!" - both in terms of overall design (the combo of 70's and bad-90's-redo design isn't working for us) and function (this can be used for much more than a storage room).

So, let's talk about the function part first. Even though the porch is in the back of the house, because of the way our garage is situated on our corner lot, you actually go through the porch to get into the house from the driveway - making the porch our main "entrance" into our home (who needs a front door anyway!). Hence, the porch is the perfect place for a mudroom - a place to drop off our jackets and shoes before entering the house, and store seasonal items like our hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas etc...Plus, there is a built in bench right by the doorways to accommodate storage and seating. In addition to a mudroom, the porch will also make a great eating space - it's right off the kitchen and the soon-to-be patio area in the back yard. And although we have a formal dining room inside the house for year round gatherings, the porch will make a great casual eating space that we can use about 3/4 of the year. One other function the porch will have is a lounging area (aka couch) for reading a book or chatting with people or taking a good Sunday afternoon nap. So, porch = mudroom/dinette/sitting room.

Here's a picture where you can see the back porch in relation to the driveway/garage

The design of the porch is next on the list to discuss. The porch that we bought includes the following... badly stained berber carpet, beadboard that was nailed to the walls and ceiling and not painted or finished in any way, a mish-mash of trim pieces nailed to the walls and ceiling to cover the gaps where the beadboard doesn't quite come together, dirty exposed brick, bamboo blinds with lots of holes, and a little teal paint in between the windows and on the doors (plus a ton of junk everywhere).... not the ideal look we're going for here.

Here are a couple of pictures so you can see what I'm talking about...

As you can see, this place screams "makeover needed". So, besides clearing out the junk, we have already ripped out the stained carpet...

...and replaced the trim pieces on the ceiling with basic square pieces that will be painted to match the ceiling paint.

What's to come, you ask? Here's the short list of to-do's: new flooring, PAINT, some furniture, window upgrades, window treatments, and decor. PLUS a new patio outside the porch for more seating and the grill. And the process continues tonight!

So, stay tuned for the latest on this porch and patio project!
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July 12, 2010

I'm a Basket-case

I've recently discovered my extreme love and use of baskets in my home. I don't know about you, but I do not like "clutter" of any kind sitting around my home. When I speak of clutter, I basically mean a pile of anything that appears to have no home or needs to be contained in some way. So, one way that I've begun to contain the stuff sitting around the house is by the use of baskets. It seems that whenever you put something into a basket, it suddenly looks neat and organized and like it belongs there - it has a purpose. And I like to use baskets to contain items you may not initially think of putting in a basket.

So, let me demonstrate to you what I mean. Here are just a few examples of ways that I have recently begun to use baskets that I hadn't thought about before...

1. Video Game supplies, including controllers and cords. A basket keeps everything tucked away and hidden from view, yet easily accessible for kids (and husbands).

2. Movies, including VHS tapes, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and Video Games. I was able to find baskets that fit our DVDs and X-Box/Wii games perfectly to size, but had a little extra room for the blu-ray category (which is steadily growing).

3. Small Games and Decks of Cards. While board games may be a bit large to store in a basket and better served on a shelf, small hand-held games and card games are great for storing in baskets. You don't even need to stack them nice and neat. Just tossed 'em in and they're out of sight.

I have some of the above items on display in our living room. The rest of the shelf is still waiting to be filled in with picture frames and other accessories when they come out of boxes.

4. Magazines. My favorite way to keep magazines looking nice is to lay them down flat and stack them - this keeps the pages from becoming wavy or crinkling. I particularly like this when I have a stack of magazines that I want out and about for constant browsing. Stacking magazines by themselves on a coffee table or bookcase looks nice, but if you stack them in a basket, it looks even better.

You can also store magazines upright in a basket or storage container to achieve the same effect.

I especially like these storage boxes for long-term-put-away storage.

5. Hand Towels and Washcloths. Stacks of these small towels and washcloths always seem to fall over, looking messy. I've loved using these baskets to store these types of items.

Why the obsession with baskets, you ask? There are a couple reasons why I like baskets, in particular, to accomplish this task of organizing.
  1. Baskets come in many different shapes and sizes - big or small, round or square, lid or handle... Finding the right size/shape of basket should be pretty easy given that so many stores offer a wide variety. I've picked up most of my different baskets at Target.
  2. Baskets add texture to a space. They can consist of a variety of materials including wood, bamboo, wire, wicker, woodchip, leather... the list goes on and on. And all of these textures add interest to your space.
  3. Baskets come in many colors - brown is the most common color, but baskets can be dyed almost any color - white, black, green, red, blue... And if the basket has a fabric liner inside it, the liner could also add all kinds of patterns and colors to your space.
  4. Baskets weave together form and function perfectly. They display (or keep out of sight) our junk so nicely, yet make the junk easily accessible in any room you want.

So, as I continue to unpack boxes and find places for items in the house, baskets are very much on my "wanted" list. I will probably purchase many more in the near future. Is anyone else with me on this topic? Maybe we could form a support group. I'll go first... "Hello, my name is Katie, and I'm a Basket-o-holic!"

Do you have any particular storage items that you're fond of using to help contain the clutter? Please share!

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