Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everything and the kitchen sink

It's crunch time around here. I have just over three weeks to get my office in order before I start working from home full time. Prior to a few days ago, the office had been the dumping ground for our still numerous unpacked boxes and things to find homes for. So we've finally gotten down to business on this room.

The color scheme I decided on way back is cream (walls) and chocolate brown, with white and bright green accents. I got my color inspiration from a photo on the back of a paint chip. Don't judge me.

We picked up an unfinished hardwood desk and have been staining and finishing it the past week or so. Here it is before we started working on it:



And here's the desk, in progress, after a couple of coats of ebony stain:


(Notice the piles of boxes still in the corner...)

Branden topped it off with a coat of mahogany to bring in some more brown tones. Now it just needs a few coats of varnish and a sweet decorative knob for the drawer, and it will be ready for my 40 hour work week!

The next office project is painting this bookcase:


I'm going to prime it this weekend, along with the matching filing cabinet that you can see in the very top photo. I'm not sure which color I'll make them yet, but I'm leaning towards white. I want to adhere some decorative paper to the inside part of the bookcase--something graphic in my color scheme--to give it a little extra interest. Hopefully I can find something good!

Moving on from the ongoing office project, my crazy need to organize had me tackling something that has been driving me nuts lately: under the kitchen sink. Here's the chaos I was dealing with:


It was enough to make me pretty much homicidal every time I opened those cabinet doors. "How did it get like this??" I asked myself. So, I picked up some cheap bins at Target for around $5 each and spent some time reorganizing. I know it's a super minor change, but the result makes me so much happier.


Ahhhhhh. So calming.

And yes, I know I'm crazy. But these kinds of things make me happy. So suck it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The little things

It's amazing how little things like light switches and outlets can make a big difference in a room. Earlier this week, all of the power outlets and switches throughout the house went from looking like this:

To this:

Something so simple has really made the house feel so much more complete! Plus, I don't worry about getting electrocuted when I reach for the switch in the dark anymore. :)

We also scored about 800 bucks in free work because the electrician wasn't able to order two-prong white face plates for the electrical outlets. So instead of backordering them, he switched all of the outlets over to three-prong (there were still some in the house that hadn't been converted). That work alone was going to cost around $800, and ended up not costing us a dime! So we got all updated three-prong outlets in matching white, and can say goodbye to those stupid adapter things forever. Amen!

Inspired, we finally decided to put an end to this half-installed light fixture that's been dangling from our bedroom ceiling for weeks.




Now I'm not a big fan of these boob-looking lights, but it's better than the outdated frosted glass fixture from the 40s that was in here when we bought the house. And being on a budget, these lights were the clear winners. I would much rather have something softer, maybe a small chandelier or something with capiz shells, but this will certainly do for now!

While we were on an installing roll, we also finally put up the same fixture in the upstairs hallway. We had been without a light on the stairs since we moved in, and Lucy does not enjoy going up or down in the dark one bit. That big heavy head of hers causes some serious downward momentum, which has caused her to trip and fall more than once.



Much better!

Lucy greatly appreciates the small change. And while we did drop a couple of screws along the way, putting the project on hold while I searched each step of the staircase with a flashlight, it was a relatively easy job and well worth it. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Watching grass grow

Work on the house has slowed down quite a bit since our house was afflicted with the plague. Okay, so it's just bronchitis. But it feels like the Black Death sometimes.

Anyway, the grass seed we planted a few weeks back over the spot where the shed was has finally sprouted. It's coming in pretty well!


It's been so hot and dry that we didn't think anything would grow at all. So I'm definitely pleasantly surprised.

Since we've all been feeling lousy around here, most of the big projects are at a bit of a standstill. There's a stack of tiles in the mudroom just waiting to finish off the floor, for example. We have managed to get a lot of yard work done, found perfect matching nightstands for the bedroom, and picked up some nice accessories to style the living and dining rooms. I'll share those pics soon. Things are coming together!

Also, Miss Lucy turned one year old. And yes, this happened:

She actually didn't hate wearing it! I swear.

For Lucy's big girl birthday present, we got her the biggest bone we could find. It's called a "mammoth bone", though I'm mostly sure that it didn't come from a Woolly Mammoth. I can't be positive, though.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seriously, who gets bronchitis in July??

Long time no see! For the past two and a half weeks I've been miserably coughing, choking, hacking up mucus, and generally wishing I was dead. After finally breaking down and visiting the doctor I found out I have bronchitis. I'm still trying to shake it and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere quite yet. Anyway, while laying on my couch spitting yellow phlegm into a bucket I neglected to update this blog. I think I get a pass, no?

July was crazy hot. Like, most days in the high 80s/low 90s and really humid. So naturally work around the house slowed a bit. We did get to enjoy barbeques in the backyard and dining on the front porch. We got a new lock for the garage so we could store all the yard tools that have been clogging up the back patio. Lucy's been loving the backyard.


During the hottest days the porch stayed nice and cool, so we put the backyard patio table up there for a little while so we could enjoy the breeze and get some relief from the heat.



It hasn't been all fun, games, and phlegm around here though. As I showed you earlier, we primed over the hideous wood paneling in the mud room on a whim a couple of weeks ago. Branden has been itching to finish the room off, so we picked out a paint color and he got to work on it while I coughed and wheezed and cheered him on from the kitchen.


What would I do without him? :)

After paint was done, the next thing to tackle was the horrible linoleum floor. It was in rough shape and peeling up at the corners. We also knew we'd be trashing it, so we didn't mind getting paint and primer all over it.

After the 1,382,039th trip to Home Depot, we decided on some easy vinyl tiles. Since we weren't sure what condition the sub floor was in (though after we ripped up the linoleum the sub floor ended up looking fine), we decided to get tiles that adhere to each other--not the peel and stick tiles that adhere to the sub floor itself. The floating floor was a good choice, and the tiles were pretty easy to get together. Cutting them was the toughest part.


We're almost done tiling the floor--we came up just three tiles short!--and it has already made an enormous difference in this room! It used to be dark, dingy, and dirty. Now it's light and airy and adding usable square footage to our house. Once the floor is done and the trim is painted, I'll be sure to post a full reveal with before and after photos.

A plumber is coming in Monday to give us an estimate on what it will cost to redirect the existing washing machine hook-up to the mud room. The dryer hook-up is already in the mud room, but the washer is in the basement. Weird, I know. So if we can get a washer and dryer out here, it will be a lovely and usable laundry room! Let's hope it doesn't cost a bagillion dollars!