Archive | House RSS feed for this section

Furniture Rescue

22 Apr

We allll know how much I love a challenge, but I love a challenge even more when it makes you think.  Emily Henderson (who I’ve gushed about before) issued a challenge/contest/request for instagram pictures-

“What piece of furniture would you save from a fire?”

Of course I just HAD to throw my hat into the ring.  I’m always so indecisive, so it’s lucky that Emily’s allowing multiple entries.  Here goes!

I’m sure that once my secretary desk is done, it’ll be on the top of this list, however, since it’s current state is still in shambles, it’s not quite the prized possession yet.

save me desk

Once Clark is done, this desk is priority numero uno!

But what would I save from a fire?  Can I save my future sofa?

future sofa

In fact, can I set my current couch on fire so I can get my future couch? …….probably not a good idea…..

Seriously, though, back to the challenge-

The first piece of furniture that I’d save is probably my $30 vintage Craigslist settee.  Although it’s a newer purchase, I don’t think I could have imagined a better piece of furniture for my office.  I adore the tufting and the unique color (and the price I got it for!)and my furry roommates love it too, which makes it even better.  Although I got it in lieu of spending the money to reupholster our other vintage settee which has been living in the basement, I think both with be sticking around for a very long time.

save me settee

The second piece of furniture that I’d save in a fire is our red antique chair.  This we adopted (along with its matching settee that needs reupholstering mentioned above), when a friend’s aunt passed away.  The set had been in our friend’s family for as long as he could remember and he was really pleased when Hubby and I gave them a good home.  Although Hubby’s not as enamored with the Craigslist settee as I am, this red chair is one I’m sure he’d be saving in a fire too and it’s so rare that we agree on design pieces!

save me chair

With my estate sale/tag sale fixation, it’s a wonder that my furniture list isn’t longer.  I have several pieces awaiting rescue/refinishing in the dungeon basement that I’m sure will move swiftly up the list when done, but until then, I don’t have a ton of prized pieces.  Space is limited in this tiny house, so I usually find myself taking home smaller pieces when I go treasure hunting.

What furniture would you rescue in a fire (assuming that strength is no issue and you can throw any piece over your shoulder)?

future sofa image via Circle Furniture

Accidential Appliances

8 Jan

So have you noticed that I never talk about my kitchen? It’s been a little bit of a thorn in my side for the past 2 years.  It’s a nice kitchen.  Nice.  It’s not bad enough or cheap enough of a fix for it to be at the top of my to do list, but it’s always there taunting me. (What, your kitchen never taunts you?  lucky).  On the surface, it doesn’t look too bad.

kitchen before

The last time I really showed you a picture of it was right after we moved when I showed how we added a dishwasher.  We’ve done no other work in there.  No paint, no lights, no real design whatsoever, and it doesn’t look bad.  The countertop is a nice composite stone that we’re really happy with, and the cabinets look nice if you don’t look too close or want to organize your items efficiently.  The key there is “if you don’t look too close.”  It’s when you look deeper that you find issues.

Ignoring my ongoing feud with the cabinets (solid wood, laminate and veneer all within 1 square inch? what were you thinking??), the 2 greatest offenders in the space are the fridge and the stove.  There’s only so many veggie-sickles you can pull out of the crisper drawer before you decide enough is enough.  After futzing with the temp for months, the final straw was a fully frozen head of cauliflower on Saturday night.  This last straw lead us to Sears the very next day.  Since we didn’t want the fridge to feel singled out, we decided it was time for a new stove too.  Goodbye electric stove that can’t cook or bake anything consistently!  Will it take twice as long as recommended to bake my cookies, or half as long as recommended?  Cooking roulette is not as fun as it sounds.

Hooray for after-holiday appliance sales!  In 2 weeks, our long-neglected kitchen is getting belated Christmas gifts.  It kind of feels like an impulse purchase since we weren’t planning to buy any new appliances this weekend, but in reality we’ve been planning these upgrades since day one.


Why yes, that IS a gas stove.  We heart gas stoves.  Too bad our house doesn’t have any gas line.  Solution? We’re getting a propane tank put in our yard that will fuel the stove.  AND we got $300 off this stove because it was the last of an in-stock clearance.  I loves me a good deal!

new stove

I can’t wait to get these in the space and start seeing a change in the only untouched room in the house.  AND as a bonus (for me), I’ll take some REAL pictures of the kitchen for the first time.

Fridge source, stove source

Nixing the Shag

2 Aug

When we last visited the living room it looked like this:

It looks unfinished and kind of cold in this picture.  Although it did look better in person, it never really ‘clicked’.

Until now.

I’m a little excited for this change.  I’ve been waiting for this since the day we moved in.

Check it out today!

Say it with me:  Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The room didn’t miraculously get bigger, but a new rug definitely makes it feel that way!  Even Hubby agrees, shockingly.

Just to highlight how awesomely awesome this new rug is, check out what the living room looked like right after we moved.

The old rug was shag.  It was bad. Just bad.  Don’t get me wrong, it looked fantastic in our previous apartment, but the living room was much larger, so a heavy rug grounded the space.  In this tiny conservatively sized space, it just weighed it down.  We got this rug before the cats were even a consideration, too.  Shag + cat hair = impossible to clean.  Even our Dyson is powerless.

I’m also over the pattern.  The living room was just screaming for something more sophisticated.  Something like this, perhaps?

I got the new rug from Joss and Main for $155 including tax and shipping.  Not too shabby for a 5×7 if I do say so myself.  I still have more plans for this room, but WOW, what a difference a new rug makes!  I’m really pleased with the pattern.  It’s not so large (like the previous) that it will get dated or boring- it’s just the right scale to make a statement and not compete with my planned bold patterned or colored chair.  Massachusetts tax free holiday is this coming weekend- chair shopping may need to happen.  I’ve already warned Hubby.

I’ll leave you with one last gratuitous living room shot.

Random un-rug related thought: I am SOO happy with my big girl camera!  I know I still have a lot of technique to learn, but the difference in quality is already obvious.  I guess I’m not as bad of a photographer as I thought!  I bet you couldn’t tell, but these pics were taken at dusk- you know, that time when its still light out, but completely dark inside.  The manual setting on my camera is a miracle worker.

Getting Fresh in the Bathroom

24 May

Remember when I started telling about my bathroom make-over way back when?  Well, I’ve finally worked out some final details and am ready to show you the reveal!  I know, you can hardly contain your excitement, right??

First, let me remind you of where it started.

It was nothing special at all.

Kind of a snooze actually.

Even the burnt orange walls didn’t add interest.

Drum roll please…..

Now the bathroom has a whole new personality!

Step 1 Paint!  I splurged on Sherwin Williams Duration paint and it was money well spent.  The bathroom walls used to look like they were dripping even when no one had taken a shower.  It was delightful, really.  Well, the bleeding walls are no more!  I stenciled the ceiling, then painted the walls a darker shade of the same gray.  Let me tell you- stenciling a ceiling is not for perfectionists.  Gravity is trying to foil you at every turn.  It is NOT easy!!  I still have to take my little detail brush and touch up pretty much the entire ceiling.  At least I can say the effort was worth it- I love the way it looks!

Step 2 (and the catalyst for this whole project)- medicine cabinet!  She’s a sexy beast, no?

Step 3– Accessorize!!!

I would like to draw your attention to the painting- my personal version of Van Gogh’s Lilies.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but I am NOT a painter.  I’m a DIYer.  I think painting and DIY use different parts of the brain.  The brilliant idea that is the Paint Bar, however drew out my inner painter.  My birthday was a few weeks ago (one more b-day before the big one) and I really wanted to try a lesson at the Paint Bar.  Best. Idea. Ever.  Myself and 5 of my closest friends (in addition to about 20 or more strangers) were lead, step by step, into creating awesome pieces of art (facilitated by good wine and an awesome playlist).

Of the 6 of us, 4 are interior designers, 1 an architect, and 1 a (self admitted) non-artistic accountant. Even Corryne, the accountant’s art came out amazing!

And now for a few more indulgent pictures of my finished bathroom.

Pending ceiling and trim touch-up, the bathroom will be officially the first room ‘done’* in this house!

*of course when I say done, I really mean “not in need of any immediate projects, but will still be constantly evolving”

Bathroom Love

15 Mar

I’m really itching to have enough free time to tackle one of my large home projects (like the dining room that I mentioned here), but woe is me, that’s not happening as soon as I’d like.  Instead of whining about it (any more), I’m taking other action: the Bathroom!!!  It’s a tiny little thing and it’s our only bathroom (unless you count the lone toilet in the basement).

Here’s what it looks like today:

The only things I added were the off-centered shelf (its centered above the toilet but still looks weird) a shower curtain, and baskets to organize our linen shelves.  After living with it this way for over a year, it needs a little bit of love.  Not a lot of love, just a little bit.  Naturally, the first place I go to for ideas is Pinterest.

Our current medicine cabinet is a cheap warehouse store basic and it has a mind of its own.  Seriously.  It will spontaneously spit the shelves out and cause an avalanche without notice.  If I actually liked the look of it, I would permanently affix the shelves, but now it gives me a good excuse reason why we need to replace it.  I love the look of wall-mounted mirrors sans medicine cabinet, but in this house, we need all the storage we can get.  Opening up the 112 year old wall to try and recess a cabinet would undoubtedly open a can of worms that I don’t feeling like dealing with, so surface mounted it is!
Here are the contenders.

The next order of business is paint.  The current color doesn’t bother me and it matches our shower curtain (but then again, almost any color does).  There are 2 major issues I have with the paint:

  • #1- we have no way to touch up the holes and blemishes left by the previous homeowner.  That’s actually why I haven’t bothered to fix the shelf placement- I can’t touch up the wall behind it, so for now, it will cover up the issues.
  • Problem #2 is the paint itself.  Not the color, but the actual paint.  Now, I know that bathrooms get steamy and condensation will inevitably run down the walls.  I get that.  This seems to be an extreme case.  Even when the walls are dry, it looks like we’re in a horror movie with blood dripping down the walls (the burnt orange color just enhances this effect).  Pleasant picture, right?  I tried to photograph it, but there’s not enough natural light in there for a good pic with my crappy camera and the flash didn’t show the dripping- trust me, though, it’s there, its visible, and it bugs me to no end.  The only way to clean it is to attack the walls with a magic eraser, but then the drips are right back after the first shower.  It’s a losing battle.  I plan to get quality bathroom paint so this doesn’t happen again.

….and of course I’m changing the color.  I’m thinking a dramatic dark silvery-gray-graphite.

After I repaint and hang a new medicine cabinet, like every other room in our house, it needs some serious styling.

My plan is to bang this project out in a weekend and with a budget of $200.  Instant gratification room make-over- my favorite kind.  My other planned make-overs won’t be nearly as quick and easy, so I should savor this one.

images via: pinterest; wayfair 1, 2;

Ick Factor

30 Nov

I have a relatively high tolerance for “ick,” but I totally discovered my limit last night.  In a surprising bout of after-work motivation, I decided to get started on my basement organization project (that I embarrassingly shared with you here).

I was an organizing ninja….


…under a pile of wrapping paper, I discovered a dead mouse.  But, like I said, I have a high tolerance for “ick,” so that barely phased me.  We’ve found one other dead mouse in the house, and a few dead ones outside, but no live ones thankfully.  I think our 2 killer kittens would promptly make them sorry.  What really icked me out, though, was when I tried to dispose of said mouse.  I covered my hand with an inside out plastic bag and several sheets of paper towel and picked up the not so dearly departed.  Well, he left me a gift… of his fur stuck to the concrete floor.  ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK.  I know, not the image you want, so I’m sorry, but I had to vent.  Bleach to the rescue thankfully, but I may be scarred for life.  And I may be a wee bit melodramatic, but at the very least, I was scarred for the rest of the night.

It was a traumatic house evening all around.  When I emerged from the depths of the basement to announce our ‘furry’ friend to Hubby, the smoke alarm started going off.  On Chopped, they always make the error of not heating up the grill pan enough, so Hubby overcompensated.  Our steak dinner that Hubby was cooking got a little too seared on one side.  In his defense, the inside was cooked to perfection, but it took a while for the smoke to clear.

The last semi-traumatic event involved my jewelry.  Somehow the Hubs walked into the small chest in the bedroom where my throngs of jewelry live while they eagerly await pretty frames to live in.  Well, the jewelry and the dishes and holders and a leaning frame acted like dominoes and all went a-toppling.  Must be a sign- I guess I need to get moving on those frames.

To cleanse your mind of any unpleasant images I may have caused, I’ll leave you with a few images of organizational prowess.

via 1,2,3

You Will Not Win, Winter!!

21 Nov

I am solar powered.  Warm sunny days motivate me to get sh*t done (like yesterday- yay!).

Can you imagine what dark cold days do to me?  Yup, I hibernate.  By the end of winter, there’s usually a butt print on the sofa and I’ve caught up on all the reruns of my favorite shows (twice).  Every year I vow “not this year!” but I REALLY mean it this winter!!  I have a list of projects 5 miles long and a hubby who’s getting sick of my 5 mile long project list taking up room in the dining room and basement. (Sorry Babe!)

The way I figure it, if I vow to you that this winter will be different, then I have you guys to be accountable to.  So here goes!

I have 2 rooms in my sights currently: my bedroom and my basement.  I already mentioned my bedroom in this post , but the basement has been my deep dark secret (pun intended)…. until now.

Brace yourself, it ain’t pretty:

Note the random toilet. Classy, no?

future dining chairs!!

I’m a gal who always has at least 1 project going on.  Now that we have a house, my projects are bigger, messier, and take up much more room.  oops.  The dining room has been the work room up till now, but that makes it tough to have guests over for dinner.  If you’re anything like me, not having guests over, means that the house doesn’t get as clean as it probably should…… “Who, me?” Yes, you.  Well, I miss having friends over for dinner and I miss having the house ready to show off to guests (I’m an interior designer here, I see my house as a living 3d portfolio).  So what’s the solution to my woes and what does it have to do with the horrific basement shown above?

I’ll give you a hint- it involves a LOT of organizing, and some craigslist shopping.

I’m tackling my basement once and for all!  First and foremost, there will be a work/project area with all my tools organized (lets pause for a sec and appreciate those 2 beautiful words: organized tools…. ).  There will also be a dedicated, organized storage area, and a totally reorganized laundry area.  Do you see a trend?  ORGANIZED!!  IF I’m feeling really ambitious, I might actually make the random toilet in our basement feel less random, although I really have no idea how yet.

"Oh, hello, I'm not causing trouble down here, I swear"

The first step is the toughest though… purging and organizing.  I forced myself to get this started last weekend and donated about 10 tons of clothes to Savers (like GoodWill or Salvation army).  When we moved, we got rid of a lot (believe it or not), but we still have stuff that we kept ‘in case we needed it’ that we haven’t used in a year.  If I don’t remember you exist, you don’t need to take up space in my basement.

Once I do a major purge and get started on the organizing, craigslist is going to help me find some pieces to organize and maybe give a little pizazz to my work area.  My dad mentioned that my Grandpa used to use old dressers to hold his tools and such- I love this idea!  Power tools stored in a cool old dresser, maybe painted an awesome color?  Doesn’t sound like me at all.

If I’m cooped in the house all winter, I might as well make it productive.  Now I just have to force myself to dig in and do it!

Do you have any cold weather projects planned?