Tuesday, July 27, 2010


When we purchased the new sofa it was being shown with orange as an accent color. I'd like to claim that adding orange to our living room was my idea, but I'm just too honest for that!

Anyhow, as a reminder, the sofa is a camel colored herringbone pattern. Since we already have some blankets that are a neutral camel color and one that is ivory and chocolate brown, we (that's right everyone, WE) decided to stick with the orange idea and use that as our only accent color. (I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. This is after all my first attempt at this.)

I've also recently turned into a graphic pattern junky, therefore these suckers are on their way to us!

The best part about the pillows is that if I want to change things up they'll work in our bedroom as well! BONUS! In fact, the wheels are churning already. Ok, one idea at a time...

What do you think?

Great News!

During our surprise visit from Mom and Dad B, the men folk did a little project we needed to have accomplished. They cut a hole in the ceiling above the fridge to determine what was being boxed in by the soffit. Of course, no one paid any attention to me when I said it was just filler, serving no purpose. They all claimed it had to be hiding something important like pipes. That's right, I'm accusing all of you of not listening to me...like usual.

Anyhow back to the project! It was an enormous success as they discovered that it was in fact just filler and was not hiding anything. Fantastic! This means our new cabinets can be the same height all around the room! Just like I suspected! ;)

(You people should start listening to me! :P I'm just saying...)

Here is the view of the inside of the box. Notice the severely deteriorating plaster ceiling:

Here's the hole they made above the fridge:

Thanks for your help and thanks for coming to visit!

Living Room Upgrade

Here was our living room last week...well, half of it at least!

Our old sofa:

It's for sale, know anyone who might be interested?

Saturday morning we received the delivery we'd been waiting for. It's a little more sophisticated looking, a little more sleek, definitely more comfortable, and seats more people. You can't really tell in the pictures, but it's a herringbone microfiber fabric. We're thinking of adding some chocolate brown with pops of orange to the room. That's right, you read correctly. ORANGE. I'm so excited! Are you proud of me? I didn't say BLUE. Eventually a rug will be purchased as well...but this is truly a work in progress. I'm ok with that! :)

Here it is!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dining Room Light Fixture Adventure

Remember the Dining Room light fixture? If not, here's a reminder of what it looked like:

I had big plans for it! First I had to take the whole thing apart. I starting by sweet talking my husband into removing the fixture from the ceiling for me. (We are pros at replacing light fixtures now! Saves us from calling an electrician to do it for us!) Then I dismantled the whole thing carefully laying out each piece so I would remember how it went back together. Of course I took photos, partially for documentation, and partially to help me put it back together again.

Next, we took all the part outside and got to sanding. And sanding. And more sanding. Once we'd sufficiently removed the finish and roughed up all the surfaces we taped off the cords (which I then untaped when someone pointed out the obvious to me. Thanks for helping me get my head on straight Michael. Then I used newspaper and tape to cover up all the parts that were not going to be painted.

Here is what I plan to add to the mix:

We then set up a spray painting station in the garage and got down to business. We learned a lot in this process. 1) Spray paint gets everywhere. 2) Even when you think there is no wind, dust, dirt, twigs will inevitably fly around and stick to your freshly painted pieces. 3) Painted pieces will get all scratched up from even the slightest touch. 4) All the minor imperfections just remind you of how you accomplished the task yourself. (Or more precisely, the imperfections will serve as a reminder of how you learned what not to do next time!) Go us!
After much trial and error and several days of re-painting, we ended up with something that looked like this:

Finally, it was time to reassemble the fixture. It took several tries to get all parts to fit back together appropriately. Ultimately I ditched the odd glass piece from the center as it inhibited everything from being screwed together securely when I added the drum shade. Then I had to creatively come up with a system for holding the shade in the correct place so that the fixture didn't hang down below the shade. Next we decided how far it should hang down and removed 3 links.

Then it was finally time to re-hang the fixture. It took us two hours to put it back up! I'm sure you know enough to not ask why, but I know you're curious so I'll tell you anyhow. First we connected the wires outside the box, instead of inside. Oops. Then we couldn't screw in the piece that held everything into the ceiling. Next, we discovered that when we screwed everything together, it twisted up all the wires so tightly that it was unsafe. This was when we discovered that the wires weren't going through all the appropriate places the same way, thus the excessive twisting. After that, in the process of undoing everything in order to redo it, we discovered that the ground wire had fallen apart so we had to attempt to tape it back together again. Yada Yada Yada...you get the idea. Finally, we got it all back together. The wires are still a little too long, but hey...deal with it!

Are you ready to see the transformation? Here we go...
Drum Roll Please...

Some of you may be wondering why I chose to use silver paint instead of say a bronze (which I also purchased and had on hand.) My reasoning was that I might want to change out the fabric on the shade and was more likely to be happier long term with a silver fixture rather than a bronze. It will allow for more color and decor changes in the room in the future.

Here's a close up of the pattern. I don't love it, but let's just say the price was right. (See below) We may consider replacing the whole thing down the road, but for the time being it's a huge improvement, and I enjoyed the project too! Now I know that I (we) can do it!

In case you are curious, here is the price tag from the drum shade. I spotted a flaw in the shade and asked for an additional discount. Ask and you shall receive! SCORE! So... $12 plus $8 for the primer and paint. What a deal!

Closet Solution

My "walk in" closet, that at first felt so spacious, is now starting to feel like a cramped, humid, cave. I thought I kept a pretty well organized closet, but it has been feeling over crowded lately. It could be that we keep the dirty clothes baskets in my closet too. Or perhaps that we keep two baskets in there instead of one. Sure, it helps a bundle for laundry purposed to separate the lights and darks as you dirty things, but boy does it take up space.

When it comes down to it, the real issue is that I have my bags hanging on hooks right near the opening of the closet, thus blocking me from comfortably entered my "walk in" closet. Solution: more hooks that are hung in a more appropriate location.

It went from this:

(You can see that there were once hooks where I wanted them, but for some reason they had been removed)

To this:

I'm pretty proud of myself!
Now everything fits, including myself. Just don't lock me in there!

Master Bedroom Light Fixture

So...you all remember the Master Bedroom light fixture don't you?
In case you've forgotten, here it is:

If you're savvy enough to remember those lovely curtains than you probably figured out that I forgot to take a before picture of the bedroom fixture. oops! No worries, it's the same fixture as the other bedrooms so that picture worked out just fine!

Anyhow, there was major light drama with this fixture. We received it about a month and a half ago, and this would be a prime example why you shouldn't rush into decorating a house. Live it in, don't buy the first thing that catches your eye. I did, and I regret it. I can deal, but have now been enlightened as to the error of my ways. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but now I like other things more. It has a sort of romantic look which is nice. And even better, if perhaps down the road we ever have a female wee one...it will be super fun in her room. It will provide hours of gazing...between naps and play time of course!

Back to the drama I mentioned. We finally got around to putting this fixture up when we realized the bulbs were not included. After arguing with the company they told me to go buy A15 bulbs regular incandescent bulbs. I purchased the "correct" bulbs and forced Michael to help me put up the new fixture on Sunday morning. Insert humorous picture of two people in their pjs standing on step ladder and bench respectively, arms shaking, getting sweaty in non-air conditioned house, struggling to hold the thing over our heads while connecting wires, etc... Only to discover upon completion that the electrical update of said non-air conditioned house apparently did not include cutting the ceiling hole for the fixture box to the correct size, thus said new light fixture doesn't cover up the entire hole, leaving the lovely opening to the ceiling and the blue box showing which as you can imagine is so aesthetically pleasing. Sigh. Deep breath. AND again, only then to discover that the A15 bulbs were indeed NOT the correct bulbs for the fixture, thus requiring said sweaty people to take showers and go back to the depot, again, to exchange for the correct bulbs. We were, however, smart enough to try out the bulbs from the lovely chandelier in the dining room before heading to the depot. Smart move my friends! It worked! So, with dining room bulb in hand, we went off to the nicely air conditioned depot to exchange the incorrect bulbs for the correct bulbs. AND, once more for good measure, only to discover when we got home that what we really need is a dimmer switch! HOLY COW, it's WAY too bright! Chalk it up to yet another learning experience.


It will look even more romantic with a nice upholstered headboard. Don't worry folks, it's on my To Do list.

I'm thinking about removing the crystals entirely. It looked nice as just the drum shade. Thoughts?

We also purchased some caulk to fill the hole in the ceiling. It's removable and white so we thought it would be a good solution. Is that the wrong product to use? Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We're really going to do this!

For our new kitchen we had been envisioning shaker style cabinets in a dark stained wood with a neutral toned granite countertop with a hint of red running through it. Don't forget the stainless appliances also! Of course the reason we were envisioning this particular style kitchen is because we've seen it everywhere! Every new kitchen you see is just what I described.

After some thought, we're (I'm) leaning towards this instead:

It's basically the same style, but it's a painted cabinet that's a cross between ivory, taupe, light grey, and a very light hint of green.
We're thinking of using this cabinet with either a black and white granite countertop or even a white marble if the price is right. I know, I know...marble is porous and not a great choice. I just love the look! We will weigh the options and let you know what we decide. :)

Sorry about the bad pictures, I was trying to give you a sense of what the cabinets would look like next to the stainless appliances, etc...

What do you think?

Tree Saga Continued.

Did you miss me? Wonder where I've been?

Busy. Sick. And a fabulous visit from Kaitlynn...so I/we didn't do much around the house to blog about.

We're finally on the mend, or getting there at least. In all my downtime I made the terrible mistake of creating a list of "house projects" I'd like to complete. Nothing is more daunting than putting it all down on paper! HAHA. Oh well, one step at a time!

We made one attempt this past weekend to replace the light fixture in our bedroom. Michael was being too slow for me so I went ahead and shut off the power, got all the supplies ready, removed the fixture that was there...only to discover that we didn't have the correct bulbs for the new fixture and neither of us were feeling well enough to make a trek out to the store. (Yes I know it isn't that far, but you should have seen us, we've been a mess!) Anyhow, I had to put the old fixture back up without making any progress. Sad. Of course at this point I was so out of energy that nothing else got completed for days...or uh still to this point 1.5 weeks later. That's life!

Back to our progress...
Yesterday was finally the day for tree removal. Remember this:

Now who plants a tree in the middle of a driveway? Or better yet, who plans a driveway to go right around a tree? Silly. Oh and let me remind you that this tree was the demise of Mr. previous owner of the house. Apparently he decided a while back that he was going to climb up into said tree and trim the branches. He happened to be well into his 70's at the time, and Mrs. previous owner, their children, and neighbors expressed concern and recommended that they call a tree service instead. Mr. previous owner wasn't having it. So, mid tree climb/branch trimming Mr. previous owner fell out of the tree. Apparently he never recovered from the fall.

We had the smarts to call someone who knows what they are doing. Let this be a lesson to all of you reading this!

The tree folks arrived with their big bucket truck and chipper. Here are some action shots Michael got while I was busy slaving away at the office all day. (I'm half disappointed I missed all this action, and half glad I wasn't there to witness large hunks of tree being sliced off and dropped 30 feet to the ground...all within inches of our house.)

And now we're left with this:

We have sun light! It's a little bittersweet to see perfectly good trees cut down and trimmed, but we've gained space, and sunlight. Perhaps my tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil will stand a fighting chance now. (By the way, something has been eating my basil. I don't know what, I just know it isn't looking very good right now. Any idea what I can do to remedy this situation?)

Note: It's always important to go into these things with the proper expectation. For example, most contractors, electricians, plumbers, tree removal folks, etc... will not show up on time. Every job will take longer than anticipated and will have complications. In addition, no project is ever completed without a little damage. The garage is missing a few corner shingles, all the plants on the side of the house are toast, and there's a (small) crater in the driveway. All par for the course I suppose.

One more note: Did you happen to see the state of our fence in the last picture. Sad isn't it? Even nicer when you see all the neighbor's "junk" back there too. If I didn't know what the rest of the house and yard looked like I might think we lived in a trailer park or something. Not that there's anything wrong with trailer parks. I'm just saying...