May 19 2012

Nursery Before and Afters

Here are a few before and after shots of the nursery. It’s come a long way!

(The before shots were from the day we had our house inspection before we closed on the house.)

Feb 12 2011

The Stairs – Before

We have already done quite a lot of work on the staircase refinishing project, including ripping up carpet, sanding and putting down two coats of stain. But before I blog about the process, I need to show you what we were working with in the first place.

Here are the bottom steps of the staircase, which are in the hallway off of the living room. Check out the cool bench seat! It currently holds a bunch of crap that we have thrown in there in tidying up before people come over to the house…


The paint is all peeling off, the carpet was horribly dirty and stained and generally, the stairs were just unappealing.


We have already replaced the faded red curtains that came with the house, painted a red accent wall next to the bench seat, hung some pictures and a coat rack and replaced the landing lighting. At this point, I thought we needed to catch the rest of the landing and staircase up with the other things we’ve done.

Because frankly, this staircase is horrible and needs major work:


So, here is the plan. The staircase treads we will refinish in a nice walnut color, and we will paint the risers white. Sort of like this:

Picture from Apartment Therapy

We are also planning on painting the rest of the walls a light gray color, and keeping the trim the same bright white as the risers. Kelly and I are still debating on whether to paint the trim detail on the banister around the bench seat with that same gray with white trim detail. I’m for it, Kelly isn’t sold yet. We’ll let you know how it goes…

Jan 25 2011

Some pictures of our lawn

With the help of my parents, who are in town for a month, we are starting a new project – refinishing the wood stairs! However, as I came to the site to write about what we plan to do, I realized that we never did give you a post about how our lawn has turned out. So, here you go.

The left hand side of the lawn

The right hand side of the lawn

Way back down the left hand side of the house.

Just so you know, I took these pictures about a week or so after we’d put the lawn in, so it still looks a little grid-y. The lawn currently looks quite well set in and organic. (Well, *right* now it’s looking a little brownish from the cold weather, although compared to some lawns in the neighborhood, it looks quite verdant!) We’ve been diligent about attacking any vines that poke through the grass, and while there have been a couple dozen intruders, considering how extensive the ivy was, I’m pretty thrilled with now comparatively little has sprung back up.

So, now that you’ve seen the after pictures, we can move on to chronicling our next big project! On to the stairs!

Aug 15 2010

Let There be (Better) Light

Droopy the ceiling fan.

When we were in New Braunfels a couple of weeks ago, Ellen dropped by the Restoration Hardware outlet store and picked up a little something for the front porch to replace the horrible ceiling fan that was on the porch. I think this thing must be left over from when people used to sleep on the front porch back before air conditioning was invented.

Anyway… Ellen found this very craftsman style porch light on sale for half off. The house, especially the porch, has enough craftsman design elements that if we keep using this kind of fixture, it will help to define that style. There are also matching sconce lights that we can use to replace the two lights on either side of the door, once we save a few pennies for them.

I removed the nasty old fan fairly easily. There was one stubborn screw in the old plate that took about half of the entire project time to get out. Mostly because I couldn’t find my vice grips. I really, really need to clear out the workshop area and get it organized so I can find stuff. And build that spice rack…

Good old fashioned fabric covered wires.

The shiny new plate.

Adjusting the chain.

I reused the screws to hang the new plate, adjusted the chain length so that the light hangs higher than the top of the front door but can still be seen from the sidewalk, wired it up (used the old wire nuts as they were still in good shape) and mounted the light. I needed to do a little tweeking and twisting on one of the chain links to get the light to hang square to the porch and then I was done. I even reused one of the bulbs that was in the fan light fixture.

I can’t wait for tonight to see how it looks in the dark!

All done!

Jun 19 2010

Downstairs Bathroom – the Before Pictures

Kelly is hard at work finishing up the final final touches on the downstairs bathroom today, while I am at the very quiet reference desk at work. While he finishing things up, I thought I would post the pictures of the bathroom renovation in process and all the things we did to beautify this space.

First of all, the before pictures…

Half bath

This really wasn’t a pretty space. The cream paint just looked dirty, and the 3 foot high paneling was cheap and wasn’t installed well.


The floors were a horrid vinyl tile, again shoddily installed (bad installation was a theme all over the house for the previous homeowners…) and they just looked filthy.


The tiny window was showcased (that’s sarcasm…) by cheapo blinds.


In fact, until we started the renovation, we had no idea that the window had a few hidden treasures of its own! First of all, that there was an original blue stained glass window panel still left in one of the panes! And secondly, that the window actually opened! And opened up – into the wall. We have a pocket window, y’all!

You can see part of the blue pane of glass

You can see part of the blue pane of glass

In fact, the only thing this space had going for it was the nice light fixture and the cool looking exposed wood slats, which eventually gave me the idea for the design.

Half bath detail

I don’t normally go for “cottage-y, beach-y” design, unless it’s actually in a cottage by the beach. But the exposed wood boards were so cool and are definitely a beach cottage staple. I had been reading a design blog called “The Lettered Cottage” and the designer, Layla, had a few rooms which sparked off the inspiration for our renovation.

First of all, she has an addiction to tearing down drywall and exposing wood planking!
Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

Secondly, she painted these gorgeous horizontal stripes in white and tan.Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

(Notice also the exposed wood planking on the ceiling!)

So I thought to myself – we don’t have to expose the wood planking – ours is already there. So let’s take advantage of this feature and combined the white and tan stripe idea with the exposed wood! (And add in a little beadboard wainscotting and trim while we’re at it.) So that, my friends, was the inspiration for the renovation of this tiny, dingy, but full-of-potential space. More renovation pictures to follow in the next post!

Feb 16 2010

Hello Red!

When I announced on Facebook last weekend that I was painting a red accent wall, my mother said that she thought we were getting rid of the red. Well, yes, we did get rid of the red (the bright red with the badly done lacquer finish) in the dining room, but the red I had in mind was for a wall of the staircase landing area.

This wall was pockmarked in nail and screw holes and a dirty dingy off-white. I was apparently so embarrassed by it, I didn’t take a picture of it during our house inspection, but you can see a part of it to the left hand side of this picture:


Georgian Brick

Georgian Brick

I love the color red, but not everywhere, so an accent wall in this small area seemed the perfect place to paint it. I wanted this red to be an earthy, rusty, orangey red too. Benjamin Moore’s Georgian Brick seemed just the right shade. I also planned on breaking up the wall with a rack of coat hooks and some pictures. So, after patching up the holes and getting a painting-with-a-brush primer from Kelly, I got to it last weekend, while Kelly finished up priming the living room walls (more to come about the painting in the dining room and living room later…)

Getting started, with a furry painter friend:

Getting ready to paint the landing

In the middle of painting:

So I also painted K+E

(Note: Kelly has painted a white heart with a K&E in it on two previous red walls – in the bedroom in our old rental house and in the dining room of the new house, so I was returning the favor and painting a red heart on a white wall…)

The finished wall, with coat hooks and pictures!

Finished landing, with light fixture

Jan 10 2010

The floors – the end result

I need to let Kelly tell the story of finishing up the floors, but I didn’t want to let any more time go by without showing off the end result. Here they are, in a picture taken 3 days after Christmas, and the day after the floors were finished.

The newly refinished floors

In other news, we have a move-in date! January 23rd! We’re in the midst of packing right now, and have gotten a good bid on a cleaning company to come in and scrub the place from top to bottom some time next week. Hooray for new (old) clean houses!

Dec 7 2009

New landing lighting

Kelly is right about Home Depot being the most dangerous place on earth. We went in there yesterday afternoon to pick up more sandpaper, and walked out with some new lighting for the staircase landing!

I just looked around for a “before” picture of the light fixture, but couldn’t find one. Most likely because Kelly and I were so traumatized by the horrificness of the ugly modern IKEA light in such an old beautiful home. Here’s what was hanging in our landing area:
ikea light

And not only was it hanging there, it was also not installed properly. The wires hadn’t been tucked up inside the ceiling plate, but were draped over the arms of the fixture.

When we “happened” to walk down the lighting aisle in Home Depot yesterday, we saw a gorgeous semi-flush mounted light fixture with some nice arts and crafts details for 25% off. So we impulse bought it, and I must say, it looks gorgeous installed in the landing. Now to just get rid of that popcorn ceiling!

arts and crafts light