Oct 19 2011

Nursery Details

Ok, I should probably give a few more details on the nursery inspiration board I made.

Colors, fabrics and inspiration board

The first thing I should mention is that we are planning on finishing this room from floor to ceiling. Like the majority of the rooms in our house, the ceiling has a “popcorn” texture which is just downright awful. We plan on scraping the ceiling, patching and painting it. We will also rip up the carpet and refinish the floors. The baseboard and window trim (which was most likely painted with lead-based paint and is flaking off) needs to be scraped and prepped for new paint. We will also need to replace a few broken or cracked panes of glass as well as re-caulk the rest of the panes in our almost 100-year old non-energy efficient, but gorgeous windows.

Back bedroom

See this gorgeous yellow color?

This is what we have planned for the wall color. It is Glidden’s Canary Song, but we will most likely have it color matched at Benjamin Moore, which is the only paint Kelly will use. (I should say “use happily” as he has used other brands of paint before, but always with grumbling…) The cheery yellow color will be accented with these two bright fun colors:

These are Behr’s Peacock Feather and Bamboo Leaf, respectively, again we will color match them and use Benjamin Moore paint. The green will be for a beat up old dresser we bought off of Craigslist which has great bones. It will be the changing table and go along the wall to the right as you come in the door. Why buy a changing table when you can use an old dresser which has storage too? The blue color will show up in the back of these little nooks which were created when a previous owner took out a chimney (the previous fireplace was in the kitchen downstairs…) We will also trim out the front of those shelves, as they are a little unfinished.

Back bedroom closet

The closet will most likely lose the door (otherwise there isn’t much room for the dresser on that wall) and have a curtain hung there instead. Hopefully we can get a new shelving system in that closet as well and paint the paneling – white probably, but who knows.

Oh, and that lovely teal blue color will also show up in the rug, which we hope to create with FLOR carpet tiles.

We chose all those bright fun colors from this great fabric, which will be the curtains:

That line of fabric has some other great coordinating prints, which you can see here:

We will use some of those fabrics for the closet curtain and crib skirt and probably some pillows or something too.

In order to get maximum darkness in this room with so many windows, we will also install some dark brown bamboo shades, which are from Home Depot. The shade of brown is to ground the room a bit more and to connect with the floor color as well, which will be a medium tone brown.

Let’s see, what else is there. Oh yes! The crib. That one is easy-peasy. IKEA’s clean lined inexpensive Gulliver crib. Simple is best, in our opinion.

The crib will go in this little nook:

Back bedroom

We will also move one of our current living room couches (the one with the pull out bed) up to the nursery, slip-cover it in tan and put it in front of the long wall of windows.

You can see the very badly not-to-scale floor plan here:

Now, one of the biggest projects in this nursery plan (besides all the prep work of scraping the ceiling, trim, etc. which we hope to hire out…) is something that will most likely not get done before the baby comes. It’s that other section of wall to the left of the door. We want to design and build a whole wall and a half of built-in storage. Closets/storage is at a premium in this house and so adding some built-in storage would be a very good thing. Plus along that left hand wall by the door to the bathroom is an exposed heating duct. Not a great thing for a nursery, so we will enclose it within the built-ins. Oh, and the built-ins will all be painted a crisp white.

So, that’s the design plan in detail. What do you think?

Sep 13 2011

New Project!

I know, I know, we haven’t even finished up a bunch of old projects, much less blogged about the progress we’ve made – on the stairs, on the driveway gate… However, this project is very important and has a strict due date for finishing!

That’s right – a due date.

Baby Kellen

Baby Kellen will make his appearance on or about January 22, 2012, so we’ve got a nursery to create!

We have decided to turn the office/craft room into the nursery – it’s adjacent to the master bedroom through a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, so it really is the perfect spot for it. There’s no way I’m giving you all any pictures of the room in its current state (dumping ground for storage and a mess with office stuff and craft stuff), but here are some pictures from before we moved in:

Back bedroom
(We’ve got some work to do on the windows and window trim, that’s for sure…)

Back bedroom
(Looking towards the bathroom through to the master bedroom)

Back bedroom closet
(The biggest closet in the house and cute little shelf area from where there once was a chimney)

I’ll go into detail in a further post about what exactly we are going to have to get done in this room (newsflash: it’s a LOT!) but here are two pictures for you to contemplate in the meantime.

Hopeful floorplan

Colors, fabrics and inspiration board

This color scheme is so happy and bright, and I chose it even before we knew we are having a boy. I think it works just as well for girls.

More to follow…

Jun 29 2011

Gates-ville, TX Part 1

Ellen hinted a post or two ago that I would be forthcoming with a great big story about the driveway gate project. Now that it is mostly finished (my projects seem to have a habit of getting about 93.54% complete) I will do an installment series about the process.

I’m breaking it down because, honestly, working in an aircraft hangar in the summer heat is frying my brain and body. I barely have enough energy to watch last night’s Daily Show, let alone do some creative writing about home improvement that sums up the project with a wry observation about life in these modern times. Maybe I expect too much of myself as a writer…

Speaking of heat, I had planned to get this project done before summer kicked in so that I could do nice indoor projects like trimming and painting the stairs with the air conditioner cranked way up. I am pretty seriously reality challenged when it comes to project time estimates, though. Cost estimates, too. The adage about everything taking twice as long and costing twice as much really is true.

The main reason the gate project has taken so much time is that I also have a habit of making things way more elaborate than they need to be. For instance, I decided that the thing to do for the gate was to do all the construction with joinery, instead of plain old angle braces and screws. I used blind mortise and tenon joints on the frame, tongue and groove planks for the fill that are nested into a groove running all along the inside of the frame. I knew this approach would take much longer, but it may have quadrupled the time I thought it would take.

Delays and postponed completion aside, I am very glad I chose to build it the way I did. The finished product is much more attractive than a run of the mill gate and I am very proud of my accomplishment. The whole reason I wanted to fix up a house is that it is leisure time for me. Not some task to be accomplished, or mountain to climb because it is there, or war to win.

Home improvement is one of the things I relish. It restores me. When taking time to build the world around me, taking time is part of the experience. It is both journey and destination. Taking time allows you the freedom to do the job right and enjoy the process. Delighting in a squarely hung gate door or the precision of my measurements (115″ opening filled by 114.75″ of gate, oh yeahhhh) is what I love about fixing up this house. Getting it right will always take longer than doing it just to get it done…

Look at that, I managed to write about life despite myself. Next time I’ll tell you the story about how I got started on the gate.


Feb 22 2011

Dreaming and sketching

No new news on the stair project today, folks. We’re still working away at it. But what I do have for you today is a brilliant little sketch Kelly whipped up over lunch on Sunday. On a napkin. (I kid you not.)

It’s things like these that amaze me about my husband. (Forgive me for bragging for a second…) He is an incredibly talented designer. I’ve seen his talent first-hand with his graphic design, but I always seem to forget that he has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design (basically a pre-architecture degree), which means his designs are more than just 2-D.

You see, he has this knowledge and amazing skill in how to dream up something, sketch it and then build it. (Like all the props and scenery he used to build when he worked in theater, or the cupcake tower from our wedding, or the spice rack that is half-completed in our kitchen right now, among many other things.)

Which is why I’m so excited about what could happen in our living and dining rooms. Just look at that napkin sketch!

The top sketch is of three walls in our dining room, and what it could look like with a wall treatment of either board and batten, wainscot, or some kind of paneling. (We had just seen the episode of Sarah’s House where she puts paneling in a dining room and then fabric wall paper above it. I’m not so sure about the fabric wallpaper, but some kind of pattern isn’t out of the question for that dining room.)

The bottom two sketches are Kelly’s design for a renovated fireplace. Chunky wood mantel! Stone facing up to the ceiling! I’m so excited I’m using lots of exclamation points!! I’m also excited because we decided that unlike the dining room wall treatment, this is a project we want to tackle this year. Let’s just say we want to have a fireplace mantel by Christmas so we don’t have to hang stockings on the bookshelves again…

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…

May 19 2010

Bathroom Ideas, in Visual Form


I recently discovered a cool tool called Polyvore that lets you clip images from around the web to build design boards. So here is my idea for the downstairs bathroom in visual form. I’m hoping to get a lot of work on the bathroom done the weekend after next. (Not this weekend, because it’s our anniversary, and we’re not going to be in town!)

Anyway, what do you think?

May 12 2010

Downstairs bathroom ideas

Sorry I haven’t posted an update on here in a long time. After the push of getting things painted and ready for our house blessing party, we took a long break from projects. Aside from when my parents were here and my mom and mother-in-law gardened and my dad cut and primed the quarter round for the living and dining room floor trim, we haven’t done much. I think we may finally be coming out of our project hiatus now. Last weekend, Kelly started to caulk the molding in the living room to get ready to add a second coat of paint to a few walls (which we skimped on in order to finish before the party…) and in order to paint the trim. I also got busy on a furniture refinishing project which I had been meaning to do for several months as well. (Before and after pics of that to come in a future blog post.)

Half bath I’ve got a ton of pictures to upload from off of my camera, but my home laptop is poorly at the moment, and I don’t want to upload all those pics to my work laptop just to have to transfer them all over to the other one at another time.

Anyway. To the subject of today’s post: you may know that we have a downstairs “half” bathroom. Although, it’s not really a half bathroom, because basically, it’s just a toilet under the stairs. A very cramped little room with barely enough room to turn around in. If someone goes up the stairs when you’re in there, it sounds like a herd of buffalo just went up the stairs. But cramped and noisy space aside, it’s very nice to have a bathroom on the first floor of our house.

We really would like to put a sink in the bathroom, but it’s a really tiny space! So I started looking around online for some small sink solutions. In my hunting, I did find some really cute sinks for small spaces, and some of them were pretty affordable. But since we don’t really have a budget for plumbing and construction at this time, I filed them away until we could afford it. Until I found this beauty: Sink Positive.

Kelly said "I'm in!" when I told him there would be no construction.

How cool is this? You replace your tank lid with it and hook it into the existing plumbing line. Then when you flush, the tank refills and sends the water through the tap on top and the gray water from washing your hands fills up the bowl! Kelly was very excited to discover a solution to the sink needs in this bathroom that don’t require construction!

Now, I’m still not 100% convinced that it will work for us. The contraption is adjustable to fit several sizes of toilets, and I’m a bit afraid to measure ours, thinking it might be too small (it is a very small toilet…) But I hope to do so soon because if we were able to get ourselves a sink in that bathroom, I’m sure it would inspire me to renovate the rest of the space too.

Renovation ideas: pulling off the paneling and replacing it with beadboard, painting the whole space a crisp white – maybe painting a subtle tone-on-tone stripe on every other slat of exposed planking – putting up a shelf for soap, hanging a towel rack, putting up some kind of natural element curtain (bamboo?) to replace the vinyl shutters and if I can squeeze it in, some kind of a mirror. What do you think?

Half bath detail