Archive for the ‘Home & Garden’ Category

The Worst Room Makeover Post Ever

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Is it possible I could be nesting even though I’m not pregnant? Maybe it’s less nesting and more getting ready for winter hibernation. I’ve been living on a steady diet of HGTV while I edit photos, and nothing makes me hate my own (pretty nice) house than watching people turn their horrible basements into super useful space. Why can’t someone do that to MY basement?! It’s disgusting! The before and afters would be amazing!

The current first floor makeover started when E moved our cheap, old, Walmart desk downstairs so I could carve out an “office” corner for my business stuff. Need a lamp for one ugly desk was the gateway drug to a Target trip, which lead to a HomeGoods trip, which lead to an Ikea catalog with half the pages marked and a Pinterest board full of links to more furniture than I could ever fit in my house.

Last weekend I went shopping alone to “just look” for a little tiny couch to put in the living room. I didn’t end up finding the couch of my dreams, but that didn’t stop me from dragging the rest of my family out at 7 pm to look at the couch I DID find. It’s probably for the best I couldn’t find the one I wanted – I’m not sure a white tufted fabric couch is the right thing for a room that is currently full of surfaces the children are allowed to write on. The tan microfiber that was delivered yesterday will DEFINITELY survive more Play-Doh mishaps.

Part of the deal when E agreed to come look at “my” couch was we would also look for “his” new couch, which was basically the total opposite of that white one I had in mind. Think of the ugliest, most ridiculous man-couch you can. Now make it a) bigger b) uglier and c) add more cup holders. THAT is the couch he wanted. If a dozen cows didn’t have to die to cover his own personal reclining seat with built in beer fridge, he was NO INTERESTED.

Fortunately, our budget couldn’t support that couch, so it is NOT what I am sitting on while I write this. Unfortunately, the store’s huge sale item that weekend was a big, squishy sectional complete with cup holders and power recliners at each end, so that IS what I am sitting on. I’m not going to lie…it’s pretty comfortable. And this cup holder is very convenient for my Diet Coke. And it’s nice that it takes up basically the ENTIRE ROOM so we had to move most of the toys upstairs and I have most of my house back. The kids are both old enough that I can send them upstairs to play without me and I only have to occasionally shout at them to stop hitting each other. It’s pretty amazing to go from having 3 seats in this room to at least 7…and that’s not counting MY couch in front of the fireplace. A couch in front of the fireplace! For sitting on while drinking mulled wine and eating sparkling brie bites and having adult conversation without the TV on!

That will probably happen once. Right after we put the Christmas tree up. Then someone will say “We should watch Love Actually!” and we’ll move back to the giant ugly couch and that will be that. But when we have people over, there will be SO MANY PLACES TO SIT DOWN!

I realize I just wrote 500 words about two couches and I’ve posted no pictures, but that’s because I’m not done with the rearranging and redecorating. Plus I haven’t finished cleaning the old couch to put on Craigslist, so we actually have THREE couches in two small-ish rooms. I’ll be sure to do an underwhelming reveal if I ever get this part of the house set up the way I want – but I sort of suspect we’ll get busy and never actually sell the old couch or move this bookcase that’s basically blocking a doorway or buy a coffee table or patch the holes in the walls. So for now, just IMAGINE I live in a Pinterest-looking classy yet casual house. That’s what I’m doing.

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Deck The Halls

Monday, December 10th, 2012

My house is sort of a disaster right now. There’s a two foot tall turkey made from a paper bag left over from Thanksgiving that I can’t throw away because Caroline is in love with it. There’s a bright orange toddler slide the kids keep dragging in from the porch. There’s a broken camera in five pieces on the kitchen island. And the dining room (a.k.a. Party Central) looks like a winter candy cane forest wonderland threw up on it.

But Mandy posted some adorable pictures of her adorable home decorated for Christmas and I wanted to play along. I love seeing people’s decorations in real life versus the ones in the Pottery Barn catalog, which basically just makes me want to give up on life. ┬áMy decor this year is a mix of stuff I put up every Christmas and stuff that’s already up for Caroline’s birthday. The party stuff will probably be up until February because I hate putting so much effort into decorating for just ONE DAY. I realize the solution to that problem is to just not put so much effort into decorating, but I am not entirely rational when it comes to holidays/birthdays.

This is Mr. Bear. I won him one year when I worked at Target for getting the most customer compliment cards. I used to think he was hideous and tacky but I sort of love him now.

What do you think? Are my halls thoroughly decked?

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Home Tour – June 2012

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Oh hai, want to see where I live? I’m wicked nosy when it comes to houses (I became a real estate agent for a while pretty much just so I could see the insides of more homes) and I figure some of you guys are too. I was going to make this a linky hop party but I’m not organized enough to get one set up – but if you have a home or room tour (old or new) PLEASE leave me a link in the comments!!

I lot has changed since my last home tour in April 2010, and although I’ve documented most of our renovations step by step I thought it would be fun to show you the whole house at once. (Although the original tour has a lot more good pictures of my collections and furniture.) I’ll try to include links to the updates so you can see some of the “before” type pictures, or check out my Home & Garden category for a whole roundup. For the record, I’d like to state that although I love my house I am not an interior designer, professional painter, a home photographer or even a very good DIY-er so don’t judge me too harshly, OK?

Tiny bit of history: the house was built in 1913 by Mr. Church, who ran a funeral home here in town. His funeral home business actually still exists, and is just a couple streets over. My house is turning 100 next year and I think I’m going to throw it a birthday party.

Our property goes from that hedge on the left to the driveway on the right, although technically the lines fall closer to half-way through the house on the left and 3 feet into our yard on the right. I suspect we’ll have to have a survey done if (when) we sell.

Front steps

Flowers

More Flowers

Front door

This is going to be a REALLY long, REALLY picture heavy post, so if you’re on the home page you can click though to see the rest… (more…)

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Pinterest Living Room Makeover

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Confession: I’ve taken the “before” pictures for this makeover no less than five different times. Every time I walk through the living room (which is every time I go upstairs or check the mail) I am underwhelmed by its boringness and uselessness. We live in an old house, designed for formal entertaining (you can see the house tour here, although we’ve changed almost every room since then) which is fantastic when it comes to throwing parties but not so great for every day life. We don’t use the front door and we almost never use the dining room, so the front of the house has become a catch-all for junk. There isn’t even a couch in the living room – the free one I got off Craigslist went out with the trash before Evan’s 1st birthday and I haven’t found something I like/can afford. Which means for the last year (and then some), our living room has looked like this:

From a few weeks ago. Just ignore the ball pit we just FINALLY took down from Little Evan’s 2nd birthday party. Also, that TV isn’t hooked up/attached to anything yet, so it’s just a big black light-blocking hole.
This is from Saturday morning. I moved some stuff to the mantle to try to make it more interesting. It didn’t really work.

I know it was built for afternoon teas and dinner parties, but living in half our house is stupid – why feel cramped when we have an extra 300+ square feet of EMPTY SPACE to spread out in? And why do I keep insisting on using it as a FORMAL living room, when almost none of our living is formal?

So my mission was two fold:
1. Make our living room both more functional and more fun and
2. Don’t spend any money

Enter Pinterest.

{handprint art, chalkboard table, bright colored room, fabric garland, covered canvas, button letter}

And here’s how it looks now:

Breakdown:
-I bought the canvases from Michael’s when they were on sale AND I had a coupon, to save for a day when I was feeling creative. The striped ones are tissue paper attached with spray adhesive.
-All the paint, felt and ribbons are from previous projects, especially Caroline’s Nursery.
-The bright colored pillow covers are from Life’s Candy, my wonderful friend Mae’s shop. I relocated them from our entrance bench.
-The fabric on the garland was tablecloths at Little Evan’s 2nd birthday.
-The plates are straight up dinner plates from our cabinet, purchased at Walmart in 2001.
6. The empty frame was in our basement.
7. I bought the vases at Target for $3.24 each back in March to fill in the empty mantle.
8. The coffee table was in the basement, the blue chair was in the attic and the toys were in the toy box.

Since the coffee table is black you can’t really see the chalkboard paint unless I’ve drawn on it, so all it takes is a quick swipe with a damp paper towel and we have our grown-up piece of furniture back. The baskets underneath neatly hide all the toys and the chalk.

So paint, buttons, fabric, and some repurposing turned our boring wasted space into a cute, usable room. Now I just need to find a small couch, some big comfy floor pillows and a DVD player for that TV and we might actually start spending some time in there!

Of course I finished this just in time to change it all again for Christmas. Maybe we’ll go with a rainbow theme for the holidays this year.

Thirty Hand Made Days

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DIY Patio Makeover

Monday, June 13th, 2011

At this point, I’ve talking about the NEW PATIO and the BIG REVEAL so many times I’m afraid this is going to be sort of a let down to everyone expecting a Yard Crashers style makeover complete with water feature and hot tub and 12-foot fireplace. It is not that crazy. BUT. If you consider this was all done in 1 week by hand by two guys, two women and a toddler, THEN it is impressive. Two guys, two women and a toddler, who, I might add, have never built a patio before. Now you can be impressed.

One more time, BEFORE:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Good changes, yes?

The rock wall for the side garden is built out of the flagstone that used to be in our walkways. All the plants in this garden were transplanted – either from my own garden or from my friend Merin’s. The lights closest to the ground are actually solar powered. The lanterns on the poles are for candles – you put these little blue things in the top and they’re supposed to repel bugs (I think the definitely help).

Dining table from Walmart, dishes/glasses from Target. The adorable “floating” shelf was the result of a joint brainstorming session, where E and I decided we needed a buffet for dinner parties. E made it out of scrap wood from our basement and attached it to the fence with chain I spray painted green. Then I used some tape and 3 more cans of spray paint to make the design. It folds up flat against the neighbor’s our fence when we’re not using it and can easily be removed and stored in the winter. Roses & hydrangeas are from my garden, displayed in tin cans (spray painted of course).

Seating set, end tables & throw pillows from Target, firepit from Home Depot. Throw blanket is from Pier 1. Flower pots are from various places (including some I already owned & spray painted). Tray (that I spray painted) and mugs are from Goodwill. See that dark purple vine in the blue pot? It’s called “Sweet Caroline”.

Did you enjoy my attempt at a Martha Stewart worthy photo shoot? It’s been pouring rain for two days so everything is sort of damp and grey but it still looks pretty good. For a little reality check, here’s the patio during dinner on Sunday night:

And now for my absolute favorite part of the patio: nighttime.

String lights are from Target and plug into a super handy outlet right inside the garage window. The fire pit actually gives off enough heat to make a cool night comfortable and is PERFECT for s’mores making.

Showing my appreciation for all E's amazingly hard work

 

In case you were wondering, the total costs of the project were:

$2016.26 for the patio itself, including all the supplies, tools, stone, sand, gravel and plate compactor rental. (Not included: lots of pizza for the workers).

$1841.77 for EVERYTHING else, from the furniture and pillows down to the candles and plants.

Grand total: $3858.03.

We estimate that if we’d hired someone to do all the work for us, the labor and material total (not counting any of the decor or furniture) would have been at least $8,000. It was a LOT of digging.

Special thanks to my mom and dad who did at least 50% of the work on this and only had one night to enjoy it. I can’t wait until they come back again for more s’mores and wine on the patio.

Edited to add: You can see the much less glamorous doing-the-work photos and information here.

Thirty Hand Made Days

 

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