Sunday, May 30, 2010

A few less cracks in the walls

With all the cracks and stains on our walls, we were beginning to think we were just going to have to work the the crumbling-house chic, a la Bill Compton's old southern mansion in True Blood. But today, we saw the first glimmer of hope that the walls will be repaired and we will actually be able to paint them soon. I applied joint compound to some cracks in the living room, and it was surprisingly easy.

I'll have to make final decisions on paint colors soon.

Keith also chipped a massive amount of paint off the woodwork along the stairs. We might actually be able to sand and paint that now, too. (A word of advice--don't paint over cords that run along walls. It's a mess getting the cords and paint off later. Believe us.)


I tried and tried to turn that picture the right way, but it refuses. It looks right until I upload it, so I give up. Here's the strawberry--sideways.

And we have more on the way. Maybe by then the picture will be right side up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Perfect bathroom

One of my favorite home design blogs is Door Sixteen. Anna and I have virtually the same taste in just about everything, so her 1885 Victorian house in New York State contains many rooms that I would copy exactly in my own house if I weren't so psycho about being original. One of the rooms I would copy is her upstairs bathroom. The structural engineer thinks there could be water damage behind those funky tiles I mentioned before, so the bathroom is now definitely priority one. And this is pretty much 100% how I want it to look.

Simple, classic, and with the most beautiful marble hexagon tiles.

But I promise you, Anna, I won't copy everything. I have too much pride for that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The inevitable becomes more so

I discovered last night that some of the tiles in the shower have shifted and are not so well attached to the wall anymore. This may move up the gutting and remodeling of our sad little bathroom. We have a structural engineer coming tomorrow to look at the house and do some estimates. So let's dream about the bathroom that could be, shall we?

When it comes to bathrooms, I like classic all the way. No weird vessel sinks for me. I want beadboard on the walls and some hex tiles on the floor. I want a clawfoot tub, preferably salvaged and restored by the wonderful people at Brass Knob Back Doors Warehouse.

More details on the bathroom will follow. I need to give some more thought to the details.

Shades of awesome

I like the clean feeling of white, the dark contrast of black. But a bright, saturated color in the right place done the right way is so satisfying.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does

From this picture we learn two important things about me. One, I cannot take a good picture to save my life. Two, I suck at home improvement projects. As you can see, a door is still missing from the cabinet. The door was painted and ready to hang. Then, I measured and marked the spots for Keith to drill holes for the handle. That's when it went wrong.

Notice the two holes for the handle are on the same side of the door as the hinges. Yep, that's not the right side of the door for the handle. And yep, we didn't realize this until after Keith drilled the holes. Sigh.

On the plus side, Keith stripped the windowsill in the dining room of its many, many layers of paint.
And we have lots more roses.
And a really dusty table. Probably should've done something about that before I took the picture. Oh well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two paint colors, one room

After posting the nursery with the half green, half white wall, I was reminded of how much I like the idea of painting one room in my house this way, except with subtler colors. I like having white on the bottom and a slightly darker neutral on top. It's like having Wainscoting with the Wainscoting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're not having a baby. Fooled you. Aren't these nurseries pretty, though?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


At last, the doors are on the built-in cupboard. It is complete. Let's look back one more time at what it looked like when we moved in.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Sander

Say hello to our new best friend--the electric sander. We realized when we tried to repaint the woodwork with the peeling, flaking paint that it was not going to look right unless we sanded down to the wood. Enter the Black & Decker.

Keith has done an amazing job wielding our new power tool. Soon the beautiful, original wood trim will look as good as it did in 1923.

We have cabinet doors again!

After painting the doors, spray painting the brass hardware silver, and putting on the door handles (not exactly straight), we finally have two cabinet doors on. Woo hoo!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More Ikea kitchen finds

White faucet
Oak counter top
Counter-depth refrigerator

Ikea really satisfies my need for affordable, attractive items. I usually have very expensive taste, however.

For the "island" that will separate the dining room and kitchen (once we knock the wall down), I want to do something unconventional. At first, I was thinking a farmhouse table with a marble top or something in that vein. Now I'm starting to think a 19th century wooden hardware store counter might be perfect.

The one in the picture (from the Haunt website) is too big (and way too pricey--$5,700), but I think it's a good idea if I can find something more affordable.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kitchen solutions

I've decided remodeling the kitchen can be done for a reasonable amount of money. So now I feel free to choose items and start making a budget. We're going to keep most of the existing cabinets, except for the ones under the sink that are just too awful. We'll get all new appliances (including a dishwasher!), a new sink, and new flooring. Here's how it looks so far:

Both sinks and the faucet are from Ikea. I keep considering a farmhouse sink, but I'm starting to think it doesn't quite fit in our kitchen. Also, we'd have to cut out part of the cabinets to have one, and that sounds too complicated to me.

I am morally opposed to stainless steal appliances. They are just so overused. I'm leaning toward black appliances right now. The stove is Hotpoint. This is not a brand I knew anything about, but Consumer Reports gave it a really good review. It's cheap and kind of retro looking, so I think it'll make me happier than any Viking stove that would cost 5 or 10 times more. As for the dishwasher, any one in the world would make me happy, but I like the look and price of this Frigidaire.

I haven't settled on a fridge yet. I don't really know what to pick. Actually, nothing is settled, but we're closer than before to making some actual choices.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


When I came home today, we had roses in our front yard. This was an amazing surprise since we didn't plant them. The former owners left us a lot of messes, but they also left us some pretty flowers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eyesore alternatives

Looking at the pictures from my last post, I was reminded how horrible our fence is. The bad 1970s DIY is not limited to the interior of the house. I'm dreaming of a new fence, but I'm also afraid of how much it will cost.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Welcome to our garden

The backyard is looking much better. We now have a garden where there was once nothing but weeds. Here's the before picture to compare:

In place of the weeds, we have strawberries, peppers, and herbs. So much better than weeds.