Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekend Clearing and a Teaser

Before we get too far into the week we want to share one of the projects we worked on over the weekend.  While the weather is still nice (it might not be much longer around here) we wanted to get some more work done in the garden.  So we cleared out one of our favorite little corners that was pretty overgrown.  This corner of the garden is shady and quiet and is the view right outside the room we've been sleeping in (we've been sleeping on the futon so we're hesitant to call it the bedroom just yet).

The photo above was actually taken a little bit into the process.  All the stuff at the bottom of the picture was pulled out of that area.  Apparently this corner had been a bit of a dumping ground.  On top of all the stuff, and the weeds, this tree was spreading and sprouting all over the place.

The sprouts were coming out of the roots of the tree, so they couldn't just be dug up but each one had to be cut down below ground level.  With all that digging we found all kinds of little critters like this little roly poly friend:

We also managed to uncover part of the concrete path that runs through some of the back yard.  Thanks to our handy sweeper nozzle we were able to get it pretty clean.  We also took the opportunity to give the house a little cleaning, too.

Eventually we'll plant some grass in this area, but for now it at least looks a little bit neater.

Here's the next garden project we plan to tackle:

Okay, here's a little preview of what's happening around here over the next couple of days.  Can you guess what's happening?

And check back tomorrow for the other project we finished over the weekend:  the closet!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bathroom Shelves + A Tiny Tour

Another bathroom post!  Over the next few years our bathroom will be looking forward to a complete overhaul to open up a little more space and return it to something resembling it's original state.  In the meantime, we'll have to live with what we have.  But we can make a change or two while we wait, so here's one that actually made a big difference in the feel of the bathroom. 

When we moved in the bathroom featured this monstrosity of a home-made medicine cabinet right over the toilet:

It was big and bulky and taking up too much physical and visual space, so it had to go.  In some time off during the first weeks we lived here I went ahead and took the mirror down and exposed the open shelving behind it:

That opened the space up a little, but obviously it was not going to cut in for the long run.  Fortunately we just so happened to have a little bit of green paint that matches the ugly green tile almost perfectly.

The paint is Behr's Coriander Seed.  We had some left over from an accent wall in our first apartment in Portland. 

I never really thought of it as being an ugly color, so either it has gotten uglier with age or it's just something about the bathroom.  Anywho, the final product is a vast improvement (I still kind of like the color).

While we're in the bathroom, you might as well have a look around at the rest of it.  There is literally not much to it.

I don't know if you can tell, but the sink is not centered under the medicine cabinet (which is original to the house).  The sink must have been moved at some point.  It's just a bit inconvenient and not so pleasant aesthetically.

And then there's the shower.  It's a built-in tub and surround with a wall on the end and sliding glass doors.  Visually, it takes up a ton of space.  I think the bathroom will seem so much bigger when we can replace it with an free-standing tub and curtain.  And then there's this:

And this:

Aaand this:

Yes, that is indeed wallpaper OVER tile.  But I got curious one day and started pulling:

 And pulling:

The paper just started coming off without any trouble at all.  So now our bathroom looks like this:

I'm kinda digging the faded fish wallpaper for the time being.  Matt says the tile makes him happy when he's in the shower.  It's also kind of fun to see what the bathroom might have looked like at some time.  I guess we're stuck with it regardless; until we dig into the bathroom renovations, at least.

This post has gotten very long for such a small bathroom, but there will be bathroom inspiration photos to come!  If you can't wait you can keep up with our inspiration photos as we come across them on Pinterest: 

- Caroline 

Monday, August 29, 2011

How To (Partially) Deconstruct a Sunroom

Remember our post about how to recycle just about anything?  We said it then and we'll say it again:  the most important first step to recycling is deconstruction, not demolition.   So what's the difference?  Demolition is destruction of a structure using means such as a sledgehammer.

Deconstruction is the careful dismantling of a structure by the same means that it was constructed: with screwdrivers, hammers and the occasional pry-bar.  The purpose is to keep materials intact for future reuse and recycling.

That being said, we've been working on deconstructing the home-made solarium that is taking up space off the back of our house.

Here's how we've done it so far:

Step 1:  Remove furniture, bubble wrap, plastic, carpet, plexiglass, fake wood paneling, curtains, interior gutters, hooks, string, etc.

Step 2:  Attempt to figure out exactly how the structure is constructed.

Step 3:  Have a visit with a kitty (stray or otherwise).

Step 4:  Remove glass panes.

Step 5:  Check to see if glass is tempered.

Step 6:  Assess the damage (and stop the bleeding, if necessary).

Step 7:  Take some artsy photos.

  Step 8:  Clean up the mess.

Step 9:  Repeat steps 3 through 8 as desired.

Step 10:  Remove any unwanted/extremely dangerous spiked bushes.

Step 11:  Continue to remove support pieces as desired and enjoy the view.

Step 12:  Sort wood.  Determine what you can or want to reuse, sort the rest by recycling center standards.  Some centers may not accept wood with paint or nails.

Step 13:  Carry on as desired.  We decided to leave the base and roof of our sunroom as a work area for other house projects.  For now.

The deck will give us a good place to work on sanding and painting projects outside of the house and the cover will offer protection.  Having the windows and many of the support beams out, however, makes the area a hundred times cooler and much nicer to look at.

On a serious note, do check to see if glass is tempered before moving it around.  From experience (we lost two out of nine panes) we recommend wearing gloves, long sleeves and eye protection for moving any type of glass, but our injuries (we just had a few scratches) would have been far worse had the glass not been tempered.

In case you're wondering, the cost of this deconstruction project was a full $0.  Our big savings was not having to rent a dumpster as we had originally planned.  Once everything is down and sorted we'll take a trip in our car or borrow a neighbor's truck to bring the wood in for recycling.  Anything that we have thrown out fit in our trash can for weekly pickup.  Anything that we can't recycle we plan to put on or and hope for some takers.

We hope you enjoyed our tutorial!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Closet Preview + Something Unexpected

We're planning on finishing our bedroom closet this weekend (finally!) and I am so excited to have a closet again that I thought I'd share a little sneak peek!  Here's a reminder of the ugly fake wood paneling that was:

Yep, I went and got into the Picnik photo editor again.  Here is what the closet looks like right now:

And here is the something unexpected.  I was about to paint the shelves the same color that we used in the rest of the closet when I was suddenly struck by a moment of inspiration: why not mix it up a little?  We happen to have just received a few little paint samples of some various shades of greens and blues.  So on a whim, I grabbed one of the samples that had the most paint left in it and got to painting:

So the creamy, dreamy colors of our brand new closet are now:

The first is Martha Stewart's Whetstone Gray and the second is Behr's Southern Breeze but it is actually color matched in Martha Stewart paint.  I love the combination and can't wait to see how it will look when the whole closet is together!

Here is something else that's unexpected:

We got a tip while we were at the Benjamin Moore paint store last week that you can store your paintbrushes and rollers in the refrigerator (wrapped in plastic, of course) if you are continuing to use the same paint instead of washing them between every use.  I was getting sick of washing my rollers, so I decided to get it a try.  As far as I could tell a refrigerated roller worked just as well as a clean one, although I might not try it for extended periods of time or if I was painting something that I wanted to look really perfect.  But, especially if you just need to set your brush down to grab some lunch, it's a great tip!  - Caroline

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Few New Things

This past weekend we may have gone on a bit of a shopping spree.  Among lots of goodies from the likes of Home Depot (you'll be seeing some of those fun things soon) we got a few beautiful additions to our home that we wanted to share.

First of all, we were tipped off that Pottery Barn gives out free color sample wheels each season.  The samples are all of the Benjamin Moore colors that Pottery Barn uses in their displays throughout the season.  Unfortunately they were out of their happy spring and summer colors, but were were able to pick up their new fall and winter colors.  We hope they will provide some inspiration in the months of decorating ahead of us and like we said, they were free!

Our trip to Pottery Barn was followed by a quick stop at Restoration Hardware.  We had no plans to buy anything, but it is just such a fun place to look around.  And dream.  But alas, we couldn't resist when we saw that they had cast metal letters on sale.  We splurged on this nine inch bronze finish "H" for $30 (originally $39).  It is a beautiful addition to our home and something we will have for a very long time.

How about that fan, huh?  That was the last fun thing that we picked up.  We weren't looking for one, but when we saw that Target had all of their fans on sale we thought it might be handy to have for next year.  We initially picked up your standard cheapo plastic fan for about $13, but on the way out we just happened to cross paths with a stack of these amazing Hunter fans!  This one was a full 50% off at just $25!  What a steal. We haven't even used it yet but we are loving the addition to our home!

We have a little decorating philosophy that in a house full of sensible (even if beautiful) wares, it is good to have just a couple of really interesting, high quality, luxurious items.  Its fun to own even just one thing from a place like Restoration Hardware or another store or designer that you really love, even if you can't afford to (or don't choose to) shop there regularly.  It's fun to have something that we feel is worthy of staying in our home for years and maybe even be passed down to our future children and grandchildren.

By the way, what do think of the photos?  They are kind of making us want to go back and redo all of the photos on all of our previous posts.  We've been using Google's Picassa photo editing software (you can get it for free here) but we just recently discovered all the fun things you can do with Picassa's free linkup to Picnik (you can also use Picnik for free here).  We might just have to do a post about editing pictures sometime soon!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...