Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Details

As we continue to work on a multitude of projects, we have also started to focus on some of the decor. This is my favorite part! Almost all the rooms still have finishing touches left to do, like crown molding, base shoe and some lighting fixtures...but in an effort to feel more at home and be able to relax and enjoy all of our hard work, we've begun pulling everything together and turning our house into a home! None of the rooms are complete...but they are beginning to come together and we wanted to share our progress!

Getting the furniture moved into the living room was one of the most exciting things! We started buying a few things for the house little by little and storing them away. The anticipation was killing me and so getting to pull them out and put them in place was super rewarding! I found a great pair of Pottery Barn tables on Craigslist (where else?) that I had been looking for for weeks! I got a great deal on them and after a quick cleaning and a couple coats of spray paint, they moved right into place and I think they look great!

One of my favorite things about the house was the shelving around the fireplace. It was one of the things I immediately gravitated towards and began to imagine how we could revamp. The shelves were adjustable and pretty flimsy and of course matched the original wood trim of the living room. I really envisioned them having a more built in look and a more substantial structure. It took a little convincing --- but in the end, Evan and his dad were able to perfectly capture what I was dreaming up and the shelves took on a whole new---and amazing---look.


And we should mention that you're seeing temporary shades on the windows.  They are basically post-it notes, but work pretty darn well for the time being!


UPDATE: See a more up to date pic and our current painting dilemma HERE.

Oh IKEA---how we love thee!!!! I'm not sure how we got hooked, but we are. I think it was an unsolicited catalogue that arrived in the mail or landing on their webpage---but either way, we found them and we are in love. Our love affair began months ago with a little idea for a more modern kitchen and a little more convincing that it could actually work.

We've both come up with some pretty lofty ideas for cool things that we could do to the house (a slide from the third floor to the second floor?!), but this was one of the more reasonable ones that was super affordable and super cool---if we could just figure out how to make it work.

We wanted some open, modern shelving in the kitchen. Easy right?

This post is really an ode to two of my great loves: Inexpensive Decor and The Man Who Is Not Opposed to Shopping for/Checking Bags of Great Deals. You see, there are no IKEAs where we live, and in another heartless blow, only about 20% of items from IKEA can be purchased online. So once we zeroed in on a few things we wanted, we had to actually find an IKEA store that we could buy them from. When we realized the stainless steel shelves were a crowd pleasing $14.99---- we just had to get to a store!

We considered a weekend trip to Chicago for the three of us, but quickly realized it might be dangerous to unleash me in the store with a head full of decor dreams. So once we located a store in Tampa and Detroit, Evan offered up a stop during his travels and brought home the goods!

Sigh. Imaginary hearts swirl around my head.

And when the first batch of IKEA goodies arrived just a couple weeks after Christmas, it really was like Christmas all over again! But we had a lot of work in the kitchen to complete before we could put any finishing touches on, and so our goods have been patiently waiting for their kitchen debut. As we began taking down the old cabinets and reworking the kitchen layout, we came dangerously close to not being able to make it work, but with a little restructuring and a little creativity---- we got our open shelving and all the accessories we wanted and we are currently testing them out next to “Shagreen” walls.




We still have quite a bit to do, but things are really coming together and we are really enjoying seeing it all. Stay tuned as we unveil the stair makeover!

UPDATE: This was some time ago!  To see a more up to date look at our kitchen and the entire first floor with before and after shots, click HERE!

Thinking about painting those old, outdated cabinets.  We did!  Check it out HERE!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hole-y cat hole!!!

Another quick update tonight...more of an excuse for me to drill holes in perfectly good doors than anything.  Finally took the 20 minutes this weekend to install the kitty door to the basement for Andre.  :)  He MIGHT be on the heavy end of the scale for the "Small"-sized door...but I figured we'd give it a try.  He says "the fluff adds 5 pounds." 

Chopped out the hole, threw a piece of wood along the bottom edge of the door to the basement to reinforce it, and called it done. Unfortuntately he hasn't quite figured it out and thinks he needs to PULL it open instead of walking through it. :( Oh least we can keep the basement door locked now without keeping him from his throne room. :)

Hang tight for some pics of the big furball himself.  :)  He recently got a haircut so he actually fits through the thing pretty well.  Adios for now!  -EZ-E

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Electrical schmectrical...

Black = hot, white = neutral, copper = ground. Easy right? It is...unless you're working on a switch leg for a light fixture, or a three-way switch, or a 220volt dryer or range circuit. :) I'll try keeping this post short and sweet with as few nerdy details as I can.

Luckily, our new home's electrical system was COMPLETELY redone in 1979. New 200 amp service from the pole (no Polish jokes), ALL copper wiring (none of that cheap aluminum from the early '70s), and no more scary knob and tube leftover from the dark ages (though there is some cool old evidence of it)! This was a huge selling point for us...along with updated plumbing and solid ductwork through all 3 floors...

I digress...back to the 100+ IVORY-colored switches and receptacles I'm only 50% through replacing. That's right...IVORY! Who's idea were those anyway? Three bits of great news:

1. One by one I'm identifying mystery breakers and marking them for future identification.
2. I've only gotten juiced a couple times (not like the Jersey Shore guys).
3. The white receptacles and a couple updated light fixtures look AWESOME! :)

Here's some pics...some boring, some pretty.  ENJOY!  :)

Pretty new receptacle...also one of the new grills (sorry we aren't "iced out" Lil' Wayne)

Old nasty back porch was LITERALLY a pickle jar...

New security light! (nuts...the house is still yellow behind it)

New junction box to move the range receptacle...

New 4-prong dyer outlet for safety (this one's for you Mom!)  :)

Quasi-neatly-wired breaker box...have a few spaces left for expansion!!

New ceiling fan in the master bedroom!!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Kitchen!

This entry has been nearly two months in the making....and although this is by no means the final reveal, we couldn't wait any longer to share the progress of the kitchen (since we've been commenting on its makeover from day 1).

There is quite honestly no other room in the house that has gone through so many changes in such a short amount of time. We began with removing old layers of vinyl and then moved on to the uprooting of the original hardwoods, to the laying of brand new sub flooring and then new laminate.  And who can forget the exhaustive peeling of wallpaper, the building of new countertops, the introduction of new appliances and the beginning of a major---wait---MAJOR!!!!!!!--- facelift on the original cabinetry?  Our little kitchen has come a long way! We just knew it had a bright future.  Benjamin's Moore's Decorators' White- bright to be exact.

There were a few minor missteps along the way (what do you mean you can't mix latex and oil paint together?) but in the end, we decided on the hardware (waiting for it to go on sale at Home Depot at 50% off was g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s) and picked out the hinges (who knew there were so many choices?) and so now its beginning to look a lot like we imagined it could!  And so,  to keep the masses (all 4 of you) happy, we happily present the kitchen, before, during and after-ish.  That is just primer on the walls afterall....




The 3rd floor sweat shop---where all bad, ugly cabinets go to die!


Now.....what color are we gonna paint those walls????

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's The Little Things

Yesterday marked two important milestones in the new home. 

1. The first walk to our local grocery store.
2. The first pot of chili in our new home.

We've taken the opportunity to highlight so many of the big things we have done to the house and so we thought it was important to celebrate some of the smaller (and in some cases more significant) ones. 

Alex was thrilled to get out on her scooter and I couldn't believe how great it felt to leave the car behind and stroll up to the local market for my secret chili ingredient!  Alex couldn't believe they had a special rack for her scooter to wait outside for her.  I also couldn't believe she made it all the way there and back with minimal pushing!  A small victory in and of itself!

The weather was a perfect mix of cool yet sunny and we met several neighbors along the way. One of the many things we loved about this house was its proximity to things like a neighborhood grocery store, awesome parks, nightlife, public transportation, walking trails and coffee shops.  On our walk we even met some neighbors from down the street who encouraged us to stop by for a beer anytime this spring/summer that we see them sitting outside----there is no doubt we'll begin spying on their front porch as soon as the weather warms up!

And speaking of the little things, there are so many smaller projects that we have taken on that are making a huge difference!  Take for instance the bathroom faucets and the polishing of old door hinges that look new (and far more stylish) again!  And with a little help from a little worker, we're getting a lot done in a little amount of time! 

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