Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trimming the house

Hello!  This post is not a (very) belated Christmas decoration update, but instead a peek at our new white baseboards.  Just in case you are offended that my blog didn't provide any Christmasy inspiration, I submit the only good holiday-esque photo I took this year...and that isn't even our tree!  
I could not get this child to sit remotely still or even stand by our tree, so I put a cookie on the branch of my mom's tree and told him he could eat it if he could find it.  Success!  I had to act fast though, he can sniff out a cookie like a bloodhound.  So, back to our baseboards!  We started our installation in the dining room because it seemed like the easiest space to handle. 
It was exactly as I had envisioned it with the pale gray walls.  We had this space between the back of the cabinet and the floor that needed to be addressed.
We got a simple lattice trim to cover it, I will either paint it white to match the trim, or paint it the color of the cabinets.  I'm thinking it will be the cabinet color - whenever those get painted!  I'm not even close to deciding on that. 
The problem we have on the main level is all the tile next to the hardwoods in the entries and kitchen.  We don't have a table saw, or any other way to rip the trim to fit over the tile, so I'm not sure if we will buy the tools we need, or hire it out.   
I was a little worried about the area butting up to the coat closet door.
Luckily, the little piece on that side fit fine and the door was not a problem. 
Every little piece of trim that goes over the ugly bare spots is a victory!  I was worried about the white trim looking weird with the white tile, but I think the paint color I chose (Behr Popped Corn) looks fresh without being too stark against the creamy tile. 
The real test of how this was going to look was in the hallway.  There are a lot of doorways with original 70s casing.
I was unsure about keeping the casing and doors dark when this was going in. 
But when it was all in, I liked it much more!
I think it will be even better when I get more things on the walls, and a new brighter light fixture. 
The next thing up was addressing the stairs.  While I really like the rich look of the wood, I knew the risers and stringers needed to be white to match the baseboards. 
I used my absolute favorite primer, BIN to prime everything.  It looked terrible but was ready for paint! 
I freaked out a little because when we refinished the treads, there was a little build up of poly on the edges, so it made a clean line with the paint almost impossible.  Also, these stairs probably weren't meant to be stained, the treads are cheap pine and not super even along the edges. 
Even still, it looks pretty good after two coats of paint!  I still have to buy and stain some cove trim for underneath the lip of the treads to make it look more finished.  I also have to figure out how to transition the top of the stairs to the hallway trim.  Oh, and restain the handrail. 
Here you can see I also have some caulking to do!  So, that is what I've been doing since December.  I appreciate everyone reading the blog, even though I don't post very often.  I have been working on other spaces over the holidays, too...I hope to post about those sooner than a month from now this time!  Does anyone have any tips on ripping the base trim to fit over the tile?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Dining Room

I wanted to share our mostly-finished dining room.  This used to be a strange little space complete with off-center boob light and awkward tile near the door to the garage. 
Well, the tile is still there because we really do need it, but I think the addition of our teal rug really helps the space feel cozy and intentional.  And no more boob light!  We have also started installing the new white baseboard which we love. 
This rug BARELY fits here.  It is 6x9 and I'm so glad I already owned a rug this size, because anything bigger would've gone on top of the tile. 
 It does half cover the heat vent by the doors, which is slightly annoying.
The new chandelier is this one from Sea Gull lighting. 
I was able to swag it so the light actually hangs centered on the doors.  I like it, but I am disappointed that it hangs slightly crooked.  I'm thinking about putting some little fishing line weights in the side that hangs high. 
The table is beautiful, if slightly mistreated.  The veneer has some blemishes and one of the legs is broken and needs new bolts, but I do love it.  I got it for a good price from a guy on Craigslist but he had already sold the chairs.  SO, I had to find chairs to match which wasn't too hard. 
They aren't an exact match, but are very close.  Obviously, they need to be recovered!  I'm not sure whether to do a retro pattern, a neutral solid, a bright velvet, the possibilities are endless. 
In the corner I put the antique shelf I got from a friend.  It holds some photos and knick knacks, but most importantly, it stores my camera and lenses.  I know it probably seems weird to keep that expensive equipment out in the open (and at Ashford's level!) but if it's not in plain sight, it doesn't get used as much.  This way, when I see a photo op, I can jump on it.  Luckily, the little tornado has never given it a second look.
I also got these orange enameled stools from Overstock, the overhang of the counter is only 6 inches so it's probably not meant to have stools, but I do use them sometimes and Ashford loves to roll his cars on them. 
My beloved pole lamp got pretty banged up by the movers, one of the globes was broken and I know that I can't replace it, so I just taped it up and put it right back on the lamp. 
It works, and nobody can tell.  The mirror on the wall is a vintage 60s mirror I found at a thrift store.  It probably needs to be repainted, but for now I'm leaving it as I found it.  The tray is also from a thrift store.  I love these old pieces!
So, that is what we've done.  I'm taking votes for the chair fabric!  Give me your ideas! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cool house numbers

Ok, I promise this is the last time you will see a post on the outside of the house.  Well, until next year!  I had to show you the final look of the front with everything done.  First of all, I knew I wanted the house numbers to match the front door.  I bought these simple cheap numbers from Home Depot for $6 each and sprayed them with Rustoleum orange.
The reviews on these numbers are lousy, but we didn't have any problems installing them.  We set up the template...
We drilled the holes, and then started filling the cavities with clear silicone and pushing the numbers in. 
We were careful to wipe away any lumps, and then it was just a quick touch up with paint to cover the shine after they set up.  The instructions said to tape the numbers in place while the silicone dried, but I didn't do this for fear that it would lift the orange spray paint off the numbers.  No problems.     
I splurged on the outdoor lights.  I didn't like anything that you could find on traditional lighting websites or big box stores, not even at expensive places like Restoration Hardware or Rejuvenation.  I wanted a simple torch style light with a smoked glass globe.  I originally settled for this light from Amazon but when I got delivered it was a ridiculously big white plastic globe, no good.  Cheap.
Then I found a link to loveitlighting.com on Retro Renovation, and finally found what I was looking for!   A simple torch style light with an 8 inch smoke glass globe! 
I had to hire someone to put them up because our light box wasn't compatible with the mounting strap. 
Of course that would happen!  Oh yeah, and the garage lights didn't even have boxes, there were just wires sticking through the siding from the inside of the garage. 
When the very talented and nice electrician came, he put proper boxes in for the garage lights, and got the porch light installed no problem.  He also said "You know, I am always taking this style of light down...not putting it up!"  Huh, sounds about right.
I love it!  I realized after I got them installed that they blend into the house more than I thought they would, but ultimately I love the more monochrome look.  Plus, the numbers are the star here. 
The last projects I needed to take care of were painting the garage door and replacing the screens in the lower windows. 
I decided to spray paint the frames bronze so they blend more with the screens.  
Here are the sprayed screens back in their spot. 
And here is the final product!
I'm so happy with it!  And the lights look so pretty lit up. 
So, that is the end!  Oh wait...
Now it's the end.  Isn't it funny how the house color looks so much warmer and greener with all the white snow?  Also, it's been under 15 degrees and windy for several days and I'm ready to move now! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our living room

Let's take a look at the evolution of our living room.  After we moved in and got settled, it looked like this.  I don't have any 'Ashfordless' photos, sorry!
Right before we redid the floors, the cleared out room seemed full of potential.  My plan for the living room was to use things that we already had to 'decorate,' while purchasing only the large furniture that we needed.  We needed a sofa so the one in here could go downstairs (we gave our old living room furniture to my brother before we moved) and bookshelves for storage. 
It was always the plan to get a sectional for this room.  Shaun wanted something comfortable (men!), and I wanted something not huge, overstuffed, and ugly.  So, we ended up with the Teddy sectional and storage ottoman from Macys in the stock 'otter' fabric.  It was the least ugly one we could afford that was also comfortable.  When it was delivered, it was huge!  And sort of purple-y, which was disappointing.  It immediately became clear that the brown zebra rug and red print curtains were not going to work anymore, so we swapped in the orange rug and white curtains from our old bedroom. 
And then I went on the search for a paint color that didn't suck.  I tried a few SW colors...Alpaca, Popular Gray, Versatile Gray.  We ended up choosing Popular Gray, which is a very pale shade of warm gray that is almost white.  Wow, it was a breath of fresh air going over that old tan!  I don't have anything against tan, but it just looked oppressive in this dark house. 
We also desperately needed the storage we lost in our old living room, so we took a trip to Ikea and came home with the Hemnes entertainment center.  I had to burn the midnight oil painting the wall behind it so I could put it up asap.  The difference in paint color is incredible!
And after we got this sort of workable for the time being, we had to pull the entire thing out to install baseboard before we attached the bookshelves and bridge unit to the wall.
I have chosen to do white baseboard throughout the house, it is a simple 3.25 inch casing, rather than traditional base.  I have no plans to paint all the door and window casings white, so we will see what that looks like when it's all installed!  If I hate it, I can always paint it out later. 
And here is the (almost) finished room!
It feels so good to have everything mostly done in here.   We still need to paint the inside of the front door, and rip out the casing around it because it is that tacky 'colonial' profile in honey oak.  I'm going to replace it with ranch casing like the rest of the house, stained to match the floors.  The orange front door pretty closely matches the rug, it is blown in the photo from the light streaming in, but it looks great in person!  That was a total accident.  I had no plans to match the front door to this rug, and had painted the door long before we put this rug in here.  Love that!
All the throw pillows we already had.  I'm glad that I had orange and teal things from our old den.  I am not a fan of the enormous pillows that come with sofas these days.   
As with most houses from this time period, our entry is really tight, but we wanted a low-profile coat rack because we are lazy and like to hang our coats on hooks.   This rack with fold up hooks from Umbra is perfect!  It is under 4 inches deep when they are open, perfect for the tiny strip of wall next to our door.  
We did opt to buy the Ikea Format lighting for the bookshelves, it is wonderful to turn those on, it just makes the entire living room so cozy yet doesn't light up the tv screen.
Our old TV stand fits nicely behind the sofa as a 'drop off' point for keys, a place to set a drink while lounging, and also a nice place to store shoes.  I love that I could reuse this piece, the measurements were perfect!
For the little wall dividing our living area from the kitchen, the console table we had in our old entry still works great with the pineapple lamp.  I decided since there was a plethora of ugly items on this wall (smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, thermostat) that I would aim for distraction rather than try to hide them.  I'm pretty happy with the result!  I do wish you could actually look in the mirror, though....oh well, I can't lower it.  The sea urchin wall art from Target fills in that space on the left and adds more interest. The teal frame on top was formerly hot pink in my dressing room!   
As you might have noticed, the former boob light in the dining room is not hanging around for much longer.  I know, nice and safe to have it dangling by wires.  A new chandelier is going up soon, and then I have to figure out where to put the hook to swag it.  Don't you love when builders put electrical boxes centered in the room, instead of where the table will go?  The ribbon I have hanging there is to visualize where the light should hang.  More on the dining room later. 
With a two year old, obviously we need a lot of places to stash crap.  These bookshelves and drawers have been a lifesaver!  We thought about doing built-ins, but we just didn't want the expense and work when we aren't planning to stay here.  We are most likely going to leave the Ikea stuff when we sell, so it still adds resale value without being such a huge project.  I also thought about 'hacking' the Ikea stuff to look built-in since we needed to install baseboard anyway, but this way we can access cords and outlets easier...and again, less work.  I love that it holds books, baskets and bins for toys, and also gives me a place to display my recent photos. 
I do not 'style' bookshelves, I just put things on there that make me happy.  (Unless you count putting my books in rainbow order, then I do a bit of styling...I love the way it looks, dated or not!)  I don't have a lot of doodads, so picture frames, books, albums, and stuff Ashford plays with is about all you see here. 
The bottom of the Hemnes bookcases have removable bottoms, which is a lifesaver if you need to run cords.  It is also a slightly wider shelf area, so I can fit larger things like the mustache totes and bead maze.   Right after I took these photos that kid took out every toy I had arranged and littered the living room with them! 
We don't really have a lot of wall space in this house.  I suppose it's good because I hate hanging stuff on walls, but it's also sort of sad because I have so many beautiful photos I want to display.  I decided to hang the large gallery frames that used to be in our upstairs hallway above the entertainment center.  It might be too busy for some, but I love it.  The white frame in the middle will probably get replaced with another wood frame.
I love this view, it is so satisfying!   
I know that this room isn't terribly inspired or unique, but it totally fulfilled my goals of using things I already had while purchasing furniture that would work best for our lives.  I am also very happy that I found a home for the orange rugs!  I love how the wood windows interact with all the white while tying in the other wood furniture in the room.  I find wood and white together to be beautiful, so I'm hopeful that my white base and stained casing experiment will work out.  Now, I'm off to hang that dining room chandelier!