Thursday, October 20, 2016

The play room/bonus room

I know, it's been awhile.  While I try to put together a post on what's up in our lives, here's a slightly easier one to get out to the world...Ashford's play room!  One of the big selling features for us when considering this house was the extra bedroom in the lower level.  It was ugly as hell and smelly, but it had two nice windows, a large closet, and was a good size (15x13).  We just knew we'd have to incorporate some kind of clothes storage since I am a hoarder and lost a walk in closet that I've had for the last 8 years.  Here's the awful before!
 Oh my.  That carpet stunk so bad!
All of this was ripped out pretty soon after we closed.  We think the previous owners possibly smoked down here, there was a very smoky odor and staining.  All of the drywall under the paneling was destroyed, so it was replaced, along with the boards on top of the ledges.
We love that this room has good light, it allowed us to use a more 'fun' color on the walls.  Here it is now, with new carpet to match the family room, fresh white on the ceiling and half the walls, and Behr 'Voyage' on the rest of the walls.  This is the same color we've used in Ashford's closet in this house, and in Minnesota.  Bonus for not needing to buy another gallon!
One problem in here was no overhead lighting.  Because we didn't have to remove the ceiling in here, we opted to live without overhead lights until a later date.  To avoid having lamps in here, I chose to use Ikea pendant lights with paper shades to brighten it up.
The one in the back has a switch on the cord.  The one in front of the wardrobes is plugged into an outlet that is wired to the room switch.  I purchased two Brimnes wardrobes from Ikea, they were cheap at $150 each, they hold a lot, and look pretty nice in here.  Of course, I have the tops all full of stuff, but I'm hoping to go through that stuff sometime...maybe.
Here's the other end of the room.
I really need to paint out those closet doors, trim, and other doors down here.  They put the glossiest finish I've ever seen on them!  Luckily, they are solid wood.  Here's a close up of the adorable switch plate cover my brother bought for Ashford.  
It matches so well!  Some other features of this room are the Ikea Trofast storage system.  It has not been used as a stepladder....yet.  It holds a ton of little stuff like cars, trains, puzzles.  We love it, just wish they had a better selection of colors for the drawers.  For now, we are rocking the lime stripe.  
The Ikea Dignitet wire system to display Ashford's artwork:
And this little area on the other side of the wardrobes is a cute place for a reading nook.  I just have this ottoman I already had in there as a placeholder, but I'd love a bench with cushion that takes up the entire space.  I do have two book ledges to install above, so that will be nice.  Someday.  
I bought two yards of this Robert Allen 'Zoo Pals' fabric to make little window treatments for this room, but I certainly don't have time to even finish the edges with hemming tape, so for now...the windows are naked.  I liked how this fabric goes well with the blue, and also brings in the lime from the storage.
The area by the door currently looks like this:
There is a couple feet here, not sure what we can do with it, but that chalkboard might go up on the wall.  Someday.  One of the best things I did in here, was put our old coat rack under the window to hold all of the capes and costumes we've accumulated.  Ash loves this little corner!
Obviously, we still need to install baseboards.  Say it with me, "Someday!"

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Our family room

I kept putting off this post because I wanted to get more done on this space, but it's clear this is the way it's going to be for quite awhile.  So, here is our lower level family room!
Whoa nelly, this has come a loooooong way.  Here is the listing photo:
And here is what it looked like when we took possession:
You guys may remember previous posts about all the work we did removing the paneling, the drop ceiling, the stanky carpet, and installing the awesome can lights where there was no lighting.  If not, here's a quick rundown of how it progressed:
This was the biggest renovation we've dealt with since our Russet Street kitchen.  I'm so glad the bones of the room are done, because it was so stressful!  Shaun removed all the paneling, the ceiling, the carpet, and trim around the windows and floor.  We hired out the drywall/plywood, the electric, and a family friend installed brand new carpet over the floor tile.  We were so grateful we didn't have to rip it up.  The new carpet is from Home Depot and it is so soft and beautiful!
Shaun really did a great job with the board and batten, we used 3/4" thick MDF boards because I wanted a chunkier look, but also wanted to keep costs down.  The baseboard is 1x4, the battens are 1x2, and the top board under the ledge is 1x3.  The top ledges are all pine.  Our amazing drywall guy installed quarter inch luann plywood to the lower walls for us to cover the glue and muck left from the paneling.  Let me tell you, it was a real treat to prime and paint all this crap!  In this next pic, you see that I have a slight dilemma over how to hide our TV cords.  I'm not giving it much thought until we get a bigger television, though.  Obviously, this one is way too small for this room!  (That is Shaun's 'obviously,' not mine.)
When I decorated this room, I felt I needed to branch out from using the same curtains and d├ęcor that I already had.  None of the curtains I had would've worked with the warm grays on the walls and floor.  I also just wanted something different that still complemented the rest of our style throughout the house.  I saw these curtains online at West Elm and fell in love, we all know I'm obsessed with all things aqua and teal!  What sealed the deal was that a similar shade of gray to our wall color (SW Popular Gray) was also on the curtain panels. 
I chose to mount the rods (these Allen and Roth ones from Lowes) on the ceiling like I did in our basement family room in Minnesota.  I did this because the ledge on the wall with one window pictured above is 6 inches deep and the curtains would not hang straight if I used the bracket on the wall.  I could've gotten a bit more height mounting on the wall, but I think the ceiling mount is cool and different, and I was able to make sure the curtains hung nicely in front of the deep ledge. 
There in the corner, you can see my vintage buggy where I take the baby's monthly photos.  It is the perfect spot, I can roll it in front of that window and take the photos without any major prep.  I love easy.  Here's the most recent one, he's about that age where he doesn't stay where I put him.  He's also cutting his first tooth, and eating absolutely everything...yay for baby-led weaning!
Our monster sectional fits nicely down here, this is honestly Shaun's favorite spot in the house. 
I found some clearance pillows and a throw in the 'Horseradish' color, and a teal hounds tooth throw at West Elm to complement the curtains and pillows I already had. 
It's always a little cold down here because our HVAC system isn't set up great, so throws are very necessary!  I also think it just adds so much to have some pops of color on the couch.
The shelves on either side of the couch are from CB2 and we love how they tie in the wood from the vintage dresser on the opposite wall.  Our original plan to do built ins on this wall didn't pan out when we started crunching the numbers and realized we didn't have enough width to make it work.  This is a nice compromise.  They were super easy to assemble and attach, and the shelves were just $200 each. 
The view from the far wall shows the huge Pottery Barn Studio wall easel (no longer available) my sweet brother bought for us last Christmas.   
It was a serious pain to install, and the frames (which are also Pottery Barn, btw) don't really fit well in the brackets and sit a little crooked all the time.  Even still, it's a cool piece and the wall above the piano was the perfect spot to showcase my favorite images. 
You can see here how the frames just sort of toss about in the breeze on the down rods.  Maybe that is why it's no longer being made!
This area under the stairs and the nook/ledge with all the random crap on it is still a mystery to me.  I envisioned having some kind of shelving on the wall and then a larger bench with storage where the trunk currently sits.  We can't really fit a true mudroom near the door to the garage, but a bench with some hooks will hopefully work nicely. 
That door to the garage still needs to be painted, along with the trim around it.  I'm throwing around painting the doors down here a gray instead of white.  Still unsure about that!  For fun, here is the before shot of the door to the garage I shared a few months ago. 
Ew!  Let me cleanse your eyeballs with this cute pic of Zachary.  He might look happy, but he really really hates being on his belly and can't figure out crawling yet.  He also is deeply offended whenever I put him down and try to do something other than lovingly stare at him.
This parquet area is where the area rugs I don't know where to put are living.  They don't really match anything, but it's fine for now. 
And a wide view.
I can't wait to get some photos and art on the walls, the rest of the trim, doors, and stairs painted, and my nooks and crannies finished.  Until then, the before and after is making us very happy!
I'll share the playroom soon, it needs a little bit of clean up before I can show it off.  I hope this room was worth the really long wait, sorry it took so long!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The longest landscaping post ever

Our landscaping is done for now!  I'm so excited to share, because this damn post has literally taken me a solid week to write.  Maybe one day I will have free time again!  Also, a fun drinking game is to take a drink every time you read the words 'Japanese,' 'Juniper,' or 'Coneflower.'  I guess I know what I like!  The last time you saw the house, we had just gotten all the evergreens ripped out, and it looked like this:
We have done a lot of work since then, and now it looks like this!
We have worked and worked to get it to this point, and I love it!  First of all, the door.  You guys, it is BRIGHT and bold, but I am happy I went in this direction.  The door is still ugly, but we don't want to replace it just yet, so the paint helps to modernize it and make the gold inlaid glass disappear a little more.  We still need to get a white full view storm door, which will make the white vertical pieces make more sense. 
The color is SW Refresh, which is a favorite 'mid-century modern' turquoise on the awesome site Retro Renovation.  What a fun punch of color to complement our orangey brick!  I also found some vintage style ceramic pots to complement the door. 
Shortly after the front was mostly cleared out, Shaun started digging out a larger front planting bed. 
We like a clean look, so for now there is just a trench around the plantings rather than actual edging.  We may add something in the future, but for now this works and he can mow right up to the mulch. 
And here are some closer photos of the plants we chose.  From left to right:  Red switch grass, three Speedwell, Blue Star Juniper, 'All Gold' Japanese Forest Grass.
Left bottom is three Anna's Magic Ball Arborvitae, right bottom is three Red Sweet William.  Lone green ball in the middle is a 'Linesville' Arborvitae. 
We bought the pot at a local garden center and filled it with a Tropicana, spikes, asparagus fern, and sweet potato vine.  Around the pot is two Japanese 'Sky Pencil' Holly (against house) and three Japanese Blood Grass.  More Magic Ball Arborvitaes under the other window.  'Daybreak' tickseed in front of those. 
Purple coneflowers, Pampas grass, Japanese forest grasses, Tamukayama Japanese maple, white Phlox hiding behind the Pampas grass.  Not pictured just to the left:  Nest Spruce and Orange Rocket Barberry.
We waited for the lilacs along the walkway to finish blooming so we could dig those out and transplant in early June.  This was a very hard thing for me to do, because they smelled AMAZING!  But we knew the hedge was just too large to stay there.  It was pouring rain when we did it, because we just happened to have a lot of family over for Shaun's birthday to watch the kids.  Yep, he did this on his birthday:
 
 
We aren't sure if they will live, but if they don't, at least we tried.  It would be nice to have such large shrubs to hide the neighbor's chain link!  Spoiler alert:  things aren't looking great.  We do lay the hose on them every day...and the one on the left is crappy looking because it was in between the other two in the front and lost it's foliage on both sides.  Oh well.  We also planted sky rocket junipers to the left to help hide the fence. 
The area where the lilacs were is my favorite because we decided to incorporate some pots we had with large tropicals.  The colorful one is Croton, the middle is a Cordyline, and the one by the stoop is a Dracaena. 
But my favorite part is the 'Old Gold Pom Pom Juniper' tree in the front.  I got this from Home Depot for $75 and it is so stinkin cute!  Underneath that is three Blue Fescue grasses.  We left all the existing creeping Phlox that is tumbling over the retaining blocks and then also planted some hens and chicks and ground cover sedum.  This area is definitely going to change as we live here, I love having room to expand the landscape!
The area on the other side of the driveway looked like this before:
And, here it is now!
We've got a lot of goodies in here.  Dwarf Japanese Juniper at the end, the big leaf hosta we have moved from Russet street, to Minnesota, to here, a planter I'm not sure where to put, then a Globe Blue Spruce in tree form because we loved the one we had in Minnesota so much!  Under that is a Bonanza Gold Japanese Barberry, two Dwarf Black Eyed Susans, and another Speedwell. 
Here you can see a 'Julia' coneflower, behind that is an 'All Purple' something or other, Daub's Frosted Juniper is right in front of my frog, the three blue perennials to the left are dwarf 'Summer Nights' Delphinium, and the orange one behind those is Butterfly Weed.  Behind that one is a 'Little Rocket' Ligularia.  Here you can see I planted a few 'Scarlet Flame' Moss Phlox near the edge of the retaining blocks to spill over like the side by the door. 
The side of the house has a selection of panicle hydrangeas, 'Little Lime' on the ends, 'Little Quick Fire' next to those, and 'Fire Light' in the middle.  I also have to paint that rusty gas meter.
The south side of the house had a lilac bush, lilies, and all the retaining blocks we removed from the front.  We gave the blocks to a nice craigslister, then got to work digging out a large bed. 
Here's what we ended up with:
Pampas grass against house, dwarf Fountain Grass in front.  Two 'Cheyenne Spirit' coneflowers, 'Snow Cap' Shasta Daisy in front.  Three Munstead Dwarf Lavender in front of the window (so it doesn't get blocked) and then a Russian Sage far right and Goldstrum Black Eyed Susan in front.   
A better look at the sage and Black Eyed Susan set up, with another Snow Cap Daisy in front.  More Lavender in front of the other window. 
We rounded out the far side with two 'Green Jewel' coneflowers near the house (Ashford picked them!) with two 'Red Riding Hood' Phlox in front of them.  One more Snow Cap daisy in front, and another Pampas grass far right with a Sedum in front. 
Again, I'm happy that there is room to add more in here, but it still looks finished.  We actually might bring the bed even farther out, depending on how I decide I want this area to look.  The Pampas grasses will offer significant height at around 8 feet tall, but I might also add some tall skinny evergreens later on for winter color.   
I'm happy that we were able to basically start from scratch and do exactly what we wanted, although it was crazy expensive.  Including the premium mulch delivery, which was our first time not using bagged and it was AWESOME, we spent around $2200 on all the plants, soils, plant foods, and the pots.  I think it was all money well spent.  Now for some before and after side by sides, because those are always my favorite!
I'm excited to see how things look when they grow and fill in.  We may move things around next summer if they don't quite work in their current spots.  I still want to get new lighting, mailbox and address numbers this summer, but I'm having a hard time deciding what I want.  I hope you enjoyed this super long post, and please let me know what you think!