Archive for July, 2011

Four Paintings are Better Than One

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Posted by Rebecca, July 27th, 2011

I’m itching to do the next round of the casa tour in the kitchen, but Mike is currently cooking and it’s functioning as a part-time kitty oncology unit…

I hate fluid drips. And we’re now doing them twice a day. Grr.

Anyway, I decided to jump into the dining room next since I have a project lined up for that room this weekend.

Here’s what the place looked like when we moved in…

We painted the dining room days after we moved in and bought a Stornas table and buffet from Ikea shortly after. The chairs were a months long saga of searching, ordering, then reordering, but we’re very happy with our Target Avington Stripe Parson’s chairs :)

We’re not fans of those columns and hopefully they’re out of there someday! The builder gave us the chair rail in the dining room and we added the boxes underneath (or rather we had someone do it since we hadn’t yet mastered the nail gun). The wine racks are from Ikea and we had them in our condo.

Mike added speakers in this room and the living room so we have some music when we have large groups of people eating over. The mirror is also from Ikea and the light fixtures are from Home Depot. We fell in love with the lights before we bought the house, but they’re on their way out. They probably inspired this room the most in the beginning, but as it’s grown and evolved (and we have too) I think we need less square and more round elements in the room. So I’m planning on adding large, white, round lamps (with maybe a blue base?) and 1 (or 2!) large white drum pendants over the table.

We’ll either stick the old fixtures on Ebay or Craigslist, or save them for the basement. Either way, we’re not in a rush to get rid of them right now.

We really love how they make the space seem like a swanky restaurant more than a dining room, but as you can see in that last picture, the proportion of the lamps to mirror is off. They’re too short, mirror is too big, mirror is too square, lamps are also square, molding is white, lamps are off-white. You get the idea.

Here’s the table decked out for Thanksgiving…

And for Christmas…

The only year round decoration (and the only picture hanging in the entire house!) resides in this room. I got it at Kohl’s for dirt cheap when we moved in and I figured I could always change out the print and reuse the square and double matted (!) frame for the $15 or so it was.

Since we have a serious lack of art and the scale of the mirror is irking me, I decided to pick up four 12″x12″ canvases in Michael’s a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t painted anything in years and I thought this room could use some abstract landscape art. I think that two on either side of the mirror will make the buffet wall look much more subtantial.

To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I chopped up some pieces of paper to get the size of the canvases and taped them to the wall.

Once we have taller, more substantial lamps, I think it will layer nicely.

I think one of my favorite aspects of this room is that not a single thing in here was expensive. The table and buffet were being discontinued in the stain we bought, so they were $199 each. They are solid wood and the table has two leaves that extend the table to fit 12+ people. The target chairs were about $65 each and they had free shipping. The curtains are from Target, wine racks from Ikea and that’s about it! Classy doesn’t have to be pricey :)

ps- What happens when you mix an almost 20lb cat and a curtain rod?

No my camera is not crooked, the rod is. Macky has pulled it partially out of the wall. Someone please tell him that he’s 5 and this type behavior is no longer age appropriate?

The White Box Challenge

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Posted by Rebecca, July 26th, 2011

You know how I said yesterday that I might jump around with the house tour? Well I’m about to, hang on kids :)

Our master bedroom hasn’t really been touched since we moved in, which is why you haven’t seen much of it yet. We did add hardwood floors (we had gold, builder-grade carpeting before) and we separated the sitting room from the main room with a wall and some french doors. Otherwise the room was ginormously awkward. Like those 7 foot tall basketball players who are only good because they’re eye level with the hoop.

Here’s the master on our floor plan…

I forgot to draw some french doors in the opening to the sitting room, but you get the idea. We did toy with some paint ideas for this room, but we ended up using one of our choices for the office stripes. So somehow, 16 months after moving in, we have white walls and paper blinds. This is embarassing.

The room does have some great features, like 6 windows between the main room and the sitting room, as well as cathedral ceilings.

And of course, the french doors we added that we still haven’t even primed.

Please ignore the cat beds and toys in the next picture. They sleep here too :)

I didn’t take any recent pictures facing the other way because the sitting room is currently Darwin’s hangout since we had to put an extra litter box in there for him. I figured no one wanted a view of that, even though it’s tucked behind the door, so here are some older pictures. The wall looks exactly the same so an updated picture wouldn’t do much for you, though daylight would probably be prettier :)

And just for fun, here’s what the room used to look like when we moved in.

One reason that this room has stayed so blah for so long is that I couldn’t find any sort of inspiration I was in love with. I am beyond sick of being blinded by the white on white and I hate our bed-in-a-bag temporary bedding that has been around for far too long. The room is just so large that something simple wouldn’t do. I thought about painting stripes on the walls, then it was going to be stenciled, then we were going to do molding all the way around the room and it just constantly changed. But lately one idea will not leave my head. It involves this Pottery Barn Farmhouse Canopy bed….

I have wanted a bed like this for my entire life. Mike has never been a fan, but he agrees with me on this one because it looks “classy” (Mike, 2011). I think that with our high ceilings, we actually need a bed this grand. One of the problems with any of the wall treatments that I planned to do was that I couldn’t think of what kind of headboard to do with them that made enough of a statement.

Because of the hefty price tag on this bed, we’re considering 3 options:

1. Save our pennies and buy the bed (which isn’t realistic in the near future because of Darwin’s weekly chemo treatments)

2. Try to luck out and find one on Craiglist (I’ve found some in other states but none close by yet)

3. Build one using Ana White’s plans (while I would love the feeling of accomplishment in this one, we have major time constraints with jobs/school)

On top of this (almost literally) we want to do a fancy ceiling treatment, but I’ll save those plans for another night. I’m off to go talk Darwin into taking his pills, since he’s refusing the cookie treatment tonight. In the meantime, if anyone spots a farmhouse bed deal, send it my way!

Casa Tour!

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Posted by Rebecca, July 25th, 2011

Aaaand I’m back! I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough, rough week. Having a sick kitten is not at all fun and is an emotional rollercoaster. We’re doing much better with the routine and we go back to the vet for a second round of chemo tomorrow night.

By some sort of miracle, I finished my summer classes this weekend. Which means I have no school for the next 6 weeks! I had high hopes for the house and the blog these 6 weeks, but with a sick kitty I’m not sure how much I will actually get done. I decided to get started while I had this free night and get a Casa Tour page going up there on the navigation bar. This is a long time coming, but I figured I’d add a room every day this week until I get it (mostly) done.

So today? We’ll start with the room we spend the most time in (and I’m currently in), the family room! Here’s a little reminder of where it is in our floorplan

I’ll be covering the eat-in area too, so that is why it has that funny smiley face on it. When I was in college I worked at Chili’s and I made that smiley face on every check. It felt right to associate it with food.

Anyway, the eat-in area!

You like those flowers I put there? They’re from our very own hydrangea and are the first flowers I’ve trimed from it :)

Directly off of the kitchen/eat-in area is the family room.

Our media center, which still needs to be styled but is complete with wedding photo on the tv (it was just good timing, it was a slideshow playing on apple tv)

Fireplace with mosaic tile surround and we still need to hang the curtains we bought on these windows!

And our beloved old couch and chair, the first major purchase we made in our condo. We didn’t have a tv, so we didn’t sit on them really for a year. We have since made up for that time and we desperately want to replace them with a better fitting sectional. Probably sooner rather than later.

Tada, that’s the family room! Now I’m off to add these pictures to my new tour. Not sure what I’ll share next. The kitchen is the logical choice but since we have to go to the vet tomorrow, I can’t promise it will be dish free. Maybe I’ll be random and bounce around the house :)

I Love The 80s!

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Posted by Michael, July 22nd, 2011

By the title of this entry, I clearly got a kick out of Leslie telling us that special parts of her first home screams, “I was designed in the 80s!”  However, I cannot believe the 80s are actually coming back into style.  Damn you Justin Bieber, damn you!

Anyways, today’s guest poster is Leslie from Frugal Nashville.  When I was very little, we vacationed in Tennessee and I believe we spent some time in Memphis as well as Nashville.  I remember LOVING, and OBSESSING OVER, Tennessee. Sadly, that’s all I remember about our trip — besides doing the Elvis thing and getting a tour of the Jack Daniels distillery.  Why I remember the JD part, I have no idea.  Perhaps it explains why I’m always shot-happy when we have people over.

Enough with the rambling (see what happens when Rebecca allows me to run this ship for a night?).  Frugal Nashville is here to tell us about everyone’s favorite standard builder-grade lighting!

 

Many thanks to Rebecca for the opportunity to guest post!  I’m a big fan of this blog and am super excited to be sharing with you.

My hubs and I closed on our first home nearly three months ago.  Now that we’re homeowners, it seems like most of my free time is devoted to working on, thinking about, and planning for house projects. Our home was built in 1990, so there are some special touches that really scream “I was designed in the 80s!” still hanging around.  Like these:

Brass blobby builder lights!

Wow, are they ugly.  (And so was that original paint color).  Thanks to the vaulted ceiling in the foyer, we even have one of these lights installed at a bizarre angle over the staircase.  Changing this light bulb is a challenge involving monkey-like climbing skills.

Ugly and impractical, for the win!  While eventually I’d love to have recessed lighting in these spots, for now I just wanted a simple, budget-friendly improvement.  So I went for my trusty old pal, spray paint.

A couple of weeks ago, I used Rustoleum paint in Satin Nickel to paint a gold mirror frame and was pretty impressed with the results. After that success, I decided to go the same route with these cheapo light fixtures.  The hubs disassembled and disconnected the lights, and after covering and taping off the sockets, I applied three thin coats of the silver paint.

A couple of hours later, here’s what we had:

Much better, right?  And all for about $9.00.  It’s not the perfect long-term solution, but I’m perfectly happy with it for now.  And just in time for our housewarming party in a couple of weeks, too.  Can’t wait to show off the progress to our friends!

 
How awesome is that entryway? So grand looking! Spray paint is a great inexpensive way to fix those brassy fixtures we’ve all be cursed with at one time or another. Special thanks to Leslie for sharing her space with us and helping us out this week!

Today marks guest post number two in the whole history of The Lil House That Could! Cait did a fabulous job yesterday and today we have :::drumroll::: Tabatha from Turn Right At Lake Michigan!

I could not be more thankful for this post today. If any of you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my frantic tweets about how we struggled to give Darwin his fluids and pills last night. Quite possibly the hardest night of my life, in terms of frustration and helplessness. It ended with a trip to the vet after midnight to have them give him his pills. But! I am very happy to report that our second night as nurses was a grand success, we got him to take his pills and administered his fluids with ease tonight. There was clearly a learning curve no one told us about.

Anyway, back to Tabatha and how I should be fanning her with palm leaves for posting for me. I first found Tabatha when I saw her glorious bold purple nursery on A Brooklyn Limestone. And the nursery started as a room for her cats. Cats? Sold! Loved her immediately. She will also be sharing her entryway plans with us today!

 

Hello Lil House readers, I’m Tabatha from Turn Right At Lake Michigan, and I’m here today to help out Rebecca this week. A little about me – I’m 27, and I have five cats, two kids under three, a super-sized Chihuahua, and a husband all crammed into a 113 year old Folk Victorian home (with a whopping 1250 square feet) in Dayton, Ohio, that we’ve been renovating for the past four years. Yes, while we live in it. Yes, I take donations for therapy. :)

Anyway, as I understand it, we’re talking entryways this week since Rebecca has been working hard on hers, so let’s talk about my itty bitty foyer, yes?

A little background on my home – it survived the 1913 Great Flood of Dayton and was moved further up the hill afterwards (along with several other houses in our neighborhood) to create a flood plain (which later became a parking lot) to where it now resides. Somewhere in the 1960s, it was bought by a Korean war veteran and his Korean wife, and they raised four(!) daughters here, spending over 40 years in the house we now call ours. So our house had seen a whole lot of the same people for a long time.

Now our foyer is a grand 7.5 feet by 5.5 feet, and is not only the first place you enter once you come through our front door, but it’s also the gateway to the living room, the dining room, and the stairs that lead, well, upstairs, to the two bedrooms and full bath that chill up there. It’s also our shoe repository, mail sorting area, leash and key wrangler, purse/baby bag drop-off, and open-plan coat closet. This tiny space does a lot for us. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start back at the beginning to show what we started with:

This was the front door when we moved in:

front door before
And this was the entryway “tile” put down for a yet really discernable reason:

tile in foyer before
I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so what first bothered me about the tile was that it didn’t match up with the door properly. That, and it was ugly. So the easy solution was to remove all signs of the previous occupants, paint, and cover that tile up with a rug:

foyer redux one
Which, admittedly, I was less than thrilled about. The wall color was supposed to be more grey than green, but once that happened we committed to it (even though I HATED it) and found accessories, like that indoor/outdoor mat on clearance at TJMaxx for $10, that at least coordinated.

But as time passed on, the foyer bugged me more and more. We had an unfinished wood bench I never got around to painting. The walls made me angsty. (They continued up the stairs and throughout the upstairs hall area, for reference. That’s a lot of space to hate the color of, especially in our little house.) The coat hooks we installed started to fall out of the plaster walls. The cats climbed the curtains on the door. It was all just too much.

So one day, fed up with it all (and nesting while pregnant with my now 2 ½ year old son) I unloaded the space, got out a crowbar, and tore up the tile and terrible cheap parquet flooring – to find HARDWOODS underneath:

hardwoods underneath
You cannot imagine my excitement. They were under the parquet throughout the dining room and under some vinyl tile in the downstairs bedroom as well. When we refinished those floors we did the foyer too, a nice dark chocolate almost black color, but that’s temporary – and we’ll get to that.

I ended up selling the bench on Craigslist as it was more of a dumping grounds than somewhere to put on your shoes, and I purged a great deal of our coats to keep the clutter to a minimum – or at least make more room for the baby-related clutter. The curtains have moved to the scrap pile of fabric in the basement and have been replaced with this:

front door window decal
A window decal that lets far more light in than the curtains ever did, while still allowing us some privacy. It almost looks like it should be there, right? I also frosted the windows on our tiny decorative dormer window, seen here:

foyer wall and frosted dormer
After our next door neighbor informed us he could see into our house from his upstairs window. Not awesome. But now we have a ton more natural light for such a small space, which helps it feel less cramped.

However, obviously we’re nowhere near what I hope the space can become. So I whipped this little inspiration board up for you:

foyer inspiration board
Let’s go over it, shall we?

#1: This is my inspiration photo, found on Pinterest. All of the components are Ikea, which I’m a huge fan of. However, I think I would want to add doors on the shelving units (or switch them out with shallow wardrobe units) so I could hide the mess that will inevitably form. I’m not so fond of the colors, but I can work that out later. Basically this sort of system would wrap around my dormer window, utilizing the height of our ceiling to maximize storage.
#2: I have this thing where I try to work stars into each of my rooms, however subtly. I also have a thing for mirrored surfaces. I’ve long since wanted a Moravian pendant for the foyer, and this one just takes my breath away. So does the price, for the record.
#3: Wherever the cases don’t cover, I really want to use paintable wallpaper to give more texture to the greater foyer/stairs/upstairs hall space. I also plan on adding decorative wainscoting, but that’s for another time. I’m still leaning towards a really great grey color, but I still haven’t really made up my mind. I love this damask pattern though – just the right mixture of traditional and fun, especially if I pick the right paint for it.
#4: I was shopping for tile for my bathroom (which we’re currently building) when I stumbled upon this beauty. I was considering a white-and-black combo similar to this for the foyer – the wood there isn’t in the best shape, and I think tile would not only be more practical, but more beautiful in such a small space. I love that it’s black on black.
#5: I actually own this! We picked it up at Ikea when the old mat had worn out its welcome, and I love it. Even if we did tile, we’d need something at the front door to catch all the gross that comes in on shoes. Again, love the black on black, and the pattern is subtle yet fun in a modern way.
#6: Lastly, I don’t remember how I came across this piece of carved wooden art, but it made me crack up. We’re lacking in art around here (I’ve been kind of busy making babies since 2008) and I think this would just be hilarious by the front door. Double entendres and all that. I’m not sure on the yellow (or the price) but I’m pretty sure I could make something similar in whatever shade would coordinate with what the walls end up.

Sources:
1) http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/mudroom/mudroom/?sssdmh=dm17.507987&esrc=nwhi021711&email=2114809685
2) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280626072722&category=103438&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_3468wt_905
3) http://www.grahambrown.com/us/product/18628/Empire+Damask+Paintable+wallpaper
4) http://www.glasstileoasis.com/item.asp?item=15669&utm_source=Amazon%2BCSE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Amazon
5) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90121823#/40122561/
6) http://www.etsy.com/listing/60873299/shut-the-front-door-18×22-handmade-sign?ref=af_you_favitem

Of course, I would love any feedback you have – the foyer’s a little low on the priority list these days (have I mentioned we’re building a bathroom?) but it’s something I hope to tackle soon.

I’d like to thank Rebecca for letting me guest post for her, and my family and I send out our deepest heartfelt good vibes to her family, especially Darwin. Tell him Bailey, Max, Roxy, Nubbs, Antonia and Cheech give him all cuddles and licks and purrs (well, Cheech doesn’t purr, but you catch my drift …) and we all hope he gets better soon. And thanks to you Lil House Readers for hanging out with me today!

 

Okay seriously, my guest posters are killing me with the inspiration boards. I have never done one of those. Teach me your tricks please? My readers are getting used to this :)

I love the shut the front door sign (it obviously inspired this post title) and that wonderful star fixture. I’m also happy to hear that I don’t have the only cat that climbs curtains, as Macky recently pulled our dining room rod out of the wall (that’s what happens when you’re 20 lbs of cat…)

Thank you again Tabatha, isn’t it amazing how she managed to write a guest post with 2 kids and 5 cats AND a dog? I haven’t even found the time to put on makeup this week! Stop by her blog for some more from her!

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