One Year

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Posted by Rebecca, March 29th, 2011

Tomorrow marks one year since we closed on the house! To say this snuck up on us would be an understatement, especially since I think I just realized this last week. It has been a better year than we ever could have asked for and thankfully, half of it is chronicled on this blog. The other half? Lives on my iPhone. It is amazing how much of the past 2 years of my life is documented on my phone. I have around 1,500 pictures and take nearly one a day.

So I’ve decided to show you the first few weeks of our homeownership, through the lens of my iPhone. Please excuse the poor quality as I reminisce ๐Ÿ™‚

What the exterior looked like when we closed on Tuesday, March 30 2010

That Friday we had the wainscoting installed in our living and dining rooms

After our fridge was delivered and we managed to squeeze our table out of storage, the kitchen began to look more like home

We had painters scheduled for the Monday after we closed, so we didn’t have too much time to agonize over paint colors

Some words of wisdom on the morning the painters arrived, courtesy of a Ssips juice box. This place has given me millions of mind stretching opportunities!

The two story entryway painting in progress, we could have never, ever done this ourselves! In fact, that ugly light is still hanging until we hire someone to change it!

The hallway in progress

The nerve-racking process of waiting for paint to dry to see the true color

And waiting some more…

Bet you never noticed that our ceilings are painted a very light gray! This is the only picture where it’s noticeable. We just wanted to take away some of the starkness of the builder white.

The hallway between the entryway and kitchen was originally blue. After seeing it, we asked them to repaint these walls the same light taupe as the entryway.

The moment the kitchen turned blue! (see that the dining room back there is still white?)

Blue family room and a newly delivered entertainment center

After the dining room was painted, we headed to Ikea later that week to purchase our Stornas table… but the color we wanted was discontinued and out of stock. This picture is from our 8pm trip to Brooklyn to get one of the last tables in the tri-state area.

But it was so worth the trip!

Maybe it was our pot of gold? This rainbow was over the entrance to our neighborhood in early April of last year.

Pretty grass! The builder laid our sod a couple of weeks after closing, when it was a little warmer.

However, we still hadn’t moved ourselves in. Our mini-family was still squeezing on a full sized bed at Mike’s parent’s place. We saved the best part of the house for last…

In mid-April, we moved the kittens in. This is Mowie about 10 seconds after we let her out of her carrier, she loved it immediately.

While Macky and Darwin snuggled behind the couch for a few hours

But pretty soon, they were enjoying the finer parts of the house

And everything seemed right in the world (and the yard!)

Happy day you become ours, little house.

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Chair Rail, Check!

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Posted by Rebecca, March 28th, 2011

This weekend, we tackled part 2 of our molding project. Mike got to write about our adventures in the hallway last Monday, so now it’s my turn ๐Ÿ™‚

First, some before pictures. Okay, they’re partial before pictures since if you look closely, you can see that the chair rail is already installed upstairs. This started so suddenly last weekend that I didn’t think to take true before pictures.

View from the front door (with it open..brr)

A better view of the upstairs.

And the staircase angle that drove us insane.

Going into this week, we already had a whole 2 hours of experience in installing chair rail. We knew downstairs included mostly 45 degree cuts, but several things made us nervous.

1) that above the staircase angle

2) this pre-existing molding that we needed to remove in order to connect the old and new chair rails

3) that fancy end piece finishing off that exposed edge of chair rail above

Originally, when we started this project last weekend, we were going to get the chair rail up in the hallway just so that we could start our gallery wall. But when we had so much fun with the saw and nail gun, we decided to finish up all of the molding.

We started by prying off that one piece of pre-existing molding. At one point, Mike suggested we just start the new moldings on the opposite side of the wall.

But I thought that despite the fact that we had never done this before, we should do it right and connect the pieces along that small wall. So we crossed our fingers and hoped that it would come off clean.

Thankfully, it did! ๐Ÿ™‚

We began to install the chair rail from this point by measuring, measuring, leveling, leveling and cutting 45 degree angles. The bottom of our chair rail is 33.5 inches from the floor, so we just marked off this measurement every foot or so around the room, then lined the chair rail up on the dots and leveled it. I didn’t take many in-progress pictures because my hands were full most of the time ๐Ÿ™‚

We used our same crappy electric nail gun, which once again didn’t shoot the nails all the way through the molding. So we used a hammer and screwdriver method to drive them fully in.

Here’s our little wall all dressed up, before caulk.

We’re so glad we decided to do that little wall. It’s my favorite part of the project now!

Our second beast was the stairway angle. Once again, I didn’t take any in-progress pictures, probably because it would have just been images of Mike and I staring at each other. But here it is once we finally got it up there.

We decided to keep the height of this chair rail consistent with the other areas, which was 33.5 inches from the floor to the bottom of the rail. We debated whether to line it up with the railing, but decided to keep the measurement. It’s pretty close to being in line with the railing anyway! I measured 33.5 inches from the bottom of the baseboard, in several places, then connected them with a pencil line.

I wish I could tell you how we calculated the angle of the stairs, but it was really a lucky guess. It bothered me that we guessed by looking at the baseboard cuts, then tried it out on some scrap pieces and just so happened to have guessed correctly. In an effort to learn the proper way to do this, I found this article. According to this guy, our method was exactly right! I felt all guilty like I cheated on a geometry test or something…no, I’m not a nerd…

We disagreed about how the end of this piece angled piece should be cut. We ended up going with my suggestion of keeping the cut consistent with the other end pieces. Mike thought that this would look funny because it would not meet the railing at the same angle- there would be more open space at the bottom then there would be at the top. But I figured that once the bottom half of the wall is painted white, that part wouldn’t be noticeable. I was more considered about the funny pattern that would result from cutting this particular rail at a different angle.

Finally, we tackled the super scary end pieces. They were the easiest thing ever. Ever. I don’t know why they scared us. In fact, we had loads of scraps around and didn’t even have to cut some of them. They just required a 45 degree cut, then the other side was a straight cut from the point where the 45 degree angle ended. Here’s a piece.

We actually attached these with Gorilla glue, since our nail gun isn’t the best and these pieces are small.

We really couldn’t believe how easy these were to install, yet they add such a pretty effect!

Finally, yesterday morning we caulked. I have never caulked before in my life, but we managed to get the entire downstairs finished. We still have some work to do upstairs, since we have to do the baseboards up there from theย hardwood floors we had installed this past fall. All it took was a quick line of caulk, a wipe with my finger, then a few wipes with a wet cloth to get any excess off of the walls.

Tada! Here are some pictures of our finished (but not painted) chair rail!

I think to say I love how this is turning out would be an understatement. I cannot wait for next Saturday to paint the trim and the lower half of the wall a glossy white, then eventually add the boxes underneath, then down the road add the gallery of pictures I’ve been dreaming of.

So, is it Saturday yet??

ps- I’m linking this post up to How To’sday at The Lettered Cottageย and Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

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Where in the World…

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Posted by Rebecca, March 24th, 2011

..Is my kitchen runner?

Remember this post around Valentine’s Day about how I wanted to order a runner to replace this shabby kitchen mat?

Well I pulled the trigger, the very next day, and ordered the Bogart Flat-Weave Wool Rug from Garnet Hill.

But when I ordered, I got this message.

Side note: I just noticed this, but how funny is it that they put this message the top of the email?

So my rug wasn’t going to ship until a month after my order, which was okay with me. This wasn’t an urgent-need-it-now purchase, plus I’m a patient person.

About two weeks ago, I remembered my rug was coming soon and got excited, then carried on. Last week I remembered it was being shipped, but I never heard anything about it. A few days ago, Mike looked at our kitchen mat with disdain and asked where the new one was. We were getting to that we-want-it-now point.

So today I decided to shoot Garnet Hill an email to ask if I would be notified when my rug was shipped. I wasn’t sure if a) it shipped and I wasn’t told or b) it just didn’t ship. They kindly responded to tell me that they didn’t know where my rug was, but their “specialist” would contact the manufacturer.

I began to get nervous….where the heck was my Bogart Flat-Weave rug??

Disney World?

Is there some sort of wait list for my rug that requires me to sleep outside of the Apple Store? Because I’ll do it.

Accenting one of the world’s wonders?

Transporting people to a whole new world (and therefore landing itself in another world)?

Experiencing Beiber fever?!??

Thankfully, Garnet Hill left me a voicemail later today to let me know that they’ve hunted down the manufacturer and my rug will be shipped tomorrow. Kudos to them for some great customer service.

Beiber is forgiven. As if I could ever be mad at him…

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S’more Patio Furniture Options

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Posted by Rebecca, March 23rd, 2011

Mike and I are currently in the midst of a slew of unfinished projects.

1. I have to order fabric for the office, but I’m waiting for the price to go down since I swear I once saw it for half the price!

2. We have to finish our chair rail/fake wainscoting project we started this weekend. I LOVE this project. I loved using the saw. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I can go on and on and on. I am just counting down the minutes until Saturday morning when we can chair rail the downstairs!

3. Patio, patio, patio. Contract is on it’s way ๐Ÿ™‚ Though we’re not doing the actual work on this…

These are all being sandwiched in between my graduate course load, full time jobs and a bunch of parties and other plans that the spring always seems to bring. Slow and steady wins the race though, right?

Today I received an email from West Elm about their new outdoor collections, so my focus was thrown back towards the patio for the day. After our friend Jon commented about how awesome the Crate & Barrel outdoor furniture is, I had to look around a little more. There has to be some sort of solution out there and thank you to all of you who have sent recommendations my way ๐Ÿ™‚

So, the results of my (minimal) research today.

West Elm Wood Slat collection:

Considering the price of the Crate & Barrel Ventura collection, I was expecting this set to be astronomical in price, but it is strangely reasonable. Not as cheap as Target, but the table is $399 which is half of the price of the Crate & Barrel one. Each chair is $149 compared to Crate & Barrel’s $300, plus the chairs are stackable for storage! So really, who on earth is Crate & Barrel trying to sell their stuff to? Though their set is still my favorite, I’ve given up hope ๐Ÿ™

I like the West Elm set, but the couch isn’t very cushy and inviting looking. One thing I love that I hadn’t thought of? White cushions. The white cushions with the dark frame look so nice. I love the idea of white and navy pillows, so very Grecian paradise!

(via)

I also remembered that Ikea had a Crate & Barrel knockoff last year, so I figured I’d check their website to see if it was listed yet. Sure enough, I found the Arholma collection

This little sectional is just $650, now that’s a better price! I have heard that the cushions look cheap, so I googled for some better images. I found this one from a previous Ikea catalog…

(via)

The good? The cushions appear to be white to go with my new inspiration, it’s affordable and I like the color of the rattan. The bad? The cushions maaay be cheap and the table that goes with the set is missing an umbrella hole! Being the pale person that I am, this is a deal breaker.

But! I am not giving up hope on the lounge furniture. The pieces are all sold as separates, unlike the Target furniture, so I would be able to pick and choose the pieces and sizes I want. Plus I am thinking that if the white cushions look cheap, I can fancy them up with some white and navy outdoor pillows along the back of the seat. I even found some options that I like from fabric.com

Waverly Sun N Shade Parterre Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Finnegan Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Faylinn Atlantic

One of the 5 Ikeas in our area has the Arholma collection on display so we’re going to go check it out in person. If we like it? Maybe we’ll go with the West Elm table or something similar. I think that a wood table and chairs would add more interest to the rattan furniture vs. trying to match it. As of today, I like this mismatched, white and navy lil Grecian paradise plan. It feels nice to have a plan, since just a few weeks ago I couldn’t pin down a plan for any sort of outdoor space. Thankfully it came to me, literally, in the form of a West Elm email today.

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Patio Progress

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Posted by Rebecca, March 22nd, 2011

I took a little blog break at the end of last week because it was absolutely GORGEOUS out. This was what my car said when I left work on Friday…

Thursday was equally as beautiful, so it felt like some sort of crime to spend my evening hours indoors on my computer. Sometimes life interrupts blogging in wonderful ways ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, the nice weather gave us an opportunity to finally get out to the backyard to figure out what to do with our patio. We saw a patio display earlier in the week at Lowe’s and the gazebo was 10′ x 10′. Since that size seemed reasonable for a sitting area (and we were clueless about size) we thought 2 of those areas would suit our needs. So we guesstimated we’d want a 10′ x 20′. Sounded huge! I looked at Mike in Lowe’s and figured we were screwed for our estimate on Saturday. So when we ventured outside with a measuring tape on Thursday, I nearly died when the area we planned to cover measured 16′ x 32′. Hello budget buster. A 16′ x 32′ patio sounded not so reasonable, though we were relieved to see that it didn’t eat up a large portion of our yard.

Concrete guy came on Saturday morning. We told him from the outset that we wanted some sort of creative design that we could not come up with. He seemed enthusiastic and up for our challenge, which was definitely a plus for us! I like working with people who can bounce ideas back and forth and in the end can out think me. As much as I have ideas of my own and know what I want, I always look forward to suggestions and things I haven’t thought of.

We broke out a can of spray paint and started playing with shapes. We also asked him to price out a walkway from our driveway to the patio. Mike and I briefly talked about this, but it didn’t exactly process in my head. I was happy that he brought it up, but terrified of the price. Concrete guy measured, then gave us a book of patterns and colors to chose from while he wrote up an estimate. We knew exactly what pattern we wanted, so that part was extremely easy. He came back with this little doodle and description…

That says 34′ x 18’… this thing keeps growing! We showed him this actual picture of the pattern/color we wanted…

He had something similar in his portfolio, though it was a little lighter. He warned us that something too too dark would burn the heck out of bare feet in the summer. That was definitely something I hadn’t thought of, even though I am rarely without shoes…even indoors.

In the end, we were pleasantly surprised with the price given all of the extra square footage we added with the walkway. We liked the guy a lot too, so I think we’re going to go with it. He said he wouldn’t start jobs until the first week in April so hopefully we will have a patio soon!

I ventured outside to take some pictures of the spray paint action.

That’s one side. I quickly realized I couldn’t fit the whole patio into one shot without going upstairs, so I tried going into a spare bedroom to get an aerial shot ๐Ÿ™‚

Ignore that semi-circle line. The curved area on the right of this picture sold me. I’m not sure why, since it’s not necessarily something we hadn’t thought of, but seeing it was an ah-ha! moment for me.

Just once it was more rounded (the outer line) it felt so cozy. I immediately pictured a grill angled in the center of this curve.

We were also very relieved that we still had a lot of yard beyond the patio. Sometimes we forget that our property extends into the tree line and that we’ll still have plenty of land for the future.

The arrow points to the property stake, which is visible when the picture is enlarged. I once climbed back there to get an idea of how much land was there and it was not a fun trip. Plus I looked like the crazy neighbor…again. Oh and did I ever tell you that we originally chose the lot to the left of this picture? Thank goodness we didn’t, holy house in their backyard when the trees are nakey.

Wait, you’re wondering why I’m ignoring the fact that our nicely stackedย wood piles were demolished during a windy snowstorm? Because we’ve been ignoring them in real life for weeks….

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