Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Bedroom

Currently, we use the room off of our living room as our bedroom.  It's kind of funny, to us anyway, but over the years I think we have set up our bedroom in almost every room of this house because of construction projects at one point or another....including the laundry room, haha.  Ironically, we are back to where we started....using the room we used when we were first married.

These are the closest I have to before pictures...they weren't exactly on my radar when we started our projects!  We had already removed wallpaper and a border when these were taken.  And... we were in the midst of "attempting" an....ahem...faux finish.  Fail.  But, if I remember correctly my arms got a terrific workout that day! ;-)

Horribly dark picture...faux finish in progress :)

Was the ladder the subject of this picture??

These were also taken in the pre-digital camera days....does anyone even remember that?!?!  And long before I had a dslr with a lens that could actually capture this tiny space!  So to help you's a little floorplan sketch of this room....

You may have caught a tiny glimpse of the bedroom if you read the post on blue & white....but here are current pics!

This picture is one of my very favorite things!  It was given to me by my grandma who knows how intrigued I am by geneology and family history.  Not only is it beautiful, but it is so special to me because it is a portrait of my great-great-grandma Rose!  The frame is original to the portrait and was in some serious disrepair when I got it, but luckily a local frame shop was able to salvage it!  I feel honored to have this family heirloom hanging in our home.  

Happy Wednesday!!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Laundry Room: Layout

I am working on dividing the room in half based on primary functions.  That's pretty much how it was set up originally, but hopefully the spaces will be more defined organizationally.  Currently, if you open up the cabinets it would not be a surprise to find the hammer between the exercise weights, a jar of loose buttons, and a stack of christmas cards that I meant to send out last year.  (or was it two years ago?....who knows, oops!)

This might be a good place to note that one item on my bucket list is to learn how to draw beautiful interior renderings....but, until then, chicken scratch it is! :)  Here's a little preliminary sketch of the washer/dryer zone that shows what I "think" it's going to look like...

If you need a reminder about what it looked like before, you can go here to see before pics...

Does anyone have any experience stacking the washer and dryer??  We bought a stacking kit and it's on its I think we are going to give it a try for awhile before we commit.  I originally thought I wanted both the washer and dryer under a large counter for folding, but by stacking them I gain a tower of shelving to the left which would be great for sorting kids clothes! 

We also plan on relocating at least two upper cabinets to a different wall.  I wasn't sure if I could let any upper cabinet space go, but after doing all the sorting and organizing I mentioned before... I am pleased to say that it IS doable and because of this I will be able to GAIN a hanging rod in the room.  Yay!  Presently, all wet clothes that "hang" to dry get sent to the nearby bathroom.  It gets the job done, but it's kind of an eyesore and the bathroom never feels tidy. 

On a recent trip to IKEA this sink caught my eye....

and then this faucet....

So, I snatched them up and the plan is to use them in the laundry room!  I also intend to re-use the kitchen island's old butcher block counter that was replaced by a larger butcher block top (same trip to ikea) for the countertop in this area.  I really don't know how it will fair around a sink, but if it doesn't work out it at least it wasn't a huge investment.   

On the other side of the room, the "sewing area", the plan is to trade one long workspace for two....

Can you picture it??  If only I could snap my fingers and it would be done :)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blue & White

One of my very favorite color combinations has to be blue and white.  Together they always look crisp and timeless.  My love for the combo is almost as deep as my love for dishes.  (How many dishes are too many really?, haha) Perfection when they are combined!!  

I'm partial to transferware in any color...but blue and white is, of course, my favorite.  I have a little collection of random pieces that have been picked up here and there and each one is interesting and unique!  You may have noticed a few of them hanging out in our kitchen :)

Ginger jars are another fav...  Blue and white accessories are complimentary to so many other colors!  Especially in a somewhat traditional interior, I can't think of a color scheme where a blue and white ginger jar or lamp wouldn't feel at home.  

Only slightly off-topic, but I wish you could select the color of the spine of the books that you buy.  Does that sound a little obsessive-compulsive??  Wouldn't bookshelves filled with a monochromatic scheme of blue books be wonderful?  (This may qualify as only of those things I get strangely excited about, haha)

And blue and white covering the walls in the bedroom...such soothing colors to drift off to dreamland.   Probably not a surprise that I would love a blue and white wallpaper! 

Have a great night!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Laundry Room: The Beginning

So, the laundry room is the one room in our house that keeps getting pushed to the back burner.  Partly because something more important to spend money on keeps coming up and partly because it's been a challenge to decide what to do exactly.  It's a pretty large room as laundry rooms go.  It's actually bigger than our bedroom!  Because of that, it really needs to serve more than one purpose.  Currently it is home to the treadmill, tool storage, some craft supplies, paint, etc....oh yeah, and the washer and dryer.  Ideally, it would be a place that could accommodate my sewing projects too.  Most often, the sewing gets dragged out into the kitchen and I really don't like the mess that that makes while in the middle of a project.  It would be nice to be able to keep the kitchen a "project free" zone.

Here are a few before pictures:

This picture was post layer #1 of wallpaper removal.  Unfortunately layer #2 didn't cooperate. :(

 A couple views of the washer/dryer area...

And, a view of the small closet on the other side of the window....

Since these pictures were taken, we removed the cabinetry on the window wall.  We really needed the depth for the treadmill. (I hate that it's in there, but for now it just has to be....hopefully soon...adios)  Also, while the opening in the cabinetry was ideal for a craft desk, in order for it to work for a sewing desk, fabric needs to be able to fall over the back side.  For now, a folding banquet table is set up next to the treadmill.

We are still not in a position to do a complete overhaul on this room, but regardless of whether it is attractive or not something has to be done to make this room "work" a little harder.  So, I'm dreaming up ways to achieve some more function in a "pretty" way that will put a "band-aid" on this room for a little longer.  We are definitely going to be spending as little money as possible!

My wish list includes:
A place to fold clothes
A place to sew
Storage, storage, storage for fabric, fabric, fabric, and other not so fun stuff :)
A place to hang clothes to dry
Removal of the treadmill 
A new flooring solution
A wall treatment solution 

I'm in the midst of finishing up another project currently, but I can't help but brainstorm about the laundry room.  I'm trying to think ahead of what all "needs" to be in there and how the pieces are going to fit together.  I'm afraid I'm asking a lot of this room....but we really need to squeeze every last bit of function out of it!  The last few days I've been working on organizing the things that are going to stay and relocate the things that don't need to be in there to a new home.  It's actually going really well and it always feels good to purge and get organized, but it looks like a hot mess!  Anyone ever notice how things always seem to get worse before they get better??  That's the state of my house right now.  Chaos!!

I'll be posting some of my inspiration pics and some plans in the works over the next couple weeks! 

To be continued...


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's the little things...

In this case, the little things = the details.

It goes without saying that there are A LOT of decisions to be made when selecting all the details and surfaces that go into a kitchen.  All those details, despite how tedious they may seem, add up to create one big impact.  For our kitchen one of the most important things to me was to maintain the "feeling" of the farmhouse...incorporating some characteristics that may have been found in original cabinetry or antique furniture while still modernizing it to fit our lifestyle (and of course budget played a role here too).

I absolutely love the details found in the following kitchens.  They are so lovely and really speak for themselves.  So with that... I'll leave you with the following pretty pictures!!

Trina via A Country Farmhouse

via Country Living
Designer: Sarah Richardson
Photographed By: Stacey Brandford

via Mrs. Howard
Designer: Phoebe Howard

via House & Home
Designer: Tommy Smythe
Photographed By: Michael Graydon
Designer: Sarah Richardson
Photographed By: Michael Graydon

Any favorites??


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wallpaper in the Kitchen??

Would wallpaper in the kitchen, especially behind the sink, be my first choice? Well maybe not...if purely for functional reasons.... However, we had some sketchy plaster issues with some of the walls and ripping everything down to the studs wasn't part of the plan.  So...any sort of tile backsplash was a no go.

This brings us to the decision to hang wallpaper.  I love wallpaper. (GASP!!) I know...some of you have probably spent countless hours painfully peeling old wallpaper off of walls that probably weren't prepared properly to begin with.  Trust me...I've been there too! No one's idea of a good time! :)  It can also be expensive to both buy and install.  In a room with serious wall issues, however, or one with no other architectural interest it can be well worth the investment!  Instantly, wallpaper provides interest and character for minimal work and hassle!  The benefits usually outweigh the drawbacks for me where wallpaper is concerned.

While working with my previous employer, I was lucky to have access to some pretty amazing trade resources.  It was then that I came across a few companies whose papers are made with actual yucky vinyl coatings!  These are not your average wallpaper.  (Did I mention that they are also very easy to remove?!?  I've done it....with only water, no yucky chemicals...and it was a breeze!)

The paper that was chosen for the kitchen is Ashling from Colefax and Fowler.

By using wallpaper I was able to not only hide the imperfections on the walls, but also unify the kitchen space with the adjoining dining area.  I think it also helps the kitchen feel a little less "kitcheny"!

It's probably been hanging up for at least 8 years...and I still love it!  (Which is a big deal for me, haha)  Stick around awhile and you will find out just how much I love wallpaper.  :)


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Dutch Door

You may have been wondering where the door in the corner leads....

This is the door to our stairway.  It is common in older homes to have enclosed staircases.  The main purpose was to help confine the heat to a specific our case...the downstairs.  It was not that long ago that the main source of heat in our house was a wood stove located in our dining room just next to the kitchen.  Since then, however, central air/heat has been installed and the door no longer serves that purpose.  Until recently we had actually removed the door altogether.  By the third child, we had already been through two of those expensive (& ugly) swinging baby gates and I was really tired of hopping over the cheap plastic one to go up the stairs every five the idea of hanging the door back up to keep the baby safe from the stairs was re-introduced.

"I'm caught"

The only drawback for me, however, was that with a door we would lose the light that shines down from the windows in the stairwell above. But, we decided this was the best option and proceeded ahead.  We bought a door and set it aside for the next time we had a few minutes.  Projects usually take awhile around here....which in this case turns out to be a good thing!

While the new door sat waiting, I came across a picture that got the wheels turning!  You may be able to guess what happened next! :)

photo by Laura Resen

Dutch Door!!

Lightbulb!  Turn stairdoor into dutch door = keep baby out, let light in AND have really cool dutch door!  YES PLEASE!

I have always loved dutch doors so I was super excited to be able to include this detail in our home.  With a little creativity and help from my incredibly sweet, funny, handsome, talented, patient, handy husband (wink, wink....brownie points??) we turned our plain old door into a dutch door for our stairway.  It works out perfectly!

If you want to see more pictures of the kitchen renovation, you can find them here.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Kitchen

The Beginning:

a couple views towards the west facing window.  

Our kitchen was the first major project that we tackled.  We were young, newly married, with zero renovation experience.  Our intention was to do the major overhall in the future and spend as little money as possible in the present with just decorative updates such as paint, hardware, etc.   However, as the "to do" list kept multiplying with MORE work in the future looming...plan "A" made less and less sense.  

It's kind of funny to sit here and think back about the beginning of this project.  It honestly kind of gives me a headache to remember it!  We were so clueless...haha!  I think it may be safe to say that more than one person close to us thought we were crazy and should just leave it alone for awhile longer.  

Anyway, in the end it was the cabinets and flooring that made our decision for us...both major renovation expenses.  First, we had called a cabinetmaker to come give us an estimate on some minor repairs and few additional cabinets on the east wall. (see below)  We explained our plan, which he wasn't crazy about, and by the time he left we were waiting on a quote for ALL new cabinets.  Second, we called in a flooring guy to get a quote for new flooring.  We weren't thinking anything too over the top at this point, just something that would be a little easier to maintain.  Carpet and I weren't getting along....salsa was involved. :)  However, we quickly became discouraged when we discovered that there was a structural issue that no other flooring than carpet could cover.  No carpet equaled ripping out the flooring, subflooring, everything down to the joists and then replacing some of them.  Fantastic.  

view from the now dining area towards the living room

When the quote came back for the cabinets we were shocked!!  It was much lower than we had expected (which NEVER happens...and probably hasn't happenend since!)  This is when we came to the conclusion that the best financial decision for us was to move forward with the larger renovation now, and forego the wasted money on the smaller updates....because in our case that was going to be an expensive route too.  Anyone who has ever experienced renovating an old house knows that "simple" isn't usually part of the equation.  This is about the timeframe where we learned that little tidbit of info, haha!

As you may have expected, however, even the new kitchen has seen some updating and changes over the last 10 years.   My goal was to have all of these "updates" finished before revealing the pictures on this blog happened. :)  So, instead....I'm stuffing my perfectionism in a drawer and showing the "in progress" and giving this blog one more purpose: to hold myself accountable to finishing up a few things!  

I should also add the disclaimer that I am NOT a person the colors are slightly different, but I'm not sure how to achieve that with my camera yet.  It's close enough hopefully you'll get the idea! :)

The Now:

view from entrance to the back hallway

view from dining area

view from entrance to living room

alternate view of stove area

view from dining room table

Looking back, I’m still glad we took the plunge and did the kitchen first.  It was by far our most expensive project, and I’m glad we got it out of the way when we did. 

My goal is to have all my "little" projects finished by the end of March.  Ok, who am I kidding it probably won't ever be truly "finished". :)  And...since the bulk of the kitchen was completed many years ago, there are a few things on the wishlist to update sometime in the future.  I'm sure there will be more on that later!  Thanks for reading!