Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guest room ignorance.

Our guest room embarrasses me.  I used to visibly cringe when showing people in, but have become desensitized to that over the last year and a half. I know that sounds dramatic, and it probably is, but these pictures aren't doing the neglected room justice. 

This room is pretty true to the day we moved in.  The biggest change is the door.  It was the glass door (that is now our headboard), but we thought it best for guests to have some privacy. The cats would have loved having a glass door to creep on guests though. 

The room needs work. The ceiling is discolored - splotchy grey, from poor insulation in the attic, the quarter-round of crown molding was removed to show wallpaper remnants, the baseboard is about an inch above the floor (for reasons I cannot imagine), and the wall color is a mix of different paint finishes so it looks like baby puke. Realistic baby puke.  Two of the walls have paneling under a chair rail. The other two walls do not have a chair rail or paneling. I don't know what to make of it. 

To add insult to injury, the room get most of the furniture and decor rejects. Rejects is harsh - maybe stopgaps. Except for the dresser. That is still a part of my best thrifting to date.  I plop things in here without abandon because we keep the door shut.  I loved the curtains when they hung in my apartment, but they add to the blah-ness of the room here. That will definitely change with paint. 

True to form, we took down the closet doors and destroyed them, forcing ourselves to fix that somehow. The closet could probably do with an actual coat of paint, too. That's just primer now. 

I love the bed pillows, but without any other color in the room, they're abrasive. Again, that will change. I must count my blessings that one bed is allowed to have decorative pillows. Kidding, Zach. I know Copper would destroy them if I kept them on our bed. 

What's held us back is the multitude of decisions in here. Do we tear out the paneling and replace with drywall? That sounds terrible, and we're doing that in the kitchen, which would get priority, further delaying this room. Do we put paneling on the other two walls to unify? Honestly, I can't believe I just typed that. Do we paint the paneling on just two walls? Do we pretend there's a chair rail on the other two and keep the paint uniform? Can I paint the room an emerald green, or is that too dark for a room with little natural light? Why is the ceiling fan the same one from my childhood dining room? Why does Zach not enjoy buying lights as much as I do? Why is there a hole in the ceiling and how am I to spackle a hole in a ceiling with pointy things? Why is this room so cold in the winter and how does one address that when there is a vent and I can feel air blowing out of it?  Where will my mum stay when I inevitably coerce her into painting the ceiling when this is the guest room? Just kidding, Mum. I want you to finish that trunk you promised. 

Obviously I have a lot of questions. I don't know why this room intimidates me so much when I threw paint at our fireplace without blinking an eye. And that would have been a lot harder to hide and reverse. 

Something's going to happen here. I think it'll be soon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Picture This: Week 15, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

April 6, 2015

I was up all night with food poisoning.  When I came back around mid-afternoon, Henry was happy to help comfort and supervise my email.

April 7, 2015

It's a slow start, but feels good to be exercising again.

April 8, 2015

My friends are the sweetest (pun!).

April 9, 2015

Training in DC really means catching up and happy hours.

April 10, 2015

This city never ceases to impress.

April 11, 2015

I've been struggling more and more with daily pictures.  At times when I'm catching up with friends, or enjoying bridal showers like I did most of Saturday (and won an ice cream gift card!), I keep my phone away to deliberately stay present. And then I have no pictures.  Saturday night I joined some friends at a cookout, featuring eggs hard boiled in tea.  And then I took a screenshot of the snapchat.

April 12, 2015

Sunday morning peepers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Shelves in the kitchen.

I'm saying that to the tune of Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah! In case you were wondering.

The kitchen seemed fairly new when we moved in. The work was questionable (tiles weren't straight, the tan paint was thin and showed the previous red), but it looked alright. We lived with it as it was for about a year before we started making changes.

Here's what it looked like the day we moved in.

It had been updated within the last ten years, but wasn't our style. It was too much tan.

After a year, we knew we wanted to move the island to create more space in the kitchen and to expand our counter space. We also wanted to open it up.  The room is big, which keeps all of the upper cabinets from making it feel cramped, but there is just one small window in the space. We wanted to created more space by the window, in lieu of putting in a larger window.  The windows are fairly new too.

To start, we swung the island to be perpendicular to the fridge.  The island was never grounded, so this was an easy move.  Next, we switched out lights so Zach could walk freely through the kitchen without hitting the dangling lights previously over the island.  We picked up a caged pendant for over the sink and moved the light previously over the sink to the middle of the room. 

The latter move is temporary - the light is way too small and doesn't throw enough light for the space. We're thinking we'll need some canned lights and under-cabinet lighting in here too.  

Then, we pulled down two cabinets. The result was abrasive, but the room did look more open. 

I tried to carefully pull off the tiles after that. The careful part turned out to be impossible as they were grouted onto the drywall. So we took that section of drywall out, replaced it with a piece of mold and mildew resistant drywall, and went through several rounds of joint compound to cover the seams.

Finally, we painted the wall the same SW Repose Grey that's in the adjoining dining room. We thought another color that opens into another room would be jarring.

Then - THEN! - it was time for shelves.  We picked up two 12-inch wide white shelves at IKEA in January, in addition to the end brackets.  We measured and cut the shelves to size (3-feet long).  Then it was a matter of securing them to the wall with anchors and/or drilling into studs. It was easy.

The result gets me so excited for the evolution of our kitchen. 

We want to pull off the tile (which we now know will mean replacing drywall, so we'll be strategic about that), replace the counters, paint the cabinets, replace the flooring, build in the cabinet over the fridge, update the lighting - this isn't a complete list and it's getting overwhelming. Maybe that's another post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Picture This: Week 14, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

March 30, 2015

My birthday! It coincided with my first Oakmont Bakery cake experience, which is heaven.

March 31, 2015

A day late, but we accomplished our goal of getting that wall redone and the shelves up. It's surrounded by craziness, but this little area is looking a lot better.

April 1, 2015

Sunset on the drive to Lowe's.

April 2, 2015

The daffodils are coming! I'm sure that means spring will follow. 

April 3, 2015

We went to Kentucky for the weekend to visit Steph accompany Steph's first karaoke experience. Zach couldn't be more thrilled.

April 4, 2015

Sid nuzzled on my shoulder and was so happy to see me. I've missed this beast.

April 5, 2015

Copper's new way of annoying Henry: bonking her on the head from above.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Game changer.

I should have waited to show a status of the living room.  It's hard to say if we would have realized how desperately this room needed a rug to unify it without publicly posting pictures though.

I'd been searching intermittently for a rug for the space for several months without much luck. It wasn't a very focused search - we wanted the room to evolve a little bit, but everything was waiting on something else.  After we posted pictures, the hodge-podge translated worse than we imagined, and we decided to give this room some attention.

Quickly after, and with the help of posts like this and this, I found a rug on Overstock for half the price it was selling at Target. Apart from the price, reviews were good and someone was so kind as to color-match, so I could creep around laying the swatch on furniture and seeing if it'd work. Turquoise is a scary thing for someone as grey inclined as we are to bring into a space. It's since sold out

Ignore the piles of wood slats. Maybe that'll be a project after I cut them to the wrong length for their original intention. I need to learn the patience for measure twice.

Man. I never imagined it'd had such an impact. The rug arrived and it's as if it's announcing: THIS is the living room. Come, have a seat, or sprawl out on the floor because it's comfortable now.

I fill my courage building for the wingback upholstering, too.

I also painted! No more swatches on the wall! While Zachles was out of town, I took a couple days to move this room into the dining room, painting the baseboards and walls the same BM Simply White and SW Repose Gray, respectively. We shouldn't have waited as long as we did on that, either.

The rug's thin, so I got a plushy felt cushion pad. We're glad we did - it feels like a cloud. I was worried about the overlap of the rug and the one in the front door, but it doesn't bother me too much yet. I also don't know the alternative and want to keep the front door jute to protect from muddy, wet shoes. 

Next up: a bench for the front door. We don't have a plan yet, but I did get the Ana White book for Christmas...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Picture This: Week 13, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

March 23, 2015

We took the day off to volunteer at the Cleveland Foodbank as part of our date days. Neither of us had ever volunteered at a food bank, and it was a very impressive operation. The center acts as a warehouse and distribution plant, packaging food in usable forms for soup kitchens, school lunches, and mobile pantries.  Also we couldn't take pictures in the kitchen, so this is our sunny selfie. 

March 24, 2015

We went to a panel discussion on Etsy. I'm a step closer to opening a shop - but still need to narrow down a focus.

March 25, 2015

The kitchen chugs along at a steady pace. 

March 26, 2015

I was in DC for one night this week. It's pretty fitting that I forgot to take a proper picture and just have a dark picture of happy hour. 

March 27, 2015

Flight delays, rerouting, and jumper planes. 

March 28, 2015

Zach and Alex conspired to surprise me with a day of wineries. So excited to finally have her for a visit! 

March 29, 2015

Charlotte's duck face game is so strong. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bench baskets.

Apart from the general wonky nuances I'm sure every homeowner finds (why is the light switch behind the door?), my biggest lament about our house would be its lack of coat storage. It's Ohio.  Coats are necessary roughly fifty percent of the year. However, a coat closet isn't in immediate proximity of either entrance - front or garage.  The closest is what we've converted to a pantry with the sliding barn door.  It's baffling though - I would also consider attached garages necessary for the same reason, but a surprising number do not exist.  

We tried a couple options before heading down our current path. We tried using the middle closet as a coat closet, but walking into the middle of the house with snow boats and coats wasn't practical or in the best interest of our wood floors. We tried moving everything to the garage, but that wasn't practical for guests and not ideal in the colder months. We've started a hybrid.  Zach and I mainly use the garage, so on the wall immediately adjacent and heading to the downstairs, we have hooks for our coats. We mainly leave our shoes in the garage, but have a rug down in the event we bring them within.  On the next wall, the dining room wall, we have a bench, specifically the piano bench that was left in the house.  Underneath, we have two baskets that hold our hats, scarves, gloves, and the occasional shoe. 

I always knew I wanted these to be wire baskets. I had a really hard time finding such baskets for the dimensions and price I was willing to spend, so I gave up after a couple months. I grabbed two woven baskets at TJ Maxx.

They fit all of the criteria except for the depth, which I had forgotten to measure and consider anyway.  It was also just before Thanksgiving, which we were hosting, and needed to do something. 

I cheated the obvious disparity by pulling the bench off the wall and sitting pillows in the gap. It was fine.  Then I found what I always wanted at Target.

At first, there was only one. Target's tricky like that. Online, I wasn't able to buy and ship it (which I wouldn't have wanted to do anyway - I'm spoiled by Amazon fast and free shipping), but I did find one in a different store. I bought it online and went to pick it up, afraid that if I didn't it wouldn't actually exist when I got there. I have real trust issues with Target, but I keep going back for more.

It looks so much better. I was worried about the wire scratching the floors, but I added four little sticky pads to the bottom and they haven't fallen off/the floor hasn't been scratched. It seems to be going well. 

The other baskets are going to be repurposed under a bench we're going to build by the front door. That'll be the bench guests can sit on when putting their shoes on and serve as overflow storage. 

I realize this will take a bit of envisioning. One day, the door will even have casing and there will be crown molding. It'll be a picturesque spot to slip on your shoes.

The real star of this scene is the coat rack.  Previously, the Mikrut sign, a generous gift from my friend for our wedding shower, hung next to the door above five paint swatches. I would give you a reference for it because we get so many compliments on it, but I searched for weeks to get one for her before her shower, and I struck out. I was in the market for a standing coat rack until my mum made a pallet Christmas sign. It was the perfect backdrop for the Mikrut wire sign, without the green and red. She staggered pallets (heat-treated, of course) and added black elbow pipes for coats.  I applied a coat of teak oil to help preserve the pallets, which also darkened and made it look a bit richer (we experienced shrinking and drying in the pallet door).

Maybe we'll get a light switch plate some day, too. 

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