Archive for August 2008

living room rug

Today Mike picked up our new rug from the C&B warehouse. It's starting to look like a living room... the dogs love it! I'm glad we went with the 8x10 for this room, I think it's the perfect size.

We worked on the bathroom a little more last night and are trying to make final decisions on what to do about the window repair. Tonight I decided that I wanted to organize all of the boxes a little, they were all just stacked up in one of the other bedrooms. So I started moving them into the back small bedroom (remember the one with the yellow carpet stuff on the floor?) because I think that will be the last bedroom we get to. We also tried to reorganize the boxes based on what was in them (kitchen all together, etc) so hopefully we can start to unpack more now once we finish various rooms. I found the rest of my shoes, that makes me happy :-)


why I shouldn't be left alone in the house...

Mike went to a Cardinals game tonight with some co-workers, so I was left on my own to work on the house. Before Mike left, our bathroom looked like this:

This is the other side of our bathroom, it's hard to take a picture of it cause the bathroom is so small. The door on the right is for the linen closet. It's a good size linen closet, but it's hard to get to b/c of how the doors open.

Anyway, I decided that the hole in the wall needed to be much bigger... like window size bigger. Notice the gross itchy insulation and the 2x4 that is right in front of the window.

Here it is!!! The window!!!! I am so excited, it lets sooooo much light into the bathroom. Unfortunately, the glass needs to be replaced on the entire window, but more on that later.

Yes, the window is higher than the ceiling. I figured this out last night when I was thinking about how tall the window was vrs how tall the ceiling was. It was expected, but still annoying. This could be why the window was covered up?

So then I decided to go ahead and remove the rest of the wallpaper...

And remove the door on the linen closet :-) I wanted to keep going and remove the door frame, but I decided to wait and see what Mike wanted to do about the frame.

Last night we went to Lowes to try to figure out what to do about the window. We were thinking of just getting a new window. After talking to the guy at Lowes, we quickly realized that we couldn't afford to replace our original wood window with a new wood window. We'd have to get a vinyl window. And, Lowes charges $400 to install a single window! The install price plus the window price would probably be around $700! There's no way we can do that. If we get a new window, we're going to have to install it ourselves. I'm sure we can do it, we'd just need to find/borrow a big extension ladder. I'm also having huge issue with putting a vinyl window in our house b/c the rest of the windows are the original wood. The other option is to just replace the glass. This is what I'm leaning towards. This was a big reason for going ahead and uncovering the whole window, I wanted to see what kind of shape the frame and rest of the window were in. It looks really good, so I think I'm going to call around tomorrow and try to find someone to just replace the glass. We'd probably get the top to be clear glass and the bottom to be obscured glass since it's a bathroom.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, we had decided to take the door off of the linen closet and just paint the shelves. I think that this will make it much more accessible (except now I need to make sure it's clean and organized), and it will help open up the tiny bathroom even more.
Now I just need to wait for Mike to come home and see what I did.... hehe.

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closets and mystery windows

It's been another productive weekend for us, even though it started off on a bad note. On Friday we had another floor refinishing guy come out to give us another quote. Right away I felt more comfortable with the second guy, he seemed much more experienced. But, he also said that he didn't think he could do anything with the floors downstairs. He said that they are too thin (which they are) and will just start to splinter even more if he would sand them. He recommended new floors... Mike and I are still trying to decide what to do about this, there's no way that we can get new floors for the entire downstairs anytime soon. The first floor guy seemed to think he could refinish them, but now I'm really doubting that he knew what he was talking about, just based on several other things that were said. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!

On to the fun pictures! The big project of the weekend was to spackle, prime, and paint the closets in our bedroom. Our bedroom actually has two closets (one of the closets used to be a small hallway that connected our bedroom to the big back bedroom, at some point this was changed into a closet, good move since it's an old house and needs more closet space). One closet is slightly bigger and will be my closet, but it was in pretty bad shape. Painting the inside of closets is no fun, it was very hot and with the tall ceilings, they were difficult to paint. But they are done! We just went with "bright white" paint for the walls, and a white semi-gloss for the trim and wood shelves.

Mike's closet before (well during, that's why there is a ladder)

My closet, it was very blue...

Mike's closet after! It's so bright and clean looking! I couldn't get to my closet cause the big clothes box that I still need to unpack was sitting in front of it. You'll have to wait for my closet after picture :-)

But the big adventure of the weekend was the bathroom window search! The upstairs bathroom will be our next big project, and we wanted to try to uncover the window that has been drywalled over.

I'm not sure how well the text will show up, but this is the side of our house, and both the second floor window, and that bottom window that you can barely see are unaccounted for from the inside.

Here was our best guess as to where the window was located.
At this point I feel the need to pause and say that I was soooo excited about finding this window. I really wanted a window in this bathroom and was super excited to see that there was one from the outside. I also really like demo work! Mike was not so excited. I think he was mostly scared. For the past month I would randomly come upstairs with a hammer, he would tell me no, I would whine and put down the hammer.... I would try to bribe him into letting me start hammering at the wall, no such luck. He finally promised me that when we finished the closets, we could start on the bathroom. So, today, I had been patient long enough, it was time to find the window!

The first thing that I did was remove the wallpaper around where I thought the window would be. I was hoping that this would give some sort of indication as to the window's location, but no such luck.

Next, I took my hammer (finally!) and a nail and made a hole where I thought the window should be. Sure enough, it was just drywall, not drywall over plaster.

So then I got out my drywall saw and made a little 2"x2" test hole. You can see the insulation.

I looked in the hole with a flashlight but couldn't really see much except for insulation and some wood bracing.

Because I planned it this way, the test hole was also big enough to fit a digital camera inside (hehe), so I took some pictures in all directions, this is was it looked like up. Yep, it's a window opening alright.

Then I made a little hole in the insulation with the drywall knife (this probably wasn't the best idea, but I couldn't figure out how else to see if there was glass in the window). Look! Some type of patterned/frosted glass!

So then I got really excited and made a much bigger hole (maybe 1'x1') to the corner. When I pulled some insulation back, I discovered that the window was broken. So sad.
I guess that we're going to have to call someone this week to give us an est. on replacing the window. We were really hoping that we wouldn't have to do this, but now we have a hole in the drywall so we might as well go ahead and get it replaced now. I'm not sure if we can have someone come out and just replace the glass, or if we'll need to get a whole new window. Tomorrow night I think we'll go ahead and cut the window completely out of the drywall, then we can see what size the window is and also have a better idea of the window's condition. Anyone have any suggestions/advice on replacing a window?
In other news, I went ahead and got the fancy switch plates... I only got them for the rooms that we have finished painting, so it didn't seem so bad since I only bought 3.
Love the switch plate, but the switches look weird.
It looks a lot better in the dining room with the dark switch. Sorry, I should have taken a picture of more than just the switchplate, but trust me, they look great in the room!
And here is Eze, enjoying the deep windows in our house. I think that this window at the bottom of the stairs is her favorite.
Hope you all had a good weekend, hopefully I'll have have some good news about the house next time I post instead of just bad news about floors and windows!


the great switch plate debate

So previous owner really liked her decorative switch plates. I don't think any of the light switch covers in the house matched... which is fun if we liked her decorating style, but as you've probably picked up on by now, our styles are just a little different... hehe. I should take a picture to show you the wide variety of switch plate options just in our house! Although, I think we may have thrown some of them away already.

Anyway, after paining the living room and dining room, we realized we needed new light switch plates. The outlet plates are fine b/c most of the outlets are located along the baseboards and just have dark matching plates on them. Hardly noticeable, not worth changing out. So we went of to Lowes to get some light switch plates. 66 cents later, we were the proud owners of 3 brand new white plastic light switch plates. Cheapest house purchase yet! They match, they are white and clean looking... and just so boring. And they look so cheap next to all of the other finishes in our house. Then, while at the mall over the weekend, I spied these at Restoration Hardware. Can you fall in love with a light switch cover???

I think I need them. So what if we could buy enough plastic plates for the whole house (and probably the neighbors house) for the same price as just one of these? Most of the rooms only have one light switch... Maybe if I only buy one at a time, it wouldn't seem so bad :-)

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table is here!

what the living room actually looks like now with our furniture in it

hehe, this just proves that the floors aren't very level! We tried to put this bookshelf in the corner of the living room.

after putting something under the legs to help make it level, much better!

new dining room table! Someday we'll get new matching chairs, but this will work fine for now. We're going to try to sell that couch, sadly it just doesn't fit in the house.

another view of our table (with our super cool mirror)

We also rearranged our bedroom tonight, but I forgot to take some pictures. Woops! Hopefully this coming weekend will be as productive as last weekend, we're finding that it's difficult to get much done during the week.

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living room?

Below is my 5 min. photoshop attempt at what I was thinking for the living room... but I really don't like how it's turning out. The green couch and chair are what are currently in the room, and you can just see the edge of the tv stand at the bottom left of the picture. Everything else was added in with photoshop (except for the cat Trevi, who is looking kind of scary with his bright eyes on the back of the couch.) We've been looking for a rug for this room for awhile, and finally ordered the pewter one below from Crate&Barrel. I wanted something neutral, but not brown b/c the room already has so many brown tones in it. A light colored rug would have looked nice, but with 4 pets that really wasn't a great option for us. So I really like the rug, as well as the light fixture. The light fixture is from cb2, hopefully we can make a trip up to Chicago and purchase that sometime soon. I'm also searching for some simple roman shades for the windows, but am having a hard time finding some that aren't super expensive b/c of the non-standard size. And while I liked that coffee table in the store, it looks all wrong in the room. I think I need to keep searching....

I did come across these chairs today on Target's website, the price is great! What do you think about a couple of these in front of the window instead of that green chair/ottoman? I think that the smaller scale would really help make the space seem more open, and we could use the green chair/ottoman in another room. I'm not big on matchy matchy furniture, and I think that is part of the reason why I'm not crazy about having so much big green furniture in one room.
Today the dining room table was delivered, I'll try to post some pictures later! Mike said it looks really good, but it does take up most of the room. Of course, it probably doesn't help that our extra couch is now in our dining room cause we have no where else to put it :-)

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shower curtains and spray paint

We got a lot done this weekend! Yay! Our main goal of the weekend was to finish up all of the painting in the living room, and by 11:00 pm on Saturday, we had already reached our goal! First, we decided to try spray painting the pink radiator:

We had to clean the radiator before painting, we found that this duster worked well.
Next we used some cheap shower curtains taped to the wall to protect the walls from the spray paint. Shower curtains are way less expensive than drop clothes :-)
5 cans of high-heat white spray paint later and the radiator looked so much better!
Next we painted the walls (2 coats of paint), but I didn't get a good picture of that. So I'll move on to the ceiling... This was the most difficult part of painting this room, but made such a huge difference. You can see how dirty the ceiling was in this room in the picture above.
Newly painted ceiling!
Saturday was a long day, but we were so happy that we got so much done. We also had a hardwood floor refinishing guy come to look at our floors and give us a quote on refinishing the floors. It will be expensive, but I think that the number he gave us was very reasonable. We'll probably try to talk to a few more people, but hopefully can get at least the floors downstairs done soon. Today we decided to reward ourselves by going out and shopping for some new things for the room. We went all over looking for a rug, some window blinds, or a new light fixture, but only came home with a vase for the bedroom. Everything is just so expensive... When we got home, we started cleaning the living room so we could move some furniture back in.
This is a picture of the dirty rags after cleaning the woodwork, gross! I was amazed at how much dirt came off of just the woodwork! We also went over the floor several times.
Before I post the "after" picture of the living room, here's the "before" just in case you forgot how pink the room was :-)
And now the after!
I can't wait to put some furniture in and start using this room!

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wallpaper tip from the previous owner

Hehe, this morning, while standing in the kitchen waiting for my coffee to brew, I started opening random cabinets to see what kind of shape they were in. In one cabinet, I discovered the following newspaper clipping, left by the previous owner:

I don't know how much of that you can actually read, but basically it's advice on how to keep wallpaper from coming off of the walls. Thanks previous owner, we're super happy that you took extra caution to make sure that the wallpaper is super stuck on the wall :-P

I also found this poem in one of the other cabinets. Unfortunately, Mike and I were never able to meet the owner, but I feel that you can tell a lot about a person just on their house. Even more so if they had lived in it for 50 years! I started smiling when I read this, I think it was probably a perfect description of the owner's attitude about life.

The first couple of lines say:

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me"

Anyway, I'm off to work! Last night we kept working on caulking the woodwork in the living room, tonight will probably be more of the same. Our new table is being delivered next Wednesday, so that is our deadline for having the living room completely painted so we can move furniture around to make space for the table.

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one step forward, two steps back...

First, just for clarification, we have decided to switch the dining room and the living room in the house. The room with the box beamed ceiling and the stained glass is supposed to be the dining room, but since it's slightly bigger, and it just a much nicer room, we've decided to use that as our living room, and to use the room at the front of the house with the (non-functioning) fireplace as our dining room. I keep struggling with what to call them, so hopefully that will help... Anyway, tonight the plan was to start painting the living room. When Mom and I primed that room a few weeks ago, we had a really hard time b/c for some reason, there are gaps between all of the moulding and the wall. In some places the wall is actually crumbling away. I was hoping that when it came to painting, I would be able to get a cleaner line, but it's not looking so good.

here is the "before" picture, there is also a lot of green and pink paint on the wood, which is even more fun...

we decided to caulk an area and see how that worked, this picture is of the caulk before painting

here is what is looks like after painting.... not the cleanest of lines, but much better than before. Does anyone have any other suggestions? We've only done this to a small section, but will probably go ahead and start caulking the rest of the room tomorrow.... this will probably take forever just because there is soooo much woodwork in this room. Ugh.

While we were trying to figure out what to do about the living room, we decided to see how the wallpaper removal would go in the kitchen. Now, so far we've been pretty lucky with the wallpaper removal in the other rooms that we've done. Apparently, the kitchen, the room with the most wallpaper (cause it's on the ceiling too) is going to be the most difficult. Cause why wouldn't it be??

this little sections took about 10 mins of scrapping and there is still a lot of paper left behind. I just used vinegar and water here, that's what worked on the other rooms.

next we tried using Dif (wallpaper remover) and that seemed to work better, but still will require letting it soak for awhile, and going over each area multiple times. This is as far as we got after about a 1/2 hour... I am not looking forward to doing the rest of the kitchen.

Question for you all, does anyone know why the phone jack would have been installed on top of a piece of wood on top of the wall? This was a very complex mounting system for what seems to be a simple phone jack....

For something more fun and much less difficult/frustrating, here's a picture of our newly painted blue bedroom, with the newly painted white fan blades. The room is a very light blue, almost gray. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I think I like it. I think it will look a lot better once I start putting other things into the room. I need to get a rug and some new curtains, but the duvet cover is staying, and I have several bright, almost aqua, accessories that sound look nice with the wall color. We still need to work on the layout of the furniture and paint the closets, but it's looking pretty good.

please ignore the clothes everywhere, I'm still living out of suitcases and unpacking from Canada :-)

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Oh Canada....

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, we were on a much needed vacation to Mike's family's cabin in Canada. We heart Canada. So instead of house pictures, here are some vacation pictures :-)But, now we're back home and already working on the house. It was weird to come back to the house since we only really lived here for a week before vacation. Tonight we moved all of the furniture around downstairs so we can start some painting tomorrow.

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