Archive for October 2008

craigslist find!

Remember when I said I wanted a pair of chairs like this for the living room, but that I wanted to find vintage chairs, not new?:

Guess what I found on Craigslist earlier this week and purchased last night?
The photos are from the listing. He only had one of them, but was selling it for so cheap I thought I'd go ahead and get it. It's kind of falling apart... It doesn't have cushions, one of the seat straps is broken, and I think just about every piece comes apart. It's nothing that some new seat straps and wood glue won't fix though! And it has no finish on it so I can stain it whatever I want. I think darker like the first photo would be nice. Cushions shouldn't be difficult either... even I might be able to handle that. Now I just need to find the time :-)Here's another picture of very similar chairs, I just really like the style and I am excited that I found one for so cheap!

The bad news is that after we brought it home I realized that the scale is wrong for the living room. It's just too short and looks funny with our current overstuffed green couch. I tried to tell Mike we should just get a new couch but that didn't work out so well ;-) I'm thinking I might put it in the corner of the dining room instead, where it could easily be pulled into the living room for extra seating when needed. I think that a slightly larger scale, upholstered pair of chairs would look better in the living room. Who knows though, once this one is fixed up and has cushions, I might change my mind.


are you sure we're not going to blow the house up?

Even though most people that I know have had their heat on for a few weeks now, our house has stayed surprisingly warm. It's been cool in the evenings, but the warmer sunny days have been enough to keep the temp. around 64*-68* inside. Yay brick house! On Friday though the temp. was around 61* and we figured we couldn't avoid it much longer. No big deal right? Except that we have a boiler, with radiators (as you've seen) and honestly, neither one of us had any idea how to work the thing. Everyone we asked would just tell us how great radiator heat was, but just shrug their shoulders when I would say "super, but do you know how to turn it on??" The only experience I've had with radiators was when I lived in the dorms at college. There they were either off or turned on to boiling hot anytime it dropped down below a chilly 85* outside. Luckily each room was equipped with its own "temperature control device" otherwise known as a window - all dorm windows would be wide open in the winter to try to balance out the boiling. Very energy efficient.

So anyway, we went down to the basement, pulled out the boiler manual, and sat down. Wow, super confusing. Lots of opening valves, turning knobs, checking this and that... something about the water levels... The included diagrams did not help. I'm not sure what we were reading was even in English. After much back and forth (and after I had to explain to Mike how gravity works, don't ask) we decided to just turn it on and see what happened. So I went upstairs and turned the thermostat to "heat". After a few seconds, Mike yelled up "it's on fire!" to which I panic. "On fire" to me = bad thing. To him, "on fire" meant the boiler had turned on and was working.

After about a 1/2 hour all of the radiators were warm to the touch. After about an hour Trevi the cat could no longer sit on top of the radiator b/c it was too hot (he was really enjoying it up until that point). And after about 2 hours the house was well on it's way to 70* so we turned it off again. Everything seems to be working fine, but if anyone out there has had radiators before, are we missing anything important? Oh, and in case you're wondering, the thermostat does seem to control the temperature (amazing!) so hopefully we won't have to have our windows open all winter :-)


4 weekends, 6 gallons of cleaner, and 8 gallons of toner later...

and the deck is finally finished! I feel like this project took forever, but with it getting dark so early we were really only able to work on it on the weekends. It took us 2 weekends to clean the deck (mostly because we kept having wait to areas to dry before applying more cleaner) and 2 full weekends to put the toner on the deck. I'm glad that project is finished, now we can get back to working on the kitchen :-)


you can't handle the truth

I've probably already said this somewhere, but this current kitchen renovation is not a complete renovation. It's more like a paint-over-everything-so-I-feel-ok-about-unpacking-my-dishes-and-preparing-food kind of renovation. Basically we are removing wallpaper (argh!), painting the walls, ceiling, cabinets and figuring out something to do with the floor once the carpet is removed. We're also removing the built-in table and a few cabinets (done!) as well as the very scary trash compactor (avoiding). So we're trying not to spend very much money at all on this project. We even bought the new light fixture (to replace the plastic fruit light fixture that lets off almost no light) on the sale table at Lowes. It's not all that great looking, but it has 3 bulbs in it and it was cheap. Then, at some point in the future after we have saved up some money, we'll demo the whole kitchen and start over. Anyway, one thing I do want to do now is replace the cabinet hardware when we paint the cabinets. I think it will help a lot with just making the kitchen seem more updated and liveable for the next few years. This is the current hardware:
Yuck. I've been looking all over for cheap but nice looking cabinet hardware. That's hard to find! Ideally, I think I'd like to replace all of the handles with more handles, b/c then I don't have to worry about filling holes or drilling new holes since that just adds time. So I started my search and gave myself a $3 per handle limit. I found this at Lowes:
And you also get a sneak peak at the cabinet color test :-) Anyway, I really liked this at first, but now I think it will look too contemporary with the current cabinet style and the other things that are going on in the house. We'll call that one Option 1.

I couldn't really find any other handles that fit my cost requirements, so I moved on to just looking at single knobs. Also very expensive. I did find these 2 options:Basic round knob - $20 for 10, so I like the price, but they are kind of boring for me... Option 2.These are fun and are also $2 each, but I'm thinking that the drawers could be hard to open and close with these. Option 3.

Then, last night I remembered that I had just picked up the new hardware for the bathroom cabinet when I was at Target one day. So I went upstairs and took off the handle to see what it would look like on the kitchen cabinets:

Simple, but I kind of like it. So that's Option 4. Here's another picture I found online so you can see it better:
So, what do you think? Which one do you like best? Or do you have any other suggestions? I know that in a few years when we do the whole kitchen I'll want something completely different so I'm not even trying to think about finding something that I could potentially reuse then.
Or what if I put Option 3 on the cabinets and just use Option 4 for the drawers.... hmmm...



Instead of working on the kitchen this weekend, we decided to work on the deck. We wanted to get the deck sealed before it gets too cold, and the weather was really nice this weekend. Mike thinks that sealing the deck is better than removing the wallpaper in the kitchen, but I'm not so sure... both jobs are pretty horrible. We finished with the deck cleaner on Saturday, and started to put the toner/sealer on today. We've already used 2 gallons and have a lot more to do! Staining the railings is taking a very long time... We started at the balcony and are working our way down, you can (hopefully) see our progress in this picture:

This evening we installed the slide lock on our kitchen door. We also started putting new window film on the basement windows. The previous owner had various towels and pillow cases tacked to the windows to act as curtains. It didn't do much for the curb appeal. We still wanted light to get into the basement so we decided to try out some frosted window film. So far we've done about 1/2 of the windows and I think they look great! I was impressed with how easy the film is to install, and, even better, it's not very expensive.
Here are the front basement windows, with the towel/pillowcase curtain

and here's the new window film, much better!

We're hoping that the weather will be nice this week so we can try to work on the deck some in the evenings. I really want to get back to working on the kitchen so I'm hoping it will start to go more quickly.


I'm it!

Wow! I've been tagged! I'm moving up in blogger world, how exciting!

The rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

Here goes...

1. I am from Columbus, Ohio and am a big football fan. I was born and raised a Buckeye and I spend every Saturday in the fall cheering on my team. Mike is a Michigan fan. This is caused some tense moments between us, esp. when OSU plays Michigan... yikes. Good thing that's only once a season :-) When we lived in Columbus we would run errands on Saturday wearing our respective team shirts and would usually receive looks of confusion/pity/horror.

2. Mike and I started dating when we were 14. I know, I know, who does that? Crazy, right? We got engaged right before Christmas in 2005 and married 18 months later in May of 2007.

3. I am afraid of ladders. Well, not really the actual ladder, mostly that one step between the ladder and the roof. This has caused some issues in my profession (architecture) when I've needed to do the final walk-thru inspection of buildings. It's very hard to remain professional when you can't even hold onto the ladder b/c your arms are shaking so much... at my last job they only tried to have me go on the roof once and then I suddenly became in charge of everything on the check list that you could see from the ground :-) Don't worry, I can use a ladder with no problem if I know that I'm staying on the ladder, and I'm not really afraid of heights.

4. I really like to pretend that I can do anything. All.of.the.time. I have a hard time admitting that I can't do something. This is not to be confused with not knowing something, I have no problem admitting that. But if you tell me I can't do something? Watch out. For example - when moving out of our apartment after college graduation, my roommate's dad was watching me pack up my car. He looked at the pile of stuff that I had sitting outside of the car, looked at the space in the car, and loudly declared that there was no possible way it was going to all fit. I turned around, spent about an hour shoving things into the car, waited until he came back outside to see a full car with just a vacuum cleaner sitting outside of it. Then I picked up the vacuum and put it diagonally into a perfectly vacuum shaped spot. So there.

5. As I'm sure that you've already noticed from the pictures, we have 4 pets. So 2 of us... and 4 animals. And, we got them all at about the same time. After college graduation Mike decided that he wanted a dog. He was living at home at the time. His mom, Mike, and I went to look at these golden retriever puppies, and ended up walking away with 2. They were so little, you could hold them both in one hand. Probably less than a month later, I moved into my apartment and quickly discovered that I was lonely. I really wanted a dog, but we couldn't even think of separating the 2 puppies (and since he was still living with his family and was working from home, he was able to take better care of them during the day.) I'd always had cats growing up, so I thought I'd just go look at kittens... same story, I left with 2 kittens. Now we all live together and the cats and dogs actually get along really well.

6. Wow, it's kind of hard to think of 6 random things about yourself... and I feel like I'm writing way too much and no one will actually read all this. So the last thing will be short... um... my favorite food is mac & cheese. Yes, I'm 26 and still love mac & cheese.

As for the 6 people that I'm supposed to tag, I think that everyone I know has already been tagged... so I'm just going to tag Mike since he hasn't posted anything on this blog yet.


now I can sleep better at night

We had visitors over the weekend! Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and my brother all came out for a visit. We had a great time, lots of good food, some sightseeing, and of course lots of laughter. Especially when we "accidentally" left Alan in the car... And since they volunteered to help out with the house while they were here, we were excited to have Grandpa help to make our house a little more secure...
This is what our door knob on the back door used to look like. For some reason this door is a dutch door (has a top and bottom half that can be opened/closed separately). So the door locked on the bottom half, and had a large slide lock to keep the two parts of the door together. Not only could we not unlock the door from the exterior, it was difficult to close, the door knob was very lose and I was always worried that it wasn't actually shut or locked. We had bought a new door knob and deadbolt set a few weeks ago, but weren't really sure what the best way was to install it since we have the dutch door.
Grandpa and Mike worked on it for an afternoon, and look! Brand new door knob and deadbolt! Yay! We still need to install a new slide lock to keep the two doors together and touch up the paint, but it's so much better already. Don't worry, Grandma and Mom started working on a project of their own, but I don't have any after photos of that, so you'll have to wait. So thanks family for coming to visit! We had a great time and really appreciate all of your help on the house!

Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city.

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window help!

We have 4 windows in our living room that desperately need new blinds/shades. They are not a standard size (only about 18" wide). Everything is way more expensive when you have to custom order it, and even more so when you need it times 4. But here are some of the things I've found (all from JC Penney's website):roman shade - probably would get the ivory color
wood roman shade
roller shade - would get the kind that is straight across at the bottom, probably in ivory
wooden mini blinds, either 1" or 2"
The wooden mini blinds would be the most expensive, and the roller shades would be the least. I normally would not even consider a roller shade b/c I've never seen one I like, but 1) we could actually afford to get them soon, and 2) they don't take up very much space at all when fully open. I'm kind of worried that the roman shades might still cover up the window too much when open, it's hard to see in the picture but the top of the window frame is only about 1" thick above the window. The windows open in the middle, so they are hinged on the sides and open in pairs, like a pair of doors? Does that make sense? Sorry, I don't have a picture of them open. So I really need 4 seperate blinds. The mini blinds that are on there now fit the windows nicely, but they are the cheap kind and are the last horrible pink thing in the room. They need to go, asap. I've also thought about trying to either make my own blinds, or customize some kind of store bought blind... as you can see, I need help! Any ideas/comments would be very appreciated!



The kitchen is definitely fitting into the whole it has to look worse before it can look better category. This is what it looked like this afternoon:the dogs are "helping"

we removed a cabinet... it was coming off the wall, we might leave it off unless we find that we need the extra storage. It makes the kitchen seem brighter b/c it was blocking some of the light from the room's only window. We might just replace it with some open shelving. We have about 1/2 of the wallpaper off of the walls now, and about 1/3 of the ceiling done.
removing wallpaper from the ceiling is the worst job ever. Good thing that I can't really reach the ceiling :-PJust in case you wanted to know what it's like to be me, this is what I get every time I sit down.


the house also wants...

this coffee table. I saw this coffee table awhile ago (I think on another blog?? I can't remember anymore) and I printed it off right away and hung it up at work. I start at it every day. If I remember right, it was from the 1940s and for sale for thousands of dollars. Maybe I should just make some of my own furniture...

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things the house wants

Things are slow here at work lately, which is dangerous because now I spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, looking at randomness online. And the best way to waste time is to look for fun new things for the house! As much as I enjoy (really, I do enjoy) working on the house, I'm also looking forward to the time when I can actually start to unpack some of the boxes and put the finishing touches on each room. We've been waiting to do a lot of the decorating because 1) most (all) of our money right now is going towards paint, new door knobs, drywall, and the 1000 other things our house really needs, and 2) since we need to refinish the floors upstairs, and completely replace the floors downstairs, we really don't want to have to repack everything in a few months when we get to those projects. Anyway, here are the most recent things I've added to my wish list:
This bed is from Crate & Barrel - there is a similar one at Room & Board that I also love. This is the most expensive thing I want... but it's so perfect. Besides, don't you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping? Someday, it will be mine. I am also trying to figure out a way that I could just make a bed like this myself. Besides the legs, none of the frame actually shows so I could make it out of mdf or something like that, right? The upholstery would be the hard part, but my mom and I have upholstered many things before. Mom, do you think we could make this?? (notice how I just included you in this project, Mike just laughed when I asked him if he thought we could make it... seems like a 2 person job) Or maybe I should just start saving some money so I can buy it in 10 years.
And then I want 2 of these for bedside tables (from urban outfitters), I think they will look great with the style of the bed. Lately I've been really into mid-century modern furniture, and my new obsession with the show Mad Men doesn't help.
Remember how I said I wanted 2 of these for the living room? Well, I already changed my mind...
Now I want something like this instead. Except I don't want to buy these chairs new, I'm hoping I can find some on craigslist. I saw some awhile ago before we had the house so I couldn't justify buying them then. Now I'll just search craigslist everyday until someone is selling them. I would love to have a pair of matching chairs, but I might have to be ok with 2 unmatching b/c I think it will be much harder to find 2 of the same...
moving on to the dining room, I saw these curtains in the Ikea catalog. We have one large window in the dining room, I think these curtains would do a good job of bringing in some of the colors from the living room (the green and gray) and would look nice with the antique white walls. I'm having a hard time finding a rug to go under the dining room table, but I'll keep looking, don't worry :-)
Remember when I photoshopped this light fixture into the living room? It's from cb2 and it's huge (34" in diameter). I think that we need something of that size for the living room, but then I saw that they also sell this one:

It's only 20" in diameter, but a lot less expensive. Hmmm... I think the larger one would look better, what do you think? We still need to find a fixture for above the dining room table, I thought about getting 2 of the same fixture since the rooms are so open to each other. But I'd have to hang them at different heights so I think I'd better stick with the original idea of 2 different fixtures.

That's all for now, I'm sure I'll have other "wish list" items to post later. Let me know what you think!



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