Archive for December 2008

every weekend should be a 3 day weekend

This will be a long post, but it should have lots of pictures...

It's amazing how much more you can get done over a weekend when you have an extra day. Since it's the end of the year Mike had some extra PTO he needed to use, and I was able to take Friday off of work too. We had the party to get ready for, plus we picked up our dishwasher on Thursday night. We must have been extra motivated because we had all of our house work done by the end of the day on Friday. Yesterday was busy, but just with cleaning and cooking, and then today... nothing. We did nothing house related at all today, and it was fabulous. I miss lazy Sundays.

Besides finishing up some projects in the kitchen, we've also been working on the entry and the downstairs hallway. The walls needed to be patched, primed, and painted. Both ceilings were extra dirty and required 2 coats of ceiling paint. I decided I was sick of the green door and painted it with one of the samples that I had left over from the kitchen. Hopefully we'll be able to put up our new (old) door at some point, but at least it's not green anymore. Oh, the yellow colored accent pieces on the door are actually made of plastic if you are wondering why I didn't paint that part too...
What the entry looked like before, with the previous owners stuff. We took out the carpet and removed the wallpaper awhile ago and then just left it alone.
Door priming in progress. Mike was out at a work function that night so Reese and Cooper were helping me.
We painted the walls the same Antique White that is in the dining room and living room. It looks a little more yellow in person. We also finally hung up our coat hook. Our house has no closets on the first floor so we've just been throwing our coats on the back of chairs downstairs.
What do you think of the light fixture? There was a small brass fixture in the entry, but I wanted something that was a little more dramatic and had some personality. This is the first room people see when they enter our house and I wanted it to reflect who we are a little more. I ended up buying this fixture on ebay (my one and only ebay purchase). It's from the '50s or 60s and made of lucite. I really like it because it is so unique, but I've gotten mixed opinions from other people. Most of the people who came to the party on Saturday liked it... Mike's not a big fan, but I think it's growing on him. I didn't pay very much for it, so if nothing else, we can live with it for awhile before replacing it with something different. Or I might just keep it :-)
Anyway, back to the kitchen... Just to remind you of how it was before, I'm going to include some of the before pictures too. I tried to take the pictures from the same angle. We lived with the kitchen like this for a few months before we cleared everything out to start working on the room:
How it is today:
We love the new dishwasher, it looks pretty and it cleans the dishes really well. I broiled some chicken yesterday and put the broiling pan (without even pre-rinsing!) directly into the dishwasher... it came out sparkling clean. We also removed the cabinet that was between the door and the window and put up some open shelving that we're going to use for our everyday dishes.

And the other side of the kitchen before (that's a heavy duty tv wall mount thing that the box is sitting on):
I promise that's the same wall. Removing the table and cabinet made a huge difference. That white cabinet is one of that we had in our apartment to keep some food in, we just painted it the color as the other cabinets and spray painted the handles silver to match. The shelf brackets are from Ikea. We bought the wood for the shelves at a local lumber place and just painted them with the same cabinet color. And we kept the wall toaster cause I think it's fun.
Before with the gross trash compactor.
Look how nicely the rolling cart fits in that space with the microwave and the toaster oven! I love it when things like this work out.
The door on the left is for our 1/2 bath, it's a strange place for the bathroom, esp. since our fridge door opens and hits the bathroom door.
The hooks were an early Christmas present from Mom, we were shopping after Thanksgiving and saw all these great cabinet pulls and we decided I needed some in the kitchen.
I think I'm going hang oven mitts, an apron, stuff like that on it.
We have a few little details to finish up in the kitchen, like the baseboards, but it's basically done. I was surprised with some of the things that I picked out for the kitchen (like the cabinet pulls into hooks) because I tend to go with things that are more neutral and modern. But I really like how it all turned out and I love how there are pops of color throughout the room. I like how the red door works now, esp. with the aqua blue. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen yesterday preparing for the party, and I really enjoyed being in the room.
I think we're going to take some time off from working on the house, with the holidays and everything, so you probably won't see many posts over the next couple of weeks. But don't worry, we have more projects planned for next year!


gingerbread house party

Last night we had our first party at the house - a gingerbread house making Christmas party! Mike and I have been working hard on the house for the last few weeks trying to get everything ready, and we finished all of the projects we wanted to have done just in time! But I'll save those pictures for another post... here are some of the gingerbread houses:
The A-frame house from Trader Joes, by far the coolest kit. Look at all those fun people!

My friend Megan couldn't find a kit so she decided to make her own gingerbread, she made Snoopy's house, complete with Woodstock and Charlie Brown.
Stacy got the award for being the most creative, she made a 1/2 gingerbread, 1/2 pretzel rod cabin. Unfortunately the house wouldn't stay together, so this was as far as she got.
Here's our house, do you like my snowman and the dog on the sled?
Everyone had a great time decorating the houses, eating lots of food, and of course, watching Christmas Vacation twice :-)

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early christmas presents for the house

So far we have installed 3 new light fixtures in the house. Each one has been more difficult than the one before. The first one (the new vanity light in the upstairs bathroom) was actually very easy to install, we just had an issue with the light height vrs the mirror height. Mike doesn't need to see the top of his head anyway. The second light (the one in the kitchen) was our first experience with knob and tube wiring... yeah... but it's working fine now! The third light was what took up most of our weekend. Here is the before - the half plastic / half metal, not at all our style, light fixture in the living room.

First thing we did was take down the old fixture. That was easy enough... but we quickly discovered there was no junction box in the ceiling... and that the old light had been attached to this weird pipe thing... a weird pipe that must have been the old gas line... because our house is so old it probably had gas light fixtures... yikes.
Saturday night we spent an hour at Lowes trying to figure out some kind of solution to hang the new light fixture. In the end, we decided to cut the pipe so it was flush with the ceiling (it stuck out about 2"), and then just attach our new light bracket to the underside of the joist. We wanted to put in a new junction box, but with the knob and tube, there was no room and we didn't want to cut anymore holes in the ceiling. And yes, it's an abandoned gas line, don't worry.

It's probably not the best solution, but I think it's much better than tying to hang the light fixture off of the gas pipe, like it was before. I don't have anymore process pics because at this point because, well, you try to install a 3' diameter light 10' up in the air... with only one ladder. But here's the new light!
We love it! It looks like it just glows and lets off the most beautiful light into our room. It will take up to a 150-watt bulb, but since we have the other lights on the ceiling, we might just leave it like it is now. It's giant but I think that it works so well with the box beam ceiling and the rest of the room.

Now I think I want to get another one for the dining room. Would that be too much? It has the same light fixture that was in the living room... (sorry, this is an old picture, but as you see, the 2 rooms are connected)

In other news, we bought a dishwasher. Remember how ours was broken? We can't wash dishes any longer, we're so bad at actually washing them by hand and they just pile up. And yes, it's only been a week since we started using our kitchen and needing to do dishes. But it's been a long week. And now that we have a kitchen I want it to be fully functioning. And I am spoiled because I've always had a dishwasher, even in all the apartments I've rented. Anyway, I decided that buying appliances is no fun, I feel like we have to super research when spending so much money on something and it takes so much time to drive to every single appliance store (because of course, the price online is not the same price they'll tell you in the store...) In the end we ended up going with a KitchenAid, every KitchenAid had great reviews and we wanted something that we don't have to worry about once we have it installed. Our second choice was a great looking LG that had a lot more features, but I was worried that we'd have problems with it since they are still relatively new at making appliances, and the reviews weren't great. But here it is, we're picking it up on Thursday. We're thinking that if we can slowly replace the other appliances to be stainless, that will be one less thing we have to worry about when we do the big kitchen remodel.

Hopefully it will be easier to install than the light.


it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Tonight we got our tree! Even though I usually insist on going to a cut-your-own tree farm, this year we ended up getting our tree from a lot. I think Mike was happy about this, cutting down a tree is not his most favorite thing, he'd much more prefer to assemble one from a box. But a real tree is very important to me and he usually goes along with it without complaining too much :-)

I love decorating for Christmas. Although now my Marimekko print looks even more wintery. Have I mentioned my Marimekko print on the blog yet? I bought the fabric when I was in Helsinki in Spring 2007. I went for a class that I was taking in grad school, it was a great trip. Everything there was so expensive and I knew I wanted to get something to help me remember the trip. I ended up buying the fabric from the scrap bin at the Marimekko store, and I stretched it over 2 large canvases when I got home. It was above our fireplace in our apartment, and it was the first (and only) thing I've put on on the walls at the new house. I love the print, but Mike thinks it looks like winter. But I think that's what also reminds me of Finland. It was so cold there, with lots of snow...

We had to cut a few branches off the bottom of the tree to get it into the tree stand, so I put the extra branches on the mantel. I really like how it looks, I hope that they will last for a few weeks.
The Santas are sitting on the window ledge above our TV. I need to find a few more decorations to put in the living room and throughout the rest of the house, almost everything we had to decorate our entire apartment just fit in the dining room here :-)


the secret project

Remember a few month ago, when my grandparents, mom, and brother visited? And I said that Mom and Grandma were working on a secret project?? Well, it's finally time to unveil what it is! Here is the "before"... the last pink thing in the previously all pink living room:

They made us new roman blinds! Yay!!! Thanks to all of you who responded to my post awhile ago asking for opinions/advice on what to do with the living room blinds. Almost everyone said that they thought the roman blinds would look best, and luckily for me, Mom and Grandma said they could sew some up for us! The best part is that they were able to do all 4 for the same price that 1 would have been if I bought them from a store.

Um, yeah.... that's not a ghost outside our window, that's what happens when you try to use a fan to get the spray paint dust outside when painting radiators. The dust gets stuck to the screen, and you have a floating white circle. Good times. Maybe we'll just pretend it's a ghost, that actually sounds better.

Anyway, back to the blinds. Here is the amazing after!! Thanks Mom and Grandma for all your hard work, we love how they look! I also love how the cushion and pillows for the window seat turned out, they look so much nicer than anything I could have done.

Here is how they look open: yep, still look super great. Sorry for the bright camera flash reflection, I was trying to distract you from the spray paint ghost.They also made 2 matching pillows to put on the couch, but in my excitement to post pictures of the blinds, I forgot to take pictures of the couch.
I bought the paisley fabric on one of my trips back to Columbus. I really liked how it has some gray in it, it works really nicely with our gray rug. Plus it looks great with our green couch. The fabric on the pillow and the fabric on the blinds is the same fabric, only the blind fabric is a few shades lighter and matches the walls perfectly. Love it! Thanks again to Mom and Grandma for all your hard work. Oh, and Grandpa too, I heard you had to help with some of the parts for the blinds.

Bye pink blinds! You're not even worth saving for our next garage sale...

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we're still here

I don't have any pictures to post today, but I feel like I should at least write an update... We went to Columbus for Thanksgiving, it was nice to have a long weekend away from working on the house (and eat way too much delicious food!) Before we left we were able to get 4 coats of poly on the floors in the kitchen. But... Trevi, as usual, decided to get in trouble and waited until we had put the last coat on, and then walked across the floor. We got up early on Wednesday morning to sand out the paw prints and re-coat before we left for the weekend. Unfortunately the squares that we had to patch are now cloudy looking compared to the rest of the floor. I'm not really sure why those areas dried cloudy, the rest of the floor looks fine. Anyone have any ideas? It was water based poly and we followed the directions on the can. The paw prints were on the very top surface so we didn't have to sand very much at all, no more than what we had sanded between coats.

The past 2 night we've been slowly putting the kitchen back together. Last night we finally moved the range back into the kitchen, and then... wait for it... cooked our very first meal on our kitchen!! We made spaghetti, nothing special, but it tasted sooo good. We also baked a few cookies, they were also delicious :-) I love those already prepared break-and-bake cookies.

Yesterday we decided that we want to try to host a small christmas party for some of our friends on Dec. 13th. We have a lot of little things that I'd like to get done before the party - hang a new light fixture (or 2), put up some new blinds, maybe paint the entryway/hallway downstairs, finish up some details in the kitchen... We're also going to go get our tree tonight and I'll make sure to post some pictures of the tree once we have it all decorated. I loooooooove christmas so I've very excited to have a house to decorate!

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