Archive for March 2009


Last weekend I were planting grass seed while wearing shorts and a tank top. It was in the 60s/70s all week. This morning we woke up to this:

and I thought Ohio's weather was crazy!

PS - any thoughts on the new blog layout? I don't think I like it... I don't like how the archives and the "about me" stuff is all at the bottom. I do like how the text is wider and how I can post (potentially) larger pictures. Don't be surprised if I keep working on it :-)


under construction

I am in the process of updating the blog layout, let me know if you have any thoughts :-) We'll be back to normal posts soon...

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we have no idea what we're doing

It was beautiful in stl over the weekend, mid 70s, sunny, with a slight breeze. So beautiful that we decided that we shouldn't waste the whole weekend working inside. We decided to work on the yard... we have no idea what we're doing. For some reason landscaping and grass seed and trees really kind of intimidate me. I feel like you could spend a lot of money just hoping what you're planting will actually grow. It probably doesn't help that I seem to be really good at killing house plants.
But we decided to just go for it and see what happens. Luckily the woman who works in the garden department at Lowes was very nice and helpful. We wanted to start with planting some grass. About 1/2 of our yard is just dirt and dead weeds. See how sad Reese looks? He wants more grass to play in.

We decided to work on sections of the yard at a time, so that the dogs could still have a place to play. The first thing we did was block off about 1/2 of the yard from the dogs. I was in charge of putting the stakes into the ground. For some (great!) reason, the dogs really respect any kind of barrier, even if it's only a foot high, like the stakes and orange tape. Then, Mike and I started raking up the weeds and the dirt. That is hard work! We put down 2 giant bags of grass seed, and we've been watering it twice a day, per the instructions on the bag. I really hope this works. Many of our neighbors were outside over the weekend and asked what we were doing. Based on their responses when we said we were trying to grow grass, I'm thinking that it is very difficult to do in this area... Our neighbors (the yard that you can see in the above photos) have 4 dogs that live outside, so that's why they have no grass. We can't really use their yard as a good comparison. You can see how their dogs have worn a path along the fence and around their pool.
Come on grass! We should start to see grass in 7-14 days, I'll keep you posted.

We also painted the office! I love the color, we went with whole wheat, it's 2 shades darker than the antique white that we have throughout the house.
We're still working on the baseboard situation. We are also going to have to install crown molding in this room because whoever did the drywall work before did a horrible job. There are huge gaps along the ceiling.

I forgot to post a picture last week of the new rug we got from Ikea. I felt like our entry needed something. Well, something besides the new door, floors, and fixed stairs... I can't wait for those projects.
I really like how it looks with the light fixture. Hm, now that I see this picture, we really need to do something about all of those cords under the hall table! And we can probably put away some of our winter coats...


our very productive Monday evening

We made a quick trip to Chicago over the weekend and went to cb2 and Ikea to get some things for the house. We kind of went on a spending spree, but it's easy to do at those stores. Maybe it's a good thing we don't have an Ikea in stl! Last night we started unpacking/installing some of the things that we bought. This is big for us, Monday's are usually spent going to the grocery store after work, and then sitting on the couch for the rest of the evening, watching some of our favorite tv shows and enjoying some down time after (usually) working on the house most of the weekend. I guess we were trying to make up for our lack of weekend progress last night, because we were productive! Good thing we have a dvr to record our shows, I'm sure we'll be watching them tonight instead :-) Up first was the new light for the downstairs hallway.
Here is the old light. As you can see, not only was it so not our style, it was also broken and I was constantly afraid that one of the pieces of glass would fall out of the bent frame. I have big plans for the built-in hutch that is in the hall, I just haven't gotten to it yet...
And the new light! I like how it reflects in the cabinet doors. After some back and forth, we decided to go with a simple fixture in this area since we already have some more unique fixtures in the entryway and living room. And we have plans for another fantastic fixture for the dining room. I realized that my love of light fixtures is starting to get out of control.
and the view from the entryway, please ignore all of the extension cords and the dog gate.
We also installed a smaller version of the same fixture in the upstairs hall. Sorry for the dark picture, I took it this morning before work. I really love this fixture, it's simple and gives off a nice glowing light. I think we might try to get one more larger light (same as the one downstairs) to hang in the stairway. What do you think? I have my lucite light fixture in the entryway, right at the bottom of the stairs so I've been having a hard time figuring out what kind of fixture to put in the stairway. I like the idea of having the same fixture in hallways and stairs, with different fixtures in the various rooms. And no, I have no idea how we're going to remove that wallpaper.On to the dining room - please notice the last of the pink, we're hoping to order new roman blinds this week for that window. It's not a normal size, but we found a couple of options online. We went ahead and bought some curtains at Ikea to put on either side of the window. This window faces the street so we need the blinds for privacy, but I wanted to add curtains too. We have also been using this side of the dining room for storage (that box to the right of the couch is too heavy to move, that's where the movers put it, and that's where it's been ever since. I think it's full of books.)
Do you like my new table runner and plates? They were a cb2 find, I've been trying to figure out how to bring some more color into this room.
I might put a small white candle in the middle of each of the green plates, we'll see what I find. I also bought some salad plates that have a green and gray pattern on them. I am probably a little too excited about how nicely the plates match my chairs...
And I got some fun candles for the mantel.
But back to the original reason for bringing up the dining room - the curtains. We put up the new curtains and now I'm not sure about them. I like the curtains, I'm just not sure that they work in this room... I think it might be too much pattern overall because I already have the print above the mantel that has a strong graphic pattern. I think I need to wait and see what they look like with the new blinds instead of the pink blinds, that might help tone it down a bit. If I don't use them here, I will use them in the office upstairs.
They have green, gray, black, and a light tan, so the colors do work really well in this room.
The biggest purchase of the weekend was our new coffee table! We were planning on buying a different table when we went to cb2, but at the store the other coffee table looked really narrow and we ended up with this one instead. I think it's going to take some getting used to, at first I thought it looked huge and I really wasn't sure about it. I think the problem is that I've lived for so long without any kind of coffee table, it just seems strange to have something there.

I really love the wood that it is made out of though, and I think having the shelf space on the bottom will be good for some storage. What do you think? Now that I see it in pictures I think it looks giant again :-) Not that we can really return it, but maybe I just need to start accessorizing it or something? I also think I might move that bookcase that's in the corner upstairs, it could help make the living room seem less crowded.


wood paneling

I know it could have been worse. I've seen many homes with entire rooms full of wood paneling. We looked at house that had "finished" basements full of wood paneling... We only had one wall, but that was enough. The old spice room (Mike called it that because of the wallpaper) had one wall that was strangely covered in wood paneling. We were kind of afraid what we'd find behind the paneling, we couldn't really figure out why they would cover just one wall.
Remember how this room had bright blue carpet? When we removed the baseboard to removed the paneling, we found this. I guess at some point it also had red carpet... I just wonder if that was also with the old spice wallpaper (would have still matched, and we all know how the previous owners like to match everything to the wallpaper), or if the room was some other color/wallpaper at some point... some other color like...
Sneak peak behind the paneling... and.... green wall.

Warning: The next few pictures may hurt your eyes...

Could you even imagine a room painted this bright green color?!? It would be horrible! I only hope that they did not have that red carpet when the walls were this color.
Once we removed all of the wood paneling, this is what we were left with. We decided that the easiest thing to do was to just put up new drywall, the furring strips were already in place at the proper spacing for new drywall. You'd think that would have been a given, but with this house, I try to not assume anything...
Poor Trevi got stuck in the room with us when we were taking down the wood paneling, he really didn't like it. Please try not to notice that his face is dangerously close to a piece of trim with a nail sticking out of it on the window sill. I promise we do our best to keep our pets out of the construction mess.
We also removed the wallpaper! It looks so much better already. That red spot up near the ceiling in the picture above is some kind of mold (gross), we've been killing it with mold remover, it works great. That's after the first treatment. It's basically gone now.
I wish we had a before picture of the closet, but just image more old spice wallpaper, with a matching blue and red plaid paper on the closet shelf. Mike already started to prime/paint the trim in the closet in this picture. Wait, what's on the back of the closet door you ask?
Here's a close up of the closet door, those are old mad magazine stickers! The entire inside of the door is covered with them! I love it! I wish they were still whole stickers, but I think they're fun and I think we're going to leave them. They are on the inside of the door, so no one will ever see them unless they open the closet. It's just a reminder that this used to be a kid's room, I can just imagine what his parents thought when they discovered that he had completely covered his closet door with stickers :-)
And here's the new drywall. Mike and I can drywall, we just really don't like to do it. The door in the picture is the door into the room, the area around the hinges really bothers me but there wasn't much we could do to make it look any better. We had to cut back the drywall because the frame is now set into the wall on that side (since the wall was built out a little for the paneling). The other side of the wall.
On Sunday Mike also painted the ceiling in this room and in the den, look how bright it is! This room took two coats of ceiling paint.Oh, and in case you forgot, here's a reminder of what it looked like before :-)
Now we're trying to decide what to do about the baseboards in this room. 3 of the walls have the original baseboards, the wall that had then paneling does not. I do not think we can buy matching baseboards without having to have them custom milled. I haven't priced this, but I think it will be very expensive. We will also need about 10' of matching baseboard when we fix the stairs, we need to make a new skirt board. We are thinking about just removing the remaining baseboards from this room so that we can use them elsewhere in the house (stairs, other places that are beat up). We could then try to find something similar to put in this room, but could buy a standard baseboard instead of having to have it match perfectly. Or we could leave it as is and have something custom milled to match (getting extra for the stairs). Or we could just try to put a different baseboard on this one wall... we need to make a decision though, we're ready to paint this room!


our apartment

I promise that we've been working on our house! For the last few weeks we've been doing a lot of research on different flooring options and prices, talking to some contractors, doing some online shopping/wish list creating... so I didn't really have any pictures to post. But, we got a lot done over the weekend (well, we both got a lot done on Saturday, Sunday I was pretty worthless cause I had a bad cold, but Mike was super productive!). I still need to take pictures, so I'll try to take those tonight and have a new post hopefully tomorrow.

Along with the last post about the other house we were considering, I thought it would be fun to show you some pictures of our old apartment! Some of you were lucky enough to come visit us and see our apartment in person :-) We lived on the first floor of a 2 story duplex near my school. We lived in this apartment for 2 years and loved it. It was in a nice neighborhood, the rent was very reasonable for the area, and we had a great relationship with our landlords. But, we wanted to buy a house so we had to say goodbye to our apartment. We would have loved to buy a house in that area, but home prices were probably double what we paid for our house, and way out of our budget. These pictures are from right after we moved in, we actually rearranged the furniture about a year later and I liked that layout better. I couldn't find any exterior pictures, but at least you can see the inside :-)
The front door is the one on the left, we had a really long dining/living room and we didn't really use the front half as much. This is the other side of that front room. The desk at the front was supposed to be where I did my school work, but I always seemed to end up working on the couch instead.
Our tv/dvd area. Mike has a lot of dvds, we ended up getting another shelf and filled that one up too. This is also our old tv, it was so heavy and I am glad we aren't moving it around with us anymore!across from the tv. We also painted most of the apartment before moving in, these 2 rooms were bright red and yellow, not really our style. Behind the green chair. I also did a lot of my school work at this table. When we rearranged we put this table in the front room where the tan couch is. We moved the tan couch to where this table is, moved the green chair over, and used the cube bookshelf as a divider between the 2 rooms. Hard to explain but it really was a better layout.The kitchen. It was nice and updated, pretty big for an apartment!Other side of the kitchen. I don't have a picture of it, but that doorway on the right in the picture above goes to a sunroom. The owners had replaced the screens with real windows and removed the door so we were able to use it as a finished room. This is where we put a lot of our storage, the dog cage, cat boxes, etc. Our bedroom. The people who had rented before us painted it this color and we really liked it. The room had a lot of windows so it was still nice and bright. This room also had a super tiny closet, not big enough to hang clothes in.
Our giant mirror. I designed this mirror and Mike and I built it right before we moved to stl. I'd always wanted a big mirror like this to lean against the wall but they are so expensive! The actual mirror is one that we had removed from the condos when renovating, so all we had to buy was the wood to make the frame. I think it cost us around $50? We also made the tv stand for the giant tv. We still use that stand, but now it is really too big for our new tv. The other bedroom (and Cooper). And the other side of the bedroom. The wall you can't see had 2 big closets, so we just kept all of our hanging clothes in this room. By the way, elliptical machines (exercise thing in picture above) are really had to try to fit (as far as layout/design) into rooms... And finally, the bathroom.

Hope you enjoyed the tour :-) I always think it's fun to see the different places people live and how they make each space their own.
Check back later in the week, hopefully I'll find time to update with new pictures from the weekend.

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the one that got away

In the forever house post last week, I mentioned that we had found a different house earlier on in the search that we thought we wanted. I came across some pictures on my computer and thought it would be fun to post them. Everyone likes to look at houses, right? This house was a 1 bathroom, 2 bedroom, and 1 library house. That's right, it had a fabulous library - floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves, complete with a rolling ladder.... It had the most beautiful backyard with one of the biggest trees I've seen. The house was in a completely different neighborhood, in a much more urban area. The owners had just had a baby and wanted to sell quickly, so they were asking a very fair price. We went to see it twice and were going to put in an offer after our second visit, we just didn't act quickly enough. The owners got several offers and we couldn't compete. I was in the final weeks of my thesis project and was already so stressed with school, I probably shouldn't have been looking at houses. In the end, I'm glad that we didn't get that house, it was much smaller overall, the backyard wasn't very big and had too much landscaping for our dogs, and the street wasn't the greatest. But sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if we were living there instead... We'd certainly have more free time, which I could spend reading in that great library! :-)The living room, please excuse my horrible picture, I was only getting about 2 hours of sleep a night at this point. What's with the houses we like and horrible wallpaper?
The (very red!) dining room
The updated kitchen. At some point someone had removed the wall between the kitchen and the living room, you're seeing the kitchen island behind the couch in the first picture. It was a strange layout. The original floor plan was very similar to our floor plan though, just smaller.
The biggest bedroom. The closets were not deep enough for hangers in this room. And I think it has it's own door into the library.
Smaller 2nd bedroom.
The giant bathroom!! It needed some updating but was just huge! It was the only bathroom though.The second floor laundry. My guess is that this was actually the location of the original bathroom and the giant green bathroom used to be a 4th bedroom.And the 3rd bedroom/library. Swoon. Sorry for the dark picture, but look at that bay window and those bookshelves... so what if the room was only about 6' wide and could never be considered a bedroom...

Backyard with really nice landscaping. Look at the size of that tree! This picture is the entire backyard (I'm standing by the backdoor), so not so great for the dogs.
Yeah, now that I look at these pictures again I love our house even more :-) I'm glad things worked out like they did! Anyway, thought you all might want to see what else we were considering.



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