Archive for July 2009

round 2 - us vs. 528: part 2

i was playing around with blogger this morning and as of now, have a new blog to do list on the bottom left of the site. let me know what you think! now i just need to figure out how to cross items off as we complete them... but here is the current list with some comments/explanations:

- level floors
- install new floors
- install quarter round

*this will be what we work on next. we will be installing new floors on the entire first floor, except for the kitchen and bathroom. i've requested a few samples to be sent to our local floor guy and am working on some price negotiations. hopefully i'll have something to report on all of this in the new few weeks.

- fix door knob
- fix or replace screen door - did i mention that our screen door broke a few weeks ago? i guess we've moving past just the renovation phase and into some general maintenance!

- new blinds
- new light fixture
- figure out what to do with fireplace

- repair original front door
- install original front door
- fix stairs
- strip and stain stairs
- remove wallpaper
- paint walls
- paint ceiling
- replace light fixture

*this entire project is going to be expensive and very time consuming. i think we are going to need to hire a professional to help us install the door (since the opening has been reconfigured for the current door). we are planning on doing the stairs ourselves, but again, i think it's going to be a long process. we would like to do the painting and light fixture, but with the ceiling height, we need to figure out how we can get a ladder...

- organize closets - our plans of installing some kind of closet organization system have been put on hold (esp. after we realized how expensive they are!!) but we still need to organize the closets somehow. right now most of my clothes are just in stacks or laundry baskets around the room. the cats like it, but me, not so much.

- finish woodwork to match
- paint inside of closet

- finish baseboards (need to fix stain)
- replace light fixture
- new window treatment

- remove wallpaper
- paint room
- install quarter round
- new light fixture?
- new window treatment

*our den is the last entire room that needs to be worked on. we refinished the floors and have already painted the closet and ceiling, but we haven't done anything recently. it looks like this.

- remove wallpaper
- paint walls
- repair ceiling
- paint ceiling if needed

*when the air conditioning was installed (hurried before closing on the house) they did a horrible job at finishing the ceiling. they had to drop the ceiling in the upstairs hall by about a foot to run ducts into each of the rooms. the drywall work is just bad. we felt like we couldn't really say anything because we didn't pay for it, and they also helped us out by finishing the job quickly.


- replace louvered door - i can not wait for this project!!! who installs a louvered door on a bathroom anyway?? we already have the door and a really cool door knob (thanks mom and dad) we just need to find time to stain and install it.


- clean
- paint, paint and more paint
- organize

*there is a reason why i've never shown pictures of our basement on the blog. it has also been our workspace over the last year and is just filled with dirt and sawdust and random tools.

- landscaping!!!
- install new house numbers

- landscaping
- continue to work on lawn

- fix or replace overhead garage door
- fix or replace door

*our garage door opener also broke a few weeks ago so now we can't park our cars in the garage. the door is just too heavy to lift without the help of the garage door opener. the man door to our garage is also in bad shape and i'd like to replace it with something that is a little more secure.

as you can see, some of the projects are little weekend projects and some are much bigger. i'm sure i'll think of other things to add to the list as we go along, but i think this should keep us busy for awhile... :-)

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dining room light ideas

i'm interrupting my to do list post (it's my blog, i can do what i want, right?) to get some ideas about our dining room light fixture out there... i'm at work so this is the only semi current dining room picture (that shows the whole room with current fixture) i have:we are in the process (yes, still) of selling the extra couch... if anyone wants it, let me know! i might even give it away at this point! anyway, we also have these curtains on the window. we are planning on getting some type of woven roman shade to replace the pink blinds:and of course, our lovely chairs:
we need to replace the light fixture. it's the same fixture that was in the living room before we replaced that one, it's old, and now it's covered with paint and 1/2 broken cause we weren't very careful when painting the ceilings (thinking we would have replaced it by now). awhile ago i came across some light fixtures that i loved but were way expensive (very very expensive), but i thought i could make a similar one somehow on my own. after some research, i found this diy fixture:
i can't find the photos of the original fixtures, but essentially they were some version of this, with clear glass balls mixed in with a few light bulbs. i drew up some plans and made some sketches and decided to design/make my own fixture. we even bought a large number of glass balls last time we were in chicago. and they have been sitting in a bag in our dining room ever since. i still love this idea but am now wondering if it is still going to work with the rest of the space. plus i still need to make it and i'm getting impatient :-) last night i was going through the west elm catalog and come across this:
i really like the woven texture, i think it would be a nice compliment to the woven chairs in our living room. and the price isn't bad... i've also have had this similar fixture from ikea in the back of my mind:
the ikea fixture is about 1/2 of the price of the west elm fixture, but i think i like the west elm fixture more. i think that both would look great in the space. but i'm not sure i'm ready to give up on the glass fixture yet either... plus i already have most of the pieces i would need. all that is left is the actual light fixtures (i think i can get them at lowes), some type of wire, and some kind of ceiling canopy. i think i could finish up that project for under $50.

so what do you think? stick with the original plan and just wait until i have time to make the glass fixture? or think about going with a new direction (a woven fixture like the ones above?) or something else completely different?

for reference, here is a shot from the dining room into the living room, keep in mind that this fixture would need to compliment the large drum pendent that we have in the living room. i like mixing different pieces in unexpected ways, so i don't really think i need to stick with one overall "style" - i think the photo above really describes me best with the eames chairs mixed with the clean lines of the bamboo table.

maybe i need to take a better photograph of the current dining room and photoshop in some different fixtures.


round 2 - us vs. 528

a year ago today... we were frantically working on our house with mom, trying to get everything ready to move in!! we closed on our house july 18th of last year and celebrated one year of home ownership over the weekend. i would have done a fun post to celebrate, but we were both in columbus for a bridal shower, bachelorette and bachelor party :-)

anyway, a year ago i made a list. those of you that know me, know that i'm a big list maker. i make lists to remind myself of the lists i need to make (got that?). i tend to forget, well, everything so i've found that lists are the best way to keep me on track and focused. so about this list that i made a year ago... it was titled "round 1 - us vs. 528" and looked something like this:

i purposely posted that small so you can't read it and see how incredibly ambitious/detailed/crazy the list was. really, i'm embarrassed.

this list has been on our fridge for the last year. we have crossed things off, revised tasks, added to it, and in very exciting moments, put giant check marks next to the completed items. there are still some things left on the list, but considering that i'm starting to get sick of looking at it, it is mostly complete, and it is just one more thing that makes our house a project and not a home, i think it is time to move on. the list is coming down.

now you are probably confused. i said i need lists and now i'm taking the list down?? clearly we are no where near being done working on our house... i've decided that instead i will make the new and improved list an online blog list only. we have big plans for the next year and i'll be posting our thoughts and ideas over the next few days. we'll call the blog list "round 2 - us vs. 528". it will not have nearly as many items as the first round (at least i hope not!) but will have some larger projects that will take more time/effort/money to complete. i'll divide it up by room, just like i did the first list. and now i'm getting excited about making a new list... something is wrong with me.

besides, blog lists will be much easier to ignore than giant lists on the fridge ;-)

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let me outta here!

sooo... for those of you that own dogs, i'm sure that you know that sometimes, dogs get sick. and when a dog gets sick, it can be very very very gross. our dogs are generally pretty healthy - they only eat their dog food and some occasional treats, they don't eat any table scraps or anything like that, so luckily, they don't get sick very often. but when a 75# dog does get sick... bad scene.

the other night, i got home late and walked in the front door and was greeted by the most. horrible. smell. ever. it was so bad that i didn't even fully enter the house. i yelled for mike (who was upstairs) and asked him what was going on. he replied that a dog had gotten sick at some point during the day and he had already cleaned it up but was upstairs trying to avoid the overpowering gross smell. then he tells me to go look in the kitchen and see if i notice anything.

now, the dogs are gated in the kitchen during the day while we're at work, so the kitchen is where they were when one of them got sick. it was now very clean, but it still smelled horrible. i started looking around the kitchen and finally notice what mike was talking about...

they (i'm assuming the one that was sick, which was cooper) had chewed the door knob. the new doorknob on the back kitchen door, the one we had installed not that long ago... it was destroyed. the thumb latch is completely missing, the knob is very dented and scratched. i was certain i was going to find dog teeth on the ground, i have no idea how the dog didn't hurt himself by chewing it like that.

i didn't know if i should be impressed that the dog realized that the knob was the key to getting outside, or annoyed that we now need to replace it all over again. i also am unsure if the dog was trying to get outside before he got sick, or if he got sick and was then afraid he'd get in trouble for making a mess? either way, i can't believe he chewed the doorknob! if we didn't have a deadbolt on the door, i'm pretty sure he would have gotten outside. the door itself was fine, as was everything around it.

and i did take a picture to share with you all but my home computer has some kind of nasty virus and i'm unable to do anything with it right now. i'm posting this from work. hopefully we can get the home computer fixed soon!!

oh, cooper seems to be fine now, although i'm kind of afraid to know what happened with the missing piece of the doorknob...


stay strong...

i saw this image over at apartment therapy today... i try to remind myself that one of the big reasons why we bought our house was because of the untouched woodwork. but then i start to see how beat up the baseboards are, and the places that are in need of repair, and how in reality every room has a different color of woodwork... and i see pictures like this:
and i have to try really really hard to not to start wanting to paint some of it... i love the crisp white woodwork with the natural stained doors. and the wall color? love, love, love. sigh....


radiator love

when we install the new floors downstairs, we were planning on doing it the right way. we were planning on having someone (plumber? hvac guy?) come in and temporarily remove the radiators, we would install the floor, and then reinstall the radiators. we finally found a company that is willing to help us out with this, most of the places we call just don't deal with radiators anymore. this company will... but for a price. a very high price.


so now we're thinking of possibly leaving the radiators in place and installing the floor around them? i know it's not the best solution, but i'm not sure that we can justify spending 1/3 of our floor budget on moving 3 radiators. the floors upstairs were installed after the radiators, they just cut around the little feet and you can't really tell unless you were to look closely. if, at some point, someone wanted to remove the radiators, they will be patching the floor anyway because of the piping. hopefully it won't be that difficult to work around the radiators.
here is the floor we are currently looking at: bruce ecostrip in gunstock. it is a prefinished solid red and white oak mix hardwood floor with square ends and edges (a must for us) and is 5/16" thick. typically hardwood floors are 3/4" thick. i haven't heard much about 5/16" thick floors, but we are leaning towards them because 1) they are less expensive, 2) we are getting a prefinished floor that will come with a finish warranty, this particular floor has a 25 year warranty on the finish. we will not be living in the house for 25 years anyway, and it can still be refinished 2 or 3 times should it need it some point in the future. and 3) the thinner the floor, the less weight we're adding to our already uneven floors and we can get away without having to remove baseboards or cut doors when we do the install. we haven't seen the bruce ecostrip in person, but we saw similar bruce floor a while ago and really liked how it looked. we want the square edges and ends, that is hard to find. the ecostrip has (according to their website) the highest abrasive resistant finish that they offer, and it does come with a commercial warranty. i've found that it is difficult to get commercial warranties on stuff like this, so the fact that they even offer it leads me to believe the finish is extra strong. even better with our dogs :-)what do you think? ok to work around the radiators? do you like the color/finish? i think it's a pretty close match to our existing floors...


happy 4th!

why i love st. louis: free concerts in the summer with fireworks! we saw counting crows last night at the arch, had a great time.










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it's the little things

as we quickly approach our one year anniversary of home ownership (ah!!), we've found that lately, we've both been very frustrated and just feeling kind of blah about our house. not that we don't love our house, we do, but time and effort has been spent on other things and our house projects have been on standby for the past few months. just when we think we're ready to get back to the renovating, reese needs surgery, we go on vacation.... our next 7 weekends are already spoken for and full of fun activities. to add to all of this, our next planned renovation project is a big one - we're going to put down all new hardwood floors on the entire first floor of the house (minus the kitchen). we're excited to both work on this project and have it completed. the current floors are hard to keep clean because they really have no finish on them, they are splintering up all over the place (because they are so thin, the top groove portion of the tongue and groove can come up very easily, causing large splinters of wood), and they just look bad with some large stains and scratches. not to mention the fact that we still just have a piece of plywood at the bottom of our stairs where the hardwood is missing...

we've found, that over the last year, it's very easy to not fully live in the house because there is always some project, that we want to do, someday... for example - we might lean some pictures up against the wall where we want to hang them, but we don't hang them because the wall still needs to be painted. we haven't unpacked really any of our decor items because we know we'll just have to pack them back up again when we move furniture to do the floors. we haven't unpacked all of our clothes cause we might get closet organizers. when we're busy with working on the house, these things make sense and don't really bother us. but now that we're kind of on hold, all of those little things are really starting to bug me. a lot. i guess that for me, the house either needs to be a construction zone, or it needs to be a home. i'm fine with it going back and forth and switching as we work on projects, but i don't really like living in this inbetween state, esp. since it's been that way for months.

because of all of this, we decided that we're going to give our house a major cleaning and organizing, and start to put away, hang up, touch up, whatever little things need to be done. hopefully, by doing this, we can move past construction zone and just enjoy living in our house for a little while.

we started last night by hanging up the photographs we bought at an art fair months ago.
this one is across from the built-in hutch in our hallway.

i think we were drawn to this artist's work because his photographs reminded us of our house... for some strange reason... :-) by the way, that frame is from target and i am really happy with how the wood of the frame matches the woodwork in the hallway.

we had a hard time finding a frame for our second photograph (can you spot it?), i'm still not super happy with what we ended up with, but i think it looks ok all together. we finally got a matte for our keep calm print. now i just to find something else for the frame in the top right corner, and i might replace the 3 photographs in the middle frame. i like this arrangement though cause i can easily update or even add to the layout.

here's the new photograph - at first it almost looks like a spider web and then you realize that it's actually just a wall with an outlet.

i also gave up on my idea of having fresh herbs in the kitchen. they grew... but not very well. i don't think i gave them enough space in the little greenhouse, and with the cats, i don't think we have many other options for herbs inside. so instead i got a few new little house plants.

oh - our orchid lost its flowers a little while ago but still looks like it's doing ok (ignore the one dead leaf) - anyone know anything about orchids? will the flowers grow back? also, maybe i should add "clean the windows" to my to-do list...

and finally, a slightly blurry, but much better looking, reese. he seems to be getting better slowly, i've noticed that he's walking a little better now and just seems to be more happy overall. he's such a good dog :-)



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