Saturday, November 21, 2015

One Shade of Grey: A Progress Report

The day I posted my last post, I finally closed on the house.  In fact, about 15 minutes after I posted about how impatient I was, my attorney's paralegal called to let me know we were good to go.

The first thing I did was remove the weird shower curtain rod + too short regular curtain rod above the living room window, as well as what we have dubbed, "the Jesus curtain" which I'm pretty sure was a shower curtain, but it had bible verses all over it.

two different lengths, two different rods... the stuff nightmares are made of
Currently, the window is naked, and a new rod (one that'll fit) has been purchased.  It is the same exact rod that is in the dining room, which I just love.  In fact, I love just about everything that is going on in the dining room now.  Gone is the tomato soup orange-red, the apple-trimmed cafe curtain, and the feeling that the room is a lot smaller than it actually is.

The only thing this color should be on is a Barchetta (it's never too early for Rush humor)
The dining room is now light, bright, and definitely updated.  First, I covered the walls with Behr's Ultra Premium Plus paint that was color-matched to Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray.  I had no idea that you can just walk into Home Depot and ask for a color from a different paint supplier, and had samples mailed to me from Benjamin Moore first, which cost a pretty penny--the shipping was more than the paint sample!  Now, I just find colors I like, go to Home Depot, and buy an armload of samples until I figure out which color I want.  Consumer Reports rated the Behr paint as their first or second interior paint, not to mention that Home Depot is a mere 30 minutes from my house (the nearest Benjamin Moore store is over an hour away).  It's a light grey/beige that looks equally good with the blues, wood trim, and beige ceramic tile in the room.  Since you can also see the kitchen cabinets due to the open floor plan, it was important that those colors work together until I figure out what I'm going to do with those cabinets.

The only red things left are the apples
 My dining table has a story, of course.  In the summer of 2014, I went to Massachusetts to visit my mom.  Whenever I visit my family there, I stop at what I think is one of the best Goodwill stores in the country, just over the border in Nashua, New Hampshire.  I walked in during that visit to see this gem in the window with a price sticker on it for $9.99.  TEN FREAKING DOLLARS!  It just so happened that it was marked down on the color sale for that week, so for five bucks, that puppy was MINE.  Unfortunately, as the employees moved it from the window into the area that one picks up large items, one of those tripod legs snapped from it's attachment.  When asked if I still wanted it, I said, "well, if you can knock half off..."  The manager said, "Done."  So that's how I got my dining room table for $2.50.  My friends Jason and Trinda helped to take it apart and load it into my minivan, and we made the trek back to Pennsylvania with three kids and a table.  Some Gorilla Wood Glue and an overnight of clamping fixed it right up.  It has been well worn and loved, and still extends another foot for when we have guests.

I love, love, love my table.  Oh, and the seats of the side chairs match the stain
The first time I saw the chandelier on the Young House Love website, I gasped.  It's flipping gorgeous.  When I saw the price at West Elm, I wasn't sure if I could swing it.  I slowly started saving for it, but at nearly $400, I wasn't confident that I'd have enough money to buy it before it was discontinued.  By my birthday in September, I was about $175 from my savings goal when I gifted myself $100 (hey, it's my birthday, I do what I want).  The following week, it was on sale for 20% off, and I snagged it for $75 off of the original price.  Sometimes waiting has it's benefits.  Everything else came from  The table runner and fruit basket came from trips to HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx, respectively.

curtain detail

This window is eventually going to be a door to the backyard.  Currently, I either have to walk around from the front of the house, or to go through the garage, onto the back porch, then out that door if I want to access the back yard.   I think a door and a stairway here would provide a faster route, and once there's a patio there, a great extension of our dining room to an outdoor dining area.

The dining room is no where near completed yet.  I still need to put something on those walls and maybe add a buffet or something that'll add some personal touches to the room.  I love how it's turning out.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Weeks Later...

And I still haven't closed yet.  It's down to one signature on one piece of paper so that we can finally close.  The person to whom the signature belongs was out of town until yesterday, so I'm hoping he/she signed that paper and popped it into its return FedEx envelope so that I can at least get in the house by the weekend... not that it'll make too much of a difference, as I'm working all weekend... but still.  I can get SOMETHING into the house.

All of this delay has had a tiny silver lining, though.  I have come to find that the folks behind Home Depot's appliance delivery service are truly dedicated to making your experience the best it can be.  I've had to reschedule the delivery of my new appliances three times so far.  Everyone I've dealt with has done their utmost to make sure I've been rescheduled on the day that's most convenient for me, and they've handled my calls with kindness.  Sadly, it's looking like delivery is going to have to be rescheduled again, unless I close by the end of business today.

Speaking of new appliances, here's what I got:

Samsung 30 inch 21.8 cu ft French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Platinum

I really wanted a refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom.  The kitchen has black and stainless appliances right now (the range and the wall oven) which I'm keeping, so I needed something that fit in with the rest of it.

I'm probably far too excited about my new washer and dryer than I should be, but laundry takes up a vast majority of my time as far as daily chores go.  My bestie has a washer and dryer with a HUGE capacity.  She literally just dumps an entire laundry basket into her washer.  It spins the water out so thoroughly that it takes less than 40 minutes to dry completely.  She let me use it one day when my dryer was on the fritz and I was sold.

Maytag Bravos 4.3 cu ft washer

Other than packing, that's all that is new in my world.  The weather is getting decidedly colder; we've already had our first snowfall and it's cold enough to frost every night since.  That means that I have a very limited amount of time where I can hang my clothes out on the clothesline before they freeze solid out there.  It means I need my new dryer, in my new house... yesterday.  Ugh!  I can't wait to close!!!

UPDATE:  I'm closing in the morning!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Final Walk-through...

I bought a house!

For the most part, the closing process on the new house has been remarkably uneventful... until this week, of course.  I was supposed to close on the new casa yesterday, but due to a failed sewer inspection last week, some work had to be done to the basement bathroom.  Namely, the shower there had to be hooked up to the town sewage in a way that would pass code inspection.  That work was completed as of today, and the new inspection takes place tomorrow, so let's hope that everything is wrapped up by Friday morning.  

Regardless, my final walk through is tomorrow afternoon.  I haven't been in the house for a few weeks, so I can finally make a list as to how many cabinet hinges, drawer pulls, and cabinet pulls I'll need to revamp the kitchen, which hasn't been touched since the house was built.  Once again, I'm dealing with some serious ugly, but it's structurally sound, well-insulated ugly, and THAT I can definitely deal with.  

On design inspiration, I've definitely been loving the Petersik's current home at Young House Love.  I never thought I'd embrace gray/greige as a wall color, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be the main wall color throughout the house.  Currently, the walls are a bright, tropical blue abutted by Campbell's Tomato Soup (the actual color of the soup) orangey-red.  The contrast is startling in a bad way.  Throw in 1960s aesthetic, and you have the rancher I'm about to own.  YHL's foyer is light, bright, and captivating.  Look at that Moravian light!  I LOVE it!  And the dining room!  The capiz pendant light is awesome, and would look amazing in my dining area.  I don't mind if the only drama in my life is from light fixtures.  In fact, I prefer it that way. 

The living room has some issues, not all of which are cosmetic.  The fireplace's fire box was drilled through in order to make room for a vent pipe for the wood furnace in the basement.  In order to make it functional again, I'm going to eventually convert to be used with a vent-free gas insert.  

Living room
The one room that absolutely has to be dealt with immediately is the bathroom.  Apparently, there was a local trend to not install a shower and to put a standard window in the bathing area.  I've tried to contemplate the reasoning behind that, and I'm still coming up empty.  Further, the original tile is 4x4 blue and pink that was painted over with cream colored latex paint.  I'll stop and just let you see it for yourself: 

I'm speechless too.
Possibly the worst feeling is when you have a room that you completely want to change, but it's also completely liveable as-is while you fix the uglier aspects (bathroom!) of the house.  For me, this room is the kitchen.  Definitely a first world problem, but it just screams the need for updating.  On a side note, that refrigerator is from the early 1980s.  It's still going strong, but likely costs a small fortune to run.  I'm going to have to break down and get a new refrigerator.  

Got wood?
The microwave over the stove top(to the far right) definitely has to go.  As it is, it doesn't allow clearance for my larger stock pots or canning pots.  I can't deal with having a stove top that I can't use to its fullest extent... and I don't feel like waiting an entire year to get my apples canned.

There's a small preview.  I can't wait to close so that I can get in there and start scrubbing and painting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Found it!

I'm thrilled to say that I found a home and my offer was accepted!

More to come...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Something Strange is Afoot

... but we're not at the Circle-K.

So much has changed over this past year.  I threw myself into school and I'm proud to say that I'm finally a Registered Nurse.  I find myself exhausted at the end of most days, and I'm working on getting a new routine down.

My Mom and Eldest Daughter
I lost my amazing, wonderful mother at the end of July this year.  She was my constant cheerleader, believing that I can do anything I set my mind to.   She encouraged me to start writing.  She showed me that DIY is so much more satisfying than just simply shopping for something.  She treated beautiful objects with reverence for their history.  She shaped me into the person that I am today.  I miss her so very much, but over the past year, we've had so many conversations about life and love; about strength and acceptance; about focus and determination... the big stuff and the little stuff.  I know that she loved me with her whole heart.  I'll always be awestruck and grateful that I am her daughter.

I'm looking out onto the horizon.  My too-big house on Pleasant has quickly spiraled out of control into a behemoth that I can no longer afford to repair and remodel.  The old lady has given it her best, but after decades of patch-and-fix jobs, she needs to be completely gutted and redone.

March was a significantly difficult month here.  A week of temperatures that hovered around the -40*F mark split a massive water main in town and we were without water for a week (no water = no heat in Pleasantville).  In that time, the pipes here burst.  The boiler failed and had to be replaced, and when the water was finally turned back on, the bottom of my water heater gave out.  About a month later, the ceiling in the upstairs bath collapsed, and an ice dam on the roof above the dining room threatened to do the same.  It feels like I'm running as fast as I can to keep up, while other major issues surface in the meantime.

This coming week, I'm on a mission to find a new home.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shut the Front Door!

Apparently, curb appeal is the difference that sells nearly half of the homes on the market, according to  Remember my whining about how my house has seriously started lacking just that?

My front door has been bothering me for about a year now.  It was natural wood.  It disappeared completely in light of the purple+magenta (purgenta?) door on the front porch that is 40 shades of disappointing.  It looked like this:

The plate under the doorknob has rubbed the finish from the door when a screw was loose.  That crack on the bottom right is a seam that bothered me as well.  None of the detail of the door could truly be appreciated.  I took all of the hardware off of the door and set out to paint.

But first... primer!

After applying 3 coats of Zinsser Bullseye 3-2-1 primer, the stain in the wood was locked in nicely.  See how the door is a yellow-ivory color compared to the siding? That was after the second coat.

on the floor to the left is a wooden shingle that came off of the house...
and on the right is our "emergency" backpack
I really liked having the front door white.  It completely blended into the siding, but *sigh* I just love how great things look when painted white.  Until I saw the color it was meant to be, that is.

I had a quart of Glidden Peacock Blue mixed in a Behr Paint + Primer high-gloss base, then cut in the first coat.  

I'm only 5 foot 4.. stepladders are all over my house
 The first coat was pretty uneventful, as was the second:

I ended up putting 3 coats of paint on the door over the course of a week to really give it an opportunity to dry well between coats.  I took the hardware off and painted everything, including screw heads, with Rust-Oleum's Universal All Surface Spray Paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic.  I had taken photos of the entire process, but due to an unforeseen error, they didn't save on my camera's SD card.  I have ordered a new one, but the rest of the photos were taken with my phone, via Instagram.

The rain started and the door seemed to be a bit sticky, so I didn't want to attach the knobs just yet.  I found a burlap wreath pin on Pinterest, saved some change here and there, and picked up supplies to make it using Stone Gable's burlap wreath tutorial.  I found that working with burlap made me sneeze a whole lot (even with allergy medicine!) but it was super easy and cost roughly $15 to make.  Lastly, I applied a very friendly "hello." from PreciousEmma on Etsy.  

This is how it turned out!

Well, it looked great, but I still wasn't done.  I screwed the hardware back in and started a little Halloween decorating a bit early.  This does have an Instagram filter on it, but this is a good representation of what the door looks like at night (and completely dry).  

I can't tell you how much I love it!  It has definitely upped the curb appeal of the house by instantly transforming the blah wooden door to a friendly, inviting, cozy sort of door.  In Dutch, those feelings are called "gezellig," which connotes a feeling of belonging and welcoming and quaint and, well, an entire cascade of feelings that make you smile.  

Even though winter is coming ("You know nothing, Jon Snow!"), I'm still slowly working on a sleeping porch.  I don't imagine I'll have much more free time this semester to work on it, but my biggest priority for it is finding a screw that will fit the bed frame.  Eventually.  When I can both have my wallet and time to set foot in a hardware store.  I'll leave you with this work in progress, though:

so much painting to do!  
Until we meet again, friends!

*while a lot of brands were mentioned,
I was not compensated or affiliated with
any of them in any way.
I did send PreciousEmma a photo
as an appreciation, and she made it
the photograph to represent her listing
with my permission.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's All In How You Mix The Two

A dear friend of mine and I decided long ago that a person should have more than one theme song that covers different aspects of their lives.  There's nothing better than just hanging out with your good friend, not doing anything in particular-- wasting the best kind of time together.  One of our mutual theme songs is Blue and Yellow by The Used.  I thought it appropriate for the styling of the desk in the entry.

Speaking of themes, notice a recurring one?


Since my tuition bill is looming, I have to style the entry on the cheap.  The least expensive way to decorate? Shop in your own house!  I snagged the yellow painting I made ages ago, took the Mae Chevrette print from the front porch, the green glass teardrop vase from my office, and an adorable photo of Lily.  

The whole setup still needed a bit of something.  I thought I had a sparkly silver photo frame tucked away, but it is no where to be found.  I needed a bowl for my keys or pocket change, since I didn't want to tuck it in the drawer.  I like knowing they're where I can see them and one of the kids (Emily!) hasn't wandered off with them.  

Off to the local Goodwill store to see what treasures I could dig up.  Sadly, there wasn't much by way of vases or decorative bits.  I did find a small, pressed glass bowl for a very reasonable 99 cents, so I snagged it.  Later in the week, I had to go to Walmart for garden stakes (the grapes need to be trained on wire) and they were in clearance for $1.50 each.  Right beside them was a glass cylinder vase for 97 cents and a mango-scented candle for $1.50.  Mine!  The last thing I picked up was a bouquet of flowers for $3.97.  

I had enamel craft paint, Frog Tape, and some Krylon Looking Glass (mirror) spray paint already, so it was just a matter of taping off the new vase, painting the outside with the enamel paint, and the inside with the spray paint.  

The hardest part is making sure the tape is even!
I would highly recommend spray painting before putting the enamel on.  I did it in the reverse and needed to wipe it from the outside.  Spray the paint in, and allow the excess to run out onto a drop cloth or (in this case) scrap paper.  I only did one coat of paint, but I think two might be necessary.  I brushed the enamel on, and I really love the texture it gives the finished vase.  

So, putting it all together, the desk looks like this now

I still think I'm far from finished, but this is definitely far more pleasant to look at than the naked "before" photo:

There is still a ton of work to be done in here.  I'm compiling a wish list of things I'd like to get and a to-do list of what needs to be done (like ripping out carpet sometime in the next year).  For now, I'll just have to baby-step it until I can save enough pennies to accomplish what I'd like to do.

I'm going to leave you with a gratuitous pic of Lily, because she has snored through the writing of this entire blog post.  

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