Monday, January 27, 2014


When we took our tree down after Christmas, I felt like the dining area suddenly seemed so empty.  Now - in general, I like have less 'stuff' around the house, but in this case, the dining area literally was just the table and chairs.   The picture below is before I refinished the table and hung a new light, but you can kind of get an idea of what I mean.
It has always been the plan to move the sideboard back over here, but for now the sideboard is standing in as an entertainment center, so until we find an actual entertainment center I wanted to find something else.

I kind of wandered around the house a little trying to figure out what would work here, and when I got to the mudroom - I had an idea.  Our beautiful dry sink was making it's home out there...
This picture is from the summer...right now the mudroom is a mess of slush covered boots and child-sized snow pants.
I LOVED the way the dry sink looked out there, but I felt like it was really wasted out there in the winter.  The mudroom stays cold, so aside from kicking off our boots, we do nothing out there.  So?  I rearranged!

I'm still adjusting to it.  I tucked our Kumquat tree over into the corner where it gets a little more sunshine and I've taken to storing things like my dutch oven and platters out there, which clears up some space in the cupboards.  Although the above picture looks a little crowded to me, it honestly does not make the room feel cramped.
 So.  Thoughts?  I love the piece itself - does it work here?  Any suggestions for those other completely blank walls?   I'm still waiting for inspiration to strike for wall art.  It's pretty bare bones right now!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Hall of Doom

Right off of the kitchen is the hallway that leads to the bathroom and to both of the bedrooms.  This's interesting.
This is an old picture...I promise the board and batten is all painted now! 
To start with it was all paneled with patterned paneling...and by 'all' I mean ceilings too! It's very narrow, but that is kind of par for the course with older small homes, so that was never a big deal.  What was a big deal though?  There were these two strange little transom type things that were only about 6 feet off the ground.

Matt is 6'2" so I will let you figure out how many swear words that lead to in the middle of the night. We were a little worried about what we would find when we opened up those little transom-thingies, but to our relief there was nothing more than old plaster and a few random 2x4s (not actually supporting anything) that needed to be busted out. Of course...then we realized we had busted out spots in our ceiling...
The actual supporting beam sat just a wee bit lower than the ceiling, and we didn't want to mess with that, so we knew we would have to come up with a solution of some sort.  But still - we soldiered on.

We took down the flickering fluorescent lights and hung the simple "boob lights" that everyone else in the blogosphere is taking down.  They aren't the prettiest things I have ever seen - but they are a huge upgrade from what we had before!

We had lots of family help, and in a weekend we tore down the old paneling in the hall and hung new drywall.
(Oh PS - the picture on the far left above is what our floors looked like when we tore up the carpeting).   This was more Matt's area than mine, so after lots of sanding and dust, Matt gave me the go ahead to do the "pretty stuff".  I painted it the same color as the living room (Gelato by Valspar) and then Matt and I worked together to try to duplicate the original baseboards in the rest of the house.  We ended up getting pretty close!

We also boxed out the ceiling beams in rough hand-cut lumber that we found in the attic, to give the look of actual exposed beams.  Since this is such a narrow hall, we really can't hang any picture so the beams add a lot to the look of the hall!

We still have a few things to check off in this area, namely :
-replace basement door (the one in the foreground of the above picture)
-repaint ceilings
-paint doors

Over all though - I am VERY excited about having this mostly done.  Here is one more comparison picture to show how far we have come since the beginning!
I kind of forgot that at one point there was no wall between the bathroom and the kitchen...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Playroom Upgrade

Let's pop back into the playroom shall we?  The last time we talked about it, it was basically a concrete box full of toys.  Remember this?
Yeaaaaah.  Makes me want to pull my hair out.  We started slowly buying the different things we would need for this room to be more functional - for us this meant we needed a storage solution.  We ended up going with a six cubby system from K-mart (because it ended up fitting perfectly under the little window ledge), and in the end we bought three of them.  We had planned on buying rugs to put in here as well, but it is such a strange shape (6x24) that rugs just weren't really an option once we started looking.  We ended up getting a large piece of carpet cut to fit the space.

Funny story - they cut the wrong carpet.  I didn't pick this actual carpet.  But it was already done, and I still liked so we just went with it.
So once we had all of our supplies, we got to clearing the room out, and cleaning the floors.  You might remember that I had originally wanted to paint this room to match the mudroom, but due to crazy strong glue on the floor, that just wasn't going to happen.  I scraped and scraped and just never got anywhere.
See? That is HOURS of work.  And it still wouldn't have made for any sort of smooth finish.

We actually opted NOT to use any type of padding or glue, just in case this space were to get wet.  It is, after all, and enclosed porch.  We have never had any problems with water getting in, but you never know.  So the carpet is literally just cut to fit and then plaid in place.  So far, its been a few weeks and this hasn't been an issue at all.

After that it was just a matter of moving everything in and getting it put into it's place.
It feels SO much more like an extension of the house now, not just the sad cement box that I made my kids play in before.  Also, since this room is right off of the living room/dining room spaces, it is a much nicer thing to see from in there!
( I like that there is a stray boot in the above picture.  That's pretty much the norm here)

So there you have it - our playroom progress.  It took us 9 months to get there - but it is finally a nicer place to play!
And before anyone says "how do you keep your playroom so clean??!!"...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Leaky Situation

Since shortly after we moved in, the faucet in our sink has leaked, not in the traditional 'drip, drip, drip' way, but rather water welling up from the base of the faucet.  Couple that problem with the fact the the silver finish was actually flaking off at a rather alarming pace (think...silver flakes in the Brita pitcher), and we knew that we should probably replace it sooner rather than later.
The problem?  Well...faucets are actually pretty pricey, and nice ones?  They get absurd REALLY fast.  I just can't see myself paying $400 for something like that.  Ever.  We were casually on the lookout for a new one within our price range (under $100), but we didn't want to just settle on the cheapest one - because even the cheap ones are $60 or so.  Enter Lowes clearance once again - and we found this one marked down to $75.  It's discontinued on Lowes website, but online it's around $200.  So...not top of the line - but nicer than anything else we have found for the money.

I really wanted to try my hand at installing this myself - but first we had to dismantle the first one.  Which, as we learned, is a WHOLE lot harder than it sounds.  It ended up taking both of us to just get the old one out, since all of the fittings were more or less rusted into place.  After that though - it was SO easy to install.  Like...crazy easy.

And more water all over the countertop, SUPER convenient with the pull-down sprayer, better water pressure, and it's darn pretty.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Family Catch-up

It's been a little while since I wrote about the goings-on of our little crew, mainly because with the cold weather our days are pretty low-key.  Jack still goes to school two mornings a week, he still loves it like crazy, and other than that we are just here - doing our thing.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I am a firm believer in celebrating the every day.  I love the special days too, don't get me wrong, but it's so easy to overlook the Thursdays(or whatever day), you know?
These little hooligans are growing and changing every day - and it's such an honor to get to share those days (even though it sometimes feels like the movie 'Groundhog day' - the same things over and over).

The biggest news lately happened on New Years Eve.  Some of you probably already know this - but my sweet sister gave birth to another beautiful baby girl.  With 40 minutes to midnight - Scarlett was born!
She is tiny and perfect and beautiful.  I was so honored to be there for her birth, and to document it with my camera. It isn't my story to tell - but you can always find more pictures and updates over on my sister's blog. 

And so - Happy Thursday folks - hope it's a good one!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


A cold blast of air has given us another day with Matt home from work (he is a teacher - schools are cancelled today.  I don't really get that but I'm not going to complain).  And so...I find myself with a few minutes to pop in here and show a real time update.  I posted yesterday about our craft closet, and as I looked at the pictures I thought "I can do better than that" so I grabbed a can of paint and got to it.
They did have an easel chalkboard in their room already, but it has a pretty big footprint, and in a small home it is really just too big.  I had been keeping it in their clothing closet when it wasn't in use, but I can definitely use that space!

It was a simple matter of scuffing up the surface of the door with some sandpaper, and then giving it two coats of paint.  I let it dry overnight and for most of today, and now it's ready.  I'm planning to let them have at it once they wake up from their naps!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cleaning House

It's that time again...the time of year when the chaos becomes too much to bear, and I throw away half of our belongings.

OK - it's not really that drastic, but it is somewhat therapeutic for me to go through the places that clutter seems to accumulate and pare down on things we do not need.  I am not, by nature, an organized person.  I was always the kid with a box of rocks and other treasures under my bed, and I still sometimes find myself keeping things only for the sake of keeping them.  Things like Jack's first birthday decorations.  I mean, sure I could keep one or two things, but not ALL of them, you know?

I started a few days ago, with Sunday marking the big craft closet clean-out.  I say 'big' because...well... got a little out of control in there.

The safe kind of came with the house.  It's bolted to the floor and we haven't quite figured out what to do with it just yet, so that stayed the way it was.  I started by taking EVERYTHING out of the closet and spreading it out on Jack's bed to see exactly what we were up against here.
It looked worse spread out.

I threw away all of the crumbled papers, puzzles that were missing pieces, broken crayons, etc.  I also put aside a full garbage bag of old towels, pillow cases, and sheets that had been hiding in the back of the closet, I will drop that off at Goodwill when we make out final run.

After that it was a matter of reassembly.  I took out part of the shelving to make the shelves more shallow - because I could never get to the stuff in the back.  I also relocated the spare sheets and blankets to the wicker trunk at the foot of our bed.
Ahhhh doesn't that just make you feel better? It makes me feel better!

Are you doing any sort of New Year's clean-out?  I'd love to hear how it is going!

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