the big announcement

June 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It took a little longer than anticipated, but I’m back with the news you’ve all been waiting for (or not).

The BIG BLOGGY news.

I’m moving.  Blogs.

You can find our latest adventures in home renovations at homeinthecountry.wordpress.com!

I hope you’ll all join us!

wordless week

June 17, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m feeling a bit wordless this week, so I’m going to take a little bloggy break. I promise to be back sometime next week with a big bloggy surprise! (And, no, grandpa, I’m not pregnant).

Until then…

a lighter and brighter oak paneled office

June 12, 2009 at 8:00 am | Posted in Our Home, Our Study | 15 Comments

In addition to destroying and rebuilding the bathroom, and painting the bedroom, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time brightening up the oak-paneled office.  Since I’m currently unemployed working from home, I thought it would be a good idea to take care of the office sooner rather than later.  You know, so that I’ll have a cute place to blog, pay bills, and search for a new job.

Our office was originally a manly cave of wood and green-ness.  Totally not our style.  Also, the valences in the house were driving me nuts.  Our windows are much smaller than the windows in our Minneapolis home, and thanks to the woody wonderland outside of our walls, very little direct sunlight streams through them.  Therefore, covering 1/4 of them with a dark valence is just not working for me.  I’m planning on replacing most of them with drapes that will hang to either side of the window.

Anyways, the office “before”:

And, the newly-painted, but furnishing-less “after”:

To be honest, I’m just not sure about the color.  I wanted a light, subtle yellow, but I’m undecided about the end result.  It took about 50 coats of primer + paint (and I had to cut in with a paintbrush in all of the grooves), so I may furnish the room and then decide whether I should change it.  What do you think about the paint color?  Any alternative suggestions?

The drop ceiling in this room drives me nuts, too.  Any cheap/easy fix suggestions?  Otherwise, we are inclined to leave it until the rest of the house is painted/styled.

there are rooms in our house that are not our bathroom

June 11, 2009 at 4:56 am | Posted in Before, During, Our Bedroom, Projects | 2 Comments

By this point, I’ve talked so much about our lovely bathroom remodel-in-progress that I’m sure you’re all wondering: is that it?  Don’t they have other rooms in their house?

Or maybe you are not wondering that, and that is fine.  But in my crazy little head, while scraping wallpaper off of the dining room walls for 5 hours today, that is what I imagined you might say.

Anyways. The master bedroom was painted in our first week of country homeownership, and has been abandoned ever since.  I’ve got some big plans for the MB, but have been scurrying around picking out bathroom tile and whatnot, so they have not yet been realized.

Here are our bedroom “befores”:

And “afters” (or “in progress”):

Although you can’t tell from these photos, we I did paint the bedroom a brighter and prettier shade of blue (Dainty Oatlands Blue by Valspar).  If you remember, I wanted to paint the room navy, but in the end, you were right – it would have been too dark.  (Also?  The hubby said no, and I actually listenedFor once.)  I took this picture to prove that we did paint a brighter blue – the wall closest to Barley Dogg is our new blue, and the wall to the right is the old, faded blue.

The trim will stay a creamy off-white for now.  Not because we’re in love with it, but because our metal closet doors are a similar color, and because I’m not sure how to get at all that trim without painting the carpet (and I hate using painter’s tape or plastic/canvas).  We hope to eventually replace the carpet with wood and the metal closet doors with wood doors, and until then, we decided it would be best just to leave the creamy off-white.

You’ll also notice that we don’t have furniture to fill our new MB.  Our MB in our Minneapolis house was barely big enough to fit a bed and nightstand, and our current MB seems to have almost twice as much space!  We hope to purchase matching nightstands, a dresser or two, and maybe even a comfy little lounge chair.  I want to hang some light and breezy curtains – high and to the outside of the windows to make the windows appear bigger, of course, and then we’ll add some pictures.

And, on a totally unrelated note, I’m posting this cute little guy for Katie.  We’ve seen lots of little frogs and toads around our house recently, and they always manage to scare the crap out of me.  Monday, a little green tree frog decided to visit us and took a tour of our front hall.  Luckily, the plumber (who was attending to the upstairs bathroom plumbing) swooped in and saved the little guy, planting him safely on a bush outside.  Much to Jason’s disappointment, I did not capture a picture of the tree frog because I was too busy jumping up and down and squeeling like a girl forgot to bring my camera to the house that day.

Bathroom Tile Ideas

June 10, 2009 at 8:10 am | Posted in Inspiration, Our Full Bathroom | 6 Comments

Now that the tub is in, the plumbing has been re-done, and the walls will be put back in place today, it’s almost time to tile! I’ve been searching the internet for a bit of subway/hex tile inspiration, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you!

I like the floral border in this one, and how it coordinates with the stripe on the wall.  And actually, this color is reminiscent of our old toilet, sink, and tub.  If only we’d have found this tile job under the carpet that was glued to the walls – we would have polished it up and kept it all!

(From malamutechaos on Flickr)

And this picture makes me wish we had time to special-order light gray or blue tile for the bathroom.  I would sprinkle some of these flowery shapes throughout the bathroom floor.  But!  We’re still not living at the house, and at this point, we’re choosing readily available supplies over those that we’d have to wait for.

(From yecatsml on Flickr)

I love the border on this floor, too.  How cute is the little chain of flowers?

(From awnisALAN on Flickr)

I like this mix of flowers and dots.  Earlier today, I marked off a pattern like this for our bathroom, and Jason gave me a not gonna happen look.  So it might be back to the drawing board.

(From bitchcakesny on Flickr)

This bathroom showed up on Design Sponge as I was preparing this post.  I love the dotted border around the edge of the room.  I wonder if this counts as less elaborate and is therefore something that my husband would allow?  We’ve agreed on most things so far, but will be compromising on floor tile design, sink type (wall-mounted vs pedestal), and whether to insert a glass tile border near the edge of the white subway tile that we’ll be installing on the walls and bathtub.  Stay tuned as I put my powers of persuasion to work!

(From Design Sponge)

new white tub

June 9, 2009 at 7:56 am | Posted in During, Our Full Bathroom, Projects | 4 Comments

Over the weekend, we got out the crowbar and sledge hammer and continued destroying the bathroom.  It was awesome.  I took a hammer and crowbar to the walls, and Jason sledged out the tub.

We He also removed the toilet and vanity, and I pulled out the linoleum flooring.  Luckily, our walls and subfloor are in really great shape and shouldn’t require too much repair.  Yay for the previous owners using quality (albeit ugly) materials!

Yesterday, our plumber and contractor came out to install the tub and replace much of the in-the-walls plumbing.  It took 4 men to get the 350 lb cast iron tub that we purchased up the stairs, but I think it was worth it – this tub will last forever (or until the next owner takes a sledge hammer to it).

Our plumber had to raise the height of the shower and move some of the sink pipes to accommodate a new sink.  Tomorrow, we’ll have the light fixture raised about a foot (I think the previous owners must have been really short), and a few electrical outlets installed (there are none currently in the bathroom).  Then, it will be time to rebuild!

Bathing Beauty

June 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Our Full Bathroom | 6 Comments

Tomorrow, this beauty will make it’s appearance at my house:

(Kohler)

We’re in the midst of picking out tile (wall + flooring), toilet, sink, and faucets.  It’s fun, but also aggravating.  Who knew there would be 5 billion different toilets to choose from – each one with a different shape, water capacity, flush, and price point?

J and I will remove what little remains of the bathroom Friday and Saturday, and then we’ll begin to put it all back together on Monday (with help, of course!).

UPDATE (11:25pm): I just won this bathroom faucet on ebay for ~$100-200 less than list price. I am *thrilled*!

weed or flower?

June 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Our Home | 11 Comments

I have a question for you guys, but first – my peonies have bloomed.  *love*

I plucked a few of them and stuck them in the cleanest corner of my kitchen.  You wouldn’t be able to tell from this picture, but the rest of the room is covered in boxes and packing material.  Sigh. Anyways, this girl could get used to having fresh flowers in the kitchen.  This girl will not get used to the wallpapered flowers in the kitchen.  Those are scheduled to be removed.

As I’ve been messing around in the yard, I’ve had to play a little game of “weed or flower?” with several separate plants.  I am clueless.

So, what do you think?  Weed or flower?

Bonus points if you can tell me the name of this one!  It’s about 12-18″ tall and is located in the partial-full sun part of the garden.

Country Living: Week 1

May 31, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Lesson Learned | 13 Comments

This week, we learned lots of fun things about living in the country.  Like, there are ticks here.  And, when I discovered one on my leg after walking around our backyard, I screamed and pranced around in such a way that it became immediately obvious that I’ve never been camping before.  Seriously.  We’ve since pulled 3 ticks off of Barley (and ordered tick meds for him).  They’re tricky, yucky little bloodsuckers.

Also, we learned that we’re going to have to provide large tips to the movers if/when we move out of here.  The moving truck won’t fit up our 1/4 mile-long driveway, and the movers had an uphill battle.  I felt so bad for them, that I just told them to pile everything in the living room and dining room.  Except the heavy furniture – I let them move that to the appropriate room to avoid potential Jason/Jen furniture moving bickers.  Because usually when we move something, it goes like this, “Pick it up!”  “I can’t, it’s heeeaaavvvvyyy!”  “You HAVE to”  “But I’m not strong enough!” And so on.

If you look very carefully, you can see the moving truck through the trees at the end of our driveway.

Ahem. Anyways, now my living and dining rooms look like this:

Gah!  It’s kind of a drag.  Especially since we decided to spend much of the weekend working in the yard (pictures to come as progress is made!  There is a lot of overgrown-ness and my arms are sore from clipping it!), and the boxes have remained in place, taunting me.

I painted our home office (4 times!) this weekend, and Jason grounded electrical outlets, since (once again) we have a house that is almost exclusively ungrounded.  At least our current home has a plethora of outlets (our previous home did NOT)- there are 7 separate outlets in the master bedroom alone!

On a related note, if anyone can tell us how to identify the first outlet in a circuit, I’ll give you a virtual high-five.  We’ve discovered that if we replace the first outlet in the circuit with a GFI outlet, it would improve the safety of the ungrounded situation.  As for now, Jason has simply been grounding each outlet to the metal box that houses the outlet – the internet seems to advise this solution to the ungroundedness.

We’ve also hit a few local places for happy hours with Jason’s coworkers.  His coworkers (and their spouses) are really a fun bunch and I’m looking forward to getting to know them better!

To celebrate our first week of country living,* we grilled out and had a picnic on our new screened-in porch – grilled chicken sandwiches and fresh Michigan blueberries.  And, yes, that’s the fine china sitting on the little table, because we are classy like that the everyday stuff is still at Jason’s apartment.

*Disclaimer: we are still technically sleeping in the city, at Jason’s apartment.  Because we still have no shower.  I hope to make progress on that this week, so that we can officially live full-time at our new house… I am getting antsy to have everyone and everything in the same place again!

Bathroom Inspiration

May 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Our Full Bathroom | 7 Comments

Now that we’ve completely torn apart the bathroom, it’s time to think about rebuilding.  I’m loving bright, airy, open spaces, especially since our bathroom seemed so tiny with the old shower doors, the too-big-for-the-space vanity, and the cupboard over the toilet.  Now that we’ve removed everything, the space feels much bigger, so our challenge is to keep it feeling big as we add new tile, vanity, shower curtain, and other bathroom goodies.

Here’s a few images of things I love:


(Apartment Therapy)


(Bryn Alexandra)

(Timothy Whealon via Decorology)

(Velvet and Linen)

(This Young House)

Our bathroom will likely end up being a combination of the above, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Now, I turn to you for advice: What are your sources for cheap, but awesome bathroom tile, sink, toilet, other goodies?  Does anyone know anything about re-glazing tubs or using an acrylic liner?  I met with a carpenter today that is willing to help us with the labor, but will allow us to purchase our own supplies, and to do some of the steps that we’re comfortable doing on our own.  He measured the tub, and it looks like our old 1960s tub is 3″ shorter than modern tubs, so getting in a new modern tub may be expensive, and we’re looking for alternatives.  Any suggestions/advice is appreciated!

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