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.

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.

carpet in the bathroom

May 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Before, Our 1/2 Bath, Our Full Bathroom, Our Home, Projects | 7 Comments

Jason’s been out to our future home (1 week ’till closing!) a few times this week for inspections and whatnot.  Nothing major showed up, so it’s full speed ahead!

One fun little detail that I conveniently forgot to share with you when I gave you the house tour is that there’s carpet in the bathroom.  Only, it’s not where you’d expect it.  It’s on the walls. I kid you not.  Linoleum floors, carpeted walls. *cringe*

The half-bath downstairs sports a lovely navy blue carpet (and a sailboat themed toilet seat).

The upstairs (full) bath sports a lovely rose-colored pink wall carpet.

If anyone can explain this to me, I will give you a gold star.

Gotta love a fixer-upper.  (At least this one has a stove).


May 13, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Our Bedroom, Our Home | 10 Comments

I think I might seriously need to paint our new bedroom navy blue.

Nicholas Hxaslam (via The Newlywed Diaries)

Love it, love it, love it.

(The only thing stopping me from committing to it is that if I hate it in our space, it’ll take several coats of paint to bring it back to a lighter/neutral color).

(before – during our tour of the house)

navy copy(after a terrible photoshop job – pretend the white stuff near the ceiling is crown molding, and that our furniture has replaced the old owners furniture, and that the door is white and the rug is gone.  That is a lot of pretend, but if you’re anything like me, you had two imaginary friends when you were little and can handle the pressure.  And yes, I should certainly be preparing for next week’s move and not sitting in front of Photoshop, attempting to finally learn how to work it, but… well… Photoshop is much more fun.)

What do you think?  With some new lights, new curtains, removal of the carpet to reveal the wood floors underneath, crown molding, and breezy light-colored bedding?  Could it work?  (Am I brave enough to try to make it work?)

Master Bedroom Ideas

May 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Moving, Our Bedroom | 7 Comments

I have some exciting news for all of you:  Remember this sweet little house?  We have an accepted offer on it!  As long as the inspections don’t turn up anything too drastic, we’ll move in in 2 short weeks!

I’ve already started re-decorating the house in my head.  We’ve decided to do the master bedroom first, since that’s been the room that we’ve always done last.  Also?  It’s nice to get your clothing, bedding, toiletries, and other things that you use everyday organized shortly after moving somewhere new.

So, I thought I’d share a few pictures of bedrooms I love.

First up:  I love this clean and cheerful light-colored bedroom.  The soft yellow walls are really sweet.

(Martha Stewart)

Alternatively, this neutral light grey wall paired with a bright and fun duvet is also appealing.  If the walls were painted a light neutral color, I’d be able to easily change out the accent colors in the room (i.e., bedding, etc) if I ever get tired of them.

Porridge Clothing via Design Mom

This bedroom is sort of a compromise of the above – light green walls, paired with white bedding and bright accents!  Fun, bright, cheerful, and easy to change if/when I decide I need a change.

Apartment Therapy

Although, I think if we do put color (i.e., not white, grey, or beige) on the bedroom walls, it will likely be some shade of blue.

Flickr User xJavierx

I’ve been loving navy rooms, too.  Check out how clean and crisp the white bedding and mantle look against this inky blue.  I love it.  But would it make me feel like I was sleeping in a cave?  And if it did, would that be a bad thing?

Domino (via Bryn Alexandra)

And now, it’s your turn: what’s on your bedroom walls?  Do you love it?  If no, what would you love instead?

a real grown-up bedroom

April 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Posted in After, Before, Moving, Our Home, Projects | 9 Comments

Confession #1:  We’ve been sleeping on a mattress and box spring on the floor for the past 10 months.

Confession #2:  I wouldn’t have even paid attention to confession #1 had our Realtor not come through and gently suggested we get a bedframe.  Because we’re not in college any more.

So we ran out and bought a new headboard – Room and Board’s Mackintosh bed (BTW, Room and Board has an outlet in Minneapolis, so if you’re local and on the hunt for quality furniture at a discount, check it out.  I almost walked out of there with 3 chairs and a sofa… even though we were just looking for bedframes… ).  I’d been looking at iron bedframes since we decided to buy ourselves a bed as a wedding present to ourselves, but could never manage to pick one and then go out and order it!

Anyways, enough words.  Here are the pictures.

Before:  (this is even before the days of the queen mattress on the floor… when we were actually sleeping in a full on a bedframe)


I love it!

Looking towards my closet.

The eyesore that is the tv next to the bed.  I hid the cable cords and our wireless modem in the basket below the table, but this is still not a very pretty sight.  I’d move it out of the bedroom altogether, but I like to have the tv on when I’m home alone.  Which, in another week or so, will be ALL THE TIME.  I am not really looking forward to that.

Towards Jason’s closet. Ignore the laundry basket – that’s been moved.

And, since I also organized my closet, I thought I’d share a few pictures.  I am especially excited about the shadowbox containing my jewelry.  It’s a fun way to display it, and it makes it MUCH easier to figure out what to wear in the morning.  Also, the people who moved out before us left this crazy dresser that is missing 2 drawers, so I cleaned it out (a lot) and then put my clothes in it.  Again, one of those things I just dealt with before, but now wonder if people will be walking through my house wondering what the heck I am thinking!

This closet would be AMAZING with a better closet organizer.

And, the final piece needed for our awesome bathroom renovation showed up today, so stay tuned for pictures tomorrow!!  It’s the best makeover yet, I promise.

haz curb appeal?

March 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Posted in After, Before, During, Moving, Our Home, Projects | 9 Comments

We “spruced up” the yard a bit over the weekend as an attempt to give the house a little more curb appeal… as much as a yard can be “spruced up” in the frozen Minnesotan tundra this time of year.  Which, really, isn’t much, given that it can snow and freeze and be cold and nasty for another month or so here.  But we tried anyways.

Here’s what the house looked like shortly after we put an offer on it.  Try to ignore my pained expression, and focus instead on the concrete walkway to the right of the house.  This was a nasty, broken walkway, and it dumped water directly into our basement during the spring thaw of 2008.  Not awesome.

So Jason took a sledge hammer to it.  It was a long, painful process.  We both lost a few pounds and gained a few muscles.  Don’t worry – we’ve gained all that weight back by now.

My parents and brothers came to visit on a rainy weekend last May, and they not only helped us build a fence, but they finished digging out the area that was to be our new brick walkway and patio.

Later last May, we rented some tools, purchased 2.5 pallets full of brick, and went to work.  It was another long, painful weekend, but then, we had this:

Which was (and continues to be) awesome.  Not only for the awesome ability to sit and relax outdoors, but also because we’ve pretty much eliminated the water-into-the-basement problem.  Ignore the ugly garage in the background.  That is still a problem.

After all of this work, we managed to put in two planting beds (in front of the garage and next to the patio) and regrade the soil around the house before turning our attention to our impending fall nuptials.

Which brings us to the present.  Sunday, as we were comparing our house to the neighbor’s (you know, the ones with the gateway to hell through their oven and 2 offers on their home), we realized: we have little-to-no curb appeal.  We had a dead evergreen and mounds of dirt left from last year’s unfinished projects.

With the help of my cousin, Jennifer, we got rid of the dead evergreen and picked up some free mulch from a nearby park (the city leaves piles of cut up wood in parks for residents to use), and made our home a bit prettier.  I think.

Still not glamorous.  I would love to see a row of low bushes across the front of the house, and a window box full of flowers attached to the front, but this will have to do.  (Okay, and I’d put in a new door and paint the trim on the windows and paint the stairs, and add some planters to the stairs with pretty flowers in them.  If I was going to live here another 10 years, which I am not.  So it will have to be fine as it is.)

we’ve been signed!

March 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Moving, Our Home | 9 Comments

Yep, it’s official.  Our sweet little house is for sale.  (Wanna buy it?)

Susan, our Realtor, came over yesterday to go over some paperwork and to check out the house for sale across the street.  Which, Jason has been informing people, has a GATEWAY TO HELL inside – specifically, through the oven.  DO NOT BUY! he says, OR THE DEMONS WILL COME OUT AND GET YOU.  Of course, all of this is sparked by the recent release of The Haunting in Connecticut, which is based on the scariest TLC show I’ve ever seen, which is based on TRUE, REAL, NOT-MADE-UP LIFE.  You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.  Which, I’m not sure I do, but that show was enough to give me nightmares for weeks.  If I ever end up in long-term therapy for my complete and total chicken-ness, it will probably be because I saw that show once 4 years ago and have residual emotional scarring as a result.  Yep, I blame this single 1-hr television show, and a slew of the Christopher Pike books I read as a pre-teen for my home alone angst.  But we can talk about that another time.

Because, despite having a gateway to hell in their oven, the house across the street has managed to score TWO offers in the week that they’ve been on the market.

Which is good news for us, since the only ghosts we’ve got over here are the ones that keep eating my chocolate.  Seriously.  I couldn’t have possibly eaten all of those whopper eggs by myself.

Anyways.  Yes, our house is unofficially officially on the market.  Which means that we’ve got a sign up suggesting that our house will be on the market on Thursday or Friday.  But it’s not quite on the market.  We have to pass our Minneapolis Truth in Sale of Housing inspection tomorrow.  We originally had it scheduled for last week, but due to a small plumbing war between the laundry sink and my very wet and very very angry husband, we have plumbers coming in the morning and an inspector coming in the afternoon tomorrow.

We’ve completed most of our duties, and are officially sore, tired, warn out, and frankly, a bit irritable.

I spent what seemed like the entire weekend washing windows.  It was not great – especially the part where I was hanging out of one window to wash the other.

All of this window washing gave me a lot of time to think.  And, what I think is: a.  I am a sucker for washing all of these windows, b.  Whoever buys this house better love these clean windows like a fat boy loves cake, and c.  Hey!  Window washing is kind of a good arm workout.

So if you’ve got dirty windows and flabby arms, buy yourself some windex.  It’s cheaper than a gym membership.


March 28, 2009 at 10:05 am | Posted in After, Before, Our Home, Projects | 1 Comment

I really HATE window cleaning.  But boy-oh-boy does it make a difference!

Left window = clean, Right window = covered in decades of dirt

I suspect these babies haven’t been washed in at least 10 years.  I wonder if I would be bothering to wash them if we weren’t moving.

Also, if anyone has suggestions on how to clean the outside of old windows, bring them on.  As of now, my plan includes climbing on the roof and using a ladder.  If you don’t hear from me by Monday, you might want to call to make sure I haven’t broken my neck.

Back to work now.

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