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.


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!

bathroom oops.

May 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Before, During, Our Full Bathroom, Projects | 11 Comments

Remember when I said we decided to start with our master bedroom?  Well, the wallpaper border came down far too easily, and I wanted to see if the bathroom wallpaper would tear down just as easily.

In retrospect, that was either brilliant or incredibly stupid.

Here’s the bathroom before:

The wallpaper in the bathroom came down easily.  So easily, in fact, that I decided the carpet squares on the walls had to go, too.  And then, the cabinet, shower doors and plastic shower surround.

And, once we had those things down, it was easy enough to remove the remaining tile, lights, mirror, and fan.  Demo is too much fun!

Now we just have to figure out how to put it all back together (because we’ll be living at J’s apartment until our only shower is functional).  See?  Brilliant or seriously idiotic.

finished (for now) banker’s chair

May 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Antiques, During, Furniture, Projects | 9 Comments

Over the weekend, I puta few coats of polyurethane on my old banker’s chair, and then I managed to put all of the pieces back together.  I am pretty proud of myself, so now I’m going to share a million pictures with you.  It still needs a seat (obviously) and is missing casters on the bottom, but those will have to wait until after the big move.

What do you think?  A little bit better than this (the before), right?

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).

Chair Update

May 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Posted in During, Furniture, Projects | 5 Comments

Remember this chair?  I hoped to get her done by today for the Project Procrastinator’s Party at the Inspired Room, but I skipped out of town last weekend to visit my husband and family instead.

I did end up staining the chair a bit darker.  The light patch on the right side of the chair back was driving me nuts, so I darkened it by adding another coat of stain.

I hope to find time to put on a few coats of polyurethane this weekend, and to put the chair all back together before the movers come next Thursday!

that old bankers chair

May 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Antiques, Before, During, Furniture, Projects | 20 Comments

My main project for the weekend (involving tools!) was working on the old bankers chair I found on Craigslist.  You know, the one I blogged about finding months ago and has since taken up residence and collected dust in the basement. (I should also note that I was inspired to revisit this project thanks to the Inspired Room’s Project Procrastinator’s Party)

Last time you saw my chair, she looked like this:

I was going to paint her, but a few of you talked me out of it.

So instead, I stripped and re-stained her.

My chair-stripping supplies

The stripping process was pretty easy since she was old and neglected and didn’t have much polyurethane on her.  I used about 3 coats of stripper.  For the first 2 coats, I spread the stripper with a paintbrush and scraped it off with a plastic scraper.  For the third layer, I used a green brill-o pad with a bit of stripper and lightly scrubbed the chair, pressing a little bit harder on some of the darker spots.  I washed the stripper off using a different green brill-o pad soaked in water.  Then, I wiped down the chair one last time with the odorless mineral spirits (to make sure all of the stripper came off).

Next, I used some wood filler to fill in the gaps on either side of the chair back.  I then sanded down the entire chair, using my handy-dandy mouse (detail sander) and some 120 grit sandpaper.

Finally, I dusted off the chair and applied some pre-stain conditioner to make the stain adhere evenly on all parts of the chair.  I used a dark stain – red mahogony – and only applied 1 coat.  I may go in and apply another coat later, but wanted to see what only one coat would look like.

I also removed all of the metal pieces from the chair, and boiled them with water and baking soda to remove old paint and dirt.  This worked like a charm, but most of the pieces were a bit rusty.  So I rinsed them and then let them sit in distilled vinegar overnight.  The next day, I scrubbed them with steel wool and a metal brush and rinsed them again to get most of the rust off.

I wasn’t able to get all of the rust off, but the large flaky pieces came off, and the base was smooth enough to be primed and painted with Rustoleum.  I was particularly excited that after all of the cleaning and scraping, I was able to move some of the springs and other apparatus that allow the chair to swivel and recline!

I also discovered the the chair was made by the Milwaukee Chair Company, and patented in the 1914s.  The markings on the metal had been rusted and painted over so many times that they were un-readable.  But the hot water and vinegar baths solved that problem.  I can’t find much information on the Milwaukee Chair Company, but I do know that they made chairs from the 1880s-1940s, and that they supplied the chairs found in the House and Senate chambers of the capitol.  The Milwaukee Chair Company eventually branched out and produced wooden phonograph cabinets, and created Paramount Records, a record label known for blues and jazz in the 1920s and 1930s.

The wooden rectangle to the right of the above photo is the seat for the chair.  It was cained and covered with leather.  And it was completely falling apart.  I plan to cut a new seat, pad it with foam, and recover with a fun fabric.

I will also have to apply a few coats of polyurethane to the wooden parts of the chair, and reassemble all of the metal goodies above.  The chair also needs new casters, as a few of the originals were broken.  Stay tuned… I hope to have it all finished before the move!

Cutting a rug

April 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Crafts, Homemade, Projects | 2 Comments

Literally.  (although, the results kind of made me want cut a rug in the figurative sense also).

Here is our laundry area in the basement.  It is NOT pretty and wonderful.  Someone plastered the basement walls a million years ago and the plaster and paint is falling off now.  There’s a hole in the floor where someone accessed the sewer pipe.  The paint on the floors is wearing, and there’s water stains from when previous owners found water in the basement.  Note: Our neighbor told us that at one point there was waist-high water in the basement.  We’re not entirely sure whether this is a true story, especially when said neighbor always reeks of cheap liquor and consistently asks me if I’m pregnant.  Which I am not. Ouch!

Anyways, our Realtor thought it would be nice if we made this area a little prettier.  She was thinking linoleum flooring and some paint.  I was thinking more along the lines of ultra-cheap (free!) and easy.  Like a rug.  Except that rugs are not all that cheap.

I channeled my inner crafter, and then took some inspiration from my Aunt’s hand-stenciled canvas rug.  Hers is a small rug, only about 2’x3′, but it is functional and cute.

Coincidentally, I had a few yards of painter’s canvas laying around the house and paint leftover from our recent room painting, so I went to work.  And, in the end, it looks a bit more cheerful at no cost to me.

And now?  A tutorial.  For those of you who need a cheap rug in your life.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canvas (can be purchased at hardware stores for about $10 – also try craft or fabric stores)
  • Paint (I just used leftover paint from our bathroom remodel, but you could also use acrylic paint)
  • (Primer – I didn’t use any, but I suppose this might be a good step to include, if you have the time/energy)
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Tarp/plastic sheet
  • Paint brush/roller
  • Scissors
  • Ruler/Tape measure
  • Iron
  • (Water-based varnish – I also skipped this step, but it can be used to make the rug more durable/stain resistant)

1.  Cut your canvas to the desired size + 2″.  For example, for a 5’x8′ rug, cut 5’2″x8’2″.

2.  Iron the canvas.

3.  Fold over a 1″ edge on each side.  You’ve got some options here – you can sew around the edge, use tape to hold the edge down, or iron the edge.  I opted for the ironed edge – it was a quick and easy way to make a flat edge.

(3.b. Prime your canvas.  I skipped this step, and the finished product was fine.  But if you’re looking to be professional about it, I guess you should prime these things.)

4.  Invent your design.  I simply used a series of horizontal tape lines, but you can get creative here…  Use bowls to trace circles, freehand some flowers or swirlies or whatever.  As mentioned earlier, I was going for quick and easy, and, if you look at the rug closely, you can see that my lines are not exactly parallel.  It kind of drives the perfectionist in me crazy, but I had only an hour to devote to this project, and it’s in the basement.  Anything was an improvement.

5.  Put the canvas on your plastic tarp and paint your design.  I simply used a roller to paint the canvas, but for more intricate designs, you could use a brush.  I used about 1/3 to 1/4 of a gallon of paint on my fairly large rug, probably because I skipped step 3b.  The canvas soaked up whatever I rolled on it, and didn’t bleed through to the back side much.  This is also the step where I remembered – I have a blog!  And I should put this on the blog!  Better take a picture!

6.  Wait for paint to dry (overnight).  Remove painter’s tape, if you’ve used it.  Tada!  It has crooked lines, but Jason says that gives it character.  Truthfully, I could have spent much longer making them parallel.  Oh well.  Next time.

(7.  Another step that I skipped was sealing the rug with varnish.  Most websites suggest putting on 1-2 coats of water-based varnish to make the rug more durable and making it easier to wipe up spills.  I didn’t have time/energy/desire to spend money, so I skipped this step.  So far, so good.)

Any other tips from those of you that have done this sort of thing?  Let me know if you try this – I want to see pictures!!

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.)

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