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.

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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.

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).

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!

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)

After:

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.)

Windows

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.

Bedroom #2

March 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Posted in After, Barley, Before, Moving, Our Home, Projects | 1 Comment

Alright, you know the routine by now.

A glimpse of the before:

Meh.

And the after:

Better.  The bed is now sporting the beautiful quilt that my mom, aunt, and grandma made for my bridal shower.  And that picture above the bed?  Yep… it’s a Jen original.

Next to the bed is this big old dresser that I refurbished a few years ago.  I have a few framed pictures of my family’s awesome trip to the Baltic states (when can we go again?  Soon, please!).  And the apothecary jar (reused from our Christmas decor and the candy bar at our wedding) is filled with postcards from some of my adventures.

Keeping up with our little travel-theme, Jason hung this poster that we got in San Juan while there on business.  Tough business meeting, I know…

A view from the hallway…

And this staging make-over cost us a grand total of $0.  This makes me happy – gotta save our pennies for the new home in Michigan…

I also thought I would mention that Barley’s head is looking much better – thanks for all the kind words.  We pulled the stitches out yesterday and bathed him…  He wasn’t too thrilled about it (see picture below in which Jason grabs him to put him in the bath and he looks absolutely terrified), but I am so so so happy to get rid of that yucky doggy smell that’s been lingering around him and his blankies for the past few days/week.  I bet nothing would excite potential home buyers less than yucky doggy smell.

Bedroom #3

March 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Posted in After, Before, Moving, Our Home, Projects | 6 Comments

Our 3rd (and smallest) bedroom left much to be desired.  The previous owners had splashed dark green and brown paint everywhere (including the white trim and wood floors).  One of the walls curves up to the ceiling, and instead of drawing a neat line where the paint should stop, they stopped painting where their rollers stopped reaching.  It was a mess.  Here’s a glimpse of the hideous-ness shortly after we moved:

I like this green color… but it would work better in a bigger room.

And now?  5 coats of paint later:

The view from the study.  To solve the curved ceiling problem, we painted the far wall and ceiling the same shade of light blue as the office.  We painted the other 3 walls a slightly darker shade of blue.

The view from the hallway.  Our garage is out the back window.  And yes, that painting on the wall was made by yours truly.  It’s not that pretty, but it works.  Also?  There’s something therapeutic about a $10 canvas and a few $1 bottles of acrylic paint.  You should try it sometime.

The view from the closet, looking into the bedroom.  The study is in the background.

Total cost spent in this room?  Not much.

  • The furniture, pillows, sheets, and picture were all purchased a while ago.  The bed is actually a futon, but our Realtor suggested we stage this as a bedroom.
  • Painting – Canvas from Michaels $10; I had the acrylic paints from previous painting attempts (which you’ll see very soon!).
  • Curtains – Ikea (left by previous owner)
  • Primer – Killz $25
  • Paint – The light blue was leftover from the study (Frost Wind (#540A-1) by Behr), and the darker blue is Eminence (#550E-2) by Behr $18

$43 for a super-staged bedroom.  Yay for rooms that don’t require much of a budget!  Just wait till I get to the other bedrooms… where we staged them pretty without spending any money!

The Study, at its best

March 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Posted in After, Before, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 9 Comments

Certainly you remember the not-so-pretty before pictures of the study, with Jason’s junk strewn about (that one is not so good with the organizing… plus, we had just moved in).

And now?

Computer desk with new imac and printer (this is where I’m sitting as I’m writing!  Hello!).  Confession: The calendar on the wall is actually for 2008, but I like the pictures in it and it doesn’t say 2008 anywhere on it, so I’m going with it.  Eventually I will probably put the pictures in frames, but for purposes of staging, a 2008 calendar is good enough.

Random blue chair.  We initially wanted something a little cozier here (a reading nook!), but this will do.  Until JT moves to Kalamazoo and takes it with him.  Also:  Dirty windows!  Yuck!  Still have to clean them… not sure exactly how I will clean the outside…  Sounds like a big pain.

Another shot of my lovely blogging workspace.

Extra paper and CDs hang out here.  Also, check out my awesome window chalkboard.  Love it.  Need to buy chalk to write on it.

I had planned on using a green and white material from Urban Outfitters for the curtains, but our Realtor suggested that if I wanted to take them with me (which, I do!  I love that fabric!), I should pick up something else.  With the exception of pictures, anything tied to the walls (i.e., curtains and curtain rods) goes with the house.

Our Realtor also commented that she dug our color-sorted books.  Yes!

I am especially proud of the window chalk board.  We had our old basement windows replaced with glass block last winter, and I held on to a few of the window panes.  I just popped the glass window out of the frame, and sanded and painted the window frame.  Then, I purchased a light-weight board ($5) and chalk board paint ($5) and cut it to the size of my window frame.  After painting the board and letting it dry, I popped it in the back of the window frame.  Ta da!  A fun re-use for an old window that would have otherwise been thrown out!

Our total cost/item rundown for this makeover?

  • Primer – Killz $25
  • Ceiling Paint – Gliddon (it’s the paint that starts purple and turns white as it dries!) $20
  • Wall Paint – Frost Wind (#540A-1) by Behr – $18
  • Trim Paint – Semi-glossy white paint by Behr – $18
  • Desk – Ikea (purchased years ago)
  • Stool – ? (purchased years ago)
  • Chair – Ikea (purchased years ago)
  • Rolling File Cabinet – Target (purchased years ago)
  • Magazine Holders – Ikea (left behind by our Swedish roommate)
  • Book Brackets – Ikea $14
  • Book Shelves – Wood from Home Depot, painted with the trim paint – $10
  • Curtains – Ikea $10
  • Curtain Rod/Wire and support pieces – Ikea $23
  • Curtain Clips – Ikea $5
  • Chalkboard – $10
  • Calendar above the printer – Gift (my mom brought it back with her from Italy).
  • Green desk accessories – Target (purchased years ago)
  • Silver pencil holder – Gift (my Grandparents gave this to me when I graduated from High School)
  • Blue Vase – Gift (Jason’s parents gave this to us on one of their visits)
  • Books – (purchased along the way…)

$153. Not bad for a clean and modern workspace!

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