29 November 2009

People think I'm crazy.

I bought this table on Craigslist. It has a rusted zinc top.

The paint finish is...rustic. My mom went with me to look at it and she sat in the truck praying that I wouldn't buy it.

But, as with our currently "rustic" house, I can see the end product in my imagination.

Here's the plan:

These two bathrooms, I think from Cottage Living? have been my inspiration, especially the first one. I have this sink:

That will go on top of the table. I'm taking the zinc top off, cool as it probably once was. I'll touch up the paint & leave the top unpainted. It will go here:

White subway tile, white mosaic floor tiles, pale grey walls, white painted medicine cabinet, clean toilet & no boxing glove in the corner. It will be fabulous. I've said that before, haven't I? One of these days I'll show you all the fabulousness for real instead of just talking about it.

Oh, and Vino doesn't think I'm crazy. He likes the table. That's two of us!

27 November 2009

Family...Food...Football...Caramel Corn

We are at my sister & brother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving this year. It's not as exotic as spending Thanksgiving in Tunisia where we were at this time last year, but we're thankful to be with family! This is the first time we've been to their house (they moved here a few months ago). I really like it! I'll include some photos of my favorite decorating ideas that my sister has done.

My mom & my sister making stuffing.

Brother-in-law, Brad, cutting the bird.

Niece Julia.

Nephew Evan.

Nephew Isaac.

Niece Emma.

My sister Shelley and I have similar but not identical design taste. We both like rustic, but I like more of it than she does. She goes for more new furniture & house while I like old & worn in. We are both currently into the same color scheme, though. Neutrals with beachy muted aquas & greens. We're also both into cheap or free.

She has cottage style in a distinctly non-cottage house. I really like the way that she has combined vintage & beachy pieces with her newer stuff & home.

In the living room she has hung another one of the windows like I used in my parent's basement. I think it looks great on the big expanse of wall over her sofa.

She rescued this "O-So Orange" pop-bottle crate from my parent's garage & filled some of the cubbies with shells she collected on beaches in North Carolina. Perfect. And absolutely free.

I made that bowl in college. It's very thick & heavy. I was painfully unsuccessful in my pottery class but I really enjoyed it. I think I gave all my pieces away!

Shelley said that she wants to replace the chandelier with a large outdoor looking lantern, like the ones currently being sold at Restoration Hardware, but not like the prices. Oh, I got that birdcage for her years ago at a thrift store.

Love the ladder. She picked it up at a little antique store in the town where we bought our little house. She dry-brushed it with a little aqua paint (which doesn't show up in this photo) before she hung it.

I want a sea fan. Shelley brought this one back in her carry-on from a trip to North Carolina. I tried to take the photo without getting a glare. I was not successful.

It's now the day after Thanksgiving. The house is full of friends & family watching the Nebraska/Colorado game. The Huskers are currently ahead 13-0. Yessss. Vino is making caramel corn. We're all looking forward to that. It's the best ever. I'm not biased. You can watch his tutorial video here.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We'll be back working on the house next week and will hopefully be able to move in before the first blizzard of the year!

01 November 2009

Tiling the Bathroom

We've been putting some work into the bathroom lately. Remember this?

You can't see very well on the photo, but the floors are in pretty rough shape. You can't smell the photo, either. After we hauled all the trash out of the house, most of the stink leftover was in the bathroom. Specifically, IN the floors. I am a hardwood floor lover, but these HAD to go (along with the wallpaper, border, green paint & cheap-o vanity.

As Vino ripped up the floor boards the stink stank worse.

The hardwood flooring AND the diagonal sub-floor boards had steeped in liquid for a long time. And not just water. Some of it was rotten.

The toilet had been in peril and we didn't even know it. The sub-floor boards in this area were short & one even fell out into the basement.

Voila! New sub-floor over the old to stabilize the surface for tile. Backer board on the wall for the new subway tile. I know, white subway tile is like Starbucks. Everyone does it and thinks it's cool. It's on every shelter magazine street corner. Figuratively. Now it's old hat. But I don't care. I've wanted a bathroom with white subway tile for a long time. AND, it goes well with the age of our home. What does old hat really mean, anyways??

My dad was a huge help to us putting in the tile, since neither one of us had ever done it before.

We sure learned a lot. Tiling doesn't scare us anymore. Maybe the time & sore muscles do, though...

Vino did a great job laying the floor tile in a house where hardly anything is square. We discovered that white grout with white tile camouflages a lot of imperfections!

There's a pretty big height difference between the bathroom floor and the hallway floor. We'll have to get a substantial transition piece. It would have been higher if Vino hadn't torn out the old floor boards. By the way, he drilled holes in the sub-floor from the bathroom and from the basement ceiling. Whenever he did that it smelled like burnt pee, the sub-floor had been so saturated. Don't ask me how I know what burnt pee smells like. We will be Kilz-ing the basement ceiling.

Oh, look. I actually did some work in the bathroom, too. I cleaned off all the grout from the tile surface, painted the upper walls & trim and sealed the grout. I'm ready to take a bath in here. Problem is, though, the tub isn't ready for me.

Neither is the toilet.

We're getting close, but it's taking longer than I want. I'm SO ready to settle in. Have I said that before?

14 October 2009

The Place We Didn't Buy & Another That Was SO Much Worse

In our search for a house, we spent only one day actually looking at houses in person. I think there were five that we toured. Because our budget was so low and we knew that we wanted to buy in one particular town, the pickins were slim. The house we eventually chose to buy was the least expensive by thousands of dollars, and it was also had the least amount of problems to fix. Yes, it had the most trash, but trash can be picked up and thrown away for free! Take a look at one of the houses we toured.

View from the living room looking into the dining room. That's carpet on the dining room wall, too.

Our realtor warned us before we went in that there was a lot of shag carpet but nothing could have prepared us for the reality. Who puts shag carpet on the walls? In several different colors? Then we went into the basement to be greeted by this:

Why? Why? Why? I'd be surprised if this house sold. The smell of mold was so overwhelming Vino was sure he got lung cancer just walking in there.

By the way, I found a before & after recently on design*sponge. Our house was a museum compared to this place. Kudos to the people who could see past that bathtub. I've tried the link to more photos but it doesn't work anymore. I would have loved to see more!

08 October 2009

Transformation: The Miracle of Paint!

This is my 50th post! I could have passed that milestone months ago if I'd blogged regularly, but it is what it is. Happy 50th to me! :)

Thank you friends old & new who have given me encouragement in comments! This house renovation is not for the weak willed or olfactoraly sensitive. I believe I made up a new word. Anyways.... Remember this?

It has now become this:

Ahhhh. Grey. That's Vino's sister Renita who came to help us paint one day. Our friends David & Treva came the day before, but I wasn't there to take photos. Thank you to all of you!! Especially for painting the ceilings, the most dreaded of painting duties. You all did a fabulous job! Here's another view:

And a close-up of the paint against the wood trim (which could stand to be re-done, but that's a project for another lifetime).

The cutting has been done in the kitchen, now it needs a couple of coats on the walls, then the trim:

Remember this room (front bedroom)?

The accessories are gone (except a giant tv which has become a resting place for small tools), and the walls are primed for paint:

The back bedroom has lost its 80s wallpaper border and is in the process of being primed. Can't wait to paint the trim white! This room will one day be a nursery. We have great hope of that one day!

The paint is all from Behr. The wall paint is Behr Flat Enamel. I love it because it goes on smoothly & dries with a velvety finish that minimizes the flaws & bumps in the plaster walls. The trim paint is a Behr semi-gloss. I don't have the colors available right now, but I'll post them later.

Vino has been documenting this whole process on video that he will one day put on his YouTube account. We trade off being host. Doesn't he look cute in his bandanna? Kinda gang-like cute? :) He's worked really hard on this house while fitting it in with his job, too!

We are liking this house more and more every day. I'm getting antsy to be done with this phase so we can move in and enjoy it. I lay awake at night picturing us sitting on our Craigslist sectional (to be featured in a later post!) with a cozy throw & cushy toss pillows. Jane Monheit or Stacy Kent are playing on the stereo. We're sipping hot tea & reading under the soft light of floor lamps (yet to be "found"). It will be lovely. I promise!

22 September 2009

The Transformation Begins: Hidden Hardwood & Heavy Lifting

This is what was hidden under the vile carpet. I know, it doesn't look very pretty now, but IT WILL. Refinishing the floors is the only thing (besides a few small electrical things) that we will hire professionals to do. I may be cheap & unrealistic about my own abilities in renovation, but refinishing floors is NOT something we want to tackle on our own. But I can wield a utility knife. Which is what I did to the carpet. Cut it in strips, rolled it up & threw it away. Bye bye nasty carpet.

Unfortunately, the carpet pad had been glued down. Like, seriously, the most glue that could have been slathered on those planks. I had to use a heavy metal blade thingy to scrape up as much of the crumbly pad remains as possible.

I know there is beautiful wood under there somewhere...and fortunately I don't have to do anything more to it. The refinishers will get rid of the rest of that pad & glue. Yay!!

Now on to getting rid of more filth. In one day, Vino & our nephew Evan hauled out 2 couches, about 7 recliners, a giant 70's wooden headboard, a king sized bed and boxes & boxes & bags & bags of trash.

Evan saved our behinds. We could have NEVER hauled all that stuff out by ourselves, especially the heavies. Thanks for loaning us your giant muscles, Evan!

Vino cut out the huge pillow stuffing in the pet hair covered couch on the front porch.

Here they all are stacked up.

And the couch gets hauled away. Vino & Evan swore that as soon as the sun hit this furniture the smell factor increased tenfold.

This is the dumpster we rented. By the end of the day it was completely full and then some.

And here we have the fridge. Our home inspector warned us not to open it. After having been turned off for months, whatever was in there had time to rot itself into a powerful death smell. So we believed him and duct taped it shut before moving it out.

Even with all that, it still smelled pretty ripe when we stood close.

Good riddance!

Every day the house smells better. Minus the carpet. Minus the upholstered furniture & trash. We Febreeze every time we come to work but that only goes so far. Next on the agenda: paint. First a coat of stain & odor blocking primer, then paint in soft greys. I can't wait!