Lots and Lots of Lamps

I've had these lamps for about a month but have been reluctant to post about them because I cannot decide how I really feel about them in my room.  Honestly, I love the two new lamps on my dresser and they give great light.  The problem is now I have 2 pairs of matching lamps in the room and I feel like that's confusing or overwhelming or something. Maybe it just feels like the Doublemint twins are living in my house. What do you think? I could easily just move one of the lamps from my dresser to another room (like the living room which could use a lamp).  I have some make-over ideas for the mirror.  I really need a large mirror because I use it every day but I think this one may need a change.
The metal tray is from Marshalls - I could not pass it up.  Yes, another tray!

Here's the picture where you can get an idea for the "doublemint effect"!  I couldn't really get a good one with both sets of lamps but this gives you theidea. 

Here is what my dresser looked like before which I don't think I have every posted here before. Yikes.
Jim's dresser is another story entirely.  I am on the hunt for a new dresser for him and his current dresser will be reused in Alex's big boy room next year. I got him that tray for Christmas because his STUFF needed to be contained. It's a miracle!
What do you think of my lamp issue?  Keep both, neither, or one?


Master Bedroom Change-Up - Before & After

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I can't say we really celebrate V-day any more. I bought the kids one little gift each, but Jim and I don't even exchange cards every year!  A bit sad actually but Jim just had his birthday and my birthday is in April so it's just too much stuff. I would rather show our love all year long honestly, but a holiday about love is a good reminder of how lucky we are.

Over the weekend, I realized that I haven't yet posted good pictures of our master bedroom with the new curtains.  I put the curtains up last fall but barely got a picture taken before our Thanksgiving company arrived. So, here are the "after" pictures. 

As a reminder, here was what the room looked like with the old curtains.  Believe me - the curtains looked better in pictures than in person. 

Of course, no room in my house is really done so this is the "undone, unseen" corner of our bedroom. I finally broke Jim the news that I want another built-in there.  He didn't hyperventilate so that was a good first sign.

Stay tuned for more changes!

What projects were you working on this weekend?


Is it sad to love appliances?

Not when it's a new LG front load washer and dryer and you have 2 kids and a husband who wears t-shirts and jeans to the office and plays with sawdust at night.  Until Wednesday, here's what we had -
They are about 7 years old.  Nothing wrong with them except that they are not efficient, fairly small (even at the time we bought them), and make a racket whenever they are on.  When we did the addition, we decided to save some much needed money and keep these instead of replacing them.  Our original laundry room was in the basement (of course) so moving it upstairs felt like a huge improvement all on its own. 

So, we were planning on keeping these for a few more years until I got serious washer jealousy when we were visiting my parents over Christmas.  They got a new LG stackable washer and dryer last year and of course I loved it.  So, I started doing research and I liked the LGs.  They have a slightly smaller footprint than the Samsung (my second choice) and we needed the space as you can see from the size of the laundry room above.  But, I was still waiting for a good sale.  January was pretty much sale-free.  I guess it's TV time, not sale time.  I was watching Best Buy and Home Depot mostly, since Lowes doesn't seem to sell LG.  The price was always 10% off but that didn't seem like a good enough deal to jump on it.

Then last week, Best Buy sent around a nice little coupon book for RewardZone Silver members (we are members because of our TV and fridge purchases during our reno).  Wouldn't you know... a 30% off coupon for LG washers and dryers!!!  Holy moly.  I had to stop myself from jumping in the car right then and there!

Last weekend we finally went and ordered them.  That was a bit of a process because they only had one (very nice) sales person in the appliance area so it took about 30 minutes longer than it should have.  And the original dryer model I wanted was discontinued. Phew...

They were delivered on Wednesday and we had scheduled the dryer installation for Thursday.  The delivery guy was doubtful that we would be able to fit both. I told him that clearly he doesn't know us very well. He chuckled (but clearly thought I was crazy). Fortunately, we came to our senses and realized we do the installation ourselves. 

So, Wednesday night, Jim got out his wrench collection and went to town on the installation. The dryer went in without a hitch thanks to the new gas line kit and dryer vent.  I wish we could push the dryer back another 3 inches but maybe we can figure that out some other time.  Next we did the washer which is a story in and of itself.  We were able to carefully push it into the room and then turn it 90 degrees.  It barely fit but we made it.  Then we had to figure out how to get the metal overflow pan under it (essential for second floor laundries).  That's a whole story unto itself but we did it and we opened a bottle of wine after because we were so proud.
Jim hooked up all of the hoses and then voila! I started doing laundry immediately.  Notice the laundry on the floor!

No more appliance envy.  I know Jim is relieved.

And, the winner of this month's CSN $35 giveaway is....nape!  Congratulations!


Valentine's Day Decor

http://houseography.blogspot.com/2011/02/living-room-art-and-csn-giveaway.htmlI finally got around to decorating for Valentine's Day. I really didn't much although I wanted to do more. If I had more time, I would have dug through the Christmas decorations for red stuff that I could repurpose but I didn't. Oh well. Maybe next year.

I really don't have too many decorations, and most of the stuff I used is stuff I use for lots of different things - not just holidays. I also focused my minimal decorating to the spaces where the kids spend the most time - the family room and kitchen.  So, here's my mantel in the family room.

I wish I could claim that I made this garland but I got it at Marshall's last year! I am sure some crafty person with more free time than I have could easily DIY this. It's adorable though!

I also did a little table decoration which the hubby keeps eating! My mom sent the heart in a sweet Valentine's package for the kids this week. Thanks Mom for not including any more candy!
I may post a linky party tomorrow for late bloomer Valentine's Day decorators.  I saw a few link-ups in late January but I did not have my act in gear, and I'm thinking others may have been in the same boat!

p.s.  The CSN Giveaway ends tonight at 11:59 pm. ET.  Enter here!


Nightstand Makeover for a Little Girl - FINALLY

Finally, FINALLY I found the time to redo the nightstand in Elizabeth's room. After writing my last post (here), I decided I had to do it or I never would and she would be a teenager in a blink of an eye.  Here's the room and the nightstand before (in the middle of a snowstorm a couple of weeks back thus the dark picture) -
The nightstand was a hand-me-down from my grandparents.  It's a really good quality piece - solid oak and it is HEAVY.  No particle board here. There was nothing wrong with it and the finish was in good condition - just not what I wanted in Elizabeth's room.

First, I removed the hardware. Then, I primed the whole thing and filled the double drawer pull holes because this needed new hardware (although I considered spray-painting the hardware).
After a good sanding, I painted the whole thing pink.  I didn't take a picture of this stage because as soon as it was done, I knew it needed more...

I actually bought the hardware from Target on clearance a while back. I think it was five dollars for a package of four clear plastic knobs. We had all of the paint. I mixed the color with the leftover red (Benjamin Moore Raspberry Truffle) from Alex's room and a little of the white trim paint (Duron Toque White) we had laying around. I think the color works because it is different enough from the walls so that it doesn't compete but it's really close to the colors in her quilt and duvet and pillows.  The strip seems to mimic the quilt pattern which really ties the nightstand to the bed.

In the end, the nightstand set me back about $5 total. I'm sure my grandmother would love its rejuvenation!

Today, I'm linking to Primitive and Proper, Coastal Charm, Thrifty Decor Chick, and Domestically Speaking.

Like this post? Vote for me here!


Built-in Bookshelves (Update 6A)

One quick late night post to make-up for this morning's totally lame post.  That didn't really count as an update so this is Update 6A. My hand is completely cramped up from painting so it's amazing that I can even type. As Jim said last night (after doing some painting) that this is the biggest thing we have built by far and he is so right.  We were really hoping to have everything done and reassembled by Friday but that is looking impossible at this point.  I want our playroom back!!! 

So, here's a fun picture of Jim wearing his coveralls from the early '90s when he was in the Navy working as an aircraft mechanic on carrier. I'm fairly certain it was his favorite job ever. Before I knew him thankfully!  He would like everyone to know that they still fit.

 And a few pictures of the bookshelves fully primed and in the process of being painted.
 The large rectangle is for our new television.  I cannot wait to start doing my work-outs down there instead of in the family room.
I need to go to bed now so I can do more painting tomorrow night. Jim started building the shelves and the process is going quickly so hopefully we'll be priming and painting those before the weekend.  We'll give everything a few days to cure before putting our junk all over it.  So close!!

Built-in Bookshelves (Update 6)

We are really getting near the end.  Jim worked his butt off this weekend and it really shows!  So, here's where are now.  All trimmed, holes fills, and primed.  Paint going on very soon.  Hope to be mostly done by the end of the week!

Sorry for the lame-o, picture-less update!  I want to keep you in the loop so if you plan a project like this you'll know the time it takes to make the whole thing work - while we both do our day jobs as well!  I'll try to post a few pictures tonight. 


Living Room Art and a CSN GIVEAWAY!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Our was busy and we made lots of progress on our built-ins.  I'll have an update post in the next day or two so stay tuned.  Last week I updated you on our new living room furniture - we love it.  I need to figure out some art issues in there, and I stole some pillows from other rooms for now.  If you are having similar accessory and wall decor issues, check out the CSN giveaway below!

Here's what I have going on right now.

First over the fireplace, I have this pastel original which I LOVE and is not going anywhere.  Fun story about how we came to own this one.  Not too long after we moved into the house, I first saw this piece at a local cafe where they have a rotating display of local artists.  (Cassatt's on Lee Highway for those who are local).  I loved and admired it on several visits after that.  Then, it rotated out and I kept thinking about it, but I remembered the artist's name, Cynthia Gilmour so I found her information online and I called her.  She still had the piece and it was still for sale.  I think I paid about $300 framed... for an original pastel work of art.  Yes please.  I picked it up from her at the cafe a week later.  I was elated and it was perfect over our living room fireplace and still is. 

Across the room, I have this piece which I bought an annual Boardwalk art show in Ocean City, New Jersey (where we vacation every summer).  I still really like it although I'm not sure this will continue to be its permanent home.  We'll see though.

This is a little map print that we bought on our honeymoon in Bermuda.  I like it but I am fairly certain it's going to move on out of here and maybe head upstairs to the guest room.  With a new mat, it could work in our room too.  So, I'll need something new for this corner... but this whole corner is going to get a little make-over stay tuned on that front. 

What better way to start a Monday, than with a CSN Stores Giveaway! What's so awesome about CSN Stores?  200+ online stores where you can find pretty much anything.  Personally, I'll be checking out their wall art and decor over the next few days for art and throw pillows for my newly redesigned living room, and one piece left in the dining room (over the bar in case you're curious).  Fortunately for you, CSN is giving one lucky HOUSEography reader a $35 credit towards anything in ANY of their stores!

Here's how to enter! 

  1. First entry - you must be a HOUSEography follower!  Let me know how you follow HOUSEography.
  2. For extra entries (please leave a comment for each one of these that you do):
- Become a Facebook follower (or let me know if you already are) - click here

- Tweet about this giveaway
- Post about this giveaway on your Facebook wall or fan page 

- Vote for HOUSEography on Picket Fence Blogs by clicking here (just click the link and you're done - the easiest online voting you can ever do!)

Rules:  You must be at least 18 years old and have a US or Canadian mailing address.  Drawing will be made using random.org.  All entries must be posted by Thursday, February 10th at 11:59 p.m.

Good luck!


On the shopping list...

It's Friday... well, almost.  It has been a long week.  I have several things on my shopping list for this weekend but not sure I'll get any of them done.  In the mean time, I'm also thinking about new bar stools from the kitchen island.  I really HATE the stools that are there - the style, the swiveling, and the size.  Just all wrong for what I want in there.  We moved them to the basement for Jim's party last weekend and everything felt so much lighter.  So, I think I need something smaller scale and that doesn't swivel.  Other than that, I am at a total loss for which direction I want to go in.  I am scouring Craigslist daily but haven't stumbled on the right thing but I'm not losing hope just yet.

So, here are some options I'm considering (yes, I'm all over the place on this one!):
Overstock - $89 for the pair
Ebay - $255 for the pair
Ebay - $200 for the pairs

Bar Stool Super Center - $249 each
See?  Told you I was all over the place on this!  I was kind of hoping that someone will just show up with stools like with the console table!!!

I really do like the backless options (black wood or stainless) but will the kids have problems sitting on them?  I like that people can sit on them easily and face the kitchen or the family (and the TV) without having to swivel or pull them out or anything.  

Do you have backless bar stools?  Do your kids have any issues with them?

Living Room Re-Do Reveal (Sort of!)

Well, I'm finally ready to reveal our new living room furniture.  Here is where I started a few months back. 

The living room was basically unused except as a toy room and no one had much of a desire to hang out in there.  The furniture is a mishmash of stuff that we have had for a while.  Well, except for the red chair which was my grandfather's so we inherited that about a year ago.  I wanted to keep the rug but the rest had to go.  Fortunately I think I have space for everything in other rooms in the house at least in the short-term. 

First I got a new coffee table from Pottery Barn which I think set the stage for the rest of the room.  It's round - something I have always wanted.  It was $300 so not super cheap but I had some coupons and credits. 

Then I started thinking about the upholstered furniture.  I considered getting two loveseats and various combinations of couches, chairs and loveseats.  Finally, I decided I wanted a totally different look than what I already have in our family room ( a large loveseat and 2 chairs) because the rooms are interconnected.  So, I decided to try four chairs.  It was going to be an investment because I knew there was almost no chance that I would be able to find 4 chairs in good condition used.  And, I am always wary about used upholstered furniture because I have horrible allergies. 

So, I went to loads of furniture stores and sat in loads of chairs.  I have always loved English roll arm furniture so this was my opportunity to introduce this style into our house.  Good.  Style settled on but where to get it from.  I have always liked Rowe furniture and I know the quality is good.  I found the Caldwell chair and liked the look and it wasn't too large which is always an issue when buying new furniture in an old house!  I started pricing it out at stores around Northern Virginia.  Of course no one carried the Caldwell line on the floor so I couldn't sit in it!  I have no idea why because it's gorgeous!  I was prepared to buy it sight unseen... again.  I was really close to ordering from a store nearby when I decided to call a few stores in North Carolina to get a price.  All of them were cheaper but Town & Country Furniture came through with the best price and service.  I ended up saving more than 30% even with the shipping cost (less than $200 for an unlimited amount of furniture). 

Once the new stuff arrived, our living room looked like a furniture warehouse!  I thought I took some pictures of that stage but cannot find them!  The kids loved it though.

I also picked up the console table from my friend Amie.   It's absolutely perfect with the coffee table and will be part of our living room for many years to come.  Don't worry - I told Amie she could visit! 

So, now here are the "after" pictures. 

I'm still playing around with the side tables, throw pillows, grandmother clock, and the exact location of the console table and other smaller details, but overall, I love the change!

I'm really hoping this room will be a great place for games, reading, and enjoying the fireplace. 


Built-in Bookshelves (Update 5)

Progress on our basement built-in bookshelves was a bit slow over the past week although we have been doing some things to move the process along.  I put a coat of primer on most of the bookcases and cabinets late last week.  Painting is generally my job in these things but I am not a great painter by any means!  We did one coat of primer on most of it so we'll have to finish that this week.  Then we'll sand the whole thing this week.  Finally, we'll add 2 coats of white paint which matches our trim.  I considered doing a color but I think I want to keep it white since the room is fairly small to begin with.    

Jim has also been working on putting in the face frames.  One hiccup was that our usual crown molding won't fit with the can lights so, we'll have to use something smaller.  I'm actually fine with that because I want the basement to have a more casual feeling - thus the bead board backing.

Jim still needs to finish the pull-out shelves and the cabinet doors.  Hopefully those will be done by the end of the weekend so it will be all painting from there on out!

Did you work on any projects over the weekend?  Planning any built-ins in your house?


Party Time! Happy Birthday Jim!

Although Jim's actual birthday isn't until mid-February, we celebrated on Saturday night.  Really celebrated.  Probably a little more than we should have.  Yesterday was long.  But, Jim is turning 40 so there was good reason.  I think the party helped ease the transition.  hahaha.

We had about 70 revelers at our house which made for a great time.  Amazingly the kids slept through pretty much the whole thing!  We used Paperless Post this year after having loads of problems with Evite this year.  I was so happy even if it wasn't free - still more reasonable than sending an invitation.

We hired a caterer with serving staff for the first time and let me tell you - it makes a WORLD of difference.  It was a little bit hard to give up control of the party for about the first 15 minutes but then I realized I could actually enjoy my own party.  I never once worried about whether people had enough drinks.  The only issue was that we ran out of ice but we had some great neighbors who were willing to fill up some bags of ice at their houses and bring it over.  Gotta love your neighbors!
 The food was amazing.  Here's a sampling - mozzarella and tomato on pesto crostini. 
 And the birthday cake.

We generally have one big adult cocktail party every January.  We used to do a big Christmas party but finally decided that December was too complicated for everyone.  So, it became a January party a few years ago and I don't think we'll go back. This year we combined the winter cocktail party with Jim's birthday for double the fun!

Here are a few things that we generally do to prepare for a big party besides the usual stuff like clean the bathrooms:
  • Move any furniture which may be a tripping hazard or which might get in the way of traffic patterns.  This includes small foot stools, small side tables, etc.  
  • Eliminate as many chairs as possible - you want people walking around and mingling, not sitting.  Put the dining room chairs in the basement so the dining room is completely clear for drinks and food.
  • Create an area for coats if it's a winter party.  We use the garment racks which also come in handy our annual yard sale.  This year we put them in our basement playroom which worked perfectly.
  • Set up a bar area but also a satellite bar for wine and maybe a small cooler of beer.  We set up the bar in the dining room but people are always welcome to grab a beer from the fridge in the kitchen as well.  We set up a small wine bar in the living room as well.  
  • Put as many toys as possible out of sight.  This is particularly important for an adults only party which this one most definitely was. 
  • Turn off all overhead lights and turn on a few lamps.  Dim the chandeliers.  Much more festive.
  • Lock up the dog so no one has to worry about their food being stolen when they go for another cocktail.
  • Make punch and serve it from a punch bowl.  This certainly adds to the festive nature of the party.  This year's recipe is here.
  • Clear kitchen counters as much as possible.  I put our toaster and coffee pot away this year as well as all of the usual clutter.  You'll need the space no matter how big your kitchen is (unless you are RHBH Lisa Vanderpump).
  • Set up a recycling area.  You'll probably need more recycling space than trash.  No matter what the weather, we usually put a big bin outside the back door, and then smaller one somewhere near the bar.  Fortunately our recycling does not have to be separated and all plastics are recyclable so ours was easy to do.
What are your party tips?  Any big parties coming up?

Happy Birthday Honey!


Big Changes Around Here

Just wanted to point out some changes on the main blog page.  First, I created a new blog header. Not sure I'll keep it for the long haul but I like it better than the nothingness I had before! 

I added a tag menu in the column on the right so you can find all of my posts about say the dining room. 

I also updated my blog roll which has expanded A LOT!  I need more hobbies maybe.  Here it is for those who are reading on reader. 

Finally, I updated my house tour photos to reflect the changes in our kitchen (backsplash), dining room, the kids' rooms.  I still need to add some more exterior photos and do a real "tour" through the house.  Maybe I'll even do a video... or not since I hate my own voice.

Happy Sunday!