3.04.2011

Calling all Washington DC Area Bloggers!

Sorry about the lack of posts this week. It's been a bit crazy getting ready for my wonderful friend's baby shower at my house tomorrow. We're expecting 30 people so it's going to be a crowd for sure. I am super excited about the shower and will have lots of details and ideas to share next week!

Are you a DC area home, DIY, or decor blogger? If so, shoot me an email so I can fill you in the details of a local blogger brunch on March 26th!

3.02.2011

Tale of a Dresser: The Sequel

Following onto yesterday's post, I had to follow-up on the easy update I made to the dresser which has COMPLETELY transformed it. Really amazing actually. All it took was new hardware from the clearance bin at Lowe's. For about $36 dollars, this dresser was changed from a mid-80s period piece to become very current or, perhaps more accurately, timeless.

Here's the before -
And now the after with new, not so shiny hardware -


The finish is actually antique brass, but it looks a bit silver-ish in these pictures. It works beautifully with the wood and the style of the dresser. Makes the piece look much more expensive and totally current I think.

Of course, when I was buying the hardware, I could not leave well-enough alone so I had to buy some matching hardware for my dresser as well. Ironically, this dresser (and our bed and nightstands) came from the same store as the new (to us) dresser. I'm so sad they closed and hope they find a new space soon! I had been thinking about making this change for a while but decided this was as good a time as any and it would not hurt for both to have the same hardware to unify things a bit.  There were only six handles that needed replacing so it was not a major investment.

Here's the before -
And the after -

The results were great but not without a little work. First, the screws on the backs of the existing hardware was ridiculously tight thus causing me to have to call in the hubby to help loosen them. Fortunately he was game and quickly removed the old hinges. Under the hinges, things were a bit grim - grimy and the stain was not as faded as the rest of the piece.
A little bit of furniture polish helped remove the grime and old polish but the finish needs some work overall. We'll get to it some day. Maybe.

But still, I love the results and I love how it works well with the newer dresser. 

You can still see the slight outline but I am hoping that will fade over time or with some extra elbow grease!

What do you think?  Any furniture make-overs this week?

3.01.2011

Tale of a Dresser

I have been looking for a new dresser for Jim for about six months or so. His dresser is a hand-me-down and perfectly fine but it definitely needs to be refinished and it is a little small for the space.

Here's a not so complete picture of the dresser.  Of course, I cannot seem to find another now. 





I had been trolling Craigslist and several used furniture and thrift stores for quite some time. I did not want a new piece because all of the other furniture pieces in the room is (except the chair and mattress) are older used pieces. I think a new piece might have stood out a little strangely, and I honestly did not want to spend the money on a quality piece of new furniture.

So, a few weeks ago I heard that one of my favorite used furniture haunts was going out of business (or relocating supposedly), and they were auctioning off all of their remaining stock. I trolled through their online catalogue and came across a dresser that was a similar wood tone and style to our existing pieces. Of course, I exceeded my original limit of $200 because after thinking about it and staring at the 2 pictures for a week, I just could not stop thinking that this was the right piece. I never saw it in person before the auction ended, so it was a leap of faith but so far these types of leaps of faith have worked out just fine for me! I knew it was made by Kincaid so it was not going to be a piece of junk, and no damage was visible in the pictures. In the end I paid a little over $300 including the auction premium, but I think it was really worth it.

Still needs some minor work but here it is -

I did not move the picture above so you can see how much taller it is than our previous dresser. It holds so much stuff and it has an extra drawer which is nice. Hubby is happy to spread out his t-shirt collection. It is also a bit wider so it fills the wall much more than the last dresser did.

The old dresser will likely end up in Alex's big boy room. This means that I probably have all of the furniture for his room except a mattress!

2.28.2011

Built-In Bookshelves (Update 8)

I wish I could say we're done but we're not.  BUT, we are soooo close. It's really down to the right hinges. Yes, hinges. Hinges for the cabinet doors. I cannot wait to show you the doors that hubby whipped up for me in his shop. Lots of magic happening down there (along with dust and noise!). Fortunately we are ordering the hinges we need today so hopefully we really will be done by the end of the week.  HOPEFULLY.  It's really time to move on to other projects.

Now I'll stop talking and show you pictures because I know that's what you really want!


We unpacked 10 boxes of books which is amazing.  We still have a few more to go but I think we'll be able to find space for them elsewhere in the house. We are trying to be better about letting go of books that we know we won't again or which we just don't love. Hopefully that will help us keep our massive book collection under control.

This has been our biggest built-in project so far and it has been a beast but I think so worth it and has such a big impact on the feeling of our playroom. We're sure the kids will enjoy this room for years to come, as will we. I can already see many years of kids' sleepovers happening down here!

As a reminder, here is how this room started -

First with our old stuff.
 Then with no stuff at all.
We've come a long way!

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2.25.2011

Multi-tasking Plates

I still owe you a post on the bookshelves which I hope to post this weekend or Monday morning at the latest.  The shelves are drying and they need a few days to cure before we can load them up. Should be a fun weekend!

Wanted to share a quick update I recently made in the kitchen. Hard to believe but Hubby was demanding new salt and pepper shakers. Admittedly, we have had these grinders for about ten years and were getting pretty dull so were no longer really very functional. The olive oil previously lived in the bottle it came in which was fine but not really special enough for a countertop.


Hubby's words as I walked out of the house to the mall (a rare event), "Buy something good. Don't cheap out." He knows me so well! So, of course I went directly to Williams Sonoma and bought a very nice set but still not the most expensive - just could not bring myself to spend $50 each for salt and pepper grinders. I love the new ones and they are beautiful!

I found the new olive oil container at the Container Store.  The top twists open and closed very easily, and it seems much more decorative for the counter.

They are all sitting on a small piece of pottery I brought back from Mexico. Sadly the plate got a hairline crack on the trip home so was no longer gift-able. Not really sad about it any more because I think it looks perfect here and the crack no longer matters. It's a great burst of color for my mostly black and white kitchen.

Have a great weekend!

2.23.2011

What's that thing over your stove?

Ummm... That's a pot-filler over my stove. That's probably the second most common question when people walk into our kitchen.  (The first is "What kind of counter is this?")


One of my favorite things in the whole kitchen actually. It gives me the feeling of having a gourmet, uber-expensive kitchen without paying for it. I love being able to fill a big pot of water for pasta (more nights than I would like to admit actually) and not heaving it from the kitchen to the stove.  It's also great when I'm making canned soup for the kids or measuring water for rice. Just all round handy.

It's also a great drying rack for bibs.

Awesome.

Some of you may remember the "incident" last fall. As a result, it's probably not Jim's favorite part of the kitchen!

What's the favorite part of your kitchen?

2.22.2011

Reattaching the Carpet

This is somewhat of a side post to the built-in bookshelves series. It all started with a few fateful words yesterday morning when Jim called to say he was leaving work early. I casually said, "Why don't you swing by Rental Works on the way home and pick-up a carpet knee kicker so we can reinstall the carpet?" Of course, he did. One of the many reasons why I love him.

You  may remember that we had to pull back the carpet (and removed the baseboard) in our playroom to properly install the built-in bookshelves. We had originally planned to have the carpet reinstalled by the same company that installed the carpet last year, but when the price quote came in at $250 to reinstall 10 feet of carpet edge, we started to explore other options. In the end, we decided to give the installation a try. How hard could it be?

Jim said he may need a knee replacement, or at least a handful of ibuprofen every night for the next week!

When we installed the bookshelves, we pulled back only the minimum amount of carpet so we would not have to reinstall the whole room. You can see the carpet pulled back in this picture.

First, we watched a couple of videos online. We liked the This Old House video particularly. The kicker is an absolute necessity about $11.00 for a 24 hour rental. We probably should have rented a trimmer as well because that might have made it a bit easier. Live and learn.

First, Jim reinstalled the tack strip to within an inch or so of the baseboard. Fortunately we were able to reuse the original tack strips saving us a little more money. The carpet padding was then trimmed up against the edge of the tack strip. 

Then we started by trimming back the carpet to within 2-3 inches of where we thought the carpet would lay down flat. Then we started trimming it back further, little by little so we wouldn't over trim which is the biggest risk here.

But, the carpet wouldn't catch the tacks. Jim quickly figured out that the carpet backing was hitting the baseboard, thus stopping it from catching the tacks. So, we trimmed a little more. At this point, we started using our Cutco kitchen sheers instead of a sheetrock knife to cut tiny strips of carpet. Those scissors are amazing and can cut ANYTHING. (They also have free sharpening for life which we may need to take advantage of soon.) Worked like a charm but if we did it again, we would rent the trimmer tool.

A little more knee-kicking, a wee bit of swearing, and more trimming and we were in business.

Jim requested that I put in a picture of him using the knee kicker since he may be maimed for life.

The result is worth it though!



Way better than $250 for professional installation, although we both agreed we would NEVER do a whole room since this took about 3 hours.

Have you ever saved a bunch of moolah by taking a risk and doing something new instead of hiring a professional? Did it pay off?

2.18.2011

Built-in Bookcases (Update 7)

A quick update on our basement built-in bookcase building progress. (How's that for some alliteration!?!) Jim finished painting the unit the other night and it looks amazing. He has all of the shelves built and about half are primed. We'll spend this weekend finishing up painting the shelves and touching up painting the walls and the main unit. Perhaps most exciting is that Jim mounted the new television which we purchased in the Amazon Cyber Monday sale.  Woohoo!

So, here are the latest pictures.

 
Handy Hubby hard at work fitting shelves.
 An embarrassing glimpse of our toy problems!  Things look so much worse since I sold the old shelves on Craigslist. 
 

Hopefully by this time next week, we'll be putting the room back together.  

Have a great long weekend!

2.17.2011

Monogrammed Boudoir Pillow

I probably should have done this post on Monday for Valentine's Day instead of a boring Thursday but oh well. I started this impromptu master bedroom redecorating series so I might as well finish it up (for now) with a little spotlight on our boudoir pillow which I got just before Christmas. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it and ordered right away. 


I ordered it from A Needle Pulling Thread (a local mom-run business which I LOVE). It was only $30 including the pillow form so a total steal. I also got my family room pillows from them which I love (you can see my actual "M" pillows on their website). Of course this has made me rethink my other pillows on the bed. I only really like the square center pillow but the others are not my favorites. I think I need more symmetry so yet another project for the bedroom!

Just FYI - A Needle Pulling Thread haven't perked me or paid me for this post.  I do love their work and their prices, and I love supporting local mom-owned businesses!

2.16.2011

Those pesky bedroom lamps - VOTE NOW!

Note: If you are tired of hearing about my bedroom lamps, stop reading now!


After I looked back at yesterday's post, I realized that I committed a serious blog FAIL by not posting a really good pictures of the dresser with the lamps.  So, I retook a couple of pictures -
 

Yes, I know the mirror is hung too low. That will be remedied shortly.

Now, here's what the dresser looks like with one lamp. I kind of like it but might take some getting used to (not a bad thing).
 
Now, here's your chance to vote!

Can't wait to see what you say!

2.15.2011

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?

2.14.2011

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?

2.11.2011

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!

2.10.2011

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!