3.25.2011

Spring Wreath and SPRING DECOR LINK-UP PARTY!

When I held Kim's shower at my house a few weeks ago, I decided to get a jump start on a spring wreath which could do double-duty for the shower and for early spring.

Here's what I started with: $5 grapevine wreath from A.C. Moore; 5 pink silk roses ($1 each special at A.C. Moore); fishing line; and ribbon.

I started by sliding the roses into the grapevine wreath, one at a time and staggering them so they look like they are growing up the side of the wreath (sort of).
I trimmed the ends of the silk flowers.
I added some ribbon - toile to match the shower theme, but with some pink wired ribbon under it to keep it from being limp.
Now, it's your turn. Link up your spring decor ideas - crafts, floral arrangements, mantels, vignettes, etc.

p.s. Congrats to Katie on winning last week's giveaway! More details here


3.24.2011

YHL House Crash: How it all came down

Yesterday was...well... a whirlwind! John and Sherry of the super blog Young House Love featured our house (and blog). I thought I would let you in on how it all came down...


Young House Love was one of the first blogs that I really followed regularly thanks to a recommendation from Carey during a visit to her store early last year. At that time, I had been writing a blog about our whole house renovation process and had really enjoyed it. But, I felt like the useful purpose of that blog was coming to an end and I wanted to go in a new direction. HOUSEography was born.

So, early last summer I had made a casual comment on YHL offering our house for a crash. We live in Arlington which is about 2 hours from where they live in Richmond, but I never really expected them to take me up on it. Low and behold, Sherry emailed me that night (!) and wanted to schedule a crash in the fall since Clara had just been born. Of course the fall was crazy and the holidays just come too quickly (they always do), so we decided to wait until the new year when everyone had more time to devote to it. We finally scheduled a date - February 11th (Jim's birthday!). I was giddy with excitement but told almost no one for fear of jinxing it!

So, on a gorgeous morning in February, John and Sherry stopped in with Clara and Burger in tow! They were incredibly friendly and fun to talk to, and downright adorable. Exactly what you would expect if you are a regular reader (and who isn't?!). We walked around the house for an hour and a half or so. Sherry and I talked (and talked, and talked, and talked) while John snapped I don't know how many pictures of our house. Speaking of which, I am AMAZED at how awesome our house looks in his pictures. He is really talented.

I knew it would be a month or two before they featured us because they had just done another house crash. Earlier this week, Sherry emailed me with some final follow-up questions. They know their readers so well because many of those questions were asked in the comments (both theirs and mine!).

Here are a few pics we snapped of each other just before they left. How cute is Clara?!


Thanks again to John and Sherry for a fun morning and for the crash. It was super exciting to finally meet my blogland heroes.

Today, I am thankful that despite over 26,000 visits yesterday, my blog did not crash!!!  Update: over 28,000 by midnight last night!

p.s. Don't miss a post! Consider becoming a follower here, or check us out on Facebook or Twitter!

p.s.s Swing back tomorrow for a fun spring decor link-up party!!!

3.23.2011

Now about those chairs...

Welcome Young House Love Readers! I am honored and thrilled to be featurd on John and Sherry's super blog this morning. I'm doing a Sherry-style happy dance over here.

[Breathe] Back to the main event...

After my new table score last weekend, I got a lot of comments about the chairs and what I should do with them. Truly, they are adorable and they have been fine for us over the past 12 years, but they are really rickety, squeaky, and beyond help. Handy hubby has already reglued them to no avail. They are also quite small so when particularly tall people sit in them, I wonder if they think they are children's chairs!

So they may need to go. If they were in good shape, I would just paint them and call it a day. But it's not that easy...


So I have started a chair search on Craigslist and elsewhere. I found a set of chairs on Craigslist for $100. I loved the style but they were just a little wide and the seats were a little low for the new table.
Fortunately they found a happy home with my friend Jen who also needed new dining room chairs!
Then I saw some chairs at World Market that I really liked.
World Market
The wood in this picture is not accurate. It has that awesome Restoration Hardware gray patina which goes with everything and will not chip or get nicked up. Love. It's quite comfy, but the $129 price tag is not...

But World Market is having a friends and family sale this weekend. 25% off everything... Happy Dance!!

So unless Craigslist yields something sooner. These puppies are coming home with me.

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3.22.2011

Roomba Rescue

You may remember how much I adore our Roomba. Turns out one of their biggest flaws is that the batteries kick out after about a year of regular use. They do better with more regular use but we use ours only 2 or 3 times per week so maybe not enough to cycle the battery enough. Where we previously got an hour of cleaning out of it, we were now getting only about 15 minutes at most - barely enough to cover the kitchen. Argh.

So, I did some searching and found a replacement battery online. It cost around $30 for an aftermarket version (find it here), which considering a new Roomba would be about a few hundred dollars, it was worth it.

Total time to replace the battery was about 5 minutes - here are the steps.

1) Flip it over -
 
2) Then you remove the spinning brush (yellow).

 
3) Unscrew the four screws on the bottom. They do not come all the way out so you don't have to worry about losing them.
 4) Lift off the top and check out the dust inside your Roomba. Yuck!
 
 5) Lift out the old battery and replace it with the new one.
 6) Drop it back in the charger for a couple of hours so it recharges.
 
Back in business!

In case you are wondering, the picture above is the small area between our kitchen and dining room. It was originally intended to be a butler's pantry but we figured for this time in our life we could use an extra junk drop area more than a butler's pantry. But a butler's pantry would be nice too! Some day.

3.21.2011

One thing leads to another...

I am going to be straight with you (I generally am so this is really nothing new). The entire time I was looking for new counter stools, I was also thinking about replacing our kitchen table and chairs. The table is an antique drop-leaf table that has been in my family for a really long time (100+ years), but it is just not practical for everyday use with kids. It is 2 inches shorter than a normal sized table which makes even my small-ish chairs a tight squeeze - especially on the sides where there is really no leg space.

I trolled Craigslist for several weeks even before I ordered the bar stools. The stools were a bigger priority on my annoying furniture that I hate list. The stools also didn't have any sentimental value so they were easier to replace. The table was actually the table that we ate off when I was very young. In hindsight, I think my parents stopped using it because it wasn't practical for their young family! Hah!

I really wanted a round pedestal table with a leaf or two if possible. Nearly every round table on Craigslist was too small, was not a pedestal, wasn't wood (laminate, etc.) or was just too hideous to even attempt a make-over.

I got frustrated. I started looking at new tables. I found a great table... well, a lot of great tables but not too many tables at a reasonable price! This World Market table was at the top of my list.

World Market - Charlotte
It's a nice size at 45" in diameter and comes with a leaf. It sells for $449 but I hear they often have coupons, so it probably would have been closer to $400 in the end. Not bad.

Things got busy over the weekend so I didn't buy it. I like to thing quite a bit about making a big purchase like that because I want to love it.

Then... Craigslist came through for me! I found a great solid oak 48" table with 2 leaves which had been recently refinished for $145! Score! I trucked out to the middle of nowhere Virginia to pick it up. It's perfect! 
Well... almost. The finish is not done perfectly for the hubby's taste but I am sure the kids will get it nicely distressed before long anyway.

Jim helped me bring it in after dinner one night last week before heading out for a neighborhood guys' night out. We quickly realized it was really tall - 33" tall to be exact. I wanted a bigger table but this was a tad bit ridiculous! Yikes! Fortunately, I quickly realized the casters were not meant for this table, but Jim was already out the door (funny how that happens!).
I had the table turned over and the screwdriver out of the junk drawer only seconds after he had left. I could not live with the giant table for even one night.
 Bang. Done.


Now, about those chairs...

3.18.2011

HOUSE TOUR! (a replay...)

Last week, our house was featured on Remodelaholic. In case you didn't get over there to see it, here is a quick replay for you. Thanks again to Cassity for having HOUSEography over to play! Also, please check out my room-by-room house tour party going on here.

*                 *                    *
Our house looked like this when we bought it in 2002.

This is what our house looks like today.

In 2009, we started a major remodel including renovating the existing house and adding a large extension on the rear of our house that would double the size of our living space and solve 95% of the house's problems (at least in our minds at the time). Our main goal in the design was to make the new an old spaces flow seamlessly together, so that people inside the house would have difficulty discerning where the old house ended and the new house begins. We think we succeeded since many of our friends have a hard time remembering what our house looked like before! (Side note for anyone thinking about a major remodel: I wrote a step-by-step blog about our renovation process which you can check out here.)

Let's start the tour! As you enter our house, you come right into the living room (and the family room beyond to the right in this picture). 

We were able to add a roof over our front door, but we were not able to easily solve the front entry issue so you enter directly into the living room - still not ideal. Most of our friends use the side door so the lack of a front entry is only a problem a few times per year, but it's still something I would love to fix at some point.

So, we were not using our living room with its standard furniture layout very much after we added our bright and light family room on the back, so we decided to change things up with a round table and four comfy chairs from Rowe. There is no sofa in here and we don't miss it a bit!

The two doors on either side of the fireplace lead to our compact screen porch where we often eat dinner weather permitting.

To the right is our dining room which grew by about 2 feet in the renovation process. This was just enough to adequately fit our vintage dining room set which my parents bought for us as a house warming gift. The chandelier was a Christmas gift from them a few years back.

If you continue through the dining room...
As you can see, although this is a new doorway, it feels old because we replicated the original archway between the dining room and living room.

To the right, we have a small hallway with our coat closet, a bench, and a half bath - 
The half bath and closet are in the same area as our original kitchen! Here's a picture - (the window on the right over the sink is now in the new half bathroom).
And this is our kitchen now...

The kitchen is open to our family room where we spend most of our time.

Although we had an architect and a general contractor do the heavy lifting on our addition, my handy hubby has built all of the built-in bookshelves in the entire house, the fireplace mantels, and the stove hood! He also installed the crown molding which is a story unto itself! His current house project is a huge set of built-ins in our basement rec room.

Now we'll head upstairs...
Originally, our stairs ran up the back side of our living room. Although we loved our stairwell, we just could not manage to save it and still have the open, flowing floor plan that we craved. 

Our master bedroom is intended to be a calm retreat from the rest of our house... but often it's the center of all of the action while everyone gets ready to go in the morning!

Off the bedroom is our master bathroom - 
Our son Alex's nursery is just down the hall. This room was originally our office, but now our desk is his changing table! These were the handy hubby's first foray into built-in bookshelves!
Next up is my daughter Elizabeth's room. Before the renovation, this was our master bedroom but her closet is about 3x as big as ours was when we lived in here! Thankfully, we had the foresight to rebuild the closets in each of the existing three spare bedrooms so hangers would actually fit.

In the basement (or "lower level" if you want to be fancy!) we have a guest bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. I made the upholstered headboard (details here).
Our most recent project was the built-in bookshelves in the basement rec room.

Hope you enjoyed the house tour! Check out my source page and house tour page for additional details!

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