Monday, April 29, 2013

Purging All The Things: Do You Want The Things Back?

Last year the Mister and I decided to put buying a house on the back burner, and commit to staying in our rental for another year.  Thus the Big Purge happened. I was tired of lugging around all this furniture I had no space for.  In fact, earlier in the year, tired of not being able to use the garage, we put all the spare furniture in storage. When we decided to stay in the rental, I got rid of nearly all the furniture in storage.  I sold it on craigslist and I gifted it to friends and babysitters.

I didn't stop at furniture--I got rid of drapes and rugs and vases and tablecloths and you name it, I got rid of it.  If it didn't have a specified place INSIDE my rental house, I got rid of it.  (I did keep hand me down children's clothing, Christmas decorations, and my former professional wardrobe in bins in the garage.  Having been out of work for five years, I could probably get rid of my professional wardrobe at this point. I haven't yet reached that mental point of giving it up yet.)  When the big purge was over, I think we had gotten rid of probably about half of what we owned.  

Then, after the Big Purge and the "we will live in this rental forever", circumstances changed where we could buy a house.  So we bought a house.  A house with 900 more square feet than our rental.  

We gave away half our stuff, and six weeks later bought a much bigger house.  Two rooms are nearly empty.  

Do I want all the stuff from the Big Purge back, you might be thinking?  

No.  No, I don't.  

Out of the dozens/hundreds of items I got rid of, I regret only two.  I got rid of our microwave, because the rental came with one and I didn't need the one we had. My main questions when getting rid of items were 1) do I need this, 2) can this be easily replaced, and 3) do I have a dedicated spot for this item inside my house?  Since I didn't need it, it was easily replaceable, and I had no where to put it in the rental, I got rid of it.  Of course, the new house did not have a microwave.  But, luckily $99 at Target got me a new one. The only reason I miss the microwave is that I am bleeding money at the moment and if I had just hung onto that damn microwave for six weeks I could have saved myself $99.  Its not the microwave I miss, it is the money.

The other item I wish I had held onto was the nursery rocking chair.  I loved that chair. It was puffy and overstuffed and comfy, and I loved reading to the kids in that rocker while they sat on my lap.  It was even big enough that I could have a kid on my lap and one sitting next to me, and a third sitting up on the edge of the arm.  Unfortunately, the big overstuffedness that made it so comfortable also made it too large to fit in any of the small rooms in the rental. When we switched Princess into a big girl bed there was no room for it in her bedroom (there was barely room for it when she was in the crib).  There was no place else to put it in the house or garage, so it went to storage.

I did not want to get rid of the chair, but I had no space for it, and it had to go.  I sold it to a young woman with a baby and a 2 year old, and funny enough she was from New Jersey, so I hope that she gets as much enjoyment out of it as I did.  At the heart of it, my feelings about that chair were not really about the chair so much as that time in my life.  That chair was my first big purchase for our nursery when we found out we were pregnant with our first child.  I spent many a night there rocking my babies.  Getting rid of that chair meant that I have big kids who don't need rocking.  Getting rid of that chair is the end of an era.

Maybe my babies don't need rocking anymore, but I miss that.


Anyways, there you have it. I got rid of half of our stuff and I only want one item back.

The best part of the big purge?  This is the first move ever where I have not felt like I am drowning in boxes and holy cannoli where on earth am I going to put all this crap.  This is SUCH AN AMAZING FEELING.  I'm not sure if its because I got rid of half our stuff or because I just added another 900 square feet--probably a little of both--but I am feeling that I can handle this! There is even room in the garage! Once I get the boxes unpacked and organize stuff, the garage should be fairly empty. I may even purge some more!

The house is unpacked now, although not entirely organized. The kids' rooms are mostly organized, the master bedroom is just piles of stuff all over the floor (the closet situation is...going to take me a while).  The living room/playroom is mostly empty of furniture and I cannot figure out at all how to arrange the room. (Its also a staging ground for dirty laundry and wet clothes drying racks and it is the very first thing you see three feet in the front door.) The garage is still full of boxes and will be for a while.

But the books are unpacked in the family room!  And this place feels like home.

Have you ever purged and wanted All The Things back?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homeward bound

Bye-bye, old house.

We are homeward bound.

Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love lies waiting silently for me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

two more days

One morning in June of 2006, Greg and I sat in a South Jersey diner in with my parents for breakfast. Greg was about a year old, and we had moved about two weeks earlier from our condo to a 120+ yer old side hall colonial. I was telling my parents that our movers, upon seeing our new "old" house,  had told us our condo was nicer and we should have stayed there. (They weren't that wrong--I would later sell the side hall colonial at a significant loss.) 

I had an entire conversation with my parents about our future plans to live in that house forever, how the Mister's career was in Philadelphia, my career as a law professor was in southern NJ, obviously we were never going to go anywhere and besides I HATE moving and we were NEVER MOVING AGAIN SO HELP ME.  

In two days I will be moving for the fourth time since that conversation.  And I still feel pretty much the same way--I hate moving and so help me I never want to do this again.  However, experience has taught me that I probably shouldn't say NEVER AGAIN.  Lets just say that I sincerely hope that we aren't moving again for a mighty long time.  Like, three or four years, at least. 

The painting at the new house isn't finished, and probably won't be until after we move in.  The mold company is supposedly finishing up tomorrow.  The carpets will be cleaned tomorrow. I will also be cleaning the floors and bathrooms tomorrow, and hopefully contact-papering the kitchen.  We finish packing on Wednesday, and Thursday we move.   

See you on the flip side, invisible internet friends.  


Monday, April 22, 2013

Scenes from a weekend

It was a lovely, relaxing, lazy weekend.


We packed and packed and cleaned and went to the dump and moved some stuff to the new house and painted and packed.

We cleaned forty years of grime off our new craigslist dining chairs.

We took down the hearts over Princess's bed.

We found a rug on craigslist.

The Evil Princess Porkchop and Super Peter returned!

More cleaning and packing.  The fun continues Sunday evening at 9 pm, with painting my old dresser for Princess's bedroom.

The primer is bubbling! Will this damn weekend never end.

Also this weekend my a few of my childrens had The Pink Eye and our house was a vomitorium. (Twice in the past few days I have been in another room and heard a quiet, rumbling "urp" from a child and managed to get them in front of an appropriate receptacle before the vomiting began (once from a sound sleep!), but this hardly seems like my luck will last.)    If my kids pass either of these virulent pestilence on to me I will be Wicked Pissed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

playroom gallery wall around the tv

Since we are moving in one week (eep!), I'm trying to get last pictures of the house before we start packing.  I haven't put up the playroom on the blog because I just can't seem to photograph the pictures without terrible sun glare on the picture wall, but I gave it my best shot.

The tv was mounted off center because (despite about 18 holes) we couldn't find a stud in the middle.  We used our West Elm art wall around the tv (see when we first moved in here), and I added on with additional black frames from Target.  Only a few pieces remain of the original West Elm art; the rest is mostly artwork from the kids.  

Princess has some of the best color composition.  I've saved about 400 pieces of her artwork for hanging at the next house. (I have saved the boys's artwork too, but they don't produce even a fraction of the amount of artwork that she does.)  (Princess's current artwork phase is "princess with hair.")

Now to take all that down this weekend and patch all the holes.

I'm not sure where this art installation will live in the next house, as I think we may only have one tv located in the family room, instead of one in the playroom and one in the living room.

What do you have around your tv? 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

so fresh and so clean: white paint

Things That Make Me Happy: fresh white paint.

Most of the house is being painted Dunn Edwards Whisper.  I originally wanted Benjamin Moore Mascarpone, which is a lovely creamy yet very bright white.  It had a beautiful luminescence.

Unfortunately BM paint was not in our budget. The BM paint was three times as expensive as Dunn Edwards, and that adds up if you are painting an entire house.  We color-matched the Mascarpone to a few different brands of paint, and they came out slightly yellower than we wanted.

I can't seem to get text on this picture, but the large yellow patch to the right is Mascarpone as colormatched by Home Depot, and that wee, barely able to be seen patch next to the left arrow is Dunn Edwards Whisper.

It was a few weeks of dithering in indecision about different possibilities, because I am generally all about dithering for weeks on end and changing my mind fourteen times, but I had to make a decision so that the painter could start (and finish) before we move in.  I finally settled on Whisper. (Actually, the evening that the decision needed to be finalized I was still dithering, and the Mister said "You're using Whisper. Bam. Done."  Thank goodness someone around here can make decisions.  I've already changed my mind three times on paint for the Princess's room.  The painter is not exactly pleased with me.)

The first coat of Whisper went up today, and it looks so much better than the green that was in there before.

And I'm also introducing a pop of trendy neon yellow into the design as well.

I'm not buying a rug for the eat-in area at the moment, but I was concerned that the chair casters might scratch up the floor, so all of the chairs will be wearing tennis ball footwear.

Monday, April 15, 2013

the Craft Cabinet

On Friday night I went to the Craft Cabinet, hosted by Jules and Andrea.  I had such a good time at the last one I couldn't miss this one.

I met up with Kelly from The Reading Nest beforehand. I met Kelly at the last Craft Cabinet and I was excited to hang out with her again.  She was gracious enough to hang out at the restaurant waiting for me for over an hour, since I was unbelievably late.  GoogleMaps told me it would take me 25 minutes to get to the restaurant.  I gave myself an hour to get there, and it took me ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES. (So embarrassing. So sorry Kelly!) (GoogleMaps LIES.) (SoCal traffic really is like that REM video where Michael Stipe is walking on the car roofs. I was watching the Angels game as I crawled past the stadium.)

I learned to paint with watercolors.  My three year old has better understanding of composition and color theory than I do, but I had a good time.

My third attempt was a little better.

The rest of the weekend was spent running back and forth to the new house and trying to find a plumber to fix the water leak that caused All The Mold we just had remediated.  But the painter is starting tomorrow and that means the house is one step closer to being pretty!

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 12, 2013

more castle/chevron discussion, House 11 boys' room curtains

I showed Princess the two options for her room (chevron wall or castle) and she most emphatically picked the castle, but she also most emphatically does not want me to paint over the pink wall that is already done in her room so...hmm. (She could have cared less about the chevron wall.)  Princess, ever the problem solver, suggested I put the castle on a different white wall.  I could put the castle on the wall opposite the bed (the only wall big enough to accommodate the decal), above the dresser, (like the one in the picture from yesterday) but then that leaves me with a pink accent wall over the bed a la 1995.

I could repaint the pink wall back to white, put the castle over the bed, then paint the white wall with the dresser pink to satisfy Princess's desire for a pink wall.  This would work just fine but oy, what a waste of time and paint and money and making me paint more ugh yuck arg.

Cathy commented that I could paint my own castle, thereby using the paint I already have. I LOVE this idea and think it is fabulous. Except I think it is wildly beyond my skill set.

Look at me all blogging every day this week! Its like I have a house to decorate!

The boys' room for the past two houses (see here and here) has been navy blue and orange.  Since I am moving the orange accents to the new dining room, this leaves me with navy blue and....I dunno, some other color.  I'm trying to work with what we have for window treatments, but I'm running into problems with this room.

The new boys' room has a window that is 93 inches wide, and it is set up high in the wall, and it is off center.  (Fabulous!) This is also most likely the wall that the boys' twin beds will be going on.

My thought is to run curtains across the entire length of the wall, thus disguising the fact that the window is off center, and thus the beds arrayed under that window will also look off center.  Since most curtains are between 44 and 57 inches wide, I need four panels of whatever curtain I use. Except I do not currently have any set of curtains with four panels in my garage of magic leftover decor that say "ooh, use me in a little boy's room!"  

I do have one pair of these blue Ikea Stockholm Blad curtains.

Actually, I have 8 blue panels, but six panels are going in the living room, so I only have two left over.  I have a green/red pair as well, so you would think I could just go buy a new pair and voila, four panels EXCEPT NO, Ikea has DISCONTINUED THEM!!! The bastards.  I swear, when Ikea is going to discontinue things it should be required to notify me directly. (Also! My plan to use two Erslev rugs in the eat-in kitchen is also dashed by Ikea discontinuing that item too!  *shakes fist at the sky*)

The Last but not least, I have these yellowy-greenish citron stripe curtains that I made out of West Elm duvets in my Why Buy Curtains When I Can Kill All The Duvets phase.

Or I may just leave the boys room in a completely undecorated state until after Christmas when I will have the money to do something I actually like. Yes. That sounds like a plan.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

chevrons or a castle for a princess?

In Princess's room I have already painted the wall behind her bed hot pink.  My big plan is to do something like this, assuming I can do the math (debatable; would one of my sisters fly out for the weekend and help me, please?):

But while looking for a decal for the boys room (sigh, I'm really having trouble with that room), I came across this castle, which is awesome.  It is a castle for a strong Russian tzarina instead of an insipid, treacly Disneyfied castle.

That castle in the picture with the baby is the six-foot size, not the three-foot size, so its kind of enormous.  I think it would look awesome over Princess's bed, but, grr, already painted the wall hot pink (four coats!) and I have four non-returnable quarts of paint for the chevrons sitting in the garage, waiting for me to do the math and paint the chevrons.  (I am kind of not looking forward to doing the math, as it involves leveling lines and making a grid.  Plus a LOT of taping off.) (If you want the cons of putting up a six foot sticker, I have done it before and I will say that its harder than it looks and requires a helping hand.).

What should I do? Giant sticker or chevron wall?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

sputnik and leather chairs

The sputnik-ish light was installed today in the family room area off the kitchen!

That area had a Tuscan-style wrought iron chandeliers, which I took down and walked down the hall to the dining room.  Apparently when the former owners put up the interrogation lights they somehow cut the power to the dining room chandelier box, so....I have an ugly chandelier that doesn't work.  Add it to the list of things to repair.  (Forgive the blurry phone pictures, I killed my phone this week and am using an older one until my new one show up.)

I also made the Mister go at 10 pm to a trailer park and pick up these (slightly filthy) Chairs of Awesomeness:

They will be going in the eat-in area off the kitchen, at the round dining table soon to be installed under the sputnik.  (The tolix chairs will be in the dining room with the non-working chandelier.)  Best of all the Chairs of Awesomeness were only $40 for all six.  Holla, craigslist!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

House 11 Dining room moodboard

My new house is going to be decorated largely with what we already have.  The Mold Remediation From Hell has eaten up all of my hardwood floor budget and is now chomping its way through my decorative items budget as well, so we are looking at the old "use what ya got"  and "I hope I can find this on craigslist" method of decorating.

I am going to base the dining room off the orange trellis curtains that were previously in the boys' room, because the new boys' room has a much wider window and those curtains won't fit that window. Those curtains are also discontinued, so I can't buy a second pair to make them work in the boys' room.  Ergo, those curtains are free to make their way into the dining room, where I only need one pair.

The one thing I plan on spending my money on in the dining room is blowing up a photo from our trip to Italy three years ago.  Its a photo of the beach in Santa Maria di Castellabate, where the Mister's family rents a beach house in the summer.  Otherwise, I already have the trellis curtains, a pair of orange lamps, the dining table and chairs, and a console (not the one pictured, but similar in size).

The only problem with this plan is I am totally at a loss with what to do in the boys' room.....but that's tomorrow's post.

Monday, April 8, 2013

ET Phone Home, tawdry paint

My living room and my kitchen are hazmats sites.  ET phone home....  (I am on a roll lately with the early eighties references.)

Actually, we are just remediating some mold.  (Two things to know about getting rid of mold: 1) it will cost wayyy more than you think it should, and 2) the mold remediation business is full of hucksters and con men.)


I started painting the Princess's room.  I have an idea for a wall in her bedroom, and bought 5 quarts of different colors for it, but then realized that executing the idea would be much easier if I painted the wall a base color of pink, but I didn't have enough paint so I bought another can of paint but not from the same place, and of course they didn't match exactly.

(FYI, the pink on the left is Benjamin Moore color Wild Pink from Ace Hardware (Clark Kensington brand of paint), which is a truly terrible paint, don't ever buy it because the coverage was horrible.  The pink on the right is Benjamin Moore Wild Pink from Home Depot in Behr paint, which was a paint with much better coverage but the color isn't right.)

This annoyed me to no end, because buying two quarts is more expensive than a gallon, and then I had to go buy yet more paint for yet another coat so that the whole thing is the same color.  To make matters worse, I liked the original color from Ace on the left, not the second color from Home Depot on the right.  Since we are hemorrhaging money at the money I debated just finishing it with the darker color on the right, since I have just enough paint left for another coat.  But its not the right color.

The Mister said "the left is so sophisticated and elegant! The right is tawdry and cheap! If you paint it the Home Depot paint you will forever look at that wall and think if only I had just gone and spent another $20 on more paint."


I love that man.

So we got a third can of paint and it looks much better.  Very elegant and sophisticated. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

the way back machine: my dining room circa 2002

Princess got into the cardboard box that holds our film pictures from the last twelve years, and as I was cleaning up the mess I came across this picture, which was funny in light of my writing just a few days ago about how I painted our condo every color of the rainbow:

That red! (It took two coats of primer and five coats of paint. Never again will I paint a room red.) The sophisticated gold dupioni-looking polyester curtains with matching beaded valance! (Twenty eight years old and already an old lady with victorian taste.) The federal style china cabinet, actually displaying my china!  All the matching espresso furniture! The Purple Beast of a sofa!

Oy vey.

The other side of the room was even worse but I don't have a picture.

It has been a lot of trial and error to figure out what I actually like.  My taste has changed, but, honestly, not that much.  I still like the Klimt painting and still have it, although its currently hanging out in the "unused art" section in the back of the Mister's closet.  I still like federal style furniture, although today I'd probably pair it with a lacquered parsons table instead of a matchy-matchy dinette set. There is still a part of me that likes beaded, bedazzled things, although I'm no longer in the habit of using beaded valances.  And I still decorate with strong jewel tones like red and purple.  Reading design blogs for four years refined my ideas on what I really like, and how to use it. (I still make mistakes, but I like to pretend I've gotten better at this game.)

How about you?  Has your taste changed since you started reading design blogs, or have you always known what you wanted? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

The new house has a lovely living/dining room space that runs the whole left side of the house. Or at least it would, if someone had not built a weird half wall separating the two.

Here is what it looked like last week, when we bought the house.

Notice how the wall does not go all the way to the ceiling?  It appears that the dining room was probably used as an office, because that half wall was built right on top of the existing carpet.  The chandelier electrical box in the ceiling was also capped off and these ....weird...lights were installed.

We referred to the room as the Room of Interrogation. (Also good for performing spur of the moment surgeries.) (No one EXPECTS the Spanish Inquisition!) (Between that line and the title, I have hereby exposed myself as no longer a member of the 18 to 34 demographic, I know.)

Today the wall came down.

Let there be light!

Now we just need some paint.

Since 90% of my inspiration pictures have white walls, I decided to paint most of the rooms white.  Its funny, when we first got married I painted our condo every color of the rainbow, and then I went through the beige phase (not pinky-beige! I never went for pinkish beige, I swear, it was a tasteful grayish-brown beige!), and now I am back full circle to all white walls.

There are a million gazillion shades of white out there.  I bought about ten samples, put them on posterboards, and carried them from room to room in the new house, testing them in different lighting.

You can barely see a difference between any of them, right?  I couldn't.  Once we narrowed it down to two we put those two on the wall.  We eventually decided on Benjamin Moore's Mascarpone (the one on the far left).  Its a bright, creamy but not yellowy white.  I started painting the Princess's room with it today, and it looks pretty nice.