Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIY problems: black trim with black doors or white trim with black doors

The past few days have been permeated by the stench of DIY failure.  Pretty much every thing I touched came out all wrong.  And it was a fair number of projects.

I will spare you the details of All Things Gone Wrong, but will ask your opinion on one that I haven't decided how to fix.

Originally I decided to paint the upstairs trim and doors black.  The baseboards were painted black by the painter, and he also did the trim around the master bedroom door black so I could see how it would look.  All of the upstairs doors are still white, as I haven't yet gotten to painting them either.  Last week I decided I would get started on the trim.  I taped off all the trim, sanded them down, and started painting them black.

Unfortunately the trim all needs to be primed, as the black paint slid right off.  I also discovered that the doors and trim are painted with latex on top of oil, and the top layer is peeling off, and sigh, this is turning into a really massive project.

Before I went any further, however, I sat down and looked at my inspiration pictures of black doors and trim. Shockingly (!), I noticed that 99% of the pictures I have saved with black doors HAVE WHITE TRIM. The horror.   I looked further, and found pictures of black door trim.  All those pictures with black trim have NO DOORS, just open doorways.  (I found ONE picture of an interior black door with black trim.  All the rest black door/black trim are exterior doors, usually casement style.)

I am having a wee crisis of confidence in my decision to paint both the trim and the door black.

What do I do??? The baseboards are black.  The door jambs and doors are white.  Keep the jambs white and baseboard black as they are now? Paint everything black? Paint all the trim back to white and paint the doors black?

Another factor to consider--What about the interior of each bedroom?  Paint the whole doorjamb so that the door trim is also black inside the bedroom?  Just paint halfway, so that the interior door trim is white? My painter will loooove that.


Friday, August 23, 2013

State of the Union: Project Make All The Friends

Its hard to find new friends as an adult. I should know, seeing as I've been forced to find new friends now every year for the past decade.  I could just post an ad on craigslist.  "Plump hippie/flaming liberal seeking like-minded individual to eat brownies and discuss whether Domino was better than Lonny. Must understand sarcasm, MTHFR gene mutation, and Pokemon scoring system." How many responses do you think I'll get?

I've been feeling lonely-ish.  Not super lonely--I still have friends in our old town, but our new town is twenty miles from the old town, and thus the unexpected drop-in/hey can you pick up my kids/see you at school pickup time spontaneity isn't there.

The thing about finding new friends is that you need either common purpose or frequent interaction with someone.  The other person has to like you and not think you are weird.  Most importantly the other person has to actually WANT to make a friend.  There are lots of people here that I have common purpose and frequent interaction with who seem to enjoy talking to me, but they seem to already have enough friends.  People here are friendly but....I dunno...busy?  Perfectly happy to have a conversation when they see you standing in your driveway (how about this weather! Did your kids start school yet?), but not interested in actually getting to know you. (Or I stand out as a crazy weirdo. Either is possible.)

It is easy to find other mom friends when your young kids hit school age, because you will see the same group of people (common purpose) at the same time every day (frequent interaction), and if you are not a total hermit (I am, but I am forcing myself to speak to people) you might even strike up a conversation with them.  This is how we found friends last year at Greg's school.  There were at least ten moms that I could talk to at school or group playdates, and probably three moms that I would set up playdates with on a regular basis.  However, only one of those moms do I consider an actual friend that I go out to dinner with and call up saying "omg you'll  never guess what just happened."

I know that since the kids are going to be at schools this year in our old town, the probability of us making new friends who live outside our immediate block are not high.  Thus I am aggressively courting new friends from other areas of life. That sounds stalkerish, doesn't it?  I asked the director of my kids' preschool if we could be friends outside of school, and she said yes (yay!).I'm hoping to collect the kindergarten teacher.  I had coffee the other day with our realtor, and she suggested dinner sometime, so I have added her to Project Make All the Friends. I hope that when Greg starts his new school that he makes a few friends who don't live too far away (its a county-wide school, so new friends could be 40 miles from here, but I'm willing to travel if he finds someone he likes).

It hasn't been a total success.  There have been a few failures along the way that make me squirm (I used the word "boner" to a person who was clearly not the kind of person who I should have said the word "boner" to--keeping it klassy!), but such is life.  Now I need to figure out how we can make some "couple friends".

Personal growth and meeting people and putting yourself out there!

Le sigh.  Hold my hand and send me a brownie, please.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Painting All The Trim (or thinking about it, anyways)

We have mostly completed the phase one/make it livable projects after moving into this house.  By phase one I mean painting over all the swine beige and making basic repairs.  The only rooms left to be painted are the master bathroom and the downstairs bathroom. They were originally left beige because they needed repairs; now that the repairs have been made I'll get to them soon.

Phase two, starting before phase one is officially finished, is also getting off the ground.  There are miles and miles and miles of trim to be painted.  The interior doors need to be painted; this house was a rental for the past eight years and most of the doors are showing signs of wear.  I'd like to paint the exterior of the front doors but have to get permission from the HOA.  There are so many doors to paint I'm contemplating getting a spray gun and air compressor, or I'll be painting for a mighty long time.  

I started painting the upstairs hallway door trim this weekend. I sanded down all the door trim by hand, taped off all four doors, and hoped that all the sanding would do away with the need for priming.  

That was silly.  The black paint slides right off if you even look at it sideways.  

I guess I will have to prime it first.  If we weren't having visitors at the end of August I would spend a few weeks looking at that taped-off door and think hmm, maybe next weekend.  Good thing I've been handed a deadline.

Not much exciting going on here, folks.  Just painting and procrastinating.  Mostly procrastinating. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Our first place together: the shore house then and now

This would be a much more dramatic post if I had some "before" pictures, but just bear with me.

In 2001, the Mister graduated law school and started a one year clerkship in Red Bank, New Jersey.  Over the summer he went apartment hunting and found an adorable cottage in Brantley Beach.  The cottage was a three block walk to the beach, a 15 minutes drive to his new job, and was full of quirky details, like a rainbow shag rug (seriously) in the living room and the original 1950s tile in the bathroom and kitchen.  It was tiny, but cute, and it was cheap, which was very important, since the Mister's salary was also tiny.

A few days before the bar exam, which was a few days before the Mister was supposed to move in, which was also few days before he was supposed to start his new job, he received a phone call from the landlord informing him, sorry, the cottage was condemned and being razed the next day.  (In retrospect, I have a feeling that the landlord probably received a generous offer to sell the place, and decided to skirt the contractual issue of having a tenant, since the prospective tenant had not yet moved in. But I digress.)

This left the Mister with a large problem.  The new job was not really within commuting distance of any family member's houses, and the Mister needed a place to live, pronto. Since the Mister was about to take the bar, the Mister's parents were dispatched with instructions to find the Mister a place to live with immediate vacancy, and within his budget.

In Jersey shore towns, there is a type of rental called a winter share, which I imagine is probably available in shore towns all over.  It is a space that is rented for eight to nine months over the winter, and the owner either returns to live in it for the summer, or rents it out for a much higher price during high season.  The Mister's parents found him a lovely winter share home, available from September through June.  The Mister's parents agreed to help on the rent, and so the Mister moved by himself into a five bedroom, five bath, 3000 square foot fully furnished house located directly on the bay, next to Geraldo Rivera's house.  If the Mister could have afforded a yacht (he couldn't), he could have tied it up on the dock at of the house.

I moved in a few months later, so this was our first home together.

I am very sad that I have no pictures of the interior of this house.  It was enormous, but had not been updated well. I think the house was probably built as a three bedroom rancher in the fifties, and then received a two bedroom addition upstairs in the eighties.  Three of the baths were in original to the house but in good shape; the two upstairs baths were basic builder grade and added when the upstairs addition was built. The kitchen was ugly, small, and inefficient with ancient appliances.  The smallness of the kitchen compared to the largeness of the house is one of the reasons I think the house probably started off as a small rancher.

The house was fully furnished, and decorated in a shabby chic style.  The hardwood floors were painted in a yellow and green checkerboard pattern.  Nearly every room was exploding with floral chintz and plaid everywhere.  But, there were plenty of guest bedrooms, the view of the bay was amazing, and we were very happy, if cold and huddled under blankets from our inability to heat such a large house.

Here is the only picture in my possession of that house.  Its not even a picture of the front of the house; we are standing in the backyard.

The other day we were discussing the house and pulled it up on google, where we discovered that it was recently for sale for $2.4 million. (Ha!!) Someone clearly also put a lot of work into it, because it certainly didn't look like this when we lived there.

The owner added an addition on the left, because the original house stopped about where that tree is.  They also made a ton of renovations in the back.

Here is a (poorly photoshopped) view of the back of the house then and now:

The far right second story is a new addition.  On the first floor directly below that addition they made what was a guest suite off the porch into the new kitchen with a large bay window. There was no raised back porch, either.  On the second level the three sets of French doors were there, but the large balconies were originally much, much smaller.  The roofline is also changed.

The yard was the same, although not as lush.  When we were there, the owner had grass planted on a Monday, and on Wednesday there was a major storm with lots of flooding, and the bay came up to within ten feet of the back of the house, and it took all the grass with it when it receded.  So the year we lived there the backyard was sort of a large mudpit (as you can see in the picture of us standing in the backyard).

The view of the bay was pretty lovely, though.  If only I had taken a picture of it.

Here is what the new owner did with the kitchen.  I am guessing that this is probably in the new addition, because the old kitchen faced the street, not the bay.

Here's our old bedroom, which appears about the same.  It was a periwinkle blue when we lived there, but otherwise the room looks the same.

I pinned all the pictures from the MLS listing to a Pinterest board, if you're interested. The owners did a very nice job renovating the house.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane...even if that trip involves a house that didn't look anything like the one I lived in.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Downstairs bathroom, take two

Last week I was all excited to start moving forward on the design of the downstairs bathroom.

I think I'm going to go in a different direction.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sunburst art in the dining room

I've been on the lookout for a large piece of art for the dining room, but have not seen anything I've been excited about.  Then I saw this and this, and thought I would try making it.  

At first I tried freehanding it.  That didn't turn out well, but I figured out my mistake fairly quickly.

Then I got out a ruler, started making straight intersecting lines, off-centered slightly to the left.  I just used leftover paints from the garage.

Once I painted over the original mistake and penciled all the lines, it was a fairly quick and easy project.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting started on the downstairs bathroom

The plumber was here this afternoon to fix our master bathroom shower drain, which involved cutting a hole in the downstairs bathroom ceiling. 

I have been holding off on beautifying the downstairs bathroom, knowing that the upstairs bathroom needed to be repaired and that would most likely involve holes in the wall in the downstairs bathroom.  Now that it is fixed, I can get started on making the downstairs bathroom presentable.  

I'll be painting the walls Lowe's Pink Wink (or Wink Pink? I can't remember).  

Dilemma the first: do I paint the vanity red or purple?  

I am leaning towards red for continuity's sake, as there is a lot of red on the first floor, and this bathroom is located adjacent to our red and navy family room.  But the purple is pretty.  I have become enamored of deep, dark purples lately, after thirty years of not caring about purple as a color at all.  

Dilemma the second: I have two rolls of wallpaper and no hope of getting more, as it is discontinued. (I need five to wallpaper the whole room.)  I can wallpaper one wall, which would be the wall to right of the toilet, because its the first wall you see and its the biggest unbroken space. 

 BUT--big but--I have two young boys with poor aim.  (Don't make me spell this out.)  I could just wallpaper a large canvas, or frame pieces of it.  Or do I wallpaper the wall and just live with the possibility of ruination?   Or, go totally crazy and wallpaper the ceiling.

Your thoughts, please.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ugly thrifted brass lamps

I found these two ugly lamps in a thrift store last week.  (Please excuse the blurry iphone pic.)

At first I passed them over, thinking they were too heinously shiny, brassy, and trophy-ish.  However, I kept thinking about them for days, which is usually a sign that I should probably buy them.  I liked how tall they are, which would work nicely with the very low night side tables in the guest room.  They were also a good width for being so tall, yet wouldn't require an enormous lampshade, like a thicker three foot lamp would.  And they were $25 for the pair, which was in my price range.

So I went back for them, and luckily they were still there.  I used a pair of off-white drum shades and some greek key trim from my stash in the garage. (The stash of lamps and lampshades is officially depleted.)

I may paint them eventually, but for now, I kinda dig the brassy trophies.  

Thrift anything exciting lately?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Week of (Nearly) Zero Dollar Decorating: the Boys Room is a Swing and a Miss

I have done very little to the boys' room, much to the boys' dismay.  I have plans for it, but not the budget, so it has languished in blah-ness since we moved in.  The last picture I posted of it was on the master To Do list, and it looked like this:

The navy blankets are too dark and don't play well with the grellow-striped curtains.  One bed blocks the access to the closet.

In the spirit of zero dollar decorating, I swapped out the thin navy bedspreads for the heavier winter quilts, which have a brighter, more colorful vibe.  Believe it or not, its actually kind of cool here at night with the windows open and fans going (about 60 degrees), so it has actually worked out nicely.  I also swapped the navy-trimmed lampshade for a plain white one from the stash in the garage.  (Purging + zero dollar decorating has greatly depleted the stashes.)  I think this looks much brighter and happier.

I am saving my pennies for a low loft bunk bed.  You might notice that the bed on the right has no footboard, because it broke.  The bed on the left also has a broken footboard but we taped it with duct tape. I would just take it off so that they match, but the two beds have different rail systems (the left is the vintage bedrails hooked into the headboards and footboards, but the bed on the right has already broken once so it is simply the head and footboards screwed onto a modern frame.)

The low loft bed will solve the problem of access to the closet, and give us much more floor space in this room.  I thought, hmm, why don't I just take out that little dresser between the beds and turn the one to the side, sort of like the L-shape that a loft bunk will give us?  That will give us more floor space and access to the closet.  Like so:

My boys howled in protest.  "There's nowhere to PUT OUR STUFF, MOM!!"  Which is a legitimate complaint.  I too like places to put my stuff.  So the little dresser came back in until we have enough pennies to get the low loft bed.  And I'll be buying the low loft bed that comes with a set of drawers underneath, so they have someplace to put their stuff.

And thus concludes the week of switching up everything in my house.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Week of (Nearly) Zero Decorating: the Dining Room

Hey! The mysterious disappearance of my blog header means now threaded commenting works, which it never did before.  Interesting, eh?


Last we saw the dining room, I had just purchased an oak buffet that I was going to paint a bright, cheery color.

I've since changed my mind about that oak buffet; it was feeling a bit too traditional, and I wanted something more modern.  I sold it on Craigslist.  Instead I brought in two half Billy bookshelves from the garage, and turned it into our game cabinet.

This room actually was zero dollar decorating; everything in here was already owned.  This arrangement of the bookshelves on this side of the room is temporary; eventually this spot will probably have a large piece of art and there will be storage on the other side of the room.  For now, however, I like how the white bookshelves feel brighter and take up less visual space than the heavy oak buffet.  I think I finally have an idea of what I'd like to do in here.