Friday, November 10, 2017

T's bedroom

Many moons ago I put together a mood board for T's bedroom, which looked like this:

The finished room looks absolutely nothing like that.  The only thing from that moodboard we used were the pink lamps we already owned.

T and I looked through what remains of my fabric collection, which is pretty limited since the moving purge.  T picked out this Pottery Barn Paradise fabric.

 Back story: I once saw this fabric as a Pottery Barn duvet on an Apartment Therapy article, and in the picture it was a bright yellow.  I stalked ebay and craigslist looking for this duvet and finally tracked it down.  When it showed up, the color was very mustardy, not bright yellow.  I ripped the duvet apart and used it as curtains, then decided it was just not what I was hoping it to be, and put it away for years.  I'm happy T liked it, as I think it works really well in her room.

I recovered her headboard.

Since her windows already have pull up shades and window/furniture placement makes long curtains inadvisable, I made two pelmet boxes a la Jenny Komenda out of foam core board. 

I added a purple quilt, shopped the basement for art, shuffled some Malm dressers out of other rooms, bought a neutral shag rug and a panda head, and voila, new room.

great white balancing on these photos! Nothing but the best for my blog. 

pretend the art doesn't look crooked

different white balancing ftw

Someday, if my arms ever work again, I will repaint her bedroom (and the rest of the house) with a fresher white, and paint the trim.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Live with it: the basement laundry

As you may have seen, the Fall 2017 One Room Challenge kicked off two weeks ago!  I looooove watching other people make over their houses, and some of my favorite bloggers are returning this round.

I would love to participate in the ORC, as I just bought a house and have 13 rooms to makeover....but zero budget.  Womp womp, sad trombone.  Also I can't use my arms, which makes DIY projects difficult.  However, this is a blessing in disguise, because it will force me to live with this house for a while before making any really big decisions.  Many times I have thought "I must have This" and then I get This and it turns out that spot would really function better with That instead.

I have already changed my mind on a number of design decisions.  I assigned all the children bedrooms based on what already-owned rug fit in which room, and then it turned out that the furniture each child owned did not fit in the rooms, even if the rug did, so that meant some reshuffling, and some new rugs.

One "live with it" sort-of-failure/success is the 30-inch nook by the front door.  My first inclination was to buy a small dresser with drawers, because the Mister likes to drop keys and wallet in a drawer as soon as he walks in the door.  Since he lived here for a  month before we got here, his keys and wallet drawer was the kitchen drawer with the spatulas, which wasn't working for either of us.  I searched high and low for a less-than-30-inch dresser, which was impossible to find.  Then I found a dinged up lingerie dresser at a yard sale, which I thought was perfect, as soon as I could paint it a pretty color.  I attempted to paint it, using my arms, as one does, and as I've mentioned, using my arms is currently a no-go, and I had to take to my bed for days after putting primer on it.  Two more attempts at painting it were unsuccessful, and it is still sitting in our garage, unpainted.

This past weekend I thought to myself, ugh, the front door is always a mess, there are always 400 shoes here, why doesn't anyone put their shoes away in the shoe cubby that is in the far back of the house?? Brilliant idea: I should put a shoe cubby here in the front, not drawers.  I pulled the shoe cubbies out of the back closet, and hunted down the cover my mom made three houses ago, put out a basket for mail....and voila, shoes are put away.

You are all now desperately wondering where the wallet and keys go.  They ended up in the Drexel console that now resides in the dining room (not yet ready for pictures), which is where the Mister previously dropped wallet and keys in the last house.  Things will work out if you ignore them long enough. 


There are a few problem items I will have to live with for a while.  One of them is the washer and dryer.  Our current washer and dryer are wee bitty, teeny tiny petite appliances, located in our basement.  Our w/d in California were enormous, but since it costs many thousands of dollars to move across the country and the Mister said "hey, this w/d here is brand new", I sold the ones in CA.  When we got here I discovered that my new washer is half the size of the old one, and comfortably fits a pair of shorts and some socks and a handkerchief but not much more, thus necessitating what I consider an excessive amount of small load laundry doing.  (Irony: I bought this house without the Mister ever seeing it. I noticed there was a petite washer, but figured no big deal, I already have a w/d to bring with me. Then I broke my neck and things went to hell and well, this w/d debacle is really my own fault for not paying more attention, but I was otherwise occupied.)

The laundry is also located in the basement here.  In California our laundry was located by the door to the garage on the first floor, and thus I passed by the laundry multiple times a day, so I also did laundry multiple times a day.  I would love to relocate the laundry to the first floor  here.  Unfortunately there is not an obvious relocation destination on the first floor.  I spent a week thinking how I could move walls and repurpose closets to get the w/d upstairs, then realized that if I am going to spend many thousands of dollars on improving this house there are more important projects to tackle first.

I gave up on that and decided that it would be simplest to just buy a new larger w/d and put them in the basement, even though I prefer the first floor.  Easy, right? I spent some time researching what w/d to buy...and realized that the reason we have these wee, tiny w/d is because the two doorways into the laundry room are 24 inches wide and 26 inches wide, with no possibility of widening either. 

One is banded by the stairwell and an HVAC duct, and the other door is banded by a plumbing pipe and loadbearing wall.  So...the previous owners bought tiny appliances.

So we will live with it for a while.  Perhaps that time living with the doll size w/d will give us some clarity on how we'd like to move things around.  Maybe I will learn to like washing 12 miniature loads of laundry per day. Perhaps I will just tear a washer size hole in the wall over the stairwell and just pass the washer through with the aid of a few burly men.  (Thinking outside the box here.) 

Next up: living with it, the refrigerator edition. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Painting oak kitchen cabinets

I have plans for our kitchen.  Lots of plans. One of my big plans is to paint the honey oak cabinets.

Years ago, I saw this picture in Better Homes and Gardens.  (I cannot find this picture on the BHG website to link to, but I'm positive that's where it is from.)

I love two things in this picture.  First, the day I saw this picture I went to Ikea and bought a floating shelf and installed it in my kitchen under the cabinet, as you can see in this heinously not-white-balanced picture of my kitchen four houses ago. (This was the house with the rats. The horror.)

Second, I love the greige on the cabinets.  That's right.  I, Lisa, Hater of Neutrals, Proponent Of Color, Lover of All Things Bright And Colorful, have been dreaming for years of painting my kitchen cabinets a neutral color that leans towards beige.  (Not swine beige, never that. A pretty, soft, grayish beige.)  

Lest that shock you too much, I also have contemplated painting the cabinets olive green.

Or emerald green.

via Apartment Therapy
Or a cornflower blue.  
Sadly, every space has its limitations.  My kitchen has brand new gray/swine beige/black/cranberry granite counters installed by the previous owners.

Its in great shape and it makes zero sense to replace it right now, even if its not the bright white or quartz I would choose. is unlikely I will paint the cabinets a bright, happy color.

I feel that this kitchen would look nice in either greige, or a two tone white and charcoal gray or black, like so:

via Design Manifest
There's a bunch of rearranging of cabinets that needs to happen before I can start painting anything, so I have some time to contemplate.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

purple bedroom inspiration

Recently Kristin at the Hunted Interior revealed her daughter's bedroom:

Hunted Interior

I absolutely love the bed (and her daughter's taste!).  The bed is modeled on the Ikea Kura bed, but is taller, and the sides are decorated with fabric.

We are not handy and are unlikely to build this bed.  However, we do like the cozy hangout under the bed and enclosing the space with curtains, so perhaps we will do our best to come up with something similar.

I put together a mood board based on Princess's request for a purple bedroom.

I have been hoarding a roll of red/purple/pink Anthropologie wallpaper (discontinued) for years, and I think I finally have a chance to use it.  I won't be able to put it on the bed like Hunted Interior did, nor do I have enough to wallpaper the whole room, but I think we could frame a few panels and hang them on the wall.

rug / dresser / pillow / lamp / curtains / bed

Friday, September 15, 2017

teal carpet begone: wood floors and a persian rug

In the last post I showed you the master bedroom and living room with pictures from the house listing.  The master had delightful teal carpet, and the living room had a worn and stained berber. Both carpet were installed in 1994 when the addition was built, so they were 23 years old.  We replaced both with red oak hardwood floors to match the floors in the rest of the house.

The master bedroom:


These are some fabulous quality pictures from the Mister's phone.  The good camera was unpacked recently, but not the battery charger, and now the rooms all have furniture in them, so....terrible phone pictures from a month ago will have to suffice.

The  living room before:

The living room after:

I also made my first foray into vintage rug buying on ebay.  I bought a 10x13 vintage persian rug, and it is beautiful.

It has the loveliest colors and design, and I think it will really make an impact in the room.

One caveat to buying a vintage rug on ebay: this rug is incredibly filthy.  When we rolled it out, we could feel dirt on the bottom, and a cloud of dust arose.  It got dust all over the floor around it in the room.  It isn't stained or visibly dirty, and it is in good shape, but I think that it was probably sitting in a warehouse (or outside?) for a while.  I'm having it sent out to be cleaned.  So...if you order a large rug online, be prepared to possibly pay $$$ to have it cleaned.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The one where Lisa breaks her neck and buys a new house

Hey there.  How ya been?

Guess what?  We moved again! Three thousand miles across the country.  Back to northern New Jersey.  The three of you remaining reading this blog may remember my prior blog called Trapped in North Jersey.  Voila! Full circle.  

All three of our kids were going to be switching schools this fall, so we decided that if we were moving back to the East Coast, now was the time.  We found a lovely town not too far from the Mister's new job, and we found a pretty house which I would love to decorate, except I herniated two discs in my neck in July and had spine surgery in August.  

How did I do such a thing, you ask?  Well, long story short, dear reader, I did a somersault in jiujitsu class and felt very poorly, then a chiropractor finished me off. The chiropractic visit took me from being in pain to being in excruciating agony.  After a few ER visits, every front line narcotic drug known to man,  not being able to sit down or lie down or sleep in any position, being awake for nearly a month (seriously), and losing strength in my left arm to the point of not being able to open the refrigerator, I had a C5-C6 fusion surgery.

I injured myself a month after the Mister had already decamped to New Jersey and I was alone with three children in California. I was (and still am) unable to drive.   The surgery happened two weeks prior to us moving to New Jersey.  The poor Mister started a new job in June, promptly asked for a week off in July to take care of his ailing injured wife, returned to New Jersey for a week, then asked for another week off in August to take care of his recuperating from surgery wife.  I didn't pack a thing for moving, as I am restricted from lifting anything for a few more months.  (A few people have noted that I could have just paid the movers to pack, instead of breaking my neck to avoid this chore.)

Go big or go home, as they say.

When I woke up from the surgery, I felt a million times better.  I still have a radiating pain in my arm, but its a 2 on a pain scale of 1-10, instead of the 11 it was before, so perspecticles and all that.


I feel much better now, except for when I use my left arm.  I am hoping this issue resolves itself in the next few weeks, as I like using my arm, and not using my arm makes daily life challenging.  I have SO MANY house projects I would like to do, and am unable to accomplish at the moment.  Soon, I hope.

Thank heavens for good friends who picked up my kids and drove them all around to summer camps and extracurricular activities.  And thank heavens for my wonderful inlaws, who took us in for two weeks, did a ton of activities with my children while I was lying in bed recuperating, and traveled with us to NJ while I was unable to wrangle luggage and children.  

Enough about me and my neck.  Here are some pictures of the new house from the listing (old owner's stuff in the pictures).  

Front of the house:

How about some teal carpet? 

Here we have the living room:

Pretty much every room in the house looks like this, with creamy white paint and miles of honey oak trim and windows and doors. 

I don't hate honey oak, but its not my first choice.  Eventually I will paint this house a brighter white and paint the trim.  When I regain the use of my left arm, most likely.  

The kitchen is not large, but has good quality (more honey oak) cabinets, and new appliances and granite counters.  

Last night I discovered little furry friends in the kitchen, and the upstairs toilet broke and leaked into the kitchen light fixture, so, YAY HOME OWNERSHIP.