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.