Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm slowly making progress

The living room is starting to look less like a construction site.

The rug is Sakura from West Elm.  Window coverings as vexing me more than I should let them.  More on that later. 

Do we like?  The white fireplace looks alright, ya?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I have a very exciting life.

I recently spent an evening detailing my dishwasher.  I know, my life is very glamorous.  I saw a how-to on Apartment Therapy about it and I immediately wanted to do it.

Cleaning sends me to my happy place; I'm weird like that.

There was a lot of scrubbing with a toothbrush and the running of a wash cycle with white vinegar, and then I pulled out the panels and decided to try the almond color instead of the white.

I also could have picked avocado green, brown, or mustard.  We had an avocado green fridge growing up that felt so old and uncool.  Now? I think the green looks so pretty.  I remember when we got a new almond colored refrigerator WITH AN ICE MAKER and how I felt like my family was finally catching up with my wealthier friends. Again, I'm weird.

I think it was my friend Sarah who suggested trying to find stainless steel inserts for the dishwasher so it would match the rest of the appliances.  I looked online but they were really expensive, at least on the manufacturers' sites.  But! eBay had panels for $30.  Why didn't I think of looking on eBay before?

I'm probably not fooling anyone into thinking this is a new dishwasher but it least it sort of matches now. And you guys, it's *so* clean!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Habitat! Sweet habitat!

I did it!  The Audubon Society certified my yard as backyard habitat! 

Getting this entailed a bunch of stuff (all of it here) including turning 5% of my available yard (and boy do they measure) over to native plants, disconnecting my downspouts, having a birdbath, practicing integrated pest management (no pesticides), and removing aggressive weeds (like all the Himalayan blackberry).  I had to bicker a little with the woman at the end over heuchera and whether it's native (turns out it counts as a native plant).

There are a lot of benefits to getting certified (like insanely cheap native plants) but I mostly wanted the bragging rights. And I'm still enough of a hippie that I dig being part of a program that is trying to encourage habitat for native species.  It also helps that native plants in the northwest are so pretty.  I'm really excited for everything to start growing again this spring so I can see who decides to fly in and visit me.  This last season was mostly hummingbirds (yay!) and crows (boo).

The rep from The Audubon Society said my front yard would a good contender for a rain garden.  A rain garden harvests the storm water from your property and, instead of dumping it in the sewer, directs it to a densely planted area that allows the water to naturally percolate into the ground, much like it would in a forest.  They offer free classes in Portland so I think I'll sign up and look into it. 

Image lifted from here.

I'm so excited!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quick update on the living room

I spent all day Sunday painting the ceiling and trim, which is a terrific way to spend a lot of time doing something unpleasant with no real visible change.  But then my car door busted and I had to take it to the shop, so I got a bonus day for painting.  At least this time you could tell I had been doing something in there.

Here's a quick reminder of what it looked like before:

I had to repatch an area over the fireplace where I did a bad job the first time--that white stripe will be going away soon.  I'm really digging the white on the fireplace and the brighter white of the newly painted window.  

After I finished painting for the evening I somehow ended up obsessively scraping paint off the wood floors with a razor blade.  All of my floors look like this because the previous owners couldn't be bothered to use dropcloths. 

And the fact that I feel the need to do this is the number one reason that they will have to drag me off to the loony bin someday.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Because nothing can ever just be *easy* with me.

So, about those bedroom curtains.

I ordered a swatch of the fabric I posted last week, only to find that it really has an olive undertone that makes the bedroom paint read really minty.  It was disappointing.  I was holding up different swatches to the wall and *all* of them were making the paint read mint, actually.

The boy was like, "Why don't you just paint your bedroom?"  Oh Greg, you can't put ideas like that in my head or it riles up the home improvement demons!  So yeah, now I want to paint my bedroom.  Again.

Now, the path of least resistence would be to paint the room something that goes with the curtains I currently have but no, goddamn it, I love this fabric and I want to waste my time and money sewing new curtains. And the fabric looks really nice with the paint in the spare bedroom!

Effing home improvement demons.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Money well spent

Sometimes I do things that, if a girlfriend was describing them to me, I'd be like, "Girl, what are you thinking? Don't do that," but then I do them anyway.  Hiring my coworker's husband to do some work for me was one of those things.  The bathroom fan has gotten really REALLY noisy lately and I suspected that the duct in the attic had rattled off the motor body of the fan.  I made my boy go up in the attic with me because of the SPIDERS, OH MY GOD SPIDERS.

We found this.

They actually make clamps to hold ducts together and I believe they're quite inexpensive.  But why waste $.60 when you can just duct tape everything together?  When I had the vents put in the roof my coworker's husband, who works as a licensed contractor, set up the duct for the bathroom fan. He apparently decided this was the correct way to do it.

We pulled off the failing duct tape and put new duct tape in the same place. If it's good enough for a licensed contractor, it's good enough for us. What's the worst that could happen?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The big picture

I've never storyboarded (is that even what it's called?) before, but this is sort of the master plan for the living room.  Until, you know, I change my mind again.

And I think I agree with the majority below: the fireplace should be white, even if it will show smoke and soot.  Hey, my fireplace doesn't work anyway!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Help me pick a paint color.

I like to paint a large area when I'm waffling over color choices but I think the color swatches, combined with the 6 existing paint colors, skidded right past "helpful" and right into "confusing." The walls will be the olive green you see on the lower half of the wall.

It looks sort of awesome the way it is, no?  *Sigh.*

But seriously, which looks better? Dark gray or white? Or something completely different?


Rachel makes me realize that I haven't specified what the color scheme will be in this room.  This is the inspiration photo for the room:

The rug will get swapped out for a light blue one and there will be pops of red.  So I'd like the fireplace to have some drama  . . . but more of the black-white spectrum kind. And of course I'll put a bird on it. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things are happening!

One of the things on my wishlist for my reveal was for the living room to be painted and the mirror above the fireplace be removed. When the house stager informed me that she'd have to hire painters and a contractor to remove the mirror, I told her to forget it and just focus on getting me furniture. 'Cause I paint and labor for free.

I had no idea what was behind the mirror--it could be water damage, an exposed fireplace, an envelope of money . . . who knows. I conned the boy into helping me remove the mirror this weekend.

The mirror was really heavy but it came down pretty easily.

Then we just had to remove the wood structure behind the mirror.

Next I just have to clean, patch, sand, and prime that area, and then I can get started on painting the living room.  New year's house resolutions, I WILL OWN YOU.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Great sadness!

The weather gods decreed that the sedum planter is yard trash.

At some time during the night that leaning bit of gate fell over, squished my mock orange and took out my little shabby chic drawer of sedums.  You'd think I'd learn and finally put that bit of gate (which I intend to turn into a compost bin) in the garage but, no, I just leaned it up against the fence again.

Ha ha, weather gods! I have another bathroom vanity drawer in the basement! And I never learn my lesson!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New year house resolutions

1.  Sew new curtains for the bedroom, using this fabric:

2.  Finally paint the living room.

3.  Replace the mortise box on the front door so we could actually use it.  Did I ever mention that we have to go in and out the kitchen door because no keys came with the front door and the locksmith declared it super expensive to fix?

4.  Replace the back porch steps.

5.  Replace the side fence.

6.  Paint the patio slab.

7.  Draw up a master plan for landscaping the front yard.
8.  Remove the rhododendrons and azalea from the front yard.

9.  Paint the exterior of the house.  Quit laughing.
10.  Put in baseboard and window trim in the basement.