Tuesday, March 30

Destructo Chic.

I think we may be onto something here.

This is from the latest West Elm catalog.

And this is my dining room currently, dressed up for last weekend's company. Hmmm...maybe we should leave it after all. Distressed drywall could be the latest trend. It would save a lot of time and money on joint compound.

Speaking of saving money, I'm just noticing all my little bargains that appear in this picture. Some of my favorite clearance finds. I found the oak dining chairs at a consignment shop, 3 for $50. I'm still trying to track down more, and my sister is scheming on how to talk me out of mine, since they match hers as well. The chair painting, one of my very favorite things, I found at the Marshall's Home Goods store nearby. It was originally $100 but I waited it out and got it when they marked it down to $60. Score! The round blue vase was another Marshall's find, on clearance for $5.50.

Found a before...

Sorry it's not the best shot, and I was too excited taking it all down that I didn't stop to take a proper before picture. At least you can get a feel for the color, but trust me, it was hideous. Every seam of wallpaper and the border was visible, ugh. It is soooooo much better now.

Monday, March 29

Sweet Success!

Victory is so sweet! We have officially banished the red painted over wallpaper, with all its peeling seams, to the trash. We didn't even really mean to, it all happened pretty quickly, but oh my word am I glad it did. I had all intentions of spending my day in the half bath working on the remaining paper in there. We've had the door closed and a mess of wallpaper in that bathroom for weeks now, but since we had company over the weekend we had to get it back into working order. Since we can't ignore it anymore I was intent on making some progress in there. As I was saying our goodbyes with my sister she remarked on a peeling little corner in the kitchen. This was a small tear I'd made a while ago to see if we could see what might be underneath. It appeared to be drywall so I pushed the piece back into place and have left it alone since. So my sister said, "oh I just want to pick that right off", so I went ahead and pulled it off. To my surprise a whole section came clear off the wall.

We said our goodbyes and I raced back to the kitchen to get started. Dave barely had time to finish checking his email before I had nearly the whole kitchen done. It came off in huge pieces, it was like pulling a fruit roll up off the plastic wrapper. Most of the walls were nice, clean drywall underneath. In a few places we found a layer of the flowered wallpaper from the laundry room. In others, mostly corners and tight spots, we found evidence of three different papers, and a border!

Layer #1 - brown, tan and blue 80's tiny flowery stripes
Layer #2 - garden botanical from the laundry room
Layer #3 - blue and white speckled, with an unknown border

Now I'm not sure at what point, and with which previous owner, all of these layers were put down and taken up but it seems that nobody could ever complete the job. There were a few places with only the botanical print, meaning someone took down about 90% of the under layer before putting up the speckled print, but gave up on other finishing the job. And then there were the places where all 3 layers were present. Anyway, it all came up easily. It only took us a few hours to get rid of all the paper, and backing, in the whole kitchen. It will need a little bit of spackling and sanding before we paint, but otherwise it is nearly ready to go.

This accomplishment absolutely made my day. I like to stick to cool colors, not hideous rusty brown reds, so I am so excited that it is gone! The kitchen already looks bigger and brighter.

Monday, March 22

One man's trash...

Oh how I love Craig's list. It is a brilliant invention, and especially after a great purchase I am especially grateful that someone came up with the idea. What better than an easy to use site that allows people to either get rid of something they don't want or find something they need. I'm sure this site alone has managed to keep plenty of miscellaneous furniture out of our dumps.

While looking at the furniture for sale section this Sunday, a busy, busy day in the Craig's list world, we found a great pair of antique chairs. After a flurry of emails with the owner we rushed over to get them before someone else snatched them up. We quickly met the wife and were checking out the chairs when the husband came around the corner, and knew Dave. Now Dave knows everybody, so maybe that isn't saying much, but come on! I respond to a random post and we end up in the house of someone Dave knows, in a city where we still hardly know anyone! It is a small, small Craig's list world.

The site itself is also a great source of comedy. The spelling errors alone are enough entertainment but I am also highly amused at the things people post, how they post it, and what people think their items are actually worth. The same 1980 vinyl topped table and generic chairs could be listed by different people for $50, or $150. Some people just don't realize when their stuff is really just crap to everyone else. Another favorite of mine is when people make sure to mention that something is from Ethan Allen, but meanwhile its also from 1976, and it's pretty ugly. I also love when people post Ikea items for the same price as they cost in store. Now don't get me wrong, I love Ikea, but it's like a car, the value decreases as soon as you leave the store.

Above is a preview of our new purchase, of course another project, but they're pretty cool. We have company coming so I'm going to attempt to slap on a fresh coat of paint and clean the upholstery so they are usable. Then at some point they'll need new upholstery. So I'll have a before, an after and then eventually another final after photo. For now, we're pretty pleased with them, and so is Maybe.

Thursday, March 18

My chemical romance.

It's a fickle affair, sometimes it works, other times it does not. I'm talking about my latest attempts with the dining room wallpaper. My mom bought me a jar of Barracuda paste remover (what's with the names on this stuff btw? Barracuda, Piranha...Maybe that should have been an indicator of what was to come) to try on the wallpaper. When I first tried it I had great success with some of the more stubborn areas. Yesterday it was not working so well. On some areas it works great when it's still moist, on others it's better when it dries. I did manage to get some big chunks off in a few key places that I hadn't yet been able to penetrate. I'll be working again tonight for as long as I can keep the puppy playing quietly on her own.

Tuesday, March 16

Identity crisis.

I have this chair. Sort of. My version looks nothing like this right now, but it has so much potential. These faux bamboo chairs are icons of sorts and I scored mine on the side of the road. Once again I'm sure I looked like a crazy person pulling this mess of a thing out of my neighbor's trash heap a few years ago. But for me, this was a total score. It's been a project in progress ever since then but it is way overdue for its final coat of paint.

When I found it the bright yellow paint was chipping and falling off all over the place. The burgundy brownish vinyl cover on the seat was ripped and covered in splattered paint. It was covered in dust and dog hair. It looked like it had lived in someones basement before finally getting the old heave ho.

There was so much dog hair stuffed in the edges of the vinyl seat that at one point I thought it might be stuffed with it. Gross. But I finally pulled it all back and took the entire seat apart. I've sanded it down as much as I can without hurting the fragile faux bamboo joints. With a few minor patches and a coat of primer it will be ready for it's next life. Now if I could only decide on a paint color and fabric for the seat.

I'm torn between a reincarnation of the bright yellow, maybe a bold turquoise, glossy red?? Or do I paint it black and let the bamboo be a statement on its own? And the fabric! How am I supposed to decide? I've bought two over the years that I was convinced were it, but then I changed my mind. Mind you this cushion will be removable and changeable, but I still can't decide. I'll open a poll for voting, but please don't be offended if I once again change my mind when it comes time.

Monday, March 15

Out of the mouths of babes.

Dave's brother and nephew (I'll call him E) came for a visit on Saturday. I took E upstairs to meet the cat since it was his first visit and he wasn't even aware we had one. I gave him a brief tour of the upstairs and to my surprise I found myself quite embarrassed that I didn't have much to show him. I hurried him through room after disappointing room. I'm sure a 2 year old, even one as smart as him, doesn't quite understand so many empty rooms.

I sheepishly showed him our bedroom, strewn with laundry and gym bags, bed unmade, before turning to return to the cat. We stopped at the full guest bath in the hall. Almost too enthusiastically he said, "Wow, that's a nice bathroom!" Is he humoring me? Granted I had decked it out with new fluffy bath mats, our best towels and a silver tray of seashells, but I couldn't help but feel he was throwing me a bone on that one.

More disappointing was the realization that although yes, we do have a basement, sadly it is not full of toys. "Sorry, just a few boxes" I explained, to which he answered..."of toys?"

Gearing up.

Well we had quite the trip to Lowe's yesterday. We had a coupon and were debating whether it was worth heading over there before it expired. It turns out it was well worth the trip. We bought a much needed leaf blower, motion sensor flood lights for the backyard, paint for the dining room, office and hallway, a hose and two rakes, along with some other random bulbs, gardening gloves, etc. That coupon and a few gift certificates later we felt like we'd robbed the place.

We'd been back and forth over paint colors but agreed enough on those three rooms and finally nailed down the colors we liked best. I'm so picky it would take me months to decide between two colors that are almost exactly the same. Maybe it was wishful thinking buying paint for the dining room, which is still in a full on disaster state, and the hallway, which seems like a completely overwhelming task. But we prefer to think positively. Every time I come down stairs I can picture the freshly painted walls and shiny marble tiles. We've got the materials, all we need now is the time and patience!

Friday, March 12

Spring has sprung!

Or at least we've gotten a glimmer of what may be Spring lurking around the corner. It makes me think of all the projects we'll be able to do once it warms up a bit. Mostly, I'm dreaming of painting. I've got a few furniture projects lined up that I can't wait to get to. So far I have a dining room table and an armchair (more on this later) that need to be sanded, primed and painted. Both are far too gone to be properly refinished at this point. I found the table on Craig's list for $35 and the armchair on the side of the road so I don't feel bad slapping on a few coats of paint. I also have a buffet for the dining room that needs to be refinished. It's a pretty simple piece so I'm hoping my first refinishing project will be an easy one.

So much to do and so little time, it seems all I do lately is chase around this wiggly little puppy. I'm starting to think those puppy play pens aren't the worst idea after all. Either that or we have to find a way to put her to work!

Tuesday, March 9

Impulse buy.

Oh boy oh boy, what have we done! During a quick trip to Home Depot on Sunday for some light bulbs and a shop vac we spotted a deal on some marble tiles. We have quite a collection of hideous flooring so naturally we started brainstorming what we could do with it. We measured and decided that it would work well in the main hallway downstairs. Right now there is some cheap looking wood parquet, one of three different wooden flooring on the main level of the house.

So we ran back to the HD and after a forklift and several helpful hands we now have half a pallet of white and gray marble tile. Thank goodness for Dave because I would've hemmed and hawed for ages trying to decide how much I really liked it. This is going to be quite the project, especially having to pull up all that parquet, but I think it will look fabulous once we get it in place. I have no idea when that's going to be, but it's going to look beautiful.

Monday, March 8

Designer Bedding

Maybe might end up having fancier bedding than we do! This is the fabric I bought to make her a bed (or two if I back them with a solid panel). I'm holding off for now since she chews everything. I found this pale pink and chocolate brown print at Hobby Lobby. (Who knew that place had so much stuff?!) The chocolate actually matches one of our favorite sheets sets. Hmmm...I'm thinking of a direction to go in once we take down all that bedroom wallpaper.


Here are a few long awaited pics of Maybe. She gets bigger and bolder by the day!

Her ears are making their way up, up, up! (This is her upside down, but you get the idea)

Monday, March 1

Settling in.

Little Miss Maybe seems to be settling in just fine. She goes from sleeping and snoring to hopping around like a little rabbit. So far the interactions with the cat have gone well. Or at least it seems so. Part of me, and all of Dave, thinks that he is scheming and plotting against this new little invasion. It's a good thing Maybe stays close to us.

I'll post pictures soon but she just doesn't hold still long enough! Perhaps a video would be better. I'll work on it.