Wednesday, October 7, 2009

to tide you over

Ok, enough of you have been nagging me for a new post lately...sorry again it's been so long! I meant to post a bunch of updates on our recent projects this morning, but realized I didn't upload those pictures. Maybe tomorrow! Until then, here are a few of our recent non-house related's been nice to have time for those again lately!

In September I went to the Finger Lakes to celebrate two of my favorite people. Kerry got married and all of us girls had a great time together...

...and we celebrated Tera's impending nuptials with a ladies weekend at a lake house in Geneva.
I finally returned home to my husband (and a newly re-finished guest closet to be documented later!) and we were soon off to Virginia to top off his birthday celebration with a U2 concert, compliments of Lesley and Rob. The stage was not over-rated and really did seem like a spaceship at times. Great show and great company!

We spent the night in Richmond and had just enough time to play with these gals for a while the next morning. Kate and I take a self-shot each time we're together, which is much easier than capturing Lauren and Jenna in a still moment on film! The picture below depicts well what they're up to lately though...bows, necklaces, and stealing bows from the other's hair. Ouch!

Finally we were off to Atlanta for Tera and Brett's wedding. We had a great time all weekend, from the family mexican feast on Friday night, through the Braves game on Saturday, to the main event on Sunday afternoon. They were a gorgeous bride and groom and threw the most fun and stylish wedding I've been to yet!

Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

The End.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

patio progress

We're just waiting for a few finishing touches on the bathroom, and in the meantime have started yet another project - a new patio! The house was previously surrounded by lots of old, cracked, mis-matched cement, including a sidewalk from front to back that really wasn't necessary. Also lots of random flat rocks placed around the yard, including a mysterious figure 8 formation in the back yard (a tribute to Baltimore's favorite Cal Ripken, perhaps?).

Kyle and a former co-worker jack-hammered up the old concrete a few weeks ago, and we've been pulling all the rocks out and stacking them up by the garage for use in a future project - fire pit!

Anyway, here is what our yard looks like as of last night. They are pouring the patio as we speak! It's going to be exposed aggregate, that pebbly looking tan concrete that you often see around pools.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a room of a different stripe

Finally, the surprise! It's going to be a disappointment, I promise - we only decided to re-paint a room. But it does look a lot better and feels a lot cozier to hang out in.

The blue-gray we had painted the tv room, aka service porch, was a little too close to the color of the kitchen, so we decided to darken it a bit. And to get a little crazy, we left some of the old color at the top. We've since added roman shades similar to the color of the couch but I haven't taken pictures of those yet. They are nice though and make it really dark for watching movies.

executing the perfect stripe

We also got a new rug really cheap from WS Home. It reminds me of an LL Bean boat & tote! We got a nice cushy carpet pad to put beneath it - here I am cutting it in my pjs.

And here is our male model, dressed to match the new room:

Now we just need to get some shelves on the wall above the desk (just barely visible in the left corner of the above picture - it's a hard room to photograph), get some stuff on the walls, and replace the light fixture.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

new look

I've pretty much been copying my sister my whole life, I'm just old enough to admit it now. She got a great new background for her blog, so naturally I had to follow suit! Sorry Tera, hope you're not mad.

Monday, July 6, 2009

you say spotty, we say shoddy

The renovation of the original bathroom has been a loooooong adventure. We had planned to have it finished several weeks ago, but two big things beyond our control have stood in our way.

First, the was one of the few that had not already been replaced when we moved into the house. Kyle called the supplier he had used at former jobs and ordered a replacement window - the guy said it would be delivered in about two weeks.

Fast forward about three window yet. Kyle called the store and they had no record of the order. Sweet. So he ordered it again. A few weeks later the guy called and said he'd leave it on his front porch for us to pick up. Of course he wasn't home when we stopped by and Kyle realized it was a new construction window - not a replacement. (I wouldn't have known there was a difference 15 months ago!) Kyle was, um, not happy.

He talked to the guy later and they decided that Kyle would just try to cut the flashing off (I think that's the correct terminology...fortunately, most of my readers probably wouldn't know the difference anyway.) and see if it worked. After installing and spraying water at it for 10 minutes, we were satisfied. So, about 6 weeks later, we had our window installed.

Meanwhile, we visited the granite store where we purchased our kitchen countertops to choose a top for the vanity Kyle and Corey built. It's a small vanity, only 30 or so inches across, so we were able to get a marble remnant for a great price. Score!!!

Delivery #1: while drilling the holes for the faucet, they cracked the marble. Fast forward two weeks to...

Delivery #2: Install successful, and it looks beautiful from afar, but up close there are these little brown spots (in gray and white marble) with greasy looking "halos" surrounding them. It looked as though they had filled in a scratch with some brown putty and it seeped through the porous stone. In choosing marble, I was aware of its porous nature and agreed to be really careful with hair products, toothpaste, etc (and you guests had better be too!) but I would have liked to at least start out with a perfect piece. See the evidence below:

See what I mean? Not awesome. So my persistent (and dashing, might I add) husband sent digital pics to the store. They agreed to send someone to the house to check it out. The guy who came - one of the owners we think - claimed that it was naturally occurring in the stone. We disagreed because 1. these marks go against the natural grain that all the other markings follow, and 2. that is just b.s. I mean come on, we're not idiots. That halo effect wouldn't happen naturally.

So, finally after Kyle pushed up the sleeves to show his rippling biceps, they gave in and agreed to try one more time. (oh, and after Kyle went to the store again to see other pieces and verify that they didn't have those same kinds of spots) So Delivery #3 is happening this afternoon.

We have a suprise that I'll try to unveil in the next few days. Try not to get too excited.

UPDATE: Delivery #3 did NOT happen on Monday. Big surprise. They just didn't show, even after Kyle left work a few hours early to be sure he'd be there when they arrived. Supposedly they're coming on Thursday - I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

new life to a garage sale find

When Mom was here last month we sat in the living room with the new green window treatments and noticed that there was a lot of green and a lot of brown, but that was about it. I knew I needed a little more seating in there and threw out the idea of finding some old beater chairs and painting them to accomplish two things at once: more seating and more color. She suggested red.

I did some garage sale shopping soon after and found these for $5 each.

I'm all for mixing up colors, but who ever thought burgundy and bright blue would look good together?! I sanded the chairs down until they were smooth, leaving most of the blue paint on. I went to the local Calico Corners and was pleasantly surprised - they have a huge selection of reasonably priced fabrics and beautiful custom furniture for less than C&B, PB, etc. I found some cool ikat fabric with a little touch of the green from the curtains, brown from the furniture, and lots of new colors to boot. I picked a red paint to match the red in the new fabric and slopped three coats on the chairs. After they were completely dry, I did a little sanding around the edges for a worn effect - some of the blue showed through and I got down to the original wood in some spots. Then Margie helped me staple the new fabric right over the old this weekend and voila! Here are the final results:

Here's a close up of the backside of the cushion. It was really easy to just fold the corners over nice and tight and make them look neat on top.
One of these days we'll have the upright piano here - that will sit back in this nook with one chair on either side. I'll probably end up sitting on one of the chairs to play too so we won't crowd the walkway with the piano bench.
One more thing crossed off the checklist!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Apparently we can't get enough of new bathrooms - we originally thought we would wait a few years before renovating the original bathroom downstairs, but decided to go ahead with it now so we don't have to endure a dusty house again after we're fully settled in. So we gave up dreams of spending our tax refund on anything fun and Kyle set off on yet another project. Behold. The bathroom in its original state, minus window framing.

Where the pedestal sink once stood
The hole left from the old medicine cabinet
The destruction has begun. The shower area. Rob spent the weekend working with Kyle and they moved 11 tons of trash both out of the bathroom (below) and from the garage to the dumpster. The garage still contained the old kitchen from when we tore it out last year. I guess plaster is heavy.
The homemade trash chute.
We tore out the old ceiling tiles in the hall while we were at it. The ceiling has to stay low because of the a/c duct, but at least it's drywall now.
Kyle, Doug and Elliot hanging the new drywall.

The hallway with its new ceiling

Partly finished drywall

Paint! Pale Grey by RL.

New, clean tile! That 70 year old scum wouldn't come up no matter how hard we scrubbed with a toothbrush. We decided to stick with a vintage b&w look, but I much prefer this basketweave to the old square pattern. Here's a close-up:

The shower area with new tile. Same look as before but cleaner and with a darker grout for a vintage look. We kept the old cast iron tub and are going to have it refinished soon, so it will be a brighter white to match the tile.

We just went to the granite store today to pick our countertop. We chose this marble below:

Finally, Kyle and Corey are working on building the vanity and a tall cabinet for linen storage. The bathroom grew by about 3 feet in width because we incorporated the linen closet into it. The cabinet they're building will have a few drawers on the bottom and a glass door on top so I can display some pretty things inside. The vanity and cabinet will be white. I showed them pictures of ones I liked from Restoration Hardware and they are copying them...they are looking very close so far!
More to come soon!