Dec 31, 2012

Door Buster

Here's a part of our house I haven't featured much at all.  The back end of our hallway and the door to the garage.  It's not much to look at.

No beauty pageant winners here.

There's quite a lot of things we don't like about this door, actually.  You probably guessed based on past experience here and here that I don't really go for the oak look (with brass toned hardware, no less).  Especially when every other door in our house is a white six-panel with oil-rubbed bronze hardware.  Our main concern with this door is that code states doors between garages and living quarters need to be fire-rated.  Not only is this oaky beast not fire-rated, it actually features a fire accelerant in the form of a pet door.  And even if we weren't the type that really cared about code, this pet door is too small and too high for Indy and Tigger to use.

And it's not even sqaured!

 There's also the fact that the door is screwed.


We think these screws may have held a mirror at one point...?  All they're really good for now is catching your hair on if you get too close.

And then there's this.

Not good.

Obviously it leaves some aesthetics to be desired.  Most of that was already on the door when we moved in.  Some of the damage to the trim on the left is our dogs' fault- they scratch at the door once or twice to let us know they need to go outside.  The real problem here isn't the paint splatters or the scratches, though.  It's the gap.  Much like the pet door, the actual door is not hung squarely.  And they did a terrible job of finishing out the trim on the garage side of the brickmould.  So even though the door has self-close hinges, it would often not close without a forceful shove, and we pretty much always get a draft from it.  But now it does something completely different.

Right before Christmas, Steve and I had just come home from grocery shopping.  As we were carrying the grocery bags down the hallway toward the kitchen, we heard a loud POP from behind us.  We turned around and saw the door standing wide open.  There was no self-closing happening.  The culprit?  Broken hinge spring.  The cause?  Improperly hung door put too much stress on the hinge spring.

Worthless.  And ugly.

Replacing this door has been on our long-term to-do list since we moved in.  But the hinge was the last straw.  To save ourselves some energy bill grief, this project is getting done sooner than later.  We've already ordered our replacement door from Lowe's.  It'll be a white six panel with oil-rubbed bronze hinges, weather stripping, and sill.  After consulting with Pinterest, I decided that I really like the idea of a black door.  But getting a pre-fab black door instead of the stock primed white one would've added $140 to an already unexpected and expensive project, so we went with white.  I can always paint it myself down the road if I want (for waaaayyyy less than $140).  And with all of these great Pinterest inspiration pictures, I'm finding myself more motivated to dress up our hallway as well.  Isn't it funny how projects feed into one another like that?

Here's the black door eye candy I pinned.  Enjoy!

From Houzz

From Houzz

From Jamie's blog Like Me Some

From Kelly's blog Design Around Denver

Dec 26, 2012

We've Been Framed!

I am so excited to write this post because it means that we have reached a milestone in this house.  Another room has been finished!

The last project on our list for the guest bathroom was to frame out the builder-grade mirror.  We already had some MDF trim pieces from redoing the base trim in both the bathrooms.  It's nice and lightweight and pretty inexpensive, but we have learned the hard way that the stuff does not paint well.  So we thought we'd give ourselves a leg up on things down the road by priming the MDF before we did anything else with it.

Magic potion.

I rigged up a painting station in our garage.  We put two coats of Kilz on each side of the MDF before we did anything else.

High-tech paint station.

After everything was dry,  Steve got to do all of the extra-manly technical stuff (measuring and power tool operating).

Marking off mitered corners.

Action shot!

Checking the measurements.

Checking the angle of the cuts.

Ready for assembling!

We used some liquid nails and a stapler to assemble the frame and used some more liquid nails to adhere the frame to the mirror (they actually make liquid nails for mirrors and glass!).


The fit was perfect!  We used some painter's tape to hold the mirror in place while the liquid nails cured.

Mirror augmentation.

Once everything was nice and dry and sturdy, we removed the tape.  At this point, I started to get excited.  It looked so much more polished than it had before!

Don't mind the oddly draped towels.

But there was still some finishing work to be done.  The joints in the corners were pretty raw looking and the process of cutting and stapling the MDF had left some small imperfections that needed to be spackled.

Lookin' rough.

So that frame got three passes with spackle and then sanding.  I tried to make everything super-smooth because not only was this frame at eye-level, it had lights shining directly on it, and if you're using the mirror, you're gonna see the frame.  Imperfections would easily draw your attention.

Spackle drying, before sanding.

After the third coat was as smooth as I could get it, I applied three coats of off-the-shelf semi-gloss white.  It's the same color we used for all of our trim in our house as well as the bead board in the bathroom.  The paint really cleaned the frame up and made it look better.  I can still tell where my spackle and sanding job was excellent and where it was still not quite smooth, but I'm quite pleased that it came out as well as it did.

Looks pretty good!

Looks a little less good.

Overall though, I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  The bathroom looks much more polished and the total cost for this project rang in at $7 (we had everything we needed except the liquid nails).

So much better!


Just for fun, let's do a little before and after, shall we?

August 2011

December 2012

So much better!  So we are sticking a fork in this room.  We are done, finito, put a bow on it because that's a wrap.  WHOOP!

Wanna see what we did in that bathroom from start to finish?  I'm weird like that too.  Here's the projects we tackled to transform that bathroom from sad cabin to cottage spa.

Paint, beadboard, towel storage, lights, and corralling soaps with a cake stand.

Spray painting picture frames to match and Etsy art.

Concealing a plunger (and keeping it off the floor!).

Prepping the vanity for paint.

Painting the vanity white.

More painting the vanity white.

More progress on the vanity and selecting knobs.

Vanity reveal!

Framing the mirror.

Dec 24, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Even though we live in the foothills, most of the time our Christmases in the Pacific Northwest are green and damp rather than white and crisp.  I really love white snowy landscapes, so clean and sparkly.  That is what inspired the holiday vignette on top of the piano this year.  I went for wintry and woods, with accents of silver and gold.  This display was also not terribly expensive- we already had everything except the greenery and the filler in the jar.  Not bad for about $25!

Holy greenery, Batman.

Up close.  I need to learn how to remove the blue tones from my photos.

Steve's polar bear ornament.  His name is Pooky.

My fluffy white bird ornaments.  They don't have names but I imagine them singing the song "Sisters" from White Christmas.

A platter we scored on clearance from Target last month.  It's hard to tell, but the gold has a little sparkle to it.

Cinnamon pinecones, ornaments, a mercury glass bird and an antler.

My floral arrangement skills leave something to be desired but I  looove that sweater vase (also on clearance from Target).

I like that this vignette is more "winter" than "Christmas," so I'll be able to leave it beyond December.  Our only other Christmas decorations this year are our tree, a poinsettia we pilfered from Tabi & Will's wedding reception, and scented candles (I am obsessed with Bath & Body Works holiday scented candles).  We didn't even bother to put up stockings or lights on the outside of the house.  I feel bad that we have so many Christmas items just sitting neglected in our garage, but we haven't had time to break them out.  Oh well, we know they'll still be there next year.  And it's nice to feel like we simplified part of our lives amid the crazy full-on sprint that leads up to Christmas.  We were better able to focus on the important parts of Christmas, like spending time with loved ones.

I'll be busy spending time with both sides of the family for the next two days, but I should have a new post ready for Wednesday.  From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Dec 20, 2012

Guest Bedroom: Move In to Present, Really.

One thing about living in a relatively small 3 bedroom house- the bedrooms aren't that big.  The floor plan of our guest bedroom is essentially a mirror image of the bedroom that's currently serving as our office.

The office before- vanilla.

There's a window on the wall opposite the door, a closet to your left, and that's about it.  The only real difference is that the guest bedroom sits behind the laundry closet, so the guest bedroom is about a foot and a half narrower than our office.  And the fuse box is in the guest bedroom.  (Who thought that was a good idea??)

Although we don't host guests often (Tabi was the first guest we've had since we moved in 16 months ago), we wanted to have a functional guest room just in case.  We also wanted to avoid having our guest room turn into a junk room like the guest room in our first house did.  As you can see from this photo last August, keeping it clean is a constant struggle for us.

Looks like an episode of Hoarders.

However, we managed to get things cleaned up, donated, Craigslisted, or put away for Tabi's visit and tackle a few neglected little projects in this room.  Here's how things look now.

Ready for visitors!

We painted this room Kilim Beige from Sherwin Williams just like the office way back when we moved in and traded out the brass boob light for a less obnoxious (and super cheap) oil-rubbed bronze one from Lowe's.  All of the furniture in this room is hand-me-down or borrowed.  The bed frame, mattress, and nightstand used to be my Gram's.   The curtains, comforter, sheet set, and throw all came from Target on super-sale last fall.  We already had the pillows, so I was happy they could find a home in this room.  There's a leather bin on the lower shelf of the nightstand for clean linens, and a basic alarm clock, framed picture of a pretty landscape, and Tiffany-style lamp on the top.  The framed still life hanging over the headboard was one of the first decor purchases I made for our previous house.  My friend Laura helped me pick out the print and the frame, and I still love it. Until Tabi's visit, it had been leaned up against the wall in this room, waiting to be hung.  Three cheers for motivation!

Just hanging around.

On the other side of the bed, there's a library table that Steve's mom made that I loooove.  We couldn't find a place for it to live in the rest of the house where it wouldn't be obstructing traffic, so it came to find a home in the guest bedroom.  Luckily for us, the natural finish looks really nice with Gram's bedroom set.  We already had the candlestick lamp and the mirror.  The preserved boxwood topiary was snatched up on clearance from Target after it had been calling my name all spring and summer.

Cord management, anyone?

On the opposite wall from the bed, closest to the doorway, there was a little sliver of wall.  Gram's tallboy lives there.  It is juuuust narrow enough and there's juuuuust enough space between the chest and the bed.  Everything that lives on top of the chest are items that we already had.

Tight fit.

Although our guest room isn't plush, it's functional and looks nice enough.  At this point, there's not much left to do with this room.  The door is a little difficult to close- we think the contractors' drippy paint job on the casing is to blame.  One of these days I'll sand it down and repaint it, but for now we open and close that door so infrequently that it isn't really worth the effort yet.  And this room may eventually be a nursery, so there's not much point in really trimming things out.  Besides, keeping it from turning into a room-sized junk drawer will keep us plenty busy!

Dec 19, 2012

Ending the Drought

Let me state the obvious:  I have had zero time for blogging in the past month or so.  My dear sister-in-law Tabi stayed with us for the week between Thanksgiving and her wedding day, December 1st.  My best friend was in town from Missouri and flew back home in early December.  I've been extremely busy at work (it's a great problem to have, being used as a resource by my colleagues like I was intended to be used!), and we've had parties and birthdays and helping out at friends' houses every weekend since Tabi's wedding.

In fact, the only reason I am finally getting some time to blog is because I am home from work, sick.  Ha!

I have a bevy of things to write about.  Since Tabi stayed with us, we finally got our guest room back in working order, so I'll share a tour of that room.  I can't wait for her to get the pictures back from the wedding- it was beautiful and everything came together so well despite some unexpected bumps in the road.  I've got some progress on framing the mirror in the guest bathroom to share.  There's some funny stories to tell now that more friends and co-workers know that I blog.  New projects have arisen that will be happening sooner rather than later.  And we finally got around to decorating for Christmas, so there'll be some holiday goodness mixed in there.

Christmas break starts tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to catching up on things.  Thanks for sticking with me.