Monday, December 26, 2011

Naughty or Nice?

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas!
Look at what Santa left under our tree...
and in our hallway...
and in our foyer...
Didn't all the good boys and girls get toilets from Santa this year?

Seems Chris and I have some very exciting projects planned for 2012, including another bathroom remodel.

In the meantime, Jennifer from Rambling Renovators is hosting a Great Reads series this week where she's asked bloggers to submit their favorite posts of 2011. Head on over to see which one was mine. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Howlidays

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making Progress...

I have to say that things have been feeling a little hectic lately on Hazard Ave. Between putting the finishing touches on the family room and getting the butler's pantry painted, my weekends have been busy, busy, busy! Not to mention getting the house ready for the holidays, getting Christmas shopping done, and taking some very important time out to spend with friends and family to celebrate the season. Phew! 

So while it isn't finished, I have made some progress in our butler's pantry. Like I mentioned previously, this is just a "mini" makeover. I'm just painting and adding a couple of little touches to make the room livable until we can afford to do it up right.

Check out this old, non-functioning doorbell. It will look much better once a coat of paint erases decades old dirt and grime. 
 I had to spend a lot of time removing very old and very brittle contact paper from the shelves. It finally came off in very small flakes using a wallpaper scraper.
It also took me a lot longer to fill all the holes and cracks in the walls with joint compound than I had originally anticipated. Just look at this damage!

Spending the time to repair the walls was well worth it, however, because as soon as the first coat of paint went up, I could see the improvement.
That's the new wall color on the left, old wall color to the right.
 Someone visiting my house once told me that the light fixture was probably an oil burning light fixture original to the house. She said that in the old days when electricity came on the scene, people kept their original fixtures and had them converted to electric. Interesting! I think we'll also keep it and give it a good polishing.
 Here's the other side of the room. Only the top portion of the wall above chair rail has been painted, but already the room is looking so much better. The paint color is Reserved White by Sherwin Williams. It is the same paint color we used on the adjacent family room ceiling. We had over a gallon left over from the family room project, so I figured this would be as a good a place as any to use it. Using the same paint color nicely ties the two rooms together. A happy accident :)
 I was able to finish all the prep work and paint the walls. Now all I need to do is paint the cabinetry. Almost done!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Like Spun Gold For Walls

I've got big news...
Our family room has been papered! Because we primed the walls with wallpaper sealer ourselves, we cut a day off of the paper hanger's work and he was able to squeeze us into his schedule right away. 
Sorry for the teaser shot, but I'm waiting until we get a couple more elements in place before I give you the final room reveal. Like outlet covers. We still need to hang artwork too. I'm also waiting on side tables which my husband tells me are on backorder. Cute. 

But let's talk some more about wallpaper since we're on the subject. If you are anything like me, you are probably curious about how much this stuff costs. I went with the least expensive/nicest looking natural grasscloth I could find because I knew I had such a large room to cover.  We ultimately used Decorator Grasscloth pattern # 488116 that I found at Steve's Blinds and Wallpaper

The size of our room is roughly 15x16 with 10 foot ceilings. It has 3 windows, a fireplace and 5 doorways. I just gave that info to the wallpaper hanger and he estimated how many rolls we'd need (about 20 single rolls in our case). 

Our guy charges more to hang grasscloth than regular wallpaper because it is more difficult to work with (to give you an idea $32 a roll for grasscloth $28 a roll for paper). No, he's not cheap, but our walls are old and the room has a lot of crazy angles.  We knew doing it ourselves would have looked like...we did it ourselves. Time to call in a professional. 

Let me show you what he could do that amateurs like Chris and I could not:
Mitered the corner under the soffit. 
 Made this awkward corner & angle look seamless.
And he did this fancy trick to the wall outlets and switch plates. Total showoff. 

So there you have it.  Any questions?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Great Drape Switch-Up

You know how a room is never done?
Well, that was the case with our home office. We finished it almost exactly a year ago, but it never felt "done" to me. It was lacking something that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then the drapes arrived that I ordered for our family room, and I had an "ah ha" moment. They belong in the office, not the family room!
Sure enough, they provide some much needed pattern that the room was previously lacking.

Seems Harry and Georgia agree!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Butler's Bliss

I'll be honest, we were planning to get rid of the butler's pantry in lieu of a bigger kitchen when we eventually remodel the kitchen. The location of the pantry with respect to the overall floor plan really isn't functional (there's a wall where a doorway needs to be...). There's also the fact that we don't have a butler.

But lately we've been thinking/hoping there's a way to keep the pantry, have a functional traffic flow, and get the kitchen of our dreams (after winning the lottery). In looking for inspiration on colors to paint our butler's pantry in the meantime, I recently stumbled upon a few dream spaces.

This black beauty has a layout very similar to our own. So of course, we now not only want to keep ours, but we want to add a bar sink under the window. What??? I said we were going to win the lottery :)

Feast your eyes...
Tish Key ID, Decorpad
Butlers Pantry traditional kitchen
Shiela Off, CMKBD eclectic kitchen
House Beautiful
Our existing butlers pantry would need to come a long way to look like any of these spaces, but we have the space for it, we might as well try to utilize it, right? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Call me dramatic, but I like to celebrate the simple pleasures in life.
Like receiving a package full of backordered wallpaper that was delivered almost 2 months ahead of schedule.

That's right! We are in possession of the wallpaper for our family room!

Now fingers crossed that the paper hanger can fit us in before the holidays...

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's Next?

Now that we're sitting on our new sofa in our almost finished family room, guess what we're forced to look at all the time?

 It is our butler's pantry, and it is gross.
 That might actually be fly paper up in the corner left by a previous owner, but I've been too afraid to get up on a ladder and confirm it (much less remove it). What if there are other dead creatures up there???
 The walls and cabinetry need to be painted and the shelves need to be styled.
 At the very least, let's find a different spot for the Dust Buster!
I don't want to spend a lot of time and money in here because it will likely get a total facelift in the eventual kitchen remodel. However, the room is in bad shape. Peeling, yellowed paint and holes in the walls bad. I don't think I can live with it as is for much longer. A little joint compound, fresh paint, and elbow grease should do the trick in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thank You, Thank You Very Much...

I'm the grateful and proud recipient of the Versatile Blogger Award, passed on to me from these four fabulous bloggers:

Maury of Life on Mars

Meg of Nutmeg & Company Home

Carol from The Design Pages

Lisa from Cozy Condo Living

Robin at Three Acres

Ladies, I sincerely apologize for hoarding the award and not passing it along sooner, but I was having some trouble coming up with 7 interesting tidbits about myself.
Here goes...

1. Despite posting about this award, I'm generally not a procrastinator. I start to get anxious if I know that there's something I need to do. I'd rather just do it instead of losing sleep over it. I also love lists. I'll make a list to remind myself to make another list.

2. I've met two famous people so far. Christa McAuliffe and Peter Jennings. Both wrote the same thing when I asked for an autograph: "Reach for the stars"...Sadly, both died too young.

3. I'm cheesy enough to ask a famous person for their autograph.

4. By day, I write requirements to build internal software at a mid-sized bank.

5. I actually rather enjoy doing the laundry, dusting, vacuuming, doing other household chores when I have the time.

6. I also enjoy paying bills and tracking our spending, savings, investments, etc.

7. I'm a bit of a nerd (see items #1, #4, and #6).

In the spirit of the award, I'd like to hand it off to the following Versatile bloggers:

Cathy at Room RX

Lindsay at Me, Ed, and Pea

Sharon at Vintage Restyled

Heather at Love Your Space

Lisa at Shine Your Light

Please visit them all and show some blog love!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Sword Chair's New Stripes

If you were left in suspense all weekend wondering if Chris noticed the new black chandelier shades, you can stop holding your breath. He actually surprised us all by noticing right away! Well...within 12 hours. I'd say that's pretty good. Well done, honey :)

But now on to the good stuff.
I've been busy reupholstering the seat of Chris's grandmother's sword chair.
Here it is before.
At first I thought this would be one of those deals where I'd just need to unscrew a couple of screws underneath the chair to pop off the seat, but as you can see, that wasn't the case.
 Instead I carefully pulled off the old fabric and trim from above.
The old cushioning and batting was in really good shape. I was thankful that I didn't have to mess around with replacing it.
 I used the old fabric as my template to cut out the new cover.
 I then just had to pull the fabric taut and staple it into place.
Until...I got to the back and side of the chair and realized that the stapler didn't fit underneath the rail. Ugh...
 So I improvised by reusing the upholstery tacks from the original cover.
 I didn't have an upholstery hammer, and my ordinary hammer was too large to fit in the narrow opening, so I used a dowel to help sink the tack. I placed the dowel over the tack and hit the dowel with the hammer.
I know you must be thinking right now about how resourceful I am. Really, I was just too lazy to go to the store and pick up the proper tools.
 The corners were actually pretty easy. I handled them with two folds.
 After the cover was sufficiently tacked and stapled down, I trimmed away the excess fabric.
Then I covered all the tacks and staples with velvet trim. I used Fabri-tac to hold the trim in place.
 Looking good, Mr. Sword Chair...
 The only thing left to do was to touch up the gold paint where it had chipped off.
Good as new. I think Grammy would be proud :)

Linking to

Friday, December 2, 2011

And Now We Have Light...

No, I still don't have lighting for our family room, although I appreciate all of your feedback. Seems the alabaster lamps were overwhelmingly favored over a modern choice. I'll stop by the antique store over the weekend to see if they are still there...

In other lighting news, I have an update on the chandelier in our foyer. You may remember that just around the time we started our family room reno, the chandelier in our foyer was giving us some problems. Long story short, it crashed and made me cry and drink.

Well, I'm happy to say that the chandelier is once again hanging on Hazard Ave.

The electricians had to reposition it slightly to install the box to a beam.
 This is the underside of the medallion. Chris reattached it using liquid nails (the chandelier is screwed into the box above making the medallion nice and secure).
 Because of all the missing crystals, it looked a bit naked after the electricians hung it.
Luckily not all of the crystals that fell off of it broke. I just had to reattach most of them.
For the crystals that did break, I found some inexpensive replacements online.
The original crystals have black hooks. The replacements have brass hooks. I tried to reuse the black hooks from the broken pieces, but for the life of me, couldn't detach them with my bare hands.
A better homeowner would have gone down to the basement and ransacked her husband's workshop to find the wire cutters, pliers, and other such tools, but I am not that person. I decided I just didn't care that much and went ahead and used the brass hooks that came with the replacements.
All better! 
Well, kind of. Now we'll need to paint the ceiling to erase that ugly stain where the medallion used to be. That's okay though as the foyer is a project we hope to get to in 2012. 

Since we're on the subject of chandeliers, I might as well share the mini-makeover to the one we have in our dining room. 
It is just a standard brass chandelier. It was probably installed in the late 70's early 80's, and clearly looking a bit dated. 
 To tide me over until we can replace it with a chandelier I love, I settled for black chandelier shades I bought for under $6 each at Lowes.
 Brass is back, baby! 
What a difference the black shades make! Now it's looking like it's dressed for a party. Have to say that I'm actually digging the brass now. 

Now let's play a fun game...I put the shades on while Chris was at work. How long do you think it will take him to notice them? 
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