Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Reserve the Right to Change My Mind...

As my vision for the hallway slowly comes together, I've been second guessing my desire for a leopard runner. I think it is something I need to see in person before fully committing.

A close runner up is wool-sisal in the hallway and stairs. I've read somewhere that straight up sisal as a stair runner is bad news for dogs because they can catch their claws on it.  Wool sisal looks like sisal, but feels more like wool. I'd imagine it would be a lot easier to clean also.

If we go this route I'd want to add a border and have the runner installed a few inches away from the walls.
Landry and Arcari
I'll need to visit a carpet showroom to see what something like that would cost me. Looks pricey.

I could also be persuaded to go with some herringbone action. I love me a good herringbone. This one that Sherry Hart did for a client..  Again, no wall-to-wall here and it has a nice contrast border.

If all else fails, this diamond textured rug from the Home Depot would be a good compromise.

It has great texture and comes in plenty of colors.
Has anyone used it?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday Finds

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are now fully recovered from your turkey hangover. Did you partake in any Black Friday shopping? I did, but not the kind of Black Friday shopping you might think...

My favorite antique mall held a Black Friday sale and every booth was 10% - 50% off.

These 6 inch Staffordshire dogs were only $45 with the discount. 
Stamped. Damn! I should have gotten them. 

A pair of these horse head lamps were available for $175. Sans the frou frou shade they'd make quite the statement in a room.

With discount, this 2 x 4 foot rug was only $75.

I thought this bamboo settee would look fantastic in the screened in porch I don't have. $115.

I imagined myself lounging on it on a warm summer day while Chris served me tea and [fake] grapes from this darling wicker tea cart.

And then I came to my senses and snatched up this marble topped side table before anyone else could see its potential. $85.

And this mirror for $20. No idea where it will go, but it was too good to pass up.

Did you bring home any Black Friday scores? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lite Brite

Chris and I both agreed that our home needed some exterior light action. We just had different opinions of what kind of action. When I saw Chris’ plan I thought it looked like a combination of a landing strip and the Bellagio sans water fountains. 
Or this. 
Griswold House in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, via Hooked on Houses
I didn’t want the front of my house to resemble a Pink Floyd laser light show, so I intervened, and he succumbed to the pressure of a less “creative” approach to our outside lighting. 

He found a reasonably priced low voltage transformer here powering small flood lights shining on the porch area on the left side of the house.  The installation was simple after our electrician installed exterior GFCI’s at the front left and right of the house.  Chris took a chance on the transformer without reading up on it and was pleasantly surprised when he read the online reviews praising the unit he bought.   Programming it and running the wires was very straight forward--  he was done in under an hour.

The other side of the house benefits from the ample light provided by our new front porch chandelier, and I wanted the lighting to be subtle, so Chris bought an inexpensive flood with dawn/dusk sensor, from here

Both sets of lights activate on a dusk to dawn cycle—no timer programming and reprogramming based on daylight savings time!   Total investment of about $200 for front landscape lighting and added security. 

In other outdoor lighting related news, click here to check out my interview with Barn Light Electric on their blog regarding our new garage light. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plaster vs. Joint Compound

I'm afraid our decision to use a professional to skimcoat the walls of our hallway has opened up a can of worms. Now that we know someone else will be doing the dirty work, we've elected to replace the ceilings in both the upper and lower hallway as well as the ceiling in our living room. They are wavy and cracked in their current condition ("character" we would have lived with if we did the work ourselves). So you know what that means...cha-ching, cha-ching.

I do think it will be worth it though. Ceilings that don't threaten to fall down are an important feature in a home.

But that explains why our living room is all cleared out. Note the bay window. Perfect spot for a Christmas tree, right? Hopefully this will all be done in time to put up our tree this year.

Anyhoo...way back when I posted that we skimcoated the plaster walls of our family room, a commenter asked about our decision to use joint compound instead of plaster. She was concerned that the joint compound wouldn't adhere to plaster. Truth is, I'd never thought about it. Seemed to work just fine in this house and our in previous house.

Recently we had 3 contractors in to bid on our hallway/living room job. Two call themselves plasterers but they really work with drywall and joint compound. The third guy is a bonafide old school plasterer. Guess what they all told us? Joint compound will adhere better to plaster walls. Plaster over plaster doesn't hold up well over time.
I appreciate the honesty, but guy number 3 talked himself right out of the job!

He left us with an interesting thought though. He commented that people actually seek out the historic look of a bare plaster wall and suggested that we skip the skimcoat step and apply paint directly to the walls as they are.
The effect would look something like this wall in our butler's pantry:

A bit like painted cinderblock.
I don't know...I don't think I'm one of those people. I like a more refined look.
Which kind of person are you? Bumpy or smooth?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Project

Can't beat a project as easy as this.

Take a $12 Salvation Army footstool
 Sand it, paint it, staple on some scrap fabric,

And voila!

Have you completed any easy weekend projects lately?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Transom Transformed

There's nothing I like more than a good before and after, especially when it is quick and painless.  Such was the case with replacing our house numbers in the transom over our front door. 
SO much better than what it looked like previously. If you remember, the old numbers were just painted on and very difficult to read from the street. 
Applying our new house number was a super easy process thanks to the helpful people at the House Number Lab. We selected the "Reserve" font in 22k matte gold with a black contour drop shadow.

Some of the highlights of the process involved scraping the old paint off the window and starting with a clean surface.
 Then we measured and leveled the center point from outside using a dry erase pen provided in the kit. (Btw, have you noticed by now that I use "we" when I really mean Chris?)
 Then we applied the numbers.
 And slowly peeled off the backing.
 Moment of truth!
 Next, we applied the shadow and peeled the backing off that too.

The best part may be how easily the pizza delivery man will be able to find our house.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reno Burnout

It's for real, people, and I've got a bad case of it.
Anyone who's had the pleasure of living in their home during a remodel will be able to relate. A remodel can be disruptive, uncomfortable and my house always feels messy. There are rooms that often look like this for months
 Resulting in other rooms that look like this
Why, yes. That is an ottoman in my dining room. 
(The current state of my living room and dining room is a story for another day.) Making reno-related decisions and giving up our weekends to work on the house has gotten exhausting.

Maybe I was spoiled by the all the help we had over the summer when we hired roofers and painters to work on the exterior of our house. Oh! How nice it was to come home after a long day of working at my real job to enjoy all the progress that was made in my absence. Except to write out the check, I didn't need to lift a finger.

So now, despite our original plan to do the skimcoating ourselves in the hallway, I begged and pleaded with Chris to let me hire someone to do it for us. It is a dirty, dusty job that a professional can do better and faster. Plus, have you seen the wall to the left of our staircase?
That wall is at least a mile high and was not intended to be reached by normal humans. There's no way in hell I'm getting on some makeshift scaffolding to skimcoat it myself. There are also some old patch jobs and cracks in the ceilings that could really use the attention of a professional.

So there.

My proclamation has not go down well, if you are curious to know. My husband is no DIY purist -- heck, we hire contractors all the time, but skimcoating is a job he feels strongly about doing ourselves. It isn't cheap and we could save a ton of money.

I get that, I really do. But that doesn't change the fact that I don't want to do it. I don't want to live with the mess, I don't want it to take as long as it would take us to do ourselves, I. Just. Don't. Want. To.

That ladies and gentlemen, is what goes on inside the head of someone who's burnt out on their renovation.  And because my husband is awesome (and understanding and sympathetic and smart) he's agreed to bring in the professionals.

yay :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Progress Ain't Pretty

We've been making slow but steady progress on our hallway project. With the old wallpaper out of the way, we had our electrician come back to wire the sconces (that I'm still undecided on, btw).
While here, he upgrading our knob and tube wiring and moved the location of the switches so that they won't be in the way of the new molding. 

So now we we have big gaping holes in our wall where the old light switch box and outlet used to be. Those will get patched up when we do the skimcoating. 
 It isn't pretty, but we're making progress.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shoulda Coulda Woulda But We Didn't...

I wanted to write up a follow up post to last week's exterior reveal with a couple of updates.
For one, our electrician replaced the old boring flood light over the garage with a brand new barn light.

Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

On another note, those who have been following along our decision making process may recall that we originally planned to use Benjamin Moore's Sailcloth as an accent color (under the bay window and the dormer "eyebrows"). As it turns out, Sailcloth ended up being way too light and didn't have enough contrast against the trim color. So we switched to Sherwin Williams's Chat Room at the last minute.
Sailcloth was the recommendation from BM's color professional. Sometimes professionals don't have all the answers.

And does anyone remember how Chris and I had agonized over whether to use the shutters that he found in our basement? We were on the fence about it right up to the point the painting started. We ultimately decided to hold off until after the painting was complete to see if the house still needed a little more "ooph".
I think it is fine without them. In my opinion, they'd just clutter things up. I'm not a big fan of clutter. It is true. My friends make fun of me.

But do you want to know what our house DOES need? Something planted in that bare flower bed alongside the driveway. I'm just horrible with landscape planning, but I'd like something simple and monochromatic like in these inspiration pictures I took last summer at the Columbus, Ohio Haus und Garten tour.

I'm not going to stress too much about it now. It won't be long before Old Man Winter solves that problem for me. At least until spring.

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