Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

See you in 2014! 
Carrie and Chris

Monday, November 25, 2013

K is for Kitchen

K is also for "kakka", the word my mother used to call poop when we were kids.

A fitting description for my kitchen, wouldn't you say?

Chris and I have started the process of gathering estimates from contractors to get an idea of how much the remodel is going to cost us. So despite Chris's threats to do it all himself, we're going to hire this project out. Not that Chris couldn't do a good job, but he just doesn't have the time. From previous experience, a kitchen isn't really something I'm willing to live without for an extended period.

How about you? Would you diy a kitchen remodel?

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Finishing Touch

It took us a while, but we finally got around to installing a chandelier in our newly remodeled living room
When I first looked at this house, I fell in love with all the original plaster ceiling medallions. Especially the one in the living room. It didn't have a light fixture installed at the time so we had no idea if the wiring was live. 
Luckily it was. 
So the challenge became choosing the right chandelier for the room. 

I knew I wanted one in the Empire style, so that narrowed down the playing field. 
Then I became obsessed with finding one that was somewhat affordable and wasn't covered in polished brass.
I'm noticing now for the first time that a sticker is still stuck to the candle sleeve and that the candle sleeve itself is askew. 
 I found this one at Lamps Plus. Interestingly, the description calls it silver, but in real life it has gold overtones. It works well with all of the chrome and brass fixtures we have in our house. At close to $700, it definitely wasn't cheap, but sometimes you have to suck it up in the name of perfection.

When was the last time you found yourself spending more money to get exactly what you were looking for?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If You Buy a Girl a Mattress...

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be on a self imposed hiatus from working on the house, but I just can't seem to leave well enough alone.
It all started a few months ago when Chris and I decided to buy a new mattress.
We figured that if we were going to invest in a new mattress, we might as well upgrade to a cal king (mostly to accommodate a certain Shih Tzu who cries like a little girl if we make her sleep on the floor).
Things sort of snowballed from there...
A larger mattress meant a larger headboard.

And new sheets, a bedskirt, and a bedspread...

And some new artwork to match the new sheets...

And a new rug to go with the lighter color scheme.

So obviously, it really isn't my fault.

(Click here to see what our room looked like before)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Time Flies

It's that time of year again. The anniversary of when Chris and I moved to Hazard Ave. To be honest, it is about 5 weeks past that anniversary date, but I just couldn't get my shit together to write the post in time. I don't know about you, but it seems like the older I get, the faster time passes. Some days I get confused. Is it really almost Halloween again?  Didn't we just have that???

Anyway, we've been living in this house three years already. Three whole years! We still have a lot left to do on the project list, but let's take a look at the progress we've made in the last year.

Last fall, we finished up the exterior. A faux slate roof was installed and the whole house was repainted.

Then we spent most of last winter working on the hallways and foyer.
Nope, not missing that vinyl wallpaper one bit.

Late last spring we moved on to the formal living room. Chris outdid himself with all the millwork. It took forever, but it was worth it. This is by far my favorite room in the house.
Chris and I are going to enjoy a nice long break before starting our next major renovation project - THE KITCHEN! I'm super excited and anxious to get started on that, but we need a breather first.

I'm not going to know what to do with myself.
Remind me please. What do normal people do on weekends?
Oh wait, if you read this blog, you are probably as renovation/design/house obsessed as we are. You aren't one of the normal ones. Carry on, friends.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board

All does not always go as planned in home renovation.
Back in February, I posted about a new hallway runner for our foyer & hallway that we had just finished remodeling.  Then I cruelly left you hanging by neglecting to tell you which runner I had decided on: a wool sisal one with a fabric border or a leopard print runner. My grand plan was to reveal my decision shortly after with an "after" photo of my runner newly installed looking super cool and fabulous.

Well, here is the anticlimatic reveal eight months later:

That's right. There is no runner. 

You see, I ended up placing an order for a wool sisal runner with a fabric border, like this

Then endured a series of annoying and frustrating attempts by the carpet showroom and manufacturer to get our order right (and had to deal with a rude saleslady to boot.) The first rug arrived without the fabric border I requested, the second attempt was cut too wide for my staircase, and the third attempt was just plain wrong: 
It was the installers who finally told me that a border like the one I wanted couldn't be used on a stair runner. They said that the extra fabric created a lot of puckering where the stair meets the riser and there was no way they could smooth it out. A few days later, the carpet showroom saleslady confirmed it after speaking to the manufacture. 


Instead I requested our refund back and vowed to never, ever do business with them again.

Needless to say, animal print is back on the table. I called the same guy Erin Gates bought her cheetah runner from and it turns out his company also services my area. The bonus is that the cheetah runner will cost about the same price as the wool sisal one I originally planned to buy. 
Elements of Style
Kind of makes the decision an easy one, no? 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Let's Talk About Drapery Hardware for Bay Windows

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...
The drapery hardware in my new living room? It isn't brass.
It is actually spray painted wood.

It came about as a happy accident as I tried to come up with a solution for the bay window. You see, there are ready made bay window rods available, but the ones I came across didn't have enough "elbows" that we needed for our window. You can also purchase the elbows separately and assemble the rod yourself using adjustable metal rods, but this was adding up to big bucks in my head.

So Chris and I went to Home Depot one morning with only a vague idea of how we were going to make it work. Luckily, it ended up being a pretty easy solution. Home Depot carries wooden drapery hardware under the Martha Stewart brand. We were able to pick up enough wooden elbows for the bay window plus rods, wooden end caps, wooden brackets, and wooden curtain rings for all the windows in the room. It came out to about $150.

Knowing that this was all going to get spray painted, we just went to the lumber section and selected two closet rods. They ended up being almost half the price of the wooden drapery poles available from Martha (just make sure they are the right diameter to fit into the elbows and brackets).
Again, knowing that it was all going to get spray painted, I didn't care that we had both white and oak colors to start (though the oak color was easier to cover with gold).
Then I sprayed them with Rustoleum's Metallic Gold spray paint. If you plan on opening and closing your drapes, I'd spray a coat of poly on also. I easily removed the clips from the curtain rings after the paint was dry to use them with drapery hooks.
 The wooden poles were easy to cut down to exactly the sizes we needed to get around all the corners of our bay window. The elbows just screw into the pole.
At first, I didn't like the way the paint looked on the wooden poles... it was uneven - some spots took the sheen and color differently. 

 But now I'm really happy about it. It doesn't have the even texture of paint, rather it looks like brass that is starting to tarnish in some areas, like real unlaquered brass would.

Doesn't look too bad for something we cobbled together. In fact, I like the look so much I'd consider using wooden rods in other rooms of my home. Would you?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Living Room Reveal!

Sorry to hold out on you for so long, friends. Man, this room took a lot longer than Chris and I anticipated. Some things, however, are worth the wait.
Do you remember what it looked like about 8 months ago?
Since then, we removed the stained and peeling wallpaper, had the walls skimmed, and installed new moldings. The whole room got a fresh coat of white paint.
Along the way I did some shopping. I must say, it was my favorite part of the project.
Good old Abe found a spot over a mahogany dresser that we found at an antique store. The side chair and mirror were also antique store finds. I got the blue lamp at Homegoods for a steal.
 The drapes are organic linen from Merry Window. The artwork is by Michelle Armas. I was thrilled when she started selling her prints as canvases. Love. The pillows are from High Street Market. The mirrored coffee table was exactly what I wanted...purchased from the South Shore Decorating Store. Thank you, Stacy!
I couldn't be happier with the way my $25 yard sale chairs came back from the reupholster. Also,
the Onyx rug from Room and Board ended up being perfect. Oh how I agonized over which rug to get!

It feels SO GOOD to have this room finished. Since it has been done I've been spending every free minute in here, literally just staring at the walls :)

Monday, August 12, 2013


Guys, our living room is almost done!
Chris finished installing the last piece of the crown and I've been helping him caulk and paint.
I have to admit, he and I were a little skeptical when the millwork was still a work in progress. It was just so hard to envision how all the trim pieces would come together. Now we're both thrilled with the results.

(Poor, unsuspecting Chris. Little does he know that I'm going to make him endure this pain all over again when it comes time to rehab our dining room...).

All that is left in here to paint the trim on the doors & windows, then move in the furniture. I CAN'T WAIT for this project to be finished!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hot Stuff

Note to self: Next time, before painting a house dark gray and installing a black mansard roof, GET CENTRAL AIR. Despite nearly being baked alive in our own home, Chris and I managed to get some work done over the last few weeks...

Remember the salvation army table?
 Well, I finally did something with it.
  That's right. I stained her up right with some gel stain and a coat of poly.
Chris hacked her in half like a magician and affixed her to the wall in our upstairs hallway. Now if only I can remember to keep that plant watered...

My yard sale chairs came back from the upholsterer looking all sexy and beautiful.
Isn't it uncanny how similar it looks next to my tote bag inspiration?

Finally, the custom crown molding we've been waiting forever for finally arrived,
so Chris spent most of Sunday putting it up in our living room.
Luckily for him, the heat wave broke just in time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yard Work

Mulch is like a fresh coat of paint for your yard. A new layer of it every spring is instantly transforming.
Which is a nice reward when you can't move your arms after spreading 4 cubic yards of it in your backyard.

We took a shortcut when it came to the beds in the driveway and hired a landscaper. 

 Not only did they mulch, but they cleaned out the beds and planted some brand new shrubs and perennials. I have no vision when it comes to gardening, so I was happy to spend the dough to let someone else do it.
 The landscapers surprised me by starting the job a week early and I missed the opportunity to take before pictures. It looked about as bad as a vacant city lot.

So now that the yard is done, time to spend the summer outside enjoying it, right?
Yep, just as soon as we finish the living room...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Can a Room Have Too Much Millwork?

No way.

We had to special order a piece of molding for our complex crown situation, so while we're waiting for that to arrive, Chris spent some time over the weekend framing out the living room walls with astragal molding.  Our living room is adjacent to the hallway that we recently completed and I figure that the picture molding will help visually link the two spaces.

Slowly but surely, this room is finally starting to come together.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Black Magic

I hope I don't end up regretting this, but in a rather bold move (for myself anyway), I ordered BLACK linen to reupholster my yard sale chairs for my living room. Believe it or not, I was inspired by this:
Yep, that's the bag I carry with me to work every day. The brown leather, the black fabric, &  the brass hardware just do it for me, you know?

And since the legs of my chairs are already stained that color brown, I figured why not?
It also helped that the sofa in my favorite living room of all time is upholstered in black fabric too.
Photo: Evan Joseph
Then I came across these chairs and I started to feel even better about my decision.  
Bill Blass
Design Sponge
House and Home
Windsor Smith Home
bryn alexandria
See? Black won't be so scary after all.

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