Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Definite Upgrade

That's an understatement....

So, I appreciate a lot of things that the previous owners did to our house. Take the outside, if you look on google maps street view our house was sea foam green with an awning. If I had seen that, I would have taken one look and run the other way.
Yep, that's our house. Sea foam green.
They also re-did the floors in the family room and put down gorgeous dark, cherry floors, which I love (even if I do tend to scratch them up a bit). Another thing I like is that they put in a half bathroom downstairs which, in theory, I appreciate (I'll appreciate it more when we rip it out and re-do it next month). But on the other side of the coin, there are quite a few things I hate (yes, hate is the right word) that they did. Take the kitchen, who puts that much wood storage in the kitchen and takes out all the cabinets? Who would actually put the fridge in the laundry room (with an uneven floor so the door tends to swing open if it's not pressed closed a very specific way)? Another thing, the paint colors in the bedrooms. Lavender, really? Beige/pink, seriously? Oh and one last thing (well, probably not actually last but the point of this post), they made this media cabinet that is god awful. Not only is it hideous but it doesn't hide all the wires and you have to leave it open in order to change the channel. I would have rather them taken the darn thing with them... but they didn't and we didn't have a media cabinet so here it stays.... for now.
I mean I appreciate trying to have matching colors and all but really?
If you don't know this already, I'm a rather thrifty shopper. I tend to appreciate things more when I put in some elbow grease. So, I have been scoring Craigslist for a new media cabinet (and a queen headboard) for the past month or so and yesterday, the Craigslist god's shined down on me with this simple post:

Crate and Barrel TV Stand - Like new

Perfect for your flat screen TV!! Modern, stylish, and functional Crate & Barrel TV Stand. Excellent condition from smoke-free, pet-free house. Purchased new in 2008.

Here is a link to it on the Crate & Barrel website:

Similar units priced at $399 at Crate and Barrel.

Espresso Stain with brushed nickel door handles.
Dimensions: 54"W x 21"D x 22.5"H
Two adjustable shelves, two sliding glass doors.

It doesn't photograph that well so I included a picture from the website.

Cash and carry.
  • Location: Capitol Hill
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
image 2182130649-1

Um, yes please!

And that's how we got our new media cabinet, swoon.

Hutch Part 2

After our successful entryway project on Saturday, Sunday we tackled the other part of the hutch (and by we, I mean Ryan, I was busy working on other projects/ doing a long run/ cooking for the women's shelter).

Ryan started by taking the whole hutch apart so he had the two sides, the back and then the chest.  He took one of the sides and used his fancy new power tool to cut it in to two to use it as the two sides. By only cutting one side, he could use the other side to make the top of the bench more sturdy since the back of the hutch was veneer wood.
Taking the hutch apart
Using the second side as a back

Putting it back together

Looking good!

The finished product!

After a few more cuts and screws, wallah we have a bench! (Don't you like how much I oversimplified Ryan's hard work?)

Now, I just have to decide on a cushion color. I think I'm going to go to the fabric store this weekend and see what they have.  Oh, how I love the fabric store, even if it brings to light my indecisiveness...

Happy Snow Day!

Or should I say happy pj day? Since Ryan and I are both working, just from home...

Sometimes, she's kind of cute. Sometimes....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Could it be?

So the office is pretty much set up.  We're going to put a twin sized bed in there just so we have some extra room for people to sleep but besides that, it's looking rather good (minus our thrown together furniture, sigh). The only problem I have with it is the color.  It doesn't look that bad in pictures but it's like a pinkish-beige, barf. (Or maybe it does look that bad in pictures and I'm delusional, take your pick.)
The beginning stages of the desk.
Note: when I bought paint for the master bedroom, I bought 3 gallons. Apparently those paint estimators are just a tad bit off, because we only used about 1 1/4 gallons. I tried to return the third gallon but I guess it's considered custom since they mixed it. Fail.  I did try to get them to lighten it but since the can was already full, it didn't help.

Back to the office. So I had been thinking of painting it a green or a deep mocha but then I remembered, I have a whole can of Benjamin Moore Wolf Grey paint just sitting in my basement. So we were driving to work this morning and I was asking Ryan's opinion on color (note: Ryan does not have an opinion on color) and I mentioned possibly lightening the grey and using that. Well, Ryan had an excellent idea of buying a paint bucket to mix the grey with white to lighten it and create another grey room.  I want to lighten it quite a bit so you can't tell it's the same color as the master bedroom, so I'm thinking something like this:
I like that blanket, I wish I could find it for my master bedroom.

This room is entirely too white for me. I love white in theory but in practice? Not so much.

Or possibly a little darker:
I've saved this house tour from about a year ago because I liked it so much.
I also want to paint the weird bookshelf things they have on the walls white to match the trim.

It's crazy how much I love grey... I should probably be going to some sort of intervention. And with Ryan giving me no opinions on colors? Grey it is.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grand Entrance

When we bought the house, the radiator by the entrance was covered with this ugly radiator cover. I am actually a huge fan of how radiators look so I knew immediately that the cover had to go but my thought process did not go past that.
radiator cover by the entrance (behind the Monkster)

We've been so busy with the rest of the house, not to mention the engagement, that I hadn't really put much thought in to what to do with the entrance (minus the rug, we desperately needed a rug, thank god for Home Goods). We did have an awesome hutch in our old entry way but the new space wasn't big enough to keep it as is. I really loved the piece so Ryan came up with a great compromise, take a part the hutch in to two pieces. We would use the top portion in the entrance and the trunk would be turned in to a seat in the family room (plus storage, I love multi functioning pieces). Although it may sound crazy, we already knew that we wanted some sort of jacket hooks by the entrance. Even with a coat closet, it's just more convenient to have the jackets right when you walk in. I also wanted a mirror. The top of the hutch had both of those things. So Ryan was off to Home Depot to buy yet another tool.
The hutch before

Ryan taking it apart

Trying it out
After we tried the top piece out, I wasn't completely in love so we decided to take it apart even more.
Ryan taking apart the top piece
And that's how we got our new entryway! It's so much more functional!
Finished product!
Here's a before and after shot so you can see the difference:

Did I already tell you that I originally bough the hutch for $60 on Craigslist? What a deal! And now on to the trunk that we'll turn in to a bench!

And the winner is...

After much deliberation, I went with the third duvet cover by DwellStudio. It came in earlier this week and I am THRILLED of how it looks. I still need to add some color with some pillows and a blanket but I think it is going to look awesome. I love the white against the grey and the lines in the duvet are actually navy blue which is a nice touch.

Now to decide which color...

It's getting hot in here

Well, not quite, but we're certainly not wasting as much money on heat as before.

When our home inspector walked us through the house, he noticed that there was no insulation between the ceiling and the roof as well as out back under the laundry room. So heat was basically escaping from those two areas and we were just throwing away money.  Since there was a tax credit for insulation in 2010, we decided to go to Lowes and buy enough to insulate both areas as soon as we moved in to the house. And there it sat for the next month. (Actually it eventually got moved to the back room but that's besides the point.)
Ryan tackled the back area under the laundry room by himself one Sunday but the crawl space was another story. The area was only about 2' high and he wouldn't be able to go back and forth to get the insulation so he needed someone to help. Originally, he had recruited Kevin but when we were trying to finish up the bedroom, Kevin helped with the trim instead. Ryan told me I was going to have to be his helper... until, our amazing friend, Clark "volunteered" for the task. 

So, last Sunday, Clark and Ryan spent about six hours up in the crawl space installing the insulation. I am one lucky girl to have been saved from that task.
Clark thinking "What did I get myself in to?"

Ryan heading in to the crawl space

Clark handing the insulation up to Ryan

Hi babe!

The amount of space they had to install all this insulation.. yikes

Ryan installing the insulation
After they were finished and they had changed and wiped themselves down, we sat in the family room while they used tape to stick to their skin and pull the tiny pieces of insulation out. Did I already say how lucky I am to have gotten out of this task?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let the planning begin

So, even though Ryan told me I shouldn't start planning the wedding for two weeks, obviously that wasn't going to happen. I mean, we have been dating for (over) seven years and I've been to about thirty weddings at this point so I already had some ideas (that's an under statement). And even though we're having a long engagement (I think the wedding countdown said something like 577 days) I still wanted to make sure I had the perfect photographer. I figure the rest will fall in to place over the next year and a half (while we're renovating the house, attending grad school, volunteering and wedding planning- we aren't busy or anything).

So the morning after we got engaged I immediately emailed the photographer of my dreams, Tony Hoffer. Ryan's lucky that I didn't call Tony right after I said yes, I'm that obsessed with him. And with pictures like this, who wouldn't be?

So I'm pretty much picking our date based on his schedule (that and my grad school breaks) which leads to our year and a half engagement. Some may think I'm crazy but I'm excited to have so much time to sit back and plan one thing at a time. What's the rush? I'm already the luckiest girl in the world : )

Headboard ideas

On another note, I think I want to make a headboard for the guest bedroom. I really want to put this bedroom together because I really want you all to come visit!!!!
Not this color, but I like the idea... a lot.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A terrifying wake up call

So at 4am on Monday morning we woke up to our two neighbors yelling at each other (they were already in their car getting ready to leave their house). We thought it was strange so we were pretty confused until Ryan noticed that there was a beeping sound coming from somewhere. I thought it's nothing but Ryan jumped out of bed to go downstairs. He came back up and he told me the house is filling with smoke and you couldn't even see down the basement. This is about the time when the panic sets in. I threw on some clothes and went downstairs to get Monkey's leash. I (finally) get Monkey's leash on (my hands were shaking so this proved to be a difficult task) and a jacket as Ryan grabs Caley and puts her in the carrier. I went outside and realize I literally have nothing but the dog. Ryan manages to go upstairs and grab his wallet and by the time we're both outside, there are about 4 fire trucks and 20+ fireman. I tried to go back in to get my purse and shut the door but a fireman told me, "Do not go in there, ma'am". By this point, we realize it's next door and the fire man are breaking all the windows to get the air out. We were terrified.
Fire men... too close for comfort
We stood outside for about an hour with the neighbors, Caley and Monkey. The fire men were everywhere; on the neighbor's roof, on our roof, in the house and outside of the house. Ryan gets the scoop and one of the fire men tell him that he thought the fire started by the dryer in their basement. Who does laundry at 4am? After a little over an hour, we finally went back inside our (smoke filled) house. We were very lucky that nothing in our house got damaged (unless you count the dirtiness of everything the fire men touched) and that the neighbors all got out okay.

It was quite an eventful weekend! I hope to never be that close to a fire ever again....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do you know what goes with every outfit?


After a little over seven years of dating (although Ryan likes to say that college doesn't count, but it totally does) on January 14th, Ryan and I got engaged. Ryan had been planning it for a little over a month and managed to have the ring for 10 days before he pulled the trigger! He had already asked both my Mom and my Dad and had even managed to have my best friend go with him to look at diamonds. It was a VERY good day :)

Here's our story:

I got home from a work trip to North Carolina on Friday around 5:30pm. Ryan was already in the family room hanging out. I had been traveling all day so I was really excited to be home. I was unpacking downstairs, just dilly dallying but Ryan kept mentioning things about projects we had been working on in the bedroom. I was more focused on Ryan taking Monkey for a walk and just settling in so I didn't pick up on anything. Finally (Ryan said at this point he was thinking of just making up a finished project so I would go upstairs), I went upstairs to unpack and told Ryan to take Monkey for a walk. Instead, Ryan followed me in to the bedroom. When I get in to the bedroom, I see that there are 3 vases of beautiful flowers.
Flowers in the bedroom
I turned around and thanked Ryan for the flowers only to find him on one knee. He told me he had one more present for me and pulled out the ring and asked me if I would marry him. I was pretty much in shock and just stared at the gorgeous bling. He also told me that he had made reservations at an awesome steak house. We popped the champagne and decided to sit on the engagement and call people after dinner (this was very hard). (Don't worry, we also took the Monkster for a walk.)
Dinner was incredible and we had an amazing view of the Capitol. After a delicious dinner, we finally started to call our family. Of course, it was 9:30pm on a Friday and neither of my parents picked up! We took some pictures at the Capitol and headed home to spread the good news. 
More champagne!


It was perfect. I can't imagine a better place to get engaged than the place where we are building our life together.
On the phone with my sister
Freezing on the Capitol's stairs.
And that's our story! Let the planning begin : ) (Actually, Ryan is making me wait two weeks to start planning but that's besides the point.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chalk boards...

I'll also take that table, thanks.
If there's one thing I'm more obsessed with than chandeliers in bedrooms, it's chalk boards in kitchens. Ryan thinks that white boards are more nerdy chic (yes, he actually used those words) but I'm an old school chalk board type of girl. Once we start our kitchen remodel, you can bet I'm going to try and fit one of these babies in there. I mean, cute + functional, can you think of anything better? No, you probably can't. I'm thinking I can write my menu for the week on it so everyone in the house (aka Ryan) will always know what's for dinner (yes, I meal plan and yes, I make dinner pretty much every night).
Source: Nothing But Bonfires

I just died and went to heaven, a chalkboard + a chandelier... yes, please!
Speaking of kitchen renovations, our microwave and dishwasher were delivered last weekend. Yes, we were a LITTLE ambitious and yes, they are now sitting in our family room. Along with all the other boxes that I don't feel like unpacking, sigh.
Our beloved dishwasher and microwave... in boxes... in the family room
Oh, you want to hear more about the kitchen renovation you say? Don't you worry, I'm pretty sure you'll manage to hear more about the kitchen than you did the floors. If that's even possible.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Food for Thought

I read somewhere that when young couples are looking at houses they often times go for something a little older, with charm, that they can update. A house where they do almost everything themselves because, quite frankly, they can't afford to hire someone. And that couldn't be more true for us.  When we were looking at houses the last thing we wanted was a flip. "What's the point?" we said, "Someone's already made their money." And that is all true but after starting these renovations and doing so much of it ourselves (and with the help of our amazing friends and family) I can't help but think that's it even more than that, we're making it ours, inside and out. When I look at the bedroom floors I see the time and effort we put in to them, yes, they may not be perfect (they're distressed, remember?) but they're our blood, sweat and tears (well, my tears and more Ryan's sweat). What could be more rewarding than that?

This house is, quite literally, becoming our life. It's the place where we are building our life together and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

His & Her Closets

Once we moved in to the bedroom, it was pretty obvious that my one pole in the closet was not cutting it. That on top of the fact that our amazing Realtor, Robert Crawford, had already told me about Elfa closets and I was set on a new closet. Lucky for me, the Container Store was having their annual sale.

If you've never been to the Container Store, I suggest you go, it's amazing. I've never seen so many things for organization in my life. I definitely had to put my blinders on and only look at bathroom organizers, which I, of course, bought while I was waiting for a designer to design my closet.

I had already played around with different design ideas on their website so I knew what I was looking for before I went. It was such a fun experience. I got to customize everything from drawers for my clothes to a shoe rack just for flats, I was in heaven. Plus, the 30% off didn't hurt! Once I got home and bragged to Ryan about my awesome closet, he decided that he needed his own Elfa. And that's how we got not one, but two incredible closets in our 100 year old house. Drool.
Ryan installing my Elfa

My new closet!!!!
Ryan's new closet!!!

In the words of my sister: Elena: floors, what? that closet is where your home equity is :)