Archive for January, 2011

January 30, 2011

Office Space

by Cait

Since in haven’t ordered the curtains I wanted for the art room yet, I have enjoyed daydreaming about other rug and curtain options.  Especially when my mom, sister and I spend the better part of an afternoon emailing about inexpensive rug options for my sister’s 500sqft apartment that she’s moving into in April (design board of that coming soon).  I like to imagine that my art room is the fair-haired cousin to Sara @ Russet Street Reno’s art room (because her art room is dead sexy and I like thinking of myself in the same sentence as her since her house is amazing.  Have you seen her woman cave?  Love!)  Truthfully though, our art room is a messy mish-mash of styles and no where near as awesome as Sara’s turned out.

Since I am already in love with Urban Outfitter’s Woodland Garden curtains and I know I like natural fiber rugs I am considering this sisal rug from Overstock.  Initially I thought that a 5×8 rug would fit, and was going to go with the Ikea Tarnby that y’all know I love so much, but then I did a test fit with the 4’4 x 6’5 Ikea Gislev we have on my side of our bed (because the measuring tape is in the shed and I am lazy) and realize that a 5×8 would be WAY too big.

Then I realized that the vision I had for the art room is a bit girly, and since Robert uses the computer in art room’s closet for watching YouTube and looking up parts for the CJ-7 homework I should probably make the space gender neutral.  Plus, I would need to shorten my beloved Woodland Garden curtains from the top (since they don’t come in a 63″ length) or the patterned part would hang behind the Ikea Jonas desk (although ours is white) we use as a project table.  Though Robert liked the idea of the Woodland Garden curtains too and shortening them is not a big deal, I figured we should probably take the opportunity to make the art room/office a shared space, rather than just my taste.  I considered wussing out using the same curtains from the library, but I didn’t want to use the same statement-making curtains in more than one area (which is why we’re going to stencil curtains rather than use those for the living room, too, actually).  I figured picking a color to paint the closet would be a good starting place.  Since the room is already a bit of a bold color (Valspar’s Reflection Pond) we knew it needed to be bold so that it stood out.  Robert’s favorite color is red, but since I didn’t want to paint any part of our house fire engine red we decided a slightly more muted color might work best.  I was thinking something coral-y without too much pink and Robert agreed.

I looked through my old Pottery Barn Colors paint decks and found a color called Morrocan Spice by Benjamin Moore  in the Spring 2010 one.  We will probably match it to Valspar, since we love their paint (and it’s cheaper).  Then I found fabric that was similar to the curtains we both love in the library and took advantage of a sale that made it $5.58 a yard (with a 15% off coupon code from Retail Me Not on top of that).  Buying fabric sight unseen is probably a bad idea, but I ordered online-only curtains and they were awesome, so much finger-crossing is going on about the fabric.  I’m thinking that a natural weave rug is still the way to go (especially with the busy curtains).

The closet office is currently rocking this bungee chair I’ve had since high school, and a shower curtain (image from Urban Outfitters, ours is from Target and came with hooks) that we bought to use for something on the back porch but are making due with since we took the bifold doors down.  After the fabric I ordered arrives we’ll pick out something to make a closet curtain.  The desk surface is an Ikea Vika table top and L-brackets (which was about $15 total), but it doesn’t span the entire closet (we were going to put shelves on one side), we made it a little too high to work comfortably and we feel like it’s going to come crashing down when we lean our arms on it (although the L-brakcets will hold up just fine).  The closet is just over 8 feet long (97 inches) and 24 5/8 inches deep, but the longest Vika surface is only about 80 inches long, so we’ll need to DIY a work surface with something from Lowe’s or Home Depot that coordinates with the Jonas desk.

Swivel chair image from here, basket image from here

To go with the paint colors, fabric and rug mentioned above we are thinking about:

  • Swivel Chair – We have a chair in the shed that I rescued from the side of the road that I’m hoping to refinish and use in place of the bungee chair.
  • Other Chairs – I think that the Crate&Barrel Delta could be a good option for two other chairs; they are certainly easier on the wallet than trying to find two Emeco Heritage chairs, but a bit more than we want to spend.  We may just end up redoing the fabric and/or color on the existing chairs.
  • Desk – As I mentioned, we have to DIY a desktop and in looking for legs for the closet desk I found the  Vika Moliden legs that would coordinate with the Delta/Emeco chairs.
  • Shelving & Storage – Over the desk I’d like to put a shelf similar to Ikea’s Lack shelves with storage boxes or baskets.

Is anyone else thinking about how to organize their home office space?

January 25, 2011

Retaining Water

by Cait

Everyone remember our friend Mr Ceiling Crack?

Meet his new BFF, Mr Bucket.

Blogging about your house is super glamorous.


Hello small window in which we must evict Mr Bucket. (Please don’t hate us for for the temps.)

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January 24, 2011

Easy Update: Bridge Faucet

by Cait

We recently changed out our kitchen faucet to the one we mentioned here.  While we liked our previous faucet’s functionality and it was in perfectly good shape, I fell in love with the style of bridge faucets after reading Urban Grace for a while and seeing several gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms with them.  Also we occasionally smacked our large pasta pot into the other faucet while washing it.  While working on our 100th post I found this faucet in our price range at Home Depot, and we decided to get it and donate the old faucet to ReStore.

Our uninstall and install went smoothly.  I won’t go through it step by step with pictures because 1) I’m not a plumber, 2) it’s easy  and 3) the install required a good bit of flashlight holding and handing Robert tools on my part, so I could really only take one or two pictures.

This may or may not have been strategically taken after the uninstall had begun. </blogger fail>

We glanced over the instructions, checked whether we needed anything from the hardware store, and partially cleared out the under sink cabinets.  Then we turned off the water (which normally just involves turning off the valves under the sink, but because ours are old and don’t all work exactly as they should, we just turn the water to the whole house off) and gathered the tools we needed.

From there it was pretty much a whole lot of this:

Basically we just:

  1. Turned off the water & relieved the pressure from the system to try to avoid excess water dumping out of the supply  lines (which may or may not have happened when we installed our previous faucet)
  2. Disconnected the water supply lines
  3. Removed the old soap pump and the cover from the 4th hole which wasn’t used with the last faucet
  4. Took the weight/stopper off the pullout and disconnected it
  5. Lifted the old faucet out
  6. Cleaned any soap scum/build up from the sink
  7. Put the new faucet in place & connected everything
  8. Turned the water on to check for leaks

We also put towels down for any water that did drain out of the supply lines when we disconnected them, and used a bit of Teflon tape when we reattached things.  The whole process went really quickly, and when we were done we actually commented on how easy it was as compared to the last time.  I’m sure this is both because we’d done the whole thing before and the fact that the new faucet is a much simpler design.  Our new faucet came with instructions that only had 5 steps, so faucet companies probably know it’s not exactly rocket science.  But I have  also taken things apart and put them back together for the heck of it my entire life, so I could be biased.

Has anyone else switched out a faucet or done another easy update recently?

January 23, 2011


by Cait

I was at Target earlier today without Robert (which doesn’t happen very often) and saw this rug for $20.  Rather than stretch it out on the floor in the store and snap a pic to text him, I just decided to get it and we’d return it later if he hated it, especially since it was the last one.

Well, we can’t decide.  I think I like it, but sometimes I think it’s too brown.  Robert thinks he likes it, but isn’t sure either.

I thought that it might be the floor throwing us off, and finally had the idea to use some of the floor samples we have to give us an idea of what it would look like in the kitchen with something other than tile.  It probably also would have worked to just put the rug on the wood floor, but it’s a different color and I wanted to see it with the kitchen lighting.

What do y’all think?  Is the rug a winner or not?

January 19, 2011

Coming Clean

by Cait

Ok, so in the spirit of being totally honest, there are a couple of places in our house that haven’t been shown on the blog, and one of those is the laundry room.  We have big plans for this space one day (hopefully soon), but it’s dependent on getting a tankless water heater so that we can unstack the washer and dryer.   Our current water heater is new-ish and works-ish despite some rust, so it’s not exactly on the front burner.  Regardless of when it gets done, I have fun dreaming up what I want the space to look like when it’s finished, and I’ve been partially inspired by the design board Katie Bower created for their laundry room.

Katie’s design board

Our design board

The Plan:

We already have a new Whirlpool washer, dryer & laundry tower and we have a paint color in mind, so this plan is branching out from there.  The links in this post are just for reference, as we will be doing some serious bargain hunting when we get closer to actually making this plan a reality.

  • Sink – Ideally we’d love a farmhouse sink with a drainboard or two, but our laundry room is… petite, so this America Standard sink might be a better choice, even though it’s certainly not exactly inexpensive.
  • Faucet – My expensive taste carries over into faucets with this American Standard wall mounted option.
  • Glass canisters – We already have one of these in the guest bathroom for bath salts, and I love it.  In the laundry room they’d be filled with clothes pins and things like that.
  • Hamper – We currently have a plastic hamper we’ve had for years in the laundry room, but we’d would love to have something nicer looking (the image shown is from Target).
  • Floor – Currently the floor is sporting some old vinyl, but I love the look of this Pergo Boathouse Pine.
  • Rug – We’ve heard a  lot of good things about FLOR tiles, and at $14.99 a square these Ups&Downs White would be awesome since they could be replaced when they inevitably wind up with bleach spots.

scan from Better Homes & Gardens, Feb ’09 left and Oct ’08 right

Not Pictured in Design Board:

  • Pedestal – As I mentioned above, in order to unstack our washer and dryer we need a tankless water heater.  One thing I didn’t mention is that we also need to build a small pedestal for the washer, dryer and laundry tower to go on.  The width of the room is juuust right for them all, but there is a small lip of concrete that we need to raise them up over in order to have them all side by side. It will be nice to DIY this since we don’t need the extra storage offered with the Whirlpool pedestals, and aren’t sure we want the extra 13″ of height they offer.
  • Counter top – The need for a pedestal actually works out well because we’d like to top the whole thing off with a work surface (similar to the one above left) and the pedestal will add extra height to our 36″ washer &dryer making the counter more comfortable for chores like folding laundry.
  • Window – Our laundry room doesn’t have a window at the moment, but I’d love to add one and place the sink (which it also doesn’t have yet, though there is a water spigot on the exterior of the same wall) below it.  Adding a Grundtal shelf like the one above right would be nice for extra storage and could also function as a drying rack.
  • Curtains – One day in the hopefully-not-too-distant future we’d like to install an outdoor shower in the backyard, but the window we want for the laundry room would look directly at that, and while the shower would have some sort of gate or curtain, curtains on the window would be good anyhow and could hang from the Grundtal shelf like pictured above.

Am I the only one with big plans for their laundry room?

January 17, 2011

Tabling the Issue

by Cait

Ever since we swapped the living room around in August we had been wanting to get the Hemnes Sofa Table from Ikea to make this area like a little entryway of sorts.  Granted, this part of the house is technically the back, but we often use this door when we walk the dogs or take a bike ride.  At the moment the compartments in the table are pretty disorganized, but we plan to store magazines, books, and maybe a shoe basket for shoes that tend to only get worn in the yard.  Down the line we may add a Stall shoe cabinet from Ikea behind the door for those shoes and the leashes that are hanging right now.  I’d also really love to add this rug from World Market, but probably not until the wood floor we bought goes down (I would need to Scotch Guard the heck out of it, of course – thanks dogs).  For now the rug my mom gave me for my birthday last year is hanging out there (after moving all around the house)

This is what the rest of the living room is looking like these days.  We of course still need to work on our curtains for the windows and the back door.

Does anyone else have an entryway somewhere other than next to their front door?

January 16, 2011

Easy Update: Hall Light Fixture

by Robert

The flush mount light fixture in our hallway has bothered us from pretty much day one. But, for some odd reason we decided to save this o’-so-tiny project until now, for your reading pleasure.

It’s not our style, and it’s always seemed a bit busy with the texture of the ceiling.  We like the overall shape of this fixture, but the “gold” and the textured glass are a little dated for our space.  And, well, yeah…. Also, C strolls through our local Habit-for-Humanity ReStore and finds killer deals on a regular basis. During this particular trip to “Heaven”, she found exactly what we wanted, that we had argued about at great length discussed after an amount of research that would make the average consumer bleed from the eyes/ears/fingertips.

Replacing a light fixture like this is pretty simple, thankfully.  To take this down we  just turned the power off, undid the set screws holding the globe on, took the light bulbs out (because we were going to reuse them in the new fixture), and then removed the screws holding base up and disconnected the wires.  Which left us with this.

It was at this point that we noticed that the new fixture did not have the same mounting holes as the old one.  Namely, it only had the center hole (for which there is obviously no stud above) and needed some smaller holes on the side to mount to the bracket shown above.  So, we made some.

We measured and marked for the new holes with a sharpie-pen and drilled appropriately sized holes for the screws to hold it into the bracket.  Then Helper Dog inspected it to make sure it didn’t contain food, and we went back inside.

Why is there no food?

We then simply repeated the take-down process in reverse.  Tighten the screws, put the bulbs in, replace globe & tighten set screws, admire non-dated light.

Total project cost? $4.97

Gotta love with when you find the exact light fixture you wanted for one fifth of the price they go for in the big box stores.

Has anyone else finally gotten around to a simple project that kept getting put on the back burner?

January 15, 2011

New Blog Feature – Design Boards

by Cait

We’ve added a new feature to our blog – a page to show the design boards we have created so far, and the ones we plan to add in the future.  Each board is also a link to a post with more info about the elements they feature.

If there is any interest in us making custom boards for readers, we may take that on in the future.  We’ll see what happens!

January 15, 2011

Simple Switch: Glass Insulators

by Cait

Just a quick Saturday post to say that our mantel was looking pretty bare since the Christmas decorations came down, so after getting tired of looking at it in such a sad state I swapped in a few things that were laying around the house and picked up these glass insulators.

I originally saw this done on House Bella

The photo in the center is from Katie Bower’s Print Shop, and if you are curious about where anything else is from feel free to ask!

Has anyone else felt like their mantel was kind of bare after taking the Christmas things down?  Or if you don’t have a mantel, have you changed up another display are around the house recently?

January 14, 2011

100th Post

by Cait

It seems as thought the 100th blog post is kind of a big deal in the blog world.  Since I can’t just skip it and come back to it like I would an important page in a paper journal or sketchbook (like the first page, I skip that one a lot), I’m merely going to acknowledge it and move on (for now).  I will probably do a brief look back at the past six months and 100 posts, and spell out a few goals from here on out.  Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t follow us on Facebook, the domain move for the big 1-0-0 was completely coincidental, haha,.


I haven’t talked about our kitchen much, aside from a post about our Budget Kitchen Redo back in August (where as a newbie new-er-bie blogger I forgot about our new sink!) and a couple of mentions in small smattering of other areas.  Heck, I even forgot to add the kitchen to the Our House page originally, which is funny because it’s not like we haven’t made a lot of (relatively minor) changes, or don’t cook a lot.

Back in September of 2009 our kitchen looked like this:


Currently it looks like this (and again, you can read more about what we did here):


We feel very fortunate to have had such a nice starting place with our kitchen, considering my parents  live a couple of blocks away and they made-it-work with their far-from-jaw-dropping kitchen for 27 years before redoing it (the new kitchen is very jaw dropping, and I’d love to do a post on it soon).  Hopefully we are not making do with our kitchen for that long, but we thought it was high time to give a bit more detail on what we’d like to do to make the room more “us”.

altered counter image from here; rug image from here

The Plan:

  • Faucet from Home Depot – I got hooked on this type of faucet from reading Urban Grace, and was browsing in a local home outlet and nearly bought one in polished chrome for $99.  Thankfully I reminded myself we prefer brushed finishes, did some quick iPhoning (that’s a verb now), and we’re going to look at Home Depot tomorrow, since we like our $25 Glacier Bay faucet in the bathroom.
  • Rug – Our kitchen needs a 3.5×5.5 rug, which is hard enough to find, but we are thinking jute. I wish the Tarnby came in a size smaller than what we have in the living room. I’m considering this one from Overstock, but don’t want to pay that much for a kitchen rug.
  • Flooring – We really love our original oak floors (and the floor we bought from ReStore), but we also love the look for reclaimed pine floor and like the idea of planks running lengthwise in our kitchen.  However, we don’t know that we really want to replace our kitchen’s tile with real wood, so we’re considering vinyl (I know, I know) and laminate.  We ordered some vinyl samples from Armstrong but don’t really like the texture, and we think we remember liking Pergo at Lowe’s, so we’d like to take a look at Lakeshore Pine (especially since we don’t understand the pricing online…) Edit: the area of our kitchen that we need to floor is roughly 78 square feet, so we’re looking at about $290, and we have a couple of Lowe’s gift cards to help with that expense.

What We Aren’t Tackling… Yet:

  • Counters – We have seen some awesome concrete counters, but we aren’t confident to rip our coated-Formica out and replace it with DIY concrete
  • Backsplash – When we redo our counters we are thinking white subway tile with black grout
  • Fridge – As we mentioned in our very-wishful Black Friday post, we would love a new KitchenAid fridge, but that most likely isn’t in the cards right now.
  • Lighting – We love the light we added over the sink, and the one you can’t see in either of our photos is pretty unoffensive at the moment, so unless we score a killer deal


We are so proud of all the things we have accomplished in the past six months and 100 posts.  We had a blast doing things like writing a guest post and being featured in an online magazine.  Both were incredibly exciting and we would be thrilled to be asked to do it all again.  We would also love to do more design boards (both for us and anyone who might be interested),  and we get a big kick out of recommending paint colors for some reason (I think it’s staring at all the pretty paint chips).  One day we’d like to have an online shop, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

A few things we are going to avoid (at least for the time being) is advertising and giveaways.  While we aren’t sure we’re in the Ad-Free Blogging camp, we have no idea who would want to advertise on our itty-bitty blog or how to go about any of that, and we usually skip giveaway posts on other blogs.

What about you guys, any blogging goals or kitchen plans of your own?