Our Room (Home Tour)

I have some house pictures here. I truly meant to do these posts quite a while ago. I’ve been bugged to share house pictures by several friends and family members who can’t make it out to inspect in person. So here we go!

We’ll start off with the one room of our house that feels “done” to me. This is the only place we have bold color on the walls. Right after moving in, I tried a few greens that did not work. Finally, after wasting $70 on ugly paint, Aaron, who is partially colorblind, picked the color we have now. We love it. I don’t know what I will do when we move. I would absolutely think about using the same color again. My aunt visited last month and told me the green worked because we can see so many leaves in our windows. I think she’s right! It feels like an extension of the outdoors, which is just right for us.

The view coming in from the hallway. I got the blinds on a freak Lowe’s clearance for 70% off and my mom helped me make the curtains.

stepping in

Aaron’s side. I refinished the dresser as a surprise for him a few years ago; also, I spray painted the nasty old fan to look metallic black. The flower painting was a wedding present.

My side. Lots of books and baskets! Also, I made that bedskirt because our bed is too tall for regular ones, which is handy when you have lots of junk to hide. Which we do.

my book basket.

I bought this old record stereo on craigslist from one of our pastors. Painted the bottom, refinished the top, covered the speakers with old canvas. It’s great for storing linens!

My dresser. Antique from Aaron’s family. I refinished it.

Fake flowers from Walmart clearance; calligraphy from my sister; mail holder from goodwill; books; jewelry box; cool dish from goodwill.

There’s a great psychological effect to starting and ending each day in a space you love. I’m grateful to have such a cozy room… but I will confess that it usually has piles of laundry all over the place, which is less than relaxing.

a (small) fruited plain (garden 2012)

As in past years, any area of our yard that gets full sun is cultivated for vegetable gardening in the summer. Aaron is a gardening master. And while most people would say that I’m the stereotypical woman with all sorts of nurturing instincts and he’s more of the brute hunter-gatherer, when it comes to plants we are totally opposite. All the gardening successes are his, and we have already enjoyed 2 fresh tomatoes. The first one is pictured here, and Aaron chose not to smile because he wanted everyone to know he takes his agricultural projects very seriously. 

Then over here, I will confess my own gardening disaster. This is the third year in a row that I’ve entirely destroyed a bunch of plants. This isn’t supposed to be that  hard, and I’m determined to get the hang of this before I turn 30.  I started a bunch of pansies and something else from seed in the kitchen this spring, then transplanted them into pots, along with ferns, hostas, and sedum from the back yard. I painted almost all the planters to match each other and selected some stumps to use as plant stands. I give myself an A for artistic vision, a B on decor follow through, and a D on plant-nurturing. I won’t say an F since some of them are still alive. They started off well, which you can see in the big picture, but the two side pictures illustrate what it all looks like now.
 I should also mention that, since I wanted to make salsa this summer, Aaron ordered some onion plants and I carefully followed his directions for planting them in the big garden. They were also a total bust – they barely grew! We pulled them out to give more room for the tomatoes, so I chopped up what I could and threw them in the freezer. This way I can still say at least two of the salsa ingredients came from the garden.

Curb Appeal (Home Tour)

Most of the time I feel pretty discouraged about how much work there is left to do on our house, so in celebration of our 3rd year here, I’ve taken a bunch of pictures to record what we’ve done so far! And first on the agenda? The great outdoors. I’ve gotta say, we must have a great eye for living potential because these before shots from three years ago are really bad.
Here’s what we started with for “curb appeal.” Note the leaning trees, huge bushes, random rocks and lack of grass.

Realtor shot from the street.

We took out those ginormo bushes by the driveway and felled a few trees before my college BFF Esther dubbed this area the “stake-burning piles.”
 After those were out, we had a great feeling of progress, but still no grass to speak of. The trees didn’t get enough sunlight, the garage color was awful, and also, the apple tree was out of control.

Thankfully, it’s looking a little better now, because we took out more trees, Aaron has put forth massive effort on the grass with multiple reseedings and custom grass blends for our shady yard, we overhauled the “retaining wall,” and I stained the peachy colored bricks. We still need to decide if we’re going to put one more layer of stones on the hill or trim the weed barrier so it isn’t visible. The rest of the grass should fill in soon, too.

We’re still in the “Progress” stage, but everything out front is coming together so far! We have some big projects for the other side of the driveway… there is a steep path by the garden (we call it “the incline of death”) that needs some attention, so hopefully we’ll get that solved this summer!

finishing the tile! (kitchen, pt 9)

It’s been a while… we misplaced the camera cord, and then my favorite free photo-editing website  became part of  the “Google+” social network and went berserk, losing some of the best features in the process, which made me dislike Google+ more than I already did. Yes, I’m a little bitter. And to think all this frustration took energy that should have been channeled towards house projects! For shame.

Well, the last recorded kitchen update had us with half the tile laid and no grout, like this:
We grouted it right away, and then had to take a little unscheduled break in the tiling for a minor freak-out while deciding what to do about  Aaron’s job offer in New York, but we got busy with the rest of it on another sunny weekend. And when I say “got busy,” I mean that I spent hours chipping out the old cork flooring and ended the night with five blisters on my hand. There are no pictures of this process. I was in a hurry, and my goal is always to get the project finished, not just get a good blog post out of the whole deal. I also have no pictures of Aaron with the tile saw, but rest assured that he slaved away to get everything cut correctly while I spread the thinset adhesive and laid the tile in place. As usual, we are modeling superior footwear safety measures during all construction projects.

It was so fun to see everything start coming together. I’m amazed at what a difference the new streamlined flooring made! You can see that the first half is already grouted while we’re laying the second half.

I started talking about my dreams for the bathroom overhaul on the schedule for this fall. Aaron looked at me like this:

Finally, we got all done:

The tile floor was a little higher than the previous cork/linoleum/carpet combo from before, so we had to make the back door shorter.  This was the perfect opportunity to use the antique plane Aaron’s grandpa passed down to us earlier this year.
 And then, just when the dining area was completely tiled and we could shut the back door again, we proceeded to cover most of the new floor. This is where things got, if you’ll pardon the pun, a little rugly. Since we don’t want our table or chairs to be scooting harshly along the floor, we decided a rug was needed right away. First, I got one rug that was the perfect style, but was a foot too long.

Then I couldn’t find anything in the right size that looked good. Rugs are expensive, and I have West Elm taste with a dumpster-diving/hand-me-down budget. As we often say to ourselves, “Wal-Mart clearance shoppers can’t be choosers.” After driving all over looking at what was available, I picked up this yucky, boring, dull, “off,” brownish one because the price was right ($19.99) and I have some DIY ideas up my sleeve to jazz it up in the future.

For my records just as much as sharing with you, for the floor we used “Rialto White” 12′ and 6′ tiles to make this pattern. For the counter’s back splash grout, I used a mixable recipe and I thought I just hated the grouting process. I would not recommend the Spectra-Lock Stain Proof mix-it-yourself grout to anyone. It was sticky, it made the tile shiny, and my hands are itchy just thinking about it.
 Because I was unhappy with that experience, I shelled out an extra $6 and tried a different  pre-mixed style for the floor and I really LOVED IT. For the kitchen floor we used TEC Sanded Premixed Grout in Vintage White. It went on and wiped off smoothly without adding any unwanted shine to the tile themselves. I think there was a lot less waste with this kind, too. If we do more tiling, which I’m hoping is the case (hee hee), I’m getting this kind again.

This “Vintage White” color is a little “yellower” than I would have chosen, but the tile has a slight gray tint and they balance each other out to mimic the carpet, which was our goal! We are so happy it’s done!

(If you want to catch up on our kitchen project from the start, you can see all the posts HERE!)

And on another house-related note, this week is our 3 year homeowners anniversary! Our potential moving scare gave us a chance to pause and reflect about what we have going on with our house, so we have culled a little furniture and finished a few other “little” projects that have been waiting around forever. We also did a bunch of spring cleaning, gardening, and organizing. It’s such a good feeling… and there are pictures to share, so stay tuned!