Archive for ‘Home Repairs’

April 30, 2014

Goodbye, Beige

You would think that with our never-ending winter, we would have started work on painting the hallways of our house sooner…but no, we waited until the past month to finally get around to it. Well, better late than never.

Because nothing makes me happier than covering up dingy neutrals with BRIGHT white.

The downstairs hallways by our bathroom, the stairway, and the upstairs hallway that connects our sewing room and our guest room was painted in a nice, neutral beige. I really didn’t mind the color that much, except that it clashed with the more “primary” look of the rest of the house and it was starting to get stained and gross.

We attacked the downstairs hallway first and had a minor battle with each other over the color of the doors. Jason wanted all brown, I wanted all blue. This was our compromise:

We finally made time to paint our downstairs hallway. I can't believe how much better it looks. Also, my husband is the trim whisperer. Seriously, he never ever uses tape and the lines come out perfect every time.

Once we saw how good it looked, we resolved to do the rest. It took us a few weekends to finally finish – I just put the upstairs hallway back together Thursday night. There was quite a bit of crappy wood trim up there that needed to be sanded and primed before we could paint it.

Finally painting the upstairs hallway. That blue door blows my mind.

The next big hold-up was trying to track down one of those special ladders that would allow us to reach the high ceilings of our stairway. Jason finally rigged up a contraption with our wooden folding ladder, his steel extension ladder, and some four-by-four posts. Needless to say, I let him do all of the painting that involved standing on the posts ;).

Getting there...

Now, I love me some bright white, but once we got in on all of the walls we both felt that it was a little overwhelming. We decided to continue with the green from our living room on the right wall of the stairway, and I’m so glad that we did! I love how clean and crisp it looks with the white.

GREEN in our stairway! I love it.

Then, it was just adding the last few coats to the upstairs hallway. We continued with the brown and blue trim, and did the half-wall in green chalkboard paint. Once I have some spare daylight hours I’ll take pictures of the finished product.

Getting there...just a couple more coats on the baseboards and a coat of chalkboard paint on the green half wall.

Even though painting is quite a bit of work, I’m always amazed at what a difference it makes. We’ve painted almost every room in our house, with the exception of the basement, bathroom, and kitchen. The bathroom and kitchen we might remodel at some point, so we’re leaving those two alone for now. The basement would be fun to paint, but it’s really not a priority at the time. Maybe someday. I’m a fan of warm reds in basements, so maybe we’ll go that route when we get around to it.


February 26, 2013

But it’s just a little room…Part 2

Here’s a sneak peek….

Remember this? And then this?

Well, I actually finished the painting and putting the room back together over a week ago and just haven’t had time to post about it! Here is the guest room/music room with it’s new fabby paint!

This was SUCH a process! Everything needed more coats than I had bargained for, we ended up having to buy more of both the gold and the white paint, the new can of gold paint wasn’t quite the same shade as the original can…geez. And like I mentioned before, there weren’t many clean lines in this room and painting the trim/detailing was a huge pain in the butt. I did most of it myself (without tape!) and was pretty proud of the fact that I could paint straight lines. Jason did the trickiest section for me, though, and touched up my goobers. What a guy!

Even though it was a lot of work, I think it was totally worth it. The room seems twice as big as it did with the dark green paint on the walls. I know a lot of it is just my perception, but it also feels like a “warmer” room. I’m actually EXCITED to have someone come and spend the night in there!

January 21, 2013

But it’s just a little room…Part 1

On our chalkboard in the kitchen, I’ve written out a list of some things I wanted to accomplish:

  1. Seedling Area – I bought the FINAL piece this past weekend (a timer to make the lights/heating tubs go on and off at the same times every day) and I just need to assemble the heating tubs, which simply involves drilling some holes, laying out the rope lights, and covering them with sand. Next weekend, I will be starting onions, red and purple cabbage, and two different types of broccoli. And hopefully, I’ll be taking photos of the whole things up and running. Are you excited? I’m excited.
  2. Meal plan up to April 2013 – Done. We plan our meals, at least in the months when the garden isn’t providing. It saves us a lot of time throughout the week, and hopefully saves us money. I’ll be doing a blog post about that soon.
  3. Deep clean the kitchen – Done this past weekend. Whew. Me and my husband armed ourselves with spray bottles of vinegar and scoured every surface. We also re-arranged a bit in the cupboards and subsequently gained more counter space. Yay!
  4. Sofa covers – Eh. Someday.
  5. Paint guest room – You know, this tiny little thing? I thought it would be something I could knock out in one weekend…

It’s kind of funny. When we moved in, we proceeded to totally repaint four rooms that we felt needed it the most – our bedroom, the living room, the creating room, and the dining room. We didn’t paint the guest room because we didn’t feel like it was a huge priority and we knew we could probably do it over the winter with whatever paint we had leftover. So, yesterday, I decided to start on it. In going through the initial phase of clearing things out and taking all of the nails out of the walls, I noticed that, for a room this size, there was an absurd amount of holes in the walls. It used to be a walk-in closet, and we took most of the shelving done so I guess that makes sense. I guess I never noticed what bad shape the walls were in until I had to get up close and fill in the holes with Spackle. Geez.

Not only that, but as I went around cleaning the wood trim and getting ready to caulk it, I also noticed that the trim is in terrible shape. It’s cheap, dirty, scratched, and covered with a nasty old varnish that’s starting to crackle and get sticky. I had Jason come up and we sat down to brainstorm what to do. Eventually, we decided it was best to do it right the first time around – which for this room, means that all of the trim needed to be sanded, caulked, primed and painted.

All in all, this room was turning out to be the room that needed the most work!

Suddenly, this was not a one-weekend job anymore. It was also not going to be a “use whatever we have lying around the house” endeavor. We hopped in the car and shuffled our way over to the hardware store to buy wood filled, oil-based primer, and a new sanding pad. I needed to get that timer anyway so I guess it wasn’t a big deal…I also got a Potbelly sandwich out of the trip. Win.

We got back to the house around six and I set to work sanding away…for two hours. My shoulders are killing me this morning! It’s all really small pieces of trim, with the exception of the door, so it was a LOT of hand sanding. Plus, I had to sand the filled holes from earlier. After wiping everything down, I started caulking and didn’t stop doing that until 9:30pm. Not only is the trim in bad shape, but there are tons of uneven pieces and huge cracks that need to be sealed up before we paint. I didn’t finish everything before I started getting ready for bed. I will probably be able to wrap that job up tonight and then I’ll leave the room alone until next weekend!

All I can say is that it’s a good thing that room is as tiny as it is.

As much of a pain in the butt as this project turned out to be, I found myself really, really excited to see the finished product – clean lines, no holes, and fresh, bright colors on the walls. I was also remembering, as I stood on a stool sanding the trim along the ceiling, that there was a time I wanted a house to do these type of projects in so much, and felt so sad about the fact that nothing was working out. In a weird way, I’m thankful for all of the hard work that’s going into this.

So, hopefully before February I will have Part 2! Stay tuned.


November 28, 2012

The Little Things

Blurry Baby Spinach

Harmless Box Eldar Beetle

Tea Towels

Pages from a Landreth’s Catalog

Coffee Bag curtains

Vintage veggie drawings Mod-Podged onto my cupboards

Felt coasters

Mason jars serve many, many purposes

This is the part of home ownership that I’m really, really enjoying. We are past the point of unpacking boxes, and doing major painting projects. Mostly now, we’re just doing normal maintenance things – mowing the lawn one last time, cleaning the windows and gutters before winter, and doing general household chores. This has freed up time for me to periodically add a few little touches to the house, here and there. It feels a little bit more like a “home” every weekend.

Some more “small things” I would like to make happen are more houseplants and more photos on display. Also, I am looking forward to painting the guest/music room this winter. It’s such a small room that I’m hoping to get it done in one weekend.

A not-so-small thing that Jason has started work on is setting up a woodworking shop in the basement. He knocked out one of the walls this past weekend to open up the space a little bit. He’ll likely be taking up quite a bit of the space down there, which I’m fine with as long as I have a little corner for seed starting! I figure that I use a lot of the space in our office/sewing room, and plus he’ll be able to make some nice things with a proper work area. I can’t wait to see it set up and in use! And no, it’s not because I have a “honey-do” list of things I’d like him to build…the poor guy has had to do woodworking in less-than-ideal locations ever since we got married! He once cut the wood for a project right in the living room of our tiny studio apartment. THAT was fun. Speaking from experience, having a large, well-organized space to create in is SO important. I’m glad he finally gets to have that space!

July 31, 2012

How to lose sleep and earn yourself a shower in a utility sink

  1. Purchase a home, obviously. Try to balance planting a kitchen garden, painting, unpacking, two people working full-time and still making your marriage a priority.
  2. Notice that your tub seems to be draining a little slower every day.
  3. Ignore tub. For goodness sake, you have to also do everything I mentioned in #1. The tub will have to wait.
  4. Begin to notice that, by the time you finish showering, you’re in standing water over your ankles.
  5. Be thankful that you have dreadlocks and your husband has short hair, hence less hair clogging the tub. You can make it. Just a few more other projects and then you can fix the tub.
  6. Can 3 pints of banana peppers on a really, really hot night because they’re getting too far along to ignore. Do this while your husband goes for a run. Be sure that you allow the vinegar/sugar syrup to overflow and spill all over the stovetop.
  7. After your husband gets back from running, take note of the dismal tone of voice he uses when he goes to shower and notices that the water from the showers you took ten hours ago hasn’t yet drained. It’s probably a good idea for your husband not to shower at this point.
  8. Clean up canning mess and sweat profusely while husband attempts to snake the drain with a cheap hardware store snake.
  9. Cringe at the fact that you hear him snake the drain, run the water, and snake the drain again.
  10. Cringe because he repeats this several times with no results.
  11. Timidly offer to go out and buy Drano, even though you hate the thought of pouring that stuff back into your water supply. This is dire. You have no choice.
  12. Allow husband to go out and buy Drano himself because he’s on the verge of losing his mind.
  13. Wash the dishes while he’s gone so that you don’t feel totally helpless.
  14. While husband is giving the Drano time to do it’s magic, commence doing other things to make your home a pleasant place. Like ironing curtains and tapestries. In a hot room. Did I mention you’ve been sweating all night at this point? Keep telling yourself “it will work. The Drano will fix everything. It will work. It has to work.”
  15. When the Drano doesn’t work, continue doing what you’re doing so you don’t lose your mind while husband again attempts to snake the drain.
  16. Try to ignore the smell coming from the bathroom when sewer water begins backing up. Heed your husband’s advice to stay out of the bathroom. Silently join him in his tirade of curse words.
  17. Be thankful that the previous owners installed a toilet in the basement.
  18. Stay up very late hanging newly ironed curtains and tapestries because your husband is also staying up very late losing his mind over the nightmare that has become your bathroom and you don’t really know what else to do with yourself.
  19. Accept that you will have to call a plumber in the morning.
  20. Also, accept that your husband is going to shower in the backyard with a hose (in his surf shorts, that is).
  21. Notice a lightening storm moving in while your husband is standing in a puddle of water in your yard. NOTE THE IRONY!
  22. Wash your face and brush your teeth in the kitchen sink (which still works fine).
  23. In the morning, grab a pitcher and a plastic tote and give yourself a shower with the aid of the utility sink in the basement. Marvel at your creativity. And at how clean you actually feel. Who needs a bath tub anyway?
  24. Call a plumber and resign yourself to the fact that he will not be able to come until the next day. As a BONUS, you’ve earned yourself ANOTHER utility sink shower! Good job!