Saturday, March 31, 2012

Then There Was the Yard...

This post should be about my guest bathroom being finished.  I've written most of the post.  I know what it's supposed to say.  Except that would mean that I finished the bathroom this weekend.

And I didn't.  Well, at least not yet...

Instead, The Builder and I got up bright and early 8:45am and after a quick stop at Starbucks, headed to Home Depot.  The goal was to get the ceiling paint and the lumber for the projects he was going to make to complete the bathroom this weekend.  And we did get the paint (which is going up as I type) but we sort of got...sidetracked.  That's very easy for me us to do at Home Depot.

You see, this is the sad, sad state of my yard:

And this is actually better than it was.  When we first moved in, it was late summer.  Our landlord had a gardener come in and mow and chop down the weeds, but the lawn was half dead because the house had been vacant for two months.  There were a LOT of weeds.  But it looked...acceptable for the most part.  And so the yard went dormant for the winter and we sort of just let it go.  I mean, it's been mowed several times.  But it kept just looking shaggy and overgrown.  The weed whacker we bought when we moved in was stolen after a little over a month after we bought it, and as I said, the grass was dormant, so it wasn't a huge issue.  Only now the grass is very much growing again!  And so are all the weeds.  My house is the blight of the neighborhood, in my opinion, and that drives me crazy.  

Friday night, while stopping at the mall to pick up something, we ran in to Sears to see if they had any edgers on sale. The Builder found one at a price he felt was acceptable, so we bought it.  Those photo's you see are actually better than it was because he couldn't wait to try it out Friday night, lol.  Still, everything looks shaggy and unkempt to me.  The weeds growing under the palm trees make it almost appear that there isn't another planter box in the middle of the yard.  My neighbors both have neatly trimmed yards, which I think makes my yard look even worse.  I don't want to be that neighbor.

So this morning, in addition to the much needed ceiling paint, we picked up some weed and feed fertilizer, two rose bushes, a package of calla lilly bulbs, and some weed killer (to keep the weeds from growing in the middle of the side walk).  Here's The Builder fitting the landscaping cloth down and the first couple of bags of mulch:

Thankfully, we did already have the mulch, so our trip was a smidgen more cost effective than it could have been.  We bought 10 bags in preparation for this project.  And apparently we still need a few more.  Oops.

And this is after we're mostly done!!
It really does look so much better.  The middle photo is the view we see when we open the front door.  And now there will be a nicer view when we sit in the kitchen at eat at the bistro table (the bay window is in our kitchen).  I have a couple of minor things to do, including planting some Calla Lilly bulbs in the upper flower bed, and two rose bushes we bought to flank the front of the garage, but overall this is done!  We did a good weed and feed too, so in a few weeks, the yard should look more lush and green.

A successful Saturday project!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chugging Along


texturing

OK, we made really good progress on the powder room today!!  The Builder got the texturing done (yeah) and it looks pretty good.  I'm not posting big photo's because, well, it's just texture. Not terribly exciting and not really something that photographs well.  Suffice it to say, it's done.  And that enabled him to get the painting done as well. No that the project went off without a hitch. Because it didn't.

After the texture was done, The Builder started cutting in for the painting.  I say started. He cut in the entire bathroom.  And THAT'S when we he realized....Houston, we have a problem.

When I was choosing paint colors, I wanted to make sure that I go the right color.  So I did something I rarely do, and I bought a sample size first to test on the wall.  Once I was sure I loved it, I took it back to Home Depot and told the guy it was exactly what I wanted, but in a satin paint.  While this bathroom doesn't have a shower, it's still a bathroom, and a satin is what is needed.  So I happily paid for my paint and went home. That was last weekend.  Due to the wallpaper issue, we hadn't had a chance to even open the can of paint until the texture was done.  And then it took getting all the cut in work done to realize that the guy had mixed up FLAT paint!!!  In case you aren't aware, they don't offer the sample sized in anything other than flat paint. So even though I told him satin, we were chatting, and he chose the wrong paint.  And really, it's just as much my fault because I didn't think to even look at the can to verify that it was indeed a satin paint. So today we took it back to Home Depot, where they very nicely swapped it out for the correct finish.  And here is what it looks like as of this evening:
Yes, I am really loving the color!!  We're not even close to being done in here yet.  The Builder has agreed to my idea of cutting down the existing mirror to fit it into a frame. We may end up buying molding and making a custom frame, because I'm afraid that the size I want may not be available in a ready made frame.  And I want a floating shelf under it to put some decorative items on it.

I also am going to change out that sink fixture, as I mentioned previously.  It really looks horrible now that the bathroom has been refreshed.  

I'm also considering updating the artwork.  I love the lighthouse picture that was in there, but the frame won't match at all. I could paint out the frame, which ultimately is what I would like to do.  However, then the picture won't look right.  It appears to be a matted picture, but it's not.  So the cream mat of the picture with a white frame doesn't excite me.

I am also seriously considering embroidering some personalize towels for this this room. I have an embroidery machine that I haven't used in forever.  It's time to put that baby back into use!  I think maybe I drool over the Pottery Barn catalogs a little too much sometimes, but since I already have the machine, it doesn't seem like a stretch to use it!  I can see pretty white towels with a letter E embroider on them...I have a thing about E's.

We have a church picnic we're going to tomorrow, so I'm not sure how much time we'll have to finish up the odd's and ends to make it a working bathroom again. Certainly the mirror won't be done, and we found out today we need some new parts for the toilet, joy, but with the paint done, I really feel like the big things are out of the way!  



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Surprised Aren't Always Good...

As I mentioned earlier, The Builder and my two oldest boys were off at Boy Scout survival camp this past weekend, and I was going to use this 'free' time as my chance to re-do my downstairs guest bathroom. AKA - the powder room.  Now this is a SMALL room.  If this was my house, there would be a number of things I would change, starting with the vanity, changing out the mirror, and swapping the light fixture.  Not to mention having the door swing out so that you can come all the way into the bathroom and shot the door without fear that the doorknob will hit you someplace uncomfortable...as it does now.  Yes, that's as far as you can open the door before it hits the toilet.  Who does that?!  I would dearly love to have the door swing out, only then it's blocking the walk way to the laundry room if the door isn't kept closed all the time.  There is no winning situation on this door.  I think a pocket door would have been the most practical and maybe we'll talk to our landlords one day about making the change.  But for now, this is what we live with

You may have noticed that there is no toilet paper holder.  There was when we first moved in.  It was white and plastic and it was attached to the wall with command adhesive strips.  Yes, I kid you not, that's what they used to anchor it to the wall!  While this guest powder room doesn't get a lot of use - I really save it for guests because I have little boys who "miss" and even though they've been taught to clean up after the miss, knowing and doing is sometimes two different things and I want a bathroom that I know is clean and safe for guests at all times - it gets enough use that the toilet paper holder fell off the wall around Christmas time.  It has a lot to do with the horrible texture in the bathroom that the command adhesive strips couldn't adhere to. This whole house has a really rough texture on the walls.  But again, that's another post. Suffice it to say I've been very uninspired with this room due to the size.
This is the builders grade cabinet, stock mirror and original sink. I point this out because this is the only room in the entire house that I thought had never had an update done to it.  That sink is a mess.  Someone tried to paint out the scratches with appliance paint that were in the bottom of the sink.  The faucet is a calcium pock marked mess, and the scallop molded sink is hideous.  Thank you 1980 something for creating horrible sinks!  Again, I'm reluctant to make any significant changes because the house isn't mine. I've got great landlords, and they seem to welcome any improvements I'm willing to pay for and do the work for, but I'm not at that part yet.  I'm at the part where I'm willing to repaint and update the faucet only and learn to live with it for now.

Which brings me to my next...issue.

I thought it would be SO easy just to slap a coat of paint on.  I found a lovely color of Behr that would add just a little color but keep the room light so as not to make a small room seem smaller.  Off Shore Mist is the paint name, and it's one with the primer in it as well.  I figure this would be my best bet since I'm not sure on the quality of the paint in this room (there was a lot of leftover Walmart brand paint - which they don't make anymore - in the garage when we moved in, that they said we could touch up with if we needed, bleck) as there are rooms that have some streaky coats from cheap paint that is too thin that no one bothered to go back and touch up.  So here's a small sample of what it looks like:

I like it!  Soft and subtle, and my pops of red from all of my light house accessories will look really nice.  I'm going for a light and airy feeling since there is no natural light in this bathroom.  I'm even changing out the light bulbs to daylight  CFL's which give a much nice natural light feel.

So all was good and well after my little test corner.  I taped off my counters and around the door to prepare for painting.  Then I unscrewed the plates on the light switch and electrical outlets because I hate when people paint around them. It was then that I noticed a little remnant of wall paper behind those covers. So apparently I was wrong. This bathroom had had an update to do away with the silver and white something wallpaper that had been installed at one point.  So I figured I'd just peel those little scraps of wallpaper off because I didn't want to leave them behind. And low and behold, the WHOLE WALL stripped off!! Instead of stripping the wallpaper off, they put a rough texture into the paint and simply painted over the whole thing.  OMG!!! Which left me with this hot mess:

Seriously?!

So I had to wait for The Builder to come home so that he could mud the wall and pick of orange peel texture before I could even think about starting to paint.  He was mildly annoyed with me only because he said I should have never peeled off the wallpaper when I saw those tiny little scraps behind the outlet covers.  So he re-muded  the wall that evening for me (because I'm loved and he knew that this would drive me crazy every time I look at it - which it still is!!) and even knocked down all of the rough texture, which I am eternally grateful for.  As you can see, we are not going to strip the whole powder room.  If we ever bought the house, and yes, I would love to buy this house, it's something that we would consider then.  But one step at a time.  Now we have to get the texture on, and then finally I can get back to the painting that I want to do!  I found a beautiful small bathroom on another blog that I read that was the color palette inspiration for my bathroom, so I know what direction I'm going with this room. I'm still working on talking the builder into taking down that mirror and cutting it to fit a frame that we can hang on the wall, but that hasn't been 100% approved yet.  And I want a new faucet.  I don't think I can live with that hideous faucet once the room is repainted and pretty again. And yes, I did buy a new toilet paper holder that will not require command adhesive strips to attach it to the wall!!

More to come...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kitchen Update

You may remember this photo that I posted back a month or so ago when I got the bistro set for the kitchen.  I posted then that this was not a finished project, but it was one more step to being a finished project.

A couple of weeks ago The Builder finally made me a curtain rod for the bay window.  I kept meaning to post them, but I think most people know how it can be when you have a family and time gets away from you.

the connector piece
The Builder made the curtain rod from electrical conduit that I bought at my local Home Depot (seriously, I love this stupid store and I should buy stock so I can at least re-coup some of my investment!). Because of the size of the window, we ended up with three 6 ft. lengths. They were out of the 8 ft. and I wanted this project done, so it was worth it to me.  In the end this worked our really well, because we were able to bend two pieces to match perfectly that curve, and then cut the third piece to the specific size for the middle piece.  I used connectors found in the same dept. to connect the 3 pieces together.  This was all galvanized conduit. I temporarily considered leaving it as is because all the fixtures in the house have a nickel finish.  But the galvanized conduit really isn't a nickel finish, so I decided to buy a can of black spray paint to get the wrought iron look that I had wanted all along.  I was able to purchase brackets to hold the curtain rod at Home Depot as well and I even snagged the last two they had in black, hooray!  They were actually the most expensive portion of this project, at $4 a pair.  I realistically needed 3 brackets, but since we had four, we put them up for the stability.  The silver screw you see in the photo?  Yeah, I took a sharpie and colored it black.  I learned about coloring things black with a Sharpie from my kids. Enough said on that!!

The curtains I kept going back and forth on.  I wanted black curtains with a red floral print.  The kitchen is supposed to have a French Country feel to it.  In my head, I know what those curtains are supposed to look like. However, I haven't been able to find them anywhere, and not for a lack of trying.  I seriously contemplated making them (side note - through all four of my pregnancies, the minute I was pregnant I had an overwhelming desire to sew up new curtains for the entire house. It was a bizarre side effect of pregnancy, and one that I haven't had ever again since we had our fourth child).  I haven't given up on finding the curtains I see in my head, and I wouldn't hesitate to sew up a set if I found the right fabric (although my husband might start having heart palpitations at the thought since we are very done have kids!).  But I had a set of red, fully lined curtains from the office at our old house and they are very nice curtains, so I went with them.  The valance over the kitchen window is red as well, and although the two fabrics are completely different because they're the same color and not together, it isn't noticeable.

Here are some pictures of the overall kitchen:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Alright, I've made some headway with my project over the last two weeks, and will post the photo's this evening when my house is quiet (2 of my kid-lets are doing a survival with The Builder and Boy Scouts this weekend).

I'm also headed down tonight, unbeknownst to The Builder, and buying paint for the powder room, and most likely, the laundry room (same color).  My powder room is pathetic.  There is no guest quality to it at all and it does not match the rest of the house.  I'd seriously gone back to considering beadboard wallpaper, since I have been admiring it on all the other blogs that I read, but my walls are pretty texturized (yep, ick) and I don't think it would go on well. I certainly don't want to scrape off half the texture to put it up.  I just don't think that would make my landlord happy!  So a paint update it is. 

I'm thinking I need to work on the kids bathroom upstairs as well.  Paint?  Art work?  Not sure.  But the shower curtain all by it's lonesome is not really a decorated space.  In the last bathroom I let the bright color speak for the space.  This bathroom has a lot of natural light in the afternoon, and I'm afraid that such a bright color is just too bright.  Plus, I don't want to have to paint over that bright green.  So I think artwork and some decorative items are called for.

More later!