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8.27.2010

We Interrupt this Blog...

I know, I've been slacking.  My Lovely Lady is still in the garage, in progress.  But this week has been especially crazy, not even taking into account that my boys started school on Monday (which is crazy - no kid should have to start the school year on a Monday.  Wednesday, yes.  Monday, no.)  A new school no less. 

Today could be the day. Waiting to see if the buyers who have gone through our house (twice) are going to write an offer. They're meeting with their realtor today, so I'm on pins and needles awaiting word. The good news is that when they went through our house the second time, ours was the only one they saw. The bad news is that we still can't find a house to buy. But again, given today's housing market, it's not such a bad place to be, right?

So, all of this has me fantasizing about that perfect house. (Who am I kidding? Like I have ever stopped.) The house that I walk into and it feels like home.

myhomeideas.com

 
The one where you spend your time visualizing where you'll put your furniture, what color you'll paint the walls, how you'll dress it up for the holidays...

Southern Living
 
The one where you can imagine everyday living...

Decorpad.com
 
As well as long-standing family traditions...

Coastal Living
 
And perhaps a space that's just for me.

Candace Olson
Ok, I'm getting carried away.  Like I said, I have been fantasizing about the perfect house.  And my perfect house would have a relaxing wonderland like this.  With a door.  That locks.
 

8.24.2010

Perpetual House Hunter

I am one of those people who just loves looking at houses, even if I'm not in the market for one myself.  The venue doesn't matter - in person, on tv or even online - count me IN.  But now that I've left the ranks of "perpetual" house hunter to "actual" house hunter, I think I have taken my hobby to a whole new level.   And we have potential buyers with no strings attached, who have now been through the house.  Twice.  For the second showing, the woman brought her dad.  Her dad.  Evidently, he has some construction experience and gave the house a thumbs up from a quality perspective, which is good.  And now we wait.  We were told that they are pulling the comps and are getting back together with their realtor on Friday.  So, I probably shouldn't have just put that all out there, because I'll probably just jinx myself, but since my blog is still a baby, I'm probably talking to myself for the most part anyway. ;-)

So, now is the time to (possibly) really be serious about a new house.  But here's the thing.  We don't have one picked out yet.  Even though there is a lot of inventory, I'm apparently extremely picky and hard to please choosy.  What can I say?  This will probably be our long term house, so I want what I want, right?  To a certain degree anyway.

I scour the MLS for "new listings" on what seems to be an hourly basis, and do my weekly (ok, daily) neighborhood drive-bys, practically willing houses to have a "For Sale" sign in their front yards. There are a couple of neighborhoods that I drive through/stalk on a regular basis, and I'm sure there are some people who must assume I live there since I've become such a regular.

There are some beautiful homes in these neighborhoods, each with different styles and plenty of character.  

Traditional Custom Builders


And this...

Traditional Custom Builders

Mind you, we won't be able to afford any of these homes, but it sure would be nice to live in the same neighborhood, right?  You don't want to have the most expensive home in the neighborhood anyway.

So, what do you do if you sell your house and have nowhere to go?  Aside from the homeless part of the equation, it's not such a bad position to be in, given the current housing market.  Do you rent and wait like a tiger in the brush, waiting to pounce on a deal?  Move in with the parents?  Or buy and make the best of what's available?

8.23.2010

Lighten up, Lovely Lady

I bought this lovely lady on craigslist awhile back, and have been using it in my foyer as an entry table/great piece for throwing crap when people are coming over and I'm cleaning up in a hurry. But, it's kind of on the heavy side (no offense my lovely lady, I'm NOT calling you fat, I promise.  If anything, you're "PH" phat). Plus, some of the veneer on the drawers and legs has been chipping (and in one case was actually torn off by carpet cleaners who were dragging their stuff through my house). And, the bottom drawer didn't open/close easily at all.



But that's neither here nor there. This dresser needed some love and brightness, and I was finally getting down to business.

With our house up for sale, I'm always paranoid that I'll get into a project and then have someone schedule a showing while the house is in the mid-project-mess stage. But, I figured since we didn't have any showings scheduled last weekend, that I would be "safe" to knock this thing out. Well, I was good on Saturday, made some progress, but probably inadvertently wasted time as I used Citristrip to strip this piece (and another painted side table). Probably didn't need to do that for this project, but oh well, live and learn. I thought at one point it would be good to get all of the varnish/stain off of this and start fresh. You can see what it does though - good stuff!




Just as I was making progress on Sunday, with three good solid hours available at my disposal, we get the call. "Agent So-And-So would like to show your home from 4:00-5:00 today. Would that be ok?" Of course. So, drop dresser project and turn into psycho-whirlwind-cleaning maniac. Nevermind that my garage looks like Bob Vila's workshop just threw up all over the place. Did they buy my house? Of course ... not.


Can I make a suggestion to the real estate community at large? Would it be rude of me to ask for the implementation of a "Scale of Seriousness" for potential buyers coming through my house? So, let's say you're in from out of town, relocating, and have the weekend to make a decision and offer on a house. You have no house to sell and no contingencies. That would rank as a "10" on the "Scale of Seriousness", and I will bust my behind to get my house as pretty and perfect as possible. I will even take my dirty laundry and throw it in the back of my van to give the illusion of a laundry-free home. On the flipside, if you have just started looking, have two houses to sell and don't have either of them listed, that would rank as a "1" on the "Scale of Seriousness", and I won't kill myself (as much) trying to make my house show-perfect. Just a suggestion.

Here is a sneak peek at how it's coming along...

Adding some new hardware - ignore the price tag that's peeking out from underneath.  I just couldn't wait to see what it's going to look like!

More to come...  Happy Monday!

8.17.2010

Ceiling Tile Turned Message Board

Being the mother of three kids, you can never have enough places to display/track/remember all of their "stuff". We have a Command Central of sorts in our kitchen that has two month's worth of white board calendars, a small magnetic white board and two small corkboards to keep tabs on all of our (ok, the kids') activities. Who am I kidding? What activities do I have these days, aside from Full-Time Working Mom, Family Chauffeur and Short Order Cook?

Anyhoo, I love pretty message boards, and was inspired by this cool one at Pottery Barn Teen:
Photo:  PBTeen.com

Kind of an all-in-one multi-tasking message board, right? It got me thinking about how I could possibly replicate that in my house, but not with the Pottery Barn price tag. Enter ceiling tile + plywood. A match made in heaven. It just so happened that the spare piece of ceiling tile was almost the exact same size as a spare piece of plywood that we had in the garage.  NOTE:  In completing my recent mirror project, which included (multiple) trips to Lowe's, I did stumble upon some great precut pieces of wood that would work perfectly for this project.



So, I used some liquid nails and adhered the ceiling tile to the plywood. Once it was dry, I covered it in batting and this black and white damask fabric that I am obsessed with had. To add some additional interest, I did a lattice pattern across the front with ribbon.  Just add some picture wire to the back to hang it and you're done!  To add even more interest, hang it with some pretty ribbon and hang it from a decorative knob or a pretty hook.


You could really expand upon this idea by adding in pieces of pegboard, chalkboard/magnetic chalkboard, corkboard, etc… Measure them all out and frame it up with moulding and you have your own Pottery Barn-esque message center.  I'm also thinking something like this would be a nice addition to my otherwise-blah-boring office cubicle.  With all of the different fabric and ribbon choices out there, the possibilities are endless!  A great spot for family photos - plus it's easy to add/remove photos as desired.  

8.13.2010

Mirror, Mirror - The Sequel - Bigger and Scarier than the Original

As promised, I completed my second mirror makeover - this one in our master bathroom. If you'll recall, I did the mirror in the kids' bathroom first, under the assumption that I would be able to work out the kinks, making for a smooth installation in our bathroom.  Ah yes, but as all know, DIY projects like to throw curve balls. I had this project almost completed, with three sides of the frame up without an issue. I just had to wait for the glue to dry on the top piece and install it. Easy Peasy, right?

Shall we do a check for collateral damage?
The busted outlet cover as a result of "the crash"
Yes, the top piece came crashing down. Ironically, I had run downstairs to get some tape to "hold" it since it didn't seem to be adhering as well as the other pieces had (hindsight, the Liquid Nails was a bit dried out). That's when I heard it. From upstairs. Ohhhhh craaaaapppp. I rush upstairs to find my top piece of the mirror frame, on the ground. Still in one piece, but it needed to be reglued/recaulked. Thankfully, no one was up there when it happened and no one was hurt, and nothing was seriously damaged (ok, perhaps my ego was hurt, just a smidge). But, these are the things that sometimes happen, right?


So, let's get to the photos, shall we? Here is the boring before picture:

Not the greatest before, but if you've seen one frameless mirror, you've seen them all, right?

The much more substantial, and beautifully framed after:




I'm really happy with the end result, despite the mini-trauma in the midst of the project.  I opted for an antique white paint on this mirror, since the countertop isn't a true white like the one in the kids' bathroom.  I'm glad I did that, as it definitely works well in this bathroom.

Have a great weekend!


8.12.2010

What rooms are on your wish list?

With house hunting taking over my life on my mind, I have been giving a lot of thought to my "New House Wish List", trying to prioritize the items that are most important vs. those where there is room for compromise.   Most of us have some deal breakers when it comes to buying a new house, whether it's living on a busy street, having an updated kitchen or a yard that is big enough for the family.

For me, I would really love a large kitchen that is open to family spaces.  Our current kitchen is open to our main living area, and it works for the way we live.  I would also love a large lot with no. rear. neighbors.  A house where blinds on the windows at the back of the house are optional. 

With a busy family of five, there is a lot of STUFF that comes in and out of the door on a daily basis, and I'm seeing the value in a mudroom.  Just the word makes my heart go pitter pat!  Even though mudrooms are becoming more of a trend, they certainly aren't "standard" on most homes out there.

So, since mudrooms aren't as prevalent as I would like them to be, let's ooooh and ahhhh over a few lovelies here...

Great shoe storage and a nice mix of hooks and cabinets.  Love the glass paned door too.
RenovationDesignGroup.com

A nice, bright space - great paned-glass door with the transom as an extra detail, along with ideal mudroom floors.  An example of what you can do if you have a little extra space to work with.
RenovationDesignGroup.com

Again, a great mix of storage options, and I love the board and batten walls along with the door style and hardware.  Classic and timeless.
HomesbyRexBrown.com

Cubbies and hooks galore, with lots of room to move when you whirl through the door.
kcmcustom.com

And would you just look at this room!  Talk about a multi-functional space!  Room to take off and store your shoes (and BOOTS), hang up coats (at kid and adult level, no less), beautiful cabinets, durable/dirt-concealing floor, and space for laundry, all in one wonderfully glorious room.

kajagamdesign.com
So, do you have a room wish list?  Better yet, do you have a mudroom that makes managing all of your busy-life-belongings a little easier?  Do share!

Master bedroom mirror makeover coming tomorrow!


8.09.2010

Mirror, Mirror...

After admiring so many mirror transformations in blogland, I finally found one that inspired me into action.  Janell, of Isabella & Max Rooms, recently did an amazing mirror makeover, and since it didn't involve mitre-ing (is that a word?) corners, I decided, this is the tutorial for ME!

I hit Lowe's for my supplies, and fortunately, didn't need to buy too much.  Some primed MDF for the frame, paint and wood glue.  I decided that I would start small on the project and do the mirror in the kids' bathroom to get my feet wet.  I figured if I could do their bathroom, I would learn from my mistakes and doing our master bath mirror should be a piece of cake, right?

While I didn't have to mitre any corners, I did venture into the garage and used the circular saw for the first time.  I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by this particular power tool.  It's loud.  It's powerful.  It's sharp.  And it has a lot of safety instructions on it.  But, it saved me from having to have Lowe's do the cuts for me, which was kind of nice.  Even though I had to go BACK to Lowe's to buy more MDF.  It will truly be a miracle if I ever complete a project with a single trip to Lowe's.

Well, on to the fun stuff.  I was able to complete this project within a day, although I did buy the supplies the day before.  But, it's definitely a completely doable weekend project.  I have the frames for my master bath mirror in the garage now, and the only thing keeping me from putting the mirror up tonight is that I didn't pay attention have to go back to Lowe's and get two more pieces of MDF, since I bought the wrong width for the top piece!  Argh!

Here are some before photos of the kids' bathroom:

Ignore the lonely little hand towel on the towel rack...


And the after:


There's that lonely little hand towel again.  Didn't notice it when I was taking the pictures, because I was so excited about the mirror!


What a difference!  A big shout out to Janell for such a great tutorial - I will be waiting for her next woodworking demonstration, "How to mitre corners". :-)

Until then, I will press on with my master bedroom mirror makeover.  Of course, I have to go to Lowe's first.