Archive for November, 2012

Uncharted Territory…

Quick update: You know we love a deal, and just for today The Nook edition of our book Young House Love is Barnes & Noble’s Daily Find, meaning that it’s priced at $2.99 (down from $14.99). Yay sales!

Just like we did in our first house, we find ourselves bouncing around from project to project and from room to room (we’ve tackled the living room, guest room, nursery, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office, laundry room, patio, deck, etc). But there are still a few completely untouched spaces after two whole years of living here (other than slowly filling them with clutter in some cases)!

Up until about a month ago they were:

Those are a lot of spaces to leave completely alone (or fill with clutter) for nearly 24 months! But thanks to some scurrying in the past four weeks, we’ve actually started in on the hall bathroom and the basement, which just leaves:

That’s still a bunch of areas that’ll keep us busy, but it feels better to only have five untouched zones on the list instead of seven. And ya know what will feel even better? Starting on the sunroom. Whoop whoop!

And yes, we’re getting excited to tackle Clara’s big girl room, so that’ll be happening pretty soon too. You know us in the winter, it gets cold and we get all crazy and bite off a ton of stuff (as seen here with an update that we also gutted the kitchen last Christmas).

There’s nothing like looking a room square in the eye (the wall? the trim? the window?) and saying “dude, we’re getting on that.” So we officially did that to the sunroom. And then we got started. First here are some shots of the sunroom as it looked yesterday when we started. This is the wall that looks out to the upper patio:

This is the wall to the right of that which overlooks the patio we added on the side of the house (this terribly-out-of-scale sketch of our lot might help orient you more):

This is the brick wall to the right of that with a window that looks into the kitchen:

And this is the wall to the right of the brick wall that looks into the living room (here’s a floor plan of our house that might help orient you too):

Not much to look at, eh?

And since we all know I’m nothing if not long winded and thorough, here’s a video for ya, just to capture our “before” in 3-D. Well I guess it’s still 2-D, but it paints a better picture than the pictures, if that even makes sense at all. Maybe not? Oh and the video explains why we can’t remove that window between the kitchen and the sunroom since we get that question semi-often:

So the first step after standing in the sunroom and declaring “dude, we’re getting on this already” to no one at large was to draw up a little plan. Not to scale, just more like a brain dump on paper. It looked like this:

We knew the daybed only worked on one wall (we moved it around a lot when we first moved in and the brick wall just makes the most sense layout wise) and we thought adding a bar overlooking and patio through those giant windows would be cool and then bringing in some sort of storage for the completely bare wall across from them might make sense. We also want to reuse the jute rug leftover from our bedroom and the bright blue stools leftover from our kitchen along with a few other items that we already have (like floor pillows, daybed pillows, etc) because you know we love to work with what we have. Of course there are major things that have to happen like painting and adding window treatments, etc – but in this case we thought figuring out a layout that worked trumps paint, so that’s what we started with since we had so many existing pieces that we wanted to work in.

The first step to seeing if our little floor plan rendering would make sense in real life was to clear out the clutter and either craigslist, store, or donate anything extraneous. After about an hour in there we were left with this:

And then after moving some items that would go back into the room into the living room, just to get the room bare enough to look at/place the rug, we were here:

Yup, it looked like move-in day all over again. Except without the snow.

Then we brought the rug in and laid it down with a bit of it going under the daybed to ground everything. It’s a nice size for the room, the jute makes sense in a sunroom, and it cozied up the cold tile floor so we were sold. Although with the butter-cream color of the walls it’s a little off, we’re sure once we paint and add accessories and otherwise complete the unfinished 99% of the room we think it’ll all come together.

Then because I’m impatient, I tossed down the floor pillows, placed the coffee table, and played with a plethora of pillows. You guys know about me and my pillow problem, right? Oh but don’t mind the orangy-brown drawers to the right of the daybed (those will be craigslisted – they’re leftover from our kitchen reno) and those stacked tables to the left of the daybed (we’ll figure out where those really go someday).

Next we brought in the stools that we envisioned for the bar against the bay of windows overlooking the stone patio and it was like a DJ slammed their hand down on a record. Screeeeech. It just didn’t work. No matter if we scooted the rug over, moved the daybed, or even removed the rug and tried the daybed on another wall – in person they just felt way too cramped and not-really-functional there. Sad face.

But as we’ve learned about a million times before, sometimes the first idea that pops into your head for a room isn’t the right one anyway, so thinking things through thoroughly (especially in the middle and the end of a project- more on that here) seems to yield a room that works the best (and looks the best). So we have plans to use the stools in another way that will hopefully make more sense of the room and actually be functional without getting all jammed up on the rug/heating unit by the window. And they won’t sit on either side of the daybed, I just stuck them there for now.

Wouldn’t they look sweet in the corner with a bar-height table in an old beat up wood finish? I think I’ll shimmy the rug under the daybed more to give that corner more room so it doesn’t look quite as squished in there. Unless we change our minds for the third time and things end up somewhere else, which definitely could happen. Sometimes you just have to let things shake out as we like to call it. Haha.

I know it’s hard to picture, so we’ll just share photos and details as we go! So excited to be starting in on yet another untouched space. Smells like teen spirit progress. Are you guys starting in on any formerly untouched rooms? Do you ever sketch things out and then try them in real life and it completely doesn’t work? Oh and do you like how the brick wall stops about seven feet up right at the top of the window? This used to be the exterior of the house and that’s where the slope of the roof started, so there’s no more brick above that. Boo! Wish it went all the way to the ceiling! But we have a few ideas to make it look less jarring and more integrated. Will keep ya posted!

Psst- Wanna see what a typical Thanksgiving looks like for us? Here’s Clara’s rundown on Young House Life.



House Crashing: A Happy Casual Farm House

You guys know Lesli, right? She’s a friend of ours who lives in out in the country (Greenwood, Virginia) and happens to be an amazing painter (you might remember our giveaway with her). She has an awesome blog and a sweet old house – complete with extra high ceilings that we covet and 100+ year old details that make “old farmhouse” the dream for so many people (us included). So we can’t wait to show you around. Let’s get to snooping…

Almost every item in Lesli’s home has been loved back to life. Like the old bench that sits in her entryway, which she got secondhand for $50 and painted a fresh new color. All of the mixed and matched art above it has such a fun and casual vibe – almost like it’s a beach house. The best thing about this house out in the country (with gorgeous views of the mountains) is that nothing feels too precious. Clara had a blast (and I didn’t have to have fifteen heart attacks worrying that she’d break something since the house was so kid friendly and fun). Oh and see that suitcase that Clara’s standing on? It can be seen in this Burger birthday video (Lesli’s daughter actually gave it to Clara to take home – how sweet is that?).

To the left of that entryway are two large rooms with awesome envy-inducing high ceilings. The room in the front is a living area, and the one in the back was once a formal dining room but Lesli realized that her family got more use out of making that another sitting area with a big couch for reading (you know, so Lesli can curl up and read in one space while the kids watch TV in the next room). So she moved the dining room to the other side of the house and made this side into one big casual chill-out area.

I think some of the most noteworthy choices that Lesli made in the room had to do with color. Look at those bold patterned curtains! That awesome kid-art with bright pink mats! Even the colorful Uglydoll on the couch is inspired! Too many exclamation points? Sorry, this room just gets me excited. And the coolest thing is that Lesli actually designed the fabric for those curtains herself (it’s a horse painting that she did, which she uploaded to Spoonflower and duplicated a bunch of times to create an abstract ikat-ish effect). I got woozy when she told me that. Seriously, it was horse-print-induced hysteria.

Here’s that room behind the one we shared above (which used to be the formal dining room until she moved that to the other side of the house). I love that Lesli made things work for her family instead of being locked into using the same layout that the previous owners did. And see that round coffee table? It was actually a kitchen table from Lesli’s old house, but she cut the stand down to make it coffee-table height. Isn’t that a smart use-whatcha-got trick?

Check out that big mirror over the mantel. It’s original to the 100+ year old house. Gorgeous, right? Lesli was so humble about everything but I was totally standing there drooling. The cool thing about this house is that it’s a great example of how you can fill an awesome old farmhouse with inexpensive items and reinvent old thrift store pieces. And nothing feels like you’re going to break it or ruin it… it’s approachable and comfortable.

Here’s a secondhand cabinet that she rescued with some fresh paint. I love the pops of yellow and the wooden fish on the wall with the name of her city painted on it. And see that bolt of fabric leaning casually in the corner? I love it there. The whole house is so refreshingly unfussy and easy.

Here’s her upstairs bathroom complete with a few more pops of color in the art and the textiles. It’s cool to see how Lesli mixes old (the ornate antique mirror) with new (the geometric bath mat – which is actually a TJ Maxx find) along with a whole lotta fresh white.

Lesli’s master bedroom was having some drywall work done in a few areas, but we were able to sneak this shot of the corner of the room complete with a fun graphic chair, a non-working fireplace that she filled with books, and a window cornice that she actually made out of fabric and foam core (seriously! she took one down and showed me and it looked so legit – I never would have guessed it was foam core under there and not wood). And as for a little more info on that chair, she got it cheaply because it was a floor model and then recovered it with $9.99 Dwell Studio fabric from U-Fab (she found a great upholstery guy out there who only charged $100 to recover the chair!).

Now on to my favorite room in the house! You may have seen her daughter Phoebe’s room since it actually won in a recent Washington Post kids room contest, but even if you have, it’s totally worth a second look. Everything from that awesome colorful chandelier (from Urban Outfitters!) to the bold blue wall with the fun pink border and some more patterned fabric cornices (plus that great geometric rug that she got on clearance from PB Teen for $150!) was completely fun and charming.

Without a doubt my favorite thing in the room were the beds. Can you believe that Lesli got them at a thrift store for super cheap and then painted and upholstered the back herself? It looked complicated (how do you curve the fabric like that?) but the curved panel actually just pops out so she added some batting and some fabric, pulled it taut and stapled it in the back, and then just screwed the panel back on. Easy peasy. The fabric is Premier Suzani Slub in Corn. Don’t they look like a million bucks?

The room that her sons share was just as sweet with fun orange accents (the over-sized ceiling shade and the curtains that she made with this fabric were awesome)…

… but my favorite things in that room were these crazy.awesome.lamps. They were just cheap glass lamps that she got from Target, but they were fillable – so she decided to fill one of them with a bunch of tiny toys that her son had collected when he was younger but no longer plays with. And the other one got filled with old cars that used to be enjoyed all the time. I thought it was such a cool way to keep something sentimental around that your child might not actively play with anymore. Imagine the possibilities: legos, polly pockets, colored pencils, rubber erasers, the list goes on! Now I can expand my shadowbox obsession to fillable lamps…

So there you have Lesli’s awesome house. Thanks so much to her and the family for so graciously inviting us over to crash! We had the best time, and couldn’t wait to share all of her creativity with you guys. I mean, from those spoonflower curtains that Lesli designed herself to the lamps full of kid paraphernalia, we definitely left feeling super inspired! Now let’s play the what’s-your-favorite-part game. I gotta stick with those genius thrift store beds that she completely redid for Phoebe’s room. Amazing.

Psst- Don’t wanna stop snooping around? You can check out dozens of House Crashing adventures right here.