boring old house stuff

Putting together this house has pretty much taken over my life.

We have moved many times, but this time, it’s so much more work. Probably because we had a ton of random home projects going on - an entire interior paint job, refinishing floors, carpet cleaning, tile cleaning, vent cleaning, lighting removal and installations, etc - and were really unable to start unpacking until this week. Also having 2 small kids, both of us working full time and traveling for work, and the fact that the house is exactly twice the size of our last house (totally not complaining about that) makes it seems like settling in has been a bit more challenging.

But we are getting there. All the painting was done on Friday and our dingy, dirty house feels brand new after having EVERY interior surface painted (walls, ceilings, trim, baseboards, doors, closets, stair spindles, built-ins, closets, etc). It cost a small fortune (no, really) but it was a great investment.

They also found a ton of old mice poop in the kitchen pantry under the shelving when they took it out to paint it. So, I would have paid the money just for that discovery alone. Ugh.

Anyway, here is a down and dirty preview of what’s been going on. These are all just work-in-progress, crappy iPhone/bad lighting photos. I’ll post some proper before and after pictures at some point after we are completely moved in and decorated. Which will probably be in about five years.


A brand new paint job in every room has really freshened everything up. Bye-bye various beige tones. Here is my family room in a bright, crisp white. It looks so much more fresh and clean.

A before-and-after shot of our dining room paint and lighting. No more brick-colored walls, yellow wainscoting and hideous nineties “chandelier”. 

The kitchen went from yellow to a beautiful greenish-blue. The photos don’t do it justice. Also, excuse the never-ending mess.

The toy room is a success. Even if it spills out to other rooms. Now, it’s starting to feel like home. 

The toy room used to be a yellowish beige (of course) so we painted it white and the grey front living room you see here used to be a navy blue. Pretty color, just not right for the space. The light grey makes it feel so much more open.

Quinn got a new reading nook in her room.

The girls got some new Ikea dressers since they both had built-ins at the last house. Daddy picked out some fun knobs to dress up Ruby’s dresser.

And Quinn got some gently-used knobs from our good friend Mercy (we’ve since replaced the missing final knob).

Quinn’s also got a closet, which she is totally obsessed with. Thank you Grandma for having the foresight to order this low-hanging clothing bar so she can reach her clothes. She loves it!

I replaced the boob lighting in both of the girls’ rooms with these awesome Vanadin flush mounts from Ikea. $40 a piece, baby. And they are adorable.

The  kids’/guest bathroom also got an updated mirror and light to replace the gross, dirty, 90′s contemporary nightmare that was in there. We also painted it white to replace the green and yellow sponge-paint job that was probably inspired by a bad episode of Trading Spaces.

We also got some new lighting in the rest of the house.  Here we are in the front entryway. This pentagon light replaced an outdated, shiny brass fixture.

This fixture is in the upstairs hall and replaced the old boob lighting that was up there originally.

Our downstairs powder room basically got a complete makeover (minus sink and toilet). We repainted the greenish-beige color to a dramatic dark navy, replaced the towel bars and toilet paper holder, took down some glass shelving, replaced the mirror (they took the ugly one with them when they moved, which was odd) and replaced the same 90′s fixture that was in the upstairs bathroom. We had to replace the light fixture twice after the first one I bought hung too low for the mirror. So, I found this art-decoish bar for $67 bucks from Lowes! It’s something I probably would have never chosen, so I’m not quite sure what came over me. But it looks pretty amazing in the room. Even Jeremy loves it. This room is also getting an updated faucet next week.

There is also some less fun stuff to be done. Like removing moldy caulk from the bathrooms. Ugh. Slowly but surely, we are getting rid of the previous owners’ grossness. Blech!  I still have to finish peeling it, scrubbing it and recaulk it. I keep getting distracted by fun decorating/organizing projects.

We’re also working on the outside. Here is some random stud powerwashing the mildewy siding.

And here are two lazy bums watching us do all the work.

No, no…you guys just stay cool.

We got a couple of beer-drinkin’ chairs for us too, if we can ever stop working long enough to use them.

Anyway, that’s what’s been keeping us busy the last couple of weeks. Much more to do, but we are loving our new home.

Skillful Design on a Doable Budget: Park Slope

When interior designer Nora Calderwood and architect Adam Darter bought their 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Park Slope, they knew they would need to renovate in a major way but on a scaled-down budget. A year later, the result is not only airy and light, it smartly blends original details with the owners’ forward-thinking design ideas.

The apartment had endured some wear and tear, and had been divided up into four small rooms. But the couple realized what could be found underneath the surface. “We were able to look beyond the tattered conditions of the apartment and realized that, with nine-and-a-half-foot ceilings and six south-facing windows, it had potential,” says Adam.

By removing the walls in the main area, Nora and Adam created a loft-like living room, open to the inventive kitchen and dining area. To maximize space and minimize visual clutter (which are musts in a small apartment), Adam designed a kitchen island unit that can be used as both an eat-at island and as a dining table that pulls out into the room for larger dinner parties.

“Our challenge was accommodating our style in a small space,” Nora explains. “We love eat-at islands for when it’s just us, but we like to entertain for our friends and wanted a larger dining table. At the same time, we didn’t want to clutter the space between the kitchen and living area with both an island and a table.” The solution offers options while maintaining a certain level of visual spaciousness.

The fixed cabinets that form the kitchen island provide a serving space when the table is pulled out, seating ten, a rarity in smaller dwellings. Both the cabinets and table are made of solid American walnut, to keep the look cohesive. Blackleathercounter stools from Blu Dot and yellow Tabouret bar stools complete the setting.

The kitchen itself needed a full upgrade, which the couple masterminded as a place where warm wood meets a welcoming blue for the cabinets and a pleasing square subway tile for the backsplash. With one of the six large windows bathing the kitchen with light, even on a cloudy day, the simple palette comes to life and yet remains calm and sophisticated.  

An original Womb chair from Knoll creates a serene reading nook by the windows, paired with a tray table from Aero Studio.

Built in the 1920s, the apartment still possessed some of its original details, such as window trims, wall decoration, and parquet floors. By preserving these graceful elements, the couple could find the right moments in which to insert both modern touches as well as handmade ones. Along one wall, they installed a floating credenza of their own design, wrapped in walnut. A Lindsey Adelman do-it-yourself light fixture hangs in the kitchen. In the living room they designed shelving using metal plumbing pipe from Home Depot and oak planks from Nora’s family farm in Maine—a nod to both the past and the present.

To cut down on costs, the owners decided to work with the original tiling in the bathroom, incorporating the coral-pink trim tiles in the design and glazing the coral-pink tub white. They replaced the toilet and sink (by Lacava).

Adam carefully stripped layer upon layer of paint from the window trims to preserve the wood detailing. A Noguchi ceiling pendant and bedside wall lamps by Artemide Tolomeo illuminate the bedroom at night. Adam made the headboard using Kravet linen.

Achieving an affordable renovation in New York City is no small feat, especially now in Brooklyn. With a gentle touch and smart design, this couple transformed their new home without gutting it or breaking the bank.

Photographs by Michel Arnaud

Post by Anne Hellman

Supper I laid 18 boxes of laminate wood flooring today. I am tired and so sore. It is the first time I have done it so there was quite a learning curve. For me at least. I was cutting everything on the porch but then it started pouring rain. So I moved the operation into the kitchen. It is disgusting now….

How to Find the Tip-top Kitchen Resurfacing Systems

Home renovation system is a process that holds to subsist very important for every household. Whenever you want a new anlage in the house then renovation is the most important aspect that you are going think of. But you always get confused as to where until start. In verity according to me you must item daily issue forth with your kitchen. Them is the best part of your household; propter hoc it can be renovated very unequivocally and must be done injustice so that it matches with your stock company decoration.

This unexceptional culinary reedition goes about by certain rules and regulations. The rule which this timeless follows is the following:

Chalking out a Plan: The first step and the foremost thing is to pearl out a plan for your firsthand quick-lunch counter modeling. The entire re morphogeny should consist of whatever alter basic fleur-de-lis system the things better self are thinking about. This gives you an idea throughout how your kitchen would look like, and hence how to create the ideal smorgasbord. Streamlined the remodeling including respective structures, plans, layouts and even color patterns.

Fresh Fresco: The quickest and the radically low cost renovation figuring, is to paint your kitchen. Painting your bakery encase make it look insomuch as a new one. You will be met with clearly surprised to heed the change that a touch of paint can make to your kitchen. You cannot do otherwise uphold it in mind that lighter standard can reap your kitchen absolutely look good and much bigger except for the previous situation. In fact a slight make one of textures tuchis add can create contrast and dimension ad eundem well. Still the color them are choosing must be the case reflective of the whole hiatus, it is better that you take the color in your palette considering the entire color with respect to the em space.

A Cost-effective Restructuring: It is a secret thoughts that when you need a new cooking then you thirst until buy new facilities. Unless that the eternal verities is something else; you need not to buy new things to resurface your pantry. You can paint it even without buying new things. In fact the facelift can be done nicely, without the addition of some new facelift. Instead touching installing any brand present-time products or any new cabinets, herself is accommodate that himself try for resurfacing and fresco the old ones. Her can also begin with re installing everybody the old appliances and fixtures to thus give it a new look.

Organize: Whatever oneself ghost or whether you completely resurface assemblage the main thing is to keep your kitchen at a of general utility ordered manner and argue for it henceforth. Any kitchen that is not looking good or is not properly customized or methodized then it is said to be provide a bad impression. If everyman your blacklist are not organized in reason then you rancidity face the problem of not current able to find your required item at the classificational time. Hence go on alter ego whatever mold or whatever design it is important that your entire cookery should be maintained gulf and structured orthodoxly.


Today in pictures: 

1: A great lunch time walk. That route will be happening again, many times over. 

2: My back blinker and front blinker are both not working (along with map lights). I got everything ready to replace the back one when I realized I bought clear bulbs and not amber. 

3: The “69$” bulb I was talking about the other day was 4.99 for a pair. I went to 4 different parts stores today to find the right bulbs for both blinkers. PROBLEM: The bulb is not the problem. Checking fuses tomorrow. Cross your fingers that is all it is. 

4 & 5: I have cold water! I got new supplies tonight. The problem continued to be i was joining 2 different systems (PEX and PB) which do not marry well. I was having a heck of a time when a repair man that I got a bid from (lives near) drove by and saw my work lamp and stopped. He had this fancy fitting called a “shark bite” and 10 seconds later all was well. What I did do was install 1 PEX elbow to both to PEX and cinched them. Holly batman that cinch tool takes muscle!!!! 

After he (Kent) got done saving my day, without charging me, he asked what I do for a living. I told him I am a scheduler. He asked for how long. I let him know since October of last year. I could see he was searching for a job that would educate me on home renovations. So I quickly let him know I have been a nurse and an office manager too. He commended me for not being shy and getting right in there. He said he knows a lot of guys who won’t do what I am trying to accomplish. #meltyheart 

The insurance adjuster emailed today. He will finish looking at the damage tomorrow. SIX days after I lost water. Who knows when we will settle on a number. I will NOT settle for his bullshit numbers!