FFA Challenge #1

You can read the instructions for the Fearlessly Finding Awesome challenge #1 here, but overall it is to reflect on the style and feel we want our home to have before we go out and start trying to create it.

I don’t know about you, but I  had my house all decorated in my head before I ever even started looking for a house: the living room would always  be gray, the kitchen could be nothing but yellow, the bedroom needed to be artsy and unique. I rented for four years before buying- which is four years of beige and white walls and not buying anything too nice because it might not fit when I move, and making due with what I have. WELL NO MORE! If I want every room in my house to be a different color, then so be it! Nobody has to like it but me (and I suppose Matt, but luckily he’s color blind).

We’ve got the house pretty much painted now and I’m working on the decorating. So far our color breakdown is as follows:

  • Kitchen = yellow!
  • Living room = gray!
  • Sunroom = sage!
  • Hallway/landing = white!
  • Guest room = smack you in the face orange!
  • Bedroom = eggshell with an orange hue!
  • Office = musky blue!
  • Bathroom = currently (poop) brown but soon to be the same as the bedroom
  • 1/2 Bathroom = currently navy and yellow but one day to be musky blue and white
  • Movie room = currently blood crimson but soon to be even muskier blue

So now I’m past the easy part, the “cheap” part. When I think about the feeling I want my house to have I know I want it to be somewhere you can come in, throw your coat down, and relax. It should be welcoming, inviting, friendly. But it should be a little weird and antique too- because I’m a little weird and antique. I don’t want tons of photographs on my walls, I want art. I don’t want plain rectangle frames, I want scroll work and embellishment. I don’t want you to walk in and think “oh this is nice,” I want you to walk in and think “oh, this is interesting!” But I want it to be sell-able in 7-10 years too!

This weekend I’ll post some updates on the living room, which is starting to show all of these things, albeit with the lack of chairs because goodness gracious are chairs expensive.

Stay tuned! Leave comments! What do you want your house to feel like?

And because I don’t want a post with no media at all, click here  for a 30 second video of my puppy doing a trick for bitter spray because apparently he has no taste buds.

An arm and a leg

There are so many people, including me, that just absolutely can’t afford to walk into a showroom and buy a ready made set of furniture. A cheap armchair runs about $300- for just one! A decent rug is upwards of $1000! Then you still have to have it delivered or shipped! It’s depressing and frustrating and can honestly leave you feeling lost in your own space as you wait to find a bargain piece of junk that you think you just might be able to maybe turn around.

Instead of getting bummed out about it, Vintage Revivals blogger decided to start the FFA club.

FFA = FEARLESSLY FINDING AWESOME.

In her post she writes:

“We are going to have different ‘challenges’ every other week and linky parties to show off all of our bravery. Some of the challenges are going to be theme or color based, some are going to be project based and some are going to be internally based.”

 So don’t get bummed that your house is half done and pieced together and things aren’t perfectly matched up- join us! She even had the cute badge below drawn up so you can add it to your blog and get in on the action (I added it to my Contact & About section). Check out her blog tomorrow for the first post!

 

Vintage Revivals

Our little dirt pit

Today I came home from work and our brand new gutters were up! Woot woo! I began investigating gutters right when we moved in here because the house has some drainage problems near the foundation and gutters are the quickest step towards fixing it.

Because we live not only in Massachusetts, but within the snow belt, I knew I wanted to go with seamless aluminum. Seamless aluminum gutters hold up great against snow and ice, they aren’t bent or warped as water freezes and expands within them. Additionally, because we’ve got so many trees on and near our property we also decided to get leaf guards on the gutters. Total for our property, this ran $950. This is a great deal for what we wanted, and I went with a company that has done work for some friends of mine so I’ve seen and can trust their work.

Look at our white little downspout- I'm lovin' it! The gutters run around our house and carport with 5 total downspouts. I plan to line up a trash barrel under one of the downspouts so I can collect rainwater to use on plants and grass this summer.

While I was out there, I decided to take pictures of all our land, so here we go again with another picture heavy post:

This picture doesn't capture our whole front lawn, but the majority of it. We've got the carport, then space to park another car to the side of it (so we don't block each other in), then land the length of the house out front. We have never, ever used the front door which is why there's no path there. I also plan on adding shutters at some point- I can't decide on white or black, though.

Here's a shot of our side lawn taken from right behind my car, at the edge of the carport. I like this space the best out of our 3 outside spaces, and I have big plans for it over the next few years (a bench, lots of flowers, and some hedges between our house and our neighbor's).

Here's a view of the same side lawn, taken from about halfway down our gigantic driveway- which needs to be repaved at some point.

That's not lush green grass in my yard...that's turf. So. Much. Turf. Unfortunately, it'll probably stick around for this summer while I work on other outdoor issues but I can not wait to get rid of it. Somehow weeds have managed to grow up through and around it, and it was laid so poorly you can see the seems for piece to piece. And what looks like a nice cement patio? Yeah, it's literally ruining the sill of our home. The cement was poured right up to the siding, so there is no drainage and things are rotting under there. The cement is also cracked, stained, and overall ugly but it's about $600 to get it jackhammered and hauled away so we're stuck with it for now.

Our backyard is two levels, the top level is largely the dirt you see here- which is what I'll be focusing on this summer instead of the turf. I've got my mom rooting some ivy for me to run along the ground of some of it, but that will take years to fill in. I'm also wondering if I should create a patio or just plant grass on the other part- most likely whatever is cheapest.

Towards the back of the yard, past the turf, is a cinderblock patio that eventually I'd like to either clean up or redo because there are weeds and moss growing up through it and it's not even. It also doesn't serve a direct purpose- it's literally just this one section of the yard, it doesn't wrap around the pool or act as a walkway to anywhere.

And curving around the pool, we enter "The Dirtpit." This is where leaves and grass go to die, my friends. Most likely it is also where the turf will be relocated to because I think the whole mess was caused by chlorine splashing on it all and I don't even want to attempt to grow something here.

Just one more view of The Dirtpit here. What a train wreck.

So there you go, a little outside tour of our house. This summer my plans are:

  • see what grows where- if there’s any flowers or grassy areas that work and what if I can build off of them
  • plant ivy on the section of the yard where it’s too shaded to grow anything else
  • plant grass or add brick patio on the second level of the yard where there is currently dirt and ditches
  • weed, weed, weed everything and anything

The work never ends, but more and more I understand the term “labor of love.” I’ve also never used the word “potential” so much in my life.

Slow and steady wins the race

To get from the “before” sunroom to the “after” sunroom was no easy task- it was slow, slow, slow over the past 7 months and it is now officially room #2 in our house to be complete.

So if you’re up for it, here’s the 11 stages of the sunroom:

This is the sunroom on the day I viewed the house..which was maybe June or July. Note how not at all sunny it is in there with the heavy curtains, oversized couch, and dark wallpaper.

Here's another angle of the sunroom, more oversized furniture and there definitely used to be a tv in there before the house went on the market. We're pretty sure the family that lived here used this as their living room because they ran a daycare out of the actual living room.

The day we moved in we washed this floor, and all the rest of the floors, at least 3 times. It was absolutely filthy. However, without the furniture and drapes it was already looking much better.

Ahh...so long wallpaper! Matt's brother came to stay with us our first week in the house and the two of us took down the wallpaper in both the sunroom and the kitchen.

Primed! My family came up the second weekend we were here and we primed the whole downstairs of the house- sunroom, kitchen, and living room. We're very lucky both families pitched in so much.

The morning Matt's parents came to pick up his brother (after he had been here the week) we got up super early and painted the room- we wanted them to see at least one room with color on it. This was my first experience with paint colors looking nothing like I thought they would, but at least with this one it worked out better. I had pictured something darker and richer and the lightness in this room really works.

Here's setup 1 of 800 for this room... we put the two camp chairs together because we were originally thinking of getting a love seat for the room and were trying to test the space. The bench had come from Christmas Tree Shop and man, it just looked so tiny under that window. Nothing up this imaginary set up worked for us.

We went to Bob's Furniture to get a couch for the living room and ended up coming home with this bar, which called for a complete redesign of what we had pictured for the room. I love having the bar in here, and the bench next to he door (which is cut off the picture) made a lot more sense. Lots of shoes and jackets have been thrown on and under that bench.

We swapped out the camp chair for a rocking chair (from my grandparents) and added the stained glass to the window (also from my grandparents). At this point I started to have a new idea for how this room would end up.

Again, my grandparents came through big time- I picked out fabric and my Nonna sewed up matching curtains for the kitchen and sunroom. There were so many windows in so many sizes I never would have found something I loved that actually came in enough shapes and lengths for both rooms.

Then finally, we got the slipper chair and the owl stand and the room was complete. Ta-da:

 

And don’t worry about over-stretching that pointer finger of yours, here’s a side by side before and after:

 

This is by far the room with the largest payoff. I’m so glad we got a house with a “bonus” room because we’ve used this space a dozen times already to entertain and spread out. I learned a lot in this room- how to take down wallpaper, how open space can work in our favor, how to let what I pictured for a room evolve, and how to buy furniture at four different stores and make it look like it goes together.

So what do you think?!

Pro Tip

 

Today I’m getting the house ready to host my Nonna’s birthday party and thought I’d share a quick tip…. when making a veggie tray, use a bell pepper to hold your dip! Much cuter then a container and there’s not an extra bowl to wash!

 

 

 

 

And since I’ve got a little Irish in me… Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Who-ray

When I posted pictures of the sunroom, I noted that I wanted to find a small pedestal table to put next to our lovely new chair- something just big enough to put a cup or plate on and something that wouldn’t overcrowd the room.

After I sat on it for a bit, I decided it wasn’t a table I wanted at all! I have no idea what these things are actually called, but I went looking for a ceramic garden pedestal. You see them everywhere when you’re not even looking- they’re usually oval shaped with a flat top to put a plant on, they’ve got carvings all around the outside, and they’re hollow. If you know the actual name for this please tell me!

I started my search at K-Mart because it’s on the way home from work and I found absolutely nothing remotely close to what I was picturing in my head. However, the trip was not made in vain because I explored a lot of lawn/grass seed options while there- I think the time to plant grass seeds is soon and there are an overwhelming amount of products out there.

Anyway, after K-Mart was a huge no I headed to TJ Maxx. Many-a-moons ago I used to work at a TJ Maxx and they had stuff like this all the time… and they did this time too!

Meet Owly, our new sunroom butler! He's so dapper and pudgy, and he really looks quite nice in the space. I was afraid to even take him out of the car when I got home because I thought Matt was going to kill me for bringing home a two foot tall ceramic owl, but he loved it too!

In the grand scheme of the room, he isn’t as obvious as you’d think and he’s the perfect thing to finish off the room with. Here’s the view from the kitchen:

See how he just sort of peeks out? Totally looks like he's been squatting in there forever.

I am now up to 3 roosters and 2 owls in this room, and I’m thinking the tall rooster in the bay window may need to be relocated but I’m not sure yet. Also as an aside, where the floors switch colors is actually a step down from the kitchen into the sunroom, so it’s not such a strange transition in person.

This weekend I’m going to try to post a before and after gallery for this room, I think it’s actually more dramatic then the kitchen change. Stay tuned!

Sunny little sunroom

Our 2 Target slipper chairs have arrived, and with minimal assembly and very crumby instructions they are out and about our house! They’re pretty cute, and look true to the picture. The colors are a little off from what I expected, the yellow is more bronze-y gold and the base color is more beige then white, but the differences actually make them look better in their respected rooms.

Today, I’ve got pictures of the sunroom to share….

Here is a view of the room from our kitchen, which is wide open to it- no doorway or wall. For this reason, I am keeping the furniture up against the wall and leaving the center space empty. That door peeking out on the left side is also the main door we use to enter the house, so it's another reason to keep the space somewhat bare.

 

I plan on getting a very small pedestal side table to put to the right of the chair, just so there's a spot to put down a drink or a plate. Other then that, the room is pretty much done. That's TWO rooms done now!

 

And here's the view from the living room-the third room in our open concept downstairs. I have to say, I'm thinking it looks pretty rocking.

 

So what do you think? Love it or hate it? Needs more oomph or has just enough oomph?

Gallery Wall Update

I’ve been slowly but surely adding to our gallery wall and getting things in some semblance of order. Our living room is the most empty room in the house because I am trying to find cat-friendly furniture at a reasonable price and it is nearly impossible to do so. However, the shelves and walls are coming along nicely.

From a distance, I think it’s really starting to come together. I need to add more to the top and more to the bottom and balance out the black and white a bit more, but it’ll work itself out as I go.

I also added a little pop of yellow to the built in by placing in yellow tea cups I got from my Nonna this weekend. The shelves are pretty much set now.

Here’s a breakdown of the pictures and frames as top-to-bottom as I can:

  • A picture of Matt & I waiting for a white frame
  • A postcard of the town we first lived in together, in a $4 repainted frame from the Habitat for Humanity Restore
  • Architectural Art that I bought on clearance framed for $5 total
  • A graphic art piece in a repainted dollar store frame for, $1 for the frame and under 50 cents for the print
  • A funny comic printed offline for under $1 and a $7 white target frame
  • Another picture of Matt & I in a repainted dollar store frame, $1 for the frame and under 50 cents to print the picture
  • A picture of Matt & Dutch in a TJ Maxx frame that I think was about $6
  • 2 repainted mirrors, $4 each
  • An ornate frame on clearance from Marshalls for I think $5 with scrapbook paper
  • A print I found online in a Target frame that was about $6

The Evolution of My Kitchen

My kitchen has come a very long way in the past 6 months. Buckle your seat belts, you’re about to get slammed with a whole mess of before and after pictures….

BEFORE

I apologize that this is blurry, it was before I knew I would have a blog and just wanted quick shots to remember which house had which rooms. However, note the HEAVY look of it: the two wallpapers, the dark curtains, the yellow lighting, the permanent tablecloth.

AFTER

Now, that same shot- bright! cheerful! New recessed lighting! DIRT FREE! It's seriously amazing.

BEFORE

Here's the other side of the room at the showing- if you thought I liked clutter.... you have no idea what it was cut back from! Seriously, who needs all that on their fridge? And why didn't they have a basement door?

AFTER

Ah, much better! A cute little kitchen cart, a somewhat clutter free fridge, a door! And you know, a dog bed covered in duct tape.

BEFORE

Don't forget about the old, broke black sink! And also, is there really a need for that many things on a window sill?

AFTER

Yes, my sink has dishes in it. This is an average, every day shot and sometimes I don't feel like cleaning dishes. Also- note that I was not kidding about hoarding containers, there is a butter one in there right now.

THE IN BETWEEN

Clearly all those before and afters didn't happen over night. Within the first week of being here we enlisted a lot of help from our families to take down the wallpaper then spackle and prime the busted up old walls.

Then, there was the waiting period while I dragged my feet creating wall art and used an entertainment center until we found the perfect kitchen cart.

BUT WE’RE FINALLY (JUST ABOUT) DONE

I say "just about" because there's always more to do. The barstools need new paint and new fabric, the stuff on top of the fridge needs a permanent home, and eventually I'll get around to doing those dishes...

And because it’s brand new and cute….

Here's our fresh, new Big Lots kitchen cart. Matt was a dreamboat and assembled it while I was at work, and everything from the entertainment center fit right inside it (as well as a few additional things, because I can't visit my family without coming back with boxes of house stuff).

So there you go, there is a 6 month turnaround time from haphazard to adorable. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Thank you tax return!

I was a good girl when I got my tax return and put aside the amount of money it costs for homeowner’s insurance each year, so I can pay it off in one lump sum and not have another monthly payment. But I still had money left over and I’ve been itching to make some slightly larger purchases.

First, I went to Big Lots and got a super cute kitchen cart, which I will post this weekend when I post whole view photos of the kitchen. The cart is white with a metal top, so it works well with the kitchen and living room. It’s a great size and holds everything that was originally on the entertainment center (yup, entertainment center) that was originally in it’s spot. Dare I say that I am now done working on the kitchen? I’m almost afraid that if I do, something will break.

Then, just this morning, I bought some slipper chairs from Target. They’ll arrive sometime next week, just in time to finishing sprucing up the house a little before Nonna’s birthday party next Saturday. I purposely bought two of the same chair even though they’re going in different rooms so if we ever want to move around furniture we’ll have a matching set.

Originally, I wasn’t even looking at this one. I had picked out an all yellow chair with this wispy pattern on it. Then when I went to get Matt’s approval (I like to make sure I’m not overly girly), he picked out this one and I agreed.

I plan to put one in our sunroom (which is green and yellow) and one in our bedroom (which is blues and wood tones).

And DON’T TELL MATT but I think I’m eventually going to want to paint the sun room from green to this shade of blue- so it doesn’t match perfectly now but it might in the next year or so. I just feel that room is disconnected from the kitchen (yellow and white)  & living room (grey, yellow, and white)  and bringing in a third color that actually matches would help with the flow down there. Those three rooms are all wide open to each other, so I think I may need to get them on the same page.

Anyway, if you are in the market for some basic chairs you should really check out Target’s online selection. There are some cute things popping up over there!