Thursday, October 24, 2013


In my never endless quest to recreate the Southern Plantation of my dreams....
Is that me or Scarlett O'Hara? Doesn't matter.

OF COURSE I insisted suggested wainscoting (which I pronounce WAYNE-scotting, the second syllable like the dog breed which is probably wrong) which is a type of molding:
There's just something about all those little boxes
I was promptly shut down by the Yankee, which I have mentally chalked up as yet another reason to restart the Civil War, but not today because I have things to do.  We decided to keep things contemporary, and go for a slightly thicker baseboard and NO crown molding near the ceiling to keep the eye fresh and free. Have you ever ordered baseboards online? Its very confusing.  Also I HATED about 95% of them because they're too traditional (and this comes from someone who likes WAYNE-scotting).

I took this screen shot of the baseboard I liked from Dyke's Lumber. Pretty much all of our house was planned via shared Google Docs because we both work full-time and have crazy schedules. Note to readers: if you are doing this, you should probably have someone quit their job. Preferably you.

I really liked the clean look of these tall baseboards. So we ordered them from Dyke's and the contractor picked them up hallelujah I didn't have to do that. With a coat a paint, they look pretty nice:

Internet, I don't know if we will later add some molding at the top near the ceiling. So this is how it looks for now:

What do you think?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keeping original 1930s details

Our house was built in 1938 and was actually the 'model' house that was shown before the row was built. Neat huh?

When it was undergoing construction, we found this hand-painted wallpaper underneath one of the walls:

Today I'd like to share with you the details we kept from the original construction.  We kept the original arched book nook and entryway cubby.  Here's a before and (semi) after pic that highlights both of these well.  This is like one of those seeing eye comics where you have to say what's changed:


We also loved this neat little hallway lamp. We cleaned it up and re installed it in the hallway, where it originally hung:

We are also reusing the old radiators (just freshened them up with paint). You can see it to below kitty:
A bonus of the new windows is a big beautiful cat sitting perch, or what normal people would call a windowsill.  We had a piece of carerra marble, which we loved but unfortunately couldn't use in the bathroom cut to fit. And someone loves it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Feline Fridays

This is kitty's version of sittin' on the dock of the bay.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flooring + Bare Walls: Living Room Mini-Reveal

Remember the entryway nook? 

 It wasn't finished, but now it is!  The thin cardboard protecting the floors has been removed and we're ready to roll!

There's a fan light. I am a nut for lighting. I don't feel there's enough light, but once we get some table lamps, I think it will be ok.

The kitchen actually in use:

We're almost there!  The only thing that's still annoying is the constant construction dust. I swear no matter how much I vacuum, there's always so much dust. A few thorough mops and it will be will much better.

Here's the infamous skylight with lighting. And still-wrapped appliances.

Internet, I have a confession. If I could it all over, I would either do:
A) A very dark floor and those same greige walls
B) Those same floors and a warmer paint color

I feel like the paint is a very cool hue and the floors are a very warm hue and something's not quite right.  But you live you learn. And with rugs, I'm sure it will all warm up a bit.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Renovation Resolution #5: Advertisements Lie

Its been a while since I've discussed a Renovation Resolution.  You can catch up on the other 4 here and here.  Today's resolution is useful if you ever undergo a major renovation: advertisers lie a lot.  That's not new, you say, but particularly around house stuff, they sure do.

Here's something that showed up on on my Twitter feed:

Lies.  You what's better?  Anything. Naps, white wine, enjoying life, not endless to-do lists.

Here's another:

Can you?  Are you sure?  Ever better question: Can I?  Are you really sure?  

NEVER stop improving?  I guess "Improve until you're really sleepy and tired of being covered in paint then leave it half-finished" doesn't really fit as a tagline.

Are there any other maddening home improvement ads I've missed?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's your Janka Hardness Score and Other Things I Never Thought I'd Care About

Having wood floors that I actually have to care about is making me a bit of a nut (not as crazy as SOMEONE I know who god forbid you get a fleck of paint on the floor and his head spins around but nevermind).  I am constantly worried about someone/something scratching and ruining that beautiful hardwood.

Never thought flooring could be so good looking
So I did a bit of research and discovered that flooring hardness is based on a scale called the Jankess Hardness Score.  Ours is Acacia which has a score of 1750 which is a nice medium hardness (that's what she said).

So of course I do a bunch of searching about whether or not I can wear heels and honestly, I still don't know.  I even emailed the manufacturer and the answer was basically: don't.

I think I've resigned myself to not having the cool house where people have to take off their heels because the floors, my god the floors.  Ugh.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Greige reveal!

You'll remember my quest for the perfect greige aka beige meets grey. Not too beige, but not too grey with a cool tone underneath.

Take it in. Take it allllll in.


And you KNOW that little brown nook is going to get painted soon. I'm busy people.

Here it is next to our old door:

Sometimes it looks slightly purple, sometimes it looks more white. Sometimes blue. Its like a mood ring. I love it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Feline Fridays!

Today's Feline Fridays, I bring leave you this hilarious little note:  Texts from Mittens.

Enjoy and happy weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kitchen Reveal: Before & After

Before: 1930's Victoria Bunglow charm:

After: Chez modern maison of luv

Totally normal

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Just when you thought we were going to move on from kitchen cabinets (catch up here, here and here), I have to tell you more about the layout!

Sidenote: Check out that greige peeking up to the left of that cabinet. Stonington grey baby!

Last time, we revealed that our fridge didn't fit and the scramble to redesign the kitchen in one day.  This is the newly created refrigerator cabinet.  We basically hacked the frames to create a built-in kitchen fridge look without the price, of course.



We also discovered that we could do this little wine rack which is funsies
That's potentially 14 bottles of white wine

Here's what it looks like after the counter top is installed:

Don't be alarmed - the appliances come wrapped in plastic - they're not messed up.

This day was the happiest day of the entire renovation hands down. I floated around the kitchen singing this little tune because I was sooooooooo happy

On the very same day, the garbage disposal I've waited so long for broke and the dishwasher didn't work.  You win some, you lose some.
Merry Christmas to Me

Monday, September 23, 2013

Building IKEA Kitchen Cabinets

As I've documented here and here, the IKEA kitchen cabinets ended up being a huge process.

In order to save some dough, we decided that we (and by we, everyone should already know that this doesn't include me, obviously), would assemble the boxes and cabinet fronts only.

Then we would have the contractor and crew do the following:
  • Add cabinet door fronts
  • Install backsplash
  • Install internal kitchen shelves
  • Add cabinet pulls aka cabinet jewelry
From what I hear, the cabinet boxes themselves were not that hard to install.  The cabinet fronts were actually fun if you like that sort of thing. The hardware that attaches to the cabinet itself isn't really bad to figure out and its definitely a two person job.

Not too shabs if I do say so myself
The kitchen counter is a whole other animal.  IKEA comes to your house to measure it once the cabinets are installed.

Boxes are hung on the wall. Why do we own so much tape?
Cabinet pull ready to be installed

This is what they look like when they're initially installed. As you can tell, we have high ceilings I KNOW WHAT A PROBLEM TO HAVE, so we had to maximize the distance between the top and bottom cabinets, which basically means at 5'5" I'm officially a shrimp in my kitchen - I'll just get a step stool and STFU.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feline Fridays

You saw all the issues we had this week with the kitchen in Kitchen Confidential and Kitchen Confidential Continued but I'm here to let you know that all turned out well due to:

Nothing gets by Inspector Marlo when she's on the job!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kitchen Confidential Continued

Last time, we discussed the grey countertops and the design of the kitchen cabinets from IKEA.  When we ordered everything, we had it delivered (sans countertops) from IKEA because there was no way we could handle all the pieces ourselves and many were not available for same-day pickup anyway.  When it arrives, it looks like this:

Welcome to my nightmare
Everything is poorly labeled and very heavy.  Because we weren't ready for the kitchen to be installed, these boxes took up half the garage and kinda just hung out for a month. We had to buy them at the time we did to take advantage of the 20% off IKEA sale, which made these an event bigger deal than they already were.

I'm a gal who loves a good sale
When we finally went to remove each piece to take them into the house in preparation for installation, we found many panels were straight up incorrect (both color and style).  I really think that the employees went with an eenie meenie miney mo method of sorting for our order. 

Also we lost the original receipt.

I know!  How stupid can you be?!  But in the age of digital copies and credit cards, we really didn't think we were going to be as doomed as we were in returning a lot of the pieces.  I will summarize this section to avoid getting stabby, but it took over 3 hours to return the wrong items with two angry, cranky IKEA employees refusing to acknowledge your existence. We left with a few credits, and a few gift cards. I've decided IKEA is only slightly worse than Communist Russia.

Did I mention our appliances AND flooring were also in the garage? At the same time? This picture fills me with so much anxiety.

Upon installation, we discovered a pretty big boo-boo:

The refrigerator didn't fit.

Dream a little dreammmm of me
Internets, I know that this doesn't seem like a big deal to any old reasonable person and I agree. But when you have a little dream, and you've paid for this little dream with everything you've got, and you think everything will work out in the end because your little dream will come true, the disappointment when it doesn't is palpable. 
And we had exactly 1 day to make a decision about where to put the fridge and as you can see, its not like there are a lot of options. After taking a poll from friends who actually know what they're doing in the kitchen, we decided to move it over to the left side, which effectively blocks off the dining table space unfortunately.

Here's a little preview for next time as we continue our kitchen talk:

Who can it be now??

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Butcher Block Counter Top Update

A while back, I told you about the butcher block counter tops we had installed in the downstairs kitchen. I found that they were really, really hard to keep clean and acted like a sponge, soaking up every little stain:

So I decided something had to be done. I bought the IKEA wood oil treatment Behandla (side note: on one of my 12 IKEA trips, I found myself in line behind Gilbert Gottfried. Voice was unmistakable and I'll never forget the sound of him ordering an IKEA vanilla ice cream cone. Yeah, I eat the ice cream there, get over it).  

Here's a useful tip: I always lose paint keys but you can use a quarter to open a can of paint.  Anyway, I taped off the edges with my favorite frog tape, and then used my new BFF, my sanding block (seriously, I want 30 of these for Christmas) to sand down some of the stains. Then I wiped the excess dust off the surface so it adheres better. Its kind of like when you get your nails done and they buff the surfaces lightly so the nail polish adheres better. You like how I just combined worlds like that?!

The treatment is meant to be applied thinly and then wipe the excess off once the layer has dried. At the same time, I decided I would also treat the wood top of this kitchen freestanding cart that we bought at the same time as the kitchen cabinets (it was on sale):
Obviously, Marlo is involved
Well, the oil treatment wasn't really that smelly, and that's coming from someone who inhaled paint fumes for a good three days painting her own house. So I didn't really think to take any precautions in terms of taking the cart outside, ventilating the kitchen space, opening windows, etc. like I normally would do for paint.

Big mistake.

I woke up at 3am and seriously considered if I should go hang out outside for an our until I felt less nauseous and headache-y. I felt sick the whole next day and my sense of smell was off. Like everything at IKEA, its probably going to give me cancer now.

It went on really thick and weird but the excess was really easy to wipe off.

It gave it a really warm glow (which is probably the cancer)

And here's the cart:

In all, not a terrible DIY project, and the results came out really nice!  The surface doesn't hold stains anymore and are much easier to wipe down.  I can't believe this DIWhy project came out so well!