Monday, August 26, 2013

See ya after Labor Day!

Taking a break from renovation talk for a bit so see ya after Labor Day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Not this Pebbles
Although that's the second Flintstones reference I've made on this blog.

We decided to get crraazzzyyyy and do a PEBBLE FLOOR in the shower!  How freaking zen is that?!  Does zen enthusiasm undo zen?  .... Is that like, if a tree falls and no one's around, does it make a sound?  God, I'm so deep.

I need you

Like I've learned with basically every other project, there are a MILLION pebble options!  Here's some of ones that I like:

It turns out that you buy the pebbles in sheets, and it is installed like regular tile. I always thought that the individual pebbles are laid down and then somehow smoothed down into the grout, which is incorrect because I don't know anything about anything.

Because we were keeping with dark grey slate tones, we picked black mini pebble.  It kind of looks like coffee beans:

We placed the order and it was done in about 5 days. I went to pick it up from the tile store, which was fine, except I think I drove the salesperson a little bit crazy asking about grout colors, so there's that. A guy loaded the tile into the car for me, which was very nice. I must've looked pretty in charge (IRONICALLY) because a woman asked me if I owned the tile store.  I do not, but I definitely could've helped her on her job considering everything I now know and my new found love of tile.

Soon, I'll reveal how it turned out!  Stay tuned.

Feline Fridays!

I'd love to share a new cat lady craft I made this week for the little girl.  I noticed she was taking particular interest in a Marlo-shaped regular old brown box.  So I wrapped the box with this fun orange wrapping paper and put her favorite play mat in it.  I used spray adhesive to keep the wrapping paper glued down.  I might go back and add some washi tape to glue down the paper folds.

Do you notice kitty's new necklace collar?  In an attempt to enforce at least 1 rule in this house, I have started putting her collar on her for a few minutes every day (she hates it).  This lasts about 10 minutes, but I'll keep trying.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Master Bathroom Update: Looking less Outhouse-y

BIG moves on the master bathroom aka The Outhouse!  It looks much less outhouse-y these days and much more like a real bathroom!

This is mainly because we finally made a decision about tile.  If you ever want to drive yourself insane, go into a tile store.  Never had I ever imagined there were so many possibilities. And then when you're done picking tile, you have to pick out the grout color, which can make or break the whole look.

Here's a bathroom we used as inspiration for the look we were going for:

We knew we wanted to include a wood element to give it that spa-like retreat kinda like what is shown here. Since we're rebels, we decided not to install a tub after we removed it so this design really appealed:

We decided on this beautiful dark grey slate-like porcelain tile. (Slate and porcelain are two different types of tile - file that under useless info you do not need).  

It is very very similar to the texture of the below but NOT the color of the below.  This is just to show you the lovely, lovely texture.  When you touch it, it feels like your own personal rock quarry. I can't wait to touch it!!!  We are also going to use it on the floors. Hopefully that will create a cool, seamless look.
I touch you once, I touch you twice, I won't let go at any price

It is this color, which I think is called midnight black, which makes me feel like a design badass.

As I've mentioned before, I can't stand when tile goes up the whole wall, so we are only going to use that in the shower wall and do a wood bench hopefully teak or a teak-like color. Maybe something like this:

The other, non-shower walls (up to around the 4-foot mark), we are going to do a grey slate. Its called Carrara White marble:
Why is everything Italian always sexy?
So that's your tile update!  What do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Day the Music Died

I found this great article on Houzz titled, "8 Lessons on Renovating a House from Someone Who's Living It" and it made me giggle.

I especially liked #1 on her list, especially the "on fire" part.
1. Whatever your relationship is like now is exactly what your project will be like. Except you will both be on fire. 

If you communicate calmly and kindly while you are in flames, you’ll be fine. 
Not you? Then can you endure the extended stress of seeing about 12 times more of your partner’s least-lovable self?

Can I get an amen?

Good thing the Yankee can function just fine with both legs set on fire. Me?  I can only just go take a nap and hope the tingling subsides.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, thank god for the Yankee.

And Marlo. She loves power tools. WTF?

And truth to this!  Here's her #6 on the list
6. There will be one project that goes on for so long you actually forget there was a time in your life when you were not mired in an epic quest to find the perfect tile.

Our hallway bathroom remodel took at least three times longer than it should have. If there is a better way to make my husband insane, I do not know what it is.  It made him insane that he could not force me to pick a tile, a sink, a toilet, anything. I was so fixated on every detail that I was utterly unable to conceive of a time when I might not view the choice between polished chrome and polished nickel as a matter of life and death.

Any wise words of wisdom from any renovators out there?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Renovation Mini-Reveal

Last week, I revealed that we had knocked out the old windows in the master bedroom and replaced them with big, schmancy new windows.  The fun didn't end with the back of the house!  Here's the front living room window before:

And after:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feline Fridays

General Contractor Marlo surveys the results of the job:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Creating Home

This post is part of a series called Creating Home in which I share musings about the process of creating a home, not just renovating a house.

The Little House was very happy as she sat on the hill and watched the countryside around her. She watched the sun rise in the morning and she watched the sun set in the evening. Day followed day, each one a little different from the one before . . . but the Little House stayed just the same.

- Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House

Roses in the front yard

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Renovation Resolution #4

To help gain some sanity during this renovation, I have come up with a few sane renovation resolutions to help me manage the anxiety, the unknown, the mess and the stress that comes with having your home upended.

I've already revealed three sane renovation resolutions and here they are in a list form since I LOVE LISTS!

1.  Don't let perfect be the enemy of the done
2.  Fail to plan, plan to fail
3.  Unlock the door

Resolution #4 is a very important resolution but not for getting things done - its more about how you get things done.
Sane Renovation Resolution #4:
Don't delegate then micromanage

Sidenote: that resolution would make an amazeballs subversive crossstitch.

Anyway, this is for those of us who are bossy project managers or live/renovate with bossy project managers!  I speak for myself when I say I can be very bossy McBosserson and I tell someone to do something then get all up in their business about how to do it which totally defeats the purpose.  This resolution reminds me to knock it off, otherwise you'll drive each other crazy.  Do not underestimate the amount of stress involved in a renovation and you just can't bring your personalities to the mix.

Hope that helps!  How do you manage during a renovation?  Do you have any ideas for a subversive crossstitch?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All My Girls Get Down on the Floor

Last week, I revealed in a post that we had decided on the color of our floor: the aptly named and very Southern sounding Tobacco Road.

Here it is in our garage after it was delivered.  Because we had waited for a sale, we had to take the delivery the very next day - they wanted to deliver it right away, but we needed to make room in the garage. Good to know for those who also love sales - there may be a downside that you need to take it ASAP even though you may not be ready for stacks and stacks of wood to just sit around for weeks:
stacks on stacks on stacks

The first place it was installed was in the guest bedroom. Remember that guest bedroom reveal?  Be sure to check that out if you haven't already!

First, we installed an allegedly sound-reducing floor muffler pad (shown below in green), then the flooring.  I say allegedly because we haven't really been able to test that feature out.  I didn't mean to match my toe polish and flip flops to the floor pad, but you know, I am just that cool (?)

And here's the flooring in all its glory!  The final result:

Tobacco road
And you KNOW Marlo had to come check it out:
I think she approves
Well, what do you think?  I was a little surprised it was so....texture-y(?) when I saw it, but I think with furniture and some nice rugs, it will provide that nice extra pop of color that we were looking for.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Renovation Mini-Reveal

I have a very exciting renovation mini-reveal today!  Here are the windows that were originally in the master bedroom (and curtains apparently? The old owners didn't bother to take down the curtains):

And here are the brand-new, fancy schmancy windows!  Kudos to the Yankee for picking them out!

Very, very happy with them!  If you didn't catch the new sliding glass door in the guest bedroom, be sure to check it out!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Feline Fridays

Basically, the internet can just go ahead and shut down because nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever top this:

Yep, that's a cat wearing a shark costume on a roomba chasing a duckling.

Here's another video of the shark costume-wearing cat on the roomba. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, floor

Internet, these are some of the hardwood floor options we considered. Ultimately, we were looking for the Goldilocks of floors: not too dark, not too light, jussstttt right

The only hard and fast rule we had was no red or cherry flooring because we thought that was too traditional and we wanted a contemporary space:
Laurel Oak in Cherry...buh bye!
We were really set on darker hued floors for a long time, until a trip to Restoration Hardware changed everything. They had the most beautiful floors.  After a lot of googling - how has no one figured this out?! - I pieced together that the magic was in the natural knots of the wood and some kind of matte stain.

Beauty, rapture
Also, we figured out that the main element we liked was the texture - we really wanted something visually interesting with a lot of texture. That had been missing from a lot of the other flooring we had looked at that was mainly just 1 color.

So we waited until a sale at Lumber Liquidators, and finally decided on this beauty. Apparently, the Lumber Liquidators have a blog where you can share a pic of your pet on your flooring, CLEARLY they know their audience, so I will reveal to you the final selection with someone else's adorable dog:

You had me at hello
The final color we chose is called Tobacco Road - and I couldn't have named it better myself!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chalkboard Backsplash

I hope you'll remember the downstairs kitchen cabinet re-do where we painted our kitchen cabinets white. Have I got an exciting DIY update to that project for you!  We have completed the kitchen with a chalkboard backsplash!

First, I taped off the electrical outlets with my handy dandy frogtape which is my new favorite friend everrrrrr.

It is more expensive than regular blue painter's tape but its much less frustrating to use and tears more easily than blue tape. Plus, I like that it comes in its own little case - that is just too cute. I first learned about my new little friend on one of my fave blogs, Southern Hospitality (who has great hair btw).

I also have a new painting secret I've picked up: harness the usefulness of Press'n Seal wrap. I wrapped the upper cabinets in this sticky wrap to save me from myself as I would be wielding black paint very close to my white cabinets.

Another helpful trick I've found is to have your kitty help you with any project (whether you like it or not).

I had primed the surface a few weeks back when we painted the cabinets, so I just painted three coats of black chalkboard paint on the backsplash.

And here's the chalkboard backsplash in all its glory.  I also played a bit with chalk:

The words above the stove are from my favorite poem, Desiderata. If you can't have poetry above your stove, then its just not worth it.

What do you think?

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Cathedral

I recently revealed that (drum roll), we've got a ceiling!  Continuing on that note, there is an area of the kitchen near the front door that we call The Cathedral.  If you need a refresher, check out the post on the layout.

When we removed the whole ceiling, we discovered a whole mess of empty space above the entryway (foyer. some people would call it a foy-yay but I cannot be friends with those people).

Foy-yay at your own risk
Cat lady that I am, I immediately thought: cool Cat perch! Because that's normal. The Yankee rolled his eyes so hard I thought he was going to hurt his head. So we had to basically decide if we wanted to close it up and have a regular ceiling or leave it open. Because I'm a cat lady rebel, I said: Leave it open.

Looking UP into the Cathedral. 
The brown wooden beams are not permanent, obvs. They're just for leverage for getting on up there. The purple is just construction material and not the final color.
Another view on up in there

Well it looks a little crazy, but we're getting there!  I really think The Cathedral area is going to turn out pretty cool.  We'll see!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Feline Fridays

Is it the weekend yet?

Put together this special little collage for ya. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kids These Days

One of the many benefits of living in New York City is the presence of graffiti "art."  Not on my watch!  Channeling my inner Grampa Simpson, I shook my fist in the air, said a few Kids These Days, and got to work spray painting over some graffiti on a street post outside the house:

Here it is in its fixed state. This was probably also illegal to do. I researched removal through Graffiti Free NYC but this honestly was just easier.

And here's the post again in front of the house:

What do you think?  Have you ever taught a lesson to the youth of today? What's your bet for how long this will stay graffiti-free?