Archive for the 'home decorating' Category

So much to be grateful for

Lately, I’ve spent so much time in a state of utter stress and terror. I’m scared about national affairs and changes at work have created a new normal that’s lead to a lot of tension and feelings of fragility and confusion. What I really need to do is concentrate more on the home front and the things that I can control. I know I’ve spoken and written and thought these words a million times over, but it’s really, really, REALLY time to put them into action and try not to obsess over all of the noise.

I’m not saying that I could ever stop caring about politics or my job and just go through the motions or tune out, but I need to get WAY better about being able to separate them from the most important things in my life – my family and friends and my own well-being – or I’m not going to have anything left for those most important parts. And that would really be a shame. For me. Because, let’s face it, I’m not going to be able to make any of the changes that I really want to make in the world if I don’t take care of those most important parts first. And, if I’m honest, the real changes or the real effects I want to realize are about those parts. I want to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend, niece, cousin and Madisonian before I want to be anything else. I want to advocate for my loves first, and then I’ll have the energy and confidence to take on something else.

For now, baby steps.

And that baby step over the past week took the form of a new front door. And it could not have made me happier.

You see, our front door was a problem from the get-go. While it was an unoffensive, and even probably somewhat charming, red, it was totally ill-suited to the house. I’ll show you.

img_3029

Can you tell? Let me get you closer. (Also, you can see the new door propped against the side of the house there on the right side of the picture.)

IMG_3028

You see the problem now, right? Oy. It’s got this weird, pseudo-prairie-style stained glass thing going on. What the hell is this door doing on my house? It. Drove. Me. Bananas. For. Years. Three, to be exact. Actually, it’ll probably drive me crazy in my dreams for a lot longer than that. Anyway, we finally bit the bullet and hit Home Depot to order a new door. This was a mistake because of a number of reasons, but we learned again that HD is great for many things, and is a mistake to do business with for numerous other things. Anyway, we ended up canceling their delivery service and using one of our favorite local handyman service folks and we saved hundreds of bucks.

And then we got this sweet gem.

IMG_3031

Holy bananas. What a palpable change, amirite?!? Sorry about the ThredUp bag in all the shots. More on that someday, if you want.

Now, we had to paint it. And you know me, I couldn’t wait a second, so I got going right away. Door went in Monday morning, the first coat went on on Monday night. Oh, a word on the paint. We had originally picked Sherwin Williams’ Electric Lime for the paint, but the paint gurus at Sherwin Williams nixed it, telling us that it would fade in the sun on our north-facing exterior door. Rats! But we appreciated the advice, of course. This is why I love going to the professionals at the paint store. Anyway, we quickly moved on to Exuberant Pink, which we had also used in the kitchen (and it’s still there, but now it just barely peeks out above the subway tile around the window – I think it’s a fun pop and I like how it plays off of the front door, which it sits directly behind). It’s taking about seven hundred coats to get it on there properly, but we love it.

IMG_3062

And then the finally piece went on this morning . . . A knocker I bought a year ago, I think. And I’ve just been waiting for a new door to put it on.

IMG_3065

So, I know it’s a small thing. It’s just a new door in the world. But to me, it’s long-awaited vision, now realized. And it’s a door that just makes me so happy.

Tile

The toaster oven is here, but I can’t tell you about it because all I’m thinking about is tile. Backsplash tile. Oops. No, I’m also thinking about grout. 

Gotta go. I’m sure there’s a blog I’ve missed that has the solution to my tile dilemmas. 

Front door

April 2017 is turning out to be the most exciting month for our house EVER! Our kitchen is going to be remodeled, we finally got a dresser to solve our lack-of-ample-front-closet-storage woes, and our new front door has come in! AO just picked it up this morning! Now, we need to settle on a color to paint it. The top three contenders are pink, aqua and lime green. And I think I’ve ruled aqua out. So, really, it’s between Sherwin Williams’ Exuberant Pink (scroll down) and their Electric Lime. Thoughts? I kinda think we can’t go wrong.

Have I mentioned how much I love that SW is across the street?!

UPDATE: Sherwin Williams strongly recommended against using the Electric Lime on our north-facing front door, saying that its yellow undertones would be prone to fading. I’m so grateful for their advice, but disappointed in the news. So, pink it is. At least one member of our household is exuberant.

Lighting update

Let’s get back to things that I have some control over: lighting. Admittedly, I rely a lot on Aaron for this, but I am capable of clicking ‘place order’ and I’m mighty good at it.

When we moved into the house, I knew we would have to replace all of the lights because, well, because they were basically all either dreaded boob lights or they were other totally inappropriate monstrosities. Our Flipper (as I call him) had installed really cheap stuff, which is fine, but it was also all really ugs. For example, there were sconces that were there to collect moths, there was a gothic-inspired top light, and there were brown-glass pendants in the already soaking brown kitchen. Ew!

By my count, we have now replaced 17 light fixtures in our home (one twice) and put three up where there weren’t lights before. Six lights have come from Barn Light Electric, five have come from CB2, three from Pottery Barn Teen, three from West Elm, three from Etsy (one of these has yet to be put up), and one from Ballard Designs. That’s a lot of lights. There are two more hall lights to be replaced, one is just waiting for AO to have some time, and three bathroom lights that are in the queue, waiting for the checkbook to have some padding. And it’ll be a long wait because, er, kitchen.

Here’s the thing. It hasn’t been a cheap overhaul, but good lighting makes a huge difference in a space. It sorta sets the tone for everything, whether you have the lights on or not. The top lights in our bedroom are rarely on, of course, but they sparkle when they’re off and make me feel like we’ve added a little glam to our lives. This creamy white and brass number from CB2, at $60, became my inspiration for the whole kitchen remodel. And I couldn’t be more excited for how I think it’s all going to turn out. (Fingers tightly crossed.)

bell white flush mount lamp

So while I get annoyed that Our Flipper spent pennies on crappy lighting and installed it everywhere, I’m glad that I’m not having to replace someone else’s expensive choices with my own. And I know AO is super duper glad about the whole thing. Tee hee.

Why did this take me so long?! The bathroom edition

Our master bathroom is short on storage and long on annoyances. For example, the heated tile floors that seemed like a real selling point have never worked. Not once. And to make up for the lack of storage, some sharp tack installed the vanity so that its drawers can’t be opened more than halfway before running into the room’s door frame. And there was no medicine cabinet – just a mirror – because why add storage when you don’t need to. I mean, the house has a closet somewhere.

Anyway, one thing the room did have was a couple of those nice looking “floating” shelves and they were hung above the toilet. But as soon as we tried to use them, we discovered that they weren’t hung well and wouldn’t really hold anything up. You know, which isn’t that cool if that’s what you’re interested in having a shelf do. So AO took them down and that’s when things made sense. The shelves weren’t there to hold things, but to cover up what may have been the scene of a murder. Someone had done a lot of damage to that wall; there were holes everywhere. But a lot of patching and sanding and painting later (all by AO), we had a clean, storage-less wall. Now what? We didn’t want to spend a lot of money because the dream was that we’d someday expand the room (and maybe get those floors to warm up) so after a trip to Ikea to solve all of our other problems, we came up with this beauty.

Um, I know it’s not bad bad, but some on, Kate. That is not ideal from a cleaning perspective and you can just tell by how it’s arranged that I gave up even pretending it could look nice. Still, at $60 I thought we could deal with it and I hoped the bamboo-look would give us a spa vibe. {Spoiler alert: it did not.}

But lately AO and I have been on kinda a tear about all-things-wrong-with-our-house and this one was on my list. I also thought it might be contributing to my hostility to showering. So, for the greater good of those around me during this humid summer, I was determined to fix it and by “fix it,” I mean I was determined to order something for AO to install. But preferably not without me messing it up at least once so that he could get sufficiently annoyed with me before saving the day. It’s just not fun otherwise. And guess what?! Missions accomplished! I found some seriously marked-down shelves from Pottery Barn, ordered them, tried to install them myself, put a nasty hole in the wall and it was almost like we were right back to where we started two years ago! Only now I’m in my 40s with epilepsy! #goodtimes Anyway, AO rescued the operation (swoon!) and I think we can all agree we have a cleaner (if still imperfect) looking bathroom.