Sunday, February 28, 2010

Loving: Restoration Hardware's New Garden Collection

My heart stopped! The only thing more beautiful than this furniture, is the garden behind them. Perfection.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Accidents Happen...

It was just like any other Thursday morning... until the unmistakable timbre of car vs. car jolted us from our peaceful slumber and started our day off with a bang. I drearily lumbered downstairs as the muffled shouts of strangers drifted through our walls. Peeking through the front window, what did I behold? This...
Turns out a three-car accident in font of our house ended with one of the cars jumping the sidewalk and coming to a not-so-gentle stop when it encountered our front retaining wall. Luckily for the drivers, no one was hurt. Unluckily for us, we're left with a retaining wall with a cracked concrete foundation, buckled blocks, cracked capstones and streaks of Hyundai.
The damage spans about 15 feet of the wall, so I'm guessing that a good portion of the wall will have to demolished, excavated, formed, poured, blocked, capped and back-filled. Our biggest concern is how this very old wall will be rebuilt and finished in a way which matches what's existing and doesn't stick out like an obviously-bandaged sore thumb. Let the misadventure of getting our wall fixed or replaced by an insurance company begin...

(P.S. This situation is totally weak, but we still do our best to keep our sense of humor. In that spirit, we had to channel our friends over at FailBlog and snap this picture - PARKING FAIL!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mailboxs Etc

I was recently lucky enough to be the big winner of a super cute mailbox (pictured below) by way of a fellow Portland house blogger, Joe of 1916 Portland Bungalow. Being someone who loves to coordinate, I was beyond thrilled to find out the mailbox I won has the EXACT same square pattern design as this one that I got for the house last year. Since I don't really need two mailboxes, my current plan is to paint the new one oil rubbed bronze (my fav color) to match the exterior details on the house and used it as something other than a mailbox (currently loving the idea of it as a wall-mounted planter). I hope that doesn't go against the rules of what you can do with items won on blogs!?!

I also want to mention Joe's new venture, NCD Interior Design, which I think is SUCH a great idea. NCD Interior Design is meant to provide inspiration and interior design ideas to anyone with an older home who wants to undertake a respectful remodel of their bungalow, foursquare, cottage, or other classic American home. And the kicker? You could be a part of it! HCD Interior Design is currently looking to expand their site. Whether you have a high-end (finished) interior room or are an interior designer looking to get more exposure, drop Joe a line to be considered for the site.

I can only hope that, one day, my finished rooms will make the cut! And a big thanks to Joe for the killer mailbox!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A little Monday retail therapy...

Meet our new entry bench by way of Overstock. I love the graphic quality of the slats, the natural element of the seat and the character of the arm rests.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pantry Overhaul: Organization

Inspired by my obsession with vintage jars and the popularity of all things chalkboard, a pantry organization idea was born. I used chalkboard contact paper on jars of various sizes to create a vintage inspired pantry fit for an old house. And the best part is you can just wipe off the chalk writing and change it when need be.

Here's a before pic:And here's what the pantry looks like now. (Try to look past the yellow doors and tired paint that will be revived this summer.) Surprisingly, everything in the jars was already in my pantry. It's amazing how nice food looks when you take away the packaging.With a little help from Poof, my ever-growing collection of pretty turquoise glass has a new home in the pantry as well.

Inspiration circa 1744

The latest issue of Lonny Magazine is live and I'm swooning over the showcase of an updated 1744 home in Connecticut. The blend of old and new is perfection. The rustic details including exposed wood ceilings and beams, fireplace stonework, wood paneling, brick walls, wide-plank flooring and distressed finishes feel like a peek into the home's 266 year history. And who wouldn't want to curl up in front of that fireplace?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The strangest thing I have EVER purchased

We hit the ground running with our next wave of renovations by doing some serious window shopping today. I previously posted about the guest bathroom spacial dilemma. Ideally there would be a bathtub AND shower, but the open space available wasn't boding well for the tub option. While browsing around The Rebuilding Center today (which was jam-packed with great used building and remodeling materials), we stumbled up the perfect second-hand solution to our problem.

And here it is--officially the strangest thing I have ever purchased:
There she is, spouting whales and all. At 42" x 35 1/2" it fits perfectly in our beyond small space and, being a used tub that was 25% off, it fit perfectly in our budget. The tub is big enough for a child to bath in and for an adult shower in. It's a small tub-sized miracle! What will you do with the 10 extra inches between the tub and the wall you ask? Why, we'll tile in a nifty seat/shelf for our sitting/storage pleasure.

After installation we'll have the tub refinished to like-spankin'-new condition (and I'll secretly miss those cute little whales).

Guest Bathroom: The Renovation Begins

Here's the current state of bathroom:

The guest bath is especially challenging because of its small size. Our general plan is:

- tile floors
- pedestal sink
- remove current shower enclosure and replace with something that gives the option for a bath or a shower
- replace toilet
- repaint walls
- strip and repaint original medicine cabinet, replace glass

The biggest challenge is the tub/shower issue. Right now there is only a shower in the room but we want to add a bathtub option for when we have kids. That is going to be a challenge given the tub/shower area is only 52" wide and about 36" deep.

Let the renovation begin!

Meet my two new best friends

The old washer and dryer that came with the house have been destroying our clothes since April and will be gone come Wednesday! The new, efficient, Consumer Reports recommended Kenmore models were the winners after a serious hunt all over town and online. We got them for 30% off (25% off sale + AAA gives an additional 5% off at!

Garage Update: No more garage updates

I'll make this short and sweet. We are, once again, not building the garage. Despite a possible deal with a contractor, it would have required too many compromises in the end. On that note I will leave the garage subject alone for a while.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Garage Update: It may be built afterall

We were pretty garage-obsessed until the last post when we decided not to spend the $44,000-$73,000 we were quoted to build a garage. It was simply too much cash on one project when we have so many others we want to do at the same time. And just as we settled into the idea of no garage--the garage may be back within reach!

Apparently it's hard times out there for contractors (although you wouldn't know it from the $73K bids we received) and there is now one willing to work with us and do the job within our budget. More details on this will be coming. We're kind of excited! And I am once again, dreaming of my garage with rooftop deck...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Garage Update: We don't need no stinking garage (right away)

The garage saga continues:
Turns out $35K will buy most people a garage, but not us. Our garage requires a lot of site prep work and that is causing the cost to skyrocket. A serious amount of dirt excavation and moving is needed. The cost for the cement footings, retaining walls, driveway and garage slab isn't helping either. This prep work alone is half the budget. Granted, this high cost DOES make sense when you look at what we're working with:New Plan = We'll get all the site work mentioned above done now. That way we'll be able to landscape, build gardens, get our cars off the street and have some outdoor space to hang out in. We'll still punch a new door on the South side of the house allowing easy access from the back of the house/parking slab into the basement. Then, we wait. We'll live with that set-up for a few years (maybe less if we get lucky) and then come back in to build the garage and deck on the pre-prepped site.

The upside to the new plan is it will free up enough funds to redo the kitchen, redo the three bathrooms, finish the (VERY) unfinished basement including a 4th bath and 4th bedroom, refinish the floors on the main level and repaint the main level. This is all pretty exciting stuff and we can't wait start the proverbial balls rolling!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Garage Update: Where is Drew Carey when you need him?

We have most of the bids in now. And I keep coming back to how they do it on The Price Is Right. The players bid on an item and the closest without going over wins. If all the players overbid a loud buzzer sounds, all the bid are removed and they have to give new, lower bids...

You get the idea. It's not going well.

The closest bid we have is still $9,000 off from fitting within our price range. My favorite bid is the one for $73,000. Really? $73,000? Incredible. We are currently trying to wrap our brains around the whole situation and decide what the next step will be.

If our hopes and dreams of a garage were summarized by a photo, this would it:CRUSHED.

Monday, February 1, 2010

DIY: Curtains

Whilst out shopping for roman shade items, I fell in love with the fabric I posted about here and decided I HAD to have curtains out of it. I found this article which broke down every step and measurement to perfect simplicity. I had no idea making curtains was so easy! After a few short hours of time...
I ended up with the most gorgeous curtains EVER! Even David (who doesn't usually have much to say about things of this nature) keeps commenting on how much he loves them. These curtains flank the windows in the stairwell landing, an area which has not yet been rehabed and painted. As the space isn't finished, I'm not doing a full reveal quite yet. Up against black trim and dull mauve walls--my lovely curtains don't look their full fabulous yet. After painting, they'll POP and I'll share more.

In the daytime:
During the night:
If curtains were babies, I just had twins! I seriously love them.