April 29, 2011

#73- Special Delivery

We had our first delivery to the new house, and I won't keep you in suspense, it was these guys:
Here's a daylight shot of the paint color that I promised as well- 2 for 1!

You know how most guys feel about big screen TVs and electronics?  That's the way I feel about a front loading washer and dryer.  I've literally been pining over these for years, praying for the day that our ancient set in The Bungalow would finally kick the bucket.  It's true what they say though, they really don't make them like they used to, because these old guys just wouldn't die.

Once when Ryder was just a baby the drum belt on the dryer broke, and I momentarily considered telling the hubby that they were beyond repair.  But after a quick how-to video search, I realized it was about a $19 part and would take me only 30 minutes to fix it, and the cheap-skate in me just couldn't justify it. (Plus, 6 month old Ry hung out in the exersaucer while I worked and we broke into a little, "Mommy Fixed the Dryer" dance when we were done, which was totally worth the price of admission.)  So when we toured The Lodge, I couldn't have been more thrilled that it came without a washer and dryer, because it gave me the chance to purchase a brand new front loading set, without the guilt. 

After a lot of research, we went with the Whirlpool Duet Front Loader Washer and Dryer.  They are pretty, they got great reviews online, they're Energy Star, and let's be honest, they were a great price.  Thanks to some phenomenal online deals at Sears.com, plus a 10% off discount Sears sent us when we listed our home, (smart marketing) we only paid $750 for the pair, with free delivery.  Considering that a lot of the washers and dryers we were looking at cost that much just for one, we nearly threw our credit card at the computer when we saw the total purchase price on these guys.

The install went relatively smoothly although we weren't expecting this:

Even though these two are a set, the washer is about a half and inch taller than the dryer.  And before you go calling me a dummy, yes, we did check the adjustable feet on the bottom of the machines- the dryer doesn't have adjustable feet, and the washer is as low as it can go.  Oh well, we plan to span a counter top just barely hovering above these guys anyway, so I don't think it will be at all noticeable. 

Now it's off to Ikea to get some new counter tops, open shelving and drying racks for the space.  Until then, we've got a bunch of laundry to get started on! What do you guys think- are front loaders really worth all the hype?  I hear they are great with efficiency, but can be kind of a pain to maintain, clean, etc...  Let me know if you have some and have any suggestions.

April 28, 2011

#72- Under my Umbrella, ella, ella....

Those of you that know me personally are probably not surprised at all to hear that we've already painted our first room.  In fact, the paint brushes were literally brought out for the first time on Tuesday, the day we moved in.  Our amazing friend Noel, (who already shared his amazing home improvement talents with us back in this post), was the first to dive in, and while I was fanatically digging through boxes trying to find where my toothpaste and hair dryer ended up, he had already gotten started painting The Laundry Room. Unfortunately I was also still searching for the camera at that point so I don't have a visual for you of Noel's superior painting skills, but let's just say he's mean with a paint brush. 

We had a little incentive to get the painting done quickly, as our new washer and dryer were scheduled to be delivered the next day, and we knew if we were ever going to paint this room, now was the chance.  (And based on what we started with, you know we were going to paint this room.)

This far away picture doesn't really show the rough shape that these walls were in.  Trust me, they needed a coat of paint just about as badly as Brits need to watch the Royal Wedding. 

For the color, we came prepared with a little inspiration, (and a half a gallon of paint), thanks to our recent bathroom remodel on The Bungalow.

We really loved the color, Martha Stewart's Rainwater, and the minute we put it up in The Bungalow, I knew I'd need to find a home for it in The Lodge.  The Laundry Room seemed like the perfect place, as it gives a really fresh and clean feeling, and looks great with the crisp white cabinets.  (Which will need another coat of paint before they truly look crisp and white, but that's another post for another day people.  Let's stick to #72.)  I had more than a half gallon left over from the bathroom, so I simply left the new owners of The Bungalow the sample jar, (in case they need to touch up anything), and took the rest of the paint on the move with us.  "Holla" for free paint! 

 After Noel very graciously covered the first 2 walls, I took over and painted the rest so he couldn't file suit against me for slave labor.  It was actually a really fun and relaxing way to spend my first evening in the new digs.

Yep, that's me slapping paint all over those blue counter tops, because you don't have to read The List to know that we're definitely removing those bad boys in a hot second! 

Anyone know where you can recycle batteries?  The previous owners left us this sweet gift.
And in the end, we have this:

You'll have to forgive the color in the photo, since it was dark out by the time I finished and my camera needs natural light like I need air to breathe.  This looks more yellow/green then it is in reality, so I'll make sure to snap a pic in the daylight so you can see the true color.

Once again, as in The Bungalow's bath, I'm totally infatuated with the color.  It's crisp and clean, modern and fresh.  It feels calm and peaceful, like a fresh rainfall.  Although, not to be confused with the rain shower action happening directly across the hall in the main bath. 

"Rain shower" tiles in The Main Bath are the opposite of calming.  Try panic inducing.
Once the washer and dryer get delivered we'll do some quick work to try to put The Laundry Room together, as it would be nice to have at least one room that was completely done, or close to it.  Stay tuned. 

April 27, 2011

Oh My God, We Bought a Dump!

Yesterday was Closing Day on The Lodge, and we couldn't be more thrilled.  While we've been getting lots of great feedback on how nice the house looks (thanks for that!), the truth is its a Monet. You know, looks good from far away but up close it's a big mess.

(I admit to quoting the movie Clueless frequently in daily life.  Like the gems, "Hey James Bond, in America we drive on the right side of the road" or "Let's do a lap before we commit to a location." It might have been the best thing to come out of 1995.)

It you remember from this post, the first time we ever walked through the home was in September of 2010.  At the time, it had been vacant for only about 5 months, and even though it had lost some of the polish from the listing photos, it wasn't too bad.  We put in our offer early November, and then left our big baby all alone through a particularly terrible Minnesota winter until the bank finally gave us the go ahead to buy the joint.  So when we finally got to go back in in March for our inspection, we weren't quite prepared for it.  I'm not sure if the winter was just really hard on this empty home, or if we had fantasized about the place until it looked much better in our minds, but when we finally got back in there, our hearts sank.  It was filled with dead bugs, carpet stains, damaged doors, walls and trim, and all those "quirks" that we can't wait to rip out.  I literally said to the Hubby, "Oh my God, we bought a dump."  He responded back with a smile, 'Yes we did, and it's exactly what we wanted."  Three cheers for those times when he knows exactly what to say to make me feel better.  

So in celebration of the big day, we thought we'd be real with you and give you a little montage of the gross stuff.  The best part- it's worse today, filled with a sea of boxes and mis-matched furniture.  It can only get better from here.


Rock filled ledges and open windows in our master bedroom
Close up on the rock in The Loft so you can appreciate their grossness.  We've found batteries and bottle caps hidden in them.

Chicken wire on the back of the steps

Full wall mirror in the dining room

Super gross toilet, and shower floor, in the Master Bath.
Sweet pile of groceries the previous owners left for us, including half a handle of "Wild Berry Jack."
Gross, dirty and cracked tile floors
Damaged, dirty and stained walls and molding.

Literally every inch, of every wall needs to be painted or refinished.
Dead bugs everywhere
Strange light switches on many floor outlets
Stain on the fireplace hearth that my mom swears is blood, and I'm starting to believe her.

"Rain Shower" painted tiles in the Main Bath
Herringbone and brown grout tile covering the downstairs bath

Cabinet left behind with literally 2 dozen different types of air fresheners, the stench is overwhelming.  It reminds me of that scene in the movie Seven where they hung hundreds of air fresheners in the room with the nearly dead man.  How will I ever put food in here?

Old, beat up wood and storage boxes on The Living Room Deck
Broken Screen in the Screened-In Porch

Two Words: Cat Door

Update: Those pictures might be terrible, but I love these, taken by my uber-talented cousin Morgan.  They were taken late last night after a long day of moving in the rain, so try not to judge our clothes and hair, and just take a look at our super happy faces! :)  We're home!

April 26, 2011

Curb Appeal

We're closing on The Lodge today, and we are bound to spend the entire day clearing off the truck, hauling boxes and unpacking.  So until we have time to get in, get settled and upload pics of our chaotic disaster, we thought we'd leave you with a little curb appeal dreaming.

We're not going to lie to you... when we first took a gander at our big, beautiful lodge, we didn't think it was so beautiful.  I mean, it's a little strange right?  With it's sprawling layout, peaked roof and super big driveway.

It's certainly nothing like our first baby the 1920's Bungalow, which to me looks a lot more like "home" and a lot less like "office complex."

But over time the lodge grew on us.  Maybe it was the gorgeous neighborhood, or the fact that one of the times when we drove by these guys were hanging out in our yard:

We knew no matter how "homey" the bungalow looked, the fact that it was in the city, with a tiny lot and in the airport's flight plan, we'd never find the serenity there that we could have at the Lodge.  So we started to dream up ways to soften up it's curb appeal, thanks to the miracle of Photoshop.  

First we thought about taking a power washer to the fence and deck, and then staining the wood a nice warm cedar color.  Like this:

I also added in a little cedar trellis that we already own to the left of the door.  That helps, but the house still seems really long.  Perhaps we could break it up by staining the chimney a different color, like this:

Now that we've stained all the other cedar, those cedar shakes on the roof look like they could use some love:
That really changes the pallet.  Although, I'm not sure if it's realistic to stain the shakes.  Even if we did go through all the effort to climb on the roof, power wash and then stain everything, would we have to revisit the project every couple of years to maintain it?  That might be one of my famous, "It sounded like a good idea when we started..." ideas. 

Plus, now there is just a little too much of the cedar color.  So we thought we'd embrace the Lodge concept and add a stone veneer to the chimney, like this:

Forgive the bad Photoshop work here, this is just to give us an idea.  Now there was just the issue of the huge, stained driveway.  We noticed that our new neighbors across the street had stained their driveway, and it looks incredible. (On purpose, not accidentally with a car that leaks oil like at our house.)  It immediately takes their house from standard to stand out, and makes it look really expensive. On our house, it would look sort of like this:

If we edit back through and remove the "not-very-likely" shake stain, and maybe go with a stacked stone, we'd have this, which is my favorite so far:
As a reminder, here where we started:

Pretty amazing what we could do, huh?  Full disclosure, we need to do A LOT of work on the inside of the house first, and these exterior changes are definitely not a priority for the next few years.  Heck, by the time we get around to it we might have an entirely different idea on how to go.  But it's fun to play around and imagine how this house could change over the years and become our home. 

Does anyone out there watch HGTV's Curb Appeal and Curb Appeal the Block shows?  It never seizes to amaze me how those houses look entirely different when they are done.  Does anyone else have curb appeal projects to share?  We are always hunting for inspiration...

April 25, 2011

Good Bye Bungalow

While I've been constantly trying to remind myself in the last few weeks that we are moving into an incredible new place, I can't help my weepy heart from getting all sentimental about leaving The Bungalow.  This is really the place where our lives together, and our family began.  As each room started getting cleared up and packed away, all of the memories came flooding back.

Like this empty space, which has come full circle and is empty again now, where 6 years ago my hubby proposed.  We were in contract on the house, but hadn't closed yet, and we drove by to look at the home.  Jason suggested we get out and peak in the windows (we knew it was vacant), and I jumped at the chance.  From the side of the house I heard him say, "Hey, the door is open..." and I raced over to him yelling, "Don't go in there, it's breaking and entering!"   But when I raced in the house after him, I found him on one knee in the middle of the Dining Room, ring in hand.  He said something to the effect of, "Since this is where we will begin our lives together, there's no better place..." and I mumbled something like, "Oh my gawd yes."  We ran around the house for a little while afterward planning what we would do with each room, before a limo came by to pick us up and drove us around the lakes while we called our parents, and then took us to dinner.  I mean just try to say no to that.  Impossible.

Or the garage we built together the summer before we got married, (with the amazing help of my foreman Father), which started our fire for home improvement.  
Jason running the bobcat to tear down the old garage.  (Yes that is a beer in his hand, but I swear we were done for the day and celebrating, we do not advocate drinking while running a bobcat.)
Jay and I attaching the Roofing (Don't mock the outfit, it was literally 104 degrees in July, and we were working on the roof!  Jason was only wearing a shirt to protect his baby white skin.)

Erin hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood to the roof to install.  Somehow I got the job of hauling, while Jason and my Dad waited on the roof for me to bring the pieces- how did that happen?
And then there are the funny memories of how we began, like the first 4 years when we had barely any window treatments in our Living Room and lived like we were in a fish bowl.  Or our basement when we didn't have a lot of furniture yet, or sense of style...  It may have looked like this for the first year we lived there.  I can't believe I just admitted that.

And our amazing tree that perfectly bent over the back deck to provide privacy and shade.  Although cleaning up after it was a chore, there is no denying the beauty of it's changing throughout the seasons:

My heart is breaking a little as I write this post, but I know we have years of memories ahead of us in our new forever home.  Even though we'll always remember The Bungalow as our first place, to our kids, The Lodge will be the only home they'll really ever know.  Hopefully it will provide years of great memories and family gatherings as they grow, and be the quiet retreat they like to come back to as college students and adults.  But before we take this next big step, we'll take one last moment to say, 

Goodbye Bungalow.

PS- Special thanks to our amazing family that helped us empty the house into the truck, and to my fabulous sister-in-law for taking this photo!

April 22, 2011

#91-Come on Ryder Light My Fire

When Ryder was born, as a gift from one of my college friends, we received this beautiful lamp from Dwell Studios at Target.

I love it's clean lines and modern style.  It was the perfect fit to my little angel's room.  And then my little angel grew up into a little tornado, and one day I came into his room to find his lamp on the floor, and his adorable little foot kicked through the side. (The shade was made of a lightweight plastic.)  Thankfully he wasn't hurt, but the lamp was DOA.  I peeled off the broken shade and was left with this.

When life hands you lemons.... blah, blah, blah.  To save some cash I decided to make a lamp for Ryder's new room.  And to save even more cash I decided to use a material that I already had on hand, the cloth bag that his sheets came in.

It seemed like such a waste for this cheapthrifty DIYer to let that perfectly matching fabric just go to waste.  So I carefully cut the seams and was left with this:

Then I put the lamp back together, and measured the width around the circle, and the height.

In the original lamp, the supported circle part actually went down, and the stiff poly-styrene that the shade was made of was able to stand on it's own, with just the wire circle at the top to help it hold the shape.  My fabric wouldn't be able to stand on it's own though, so I flipped the supported circle upwards, and used the other circle on the bottom.  Once the fabric was cut, I ironed it smooth, and folded down one edge and ironed a nice clean seam.

I started with the plain circle, and glued one of the top edges of the fabric around it with my trusty glue gun.  By placing my glue line just 1/4" from the top of the fabric, I had just enough to wrap over the wire to make a nice clean seam.  There may or may not have been a bit of cursing from burning my fingers with hot glue, but let's be honest, it's a rare DIY project that doesn't involve at least one curse word.  (Which is why most DIY occurs at nap or bed time.)  Once I had it attached all the way around, I placed it on the lamp, and began glue the other edge to the top circle.

In order to pull it tight, I had to go back and glue the bottom circle to the lamp base.  My glue gun failed me here though and wasn't strong enough, so I pulled out the big guns- super glue.  Here's a close up of that edge wrapped around the top of the wire.

Surprisingly this project went pretty much as planned, and when I was done, I had this:

It's not perfect, but looks pretty darn good for a completely free lamp. Or as my Mom would say, it's "better than a kick in the pants."  I love how this fabric has a lot of white in it with all the coordinating colors so it will stand out from the blue walls in the room and the bright orange night stand it will be sitting on.  I can't wait to get it in the room and all set up!

Any one else ever make their own lamps?  Apparently Martha did a show on lamp making recently so it's all the rage, and online stores like The Lamp Shop that sell poly-styrene are going gang busters.  I'm not sure I have the imagination for it though, so I'd love to see what other, more creative people can do.