November 19, 2012

Swing and a Miss

Hey folks- thanks for being patient while I take a much needed break from home improvement to spend more time snuggling with my boys.  In truth it hasn't been all snuggles though, and I have spent a bunch of nap times catching up on projects that have been taking the back burner for awhile.  The problem is, they are not very interesting projects: fixing 3 way light switches, cleaning out the cat door storage closet, organizing and trashing our paint, and prepping the yard for winter.  There was one recent project though that might sizzle your bacon.

I absolutely LOVE how Boden's nursery turned out.   I mean, if I liked it before he was born, I'm absolutely giddy about it now.  That's because I've been spending a lot of time in there lately, and the calming peace of the room literally transforms my mood whenever I'm in there. At 3AM, instead of being a grumpy zombie, I'm actually cuddled up with him on the daybed, taking a few deep breaths and appreciating everything we have, and all the hard work we've done to get here. 

While this side of the Nursery looks finished though, the other side is a bit bare...

 I have been looking for the perfect growth chart to fit in between the closet and entry door, but still no dice. Bo has, however, recently received lots of beautiful new books from our incredibly generous and thoughtful friends, so I thought this might be a great place to display them.  I mean, why not? I still have these leftover book ledges that my dad made.

 They were leftover from the ones I hung in the Playroom, remember?

First things first,  I need to fix my old mistake.  Back in the Bungalow, I had used one of these ledges in Ryder's baby room, and to refinish it white from the original stain golden oak, instead of doing it right and sanding, priming and painting, I just slapped on a coat of white paint.  DIY is a learn as you go process my friends, and I learned that over time, without primer, your pretty white paint gets stained from the poly below, creating a yellow mess.  Exhibit A:

My non-primed shelf is the one on the bottom.  You knew that though, didn't you?
 I also had to cut these two different sized shelves down just a bit to fit the space. Instead of two, I cut them down to three, and painted the cut edges.  Here's another look at that yellow mistake.  See?  We're not all perfect people.

Since I cut down these ledges, I needed to add a few more hanging holes to the back of them so the could hang  evenly.  For that I needed this beast:

That big guy is my Dad's router.  Admittedly, for someone that builds furniture I'm not nearly as comfortable with a router as I should be.  Probably because I don't have one of my own (Christmas gift hint Hubs), and I haven't had a lot of time to practice with one.  Lucky for me drilling in this keyhole was pretty easy.

I hate, HATE hanging things with the hidden keyholes though.  If you are off by just an 1/8" inch any way, your whole piece is off.  So to hang them I cut paper bags to the shape of my shelves, and marked where the keyholes were in each one. Once the templates were up on the wall centered, level and the appropriate distance apart, I could easily drill my holes for the mounting right through the template.

And here's the final result:

So why the swing and a miss title of this post?  Because to be honest, I hate it.  I mean, on its own it's fine, but in the context of the full room,  the random and colorful books look busy and don't fit the vibe of the room at all.  Here's the view from my usual spot on the daybed:

It's just not working for me, but I'll leave it for now until I find a better solution. Perhaps I'll keep looking for the perfect growth chart...  What do you guys think?  Would you keep it or bag it?  I don't think it's a total loss, I can always use these ledges again down the road, I'm just not sure they are right for the room right now.  Tell me what you think, don't worry about hurting my feelings, I can take it!

November 6, 2012

'Tis the Season for Dining

I may be spending most of my time walking around like a zombie from lack of sleep due to our recent little addition, but that doesn't mean we haven't found a little time for projects.  Remember where we last left the Dining Room?

I'm happy to report our contractor patched the holes, scraped the ceiling and repainted it.  And the even better news- after your kind suggestions, I went ahead and sent a letter to our Bath Crashers executive producer, and she came through and sent us a check to reimburse us for the work! Whoo-to-the-hoo!  Sure, she didn't apologize for all the problems we've had, or mention whether this was a frequent occurrence with their show, but she sent a check and to me, right now, that's all that matters.

Once the ceiling was fixed, the Hubs and I were itching to get the room put back together.  But first we took the left over primer and enamel from the Kitchen trim and did this:

It took 4 days, sanding, caulking, two coats of primer and two coats of enamel to get the job done, but the damaged and dirty Golden Oak Trim is gone!  Of course this room is no where close to being done, just take a look at the view from the other side:

This room has been tricky from the start.  The 12 x 12 space doesn't leave much room for a big dining space, especially since this room is the only direct way out to our backyard, so it is used far more as a hallway to the door than a formal Dining Room.  I have a grand plan for the space, but it's going to take a lot of work.  "Grand Plan?" you say?  I might be giving myself a bit too much credit.  Here's the plan:

Try not to make fun of the sketch, would you?  I've had this in mind since we moved in, but couldn't quite explain it to the Hubs so he could share my vision, so finally I drew it out for him.  An artist I am not, but you get the idea.  I'd start by pushing everything back against the far wall that contains the picture right now.  This will open up the walk way from the hallway to the door, making much easier access to the backyard without tripping over chairs.  To get the table over as far as we can, I'd use a bench or a banquette for seating for 2-3 on that side of the table.  I'm am head over heels in love with this one from World Market, except for the price. 

Finding a round table, or ideally a round table that can expand via a couple of table leaves into an oval, will make it easier for the people sitting on that bench side to get around and in.  An expandable table is key for me so that 95% of the time this room can be uncluttered and have furniture that fits the space appropriately.  Whenever we would use the formal Dining Room though, its likely because we have 8+ people over to dinner, and therefore we'll need a much bigger table to sit everyone.  I think we can find a table like this to refinish on Craigslist.  The Hubs wants to buy it. And so the eternal disagreement continues (Me: Build It, Hubs: Buy It.)  We'll see who wins this time.

Speaking of the Build/Buy dilemma, instead of a buffet or sideboard style piece of furniture in this room for storage, I love the idea of two towers on either side of the bench.  A sideboard, either way it's placed, has to sit behind chairs and significantly limits the ability for chairs to pull out or for people to pass behind them.  By splitting the piece into two and placing it in the corners, you can have just as much storage, but take up less space. Cupboards could conceal less attractive storage below, and our prettier pieces of china, vases, glass wear, etc... could be placed on the open shelving above.  I think we should custom build these to fit the space exactly and use molding to make it look built into the room.  The Hubs thinks we should find something like that and buy it.  No surprises here people.

There's a bunch of other details to consider too, like the paint color, curtains, rug, etc...  So regardless of whether we buy or build, the whole thing is going to take a lot of time and money, which is why we're taking our time before we dive in.  We also have a bunch of ideas for the Family Room downstairs, (that will be another post), and we're currently trying to decide which room we want to focus on first.  In the mean time, let's just enjoy this beautiful, new, smooth ceiling- shall we?

I still have nightmares that the plumbing is going to leak again and that we'll have to open up this ceiling for a 4th time.  Pray for me people, pray. What do you guys think?  Good plan?  Anything I'm missing?  Build It or Buy It?  (Help a girl out here...)