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And the Kitchen 2.0

January 12, 2011

Man, having a day job really puts a kink in my blog style! I dread showing nighttime photos but sometimes it can’t be helped when I’m anxious to kick out a post. So I’m trying to squeeze-in the taking of more natural-light photos (during lunch, in the morning before work, immediately upon getting home from work, etc.) whenever I possibly can.

And on that note, I was able to get some daytime pics of the kitchen today (before we cluttered it all up again) and thought I could have an itty-bitty do-over of the previous post. Just try’n stop me! Or say something about it–eh, I know you won’t :) so here we go with kitchen photos 2.0:

If you already saw photos of the kitchen the first time around and are now seeing it for a truly unnecessary second time, then hey, thanks for humoring me! :)


And the Kitchen

January 11, 2011

Now, how can I post a kitchen project we did recently if no one knows what the kitchen is looking like to begin with? I can’t, duh, so I’ve got to show it! (The same goes for other rooms, obviously–but those will have to wait a bit longer.)

As I’ve mentioned before, we started this blog about half-way through our progress and the kitchen was actually renovated over a year ago.

So the photos I’m showing here are of the updated and extremely stripped down kitchen to showcase its bones. And since I didn’t document its transformation in real-time–consider these the before and just-finished after photos. :) (It’s not normally this sterile–we do actually live here…)

First up is the before:

MLS Listing Photo -- Previous Owner

And here is what it looks like now:

A dining room used to be in this area...

We chose quartz over granite.

It was a long and issue-riddled process: For instance, the countertops got the wrong edging (Ev didn’t notice and let the installers leave–I got home a few hours later and noticed it right away! We got some of the cost refunded because of it, though…) and we lived without a functioning kitchen for a looong time (3 months?). Also, we had to do an emergency replacement of the window over the sink (long story…) Oh well–it’s over now and it’s all good :) Whew!

So now that that’s out-of-the-way, I can start posting about kitchen projects and decorating!! And I have a few

What do you think about our kitchen renovation? Are you a fan of the white cabinet revival trend or are you all about the warm wood tones?

P.S. see our kitchen in the daytime here.

The Naked Truth (MBR Progress)

January 9, 2011

Drum roll…but a very soft one.  The master bathroom is presentable!  But if it were human, it would feel a little…naked.  There are some finishing touches we haven’t gotten around to just yet.  Still, we’ve made pretty good progress–and it’s much better than before, so I figured it’s time to show the world even though it’s not 100% complete.

Here’s the before…

And here’s the Now:



This vanity is great…drawers for storage and a shelf underneath for towels, etc.  We’re surface abusers–so by keeping our everyday necessities in the drawers, we can open the drawer, use it, and then close it away.  Ideally, most stuff won’t get a chance to touch the counter, let alone stay there. Ideally. 

And I have big hopes for the TP holder. I’m not kidding when I say that the act of taking out the springy bar to remove the empty TP roll and replace it with a new one on a traditional TP holder is really too much effort for us most of the time.  This might transform our lives… 

^Wow, I just realized how lazy we are :(

Here’s what we have left to do:

1) Install a vanity light.

2) Install towel hooks–already purchased.  We’re forgoing towel bars altogether since it’s easier to just throw a towel on a hook than to fold it in order to put it on a bar.  They’re also handy for storing a sweatshirt or other clothing you plan to wear again so it doesn’t end up on the floor. <—There's that lazy thing again!

3) Build the shelves that go in the tiny space to the left of the shower.  It won't be much but will give us a little bit of extra storage space.

4) Frame out the mirror using some trim and some construction adhesive.

5) Replace the lightswitch and plug with brown ones and install Oil Rubbed Bronze swith/outlet plates.  (We're doing this throughout the entire house to stay consistent.)

6) Some sort of window covering for the window? I don't think the neighbors have a view into this room, but…

Down with Closet Doors, Up with Curtains.

January 8, 2011

This is a spin-off of my last post, where I mentioned using sheets as curtains. 

Several months ago, as we were installing our wood flooring, we removed every interior door from the house including the cheap sliding closet doors that were original to the house. I was glad to see them go, and I had a secret plan to not let them get put back on once the floor was finished.  

Said closet doors, in their heyday


I’ll tell you how it’s done: gather all necessary hardware for hanging the doors (aka the track and roller) and then THROW IT AWAY.  “You mean we were gonna put these back up?  Oooops!  I had no idea! Guess it’s too late now though–garbage truck already came.  Should we go buy some new hardware for them?”   Trust me, you’ll lose him at “Should we go buy…”  Har har har :)

Anyway, in the master bedroom–the room with a closet that we spend the most time in–we were left with a completely vacant closet space (we actually use the third bedroom as a sort of walk-in closet and don’t store any clothes in our room, so a doorless closet in there isn’t as bad as it may sound.)  I had thought about turning the space into a mini-library with bookshelves and possibly the world’s tiniest chair, or maybe a little desk/office area.  And I still haven’t decided.  But in the mean time, I wanted a way to close it off since stuff was getting pushed in there anyway. 

Here’s what it looked like:


You see that humidifier?  Yes, of course you do!  Trying to find a place out of site for that thing was driving me nuts.  However, it’s necessary that we use it every night in our dry climate, or else bad things happen.  So once again, bed sheets masquerading as curtains are going to save the day.  But it’s going to be really cheap this time because I’m going to hang them inside the closet so a nice looking curtain rod won’t be necessary. 

If you ever want to do this, here’s what you’ll need:

 –Power drill with a very small drill bit


–3/4″ aluminum rod (cost: around $4.)  Be sure that you will have at least the width of the opening + 12 inches (so that the outside ends of the curtains will be well hidden by the trim–but this shouldn’t be a problem since they are usually sold in 10ft pieces).

–2 flat twin-size (or full-size, if you’d prefer lots of pleating/fullness.  Cost: $4-$8) bedsheets in your chosen color.  Or, if you have/want to get actual curtain panels and they’re 84″, just modify these instructions by lowering the rod height.

–2 packages of ring clips (they don’t need to look nice at all. Cost: varies, but around $5/package)

–pair of spring clip brackets (I just made that up, I have no idea what they’re actually called.  But I found them at Wal-mart in the hardware dept. See pic below. Cost: $2ish)

The package doesn't include screws so you will need to have a few lying around. Drywall screws will work great.


This is how it will attach to the rod and to the wall (that end up, as shown)


Step 1) Measure the opening of your closet.  Add 12 inches.  Then cut the pipe using a pipe cutter or saw. (Or try to find a hardware store that will cut it to size for you…)

Step 2) Take a bracket and hold it on the wall in line with the vertical trim of the doorway, and so that  it is as close to the ceiling as possible while still allowing room for your drill.  Mark the holes of the bracket with a pencil.  Measure their location and repeat the marking process on the other side.

Step 3) Pre-drill.

Step 4) Change out the bit on your drill to a phillips and drill the screws into place (I usually drill so that they are almost in, then use a screwdriver to finish.)

Step 5) Put one end of the rod into its bracket.  Move to the other side but before putting that end into its bracket, put all your ring clips onto the rod except for 2 of them.   (Obviously, it’s easier if someone holds the rod while you move from one side to the other.)  The remaining two ring clips go on the ends of the rod–this will keep the end of the curtain anchored, hidden behind the trim even as you move it back and forth, if you know what I mean.

Step 6) Attach the clips to the curtain (sheet) at even intervals.

And you’re done!  It’ll look something like this on the inside:

…And like this on the outside:

Best of all, for me, the humidfier gets lost somewhere in all of it…

Out of site, out of mind


And here it is, closed…

I realize that this is probably an acquired taste.  I actually have nothing against solid closet doors, but the ones I really want are of course, the most expensive!  So this will do for now…maybe forever.  I love the way it adds softness to the room…and it mirrors the wall of curtains on the opposite side, too.  PLUS, opening them doesn’t take up space the way a bifold would, nor does it block half of the closet the way sliders would. 

What do you think about this modification?  Love it, hate it, or indifferent?  

Those elusive master bathroom photos are on the way…  I used a bed sheet in there, too.

Sheet…that’s cheap. ($4 Ready-Made Curtains)

January 5, 2011

Curtains. Are. So. Expensive.  

–Especially since I like to hang curtains all the way from ceiling to floor–that means I need 96″ of curtain as opposed to the standard 84″.   And 84″ curtains are expensive enough at something like $15 a panel for even affordable options from Target?  Suppose I would need somewhere around 24 panels for the entire house (I do, as a matter of fact) and suppose I would actually settle for 84″ curtains (never!!)–that brings the hypothetical grand total to $360 for curtains at $15 a pop. 

And you’ll spend many times that amount ($40+/panel?) if you get your curtains from a place like West Elm or Pottery Barn. 

Cotton Drapes from Pottery Barn


If you have the money and it’s important enough, then more power to you.  But I just wouldn’t feel OK spending so much on curtains that are mostly  for decoration anyway (I don’t close my curtains, I draw the blinds. Pfft.). 

Plus, 96″ curtains are almost never everrrrr found in stores–they need to be special ordered online or from a catalog at at least $10 more per panel. 

So here’s an easy way to save a ton of money on curtains:  Use a twin size bed sheet and get ring clips to hang them. 


I know it sounds…odd.  And you’re thinking it would be obvious to all that you have used sheets, but look at those curtains from PB at the top of the page ^.  Do they honestly look much different from a bed sheet? 

It’s not always easy finding affordable sheets and so often you have to buy the entire sheet set.  But if you go to the bedding department at Wal-mart, you’ll find that they sell individual twin sheets for for around $4 and in a large array of colors–including white, a no-fail choice for curtains (you could stencil them with fabric paint, dye them, embellish them–do whatever you want to customize them if that’s your style ).  

And just guess how long a standard twin sheet is?  Yup, 96″ so there’s no sewing involved–and if you find that they are a little too long, you can fold the top over before using the clips  (Full sheets are also 96″ and give you a bit more width, however, in this case they are also twice as much at $8 a sheet.) 

Update: I see that Bed Bath & Beyond now (or has always?) sells individual flat sheets. They’re more expensive per sheet, but their color selection is also more, uh… sophisticated.

The ring clips cost a little under $5, and you’ll probably want at least one package per sheet (I use 1.5ish packages per sheet for a little bit of a “tighter” pleat–personal preference. But if you want or need to use fewer clips, just fold the fabric before clipping, and it will look more tailored.) That brings the cost of a celing-to-floor length curtain in at around $9-$11.50 

The only caveat to this is that you’ll need to be willing to raise your curtain rod to just under the ceiling if you haven’t already.  It’s easy though…   Plus it makes the room feel much taller. Here is the end result in our master bedroom… 

Here again in our living room…

One of my favorite things about these curtains is that they’re easy to take down and throw in the wash–that’s not always true of expensive curtains (the thought of lugging  curtains to the dry cleaner makes me sad .)

P.S. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, it’s also possible to simply open up the sides of the top fold so that you can put them directly on the rod and thereby save the $5 for clips. Or, over at Remodel This House, Bethany used seam tape to create a pocket…yet another way to save $5 for clips…

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