Monday, May 14, 2012

New House! Just Kidding...

Did I trick you? I didn't think so...

While waiting for update posts on our office/craft room (I know you're waiting with bated breath -- you don't have to tell me), I'll fill the void with the story of a different redocoration: the great outdoors. There were many things we could have done when shopping for a new home. It was a buyer's market, so we could have purchased a large, new construction at a fraction of it's "worth." We could have jumped into a fixer-uper with lots of potential. We ended up in this house:

Forgive the strange photo. I took this one morning as I was pulling away for work. That's part of the car door you see in the upper left corner. Also, don't judge us for the weird landscaping. I'm not sure how that half circle tree thing happened. Was it an evolution of pruning? Was it planted that way on purpose? Who knows. Either way, it needs to change. One step at a time, people! What you can't see is the right side of the house. After buying the house, with the help of Rich's dad, we pulled a large (taller than the house) piney tree from the ground, (most of the) roots and all. We were also parents to a big ugly bush. We gave it up for adoption.

Anyway, we bought the house for many reasons. First, it was convenient. We first rented from friends of my sister's. It was a win-win for both parties. They got to move into the house of their dreams, we escaped apartment living. We spent two seperate chunks of time house hunting in the two years prior and settled on an apartment for several reasons. We fell into the opportunity to rent this home, and it just worked. We also love the neighborhood. It's an old (1970s) sub division. Many of the occupants are original owners. Those who aren't are upstanding citizens. With a few exceptions, families take pride in the places they call home. Finally, we were lucky. The previous owners did some great upgrades including a close to full kitchen renovation and a...wait for it...brand new garage. Sign us up.

While there was so much we loved about the house, there was one looming factor that I couldn't get over: all that ugly brown trim. I'll try to keep this from becoming the cliche of the century, but: Fast forward until...Easter-ish. I've been wanting to paint all the ugly brown trim for a century at least. I've already told you about my impatience, so you can imagine how I felt for the past 1.85 years. In a word: grossedout. Let's get to the good stuff. Here's what it looks like now:

I think my camera must have been on a weird setting because the roof looks red. That doesn't matter, though. Check out the trim and shutters! We went with the tone-on-tone look for the aluminum trim and a go-to shade of mine for the shutters: mossy khaki green. I don't have the exact names of the colors on hand right now. Let's just feel secure in saying that it looks 152% better than it did before. We still have the cement colored brick and dark brown roof to contend with, but when I focus just on the center third (ish) of the house, I smile.

Okay, now that it's May 14, and our house looks generally better, I'd like to share some landscaping pictures. No stories attached. I wish I had some befores. I don't. Get over it. Enjoy. I know I am.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Color Me...

Like many other new home owners, when we first purchased our house, we made a list a mile long of projects we wanted to complete. It has taken a while, but I have finally come around to the idea that we can't do everything at once. Actually, it's less that I've come around to it and more that I was forced into the idea. For one thing, we don't have unlimited funds. I know, it's surprising giving the vastness of our square footage. We're less-is-more people. More than that, there are only 24 hours in a day. On an average day, Rich and I both spend at least 9 hours a day working and commuting. Currently, I'm working on two Master's degrees, and we have various other day-to-day...stuff to do. Nevertheless, there are many projects, large and small, on our short-term list.

Over the last couple years, we've tried to prioritize in attempts to stay sane. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think if asked what my biggest flaw is, Rich would say it was my impatience. I'm not so impatient with kids or other, larger, humans, but I'm very impatient with projects. Like Veruca Salt impatient. Crate and Barrell's Sloane desk is to me as Oompa Loompas are to Veruca Salt.

Several months ago, we decided one of our first priorities would be our office/craft room. We sat and sat, pondering over different paint colors and styles. Finally, knowing that I would be off for a week with nothing productive to do (Spring Break), I visited Mary & Mike Ray at Campbell's Paint and Wallpaper for some paint! Having only a vague plan in mind, I made my decision based on my tastes and Mary's recommendation. Here's what happened over Spring Break:

First, some before pictures. When we moved in, this was the paint sitch. Where the colors meet, there was a baby themed wallpaper border. That was one of the first things we removed when moving in, but the room sat in a condition similar to this for...ever. The table you see under the window wasn't there. I use that table and the one you see peeking from the right edge of the shot for crafting. Color me Badd. That was both a reference to the way the room looks and to the 90s R&B group.

Below is the closet in its original-to-us condition. Notice the really stylish bookshelf to the right of the closet. It was part of the decor in my room at my parents' house. The closet was really just a catch all for games, DVDs/Blu Rays, scrapbook albums, and other various odds and ends. The lack of a door or curtain has potential in the room, though. It really opens it up. If I can manage to keep it organized, I'd like to keep it this way. Color me ready for change.

On to the redecorating. On day one of Spring Break, I removed all furniture and fixtures from the room and cleaned the walls and ceiling. I didn't take a before picture of the celing, but there was a ceiling fan where that hole is. What's that you ask? Did I remove the ceiling fan myself? Why, yes, I did! I just patted myself on the back. You can pat me on the back next time you see me.

On the same day, I removed the one built-in shelf from the closet. Another first for me: spackling. After removing the shelf, I spackled and sanded where needed. Color me proud.

Finally, on day two of SB, I was ready to paint. One more first for me: cutting in along the ceiling. While it wasn't on my bucket list, I added it later so that I had something to check off.

I think this picture features closet painted and room primed plus one coat. I was disappointed because the color reads much bluer than I hoped it would. It's called Mount Saint Anne by Benjamin Moore. While I hoped for a color that read more grey than blue, I was happy with the final result. Stay tuned!

The color looks a little greyer here. I'm sure it has something to do with the trim being painted Mountain Peak White (also by Benjamin Moore).  Doesn't the white trim look wonderful? I can't stand it. It's a whole different room. I. Love. It. Update: Rich worked very hard installing all new electrical sockets in the room. The original-to-us ones were off-white. We couldn't have that. All white worked better. Paired with white socket covers, it looks lovely. Pat Rich on the back next time you see him too.

Just for the heck of it, here's a picture of what the actual paint looks like. See how grey it looks in the can? Well, it's not in the can here, but you get the point. Oh, well.

The closet and the ceiling is Limesickle by Benjamin Moore. Obviously, it's not what one would imagine when thinking of a limesickle, but it definitely has some green in it. I thought of what a lemon ice looks like (close to white). I think this is the same idea. A lime ice would probably be close-to-white-green, much like Limesickle paint by BM.

Here's the light fixture we chose. If I'm honest, I'm not really happy with it. The same fixture came in a hanging version which I did enjoy. I thought going with this one would give me the same look without the drama the hanging version provides. It doesn't. What makes it worse, we spent 106 bucks on it. While shopping for desks a couple weeks after buying it, I spotted this one at Ikea. $29.99. Are you serious? Color me disappointed. Update: Rich worked his butt off installing the new light fixture. It wasn't super easy either. Way to go, Rich!

Fast forward to right this second. We've been searching for a desk for several weeks now. Rich often complains that I would buy the first thing we find. He's usually right -- I would. Except, I wouldn't buy the first thing I came across if it were not functional or ugly. I guess I'm just easy to please (I think Rich would beg to differ on that one, too). Originally, I was thinking I wanted more of an executive style desk. I said of our redecorating experience, "We have champagne taste on a decent wine budget." I love the idea of things like wainscoting and nice, solid furniture. It's just not always appropriate for our modest home. An executive desk and two flanking bookshelves just aren't appropriate for that 10 x 12 room. Plus, in our searching, we discovered that we really don't need a ton of desk space. I use the room more for crafting than anything else. We use the computer in there, but I don't do homework in there. We pay the bills at the kitchen counter. What we need more than anything is shelf space. I have a ton of books, and I love to fill nooks and crannies with fun accessories from TJ Maxx. We finally settled on the Sloane desk from Crate & Barrell. Here's a picture of it in the room:

It's actually 4 different pieces. There are three bookshelves and one bookshelf/desk section. I can't wait to see what it looks like with stuff on the shelves. For the time being, I can live with that chair from Ikea. I have dreams of something super sleek in a cool color. In time. In the picture, you can also see the area rug I settled on after several weeks of searching. I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted in a rug either, but I'm happy with this one. It came from an unlikely source: Value City Furniture. It was a floor sample, so I got it for 50% off the list price. Color me satisfied.

There's still much to be done in this room. For the sake of keeping you as a reader, I'll save the rest for later.

Color me happy. :)

P.S. Check out Campbell's Paint and Wallpaper in Dearborn, MI for all your paint, wallpaper and framing needs. They offer the best color advice and customer service in Metro-Detroit. They have a full line of stains and tools including Benjamin Moore and Pratt & Lambertt paints. They guarantee their paint and stain color matching, offer in-home color consultations, and service custom picture framing using expert design & workmanship (their every day prices beat Michael's 50% off price). They also offer a large wallcovering library.