Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Home With a View

I think I need a little Summer in my life. You? 

Two summers ago, I shared with you that we got our house painted. Well, part of our house anyway. Unless we want to fork out the dough for new siding (or figure out a way to paint that too), we're stuck with the yellowish-beige we inherited with the house.

While it went a long way to spruce up the place, we still felt it was lacking in the curb appeal department. It had come a long way from here, though:

I think my camera must have been on a crazy setting for the "after" picture, because the roof sure does look red. It is a reddish-brown, but it's not quite that ruddy. Anyway, we continued to make some for-now improvements including planting some Idontknows, Whoknowswhatthoseflowersarecalleds, and Okaythesewilldos, 

but planting flowers annually (annuals?) that will just die and never come back just seems like a waste of money (and time and effort) to me. It's just not one of my priorities.

So we saved up some cash and hired professional landscapers. Always a good decision. Check it. We went from this:

See that funny, overgrown tree on the left? Oops.

Yikes is right. Yeah, I heard you. RIP silly little crooked slab o' cement.

to this in 3 days flat:

We wanted a nice paved walkway. They delivered.

Semi-circular paved porch that stands up to the height of the doorway?
AND it's level? Yes, please.

Because they're so expensive and this one was in such good shape, we
opted to save this cute little Japanese Maple.


We sure did go with a herringbone patter. Mmm hmm.
We are very happy with it. The part we love most is that it's low-maintenance -- note the Evergreens galore. However, we did hem and haw over the color of the brick, and if we're honest, we're not 110% pleased we picked the red tones, especially since the paver bricks and the porch stones (the ones on the edge that create the semi-circle) didn't end up being exactly the same color. I hate to be picky -- it's a curse -- but I can't help feeling like the exterior of the house still needs...something.

I've had it in the plans to paint the existing mailbox, porch light, and door hardware (or purchase new ones) for a couple years now. I also think some vertical visual interest (something that unfortunate overgrown tree offered) would help. I'm hopeful that in a few years, things will start to grow up and out to fill in those empty spaces. We promise to keep it trimmed, though!

Those things will probably go a long way; but what about that brick? Concrete-colored brick just isn't my idea of pretty. I'm tempted to try my hand at staining the brick, but boy does that scare the living daylights out of me. I'm not certain that's a project I can tackle, and if I mess up, then what?! It doesn't seem that hard, though. Advice? 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

About a Boy

I'm so excited to share this little update!

My cousin, Tara, is having a baby boy in 5 short weeks. This time has just flown by. I can't get over the fact that it really feels like a month (maybe 2) ago that she was telling me she's pregnant. Almost immediately, I decided that I wanted to help her decorate the nursery by buying her little one a dresser. I had big plans to buy an unfinished one from Ikea, and paint it to coordinate with the colors she chose. After much deliberation, I ended up purchasing the HEMNES dresser in gray-brown. I figured I had more choices this way because the gray-brown color as-is could be a nice natural-looking element that might still coordinate with the light gray crib across the room; but I could also still paint the whole dang thing.

While mulling it over in my head, acting on a tip from my aunt, I visited a local boutique called Gracious Seasons and discovered they carry CeCe Caldwell's chalk paint. I picked up several samples, a tub of wax, and a couple brushes to play around with. I did play around and it is some pretty cool stuff! I'll definitely be working with it...on a future project.

I considered color-matching the crib, but worried that it would be too matchy-matchy or not match enough. After she shared her wall color choices with me, I considered using one of them to paint a simple stripe or two across the top of the dresser. I considered hand-painting an argyle pattern across the middle drawers. In fact, I found inspiration from all over the Interwebs:

this sweet little chevron number,
something striped like this,
and these cool little squares that wouldn't change the look of the dresser too much.

In the end, I just wasn't convinced I wanted to do any of them. I felt very paralyzed when I considered that this boy might use this dresser for the next 5? 10? 15? 20? 25? 30? years. I just didn't feel right about altering its look too much. After consulting the mother-to-be, I felt confident that the dresser was a good color. After thinking about it some more, I decided on a less-permanent option: exchanging the hardware.

Below is what I started with. The hardware that came with the dresser wasn't too shabby. The knobs are made of metal and had a nice weight. If left as-is, they would have worked just fine, but I just had to add a personal touch.

Forgive the super-close and pretty dark photos -- the dresser is currently sitting in the middle of the craft room and there's not a lot of wiggle room, the lighting is bad, and I have no interest in opening the shade for natural light because I'm a vampire.

And here's where it ended up:

Aren't the new knobs sweet? I picked all 12 up at Hobby Lobby where they were on sale for 50% off. I spent about $23. It really lightens the whole thing up and gives it a more baby-ish vibe. I went in searching for 12 of the same, but I'm glad it worked out this way. For one thing, they didn't have 12 of any one kind. For another, I think the varying styles give it a very whimsical vibe. Because the drawers get slightly bigger from top to bottom, I decided on a small, round, and white knob for the top 4 drawers, a slightly larger green one for the middle 4 drawers, and a larger-still black and white chevron dude for the bottom 4 drawers.

I plan on giving her the original hardware so she can neutralize it if she ever wants to, but for now, I think it's pretty cute!

I also picked up this cute little tray on clearance for $5.20. The clearance at at the Lobby of Hobbies is pretty beefy right now. I imagine they're trying to clear out last year's stuff.

Tara thinks she wants to use the dresser as a changing area, so I picture the tray holding things like powder and Butt Paste. I love that Butt Paste is an actual thing.

Also, Carly helped. 

I'm so stinkin' excited to meet that little boy. I sure hope this dresser serves him well for a long, long time.