Office Makeover: Take 2

You may remember that last year, I gave my office a makeover…sort of. At the time, I wasn’t quite ready to completely overhaul the space, and was working with what I had on hand. That came a few years after replacing the old desk that was falling apart, with a couple of IKEA table tops. Recently, however, I decided to have a tag sale and once I made up my mind about that, I realized it was time to really re-do the office. I wanted to get rid of the big dresser/credenza that took up too much space, and so I needed to rework the office before the tag sale.

This was all preceded by me deciding to move furniture around in the office at least once a week, trying to put lipstick on the pig–but I was never quite happy. It was clear I needed to get rid of some big pieces, declutter, and come up with a more cohesive design (rather than just making the office the dumping ground for wayward furniture). When I decide to do something like this it pretty much takes over my life. I can’t stop thinking about it, and spend all my time combing through Pinterest for ideas. I started out with a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. Continue reading

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Eight Down: Beadboard in the Back Room

I have this room at the back of my house that is part mudroom, part laundry room, and part sun room. My cats spend more time there than anyone else. They lounge on the old couch that is out there, eat their meals there, and use the litter box out there. There’s a big expanse of wall that has been repeatedly damaged by water, and so I’ve been hesitant to do much of anything to it–even though I couldn’t stop daydreaming about how I would turn that  wall into my well organized dream storage unit.

Some days I thought I wanted a mudroom:

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My New Dog-Proofing Invention

This project wasn’t technically on my To Do List, but I thought it deserved a William Morris shout out. A couple of months ago I embarked on a mission to keep my dog from eating cat food. It hasn’t been easy. Those of you with both canine and feline housemates know that there is nothing tastier to a dog than a bowl of ash-filled cat food. But it isn’t good for them, and it often results in your dog waking you in the wee hours of the morning to take her outside for an emergency potty break. And because one of my cats needs to gain weight (I know…who has that problem?) I can’t have the dog sneaking in and eating her food out from under her. For everyone’s sake, I had to get creative.

I'd do anything for this face.

I’d do anything for this face.

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Seven Down: A Closet Makeover

When I first moved into my house there was nothing in the closets. No poles or shelves of any kind. My friend, Allison, and I went to Home Depot and quickly racked up a bill that had us voiding the sale and heading back to the aisles to buy a much more economical closet kit for my bedroom closet, and a few shelves for a utility closet.

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We left the guest room and coat closet alone for the time being. I eventually put a shelf in the coat closet (which I don’t actually keep coats in) but four years later all the stuff in the guest room closet was still sitting on the floor. I decided to tackle that project this weekend.

This time my boyfriend and I headed to the HD and I knew enough to head immediately to the closet kits. I knew I didn’t want the same kit that I used in my closet. The guest room closet doesn’t have any clothing in it. It’s mostly extra blankets and pillows, a few boxes, and an air conditioner. So I wanted to keep the floor of the closet free of any obstructions, while having plenty of shelving up high. So I went with one of those adjustable track systems that can be configured however you want itContinue reading

Five & Six Down: A Nightstand Goes from Fussy to Fun

Despite the 90+ degree days here in Connecticut, summer is over. Labor Day has come and gone. Kids are back in school. I spent the weekend at a friend’s wedding on the water in Mystic–and then recovering from a night of drinking and dancing. But I spent my day off knocking another project off my list.

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When my grandmother moved in with my aunt I took a large dresser and its matching nightstand that she had used for a buffet in her dining room. It was a good, solid dresser but was very dark and formal. My cousin and I sanded and painted it but when we moved it upstairs it took a couple of hits and the paint was scratched. Then daily life scratched up the top over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, the bedside table was still the dark stain because I wasn’t sure where I was going to use it. I originally thought I would put it in my spare bedroom, but it didn’t fit. So I put it in my bedroom, but didn’t get around to painting it until this week. Continue reading

Four (and a Half) Down: Paint, Paint, Paint!

A couple of months after I moved into my house I cam home in the middle of a downpour to find the paint in my “mudroom” (I put that in quotes because it’s just a weird room that functions as a laundry room/mudroom/place where the cat stuff is) bubbling. This particular room is part of a one-story addition on the back of a two-story house, and the wall in question is the one that separates the original house from the addition. Water was getting in somewhere, and getting behind the paint. You could literally pop the bubble and water would come pouring out.

For months I looked for the source of this problem. The water only came in once in a while–clearly when the wind was blowing in a certain direction, and the rain was really bad. No one could figure out where it was getting in. At one point we even removed the siding to have a look. It didn’t look wet at all behind the siding. Finally I got someone up there with a hose, and we realized there was a small spot in the corner of a window where there was no caulk.

So we fixed it and I waited for months, though all kinds of weather conditions, to see if the problem was truly fixed. Then I fixed the wall. For a couple of years, everything was fine. Then it started again. This time I decided to skip the caulk and go straight to As-Seen-On TV methods and use Flex Seal. So far, so good.

Now it was time to fix the wall, and while I was at it…I’d finally paint the living/dining. Continue reading

A Woman Obsessed: Couches & William Morris

I like used furniture. Most of the time, I won’t even consider buying something new. I walk into a furniture store and find myself knocking on bed frames and dressers wondering what  they are made of, and deciding it definitely cannot be wood. I prefer to troll Craigslist for people who have money to waste, and like redecorating their homes. (It’s important to zero in on certain zip codes to make this work.) But after years of sitting on couches with mysterious origins, and covering them with slipcovers and blankets, I have become obsessed with the idea of finding and buying a couch I actually like.

This is harder than it sounds.  Continue reading

I’ve Finally Become a Cat Lady

It’s over. Just get me a ratty cardigan and take away my comb, because despite living with the world’s cutest dog I think I’ve finally gone and crossed over into Cat Lady territory.

It all started with Ruby’s gallstones. I didn’t want to have to hunt her down just to force a pill down her throat, so I started keeping both cats inside. And for about a thousand different reasons, I decided to keep them inside even after I stopped having to torture her with medications multiple times a day. Those reasons are boring, so I’ll skip over them, but suffice it to say that having two cats who really want to go outside but can’t can be pretty annoying. So I decided to resurrect an old dream of mine and  make an outdoor enclosure thanks, in part, to Pinterest — and with lots of help from my boyfriend.

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The Vicious Cycle of Home Makeovers

As you may have read, I spent New Year’s Day giving my home office a bit of a makeover… and that — combined with hours spent browsing Pinterest on my iPad — has got me spinning out of control. Are there reno rehabs? Because I may need one.

You see, shortly after I gave my office a makeover — or at least a corner of it — I also picked up a box spring for the new bed I bought a few months ago. Bitten by “the bug,” I also decided to move a bookshelf out of the office and up to my bedroom in order to free up some floor space. This made me start thinking harder about my bedroom, which is rather large and has become a bit of a dumping ground (much like my office). And my brain hasn’t stopped dreaming up ideas since.

The mudroom better watch it's back...

The mudroom better watch its back…

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XOJane’s Addiction

Now that’s an IKEA hack!

I have a new obsession: XOJane.

I just can’t believe some of the things the writers will admit to…but I totally appreciate that they do.

When blogs first started I was amazed by the way people would write in mortifying detail about the littlest details of their lives. They admitted things to the world wide web that I wouldn’t talk about with my friends. Reading XOJane is a little like that, only you have the benefit of getting to read these kinds of confessions from a variety of people (instead of one navel-gazing blogger) and the writing is better.  Continue reading

A Hutch of a Different Color

I’ve got furniture scattered around my house that was either donated to the cause (and by “cause” I mean “me”), picked up at  tag sales or from the side of the road. I got lucky when some of my roadside finds didn’t need refinishing. For instance, I somehow managed to find chairs on the curb that matched the table I bought from Craigslist. A couple of chairs and a bedside table I found at a tag sale were just great from the start. But there has been a corner hutch near my stairs that has been taunting me for almost a year now.

It was a nice hutch with a hideous paint job…but it was free. Every time I pass by it on my way up or down the stairs I would curse it’s terrible color.

I’m not sure if you can tell just how ugly it is from the picture. It almost looks like raw wood, but really it’s yellow with red “accents.” I think someone was trying to make it appear distressed, and I suppose they achieved their goal in some ways.

So my cousin and I decided to tackle this project on Sunday. I’d had a bottle of spray paint sitting around for a while. And we made quick work of spraying the hutch with what I thought was a dark blue-gray color. But once it was on, it looked very, very purple… like Grimace.

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Get Crafty: Curtains

I’ve been struggling to find curtains or blinds for my porch…which isn’t really a porch. It’s kind of like an over-sized mud room. It has a couch in it, and the furnace room and laundry closet are off of it — which makes it the warmest room in the house in the winter. Most of the time, it’s only the cats hanging out back there, but the windows are an odd size because it’s really two windows next to each other. Off-the-rack shades didn’t really work, and I didn’t want curtains that hung all the way to the ground (because they’d just get covered in cat hair). Cafe curtains didn’t really work either, though, because the room gets a lot of sun in the afternoon and in order to keep it from getting too hot, I wanted curtains that blocked most of the light…

I know, I’m picky.

I started thinking about buying fabric but I wasn’t finding anything I really liked. So I decided  to look at sheets. I headed off to Target, thinking I could probably get away with buying one flat sheet. When I didn’t see one that appealed to me, I headed over to the shower curtains aisle and I was overwhelmed with choices!

Shower curtains tend to be a bit funkier and more colorful than the average drape. I found so many I liked (cotton, not plastic) that I barely knew what to do with myself. A few weren’t in stock, so that narrowed down my choices. (Next time I’m in the market for new curtains  you know where I’m going…) For $19.99 I bought one shower curtain that I was able to turn into two sets of curtains.

A few quick cuts, and a couple of sewn hems later, I had exactly what I’d been looking for.

(Note: If you’re a perfectionist, don’t buy this particular curtain. When I got it home I realized it faded from light to dark. So the two sets of curtains are slightly different colors. I just put the darker pair in the brighter window.)

My June Garden

The raised beds, in the very beginning…

I have this slightly obsessive need to document my garden’s progress. It’s a rather strange manifestation of OCD, but whatevs… When you first put in your starter plants it’s hard to imagine what they’ll look like in a few months. But if you take pictures every week or so, you start to realize how quickly the little guys grow and how easy it is to overlook the change when you see your plants every day. Tomato plants make for especially good pictures, thanks to the rungs on the tomato cages which clearly mark your plants’ progress.

As long as I’ve got this picture taking compulsion, I may as well put the results to good use and blog about it.

Now that the raised beds and plants are in, I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out how to make the most of what I’ve got. I prowl Pinterest looking for homemade fertilizers, ideas to keep the vines in check, and sprays for powdery mildew and black spot on my roses. But it’s still fairly early in the summer, so here is a glimpse at where I started. Continue reading

A Memorial Day Makeover

Long before I even moved into my house, people started giving me stuff they no longer wanted. For instance, my aunt gave me a couple of end  tables I wasn’t particularly fond of but they did the job. But this week I decided it was time to start tackling some of the furniture rehab projects I’ve been planning.

Tables before being painted, but after a light sanding.

First up on the agenda were the tables. They have some weird nooks and crannies on the legs, so I figured spay painting was the way to go. I turned to a blog post about spray painting furniture on Young House Love for advice. I wasn’t really sure what color I wanted to paint the tables, and there aren’t that many Rustoleum Universal colors to choose from. I knew I wanted to do my patio table one of the hammered finishes, but I didn’t know what I wanted the end tables to look like. I didn’t think glossy would go with my other furniture, but there weren’t many satin options. I wasn’t convinced the metallic options were good for these tables but then I figured, “Hey, it’s only paint!” So my cousin and I picked up some of the “Aged Copper” paint and went to town on the end tables.  Continue reading

Confessions of a Pinterest Junkie

I am developing a severe Pinterest addiction.

I blame my backyard.

My yard was, in general, kind of a wasteland when I moved in. Its was basically just sandy dirt with some weeds thrown in. But nature bounces back pretty quickly and my front yard is looking damn good. The lawn is green, if not exactly all “lawn” in the traditional sense of the word — by which I mean, weeds are just as green as grass when you can’t afford to be picky. My winterberry holly came back nice and green, and my flowers are starting to fill in. Another few months and it will be a paradise compared to what it used to look like. Continue reading