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Archive for February, 2013

The best house projects are the ones that Justin gets involved with. It automatically skips the steps where I have to lobby for an idea or theme. Case in point, the dining room.

dining room

Our first joint purchase as cohabitators in 2006, was the bistro dining room table.  We bought that together and our parents each bought us chairs.   It was a fun set to have for entertaining and we used the extra two chairs to eat at the kitchen counter.  Unfortunately though, we realized quickly that a) you couldn’t substitute in a regular height chair for larger dinner parties so someone was either standing or eating at the coffee table and b) a little person would never be able to get up in the chair on their own for meals.  Also, Neuman and Piper the dogs had both done a number on the foot rest part of the chairs during their chewy puppy phase.  It was not pretty.

Luckily, I had a great family heirloom table waiting for me in my parents’ basement.  When we made the switch, we kept three of the bistro chairs, the three that hadn’t been chewed to bits by wild animals, with the intention of painting them white.  So far I’ve got one chair kind of spray painted.  I am so out of my depth with spray painting, being a tried and true paint brush kind of gal.  That will be a project for the warmer months.

While we were making changes, the $20 chandelier had to go too.   I’ll always have a soft spot for the old guy.  He was Justin’s first attempt at home electrical work and he knocked out power to the back of the house during the install.  Sam the local electrician had to come in to bat clean up.  In Justin’s defense, Ikea light figures are notoriously a bit wonky to install.

Justin actually picked the new chandelier out. It ties in beautifully with the brushed metal knobs and light fixture in the kitchen.  Time and experience has made him an excellent amateur electrician, so this install was a breeze.   Although, looking at the pictures, I think we might need to add a few extra rings to drop it down a bit.   I had also painted the ceiling white which makes the room look a lot brighter.

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In January, Justin, Audrey and I happened to be in Ikea in New Haven shopping for who knows what and on our way to the check out, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a turquoise chair. I love the color turquoise and use it as an accent color all over the house. The chair was the absolute perfect color but and this was a big but, it was a metal folding chair.

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I had never seen a turquoise chair before and definitely never seen a turquoise folding chair. I knew immediately though that a funky fun chair would work with our very classic looking dining table. While we didn’t actually fight, there was a mooning and some serious discussion about the chairs in the Ikea warehouse that day and in the end, we left with only two of the chairs for a “trial run”. A few days later two more chairs appeared. In a perfect world, I’d love to have six, but marriage and decorating is compromise. Trust me.

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Now that we’ve gotten the room mostly complete, someone thinks they might want to install some bead and batten board this weekend.  Well, I’m on board with that.  Ha Ha.

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One last thing, Justin wants to put something in the corner of the room in between the window and the floating shelves.  I say no, but what do you think?

-Kate

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Pinterest strikes again! I’ve seen a lot of really great closet makeovers lately that have had me drooling. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I literally seem to get a buzz off of a good organization project. There is nothing like it.

Baby Audrey’s closet has been a nightmarish mess for months now. It didn’t bother me so much until we actually moved her into her room to sleep and I now spend a good chunk of every day hanging out in there with her. The closet mess had become unavoidable.

Following a link on a Pinterest Pin, I found a great Rubbermaid Closet kit. I Jedi mind tricked Justin into going out with me to get it. (He needed lightbulbs for his own weekend project: installation of a new dining room chandelier.)

I’m going to be very real with you now and show you the before picture of the closet. Honestly, it wasn’t until I looked at the picture again after everything was finished, that I realized how crazy it looked. All of that stuff crammed in there, no space, no order.

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As you can see, the baby’s clothes are kind of hung up in size order, but everything was so tightly packed, it was hard to see what she has. As I’m sure most new moms will tell you, they grow so quickly, that it is easy to miss clothes just because you don’t see them.

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First I needed to clean everything out.

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Audrey helped out a bit by making me laugh. Her fuzzy orange toy is very soft and she likes to smoosh her face into it. It also makes this terrifying noise and I’m grateful that she hasn’t figured out how to turn it on yet.

Once I got everything out, it was time to bust out my 7th grade shop class skills. I’m glad I paid attention during the ruler class. This was my first solo project with a drill. Thankfully, since it was a closet project, an extra hole or two (or 4) would be hidden.

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Measuring and hanging the brackets took the longest. I am not ashamed to admit that I pulled up a YouTube video on how to insert a drill bit. Now that I’ve got that skill down, I can’t wait for my next project. Anyway, brackets were up and it was time to figure out a set up that would work for little people clothing, but also give me some useable shelving space. As you can see from the hideous before picture, we also use Audrey’s closet for storing our bed linens. I’m sure there will come a time when my adorable little person needs every inch of her closet for her own stuff, but for now, she can share.

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The reason I wasn’t upset about having to drop just under $100 on this set up is that everything is adjustable. If a month from now, something isn’t working or I want to add more shelves, I can do that. The earlier set up of one bar across and one shelf didn’t give me access to the most space.

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With my two foot tall boss looking on, I started loading stuff back in. I tried to be thoughtful about the process. I used the two racks to the left for her current wardrobe and the rack to the right for the stuff that she’ll fit into later. Our linens still found a spot up on the shelves but I also put her collection of hand knit blankets, a basket full of toys and the various baby wearing devices all up on shelves too. I had enough leftover room in the back corners for the stuff we don’t often use, like my collection of gift bags (who needs a baby themed gift bag? I got em!) and diapers. The best part, I had gotten so much stuff up and off the floor of her room and I still had plenty to spare on the floor of the closet.

Here is the final look:

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Ahhhh…now that felt good, so good in fact that I didn’t want to close the doors so I could keep looking at it. The other closets in the house should be very nervous. This was definitely an easy to do makeover!

-Kate

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Well, hello there.  You know what?  I’ve missed you.

When we last spoke, I told you that I was going to set up a nursery.  Well, I did that and then pushed out a person to live in aforementioned nursery.  I bet you want to see pictures, of the kid and not the actual pushing.  I often wonder what the first generation of kids in the post blogging/face.book world are going to say about their every move being documented on the internet and an online presence being established on their behalf without their consent. I know for me, it makes me feel…icky.   So how about for now, I just tell you how cute and smart she is and we’ll see about posting pictures of her later.

Other stuff that has made me feel off lately is this constant push among home blogs to always be buying stuff and never being satisfied with the state of one’s home. A bit of change now and again, streamlining to make your life easier, I’m totally on board with, but stalking each flash sale for another accessory to put on a side table or suddenly feeling bad about your home because a gray stenciled wall isn’t in this season? Forget it.

Redefining decor is about being happy with what you have, making it work for you, not against you and most importantly, not becoming a hoarder of clutter disguised as “decorating”.

All that being said, I haven’t stopped doing small improvements here and there.  In fact, we took our I.kea coffee table that Piper the dog had chewed the corners off and turned it into a lovely tufted ottoman.  My husband Justin  helped with this and did some of the stapling and even made the buttons! Bonus: we no longer have to worry about sharp edges for when our little person starts walking.

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And I also took our plain jane builders mirror in the guest bathroom and added a tile border.

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What have YOU been up to?  (p.s.  I really did miss you.)

-Kate

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