Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Evening Post

The boys are deep into Star Wars. Claire is enjoying a sleepover at a friend's house. I've been cleaning and crafting all day. I've got my B&J Cherry Garcia (full-size). What better time to fill you in on what we've been doing for the past month or so?

I posted these pictures in separate posts. I was going to get everything uploaded tonight but my computer is slower than molasses, so you'll get to see the kitchen, living room, dining room & study. The rest is still to come.

(Alert! Facebook Users: some of the photos & captions may be similar to those seen on FB. Okay, some are exactly the same. Oh well. You've been warned).


Living Room & Kitchen

So our house is a little quirky. It's about 30 years old and was added on to at some point during those 30 years. The living room and the master suite make up the addition. It's a wonderful space, quite large, but felt really dark. They did some... interesting things with the lighting. You can see 2 flush-mounted fixtures in the picture. There are 4 total. I'd like to make them recessed and have been researching to see if it's easy to do. Anyway, the room was brown. The fireplace was brown. The carpet was light brown. (It was much lighter after we had it cleaned & stretched, though!) The built-ins were white, but it was a dark space.

Duh-duh-duh-duhn! 'Relaxed Khaki' from Sherwin Williams to the rescue! This is my very favorite paint color. In the whole-wide world. We used it in our home in Minnesota and I couldn't even comprehend using another color here. In some light it looks green-y and I love love love it. The photo above shows just how dark the brown paint color was (yes they painted the utility door and trim brown as well). We have a small room in the middle of the house with 6 little lockers in it. I like it, I just wish it was nearer to the garage. Yeah, it's still yellow. We haven't gotten that far yet.

This is what the living room looked like just after we moved in. I've since changed the furniture around, but you get the idea.

I painted the frame of the mirror above the fireplace black. (This is probably the 4th time I've painted it. I got it for $5 at a rummage sale.)We now have two small iron black lamps on each end of the mantle and several clear glass vessels with white tealights. I'm still working on it. I'd like to put up rattan roman shades on the windows, too.

I've also spent some time on the built-ins since this photo was taken. I'm loving them (and the storage they provide!). We bought a new media console, which is currently sitting behind our couch. It's waiting for our new flat-screen TV. It's a beautiful piece of furniture (and it's NOT black!). There's no way we could put our beast of a TV on it right now. So it's being patient. I've been putting up some more decor this weekend and have a leather ottoman/coffee table picked out. Now where's that tax return check??

Ah, the kitchen. I never thought I'd enjoy having a galley kitchen, but I was wrong! I really love this layout. There was no fridge, so we bough a new Whirlpool stainless side-by-side. Kelly's favorite feature is the in-door, removable ice bucket. You know, for all the pool parties we're going to have! We also bought a new microwave/range hood. Also Whirlpool, also stainless. Kelly has become quite the handyman, as he installed that bad boy all by himself. I'm so proud. We really need a new stove, too, but we're waiting until the summer. We plan to put in a gas line so I can really get cooking!
So, the wallpaper. Yeah, three layers. You can only see two in this photo, but I promise there were 3. And that peachy looking color on the inside of the cabinet (where the range hood should be)? That was the original color of the wall AND cabinets! The white paint is really chipped and worn under all the handles, so we'll sand and repaint everything. Again, this summer. Oh the advantages to working in the school system!

The minute we tore down the red, fruit print wallpaper the kitchen seemed twice as big. We could only get the first layer off, but since Kelly was busy losing the battle in the Study (you'll see that in a minute) we decided to just paint over what was left. It was a smooth surface for the most part. We plan to do a tile backsplash and get new countertops which will hide a multitude of painting sins. (Oh, 'Relaxed Khaki, how I love thee.)

This is what the kitchen looks like today. Not a very good picture (I was trying to avoid capturing the clean dishes in the drying rack) and I should have taken more. See the florescent light fixture on the ceiling? I really don't like it. We don't say that we hate things in our house, but I really hate it. Don't tell on me. I love the boy & the dog, though!

And I'm sad to say it, but I don't have a picture of my pride and joy - the breakfast bar! You can kind of see a light oak stool just behind Daisy's booty. That's where it is. It seats 2 people on each side. I already know what barstools I want. Black. I'm a little predictable, but I love black furniture. It really grounds a room. Anyway, there were two cabinets above the bar. If you were standing in the kitchen you didn't have a view of the living room. Even if you sat at the bar, you had to hunch over to see the person on the other side of the bar. But not anymore, baby! I have 2 less storage cabinets but I don't regret it for a second! Kelly even finished it off with a piece of drywall and a lovely sconce! And I can see right into the living room. Man, I really need a picture.

Study & Dining Room

We call this room the Study. It is the front room of the house and gets great light. The wallpaper on these walls was not so great, however.

We made the HUGE mistake of assuming that they drywall had been prepped by the previous owners and that it would come off like a dream. My guess is that it was paneling, and in an old update, they put up sheetrock and well, wallpaper. (They LOVED wallpaper, let me tell you!) We ended up tearing it all down, along with a couple layers of the drywall. I don't have an after pic yet because it was just too painful. Kelly worked on this room alone for a week. It's painted the same color as the dining room and am excited about what it will look like eventually. I think it just may be one of my favs.

This is the dining room, as we purchased it. I love the wood-burning fireplace and the painted brick. The wainscoting, too. I've always wanted a bit of it somewhere, and now I've got it. The yellow just isn't me. (I mean US, it isn't US.) The flooring isn't too bad. It actually makes me laugh because it's vinyl planks. So I guess that makes it faux-faux wood. It doesn't look horrible, but I don't plan for it to stay too long. Kelly doesn't know it yet, but I'm sure he suspects.

The dining room, several days after we closed. Kelly calls this color 'Chocolate Pudding' but the real name is something much more boring, like 'Practical Taupe'. It really a brown-gray, with a touch of lavender. I was worried it would be too dark at firs,t but now I really love it.

The left side of the room (you can enter from either the Study or the Kitchen). The french doors lead to the back patio off the pool.

This is what it looks like these days. I'm keeping it very simple in here. I'm not sure what kind of art to hang in here, but I'm thinking something in black & white. The wall to the right of the bookcase is a loooong expanse, and though I don't want to fill it up, I need something there. Something really good. And I'm thinking black & white damask drapes for the french door to the left of the fireplace. I think it would soften the space. The lighting is bad, very bad. There are 2 fixtures, neither are centered over the dining area. I plan to fix that. I'm dreaming of the perfect chandelier. I love this room.

I really need a china hutch. A small, painted black one, to be exact. I have my grandmother's china, which has about a billion-gazillion pieces. I love it, it's very simple, bone china with a black and gold rim. I've never had a place to put it and I wanted to show it off. Just a little. Open bookshelves are probably not the best idea, but the kids and disabled granny have been warned to stay away. (Not really, but kind of). The middle shelf holds some of my favorite things. The black matted print is a line drawing print of Cafe du Monde (in New Orleans, duh), a sign that says Champs Elysses and the book 'Baking With Julia'. I've had it for years and don't recall ever attempting any of the recipes, but Julia and I go way back, and it has gorgeous photos. The bottom two shelves hold my everyday linen. If you don't currently use cloth napkins and placemats for your everyday meals, I encourage you to try it. It makes Tuesday night lasagne taste even better.

Monday, February 15, 2010

it's time...

It is time to blog.

It's been so terribly long, I know.
We've moved into our new home and as of Saturday are re-connected to the world wide web! There is so much to say but only so much you really want to know, so I've decided to make a list, something I'm quite into making these days. It's gong to be random, and I'm certain I'll forget something, make that several things, but at least you'll get a glimpse.

1. We are at home today, enjoying the President's Day holiday. Tomorrow we will be home for the Mardi Gras holiday. We caught more beads than we could wear at the parade and Kelly dove into a feast of crawfish. Oh how I heart Louisiana! (I don't know if you've heard, but the Saints won the Superbowl. We tend to favor the Cowboys in the Spann Fam, but it was exciting, none the less!)

2. We dismissed from school early on Thursday and school was cancelled on Friday due to... SNOW! And I mean real snow! It was incredible. The kids made snowmen and had snowball fights (and nearly got frostbite since we no longer own any real winter gear). It's all melted now, but it was fun while it lasted. Kelly wasn't a fan, however, and is quite glad it's gone.

3. As I've mentioned a few times, we moved. But before we actually moved furniture and hauled boxes, we painted, tore out cabinets, peeled off wallpaper (as well as some layers of drywall - oops!)painted and painted some more! We had one and a half weeks in between closing and moving and resigned to get as much done as possible. We have much, much more to do, and the topic really deserves a post of it's own. More to come.

4. Claire has enjoyed another season of Upward Basketball, and has just one game left this season. She's the master of the bounce pass and loves to play. We are practicing softball again with her travel team and will play a weekend tournament in a couple of weeks. She'll also play Dixie Youth Softball (because we're completely crazy) which starts this month. Pitching lessons, here we come!

5. Nolan took his first belt test and is now a "high white belt". Small steps, people. He truly enjoys karate and is quite a natural. It won't be too long before he tests again for his yellow belt. They've begun sparring (the official term for... well, fighting) and loves it. He'll also play baseball along side his big sister. This means several meals will be eaten in the car with evenings spent in the ball park!

6. Kelly has started baseball practice and is supposed to have their first game this week. The snow pushed things back a little and we're expecting rain, so we'll see. We're all excited for another season and interested to learn the ins & outs of high school baseball.

7. Kelly's mom is still with us as we wait for an apartment to open up for her. She's doing well although would love to be in her own place. All things considered, things are pretty good.

8. I love, love, love my job. Not only do I get snow days and holidays, but I really get to experience school with my kids. Everyday is "Bring Your Kids to Work Day!". I've learned so much during my short time there and have such an appreciation for those who educate my children.

9. I love my dog. I really do. But she drives me crazy. She barks like mad and scratches up the wood frame of the french door but that all comes with the territory, right? I think I need the dog whisperer.

10. I've been addicted to the Food Network. Now if I can just translate my obsession to the kitchen... I need a new stove. One to match my new fridge. All in time, I must remind myself, all in time.

Life is good. We are healthy, no major illnesses for us this year. We are settling in. I am breathing deeper and smiling bigger. We are very busy and rarely home, but that is what summer is for!

I could go on and on and on but I have a paintbrush and a can of red paint with my name on it. Besides, my brain doesn't go back farther than this past week! Forward motion, friends, forward motion...