Posts tagged ‘Cats’

June 21, 2015

All Grown Up

Our living room is looking all grown up lately. You may remember how excited I was to share the updated Mood Board I created back in September. Well, we received the new sectional in February and I am still so very excited. But before I share the most beautiful After pictures you have ever seen in your life, let’s take a look at how the living room looked Before.

Not too shabby, right? I was really happy with this space aside from the too small sofa that started to seem like it could only seat one person comfortably. And if I’m being honest, the rug was too small, as well. Ready for the After?

Oh yes.

The new sectional is from the Rowe Dorset collection. I replaced the too small area rug with carpet tiles, which increased the coverage area from 8’x10′ to 10’x14′. Similarly, our sofa size increased from 87″ to 104″. This really makes us feel like we’re actually using the whole living room, and not just a corner of it. Of course, it looks better, too.

Rowe Dorset Chaise Sectional

That chaise lounge? That’s my spot. Well, my spot that I share with the kitties.

The best picture of all.

Advertisements
January 24, 2015

One and Done

I’m hop-skipping around the different assignments from Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. Last weekend, I was able to strike off assignment #5, “Pick a Project” and assignment #9, “Hey! It’s Time to (Fill in the Blank)“, by completing one of the more inconsequential projects on my list, “Hang new drapes in master bedroom closet”.

If there is any reality of our home that I hide from the blog, it is my closet. If you look back through my posts on the master bedroom, you’ll notice that I never include an angle that shows my closet. The closet is the traditional 6 foot wide, 2 foot deep space with bifold doors. It’s nothing special to look at when the bifold doors are closed. Unfortunately, the reality is that we’re not allowed to close the doors.

Cats are interesting creatures…

If we close the closet doors, like most normal folks do, our beloved Jin would paw and meow at the door and otherwise cause an annoying ruckus, most often while we’re trying to sleep. So the doors were left open, giving us the wonderful view of my entire wardrobe, which, to everyone’s surprise, is not arranged by style, color, and sleeve-length. Sorry.

I hated it. I always felt like my garments were on display and like our bedroom was more chaotic than it should be. For years, I had the idea that I would add drapes to the closet and I was finally able to pick up my favorite Aina drapes on a recent trip to IKEA. Normally, I buy Cambria drapery hardware from Bed Bath and Beyond, but since I knew the hardware would be installed inside the closet and wouldn’t be seen, I decided I’d rather spend less money on more basic hardware. I opted to use IKEA’s Racka drapery rod with Syrlig curtain rings and clips. Using curtain rings, rather than the hidden tabs on the back of the Aina drapes, would allow for faster, smoother opening and closing of the drapes. In other words, I would be more likely to create a habit of closing the drapes when I’m done in my closet.

I was going to include a ‘Before’ photo of my closet with the doors wide open, but realized it exposed just a bit too much of my wardrobe to include on the blog. So you’re missing out on the nitty-gritty, but here’s a pretty picture instead. I present to you, a never-before-seen corner of the house on Penny Lane complete with the culprit that caused all of the aforementioned events.

IMG_3741

 Have you completed a January Cure project? Tell me about it!

January 6, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year, folks! I can’t believe it’s been a year already since my 2013 year-end review (just 6 posts ago!) I really don’t think I created enough blog content in order to warrant a review of 2014, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to break tradition and look forward instead of backward!

Since Christmas (read: those weeks that I spent ankle-deep in wrapping paper), I’ve been really itching to get organized. The house on Penny Lane may look nice and tidy, but it’s hiding a doozy of messes. I’ve done a few clean-outs here and there, but I decided that 2015 would be the year that I take on the January Cure from Apartment Therapy.

We’re already 3 assignments in, and I’m only behind on one of them. If I can keep up, I’ll be blogging about my process.

Let’s start with the first assignment: Flowers & Floors. this was a bit of an easy one for me and I’ll be honest why: Rob cleans the floors. He’ll thank me when he finds out that I didn’t make him do a thorough scrub down. I will give him credit though, since he did clean them just a day or so before this assignment. The main goal of the floor cleaning, I must say, is to get better acquainted with your home and what projects may need working on.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I can pretty much list of these projects from memory without even going into their respective rooms. I will be doing that, however, since that is assignment #2, Make a List of Projects. I’ll report back with my list in the next few days, but for now, I’ll leave you with the pretty picture I took after “completing” my first assignment.

September 6, 2014

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Hopefully there are people still out there who are willing to listen to my ramblings. Blogging consistently is challenging and I’ve just lacked the energy and inspiration to continue. Luckily, I do have some new and exciting things coming up for the House on Penny Lane. I’ll fill you in a bit more on that later. For now, I want to show off a quick and easy redo of our guest bathroom.

The guest bathroom was one of our first rooms to “complete” when we first moved into the house, mainly because it had the most bewildering decor of the entire house. Picture, if you will, matching wallpaper and window treatments featuring ladies’ hats and handbags in a lovely checkerboard pattern made of blue striped ribbon. Yes.

We removed the wallpaper and window treatments, painted and retiled the floor. The improvements felt like a breath of fresh air, but have recently revealed themselves to be merely an offering of a blank slate. While the rest of our home filled itself with texture and character, our guest bathroom sat blank and empty. It was time to add some life.

As a reminder of what the room looked like before, here are some phone pics I took of the space while contemplating my next steps.

      

Here’s the updated look.

My first step was switching around some art. Sometimes I love placing small pieces of art on walls that should really have large pieces, just because it’s unexpected. But the piece above the toilet just made the rest of the room feel so expansive, which only added to the empty, blank slate feeling in the space. So I moved the piece to the wall next to the door and added a larger piece of art above the toilet.

I would have loved to do something with the mirror and the light fixture, but I just didn’t have the budget to allow for those changes. Maybe further down the road. Right now, we’re just talking cheap improvements that make a big impact.

The next step was adding texture. This bathroom is used most by visitors that are only staying for a couple hours. So I really wanted to make the bathroom feel like an extension of the living room, not just the room that visitors would spread out their hygiene products in order to get ready in the morning.  So I added a runner to make the room feel less bathroom-y. It also added warmth and texture to an otherwise cold space.

Next was filling up all that counter space. I found the round basket at Home Goods on clearance for $5. I filled it up with toiletries that may be needed by overnight guests. Things like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Himalayan salt votive and marble tray also came from Home Goods. The hand towel and picture frame came from World Market and the soap dispenser came from Target. The floral stems came from Hobby Lobby. I’ve been on a faux floral kick lately and I recently realized how nicely the forms can fill a space, even if they’re not real. I’m no longer above having fake flowers, as long as they’re reasonably realistic looking and arranged well. The large vase, art, and other small pieces were items I already owned, but had no home for.

I’m planning on adding a DIY curtain for the window, but just couldn’t wait to share what’s finally happening over at our place.

Altogether, I spent about $60 on this space. I’d say it was money well spent.

Oh, I forgot to mention… we added framed picture of Polly because we consider this room hers. She loves drinking water out of the leaky faucet. I have proof.

May 3, 2013

April Showers…

… Only seem to bring more May showers. Supposedly, it’s springtime. But 34 degrees and raining doesn’t really feel like spring. So my week old plants are covered for protection against the freezing wind…

Covered Plants

What’s that? A new garden bed? OK, let’s take a few steps back. You may remember this landscape plan that I drew up for my front yard.

 

I created this plan almost a year ago after ripping out the shrubs in front of our picture window. My main objective with this change was to remove the overgrown grass that was impossible to cut and choking out pretty daylilies. Oh, and, ya know, to look nice.

Front Yard Before

But once I started really thinking about it, I realized I wanted to go BIGGER. And I came up with this plan.

Yeah. And I wasn’t scared AT ALL. So two weeks and two freezes ago, I started building a new garden in my front yard. The first day I spent laying out the shape of the bed, which took all of 15 minutes, and digging out 5 square feet of grass, which took 2 hours. It was not happening and I was in over my head. Luckily, there are things called Home Depots and they let you rent large pieces of equipment like sod cutters to help in times like these.

Here I am with the sod cutter whipping around my front yard for another pass at ripping out some grass. I look swift, don’t I? I was not, not at all, swift. I am walking at a speed of about .000000025 miles per hour in this picture. This sod cutter was a beast. The next day, and for 3 days after that, I felt like I had been rowing myself around the Atlantic Ocean. But the majority of the grass was out.

That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears right there. But the fun part was coming…

Plants!

There was so much fun to be had that Rob even got into the spirit of things.

He rigged up a time lapse session to document the less labor intensive bit of this whole project.

Enjoy!

March 30, 2013

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

With all the commotion over the slab leak, I completely forgot to share the result of my yellow chair redo. Here’s a reminder of the Before.

I bought the chairs back in 2010 from Craigslist. The yellow upholstery was existing, but the frame was some strange faux wood finish. You can read about that initial transformation here.

The repaint got me by for a good time, but I ultimately wanted something that would blend a bit more with its surroundings. I decided to paint the frame a dark brown, Sherwin Williams Black Bean. The chairs had already been claimed by Jin as a scratching post and I knew that wasn’t going to change once they were remade pretty. The texture of the yellow fabric hid the scratches well, so I stuck with a velvet and found a raw linen colored fabric to reupholster with.

You may be asking why I’ve put a ginormous pillow on my newly made-over chairs. Well. Something about the seat back didn’t quite do it for me. These pillows may be oversized, but I think they look pretty neat as they are.

To top it off, I had the very back of the chairs upholstered with an accent fabric.

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

February 28, 2013

Making Waves

I always said I wanted a beach vacation. I should have specified that the waves should be in the ocean, not in my air ducts.

This past week has been a doozy. But let me start off by saying, it could have been a lot worse. Long story short, we unknowingly had a slab leak for an extended period of time. The point at which we realized we had a slab leak? The water meter was spinning out of control and our floor ducts began filling with water. Let’s just say it was a little unsettling.

Thankfully, we had a reliable plumber on speed dial who put up with my panicking. Instead of tearing up my floors and jack hammering my slab to find the leak, they re-routed the lines through the attic. We still need to get our ducts cleaned, get some walls patched from accessing the plumbing and add insulation to our attic to ensure no frozen pipes.

Here’s a video of the unwelcome sloshing. For best results, turn your volume up.

December 30, 2012

Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 1

Over the holidays, my focus has been on improving our kitchen. Even at its best, it has been strangely cavernous yet very bright. It lacked any interesting characteristics to warrant it being the heart of the home and where we would often find guest congregating during parties. I attempted, many times over, to rearrange countertop accessories to improve the interest, but it was never enough. We didn’t have the money for a complete kitchen renovation, so I came up with some baby steps in hopes that I would find a comfort zone somewhere in the middle.

Kitchen Before

Many times, I would find myself prepping food inside the kitchen and ducking to be able to chat with friends on the other side of the peninsula. So step one became tearing down the cabinets above the peninsula. It was a bit of a scary step to take, like stepping off a cliff, because we weren’t sure what kind of surfaces we would find behind the cabinets. Would we have to patch large areas of the ceiling with sheetrock? Would we have to patch the tile backsplash? These lingering questions became the reason why we waited so long to take this first step, but finally, I had had enough. The day after Thanksgiving, Rob and I tore that sucker down.

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

We were left with some surprising and not-so-surprising surfaces. Not-so-surprising were the tile edges cut around the now non-existent cabinet and the once hidden wall texture that was now exposed and out of place next to the remaining texture-less walls. The tile would either have to be patched or covered in some way so that the rough edges would not be exposed. The textured wall would either have to be sanded down or the remaining walls would have to be textured to match. The surprising was the already textured ceiling that required very little additional patching to blend with the exposed ceiling.

And then the real work began. I decided to go ahead and texture all of the walls in the kitchen because the flat walls felt cold and out of place with the rest of the house. I then primed and painted both the walls and the ceiling with Sherwin Williams Shoji White in a flat finish. I had a little wood ledge made to cover the cut tile pieces. I originally tried staining it, but couldn’t get the stain color dark enough. I also realized I didn’t want a dark brown stripe that was the trim seemingly hanging in space. Another reason I decided against staining the trim was because the next kitchen improvement baby steps would involve painting the upper cabinets white. So why stain the trim only to paint it later on?

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Oh, we also replaced the outlet and switch covers and re-caulked the counter.  It’s amazing what a difference those small changes can make. The final item to complete before wrapping up baby step one is accessorizing – a big step all on its own. I created a quick mood board for the kitchen.

Kitchen Mood Board

The easiest way to unify a space is through color. I already had several yellow items in the kitchen, so it only seemed natural to continue with that theme. The rug was a Christmas gift from Rob. I’ll also make a curtain with white and yellow print fabric, frame and hang a print, and replace our kitchenette table and chairs with bar stools (the brass pull is for future baby steps).

Jin on the Kitchen Rug

Jin is already enjoying the new rug.

November 19, 2012

I’ve Got Swag

Well… I have A swag.

I’ve been working on holiday door decor since the townhouse days and could never get it quite right. I think I’m a little closer this year.

The difference has definitely been the fondness I have for our new front door.  These are our first holidays together (yes, I’m talking about me and my door), and I want to do it up right. I knew a swag style design would work better than a wreath next to our linear doorlite, so I started searching Pinterest for swag arrangements that I liked.

image courtesy of therenounednest.com

source unknown – please contact me if you know the source

image courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com

All arrangements seemed to have few elements with some emphasis in the center. I have some sort of weird obsession with eucalyptus, so I decided to start there. I did a bit of window shopping, but ultimately found myself in the dried floral aisle of Hobby Lobby. They had several different colors of Eucalyptus, but purple stood out to me.

The purple was dark and moody, just the way I like it. Plus, I’m a huge fan of purple with orange and green – a triad color scheme. I grabbed the Eucalyptus, some barely green Dune Grass, and then paced back and forth through the Hobby Lobby aisles looking for the perfect centerpiece to my swag. Grapevine orbs? Faux bird’s nests? Faux Forsythia branches? All good options, but I ended up taking home a couple nameless faux tropical flowers that were dusted with purple and green. I also grabbed some deep navy ribbon that was so close in color to my moody purple that I could hardly stand it.

Once I got home, I spread all my goodies out on the dining table and started arranging. Jin helped by chewing rouge grasses and promptly vomiting them up.

My first step was cutting down the stems of the nameless tropical flowers and tying them together using twist-ties.

Then I laid out my Eucalyptus and Dune Grass, while Jin sniffed some fake flowers…

Then plopped my tropicals on top and called it good.

I tied it all together with a rubber band and began wrapping the base with my ribbon. I tied one end of the ribbon in a knot around the rubber band then wrapped until I could wrap no more and tied a knot in the ribbon on to itself.

I then knotted one end of the hanging ribbon onto the  knot of the base ribbon. You follow?

The last step was to holler at Rob to hold the arrangement against the door while I stepped into the front yard to eyeball exactly where the arrangement should be hung. Nail ‘er into place (on top of the door) and call her done.

Errr… no. The witch’s broomstick was not what I was going for. I let the swag hang for half a day, just to be sure of how much I hated it, then took it down and fussed a bit with it.

Ahh… that’s better. Simple is always better.

Now to clean up that cat vomit.

November 4, 2012

Laundry Room Re-do

Every house I have lived in has had one of those catch-all rooms. In the house on Penny Lane, that room is the laundry room. Not only is it the laundry room, it is also the utility room, the junk room, the litter box room, and the shoe closet. And it looked like it…

Total disorganization. Shoes piled on top of shoes and that Laundry Lift had been leaning against the wall for 2 years. This room is the first room that we enter when coming home and the last one to exit when leaving. I wanted it to be bright and welcoming but also useful as the laundry room that it is. My first order of business was corralling the shoes. I had my eye on the IKEA Stall unit for a while and finally talked Rob into buying it.

When I got it home, I immediately started assembling it. Halfway into assembling, I realized the thing was mammoth. I had done some measuring before purchasing, but seeing it in person made me rethink my laundry room plan.

I originally wanted to place the new shoe cabinet on the same wall that the shoes were stacked against. Unfortunately, the existing cabinet was taking up far too much room. So we decided to take it out…

And with it, the tile and base boards were replaced and the walls patched and painted. It was a bit more work than we expected, but well worth the return on square footage.

With that additional square footage, I was able to push back the clothes drying rack to an area that didn’t require ducking and didn’t block the light. This also cleared up my walls for decor. We found a new use for an area rug that had been rolled up in our garage for a year – it did wonders for the warm, inviting feel I was after. And didn’t realize until later how much it would help to cut down on the amount of litter tracked by the cats.

Light and bright and 100% efficient!