Posts tagged ‘Mishaps’

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.


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

June 16, 2013

The Year of Ugly Money

If 2012 was the Year of the Exterior (which, in actuality, will really span several years), then 2013 must be the Year of Ugly Money. It started back in February, when we had an unchecked slab leak. In March, the slab leak turned into upgrades to our floor duct and insulation situations – unseen but still very important. During that process, our air conditioning unit was checked and it was brought to our attention that it may not last through the summer.


Our A/C in this house has never worked properly, and every summer there has been something to address with it. We didn’t know why until a couple weeks ago when… you guessed it… the A/C went out again. Turns out, most air conditioners need to be replaced every 10 years or so. Our air conditioner was installed in the 80s.

So more ugly money spent, but hopefully we will be reaping the rewards by having a more efficient system that will lower the electricity bills.

Have you spent any ugly money lately? Or did you spend it a while back and are now seeing the benefits? Tell me about it below!

June 2, 2013


My troublesome master bedroom was requiring some ‘Frasier’ inspiration. I had furniture I loved and pretty bedding to go with it, but it still wasn’t working for me. After much deliberation, I realized my biggest problem was how I was treating the lines of the headboard. With the overall height of the headboard at only 26″, it was even more difficult to accessorize.

So I took a cue from Emily Henderson on how to style my nightstands. The most important step? Lighting. I had originally considered the usual table lamp, but with an only 11″ tall headboard and no great way of corralling electrical cords, I decided against them. Instead, I installed sconces centered above the headboard for easy reach.



The sconces functioned well, but having them centered just above the headboard really disrupted its low, elegant, albeit challenging, line. And don’t get me started on the Euro shams. If my goal is keep that continuous line, I was majorly failing. So I started entertaining other options for nightstand lighting.

I really loved the idea of hanging pendants centered above the nightstand, a la The Brick House:


image courtesy of the brick house


I bought vintage pendants that were originally a mono-point hardwired fixture and rewired them to be two separate plug-in swag pendants.



But when I test hung them in our bedroom for placement, I decided they were totally off. The combination of the teak bed with the brass birds and the swag pendants was far too Bohemian for my taste. Much more like Frasier’s free-spirited one-time girlfriend, Caitlin, than Frasier himself.

Finally, I put my Frasier hat on. What would Frasier do? I obviously couldn’t do table lamps, sconces, or pendants. The only thing left was a floor lamp, which would need to be able to reach at least Rob’s side of the bed, considering he used the wall sconces the most. So, I started looking for a classically shaped floor lamp and found this beauty at a local vintage shop for a great price.



It may not be the Arco floor lamp, but it very well may be as close as I will get to one. So here it is in my space.





And here’s my sort-of-styled nightstand.




Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have a troublesome room that has taken some time to complete?

March 13, 2013

Ugly Money

All over the blog-o-sphere, including The House on Penny Lane, the consensus is that pretty money is the best kind of money. Whether it is spent on paint, furniture, or landscaping, pretty money is fun to spend. Ugly money… not so fun. But sometimes, spending ugly money is necessary.

With the slab leak, we’re having to spend a lot of ugly money. It’s so ugly, you won’t even see it.

Last month, a water supply line in our concrete slab broke and leaked for 2 weeks. When we finally realized we had a slab leak, our floor ducts, which had numerous compromised joints, began filling with sand, and more noticeably, water. Instead of tearing up the floors and jack hammering the slab to find the leak, the plumbers re-routed the lines through the attic.

The leak was fixed, but our plumbing was exposed to the untempered air in the attic. So we took the initiative and called out some insulation guys. We had fresh insulation blown in and batts laid over our new plumbing lines.

Next up, our ducts. Once the leak was fixed, the water receded from the ducts, but the sand stuck around. We would occasionally see sand on the floor (and the furniture and the counters and any other horizontal surface within 5 feet) around the floor vent. We could also smell sand when the heater kicked on. We thought all the ducts needed was a good, old fashioned cleaning. Too bad there wasn’t enough sand for us to bury our heads. We had our ducts scoped and were told they were in such bad shape that cleaning would only damage them more. We needed to seal those suckers blowers.

And that’s not cheap. It includes removing the furnace coil, hand patching the larger gaps, sealing the entire system, and replacing the furnace coil. In the end we will have sparkling, white ducts. Really.

Now it’s time to look on the bright side. Even though you’ll never see the ugly money, we likely will. New insulation in our attic should help keep warm air in during the winter and cool air in during the summer. Repairing the ducts should also repair any air leaks we never knew we had. And maybe, just maybe, that means Rob’s office could be temperature controlled. How novel. Best of all, we could see our utility bills drop and we could get a tax refund on the work.

Ugly Money Polaroid

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.

November 10, 2012

Well, this is embarrassing…

Let me preface this by saying, we are not lighting novices. We have replaced our fair share of light fixtures – from interior to exterior, from the laundry room to the office, we have replaced almost every light fixture in our house. But something just wasn’t working in our guest bedroom.

About a year ago, the IKEA fixture in our guest bedroom went out. Initially thinking the bulb had burned out, I replaced it. But with a replacement bulb, the fixture still was not working. Not wanting to spend money or make a trip to IKEA, we spent a couple dollars on new wiring and re-wired the fixture. Still no worky.

So our guest bedroom sat in the dark for a year until we were able to get our hands on a new IKEA fixture (I have no shame for how much I love IKEA, deal with it).

I love the paper lantern hanging over our dining table, so the Vate fixture was an easy decision for me. I felt especially confident in my choice after Morgan of The Brick House pinned the Vate fixture for nursery lighting (our guest bedroom will likely be a nursery someday and I have not held myself back from decorating it accordingly).

OK, back to my embarrassment. In a rush to host a gathering this week, we spent an evening wiring up the new light fixture. As most IKEA products go, the instructions were a little vague. Not a good combination with… ELECTRICITY. Using our knowledge of wiring, we hook everything up and flip the breaker. Nothing…

Reluctantly, we switch our wiring thinking the unclear IKEA wiring was our previous mistake. Still nothing…

We check all wiring with our multimeter – the house wiring, the fixture wiring. We call Rob’s dad for additional ideas. “Of course you’ve checked your bulb…”
Of course. What do you think we are? Idiots? That’s the first thing we did a year ago – replaced the supposedly burned out bulb with… Oh.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Save yourself from embarrassment – throw out your burned out bulbs lest you want to mistake an oldie for a newby and spend a year in an unlit room.

On the bright side (I’m punny), we have a new guest bedroom light fixture and boy, is it dramatic.


Proof it works…


June 16, 2012


I had a great post started about adding address numbers to my house complete with paranoid blurred-out pictures. Just when I was going to add the final evening picture, I realized my mishap.

My original plan was to have “floating” house numbers (mounted on spacers) that hung below my porch light. I envisioned illuminated numbers that could clearly be seen from the street. I did not get that. Instead, I got a jumble of shadows that only mucked up the look of my porch.

So I had to start over. Pulling out screws that have already been glued was… tricky. So tricky I’ve been left with a bruised up chin. Fortunately, the house numbers I had could be converted to flush mounted numbers. Unfortunately, the difference was negligible. The porch light still casts shadows, although less so. At this point, I’m ok with it. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was.









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April 9, 2012

Even Some Free Mulch!

In addition to the work that took place in the front bed, some maintenance was done in the back over the weekend. Some mutant weeds were pulled (I’m talking almost as tall as me and freakishly proportioned) and the existing plants were mulched. Last summer was a real scorcher, so I was pleasantly surprised to find 9.5 out of 10 plants that I planted last spring greening up and some even flowering.

Last summer, my fern was a brown, crispy mound, so imagine my surprise to stumble upon this guy:


The Hostas were also a bit wee compared to last year, but obviously doing well.


The Mexican Feather Grass, on the other hand, thrived during the summer heat and even stayed beautiful through the winter. The Azalea is also doing well with some new blooms. The stick with some leaves on it in the upper right corner is what’s left of my hydrangea. As disappointed as I sound, I’m quite happy with it considering it looked an awful lot like the fern (dried to a crisp) last year.


But here’s the show stopper. As soon as the temperatures got into the 50s, the Clematis went wild. I counted several buds in early March and by the end of the month they had opened to reveal why so many people love this vining plant. Needless to say, I plan on planting more this year.


My backyard plants have turned a year older. Their mulch has been refreshed for free from my mom’s aging stock and from my dad’s vigorous yardwork. Now to feed and wait patiently for an even better showing next year.

Oh yeah, here’s the .5 out of 10 that didn’t make it to the new season. The Gardenia never had a chance. It has some green leaves, but I’m fully planning on replacing it with a Clematis.

… Unless some green thumbs out there want to talk me out of it…

April 7, 2012

Mulch, Mulch and More Mulch

This weekend was all about mulch.  What type of mulch? How much mulch? Landscape fabric with mulch? What color of mulch? I’ve finally realized the benefit of it and am willing to shell out some dough every year to maintain.

This year for the the front bed, I answered ‘Wood. 12 cubic feet. No. Black.’ Let’s call the last answer a mishap.

Yes, the mulch has been down for less than 2 hours and I’m already regretting the color choice. My biggest regret is not considering that the black dye may rub off onto shoes and then onto my light colored living room rug.


Thankfully, it hasn’t happened yet, so please friends, I beg of you, don’t make me feel like a bigger jerk than I already do.

Anyway… back to mulching…

With the help of my friend, Nate (whose living room I made-over here) we de-weeded and mulched the back bed. Nate is such a workhorse. Together, we definitely did far more than I expected to. Afterwards, my favorite gardening partner, my mom, came over to help me plant and mulch the front bed.

On to the before and afters…

Waaaaaay Before:

Slightly Before:

And After:

So the plants look a bit smaller in the picture than in person… but you get the idea.

Red Yucca with new bloom

Miscanthus Adagio

Can’t wait til it fills out. Check back for updates on the back garden.

March 5, 2012

New Faucet, Attempt No.1

We have a new faucet!



Too bad it only half works. And too bad it’s wholly our fault. I get the nagging feeling the blog’s ‘Mishaps’ bin is filling out. First, some pictures mid-installation.. before the bad happened.

Rob unhooking our old faucet while Polly looks on.

Me hooking up the new faucet while Jin finds a cozy spot.

As far as the mishap goes, our strength got the best of us and when ended up twisting off the copper pipe connected to the new faucet. We should have known better, but it’s just so darn awkward under there. Right now the faucet is only hooked up to the hot water line. Great for dishwashing and handwashing. Not so great for washing greens. At this point, though, it’s working for us. We’ll replace it sooner or later. For now, let’s marvel at the shiny, shiny.

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