Monday, June 13, 2011

Sanding is still on hold.

The sander was supposed to be ready for pick up on Thursday. Still hadn't heard, so today I called the shop. They explained more was broken than they anticipated, and they are waiting for parts to come in. And "we'll call you when it's ready."

That line is such a bummer. No expectation of when it will be ready. Just whenever. I'm so excited to wait even longer for the sander.

Luckily, we've been able to spend the would-be-lost home improvement time in the backyard. So there: the silver lining.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Time in the Yard

Yard work kept on through Friday. The vines came down off the fence.

Before (side view):

After (looking straight on):

Then Norm came over to help us remove the holly. It was growing too close to the house and was well on it's way to damaging the eaves.

Saturday I spent several hours stripping one side of the closet door for the office/guest room.

It's not quite done, but it's close. I'm debating whether I want to strip the interior facing side of the door. It's roughly 4 hours worth of labor that I'd rather put towards something else. So I may just sand it to clean up, and repaint. Or I may give in to the guilt and strip the paint anyway.

So far as a day spent stripping paint goes, it was pretty awesome. I had music playing, it was warm and I was well shaded by the giant fig tree.

When I decided to call it day, I still had enough motivation to clean up the front room, which has been a disaster area since starting the office project. Yep, it was a good day.

So, how did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Living with Construction and Dreaming of Project Completion

I saw a post on Apartment Therapy about living with home improvement. There, in the first picture, I saw our shop-vac, our ladder and the paper on the floor. It's like they snuck into our house and took that picture. Reading further, I saw (and maybe you did, too) the script for my own home improvement.

You've got to keep the project contained, as much as possible. I try to keep a "dirty" area and a "clean" area- even if no one else can tell the difference, I usually know which is which.

The article also talks about photo-documenting progress, reflecting upon what you've done to gain a sense of progress, and sharing your progress with others for support. That, in fact, is why this blog exists.

And while I don't keep mood boards or inspiration folders at the ready, I have my bookmarks for different websites, online catalogs and a few online design tools that I really love. I like a nice online design tool that does not require you register. I hate registering for the thousands of things online, just so I can receive your junk email. Just let me use your software, dang it.

I especially like:

Icovia. Maybe you already know this one already. I've been using the program by way of the Raymour and Flanigan Furniture page. You can customize the size of every room, structural element, furniture, appliance and fixture. There's a wide variety of symbols to choose from, which helps me visual our furniture that much better. Love this tool. It's a fun way to kill a little time and prove that YES, a bigger rug would actually define our living room as such, rather than the awkward pass through it seems to be now.

Here's our living room floor plan with my proposed rug and chair:

That big thing next to the chair is actually the fireplace. Doesn't quite look like ours- actually I think it looks more like a big screen television. But it's not. The left is at an angle, to the top left of the floor plan.

I also really like Sherwin-Williams' Color Visualizer tool. You can upload your own pictures or use one of the sample they provide, choosing from indoor and outdoor scenes. If it weren't for this tool, I would never have realized that some whites look pink next to your certain wall colors, while whites actually look white. I think of myself as less-than-creative, so this tool is a "must consult" for me.

Our room with SW Color Visualizer:

In the interest of full disclosure, you can register (::shudder::) for both of these tools and save your work. I prefer to just make notes and do a screen grab of the image. Yep, I like to beat the system. And stick it to the man. Push the envelope. Etc.

Are there any similar programs you are using that you'd like to recommend to others? Do you know of something similar for landscaping? Because I really would love to start pseudo-planning our future backyard!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Equipment Failure? Change gears!

Being busy with a few other things has kept me away from the blog, but we're still hard at work.

Unfortunately, our sander died. I guess we're just too strong for the awesome plastic parts inside of the sander. Joking aside, I was disappointed to find out that plastic spindles are were holding our sander together.

Of course it broke. Why wouldn't it? It's plastic. I suppose that's probably the case for most sanders, but if you know of a heavy duty, can't-be-stopped sander, I'd love to know who makes it and where I can find it! Suggestions?

Since sanding is the last thing we want to do right now on hold, we're spending this week getting the yard ready for an overhaul. Our friend is coming over Friday to really get into the yard clean up, so today we did some prep-work, dragging the pile of brush to the curb. It was no small feat.

Here's most of it:

A while back (er... two years ago, maybe?) we found some crushed glass and a metal rim just below the grass. This is what we dug out of the ground, in the middle of the yard, barrel and all:

Filled with plenty of this:

Except for the gren t-bar. We added that. But still- wowzers.

"I think I need to get back on the rower."

He went on to say: "Old pants + heavy lifting = blow out."

The partial moon wasn't the only view. There are also these:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shelterness Inspiration

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to share some design inspiration ideas that I found tonight, while surfing around at Shelterness. The following photos come from 50 pages of articles I sifted through on Shelterness. Think of these as my personal favorites from the first 50 pages. Again, all of the following photos are found on

A few years ago I saw something similar to this in a Pottery Barn catalog. I like how the television is integrated with the room by the large frame.

I'm also a fan of utilizing the space under the stairs for storage. I like the look in this picture, but I don't see myself putting a television there.

But maybe it would work for some shelving like this:

I always picture a big wall of built in shelves in my dream house. I like the big library ladders, too.

Take that ladder and use it in a kitchen? Now you're onto something!

My husband tells me all about the drying rack in the kitchen in Rome. In my mind, it is similar to this:

He really wanted something similar when we renovated the kitchen this year, but it didn't happen. Maybe next time.

Glass-backed cabinets are interesting. You can really show off glassware, and it does give you a sense of space. I like seeing a cabinet like this lower in a room. Even though they are see-through, when they are mounted higher (like over a breakfast bar) I still feel like they are blocking my view. This is a nice alternative.

Here is another cool storage feature. I feel like these shelves would get dusty and be difficult to clean, but I like the way it looks in the picture.

This outdoor walkway is made from slices of logs. I wonder how this would work indoors.

I'm not a big fan of tile, because you have to clean the grout. But. This tile floor is pretty cool:

Again, I do not claim any credit for these pictures. No offense to the person in this picture, or the photographer, but it's pretty cheesey. Cheese aside, I think they are onto something with the notches in the shelf. Maybe with something like this, I'd quit leaving my toothbrush on the side of the sink.

Time to get out of the bathroom.

This group of lights comes from a kitchen ceiling. I think it would look fantastic on a back porch, in a sitting area.

The first time I saw the drum from a clothes washer used as a fire pit was a few years back, in Edison, California. I really liked the rustic look of the drum (that one was double stacked- it looked like a rocket!) and have been storing this idea in the back of my mind. Maybe one day...

Finally, this picture is what brought me to Shelterness. This mailbox would have everybody laughing:

One last time: All of the photos in the post were found on