Off the back porch is a little back deck. It’s not big enough to be anything more than a way to get oneself from the back porch to the back yard but nonetheless, there it is. This little back deck, poorly constructed and painted John Deere green, was beginning to literally crumble away – it wasn’t safe anymore at all – not for us people or the sturdy little dogs we love.
Here’s a before shot (but missing the side rails because they came off with a push of a finger and we got excited and started demoing before we took pictures . . .)
What a glorious mess. Nothing meets the residential code (stairs are 28″ wide, not 36″ and the baluster spacing is way to big), nothing is super structural . . . a mess. As an added bonus there is a crumbling set of concrete stairs hidden underneath the platform. (Wait a minute – that’s why the back deck exists!!!!! It’s a platform to cover up the old concrete stairs! Why did I never think of this before! – Okay back to the post. . . )
Last weekend, after getting back from our Minnesota trip, JT and I have been laboring in the sweaty, sticky soup that is St. Louis weather to create a safe, code-compliant, non-green back deck. We’re not all the way done but we do have a safe platform and wide steps installed — and we had the dogs take a maiden voyage…
And that’s the story of how I ended up with the most adorable picture I have ever taken. Shenanigan (the guy in front) is usually too busy being a stand-offish jackass to really let his true essence be captured on film – but I caught him running down the new stairs with his little piggie ears sticking straight up (they don’t normally do that) and it seems like you can see the real Shenanigan here. Miss Sophie (our other tan dog) is in the background being sweet and demure like she can be and Cameron, our Stray Rescue foster dog is always tagging along for the fun.
We still have posts with neat copper post caps and lots of railings to install but we are so happy with the way our little back deck is turning out so far. And it looks like the dogs approve. Cheers – CT
I don’t know how many more times I can post about changes in the living room before you guys gather your pitchforks and torches and chase me from the interwebs but here goes nothing.
We’ve been living with a chair party since the couch left.
(Mostly all of) the chairs I’ve hoarded came out to play. It was making me feel old though because JT would end up in the “man chair” (the Baumritter lounger with the “Cover Your Lover” blanket on it currently) and I would end up on the Kroehler white vinyl swivel chair, side-by-side like we had suddenly turned into our grandparents in “their chairs”. I mean everyone’s grandparents did that right — there was a “his” and “hers” chair and don’t you dare sit in it if Grandma or Grandpa were around. Our original plan was to clear out the old tan sofa to make room for the Danish Daybeds but . . . . after getting some prices to have the foam redone and cushion covers made it was a jaw-dropping, I-better-learn-how-to-sew-right-now kind of price. (In reality, the quotes weren’t bad, they’re just out of our budget right now.)
So, what’s in our budget that would allow me to occaisonally sit next to my husband? This little gem from Craigslist.
I had scouted the “list” and found a few options that could work for us, including a Karlstad (Ikea) sofa that looked almost brand new but this guy just tugged at my retro/vintage heartstrings.
I mean, look at it!
It turned out to be in a third floor apartment (no elevator) near Wash U. The scale was such that JT and I could easily heft it down the stairs and it fit into the Saturn with the back door all the way closed. So it’s not nearly as big/long as our outgoing sofa but it will nicely fill a void until I get some courage and tackle those daybeds. Now JT and I can morph back into 32 (and 33 – happy early birthday honey!) year-olds rather than the old people we had become.
Here it is at home and cleaned up a little (good old Howard’s Feed and Wax on the legs and some vinyl cleaner on the seat).
There’s a few tears and age spots here and there but overall I really like it. It’s a little less white than the ad pictures showed — it is more of a subtle yellow with avocado undertones and almost matches our Eames rocker perfectly. I’ll be back with another (!) post on how we rearranged the living room a few times to get “Newbie” (as I have named the sofa) to fit into our life and home.
Here are some outtakes of what happens when I try to take furniture photos. Dogs. Everywhere. Cameron is apparently not camera-shy at all, but very interested in being front and center in all photos. That dog is funny weird (in a good way).
JT and his dad made a trip to rural Ohio this past weekend for some time with his sweet 94-year-old grandmother. With some free time on my hands, I decided it would be a good time to tackle my little basement lair, the “studio”. (See this post for the crazy before pictures.) It’s a tiny room with two concrete walls and concrete floors. I’m going to add an area rug over the concrete to warm it up but I wanted to paint all the concrete first. . . seal it up and clean it up. I am using the same Porch & Patio floor paint we used on the living room fireplace and am so excited to have a white floor somewhere in this house!
This weekend was a little windy and Sophie had been hiding out in the basement due to her fear of the “Windman”. After painting myself out of the studio (I’m doing half the floor at a time and then shifting all the furniture/clutter/mess/junk back over) I came back downstairs to find that little Miss Sophie had visited my newly painted floor.
Caught with paint on her paws! She was not a happy camper. I took her out the basement back door and hustled her into the car. It was off to Four Muddy Paws for a self-service dog wash.
Poor thing. The only place she had any paint was on her paws and really I wasn’t too worried about her tracking it around the house because it was already pretty dry when I found her but I was worried about her licking it off her feet. Plus, she smelled, well, like a dog so a bath is never a bad idea. Four Muddy Paws is great – the tub is elevated and they have stairs for big dogs to climb in. They have everything already there – aprons for the people, doggy shampoo and conditioner, brushes, combs, eye wipes and towels. Plus they have the little reverse vacuum “blow dryer” system which Sophie tolerated with only a few grimaces in my direction. I think it’s a little less stressful for the dogs to get washed by us rather than groomed by someone they don’t know so I prefer to do it that way but since it’s not at our house, there’s no mess to clean up!
The doggy adventure rounded out with Miss Sophie making a quick trip to Home Depot for some more paint. Well behaved dogs on leashes are allowed in our store and she was pretty pooped out from her bath so we scooted through the store (no pictures, I was in a rush and I had Sophie in one hand and spray paint in the other) before heading back home. I had been texting the pictures to JT in Ohio so he had a real-time adventure (and lots of laughs) with us. It was both a quiet and a crazy weekend but at least a little progress was made on my studio!
The couch left us on Saturday, on to a new life in the “mixing lounge”.
We had this big leather baby for at least seven years — right when we bought the house, we quickly realized the sectional sofa we had in our apartment wasn’t going to fit (the chaise sat on the wrong side and couldn’t be reconfigured). So we marched on out to Value Village Furniture on Chippewa and found this thing for only $700. It was fate — that was just the amount we had squeezed out of the sectional during a Craigslist sale and we were b.r.o.k.e. having just bought our first home.
We did a lot of living on that sofa and I was a little sad to see it go even though I have a new one (sort of) waiting in the wings. It was time though. The monkeys (and JT and I) had worn the seats down a little (it was probably bonded leather) and there is a ring on one of the arms from a too hot coffee mug.
Up next is the Danish Daybeds but . . . I still don’t have the upholstery fabric picked out! Trouble.
Once the sofa left, the room was looking a little bare and the floors were looking really dirty. I threw all the small items in the kitchen and herded the dogs into the hallway and decided to try out the Bona floorcare system from Home Depot. (Cameron is hiding in the bedroom because he isn’t as accustomed to large furniture rearranging as Sophie and Shenanigan).
I had another wood floor cleaner I was using but the floor never really looked shiny clean. It turns out what I was probably missing was some wax or polish.
Here’s another view of the living room/dining room while it was emptied out. The Bona system worked well but I think I almost need to do a few more coats of the polish to build up and fill in more of the cracks and crevasses in the floor.
I looked through the post I did back in December of 2011 when we got the Danish Daybeds and here was the floor plan I had posted:
Everything has changed! Back to the drawing board!!
One more post about artist canvases. I’m not a painter. I never had any formal training in painting. I did have to take one drawing class in college and it was miserable. I hated the critique days and having to put my deformed and pathetic sketches up next to my classmates beautifully rendered images. But sometimes you need artwork for your house and you’re cash-strapped and you resort to painting it yourself.
Let me rewind for a minute. A few months back I picked up a little canvas at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. I searched high and low for the original images but to no avail — when I bought it, the canvas had a lavender background with white flowers painted on it. It looked like something I would have presented in college had I been required to take a painting class (a little amateur-ish to say the least). I felt a little bad when I jesso-ed over the canvas until I remembered it had been consigned over to St. Vincent de Paul.
Part two of this long-winded and potentially underwhelming story has to do with the brassy arc lamp I picked up at the auction at Vandeventer Vintage. I was considering giving it a new coat of (spray) paint, maybe in black to help it fit in with the living room a little better. (Read more of my angst here when we brought home a second lamp). I decided instead of painting this great vintage gem, I would bring in more brassy/gold goodness to make it feel at home.
Back to the painting. First I jesso-ed it, then I applied a few coats of a gold spray paint I had on hand. I found a cool example image on Pinterest that had large blocks of color and used that as my starting point. At first I had taped the canvas off with some 1″ painters tape we had around the house but the proportions felt weird so I “had to” order some washi tape from Etsy.
The washi tape didn’t perfectly keep the paint inside its boundaries so I had to do a little touch-up once I removed it. I took over the tulip table and spent a couple of days mixing up paint colors like a mad scientist. I used the kitchen blue color, the living room accent wall (SW Urbane Bronze) in its full hue and also lightened a few shades with white and a few new colors. JT requested “light red” and I told him he just asked for pink. However I was able to mix up a nice red-orange that seemed to satisfy his request.
The brassy/gold undercoat plus the paint colors from around the house really work to tie things all together in the living room.
Also, white fingernails! Because Easter was last Sunday, I feel like we’re in the clear for white shoe season and I celebrated by putting one of my favorite colors on my nails. Yesterday (Friday) was one of the first days it really, really felt like spring around here and everyone fled the office for City Garden at lunch. I had lunch at Lulu’s, an all-vegan food truck (so good!) and took in the sights. I know I talk about the Flaming Lips a lot, but this sculpture struck me as being very Wayne Coyne-esque.
On to the weekend everyone! I’m taking Cameron to an adoption event today at the Kirkwood Wal-Mart from 11am to 1pm. Stop by and say hi to the old guy! Cheers – CT
If you guessed Flor carpet tiles, you would be correct.
Or if you guessed sweet old black lab/husky mix, you would also be correct.
Yep, Cameron our foster dog is back.
Cameron was adopted a little more than two years ago by Maggie, a sweet lady who loved him and wanted a companion around to spend her time with (she is retired). Well Maggie also has Parkinson’s disease and the time had come for her to move someplace where she could get more assistance. She looked and looked for a place where she could also take Cameron with her but didn’t have any luck. I think she delayed her move (and better care) for some more time with Cameron which makes me kind of sad.
So Cam the Man is back in the house. You can read his adoption posting on the Stray Rescue website here.
Sophie and Shenanigan are good with Cameron since he’s older and calmer like they are but really Cameron needs his own people to love him and care for him. Have you ever tried petting three dogs at one time? It doesn’t work out so well and they always seem to want attention, well, at the same time! So that’s why we are looking for a home for Cam.
Spread the word — if you know anyone looking for a sweet older gentleman to spend their days with, Cam’s their man. We love Stray Rescue and what they do for St. Louis dogs (and cats). We’ve fostered a lot in the past (see the complete story here) and know there’s a forever family out there waiting for Cameron.
And the Flor? Well we might wait a little before installing it . . . . when Cameron’s dark fur coat combines with Sophie and Shenigan’s tan furballs, it makes a marvelous mess. We are still debating whether a robot vaccuum cleaner will work in our little house or not.
Back with more later! Cheers – CT
It’s been a little while now, but St. Louis was recently blessed with a Goodwill by the Pound. It’s a lot of crazytown where books and glassware are 79 cents per pound and everything else is 39 cents per pound. They have these giant weigh scales at the checkout that you just roll your cart up on. My kind of party. I went when it first opened and it was pretty quiet. JT and I went a little more recently and it was CROWDED!!!
It’s like a last chance Charlie for all this stuff. They push out these giant blue bin/trucks every fifteen minutes or so and take others away (for good! Exterminate! Exterminate! Sorry, husband started watching Dr. Who and even I can hear the evil shrieking from the next room.) The furniture here is usually T.O.A.S.T. but there’s always at least something to be found of interest.
Here’s what I brought home:
Sometimes I wonder why I buy things but the thought of it maybe going away (forever!) means you just have to snatch it up and sent it back to Goodwill in a few months when you’ve regained your senses. (PS – Photo-editing faux-pas – that was supposed to say “produce” not “product”. Chalk that one up to a Friday!)
So, random I know. Next door to the Goodwill by the Pound is Warehouse of Stuff where we picked up two somethings for my basement lair/studio-in-the-works. But I’m still stringing that one out for another day . . . .
Here’s what was going on while I was taking my “stuff” photos. Idiot, ridiculous, lazy-a$$ dogs.
That couch’s days are numbered — it’s soon to move into the Black Horse Studio where the guys have been recording! See more at www.grandbeautymusic.com. (Also I think JT is going to post up his latest Craigslist find there soon. He drug me up to Godfrey, IL last week for this thing. And that’s how I got my rugs. #lifeisatradeoff)
Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter everyone. I should have some good stuff in the hopper next week (semi-Easter pun intended). Cheers – CT
Sophie and Shenanigan’s last set of collars, from Earth Dog, were getting a little grungy and they were starting to make us crazy with the constant jingle jangle of their tags clanging together. So we took them off a while ago and they’ve been naked ever since. At one point I had found a tutorial and was going to try my hand at making them new ones myself but finally realized that was just not in the cards. We were looking like very bad pet guardians with these little wild animals in our house — what if something happened and they got out — No ID! (they are both microchipped but when you see a dog running loose without a collar you don’t usually assume it’s someone’s pet . . . )
So I called on my good friend, Etsy! I ordered and they did arrive.
We got them both collars and leashes from Learned Stitchworks. (Visit shop here). Sophie’s collar is a pattern called “Hearts Galore” and Shenanigan is sporting “Silent Cinema”.
Learned Stitchworks also makes bow ties or flowers in a matching ribbon/fabric to the collars . . . I’m not really supposed to dress the dogs in clothes (per the husband’s request) but I think I might have to get these . . .
They’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and they are great! We use the martingale style so they are a little looser while we hang out at home but then can tighten down to fit more snugly if we needed to grab them or when you clip a leash on. This style has worked best for us because Shenanigan is kind of a “no neck” and I would feel bad if he had to wear a tight collar all day everyday.
To avoid the tag jingling, we’re going to get the name tags from Petsmart that will rivet right to the collar . . . still haven’t done that — we need to TCB on that one.
My only complaint is that the backside of the leashes are black but this is pretty standard for most of the custom leashes on Etsy.
Here’s Sophie looking regal on her sheepskin covered throne (I mean couch):
And Shenanigan — I rolled over one morning and he had taken JT’s spot on his pillow.
This is a bad iPhone picture of him saying “scratch my face”. Because that’s what dogs say.
Can I just tell you how hard it is to get two idiot dogs to sit still for these photos?
There were a lot of outtakes.
A new year means a new fridge right? Not quite. The one we bought with the house is still chugging along and while I’d love to chuck it into the alley sometimes, I just can’t quite reconcile myself with replacing something that is working.
But I did tweak the big ugly blank side of the fridge last May with some craft paper. (See the whole post here.) My how time flies when you’re having fun. And as the time has passed, so has the paper worn. Turns out paper and water droplets (from the hand drying towel hanging there) don’t really mix so well . . . .
I was still reluctant to actually paint the fridge with chalkboard paint instead so I ordered a roll of contact paper that is also a chalkboard surface from Amazon. The roll wasn’t nearly as wide as the paper was which I don’t love but until I can get on board with painting the fridge (or buying a Smeg!), this is what we get. There were a few air bubbles that didn’t come all the way out but it was a pretty simple install process. It was definitely a two-man job though — JT and I took turns holding the bottom away from the fridge while the other smoothed out the contact paper with a large piece of sample laminate I had on hand.
I think the contact paper chalkboard could be a great option for renters who don’t like the look of a door or cabinets — just stick a chalkboard on it (the new version of put a bird on it!).
Since the chalkboard paper was sticky-backed it freed up a bunch of our heavy-duty magnets to stick some more knives and utensils to the side of the fridge. I gave them a crime scene-esque chalk outline so we’d know which one was in use or in the dishwasher. Now that the holidays are behind us, we’ve been cooking at home a lot and from scratch, so having these knives within easy reach is great. We also got a juicer and started down that path so many, many fruits and vegetables are being murdered in our kitchen.
JT wrote a little note to the dogs down at the bottom reminding them to behave. I got very different results when I tried to coax them into modeling for the blog: Sophie was terrified and Shenanigan was nonchalant and/or impatiently waiting for the treat I bribed them with.
Little dude had to go to the vet on Saturday because we found a weird bulge on his side. Turns out it’s a fatty but benign tumor. Sophie’s been having problems with one of her back legs that the vet said is exacerbated by her weight so it looks like both dogs will be on the eating healthy bandwagon with us in 2013! Good thing that the kitchen is fine-tuned and ready to go. I’ve been doing a little work to the pantry as well and that will be an up and coming post. Have a great week everyone! Cheers – CT