Category Archives: Around the house

Paint It Black

I’ve made no bones about my love for the Rolling Stones.  Well, the time has come for me to see them live (while they’re still alive!!) when JT and I plus some friends depart for Desert Trip.  To say I’m excited does not do justice to the range of emotions I am experiencing … I am ready to dance my ass off and jump up and down until I can’t walk the next day (wouldn’t be the first time, might be the last time).  Living a five hour drive from Southern California has been pretty sweet.

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So, I have been cranking the tunes and getting some projects done around the house in advance of our friends’ arrival (they’re flying into PHX and we’re all trucking it out to Indio)  While we were working on some projects in the music room hanging shelves and artwork, “Paint It Black” came on our feed and I though it might be the perfect song for our new lounge.  While I know this is actually a song about a young girl’s funeral, I just think the Rolling Stone’s and Charlie Watt’s drum beat were guiding me to the perfect color for this room.

So, as a refresh, we started here:

That was sort of around move-in mess, I guess…. those were some of the only “befores” I kept around.

And now, here we are:

 

It’s like a little aerie as the windows wrap around the corner and it sits on the second floor facing towards the street and above the front door.  The side window has a great view towards the mountain and we originally had the desk right there but it gets too hot.

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The Danish Daybeds make a perfect spot for lounging and I love having them side-by-side.  I added a few blankets and cover for dog protection as this is one of Shenanigan’s favorite perches.  It’s hard to believe these daybeds are the same ones I scored off Mister Modtomic all those years ago.

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JT installed guitar “swing” hooks into the stud for secure guitar storage/display.  He still has a bunch of guitars in STL that need to make the trek to PHX … anyone up for a drive?  The wall shelves are from Ikea, the “Skogsta”.  The wood tones help warm things up against the blue-black walls.  This is the darkest wall we have done to date.  I thought about doing the ceiling too but my arms just weren’t up to it.

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We have a lot more space than our first house, that’s for sure … remember that music room?

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I sure do miss those fans though!  We still have the ugly ones upstairs in the new house…

So, there just seems to be something about a music room and a moody wall color that works for us.  It’s helped to have a dedicated work space also for days when JT remotes in from home or when I need to work late and would rather be in my pajamas.  The TV is mounted on a swiveling wall mount and so it can be pulled out for watching TV/playing Playstation from the daybed or we hook the computer into it and use it as a second screen (like now, as I type).  It’s turned into a very flexible and multi-functional room, which is great.

Next stop, Rolling Stones!!  Paint it Black!!  (Something about WordPress is not letting me link to the YouTube song and I can’t find the song in our iTunes library either).  Go forth to the internet and search up some Rolling Stones! I’ll leave you with my other favorite:

Cheers!!!! CT

The Road to Minimalism

By now you may have seen CT’s mention on a previous post of the new air conditioner we just had to buy. It was a painful experience, but in the scheme of things it was something we had to do in order to “maintain” this home. Here’s a pic of the massive building-sized heat pumping robot terminator fandroid:

Over the past few months, CT and I have been thinking a lot about the things we have bought and surrounded ourselves with, and the lengths at which we have to work and stress the hell out just to “maintain” all of these things. In American society, it seems like our idea of standard of living can simply be boiled down to making sure you make enough money, virtually any way you can, in order to surround yourself with stuff you probably don’t really need. For a lot of us, that means working a soul-sucking and intrinsically meaningless job that causes us daily sadness and fear.

I’ve thought a ton about what it is that I need. I know I need CT. I know I need to eat everyday, and have some kind of indoor human habitat. I need to do work that has some kind of redeeming purpose, where I can be creative. I need to feel free and happy. That’s it.

Does a big screen TV fit into my needs? No. Do I have one? Yes. Do I need to own a huge house and fill it with furniture? No. These things can be super fun, but I don’t need them.

This being said, CT and I are going to begin our journey towards minimalism. We have chosen to not be held hostage by our things, and choose for the rest of our lives to be more of a journey. What does this mean? Well, that really remains to be seen. I think the answer to that might be different for all of us. Anyone else having the same feelings?

When it rains, it pours (sometimes through your ceiling)

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Like when you joyfully spend $1700 to have your attic re-insulated.  A giant truck (literally almost as tall as the house) appears in your driveway, bales of insulation are sent through a chipper and it is all piped via a gigantic tube through your second floor window and up the ladder into the depths of the attic.

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(Oh and the city just repaved your street the week before so you had the joy of being awoken at 6am by other large trucks milling down the street for two days straight and are trapped in your driveway and late for work one day.)

Followed by the joy of a bulge appearing in your living room ceiling, a la “Stranger Things”.

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And the next morning the bulge is bigger …

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And when you poke it, water pours out.  Such joy.  As in, most likely your hall bath toilet is leaking and you need to tear open the living room ceiling to find the leak.

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And then, as you sarcastically type a post about the joys of home ownership, your husband informs you the motor on the heat pump is not working and that’s why the house is so hot today.  Excuse me while I call the HVAC folks and inject some joy into their day …

Cheers – CT

 

 

The next living room change is …

As I mentioned in the last post, I foresee some changes happening to this room as it has started evolving more rapidly since the addition of the area rug.  The paintings are still safe for now but JT and I have discussed a re-do. (He’s on board, gotta love that guy.)   Instead we had an out-of-the-blue, spur-of-the-moment, why-the-hell-not ottoman makeover project on our long Labor Day weekend.

It started a while ago, when we got the new sofa.  We’ve been loving this thing and basically live on it (I’m typing from there right now).  We thought an upholstered ottoman might be more comfortable than the Ikea Strind for general lounging about – the Strind has two large glass panels that have somehow survived two moves but did take out JT’s smartphone once – and on a half-off Saturday at Goodwill we came across the perfect candidate. Will you look at that, it actually fit perfectly into the truck.  (Can you tell we’re kind of in love with our truck?  #trucknerds)

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If your eagle eyes can read that Goodwill tag on the ragged corner of this bonded-leather beauty, you are correct that it says $5.99.  And don’t forget – it was half off day!  So this ottoman only cost $3.00!  Not quite because we still had to purchase fabric as I wasn’t keeping it in THIS condition but not too shabby.

While we still had “the thing” penned up in the back of the truck and airing out from the eau-de-Goodwill, we stopped by Joann for the next purchase.  JT was definitely the only man in the store and he marveled at the size and quantity (and need for) so much crafting stuff.  Or maybe he was more perplexed than marveling.  Your call.

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We found this great Nate Berkus fabric that should have been $45 for our three yards but we scored for $22.50 thanks to a major Labor Day sale.  So let’s bring our ottoman price up to $25.50 and call it good.  I also bought the buttons shown in the picture above but decided once I had the thing upholstered that I didn’t want them.

Then began the disassembly process.  JT tackled the much-abused base with some Restor-A-Finish we had on hand from the Danish Daybeds.  I removed a percentage of the staples (especially around the corners where I knew we would need to be adding more staples back in) and the black tack fabric to remove some bulk.  We left the bonded leather in place and cut the tufting buttons free from the inside of the frame.  The fabric cutting and sewing process did not get photo documentation but took the span of about five Friends episodes and ended with a locked up sewing machine about one inch from the end of the last seam.  I need to take the machine in to get oiled and serviced, it’s probably about time.

Once the bottomless cube was (imperfectly) sewn up (and please note I was careful to choose a fabric that would disguise my low seamstress skills), it was time to stretch that baby onto the (heavily Febreezed with my own homemade concoction of vodka, vinegar and lavender essential oil) base!  We used our trusty Stanley staple gun with 3/8″ staples and pounded in any stragglers with a hammer.  The staples didn’t have any trouble going through both our new upholstery and the bonded leather (or vinyl?) so I’m glad we didn’t go to the pain of removing the original material.  I included the last picture above to highlight JT’s drill bit extender – this has come in really handy when you need to attach screws in a deep pocket like this frame had.

And the afters!  We’re loving it and definitely changing out our paintings to get rid of the mossy greens and clay colors.  And that wet bar … I’ve got my eye on that catch-all-junk, 80s eyesore of a wet bar.

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There’s starting to be a lot of pattern going on in this room and we considered going with a milder ottoman fabric but we figured for the price we might as well “go bold or go home” as they say.

Then I styled it up with a tray I had on hand and some of the items that were living on the coffee table before.

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There you have it – the living room has morphed again.  All while Shenanigan gave us the cold shoulder from his puppy pillow perch in the corner.  He is still mad at us for a camping “adventure” we had Friday night near Flagstaff.  Needless to say he was not a happy camper and so we cut the trip short and so our ottoman project was a great diversion on a long weekend.  Have a great short week and we’ll be back at the weekend before you know it!  Cheers – CT

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Wrought Iron Was Here

We have conquered one more light fixture and moved a step forward out of wretchedness!  The nook that is currently our coffee chat/pantry area originally had this fixture which JT dubbed “The Octopus”.

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I had my eye out for replacement fixtures while we were looking for the living room ceiling fans but hadn’t found anything that was 100% “the one”.   Plus with the future use for this space changing at some point, I wasn’t quite ready to commit to a fixture.

JT is not as commitment-phobic as I am (which is a good thing for me I guess!) and while we were at Lowe’s picking up a vacuum cleaner that could handle massive amounts of dog hair AND stairs (adjusting to life on two stories!), we saw a display of interesting light fixtures.  And we bit.

JT was happy to take down the Octopus (he went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore along with the original ceiling fans) and up went the new fixture.  I can’t find it online now but I’m pretty sure it is by Allen + Roth for Lowes.

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It has the trendy Edison bulb which we have on a dimmer so we can set the light level.  It was only $80 which isn’t bad for a decent light fixture.  I like that it is clear so it doesn’t distract from our view out the window to the mountain.  But it has one little kink in the cord that no amount of adjusting could fix.  I was hoping that it would “hang out” – that over time and with the steady pull of gravity this would correct itself but it has been a few months and that tiny kink is still there.   So it’s probably not a forever light but it’s so nice to have the wrought iron gone and one less ugly light fixture hanging around.

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Let’s just crop out the pantry shelves and look at our little nook like this for now …  Happy Friday!  It’s going to be 115 degrees here today!  Stay cool – CT

 

When Plans Change

As I mentioned the other day, we had an initial plan for our first floor when we moved in and after having lived here for a year and making some furniture investments, it has all shifted.

We knew from Day One that the kitchen was too small.  It didn’t seem to fit in a 3 bedroom, 1600 sf house – JT and I are a family of two and it’s small even for us.  But we had a tiny kitchen in St. Louis (remember that guy, he was in the Small Cool contest once upon a time!) so we knew it could make it work.  And with real estate, you know the saying – location, location, location.  With a mountain in our backyard, we had location covered.

Here’s our first floor plan when we moved in.

\ADMFS1redirectedcthompsonMy DocumentsCT MISC4327CCORRALI took some more photos of the kitchen today just to illustrate its postage stamp size.

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And don’t forget the boob lights – a matched pair!

Often when we are cooking in here (especially on the weekend when I like to prep a few meals at a time, the counter can be entirely taken over.

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Like so.  Bad picture but you get the idea.  This tiny kitchen gave us just enough cabinet space for our dishes and cookware but nowhere to go with all our food, spices and baking supplies.  So the breakfast nook became the pantry.

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When we were buying the house, I had my eye on the wet bar as the solution to our floor plan conundrum.  Standing at the wet bar, you’re within steps to either the kitchen sink or the first floor half bath sink.  So a wet bar sink didn’t seem all that necessary. Here’s a photo for reference (because this post is going to need more photos …)

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I envisioned walling it off towards the living room, and turning it into a large pantry accessible from the hallway side.  One side of the wet bar is already a coat closet and since we currently have all three of our coats (used mainly for skiing in Flagstaff rather than used in Phoenix) in the laundry room, I thought we could open it all up into one large closet/pantry.  I had dreams of an appliance garage and a mobile baking station and hiding oodles of clutter behind some kind of funky barn door system.

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I still think this plan works well for the space it makes in the living room.  Haha, I just saw that my plan is mislabeled – copy/paste wins again – and there really isn’t a dining component in the living space in this option.  I thought once we walled off the back of the wet bar, we would hang the TV there and make a cool fauxdenza or some sort of media wall.  Then there could be a desk by the patio window.  In the breakfast nook I was planning a counter height or bar height large table with a butcher block top so it could be used as additional counter and food prep space.  This solves a lot of problems with minimal cash outflow (of course at some point I would still love new appliances, countertops and cabinets also ….)

And then one day JT and I were talking about how lucky we were to live next to a mountain and wondering how it came to be that our house ever sat empty on the market for as long as it did.  And we came to the same conclusion – it had to be the kitchen size.  And a new floor plan idea came to life that may actually solve this conundrum.

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In this scenario, the dreaded wet bar and associated coat closet get demolished entirely.  It would mean all new flooring through out this level (good-bye dreary dirt brown floors!)  We would blow out the wing walls around the current U-shape kitchen and open it up as much as possible.  There is still a jut-out in the shape of the floor plate so we would turn that into a nook filled with a 24″ wide all refrigerator, base cabinets and a 36″ wide under counter two door freezer.  The windows in the breakfast nook now go below the counter height so we would have to replace the windows there.  And since we would have to replace the window, I would go down to a 5′-0″ opening so we could have a 24″ wide tall pantry to mirror the fridge.  Continuing into the existing U-shape foot print, we would have one piece of wall blank where we could hang our pots and pans on a rail (I really loved the ease of access for that in our last house.)  I would be able to center the sink on the window (it makes me crazy that it’s off center now) and move the dishwasher to the other side so it wouldn’t be so in the way when it’s open.  I would keep the range in the same location and I think maybe open shelves or some kind of cool upper cabinets would go on that wall that would tie into a proper range hood.   Then we would extend the counter out into the living space so we could have stools on the other side and the person in the kitchen isn’t cut-off from the living space so much.  Opening up the kitchen like this also makes room for an island.  I think we would just do a furniture one versus a built-in but OMG – so much more storage in this option, even though we would lose a wall of upper cabinets.

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And if it could end up looking like this house (in Australia, of course) designed by Corben Architects and found here, that would be pretty amazing too.  As you can see, this is a big dream that would involve a decently big budget so we need to figure out our next steps.  Right now I’m just going to get take out and forget we even have a kitchen.

Cheers – CT

 

What Doesn’t Make It Into the Shop …

It’s become a vicious circle that I shouldn’t complain about – part of the reason for starting up the Etsy shop was to have a forum to sell off some of the extraneous décor items I seem to have acquired over the years.  However, to fulfill my shop proprietor duties, I need a full shop and that requires hitting the thrifts.  And to complete the circle, (shamefully) not everything I buy for the shop makes it to the shop.

So here’s the new adoptions.  They seem to be mostly of the animal variety.  First off, the quail.  We have real life Gambel’s quail that live in the area and visit our backyard daily on their pilgrimage to their nightly roost.  I love their little Marvin the Martian plumes and how they run about and cluck at each other.  So when  I found two little quail figurines I just couldn’t resist ….

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We got our Christmas décor up this weekend and right now the quail are nested under the tree with the presents.

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We ran out of decent daylight to photograph the rest of the holiday décor but I’m going to try to capture it all next weekend.  I hit up Home Depot and between paddle wire and clear 3M Command hooks I have McGuyvered some great stuff together.  I love having the white lights on in the evening – both on the tree and swagged about every which way.

Another animal friend that stayed with us is a little vintage looking brass reindeer dish I found yesterday at Super Sale Saturday (half off everything except new and seasonal) at my local Goodwill.

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In theory he would be considered seasonal and exempt from the sale but the harried sales clerk rang him up with all the other bound-for-Etsy stuff I purchased and I didn’t notice he was discounted until I got home and reviewed my receipt.  Merry Christmas to me!

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And finally, the last Merry Christmas to me item we picked up at Savers today.  It is one of the ceramic Jonathan Adler phone docking stations.  He’s not vintage so he’s not eligible for Etsy and at $2.99 it sure beats the original $48 that was the retail price.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting proper bedside tables but these MCM slatted Nelson-esque tables have been working really well for a while now.  And with the slats, I can just sneak the phone cord up in there and voila –

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A cool place for my phone to hang out at night.

Anyone else guilty of shopping more for themselves than others this holiday season?  We have all our gifts finished and wrapped except for one.  The out-of-town items are all going to the post office tomorrow.  Keep an eye on the mail!

Cheers – CT