Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Decorating Projects In Review

Even before we bought this house, there was so much I wanted to do.  2013 has been a good year!!  We accomplished a lot in the house and I'm one happy camper.  I wanted to do a few 'before and after' photos and also show some other projects that were completed this year.

Below is a picture of our tiny living room. We wanted to (and did) knock down the wall to the far left and make our porch part of the house.  We did it right this time!  (Meaning in all of our project history, we did not get permission.)  We got permission from the neighborhood association AND paid a walloping fee to the city to get their permission.  (I posted it in TWO places outside just to prove all the noise and work was legit!  And also because I had paid so much for those pieces of paper, they were way worth putting on display! 

This is obviously during the construction!  It was amazing how great it felt!

One Saturday morning, my husband and I were sitting in the dusty mess and he mentioned something that I had been wanting to do for a long time; tear out the closet under the steps and open them up like they were originally when the house was built in the '80's.  So that we did.  It probably took us an hour, at most, for the demo.  He tore down, I cleaned up. I can't tell you what a fantastic idea that was and how much space we added to our living room.

Below is a before picture.  There is a closet under the steps, behind the wall.

Another before picture.

During demo!

Almost done with demo..

Pretty much done!

Really done and ready for Christmas!

So this before picture is/was our tiny dining room.  We brought our 'beloved' antique dining table, formerly library table, with us from Kansas City.  It's pretty big and weighs about 350 pounds, so the movers said.  We wanted to buy a home that would accommodate this piece that we love so much.  Instead we bought for the our little guest house and our fantastic location.  We knew we could always knock some walls out. It took about two years to be able to do this financially because we wanted to pay cash.  But we did it!

So, again, below is the before picture of our dining room.

Another before pic.

The after picture here is a Thanksgiving toast to our son and his new fiance!  I LOVE this space now.  I couldn't be happier!
And another after picture on Christmas Eve.

The back of the house was also done "right".  We chose to have the once flat porch roof, tie in with the roof line so it looks as if it's always been there. Below you'll see the beginning of the transformation!

It's starting to take shape.

All it needs now is the tile.

And voila!  All we have to do is paint and it looks as though the house were built like this. We need to wait 30 days to paint stucco.  

So, right after Thanksgiving I found this beautiful chair at Goodwill for under $13.  I loved it but thought it looked really dated.  I bought it anyway.  My husband was really hesitant about me painting it!  (He's very, very slowly learning to trust me.  He freaked when I took the carpet off the stairs and told him that I was going to stain the wood and not carpet! It turned out to be beautiful and he loves them.) I wanted to sand it down to light wood, sort of weather it a little and then wax it.  When I began to sand, the wood was an orange-ish.  I believe it's mahogany.  I really hated it and sort of panicked a little.  Although I love painted objects, I do hate to paint over wood.  But now, I had to do something.  Of course my husband said something to the effect, "It's HORRIBLE!"  Which, unfortunately, it was horrible.  So, I got my turquoise Annie Sloan paint and decided to paint it.  It was really scary to do because I truly wasn't sure.  After the paint was on, it still didn't look right.  I went for my gold paint and decided to play around a little. 

Before picture below.

I don't have any 'during' pics, so here are the afters:

Okay, the next project is also one that we wanted since we bought the house. We have a nice little courtyard at the front of our home.  But it didn't have any gates and it looked like it should.  It actually had some originally, but they weren't anything to write home about.  I checked on craigslist for a long time and found some BEAUTIFUL, vintage, iron gates. We went to see them and they just didn't look 'do-able'.  They were connected and laying by a swimming pool. They were also very, very heavy.  They wanted $350 for seven huge gates.  Not bad, but we just didn't have it in the budget.  About a month later, the owners called us and said we could have all of them for $175, and they would deliver!  SHA ZAMMMMMMMM!  Well yeah, of course we wanted them.  two and a half years later we have beautiful gates.  We also have also have five left over for whatever.  Anyway, here is the finished product of our gates.  I LOVE them.  The welder who helped us out said they were hand done.

The last project I'll tell you about is our little guest house.  I wanted to get rid of the carpet because it was showing signs of age.  It was here when we bought the house, and I have no idea how long it had been here before us.  

Below is the before pic.  It doesn't look too bad, but it was, trust me!

We decided not to do carpet, but to tile it.  Neither of us like carpet so the decision was made. 

Below is during the project.

We wanted a sort of, entry way, so we decided on a medallion. 

Almost finished.

Below is the finished project.  However, something was wrong.  The red color on the bed just didn't jive with the feeling I wanted.  It actually was disturbing.  I tried changing area rugs and everything.  Nothing helped.  Then I realized what I needed to do; paint the bed.  UG!!  My husband found a recipe for chalk paint and we made our own.  

Below is the finished product of the bed.  It really does make the room look more restful.  Instead of a cowhide rug, I changed it to a natural fiber rug.  Sort of like a sisal only chunkier. 

So, below is the finished look of our little guest house.

So, what do I want to see for 2014???  Not as much to do and that's wonderful.  But what I'd like is a new master bathtub and sink.  Anything else?  I'm sure I'll come up with something.

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas filled with memories.  Happy New Year!!! Let's believe 2014 for health, happiness and beautiful spaces!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Joys of Rehab..Not!

Okay, first let me say that my husband and I did reno's when they weren't popular, when there were absolutely no tv shows about them, no DIY shows, let alone magazines, and when there wasn't such a thing as Lowes or Home Depot.  Yep!  I'm that old.  Our first home was built in 1918 and we were the second owners. We bought it from the woman whose father built it. Then when we moved to a little town on the Mississippi River, we bought a 1920's brick bungalo; two bedrooms and one bathroom.  We turned it into a four bedroom two bath home.  When we moved to a suburb of Kansas City, the house was totally move in ready, dated, but move in ready.

Still, we pulled up carpeting, laid floors, knocked out a couple of supporting walls,

and turned the basement into a livable space.

By the time we sold it, it was nothing like the house we originally bought. That was a twenty year project. Soooo.....we moved to the land of the sun and lots of dust.  Yep, Phoenix.  We wanted to find a home that would house our rather large, heavy antique dining table.  It is a library table that was in an historic church in Kansas City.  We were doing a church clean up day and the young pastor put it out on the curb and said something like, "Someone will take this."  My husband said, "You bet someone will; it's me!" Thus began our relationship with the beautiful table.

On our 'must have' list, we wanted a mountain view, possibly a lot that backed up to a preserve, maybe a pool,

and a huge selling factor for us would be that it have a casita.  (Just in case you don't know, a casita is a small guest house.)

We had looked for months and the few homes we wanted were either already sold, or our home in Kansas City wasn't sold.  Oh the journey of a move.

Finally we found this home.

It had a beautiful mountain view, a very private back yard, it was across the street from a fantastic park, with a lake, with a fountain in the middle.

 It was also right across from the community pool.  It was is in walking distance to everything we would want, and last but for sure not least, it had a casita...a small casita, but comfortable.

One problem, it was pretty small, and the dining room was smallest. No, our beloved table didn't fit...well, not totally.  It was able to sort of fit, but not very comfortably.

The good news is that we had a covered back patio that we could convert into livable space as part of the dining room.  That was almost three years ago, and alas, after lots of estimates on the cost, and lots of work changing ugly carpeting to tile, ugly carpeted steps to shiny wood steps, orange, builder grade cabinets into sleek dark cabinets, we found the right contractor.  (So far so good!)

Almost three weeks ago reno began.  Yes, I knew what I was getting myself into and no, it didn't matter, about now I'm fed up, really, really fed up with coming home to dirty building site. I feel the only remnant of a home I have is my bedroom, which it too, was transformed with beautiful dark wood floors and calming blue walls. As a matter of fact, I am there now, looking out at the mountains.

Still, I'm wondering if there will be an end to all of this.

Even my poor babies (dogs) are affected.  They can't be in the house when the workers are here so they have to be in the front courtyard all day while we both are working.  Today I came home to progress; a roof line.  It looked beautiful!, Yesterday I was discouraged because they did things that couldn't be seen, like move the plumbing pipes they unexpectedly found in the outside wall they knocked out.  And our gorgeous back yard?  The grass is dying and I can tell the flowers are crying and very upset with us that we would allow such men to throw things all over and sometimes hit them. UG!

Thanksgiving is close.  They said they would be done by Thanksgiving. I really hope they didn't mean the day before.  Our part (my husband and myself)  is to do the tiling and painting.  We will also have a whole lot of cleaning to do, I don't want anyone to have drywall dust in their sweet potatoes.

Today I came home to nothing new inside, but outside they have created a roofline that matches the roof of the house.  This will make our new addition seem like it always was part of the main house.

So, I'm writing to vent!  You would think I would be used to this given my life of renovations, but I'm tired of it!  Annoyingly tired of it!  All I can think is that someday soon it will be complete and I will be returning my treasured area rugs to their rightful places, and hanging my carefully selected art work back on the walls.

I will definitely post "after" pics.  I will certainly be rejoicing!!! Until then, have a good life!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chevron Rugs, Suzanis and The Hippy In Me

I have been thinking about  chevron rugs lately; wondering if it's right for my little space. Chevrons are  bold, young and bright, a change from my chunky sisal rug with a cowhide over it and a very earthy feel.

The next two pictures below are not of my home, but I wanted to post them just because they are so great and will give you an idea of why I love what I do.


I feel it makes the space looks brighter and younger.


 One thing I believe I would do over again though, I would make sure it's natrual fiber as in cotton, wool or silk. Not realizing it when I bought it, it's a synthetic material.  But I do like the way it gives my space a whole different vibe, a whole different feel.  Years ago I read in a interior decorating magazine that one thing you DON'T want for your area and that is for it to be boring.  Let them hate it for being out there, let them love it for it's uniqueness, but NEVER have anyone go away from your home thinking it was boring.

So, here's the Chevron rug I bought. I actually like it!

I've also been totally inspired by suzanis.  I have no idea why my youthful days are popping up again, but my taste these days screams hippy.I love anything hand done, bright and bold.  Suzanis! I'm having a love affair with these textile works of art!!!

Below is a pic of the suzani pillow that I made.  I bought the suzani on ebay and made a couple of them. How do you like them?

So, chalk paint, suzanis and chevron rugs, this is what's living our space lately.  I still am wondering if I'll change soon.  If I do, you'll be the first to know.

Take care and look at the bright side!