Over the River…

I spent this past Saturday at my Grandma Joyce’s house painting over what some would consider the most egregious abomination in home decor in human history.  “Katie,” you say, “aren’t you being a bit dramatic?”  Take a look at this.

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That’s a dark teal and mustard stencil over a green and cream faux finish.  My poor, sweet grandma has had to live with this IN HER BEDROOM for the last 11 years.  We were at her house in March for her birthday and I’d had enough with the faux finishing that permeates her house.  I asked her how she felt about her bedroom and she told me with no hesitation that she hated it.  I told her for Mother’s Day, we would paint her bedroom.

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The “artist” left no wall untouched by some form of this stencil. Why, Person, why?  We went around and sanded the edges of the stencil so they wouldn’t be visible after we painted over them.

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One more close up shot for good measure.

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I drafted my sister Becca and one of my younger brothers, Spencer.  Here he is stirring paint with his big, muscly arms. He is such a good boy.  The wall with the window got a darker shade of paint for an accent wall – Grandma’s idea.  🙂

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Look at that accent wall!  What a difference even one wall made. Like humans with eyes live here.

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I thought it would be cute to paint a little secret message for Grandma with the first coat on the rest of the walls.

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My siblings did too.  Here is Becca’s contribution.

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And Spencer’s… He has been trained from birth to be a staunch Bears fan. He used the answer the phone with this little mantra beginning at just 3 years old.

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Here it is after 2 coats on every wall and all the furniture back in place. My grandma was so thrilled and she called her sister just to tell her about it.  She chose the colors from a deck and I think she did a great job.  They really complement the gorgeous quilt she has on her bed. The pictures don’t do this room any justice.

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The bedroom color pairs nicely with the bathroom paint (the only other space with paint that she likes).  Through the bathroom is the laundry room with a faux finish all its own.  Maybe someday soon we will tackle another space for Grandma Joyce. Until then, know that a little bit of ugly in the world was painted over.

Did you do any projects over the weekend?  Have you ever seen anything as ugly as that faux finish/stencil combination?

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Foyer? I Barely Know ‘er!

Don’t call me Shirley.

I’m pretty sure my inner monologue is written by Michael Scott.  That’s right.  I might be a 24 year old girl on the outside (and I have the cognac brown boots to prove it), but up in this noggin resides a middle aged man whose only desire is to inspire his dreary workforce.  Since I have no workforce, I can only psych myself up.  How do I do that? Is it with rhetorical questions? No, it’s with house updates.  This time I set my sights on our “foyer.”  When you walk in my front door, immediately in front of you is a small tiled area and a coat closet.  End of description.  Aside from the tile, there is nothing that says, “This is the entryway.” I suppose I should call it a faux-yer.  I’m not going to, but I should.

The entryway was never very high on my list of to-dos.  Then I saw this at Goodwill:

Goodwill Bench

This bench retails at Target for $169.99 online.  I found this one at Goodwill for $70, which is normally way above my budget for Goodwill.  However, I saw this bench, loved it, and googled the price.  The box was ripped open and I worried that I would end up with missing hardware or pieces, but it ended up being all there.  So I took it home and assembled it…and it promptly became a dumping ground. This was in early October 2013.  As of December 2013, the foyer looked like this.

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I know that this photo isn’t fantastic, but the point is that my foyer looks organized.  When we come home from work, my sister and I put our purses on the bench and our keys on the key hooks.  The key hooks are empty in this picture because we were literally walking out the door when I snapped this picture.  Can we just take a second to enjoy this bench?  I preferred the symmetrical look of having the doors on either side as opposed to together. The baskets in the middle hold dog toys and winter paraphernalia. The baskets are also from Target, and I had quite a time walking back and forth between the basket aisle and the aisle that had their display bench trying to find baskets that fit nicely into the shelves.

Above the bench is an array of art, photos, organizational tools and whimsy.

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The large frame on the left is a quote I painted in watercolor.  It’s one of my very favorites by Douglas Adams.  “I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but I almost always end up where I need to be.”  I originally did this for a Pintertesting post that failed so I did my own take.  It’s floated around our house for a few months, but I think it’s finally found its home.   I have no idea why this picture is so grainy, my phone usually takes pretty clear pictures.
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To the right of my watercolor quote is the rest of the display.  I framed up some fortunes from a night of takeout that seemed meaningful and fun. To the right of the fortunes is a picture of my sister and I in my grandmother’s hammock when we were young.  This Christmas my grandma went through all the photos she had (which is a metric ton) and sorted them into boxes for all her kids and grandkids.  The box my sister and I got was full to the brim with memories and I wanted to make sure a few of them get special spots in our house.  This is the first I’ve broken out of the box.

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Below the fortunes and our sistren pic, is a key hook and a mail organizer.  At our home’s peak, we had 5 people living here and the mail got out of hand. We also had to move a bunch of cars every morning so getting this stuff organized was pretty important. Good thing I accomplished that after our roommates moved. Ha.

Foyer display

So there you have it.  An organized foyer.  I have another project in the pipeline for our coat closet because it puts the ugh in ugly.  Also, I wouldn’t be a Chicagoan if I didn’t mention how fricken ridic our weather has been.  This Polar Vortex can kiss my grass.  Check out these murdercicles we have on the house.  I run out the door (and in the door) every day in fear of one falling and killing me.

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La Cocina Tiene Mi Amor

If you can’t read my years-since-I’ve-taken-a-class Spanish, I’m pretty sure that says the kitchen has my love. With all this bathroom nonsense going on, I think my kitchen feels left out. So while I was at HOBO searching for a nonexistant perfect sink, I grabbed some new knobs that struck my fancy.

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The knob on the left is new and the one on the right was one of the original knobs.  If you look around the knobs, you can see just how worn down these cabinets are.  They aren’t so high on my list of priorities right now.  We still have 3 rooms to make less disgusting and hopefully new floors and windows coming soon.  Eventually, though, we want to paint them.  I can’t refinish them because — surprise, surprise — they aren’t made of wood! Those doors are some kind of plastic wood imposter.  Also, they are oddly thin. We couldn’t use the screws the knobs came with to install them. I had to go to Lowes and grab some packages of screws that were the right length.

As soon as Alex and I had them installed, my sister came in to get something and said, “They are so much easier to grab!” So I guess they get points for being more ergonomically correct.  These were an impulse buy (like so many other purchases are) so we didn’t get drawer pulls.  If I see something I like that is 3 1/2 in and on sale, I could be persuaded to buy it. Until then, we’ll use our old weird pulls.  The good news is these only cost me $17 including tax for 20 cabinet knobs.  That is a steal these days. The extra screws ran me about $4 which brings my little update to $21.  One Andrew Jackson helped stifle the growing impulse to overhaul the kitchen.  I’m sure Alex’s blood pressure is grateful.

Come on Down!

We’ve started the process of removing all the remaining wallpaper in our house. Before I post any afters or how-tos, I just want to show you what I’ve been looking at for 2 whole years. I don’t know why we didn’t get a wallpaper steamer before.

Embossed wallpaper
Small Bedroom

I don’t really hate the small bedroom wallpaper, but it is badly stained and damaged in many areas.  I don’t think we will have a very hard time getting it down either since it’s already peeling.

Woven wallpaper
Large Guest Room – Thanks, 1970’s!

Again, I don’t hate the texture but some cats got to it and used the walls as a scratching post. It is severely frayed in many areas and has some water stains under the window.

Really stained with nicotine
Master Bedroom

This is the wallpaper in my room. It is really stained by nicotine and looks very yellow in person. It’s also a little frilly for my taste. I can’t wait for some nice clean walls.

Do you have wallpaper in your house? Love it or hate it? Tips for removal?

We’re Going Through Changes

A little more than a month ago, we found out our other roommate will be moving out. He moved out over the weekend, and I’m really bummed.  He is so relaxed and just an all around nice guy (and a stellar roommate).  He will be missed. That leaves us with 2 empty bedrooms. I would love a new roommate but I don’t have any homeless friends. For a while we will just be 3 humans and 2 dogs.  This opens up a whole new world for our other rooms. What was going to be a guest room (the smallest bedroom) will now be transitioned into an office and the big bedroom will become a guest room until we get another roomie. My sister is totally content with her apartment-like basement.

I posted this list for the room I imagined as a guest room (updated):

  • Take down blinds and put up some classy window treatments (maybe just curtains)
  • Shampoo the life out of the carpet (he was very clean, but all the carpet in the house is detestable)
  • Take down wallpaper
  • Paint the room something modern and subtle
  • Paint the trim
  • Add storage and furniture
  • Remove wobbly desk
  • Replace/update light fixture
  • Find/make some fun and light art
  • Pray for better flooring under the carpet (unlikely)

It all still applies but the furniture will be different. We have quite the slew of office furniture so we’ll see how I can make it work.

The big bedroom will be a guest room, but it needs a lot of love. Take a look.

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The big bedroom deserves a list of its own. Thar she blows:

  • Take down blinds and put up curtains
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Determine scale and solution for possible damaged subfloor (previous tenant let the bathroom on the other side of the adjoining wall leak into the bedroom)
  • Take down wallpaper
  • Paint (put in some effort to tie the whole house palette together)
  • Paint/replace closet built ins
  • Furnish the room
  • Paint trim
  • Get some cute art
  • Come up with a lighting solution (the little bedroom is the only bedroom with a light in the center)
  • Check under carpet for wood floors (unlikely)

It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the room has a fibrous wallpaper that some cats scratched to death. I recently found out my brother is coming to town and I would love to have him stay with us for a few days. Challenge Accepted.