Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Project Schizophrenia

Most of our projects get completed haphazardly, and we are the type of people who have several projects going on at once, rather than focusing on one thing and doing the whole thing from start to finish.  I think this is both in mine and Patrick's natures, and also is more convenient to fit around a baby's schedule.  Smelly projects like painting take place when Zeph is sleeping upstairs or out with grandparents, and noisy projects happen when we have several pairs of hands around (or when Zeph is out with grandparents.  Seriously, this house would never get finished without grandparents.  We love you guys!!!).  Because of this, I was feeling a little low yesterday, like we hadn't made much progress and we were never going to finish.  But  my parents came over for lunch and not having been over for a couple of weeks, I realized just how much I had to show them.  So now you lucky things get to take the same tour!

Last week our contractor Jeff finished up the last of his Round 2 projects.  This included powerwashing the house and garage.  So fresh and so clean clean!

Hi, Schultz!

After getting all that yellow-y mold and mildew off the house, I actually wondered if maybe the house is actually black, but Patrick insists that it is still dark blue.

While we're outside, check it out - some of our leaves are starting to turn red!

Back inside, I'd like to show you our new lamps in the great room.  Patrick and I have been searching for the perfect pair of lamps for this room.  We have traversed all over Central Virginia hoping to find exactly what we were looking for.  Every time we went out for other errands, one of us would ask the other, "Do you want to check out lamps while we're here?"  It was fun at first, but soon turned into an exhausting exercise of self-flagellation.  Either we couldn't agree, or couldn't find a second matching lamp.  Alas, we finally popped into Steinmart looking for something else, and found the perfect pair - 50% off!  Wooot!

I love the size of them, yet the clear bases don't obstruct the open feeling of the room.  Here's a close-up:

We've also broken ground downstairs on the small corner den (which was originally the dining room, but won't fit our family for Thanksgiving).  You may remember that we initially wanted to turn the playroom into a space for Zeph, but we have since realized that the whole house is essentially a playroom for Zeph.  We also realized that even though we love the open concept floor plan downstairs, there isn't a ton of wall space for our bookshelves.  So we've decided to turn that extra room into a den/library. 

Here's the room before we moved in:

 Here it is after we removed the stinky carpet last month (and used it as a painting room for cabinet doors):

We picked a deep red paint for the walls, and Patrick began priming the wood molding in the room over the weekend.  We haven't much done yet, but it feels good to have it started.  Plus, it's always easier to jump into a project once it's started, because all the tools and prepwork are ready for you.  Here is the room now:

See the red patch on the wall?  Love it!

And the other corner:


I have a few more updates for you all, but they'll have to wait til later this week--Zeph is up from his nap and is zooming all over the place.  Off I go to catch him!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Country Living.

Allow me to take a break from house projects for a moment and talk about some of our neighbors.  One handsome devil lives outside of the sunroom window….and one lives along the kitchen window.  

CRAZY HUGE SPIDERS. (I went to take pictures, but they got camera shy).

 I can’t express enough just how excited I am to get the house power washed this week.  I wonder, will they come back and rebuild?  Will they return to the woods?  When my niece visited the house before we moved in, she remarked that we live in Hogwart's Forbidden Forest.  Do you think there is a monster mama spider lurking just beyond our view?  

Oh, Aragog!

These guys, of course, are outside the house, but I’ve also come across quite a few creepy crawlies inside.  Just this morning, I was about to step into the shower when I saw a big hairy spider nestled in the towel lying on the floor.  That thing was at least five inches wide, I swear.  Zeph was sitting in his walker nearby, so trying to keep my cool, I calmly folded the towel over the spider, squished and rolled up the remaining fabric and ran it downstairs to [have Patrick] deal with it later.  Once I got back upstairs, I felt chills all over my body and wiped my arms over and over again, feeling so grossed out until Zeph stopped laughing at me and started to look at me like I was crazy.  “Woman, get yourself together,” he implored through those penetrating, slightly judging eyes.  Right, good point, baby boy.

A few weeks ago, I had another disconcerting episode in the bathroom (this, apparently, is the hellmouth for wildlife in my house).  We had the air ducts cleaned out earlier that morning.  A whole team arrived to take care of the situation, and the owner chatted with me about his dogs for most of the two-hour period.  Towards the end, he showed me some of the “treasures” his crew had found while cleaning: a dried snakeskin from the crawlspace, and a blue-tailed lizard carcass from one of the vents.  “I’m going to put these on my dashboard,” he exclaimed (I thought jokingly).  I responded with a nervous laugh when he said, “I have a whole collection, come see!”  Um, no thank you.  Anyway, later after finishing some heavy duty cleaning, I began to get ready for a shower.  I noticed one of the vent plates had been left off in the bathroom, so I reached down to replace it.  As I did, a very much alive blue-tailed lizard scuttled off somewhere as I ran out screaming.  (Am I really that weak?  Apparently, yes).  It took two tries before our contractor Jeff could find him.  I thought he’d just toss the lizard out the window, but nope, he cut off the tail (which wiggled after it was detached!) then flushed the two parts down the toilet.  Poor little guy.

I suppose my point in all of this is wondering if I’ll ever be a tough country girl who doesn’t squirm and become squeamish at the inevitable multitude of wildlife that surrounds me.  Will I learn to appreciate all of the creatures around here, or just the cute, furry ones?  Sometimes I miss Church Hill, but whenever I do, our house, our neighbors or something else about this place will always speak to me and remind me what a dream world this is and I love it, creepy crawlies and all.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Window Design Dilemma

I need your help!  I have finished the curtains for the great room and sun room, but we are undecided on how to hang them!  It is especially difficult to visualize because our brown four-panel windows will become white picture windows in just a few short weeks, so it's a real toss up. Care to weigh in?

Here is option 1:  The Traditional Curtain Tie-back [note 1: that is not a technical term.  note 2: I simply used fabric scraps for the tie-back at this point]

Remember, you have to picture this with white trim, and one big window with no divider down the middle.

OR, Option 2: Much wider rod framing the whole window [note: the rod sags a little right now because it's just resting on old screws]

I like how this showcases the fabric better, but it also just seems like so MUCH going on.  I think I'd like it better if the curtains went all the way to the floor...but I just can't decide!

Any thoughts?  Other ideas?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Light 'Er Up

You may recall these lovely original ceiling fans circa 1988:

How could we forget.  Well, get ready, friends, we have a new lighting fixture in town!  Two, actually:

These ceiling fans were actually one of the first things Patrick and I bought after we closed on the house.  We loved how they have a campy/cabin feel, yet still a bit modern.  Here's a close-up:


It's hard to see here, but the glass sphere is speckled with little air bubbles. 

We are also searching for the perfect pair of lamps to go on either side of the couch in the great room, but so far have not been able to agree/settle on anything.  Who knew it would be so tough to find a couple of lamps?  Aside from that, we just need to get the tv mounted above the fireplace mantle and finish the curtains, and the two addition rooms will be just about finished.  I better get back to that sewing machine!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Putting the Labor into Labor Day

We invited our family over Sunday afternoon under the auspices of a Labor Day cookout, but in actuality, we put them to work.  The kitchen cabinet doors were finally ready to go up, so Geoffrey and my parents set to work putting them on (Patrick was cooking and I'm not really sure what I was doing, besides deciphering my handwriting to match up cabinet locations--thanks, guys!).  The kitchen is a mess, but here are a few shots of the beautiful, updated cabinets.  But first, a reminder of what we started off with:

So dark, even on the sunniest of days!

And now, we have this!

SO much brighter!  The remaining kitchen to-do list includes:

1. Sew curtains

2. Sand and paint the ceiling (there was a water leak before we moved in, which has been patched, but not beautified)

3. Install new floor (initially we planned on putting this off, but since we tore up the carpet in the adjacent hallway, the linoleum is peeling up.  And it's just gross)

4. Paint the countertops (I don't hate the counters, but now the off-white color just looks dirty compared to the bright white cabinets)

5. Replace Cheers-style lighting (we actually already have this baby waiting to be installed)

Of course, we also have to finish moving in our kitchen boxes from the garage, but we at least found a box of plates this morning, so we can finally eat out of something besides the same three bowls.  :)

Also on this week's agenda: finish sewing the curtains for the great room and sunroom!  I'm knee deep in ironing hems and battling with my sewing machine (my bobbin and I can never seem to get along), but with a test panel already up and approved, I'm keeping my spirits high!