Who’s excited??? It’s been a while since I put together a mood board and possibly the best part of pregnancy is brainstorming decor! I had a few ideas floating around, but wanted to wait until we knew if we would be having a boy or girl.
I wanted something fun and child-appropriate without being overly cutesy. Baby won’t have any opinions on decor for a while (if ever), so the nursery is really more for mom and dad. I also wanted to keep the basics of the room pretty gender-neutral so if we have a girl sometime in the future we can reuse our baby gear easily.
As I mentioned before, my starting point was a set of Zoo Portraits–fun and whimsical without being sickeningly cutesy. The ceiling fan I fell in love with early on and nearly talked myself out of it! Everyone thinks I’m nuts when I start gushing over a ceiling fan, but isn’t this one just fabulous?
I didn’t want to fall into the muted, monochromatic trap that a lot of baby rooms fall into. Bold colors and high contrast are easier for a baby to focus on, so I wanted pops of brights, especially in the mobile. Plus, it’s just more to my personal liking. The lime and redish-orange I plan to work into some more accessories and storage pieces.
My current thoughts on paint are to paint the ceiling the same minty-aqua as the light fixture and then go pretty neutral on the walls. I think by the time I’m done there will be a lot going on around the floor and walls that will be better balanced by a bolder ceiling.
The Eames elephant probably won’t make it into the final room since it’s definitely splurgy, but a girl can dream, right?
Last year we went to Vegas with some friends for the Presidents Day/Valentines Day weekend. This year, we dry-walled a nursery.
Well, we started dry-walling a nursery.
Yes, getting older can be a little lame. Like I tend to tell people though, I’ve never been cool a day in my life and don’t intend to start now. So yeah, dry-walling.
As a quick refresher, this is where we were at with the nursery. We had ripped out the gross ceiling tiles, the lame trim, the prison-esque light fixture, and the grody paneling. I voted to just hire someone to come in and skim-coat ALL THE THINGS but Matt wanted to just re-drywall. It’s definitely cheaper so I didn’t argue too much.
Last weekend we headed to Menards, rented a truck, and bought a crap-ton of 1/4″ drywall. We opted for 1/4″ because we weren’t ripping out the existing plaster and wanted to minimize extra bulk. I helped Matt haul this into our house, all the while thinking I’d fall, have to call the emergency mid-wife line and explain to them that I slipped on some ice while carrying drywall because the first thing we decided to do after finding out I was pregnant was to demo an entire room. Thankfully I remained upright and told Matt he would need a different assistant to help haul the sheets up the stairs.*
One of the issues with adding a layer of drywall was that door frames would be a little awkward. If you drywall up to the edge of the door, you’re stuck with a bare edge of edge of drywall.
To solve the problem (without redoing the entire door frame) we bought 1/4″ strips of wood to frame out the openings first, and then butt the drywall up against the wood.
The change in materials (and the gap) won’t be an issue because we’ll be adding new trim to the entire room as well, so all we need is an even surface. Once the rest of the doorframe gets painted, you’ll never even know it was there.
Speaking of even, have I mentioned that old houses are not even remotely square? Yeah. We’ve got some seriously half-assed looking drywall happening in here.
Although it’s hard to tell from the picture, so feel free to think of us as drywall masters. We’re cool with that.
…but I’m honest, so here’s a close-up of the piece above the window. It is the exact same length as the piece below the window that has nice, tight seams. This is what happens when you assume things are even. Except you really only make an ass out of u, because if me had been there I would have put a stop to these shenanigans because I know not to trust old houses.
Aaaanyway…. We can get away with some half-ass-ery because we’re dry-walling over an existing solid wall rather than bare studs. This is also why we opted to hang the sheets vertically instead of horizontally. I usually see drywall hung horizontally so I researched it a bit and the conclusion seemed to be that it doesn’t matter a lot, but horizontal hanging will be a little more structurally sound. Well, we already had existing walls, so that I wasn’t a huge issue for us. It was easier to hang the sheets vertically, so we went with that.
The drywall sheets were 4’x8′ and the ceilings were about 8’3″ tall. We’re planning on installing baseboards that are taller that 3″ so the bottom seam wouldn’t be issue. We grabbed a couple scrap 2×4’s (thanks to the brilliance that is modern lumber dimensions, 2=1.5) and were able to prop the sheet up so it would sit even with the ceiling while we screwed it in.
So now we’re almost half way done with the walls! There’s still the other half, plus the ceiling, plus all the mudding/taping/sanding. We’ve recruited my dad and brother-in-law to come help in mid-March so we should see a big chunk of progress made then. I’m planning on haz-matting myself up and diving in too because I start getting twitchy if I see people doing things that aren’t up to my standards.** I’m mostly concerned about all the dust from sanding (since I’m already asthmatic and prone to bronchitis) but I figure a heavy-duty mask and a sander that attaches to a shop-vac should leave me pretty safe in that area.
*He opted to do it himself and as a result we have two more broken picture frames.
**Drywall joints pre-compound are clearly not one of my higher standards
After Matt broke one of my picture frames from our gallery wall I’ve been meaning to get out to IKEA for a replacement. In the meantime I also managed to convince him that we should replace the beige couch* and discovered a sale on their PAX wardrobe line (which we were already planning on getting). So we just decided to make one giant (read:expensive) trip.
We’re a compact car family so we opted for the delivery service. We even lucked out and were in Zone A so it was a flat $59 for anything we wanted delivered. Plus the delivery service would leave the items in the room of your choosing. No man-handling PAX parts up our stairs for me! Sold!
I usually try to avoid IKEA on the weekends, but the Sunday we went wasn’t too bad. We had a specific plan and weren’t really browsing for anything else (although we did end up with a full-length mirror because such is the nature of IKEA). I used their in-store PAX planner because for some reason it’s super slow to load at home. This was the most time consuming part of the trip and I started steadily feeling crappy. After you have a PAX plan an employee will type up an order slip, but as soon as we were done with our plan the nearby employees had vanished (it was busy, I get it). I sent Matt off to find someone and collapsed on a nearby ottoman.
I must have looked pretty awful at this point because a random man came up and asked me if I was ok. “Just pregnant and miserable, but otherwise fine.” was my reply. “Ah.” He said knowingly. “Migraines? My wife had horrible migraines.” I’m pretty sure I just got more sympathy from a total stranger than I have from my husband…. although he’s now afraid to offer any help to me because he’s afraid I may misinterpret it as coddling and get pissed. Poor guy can’t win.
After getting our PAX order together we were informed we had to go back to the kitchen section to get the door hardware, but everything else would be pulled for us. It had been a rough weekend for me so I seriously considered passing out on one of the beds and letting Matt wander back through half the store to get back to the kitchen section. I womaned it up though and went with him.
We also decided to replace the Beige Couch of Boring. It was a super comfy couch, but I’m pretty much programed to hate beige. Plus the size and style just weren’t working for me. We decided to go with the Karlstad sofa because we figure with kids on the way we don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed. Plus, every square inch of the cover can be removed an washed. Win.
We were able to get same-day delivery (woot!) but I wasn’t going to deal with same-day assembly. Unfortunately, this meant dealing with assembly after work during the week. Because Matt’s a sweetie, we assembled the couch first. Because Matt is considerably less pregnant than me, he then decided to assemble the PAX that same night while I tested out the nap-ability of the new couch (verdict: little hard, needs breaking in).
The couch looks solidly IKEA at the moment, but not to worry, I’ve got plans to hack this puppy! The smaller, more open profile is definitely a win for the space.
Hey look, Matt has a closet! In the bedroom! It actually even gives him more space than the closet he was using previously. More wins! Since I was napping and not supervising, he managed to break one of the rods and lose a hinge. 2017 has not been a good year for Matt’s DIY record…. We seriously tore the bedroom apart looking for the missing hinge and can’t find it. It’s big enough that we would have heard the cats playing with it if they had batted it off.
The most exciting part of assembling this was getting it level. The PAX frame has little feet behind the bottom edge in the corners that you can adjust… but they assume your floor is only a little unlevel. Anyone who’s even lived in a old house know words like “level,” “square,” and “standard size” are words that will no longer appear in your vocabulary. Instead this thing got leveled by jamming a 1×2 under one corner. Good times.
While we were at IKEA I was debating between the BERGSBO and TYSSEDAL doors. The TYSSEDALs were about twice as pricey and I while I thought they were slightly nicer, I didn’t think they were twice-the-price-nicer so we went with BERGSBO. Then Matt assembled everything….
But because I’m a genius, I forgot to take a picture of assembly round 1. We got them up, I stared at them for a couple days, and then decided they weren’t right for the room. The paneled doors and detailed trim of the house just wasn’t working with the bare-bones shaker-style doors on the wardrobe. Luckily, the doors fit into our car (hatchbacks FTW!) so we hauled them back and exchanged them. Oh, and we picked up another pack of hinges because a week later we still hadn’t found the lost one.
The TYSSEDALs have some beveling similar to the house’s interior doors and work MUCH better. I also finally got a nice, chunky, full-sized mirror. It only took Matt about 20 holes in the wall to get it hung! This one’s not even his fault! A 100+ year old house means lathe-and-plaster construction for the walls. While there still are studs, the extra bulk over them makes stud-finders useless. the only thing to do is drill a bunch a tiny holes until you feel a stud and then patch them all later. Fun times, right?
Our dressers replaced our nightstands (which you can see a bit in the reflection) but I’m not showing pics of the whole room because it’s not super clean and is also incredibly bland at the moment. Like most rooms in the house, it’s on the to-do list. At least we’ve upped the functionality!
*Anyone in the Twin Cities area looking for a couch? The main reason we’re getting rid of it is because I HATE beige. It’s also a little too chunky for our space. It’s up on Craiglist right now so if you’re in the area let me know and I’ll share the link.
Matt decided to get his DIY on this weekend, which is general is awesome! This time though… he was a little off his game.
Project 1: Fix the leaky radiator
The radiator in our dining room had a small leak. Nothing super noticeable, but it was causing some rust on the pipe and, because radiator systems rely on pressure, was also causing some issues with the radiators on the upper floors. So Matt did some research and decided to try a fix with epoxy putty and fiberglass tape. “I don’t know if it will work, but it can’t possibly make it worse” was basically his mantra.
Except it made things worse.
I wasn’t supervising watching his progress, but he had to chip off some paint to get the putty to adhere. Paint that had been partially sealing the leak. And then the epoxy and fiberglass didn’t really do anything (except look awful) so we just ended up with a slightly larger leak.
I don’t have a before picture because I wasn’t expecting this to be a big deal, but this is the aftermath. I told him he wasn’t allowed to “fix” anything else this weekend.
Project 2: Study Demo + Outlet Replacement
We’ve been steadily ripping out the paneling in the study and were down to the last wall this weekend! The only annoying thing so far is that the outlets in the room were installed over the paneling, so they needed to be removed in order to take the paneling off. Which means once the panels were off we had to put the outlets back in, but properly this time.
Matt picked up new electrical boxes that could be secured to studs (so they wouldn’t be wibbly-wobbly). To reach the studs he had to cut through some of the old plaster and lath. He was pretty excited because he got to bust out the reciprocating saw we got for Christmas.
The first outlet went smoothly… but the second. Well, I was downstairs and heard a crash. I shouted up that I didn’t want to know about it, but I found out anyway. He was cutting a new opening for the outlet on the wall that runs along the stairs. The wall where we had recently hung a gallery wall. A gallery wall I was planning on photographing that same day. If you’re unfamiliar with reciprocating saws, they create a lot of vibration. Vibration doesn’t mix well with wall art and one of the pictures came crashing down off the wall.
Yeah. There goes my project for the weekend. I made him take down the rest of the art before continuing and he made it through the rest of the project without destroying the house.
Now that Matt has moved into my study, we’re ready to start tackling the demo work on his study (well, he’s starting the demo, I’m still trying to tame all my crap in the other room). The main reason we decided to work on this room next is because it is currently the grossest room in the house. While we have plenty of rooms that still need a good ‘ole paint-and-style, this is the room that actually needs WORK.
Do you see that trim? Matte-black, skinny trim in a 115+ year old house? Are you kidding me?! Half the reason I love old houses is for the big, chunky, amazing trim! This makes me want to cry.
And the ceiling… we had this same nasty acoustical tile treatment happening in our dining room. I’m terrified of what we’re going to find underneath it… but it absolutely HAS to go.
We’re also missing a closet door in here…. and it’s currently Matt’s closet. We’re planning on getting a wardrobe for the master bedroom so he can keep is clothes in there, but I still want this closet to have an actual door. Thank god it’s a standard size at least!
What you can’t really tell from the pictures is that these walls we also all paneled at some point. It’s actually fairly hard to tell in person too so I think the paneling may have gotten skim-coated too. We’re a little on the fence about what to do about the paneling. And by “we” I really mean me (Matt doesn’t want to deal with the walls at all). It’s honestly pretty inoffensive in person so the tentative plan is to leave it alone unless it gets damaged as we rip the trim out.
This past week Matt already got started on the demo and took out all the ceiling tiles.
Wow… that is nowhere near as bad as it could have been! We’re a little concerned about some of the bigger cracks causing issues when we rip out the furring strips, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the moment! Hopefully all it will need is some crack repair and a fresh skim coat…hopefully!
We also found some more awesome electrical work! And “awesome” I mean wtf? It’s been a total crap-shoot if fixtures here have an electrical box and/or modern wiring or not and this one seems to be another not on both counts. I want to get this light wired to a switch anyway and adding an electrical box isn’t a huge undertaking. I am a little concerned that an electrician will want to redo the wiring as well. It’s not a bad thing by any means, just a more expensive thing.
We spent Christmas in Wisconsin and then brought Matt’s mom and brother back with us. If there’s one thing college boys are great for, it’s manual labor, so we put him to work with Matt.
The furring strips were soon removed. And the ceiling stayed up! I was a little concerned that the furring strips might be propping up some of the cracked areas, but so far so good!
The offensive trim soon followed the ceiling into the garbage.
The paneling took a bit of a beating in the process so Matt is finally coming around to just taking it all down and re-drywalling. It may be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I’m hoping the ceiling just needs a skim-coat. I do NOT want to deal with the ceiling so I’m hoping for a budget-friendly project that can be hired out.
Most of the demo was done with pretty small pry-bars, about 1 foot long or so. They’re better for getting into tight spots. We’ve got a 3 footer too which is better if you need a lot of leverage. As sissy as the tiny ones look though, they’re super useful to have around.
Here’s to ending 2016 on a destructive note! If we had a fire pit we’d probably be ending it with a bonfire as well. Hopefully we get it all put back together next year.
Ok, so I took more than a week off. It’s full on cold and flu season here in Minnesota and I’ve been feeling a little under the weather. Plus, I finally had an appointment with an Endocrinologist right before Thanksgiving. She supported the first Doctor’s conclusion that my wacky thyroid was only a temporary/viral thing but ran some more tests (have I mentioned I HATE needles? This fall has been miserable) and found that in body’s attempt to fix the situation it had over compensated and now my thyroid levels are too low. So now I’m being medicated for that. Yeah, it’s been fun (and hopefully, still all temporary… I go back for still more blood work after Christmas and will hopefully be able to stop the drugs).
Now onto the house stuff! If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me have a small IKEA breakdown a couple weeks ago.
Basically we’re putting the hallway work on hold for the winter. It’s too cold to work on the porch and I don’t relish the idea of stripping and staining inside with no ventilation. Instead we’re moving on to Matt’s study. It’s a bit of an anomaly in the house–I think the floor, the radiator, and the door are the only original elements remaining. The ceiling is the same gross acoustical tile that we had in the dining room, the walls were paneled (and possibly skim-coated?) at some point, and all the trim was replaced with boring, modern, builder-grade trim…. then painted matte-black. The closet door is also missing. Pretty much, I have no clue what in the hell happened here, but it’s not pretty.
This weekend we started moving all his crap into my study (we need to empty out the room in order to basically gut it). His study will be uninhabitable for quite some time so we’re trying to make my study functional for 2 people. We tried a few layouts for 2 desks, but ultimately liked the idea of shoving them together… the only problem was my existing desk was a smidge shorter than Matt’s. Yes, I was neurotic enough to care. Plus, we figured a quick trip to IKEA for a (cheap!) matching desk would solve the problem.
Unfortunately, this particular desk was discontinued. There were however 3 different models from the same line, and we assumed the one with the closed shelving would be the same size.
We got it home and it was six inches too short.
We brainstormed a few different options, including trying to hack the new base onto my old desk top, except the top was too deep. Finally we agreed to suck it up and go back to IKEA for a matching one since it’s a pretty cheap desk. Neurosis for the win!
Apologies in advance for the crap-tastic photos… this lack of daylight during the week is killing me.
Matt also hung artwork while I was taking a nap. To his credit he googled the correct height to hang artwork…. unfortunately google is wrong.
Or at least Google is wrong if you search “how tall to hang pictures.” How tall? I’m not a grammar nazi, but that just sounds wrong. I googled “how high to hang pictures” and got an answer of 60″ to 66″.
My go-to height for art work is 60″ on center. If you’re taller than average you may want to go a little higher, but I wouldn’t go lower unless everyone in your household is incredibly petite. Matt caught me glowering at the too-low artwork (my desk is the one facing them) and insisted that he is not adjusting them for two inches. Fine, I understand. Really. But someday when I’m bored, I’m sure I will re-do all of them.
Because I’ve already shown I have no qualms about embarrassing myself online… here’s what the other half of the room looks like.
I had visions of being completely done with the hallway by now! Unfortunately life and a pissy thyroid ate up a lot the time I had planned for this so I’ve very much not done yet. I thought I’d share my progress anyway though.
If you need a refresher on what I started with, check out this post.
One of the first projects I had planned was replacing all the busted newel caps on our staircase. I had a good start on it but petered out. So right now I have replaced…. one. Yes. One. But that one looks good!
The chunky post at the base of the stairs in all original, but the second post has a brand-spankin-new newel cap. Is a it a perfect match? No. But is pretty darn good? I think so!
Even in old houses I think it makes sense to weigh every investment. Is it 100% historically accurate? No. Is the cost of a 100% historically accurate reproduction worth it for this particular house? Sorry, but no. It’s a pretty basic, standard old house for St Paul (heck, there’s even a near-perfect doppelganger house a couple blocks away!). It’s sort of like trying to make an average 1950’s ranch a high-end MCM masterpiece. We’re also not restoring this house, we’re renovating it. We’re just renovating it while still trying to be mindful of it’s origins.
Anyways… one newel cap down, 5 more to go!
Oh the doors! I had such high hopes that they would have been done weeks ago! Unfortunately barely being able to get off the couch for nearly a month set me back a bit. We’re 1/2 way there though!
I posted about my love of black doors a while back, but Matt was adamantly against it. He also didn’t want to paint them white (so picky!) so we compromised with a darkdark stain. It’s a shit-ton of work, but I think it looks pretty fab. Please ignore the orange-y railing, I’m working on it. Slowly.
I also ordered glass knobs to replace the black ceramic ones. Yeah, the ceramic ones were probably original, but they just disappeared into the dark stain (the brass back-plates are more noticeable in real life, but I’m still thinking of cleaning them up a bit). Half the upstairs door knobs were already glass anyway and I wanted continuity. I ordered these beauties from House of Antique Hardware. It might be my new favorite place on the internet. I could make a shopping list a mile long from this place if I had the budget for it, but alas. I still may get the dust corners at some point because they’re super cute and cat fur clogging up the stairs is a legit problem in this household.
The Cat Tree
Why is pet furniture so often really ugly? I mean, where are the homes where the standard fleshy-beige cat upholstery fits in? My best guess is that it’s designed to hide most fur colors. These are the sorts of things I tell myself to make sense of this crazy world.*
Regardless of the reason, the fleshy-beige had to go! The scratching posts sections had also gotten pretty beat up over the few years we’ve had it. It’s seen a lot of love from the cats and needed a makeover.
I dissembled the whole thing, wrapped the flat pieces with a faux sherpa fabric, and wrapped the polls top-to-bottom with jute. I did a bit of reconfiguration of the pieces too to make it visually lighter and provides the cats with a taller section they so they stretch out and scratch. They usually only hang out on the top section anyway, so it really didn’t need the extra bulk. I still am not sure what to do about the top basket yet (helloooo weird blank space and lonely screw), but I’m working on it.
Still Working on:
Staining the railing
Refinishing the doors
Planning a gallery wall
Building a new cabinet for the entryway
So that’s the current State of House address. I’m planning on doing a check-in with the kitchen too to let you know how my temporary fixes are holding up. I just need to clean it first…
*At least I’m not alone in my “Why does pet furniture have to be ugly” thoughts. There is a shop in St Paul called–I shit you not–Custom Cat Purrinture. Yes, Purr-niture. Believe it or not Matt and I haven’t checked it out yet.
And probably not a human body… but other animals still have bodies and if you only find a part of it it’s still very clearly dead.
Matt pointed out that title is rather misleading, but that’s just how headlines work. Sure, I could have said “And then we found part of a dead body under our garage.” or “And then we found a bone fragment that was probably some dog’s chew toy under our garage.” But neither of those is very click-baity and my SEO app is already yelling at me about the length of my current tile (that thing is horribly judgemental).
Perhaps I should start at the beginning.
Our garage is… sad. When we bought the house the inspector couldn’t even get the garage door open so for the past year we’ve basically had a giant storage shed that will fit anything that would fit through the smallish side door. Awesome, right?
Also, the whole structure was leaning and wonky, and we weren’t even 100% sure that we would even be able to get a new garage door installed or if the entire thing would need to be torn down. Yeah, it was just that good.
Recently we had a garage door company take a look at it, and thankfully they said they’d be able to add a functioning door. Not only that, they even said they’ve worked with worse. They came, they installed, and left us with a functioning garage that was still incredibly wonky.
For the past couple weeks Matt’s been working on adding extra supports, sistering split or rotting studs, and digging out around the base to replace decaying boards. I told you it was is pretty sad shape.
On Saturday we dug a trench along the final side of the garage to expose all the rotting boards. This wasn’t quite as bad as I anticipated, except for the tree roots that are clearly trying to eat our house. And our garage. And possibly us. Hell, I think from now on I’ll just refer to the big tree in our backyard as Audrey II.
About 10′ away from the tree there were still roots as big around as my wrist. There were also TONS of the little spidery roots that had invaded everything. As I pulled them out I also pulled up chunks of rotted wood that they had clearly eaten. They were also starting to work their way up the side of the garage. Awesome.
Also while digging out our trench we came across other assorted randomness. A straw, tons of broken glass, plastic bags, rusted wire, and a coffee can lid. Once I found the coffee can lid I was really hoping to find the rest of the can (filled with someone’s buried fortune of course), but it never turned up. A short time later I exposed a strange, lumpy thing and was mildly taken aback.
I thought it was a small vertebra but it ended up being the deformed top of a metal spike. Bummer.
Me: No coffee cans filled with money, no dead bodies…. it’s like all those books I read when I was little lied to me.
Matt: Um, sure.
Me: I bet the Bobbsey twins were really the murderers/robbers/whatever just so they could set up crimes to “solve” and then cunningly frame other people.
Matt may have stopped talking to me at this point.
Later that afternoon I was standing by one of the dirt mounds, waiting to be useful, and I see something buried in the dirt.
If you’re wondering if I can tell the difference between a stick and a bone in a random pile of crap the answer is apparently yes. I have no clue what kind of bone because I’m not a boneologist…. er, wait, Latin… osteologist? Maybe I should Google this…
…omg I was right! I even spelled it right! (although spell check disagrees and suggests Meteorologist). It’s like taking all those advanced Bio classes paid off… but only a little since I still can’t identify the stupid bone (but at least I’m still better at science than spell check).
Anyway, I found part of a bone buried under our garage which means I at least found part of a dead body. Or the remains of a dog’s chew toy…. but dead body sounds much better.** And just think, anytime you give your dogs pigs ears or beef bones to gnaw on you can refer to them as dead bodies.
“What’s Buster doing? Oh, just burying a dead body in the backyard to save for later.”
“I had to get Fido a dead body so he’d stop eating my shoes.”
“Rufus hates being left home alone, but if you leave him with a dead body as a treat he does much better.”
Sadly, this is still not as exciting as the time I found a skull in Chicago.***
*Whether or not I can tell the difference between a bone and twisted piece of metal is an entirely different story.
** Or maybe it’s just me?
***True story! And no, not a human skull. It was probably a deer skull…. but it was just randomly in a locker in the train station. For realz. It was a little before Halloween and I was having a party so I brought it back home with me. I was maybe 12? And possibly a bit different from other middle school girls….
It’s been a little quiet around here lately. My actual, money-making job has been insanely busy–we’re operating at about 1/2 staff between vacations/medical leave/maternity leave so stress levels have been through the roof and my energy level once I get home hits the floor (or rather, the couch). We’re still working away, just slowly, so I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak at my current project.
A while back I mentioned that I was sort of swooning over the white trim + black door combo. Matt, however, was Not a Fan…. but he didn’t want me to paint the upstairs doors white either and I certainly wasn’t leaving them honey oak.
Ok, I can stain them super dark, it will be almost like my beloved black doors, right? Only re-staining is rather a giant pain in the ass. But wait, there’s this magical gel stain that is all over the Pinterest! I bet it’s a miracle worker. I bet its secret ingredient is unicorn snot.* I bet it…. doesn’t do a damn thing to these doors.
Yup. I tried the General Finishes Gel Stain with minimal prep (mineral spirits and an abrasive scrubbie) and it did absolutely jack. Sure, some of the inside corners got a little darker but otherwise it was very underwhelming. Sorry, no pictures, I was too distraught. Just imagine a door that toddler wiped a brown ink pad over.
And Matt still didn’t want me to paint the doors. Matt, I’m continuing to try because I love you.
Now it was time to try what I had wanted to avoid in the first place–stripping and refinishing. Ugh. It’s not that it’s a difficult process, it’s just time consuming–strip, sand, wash, stain, poly, with waiting or dry time between nearly every step.
I had already taken 2 of the hallway doors down while I was painting the trim, so I used one of them as my guinea pig.
I’m on the fence if I think it’s really worth the effort (that’s about a week’s worth of work right there!) but Matt really likes it and marriage is about compromise or some such crap.
Actual conversation we had as I was pondering the door (which by the way, is currently just leaning in place and missing all hardware, just FYI):
Matt: We should really try to get together with some people this weekend.
Me: Sounds good, go ahead and email people.
Matt: Why me?
Me: Because I’m busy stripping and refinishing your damn doors!
I’m going to try and start door #2 tonight and try a slightly different technique once I get to the stain. I like the final color on the one I have done, but the finish is a little splotchy. It’s also worth noting that the staircase railing is going to get darkened up (and de-oranged) too, and we have dreams of refinishing the floors to be much darker (although the latter may not happen for quite a while…).
*Because unicorn tears would make it too runny to be a gel stain. Duh.
Finally, the post that was supposed to happen about a week and a half ago….
Our original plan when buying our house was to replace appliance as they broke down. None of them are very nice, but all were still functioning. We finally gave up on that plan with our stove though. This thing is AWFUL. The oven temp is off by 10-20 degrees, the burners only go from Off to High, it has pilot lights for the burners (instead of a sparking system) which keeps sections of the top super hot and instantly bake on any spills making cleanup impossible, and the whole thing leaks heat which has just sent us over the edge this summer.
Ugh, Just…ugh. It actually looks better in this picture than in real life because you can’t see all the baked on crud over the pilot lights.
So what did we want in a stove?
Upper broiler (vs bottom drawer broiler)
Edge to edge cooking grates
Oval 5th burner
We were also hoping to spend around $600, but had some wiggle room if we found a stove with All The Things.
We started out by hitting the nearby stores–Menards, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Warner Stellian. I snapped pictures with my phone of the full range plus a closeup of the sales tag (model # and price) and then we did some follow up research online to check out reviews. How the heck did people buy anything before the internet?
Our top 3 favs:
Top broiler, edge-to edge cooking grates… what else could you possibly want?
Top broiler + 5th (oval!) burner…. and all in white. Whoa.
Matt kind of fell in love with this one because it was on mega-sale so it actually fell in our budget (plus a 5th-oval!-burner and a gorgeous blue interior). The blue interior would have totally sold me if I was looking for stainless (they didn’t make it in white). Why wouldn’t you want to smile every time you opened your stove???
And the Winner is….
The GE was the most expensive but Matt decided that he loved the 5th oval burner and since he’s the cook in the house, who am I to argue (and I just couldn’t get behind the stainless when there were white options out there)? Plus, after the delivery fiasco and the second delivery scandal, we were ultimately given rebates which brought it back down to within our hoped-for range. Quite honestly though, I’d have much rather just gotten the damn thing on time and without the headache.
While I will certainly continue to shop at Home Depot (our local in-store employees are awesome), I will say I am VERY skeptical of doing any special orders from them in the future. The main reason is because if something goes wrong they just don’t seem to have the control to do much about it. It’s rather unfortunate because we have a bunch of appliances (fridge, dishwasher, washer, dryer, water heater) that will need to be replaced in the near future, plus a full kitchen remodel (countertops, cabinets, sink, and back splash), bathroom remodel (tile, tile, and more tile), and assorted flooring projects all on our radar. In all honestly I’ll probably give them a second chance but they’re not exactly my first choice at the moment.