Saturday, November 3, 2012

Guest Bedroom.

Figured it was about time for a post, and I've never really featured the guest bedroom before. This room is also where my husband sleeps when he has shift, since he goes to sleep super early the night before, and acts as his second closet for all his military uniforms.

Guest Room Before - previous owner
So this is the room as it was staged before we bought it. I know it doesn't look like it, but that particular shade of beige had that icky Bandaid undertone to it that I always bitch about whenever I mention it. And I repainted it beige too, but my beige has no pink to it.

We don't use this room for much, and I don't spend a lot of time in here, so my main goal was to pick an unoffensive, easy to work with color that I wouldn't have to repaint if we sell or lease the house. We found out while replacing the outlets that it used to be fire engine red, so thank god they painted that. If there was ever a color I hated more than Bandaid flesh tone on a wall, it's red.

View from door - bed
Contessa and Squid by Omar Rayyan
View from window - refinished dresser
View from closet - chair and window

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Sometime at the end of my last semester, I came home and my yard looked like this:
I had been bugging Husband for awhile, wanting to redo the landscaping; take out some of the grass and replace with something more drought tolerant. Husband was resistant to my suggestions until our neighbor the landscaper said he was planning on doing exactly what I've been wanting, and then suddenly Husband was more than eager to rip everything out.

You can see in this photo I borrowed from Google Street View that the landscaping that was there wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I envisioned in my yard. If you've ever raised St. Augustine grass in a drought zone, you know it's finicky and impractical. Alas, it's what we inherited when we bought the house. I have dreams of a grass-less yard one day, or at the least replacing the St. Augustine with buffalo grass that won't wither in the Texas sun.
Original Landscaping
We expanded the plant beds and bought a ton of native/drought-resistant species, like bulbine, salvia, lantana, agastache, and ponytail grass. A fire ant colony built its nest in the agastache roots and killed it, unfortunately, but I plan on getting another one. It's been about four months now, so what's still alive is pretty much established.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with it. We finally hit our second planting season, and I have a few more plants I'd like to add in. I also want to sow a bunch of wildflower seeds for next year. Technically we are still in a drought, but we had a decent amount of rain last night and as I'm typing this, it sounds like more is coming. I still desperately want to paint the exterior trim and siding, but that's a whole different project.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I am signed up for Moderncat emails, because sometimes they feature pretty awesome cat products, like scratchers or beds or bowls. Of course, most of it is ridiculously expensive, but a girl can dream.

Last week I got an email with my dining room post from Saucy Dwellings, featured here.

Kind of cool, I guess, although they totally ignored the comments about those IKEA shelves coming out within a few days of install because she ripped one out of the wall. Which reminds me that I should do an updated post on the dining room.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Armchairs, Part One: Strip and Stain

So I've been planning on redoing our living room armchairs since we got them. I love the shape of these, but I really don't know anything about them. The brown vinyl is really not my thing though. It also has some nicks in the vinyl and odd black staining on the seat of one of the chairs. Initially I wanted to have them professionally reupholstered, but then we had some unexpected expenses (*cough*stupidmoneypitcar*cough*) and there went my chair upholstery fund.

Then I realized I could just paint them with vinyl spray paint. It would help fill in the nicked areas, since it contains actual vinyl particles in it. And it's way cheaper, at least for now. Except then my white vinyl spray paint was out of stock on Home Depot's website (the only place I could find it that wasn't ridiculously overpriced). Now it's discontinued. Seriously?

But I decided I didn't want to paint them white anyways. I think I want a light sandy beige, because I'm going for this natural sort of neutral thing in the living room now. Since vinyl spray paint is generally used for automotive and boat upholstery, it tends to come in a lot of shades of tan, so that should make it easier to find the particular shade I want.

Still haven't actually gotten the paint, but I had to strip and restain the arms first anyways. Which is really the point of this post. The arms were also not in the greatest shape: some mystery paint on the legs, along with a weird and obviously intentional pictogram thingy scratched onto the arm of one chair. And a somewhat garish orange tone that really didn't work well with the 70's drab brown vinyl.

So I stripped them, which didn't end up doing a whole lot, then sanded them down with a mouse sander using a medium grit then a fine grit sandpaper. This was definitely the most time consuming part, due to the serpentine shape of the wood. I actually really liked the bare wood, and if I were keeping the brown or going with a darker color for the upholstery, I would have simply treated it with some oil and been done with it.

Stripped and sanded
The rest was pretty straightforward. Treat with wood pre-conditioner (this is to help the wood stain evenly), allowing the wood to absorb for 5-15 minutes. Afterwards you are supposed to wipe off any excess with a rag, but the wood completely absorbed the two coats I put on.

After wood conditioner.
Then three coats of stain, wiping off any excess with a rag. If I want it darker, I can apply more stain. I used a roughly 1:1 ratio of Minwax Dark Walnut and English Chestnut. I thought it would have more of a red tone to it with the English Chestnut, but it really didn't seem to pick up much at all. That's okay though. I like how it looks.

And the grain really came out pretty lovely in some spots.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fireplace Renovation, Finale.

We finished this a couple weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting. Lots of stuff going on around here lately, including my mother moving in for a couple weeks since she's about to close on the contract to sell her house, and us ripping out nearly all the landscaping in the front yard to redo it (which I will get around to posting pictures of soon, hopefully). Oh and it's my last semester of undergrad. Yeah, sh!t's been insane.
Before. Not terrible, just kinda boring.
After trying to remove the paint. The orange tint is dried on Citristrip.
Down to the frame.
New MDF, before we decided to replace the tile also. Legs are 1.5 inches wider on each side.
Mantle #1. I hated it, the proportions were wrong. And it was ugly.
New 2" x 2" travertine mosaic tile.
Tile after grouting.

Using painters tape to decide if I wanted to do detail trim on the front.

Finished fireplace!

Ta-da! Sure it took 5 months instead of two weeks, but overall I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Midas Touch.

So, I primed Shiva, then gave him a coat of gold Rub N' Buff. I was really liking the matte pale grey of the primer. I'm kinda iffy on the gold. Maybe because it's not the uber shiny gold like polished brass. I've always been kind iffy on gold anyways.

He's currently chilling on the fireplace mantel. Fireplace is still not finished. Hubby has been procrastinating on the trim installation (3 months!), which is really the last step besides a final coat of paint. Even in its unfinished state, it's still pretty fab though.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


My mother is selling her house. The sale is finalized on March 15th, and she's in the process of getting rid of all the extra stuff that won't fit in her new apartment. This is one of the things I took, a Shiva (or possibly Indian Buddha?) figurine that's been hanging outside for several years.

He's really dirty, although the paint hides it well. I want to give him a new coat of paint. Not quite sure what I want to paint him though. I'm not really sure where I'm going to keep him, which is probably the cause of my indecisiveness. I was thinking maybe white, but now I'm thinking gold? Hmm. Or some crazy neon green.

Also, we redid the cat shelves awhile back, but the kitty was reluctant to use them at first. So I bribed her with wheat grass. Now she hangs out there munching on grass and spying on the neighbors.

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 Calendar

So, a few weeks ago I won a calendar from Aesthetic Outburst. Pretty exciting. This is only the second time I've ever won anything. And it's perfect because I wanted a calendar this size for the office but couldn't find anything I liked.
Even if I hadn't won it, it's basically exactly what I was looking for. The design is simple and geometric and lovely. Extra awesome? I can crop it down to a 4" x 6" to frame later as the months go by.

We also did a little rearranging since my husband got a new-to-him desktop computer, to make room for the monitor.

Monday, February 13, 2012


So they picked my bedroom as the Pick of the Week on the IKEA Share Space blog!

I'm kind of excited :)

Still think I want to paint the dresser drawer fronts white though....

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I was hoping to have posted the finished fireplace by now. Only, it's not finished yet. Boo. Hubby got frustrated with the trim and hasn't attempted to do it again yet. Once that's done, I can do a couple coats of paint and voila!

Here's a blurry photo I snapped with my phone of it primed with painter's tape to indicate where the detail trim is going to go. I think it's gonna be pretty awesome when it's finished. You can see the new travertine tile too. Love it.

In the meantime, I've started painting the trim Ultra White in satin (Olympic Premium brand). I've gotten three and a half doors done so far and the difference is AMAZING. My lovely grey walls suddenly look a million times more awesome. I don't know why I waited so long. Oh that's right, because it's tedious and takes forever. And we only have 16 doors in the house, plus all the trim....

Here's a shot of the pantry so you can see the difference between the white and the yellow:
I painted the front of the pantry door and the trim, but since we have that storage rack on the back I haven't gotten to that side yet. I'm not exactly looking forward to taking that beast down and then reinstalling it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fireplace, Part Two: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

Well the MDF is was up (see below), the brad holes are caulked, and the whole thing is primed. I hate the mantle though. I think it looks way too big and too boxy. It's made from 1" x 8" boards. Hubby has been bugging me to let him nail it down and force me to commit.

At first I was thinking maybe just taking two inches off the front, but after living with it for almost a week, I'm seriously thinking we should make it look more like what was there before, but a little cleaner and simpler.

I would disassemble the current mantle and use one of the 1" x 8" boards, with trim underneath.

So here's some more fireplace inspiration I've been looking at. Initially I was kind of hoping it would look like this fireplace from The Peartree Cottage. That is a massive brick fireplace though, and the scale is very different than what I'm working with.

This is a DIY fireplace surround by Frugal Home Designs:
More trim detail than I would use though, but closer to my revised vision.

This one is from Domino, via Apartment Therapy. I kind of love it.

While our personal style is vintage modern, the house is more neo-classical generic builder, so the fireplace should really stay with a transitional style rather than something overly modern. I like the trim detail on this one too, so we will probably be copying that.

We picked up the new tile and started installing that. Turned out the old tile was adhered directly to dry wall, so it left huge holes while I was removing it, and in order to patch them we had to take down the MDF on the legs.

The tile is a 2" x 2" travertine mosaic from Home Depot. I'm pretty excited about how it's looking so far. Once the tile is done we can install the trim work and I can paint. It's taking a bit longer than I had hoped, but we should be done before the Spring semester starts.