A few weeks ago, Ken and I embarked on one of our scarier DIY projects — crafting a wood/glass staircase railing. Sure, we’d never built a sauna before and had certainly never sided our house (and hopefully never will again), but for me, safety-related DIY projects are always scary no matter how much experience you have.
Step by Step
“Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”
I had a bit of a nervous breakdown this weekend. With the impending move (the first weekend in April—yes!) and out-of-state guests coming for an extended stay in mid-April, I furiously took stock of each item on our ever-growing to-do list.
Our in-progress guest bedroom, complete with missing door handle, unfinished trim and an uncovered switch plate.
When Ken and I first decided to embark on a renovation, we drafted this thing called a renovation budget. And although we were careful to remember hidden costs, do our research and enlist (free!) help when needed, we still managed to come out of this renovation wayyyyy over budget.
Luckily, we had built in a pocket of money dedicated to decorating the space, so we simply borrowed a bit of cash from our decorating funds. Until our decorating funds ran out and it was time to decorate.
So Friends, It’s Time to Get Crafty
Remember a few months ago when Husband surprised me with a Scandinavian-inspired fireplace? Well, it’s time to revisit the project and turn our non-working focal point into a full-blown fireplace! First step? Crafting a concrete mantel, which surprisingly, isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. Watch how we tackled the project:
Since filming, the concrete has cured to a cool, light gray and we couldn’t love the look more. For our next trick, we’ll be installing our fireplace insert and watching our heating bill magically disappear! While you wait, check out these fireplace mantel designs.
Stay tuned; see you next Wednesday!
So, I spent a good portion of September traveling to New York, San Francisco and everywhere between while Husband stayed home doing what he does best: building things. And one of those things he built? Well… you’ll just have to see for yourself:
This summer has been a total whirlwind on the renovation front, and I have myself to thank/blame/curse for that. Remember when I mentioned we’d be tackling the complete transformation of my home in five months? Well, dear readers, it has been twelve months. Twelve fat, ugly months. And I’m tired.
But! There is a lovely Scandinavian light fixture at the end of the tunnel, and today we’re showing you a bit of progress. I do, however, have to take two tangential pathways before I let you see this video:
1. Progress should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, we still have no walls. And it hurts me more than it hurts you, trust me. BUT. Husband has assured me that the foundation/construction phase of a renovation is (a) the most important and (b) the most time consuming. Which is code for “Our-children’s-children-will-have-to-tear-this-house-down-because-it-is-so-darn-solid.”
2. I am not blind to the fact that my hair gets shorter with every video. We’ll chalk that up to the fact that showers are now a luxury, as I’ve sold my soul to hardware stores and adorable toolboxes.
Confession: I have no formal training in the world of design, decor and style. Which is precisely why I was dumbfounded when my electrician asked for a lighting plan a few weeks ago. What? A lighting plan? Yes, I’d like light, please. Is that what you mean?
Sadly, no. He meant for Husband and me to spend the next 48 hours agonizing over the placement of switch plates, dimmers and pendants. And you guys, I have never wanted to sell this house more than I did those horrid two days.
Lighting Plan, Minus the Insanity
I have a feeling that the second I hit “Publish” on this post, my mother will come bursting into the front door, scoring tool in tow, scolding me for even considering wallpaper as a viable wall treatment for our home. Yet I can’t help it, Mom, because wallpaper is back and it’s killing me.
This Charlotte Mann photo shoot sealed the deal.
Yes, I realize wallpaper can be painstaking to apply and, yes, even more ridiculous to remove, but for a gal afraid of pattern, it’s a must-do in order to conquer my fears.
One, Two, THREE Wallpapers
Hi all! Because August is going to be a heavy month for renovating (siding and kitchens and baths, oh, my!), I thought I’d take a deep breath and pause for a moment. Renovating is a strenuous process and I’ve found that even when you’re not living in the same house you’re renovating, the drywall dust (both literally and metaphorically, I suppose) seeps into every other area in your life, causing a renovation haze that I’m convinced no one can understand unless they’ve lived through it.
So, if you’re considering a renovation (or are in the thick of one yourself), I’m here to answer your burning questions. We’ve been collecting reader questions for a few weeks on Twitter, Facebook and the blog, but if I’ve missed yours somehow, feel free to email me. I’m glad to help.
P.S. I’m sprinkling in a few inspirational rooms that I love so you’ll have plenty of eye candy along the way!
Advice From the Renovation-Worn
It’s time I introduce you to some integral members of my family: Bernard P. and George Michael Loechner. Wave hello, friends!
This is the darling duo on Halloween last year. Left: Bernard P., Right: George Michael. And also, if you'd like to know what the P. in Bernard P. stands for, I suggest you adopt a dog with a small bladder. It will become quite clear soon thereafter.
Bernard P. (Bernie) is a small Yorkipoo with a big attitude, and George Michael (George) is a soft-coated Wheaton terrier with an unhealthy affection for obedience. Seriously, the dog is perfection in a bucket. You’ll love him; come visit.
We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty today, so if numbers, finances and budgets make you queasy, you may want to click on over to something pretty. You know, like this.
The fact of the matter is, Husband and I both freelance for a living. And while freelancing may be synonymous with pajamas, couches and Cheetos, it’s also a lot more difficult than it sounds (and I’m not talking Cheeto dust on my white keyboard).
As former Los Angeles transplants, for whom a side yard consisted of a 4×4 grassy patch adjacent to the garage and the streets are anything but quiet, a backyard in a quaint neighborhood was pretty high on our wish list when it came to house hunting. After perusing the market for what seemed like forever, we found our dream neighborhood in one of the best school districts of Fort Wayne.*
My new favorite place to walk our dogs and ride my sweet little bike, Betty.
Meet our new featured blogger, Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind. She and her husband moved from Los Angeles to the Midwest, where they bought an auction house and are transforming it from a rancher to a Scandinavian cabin. Erin says:
“I should start off by saying that when Husband and I decided to tackle a fixer-upper, we weren’t prepared for a total gut renovation (TGR, if you’re fancy). In my mind, a fixer-upper meant just that: fixing up. In Husband’s mind, it meant the opposite: tearing down.”
Along the way, Erin will share their experience with everything from architects to paint colors to mold remediation (yuck!). And since Erin and I share a love of Suzanne Susanka’s Not So Big House philosophy, we’ll also get her inside scoop on how they used it in their 1,500 sq ft space.
Watch Erin’s Tour