Friday, March 19, 2010

While The Cat's Away...

Lincoln recently had to travel to Boston for a few days for work. While I was sad to see him go, I was excited to start working on a project while he was gone to surprise him.
I hatched my plan a couple weeks ahead of time. I started squirreling money away and looking for accomplices to aid me in my scheme. Once I had my cousin, Karen, and her husband Jamie on board, I started to get really excited. My plan? To build a room in the unfinished basement.
I knew we wouldn't be able to complete it in the three days, but i figured it would be pretty fun to at least get it framed up.
Karen and Jamie came by a few days before Lincoln left and the three of us laid out our plan. With Jamie's professional, or at least, experience-based advice, we decided which room to start on and came up with a materials list. Lincoln left on Sunday, and Monday morning Jamie and I went to the home improvement store to pick up all the materials. On the way back into town, we stopped at the town hall and I acquired our building permit.
We returned home and unloaded the truck, with the assistance of Karen and our friend Billy. Jamie has some severe physical limitations due to a serious work injury a few years back, so we determined that we had accomplished enough for day one. That evening, our friend Doug came by to assess whether he felt he could do the electrical for us or not. He was sure he could and told me to let him know when we were ready for him.
On day 2, Jamie, with a little assistance from Karen and I, framed up the room almost in its entirety. I called Doug and told him we were ready and he came by that evening and put in all the electrical.
On day 3, the building inspector came to check the electrical. He determined we needed to change a couple things, but overall was pleased. Karen and Jamie came in the morning and framed up the closet.
Lincoln arrived home late that night and was surprised to see a building permit in our window, but not nearly as surprised as when he saw a room taking shape in the basement.
On day 4, yesterday, Jamie came over to put in a few nailers. Doug and the building inspector came at noon to talk through the electrical plans.
Tonight we will pick up what we need to tap into our HVAC and run heat and a cold air return. Hopefully that will go in tomorrow morning, then we can move on to drywall.
I'm looking forward to documenting our progress on this blog. This is soooo fun! OH! And the best news is that the window I thought was too small to meet code for a bedroom, isn't. So we can OFFICIALLY call it a fourth bedroom! Hurray!
(This is what the basement looked like when we first looked at the house.)

The rest of the pictures are of the new room.

(As you can see, unlike the previous fitness- and cleanliness-minded homeowners, we use the space as a dumping ground for dead furniture.)

Daisy Cake

I made this little daisy cake for a dinner at church tonight. I think it turned out pretty darn cute! It's chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, with a hidden pool of chocolate pudding inside. I've never tried that before, so I hope it turned out OK. I made chocolate pudding just like I would for a chocolate pie, but instead of pouring it into a pie shell, I poured it into a well in the center of the bottom cake. I refrigerated it overnight so it would set up, then assembled and decorated today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Dining Room

So along with this decorating change I talked about yesterday, I decided I really wanted to lighten and brighten the dining room. So let's look at past dining rooms, the current dining room in its before state, and where it is now, still a work in progress, I'd say.

Let's start with our last house. I have a picture of the dining room that I remembered to snap after I had started taking down the horrendous wallpaper border. The floor was carpeted in a lovely mauve. Ugh.

Unfortunately, my good after pictures are lurking in my old computer, waiting for us to find a way to free them. So this is all I have. We painted the trim white, sage green under the chair rail throughout the house, and in this room, a lovely red on top. I spray-painted the light fixture in a hammered metal finish and ended up with lots of compliments on it. If you look in the corner you can see that at that point we just had exposed sub-floor. We later installed beautiful Brazilian Koa wood floors. I wish I could get my hands on a picture...

Now we can look at our current house. The dining room is part of an open concept floor plan, open to the kitchen and living room. We didn't paint the walls, just added our reds and greens and golds. Warm, but a bit heavy and getting rather tiresome. And although the light fixture is nice and fairly up to date, we've never really liked it much. It's just not us.

So, here's what I'm working on. I found this light fixture at the Habitat For Humanity ReStore for $8.00. I liked the simplicity of it, but hate the brass. But I had been searching for something like it to redo. So here it is in progress.

My husband does not like the fake candle look of these candelabra style fixtures, so I ended up taking the tape off the candles and painting them oil rubbed bronze as well. Now it just looks like the whole piece is metal.

I switched out the items in the china hutch to mostly white pieces, as well as the plates in the wall hanging.

You can also see in that picture that I replaced the heavy, dark curtains with some nice light, airy ones from Ikea.

So, overall, a lighter, brighter look. I'm hoping to do some trim and molding work eventually, as well as few more decorating touches. (I've painted the picture frame to the left of the hutch in black. What a HUGE difference. I love it. I'll get a picture up soon.) But so far, we're loving it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I've decided it's time to shake things up a bit. My decor, though it has been added to here and there, has been basically the same for quite some time. I love the look of red accents in the home. Along with some sage green and some warm yellows, my home has been cozy and colorful for some time now. BUT, I was ready for something new and fresh. Along with that, I have been more and more drawn to pieces of furniture with some history. Inspired by fun and funky Victorian sofas I had seen online, I started a Craigs List hunt for a piece i could redo. Along the journey, I found out how expensive it would be to hire a reupholsterer. So it became necessary to find one that I wouldn't HAVE to redo immediately. Something I could live with as-is until I get the courage, time, and money for fabric to recover it myself- hopefully with my Mom's assistance. I think I found a beaut.