Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Love You, and You, and You...

Yes, this post would have worked better yesterday. What can I say? I suck. In the spirit of Valentine's Week (ha! problem solved) I wanted to share the five blogs that inspire me daily.

Retro Renovation.
I've been reading Pam's genius site for YEARS. If you love or live in mid-century homes you'll love her site, it is a must read, chock full of archival images, how-tos, and just generally great ideas. I love that she coined the phrase mid-century modest to celebrate the vast majority of the housing stock available from the era. I mean, I adore Eichler homes and would love to have one, but I doubt it'll ever happen. Love the house you're in, indeed.

Young House Love.
What is there to say, really, about the duo recently dubbed the Brangelina of the home improvement bloggy world? Our styles aren't identical, but their blog is well-written, fun, and lovely. Plus, the fact that their new-to-them home is still a work a progress is a little beacon reminding me I don't have to have this house finished, like, yesterday.

The Wednesday Chef.
Look, I like to eat, okay? I love her writing style, wish she'd update more often, can't wait for her book, and have never made a bad meal from one of her recipes.

Manhattan Nest.
This kid is RIDICULOUSLY young. I felt so ancient when I realized he graduated from high school in 2008. However, he has an amazing eye for thrift store finds and his apartment is to die for.

The Brick House.
Here's another blogger with a definite talent for thrifting. Morgan's super-fantastic finds make me want to relocate to California. Right now.

What blogs inspire you guys? What should I be ogling on a regular basis?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Safety First

If the DIY gods smiled on us regularly we would be able to proceed through our project list in an orderly manner. Sadly, they stopped smiling. As soon as we moved in we knew one of our first projects, along with carpet ripping up and major cleaning, would be replacing the front door locks.

This was partly for aesthetic reasons (I understand some people like brass, but understanding how anyone likes that shade of brass is beyond me), but mostly because the locks were basically nonfunctional. That's right, the situation was worse than this picture makes it look!


This picture actually shows the huge dent in the doorknob. We have no idea how the previous residents inflicted this damage on this poor, already homely knob. What you can't see is that deadbolt doesn't actually have a bolt. That's right, they just attached the front and back of a locking mechanism together without bothering with actual part that makes the door lock. The mind, it boggles.

Now changing a lock set is usually a rather simply little procedure. As long as you pick a lock set that fits into the preexisting holes on your door, read the directions before hand, and know how to work a screwdriver you should be able to do this job quickly and well. So Jeremy set out to complete this little project while I went to make dinner (how stereotypical of us!).

Sailor language soon filled the air. Nothing about the previous locks were done correctly, meaning there was much drilling, chiseling, and undoing to get our new set in correctly. Hours passed. Many tools were used. Some neighbors learned new ways to string together blue language.

The end, though, is fantastic.

The much improved interior view, complete with a deadbolt that actually locks! We debated a bit over what we wanted our hardware to look like, but we went with something simple, befitting the overall style and scale of the house. The oil rubbed bronze finish goes with the house while still looking modern. It'll look even better when we paint the inside of the door a nice, soft khaki color to match the rest of the trim.

The exterior shot. I love seeing all of the colors our door has been. Currently it is hunter green, but apparently it has also been bluish-gray and yellow. We look forward to sanding some of those layers away and painting the door a nice terra cotta color.

Eventually. For now we are simply enjoying being able to lock the door behind us.

Feeling Stripey

So with a to-do list beginning to resemble War and Peace obviously what I need to do is focus on cool paint effects for the hallway.

The hallway must be perfect. It directly links every room in the house save for the kitchen. And it is tiny. Super, super tiny. So I want it to serve as a link between the other rooms in the house while also making an interesting design statement in its own right.

So...I've been thinking about horizontal stripes. This wouldn't be the first time painted stripes and I made friends. I went a tiny bit crazy with them in my first place back in the late nineties (purple and cream, friends, purple and cream).

So before all you think well, Tracie, welcome to the trend of 2008 consider this:

I found this picture in a 1976 decorating book I've had for ages (The New Complete Basic Book of Decorating by William E. Hague). The metallic stripes actually make me think of Martha Stewart's new line of metallic paints at Home Depot. Jeremy is itching to use them in our bedroom, but more about that later. I think this picture still looks fresh and modern...except for the silver vertical blinds.



Wall Stripes | Jonathan Klunk - Interior Design Blog |.

A newer picture. I love the scale of the stripes. I'm considering Martha Stewart's Burlap for the main color, and I think the darker Chocolate Ganache would look fabulous as the skinnier stripe.



Home Office Makeover for Mom by Jen Chu Professional Project | Apartment Therapy San Francisco.

This picture was actually the inspiration for this post. I've been meditating on stripes for awhile, but I liked this picture so much I realized I needed to talk about them. Obviously.



Our First House | Young House Love.

Love the crispness.

Has anyone played the stripe game at their abode?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Pulling up carpet can't be that bad!"

File this one under famous last words. My dear husband J's famous last words, who was convinced pulling up the carpet to reveal the hardwoods underneath couldn't be that bad.

Oh, it was. The previous residents allowed their large dogs to use the house as a really large litter box. The carpet, which was only about eighteen months old, looked like it had been down since the Clinton presidency. The pet stains went straight through the carpet and into the pad, and in some places straight through to the hardwoods underneath. Actually, in some places the pad stuck to the floor because of the moisture. I'll be scraping those places up by hand. Not to be childish...but ew!

So, how did we remove the carpet? First we scored the carpet into roughly four foot sections using a heavy duty box-cutter. This was mostly because our city (bless them) will pick up the carpet at no extra charge as long as the pieces are reasonably sized. It also made rolling the carpet up A LOT easier. I'm not tall. Quite the opposite, actually. Cutting the carpet made it easier for me to haul the carpet out unassisted, which is good for my pride.

A good box cutter is key. Push down on the carpet to get a feel for the depth. You ideally want to cut through the carpet and mat but not scratch the hardwoods underneath. Occasionally I had to re-cut the mat. Remember that the depth might not be consistent from room to room. J cut the carpet in a closet only to find no mat underneath. Luckily, only a small scratch resulted.

Next Jeremy used a small crowbar to pry up the tack boards, putting the end of the bar under one end of the tack board and then tapping the crowbar with a rubber mallet. Here's the thing about how-to  tutorials when it comes to undoing or redoing things in an older home; most blogs and books give you instructions on the assumption that whatever you are working on was done correctly the first time.

Hahahahahahaha. Anyone who has started a project only to quickly hit the "what the $%%^^&&&$" stage knows this is a relatively rare state of being. Tack boards should be held down with small tack nails. Whomever installed this carpet used whatever nail was most handy. Small nails, large nails, fat nails, thin nails. It made prying up the boards a lot harder and more dangerous (nails went flying a few times), because the larger nails required more force to pull up than the smaller nails.

Next up is scraping up the pieces of mat stuck to the floor and cleaning the floors. Oh, and removing the hundreds of staples used to hold the carpet into place. If only the installers had known about the dogs! Then they needn't had bothered.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Living Room Ideas

New house! We've actually been in here a week, but this is the first time I've had to sit down and write about it. We are calling it our extreme fixer-upper. But it's cute, with some great vintage details, and is walking distance of lots of great attractions. I'd love to share pictures, but the cord that connects my camera to my computer is still packed up...somewhere.

We've moved our furniture in and started talking decorating. My first instinct for the living room was to paint it blue-gray and add burlap curtains, like these Ballard Design beauties.

Well, J asked we consider tan colors for the living room. Okay. Then he expressed his desire for a cave. A. Cave. I don't really don't do caves. However...it is his house as well as mine. After seeking out some inspirational images I saw the glimmer of hope. So we agreed on a dark chocolate color for the walls, with khaki trim and a soft milky blue ceiling. The blue ceiling is all me. J is horrified. It'll be adorable! Swear.

Our sofa choice was another compromise. J likes big, leather, and overstuffed. I like classic, simple, and cloth. We settled a dark brown leather sofa that has classic lines. It reminds me of a sofa I lusted over at Anthropologie last year. It's comfortable (which is key with a sofa) and proportional, both to the room and to me. I despise sofas where my feet don't touch the floor. It also looks right the room. The house is sixty years old. A sofa that screams 2011 wouldn't look right.

Here is my preliminary design for the living room.

The blue lamp will go next to the sofa on a very strict, structural, mid-century piece. The television and Ikea lamp will sit on the yellow dresser*. Light is going to be KEY with a room this dark. I love to embroider, so the curtains, in addition to bringing lots of color and texture to the room, also harken to a beloved pastime. I probably will seek out similar fabric and make the curtains myself. Same with the pillow. I also plan on making some monogrammed pillows. I want lots of texture and color on the sofa.

The throw is ridiculously expensive, but I'm in love with it.

The silhouettes will go over the sofa. I'm planning on matting them on cool blue paper to make them pop.

Most of these pieces are inspirational. It is not the mid-century modern way to pay full price for a lot of these items. I'll be thrifting and repurposing to decorate our new abode.


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