Thursday, December 2, 2010

Was my last post really in March?

Things are slowly progressing at Casa de Hires and there really hasn't been much to blog about.  There is still plenty to do but it just hasn't happened yet.  My entire birthday and Christmas wish lists were for stuff for the house. 
       One big project that had to wait until it chilled out a bit was our porch.  We are most assuredly porch people.  We swing on our porch, we eat on our porch, we talk on our porch, and having a porch was a necessity for Matt and I.  We wouldn't hardly look at homes without one and we are so glad we got such a big one.  Another beautiful aspect of our porch in particular is our railing in which doubles a bench seating.  It was such a nice detail that made our house unique from all of the others we were showed.  However, unlike much of the house which has been replaced or restored (the plaster walls, plumbing, central air and heat (!!!), and additional bedrooms and bathrooms) the front porch is original to the structure.  Which means it and the planks are 90 years old this year (we bought the house on such a grand birthday year!).  The paint has been peeling away for quite some time and every time we come home we kick some more off like we are helping the situation in some way, and while we have planned to paint and seal the antique wood ever since we began kicking up the loose paint, it's been too dang hot in Florida to allow the oil based paint to cure.  We knew when it got a bit cooler this month we'd have to make ourselves do it.  We cleaned, sanded, and swept the wood, then taped the trim up.   If you get a Christmas card from us you can tell how bad it was but sadly that had to be taken a while ago and before we made ourselves get down to business.

We decided to paint it the same hunter greenish blue that it already was and Home Depot whipped up a can to match in no time.

We google-ed the best approach to painting the old porch and everything we read said to make sure you paint yourself an escape so Matt started on one end and I on the other and we met in the middle to make painting a porch sound a lot more romantic than it actually is.  The whole process wasn't all that painful however as it was a beautiful day and Matt had to make a "Best of 2010" play list for a fan site so we listened to that while we worked.  No whistling needed:)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Slowly but ...

It seems like it's taking forever to put our house together.  Everything ends up with a trip to Home Depot for "the one piece" we are missing.  I think we have about 15 charges on our credit card for less than $2 for those "one piece(s)".  Matt has become quite the electrician though.  My dad has been installing our fans and chandeliers (I've gone through three in the short time we've been here, I just couldn't decide!) but he lives in Lutz.  So Matt decided to give it a try and he did great!  I hope he can keep up with my indecision.  We got all new light fixures in our living/dining/kitchen room, yes, a new chandelier.  This new one came to me FOR FREE from some good friends of ours that just bought a house and the chandelier came from the contractor when they built it.  They had their own fancy smancy stuff to put up so I gladly took the 5-lighted brass one.  Before and After.

Along with my lengthy list of things I dislike (I really need to work on shortening it, A LOT of stuff bothers me...), right below Wal-Mart is florescent lighting.  It makes you look old, God forbid you have a pimple, and it makes a weird buzzing sounds constantly.  It's all around bad.  There are plenty of options to allow enough light to shine on without having to resort to florescent.  So there was this big atrocity in our kitchen when we moved in....

We looked everywhere on craigslist for something used but decided to use our gift card at Ikea for the fixture.  We tossed around recessed lighting (expensive and would take longer than I wanted to live with our current light), drop down pendants (not enough light) and finally decided to use a track system.  Kind of "dorm room chic" but we liked these better than the fancier options.  Combined with the awesome natural light that streams in all day, it's perfect.

Our guest bathroom has been incomplete for about 3 weeks because we found a gaping hole when we removed the mirror (excuse me, chipped away the mirror that had been  GLUED on....who does that?).  We seriously kept a flashlight in there for when we used it.  We had to have something to cover the missing drywall and I wanted to use the pre-existing light fixture that came with the house.  So I sprayed (of course) the fixture and Matt mounted it onto a floating shelf we had lying around.  Yup the kind of shelf that mounts to the wall to hold candles, etc.  just mounted sideways.   In the before you can see the lovely off-centeredness of the hole.  Not only did they stab the dry wall with a screwdriver but they didn't even bother to center it....Why????? Ugh.  A good rule of thumb is to remember that even if you love your house,  there will be a time when you will no longer live there and someone else will.  Don't let them think you are stupid.  Do a good job.

We also finished our bedroom headboard.  I liked it before I painted it but some of the veneer had chipped off so it was kind of un-usable.  I saw these colors at Target from  Liberty of London's new line.  There was this free downloadable desktop that I got and loved the colors.  If you want the one I have or a different sweet one (they are all great) here's the link.  Voila.  We painted the headboard two different colors and a giant rectangle on the wall that Matt enclosed with molding.  Still working on the rest of the room but the bed is set and here is our started mirrored wall.  We've still got a couple more to put up but it's getting there.

To round out our last two weeks we have our TV.  We don't have cable and while I love movies, never have time to watch them.  We have a Wii that is pretty much used just by Matt unless I feel like getting my butt in gear on the Fit but for the most part we don't use the TV that often.  So why'd we buy a 50 inch one?  I still am trying to justify it.  It was on sale?  We finally had it installed so that the box wasn't covering up our fireplace any longer.  Just in time for it to warm

Yay!  Who's up for a New Moon showing?  I can dress Matt up like Edward and Luke can be Jacob.  See?  Twins!  I feel just like Bella.  Is it possible to share your love between these two cuties?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walking on Sunshine. Woe-O.

For the past two weeks, Matt and I have been walking in socks everywhere, spreading a fine layer of dusty chalk in every crevice in the house.  This was because in all my "new home ownership splendor" I decided the first thing to do upon unlocking our house was to rip out the Berber carpet in our master bedroom and expose the lovely subflooring.  This was with the intention that we'd put the new flooring in immediately.  Two weeks later, it wasn't in but we aren't going to dwell on past mistakes (right Matt?).  It looks beautiful and we are kind of over the moon with our new ability to not get socks dirty seconds after we put them on.  Excuse the under bed storage, I forgot to pick up our bed skirt from the laundromat on Saturday. 

We still haven't sold the breakfast table, but after I posted about our table woes, I got responses from the sweetest people!  Lindy in St. Augustine, one of Eric's friends, who I met in Hawaii when she was about to go to Bali and I was getting back from Sri Lanka and happens to read the blog had two tables around that she wasn't using and graciously offered up.  I was ready to drive the four hours to pick up the sweet drop leaf antique she was parting with but knew we couldn't pick it up this weekend.  Then my friend Suzanne text-ed me a picture of a table she was ready to put on the side of the road for someone to pick up when she read the blog.  Suzanne happens to be moving into our old house, which happens to be about three minutes from our new house.  Her sweet husband even delivered it to our house tonight and we ate dinner on it on the porch.  We are pretty blessed.  I'm going to paint it and the chairs but here it is in all its solid wood, crayon-y, rounded with a leaf goodness.  Seriously, it couldn't be any more perfect.  I started sanding some parts today but it's a big job.  Once it's sanded, I'll put a couple coats of kilz and then the paint.   I'm thinking "vintage linen".  I've practically got the entire Behr paint chip book memorized.  It's sick.

Logan came over on Friday night to install the desk he made for our wedding present.  It was custom made for our old house but we just couldn't part with it and he had to re work the design elements for the new house.  It fit perfectly and we are excited to see the room develop.  This is really our music room, as we normally use our laptops on the couch, but we charge them here and organize our tax stuff here so this makes for a fine place to put it all.  Along with Matt's thousand guitars.  Oui vey. You can see, any flat surface is quickly a grounding place for boxes and "stuff".  The craftsmanship is incredible, the support for the entire desk is in the wire attached to the stud wall.  It's levitating.  The box underneath used to encompass our printer, which we got for free with our laptops but soon broke....we have to re-purpose it soon.  Perhaps, ground storage in the closet.

Couple of breakthroughs happened this week too.  We finally are rid of our "tool box".  As renters, we usually just called our landlord, the elder Hires, and they fixed it.  We needed a hammer,  two screw drivers, and a can of WD-40 to fix most of our houses' ailments.  That time has passed and we've graduated to the season of life where a real tool box is called for and cardboard boxes are for sissies.  Before and after.

On Saturday there was a rummage sale in Seminole Heights, which you know I got my bottom up at 7 am to go to.  I got a silk quilt for the guest room and a full length mirror for our room.  Total for both, $13.  Go me. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Moved in somewhere.

So we feel like we haven't stopped unpacking boxes and trying to get organized but it looks like we haven't even started.  Stuff is still everywhere and our floors aren't in yet.  My dad came yesterday to install the flooring in our bedroom and got the closet done and said because of the uneven floor and installing on top of the original floor, we should probably get a professional.  Ah, the blessings of a 90 year old home.  Props to him though....spent about 5 hours putting the floor in such a small room.  Looks awesome, can't wait to see it in the rest of the room, which you can see is a mess with old vinyl and dusty subfloor.  The installers are coming sometime this week and once that gets done, the unpacking will really start rolling.

So the breakfast table is being put on craigslist today, very sad, I worked so hard trying to really reverse Matt's present aversion to metal/glass tables to no avail.  I did a darn good job though.  Thanks for the memories table.....breathe Rachel, in....out.

If anyone has a wooden pedestal table lying around and wants to sell it,  you have two eager purchasers in us.  We are looking for a used, wooden (any kind) round table with a leaf.  We don't want much, but it's hard to find.  If anyone wants to drop about $5000 on a new one for your favorite new homeowners, I'm kind of geeking on this one.  Breathe Rachel...

So Matt and I missed Valentine's Day this year and spent it roughly 2000 miles apart which allowed me to celebrate twice since my students are FANTASTIC and got me lots of delicious treats and once again when he got home.  I got Matt bed sheets because we are kind of "bed sheet snobs" (he more than I) and love to delve into luxuriously soft (and sadly, expensive) high count sheets.  We have one set that we got for our wedding that we wash and dry and put right back on every time so I got him a new set, not very exciting for most people but I think he was stoked.  I just got my gift on Friday when Matt picked me up from school with this attached to the ipod. 

He'd secretly recorded our favorite Johnny Cash song (my favorite at least) for me.  So sweet and creative and I loved it.  To boot, he brought Luke with him, so it was a special moment for me with both of my boys. 

On Saturday I bought a headboard for our bedroom from craigslist.  We are painting it this slightly scary lemongrass color and I'll post some pictures when it's done.  It's got three coats on right now and I'm going to give it a little somthin' somthin' to perk it up.

We also decided to give the dresser a coat of sparkly white paint on top.  Not ideal because the wood had a nice grain but there were some spots that were damaged so we got that done over the weekend too.  Here she is all taped up but with the new pulls on.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Always make time for a road trip

Matt is home!  Picked him up on Monday in Birmingham and got to go to the show too.  Incredible.  His tour mates are fantastic people and really really fun.  Full band is definitely the way.  One of the openers, Caitlin Crosby, snapped this picture in the green room before the show.  She's a sweet girl, and runs a cool website called "Love Your Flawz".  You should check it out.

After the long trek from Alabama (during which we picked up this sweet eames knockoff for 20 bucks at a roadside antique store for my bro's graduation present)....

Matt walked into our new house for the first time since we decided to put an offer down.  We've painted every paintable surface since the closing and moved all our furniture in he was probably more overwhelmed than amazed but it'll take time to widdle (sp?) away at all the stuff we've collected.  We are trying to live more simply and cut away what we don't need.  This is the organized mess he walked into. 

Upon coming to the house for the first time, I promptly had my brother and Scott rip up the carpet in the master bedroom.  Here we are two weeks later with plywood underfoot.  Probably a little too hasty but my dad is installing it this weekend so only 4 more days of dusty socks!

Scott installed our closet last week (with my help..:) and we finally got our clothes in it this morning.

Also, there were so many little things that needed to be brought up to par, like the ill flushing toliet in the master bath that Matt is working on right now.

I took a picture of a chandelier I'd bought on ebay and put it in the last post.  I'm not done re wiring and extending the chain yet but here it is ready to be completed.

So so so many things to do but we probably waste the most time deciding what to work on.  It's incredibly overwhelming to have your entire house dumped into a smaller house and working through where everything is and where it needs to go.  Even harder for Matt because I packed everything.  Home ownership is a good feeling though and we are trying to get everything ready for our house warming party in the near future.

Big congrats to Scott and Amy!!  They've worked so hard getting our house ready and they finally closed on their own today!  So exciting! Can't wait to help!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No rest for the weary.

The move is going swimmingly, exceptionally in fact, with the case being that Matt is not here.  My friends are magnificent and my dad actually used his lunch to drive to the house and install a ceiling fan today.  That's devotion and  I am truly blessed.  As always, the projects keep coming and I'm inching closer to finishing each one even though many haven't even started yet.  I finally got my ebay goods this week, one being a fabulous brass chandelier that I scored for $5.  I finally painted it last night and it looks excellent.  The chain was too short however for where I want to hang it so I need to head to Home Depot to get some extra chain and wiring.   Once it's hung from it's permanent home, I'll post the after.

The wood floor has been chosen and we decided on bamboo.  I'm not a huge bamboo fan as I don't like to walk into a room and know it's secrets immediately and I feel that's always the case with bamboo.  It just looks so much like.....bamboo.  However, it is the hardest solid wood floor (and apparently a solid wood floor is hard to come by.....EVERYTHING has plywood backing and a thin veneer.  EVERYTHING).  We are only putting it down in our master bedroom and master closet but the rest of the house is original solid old pine hardwood and the feeling of walking on engineered crap after stepping on the good stuff would bother me.  After consulting with the good folks at Lumber Liquidators and considering our furry pup, we decided that the hardest wood available was probably best for us.  And they even had this carbonized version that is a darker color, keeping a little mystery alive until you peer a little more closely.  It also matches very well with the original wood.  And for 3.99, it's really a steal.

I also have been working on Matt's and my dresser for the past couple weeks.  Or month.  It's been a long time.  When Matt moved into our rental, it came with this little solid wood mid century dresser.  Here it is in all it's taped up, Luke-ified glory.  Yes, that's his dog food next to my jewelry box.  Things need to change.

I'm a sucker for a free piece of solid furniture and while the handles of the original piece were really bad, I found something at HD called "wood filler" where you can actually fill in parts of anything that need to be smooth and aren't.

I used it on a picture frame where the holes had been drilled clear through the frame and it worked wonderfully!  I can't even see where the holes are now that I've painted.  So I disassembled the handles and slopped this thick nasty goo into each handle space.  With it being so thick it took about a week to dry.

And then it turned to marble.  Seriously, unsandable, possibly harder than bamboo, cement was now filling the holes of our dresser.  After it ripped my sander to shreds, I called my father in law who has some carpentry background and he brought over a hammer and chisel and chiseled away at the filler.  Call me Michaelangalo because it worked.  All it took was a light sanding once I'd gotten the filler down to a reasonable height and touch up filling in the holes.  Once I cleaned off all the dusk from sanding I got to painting.  I use "Kilz" primer because it's a classic and while I bought the oil base primer because I've heard it's the best, I'd already put enough sweat into this dresser and oil based anything is hard to apply.  I went out and got the latex kind to use instead.  When I use the other, I'll let you know how it holds up comparatively.    And here it is, our french inspired, whimsical/ modern seven drawer dresser.  I've still got some paint to do around the bottom and I bought dresser legs so it'll pop off the ground but I'm stoked.  I just emailed this to Matt, so I'll be sure to include his response in my next post.  He keeps saying "I need to see it in person" which is probably Mattspeak for "yikes".

So, one of my favorite magazines, Metropolitan Home just folded and like my Domino and Blueprint subscriptions, the owners of the company compensate you with another magazine until your subscription ends.  However, this is one of the last design mags in this company apparently so they send me "Woman's Day".  Great, just want I was wanting, EVERY SINGLE MONTH.  My whole Domino subscription has been like a continual downgrade as magazines are folding left and right.  Next I'll be receiving "Star Weekly" for 6 months.  So anyway, Woman's Day didn't turn out that bad and I was especially stoked to see a special article on their new editor.  She was moving into her new office and changing her decor and look what she has, could it be a startling replica of my chair?  Perhaps she reads my blog.  I'm going to hope she does to add to the list of my mom and Matt. Hopefully we don't share the same flair for fashion.