Monday, September 30, 2013

The evolution of a bedroom

Have I shared a ridiculously cute photo of my kid in a while??? Well just in case lets start there. Isn't she darling! This is Margot on Saturday walking in downtown Portland with Grandma in one hand and her shopping bag on the other. We had just finished our annual Hannah Anderson birthday dress shopping tradition. Margot, thrilled with her new clothes, was not relinquishing her shopping bag and persisted to carry it 4 blocks back to the car.
It's a fitting way to begin this post because it's all about her, her space and her clothes. After 3 months we finally got her dresser!!! Remember way back on June 21st when Chris' and I went to Portland for our anniversary and while shopping on SE Hawthorne found a great dresser for her room? We had it delivered to Chris' parents house and this weekend we were finally able to go get it.

 Sunday afternoon Margot and I organized her room and clothes. That child has a lot of clothes so lots of organizing was in order. Her room still has a long way to go but getting the dresser was a huge step toward bringing this space together.

For now we are using the top of the dresser as a changing table. Once Margot is potty trained we'll decorate it. These are all iPhone photos (of course) so the color is off in the close up one because of the flash. It was really dark and stormy yesterday and so all the photos are a little dark. The color it the above photo is pretty true to life. 
I love how the walnut finish on the dresser matches the walnut baseboards. While the lighter finish on her rockers match the finish on the closet.
Her wall color looks different in each of these pictures. The actual color is a light almost silvery grey.
Every night more and more of her "friends" make it into her bed.

Here is Margot's new birthday dress. We had so much fun shopping with her this year. After she went around showing us all the ones she liked we selected 4 options and let her choose. This was her choice.
Her closet is nice and organized but I would like to paint the inside and add some smaller shelves for her along the walls. She loves to climb inside and turn the light on and off.

And of course she loves playing with her shoes!
After so much organizing it was time for reading books with Daddy.
We still need to paint the windows in her room, make curtains and hang some pictures. I'm also still debating a rug to tone down the carpet. Soon it will be time for a toddler bed, tear tear, and that will change things a bit too. But it's coming along especially considering where it started.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A happy kitchen

It has been a week! Actually it's been a has been crazy and my work load has been taking a bit of a toll on house projects. Although we do have a completed plumbing project to share tomorrow and hopefully a fun little Margot project to share next week.

Work is crazy but home is wonderful. And nothing is nicer than coming home to my charming kitchen and cooking dinner. Especially right now when the gorgeous fall produce is in such abundance. This was the view in my kitchen last week when I made the BEST dinner.
It had been a rough day but I arrived home with a whole box of fresh produce, a nice bottle of wine, some chicken and a very happy toddler. Margot played with her kitchen toys next to my while I started dinner. Chicken Cacciatore, sauteed fennel and zucchini and Chianti. This is the best sort of dinner because you put everything together and it simmers away happily while you do other things. In this case I made a huge batch of homemade salsa while our chicken simmered and periodically popped my head out the window into the courtyard where Chris and Margot were playing with sidewalk chalk.

Chicken Cacciatore
8 chicken legs
1.5 cup of marinara sauce (I had some homemade in the freezer, I like the frugal gourmet recipe)
1 bay leaf
2 cups polenta
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

season chicken with salt and pepper. dust with flour and brown in olive oil over medium heat. Pour in about 1 cup of red wine and 1.5 cup marinara sauce, really should be homemade. Add a bay leaf. Cover and let simmer 1 hour. When almost done bring broth to boil, slowly whisk in polenta and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes, stir in Parmesan cheese and pepper. Serve chicken over polenta garnished with fresh basil if you have it.

I served this with a simple saute of onion, fennel, garlic and zucchini. Simply saute thinly sliced fennel, onion and zucchini with 3 crushed and roughly chopped garlic cloves in some olive oil with a little salt and pepper.

As for salsa I don't really have a recipe but there are a few critical components
  • Lots of fresh tomatoes, a mix of regular red and sun golds are nice
  • fresh onion
  • garlic
  • fresh jalapeno
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime

I hope you kitchen is just as happy as mine is this fall!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Demo baby

Yeah we did some demo. It was messy and very late at night. 

To briefly recap: we had a plumbing leak and it rained on my head. The emergency plumber had to break into our ceiling to find and repair the leak. Since our ceiling is ceiling tile rather than plaster or drywall it can not be patched and will have to be replaced. Since we are going to be putting a whole new ceiling up we decided to go ahead and have all the galvanized steel plumbing updated.Whew! So that's were we are.

In fact the plumber started replacing plumbing today. But first we had to demo the remainder of the old ceiling so he could access all the plumbing. Knowing it would be a very messy job we got a role of contractors paper and lined the floor and baseboards.

Then we took a crow bar and started pulling down tiles. We broke it into two nights. The first night we mostly took down crown molding which took a lot longer. And we started pulling down tiles to see what we were dealing with. Then the second night we finished up. There was actually a third night of clean up too.

It was a very dirty job. Look at all of that dust, dirt and crud coming down with that tile.

We were left with a very large pile of tiles and a lot of general deb-re.

And a lot of exposed plumbing, ducts and spider webs. This was about 85% through the job.

Finally we loaded all the tiles into large black garbage bags, rolled up the construction paper and swept the room. We definitely need to buy a shop vac soon.

It will take our plummer two days to replace all the exposed plumbing and then we can get some bids for a plaster ceiling. Meanwhile our weekend guests were relegated to the library and an air mattress. Le sigh...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Can I offer you a drink?

You just can't have a mid-century house and not have a place to mix up a perfect martini or pour a nice bourbon the rocks. It would just be wrong. And when it comes to preparing drinks I have always been a fan of the bar cart. It's classic, mobile and versatile. In fact I have been hunting for a vintage bar cart since I hosted my first cocktail party as a newlywed 5 years ago.
But sometimes timing is everything. Or so it seamed last week when I stumbled upon this gem of a vintage brass bar cart in the back of a used furniture store merely two days before hosting my first Martini party in our new house. I could barely contain my excitement as I bartered with the owner. It's pretty scratched up and was missing it's glass shelves but I knew that the bones were there.

Price secured (pennies my friends, pennies), I sweetly begged my husband to go the hardware sore with me that very night to get glass shelves cut in time for my party. And low and behold Saturday night Margot and I were all ready for the big event. It was boys poker night for Chris' (elsewhere) and thus the perfect night for me to host a girls night martini party. Margot donned her new dress for the occasion. I set up my bar and we threw together some very simple snacks.

The party was great fun as one would expect from a vintage bar cart, 10 amazing ladies and lots of gin marinated olives.

We decided to dress down the cart for everyday because ten delicate stemmed martini glasses in reach of a toddler just seemed like a bad idea.

But come next poker night we will set her up again, perhaps for some bourbon tasting.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

5:30 Am

As is the case with many we have tried to use our move into a new house as an opportunity to make certain changes in our home life. There are the usual suspects like keeping the closet organized, picking up more and doing the dishes every night before we go to bed. Those have been hit and miss in terms of success. We are 35/2 in terms of doing the dishes every night--YAY us! As for the closet, well you saw how that one is turning out. But there are three other goals we set that have been fabulous and just as we'd hoped the changes have improved our family life tremendously. The first one is to walk at least to the gardens 3-4 nights a week. We often walk 5-6 nights a week right after dinner. If our dinner is running late we pop Margot in her PJ's first so she can be easily transferred into her bed. If it's earlier we throw on her rain boots (oh yes it's already started to rain here) walk down the street to the gardens to let her play in the grass or walk down the hill to the park. Once we come home we put Margot to bed and do the dishes together. The walk clears our heads of all the work stress, dishes, laundry, demo anxiety and gives us 30-60 minutes of really fun quality family time. Margot loves our walks and asks for them often.

Our second goal was to watch less TV in the evenings. So we made a rule that we could only watch TV on Tuesday, Thursday and saturday nights. Again this one has worked really well. The non-TV nights we are more energized to tackle (or start) projects because we know TV is not an option. And since the rule we've been reading more books.

But our third goal is a bit more challenging, getting up at 5 am on weekday mornings. I know CRAZY TALK!!! But it gives us both time before Margot wakes up to get ourselves oriented for the day. It allows me to actually drink a cup of tea in peace, groggy peace yes, but peace non-the-less. Chris usually works and I can blog, sketch out house ideas, work on work stuff or edit photos. And so these days this is what my 5:30 am looks like:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guest Room Inspiration

While we continue to demo our guest room, get plumbing and plaster bids and try not to think about how  much money this room will cost, I am trying to focus on the long term vision . Because if I don't I slightly start to panic, just a little bit. It was kind of an awful room to start and it has gone from bad to much much worse.

However, I think this room has a lot of potential. It has a great view out of a large window and it has a beautiful ceder closet. Plus I have the most wonderful vintage light fixture that was gifted to me by my dear friend Julie Daniel, the goddess of garbage, and the executive director of Bring Recycling.

So while I try not to panic about the state of my guest room lets all look at some pretty picture that have served as inspiration for this room. To find images I searched Pinterest for mid-century bedrooms, concrete floors and by our bed, which came from Ikea and will be used in this room as our guest bed.

50 Cozy And Comfy Scandinavian Bedroom Designs | DigsDigs---  love these linens for guest room
If only I could stumble across this nightstand at a garage sale...I love all of the neutrals and fabric textures next to the pop of yellow.

image found here

another guest room idea, love all the white with stark bed frame and grey floors.
This is the bed we have. Here it's really nice against a white background with pops of blue. Also notice concrete floors which is what we currently have

image found here

guest room???
Again love the neutrals and the fabric textures. Also love that this blanket is at Ikea and is super cheap

image found here

The floors are polished concrete with in-slab copper tube radiant heating. After bead blasting (a process that roughs up the surface), the floors were coated with a hand-troweled cementitious overlay and then polished. The look is clean and seamless; best of all, the floors stay warm in the winter and delightfully cool in the summer. The wall color is Winter White by Benjamin Moore.---  bedroom with polished concrete floor and I love the headboard
Again concrete paired with an awesome lamp and night stand and subtle linens

image found here

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

House Tour: One month and the giant LIST

Sometimes I think we are moving at snails pace when it comes to home renovations. But when I look back at all of the things we've done in one month I can't help but feel a little proud of us, especially given what novices we are at all of this. To see our official before pictures click here. Some things have gotten better and some have gotten worse but overall it doesn't matter because we LOVE living here regardless of how temperamental our dinosaur can be. So here is our house today at one month:
Living Room What we've done:
cleaned all woodwork with Murphy oil
plopped down furniture
haphazardly added some family photos to the mantel
found some great swans circa 1950 from India for built in

What we need to do:
paint, a lot
condition woodwork with some nice happy oil
get some standing lamps for more light
make some drapes

Dining room what we've done:
cleaned woodwork and doors
had carpet re-stretched

What we need to do:
take down and clean light fixture
we'd love some upholstered mid-century chairs for our table

Kitchen what we've done:
deep cleaned
had stove fixed
I fixed leaking faucet
had oven removed--it's being rebuilt
had plaster repaired
painted walls

what we need to do:
new floors
paint cabinets
get exhaust fan working
a vintage fridge is totally on my wishlist

Sun room what we've done:

What we need to do:
prep room to paint, more in this later
new floors
new outlet covers
more plant stands to over winter herb garden
real table, this is a folding table

Library what we've done:
cleaned woodwork with Murphy oil 
unpacked 50+ boxes of books and shoved them onto shelves

What we need to do:
remove all the black cable wire
condition woodwork
make drapes
get a real desk (right now we're using a folding table)
organize the books and office stuff
finish unpacking
Hall Bathroom what we've done:
had plaster repaired
deep cleaned

What we need to do:
whiten grout and tile
re-caulk sink and tub
add some art and decorations
Margot's Room what we've done:
had plaster repaired
removed phone jack and wiring
cleaned all woodwork with Murphy
changed out light fixture
got new rocking chair

what we need to do:
get her dresser from my in laws
paint windows
make drapes
add rug to tone down carpet in here
paint inside of closet
add shelves to inside of closet
hang gallery wall
Master bedroom what we've done:
had plaster repaired
plopped down furniture
 what we need to do:
make drapes
get a bed frame
get night stands
decorate shelves
add art
get a dresser
Master bathroom what we've done:

what we need to do:
change overhead light (isn't pictured)
replace broken towel bar
add hanger for hand towel
change outlet cover
remove wall paper
add some art/decorations
Master closet what we've done:
organized (despite evidence to contrary:-)

What we need to do:
paint cabinets
add more organizational shelving below clothing rack

Courtyard what we've done:
removed small wheel chair ramp
added bird feeder
added potted mum's and herbs
added furniture

what we need to do: 
remove large wheel chair ramp
add outdoor lighting
plant some more stuff
add more planters

Rec room what we've done:
torn out gross carpet
had plaster repaired
plopped down really random assortment of stuff

what we need to do:
add couch
find smaller coffee table
make drapes
get some rugs
finish unpacking and organizing down here
paint ceiling
get some lamps
larger TV? Christmas maybe?
Laundry room what we've done:
found a spot for our washer and dryer
broke washer
got washer repaired

what we need to do:
put door back on (came out to move in furniture)
paint cabinets
make curtains
organize storage space
change light fixture
have cabinet cut out to make washer into designated space
Guest bathroom what we've done:
had plaster repaired

what we need to do:
remove wall paper
fix light (not pictured)
replace carpet strip thing we tore up when removing carpet
fix shower knob which is broken
add rug
add art
Guest room what we've done:
tore up nasty carpet
had plaster repaired
had leaking pipes
started demoing ceiling
started striping paint

what we need to do:
remove all crown molding
finish demo ceiling
have galvanized plumbing in ceiling replaced
have plaster ceiling put in
strip and re install all the crown molding
re-install window trim
finish striping baseboards
refinish baseboards
replace light fixture
make curtains
get a rug
get a guest bed
have a drink!--just kidding, sort of 
shop what we've done:
put away all our tools

what we need to do:
reorganize wall cabinets where we've shoved random stuff
get all lights working
change some light fixtures
get floor drain working
make window coverings
buy more tools so we don't have to keep borrowing my parents

Whew! Seriously that is a lot of stuff to do. And that's just the phase one stuff we want to accomplish in the short term. It will be interesting to check back into this post in 6 months to see how much of it we have accomplished and how many new things have come up, or broke, between now and then.