Around the World…Right from my Stairs

8 02 2012

As I mentioned the other day, I have been hanging artwork from my travels along the wall that goes up the stairs in my house. I thought I’d share some shots of that!


Map of Roma

Christmas card from Prague

One of three prints from San Francisco

Two of three prints from San Francisco

Three of three prints from San Francisco

A print from Paris


The Closet, a Before and After

7 02 2012

Finally! I managed to get some shots of the closet today.  I didn’t exactly take a before and after picture, but because I only painted one closet, you can get the idea of what it looks like:

Better, right?

It’s amazing too, that the white doors make the room brighter because they reflect the light when it’s on at night. It’s great.

The thing that’s a bit strange is that the trim on the right hand closet seems to lean to the right towards the bottom (of the middle piece). It’s not that it looks that way in the picture so much as it looks that way in person, and there’s a gap at the bottom of the door.

I need to rehang the doors a bit better, but after moving the rollers on the one door, it occurred to me that it was more a two person job.

For some other shots…

Here you can see that I painted the inside of the closet a nice light grey. I think it offers a nice contrast to the white, and makes the inside of the closet seem so clean and crisp.

I should point out that you don’t want to be fooled by how clean this closet is. I left the doors on the left closet closed for a reason – that’s where all of my clothes are.  This closet is kept mostly empty so that there’s room for a man’s clothes (at some point – all about making room, right?).

I’ve got a nice basket to hold the pillows that are on my bed when it’s made (admittedly, that’s rare these days).

And here’s a closeup of the design I stenciled on the door. I used a smaller one than in the guest room because I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy.  Plus, I don’t want the room to feel too feminine, so I thought the small touch would be nicer.  You can see here that it bled a little behind the stencil, but I think I made it work.

And here’s the other side of the closet.  Originally, I was storing this print in here – it had been above my bed, but I found a painting of a couple walking in the rain in Paris that I just fell in love with. So off to the closet it was with this one.  I didn’t want to just chuck everything back in the closet, but this actually worked rather nicely atop the small set of drawers in there, so I went with it. And yes, I know there are approximately four pants hangers in here and nothing else, but I’m hoping to go through my closet and change that!

Another of my projects ended up being this piece of wall in between the two closets – the screw anchor I’d used here to secure the hook to the wall had fallen out, and was creating a general mess (the hook kept falling out of the wall, and it just looked bad). So I patched it up with a little bit of drywall spackle, and painted over the whole thing with the original color to match it (I even had the forethought to paint the edge of the trim on the other closet so that I won’t have to repeat the process when I paint that one).

I rehung the hook in a different spot and voila – I like this hat here for two reasons – the first is that it obviously keeps the hat in good shape (I love this hat, though I’ve yet to wear it out actually) and the second is that the original feel of the room that I was going for was a British colonial one, with the dark walls, dark wood and white shutter-type doors, along with my bamboo shades.  So this hat really lends itself to that theme nicely.

You can also see here the off-white color of the original trim, and how dark the original closet doors look in comparison to the painted ones. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the trim in the room and the doors!

It’s Here, It’s Here!

27 01 2012

Okay, so I’m neglecting my usual Pinterest Friday post in favor of a post on my hutch…which is finally finished!

This afternoon, the piece I actually needed FINALLY arrived, and I was determined to get the hutch finished and set up tonight (darn it!). I even managed to lift the surprisingly heavy top piece on to the bottom by myself, though I’m sure my back won’t thank me tomorrow. So without further ado, here it is!

Worth the wait!

I am very excited that it’s finally here, and all put together.  There’s still one little issue – the drawer on the left (which needs me to switch the direction of the handle) also has two left sides, instead of a right and a left. So it doesn’t sit entirely properly in the piece, but I pretty much don’t care.

I took some care with what I put in the glass cabinets above, since I can see into them:

My new ceramic baked brie dish gets a prominent spot – it was a gift from my parents for Christmas, and I need to get some brie stat so I can use it! I also put my fall soup bowls on the bottom.  In the other cabinet, which I didn’t photograph, I put some of the more decorative plates and bowls that I have, along with my two original espresso cups.  Methinks I should get an espresso maker or Keuring, because I have lots of espresso cups and only a stovetop espresso maker (which in my hands is not an effective coffee tool!).

In the center, I decided not to put up the shelf, and instead put a ceramic buddha head that I picked up today at Michaels. I knew it would look beautiful in there, and I’m a big fan of Asian touches in decorating.

Michaels has some of the best stuff for homes – it’s a well-kept secret, I think!

The best part about this was the conversation I had with the cashier…she said “I think this is a buddha head, I guess, but I’m not sure.” I said “Yes, it is a buddha.” She said “Oh, I didn’t know. I’m not buddhist.”

Um, me neither.

If I was a buddhist, I don’t think I’d be buying a buddha head at Michaels. Just sayin’.

Anyway, I think it looks lovely and ties the kitchen in a bit more with the dining room.

Along the main shelf, I put the dog treats (having them across the room wasn’t working for me), a basket for the potatoes and bread that had been on the counter in the kitchen, and my mug tree.

I also stuck a tiny painting I got last year from Etsy there.

I’m hoping that this helps make my use of the kitchen much easier. I’ve still got to take some time to work through each of the cabinets and get them to be as efficient as I need them to be, and make sure that I’m not keeping around things I’m not using. But on the surface, the kitchen looks great, and I picked up the grey paint I needed tonight to paint the kitchen! (Although, I think I’ll be doing the bathroom first!)

And I also got the photo of Ollie that I needed to finish off my trio of pup photos in the dining room:

I love using photos as art.

So it seems that I’ll have a busy weekend ahead of me, with some painting and puttering around…and hopefully some organizing! Time to get back to the big de-clutter!

What are your handy homeowner plans this weekend?

Around the House…

26 01 2012

I’ve been dealing with some very frustrating migraines and exhaustion lately, and I’m tired of them, because they keep me from having the motivation I need to do things around the house! I’m hoping that a new prescription for glasses and contacts, and working on changing my sleeping routine will find me in good shape by the beginning of next week.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of small things I’ve done in the house this week.  I realized last week that a lot of the photos that I have in the house are out of date – I had photos of my older niece, back when she was still in a stroller!, but not of my younger niece.  And I have photos of Barney, but not of Oliver.  I’ve got to pick up the black and white I did of Ollie tomorrow, but I did pick out some great shots of my nieces and swap out the photos I had hanging in the living room:

Cute kiddos, huh?

I did put up a photo of my pups, using a frame that my sister got me for Christmas, and I framed Ollie’s pedigree for the wall (I’d done that for Barney – it’s kind of like the equivalent of his university degree, I think):

They are bad to the bone...


My diploma is relegated to my office, but the pups' pedigrees are proudly displayed in the living room!

I also picked up some frames last week to display my niece’s paintings that had been a Christmas gift for me – they look much better in the frames than on the fridge!

Future art student!

And, as I mentioned the other day, I got a carpet for the kitchen.  It’s still taking some getting used to, though it’s definitely cut down on the obvious dirt and warmed up the kitchen.  Plus, the dogs LOVE it.  It’s just made it abundantly clear that my kitchen needs a new coat of paint…I’m thinking grey!

The boys are thinking " we like this or not?"


The brown walls just no longer suit the room!

So that’s the status of the house tonight! I’ve got plans to take a little trip to Lowes for some paint this weekend, hopefully for the kitchen and the downstairs bath (yes, yes, I still need to finish the hallway), and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the piece I need for the hutch FINALLY comes tomorrow, so I can get that finished, show you the final product and actually start using it for some things! One can only hope…

Foiled by the Pre-Fab Furniture

10 01 2012

I was so excited to finish up my kitchen buffet and hutch tonight and start organizing the kitchen.  I got all the pieces of the hutch out, and started to get to work…when I notice that the first piece I need (part B) is missing the inserts that I screw the cam-lock screws into.  Since this is pretty much a major stabilizing part of the piece, I can go no further.

At first, I thought perhaps I’d grabbed the wrong piece…but no, it was part B as indicated.  Then, I thought maybe I was looking at the wrong side…but no.  I checked it against part C, which is the identical piece that faces it, and the evidence was there, clear as day.

So I called the company on the instructions, and yes, they have to send me a whole new part B.  Which is maybe a doubly good thing, since part of the piece came cracked as well (just cosmetic).  But now I have to wait 5-7 days (and I’m guessing that’s business days) to get the new part so that I can finish the hutch.


Does this mean I’m freed up to take down my Christmas tree? What other projects can I work on instead…

Furniture for the Kitchen

9 01 2012

As promised, I said I was going to talk about a piece of furniture that would really help my life.  It arrived in pieces on Thursday afternoon, and I put the first part together tonight.  I knew that it was going to take a while because I’d read the Target reviews, but I wasn’t prepared for how frustrated I’d get.

What am I talking about? It’s a kitchen buffet/sideboard, which I’m putting in place of my baker’s rack.  The baker’s rack has been great, but I needed something with more storage – I have a lot of storage in my kitchen (although it could really use a pantry), but I’m tired of having to stack everything to get it to fit – it’s just not that convenient.

So I’m hoping that the buffet will allow me to expand and organize the kitchen well. And boy, do I need to do that – downstairs in my house is starting to look like a tornado has gone through it! And my OCD self is getting a bit, okay a LOT, anxious when I see what I need to do.  But I’m working on it one area at a time!

So here’s part one of the buffet:

Uh, pretty nice for a piece of Target furniture, don’t ya think? I chose the black because I thought it would match the black in the paint of the cabinets well (and I’m using a black and white liner in the cabinets and drawers), and the warmer wood on top (as opposed to stainless steel or a lighter wood, or all black – which they offer), to unify the space with the warmer wood in the dining room.

I’m also pretty happy that my huge container of dog food still fits nicely to the right of the buffet.

Tomorrow, it’s on to part two.  I hear I may need help with lifting the top of the buffet, but we’ll see how things go!

Painting the Hallway

20 09 2011

My mom says she’s created a monster with my sister and I, because we both have addictions to painting.  When I moved in, I painted everything in the house (except the trim) and read somewhere that you’re supposed to paint every two years (who has TIME for that??).  Even though I’m not planning to do anything of the sort, I did want to paint the hallway for two reasons – one, I wasn’t loving the color of it after I’d painting the closet and bedroom doors, and it looked so dingy next to the bright white and two, I have a basset hound who drools.  Ordinarily, the drool is caught by furniture in the way, which I can easily wipe off.  But in the hallway, it ends up on the walls, and no amount of scrubbing makes them look perfectly clean.  So it was time to paint!

I chose a color from a magazine that I thought was yellow.  It turns out it wasn’t.  It’s more like a very light tan, which was a bit depressing, as I realized that brown in the hallway makes it feel darker (there’s no natural light directly in the hallway).  But my mom convinced me that it does the job of brightening things up, and looks lovely and fresh.

I got through one can of paint before I realized I’d need a second, and lost my head of steam by the time I picked up the second can.  So this is all the progress I’ve made so far – I must try to finish this after my trip, or someone will see it before long!



After (still wet) - hard to tell that there's a difference at all, unless you see the two colors next to each other.

It does look yellow here!

In the last picture, you can see the difference between the two colors, and I admit that it does seem to brighten up the hallway – changing the CFL bulb in the one light fixture that I did paint up there to a regular “reveal” bulb from GE also made a HUGE difference.

So I’ve got to dig deep for my painting motivation and finish this up soon!