Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am proud to present

The sunroom! Wait, scratch that. We don't have a sunroom anymore. We are the proud owners of a brand spankin' new screened in porch!

Before: The dark blue gray of the porch sort of clashed with the (slightly different) light blue gray vinyl siding on the rest of the house. The faux brick floors looked hokey and the paint was starting to peel off. The black and mismatched wood of the furniture did nothing to brighten up this dreary space.

And while a sunroom is nice in theory, in practice it's just not a great idea for our climate. Add shoddy construction and ever encroaching water damage to the equation and this room was itching for a makeover.

After: We still have a bit of decor work to do. But the construction phase is over! We now have a fully functioning porch!

It already looks so much brighter and warmer. Even when you've worked until dark finishing off the furring strips!

Here's what we'll come home to now (we walk through this porch from the carport to get into the house). It's so much cheerier. We brightened up the walls with Sherwin Williams Lucent Yellow, and gave the floor a coat of Valspar Elkhorn Cactus (although I'm convinced it was mixed wrong. It was supposed to be greenish brown with a touch of gray. Key word: touch).

We painted the patio chairs Safety Red, and painted the wood furniture with leftover Oyster Bay from our bedroom. It's crazy how much lighter it looks in this space!

I also changed out the hardware on this old nightstand. I scored these knobs for half off at Hobby Lobby. Total cost of this nightstand makeover was $4.50!

We're so happy with the way this room turned out! It's so comfortable and airy, and I'm so happy that the cats have a place to hear, smell and see the great outdoors safely!

Plans for decor include a new futon cover (plum or charcoal gray, maybe?), a collage of white frames holding patterned fabrics or papers, and a few whimsical prints, a fabric skirt (or a replacement) for the shelf unit by the door, a larger rug, and some new patterned throw pillows. I'm so excited to get this room as fun and bright as it is in my head!

Total project cost was $603. If we hadn't made the door mistake it would have been closer to $550. Not too bad for a new room!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Someone couldn't wait

To walk on the painted floor the requisite 24 hours.

Luckily, she was easily wooed back in with some catnip and no kitty prints could be seen on the floor.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We're running out of steam

Or at least, it seems that way. Yesterday, we started making some headway in the morning. but when we took our mid-day break, we decided to go see a movie (Paranormal Activity, and I'm still totally creeped out) and then we decided to eat dinner and laze around.

Things we accomplished yesterday:

Painted some of the framing
Bought floor paint
Determined that buying a $20 screen door was in fact, a very bad decision
Learned that two bundles of 12 8 foot long 1x2s is about the largest thing you can fit in a Honda Civic (I went to the store for a few small things while Brett was painting and forgot I hadn't brought the truck. But they fit! And the trunk closed!

Ummm, that's it

Luckily we woke up bright and early (okay, not so early) and got to work. We're now DONE painting (except for the floor, the doors, and some touching up, which all need to wait until the screen is done). Now we have to wait for the paint to dry so we can screen it in this afternoon. Squee!

Hopefully we can get done screening in time for me to clean and paint the floors. And then once the floor paint dries, we'll be able to bring everything back in and have access to our carport again!

We also made quite a few small changes over the last week that we wanted to share.

My wonderful parents bought us a new ceiling fan for our bedroom. Goodbye white and gold! Hello sleek and gorgeous.

My mom also got me a capiz box for my bedside table, to hold all of my treasures (aka, ponytail holders and chapstick).

We also worked on the cords for the television. We still need to do a little more work, but it looks WORLD'S better.

And finally, we broke down and decided the colored towels (pics here) in our guest bedroom just didn't go. I knew I wanted something colorful and fun, so I pulled colors out of the shower curtain. But in the face of all that green, it was just too much. And the colors seemed to clash. So we broke down and got some new linens and candles. I think it looks so much cleaner and nicer now. What do you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best. Husband. Ever.

So I had to go to work fora few hours today. Yes, in the middle of my vacation. BOO!

But in addition to that, on my drive to work, it started raining. And it kept raining while I was at work. BOO EVEN MORE!

So when I called Brett on the way home and asked what he had been up to, I wasn't surprised when he said, "playing video games all day." But when I got out of the car, I heard the boombox on in the back yard. So I walked back there and found this!

It turned out the rain stayed on the other side of town all day! He left the corners and the undersides of the bottom for the short, small handed member of our household. But I'll take care of that tomorrow, after thanking my lucky stars that this man is in my life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I could cry

I've found a home improvement task that is even more soul sucking and painful than painting ceilings. Painting wood siding.

What could be so bad, you ask? The stuff sucks in paint like it's going out of style. And you have to paint the little undersides, too. Don't forget those. And it's just terrible. DON'T DO IT! HIRE A PROFESSIONAL AND SAVE YOURSELF.

I thought I was doing Brett a favor by volunteering to paint the ceiling in the sunroom. I love color on ceilings, but the whole time I'm craning my neck and killing my back, all I can think about is the average joe coming into my house and thinking, "Why is the ceiling yellow?"

Meanwhile, Brett got started on the siding. And honestly, it was looking pretty crappy. I know he's not a terrible painter but I thought maybe there was a trick to this stuff. Then I finished the ceiling (whoo!) and started on a small portion of siding too.

THIS SUCKS! It's so time consuming and the coverage SUCKS! Walls this size should have taken us an hour to paint. But now we'll be at this all day. And we need more paint. And tomorrow we have to paint the framing (not to mention I have to work. I'm so bad at vacation. I didn't go anywhere AND I'm going to a meeting). And Friday we have to paint the floor and screen it in.

Worst. Vacation. EVER.

Here are some pictures to tease the finished room. Which may not be done for a while since I can't find a gray futon cover in the entire city.

Monday, October 19, 2009

We Interrupt the Sunroom Extravaganza

To bring you fall decor, take two.

My first attempts, here and here (on the dresser), was cute, but not practical. And it left a little to be desired.

It got down to 47 degrees last night (47! Sure, the high was 71, but STILL!) so I think it's officially fall. I decided that I needed to change out the white flowers (which were less than fresh anyway) with something that felt more appropriate for the chill in the air.

I got two different grocery store bouquets for $5 each and mixed them for several small arrangements around my house.

First on the dresser, I put it with one of my favorite owls (this is actually a salt and pepper shaker set, so I have two) and the green bumpy gourd. since some of the floral arrangement was kind of flowy, I paired it with a square vase, and I attached a hunter green ribbon (from Williams Sonoma gift wrapping, so totally free!).

For my nightstand, I made a small arangement and put it in one of our small drinking glasses.

I also made small arrangements for the living room. For the entertainment center, I used a tall drinking glass and put a piece of giraffe patterned paper (left over from our wedding invitations) around it. I also picked up two mercury glass votive holders for $2 each at Target! One of them went on the entertainment center as well.

I also scored some clearance candlesticks and metallic plum taper candles for the console table! They're gorgeous, and they really add something to the table. I added our gray pumpkin, some of my owls, and the other mercury glass candle holder, along with a small floral arrangement in a square vase. It looks great for fall and really brings something to the room!

How to Make Your Wife Deaf

Or, alternatively, how to hammer nails into concrete.

First, you nail one of these nails

And hammer it down through the board to the concrete.

Then you load one of these (it's a bullet!)

Into here, press it down on top of the nail (pudh down HARD), and hit it with a hammer. Make sure your wife's ear is approximately two feet away from the tool.

And voila!

It's pretty easy and super fun. Until you pinch your hand and make your husband do the rest of it.

Other than that, there was a lot more measuring, cutting, and framing. Which all led to ANOTHER WALL! Look at those two men work! I swear I was helping, but I was taking all the pictures, so that's why I'm not in any of them. Yeah, that's right.

We also framed and installed our door (which we'll take down tomorrow or the next day to paint). The next steps for the porch are just to wait for the lumber to dry, paint the wood, and install the screens and furring strips. Hopefully the lumber will dry pretty quickly. We got a super cheap wooden door, so we had to do some reinforcing with screws. They also didn't have hinges small enough (grrr) so we got cabinet hinges. They look pretty nice, though. Now we just have to install the handle and we'll be ready to rock!

Brett and I almost came to blows in the spray paint aisle of Home Depot. My mom's job for the day was to paint our black patio chairs. This red credenza (from The Little Green Notebook) is my inspiration.

She very sweetly posted exactly which color she used. Rustoleum Safety Red. Well, we found out that Safety Red comes in the professional larger can for $5, and there are about 5 other reds in the regular paint for $3.50. Brett was 100% convinced that the other reds were just fine and we didn't need to spend the extra $1.50 (times ahem, about 12 cans). So I relented and we got two cans of Apple Red. And this is what it looked like after one coat.

Ummmm, not what I had in mind. We ran out of paint anyway, so we ran to Lowe's and lo and behold, they DIDN'T HAVE APPLE RED! I almost stabbed myself in the paint aisle and we decided to get a few cans of the closest thing (Sunrise Red) for a base coat, and four cans of SAFETY RED to topcoat it with. And now they look like this.

They are SO AWESOME! Brett better watch out or everything in our house will be Safety Red soon enough. We'll put a coat of clear on tomorrow and put them back together.

I also primed the end table and the futon arms and will be painting them Oyster Bay tomorrow. SO excited to see this color scheme come together, as it's a little more "out there" than what we've done before.

This is our color scheme. What do you think?

Why you should have wonderful parents

Because when they tell you they're coming for a visit, they won't get mad when you tell them the plans are to rebuild the sunroom.

Seriously, not only did my parents come down, happy to lend a hand, they brought us a trunkload of tools so we could minimize the costs of our biggest project to date. Yesterday was our first day of work, and we planned to tear out the sunroom and buy the materials. Luckily for us, it went so fast that we got a lot more than we planned done.

First we started by removing the huge windows on the side. No pictures of this process, because it was all hands on deck. We eventually got them down (and only broke one little pane!) so we were ready to move on.

Look! No windows!

Next we started tearing out the framing. It turns out, there are times you will be glad that the previous owners of your house know nothing about home improvement. This was one of those times. I swear, caulk and rust was all that was holding that room together.

Then, we started to get really worried. The other wall was just big panes of glass, framed together by wood. We were being super careful, until we hit one of them with the hammer and realized it was safety glass. So we pulled those suckers out, and then came the fun part. We wanted to fit them in the trash can, so we laid them on a tarp, and got out the hammer.

Then we hit a line with the hammer (since it was safety glass, it stayed together). This was the most fun part all day (besides the concrete nailing bullet thingamabob, more on that tomorrow).

Then we just bent it into thirds and put it in the garbage can. Voila.

Then we got the littlest pane out. This was NOT safety glass so extreme caution was required. Including the requisite family stick-out-your-tongue-in-concentration move. My grandpa did it, my dad does it, I do it. People can make fun of us all they want. We know it's just how stuff gets done.

Have I mentioned how much I love my big strong husband. Oooh, muscles, beard, hairy like a lumberjack. I'm swooning right now.

No more walls!

All of this before lunch. Then we trucked it on down to Home Depot for the lumber and nails and junk. So far, we're up to $96 in materials, thanks to a $25 gift card from my big brother. We've gotten the lumber, the door, the nails, and the bullet thingamabobs. Still to come is the door hardware, probably a little more lumber, the screen, staple gun, and a cat door (!). So far we're pretty happy with the costs of this project.

Then, because we rock SO HARD. We started framing a wall. ON DAY ONE!

I'm having a love affair with this saw. If Brett wants to make me the happiest girl on earth he needs to buy me a table saw (now please!). See, look how hard at work I am!

We decided against a knee-wall, which we think will look better and make our job much easier. At the end of the day, we had an entire wall framed and ready for screening (once we let the lumber dry and paint it of course.)

Now on to day two! More to come tomorrow.