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Bookcase Progress

17 Dec

The bookcase bases are in!


Originally we were planning on priming and painting each individual piece before the installation but at the last minute we decided against it. Since this is just the shell of the bookcases, only the insides and the counter need to be painted at this point, and that’s a fairly simple process in this state.

There are 4 individual cases along the wall. Each case is made up of 2 side pieces and 6 supports.


You can see that Steve added the supports in the front and back of the case in key spots. Each case is held together by a series of dowels, wood screws, and glue. I wish I had a picture of the assembly process, but it required 2 sets of  hands. Putting them all together was relatively simple but made somewhat complicated by walls that are not square.










Steve will anchor all 4 cases to the back wall and then to each other. This weekend he plans on adding trim to make them look like one unit. The trim will be added between each case above and below the counter, along the top, and along the bottom. Crown molding and base boards will be reinstalled on top of the trim leaving some reveal which I think will be a nice touch. We’ll be using preprimed boards for the trim so a final coat (or 2) of paint will be added once everything is in.

Painting is my job this week. I’m planning on 2 coats of primer and 2-3 coats of paint depending on coverage. I will leave the last coat for after the trim is installed. I got the first coat of primer on this evening 


The final steps will be to make doors for the space below the counter and to add shelves above.

In other news, we got the new light fixture installed in the dining room which I love! More pics soon when it (hopefully) isn’t such a wreck!

Coming Clean

30 Jul

It’s been awfully quiet around here lately. Not because nothing is going on on the home front, but because I’m way too embarrassed to show you what I’ve been working on. But in an effort to document my progress, I figured it was time to come clean.

You guys, my backyard is a disaster.

I’m not just trying to be dramatic, it’s an actual disaster, and I get a little anxious just thinking about everything that needs to be done with it. I made it my personal mission to get it taken care of this year, but progress has been excrutiatingly slow for several reasons. One, I’ve been at it mostly by myself. Steve has been working incredibly long hours this Spring into Summer, often going in on the weekends just to keep up. Two, the obnoxious amount of rain we’ve received lately has not been conducive to yard clean up (I recently heard it’s rained in Atlanta everyday in July except for 3 days). And three, I’ve been taken out twice with poison ivy. My arms, legs, and sides were covered in itchy blisters for probably a month total. If you’ve had poison ivy before I’ll let you take a second to commiserate with me on how miserable it was. If not, I hope you’re lucky enough to never encounter it. It’s brutal.

Our lot is pretty strange which has made things more challenging. We’re on a cul-de-sac so we have a nice pie shaped lot, and we back up into woods so it’s relatively private. But in the back there are some large slopes which make getting to some spots tricky. Oh, and it’s all covered in ivy. Oh, the ivy.

Here’s a picture of our lot on the plat (which I badly doctored, and the house is not to scale) to help you get acquainted with everything:


The area to the right (we call it the side yard) is large and flat and more like the traditional back yard. The original owners had several sons and poured a black top back here for them in the 60’s. As you can imagine, after 50 years it was ready to go. Here’s what the side yard looked like in March:


From the front yard


Looking toward the front yard



You can’t really see the black top, but it’s under the branches and dead leaves in the picture above. In the back to the right there’s a creek that runs through part of our property. You can’t really see it here either, but it is so nice to have.

Directly behind the house things get a bit challenging due to the hills. See the front of the house here?

photo (5)

See the large drop off on the right side? The grade change is kind of extreme. Our basement is completely underground on the left side of the house and about 1.5 stories above ground on the right. So there’s a hill right behind the house. Here’s what it looked like in March:


Out of control saplings and ivy. You can’t even see the concrete steps leading up the hill.

And around the screened in porch, things get a little crazier. Also from March:



I know I’ve mentioned some of our plans for out here before, but next year we’re really hoping to convert that screened in porch into a sunroom and enclose the back of the garage.

Things get more complicated in the back of the house with the steep hill.




Oooh the ivy! I hate it!

Our property actually goes back a good ways. The property line ends a bit before the back neighbors fence you can see in this picture. An awful chain link fence surrounds our lot, but it’s hard to make out in photos.


I’m not sure we could ever really use the land beyond this little hill without spending a lot of money. For now my plan is clear it up to the top of the hill and keep it maintained there. We’ll also clean up some of the straggly trees.

In March, just after all of these pictures were taken, we hired someone to come in and remove the black top from the side yard and clear that whole area with a brush mower. Because of the steep terrain, they couldn’t reach the back of the house, but they did some serious damage in the side. Here are some befores and afters:





Then Spring Sprung and plants and weeds popped up where nothing was before and here’s the state of the side yard today:




The plan here is to clear all of the remaining ivy in the side yard. In the Fall we’ll have someone come out and grade the area and seed grass. I’ll also probably plant a few trees for more privacy to the right (Also, the ivy on the trees situation is obviously a problem. We’ve taken care of most of it, but it can take up to a year for all the ivy this invasive to die once it’s been cut). Long term I’d love a traditional potager in the back here. Wouldn’t something like this be lovely?


Via Country Living

And/or maybe even a green house?


Via Better Homes and Gardens

But for now, ivy control and grass are the main goals here. When we take care of the grass in this area, we’ll also take care of the front lawn. More on that disaster here. It was also roughed up when the blacktop was removed because the dumpster was put in the front yard.


Onto the side hill. Reminder, here’s what it looked like in March:


And after the brush mowing:


And now:



Look at that! Steps! And weeds!


We plan on cutting down the trees by the foundation. Wouldn’t a row of limelight hydrangeas look fabulous here? With peony bushes? And creeping jenny? One day.

To the right of the steps is a true disaster.


I was really hoping to avoid using herbicides here, but we’re to that point. I sprayed it two weeks ago with mild success and just sprayed it again last weekend. Once everything has died, I’ll take a weed eater to it to get rid of the bulk. Then I’ll cover it with pine straw until I figure out what to plant here (blueberry bushes! fig tress! options are endless!).

This hill by the porch will likely get the same herbicide/weed eater/pine straw treatment. Here it is today. You can see I’ve made a smidge of progress (we’re also in the process of rescreening the porch which I mentioned here. The screens are up, just need to add the wood supports.).


I don’t want to block the view from the porch into the side yard, so I’ll need to figure out what to plant here that won’t get too tall. As a focal point, I’m considering a tuteur in lieu of a view blocking tree. Something like this maybe?


Via Houzz

We also need to deal with the water/gutter issue that’s eroding the bricks on the back of the fireplace.


Going back toward the garage, things aren’t looking much different these days. I’ve mowed the ivy on the flat parts and that’s about it.




As I mentioned, I’ll clear the ivy to the top of the hill and plant a garden. I think I’ll also plant more trees by the fence line to block out the house back there in the winter when the leaves are gone. Loooooong term, I’d like to replace the chain link fence. Once we enclose the garage, I’d like to put up lattice against the new back wall of the garage and plant jasmine to grow up it.

As for a patio area, I’ve considered every patio surface under the sun. I don’t think it will make sense to add anything here until the porch has been enclosed since we don’t yet know where we’ll put doors leading onto the patio. Since I imagine we’ll be a little tight on renovation funds after taking on such a large project, I’m thinking a pea gravel patio may be our best option. I love the way they look, and they’re also affordable. Of course, they require more maintenance, but I’m totally willing to keep up with it. Here are some pictures of what I’d like to end result to feel like:


Via House Beautiful


Via Houzz


Via Better Homes and Gardens


Via Chicago Home Mag

I’ve gone a little crazy on Pinterest looking at garden and patio ideas lately!

So there it is. My needs-some-serious work yard. I’m hoping to have it all looking presentable by the Fall and then continually tweak it forever.

Around Here

12 May

We’ve been making small updates around the house over the last couple of months, so I thought I’d share some of the changes.

We made a headboard for the master bedroom and finally started decorating the space. Here’s what the room looked like the last time I shared it.



And now (though still much to do):




I liked the prints of the vintage eggs I had over the dresser, but since you can see the maps we hung in the hallway from the bedroom door, it started to look too busy.


I found these John Derian plates 40% off and couldn’t pass them up.


The light fixture came from the Ballard Designs outlet for $50.


I decided to move the rug that I purchased for the bedroom to the family room and start over in here. The neutral rug was too plain. Ideally I would find a fabulous vintage persian rug for here but finding one in the size I wanted would be waaaay out of budget. I ordered a sample of Pottery Barn’s Isaac Rug, and I think it will add the pattern the room needs.




While substantially less expensive then a traditional persian rug, it still isn’t cheap so I’m slowly saving up for it. Also left to do is add a chair in the empty corner by the window:


And replace the existing nightstands that match the bedroom set in the guest room. I’m also considering repainting because I have to repaint a room at least twice to call it done.

Here’s the old bedroom rug in the family room now:


The herringbone seagrass rug I had it here has been moved to the empty formal living room. Rug musical chairs!

The guest room has also seen a few tweaks:


I came across these smurf lamps at Target on clearance for $13.48 apiece a few weeks ago.


I spray painted them cream and replaced the small Ikea lamps I previously had in here.


A couple of months ago I came across one yard of quadrille contessa fabric on etsy for a steal. I was initially planning on using it in the master bedroom but changed my mind and used it to cover the existing pillow in here.


I also finally filled the empty frames over the secretary and found a lampshade for the old alabaster lamp I purchased last year.


Lastly, I’ve been working in the yard every chance I get in an effort to clean up our overgrown (understatement) back yard. And even though we had to push off converting our screened in porch to a sunroom this year, we decided to re-screen it now so we can enjoy it over the next year. It’s only costing us $100 in materials (why didn’t we do this sooner?) and will probably take another 2 or 3 days of work to complete. Here’ some progress shots:



I think we’re all caught up now! Until next time!

2013 House Goals

3 Jan

But first, Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays! I certainly did, but I am very happy to get back into the swing of every day life again.

So, every one is doing it and I’m jumping on the bandwagon – 2013 House Goals! We took on a LOT in 2012 which was fun but also exhausting. This year I’d like to scale it back a bit.

First and foremost, we need to finish up the projects still in process around the house.

Like make a runner rug for the hallway out of a carpet remnant and put some pictures on the wall:

rug remnant

The newly finished guest room still needs curtains and pictures to fill the empty frames on the wall:


And the master bedroom needs a proper headboard, new nightstands, art over the bed, pillows, an overhead light fixture, a reading chair, and new closet doors. You know. Nothing major.

Here’s where the room stood last summer. I’ve since purchased a white linen duvet cover and properly scaled bedside lamps.


Also to be re-done is our linen closet which will receive the same treatment the pantry and coat closet got in 2012. This project will require a little bit of macgyvering since a prior owner turned this space into a stackable laundry closet. We do our laundry in the basement, but we would like to keep the laundry hookups (they’re there, why not?). So … I think we’ll need to get creative to create a functioning space. Because this doesn’t function for anyone but Odie the Cat:


But the big project we’re hoping to take on this year is the screened in porch:



It’s not in great shape and needs to be rescreened at the very least, but we’d really like to glass it in to create a sun room that we can use year round. We’d like to add a small sitting area on the left (maybe just a loveseat and a couple of small arm chairs) and a dining area on the right (this would essentially serve as our eat-in kitchen since we don’t have one currently).

We’ve done a lot of research on what all this project would entail and cost, but there’s still a lot we need to figure out before moving forward. If the cost is just too high, we’ll either continue to save and postpone the project for a year or two or re-screen it to enjoy only as a screened in porch.

When we’re (hopefully!!!) framing for windows in the porch, we’ll also frame in the back of our “garage.” What started as a carport was kind of turned into a garage when a prior owner added a garage door (which didn’t function until recently when we replaced the motor). However, the back is completely open. We’d like to fully enclose the garage and add a door for access out back. Here’s an old picture of the space from when we were refinishing the old table. You can see the edge of the porch here too.


Speaking of out back, it needs some serious, serious love. Our backyard is a total, mostly unuseable, disaster. First of all, it’s covered in ivy. Secondly, the steep grade really limits our space back here. There isn’t much we can reasonably do about the lack of space, but the ivy situation can be remedied. One day our lot will be ivy-free. It may take ten years, but it will happen one day. And we’ll start the process this year. Same goes as for the side yard (which is where all of our useable “back yard” space is). Here’s that space viewed from the front yard.


Well I said we’d be scaling it back in 2013, but this sure doesn’t sound scaled back does it? Oh well.

Extra credit items: Re-seeding the front yard so we no longer have the largest weed to grass ratio in the neighborhood and take on some cheap basement projects.

Oh, the basement. Hard to believe I’m this far into my blogging adventure and have yet to mention our semi-unfinished basement! Here are the highlights: it’s a full basement, currently covered up in 90’s goodness (red, purple, orange, yellow, and turqoise can all be found on the walls and doors), and boasts a legit 1960 bomb shelter added by the original owner. I’ll have to do a whole post on the space sometime in the future.

Have any of you done a house goal’s post? Please link!

On one last note, this week I’m celebrating my one year blogaversary! What a fun year it’s been! Thanks for reading along!

Betwixt Part Deux

23 Apr

This weekend may have been my laziest in a very long time. And it was wonderful. We should all do it more often!

In between hours spent on the sofa reading, I did manage to take on a very small sewing project. I’ve had a bolt of Shumacher’s Betwixt fabric in biscuit/ivory sitting in the family room for nearly 2 weeks. I wrote about wanting to use the fabric for pillows here last month.

A couple hours of cutting, ironing, and sewing later, I had myself 2 new pillows.

Not bad for such a small time committment!

I’ve also managed to enjoy these hydrangeas in the family room for 2 weeks now. I don’t think I’ve ever had flowers last this long before.

On the flip side, I decided to put my orchid, which has been living happily in the formal living room for 3 months, on the fireplace mantle.

As you can see, after only a week, it didn’t go so well. Wonder if it would eventually bloom again if I moved it back to where it was happy?

Happy Monday!