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Weekend Recap: Taming the Terror

By | Cats, House, Interior Design | 11 Comments

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A couple weeks after moving in, we dubbed this room “The Terror Room.” I’ve been told every new homeowner has one. It’s the extra room or spot where stuff ends up when it doesn’t fit anywhere else or requires more time than you have to sort out. The stuff you put off unpacking, gifts you don’t know where to put, artwork you haven’t hung yet. Ours has it all. Or did. We finally took care of it this weekend, well somewhat. But now we need some help from you. But first, the clean-up:

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Huge piles of small, random stuff. Hands down the most annoyingly tedious to stuff to clean up.

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I organized all of our gardening accessories and antiques into boxes for now. Hopefully with some shelving in this closet, we can store things a little better until we actually get to decorating.

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Look, my wedding bouquet! Ladies, I have no idea what to do with it! Obviously it’s probably worth keeping, but is there anything I can do with it besides let it hang?

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All of our blankets and bedding, now in one place. I’m thinking a huge blanket fort might be in order this winter, if for no other reason than to see how far we can get it to stretch around the house. (Note: I tidied them up after taking this photo.)

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Neil found a whole bag of his socks. How he didn’t know they were missing illustrates another problem altogether. Is there such a thing as too many socks?

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We have tons of art and frames to sort through, for now they are still stacked against the wall. Definitely have to start painting now that the temperatures are cooling off.

As we cleaned, we noticed a few things that definitely need to be addressed, right after we finish scratching our heads and asking why and how and why people end up making the decisions they do:

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Cables through a random place in the plaster, great choice! And how about that outlet sitting on the floor? Why put it in the wall like like a conformist when you can have it hanging out and mismatched to boot? And what was the logic behind removing the molding?

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This also totally necessitates cutting through the molding. Totally.

When we finished, we hauled tons of boxes and trash out:

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And were left with this:

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Ever finish one project to find you have about five more? That’s how we feel right now, but we are excited to finally have this room ready for — something? That’s where we need your help. We put our guest room upstairs with the second bathroom, and we already have an office and a TV room, so what should we do with this room?

It’s nicely located right off the kitchen, maybe another lounge area? I mean *eventually* it could be a kids room, but for now it’s just hanging out semi-empty. We need ideas before Felix fully claims it as his new room:

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Are you there God? It’s me, Felix. I’ve been a good cat this year, please let this be my room, please!?

House Purchase #2: Bedroom Furniture

By | Bedroom, Furniture, House | 8 Comments

Our current bedroom

For the past few weeks since we moved in, we have been sleeping on a stacked mattress and box spring. Romantic huh? I left our old bed on the curb. We’ve wanted a new bed for some time, but with the move impending, and not wanting to risk damaging new furniture, we decided to wait until we were settled and could have a little time to decide the look and feel for the bedroom. Here’s where things get tricky…

old bedroom

Old bed in our old room.

Confession: We know nothing about interior design. Nothing. I know all the blog experts will tell you to “fake it till you make it” and have a sense of “authority” on the topics you are covering, but I’m here to tell you that’s bunk with us. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re the newbiest of newbs. I’m telling you this now because I hope it will change with the trial and error process of owning a home, and I hope the process of discovery and humor of occasional (fingers crossed) error in all this will be interesting to you. Sure, we know how to research and select the best television for our needs, but designing the actual aesthetics of the room? One word, EEP!

I think one of our biggest areas of difficulty is actually deciding what it is we like and how to form that into some kind of unified aesthetic. We like a lot of things, and a lot of the things we like clash horribly. We don’t really have a unified “us” aesthetic. It’s easy to go on your favorite design blogs and say, “well this person has this, I’ll get one too,” but is it really “you”? For instance, I love reading Young House Love. I’m constantly inspired by how much they’ve been able to do themselves and I hope we’ll be able to do the same with our new “baby.” But their aesthetic is SO. Not. Us. We like a balance of feminine and masculine influences, and we prioritized (via pinky swear) early on that whatever the final product ends up being, it would strike as close to that balance as possible.

With all that in mind and five furniture stores’ worth of inventory in our wake, we finally selected a bed last week that will be delivered and assembled this Saturday:

Hilda

Meet Hilda. We really wanted some variation of a platform or low slung bed that wasn’t completely on the ground, but was lower than typical beds, mainly so Clive can come and go as he pleases and the room isn’t centered by a tall boxy island of bed. We also wanted to ditch our box spring if possible, because I’ve never liked the stacked look of both a mattress and box spring. It is a deep color that is neither too light nor too dark and is reminiscent of a lot of the mission-style furniture my family owns. However, it is also modern and a little dynamic. The showroom accented its display with a lot of modern accessories, and it looked phenomenal, so we’re kind of using it as a guide with accessories:

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1. Hilda Platform Bed via Lifestyles Furniture or SimplyPlatformBeds.com. 2. Big Dipper Arc Lamp via CB2 3. Jack Table Lamp via Crate and Barrel 4. Hilda Nightstand via Lifestyles Furniture or SimplyPlatformBeds.com

Since we don’t want a super-matchy bedroom configuration, we’re going to do our best to incorporate our existing furniture into the new set-up by painting and refinishing and buying some new hardware and accessories. Those exciting adventures start this weekend and we’ll be sharing the progress with you as they happen.

All in all, the look we’re kind of going for is this:

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Image via Ikea

We really like the look of darker furniture with modern accessories and points of contrast. It’s probably a theme we’ll carry throughout the house as we go along. We are beyond excited to see how the new bed changes the look of the room, but are relieved just to have a bed to sleep in at night. Next up: after pictures, paint ideas and window treatments!

Want to drop some ideas or suggestions our way, don’t hesitate to drop us an email!

Score!

By | Cool Stuff, Food, Frugality, Jessica, Kitchen, Neil, relationship | 6 Comments

Cake Pan

Bundt Cake Pan, under $1.00

Kettle

Kettle, paid $.25 cents!

Vintage Napkin Dispenser

Neil’s find, vintage napkin holder.

Silhouettes

Beautiful Silhouettes, apparently worth quite a bit more than I paid for them!

My new bag!

Score. That’s all I can say to describe this weekend!

It was officially our last free weekend till August 1. There were so many things we wanted to accomplish, and we started the weekend by participating in the Andersonville Neighborhood Rummage Sale. The sale started at 8:00 a.m. but there were people already trying to peruse the goods at 7:00! Neil and I sold a few gaming systems and a book, all in all a tight little $75 profit. We also picked up a few goodies, all for about $10. There were some older ladies on the next block from us and they had some sweet stuff, all extremely well priced. I picked up a gorgeous-shaped cast iron bundt cake pan, a kettle and two sweet vintage silhouettes of George and Martha Washington. It turns out they are worth quite a bit more than the $5.50 I paid! I’m safely packing them away for our bedroom in our future home. I also picked up some vintage art for the kitchen and a new-to-us lamp for our guest room. Neil’s cool find was a vintage napkin dispenser for the kitchen. I can’t wait to fill it and put it next to our mixer. All in all our kitchen has a very emerging eclectic look, but what else can you expect from Neil and I?

That night we decided to treat ourselves to sushi, as we realized it would probably be our last quiet date night for some time. We opted to try the new sushi bar that just opened here in town. It’s actually in an alley behind the main road through our downtown. It was fantastic! Just two years ago there were surprisingly very few ethnic restaurants here. Neil and I ate sushi by the buckets when we traveled other places, particularly Umi in Springfield, MO which is still by far and away our favorite. Kampai Alley definitely has a promising future in Columbia once they get settled. Their sushi is so fresh and we love their good mix of tradition and modernism. I highly recommend the volcano roll and their house special Como Roll. We also sampled the Strawberry Mochi for dessert and it’s a can’t miss for sure. Mochi if done right is phenomenal, mochi if done wrong just tastes like cold, glutinous gummy bears.

Afterwards we decided to hit the mall to look for wedding clothes for Anja and Steve’s wedding this coming weekend and  after passing by the purse department several times Neil insisted I snatch this bag I had my eye on while perusing Dillards. How many husbands insist their wives buy a handbag? I didn’t need it, but I love it and I’m happy I let him talk me into it. In our quest to save money I don’t often treat myself to nice things. I’ve never owned a designer handbag, and it’s not something I toil over. My mom always bought inexpensive purses, it was never something I grew up thinking was a necessity. But the price was right and the quality is amazing so I’m definitely set for a good long while. Like a nerd I remarked loudly in the store “I can fit a book in it!” Yup, practicality at its finest.

My Weekend DIY-ness

By | DIY, Furniture, Interior Design | 7 Comments

"old" end tables

"Old" End Tables

"Old" End Tables

"Old" End Tables

As renters, we have a lot of what I would consider “transitional” furniture. You know, the stuff leftover from bachelor days and post-college moves (I’ve moved at least once a year since 2000). Being essentially nomadic and fixing your life around academia and the job market, it’s nearly impossible to ever make the move to invest in nice stuff because let’s face it, your furniture never makes it through a move unscathed. Something always happens. These end tables were freebies from Neil’s house. They were old and more than a little dated and …rough. They’re still a temporary fix, but a little paint and new hardware went a long way to at least cleaning them up a bit.

Paint Color

Paint Color

After doing a little google research, I opted for Behr’s Paint and Primer in One. It’s not something I would opt to use for wall color, but for a piece of furniture you don’t want to invest a lot into, it came highly recommended and was fairly inexpensive. I wanted a dark brown, and dark enough to look black so I chose “Expresso Beans.” It came out a little lighter than I wanted, but again, this is temporary.

"New" End Tables

"New" End Tables

"New" End Tables

The results were fantastic. Two easy coats that dried in less than three hours, it was a perfect easy project and the end of my constant heartache over our old crusty end tables. Most of all, they look a bit newer, and don’t have dated hardware and orange flecked stain. Optimally someday I’ll have my dream end tables, but for now, these are the perfect way to compliment our couches and our temporary home.

My Sweetgum Wreath

By | Crafts, Interior Design, Jessica | 2 Comments

Many of you have probably seen Sweetgum fruit. If you have, you probably hate Sweetgum fruit with devout passion. That annoying prickly seed that plants itself in the grass and is impossible to rake up every spring, grr! My sweet 86 year-old dear Christian neighbor Virginia can be heard cursing them under her breath. I’ve always wanted to find a use for them, and last fall my hero Martha Stewart featured this wreath in Living. I thought, “Next spring, I’m going to make one of those.” And here it is. Obviously not as beautiful as hers, but it makes a beautiful addition to our very yellow front door. Until now our winter wreath was still up (for shame!), and I wanted to change it before the bridal brunch I’m hosting in a few weeks. It wasn’t all that hard to make, just tedious, as every piece has to fit almost like a puzzle. I still have another wreath form and plenty of fruit, so I plan to make a white one for fall/winter next year.

DIY Throw Pillows…Can I? Should I?

By | Art, Interior Design | 13 Comments

{via Apartment Therapy}

{via The Stir}

{via Design*Sponge}

{via Unplgged}

If you know even the slightest bit about Neil and I you know those last three would be DEAD ON appropriate for our living room.

Here’s the thing. I love DIY, but I’m my own worst enemy. I can talk myself out of anything, especially something I’ve never attempted. Last fall I bought a sewing machine, and I have yet to pull it out and use it. I’m not stupid, I’m not incapable, I’m irrationally afraid of screwing it up in a worse-case scenario type of way. There I said it. And while we’re on confessions, I eat artichoke hearts out of the jar. I know.

The issue? Our sofas are green. All three are the same shade of green. I didn’t buy them all. I can only claim one, Neil bought the other two that currently reside in our front room. Yes, we both picked the same shade of green. That’s a whole other topic. They look boring. Painfully boring. Neil doesn’t think so because his couches have red pillows that he picked out whereas my couch just has the pillows that came with purchase.

It’s true they are complimentary in color and match the artwork we have on our walls and throughout our home, but they are dark — almost completely disappearing against the couches. They are all 1-color, and it always looks like Christmas in our living room. It feels predictable, dare I say campy? Like this is the home of a retired couple and not twenty-somethings? Like I said, I’m my biggest critic.

So I’m writing this to throw myself at the feet of the DIY Gods I know are out there to ask for advice. I think I can easily make a few pillows myself. I can’t justify over $100 spent in pillows, and it’s a square, isn’t that like the easiest thing to sew?

It’s tough. We’re in a rental, there aren’t a lot of variables in our control, but I think if I can at least update the pillows and redo those end tables (what color do you think is best by the way?) that it will make a vast difference. The rug…well as long as my cats are raging bulimics I think we’re stuck with a less than gorgeous situation there.

So help me! Do you have suggestions on colors to look for and use, and…what about the tables? Any great tutorials you’ve found?

Could You, Would You, Paint Your Kitchen Valentinesy Pink?

By | Interior Design | 3 Comments

There are a lot of bold colors out there, but it takes a very special person, with some SERIOUS gonads to take on and live with a pink kitchen. In the ’90s era of country blue and dusty rose muave my parents were inspired to paint one of the bathrooms in our house, and it ended up something like this. It was like someone had sprayed the walls with Pepto Bismol. Thank God my dad was colorblind. This pink is however perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Could you? would you?

{Via Beach Bungalow}