We started this little project on Saturday but couldn’t continue until Thursday night.
We hope to show you completely painted band room before the end of the weekend. Happy Friday!
We started this little project on Saturday but couldn’t continue until Thursday night.
We hope to show you completely painted band room before the end of the weekend. Happy Friday!
I have a new obsession.
With the decks almost done, and the yard finally looking to be more than a large cat filled mud bog, I’m thinking about summer.
It’s been unusually warm and sunny in Seattle lately (warmest January on record!) and the Cherry Blossom Trees are tricked into blooming in March, which is completely ridiculous (but wonderful). All of this has got my mind racing on beautiful outdoor evenings…and outdoor fire pits.
Initially, I thought I’d just buy a fire pit at one of our local big box stores and throw it out when we wanted to use it, but all of the pits I’ve seen are fairly hideous. They often look like a combination of Conan the Barbarian, Mordor, and Paula Deen’s idea of a kitchen fryer.
I’ve been debating buying them off and on and then recently decided that a great summer project for me would be to build my own wood burning fire pit. I’ve seen plans for them before and I’m a reasonably intelligent person; I can do it right? Sure…
I’ve gotta decide what style would look good. Something modern, but one that won’t look outdated in a few years. This one, from HGTV caught my eye, but it might be a little too rustic.
I also like this one from Ehow, but I think it might be a little much since apparently we don’t live on a small Scottish island.
Last but not least is this bad boy from Remodelista who has a great series of pits.
Monday mornings are never very fun. I’m always tired and a little sad I’m at work at 7am instead of sleeping in my very warm and comfy bed. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into my cubicle on Monday morning and found presents waiting for me. These weren’t just candy (which sometimes appears on my desk) or the unwanted presents that require work, but presents that have traveled all the way from Zambia to get to me.
My talented friend Anne sent me a few posters she designed, a photo she had taken and a kilo of Zambian coffee (for Micah).
If you’ve been breathing for the last couple years, then you’ve surely seen the Keep Calm and Carry On poster everywhere. I really like this poster but EVERYONE has is.
I’ve been tempted to buy this charcoal version for the fabulous sfgirlbybay for a while but always talk myself out of it. I think it would look good in our bedroom. Or maybe in yellow?
So my friend Anne took the idea of this poster and modified into this:
Anne’s husband Todd, and I used to be office neighbors until he relocated to Lusaka, Zambia to work in one of our field offices. Anne uses her talents to help Todd design posters for work (we dabble in Malaria prevention) and document events. She sent me a PDF of this poster a while back and I told her I had to have a copy. Anne sent this poster back with my boss who was there last week.
I can’t decide exactly where this will go mostly because I keep changing my mind about the decor and color palettes of all the rooms left to decorate. The one thing I do know is that this bad boy is going up somewhere.
Anne also sent me an enlarged photo she had taken on the Zambezi river in southern Zambia. I love this too!
I’ve had my own adventures with elephants on the lower Zambezi in Zambia. Mock charged by an elephant anyone? I spent a weekend at a little lodge on the banks of the Zambezi (boarder between Zambia and Zimbabwe) that was actually an elephant corridor. I guess that means that the lodge is located on a regular elephant travel route.
Here’s me a few years ago hanging on the river with a bunch of elephants sunning themselves on the river bank.
This was the room I stayed in. I was PARANOID about running into a hungry crocodile everyday. They also hangout on the river bank.
And the GLORIOUS Victoria Falls. There’s not much I can say about this. I think the picture says it all.
So, clearly Anne’s picture of the elephant is very much superior to mine on the river. And even though I didn’t take it, it definitely reminds me of my Zambian elephant adventure. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew it had to be framed and hung somewhere, but I just didn’t know where. Then this morning as I was brushing my teeth, I found the perfect place. It’s going in the master bathroom. I was just saying we needed something on the walls in there. Mr. Elephant will be perfect. I’m going to have to try and squeeze a hunt for matting and a frame into my Saturday.
Oh, and if you want to see more of Anne’s work, check out her blog Village Chicken. She decorated her home herself and it looks AMAZING. Hello Apartment Therapy, why haven’t you featured her home yet? I can’t wait to stay here. I love looking at her pictures of Zanzibar. You should also check out Anne’s blog if you are interested in the trials, tribulations and joys of living in Zambia. Some of her adventures are very entertaining.
Micah will be enjoying this very soon.
My booty is sore. Yes, sore. We spent the day in the basement working on the band room while Dadtractor and Nick spent the day on the deck on the top floor trying to figure out how to install the new deck rails. Dadtractor has built plenty of decks before, but this is the first time he’s used this brand of metal railings.
What does all this have to do with my sore booty? Well, I literally went up down 6 flights of stairs over 20 times. I stopped counting at 20. We also gave the band room a coat of paint and I did all the edges which meant going up and down the ladder a million times. Lunges? Squats? Who needs them?!
Here’s Nick and Dadtrator trying to figure out the best place for the corner post. I’m so glad I don’t have to thread the wire for this deck! I’m always amazed that Dadtrator works on our decks. The decks are really high up and Dadtractor has suffered from vertigo in the past.
I went up and down the stairs to bring the guys supplies, check on the progress and answer any questions they had. As I climbed up the stairs with Dadtractor for the final time, I wondered why we decided to build such a tall house.
Um, this is why. You can sort of see the view of the city in this picture (we have a crappy camera) but we do have a lovely view of the city. I can’t wait until Monday when this deck is COMPLETELY done and we can enjoy the sunset sitting in our new deck chairs (pictures coming later) on our new deck. Better yet, I can’t wait until July when it’s warm and I have a cold drink in my hand while enjoying this view.
p.s. Sorry for the Dadtractor booty shot. :)
I’m going over our accounts and tallying up our building expenses and came across an alarming fact. We spent over $15,000 on permits. Yes, just permits. Not labor, not materials, just permits. We built one house, not ten and we spent over $15,000 on permits. I’m a little shocked. Um, City of Seattle, you are welcome…I guess. Doesn’t that seem like a lot?
Check out the tub surround on Splatgirl’s blog Modern in MN. I’m in love…
If this was my bathroom, I’d sit in there forever. I love this blog. It inspired me to use our Ikea table as the vanity in our guest bathroom. Splatgirl also built an outdoor wood fire oven that I’m encouraging Micah to consider. I just don’t know where we’d put it.
We have a small problem. Our master bathroom is complete apart from 2 small details. Detail #1 – we need to stain/seal the vanity. Detail number #2 – we don’t have a mirror for behind the vanity.
We thought we had a mirror (twice) but it turns out neither option worked out.
Option 1 was a recessed mirror by Kohler that was oval and a beveled edge. Recessed means we’d have to cut into the wall to insert it and of course we couldn’t do that because of the type of faucet we chose and the piping/plumbing it required. What we picked up looked a lot like this.
Option 2 was using a mirror we already owned. We already used the legs from our old dining table for the actually vanity, so why not repurpose or upcycle the mirror that hung above the old dining table? It the same color as our bathroom floors and it’s free. Turns out the mirror is just a smidge too big. Poop!
After our two failed options, we decided to spend Saturday looking at mirrors. We hit up Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ross and Ikea. Usually we find things we like and can’t afford but this time we could find a mirror we like and would fit above the sink. The ones at Lowe’s and Home Depot that would fit just didn’t go with the style of our bathroom. If we were doing a French Country style bathroom, I’d know where to go.
We feel like we’ve exhausted our brick and mortar store options and are now looking to the internet for help and design options. I think part of our problem is that we’re not sure what we want, just what we don’t.
One thing we hope our future mirror has is storage. We’ll have a little storage under the sink if we even get some thick glass cut for a shelf, but we can’t have a true medicine cabinet.
I like this. It’s got some storage, clean lines and minimal metal (I’ll explain later) but I can’t figure out where to get it and how much it costs. The post I found it on directs me to Ebay but not to a specific seller. **sigh**
This too would be a winner but again, no idea where to get it or how much it is. **sigh** **sigh**
This mirror isn’t even a contender, but I thought I’d share. I could see Micah getting distracted by a basketball game and cutting himself. I think it would be a little creepy, like someone was watching you.
This one is OK and it could be replicated pretty easily. I’m sure we could find a small beveled mirror and a glass shelf and mounting hardware at Lowe’s. I’m not entirely sold on this though.
This one is also OK. I don’t LOVE it but I don’t hate it. The price is right at $120 plus free shipping but my big concern is the finish. The fixtures in our bathroom have a chrome finish and this doesn’t. There are a few different finishes but none of them look like the chrome finish. Oh well…
I kind of like this one because it’s got character, a little storage and the price is right at $84 but of course it’s a little too long for our wall space. Darn!
I actually really like this mirror but I’d be concerned about the wood matching the color of the floors. I also don’t know where I’d find just the mirror. This particular mirror only comes in the a set with the vanity and the shelves. Maybe we can buy a simple mirror like this and use some of our flooring scraps to make the shelf. Maybe…
So what do you think. Which style would you go with? Are there any others you’d suggest?
p.s. If you know where to get either of the first mirror inspirations, let us know!
I got this Valentine in the mail today from my Mother-in-law.
She reads the blog. Can you tell? :)
I looked out the window just now to check on the kitties and I saw this:
Yesterday neighbors threw a half eaten Costco pizza out in the yard for the kitties and they went to town. We meant it when we said we had a kitty problem.
I’m worried for my future garden.
Once in a while I let a room get so messy that when it comes time to clean it, I have no idea where to start. This happened a lot when I was a kid but doesn’t happen as often now that I’m an adult. Oh, I’m not saying that things don’t get messy, I’m just saying I know how to attack the mess most times.
I said most times right? I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to attack the these rooms:
The Craft Room
Every time I walk in here, there is something new taking refuge in my space (see the Danze shower set to the left?). Besides my crafting supplies, it’s filled with boxes of CDs, things that belong in the Band Room and other crap that has yet to find a permanent home. I can never decide whether I should start moving furniture around or attempt paint stuff on the walls. Most days I stand in the room for 5 minutes and then decide that I should just wait for the Band Room stuff (including 6 boxes of CDs) to move to their new home before I attempt anything in this room. I also convince myself that I should wait until I can get my craft table out of the garage but deep down I know I’ll just take all the stuff off the floor and pile it on my table and call it “clean.”
Guest Bedroom #2
Guest Room #1 is also known as the other place that random stuff lives. Like the craft room, this room houses a lot of things that will eventually live in the band room like boxes of sheet music, instruments from other countries and random cords and wires. Actually, just about every room in the house is storing something that should live in the band room. This guest room is also the temporary home of stuff that belongs in the garage like Christmas decorations, snowshoes and camping gear. I’ve also got a few boxes of bathroom stuff waiting to be moved and a collection of items that need to be taken to Goodwill. My biggest hurdle with this room (besides all the stuff) is that we don’t have anything that belongs in this room. We have no furniture for it – nothing. I thought about sorting through the boxes and piling all the garage stuff by one wall, all the bathroom stuff by the opposite wall and all the band stuff by another wall. I only got as far as stuff all the Christmas stuff in the closet.
Guest Room #2
The only real place we (and I mean WE) made progress is in guest room #2. It’s not decorated or anything, it’s just (mostly) clutter free. Yes, I see the bucket of random junk and the 4 pillows that are going in the trash today. Didn’t you see “mostly” in parenthesis?
We can’t decide on a color scheme for this room. Every time I walk in the room, I think of something different I want to do. I guess the important thing is that It’s 90% clean.
The only place on the third floor besides the master suite that has seen some progress is the linen closet.
It only took us a month to do this. I have no excuses. It just seemed like a low priority spot to organize until we realized it was probably the fastest spot to organize.
We realize we need to get our act together and we need to do it fast. Micah’s parents will be visiting in a month and this place can’t look like this. Their house is ridiculously organized and completely spotless. Last time they came to visit (for the wedding), our apartment looked like a hurricane just came through it. We had moving boxes, wedding gifts and random crafts littered throughout the place. I don’t want them to think we always live this way.
I really hope the last few bits of our bathroom are finished this weekend. I’ve been saying that a lot and I mean it each time I mention it. A lot of stuff can be moved into the bathroom once it’s done. We also need to just start cleaning. It’s WAY easier said than done, and when I’ve figured out a way to start, I’ll let you know.
So, if you’ve been following along, you know we just had some cement laid and now have stairs to the street and our mailbox. I was home for this momentous occasion and besides being a little awed, I found myself mostly shocked.
Shock #1: We have a “neighbor” across the street who doesn’t like us. When he saw the cement truck roll up, he called the department of transportation (DOT) on us. Turns out that the permit we had for the cement truck was expired and DOT was going to fine us a whopping $2000. We avoided the fine once we explained that the reason we were behind schedule was because the water department broke our pipes and we could start until they finished.
Shock #2: The neighbor who doesn’t like us has actually interfered with our house before. Our cement guy, Sione, (who did our driveway and side path) said that the neighbor came around a few times before and demanded that Sione stop work immediately. He kicked up such a fuss that Sione actually stopped work. The funny thing is that the work Sione was doing was really quiet - hand pouring cement and smoothing patches out. AND(!) Sione was working after 9am on a Saturday which is legal in the city of Seattle. If he was making noise and working at 7am on Saturday, Mr. Neighbor would have every right to stop him but he wasn’t. Sione was stopped (twice) around 10:30 am. I told Sione that if our friend across the street ever came over and tried to disrupt his work, he should call me and I’d march my little self over there and have a little chat. I wouldn’t be mean, but I would be frank and present him with a copy of the legal construction work hours as determined by the City of Seattle. The neighbor has no idea who he’s messin’ with. :)
Shock #3: Cola + Cement = Me only drinking ginger ale. Once the cement truck was gone, the crew went about smoothing out the cement stairs to the street. You have no idea how exciting it is to not walk around the block to get the mail.
Once this was done, Dadtractor ran down to Safeway to buy twenty 2-liter bottles of generic cola. Can you imagine what the cashier was thinking? I saw Dadtractor unload the cola and asked him what it was for. He said for the cement. I assumed he meant the cement crew. Then I realized that 5 guys wouldn’t drink 4 bottles of cola each. When I got down to the street, I saw this:
Yes, he’s throwing up bottles of cola and no, it’s not time for a refreshment break. It’s time for this:
Did you see that? How about now?
Yes, they poured twenty 2-liter bottles of cola on to our newly poured stairs. And what does it do? It makes the smooth texture turn into this:
I’m not sure I completely understand, but something in the cola causes gases in the cement to release which eats away the surface and exposes all the rocks. If you can explain this better, please comment below. I tried looking it up online but couldn’t find anything.
All I know is if this is what cola does to cement, think of what it does to my stomach. Diet cola does this too. Anyone else a little shocked and reconsidering cola?
Living on an alley, we didn’t really believe that we needed a staircase down to the “front” of our house. Then we moved in and realized that we had to put our mailbox in the “front” of our house and in order to retrieve the mail each day we had one of two options: either walk around the entire block to get the mail, or build a staircase down the steep slope in front.
We obviously decided on the stairway, choosing to put it down the middle of our double lot; the other side will be built on (eventually) by absent Sister (in-law) who is away in Italy dressing small dogs in ridiculous costumes. We (of course) had to get a separate permit for these stairs—in order to “re-establish” stairs that existed 30 or so years ago.
Two days ago, it looked like this:
Just the framing, ready to go.
Today, it looks like this:
We’re not done with the stairs obviously. We’re going to have our cement guys create a small curb on each sided of the stairwell so that mud and dirt doesn’t wash onto the stairs every time we get rained on. We’re also going to be putting in some kind of railing eventually. There’s a small landing at the bottom of the stairs where we’ll definitely need one, otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes tumbling down there and into the street.
The trip to get the mail just became about 378 feet shorter!
Actually, nothing happened over the weekend. Most of the progress we made happened on Thursday and Friday.
The weather was really nice last week, so more painting happened. The red on the south side of the house really POPS. I really do love the color. I’ll get actual pictures of the red side.
The actual deck (the part you stand on) is done and now we just have to wait for the handrails that come in on Thursday. Don’t worry Josh, you no longer have to worry about Larry walking off the deck. We were going to do an aluminum deck like in the back but it turned out to be really, REALLY expensive to do both decks. We thought about wood, but my Dad was worried about upkeep. We’d have to replace it eventually and the yearly maintenance would be time consuming.
We eventually went with composite decking by TimberTech. It’s fire, mildew, warping and insect resistant, so the likelihood of us ever having to replace it is very slim. Here’s what the front of the sample looks like. We actually decided to go with grey instead of the fake Cedar finish.
You can see that the decks are done! We can’t wait for the rails. Here’s the front of the house. Yes, the yard/slope is awful. We need a special permit and plan to clean it up and plant stuff – no joke.
I won’t tell you too much about it now, but we finally have stairs from the street to the house. It took a separate permit to RE-establish the stairs. Micah promises to post about this soon.
The wall behind the sink in the master bath has finally been patched up. I’m kind of wishing we had decided to put a stone backsplash behind it. Oh well…
The tub is done but I haven’t taken a picture of it. We’ll do a big reveal once the vanity goes up today. We have started showering in this bathroom. It’s like showering in a pretty cave.
The only other thing that happened last week was the installation of the bandroom door. They are still waiting on a little more flooring for that room.
Better pictures are coming tomorrow (or maybe tonight). We promise!