Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Eternal To-Do List

I remember my days as a renter when weekend days were spent lounging on the sofa with piles of trashy fashion magazines or some actual literature. How I pine for those days. Yes, it's been fun to personalize our house, but even when we rented places, we had the good fortune to rent from men with fabulous taste who had painted and remodeled the spaces in fun and funky ways. In fact, we stole the main wall colors for our 1952 house from our last condo. (Thanks for leaving sample paint buckets at the condo, David!)

Last weekend, Chad and I got away to Dallas for the weekend as a collective birthday present to ourselves. Our birthdays are three weeks apart. It was so nice to have room service (champagne and chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival!) and maid service and already painted walls! We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas. We needed to be far enough away from the house that we weren't at all tempted to sneak back and do any housework.

This weekend, it's back to the grind, back to the to-do list.
1. Install Chad's Closet Maid system and organize closet.
2. Clean the floor in the Master Bedroom.
3. Put dresser in Master Bedroom and finally unpack all the drawer items.
4. Plan grid for tin tile ceilings in the kitchen and bathroom.
5. Buy materials for tile ceiling project and yard projects.
6. Sign and have notarized waiver for new driveway and walkway.
7. Sign and mail contract for deck installation.
8. Rent wood chipper for all the tree stumps we dug up and all the tree branches we picked up from the yard.
Yeah... I don't know about #8, but we gotta do something with those branches and tree trunks / roots.

Is that purple flower a weed? I can't tell. I've started mowing around them because they're kind of pretty. We have a Neuton mower. I love it. It's cordless, electric and very quiet. The City of Austin Clean Air program gave a generous rebate on these mowers. The UPS guy who delivered mine commented that he was delivering a lot of them. When Chad or I are out mowing, people stop and comment on our nice, quiet mower.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New Homeowners Are Boring

Yes. I've become one of those people who talks incessantly about house projects, much like a new parent talks about their baby too much. Maybe it's better than coming off as a crazy cat lady by gushing about my fuzzy children all the time. Speaking of, Marigold and Kenji are so cute and funny! Marigold loves to go outside and sniff the sidewalk, but she's only allowed out with Chad or me.

Enough about the fuzzy kids, here are some more before and after shots.

The Office
Before: There is that icky yellow paint again! This is where boxes go for vacation!

During: What a handsome painter!

After: Check out the cozy kitty corner under the windows.

Here's my reading nook with the cheap chandelier.

The Guest Room
Before: What a fabulous view of the fence and truck driving down the street!

After: The completed, lovely guest room with a queen size bed just waiting for an occupant or two. Our guests will have the pleasure of helping us with the vast jungle that we hope will sometime be worthy of the term "yard."

The Master Bedroom In Progress
Here's my teeny-tiny closet. Chad helped me install this closet system. Miraculously, everything but my shoes fit. Maybe I can build another shed out in the yard for shoes.

We finished the paint and installed the custom-order blinds from Lowe's. I love Lowe's. The employees are much more helpful than the people at Home Depot.

Now we're waiting on our bed to be delivered. It's on back-order until October 15th. Sigh...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Progress Slows

On May 19, 2006, Chad and I became first time homeowners of this darling house that needs a lot of love. I like to think we saved the house from its previous, dreaded "rental house" status and from a series of opportunistic house-flippers.

I have grown oh-so-weary of painting, cleaning and arranging for now. Time to post some before and after pictures so I can reflect on the progress Chad & I have made this summer. Maybe it will provide motivation to paint that last room!

The Dining Area
Before - note the icky yellow walls and yucky curtains.

After - alive with color and kitsch!

I love this cabinet. Yes, I would marry it if I wasn't already married to Chad.

The Living Room
Before - the crown trim had this icky yellow sealant all around every room. It HAD to be painted!

After - some color and furniture help.

The Kitchen
Before - not my favorite counter tops or flooring, but we chose to keep it out of budgetary and environmental concerns.

Again with the granny window treatments. (Actually, my grandma, Louise, has much better taste than this!) The pot rack is so 1985. We donated the pot rack to Habitat for Humanity in hopes that someone will use it.

During - the kitchen was the default, messy paint room for a while. Poor kitchen...

After - yes, the walls do glow with an alarmingly radioactive intensity, but Chad really loves the color. I've come to accept it. The white appliances and white cabinets help to diffuse some of the glow.

The Hallway
Before - 14 feet of yucky yellow walls with yucky yellow sealant and cracked ceiling.

After - much nicer color. We used a sand texture paint to hide the ceiling cracks. We chose to hang our black and white photography in the hallway. I found this great rug that magically matches all the colors in the house and that is long enough for the hallway.

The Bathroom
Chad and I lived in a posh condo for just over a year before we bought this house. The condo had two and a half bathrooms. Yes, two and a half! I had my own pristine, pretty bathroom. Chad had his own messy, utilitarian bathroom. Guests had their own cute half-bath on the main level. Unfortunately, our 1952 house only has one small bathroom. Gasp! I decided that if we could only have one bathroom, it needed some beautifying.

Before - gross.

After - so much better. Chad picked out the sink and vanity. I picked the wall color. I think it works. No more rust! We still have to install the tin-tile ceiling to hide all the cracks.