Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Monday, February 28, 2011

We have ze sofa!

And once again, we had the sofa a long time ago. It was delivered and assembled last Sunday. Buuuuut here are the pictures!

Hula checks out the pile of boxes. I think this is the loveseat section and the corner seat, and the end armrests.

Here we have another box, this time with the sofa section in it. Check out Chris' new computer, hanging out on the dining room table. Eventually it will have a home in the office. Ya know, once the floor in there is finished and it's painted and everything. 

Chris was out mountain biking, so I started sorting the seat cushions.

I arranged the biggest sections in their eventual layout. 

And then tried to figure out which covers go with which cushions.

Then I was able to put the covers on the base sections before Chris got back. He helped me set the sofa and loveseat in place. They hook onto the corner seat. It's pretty clever, and I am once again impressed with Ikea's furniture engineers.

Chris puts the last cover on the last cushion.

And ceremoniously lays it in place! 

The sofa is perfect for Chris to stretch out in one direction, and for me to take the other. It will be comfy. 

Now we just have all of these boxes to deal with! Chris has been cutting them up and stuffing them in the recycling bin. It's slow, but they're all out of the garage now I think. 

Ahhhh, the finished couch. Let us bask in its dark gray, non-scratching-post texture, expansive sofa-ness. Also I love my coffee table! Maybe it can stay black. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The sectional is in, it is assembled, it is AWESOME, and we do have pictures! But, they're on Chris' camera, which is 30 miles away from me right now, so we'll just upload them later. =P

Friday, February 18, 2011

The pantry is finished!

Actually, it was finished on Sunday, but I'm still trying to catch up with what's been going on.



There are a couple of things you can't see in each photo. In the before, you can't see that the inside of the door molding is not painted, and you can't get a really good view of the naaasty contact paper on the shelves. You also can't see that the doorknob is shiny brass like the rest of the house.
In the after picture, you can see that all of the trim is now painted glossy white, and that the shelves are held in with screws and drywall anchors instead of crown molding, and that the doorknob is now a beautiful brushed nickel. More on that below. However, you can't see that the thermostat and intake grille have been removed from the wall. We had to remove the grille when I was trying to glue the thin Masonite board to the top of the closet, and the silver insulation stuff broke! We had to open the duct and hammer it back into place. 

Anyway, the pantry/closet is now GORGEOUS, and we have tons of food storage. The pantry cabinet next to the fridge might eventually hold things other than food. Hooray for excess storage! 

Now about the doorknob. When we removed the door from the master bedroom into the master bathroom, I saved the doorknob and said, hey, I can fix this old brass stuff. I bought some metal primer spraypaint and brushed nickel metallic spraypaint, and went to town. I also did the doorknobs for the closets in the two back bedrooms, perfecting my technique. The doorknob for the pantry door got the same treatment when I removed it so I could paint the door itself. 
Here's a close-up of the result:
I set up a nifty system to get all angles, involving rebar stuck into the ground (the same rebar we used to tighten the garage door spring and mark off lines for the drainage trench next to the garage) and short lengths of PVC pipe. I'll get some pics next time I spraypaint, but basically the knobs go on top of the 1.5" PVC, and the bolt gets stuck into a 1" PVC section, and the strike plate gets laid flat on newspaper or a plastic bag. I even sprayed the screws, by sticking them into a styrofoam block. 

By elevating the knobs just a foot off the ground, I can get all around and underneath them with an even coat of paint. I learned that thin coats are best (which every instruction sticker says to do anyway), and that the finish will scratch a little if you rub metal against it. It doesn't expose the shiny brass underneath, but it does make a darker mark. You can see a little bit on the far knob, where the screwdriver rubbed against the knob as I was screwing the handleset back together. 

But even if it's not as durable as buying new nickel knobs, it's a heck of a lot cheaper, and will provide a nice update for this house without being a huge investment. Also, if the finish ends up rubbing off, just spray again! Touch-up is easy. 

So, that is our gorgeous, clean, fresh new pantry, in which I shall store my baking materials (flour and sugar canisters, etc), extra canned goods, and Jezza food. Exciting! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beige: the dilemma

While we're doing this whole clean-up-the-living-room thing, we are also looking forward to repainting it. Right now, it is beige. We are going to repaint it... another beige color. But it is surprisingly tricky to choose just the right shade of tan! (I got sick of saying beige. Say it lots of times in a row... beige, beizh, bayzh, baysh, blahhhhhh)

And we want the living room wall color to go with the rest of the house, so this involves thinking about what color the other bedrooms, the master bedroom, and new bathroom are going to be. I already explained how I started with the Glidden colors:
I went and got an extra swatch of Cappuccino White, plus some other beige-y samples that I liked in the store. I taped them up next to the bathroom molding.
Top to bottom: something too white, something too pink, Cappuccino White, Natural Linen, something too yellow)

It turns out I already had a sample tester of Cappuccino White from when I was trying to match the color on my old apartment walls (to patch the holes from picture frames, etc). So I put that in the middle. I liked Natural Linen too, so that's the bottom square of paint. It's definitely less white and more beige, and very close to the existing wall color. The current color is a little more pink. Finally, the top paint square is from Marth Stewart's paint collection, which has the most ridiculous names. Ever. Actually, they're not too bad, just centered around food and random natural elements. Anyway, "Gull" is the beige swatch touching the green swatch in this picture:

 Those are all Martha Stewart paints, and they give you a suggested ceiling and woodwork/trim color, so that dictates what other swatches they're touching. We started with the green because it's the closest match to the kitchen. It looks really apple-y in these pics, but you'll just have to trust me. The white balance is totally off.
So while I was getting the beige paint samples, I also got samples of "Spring Melt" and "Rainwater", which are the light blue touching the green and the darker blue-green touching the light blue. 
I thought they would look great in the master bedroom, because we are planning to do a gray duvet cover in the winter and a cream or white quilt in the summer.
I put them in two squares on the master bedroom wall (no pictures yet, alas) and really liked the darker Rainwater for the walls, and thought maybe we could paint the ceiling Spring Melt (the lighter, white-blue). We could also do Spring Melt in the bathroom and keep it nice and light in the smaller room. I'll still keep looking for colors, though. I'm always looking.
The reason I had to go away from Glidden was because Glidden really does more rich, saturated, pure-hue colors, and Martha Stewart's are more muddy and subdued. And Behr is just expensive. I might check out Lowe's no-VOC Olympic Premium too. YHL uses it, but they are a lot more hardcore about chemicals and fumes and organic stuff and that sort of thing than we are.

Anyway, the paint search will continue. We like Cappuccino White, but I would like something darker, but a different tint than Natural Linen. I think we might have to get the sectional first, or at least the cover, and see how it looks before picking a wall color. I will check out Lowe's (even though we are pretty fiercely loyal to our friends at the big Orange), and we'll see what happens!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sofa switch! Sectional soon!

After visiting IKEA and talking with their sofa people and calling their customer service thing, I had to accept that there was no way I was getting the sectional while keeping my old sofa. Apparently, you can't just buy the loveseat and corner piece. There is *apparently* something different about the sofa and how it attaches, and so in order to get this
I had to get rid of this
by selling it on Craigslist. And heck, while I'm at it, why don't I also sell these?
They're just sitting in the bedroom gathering dust and taking up space, and we need to start thinking about making that bedroom an actual bedroom instead of just storage. 

So I listed them yesterday morning, and by last night the couch was gone. I had an offer for the loveseat, but the lady cancelled at the last minute. Nothing yet on the chair, alas. 

As of now, I have another offer for the loveseat, so if I can deliver that tonight for the price I'm asking, we'll have gotten $350 for that stuff to put towards the new sectional. 
I'm also selling my old PS2 and games (Guitar Hero, DDR) and Chris is selling his 27 action/violence/racing games, and it looks like we could sell those tomorrow. Yay! 

Of course, this means that we now have no sofa, and will probably need to buy the sectional soon. I'm totally ok with that. Actually, I am very excited. It will force us to once again rearrange the living room and keep moving it closer to an ideal hang-out space. I also need to get a rug for the dining table and maybe order the kitchen chairs so they can be used until we buy real dining room chairs. Yay =)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fireplace plans

It's freezing across most of the US today (even Houston! people are freaking out!) so I will think warm thoughts with how I'm going to build the fireplace/mantel for the living room. It's going to provide a focal point for the room, as well as shelving for books and entertainment center stuff.

I made this model in SolidWorks (because I am an engineer). The different colors denote different dimensional lumber widths. Well actually, purple is just plywood, and yellow is 1x12 but maybe in a different material like an oak countertop from Ikea, ripped to width.

Green is 1x10, pink is 1x12, and most of the blue is 1x2. The thicker blue trim at top and bottom is 1x4. Also, technically 1x means 0.75" thick, but because this is going to be painted, I won't need to use stain-grade wood and can use plywood and mdf instead (or just splurge on the wood for the trim).
I figured out the layouts such that I only need 3 sheets of whatever, but if I do use different materials, that will change.

Anyway, I guess it's only a foot and a half deep in the middle, with the 6" shelf in front of the 12" main structure. The bookcases will be on either side (only one is shown in the picture) and may or may not have doors. There will also be a little gap at the back where we can run cables down from the tv (above the mantel) into the right bookshelf for all of our entertainment stuff.

I'm excited to taking this project on with Chris sometime, but for now our priorities are finishing the bathroom and kitchen. But now you know what's in the works!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sofa Dilemma

I am totally not being productive at work today, so here goes another post! 

After getting in the rug, we had a better idea of how much space our living room can take up. It has to share space with the dining table and chairs. I have decided that I want to go for the full Ikea sectional add-on to my current sofa, so I got the dimensions of that (and everything) off of Ikea's website and plopped it into a to-scale floor plan:
  • The fireplace isn't an actual fireplace; it'll be a mantle and bookshelves that I build out of plywood and MDF. It'll be 2' deep at the most; the side shelves will only be a foot deep. It will have a fireplace-shaped hole in the middle, but we'll put candles or a houseplant in there. 
  • The sofa table behind the sectional will probably be made out of a 1 or 2x12 board, 8 ft or maybe even 10 ft long. I'll slap some legs on it and it'll be a nice place for lamps, books, drinks, and - who am I kidding - for Hula to climb on and look out the front windows. 
  • Currently I have my old entertainment center sitting behind my 3-seater sofa.  Right now it's on its side (2 cubbies tall, 4 wide), between the sofa and the dining table. It will become part of my desk ensemble in the office. I might get the white desk and paint the shelves a fun color, though. The brown-black is awfully heavy-looking. 

  • We already have the dining table, but still need to get the chairs. I'm thinking about some different options, but I really like the Ikea Henriksdal chairs. I might dye the white covers or order slipcovers from an online website like Bemz but cheaper. They'll have to go with the sofa, too (not match, but go, you know what I mean?)

Anyway, more about the sofa! The slipcovers at Bemz are really expensive. Slipcovers are available other places, but I don't like their selection. I could get the white cover and dye it, but that would be a lot of work. Ikea's choices are always limited, but they're even more limited for me because now I know that everything "Korndal" = cat scratching post. I had a Korndal blue chair cover and a Korndal green sofa cover, and both are shredded. Also, Korndal makes me want corn dogs. Go figure.
Now, before you freak out about the price, know that it includes the slipcovers, and that I already own the 3-seater sofa. That means I would just have to buy the loveseat and the corner chair add-on that connects them.

What is also super-awesome about this sofa is that it is super-comfy and will be super-long. For several weeks, Chris has been sleeping on the sofa because his bedroom got too cold. When he removes the back cushions, it's essentially a twin-sized bed and he can stretch out and everything. So with the corner seat, the loveseat side would be as long as the current sofa and face the fireplace, and the current sofa side would be 9.25' (111") long and would be perfect for stretching out and reading or watching tv. 

To cement my love of this sofa I already have, my renovating role models, Young House Love, bought the same sectional + chaise for their new house. In the charcoal color. I'm totally not copying them, because I had decided to get this before they made this post: http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/sectional-hunting/
Even though they had actually purchased the sectional weeks before, I didn't know about it, so I'm not copying. Besides, who cares if I copy? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Now I just have to pick a color. I'm leaning towards the charcoal, because it looks the least crappy next to the rug: 
The paint chips on the left are ones that kind of go with the color in the kitchen, and Cappuccino White is what we're thinking about painting the walls in the living room/dining room/hallway to the bedrooms right now, and Malted is the color of the rug I got, which was Martha Stewart Living, and her paint line also has a color called Malted. 

Here's my crazy paint network, based on what colors the Glidden paint chip suggested as coordinates:
I started with Spring Cactus (the color in the kitchen) and branched from there. There was some lavender thrown in, but not a lot of blue. So I have a whole 'nother network with the Martha Stewart chips, which is more muted and soothing. Also, the ones labeled "yhl" are where I took suggestions from Young House Love again (I'm totally not obsessed with their style, ok) and worked backward until I got to a paint color I already had. Does any of that make sense? Well whatever, here's a paint network that will give us ideas for painting stuff. 

Also my school computer is low on RAM and is having a hard time with these pictures and links. Pathetic. I've talked long enough anyway. If anyone is reading this, let me know if you think the charcoal sofa is the way to go! Thanks =)