Sunday, March 20, 2011

Warming up the living room

A week or so ago we tackled the dreaded fireplace. Obviously, functionally this caused no real hindrance but it was really like a bad hair cut. I couldn't stop staring at it in and it made the whole room less attractive.
Oh, also, we put most of our stuff away. Or at least shoved it into corners.

The dream I had was to find a mirror that covered the plywood area. But to find a mirror of the exact framed dimensions proved to be a problem. And that was just the size problem, not even talking about cost of mirrors.

Cue Ikea. I don't think I've mentioned, this is the closest I've ever lived to an Ikea before and this is wonderful to me. They had a mirror that was about 3 inches shorter in all dimensions and was 14 dollars. I saw a perfect opportunity to not just cover the mirror but bring some fun color into the room.

ET, Phone home.

I made a quick trip to Lowe's, bought one of those "sampler size" paint cans that cost 3 dollars and...

17 dollars later the room had an instant facelift!

I'm still struggling with the shelving arrangements, and we desperately need a rug.

But boy oh boy, I sure do love our fireplace!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

High Hopes

I made an impulse buy at Lowes the other night.
You see, I'm not a very good gardener. I've never kept things alive for long. And I really don't know much about any of the flora that grows anywhere. Except that I've never lived anywhere cold enough to grow tulips. I know that much.
Because I love tulips.
They remind me of being a little girl at Epcot* and of my papa who grew a little tulip garden on the side of his house in North Georgia.
And they're a little exotic to me because I've never actually seen them bloom and flourish.
I adore their structure, they're just so sturdy and resilient through the last days of the gloomy winter when they pop up with their bright colors and say "I dare you to feel blue with my reds and yellows so bright!"

So, I bought tulips. And I planted them in my window boxes.

Now here's to hoping they're resilient enough to survive me.

*I'm not sure how Disney gets around the whole "Florida is too hot to grow tulips" law of nature, but somehow they do.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Feast Your Eyes on The Dining Room

Ah the dining room, with the lack of windows, weird, ugly shelves and linoleum floors. Whatever will we do with the thing?
So here's where I did all of my figuring. A) The room is already dark, we're not going to get any natural light because there is no where for it to come from. B) We need more closets C)Those shelves. God help me, those shelves.
Here's how we decided to break down what the shelves would be used for. (Note my lack of photoshop skills. Also, my lack of photoshop.)
1) Random "hall closety" type stuff (board games, tools, cleaning supplies, etc.)
2) Pantry
3) Girl Scout Cookies
4)Hunky Husband being all hunky (but he's not getting stored there, he's just attaching the hardware)

Tada! Beautiful dark purple drapes. They add wonderful, warm depth, turn the shelves into a closet (!!!) and because it's floor to ceiling it gives the same effect of paint while not actually painting anything. 
I'm absolutely in love with it, and did I mention this brings my closet count up to two? TWO!! IT'S A MIRACLE!
I need a nice table runner and a slightly more appropriate centerpiece, but man this feels good.
However...not the easiest room to photograph...

From the outside looking in

Here are some exterior shots of our pretty home
Here are the front windows which happen to be our living room windows. In my dreams I have a beautiful herb garden growing in those window boxes. I've never kept a basil plant alive longer then a few weeks so, you know, we'll see.
And the back. That door there leads into our kitchen
And some more back yard action. Except for actually seeing the back yard part.

What say you, Harold the cat?

Meow? Meow indeed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bare Bones

Why hello there and welcome to our home! Let's go on a little tour...
We took these pictures when we signed our lease. A few things have changed since we moved in. For instance, our landlord graciously told us he would keep the burgundy trim for us but we assured him that, no. No thank you. Big ole' no thank you.

Now it's like a dusty rose meets desert sand. I should have been more specific.

(Jeff will be playing the role the measuring tape in this production)
Ah. Will you just get a load of those windows? So much natural light! And the shutters? Beautiful! Also take a gander at that chandelier creeping out of the corner. So Charming!

And now let's bring all that charm to a screeching halt. Remember when I said there were some unfortunate design add ons? Exhibits A, B and C. Weird, skinny book shelf? Check. Radiator in prime furniture location? Check. But the worst monstrosity? Lets put plywood over the fireplace and paint the whole thing white. Ugh. This is going to need some work.

Our bedroom has some great floor space and the same wonderful windows as the living room with another added plus - those windows open up onto a solid wall of the building next to us. Great privacy but still getting some flowing light.

Here's the hall way looking towards the living room...

...and the dining room/kitchen. Another chandelier. Another unfortunate radiator. I've never had radiators before and yeah yeah, they're keeping us warm and all but they're just so in the way. Anyways, great blank wall space for hanging pictures.

And, the other wost part of this house - Here we have the dining room with some weird, shotty shelves. I think these were intended to be kinda like display/storage units for dishes and things but they look like hell and anyways, I have big plans for this. Also, whats the deal with the big, shelfless middle section? I just can't imagine having something nice enough to need to build a display case for it but not so nice that you can't do a good job building them.

And the last stop on our tour- the kitchen. Nothing grand, nothing awful. I rather like her, just needs a little sprucing is all. The floor has also been replaced in the kitchen/dining room. It's not a light blue laminate design. Not my favorite, but not as bad as the desert rose, dusty sand thing going on in our living room.

Rental Sweet Rental

Ah, the beginning. Or, the start of a new chapter. Or maybe picking up where we left off, or...whatever cliche is needed to indicate something new.
My husband and I (here by referred to as Jeff and Sarah) have just moved from our lovely and highly affordable home in Charleston, SC to a very tiny, very expensive apartment just outside of DC in Old Town Alexandria. It's not that this particular apartment is particularly expensive, but rather, DC is one of the 10 most expensive cities to live in. So, we checked our priorities and decided to suck it up and move into a small apartment in an area that we absolutely love.
Our new digs have some major upsides. It's an old mansion that's been divided into several apartments. Original hard wood floors from the 1850's, chandeliers, fireplace, backyard, 18 foot ceilings. Oh, and some old friends from Charleston live in the apartment above us. She's really a beauty.
But then there are the down sides. Most notably, the one closet. One. Not even a pantry, just one closet in the bed room. There are also some unfortunate design add ons and some things that can use a little creativity to make this rental a sweet home.

Here's a floor plan to make sense of all of the coming events of this blog. Ok, here we go!