DIY Large Scale Italy Art

You guys. This is totally happening right now…




After a week or so of freezing our petoochies off to the tune of freezing weather, our paper-thin windows are getting replaced!!! I read somewhere (where was that??!) the description of 1970s windows as follows “If you lean your head close enough to the window pane you can feel your hair blowing in the breeze”. Very true. True statement right there folks. So, we are more than thrilled to be crossing this task off of our to-do list. Anyways, while that’s getting done, I thought I’d tell you about our new DIY artwork.

Remember when I painted our master bedroom?  I mentioned that I wanted to change up the feeling of the room with different modern/quirky art??   Well, I found one that suits us to a T.   Ya see, I was just minding my own business, checking out Pinterest, when I came across this pin….


Now, I’m not much of a wordy decor person (Wait. Rephrase… I’m wordy.  I just don’t often gravitate towards word ART.  Boom!  Nailed it.), but this quote resonated with me.   I’m 75% Italian.  My grandparents on my dad’s side immigrated from Italy when my Aunt was a baby, so I grew up listening to them speak Italian and hearing stories about the small village where they hailed from.   When I graduated from high school, my Aunt Sera took me to Italy and it was everything (plus more) that I hoped it would be.   It was stunningly beautiful, as were the people.  Not.Kidding.  Seriously, we were amazed that there were no ugly Italians to be found.  The less attractive folks all seemed to be tourists.  Heehee!  Anyhoo, the beauty of the country was rivaled only by the incredible food.   Good gravy.  I would move there for the food alone.  I still dream about the potato and vegetable soup I had in Venice.  Twice.  And don’t even get me started on the gelato.  I ate it at LEAST daily throughout our trip.  So, when I came across this pin, I just knew that it was right.  And the simple, modern style was fantastic!

I followed the pin to the source which lead to this blog post on Brittany Makes.   Brittany actually created the art in Photoshop and had it printed at Kinkos in her preferred size (29.5″x 39.25″ per the largest Ikea Ribba frame).  And much to my delight, she offered it up to her readers as a FREE printable!!   Since her post was published, Kinkos in our area had transformed to the Fed Ex print/copy shop and for a higher quality print, they quoted me around $90.   Not in the budget.   AND they didn’t offer the exact size I needed anyways (I’d followed her lead and purchased the same Ikea Ribba frame).   After doing a bit of research, I found that I could have the good folks at Staples produce an engineering print for around $8 in 36 x 48″ size, which I could then cut down to fit my frame.   (If you do this, be sure that the box that states “Fit print to Frame” is unchecked, otherwise the art will be too large to cut down).

Once I got my frame home, I simply laid the frame’s plexi-glass over my print, traced around it and cut it down with scissors.

Now, here’s the deal with engineering prints… The paper is super thin, so you must back it with solid white paper so that you cant see through it.   Unfortunately, the paper that came with the frame had printing on it…

So, I just scotch taped computer paper to both the cardboard frame backing and the opening in the matting….

I secured the frame and hung my new art on the wall only to realize that the flimsiness of the paper caused it to wrinkle beneath the plexi with the pull of gravity….

So, I removed it.  I thought about adhering the print to the frame’s backing with spray adhesive, but I was afraid that the adhesive would stain the thin, white paper.  In the end, I ended up taping the print to the matting with more Scotch tape to prevent any further drooping. This helped a lot, but just keep in mind… this is why such a large print is $8.   I’m okay with imperfection due to that.   But if it really bothers you, you may wanna spring for a higher quality print.    In any case, my new Italy art is hung and she’s a beaut (albeit somewhat hard to photograph due to it’s reflectiveness)…


It adds a pop of modern sleekness to the bedroom which compliments the lines of my mid-century ottoman and painted wicker chair.   This is exactly in line with the direction I want our bedroom to go.  Personal but modern.  And also, ignore the conflicting brown tones.  I’ll get there.  Eventually… :)

Hey Al, It’s Christina

Warning: This is not a home-related post.  It’s for my brother, SSGT Alex Viola.  

So, it’s been a year.

A whole year that you’ve been gone.  Wow.  And ya know, there are still times that Lucas’ll say something funny and I’ll think to myself “Alex’ll love this!!”, then I halt and rephrase in my head “Wait. Alex would’ve loved this…”.  Dang.  I really hate it when I do that.  It’s like a shock to the system every time.

One thing that I can say is that you’re definitely missed. By me, family, friends, everyone.  I hear, see, and read about it all the time.  You made an impact on so many people and I’m sad that I didn’t really get to see that until after you were gone.

I’ve been making it a point to talk about you to Lucas at least once every day to keep his memories fresh.   Even if it’s just to remind him that you gave him his bomber jacket.   It fits him a bit snuggly this year, but I’ll make him wear it until it no longer zips if I have my way.   He hasn’t complained so far, so I think we’re good for now.   It’s funny that even though he’s so young, he seems to really get it.   He says that you’re in “Kevin”.  Which I happen to think is hilarious and refuse to correct him on.  I figure, he’ll realize its “Heaven” soon enough, so until then, he can at least up the entertainment value around these parts.  Plus, I know how much you’d love it.  Heehee! ;)  I know that he thinks about you regularly…. The other night when mom and dad were babysitting, Lucas rearranged the peas on his plate and said “It’s a flag for Uncle Alex!”.  And last night, that missed call on your heaven-version-iPhone was Lucas.   He “called” and left you a voicemail.  He may have sounded a little drunk, but that’s only because he ate a lot of pizza.

In the year since you’ve been gone, there are some things that have happened that I think  you should know about:

1.  Your Santa tradition was and will be carried on.   Last year, Anthony took over in your honor and he did a great job.   And somebody will do it this year and the next, and so on and so forth.   I’ll make sure of it.   The Santa suit you procured will be put to good use as intended.

2. Lucas has become obsessed with the ninja turtles, just like you did.   When he started getting into it, I had flashbacks of you as a child.   He even likes Michelangelo best like you.  AND much like your kiddo self, he also has ninja turtle underpants.   I had to have a “serious” discussion with him, though.   When he first got them he was so excited that he would drop trou at any point in time for anybody so that he could show them his new ninja turtle skivvies.  We had to instill the golden-rule of “underpants are secret” and now he’s over it.  He dresses like a turtle all the time, now.  Shell, bandana, nunchucks.  Everyday.  He even sleepwalks with them.  He gets up, dons his gear, walks around, takes it off, and goes back to bed.  It’s SO funny.  You would love it.

3.  Lucas has reached the age of ridicule.  Seriously.  There’s this vile commercial for Lalaloopsy Diaper Surprise that I absolutely despise.   I’m guessing that they ban this ad in Heaven, so allow me to paraphrase… It’s this doll that, well… craps out a charm for a charm bracelet into her diaper after she’s fed water.   The commercials show these little girls getting all excited about the contents of the doll’s diaper, and next ya know, they’re wearing the charms on their wrists.   It’s SO gross.  Ugh.   What is this?  Training for little girls to look forward to dirty diapers??!!!   And the icing on the cake is the annoying jingle that plays throughout the course of the commercial.  Anyways, Lucas has picked up on the fact that I hate this commercial more than I hate celebrity baby names.  Thus, every so often he’ll approach me under the guise of “I wanna hug” and then proceed to softly sing the commercial into my ear.   HE KNOWS!!!!   He totally knows!!!  And I could totally see the two of you ganging up on me and having a grand ole’ time together.  You were waiting for him to reach this age, and I hate that you aren’t here to see  it.

4.  SO many funds have been raised for the Wounded Warriors Fund and Green Beret Foundation in your name.   Honestly, my brain hasn’t been all there this past year, so unfortunately, a lot of these efforts have kind of run together in my head.  But, there have been so many amazing, and generous people who have done such kind things to raise money.  Many have donated.   It seems like any time your name is involved, people line up to help.   It’s pretty awesome.   Our cousin Ryan created this incredible decal, the proceeds of which are being donated to The Green Beret Foundation….


Aside from that, not only did CrossFit gyms across the nation hold workouts in your honor last year when we lost you, many of them did it again this year.   Your old roommate Brett was the catalyst for keeping it going, and again, proceeds were donated in your name. It’s crazy-awesome. Just like you.

In any case, you’re in our thoughts all the time and I hope you’re in a nice, safe place keeping Nanny and Billie company.   Keep an eye out for Larry, as well… He’s a cool guy.  You’d like him.   Oh yeah, and if it was you that sent that wonderful lady scuba diving to find your memorial bracelet on the bottom of the Hawaiian ocean, thanks.  Mom really needed that.  So, anyways, I really miss you!  We all do!

Until we meet again,

Your sister

P.S. If you’d like to know the back-story about Alex, read this post.










November DIY Challenge: Wood Slice Tray

Howdy all!   Today I have a fun treat for you guys… remember The Great Crate Challenge that I participated in a few months ago??   Well, this month, I’m partnering with some of the same amazing bloggers, plus a few more for another fun challenge!   It was the same premise as last time, but this go-around, the required material was wood slices!


Mission: Just make something with them

This was the only rule.

Now, I’ll be honest… I had no idea what to create.  I meandered around The store for what seemed like forever, just pacing the aisles.   Staring at all of the glorious craft supplies with nary an idea to be found.  After about 45 minutes, I began losing hope and thinking of all of the cookies that I could be consuming at that very moment.  Which is when this wood slice magically appeared before me…


It wasn’t the traditional round shape, which I liked.  The squareness and cleaner lines definitely were more my bag.   And that’s when it happened.   This very special little wood slice and my undying love for trays joined forces.  And I realized that not only would I make a tray… I already had everything else I needed at home!  It was my very own Dorothy-Wizard-of-Oz moment.  If I’d only had my ruby slippers the entire time.   So, I adopted this badboy and took him home.

Now, remember that awesome hardware that I used on my children Brightey Whitey cabinets??   And how I mentioned that they came in a 6-pack, but I’d only used four for that project??  Well, never have I been so happy to have excess materials.  Those pulls were PERFECT!   I began the drawer pull installation by marking the center of the wood slice…


Then, I used this handy-dandy tool to mark where my holes would go (for a detailed tutorial on installing drawer pulls click here)….


And I drilled….


Which was followed by an epic Womp!Womp! when I realized that I’d marked the center incorrectly on one side, thus my holes were off by a good half-inch.   Oy.   I know that I should’ve known better than that… “Measure twice, drill once, Christina. Sheesh!”, but alas, I got cocky.  Note: NEVER get cocky.  It’ll never cease to bite you in the rear…


Fortunately, the metal pulls hid my mistake without my having to take further action, so I was good to go.  Total happy accident, for sure.   Next, I taped off the raw wood edges, and applied two thin and even coats of white paint with an eggshell finish…


And I attached my drawer pulls.  You can see the tray at this point in time in the shot below.  I liked it well enough as it was, but ultimately decided that it needed a little something extra.  A bit of pizazz, if you will.  After tossing around ideas like our initials and such, I decided to go with something more organic and personal.   Lucas’s hand-print.   I simply spread some blue craft paint on a paper plate…


Stamped Lucas’s hand in it and applied his hand-print to the tray in an off-center orientation…


Which left this…


IMG_7719 IMG_7724

Not too shabby for a total cost of around $10 (The wood slice with a 30% off coupon), eh?   I’m really happy with it and almost a little surprised at how much I love it.    And I adore that Lucas got to be involved.  It’s now not just a simple DIY project, it’s a keepsake.    I plan to write the date and Lucas’s age on back so I’ll never forget.  If you plan to use the tray for beverages or anything moist, be sure to seal it with three thin coats of Polycrylic.   The crystal clear formula will ensure that the white paint wont yellow.  I haven’t done this yet, as I’m only using it for decorative (read: dry) purposes, but I plan on on sealing it to be sure that Lucas’s hand-print is forever preserved.

Update: I forgot to mention when I published this post that this will be a monthly challenge, so tune in the second Wednesday of every month!!!  December’s item will be clear glass ornaments.  I’d better get that thinking cap on… :)

So, that’s my wood slice project!  Now, check out the awesome projects created by my fellow bloggers…

Lucas’s room = Painted

Wow, guys.   Just holy wow.  I have so many (fun) projects going on right now that I’m not sure what to give you first.   That’s what’s so crazy about these first months after a move.   Everything’s a little schizophrenic.  I want everything to be done all at once, so it’s an explosion of projects started in all corners of the house.   No rhyme or reason.  And what’s funny is, yes… I painted Lucas’s room this weekend.  But, no.  It totally wasn’t the plan.  It was a whim decision.  As in, I went for a jog, got back, saw Joey working in the yard (with Lucas “assisting”).  And said, “Hey!  I think I’ll paint Lucas’s room (rightnow)! “. I. Am. SUCH. A. Weirdo.  Several hours later it was done.   But not without a lone, sad pride casualty.  I give you my Facebook status from that day….

Oh, Lucas. (sigh!)

Anyways, the paint-fest actually came as a side-effect of Lucas’s new bed.   Ya see, my uncle gave us this great cargo bed that used to be my cousin Bryan’s.  Here’s the foot-board…

You intrigued?  ;)

I’ll have a separate post about the bed later, but the short of it was that after I refinished it darker, we started to move the bed into Lucas’s room.  And then I changed my mind.   I decided that I didn’t want to move the bed into the room before painting the walls and risk splatter drops violating the nice, new finish.  Thus, the room needed to be painted sometime soon so we could get the bed out of the garage.   At the time, I didn’t realize that “sometime soon” would be that very day, but it totally worked out.  So, we’re good.

When it came to wall color, I’d initially thought that I wanted to paint the walls a punchy green.  But, after throwing some green paint swatches on the wall to get a general idea, I wasn’t sold.   It clashed with some of accessories that I wanted to use in the space.  Then, I remembered that I had almost a full gallon of the gorgeous grey paint from the master bedroom leftover, so I threw that up there too…

And I loved it.   It took on much more of a khaki color in this space due to the difference in lighting.  It was perfect and would be a great backdrop for all of the bright colors I’m planning to bring into the space.    So, I did it.   And here’s where we are now….

Now, keep in mind that I haven’t even BEGUN to style the joint.   This is literally just move-furniture-back-post-painting mode.  I did, however, rearrange the furniture in the space which completely opened it up (aaaaand I’m now realizing that this means nothing to you since I neglected to take a before picture).  Just take my word for it.   Moving furniture around (FOR FREE) is one of the most crazy, game-changing moves to make a space feel so much more welcoming.    This is the layout that this room always wanted. There’s plenty of floorspace for Lucas to play and yet, it doesn’t feel cramped in the slightest. I just can’t wait to get his new bed in here (we realized that we need to purchase a few more bolts to fully assemble it first). But, this is a really great start for his room.

And here’s the ninja-turtle-donning man of the hour pulling off yet another Chandler-Bing-Smile (the towels on his shoulder are his “back-up nunchucks”)…

So, still up…. curtains (once the windows are replaced next week), a little special treatment for the built in desk area (not shown), new chairs for his little white table, wall art, styling. Lots to do, but we’re on our way!! :)

The Porta-Potty

I kid, I kid.   It’s not portable.   But, it is a tiny room with a toilet …


Literally. They call it a “half bath”.  But, I’d like to know where the rest of it is.   Oh wait, it’s in the laundry room.  The bathroom itself is only big enough for a commode. You have to wash your hands in the work sink in the laundry room.  Small price to pay for a decent pool bath, though.   I think it’ll function really well for this purpose when it warms up again.  It’s close to two of the entrances to the backyard and is wholly surrounded by tile which pretty much quadruples it’s useful-quotient. But still… a room with a toilet only.  Iiinteresting (taps fingers together)….

When it comes to decor, it’s a total blank slate.   Last year a pipe froze and burst in the attic above, requiring the previous owners to basically rebuild this portion of the house.  They simply sheet-rocked this little toilet room and (muchtomydismay) painted it the same dark purple tone as the master bedroom (before I painted it grey). While purple isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, I thought I’d at least try to make it work before taking the plunge and painting it myself.  I mean, it’s a teeny room that I don’t spent much time in, so I figured that maybe the color would be more tolerable in this setting.  I decided to accessorize the space and then objectively reevaluate the color.

Among other things, the room is desperately lacking in storage.   Up to this point, we’d just been stacking toilet paper on top of the precariously rounded toilet lid… not the best of plans, especially being that the flush buttons are also on the lid.   It made for a toilet tissue Slip-n-Slide of epic proportions.   So, being the “use what I got” person that I am, I took stock and realized that the shelves that were in Lucas’s old room would fit perfectly above the toilet. Thus, I proceeded to install both shelves (ALLBYMYSELF! WOOT!)…

…then I tossed around some accessories that I already had.

I liked having a mirror up there to bounce light around, but wasn’t digging the dark frame.  In person, it felt very heavy.  So, I taped that sucker up with painters tape (we’re friends now, remember?) and plastic wrap and gave it several thin and even coats of spray paint in matte white…

And I ended up here….

In hindsight, I probably should’ve restocked the toilet paper in the basket before snapping pics.  But, that’s okay.   The shelving now allows space to PUT toilet paper, which is a vast improvement from the previous situation.  So, that’s enough to make up for it in my eyes.  I’m really liking the mix of white, black, green, and natural wood… not to mention, the stainless/gold mixed metals.    I still need to get an actual toilet paper dispenser for the wall so that that awful toilet bracket can hit the road (P.S. that isn’t ours… it was left by the sellers. So, uh, yeah. It’s gotta go.  Something about using somebody elses attached-to-the-toilet-paraphernalia gives me the heebie jeebies.).

As for the paint color… Seriously, ya’ll. I’m trying. I’m REALLY trying. But, I just can’t do it. I really can’t.  It needs to change. So, I’ll be changing it. It feels way too traditional for my taste. I need a lighter, brighter, more modern-feeling hue to blow my skirt up. So, now this room is definitely on my “to paint” list.   I was tossing around the idea of a soft aqua-blue tone.  I thought it might feel nice and beachy given that this is a pool bath.   What color do y’all think I should paint it?


Grey is the New Purple

So, our master bedroom is painted.   And not a moment too soon.   Actually it was painted last weekend, but I ran short on time for taking pictures.  :/

Anyhoo, we started out a dark tone of purple…


And ended up a pretty grey…


I know… This looks mighty similar to our last bedroom.  Because it is.   It’s actually the same Driftwood Grey by Glidden that we used in our last house, but I had it tinted 25% lighter.    I just couldn’t get this shade of grey out of my head.  Its just so interesting and complex with it’s sexy green undertones.  In my mind, it’s the perfect grey.   So, I wanted to keep it, but lighten it up a smidge to account for the smaller window and dimmer lighting.   I actually think I could’ve even gone 50% lighter now that it’s up on the walls, but I’m happy enough that I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Here’s a progress shot which shows the difference in colors.  You can see how purple the walls were in comparision…

Here’s the view from the doorway (extra Brownie Points to anyone who can teach me how to take proper photos of windows)…


And for fun, here’s what it looked like when we took possession, before we changed the carpet…


I haven’t hung any curtains yet because we’re having our paper-thin 1970′s windows replaced in a few weeks (Woot!).  Once that’s done, it’s on.  I’d also like to get a bench or something for the end of the bed.   I’m not used to having a room this big, so I’m not really sure what to do exactly… maybe some kind of area rug for visual interest?

I decided to make this little corner a seating nook…


I’m absolutely digging the vintage Naugahyde footstool.  I found it on Craigslist and just had to have it.   The end table came with the coffee table in the living room.   I never finished it with anything because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it, but now I think I’m gonna Polyshade it darker to match the footstool.  I’d love to add a standing lamp of some sort, and that fake plant will get a different pot (or I’ll maybe chance the life of a real plant again).

I’d definitely like to get some different art for our room this time around.  Something modern and quirky that suits our personalities.  Maybe some kind of oversized framed posters or something.  I’ll have to just keep an eye out for what strikes me.   I think between different art, getting a new, sleeker bed/headboard (once I actually find one), and a few other tricks that I’ve got up my sleeve, the feeling of the room will change immensely.

On to the little atrium area… which is now the home for our new MCM dresser….


And it fits like a glove.   I’ve put no effort into accessorizing it again since moving it from the adjoining wall because I wanted a clean palette to work from.  Hopefully, I’ll glean some decent art ideas from the blankness. I do know that I’d love to add some interesting floor-to-ceiling wall treatment behind it.   I’ve seen some neat tutorials where fabric was applied to the wall for pattern, so maybe something along those lines.   Plus, I’m thinking either a mirror above it or some light, bright art.

In other news, I’ve also painted the master bathroom.  But thanks to the Home Depot providing me with the incorrect color, I’ll be repainting it before I show it to you.  Don’t worry… I’ll divulge the deets at that time, along with some always-fun blooper pics.

We’ve also been researching exterior color schemes for the outside of the house.   We were told during our inspection that the house needed to be caulked, sealed, and painted to make it more impenetrable to the elements and prevent further damage from occurring.  We’ve gotten estimates and would like to get that done before it gets too cold in case we have another harsh winter.    I’ll let ya’ll know once we’ve figured it out.

So, is everybody ready for Halloween??  We have a little Ninja Turtle roaming around these parts at any given time.  And he’s not Lucas anymore.  He’s Michelangelo.   He now introduces himself as such to strangers.   Though, strangely, he decided on Rafael for his costume.   I guess it makes sense, though.  If he truly IS Michelangelo, then Raphael is bit of a departure.   On that note, if the Ninja Turtles dressed as each other for Halloween, would we even notice??  Yes, this is what I’m thinking about right now.   Okay, time to go.  Ya’ll have a fun, safe holiday!!!   :)

TDC Before and After

Six reasons why I’m loving our closed floor plan

We’ve always figured ourselves for “open floor plan people”. I mean, open floor plans are great for many reasons….  They’re open, airy, and offer increased visibility which is fantastic, especially if you have young children. Not to mention, they’re great for interacting with guests at parties.   Our first two houses had open floor plans and we loved them. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever NOT lived in an open floorplan. My parents house is open. All of my apartments were open. And Joey reports the same. He’s only ever lived in open floor plans.

So, when we bought our 1975 ranch-style house with a closed floor plan (which I’m defining as having a separate kitchen), we automatically figured that we’d be knocking down walls to recreate that openness. And although we still might open the kitchen more up to the dining space eventually, we’re looking at it a bit differently now. Because, the truth is, we’ve noticed some unexpected benefits to having a closed floor plan since living here.

When we moved in, I’d assumed that I’d have to “get used” to the closed floor plan. “Deal with it” until we had the funds for a full reno. But, I was completely taken aback when we moved in, and I actually kinda liked it. No, no… Not kinda. I DID like it. Granted, we’ve only lived here for a short time, but still… like is like.  And I figure, if I’m liking a layout with an independent kitchen this quickly, that’s a REALLY good sign. Why do I feel this way, you ask??? Well….

1. Family dinners are family dinners. This was one of the first things I noticed.   Meals automatically became about us and our food.   Not the TV.  Gone are the days of redirecting Lucas’s attention from the TV to his plate. Gone are the days of Joey getting irritated with annoying commercials and leaving his seat to mute the set. Gone are the days of meals with little conversation due to other distractions. We can’t see or hear the TV from the kitchen, so it’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. Our new closed floorplan has opened our meals up to conversation, which is pretty much awesomesauce.

2. Speaking of TV, there’s been much less of it in general. With our open floorplan, the TV was always on. I mean, we could always see/hear it, so it was just second nature to wake up, turn on the set and then leave it on the majority of the day until bedtime. Even if we didn’t sit and watch it, it was always on. We started realizing that this maybe wasn’t such a good thing when instead of singing nursery rhymes, Lucas began singing State Farm commercials. Seriously. We would laugh and then wonder if it was funny or sad. But, we just.couldn’t.stop. The draw of the TV was just too much. We couldn’t not have it on and once it was on, it was hard to turn off.

Now, in our new house, there are days when we don’t turn on the TV at all for most of the day. If we’re doing stuff in the kitchen, bedrooms, whatever, the TV just stays off because there’s no point in having it on. We can’t see or hear it anyways. And, we’ve found that Lucas would rather hang out with us, rather than sit in front of the TV without us, so he’s exposed less TV as well. It’s very different, but good. And nothing that we intentionally strived for. Just a beneficial side-effect of our home’s layout.

3. In place of TV, is music. Before, unless I was in the car or on a jog, I rarely just turned on the tunes. Namely, because the TV was always on. Now, when I’m cooking or doing something in one of the bedrooms, I find myself busting out the Pandora. I’d forgotten how great it can be to just turn on some music. Lucas likes it, too. We’ve found spontaneous dance parties to be much more common around these parts.  Much moreso than in our previous homes.

4. Closed floorplans are ALSO great for having guests over. Just in different ways. We haven’t had a ton of people over yet, but in the few instances that we have, I’ve noticed several things.   With our open floor plans, I could see and talk to my guests at all times, but I’m so bad at multitasking that this would often result in burnt food, or me forgetting something major… Like putting all the food out, etc. Now, I can pre-plan and get most stuff done before guests arrive, then finish the last few things in the kitchen with focus, and have the rest of the night to chill with friends and family.  Thus, our guests actually GET all the food I’ve prepared.  And the food is relatively intact (relatively).  Also, the closed floor plan allows me to keep my mess contained to the kitchen, leaving a nice, neat dining and living space to entertain guests in. With our previous open floor plans, my cooking mess was out for all to see. It always made me feel scattered to have my countertops cluttered with stuff in front of guests.

5. I get my steps in. With an open floor plan, you can see everything, making things easier to find. With a closed floorplan, you must walk to find things. Some may see this as a downside, but as a lazy exerciser, I like it. Fitness is about overall movement and walking more contributes to that. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. ;)

6. I’m reminded of how much I enjoy cooking.  Sans distractions, I can actually focus on this task alone.  And I really love it.   I’ve found myself rediscovering creativity in the kitchen, which has been missing for quite some time.   I’m not sure if it’s the enclosed kitchen or the fact that I feel so at home in this house, but I’ve really noticed a difference in myself in this way since moving in.

Aside from that, I’m really finding our little, somewhat outdated kitchen to be quite charming.   Even the nose-cabinets are growing on me…


(Flashback to moving day… I’ll have updated pics for you soon. :)

And I’m feeling more and more tempted to leave the cabinetry and layout original to maintain that charm (although, who knows… minds are changing daily around these parts).  It’s just so relaxing to sit in our kitchen in the mornings, sipping my coffee, as I gaze at our yard through the french doors.   Quietness.   No distractions.  I think it’s fair to say that I love our new home and feel so very fortunate to be here.  Especially since something (ie: closed floor plan) that we originally saw as a downside is proving to be much more enjoyable than we’d originally thought.  So, I guess the moral here is that you just don’t know until you give it a chance.    And I’m really glad that we did.

TDC Before and After

Ask and ye shall receive… (aka: Found an MCM dresser!)

So, yeah… the hunt was WAY less taxing than last time.   Woo-hoo!!!    Remember in this post, I mentioned that Drex (our first mid-century dresser) is now being used as a buffet in the dining space?  And that we needed a new dresser for the bedroom??   Well…


I give you the newest member of our family.   He’s a handsome, solid wood, Bassett mid-century gem of awesomeness.

Ya see, after we moved in, I began searching for a new dresser for Joey (he uses the dresser while I monopolize the majority of the closet.  It’s just how we do.).  I visited thrift stores and antique malls, but nothing.  I tirelessly searched Craigslist, and after emailing no fewer than ten sellers about their dressers, I came across this ad…


It was towards the end of the 3000+ listings for dressers, so I figured there was NO WAY this dresser was still available.   I mean, it had great lines and the original wood finish.   Plus, it was listed weeks ago.  So, color me shocked when the seller responded that not only was it available, but she’d dropped the price to $90.  Um… Where do I sign???

We arranged a time to meet and my dad and I went to check it out.   Seriously, I was shocked when I saw it.  It was SO much more lovely than it looked in the Craigslist picture.  It reeked of quality and character.  The seller told me that she’d been trying to sell it for months and it hadn’t sold, hence, multiple price reductions.   I was absolutely dumbstruck by this fact and jokingly stated that it was simply because I hadn’t come along yet.  ;)

I paid the nice lady and brought him home.  I shined him up with my favorite combo of Restore-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax (for more detailed instruction on how to use these products, check out this post or this one).   The Restore-A-Finish covered all the nicks, dings and scratches and the Feed-N-Wax shined him up beautifully. And that was all he needed.   Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

IMG_7521 IMG_7524


And so begins the jumping off point for our new room.

The rest of our bedroom looks like this currently, since we basically just plopped down the furniture on moving day and left it at that…

I think it’s definitely time to lose our current bed frame in exchange for something more simple and masculine to offset the more feminine bedding (Joey’s actually been lobbying for this for a while, thus engaged in major fist-pumping when I broke the news that it was finally time.).  So, we’re gonna sell it (any takers?).  The nightstands may get a little makeover as well.  And the paint color….  Oh, the paint color.   It’s hard to tell from these pics, but in person, it’s straight-up purple.  And it’s dark.  Darker than it appears in this pic.   I really despise it more and more every moment that I spend in this room.   It feels so oppressive to me.    Which just goes to show how colors affect people differently. This color fit the previous owners decor well. And it looked nice with their stuff. But it just isn’t us. The only window in the room isn’t very big in comparison to our last house and the backyard is so shady that the room gets little light most of the time.   Thus, we need a more neutral color in a lighter tone, stat.   I actually already purchased the paint for this room and am getting on that soon…. I’m so totally stoked about it, too.   I’ve mentioned it before, but I LOVE painting walls.   It’s just so therapeutic and satisfying.  Once the room is painted, I can work on the fun stuff… curtains and art and such.

Oh, and let’s not end this post without mentioning this ceiling fan….

Not only is it incredibly ornate and feminine which DEFINITELY doesn’t jive with the sleek, mid-century vibe that we’re going for in this house, apparently the blades were painted….



… but the paint didn’t take.  We’ll be replacing it with another ceiling fan (’cause I mean, it’s Texas).  I  know the design world tends to shy away from ceiling fans (not that I flatter myself to actually think that I’m a part of the design world), but I’m all about attractive-function.   We can find a more stream-lined fan that better suits the feel of the space.   No doubt.

And while we’re on the topic of lighting fixtures…

Boob, be gone!!!   We’ll be replacing this anatomically-correct bugger that’s in the atrium area between the bathroom and closet, as well.

So, that’s the plan.  Stay tuned… I’ll have a paint update for ya soon.  :)


Sealing and enhancing our back patio

One of my favorite features of our new home is the covered patio out back.   I love the skylights and how from inside, it appears as though it’s an extension of the inner living space.   This was one of the main items that I fell in love with when we first saw the house.   And the fact that it had terracotta tile on the floor…. icing on the cake.  Here’s a shot of the patio from before we moved in…


After we became somewhat settled, Joey got going like crazy working on the backyard.  Honestly, he’s done so many things so fast, that I haven’t even had time to photograph them all to put them on the blog.  Of the things that I did manage to photograph was the power-washing.   He power-washed the pool decking and back patio, which made SUCH a difference.  You can see the power-washed area below the line and pre-powerwashed above it….


He started working on this task while I was out running errands, which is when he sent me a text…


Brownie points for Joey!  Heehee!!  :)

Now, I will say, that we should’ve researched how to clean terracotta tile before power-washing.  Neither of us thought about it beforehand, thus, we were equally surprised when the tiles dried and looked powdery and unfinished…

Honestly, the tiles were so dusty before that we were unsure whether we’d stripped the glazing off with the power-washer or they were already de-glazed before.  Either way, we knew the tiles needed to be sealed to prevent staining and breakdown due to moisture.   I went to Home Depot and the associate whom I spoke with recommended this…

It’s a penetrating sealer and color enhancer meant for stone, tile, grout, etc. and can be used for indoor or outdoor applications.   This product was pretty pricey in my eyes.  Around $40 per bottle, but the associate assured me that it was a great product that would last way longer than the less expensive topical sealers.   So, I went for it.

Once I returned home, I prepped the surface.  Even though we’d power-washed the day prior, it had been windy, thus, some dust and debris had repopulated the patio.   I thoroughly swept, then vacuumed the patio to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.  Because of the cost of the sealer, I wanted to be sure I gained as thorough of coverage with the least amount of waste possible.  So, I decided to seal the patio by hand, rather than using a broom or mop.

I donned gloves and got going.  The process was simple.  Wet the sponge with sealer, press it into the tile and grout….

Then, come back 5 minutes later and remove the excess with a towel…

The first coat was VERY slow-going since the patio was soaking up a ton of sealer.  It was easy to see where I’d already applied the sealer as it definitely enhanced the color as promised.  Here’s what it looked like about a third of the way through…

You can see the beautiful tones of the tile coming out as well as the darker grout.   I’d say the first coat took a bit over 2 hours to complete and used up about 1.5 bottles of sealer.  I waited 30 minutes per the instructions on the bottle (and the instructions from my shoulders), then I applied a second coat (which went SO much faster).  I completed the second go-around in about 30-40 minutes and only used up about 2/3 of a bottle of sealer since the stone soaked up so much less this time.  The second coat really united the sheen, making the patio appear more consistent and finished.  After I was done, I was left with this….

And the before for comparison (this was taken after power-washing)….

And the view from inside….

And the before, again…


I love it.  It’s just so dang RICH!!!   I feel like it looks like more of a floor now, less of a patio, which further contributes to that feeling that the patio is an extension of the indoor space.   When the tiles were dry and powdery-looking, they resembled pavers to me.  We had to avoid walking on the patio for 24 hours and couldn’t get it wet for 48 hours after sealing.   I’m now working on getting our patio furniture cleaned up and rearranged, so I’ll give you that update once I’m finished.  In any case, the hours and money spent on this project were well worth it.  Both for looks and piece of mind that the flooring is now water resistant and more protected.

Future plans for the patio space involve:

1. Removing the decrepit railroad ties and replacing them with stone that’s much easier on the eyes (and will provide additional seating)

2. Beefing up the posts of the porch

3. Replacing the ceiling of the porch with a more durable material (maybe some type of vinyl beadboard).  Right now, its a thin plywood, that we’re learning has been compromised in more than one spot with mold/mildew thanks to leaky, poorly maintained seals around the skylights.  We’ve since fixed the leaks and sealed the skylights well, but the damage has been done, unfortunately.

4. Landscaping.   Once Joey’s had his way, it’ll look amazing.

So, anyways, that’s the scoop on the patio!  What outdoor projects have ya’ll been working on?


TDC Before and After





A little living/dining space update

This post begins as an ode to thrift stores.   Oh, how I missed them.  From the time that we found our new home and put in an offer until one mere week ago, I hadn’t allowed myself to step foot in one.   I figured it was just more stuff to move if I found something.  And I started getting twitchy.  Nervous.  Grabby.

I missed the hunt.

I missed the finds.

I missed the awesome 80′s slow-rock at Goodwill.  (Yes, I’m that weirdo who sings along with the mad tunes as I troll the aisles. …I mean, come on… it’s WILSON PHILLIPS!  Don’t tell me that you don’t pop into Goodwill strictly for a good WP fix.)

Anyways, I couldn’t wait to reestablish myself as Resident Thriftie of this establishment.   And NOW, I have some specific items in mind to find (which, despite my recent thrift store visits, I have not yet found.  So, it’s ON.)

For example, we decided to use Drex as a buffet in the dining area rather than our dresser in the bedroom…


(Please ignore the floor sliders under Drex… He ways a TON and I couldn’t get them out.   And also, I forgot they were there until I looked at this picture just now.  Go me.)

So anyways, now we need a new dresser for our bedroom.   I know, I know… If you read about the PROFOUND struggle that I overcame to find a mid-century dresser the first time around you think I’m crazy.  Well, I’ll have you know that I AM crazy.  It’s a sickness of the MCM variety.  I’m seriously craving another mid-century modern dresser to fill the dumping ground that is our bedroom.  Can’t you just see it??  …Isn’t it grand??  I’m hoping that the hunt is a little less taxing than last time and much quicker… I mean, poor Joey is living out of garbage bags.  Garbage bags, I tell ya!!   (In all fairness, I suggested that he use Drex in the bedroom until we found something else, to which he stated (and I quote) “I would rather live out of garbage bags than move that heavy {insert choice word here} again.”  So, really, maybe it’s not that big a deal (tohim).)

Now, let’s hop back to the dining area once again….


This space really excites me because it’s the one (and only) space that I know exactly what I want to do.  For example, the dining table will be painted white, then I’ll find a neutral, natural fiber rug (like jute or sisal) that’s large enough to accommodate the table and chairs.  We’re very lucky as Joey’s parents had these patterned Ikea chairs and gave them to us when they bought new ones.  Score.  Our Ikea Lack floating shelves will be hung above Drex and I plan to hang a pair of floaty white curtains alongside the picture window (with bamboo roman shades between them?? I’m trying to come up with a window covering option for night that doesn’t obscure the view during the day).


You can see that I’ve put zero effort into styling the built-ins.  Part of this was lack of time due to the many time-suck-must-do-tasks that have come up recently, the other part is that I want to paint the built-ins white before spending time making them pretty accessory-wise.

Getting back to my thrift store wish list, we’re also in search of a different media cabinet for the living space….



My cute little media unit from the last house didn’t work in here, so it’s in the foyer now.   It was just too small to be a media cabinet now that the TV rests above it.   We needed something larger to ground the TV.  You may recognize the cabinets that I revamped for the foyer of our last house standing in.   The TV stand between them was original to the set… I just need to paint it white if it stays.   I’m just not sold on it staying.  I’m on the hunt for some type of mid-century shelving unit or storage cabinet to replace it with, so that I can move these white cabinets to the atrium area of our bedroom.  So, I’m searching for something cool.  It might be a dresser.  It might be shelves.  It just depends on what I find.  It needs to be something relatively narrow, but wide enough to accomodate the equipment.   The world is my media-unit-oyster at this point.  So, we’ll see.

The rest of the living room currently looks like  this….


(Lucas, ‘er, Leonardo, requested a cameo… Icouldntresist.)




I haven’t officially hung any art yet.  I’ve just been leaning things against the walls to get an idea of where I want them.   As for window treatments, I’m kind of stuck on what to do for the sliders.   I tried hanging a pair of white curtains the other day and it just looked silly.  The fireplace is way too close to make curtain panels an option.   I took them down almost immediately.   I was thinking maybe bamboo roman shades hung high, but then the color is tricky as I don’t want them to compete with the fireplace. Hmmmm…. Only time will tell, I suppose.

And lastly, here is the wet bar as it is now…


I just accessorized a wee bit, though I’m still noodling with it.   As I mentioned in this post, this area will be completely transformed once we’re done with it.   Since there’s no lighting on this side of the room, I hung an inexpensive plug-in sconce from Ikea.    Because the side view of the mounting bracket wasn’t super attractive…


I simply wrapped it with a bit of burlap ribbon….


Problem solved.

So, that’s where we’re at with the living/dining space after 1.5 weeks of officially living here.  I still have a lot of work to do decor-wise, but at least we have our furniture in place and the spaces are functional for the most part.  Our spare room is currently stacked with boxes of decor that are just screaming to be unpacked.  You seriously can’t walk in there right now.   I’ll get to it soon enough, I’m sure.  And, of course, I’ll update ya’ll as we go.

So, does anybody have any window treatment suggestions for slider doors??  Any words of wisdom?

TDC Before and After