Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reviving the Beast

Now that the wedding's been over for quite some time, the job front has settled down, and money has been saved, the hubby and I are back on with the home renovations. My earlier posts have featured a slight peek to the kitchen demolition and re-build. Outside of the ongoing kitchen building, the remainder of the work on our lovely abode varies.

To set the record straight, hubby and I are not 'updating' our home as they do on home improvement networks. We are bettering the home, but we are diligently trying to restore it back to original beauty, with a small budget nonetheless. Other projects have reared their ugly heads, mainly through a combination of necessity and series of events...

1) Hubby and I made a trip to the hardware store with the clear intent to purchase a tile backsplash for our kitchen. No more waiting, we are going to finally get this done. We had our eye on this marbled hexagonal tile, which looked very much like our original bathroom tile. It was a great price.
Before final commitment, we sat on the hardware store floor with calculator in hand, adding up the number of tile sheets needed, number of total boxes, cost of grout, supplies, cutting tools, etc. It started to add up like nobody's business. We were quickly defeated. We walked through each aisle kicking the dust on floor, hands in pockets, pouting. We then ran across a wonderful item--beadboard! Although beadboard is not original to our house, we found it to be acceptable given that it was a commonly used building material before and around the time our 1920s home was built. We quickly loaded up the cart and smiled as we saved approximately 50% on our backsplash choice. Here it is mocked up in our kitchen, and will really stand out once painted white along with the lower cabinetry.

2) From this point onward, the beadboard had fueled a few new projects. The hallway ceiling had been popcorn textured by the previous owner, which had to go. To boot, a friend of ours had fixed our A/C unit in the attic and accidentally stepped on the wrong part of the flooring in the attic. This resulted in his foot tearing a new hole into our horrible popcorn ceiling. Two wrongs don't make a right! Or does it? We felt that hopping on the beadboard wagon was a great opportunity to repair the hallway ceiling. The best aspect of the beadboard is that it blends the attic drop-door into the ceiling, as opposed to the previous cheap plywood door against the popcorn textured ceiling.

3) There was one last area of the house where we decided to carry out the beadboard so that it looks like an original design to the house, not just an afterthought. Hubby added beadboard to the lower half of the dining area walls and trimmed it out as wainscoting. Of course, when one begins a simple project on an old house, the process usually reveals multiple scenarios. There was one wall we've noticed had a bulge and would be an issue. Beadboard does not install over bulges. Hubby took out the sheetrock to see what possible situation would cause such a phenomenon. Time capsule? Corpse? Who knows. As the sheetrock was removed, it looked to be what my hubby dreamt up as a scenario of craftsmen finishing up that particular wall late on a Friday afternoon. Multiple boards were piled horizontally until the necessary height was obtained for the windows to inlay. Crazy shortcut, but the nutty aspect of it was that the boards were not planed down to any type of evenness. They just covered it up with sheetrock. Oops, slight bulge, but no one will notice--wink, wink. Well, hubby spent hours planing down the boards until sheetrock could lay flat against that wall again, then the wainscoting. Perfect example of projects lasting longer than originally thought. The beadboard looks terrific, by the way.

4) The other weekend, it was rainy and cold. Not ideal conditions to cut wood and finish out any type of cabinetry in the kitchen. I came up with the idea of a small (interpretation: large) project of removing the ugly fake brass renaissance-styled fan the previous owners installed. A year ago, we had purchased a gorgeous deco-styled fan to go in its place. The living room also was tainted with popcorn-textured ceiling. Hubby had to scrape some of it away around the wire connection to allow the new fan to mount flush against the sheetrock. As he started to scrape, I exclaimed how much better it looked, and transformed the feel of the room. He scraped some more. I got more excited. And then the entire Sunday was history. Below is a photo of mid-day progress, sans ugly fan.

5)We have another project on our list that is literally is hanging over our heads. The roof. It was severely abused by a hailstorm years ago. Insurance would not cover replacement since the previous owner had "re-roofed" only the backside of the house on top of the original shingles. We we have been trying to procrastinate on re-roofing, given the number of tasks at hand with the interior of our home. It's not a cheap endeavor, which I'm sure you would agree if you've ever gone through the same. Last spring, we endured a strong rainstorm that had furthermore damaged the roof--presenting a couple of new leaks inside the house. We have since patched the leaks, but the roof has to be replaced soon.  Below is a photo of the current roof.

We prefer to utilize standing seam metal roofing, but that far exceeds our budget. The next best option is architectural composite shingles, in a dark mocha color to match the exterior trim. We either need to have an incredible stroke of luck that throws money in our laps to hire someone, or have really good connections to give us the the help we need to do this ourselves. Task pending.

Stay tuned.
(photos via Art & Facts)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Waking up to Gray

Ah, wintertime. It's gray out there. It's quiet. It's serene. It's quite a nice change.
(photo via Art & Facts)

Since the weather was fairly miserable one weekend, I began a "spring" cleaning of my closet. Suddenly it dawned on me as to how many clothing items I've acquired that are gray. I then developed a complex. Have I become that boring? Am I playing it safe with fashion? I've made a pact with myself to constantly live an exciting life--both in terms of actions and fashion!

For juicy rationalization, gray is a terrific neutral color. Simply put, gray would be the brainchild of mixing together any pairing of complimentary colors. It's simply a backdrop, or blank canvas for the layering about to take place.

Now let's play. I scoured the internet for affordable, eye-popping inspiration for both men and women.
Add a touch of Ben Silver accessories at the neck (or similar color/design motif on the cheap)

Add some funk to that stiff suit with colored tights and a retro pair of shoes

Men, catch that gal's eyes with a sock surprise

Ladies, add some color at that waist to sass up your blessed hourglass figure

There are so many fun men's buckle out there. Take advantage of the handmade artistry and go get yourself one!

In short, accessories matter. In general, they don't cost much and can really transform that "safe" outfit to a "hot" outfit. Don't let gray get you down ever again. Happy winter!