Posts tagged decor

Curb appeal in progress

As I was looking through the folders of pictures on my desktop, the pictures of the front of my house struck me.

First off, my house looks a lot different from what it used to. Here, in the spring after I moved in.

Front of house - May 2011

Here is my house in May 2011. I took this picture to plug into a website that would help me find a new color scheme.

One of the first things I needed to do in the spring was get the peeling paint scraped and repainted. That’s required with a first time homebuyer’s loan. Well, technically, the previous owners needed to get it done before an inspection at the end of May, but I worked out a deal with them so they paid me for supplies, and I did the work. Since the inspector wouldn’t care whether the work was done well, I knew the previous owners didn’t need to care, either.

The siding on my house is vinyl. This is not ideal because vinyl doesn’t hold up well to anything. Its only saving grace is that you don’t have to paint it. But, I did need to paint the trim around all my windows, and the back deck. Since I was going to be going to the work anyway, I thought a new color scheme would be fun. I plugged the above picture into a Sherwin-Williams web app, and went to town, playing around with different ideas.

I decided the bricks (which are really fake vinyl bricks installed over real bricks) and concrete would be a dark gray, and the trim a rich blue.

Front of house - October 2011

This is my house in October 2011. Still not finished.

You’ll note there is slight improvement, but it’s not quite there yet. After hours and hours of labor, it wasn’t quite right. A neighbor told me, “I see what you’re trying to do.” But everyone agreed it wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I decided to gather some estimates for new windows. Three potential candidates dropped by to give me their estimates. But one also gave me advice on what to do to make the front of my house look “done.”

At this late hour, I do not have a photo to show you what he suggested. I’m sorry. But I will post a picture soon.

For now, note the photo below.

Front of house - October 2011

Not quite there in terms of looking quite right. But see how the world's ugliest carpet has been removed from the front steps? Oh yes, there are better things to come.

Can you believe these photos were taken in October in North Dakota? Note the living flowers, the garden hose still hooked up to the house, and the Halloween decorations. Very odd and very welcome.

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Treating your windows with respect

Here is one of those instances in which I’m very angry I did not take more pictures when I first moved in. Everything was changing so quickly, there was little time to stop and snap a photo. Also, my camera was packed away in a box somewhere in my crazy cluttered office.

Trust me when I tell you the window treatments here were horrid. They were all white (or, more accurately, yellowed) hanging vertical blinds. In every room.

So, in pure excitement, I ripped down the ones in my living room almost immediately, as I was prepping to paint. They went straight to the garbage.

Then, I had to rely on my boyfriend’s parent’s old drapery, pinned to the wall, to get me by. When I think about it, it seems like I lived like this for a very long time, but it couldn’t have been more than a month.

When I started on my search for new living room window treatments, I first thought I would have long dramatic drapes, that pooled on the floor like in the home decor mags. But a trip to TJ Maxx (including a purchase and return) showed me this would not be practical. Besides that one of my furnace vents was right in the path of where the luxurious drapery would fall.

Eventually, I headed to JCPenney with coupons in hand. When I learned that buying new window treatments would cost nearly $1,000, even at 65 percent off, I was dumbfounded. Never in my imagination did I think this could be so expensive.

For whatever reason, I decided to try my luck at Lowes. I had already decided there’s no way anything would be cheap enough for me, especially considering my poor luck at the discount kingdom of Penney’s.

Low and behold, with only a 15 percent off sale, I was able to get gorgeous custom shades for less than half the price I was looking at from Penneys!

These blinds went up on Superbowl Sunday 2011. Aren’t they dreamy?

Living room blinds

I just love having the sunlight shine through these. I gaze at them lovingly quite often.

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Clutter anxiety for the generally not-so-neat Nelly

Those first few months after moving in to my place were stressful to me. I didn’t have a schedule or routine to follow. I have never been one who needed that sort of thing, or so I thought. I misplaced my keys, coat, shoes… just leaving my house was pretty stressful until I figured out a rhyme and reason for departure.

Office clutter

Makes me want to scream.

One room I had to allow to remain cluttered was the office.

That’s where all the unpacked boxes with all the nonessentials went. Except I remember spending lots o’ precious time opening and closing all the boxes on these piles over and over looking for things. I would sometimes open and close every single one of them, just to start over again.

My Christmas gifts were not wrapped until late late on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t find the ribbons. Remember, I had moved in mere days before the holiday.

Office clutter

At one time, I really thought I would like to store my shoes in my office. Really?

Of course, the boxes were unpacked slowly but surely. I went to Lowes and bought a fun ladder shelf and bins to organize my office items into.

Office clutter

Starting to come together.

And note the lovely color on the wall. Still blue, but much less chalky and dark. Eventually, I’d like to refinish the floor, perhaps. I do love the real hardwood in here.

Office furniture

So needed.

And I got a desk and office chair for my birthday, which I now sit at to pay bills, and look at Pinterest and Facebook.

Give me some time and I’ll take a couple photos of my office all pulled together now (giggle) and clutter free (HAHAHAHA)…

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Unwanted: Christmas Eve fowl

This Christmas Eve is quite different from Christmas Eve 2010 in a couple ways. Number one: We have zero snow on the ground. Number two: There isn’t a bird flying around my house.

Living room

One of my favorite purchases from Hobby Lobby ever.

I had been living here for mere days, and was getting dressed up to head to Christmas Eve church service.

I was in my bedroom when I heard a loud bang. Like something crashed through my living room window.

I stepped out from the bedroom and saw a little brown bird frantically flying around my living room.

I freaked out. Just freaked out. I ran back into my bedroom and closed the door.

I knew this was not a killer bird, but it was losing its mind with fright. I called my boyfriend, who patiently listened and said, “Well, you’re gonna to have to shoo it outside. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

It was time to put on my big girl pants and shoo a wild bird. I cracked open the door to see the little bird hopping down my hallway. I slammed the door shut. I needed protection. That’s when I remembered some older drapes that hadn’t been hung, but were in my living room. I realized if I could get to them, I could drape them over my head.

I darted out, got the drapes, and darted back into my room. I put the drapes over my head and shoulders, crouched down, and headed out for combat.

I didn’t know where the bird was at this point, but I opened my front door. Can you imagine the sight my neighbors had at that point?

I then chased the bird from my kitchen, back to my living room, and eventually out the front door.

We all speculated about how the bird got into my house. I walked around my entire basement to see if there was an unknown nest somewhere. Nothing. We eventually decided it had flown in through my garage when I was moving presents into my car.

But it would be months later when we finally found the truth. You’ll have to watch this blog for later posts on that.

Nonetheless, here’s a shot of my living room today. All painted, furnished and decorated. Yes, I had that leather couch here when the bird was here. No droppings anywhere that day.

Living room

You'll note Christmas decor hanging on my floor lamp. Also, the blinds are my work and will be documented later.

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I like to move it, move it

One year ago tonight, I was desperately stuffing the last of my belongings into boxes. I did not have enough boxes, so this was pretty frustrating.

My mood that night was one I’ll never forget. I was actually sad to be leaving my little apartment. I remember when I first moved in, it felt like home. And still, when I think about it today, it feels like home. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be in my house almost any night, but I got lucky when I found that dwelling.

It was dark in my apartment on this night a year ago. I had unplugged the light in my living room. Of course, I’d plug it right in again in the days to come. I still had to give the place a good cleaning. And it was the ONLY light in my living room.

I slept well that night, and got up early the next morning to get a latte from Starbucks, pick up the truck from U-Haul, grab some more boxes from work (hopefully!), and make it back to my apartment before my moving-helpers arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

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Preheating the oven

What a title, eh? Here’s the deal: after I closed on my house, I did not live in it for another three weeks. I had quite a bit of time to get things ready for the big move.

Cleaning my kitchen was a big job. The people who lived here before me were not clean. One of the strangest things was that there was what seemed to be cracker dust in every single kitchen cabinet and drawer. We joked that it might have been the remnants of crack. How does that happen?

Anyway, here are some pics from the first days of working on my kitchen. There have been many changes to these rooms since: new paint, new ceiling light, new stove. But you have to see where I started to be somewhat impressed with the transformation.

The kitchen

A view of my kitchen, as seen from the dining room.

The kitchen rug

This is one of the first things I bought for my house. I did it in the two months between offer accepted and closing.

There are many more photos. Read the rest of this entry »

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And here are the keys to your new home…

Closing day finally came after two months of paperwork and waiting. It was at the end of November, and there was a messy blizzard that day.

I seem to remember I took off from work for the day starting at 10 a.m. My realtor and I took one last walk through the house. It’s just so exciting when you’re realizing this place will be all yours in just a little bit. It’s also a little unnerving, because you really start to look at everything you want/need to do.

I went to the bank, signed lots o’ paperwork, received my gifts, and started driving to my house.

I didn’t have the keys.

I drove back to bank, told my loan officer, who then tried calling my realtor.

No answer.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, she called back… and in fifteen minutes, I had my keys. Good grief.

I went to my house, tried all the keys, and got in. I looked around, and decided the first things I needed were cleaning supplies, a lock for my garden shed, and pizza and beer.

To this day, I still haven’t put that lock on my shed. It’s funny what you learn in life.

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