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It’s Still Summer Here

We’ve been busier than a one-legged man in a ass-kicking competition around here. This month has been nothing short of nuts as we’ve zoomed back and forth from the old house to the new house hauling even more stuff. The good news is that the old house is now cleaned out and has been sold, so there won’t be any more stuff coming into our new home. Whew! I swear I got heart palpitations every time we made a haul just thinking “what are we going to do with all this?”

It’s so hard to let go of physical things sometimes, especially when you know those things are worth something. But we had to ask ourselves, is it worth something to us? Is it worth taking up valuable space in our home, at least until we can sell it? Some items got a “yes” and some got a “no.” In the end we feel good about the things we decided to keep, and you’ll see more of those things in the future.

So enough about the move… I’ve been trying to enjoy the past few weeks and pretend it’s still summer around here. In the beginning I had planned to change up my decor according to the seasons, but at this point I say screw it. I’m going to decorate like it’s still summer because it’s light and bright and it makes me happy.

Here’s a peek at a part of the kitchen I’m really enjoying.
kitchen-shelves The shelving is your basic LACK gloss white shelving from Ikea. I installed them temporarily until I could get shelves made that would span the entire countertop, but now that they’re up I have to say I’m really liking them. The glossiness of the lacquer (sorry you probably can’t see it) is a nice touch in the kitchen and the depth of the shelves is really just perfect for all the stuff I want to keep at arms reach. You may also notice the gold-tone cabinet hardware. Again, Ikea to the rescue. These are the GOTTLÖSA knobs and METRIK handles which I spray painted gold and then used antique gold Rub-N-Buff to give them a brushed gold finished. So far the finish has held up beautifully.

For the most part I’ve wanted to keep all my gold hardware and finishes rather muted or antique, but I decided to step outside the box when it came to my kitchen faucet. It’s brass, it’s lacquered, and it makes absolutely no apologies for it.
brass-kitchen-faucet This brass faucet had me at hello. I’m not an ultra contemporary kinda gal, but I love the contemporary lines of this fixture. It is made by Kensington Brass and I purchased it through Overstock.com. From what I understand, Kensington no longer makes it (which is why it’s selling on O.co). Unfortunately the collar for the sprayer didn’t work due to the thickness of the hole that was drilled for the builder-grade faucet I replaced, but I’m working on a solution for that.

And do you remember the coffee table and end table I planned on making? Well here’s how they turned out:
coffee-table Again, I sprayed the bases gold and used antique gold Rub-n-Buff to get that brushed gold finish. After I got the rug down and table bases in place, the good people at Southern Stone delivered two huge slabs of shiny Arctic White quartz for the tops. I love these table so much, I just can’t express how beautiful, shiny and low-maintenance they are. While they do have a tendency to show dust and smudges, the clean up is a breeze. Quartz is a man-made material and is damn near indestructible (“man-proof” as I call it). It doesn’t even need to be sealed. Just wipe that sucker down with Windex, Clorox wipes, baking soda, or whatever good surface cleaner you have on hand. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as the kids say.

Now that I have a big-ass coffee table, I’m gonna need some stuff on it, right? No problemo.
halloween-decor The gold skulls is probably the only halloween decoration you’ll ever see in my home. The gold tone is the only reason it’s it my home, actually. :) The enameled hot pink tray is from the shop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia, and the black and white chevron box is from ZGallerie.

So that’s a little peek at how the house is evolving. As we get things put away in their rightful places I’ll be taking more (and hopefully better) photos… just as soon as I find the camera. Happy End of Summer!

The Closing

You know that saying “If you don’t have anything good to say…”? Well that pretty much sums up the past few weeks of house building. It was an emotional roller coaster that I don’t care to ride EVER AGAIN.

I’ll give you the short version. Our builder got behind on all the houses in progress. Not sure of the exact reason why, but I have a feeling it was for a couple of reasons – too many homes were sold and they had too few contractors to complete the work; and stupid mistakes being made by contractors that caused them to redo work (sometimes multiple times).

For right now I’ll skip all the details and just say that we did close on the house last week and are in the process of moving in now. Despite all the drama surrounding the house during the last few weeks I can honestly say that I am happy overall with the finished product and it really does feel like home. The builder is still wrapping up a few items that were put on the exceptions list at closing, but they should be all done within the next week or so.

I promise I’ll post again soon with a few pics of the work we’ve done so far – mostly light fixtures installed and some painting in the master bedroom and closet. It’s hard work but I can’t wait to show everyone how it all comes together!

Downcycling

This weekend I’ve been working on a few projects to get ready for the big move at the end of the month. If you troll around Craigslist or you’re an avid thrifter you might be familiar with the term “upcycling”–turning something of little value into something of more value. Well today, I dared to go against the grain and I officially downcycled something. The victim…a vintage regency bouillotte lamp with painted metal tole shade.

regency-lamp-before

These lamps can range anywhere from $200 for a new reproduction to $2,000+ for an antique. Based on what we know of its history, this lamp is most likely from the 60s and it was Michael’s father’s desk lamp. Sadly, this lamp made it through several Craigslist posts and three estate sales without so much as a nibble from a partially interested buyer. I, however, thought it could be given new life with a fresh coat of paint on the shade. The paint on the shade was cracking and peeling anyway, so let’s just say I was doing it a favor. I spray painted the entire shade white gloss then taped off stripes on the outside.

shade-taped-off

Because this shade had some texture built in, I made sure I used Scotch Blue EdgeLock tape to avoid bleeding as much as possible. Then the first coat of black went on rather sloppy-looking which worried me.

shade-first-coat

But I am a woman of patience (yeah right) so I let it dry for about 5 minutes and then went back over it with another coat. That still didn’t do the trick. I must’ve sprayed 5 coats of black on that sucker before I finally got coverage I was happy with. To finish out the new look, I used a gold Krylon paint pen to trim out the top and bottom edges.

gold-rim

(See the texture I was talking about?) And….. Voila! My new, quirky bouillotte lamp!

regency-lamp-downcycle

I’ve decided that this will be my desk lamp in the new house. It may be worth less now, but it’s worth a million bucks to me. I really love it, and I love that I get to keep a part of my in-law’s history in my home. That makes it priceless. :)

Under Foot

I thought I’d do a quick little post about some of the flooring options we’ve got lined up for the house since they’re soon to be installed. We would have normally chosen nice hardwoods, but due to the special circumstances with our greyhound, we opted to line our floors with the exact same laminate product we had in our last house. Miss Candy Well has ruined the floors of my in-laws house, and since she’s 12-years-old I don’t think it’s a habit we’ll be able to break easily, if at all. The laminate we had in our last house was awesome. It’s called Malaysian Merbau, made by Quick Step and it looks like this:

Malaysian_Merbau

It’s a good dark floor that actually has some texture in it, as if it were a hand-scraped product. The seams on the planks snap together so tightly that water can stand on it for days and not sink in. It can also withstand a gazillion greyhound toenails without a single scratch to the finish. With the addition of Candy to the family, that’s the flooring we need! This will be used throughout the house, with the exception of the bathrooms (which have tile), and the laundry room and bonus room (which will have vinyl).

We are totally thankful that Jones Company allowed us to get this laminate for our new home. It’s definitely not on their list of choices, but we feel good about putting it in the house since we know what a great product it really is.

While the laminate may not be exciting, the rugs we’ll be putting down are a different story. I’m totally in love with overdyed vintage rugs. I’ve wanted a hot pink rug ever since I saw one a couple years ago. I was perusing One Kings Lane early one morning when I spotted this:

pink-runner

Isn’t she a beauty? I called Michael to beg ask him if I could order it. Without hesitation he said “yes” to which I replied “Where is my husband and what have you done with him?” I mean seriously, what man is cool with his wife lining his halls with a hot pink vintage Turkish runner? A smokin’ hot, totally secure in his manhood, sincerely sweet gentleman of a husband who wants to make his wife extremely happy, that’s who! I got myself a keeper, I do. :)

In addition to this rug, I decided to use one of the rugs we inherited from Michael’s parents. It’s a vintage 1970s Persian Kashan Darbari that was rolled up in the garage for years. We rolled it out under the dining room table for the first estate sale and it looked like this:

rug-to-overdye

It has a beautiful design but the colors just wouldn’t work for our home. So I made a one-day trip to Atlanta and left it in the capable hands of London Varner. He is in the process of overdying it to be a deep turquoise. Today, after a color reduction (to strip out the old color) and a single dip in the dye it looks like this:

rug-first-overdye

It is well on it’s way to fabulousness! It will get one more dye bath and the color will become even brighter and more saturated. Keep in mind that this photo shows the rug wet, so it will brighten up once dry. The light patch you see in the rug is where the pile was worn down to the foundation, a sign of a rug that has been used and loved over the years. You may also notice some tiny white spots–those are the spots where a new thread was started. You can buy machine-made replicas of overdyed rugs online, but I’m telling you, if you can possibly afford it, get the real thing. Good handmade rugs are much like diamonds. They are an investment, they can be traded, and you’ll never be disappointed when you have the real thing.

I’ll be sure to post photos (hopefully good quality ones) as soon as the floors go in. Hope everyone has a good week!

The Hard Stuff

We’re talking all about the hard surfaces in the new house today… countertops and tile baby! It’s hard to believe we’ve now got all our cabinets and the gorgeous quartz countertops I had special ordered. Take a look!

counter-3

counter-1

counter-2

(One of these days I’ll get a decent camera, I promise!)

This stone is a quartz commonly known as SuperWhite here in the south. It can be hard to find in some states, but it seems to be plentiful here in Tennessee. This is the same stone I used in my last kitchen remodel and I. LOVED. IT. It is more scratch resistant, stain resistant and heat resistant than your typical granite. I always wanted marble, but the simple fact is that we would ruin it in a heartbeat. SuperWhite gives me the look of a nice gray and white marble without all the worry. Seal it once and it’s good for years. That’s my kind of countertop.

We also ordered some very special tile for the bathroom. Now this is the room where I get my marble!

bath-tile-1

This is a pic I snapped at the tile vendor. It’s a very simple white 12×12 marble tile for the floors and shower walls with a gray and white herringbone mosaic tile for the shower floor. It’s important to choose a tile small enough to conform to the slope around the drain in the shower, that way you don’t risk cracking your tile and you get a smooth, sloping shower floor. And here’s what it looked like when I visited today: bath-tile-2

So gorgeous… And it’s not even grouted yet! I chose to do a staggered brick pattern on the white tiles to keep it from being a total snooze-fest. I also requested the smallest grout line possible (1/16″) to keep everything looking nice and clean. The bathroom is not large and has only one small transom window as a natural light source, so keeping the colors light and bright in this room will help open it up.

One last thing… this isn’t tile or stone but it’s still a hard surface. We got our deck off the back door!

deck

Unfortunately it has more steps than we would have liked, but if push comes to shove we can always have another ramp built. Inside there are only two tiny steps that lead into the garage at street level, so I think we’ll live.

The countdown is on…T-30 days until closing!