Friday, September 28, 2012

Of COURSE I'll drive to Virginia to sit on a sofa

As soon as they delivered our furniture, we knew we'd have to get a new sofa.  The old one was Drew's and it fit just fine in the loft because well, it was a loft.  There was lots of space for a sofa with a chaise and a big ottoman.  It also fit in our old house because our living room was a nice big square and again, there was lots of room.  However, this house?  Not so much.
Not only did the sofa have an ottoman, but the chair did too.  
That's a lotta ottomans for a dinky rectangular room.

Additionally, Maya had made a home of the chaise part of the sofa.  That was her lounge spot and you could tell.  Even with the best cleaning, it was getting spotty and dingy and it STUNK.  I was on the floor playing with Sofia and I made the mistake of turning my head toward the sofa while I inhaled.  I nearly passed out and immediately texted Drew that we were buying a new sofa as soon as we moved.

Soon enough, it came time to sofa shop.  We both knew that we wanted a regular sofa this time.  A sectional would make things feel too closed off and we need all the floor space we can get.  We searched high and low for a sofa that wasn't too boring but not too fancy, and that we both could agree on.  We looked at over twenty sofas, none of them being 'the one.'

Then we found two contenders, both from Z Gallerie.
The Brighton, although we were looking at the Moonbeam.
Or the Harrison

We both liked the interesting arms, we liked the colors, but we couldn't arrive at a final decision.  I was super way extra nervous about spending that kind of money on a piece of furniture sight unseen.  I wanted to sit on it, lay on it, feel it and make sure that aaaaaallll those dolla bills were going to the right place.

We were so close to just placing the order and crossing our fingers but the thought of  aaaaaaaallllll those dolla bills paralyzed me.  I just couldn't bring myself to okay that big of a purchase without seeing it in person.  Except, there was one tiny problem.

There are no Z Galleries in the state of Pennsylvania.  In order to lay hands on this sofa, I would have to make a field trip to the nearest store - in Virginia.  

Now I know driving to another state just to sit on a sofa sounds ridiculous but that's a lotta dolla bills so it was worth it to me.  

Tyson's Corner was two and a half hours away and we set off right before Sofia's nap.  I have a champion car-napper - the kid will sleep in her carseat at the drop of a hat.  She can have an awesome nap at home and will still sleep in the carseat.  I used to worry that she wasn't getting enough sleep because of course the internet says you're a bad mother if your kid sleeps in their carseat because it means they're not getting enough sleep at home.  But after 11 hours of sleep at night and a good hour and a half nap and she still falls asleep, well, I just shrug my shoulders and count my blessings.

Sofia slept nearly the whole way, waking up about twenty minutes out.  I was insanely grateful to her and as we headed toward the store, I promised her a pony if she would just hang with me for a few more minutes.

They had the Brighton at the front door, in the color we were looking at and everything!
My model was less than enthusiastic and not quite a lady.  
We're working on it.
I'd asked the saleslady to take pictures of my so I could text them to Drew.
If I sat all the way back on the Brighton, my feet couldn't touch the floor.
I wasn't a fan.
Again with my daughter not being a lady, but at least my feet touch the floor with the Harrison.

The other thing I liked about the Harrison is that the arms were higher than the Brighton.  I like having an armrest, as they come in handy while nursing.  I assumed the position with Sofia just to make sure I could nurse her and it was nice and comfortable.  Of course, she was not aware that this was just practice and demanded the real thing.  It's super fun to nurse in a furniture store, btw.  I'm totally down for nursing in public, but this particular sofa was right in the front window, with all the people just passing by, looking at my daughter trying to undress me.  I opted to take a quick nursing break in the bathroom and come back to finish my sofa-sitting.

After a boatload of deliberation, and I mean picture me going back and forth and back and forth and BACK AND FORTH, literally sitting on one sofa, then the other one, I finally decided.  I couldn't help it - that sofa was nasty expensive and I didn't want to make the wrong decision for us.  Drew entrusted me with the final choice which was no pressure at all.  But I did it.  I handed over the debit card and signed on the dotted line.

That was four weeks ago.  Which by the way, why in the F does it take so long to get an in-stock sofa?  It's not like they were sewing it by hand!

At any rate, please welcome Harrison!
I busted out the fancy camera for these pictures, but I have no idea how to use it.
That's why the lamp on the left is all blown out.  My bad.

It's so pretty and fancy and I love it so much!  And there is no way in HELL that I'm letting Maya stinkify this one so I got a scat mat too.  It's on the sofa but I haven't heard any yelping yet so I'm assuming Maya isn't interested in this new sofa yet.  
We also got the buffet and I'm nervous because it's so shiny.
I've wanted a mirrored piece of furniture since forever and now that it's here,
I'm worried that I'm not up to the task of owning a piece of mirrored furniture.
It's not for the faint of heart!

After I took this picture, I straightened up a bit so it looks a little more presentable.
With all the ottomans gone, there's so much more room but now I'm debating whether we should get a smaller storage type ottoman instead of the baskets.
Plus, if you look at the TV wall, you can kind of see how the silver gray paint is going to really brighten the room.
I took away one of the long bolsters and brought in the pillows that were on the old sofa for some color.  Also, we NEED window treatments like woah.

I'm really happy with our new sofa and buffet and my next task is to finish painting the living room so I can hang some pictures in there!  All of our walls are so sadly bare and they need some major sprucing.  Once the kitchen is done (Lord help me), Chris is going to get started on the built-ins for our bedroom and the living room.

Home renovation is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint, but new living room furniture is a pretty major piece and it really makes a huge difference.  Now we just have to send out the brown chair to get reupholstered among the 80,000 other things on the list.

Baby steps y'all....


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinned and done

Alternate title:  Never Buy Drawer Organizers Again

You guys!  Check it!  Remember how yesterday I was all upset because the kitchen was taking for-frickin-EVER?  And how I needed a small project to give me some mojo?  Something quick and easy to keep me from going insane because the kitchen is still not done?  

Well, the Pinterest gods smiled on me and I got er done!  

After Sofia went to bed last night, I spent some time with my Precious, I mean, my Pinterest(PS, do you follow me?  Please do, because I need more quick and easy house projects!)  While clicking around, I found this little gem.

I read through the tutorial, getting more and more excited because I have a drawer that needs organizing and it seemed so quick and easy!  So don't you know the second Sofia woke up this morning we went straight to the Home Depot and I bought two poplar boards at $1.78 each.  I quickly returned the three organizer bin things to Target that were five bucks a piece and too short for my drawer anyway.  The gods smiled on me further because Sofia fell asleep on the way home, and stayed asleep.  That meant I could start my project right that second - how's that for instant gratification?!

The culprit. 
The drawer to the right of our stove is a big fat hot mess.
I already owned one bin and you see how it's useless because it's too short?  
I'm 'bout to fix all that.

After I took everything out of the drawer, I assembled my tools.
Not shown is the hacksaw I used, which you will be happy to know that 
I used without cutting myself!
I measured the drawer, measured the board and took it outside to cut it.
The board is only 1/4" thick so it was super easy to cut through with just the handsaw.
A quick sanding of the rough edges and my first divider went in the drawer!
Which I didn't get a picture of - boo.
But I got a picture of the second board!  
And yes, we have two cheese graters and two mandolins.  
I need every kitchen utensil ever made to make cooking easier for me.
Sometimes I need two.
One more cut, some Gorilla Glue to keep the boards from wiggling, and 
I have an organized drawer where everything fits perfectly!

I had to stop here because Sofia woke up and the sofa delivery guys arrived, but this project took me less than an hour.  I will probably make one more divider for the center just to organize things just a little more, but I'm not done!

I knew I could do better with all those knives, so with the money I saved from buying divider bins, I bought a knife strip.
Like this, but ours will go inside the cabinet just above the drawer and look 
less like a serial killer's workshop.

I hope the strip fits inside the cabinets, because I'm loving the organized drawer and with the knife compartment empty, there will be even more breathing room in there.  But more importantly, I got a project done!  It felt so good to be out there sawing, making things, nesting.  I haven't felt that in a long time and it totally got my creative juices flowing. 

Drew's parents are coming on Saturday and I can't wait to get that free babysitting and get some stuff done around here!  I MEAN, it'll be so nice for Sofia to spend some quality time with her grandma and grandpa.  Although I might possibly maybe have a list of projects that it sure would be nice to be able to do, if a certain small person could be otherwise occupied.  I'm just sayin.

So for real you guys, organize your drawers like this.  Do not buy dividers ever again.  For about three bucks, you can have custom dividers that fit your stuff perfectly and you don't have to mess with store bought ones that hardly ever match your drawers anyway.

Next up, finishing that God Bless-ed KITCHEN!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The truth about home renovation

The blogs were lying to me.  All those pretty before and after pictures that made it look so easy.  All lies!  Oh sure, some of them were like 'oh gosh golly gee, it sure was annoying to live without a kitchen for all that time, but we just put on our happy faces!'

Friends, I'm here to tell you the truth:  Home renovation sucks.  Home renovation means your closet looks like this:
Everything in the guest bedroom in preparation for the built-ins
Thank goodness we saved the wardrobe boxes from our move!

It means your living room looks like this:
Our new sofa comes tomorrow and Drew is gone this week so he had to move our old one to the basement before he left.  On the bright side, we have tons of room for our daily dance parties!  My baby girl loves to dance!

Home renovation means your kitchen and dining room looks like this:
The kitchen still isn't done, so this is how we're living.

Oh, how spoiled we were in our last house.  We didn't have to do anything but decorate, which I now realize is the part I like about DIY.  Small projects that give me instant gratification, that's what keeps me going.  These big projects that take thousands of years to complete?  You have have that shizz.

But it's not all bad.  I just needed to get that off my chest, because living in chaos is no fun and having a toddler running around makes everything fifteen times more challenging.

I just keep telling myself that it's going to be over soon, because the money is going to run out and it'll HAVE to be over.  Har de har har.

Okay!  Enough bitching!  Let's get on to some good stuff!  Like our sexy sexy backsplash (that's not done yet but we're not focusing on that.)
At first, I thought the randomness of the pattern would upset my OCD, but as my cousin's wife pointed out, randomness is itself a pattern.  
Deep, right?
This is a fancy-pants pot-filler.
It's very fancy.
I need to quit taking pictures with my phone.
Or at least turn the damn thing sideways.  Sorry y'all.
I promise I'll take better pictures next post.

If you squint really hard and look above the doorway especially, you can see the greeny gray we finally chose for the kitchen.  Well, actually it's the same color as the stripes on the dining room wall, so I guess what I mean is that I finally painted that wall.  It's Ocean Pearl by Behr and I was up until two this morning painting the kitchen and our master bathroom. Which I'm about to beg y'all to help me with.

That brings me to the other truth about home renovation:  Working with a blank slate is harder than I thought.  Let's talk about our master bathroom for a sec.

First of all, it's weensy.
It's ridiculously hard to get a decent shot of this bathroom because it's so small.
PS, it's also ridiculously hard to find a decent shower curtain for a shower stall.
This was literally the only one I could find that was even halfway cute.
Standing in the shower stall, facing the other way.
And this is my dilemma.
This too.  Please help me!

You see, I need a small project to keep my motivation going.  The rest of my house is a disaster area and I really just need some space, any space to be done.  The weensy bathroom shouldn't be that hard, right?

I painted it last night and the greeny gray looks really nice in there.  But what the heck do I do over the toilet?  It's so tiny and the vanity and medicine cabinet are brown, and I don't want to overload the room with more brown.  I was thinking to put a glass shelf over it and spray paint the hardware oil rubbed bronze so it would all match, but if I do some sort of shelves to the left of the medicine cabinet, would that be too much shelving?  Additionally, we have no towel holders.  
I bought a hook to go on this skinny part of the wall, but yeah.  
That's as far as I've gotten with this room.

Do I do a towel ring?
Like this guy?

Or a wall shelf with a towel bar and just put some art over the toilet?
Like this one?

I don't want to do a cabinet because the medicine cabinet is pretty big and two cabinets in such a weensy space would definitely be too much.

And then the window?  Curtains in such a small space would be silly - I need something clean and neat, like roman shades.  There are tons of no-sew roman shade tutorials out there, so I'm not too worried about that part.  Unless you count having to pick out fabric.  Then I get all twitchy and catatonic.

So, won't you please give me a little boost?  I've already painted - what should I do next?  Won't you please help me have just a little win in our weensy bathroom?


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I put Sofia in the cutest outfit this morning and we had a little photoshoot.  I was looking through the pictures and was stunned at how much she looked like me, so for fun I dug up one of my own baby pictures for comparison.

Crazy right?  

Gah, she's so awesome...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

These counters are tops!

I'm so sorry you guys.  I tried and tried to think of a better title for this post, but every time I did, this was the only thing that came out.  I'm hiding my face in bad-pun shame.  It's like when you're told not to think of a pink elephant; it's all you end up thinking about.  I hope to redeem myself by showing you our kitchen updates.

But first, a word about being a woman:  Sometimes, it's really annoying.  For the past few days, I have been on the verge of tears - constantly.  I've been in a funk and I've felt hopeless and down and all melancholy.  I haven't been able to put my finger on it and I haven't been able to just have a good cry and get it over with, so I've been all mopey and dumb.  I straightened my hair because my curly hair was getting on my nerves and I haven't had the time to fix it properly. At least with straight hair I don't look like I have a rat's nest on top of my head, but that didn't even do it.  The shower curtain for our bathroom came yesterday and I couldn't even be happy with it, and usually, anything to do with house decorating makes me happy.  I couldn't figure it out, and I was starting to get scared that I was falling into some kind of depression.

And Then!  Poof!  I woke up this morning and guess who'd come for a visit?!

Aside from the cramps, I feel completely normal now.  The melancholia is gone, the hopelessness vanished, my will to live has returned.  Stupid PMS.  You'd think after all these years of having a period, I'd recognize the signs.  Shaking my head....

Anyway!  Back to the kitchen!

The guys came to install the countertops last week and let me tell you, I have a new respect for people who live in their homes while it's being renovated.  I have mad respect for Young House Love because fixing up houses NEEDS to be your passion to put up with all the nonsense that comes with it.  Thank God our kitchen was usable the entire time! 
Our dry goods pretty much lived on the dining room table until Drew worked his engineering magic and made everything fit in the cabinets.
One upper cabinet
Plus one lower cabinet
With cool swing-out storage!  This was actually one of my favorite parts of the kitchen when we first saw the house.  I loved how so much could fit in such a compact space.
Add some storage on the basement door, and we've got us a pantry!
Since Drew worked his magic and made everything fit in the kitchen, we're looking at making a mudroom in the laundry room now.  
Maybe something like this

But the countertops!  Gah, I'm all over the place...

So the guys came and the whole process was pretty straightforward.  They'd already drawn the template and cut the slabs so it was just a matter of placing them and sealing them.  I'd originally wanted soapstone but Drew had heard good things about Silestone and when we found out it was cheaper, I was sold.  We went with the Gray Expo because it kind of looks like concrete, which satisfies Drew's industrial cravings without being too hard and cold looking.  I actually really like it!

However!  Whatever the heck they used to seal it is the fumiest stuff on the planet!  I caught that first whiff and promptly whisked Sofia outside and told Drew that we were going out to dinner.  I could feel my lungs disintegrating and I was so concerned for the guys because they do this every day!
I sacrificed my lungs to get a shot of them mixing the sealer.
I suffer for my art!
After the placing, the sealing, the buffing and the polishing that in all, took about three hours we had our countertops!
They're so pretty!
Drew installed some under cabinet lighting and the reflection off the countertops gives just the right amount of light in the kitchen.
They even cut a drain board just to the right of the sink!
Laying down the tile to get a feel for how it's going to look.
Putting up against the wall color to make sure it's not to matchy matchy.  
I think we'll be just fine.
I love how the kitchen looks with the recessed lights.  It's not too bright or dim and 
we don't have to use the pendant!  Which is a shame, because it's really pretty when it's off.

Next up is the backsplash which is going to change everything.  I know it's going to make this look like a completely different kitchen and I can't wait!  It's the final big project and then all we have to do is paint and stain.  It's slow going but I know it's going to be worth it - at least that's what I tell myself when I look around at the fifty million things we still have to do.  I've made a list by room of all the tasks and bit by bit, it'll get done.

Drew goes out of town tomorrow and my goal is to have our bathroom painted by the time he gets back.  It's a teensy room so I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to do it one night after Sofia goes to bed.  Now that I feel human again, I might just have the energy to stay up since I've been nearly falling asleep at the dinner table the past few nights.

I sure do miss my low maintenance vagina...



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