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Guest Room Tornado + An Old School Idea Board

August 05, 2011   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses
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Just another embarrassing sight this morning, though I can say that it’s less disgusting than yesterday’s tutorial on swapping out a disposal guard. My guest room/walk-in-closet has become a dumping ground for… everything.. There you have it, people… I’m one of those girls whodumps dumps everything without a proper home into the one unused room of the house. It’s not really a secret, but it usually doesn’t make it in the shot. Wink, wink. I’m honestly surprised that my mom hasn’t chimed in on a comment blowing my cover.

Things are going to change though, because I finally decided to turn the room into an informal office… slash walk-in-closet. Can’t lose the closet. Unless I lose the clothes and shoes.

Guest room tornado.

Let’s see…

  • Folded laundry in the hallway. Topped with a pair of great Nine West suede boots I bought at the outlet mall last weekend for 25-dolla.
  • Cody’s crumbled bed towels on the ground.
  • A chair that I never quite finished refinishing (a two year work-in-progress that I’m not writing off yet).
  • Scarves over the door (not unlike what you saw when I first revealed the space, just a little less orderly).
  • Assorted totes. Because a girl can’t have too many.

Guest room tornado.

  • A pier 1 desk from Mom and Dad circa 1998 (reward for a good report card).
  • J.Crew slippers that I found hidden under my bed last week when I project managed the impromptu switcheroo.
  • A mid-century inspired mod chair from an early summer garage sale ($1, baby).
  • Mats, frames, mirrors, mats, and frames.

The wall of IKEA shelving was still in it’s original spot, used to store shoes and sweaters on the exposed shelves, and paperwork beneath. I downgraded to an old baby travel iron a few months ago after our nice one spontaneously combusted after making more business cards. It’s kind of pathetic, and the whole ironing board is taking up a ton of space.

Guest room tornado.

The overhaul I’ve been envisioning involves a 360-degree change. Well, no. A 270-degree change, because I’d like to rotate how most of the room is arranged to maximize the natural sunlight and wall space in the room. More to come on that as I experiment with the plan. One thing I’ve already done is scour each and every old Domino, House Beautiful, Home & Garden, etc publications that I never threw away; they take up a lot of space, because I’m glad I have them because they were still loaded with inspiration.

Guest room old school idea board.

Bet you haven’t seen a non-photoshopped idea board in awhile, eh? I was happy to use one of my IKEA SPONTAN magnetic boards that I bought a few months ago to organize my ideas. (Sidenote: SPONTAN is great in the kitchen; individually they measure 14.5″ x 30.75″ which is exactly the size of the side of my upper cabinets, so one of these boards helps to conceal the oak side panel that I’m not crazy about in a really utilitarian way.)

The images I cut from each magazine began to take on a certain theme that allowed me to retain the light walls and bright ceiling, but infuse the space with more color and functionality that it’s currently lacking.

The cactus on the rare wood on the radiator has been an image long stuck in my skull; I was happy to find that I had it in print still. Up it went. I was also vibing with the natural tones in these wreaths and pouf (oh, to have lots of office poufs).

Cacti and reclaimed wood happiness.

Same goes for the next set of images; how cool is that wooden storage tower, and how pretty are the light links in the bottom two pictures? The dog watercolor makes me happy. Not sure I could make something like that featuring Cody, but I could try.

Dog infusion, plus natural wood tower and pink tones.

The last set even more emphasizes my desire to have color in the room; moreso than in the rest of the house, I’m going to embrace the colorful accents, colorful art (and colorful binders, folders, pencils, and notebooks). Color, color, color. I escaped a beige cubicle and my home office will be nothing like one.

Crisp, but full of color.

I think when it comes down to it, I love the organized chaos in this photo. It’s visually appealing, stimulating, and allows for a rotating display of ideas.

Colorful, purposeful chaos.

The heat is on. Bring on the furniture paint. There’s your hint for what I’m tackling first.

Have a good weekend! I have a busy one planned… back to tell you more on Monday.

A $3 Disposal Upgrade

August 04, 2011   //  Posted in: Kitchen   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses
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This is going to be gross, but I think it’s something that a lot of new homeowners in fixer-uppers face. So I’m going to proceed, but consider yourself warned.

The double sink in my kitchen couldn’t have been that old; it was equipped with a disposal that I believe to be the original that they installed when they overhauled the kitchen, so it might be 7-8-10 years old, but no older than that. It was fit with the expected rubber guard to keep spoons and fingers from falling into the blades (and prevent disposal regurgitation).

Sorry, I just used the word regurgitation. I told you this was going to be gross. You see, my disposal’s rubber guard was disintegrating. That’s all it was; it wasn’t moldy, it wasn’t covered in food like this photo makes it look, it wasn’t unsanitary so to speak… it was just run down. And the flashlight used for the sake of taking a picture appears to have maddened it.

Don't vomit. It's clean, just disintegrating rubber.

I Lysol’ed and bleach-sprayed it every time I cleaned up the kitchen, so I was never overly grossed out, although now thinking about it I’m vomiting in my mouth a little bit.

Sorry, really gross. But it gets better and IS SO EASY. Believe me.

That disposal seal was attached to the whole disposal unit, and despite trying to remove it from above, I wasn’t able to pry it out. What did work was removing the disposal itself (with the power turned off, if that’s something I need to remind you of), taking the disinigrating rubber seal out, and reattaching the unit beneath the sink.

The new guard? A $3 universal replacement you can find at any home improvement store. Fully (new) rubber, it stays put both when you’re pushing food through it, or grinding food beneath it, but can be extracted, cleaned, and replaced as easy as can be.

An updated disposal guard. Clean, whole, convenient.

It’s actually an easier solution than having a built-in disposal guard, I’ve decided; I can totally remove it from the drain when I’m playing eggshell basketball or dumping leftovers that I’ve accidentally let spoil down the shoot without having to touch it with my own hands. Between the removable guard and the hand sprayer, I’m set.

For the win. Easy peasy. 10 minutes and $3. Enjoy. And you’re welcome.

Fireplace Freshness

August 03, 2011   //  Posted in: Living Room   //  By: Emily   //  13 responses
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Back with another painting post. Between yesterday’s post on the foundation, and previous recent posts on the radiator, the garage + garage door, the glassblock window frames, the striped stairs, and the Orla Kiely napkins I’m up to my eyeballs with the whole painting thing, especially considering how much I dislike washing paint brushes, even if I have been employing the vinegar tip that I wrote about.

This time around, the fireplace was the target. The hearth, actually. It was filthy. It was peach. Or tannish. Or actually very much like my natural skin tone. Peachy.

Fireplace hearth before.

How did I manage to leave it chipped-paint-my-skin-tone-peach (with fire singes) for 2.25 years? Unknown. Even Pete regularly reminded me that the only thing I had to do to the fireplace was paint the dirty base, and he was right, because I had let it go… slash ignored it… for much too long.

Close-up on hearth grossness.

I had painted the brick encasement within the first 10 days of moving into my house. And I told you about that too, so go here if you want to read about that.

But this time, it was the peach I was after. And you know how much I love using paint that I already have on hand, so it’s probably no surprise that I used some of the last of the porch and floor paint that went down both in sunroom, basement stairwell, and front entryway, as well as on the stair stripes last month. How stinkin’ resourceful am I?

Turns out it looked pretty great on the brick hearth too. No shockey.

Painting in progress. Coat #1 of 2.

It took two coats, and as you could tell I only taped around the outer edge of the brick to protect the hardwoods. It turned out lovely, and so far so good when it comes to dog toe nails scratching it up.

We haven’t done anything formal to cover up the flue that lets ash fall down to a trap in the basement, but the gas lines from the insert are still tucked in there, clearly marked (and now safely capped). To cover up that access point, I’ve resorted to rotating different decor pieces into the space. Like a Pottery Barn serving platter. Or a basket of driftwood.

Or both, stacked.

Improved fireplace hearth with unexpected insert.

Maybe someday to be replaced by logs or books or candles or a little jungle of potted fireplace plants. But for now, and maybe through the weekend, driftwood reigns.

Pottery Barn Platter + Basket + Driftwood

I haven’t painted the inside wall brick yet because the post-fire ashy color conceals most of what I didn’t like about the original brick; plus, I haven’t bought high-heat paint yet to do the trick, which also reminds me to admit that I’m fully aware that this floor paint won’t stand up to flame if I ever decide to light ‘er up, but at least it’ll be easy to refinish if it ever needs it. And even if it gets ragged out by natural wear and tear, at least the gray fits in with the house better than peach.