Pete + I spent a nice long weekend in D.C. sightseeing and visiting with friends. I did take 255 pictures, although 249 of them were with my iPhone because I was too chicken to carry the Rebel around in case I was jumped (I watch too much Criminal Minds). Fortunately, we brought the slimmer, easier to conceal G12; unfortunately, the battery died after I took one photo at a scenic overlook in Pennsylvania on our very first restroom break. (We stopped at a Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Target in hopes that someone carried a compatible charger… no luck.) So, the iPhone is completely unsatisfactory in comparison, but here are some of the better shots (click to enlarge and see in gallery form to keep this part of the post short and quick):
Of course, this really is a post about seizing the opportunity, and that opportunity is IKEA. We’re often saddened by the fact that we don’t have a nearby IKEA. Burlington, Ontario (Canada) is an option two-some-odd hours away, but in order to bring back anything of substantial value through customs, you have to spend the night (or bring 3 friends along for the ride to claim on any goodies you just needed that exceeded your $150 daily limit, yes it’s really that strict). While living IKEA-free puts a major damper on home decor shopping in Western NY, it makes it all the more exciting to leave the state.
Fortunately for us, the College Park, MD IKEA was right on our way back to NY (with a Starbucks conveniently on our path as well), so I did some planning the night before to plan for buying…
A new bathroom vanity! And lots of other goodies that we didn’t have any business buying on the fly but just because we were there… why not.
Of course, I don’t even think I’ve shown what the current vanity looks like (I’ll save that for another post) but all you need to know is, it’s basic, it’s white, it’s something that was likely found in the cheap-o section of Home Depot 10 years ago. Maybe longer. It’s basic, it’s formulaic, and it wasn’t doing anything to improve the space.
I didn’t have an 2011 IKEA catalogue, so I took photographs of likely candidates (again, with the iPhone, and since it was a computer display please pardon my moire). I really liked the idea of a wall-mounted vanity that still had storage built-in, and these models came in an assortment of depths and lengths to get me close to the <4.5′ long and <22″ deep measurements I desired (and carried around with me on an iPhone measurement list that I’m anal about maintaining). I was even considering doubling up my sink count and making it a double-wide for the hell of it. Note: If you click on these photos, they’ll open up like the above gallery and you’ll be able to see more product detail than you can in these thumbnails.
So, post-Starbucks stop, we arrived at the store right as the doors opened. Pete immediately identified his desired man cave. I like.
And then he vanished in the maze and I was left to my own devices so I gathered enough RIBBA frames to last me until summertime.
By this time in the excursion, I was still dead set on getting one of the previous mentioned vanities. That, of course, was until I arrived at the bathroom section of the store. And I fell in love. With a sale vanity. And it’s sale partner-in-crime side shelving unit. You all know how rare it is to find a non-damaged legit sale find at IKEA, right? Right.
The photo shows two sets of sinks, but I only bought 1. Think of it set up with the left-most vanity and sink, with the three drawer cabinet snuggled beside it just like it’s shown here. The measurements are actually 4′long (when the two units are side by side), and only 18″ deep, so it fits perfectly within the maximum parameters I had previously measured. The big vanity was marked down to $79 and the small shelving unit was $69. The sink top itself, which is a mid-depth but looong open dish was a “splurge” although still pretty damn good considering what it is, priced at $129. While I’m still considering wall-mounting, I did buy the aluminum framing to support from underneath (I’d rather have them and not use them than need them and not have them). Oh, and the faucet ($89, but oh, the faucet!):
So, yes! I’m starting to prepare for an upcoming bathroom renovation! I’m not exactly sure when it’ll happen (because getting the driveway refinished is a higher priority) but it’s nice to know one big thing has been bought and is ready to go when I am.
More to come on what I’m going to do with 14 million RIBBA frames. No, not making another collage wall.
I fixed that Sauder shelf last week and was immediately happy to have it as extra storage and extra detail in the living room, mostly because this gives me fair excuse to accumulate more books from garage sales as they start popping up this month. I had let the glue and stain from the rehab dry overnight before I took the weights (book weights) off the top of the shelf, but once everything was dried and put away, I was left with this new-to-me piece for the living room.
Very pleased. But wow, that’s a big open space right above the shelf. And the glass on the floor lamp sure is tilty. I don’t even use the lamp, it’s mostly there for show and because I like the detailing all around. It was a freebie (a leave-behind from a previous tenant in my very first Rochester apartment). Note to self, straighten it up.
Something had to be done with that space, so I started exploring the picture/poster frame options that hadn’t already gone into the stairwell frame gallery. There are probably a few dozen strays that could use a little rehab. I actually didn’t think that I had the right “poster sized” frame for the space until I looked left when I was standing back admiring the new shelf. Check it:
That frame was from Pottery Barn a few years ago (woot, $30 on clearance), and has hung on a wall beside the couch for just as long. The “art” featured in it is actually just a placemat from a restaurant I like; it’s a little antique-y, and better yet, was free. The frame itself is covered by a dark brown burlap-type fabric. The texture is nice and subtle, yet interesting.
I see the house as being ever-evolving, and sometimes something as easy as shifting the location of a picture frame can make all the difference, so I took it down and rehung it above the new shelving unit on the opposite side of the room. I also added to it two matching wooden frames (both stained dark brown) and hand-selected two Anthropologie tear sheets that I’m so fond of as new “art”. I hung them to the right of the larger print purposefully, sort of placed behind where I knew I wanted to display those curly willow branches (I wrote about those babies over here). I wanted the art to be centered on the wall rather than being reliant on free-standing decor, not knowing if the branches would stay there short- or long-term. Those branches in the glass vase were sitting in that very corner on the floor, out of the way of the dog tail for approximately 4 months as it was, so they deserve a real place to be displayed. Damn it, that tilty lamp is bugging me. Did it get worse?
Anyways, you can see the frames just fine through the branches, and I’m cool with the layered/dimentional look for now.
Quick afternoon project made quite the difference, no? Now I need to find some more books/baskets/accessories to neatly occupy those shelves.
Let me jump right in. As I mentioned on Friday, I’ve been getting overly excited about springtime because it means I can finally contract someone to fix my gross driveway. I’m also amped to work on a landscaping overhaul in the front yard… umm, let me define “overhaul”. No, I don’t need retaining walls, no, I won’t be ordering in a truck of sod, and I’m not thinking about adding fountains (or fire features for that matter…this isn’t Yard Crashers).
I’m just looking to do a little something to improve this place and add a little curb appeal.
The most frustrating part of gardening for me is… waiting. I planted azaleas two summers ago. They’re still tiny (they’re the teeny shrubby things in the picture above). I planted two hydrangea plants (they’re the teeny branchy thing in the picture above… planted closely together). They’re still tiny too. I transplanted an unidentifiable tree/bush two years ago, which started growing really well last summer, but now I think it’s too close to the corner of the house and brushes against the sunroom windows. Not really sure it’ll stay, or could stay without damaging the house someday. And (bad gardener alert) I even forgot to plant my tulip bulbs until New Years Day, so they’re a little behind the tulip growth curve compared to all of the ones I see popping up in other people’s yards. They’re kind of scattered throughout the whole front garden.
I know we’re just coming out of wintertime, but this garden is lame. I really hoped that these plants would fill in the space better. I guess I’m too accustomed to seeing azalea bushes that are oh, maybe 20 years matured. These baby-azaleas might be awesome if I nurture them until, you know, 2019. But as I said, I’m anxious, and my front yard needs help.
To show what I’m thinking about doing used the Better Homes & Garden’s Plan-A-Garden tool. Here’s a little before (keep on readin’ for the ‘after’):
Just a quick review, this free online gardening tool was pretty good to use but not nearly as comprehensive as I had hoped it would be, especially coming from a gardening magazine. My yard isn’t quite to scale because I had a limited space to work within on the screen where I could see it all at once; zooming out wasn’t an option as far as I could find. There weren’t as many plants as on floorplanner.com, but I suppose for the purposes of showing an idea, it helps to get the point across just fine.
Before even heading out to a gardening center or nursery, I wanted to have a sense of what shape this new garden should take given the available space. I had a few new yard changes to work with as well: Last fall, I had the front porch removed to make way for a smaller, more simplified staircase (it’s still in progress but weather and time permitting, it’ll be done before summer gets underway). Another change: I’m hoping to remove part of the driveway (the third parking spot that’s furthest to the left in that first photo). The removal of that asphalt should give me approximately 250 additional sq. ft. of awesome grassy lawn (grading and grassing is a separate undertaking for the springtime).
I have this hoarder tendency to save magazines (not catalogues, just magazines) because at times like these, I like to refer back to find inspiration. I whipped out a slew of magazines to peruse (Martha Stewart Outdoor, Cottage & Coastal Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, House Beautiful) and I’m excited to have found a few inspiring images/articles, although I should note that ironically both came from the April 2007 issue of Cottage Living.
1) This one is really something more suited for those pergolas on my back deck, but the lush plants along the fence are right up my alley. Pretty grasses and leafiness.
So I began sketching, and came up with this masterpiece. OK, not masterpiece, but worthy of… um… sharing. I imagine extending the front garden outward further from the house into an arch, or a series of scallops maybe, to allow for extra room for layers of plants. My own little mullet garden. I’m pretty much guessing at what will be planted at this point (still need to get myself to a nursery, which is on the list of things to do) but I’m envisioning green shrubbery in the back, with smaller flowers in the front, accented by ground cover (maybe hostas, maybe ivy). I moved the azaleas over to the left, and grouped them together for more impact. I’ll leave the hydrangea where it is and drop in some accent flowers around it. Maybe I’ll add some pretty lavender in there too (true story: I like the look but not the smell).
Fortunately for me in this eager state, not much of this is contingent on the driveway work, so I could get started on parts of it right away, although I hesitate to do major work until the tulips are done blooming (and they’re still only 1″ out of the ground) and the azaleas have done their thing. Until then, I’ll work in areas that aren’t effected and start to track down the plants I want to buy and get the bed in ready-to-plant shape.
Anyone else doing some lofty curb appeal gardening this spring?