This weekend (5/15) marks the two year anniversary of me. Of “grown up” me. Of me living in my home. My very own home. Any of you who knew me when I made the decision to buy a home may recall that it was very much something I decided upon on a whim.
The short version of the story:
You’ve probably perused the before/after section of the site before. But seriously, when I pull together the photos side by side like I’m about to show you, I’m blown away at how much I’ve done to this place in 2 years.
Please enjoy, and celebrate homeownership pride with me; afterall, forbes.com is – it announced this week that Rochester, NY is the best city in which to buy a home. Frickin’ HIGH FIVE, people.
On to the photos:
Exterior of the house: It was stripped. (Thank you, tax credit.)
The front entryway is a work in progress – that front porch should be finished within the next few weeks (it’s been begging for railings):
The deck and pergolas on the back of the house are entirely new. DIY’ed too, just search “deck” on this site (or click right here) and see a whole slew of posts about this project. Impressive change, right?
The Living Room: A dramatic makeover from carpeted drab space to bright and slick (I can’t describe it any other way) happiness.
The Sunroom: It was storage for children’s toys before I moved in. And it was carpeted. What can I say, anything was an improvement. Yes, there’s a margarita in my photo; call it a grown-up toy.
The Dining Room: It’s more so a workspace for me than a functional dining room, but it too received a nice makeover from floor to ceiling.
The Kitchen: The initial change involved painting it white. It’s hard to tell in the original photo, but each wall was painted a different shade of blue. And then I removed 7 upper cabinets to make way for open shelving.
The stairwell recieved an updo too. Not just paint, I swapped in a new closet door and made a collage of frames on the wall more recently.
The view down the stairs is improved too; those horizontal faux-wood blinds are throughout the whole house and really change each room dramatically in a way that plastic blinds don’t. Plus, the hardwood landing looks sexy. People don’t usually call hardwood floors sexy, do they? Just me?
The Nursery-turned-Walk-In-Closet: Animals were painted over, and the room was neutralized and made highly functional with the help of some big IKEA shelves. I was lacking closet space in every single apartment I lived in, so you could say I’m making up for it in a big way.
The Basement: We built workbenches over the winter, but the biggest change was the installation of glass block windows. Let there be light!
Thank you again for all of your support, encouragement, and kind words about the projects you’ve seen so far; lots more to come.
It’s that time of the business cycle again. Time for more business cards. Calling cards. Business-bloggy-calling-cards, as I so eloquently referred to my first batch that was made of cardboard and plain white stock.
This second batch was decidedly still going to be DIY’ed. Because I’m watching the wallet, and because if you can do something that will stand out enough all by yourself, why bother outsourcing?
The idea for this new batch occurred to me a few weeks ago, when I found a huge box of sandpaper in my grandparent’s attic (I find all kinds of good things up there). I took some of the sandpaper partially because I figured it’s one of those products you always seem to want on hand (and Grandpa conveniently had preserved sheets of varying grit), but also because it was being stored in this radical, hardwood, vintage box that I really, really wanted to put to good use (somewhere, someday, it’s not about that box yet).
I’ve had it sitting on my stair, right where I placed it when I brought it home, and just this week when I finally had depleted my original business card supply, I thought that that “free” paper (of varying grit) might make for an interesting business card material.
And I think the whole idea of DIY’ing my business cards insinuates handiness, DIY-ness, and resourcefulness. I’m pretty much all about all three of those things, if you haven’t noticed yet.
Check out that old 3M logo. Frustratingly, WordPress won’t let me rotate it counterclockwise:
So I picked a couple of sheets to cut down into simple 2″x3.5″ business card size (a little smaller than the original creative that was more so hacked to a random size).
Just like the first batch, I employed the awesome stamp that Pete designed for me and had produced by the folks at The Stamp Maker. (I just had a good experience, I’m not getting perked for the shout-out to the company.)
While the stamp was wet, I sprinkled on some of the purple embossing powder that was leftover from the first go-around (which Pete still believes to be more like a thermography- than embossing-process).
The end result of my embossing efforts are just OK. I think my stamp is a little too thick to handle the expansion of the powder, rendering it hard to read:
So after I did a few embossed versions (5 to be exact, hoping for a cure to the illegibility I suppose), but I did more with simple plain black ink. And yes, I experimented with stamping on the rough side too; didn’t work out too well:
On a different note, only related because I used an iron to cure the embossing powder, how in the world do I clean an iron that looks like this? Can I even clean it? Or do I just buy new?
I can’t even use it on clothes anymore (I probably ironed something I shouldn’t have, and then followed it up by ironing 40 sweaters which left behind traces of themselves). Tips appreciated!
File this one under “Projects that I should have done 2 years ago”. I snatched a set of matching hanging baskets from my parents basement around the time I bought my house. They’re pretty. Mom tells me they were just bought from JoAnn’s or somewhere, but they’re more well-made than most wire basket holders that I come across these days.
Painted iron/metal, they’re designed to look like flowers, and let’s face it, I’m a girl and I like flowers so I immediately liked these baskets, despite their condition.
Mom hadn’t used them in years, plus they were starting to wear down (paint was bubbling after years of being weathered outside, and rust beginning to appear at the base) so she was fine with handing them down to me. Like I mentioned, I had every intent of refinishing them a few years ago, and if nothing else, I should have bothered to hang them up to display some flowers, but they ended up being been brushed to the side and admired without purpose for awhile.
One of them became Cody’s toy basket, which didn’t work out too well because it wobbles a little bit, making a metallic sound when he goes to grab a rope or tennis ball and then gets scared off and doesn’t dare touch it again for 3 months. He’s sweet but kind of wimpy.
It’s easier to whip through projects on my list now that the weather is improving. For this, having decided to paint them my favorite tomato soup orange… or purple… or orange, or purp…OK, fine I’ll use my favorite orange and if I don’t like it I’ll redo them in purple. And I’ll just start with one of the two, in case I totally bomb this project. I began by sanding down one whole basket to remove any loose black paint and rust. I don’t think I need to tell you about the importance of starting off with a fresh base for the paint.
To further level out the playing field (as if decor improvement was a game), I applied an even coat of spray primer. (In the grass. Not actually on the nice deck. I love having a backyard at times like this.)
Note: since I’m using inexpensive Sherwin Williams Color To Go samples, I’m using the same technique I applied to those picture frames I painted awhile back (all about making cheap paint awesome). I was warned when I bought the sample that it wasn’t meant to actually be used as the permanent color and when I dared to test it, it worked. Started with a little bit of spray paint, let it dry completely, and continued on by carefully applying a layer of orange with a paint brush I had on hand.
Right around this point, I started to feel like this basket was turning into something I might see at CB2. And I really liked that. A lot.
Once it was painted (and it took three coats with this cheap paint, just like those pesky frames), I gave it a final spray down with clear glossy spray paint. The spray top coat really helps to toughen it up and make it feel like it’s not about to chip off or wear away right in your hand. I now have the courage to do the second basket.
And while I think these will eventually hang off the pergola on the deck, for the purposes of showing it in action, I hung it in the sunroom window. With an IKEA planter and an indoor geranium.
I immediately thought upon taking that picture that I should spray paint that black chain white; it’s only making an appearance as-is because it was the most convenient hanging mechanism I could fashion for the new basket. And it works, so I’m happy.