$680 in 1952

March 17, 2014   //  Posted in: Bathroom   //  By: Emily   //  6 responses

The original invoice from our 1952 bathroom tile installation.

The bathroom is original to the house, just a little something we learned over the weekend. We’ve been a little skeptical as to whether the room was something they remodeled in the 1960′s or early ’70′s; we’ve heard that maroon tile wasn’t yet trendy, and separate standing showers were not especially common for construction in 1952.

As documented in the above invoice, the installation of all of that tile only cost the original owners $680, thousands less than it might cost a homeowner today. Without taking you on another tour, trust me in saying that there’s a lot of detail work happenin’ in those tiled walls. The tiles and paint colors themselves, we already know trace back to Romany and Hechinger; piecing together the history of this house has become one of my favorite activities, from exploring different paint colors hidden behind wall outlet covers to finding trace remnants of shag carpeting lost behind baseboard heaters. And the blueprints obviously, if you didn’t see these these blueprints, you might enjoy knowing what else we’ve learned so far about our home’s design.

Back to the bath, we’re really lucky that the majority of the tiles are still in great shape, especially in areas like the sink and around the tub. The shower stall ceiling, how should I put it, I’m afraid to poke or scrub at vigorously, and some of the floor tiles, pretty cracked, scratched, and lacking their glossy top coat, but we’ve been doing little repairs along the way that should hold us over for awhile longer while we figure out what upgrades we want to make to the space.

Our full bathroom, at move-in.

Anyone else find and save original construction receipts from their home?

The New Living Room Catch-All

March 05, 2014   //  Posted in: Living Room   //  By: Emily   //  9 responses

Editor’s Update: I’m floored, it’s IKEA, the best quality IKEA I’ve ever seen.

I thought I knew the type of coffee table I wanted for our evolving living room. Something with modern lines. Light hardwood. A large, low circular table with (or customized by me to have) pretty mid-century leggies, hairpin or pretty pegs of some kind. And then, wouldn’t you know, I went thrifting and fell in love with something nearly the opposite:

Our new contemporary coffee table.

Nix the hardwood and mid-century, add in some slick white contemporary-ness with a heavy metal base. Even if it’s a lot different than what I might have ordinarily picked out (something like this, light wood is hard to find), our new coffee table perfectly fits the functional demands that we knew we really needed in our life:

  • Lots of storage (this has both visible shelving and hidden drawers)
  • A flat surface (good for drawing and writing)
  • Easy to clean (kids are dirty, and we’re not sticklers for using coasters)
  • Big (the sectional is big, and our living room is big, and scale is important)

Welcome home, pretty white coffee table.

This is the first “real” coffee table I’ve owned; even the trunk that I used as a makeshift coffee table in the last house was less than ideal for that purpose, a little bit taller than I would have liked, a lot a bit uneven when it came to using it as a writing surface. And even though the trunk opened up for potential storage, I learned not to keep anything inside it because 1) there were always goods atop and it was annoying to clear off to open and 2) there was a division in the boards on the flat top surface through which all spilled liquids managed to filter. Milk was the worst of the liquids, I won’t tell you how quickly spilled milk begins to smell when it accidentally dribbles into a plastic garbage bag storing sweaters.

I’m pretty sure the subtle drawers are my favorite feature of this new-to-us coffee table. They’re push-operated, so no knobs or pulls to break up the clean lines of the design. At just over 3′ x 3′, the new table brings us 9 sq. ft. of surface area and 9 sq. ft. of storage for things like books, magazines, and a radically growing collection of Disney Infinity characters. It’s brand-spankin’ new to our home so, no, I haven’t even gotten to organizing anything into drawers yet.

Push drawers in our contemporary coffee table.

The table has no distinct markings that would indicate brand, but I would place it as a piece constructed in the last 10-15 years. It’s particle board, but way heavier than it looks, immeasurably more sturdy than anything I’ve bought at IKEA, and in general, in really good shape, just a few things that helped me justify the $125 price tag.

Its design is considerably more contemporary than other items currently in the room so I hope adding an area rug and softer decor to the room will help to make it feel a little more at home. And if not, I’m preparing myself to change out the base with something lighter wood to fit in (if you haven’t already seen the greatest ever dresser re-design, you should check it out and be wildly inspired).

Metal base on our contemporary coffee table.

I found and bought the table at a local co-op (The Shops On West Ridge, locals!) and what concerned me initially was the height of the table; with only a 12″ rise from the floor, it seems really low in person, like, bash your shins low, but our West Elm sectional only has a seat height of 15″, so placed in our living room, the 12″ height works really well, and no, no shin bashing yet.

It’s so low that I’m not sure it would look great alongside a “normal” height sofa, so maybe me buying a coffee table online would have backfired, because I hadn’t really honed in on how a higher coffee table might look a little “off” in this space.

A short 12" coffee table.

Going from no coffee table to having something this functional has made an immediate impression on our ability to use our living room. Books stored! Coffee stabilized on a real table! And it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t slide around when the dog leans up against it! I love seeing this place begin to come together (we’re goin’ on 9 months here, this is not happening fast).

P.S. For those of you who have inquired about how the Tillary sectional is holding up, see above for some seam puckering in the back supports. I’ll be back with a more thorough review in the next few months, promise.

DIY Network: Unusual Recipes Are Making Me Hungry

February 28, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY Network Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

I don’t immediately think FOOD when I think about DIY Network and its blog Made + Remade, but incidentally, those are actually many of the posts that I get caught up in routinely.

I’m not one to contribute very many foodie projects to the internets (although, wouldn’t you know that my recipe Pinterest board is the one I populate with the most frequency, featuring the “projects” I’m most likely to actually test in my own kitchen).

Because there are loads of wonderful at-home recipes on Made + Remade from other contributors, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you today:

Gluten Free Donut Biscuits on Made + RemadeDough-to-the-iscuits: DIY Doughscuits. I’m going to be totally honest here – I don’t know what half of the ingredients in this recipe are, but I’m super intrigued by Ellen’s gluten-free solution to doughnuts-meets-biscuits with a side of Blood Orange Vanilla dipping sauce, OMG. After all, this is coming from the maker of Cronuts/Fauxnuts, so she probably can’t be steering you wrong.


DIY Necco wafers / Conversation Hearts on Made + RemadeThe V-Day holiday has passed, but did you know that it’s “fairly simple” to make your own conversation hearts? Mick’s words, not mine. It’s basically a recipe for at-home Necco wafers (I’m a Necco fiend), so I’m actually looking forward to trying this recipe. Bonus: If you’re into the idea of making your own extracts, he makes that look easy too.


DIY Ghee on Made + RemadeI suppose you would think I was uncultured if I told you I didn’t know what Ghee was until I saw Kelly’s post on making your own Ghee at home. I also probably mispronounced it 5 different ways, so let’s not talk about it if we meet up in person. What did I learn? You can use it on just about anything, as you would butter. It’s more shelf-stable than butter, and it’s popular among the raw/paleo foodies. Who knew?


DIY Pomegranate Lime Ginger Gummies on Made + RemadeMake gummies at home? Man, between DIY Neccos and yummy gummies, I might never have to shop for store-bought sweets again. Must try this Pomegranate-Lime-Ginger recipe someday.




DIY Bacon on Made + RemadeNorth Carolinians make a bigger deal of pork than New Yorkers like myself. Did you even know there was more to making your own bacon than just throwing it on the griddle? Did you know it takes a week to do up some DIY bacon? Because once again, I’m surprised. And impressed. And immediately curious if I can follow the same guide to make some turkey bacon.


Pumpkin Cookies with Mulled Cider Cream Cheese Frosting on Made + Remade

Pumpkin cookies with mulled cider cream cheese frosting. Drool. It may not be unusual, but this recipe is one I keep wanting to try. The real question is, are you allowed to make these when it’s not Fall? Where does one find cider in the springtime?