Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A New Low?

Many of us decorating geeks have our favorite "movie houses" and find ourselves re-watching certain movies just for the eye candy (not the leading man-type eye candy). Some of us use these houses for inspiration, some try to emulate them completely and others just like to look at them. I've had my own "Top 5" movie houses list for a while. Does that sound pathetic? Guess it depends who you ask. Well anyway, here they are - in no specific order:

1. Somethings Gotta Give (duh)

2. The Door in the Floor (gorgeous house, gorgeous location, gorgeous, simple decor)

3. What Lies Beneath (again, gorgeous house, gorgeous location, gorgeous traditional decor)

4. Spanglish (seems like nothing matches and yet it all works)

5. The Holiday (BOTH HOUSES - so, technically, I guess this is a"Top 6" list)

Recently, I have seen a movie that I believe may be list-worthy. No, it's not the latest Nancy Meyers movie. And no, it's not Sex and the City either.

It's Flushed Away. As in, the animated children's movie about a rat who gets flushed down his own toilet. Yes, seriously. Is being jealous of a cartoon British couple unhealthy? Does it even matter? I'm already pathetic, after all.

Here are some stills from the movie. It's like the white-on-white toned paradise I've always dreamed of:

I love how the architecture is very traditional and the decor is semi-modern. I'm a sucker for a good mixture of modern and antique. It just looks so nice and clean.

Seeing dirt all over this beautiful white sofa makes my palms sweat.

I find myself pushing this movie on my kids just so I can watch it over and over again.

Why the hell did I just admit that?

All Apologies

Sorry for slacking...we have two sick kids right now (not too sick to wear their Batman capes while jumping off furniture, though).

Will be back with a new post tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This door in our foyer leads to the World's Smallest Bathroom:
As it is such, my mother-in-law and I hatched a plan long ago to do something unique and unusual with the walls in the bathroom. Not only is the room tiny (meaning it can be painted/wallpapered/etc. for short money) but the door can always be closed on it anyway.

Well, a few weeks ago I was over on a message board and someone came in and posted that ferm living was having a HUGE sale on their wallpaper. $100 wallpaper for about $30 a roll. Needless to say I got over to the website as fast as I could type.
My initial thought was that ferm's wallpaper was a little too funky for my husband's taste. But, I simply COULD NOT RESIST such a bargain. And so I bought one roll, to cover the inside of a glass-front bookcase.

Well, wouldn't you know it - my husband ended up really liking the wallpaper (sometimes I don't give him enough credit!). So I figured I would need at least another roll (maybe two) to be able to do the bathroom and the bookcase. But yet again, I procrastinated all weekend and when I finally sat down to place my second order, THE ONE PATTERN I WANTED WAS SOLD OUT - OF COURSE. I swear, I think every other clearance pattern is still available except my lovely Kingflower pattern:

It's like the Pottery Barn chandelier fiasco all over again.

End rant.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Update Re: Salvation Army Chair

A few posts ago I wrote about the desk chair I picked up at Salvation Army...

I also wrote about wanting to paint it, but feeling guilty since it looked to be pretty old. Well, over the weekend I tried to find out more about the chair and started looking for any markings or stamps on it. Anything to help determine its age.

At first, the only thing I found were the numbers "1231" painted on the bottom of the chair. I was about to give up when I noticed a small plaque attached to the back of the seat. It reads: "Property of Defense Plant Corporation an Instrumentality of the United States Government."
Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't paint this?

From what I can gather from a few google searches, the Defense Plant Corporation was utilized during WWII to help manage the construction of plants used for the manufacture of boats, airplanes, etc. during the war. I can't find very much info on the Defense Plant Corp. at ALL. Anyone out there a history buff? Or happen to know anything about Defense Plant Corporation?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Making of an Au Pair Suite, Vol. III

This isn't exactly a perfect before and after post, as most of these pics aren't taken from the exact same angles, but you get the idea.

Here's the couch area "way before." Pretty much how it looked when we closed on the house, minus the cow border (you know that had to be the first thing to go):

And during construction, with some primer on the walls and the ceiling being scraped:

And, after:

And here's the "tv wall" during construction. It was important to use space efficiently in this small sitting area, so Mike made a built-in tv alcove above the stairs and opposite the couch:
Here's the finished tv alcove:

And a finished view of the bookcase next to the tv and the room leading into the bedroom:
The other side of the door to bedroom, in relation to the kitchen:
And a finished view of the kitchen:

So, all that's left to show of the au pair suite is the bedroom. It came out well, but not much was done in there as far as "construction." We refinished the floors, redid the ceiling and painted, but the basic shape of the room stayed the same. I will post some pics of that room in the next au pair suite installment.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hello Gorgeous!

I haven't been this happy (or this pleasantly surprised) since the Tom Brady "Tuck Rule" pass of '01.

More pics to come - just had to get these up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Lies Beneath


These floors have not seen the light of day in 50+ years! I have to say, they were worth waiting for...

Look. At. All. That. Dust. It's gonna take me weeks to get rid of all this dust. But again, I DON'T CARE! I HAVE FLOORS!!!

Another view during sanding...

I couldn't be happier with the results so far. There were areas of the floor that we couldn't clearly see before sanding and we thought there might be some damaged areas. But, so far so good! I cannot believe that these are hundred year old floors. They look brand new.

A ringing endorsement. We've used this company for every hardwood floor in the house and couldn't be happier with them. If you're in the Boston area, I highly recommend them.

More pics to follow.

They're Heeeerrrre...

One day late, but they're here! The floor guys got here around 7:45 this morning and have been hard at work ever since. I hear a whole lot of scraping goin on. I can't actually SEE the scraping, since Mike has us quarantined, but a little later I'll walk around to the front door and take some pics.

Today is the first really COLD day of Fall. High of 60 and it is freezing in the house right now. Guess I should go offer the guys some coffee...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Making of an Au Pair Suite, Vol. II

This post probably doesn't warrant a "Vol. II" designation, as it's more of a continuance of Vol. I, but what the hell...
Here are some pics that my sister's boyfriend, Nick, had on his computer. Nick tells me that when I can't think of anything to write about, I should blog about him - so I'm sure he'll be thrilled with the name-dropping...

This is the doorway looking into Area 3 of the attic before we knocked this wall down and tore out the closet (forgot to mention that yesterday). You can see the same window from yesterday's pics at the back of the unfinished room. This pic also allows for a really great view of the cow border :)

And, part of the aforementioned crap load of old bibles.

Today I went up to the attic with every intention of taking all of the "after" pics. Unfortunately, after taking just two pictures, my camera died. So, here are those two pics to hold you over til I get the rest of them posted:

Looking into the new bathroom from the hallway.

And the hallway itself. The artwork is hiding the electrical box. My sister's idea. Pretty cool, huh?

So, that's all I got before the camera died. Hopefully I'll be able to post some kitchen pics tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Just Have to Say...

Yesterday, when I got home from work and checked out the new hardware for my craigslist bureau, I was SO impressed.

I ordered these drop pulls from http://www.qualitybath.com/ and not only did they have really great customer service, but the product I ordered was well-made and affordable. None of that hollow- in-the-back cheap hardware crap. These are really nice, heavy, quality pulls. I can't speak for every item they carry, but my personal experience with Quality Bath was great and I wanted to pass it along (no, I don't work for them :) ).

And, in keeping with my usual "biting off more than I can chew" philosophy, I picked up a little something for my next project:
Sorry the pic is so bad. I took it early this morning, in my basement, in zero natural light and then overcompensated by lightening the hell out of it with Photoshop.

I have wanted one of these chairs since BEFORE Pottery Barn made them popular - namely, since I saw Diane Keaton sitting in one in her lovely beach house in Something's Gotta Give...

Could I be any more obsessed with this beach house? I know I'm not the only one. There should be meetings for this kind of obsession. Anyway, I found this chair at Salvation Army for $15. But, I think it's pretty old (albeit very solid) and I'm feeling kinda guilty about painting it. Anybody think I shouldn't? I did want one to paint a lighter color, but the last thing I wanna do is ruin an antique. Guess I'll try to find out how old it is before doing anything with it.

The Making of an Au Pair Suite, Vol I

As I said in a previous post, I should have started this blog back in '06. I'd really like to catch everyone up on our progress thus far - which is a pretty big undertaking. Intimidating, even. (Editor's note --- This is the point at which I usually save this post as a draft and don't look at it again for a month - but NOT TODAY! Today, this post becomes a reality!) Alrighty, so, I guess the best place to start is the beginning.

We closed on the house on April 28, 2006 (which just happened to be my birthday - pretty cool, eh?) and with that, so began construction. From the time we had first seen the house, our plan was to convert the walk-up attic into an au pair suite of sorts. For our au pair, you ask? Why, no. We don't actually have an au pair and unless I have a very rich, very old uncle I don't know about, we won't have one anytime soon. Basically, the au pair suite would act as a place a sibling or maybe an elderly parent could stay if the need arose. At 3,000 square feet, we just didn't need so much house to ourselves, and so the au pair suite was born.

On the day we closed, the attic was NOT pretty. Blue walls with some kind of cow border (yes, a cow border), hardwood floors that had been spray-painted black (yes, spray-painted black) and a crap load of old bibles. Initially, I was going to do a "before and after" post today, but the sheer amount of information involved with the attic renovation makes that unrealistic. Soooo, I figured I'd do several smaller posts, to make the story a bit easier to follow.
Basically, the attic consisted of three areas. Area 1, by which you enter the attic is now the living room. Area 2, a finished room off of Area 1 is now the bedroom and Area 3, a large, unfinished space (rafters showing, subfloor only) was divided up into the galley kitchen, bathroom and hallway.
For this post, I'm gonna concentrate on Area 3, as that is where the biggest transformation took place. For the sake of time and because this is MY blog and not my husband's blog, I'm not even gonna attempt to explain all the construction-type technicalities of the attic renovation. Instead, a bunch of pics in chronological order, together with my witty captions and pithy observations will have to suffice...
Okay, these pics give a view into Area 3, the unfinished portion of the attic that will become the kitchen/bathroom/hallway before your very eyes! All pics show the same window, for reference. Notice the lovely cow border in pic 2.

And in this pic, we have framing! The framing is outlining the bathroom, which will be behind the galley kitchen. The hallway is to the right.

This is another view during framing, looking down the small hallway that leads to the bathroom. You can see that the shower is now installed. You can also see the doorway leading to the bedroom on the right.

Annnd, we're on to drywall! Exciting stuff ain't it? The kitchen is really starting to take shape now. Some lower cabinets are tentatively placed.

The cabinets are in! Some painting has been done and the floor has been laid! This view shows the storage closet at the end of the hallway. The door to the bathroom is opposite the closet.

And here's a better shot of the cabinets and floors...still a mess, but getting there.

Just for fun, here's some of the stuff we found in the attic... an old Sunday school class pic from '58 (I'll have to scan it sometime) and a couple of really old keys. Many of the doors in the house still have the old keyholes in them. I'll have to check them against the keys to see if we have any matches.

That's about it for Vol I of the Au Pair Suite series. Stay tuned for "after" pics of the kitchen, bathroom and hallway...all on tomorrow's Our Big Yellow House!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quick Update

Our floor guys are starting earlier than expected - this Thursday! Can't WAIT to share those "after" pics. In other, slightly less exciting news, my pulls for the craigslist bureau arrived. Guess that means I better get movin on the paint (AFTER Cullen is in bed for the night).

It is flippin FREEZING in my office right now. I can barely type. Send coffee. Thanks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Than Just a Good Cause

I know, I know, times are REALLY tough for everyone right now. But, I have to ask, soooo...

If anyone is at all interested in donating to a WONDERFUL CAUSE or, if you'd like to join us on our 5K Walk, please contact me via gmail.

This website gives all kinds of info relative to our fundraising efforts:


(notice Mr. Finn making a cameo on the home page - up on his Dad's shoulders)

Not only will you endear yourself to me, personally, forever, but you'll also be helping one of the coolest ladies around, Kathy Granara Skerry. Even a dollar makes a difference!


Need Help! Am Cross-Eyed

You've probably seen my formal living room/dining room before...

The paint color is much more accurate in this pic:

While it's not 100% finished, it's close. As far as the floors go, a quote has been accepted, a job given and a start date promised. Namely, next Monday. With the end in sight, it's time to consider the "fun stuff." Which of course means interior decor.

It'll be a while before we have any real amount of money to spend on living room furniture. But the dining room, well, we already have our table and I am going to paint and reupholster some old chairs. Which brings me to the Waverly fabric to which I have recently become very attached:

Now, should I be bold and use pear?

Be safe and choose black (or dark brown)?

Or is this the perfect opportunity to try out some of that coral I've been thinking about?

One of my favorite versions of this fabric is navy - but I'm having a hard time envisioning navy blue as an accent color in this room. Anyone want to talk me into it?

The fabric will be for the seats of the dining room chairs, and probably for some pillows in the living room.

I have been staring at this fabric, trying to pick a color for the last two days. If you have an opinion, please cast your vote!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All That Remains...

Here are some pics of the floor, post dry ice experiment.

This is the view into the foyer from the formal livingroom/diningroom:

The foyer staircase landing:

A close up of the "grid" left by the 9" x 9" tiles. This tar paper currently covers the hardwood in some spots, but will be sanded off easily when the floors are refinished:

The tool Mike used to scrape the tiles off after they were treated with the dry ice:

Remnants of the asbestos tiles after they "shattered":

Originally, we thought the hardwood in the foyer and livingroom/diningroom were the same. Now, it looks like they are a little bit different. The width of the foyer planks look slightly bigger. This is a close up of the foyer floor:

And a close up of the livingroom/diningroom floor:

The view into the livingroom/diningroom (thought this would make a nice "before" pic after our floor guys work their magic):