Our Ugly House

Kortni takes a trip (Copenhagen)

This past year has unloaded some heavy stuff… We have encountered the whole adulting gamut. I needed an adventure. I needed some time to refresh. To get inspired. I needed to conquer a major fear and be alone. And you guys, I’m totally doing it. Pictures of Copenhagen below.

After a bloody long day of travel I landed in Copenhagen, hopped the metro, and tucked into my airbnb for some much needed rest. I woke up the next morning feeling like a new human and ready to adventure. I got ready to brave the cold and began my day searching for coffee. After stopping into a cute cafe for some much needed caffeine, I headed over the Rundetaarn (round tower) for some stunning views.

While looking out over the city, I spotted an epic looking garden (Kongens Have, or better known as the King’s Garden) and made that next on my list to explore. It’s still the tail end of winter here, so everything was dead… but it was still nice to take a brisk walk through a lovely outdoor space.

The whole day felt so easy. I didn’t have to do much planning for things to fall into place. Across from the gardens is the SMK, a huge art museum on my list of to-dos. It houses an impressive collection of both traditional and modern art. One of my favorite sections was a room filled with statues, draft paper, and pencils to let people work on their drawing skills. I spent a better part of the day wandering the halls and admiring the works.

I purchased a Copenhagen Card, and highly recommend them for anyone visiting. It costs about $80 for 3 days of unlimited public transit, free access to a bajillion attractions, and discounts galore. Though I had heard Nyhaven was touristy, it has picturesque buildings lining a canal and I couldn’t help myself. I took a tour boat (hella free yo) over and grabbed some lunch.

Once I had replenished with lobster soup and an IPA I made my way to the Experimentarium. I didn’t want to be the creep snapping pics of kids… so I just caught this epic copper staircase. Getting some serious Guggenheim vibes.

I read on another blog about this amazing spot for seafood and steak, just the right dinner for a solo traveler. I went big. It was worth it. Yolo.

Night y’all.

Just Kidding! Hahaha.

We said we were done, but who were we kidding? Any home owner knows your work is never done.

We have been throwing so much damn money at our house. Sometimes I look back at our pre home-ownership life and think, “We must have been SO rich”. What did we do with all that cash when we weren’t buying appliances or electrical work or other not fun money sucking adult things that we buy now? I am sure we were responsible and invested it or wine.

The spending saga continues. Until last night, we had some really dingy, oversized Ikea curtains up in the living/dining room purely to provide privacy (no one needs to see my late night face mask/underwear Justin Bieber dance parties… it’s not pretty). We waited for the Labor Day sale, and finally bought some proper window coverings. We went through Blinds Galore, and let me shoot you straight: Their prices are just the cheapest and they have such damn good customer service. If you need blinds, get them there.

The husband had become the resident power tool expert. He came home from an extra long day of work and hung the blinds like the cute, sweet, did I mention cute, husband he is. They really change the way the house looks, and it looks baller. See the pictures below:

For real now….xo,

Phase 1, complete.

Almost a year ago, we bought this gorgeous hunk of shag carpet, wood paneling, and horrific wallpaper. This was a grandma’s wonderland, but no longer. After some really killer weekends of all night madness, I am pleased to announce we have wrapped on phase one of The Zinn-tini make-over. To recap, we have gutted and remodeled every room in the house minus the bathroom and basement. We intend on tackling those next year after a few months of rest.

The last weekend was final touches. We hung wallpaper in the hallway from Hygge & West, had the new carpet installed (again, thanks so much for the shit show Home Depot), and finally took on the daunting task of drilling through the kitchen back splash to hang some open shelving… oh, and we bought a wine fridge. Why? Because chilled rosé. All day, every day. Also Home Depot owed us some scrilla form the botched carpet install.

This was my first time installing wallpaper and it was easy as pie. It was not nearly as messy or difficult as expected. See below to the install process and final touches!

This specific brand of wallpaper comes unpasted. First you measure and cut your pieces, then apply paste to the the back with a standard paint roller. You fold the wallpaper in half and let the paste soak in.
After the paste has soaked in (10 minutes per piece), you apply to the wall smoothing out from the center to remove any air bubbles.
As you apply use a sponge to wipe up any extra paste that squeezes out.

img_5827And the final look after everything was complete:

The open shelves are pieces from the original cabinets we tore off this wall.

Now excuse us while we hibernate for a bit!




Life Man

You might think that this is just another lazy post, totally lacking house content updates. And if you were thinking that, you are indeed correct. The thing is living in a job site means your life is a work sandwich.

Let me break it down for you: I have a full time job, as does my husband. That means at least 40 hours of our weeks are devoted to a thing that pays us. The joy in doing a major remodel is the 40 hours of work week you get paid for is just the beginning. When you get home there is a much larger pile of work to attend to. A pile that is large, messy, overwhelming, and most of time a major pain in the ass. The pile is always there, always waiting. You work 40 hours a week at one job, and then you come home and keep on working. Since life has thrown us some hardballs in the past few months, we have given ourselves permission to not let the home work be all consuming. But have no fear… we have not given up.

We have officially completed two rooms in our house. Like, done done. My phone camera has broken… so instead you can gander at the the awesome backpacking trip I took last weekend. We hiked the Siouxon Creek trail and it was rad. Also, my garden is killing it. oH, last our amazing friends got married and their wedding had the most epic sunset view of Mt. Hood.



Japan Part 3 (Kyoto, Nara, Miyajima Island, and Kawachinagano)

We had seven full days to spend in Kyoto which could have easily occupied all of our time. After our stay in Kyoto we were headed to a small town outside of Osaka to wrap up in a traditional Ryokan for some relaxing after our non-top adventuring. When we booked our trip we opted to purchase a JR Pass which gives foreigners unlimited access to most of the country using the rail/bus/ferry systems. We decided to take a few day trips to get the most bang for our buck. Miyajima Island was the most epic, hands down.

Our recent highlights included Curtis getting attacked by a giant Cicada, me enjoying the best fresh oysters of my life/guzzling local craft brew, being treated like locals at our fave Tonkatsu joint (ok we ate there 3x, no shame in our game), and walking over a 100 miles through this crazy beautiful place with my person. I have laughed until it hurt everday. We both stepped out of our comfort zones, and to share that journey side by side is everything. It’s all I could have hoped for in this: “get it together people, time to move on journey”. Adventure pics below:

xo, k

Japan Part 2 (Kyoto)

We spent our first 4 days wandering Tokyo; a perfect introduction to Japan. It was beautiful to see such a vibrant city. Curtis and I loved that every street, even the tiny alleyways contained shops, businesses, and restaurants often times stacked 5 or 6 stories tall. It was a whirlwind exploring and then we were off on a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.

What Tokyo has in tall high rises and neon signs, Kyoto matches with old world grandiure. It’s a taste of what Japan was during a different time, with hundreds of temples and shrines. The culture feels different here, a bit more laid back. Here is a sampling of time so far:

xo, k




Japan Part 1 (Tokyo)

There is a story of loss in the book “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed. If you haven’t read it, please do so at your earliest convenience. I promise regardless of your life story something will resonate. You will feel. You will understand. You will cry.

The story that made me feel all the feels was about the loss of a child. There was a line that said, “this is a genuinely, mind-fuckingly, soul-crushingly, life-altering event.” It was truly a poetic description of my loss. My child was a person that never was. My daughter. She had a name; Scout. She was, and “was” is the word that will tell her tale. I can say with absolute certainty, this was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever experienced. It’s a loss and a reminder in life that we all lose people. Everyone you ever know will eventually die. And often those deaths happen while you still live on. This particular loss taught me two things: The first is about pain and what the human body is capable of handling. The second is about choices. I have learned that there are truly two states of existence. Living and death. My husband and I had a choice when we lost our daughter; We too could die or we could continue living… What better way to live then immerse ourselves in a new place, a new culture, a new world? And that is how our adventure to Japan begins.

We have spent the last 4 days exploring Tokyo. Japan is filled with tiny streets buzzing with activity and neon lights. Everything is clean and efficient. Here are a few photos:

xo, k


Dream Kitchen

After weeks on big project hiatus, there has been a major break-through in the Zinn home. For weeks we have been tackling tiny projects that eat up time and produce no visible results that elicit ohhh and ahhhs. These projects are hugely important but ultimately rather boring. With Curtis working consistent 60 hours weeks and my parents living an actual life that does not solely consistent of being my house slaves, the house projects have been limited to things that me and my pregnant bod can do on my own. Lots of painting, sanding, cleaning, and planting. The one Sunday Curtis had free time in months, and he built me raised beds so I could get my garden on… He is magical. Really.

But then last weekend the shiz went down. My parents brought over my glossy, dark, lovely wood countertops and they went in. It instantly made the kitchen look 100x nicer. And yet again, because I have some sort of sick mental problem that causes me to go insane… we started installing the subway backsplash that night…. I mean, why not? This will officially be the last tile project I take on for at least a few years. It isn’t hard, and I am a firm believer anyone could lay tile… but I have tiled my last rental house’s bathroom, our current kitchen floor, and now our backsplash. I am done. Below is the jump of our progress and I have some larger scale pictures of the original room state… The grandma house is starting to fade.

We started with a lovely plywood countertop we had been using for months.
The process of installing the countertops was actually quite quick. We slid the pieces together, glued them in place, and glued them down to their final resting place.
Once the countertops were in, my dad hung new backer board that we could adhere the backsplash to. The ugly paper was underneath the classy linoleum backsplash we tore off.
That night we started apply the tile. Since we used pre-spaced tile, this process was quick.
It took me a few days to finish the tile, things got a little slow on the second wall because I needed to cut 27 pieces to be about an inch tall… and turns out our cabinets are crooked, so they started at 1″ and slowly made their way to 2″.
Once the mortar had set, we started the uber fun process of grouting. If you have never done it before, please learn from my mistake. Wear gloves is you apply dark grout… it will stain your nails homeless for weeks.
The next morning we wiped the grout down with a dry cloth to remove the haze, and in a few days we will seal the grout! Curtis was so pleased with himself.
Please note extreme husband cuteness, so so cute.
And also note extreme dog cuteness while supervising extreme cute husband.

Here is a bigger look at before and after… it feels good to see such progress. FINALLY.

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It’s about to go down

The past weekends have been the type of work days where you kill it for hours, and then you look around and think, “what the french toast did I all today”? They aren’t big changes, so it isn’t fun and gratifying with a big reveal at the end. It is getting the yard together (goodbye grandma bushes and nasty smelling tree), patching the ceiling, painting cabinet trim, cleaning the rooms that have been filled with junk, (one of them now belongs to my unborn child, so I have to stop using it as a trashcan).

But next weekend is a BIG ONE. It is a project I have been waiting to finish for months. If all goes well it will be a huge reveal total transformation project. Next weekend we are installing our butcher block countertops, finalllllly. We have now had 4 unsuccessful weekends of installing them. The sealant we used has some of the worst death chemical smells, and apparently fetuses aren’t into chemical stank. So they have been transported between my parents garage and my house to measure, adjust, and trim. Then they go back to the garage for more stain and more sealant from hell. BUT, I think they are really going in this time. Once they are installed we can install the subway tile backsplash…. and believe it or not that makes the kitchen 85% done. We almost finished a project!?! Sweet jesus yes!!

In the mean time, Curtis spent a week getting one of the trash storage rooms whipped into shape to use as his office/mixing zone. He did the whole thing entirely by himself, and color me surprised… he did a great job. I secretly wish it was my personal office, I love it that much. He now his own little slice of personal space. A door, some cute nerd toys, and a room that is all his own. I am proud of what he managed to get done in such a short time.

See some photos below of our current house stage, cause it is going to look gloriously different in a week (fingers crossed).

Here lives Curtis’ man cave. How many scary monkey trinkets can you spot in the room?



The view from the beginning of our living room down to the kitchen.


Our dining zone!

IMG_3691Our finished cabinets with the farmhouse sink (it’s amazing, everyone should own one).



It’s been mighty quiet

It has been a second since our last house update. Things have been slowly moving along, but with my parents traveling quite a bit the last month our big projects have been put on hold. I have also turned into a 96 year old lady named Dorris who enjoys naps and prunes… more on that later. Here are some photos of what we have been doing since our last update.

IMG_3159First things first, I built this amazing shelf system and we finally have a place for our books, art, etc. It was the first big step that made our house feel like a home. I am attaching a parts list if anyone is interested, and the blog I used for inspiration. Constructing it was a snap, getting the pieces together was a pain in the ass.


Parts and tips:

We used 1×12 pine for the shelves, and Home Depot can trim them to whatever size length you need. I stained them with Minwax Walnut stain, and then sealed them. We measured where the pipes should go and how far the would stick out from the wall and then drilled holes for the boards to slip through with a 1 1/4″ drill bit.

Pipe list (everything was for 3/4 galvanized pipe):
– (8) Base Flanges
– (18) 3 way Tees
– (22) 90° Elbows
– (13) 12″ nipple (hehe)
– (1) 40″ nipple (they will need to cut this size and thread it for you)
– (4) 24″ nipple
– (18) 6″ nipple
– (8) 8″ nipple


We have also made some progress in the kitchen, and the biggest step was drying fitting our new Oak butcher block countertops. Yes the pictures are awful and sort of orange, but it was shot in a hurry. Hopefully these will be installed by the end of April, and then we can install the backsplash.


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