Our Ugly House

Month: January 2016

I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.

Life is a whirlwind; a tricky balancing act that sometimes feels like a bad circus. As our last year wrapped up, I hoped and dreamed for more time. More time to see my friends, more time to work on the house, more time to practice creating, more time with my husband, more time to sleep, more time to play with my dog, more time to spend adventuring. But as life would have it, there is no time… or all the time in the world, depending on how you look at it. My focus this year is balance, and learning the art of how to say no. Instead of being streched thin and wishing for more time, I hope to have more quality with the time I have. Being an alpha female has many perks, and living in the fast lane is one of them. I have lived my life maximizing every moment, from down time to crunch time. I am always on the go, and lead a crazy social life. My mom gently laughs when we talk each day. I give her the play by play on how every second of my week is filled with some activity, and then melt into a pile or worn out, overwhelmed mush. She laughs with that knowing laugh, the laugh that says “you know you should stop doing everything, it’s too much… but we both know you won’t”.

Slowly I am trying to practice my life balance. I am trying to listen to my body when it begins to collapse. If I say “no” to you, it’s not because I don’t want to. Believe me, when I say “no” my body has a visceral reaction and I want to scream “yes”! Know that my “no”, is in hopes of a more quality me when I get to the “yes”. I have to be the bossy one, so that I can be the boss. No one is going to take care of this shit but me. (I am channeling my inner Beyoncé so freaking hard).

It is no secret that our house has truly been a huge time sucker. I am throwing up some side by sides to see the before and after progress. We are far from done (like years from done), but we have done work in the past 4 months. Here we go:

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xo,
k

 

 

 

Cabinets be sexy!

It took us a total of 3 weeks to complete, but we finally got our cabinet remodel finished. My one regret is that we opted to hand paint them instead of going the profesh route and spraying them. When the sun shines in our windows I see little imperfections that drive me bonkers, but overall they are a major upgrade from the fugly crap we started with.

Our story continues from my parents garage. As you might recall I had spent a day sanding, filling, and priming our updated doors. Once they were dry and the death smell had vanished, I brought them home to paint.
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Again, my total obsession with brass led me to buying brass pulls. (Brass and Navy/Grey, come on… it’s like they were meant to be). I got the pulls from Amerock.
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The best part of this tale was a little mishap from my sweet, sweet husband. We drilled holes for the pulls, and then reattached the doors to the cabinets. Unfortunately for us, we did not note which hinges went with each door. This typically wouldn’t matter, but the jackwod that hung them originally did not hang them straight and evenly spaced. This meant when we rehung them, most of the doors wouldn’t close. I cursed, cried, decided to handle this a different day, and went to bed.

Curtis, my darling Curtis decided to tackle this problem on his own while I was at work. The solution seemed simple enough: sand the outer edges down until the doors would close. He began sanding the doors while they were hung and wood dust began to fly everywhere. Thinking dust behaves similar to smoke, he opened all the windows, kicked on the heater, and turned on a giant fan to help remove the dust. Sadly, the dust did not fly out the window as smoke might. Instead it flew around my entire house, I mean MY ENTIRE HOUSE. I arrived home to what I can only describe as a dust storm you might expect to see at Burning Man. I wish I had the sense to take pictures, but I was so taken aback I think I went in the bathroom and started crying. See below for a few shots of what we have lovely named dust-ageddon. I did some vacuuming and did a finger test to show the layer of white dust that covered everything we own.
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After a few days of mopping/vacuuming/repeat the dust has mostly been removed. The good news? Our cabinet doors close effortlessly and they look pretty lovely. Ta da!
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xo,
k

Ikea Mid Century Modern Credenza Hack

IMG_2750I have been on the hunt for a mid century credenza since we moved into the new house. I dreamed of having a monster size piece with warm teak and lovely vintage lines… Alas, that dream piece of furniture costs more than I bring in with a single paycheck. My only option is win the lottery, or craft one myself. It appears some jerks won the lottery, so it was time to get crafty.

I have scoured the internet in search of a hack that would save me some money but still look classy af. Pinterest proved yet again to be a source of inspiration, and with my dad’s help we came up with a lovely hack. I bring ideas, he brings solutions… we are the dream team of crafts ladies and gents. Check out the inspiration:

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And here is the play by play on how I made mine:

I bought this tv cabinet from Ikea for $279. I liked the overall structure but the legs are pretty awful and I the all white body was a little stark for my taste. I purchased a roll of Walnut veneer from Crosscut Hardwoods for $62.
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We removed the drawer and cabinet doors and roughed them up with a 220 grit sandpaper to help the veneer adhere. While I sanded, my dad began trimming the veneer to fit each surface.
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While my Dad prepped the veneer, I got the new legs ready by adding furniture screws, and staining them to a nice dark walnut color.
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Look at my cute fam in the background.

We peeled off the backing and applied the veneer to each of the surfaces using a rolling pin to ensure there were no bubbles. My dad made a small cut with a utility knife on each corner so we could fold the veneer around each edge.
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Next, we did a light sand around the edges to remove any splintered wood bits.
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We wiped down the doors to remove any dust, and applied a few coats of Wipe-On Poly. The Walnut suddenly went from grey-ish blah color to a deep, rich tone.
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While the poly cured my dad used a metal cutting blade to saw off the original legs. He then drilled holes for the new legs and we screwed those suckers in.
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Once the poly was dry we slid the drawer back in, and screwed in the doors. The new piece looks so much better than I could have expected. Swoon… another crazy project down.
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IMG_2787xo,
k

 

 

Midnight Ink and my fancy new ecobee3

I spent my holiday break making some kitchen progress, and it finally feels like things are happening. First things first, I installed our fancy new ecobee3 smart thermostat. I know it does some cool stuff, but frankly I picked it because I thought it looked sleeker than it’s competitor The Nest. Yes, I had to bust open my furnace wiring and do some re-wiring. Yes, it was a little scary. Truth be told it wasn’t rocket science and now my house is smart as f. This goes on the list of another DIY anyone can do, just follow the instructions and don’t get freaked out. If you need some more help I found this video to be extremely useful.

The rest of my break was spent working on our very ugly 70’s cabinets. I am trying to be budget friendly, so I pretty much always take the cheap route. That means instead of replacing, I gave them a facelift. This is still in the process of being finished, but you can start to see the end vision here and it looks pretty good. The final look will include white subway tile backsplash, and some butcher block counters. It’s no secret that I am having a love affair with brass right now (sorry Curtis), so expect to see some of those elements dusted throughout. Check out the images below for my inspiration.

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So without further without further adieu the process:IMG_2601
First we removed the old oak doors and all the hardware. They were covered in 20+ years of tasty greasy grime, so they got a good scrub with some vinegar/water. The upside of cleaning with vinegar: your house smells like a pickle. Yay!

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I have read online that you do not need to sand cabinets and can use a variety of primers to avoid this step. To be frank, I am sick and tired of working on my house… and the thought of having to do ANYTHING over again sounds like my own personal version of hell. Long story short, I sanded just to be safe.

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I think shaker style cabinets look classy, so I had the bright idea to trim out my doors. Home Depot has become my new enemy as I spend a few days I week combing it’s isles for some absurd item. I wasn’t able to find the lumber I was hoping for, so I went with some door trim. We chopped it up, then slapped them on with glue and a nail gun.

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The weather has been pretty frigid in Portland, so my parents were kind enough to lend me their garage for hole filling and priming (note: Oil primer smells like chemical death, use in a well ventilated space or get real high… up to you) ((But seriously, don’t do that, it’s bad for your brain stupid)).

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The nice people at Miller Paint Co. recommended cover stain primer and tinted it to a light gray since the next coat will be dark (like my black soul after working on this ugly house for so freaking long).

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The cabinet doors needed a few days to cure so I went home and took on the massive undertaking of painting cabinet interiors and frames. Thanks friend Molly for joining me while drinking beer and listening to my tales of Justin Bieber love dreams. I am not even afraid to say it… his new album turned me into a belieber. I’ve got no shame in my game.

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It is finally starting to look like a new space. I love the dark and contrasting brass. Dreamy. Getting closer guys… getting a little closer.

xo,
k