Join Me in the Living Room (along with the cats!)

The Living Room.

The first room we really remodeled in this house. After almost a year of strangely painted walls with an ugly stripe, a Popcorn ceiling with a water stain, no TV and a ripped up brown leather couch.

We rarely spent any time in here.

The idea for the living room came together pretty quickly; we knew we wanted a bookshelf wall, a picture wall, and the entire room to be painted white, like a canvas.

Of course we had a few trash ideas too.  Like no TV or hiding a small TV inside a cabinet on the bookshelf, or painting one wall orange.

And then there was the temporary freak out at IKEA when we last minute decided to get white bookshelves instead of black, had an existential crisis, then realized we were being silly and got the black ones like we originally planned. Typical IKEA trip.

Over the years the bookshelves became filled with collections of our favorite things. For me vintage cameras, for Steven, antique radios and space stuff.

The picture wall is a mixture of Steven’s drawings and my photographs. Plus a few old photos we found at antique stores.

Our IKEA couch was eventually ripped to shreds by the cats, so we replaced it with this one from World Market.  The cats quickly got to work shredding this one as well, and then I realized that my dumb self should have put a scratching pole nearby. As soon as I did that the couch scratching stopped! The scratching post lives next to the coffee table most of the time, and the cats spend so much of their day going crazy on it!  I have to buy a new one multiple times a year.. But better than buying new couches!

Our living room is now a nice peaceful, relaxing place, just like we hoped it would be.

Before and After shots are located HERE.  Click at your own risk.  That posts contains some cringey 2014 photo editing skills. And writing..

A New House Exterior

After living in this little house for six years, the exterior has finally been redone!

The house was lined with aluminum siding when we bought it, and everything was painted white except the sad looking shutters which were way too small for the windows. The paint on the siding was flaking off and the shutters were getting really faded.  One of the shutters had actually come partially unhinged and would bang on the side of the house during storms, like we were living in some sort of haunted house!

It took a long time to decide whether to paint the siding, restore the original wood, or buy new siding. Because the original wood was covered in lead paint, and we don’t really like the look of most vinyl sidings, we finally decided to just paint the aluminum siding. We decided on a light grey for the color after considering a variety of greens and teals.

After power washing off the old paint, the house looked like a tin can!

This picture shows how bad the old paint job was looking, and the spot where the siding was torn off to see what the original wood looked like.

The doors were painted mint green, and the flimsy old storm doors were replaced with sturdier ones in contrasting black.

The next step was to replace the windows. The windows were original to the house but not worth saving. Mold was growing on them, they were very hard to open and in the winter they let in so much cold air that sitting on the couch in front of the windows was like sitting in front of an open freezer.

However, we didn’t really like the look of generic replacement windows with the grids on the inside of the glass because they don’t show up very well and they look less authentic. We decided to go with the more pricey option of buying windows with exteriors grids, which look a lot closer to the type of windows that would have been original to the house. The windows we choose had black exterior grids to contrast with the house, and inside the house the grids are white.

The trim around the house was painted white, to make the grey color stand out.

The final step was to replace the porch that was falling apart.

I didn’t think the old porch looked that ugly until I compare it with the new one. The skinny columns were replaced with three big columns that have a little bit of decoration around the top and the railing is more robust and sturdy.

 It took most of the spring and summer to get it all done and schedule with the contractors. The most stressful part was getting the windows put in and having to move the cats around to different rooms, keeping them in crates so they wouldn’t escape.  I can hardly believe it is finally all done. We’ve been dreaming about re-doing the outside of the house ever since we decided to buy it so it’s nice to finally be proud of how our house looks. And I love having windows that actually work!

Weekly Journal

It’s time to bring back the blogging aspect of my blog!

The house is finally painted, the windows are replaced and the shutters are gone! It’s hard to believe the house finally looks like what we have been envisioning for all these years.

The cats did great during the remodel! The boys have a history of freaking out and turning against each other during times like this. But they kept their cool and were even pretty excited about the crates we got for them. They were crated because last time work was done on the house the workers opened the door to the room the cats were in, despite our warnings and the signs on the door that read “DO NOT OPEN, CATS INSIDE, and the cats nearly escaped for good!

We managed to take a break during the construction period and venture out to Asheville to see my favorite band Ghost. I’d never been to a concert before and never had much interest to ever go to one, but I couldn’t resist seeing these guys when they came to town. It was quite a spectacle  and as soon as it was over I wanted to see it again! I also randomly got chosen to go up on stage as a character in part of the show but because of a communication issue they had already chosen someone else. Boo!

The day after the concert  was spent exploring new places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A fun way to spend a Wednesday. 

One of my favorite weeks at work is the Regenerative Medicine Essentials course, where it’s a week of lectures, teaching workshops, free breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner.  It also means getting to explore these newly renovated buildings downtown. Listening to the interesting lectures reminds me I’m glad I ended up in this field of work.

And it’s always a busy day at work growing cells!

A Garden Theme

A bit of a theme has appeared in the garden this year..

My wildflower garden was suddenly a sea of yellow and purple. 

A bit of an unusual color combination, but I didn’t mind it!

The Allium bulbs that were planted last fall had sprouted up as fluffy purple spheres. 
And the lone foxglove from last spring had certainly multiplied.

It’s interesting to watch what color themes emerge from the garden. It’s always changing.

A Snow in December

A snow in December is rare around here. Especially in early December, before Christmas. 

When I looked at the weather forecast, and saw it was supposed to snow a week later, I certainly didn’t believe it.

But then, on that late Friday morning, as I stared out the window at work, towards the dark grey sky, snowflakes really did begin to fall.

And they kept falling. Nothing stuck at first, we didn’t expect it to. But as the day wore on, suddenly everything was covered in the fluffiest snow.

We all got to leave early on that Friday afternoon as the road quickly disappeared under a blanket of white.

And finally, the Christmas lights on our house looked complete. 

Everything looks so much more festive in the snow. I wish it stuck around longer.

The snow day was celebrated by making spicy bean chili. A tradition I started years ago.

I hope there are many more snow days to come this year.

Cat Bedroom/Laundry Room/Office Remodel

There was an addition put on to our house many years ago that originally acted as a hair salon run by one of the previous ladies who lived here. For us, it became a bedroom for the cats while we dreamed up ideas of what it would one day become. 

They cats need their own bedroom at night because otherwise they race around the house like maniacs, party under the bed and sit on my head, which is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. As much as I love the idea of cuddling with cats at while I sleep, these guys are just too psycho during the night!

This room was not pretty. With wood paneling floors, beat up stained walls and an ugly blue door, it was not a room we were excited to show off. I had dreams of it one day being home to not only our cats, but a washer and dryer, and maybe even a desk for my numerous hobbies.

So finally, at the beginning of this year, we began the process of remodeling this room. We painted the ceiling white, instead of that sickening shade of light beige, and covered the stained walls with light grey paint. 

 It took a while to decide on what to do with the floors, but we finally decided to paint them with high gloss dark grey oil paint. This was the worst part of the process because the cats had to stay out of this room for over a week while the paint dried. Which meant I did not sleep well for quite a while! 

Another tricky part of the process was the washer and dryer. The only hookups we had for such equipment was on the enclosed back porch, so we had to hire an electrician and a plumber to be able to install a washer and dryer in this room. During this process the cats stayed in our room with a sign on the door that said “Cats inside, do not open!”  But it got opened anyway and the cats nearly escaped for good!  When I got home I found both doors open to the house with the plumber inside, and only Cloud and Jeeves were accounted for!  Cloud was covered in red mud and the plumber said she ran outside and he had to catch her. I couldn’t find Chester anywhere so I thought he was gone, but then I found him hiding under the couch. Whew! 

Also, this was our first attempt on curtains and a rug for this room. We changed our minds about them almost immediately and gave them away. Haha. 

I dreamed up this washer/dryer cabinet design years ago and was so excited to see it come to life. After spending years having NO washer and dryer, and then having it on the back porch, I LOVE doing laundry now!  ( I still hate putting it away though!)

We traded out the old carpet cat tree that was falling apart, with some slick new modern cat furniture. I was worried they would miss their old cat tree and not like the new one, but they love it! The shelf under the window was at last minute decision and I’m glad we thought of it. The cats love the big space to lay out on and stare out the window, and I love the extra storage. 

When the painting was done it was finally time for the fun part of adding furniture!  We took a trip to IKEA and ended up stuffing our car so full we literally could not have bought one more tiny thing. We had a box down the middle of the car so we couldn’t see each other, and I was squished in my seat with my feet up on a box, holding a bag filled of stuff and a lamp on my lap the whole way home. 

  It was definitely the most stressful remodel we have done so far, due to the cats having to be displaced, and almost escaping! But I am so glad it is finally done and I’m so happy with how it turned out. It’s a room that once made me cringe to even walk in, and now I love hanging out in it. 

Around My Desk

I recently posted about the cat bedroom office laundry room Remodel, which happened in January. Here are some pictures I took the other day of my favorite corners of the room.

My miniature shelf. I love collecting tiny things, and am happy to finally have a place to display them in an organized way.

I found this piece of metal to display the resin magnets I made, that will one day all make it into my shop.

Since I am always curious how everyone’s drawers and cupboards are organized.. Here is a peek into mine!  Lets hope they stay this way!