Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Office

The very first computer we got was given to us by someone (?) and it was huge! We really did not have a clue what to do with it at all. I remember putting a floppy disk with family history info in the drive and seeing names of my family. There was no program on the computer to make this info useful, but I felt great success!

I think we mostly used it to play solitaire.

After that not particularly useful computer we bought our fist desk top. We bought a few programs and games for the kids, learned how to use email and moved into the digital age.

That computer started in the basement, but we soon realized that thing needed to be close to where the action was. It moved into our kitchen on our cool new IKEA computer desk.

Fast forward a smidge, we upgraded our system and reworked our little pantry into a home office. It was terrific! It was a pretty small kitchen, so it was just dandy to have that space back.

And then we moved to the big house. Again, we had a dreamy pantry and we knew immediately it would be our little office.

Hero worked in the outlets and the phone line and the pull-out shelf. It was awesome to just close the door on that little set up.

Oh, and we used the upper shelves for kitchen stuff. Multi-tasking at its best.

Moving again brought a little dilemma to our computing situation. We had no pantry. Um, you mean the computer has to sit out? 

What now?

This was the temporary solution. Antique desk from my Great Grandma Sucy, tower on the side with the internet router balanced on top, and the printer over on a roll-around cart. Wires hanging out all over and dust bunnies collecting all in there with the giant speaker in the foot space.


So, Hero and I got to work. 

Usually when I say "we" I really mean "he". But not this time - I was totally in on it! Of course, he went and purchased all the materials, made all the cuts, and nailed and screwed everything together.
But I helped with the design (so did Hero), held the boards while they were being cut (by Hero), held things in place while Hero attached everything, and was a huge support for him concerning little details. 

I also brought Hero ice water.

Yes, that is Hero holding something there, but I was busy photographing. He said he could handle it on his own.

Through the cord access opening in the lower part.

I did not need to hold anything here.

Look at that! It is awesome! We were done with the body of the "office". Doors were next, but we felt we could get this baby up and running soon!

Here is the part that I did all by myself. I filled holes and painted and stained. And I waited for a long time to let it cure so it would be good and dry.

That was about one day.

Hero and I loaded it up, got all the wires under control, and edited all the junk out of the desk drawers and kept only the essentials close at hand.

We are in love!

But wait, what about the doors?

Um, we ditched them.

The tower stuck out a little more on the bottom that we thought it would (Really we measured! We just thought we would turn it the other way.) I have always adored those cute little curtains used in place of doors under sinks but never found them very practical. This was my chance! I made this little cutie to slide back and forth as needed (to access the tower or the printer) and it works great. 

And I got that "little skirt under the sink" thing out of my system. 


The upper doors got nixed when we loaded the upper shelves and decided it looked pretty great. 

(We are so easy.)

See those potato chip tins to the left? They hold blank CDs and DVDs and other e stuff. I knew those things would come in handy. 

I have about seven more. 

What kind of person ends up with a potato chip tin collection?

Anyway, we found a good home for the antique desk. My aunt came to get it and claimed it would be a perfect sewing table. I am so glad it has a loving home.

Would have been funny if she were going to use it for her office.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Down the Drain

In the continuing DIY story of the small house, this post is not the prettiest. There may not be any motivating words or photos for you here either. 
Unless you want a kitchen floor like ours. There are some great shots of that.
The small house was built in 1958. The standard for plumbing material was galvanized steel. Galvanizing involves coating the steel with zinc to prevent the steel from rusting. It should last a long time and it is pretty cheap to use.
But it does not last forever. And it certainly did not last until 2012 when we bought a bunch of it with our house.
Looking at different options for replacing this stuff, Hero and I decided to not do it ourselves. Very few times in our lives we have hired out home projects. It felt a little strange. But as Hero said, he would rather work a few hours overtime than mess with the plumbing. 
We choose to use PEX plumbing. It is a flexible plastic tubing that requires less joint fittings, is corrosion resistant and pretty inexpensive.
We were especially pleased about the "corrosion resistant" part.
Wonder why.

See that tiny hole at the end of the pipe? As you can imagine, not much water pressure in this house.

And a close up. 
This was what our water was flowing though. I try to be positive about it though. Our iron levels must have been great. And our immunity boosted way up.

Who knew this is what was lurking inside all those cozy pipes?

Here is what we have now. 
Clean. New. Clean. Lovely. Clean. Done.
And clean.

p.s. Love the kitchen floor? If you are interested, we can give you a call when we rip it out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Day

Liam said to me, "I like how you change the pillows every couple of years in the living room." 
He noticed? What a good boy.
The big house had all earth colors, and I could hardly wait to get my hands on some gray paint for the small house. It has been up for a while and I LOVE it! We got a new sofa and chair, with white slip covers and I have been changing out the pillow covers to work with the new look. I had all but one done, and I just got the inspiration for that last week.

I love text! 
I found some great fonts to download and got to work on the words. I liked the simple message of this quote I found on the web. Gets right to the point.

I slapped it up on the window, arranged it and admired it. Liam thought it was pretty genius.

I taped the pillow cover fabric up right over it and traced it. Super easy, and pretty low tech.

I picked up this awesome acrylic paint pen and I am in love. It is so easy to work with! The look of paint (which it is) but the ease of a pen. I will definitely be using them more often!

Here it is in all it's glory - I am really pleased with the way it turned out!
And now all the pillows are done.
I can rest.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Small House

Here it is:

We have so many things we want to do with this little cutie.

A few hours after closing the deal, we emptied it of leftover "decor" - like a poster print of a daisy, a humongous and very heavy shelf, fake flowers, window valances and a clock or two. We also moved out a few monster storage things in the basement.

Then we got to work on the floors. Lots of past it's prime carpet (two layers in one room) and some laminate flooring were hiding the original hardwood floors.

Kitchen floor into the living room. At least they were clean.

I think the padding was red, not the carpet. Oh, that would have been bad.

Liam working hard. That is his room in front of him. That is the laminate floor that Hero pulled out.

The hallway. Colin's room to the left with that snazzy blue carpet. Our room at the end behind him.

From the bathroom, down the hallway. That is blue tile in the bathroom. There is a lot of blue in the bathroom.

Hero taking a break. Or maybe getting those boys to work harder. (Probably not - They worked so hard!)

Inside that box is the collection of staples and nails.

Our room. This carpet was actually cleaned recently. Ugh.

From the living room, looking into the hallway. 

Hero had to scrape up some vinyl flooring in front of the door. What a mess that was.

 Making progress.

Colin's blue closet door. So many treasures here!

The living room.

After pulling out two thousand nails and staples, the floors were ready for the next step:

And then more sanding.
And then finish sanding.
And then cleaning.
And then not staining them.
And then sealing them.
And then waiting for them to cure. (Really, the hardest part!)

Sanding. I think we took off about an inch.

See those marks below? It says "Murphy" in reverse. We found this in the hallway under the pad and carpet. We think when Hero's parents had the house carpeted back in the sixties, their name was written on the pad, and it transferred to the floor. How cool is that?

We had suggestions to keep the "Murphy", but really, that was not going to work. See it right by Hero's left foot? Yeah, that had to be sanded, too.

Here is the end result. Lovely! (Still need to get the quarter round moldings, but we are so happy!)

While we were waiting for the floors to be strong enough to handle traffic and furniture, I painted the insides of all the closets - All five of them.

After becoming so intimate with them while doing the floors, I realized that I had a golden opportunity to knock those out without having to empty them, since they were already empty. Never mind that I was pretty whipped after staying up late to work on floors and getting up early to work. But I am so happy I took advantage of the moment! They looked a million times better - And ready for the Murphys!

After that marathon week, we were ready to rest, but there was no time for that. We moved all we owned in the world to our new address the next day (the day we became hoarder look-alikes).

But the next day...

was Sunday - The day to rest.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

moving day - hoarders

What happens when you move all your belongings from a 2100 sq ft home to a 1000 sq ft home?
You give the impression that you have become hoarders.
Like this:

I stood outside the house directing our awesome friends that helped us move. Lots of our things went downstairs. We thought we had done pretty good moving some things ahead of time and stacking them neatly, but after many, many times saying, "downstairs" to our movers, any sense of organization went out the window.

Let's add this to the mix - Brenden is staying with us for a few months (not in the original plan), so his belongings are scattered about. And Alex and Jett were visiting from Idaho, so they also needed some space. Crazy!

As we knew we needed to renovate our kitchen, lots of extra kitchen stuff ended up in the basement, along with all decor and accessories for the entire house. Add that to the normal basement things - book shelves (and boxes of books), crafty stuff, furniture and extra furniture, trunks and a ping pong table -  things got out of control fast!

Um, what can I say?

Here is the laundry room / food storage / exercise area of the basement after Alex, Lauren and David emptied the 492 boxes of food back onto the shelves. It was actually about as bad as the other side of the basement not long before this photo. They escaped the moving chaos and got some organizing therapy in. What a huge help!

From the laundry room looking back to the other side of the storage area. In the back is a nice big closet, filled with buckets of wheat on the left side and home improvement supplies on the right. 

Things could not stay like this for long. We started emptying boxes onto shelves, editing out furniture and home decor stuff that was not staying and organizing what was left, and have made some huge improvements. That always feels good. 

Trying to shake that "hoarder" identity!