January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
It's hard to believe that we've been in our house for over two years. It kind of feels like we just moved in, but memories of living elsewhere also feel so distant at this point.
Both the house, and the apartment that we had lived in before we bought ours had one thing in common – big kitchens with tons of storage! It was a luxury that's easy to take advantage. Then we moved into our house which originally had the teeny tiniest kitchen. It was oddly set up, but thankfully we were able to knock out a few walls that completely opened it up! It was great, but since we have so many projects we're working on with the house, the actual remodeling of the kitchen has been on the back burner. So when it comes to storage our kitchen has a total of one cabinet. It's the lovely built-in that's original to the kitchen, but the top half has glass doors, which means that our storage space for all of those not so pretty things that we all have in our kitchen, is basically nothing. Over the last few years I've learned some tricks to making a kitchen with no storage (or counter space!) work, that have really helped me from going crazy over the lack of hiding places.
ROLLING CARTS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Seriously, I love a cute little cart with wheels. Not only can you stick them in any little corner you might have, but I've really loved that I can roll them out of the way whenever we do any construction work in the kitchen and I don't have to worry about totally unloading everything to move it!
I have both a large utility cart, and this one I thrifted a while back both in my kitchen housing appliances, dry foods, and cleaning products. I also am totally smitten with the cart in the picture above that I bought from Demi-Brooke, that I've turned into my coffee cart! Each cart has a specific purpose and I try to keep them super organized to keep things from getting messy.
My favorite places to find carts are thrift stores (see this post for the before and after of mine) and garage sales. I also love places like Ikea and Target to find them cute, and at good prices (this one is a total steal, and this one is totally stealing my heart).
MAKE YOUR STORAGE DECORATIVE
If your tight on hidden storage space make whatever you need to store out on your counters (or carts) cute! I am obsessed with pretty glass storage containers. I keep almost all of my dry food goods in them. These are super easy to find at almost any thrift store for cheap, but if you're looking for matching ones, places like The Container Store and Home Goods are great places to find them too.
KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED
This may seem like I'm stating the obvious, but I can't stress how important it is for everything to have it's "own space" especially in tiny kitchens. When every square inch of storage is packed, you don't want to have to pull everything apart just to try to find your favorite spatula. Part of keeping things organized for me, has been going through my kitchen once every couple months and seeing what I really need handy. Do I need that specialty baking pan ready to grab, when I've only used it once in the last five years? Probably not. I always walk away with a new bag to donate, as well as a little box to put into long term storage in my basement.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REST OF YOUR HOME
When things are tight, expand! I was so happy once I brought my coffee cart into my dining room. Not only does it free up a lot of space in the kitchen for more important things, but it looks so cute! Even if we didn't have a dining room, I think a coffee cart would be cute in a living room or office. Think outside the box and take a look around to see if there's anything that's taking up space in that little kitchen of yours that could find a home in another part of your house. Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to experiment and see what works!
October 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
Even though our dining room has a long way to go, I think it's still one of the biggest transformations so far already, but that's simply because it was so overbearing to begin with. Here's what we saw on our first walk through…
Red on red on red on red on… you get the idea. We actually thought at first "oh, we'll just live with the dining room like that for a little while even though it is bad" but the first day we owned the house we were looking around and noticed some spots already peeling. Well, one thing led to another and it was completely stripped. Then we thought we'd just paint that whole room and be done with it. But of course, there were some things hiding in the wall we didn't expect, so without further ado, here's the not-so-pretty stuff that you see when you zoom out of that first photo…
Yep, those are live wires on either side of the flag that had been stuffed into the walls and covered up for who knows how many years. So we decided we'll just take things slow so that Frank can work on rewiring things without having to worry about messing up new paint. I am still really glad we stripped the walls. I am so much happer living with the bare plaster then with that wallpaper. We found an old flag in the shed and I just loved it, so I decided it's fun decoration for this in-between time since it was free and just required some tacks to keep it up. You work with what you got, right?
Oh! We also moved those french doors over to the small sunroom (directly across from the dining room). There were definitely a pair of the same doors over there originally and it just worked a lot better for us to have them there. We're still really hoping to find a matching pair so both rooms can have them.
Please also take note of the sweet job someone did on the trim. Apparently they thought that since there was a door there they could just completely skip painting it. Can't wait until it's all repainted:)
I'm a big list-maker so I thought I'd share our long-term plans of things to do to the room, and some things I've been dreaming lately…
-Finish new dining table (frank's been working on it this week!:)
-Paint walls a soft, light gray
-Paint trim + radiator
-Replace light fixture
-Find matching salvage french doors
I spotted this cocktail shaker in Target the other day and had to force myself to put it back! We don't really drink much, but it could totally be used to whip up some shaken iced teas, right? // I love slate and could totally see leaving this slate cheese board right on the table all the time just for serving // This little counter is supposed to be for a kitchen, but I think it'd make a beautiful bar/coffee cart // I can't wait to replace the light we have in our dining room – I'd love a big pendant like this! // How I don't already have a cake stand, I'm not sure, but I am so in love with milk glass and am dreaming of finding a gorgeous one like this in a thrift store someday
September 27, 2013 § 16 Comments
I'm so excited to show our little makeover we did on our tiny little half bath! When we first came through the house this room had a swan border, and the wainscoting was just plain dirty. Also the toilet seat was slightly scary looking, not too inviting for guests to be using! I'm really happy we were able to give this a quick little makeover and I am so happy with how it came out!
Here's the before….
This little bathroom isn't original to the house, but I was really glad they went with simple black and white tile for the floor. The first time I saw it it just screamed to me to go black and white all over! I also couldn't believe the adorble little window was completely covered up by a curtain. In order for someone to see into the bathroom from outside they'd need to put a lader right up to the side of the house, so I knew it was safe to totally ditch any sort of curtains.
When I told my mom I was going to paint the wainscotting black, I think she was a little nervous. It is a little dramatic in theory, but I think it ended up looking really classic. It's nice too because I can always switch out the art, or hand towels and accessories in the future to change things up if I want and it's no big deal.
Lets just talk for a second about my of my absolute favorite part of the bathroom now, this adorable light! I'm kind of obsessed. The bathroom didn't even have a working light before, so not only is it great to be able to, you know, use the bathroom at night, but this one is so gorgeous! The super sweet people at Lamps.com sent me it, and I knew it would be perfect for this little space. I've been pretty obsessed with industrial style lights for a while, and I love the balanace of vintage and industrial in it, and it isn't overwhelming for this space, which worried me with a lot of other lights. I also really love having something that's a little more unique, and not just the same-old ikea or home-depot lights, it feels just a little more special. We also would love to find a fun Edison Blulb or something for it, but we love how it looks with just a plain bulb too. I get a little giddy looking at it each time I go in the bathroom!
Me and Frank stopped in my favorite local antique store to search for a mirror. It turned out the perfect one was hanging out in there just waiting for us! I love old mirrors. Some people might be turned off by the little knicks and imperfections, but I like to think of it as a little character. Of course, while we were in there I fell in love with these horse paint-by-numbers! I know vintage paint-by-numbers are kind of a trendy now, but I had never really given them much thought until I saw these! Of course, they're horses, so I think that might be the biggest draw for me. I think they're exactly what this little space needed too – a little bit of color and fun to balanace out all the stark contrasts.
Of course, now seeing one room done I can't wait to get to work on the rest of the house. There's plenty of nessasary things we need to do before any of the other rooms get painted or anything. Important things like, you know, re-wiring, converting the heating system (just to gas! Don't worry, the radiators aren't going anywhere:), and lots and lots of spackling. We'll get there eventually though!
September 12, 2013 § 15 Comments
So I kind of went back and forth for a while over whether I wanted to share the whole interior of the house here on the blog. It's so far from "done". Honestly, anything even being close to done is a long way off, but that's why I decided, why not? These are all pictures from the house inspection, so it was still full of the previous owner's things, but I figured that you can still see the charm and I'll share a little about our "vision" and our plans for the future! So, I'll warn ya – this is gunna be a long one.
My nephew tells people that I live in "the seven dwarfs house" and I kind of feel like we do! The house was built in 1931 and the front door was imported from England for it. Of course, some of the sills and other wood-work on the front are damaged and will need to be replaced, but that also means we'll get to do some re-painting! We want to change all that cranberry colored trim to black (like this!), and possibly strip the door down and refinish it, or if that doesnt work I may just paint it a little bit deeper red.
Sorry for the odd angle, but it's a small space that was packed with stuff! On the left is the front door, to the left of that is our half bath, and where I'm standing for this photo is the door to the living room, just to give you a better idea of how it's set up. We only have a bench in there now which makes it feel so much bigger! I plan on painting all the walls white and giving that little radiator a bit of black paint. We also have some antique hooks we got from an old farm house that we need to hang up.
THE HALF BATH.
Yep, that's me in the mirror, I know that's a big no-no, but I think swan borders and hot pink toilet cozies are too, so whatever. This little space is already looking so different! Right now I'm working on a mini-makeover for it that will be good for a while. In the long run we'd actually like to completely re-do this little space. The toilet is in the oddest spot where you always hit your knees when you sit down, so eventually we'll be moving that over, redoing the tile and replacing the wainscoting (the stuff that's there was pretty mistreated over the years, and isn't even original to the house), but it'll be so much better even with just the little work I've been putting into it so far.
Keep your eyes out for the mini-makeover on the blog next week:)
THE LIVING ROOM.
The first photo is taken from the entryway and the second is the exact oposite of the room. To the left of the fire place is the "small sunroom" and next to the stairs is the dining room. Obviously, I was insanely in love as soon as I saw the wood beams, not to mention, the fireplace and the adorable staircase. I can't wait to paint this room a nice bright white with some handsome black radiators (like this!). This room gets the least amount of natural sunlight in the house, so I feel like white walls will make it feel so much happier!
THE SMALL OFFICE/SUNROOM.
This little space is right off the living room. Right now it's housing most of the dining room furniture, but I plan on using it as a little office. It gets awesome natural light so I'm thinking I can do a more dramatic color on the walls, something like a dark blue with bright white trim (maybe like this?). I'd love to eventually get a cute little couch, or maybe just a big comfy chair in here too for reading:)
THE DINING ROOM.
Oh the wallpaper. I started peeling some of that wallpaper off the day we closed, and by the end of the weekend it was gone! Now you can really appreciate those gorgeous french doors on either side of the room (the ones in the last photo lead to the living room, and the ones in the first and second go straight outside). I'm thinking light grey walls with white trim and a few black accents (kind of like this, but with some black thrown in there). We're waiting to paint though since we discovered some bad wiring that was hiding in the walls (eek!), but we'll get there eventually.
One of my favorite parts of the whole house is that gorgeous original built-in cabinet! I seriously love it. That's good though, because most of the rest of the kitchen leaves a lot of be wanting. There's a weird little alcove to the left of the stove that connects it to the dining room and where the fridge is shoved. We've already been given the okay to take out that wall, so eventually the kitchen will be a lot roomier and more workable. We already tore out the old flooring and took out the cabinet around the sink (see some pictures here!) and it feels so much better already! It's definitely one of the bigger projects we have to do on the house but I think it'll be a nice little spot when we're done.
THE BIG SUNROOM.
This room is right off the kitchen and overlooks the whole backyard which makes it pretty darn awesome! Right now it's sort of the catch-all for all the stuff that we haven't found a space for yet, but eventually it'll be a game room.
THE GUEST ROOM.
The smallest of the three bedrooms, but it's still plenty of room for a twin bed and a little dresser and maybe a small desk or something too. Of course, it's another room that's just holding homeless things for us right now, but since we don't have a bed to put in there anyway it's no big deal. I'd love to find an old iron bedframe (like this!) for it. I haven't even thought about paint colors or anything for it since it'll probably be one of the last rooms we touch.
THE CRAFT ROOM/FUTURE BATHROOM?
For a while this is going to be my little craft room! It's a nice little spot. The current full bathoom (which I don't have pictures of, sorry!) is right next to this room and it's very small, and very akward, and very much in need of a lot of love whether we leave it there or not. We'd love to eventually turn this into a nice big bathroom, turn the bathroom into a laundry room, and also finish the basement and add a bedroom down there to compensate for the loss of this one. That's like… wayyy down the line. For now, it's my craft room. Hopefully soon that wallpaper will go bye-bye!
THE MASTER BEDROOM.
Oh the wallpaper. It's gotta go. This room actually gets pretty good sunlight during the day, but the woman who owned it before kept all the blinds closed tight. The plan is to ditch the wallpaper and probably do a very light grey on the walls. Did I mention I have a walk in closet? Yes! I couldn't believe it when we walked through, but there is one! Right now it's just two long bars on either side with shelves above, but we'd love to re-do it so that there's shoe shelves and different height bars and maybe some drawers.
I actually love our backyard. Or at least the potential of it. The woman who lived here before's husband died a few years ago, so everything in the backyard kind of took over. The ivy is out of control and has already tried to climb into the house, and it's killed some trees, so it all needs to go. Frank is already in the process of clearing a lot of the huge overgrown weeds and bushes that are past the fence, and we can actually see the little stream that runs down there now! We have a nice size brick patio that I can't wait to get cleaned up so we can use it (I'm already dreaming of some thing like this!).
As you can see, we've got a lot of work ahead of us! We're loving it so far though. Some days I wish we could just push through and get it all done in one day, but others I love taking our time and going room by room. So yes, there will be plenty of "after" pictures to come:)
August 22, 2013 § 4 Comments
Meet our kitchen! I snapped this picture the day we went through for inspections. It definitely has it's goods and bads. It currently has no counter space, or a dishwasher, and has one of the most akward little "pantry" type of nooks, but it also has an amazing sink and gorgeous built in cabinet that are both original. We've got big plans for this place. Eventually that akward "pantry" will be gone and we'll be able to add some counters and cabinets and the floors will be completely refinished.
Of course within the first few hours of owning the house we had to satiate our curiosity about what was under those linoleum floors. The entire rest of the house is original wood floors so we were confident they were hiding under there too.
Well, a layer of linoleum, a layer of plywood, another layer of linoleum and a tick coat of glue later and we had our hardwood!
(it still needed a few more good cleanings in this picture)
We also realized that the cabinet surrounding the sink was completely unnecessary to actually keeping up the sink, and the original sink legs were just hanging out under there completely unappreciated!
Oh, I love it. Why would you hide those pretty little legs anyway? And, of course, we also weren't completely surprised to find that all that flooring was covering up some water damage under the sink…
Nice, right? It's actually good we found it, since it certainly wasn't going to get any better by just sitting under all that linoleum. My amazing husband has already cut out al the damaged boards and is in the process of patching it in with some wood floors he was able to salvage from an old house that's about to be torn down. Once we refinish the floors we're pretty confident you won't really be able to tell we had to patch them in, or at least that's our hope!
So… yeah. Maybe it looks a little worse. But don't they say that it has to look worse before it looks better? I'm already sure that when we're completely done it'll be one of my favorite rooms:)