Friday, June 3, 2011

Style Illuminated

First let me just say that I never win anything. Ever. At my last full-time job we had an annual holiday party where everyone was supposed to win something- even the floral centerpieces were up for grabs. And somehow, I still didn't win anything. That  being said, I couldn't be more excited about the fact that I am a semi-finalist in a contest being held by Lamps Plus to find a name for their design blog. My idea was to call it Style Illuminated, and is one of five choices to vote on from now until June 8th. So, my darling followers, can I ask a favor? Head on over to Their Facebook page and vote for "Style Illuminated" to win! And tell your friends to vote for me too!!! Pretty Please!

The prize is a $250 shopping spree on their website. And here's an unsolicited plug for them (seriously, it's not like it will help me win)- they. Have. Gorgeous. Lighting. And furniture. And accessories. AND their prices are reasonable, too! We recently replaced our old, decrepit, 80s-not-in-a-good-way kitchen island light with an amazing (and reasonably priced) purchase from them (pictured below)...which is how I found about about their contest!

Please help a gal on a budget win this one, okay? Then I can replace the scary rusted clanky ceiling fans on our back deck! 


Sweet Home

PS- and after you vote, do me a favor and tell me which blog name is in the lead? It only shows that info right after you vote, and the suspense is killing me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Shortly after our last remodeling adventure there was a small kitchen mishap. I was cleaning up in the basement when all of a sudden I heard a "drip, drip" sound. I quickly discovered that it was coming from the general direction of the ceiling on the side of the basement where Mr. SweetHome parks his hoo-ride. We tried turning off the water to everything we could think of in that location, but no luck. So, after a phone call to the plumber and a wait of about three days (as this was immediately after all the tornadoes in our area, of course) he came by and within five minutes he determined that there was a leak in the waste plumbing. Eeeeeyeeeew. Even grosser? Said leak was caused by some bonehead who decided that when he was hanging the pantry shelves that, miraculously, there must be two studs about 4 inches apart. Yeah...well, that second stud? PVC waste pipe. The leak wasn't apparent before now because the screws had finally corroded enough that water was just now steadily dripping out. Unfortunately not enough to make any damage or telltale signs that we would have caught on the inspection, but enough that the drywall around the pipe was a soft mildewy mess. This also caused my husband to exclaim loudly and multiple times, "that's our $hit, Focker!" If you haven't seen that movie, I can't even begin to explain the parallel.  

Here it is. The hole. Also you can see the sweet wire shelves that ran across the entire length of the pantry. You could fit a lot of stuff in the pantry, but organizing and making it look nice? Not so much. There is a reason that grocery stores (and sane people) don't use these. Nothing stands up the right way and it is a waking nightmare for those of us who are OCD about organization.
A full-length shot. So you can appreciate the entire vista. Also, this is only half of the pantry space. In total it's about ten feet long with double french doors. I didn't take any pics of the kitchen once we got the pantry cleaned out because even I have my limits. Suffice to say that it, too, was awful beyond imagining. Piles of cereal boxes, canned goods and dog food everywhere. Of course Little Boo loved it, and pretty much spent a long weekend traipsing into and out of the kitchen with a box or bag of whatever he felt like munching on.

So once we realized that neither our home warranty or homeowner's insurance was going to pay for the drywall replacement and shelving replacement, I went into designer mode. I had wanted to re-do the pantry, but it was way down on the list. At least, it had been until we had a hole in our wall and Frosted Flakes balanced on top of the coffee machine. But before design we had to demo. Mr. SH and I knocked out 150 square feet of drywall while J-Bird was at school and Little Boo was down for his afternoon nap. Other that working out, it was probably my most productive naptime ever.
Oh, and I couldn't resist- especially since we have had more than our fair share of impromptu remodeling and repair lately, heh heh heh:
But finally the demo was done and it was time to replace the walls we tore down. I may have mentioned in the past that the Mister, wonderful as he is, is just not the handiest of fellows. Luckily, my BFF's hubby is very much so, and arrived at our house bright and early on Saturday morning with all his power tools and a promise that we would be ready to paint and install the pantry system by Sunday night. And we were! His only request? Homemade risotto, a polish and wax of his darling bride's Mom-mobile, and the occasional wine break (he's not much of a beer drinker, but then again, neither am I). I was only too happy to oblige with the risotto and vino, and the Mister, who is quite handy when it comes to car maintenance and detailing, took care of the rest.
Too bad all our contractors don't work this way!
Anyhoo, we got the final sanding and mudding done on Sunday morning and spent the afternoon sunning ourselves at the pool with the kiddos. Sunday evening and into the night we primed and painted, and by Monday afternoon the pantry system was up.
 Here's one side all finished and stocked.
And here is the other side. I need to add some shelves to the rest of that wall space, but was thinking about wine storage or something like it. Not sure yet. But the deep freeze fits perfectly in the space and I am looking forward to having it in the kitchen- so much easier than tromping up and down the basement steps to get hamburger meat all the time.

And in case you were wondering we did paint the pantry in the same green that we used on the laundry room. It is such a fun and happy color and I think the space really pops with the green background.

Phew! I am pooped after all of our remodeling adventures as of late. Hopefully this will be it for a while...



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Laundry Love

I am one of those people who ooh and aah over the adorable utility/mudroom/laundry makeovers that are all over the web and design mags. I always imagine those rooms belonging to some adorable mom with perfect nails who simply laughs and pooh-poohs the wet smelly dog, muddy kids, and piles of schoolbags and stinky soccer cleats, for she posesseth the most glorious and lovely space in which to handle the mess and clutter. Not me. Here's what I'm working with:
Builder beige walls, scary old washer and dryer, yellowed, scuffed linoleum, and an oh-so-styish roll-up shade, complete with fringe. And, yes, those are overflowingly full laundry baskets and clean stuff piled on that beaut of a clothes dryer. Ain't no shame in my game, people. Go ahead. Drink it in. Lucky for me the laundry room has a door on it.

Anyhoo, rewind to a few weeks ago when as usual I was procrastinating on doing the laundry when the dryer, which takes two cycles to dry clothes on a good day, just completely up and died on me. Considering that my parents bought it when I was in braces and zip-ankle Guess jeans, and then passed it to me after college, I figured it likely wasn't worth calling the repair man. It had a long, hard life, and besides, I was certain that some kind soul would gladly take it off my hands if I posted it and it's prettier friend the washer on Le List de Craig.

Not 24 hours later, a jolly fella who said he could fix it up and re-sell the pair gladly took it off our hands. But what to do with the empty space before my new schwoopy high efficiency friends showed up? Well, the moolah I made off of the old W/D carcasses was more than enough to change out lighting. flooring, and paint. So it was off to the home store I went!

A quick stop at Old Time Pottery (on the way to the home store) was unexpectedly fruitful. Dwell Studio fabrics for $4/yd!!! I had no idea what I was going to do yet with the laundry room, but when I found these fabrics, I was inspired. A while back I had read a great post by Centsational Girl about making a fixed flat roman shade (you can read her post here) and since I already had the window hardware and a shade I could repurpose, it was actually a little easier than hers. Also, I used Sulky spray fabric adhesive to attach my fabric to the backer, which I highly recommend. Sulky isn't permanent, but once everything's sewn it doesn't matter. So, here's the shade, at about 2 AM on Saturday of Easter weekend when I had finally finished it:

I then went to the paint store and took a piece of the green ribbon and green and white fabric with me. Good thing I did, too, because while the paint dude mixed up a custom sample I looked at paint chips and couldn't find any that were close! I have to admit, I was skeptical about the color, both in the can and swiped on a card. But, paint dude said that if I got home and put it on the wall and hated it, he'd re-do it free of charge. Here's how it turned out:
It's a happy green, no? Oh, yeah, you can also see the new floor in that shot. It's predominantly a coppery brown, but has green and grey in it, so I think it turned out pretty good. Since the switchplates had to come down anyway I spray painted them a dark bronze with a can of RustOleum. Some more shots of the finished space:

I collect aprons, and these are some of my favies. It started out as a joke, because although I love to cook, I certainly am no Donna Reed. But I do love the fabrics and colors- and they remind me of my Grandmere, who DID cook in heels and was always tres chic.

Last but not least, a pic of my new high efficency friends. Note that I already tested their limits by stuffing a queen-sized down blanket into the washer to check out the steam clean function, then into the dryer to see if it would really get the job done (you can see it tumbling in the dryer in this shot). Suffice to say, I am not disappointed!  Did I mention that they chime a happy little tune to let you know when the cycle is done? No more "BLAAAAAAAAAT!" at 11 pm when I'm catching up on my DVR shows. It's a whole new world, laundry-wise.

The hidden benefit of waiting forever to purchase a new set is that the price has come down significantly, and there's a lot more info out there on reliability, true repair costs, etc. I ordered this set from an appliance dealer in Denver, and not only did they have the best price anywhere, but delivery was free and fast! Email me if you're in the market and I'll happily pass on their info. 

Anyway, that's all for now. I think I hear the dulcet tones of my dryer calling me from the laundry room...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Well, hello there stranger!

The funny thing about starting a blog is that, like most new relationships, you start out wanting to spend all your time on it. Slowly but surely however, real life comes creeping back in and you find yourself with a plethora of things to detain your time and attention. It's been a few months since I last posted, and we have been busy with, well, life in general. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I did occasionally remember to at least take pictures so that at some point my poor neglected blog could be updated. Anyhoo, we have had some exciting changes around Casa de Sweethome that I am looking forward to sharing with you. Stay tuned, dear readers- and I promise that I will post on the new developments- with before and after pics!


Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year, New Look

Out with the old, in with the new! I decided to zhush up the blog a bit- a little dusting, cleaning, and rearranging. So.....whatcha think?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resolution, Shmezolution

Happy New Year dearest readers! Up to SEVEN now, woo hoo! I know it's been a while, but hey, I am blaming it on the holidaze.

Okay, so you know how normal people make their resolutions to do things like eat better, workout regularly, practice random acts of kindness, etc.? Yeah, well, most of those made my list. Of course, I asked Mr. Sweet Home what was on his resolution list for 2011 and after naming most of the usual types of boring albeit noble goals, he randomly threw out "stop using credit cards." Wait, what????
Yeah, that's right. The Mister has put me on a (ugh, I can't stand to even type it) "Budget." Yeah, that capital B was on purpose. Something about reining in frivolous expenses and that credit cards are evil, blah blah blah. Whatever. With a brand-new house to decorate top to bottom, I mean, it's just not faiaaaaaiiirrrr. For almost three years living in a builder beige rental I have been slowly compiling files and files of design ideas, fabric options, paint chips, and yes, of course, furniture. And some of my idea portfolio was leftover from our STL house- so we're talkin SEVEN years worth of hopes, dreams, and amazing fabric choices.

Now, we are in our dream home, which is painted in a nice builder beige. In. Every. Room. AGAIN. I swear, if there is a Hell it's probably beige with wall-to-wall builder-grade carpet, popcorn ceilings, and no crown moulding. Yep, to me that's worse than a fiery eternity. I guess though at least if there's fire, there's gotta be some color. Hopefully. Just sayin'.

So, back to this whole budget (involuntary shudder) thing. I do loves me a bargain as much (if not more) than the next gal. I can Craigslist, thrift, flea, and eBay with the best of them, and frankly I prefer my objets du maison to have a story- and not the story of how it would barely fit out the door at Pottery Barn. My friend E and I have kind of a contest over who can find the more amazing deal at Ross/Home Goods/TJ, etc. And I'll admit it, she typically wins. Probably has to do with the fact that she doesn't have a hubby who turns five shades of purple when the Amex statement shows up. But I can't help it...
So what's a girl to do? Well, I have power tools, a sewing machine and trusty hot glue gun, an oversized separate two-car garage to hide purchases from Mr. Sweet Home stash treasures, and probably more moxie than skill at this point. Thank God for the internet!

SO, my priority list, complete with "before" pics- ignore the furnishings, cuz they are the previous owners.

1) The master bedroom.  In the whole time we've been married, other than buying a new mattress and box spring, we haven't actually designed or decorated a space for us...high time, dontcha think? Especially when we've decorated and redecorated BOTH boys' rooms. We have vintage mid-century furniture that has been languishing in storage for our room, but I need everything else.

2) The living room. We have most of the big pieces of furniture for this space, but I am searching for end tables and lamps that I like and already found a coffee table I am swooning over. Just waiting for it to go on sale so Mr. SH doesn't have a stroke. And what to do with that fireplace wall? I don't hate the brick,  and the mantel is pretty, but why so high? Something about the proportions bug me.

3) The guest bedroom. I have the basics but need to fill in the details into this space.That dormer is just begging for a window seat or some sort of built-in...

Anyway, lovely readers (all lucky seven of you, haha) If you have ideas on how to fill some of these spaces on a b...b...buh....oh, forget it. I can't bring myself to type it again. But, I'm all ears on how to be uber flashy with little cashy. Until next time!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Now that we are (mostly) settled into the new Casa de Sweet Home, I am finding myself musing over where to put the tree, what kind of garlands to make or buy, and how much exterior lighting is too much? While I am a holiday decor addict, I try not to be the kind that puts the junk in junkie. C'mon, admit it, you know the type- the ones who obsess over Martha Stewart's every move and collect Christmas tchotchkes year-round. I am really not attempting to make my house look like Santa took a big shadoob on my front lawn, despite my mother-in-law's continual efforts to the contrary. Every year she sends or shows up with a new life-sized holiday character that was just "too cute to pass up." Mind you, this is not limited to Christmastime- it's a year-round fetish for the ol' gal. My basement is currently home to no less than SIX life-size Santas, four elves, and a few reindeer here and there. They all reside in black plastic garbage bags, which I think gives the storage shelves that nice, homey Jeffrey Dahmer-esque feel. Don't get me started on the scarecrows and "harvest" decorations. Boo has one she bought just for him- it's his same height, wearing overalls and has red yarn hair-and when he drags it around the house he tends to leave it in odd places, like standing in the middle of the kitchen. Like Chucky. Creeeeeepy.

Anyhoo,this year I have decided to go with a Kelly-Wearstler/retroglam/Mad Men theme. I'm not quite sure how I am going to make it work yet, but I know it doesn't involve red and green together. My inspiration is from this gorgeous pillow at Crate & Barrel:
So, more like pomegranate and eggplant and maybe a little raisin brown. With some metallics in there too. Don't worry- it looks fabulous in my imagination. And here is my first purchase:
I found it online at JC Penney,and got it on sale for...wait for it...SEVENTY percent off. This little gem will grace the fireplace all year long, but will definitely tie in nicely with the theme. I am making stockings at one of our Mom's League parties in about two weeks, so will post pics as soon as they are done. 

Some of the best holiday themes I have ever seen were so lovely that I wondered why the creators didn't keep it all year round- well, other than the obvious elements, like the tree. In the meantime, darling readers (yes, all six of you lovely people)- I encourage you to think outside the box this year when it comes to decorating. You'd be surprised how many seemingly everyday objects can be incorporated into a lovely- and unique- holiday theme.