Steph’s Office Overhaul

Rich’s office isn’t the only one that’s gotten a makeover recently.  I’ve got myself a fancy new job (the cause of some of my recent gaps in posting) that will require me to do a little work at home occasionally, so I decided it was high time I got my office into shape as well.  I actually bought paint for this room way back in December, when we stocked up with supplies for the snowstorm.  But we never got beyond painting our bedroom at that time, and the paint was just sitting around waiting to be cracked open.

Finally one Sunday, when Rich was off rehearsing with his band, I decided I would take charge and paint the room myself.  After all, it was a small room, and I could throw a movie on the laptop to entertain myself while I painted.  Well, I chose Gone with the Wind, and good thing I did because no other movie would have lasted the four-plus hours I spent turning my office from boring white to Martha Stewart’s Tidewater blue.

There’s no photos of the painting process, since I was working alone, but here’s a glimpse of things right after I finished up.

After I finished painting, things hit a standstill while I embarked on a rug hunt.  I wanted a fun rug in this space, but didn’t want to totally blow my budget either.  After a few days of emailing and IMing links back and forth with my friend Claire, one of my top decor consultants, I decided on this 5’x8′ floral print rug from Overstock.

After clicking the “order” button, I anxiously waited for it to show up so I could see it in the room.  And although the color on the website was definitely not accurately represented, I adore the way it looks in the room.  Fun and girly and whimsical, just how I want my office to be.

One of my favorite things about this rug is the difference in pile from color to color.  The darker beige has an almost jute texture to it.

With the rug in place, the only other big item I was searching for was curtains.  When we went out searching for fabric to make curtains for Rich’s office, I was also looking for some for my own office.  I even snagged this sample of a striped fabric that I thought would be perfect color wise, but even at 12.50 a yard on sale, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

After we purchased Rich’s fabric, we headed to JCPenney to check out curtains rods.  And there I manged to find these sheers, a pretty close approximation to the fabric I fell in love with at Joann’s.  And on sale for 50% to boot!

Here’s a side by side of the two fabrics, other than the difference in opacity they could be twins.  Or at least siblings or cousins.

Here they are hanging in their new home.

Even though things are looking great in there so far, there’s still a few tweaks I have in mind.  I need to recover the seat of my desk chair and slipcover a pink armchair that lives in the corner diagonal from the window.  I also need to hunt down some artwork and accesories to dress up the place.  But for now, it’s a great place for me to hang out and get some work done.
Posted in Office | 3 Comments

Redoing Rich’s Office, Part 2

After our hellish day attempting to get the walls in Rich’s office into shape to paint, the last thing we wanted to do was spend another few hours painting that same weekend.  But somehow at six pm on Sunday that’s exactly what we found ourselves doing.

You can see from my face exactly how thrilled I was with the whole idea.  But the allure of being able to put the room back together sooner versus leaving the furniture piled in the middle was too much to pass up, so with about 2 hours of work we had everything painted a gorgeous golden brown.

At this point we moved all the furniture back into place and called a temporary break in the room makeover.  I wish we had more time to work on the house during the week but sadly our jobs and commutes keep us from working on any complicated projects during the week.  But the following weekend we dove back in on the office.  This weekend’s goal:  curtains.  We wanted to make curtains to cover both the window and the closet opening in this room.  This closet actually opens into our lower attic, so we wanted a heavy weight fabric that could help block some of the cold air.  Of course, anything we chose would be an improvement over the falling apart accordion-style door that was there when we started.

Luck was on our side and the weekend we headed out fabric shopping, Joann’s was having a 50% home fabric sale.  We lucked into finding a gorgeous velvety twill in exactly the rich chocolate color Rich was envisioning.

The best part?  It was already on the clearance rack for 5.99/yard.  And Joann’s still gave us the 50% discount, making the 10 yards we needed only $30 total.  We headed home and I got to work hemming the curtains.  Somewhat shamefully, this was the first project for which I used the sewing machine I received for Christmas.  Christmas 2009.  Sorry Mom, I do love it though!

First I pinned the hems (after carefully measuring the dimensions I wanted for the curtains).

Next, with the help of my assistant, I hemmed the curtains.

I measured the second curtain for each pair exactly against the first to ensure they were exactly the same size. For the curtains that were hung in the closet, I added in a pocket for the rod at the top, since we had already mounted a simple rod inside the closet.  For the window treatments, we went back to the rods and ring clips we used in the living room.

Here’s the final product in the closet.  I love the way the chocolate brown fabric looks against the wall color.

And here are the window treatments.  I love what a difference they can make in a room!

We’ve still got a few minor tweaks to make in this room.  We need to paint the ceiling (we’re avoiding that project in a lot of rooms).  We’re looking for a lamp that suits the space better, or even considering dropping a fixture from the ceiling.  And the floors, which we did a number on during our paint stripping project, will be refinished along with the rest of the house.  But for now, it’s a great space for Rich to hang out and practice his music.

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Redoing Rich’s office

The month of February has unexpectedly turned into office makeover month here at Good Bones Home.  Rich recently started using his jazz skills playing in a band, which means he needs a room at home he can sit in and practice.  Unfortunately, his office was anything but appealing, even after we had pulled down the built-in bookcase and stripped the wallpaper.

Here’s a reminder of what that wall looked like after the bookcase came down.

What you can’t see in that picture is that there are about five layers of paint glopped on there, creating a surface that would look terrible and uneven if you painted over it.

We got some 80 grit sandpaper on our electric sander and started trying to even things out.  Unfortunately the more we sanded, the more chipped and uneven the wall became.

At that point we weighed our options – either keep trying to sand things down until we got to a smooth surface, or bring in the big guns.

I’m struggling to come up with something positive to say about this project.  Honestly, it sucked.  It was messy and the fumes were awful and we kind of ruined the floor in there and it took seven hours.  My advice for anyone else working on this project – buy good chemical resistant gloves, use old paintbrushes you can throw away, wear goggles, open as many windows as possible, and cover the floors very well, and then avoid walking anywhere near the glop you will scrape off them.

Here’s how things looked after two coats of stripper.

By this point we were considering just living with the mottled look and possibly starting a new trend.  But we pressed on and did one more coat of stripper, getting the wall to this state:

which was smooth enough that with one last round of sanding we were able to paint over and leave no sign that the shelves had ever been there.

But that’s a post for another day.

Anyone ever done battle with chemical strippers?

Posted in Office, Projects | 2 Comments

Craigslist to the rescue!

The good news here in GBH land is we have finally broken free of the winter doldrums, and the last two weekends have been chock full of projecty goodness.  The bad news is, no photo proof of those projects exists yet, so you will just have to take my word for it.

But to tide you over, let me show you a little change we made in our living room a few weeks ago and do have photo proof of!

The coffee table we had in our living room was a relic from my days living in a studio apartment outside of DC.  I loved it at the time, especially the fact that the white rolling cubes under it provided both tons of storage and extra seating.  But the light birch finish and IKEAy goodness was just not working with our current living room.

We had been searching craigslist for weeks looking for a good replacement when we finally happened upon a couple selling a set of four tables for a decent price – a coffee table, sofa table, and two end tables.  We went to look at them not sure if we were going to take the entire set, but definitely interested in the coffee and sofa tables.  Half an hour later, we were on our way home with four new tables, solid wood and in great condition.  Here they are in our living room.

This end table even has a little magazine rack on the side – a perfect detail for our reading nook.

I am so happy we got rid of the ugly old speaker stands we used to have behind the sofa.  If you look closely in this picture, you can see another project I’ve been working on gradually and need to devote a full post to soon…any guesses?

Here’s the new coffee table that led us to all these other tables as well.  We love the shelf area – great place to stash our laptops at night.  The drawers are full of video game controllers.  The darker tone looks so much better with the rest of the room.  We plan on taking the floors darker as well when we have them refinished, whenever that may be…

I love the look of our revamped living room – things are really coming along well in there.  Hopefully that will spread to the rest of the house soon.

Posted in Living Room | 1 Comment

Good Bones Home vs. the Wallpaper (Round 1)

So.  Wallpaper.  We have a lot of it.

The entire lower level (including the ceiling) is wallpapered in this marbled grey.

Except for the half bath, that’s this blue floral mess.

The kitchen has a subtle peach on peach striped paper with a floral boarder.

The hall bath has floral walls and a white wallpapered ceiling (which, don’t get me started, why would you wallpaper a ceiling WHITE?  Didn’t it look that way to begin with?)

And finally, Rich’s office had one wall of the brightest plaid paper I’ve ever seen.

Did you catch that though?  HAD?  Yup, this weekend we took the first step in our battle against the wallpaper (or is the first step admitting we have a wallpaper problem?  Because I freely admit that) and tested our removal skills.  I picked up some supplies from Home Depot before we got started – a steamer, paper tiger, and some metal scrapers.

I scored the entire wall with the paper tiger while Rich cleared some of the furniture out of the room and the steamer was heating up.

Then, just out of curiosity, I started prying up the edge of the paper next to the closet with the scraper.  And it came up.  With no problems.  No steam, heat, chemicals or scraping.

Just peeled off in full sheets that can also be used as a fashion accessory.

Of course, that also left us with a wall full of glue to clean off, which was only semi-successful, as you can see in this woeful after photo.

But Round 1 in this battle was a clear victory for the Good Bones Home crew!  Now, out of curiosity, I engaged the mudroom in a brief skirmish.  Future battles may not be as easily won, is all I’m saying.

But for now, we revel in our victory, and try and resist the urge to fashion cat sized jackets out of the leftover wallpaper.

Any of you battled wallpaper and lived to tell the tale?

Posted in Office, Projects | 6 Comments

Coat Closet Cleanup

This time of year it’s getting harder and harder to work up motivation to get started on new projects.  The weather makes me want to curl up under a Slanket as soon as I get home from work, outside projects are out of the question, and the boxes that we still haven’t unpacked from the move three months ago are mocking me from where they are stacked up in the family room.

But a blog about making over our home little by little is no fun without ongoing makeovers, so to keep my throngs (roughly estimated) of fans satisfied I took on a little project – our hall coat closet!  What with the terrible weather of late, we’ve been spending a lot of time in here searching for enough layers to make digging out from the latest snowstorm tolerable.  It was not pretty.

The closet somehow collected a ton of stuff that really belonged elsewhere…unless you keep cleaning products, watering cans, a cone collar for your dog, rugs, and an extra vacuum in your coat closet.  So step one was taking everything out of the closet and putting the stuff that didn’t belong there where it did belong.  Or on the giant junk pile accumulating in the mudroom until the weather gets nice enough to make a garage clean-out tolerable.  If you’re nice I’ll show you that shameful secret soon.

I made a trip to Target to pick up some supplies for this project:  some matching wooden hangers, some bins for scarves/gloves/hats, and some hooks.

I sorted through our coats and put the ones we regularly wear back in the closet on new hangers, with a few empties left over for our guests.

Rich hung up hooks on both sides of the closet.  One side holds our umbrellas.

And the other side holds reusable shopping bags.

On the shelves I added three bins, one with my winter accessories, one for Rich’s and one for pet stuff.

By far my favorite part of the closet is what we came up with to corral the vacuum.  We recently got a canister vacuum, and the hose was attacking me every time I opened the closet (as you can see in the before pictures).  So Rich hung a hook on the closet that holds the floor attachment and the hose off of the bottom of the closet and against the wall, like so:

Love it!  Coming home to see this closet when I put away my coat and boots has been such a nice change!  And I’m even feeling the urge to vacuum more often…but I’m sure that will pass soon.

Posted in Projects | 3 Comments

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

We took down most of our Christmas decor the second weekend of January, but there was one item I couldn’t bear to part with yet:  the wreath over the fireplace.

The wreath was such an improvement over the blank space that was there before Christmas that I was reluctant to go back to it.  But I also didn’t want to become a person who kept their Christmas decor up year round, so I bid a fond farewell to the wreath this weekend.

Luckily, I only had to stare at the blank wall for a few minutes, because we found a great replacement at Marshall’s this weekend!  I’ve been scoping out Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods for a great piece for over the fireplace for some time now.  I haven’t had much luck finding anything and had even considered dipping into a generous gift card to Neiman Marcus we’ve had since our wedding to pick something up there.  We had actually picked something out there but hadn’t pulled the trigger on it yet when we headed down to the beach to meet up with my parents this weekend.

We ducked into Marshalls looking for some other stuff, but couldn’t resist a trip through the housewares section, where I found this beauty for $29.99!

The mirror has a little bit of a funhouse quality from far away, but for the price I love the presence it has over the fireplace, bouncing light around and giving me tons of ideas of ways to decorate the mantel.  I’m so glad I found a budget-friendly way to dress up our living room, every little bit of decor helps this place get closer to our dream home.

Posted in Living Room | 3 Comments

Fireplace Facelift

On Christmas Eve Rich took on a quick little project that jazzed up our living room with less than half an hour of work, and enabled us to enjoy the holiday by a crackling fire!

We inherited this bronze fireplace screen from some friends who moved cross country, and while it would have protected our wood floors from flying sparks, we wanted something more secure to keep the cats from wandering in and…using…the ashes.  Adding doors also allowed us to close up a dying fire if we had to leave the house or wanted to go to sleep without worrying.

So we ordered this set of fireplace doors from Costco, one of my absolute favorite places in the universe.  Does that mean I’ve become old and boring before my time?


And here it is on our fireplace!

I’m not sure the modern look jives with our carved mantel, but replacing that is not at the top of our to-do list.  For now I’m glad we can just enjoy a nice fire while lounging on the sofa, especially with our third snowstorm this week passing through last night!

Posted in Living Room, Projects | 2 Comments

Drop Cloth Curtains

Although we adore the huge windows in our living room, they look a little boring without any kind of curtain softening them up.

Actually, that photo is totally misleading, if only that beautiful fall view outside was current.  Here’s how it looked as we rang in 2011, complete with snow and Christmas tree.

Since we spend the majority of our waking time at home in this room, we decided to get right to work on one of our new years housalutions and get some curtains up on these windows on January 1st.  We were a little worried about the cost though, because that set of three windows is 12′ x 8.5′.  That’s a lot of fabric if we wanted to make the curtains ourselves, and probably even more money if we wanted to buy ready-made curtains.

Luckily the blogosphere came to my rescue and through a little blog surfing I ended up at Beneath My Heart reading about her curtains made of canvas painter’s drop cloths! Here you can see the gorgeous curtains she made for her den.


And the best part?  The drop cloths are less than $10 each at Home Depot!  We headed out to JCPenney to pick up a curtain rod – it was slim pickings in the 12′ length but luckily they were all on sale.  Then we swung by Home Depot and picked up four 6’x9′ drop cloths.

I figured since the ceilings were roughly 9.5′, the 9′ drop cloths would just brush the floor once you factored in hanging the rod not quite at the ceiling and using clips to hang the cloth a little lower than the rod.  We started by installing the curtain rod and putting one of the panels up to see where it hit, just to confirm my assumption.  Sadly, this is where we hit our first snag, due to the following issues:

  1. The ceilings are actually closer to 10′
  2. The drop cloths were not actually 9’x6′ right out of the package.

Photo evidence of the drop cloth ridiculousness below.  And yes, this snag could have been avoided if I had just read the package in Home Depot.

My dreams of floor skimming curtains were dashed.  We had to wash them to soften up the texture, so we decided to move forward, see what size they ended up after washing, and decide what we wanted to do from there.  The washing took off another few inches, but vastly improved the texture. After two loads of laundry and way too much ironing for my tastes, this is what we had.

All the snow had melted since it was in the 50’s that day, and the curtains now hit the bottom of the windowsill perfectly.  You can see the fabulous texture of the drop cloth pretty well in this photo.

So here is where I ask you readers for some advice.  If you were us, would you leave the curtains as is, taking into account that the sill is close to 10″ wide, so curtains that hit the floor might not flow smoothly over this ledge?

Or would you attempt to get curtains that covered that extra 8-10″ of baseboard heater below the window, either by buying new, bigger drop cloths and hemming them to the correct length or sewing on a contrasting band of fabric to the existing curtains?  Here’s one more shot of the curtains as they are right now.

Help!  I’ve changed my mind a few times on this already, so I’d love to hear what other people think.

Posted in Living Room, Projects | 14 Comments

New Years Housalutions

Happy 2011 readers!  We’re so excited to start a new year in our new house and our brains are swirling with all of the projects we want to take on.  While it’s fun being in a house that needs help from ceiling to floor, it’s a bit overwhelming at times.  Here are the projects that we resolve to start (and finish) in 2011.

  • Remove all wallpaper (hall bath, powder room, kitchen, mudroom, family room, Rich’s office)
  • Paint all rooms (guest bedroom, Steph’s office, Rich’s office, hall bath, kitchen, dining room, family room, mudroom, powder room, master bath, upstairs hallway, downstairs hallway)
  • Have wood floors refinished
  • Fence in part of the yard
  • Update the landscaping
  • Lay a new front walkway
  • Dress up all our naked windows (there’s not a single curtain to be found right now!)
  • Build (or buy) a new dining room table
  • Have a yard sale

Of course, we’ll have lots of other small projects along the way as they fit into our schedule and budget!  And we resolve to keep blogging it all so our family and friends both near and far can get a glimpse of what we’ve been working on.  Thanks to all of you who are reading and I hope 2011 brings you much health and happiness!

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