24 April 2011

paint party!

what's better than getting an email from your friend late on sunday night inviting you to a party on saturday?  finding out it's a paint party -- where the fun is painting said friend's living and dining rooms but also drinking the beer this friend is bribing you with.

and that's pretty much what the painting party was on saturday.  now, i know what you are thinking.  why mix painting and booze?  but if you knew my friends... you'd know why (kidding!).  but seriously, it went really well.  philip and i moved most everything out on thursday and friday evenings after work except the big things - cabinet with television, bar, couch and dining room table.  philip and i were up bright and early saturday morning getting ready for company.  we covered everything up and made a huge pot of decaf babushka blend (my new obsession -- for those who don't know, i'm strangely obsessed with anything russian) and got to work.  mom and her friend vince arrived and my girlfriends were there shortly after and we got to work, set to the tunes of my awesome painting party playlist to keep us motivated :)

starting to move things out
taping up the mantle - check out the paint swatches! 
half of living room in the entry

23 April 2011

happy anniversary house!

our anniversary!  exactly one year ago today we closed on our house.  as soon as the closing was done, we drove straight to our new home, went upstairs and laid on the floor of our new bedroom, just ecstatic.  buying this home was the best decision we have made together.  just fun fact about us : tomorrow will officially be the longest we have ever lived in one place!  we have only ever done one year leases and never renewed a lease... but we have finally found our HOME.  it hasn't all been easy.  far from it, actually.  but moving in we knew there would be things to change.  sometimes i feel like we still have years of work left, but i never thought we would have done so much in the first year.  here's a bit about what we have done in the first year on irving street.

painted our bedroom.  this was the first thing we did when we moved in.  i knew the rest of the house would mostly be empty but after moving around for so long it was really important to us that we have our own space in our bedroom as soon as possible.  we still don't have a much hung on the walls, but everything else we were able to get done in just about one weekend.

painted the guest room.  the guest room is awesome in my book.  it has my favorite couch in it (the first couch i ever bought that was in my first apartment!) but philip hates the couch more then, well, anything i think.  it's this awesome vintage flowered design, so i kind of did the guest room around that.  the walls are pale blue, set off by a seafoam green trim around the windows and doors.  i also did all the trim myself, and it was my first time doing trim.  very difficult.  i also painted the inside of the walk-in closet seafoam green, and the result is a very calm room.  white linen curtains, my old hardcover books next to my silver metal frame bed with white sheets.  it's lovely and probably the only room in the house that is totally done.

totally re-did the sun room.  this room was beyond help.  we found multiple spider nests in this room.  most of them were in the accordion blinds we immediately ripped out.  first off, there were two back doors heading outside from this one room.  so philip actually BUILT A WALL (!!!) over one of the door frames (btw - the door was hollow with spiders living inside).  the whole thing is so seamless you would never know it was there.  we also had a strange cabinet near the new wall across from the door to the basement that we didn't have anything we could do with it.  so the cabinet  came out, and washer-dryer hookups went in!  we had the appliances way before the hookups, so they took up space in the kitchen for a while.  but even before they were installed, we laid tile in the sunroom.  then had the washer and dryer installed.  once the hard work was completed, we painted the room from a dark evergreen to a pale grey.  really this is like four projects in one but we'll count it as one.

partial landscaping.  the backyard is far from finished, but i will admit that this is one project i never dreamed we would have started our first year.  but last 4th of july weekend, all our family came over and we took dumpsters full of weeds out of the yard.  also we dug up a dead tree, which was pretty nuts.  and that allowed us to actually have sod laid in the yard.  and i am excited to say the sod is coming up greener than ever this spring, with random tulips growing throughout the yard!  the weeds are coming back in places, but we just need a good weekend with the sunshine out back to get it done.  the front yard also has made great strides, with mom and i digging up cactus plants and weird bushes that gave me a rash.  i planted two lilac bushes right in the front last fall and one is already starting to bloom!  again, it's not finished, but it looks really lovely so far.

painted the 2nd guest room.  this room is kind of an empty disaster now, but philip painted it last spring.  this room started out as a library, with a pull-out couch, our two huge maps of where we have traveled, and all of our bookshelves.  it was a place for us to lounge, read and philip was even allowed to have his cigars in there.  for his room he chose a darker forrest green.  of course now we have moved the library room to the room off of the living room that was the office, and the office is no more (because we never used it.  ever.).  so my desk is sitting in the 2nd guest room/old library but we haven't really figured out what to do with the whole room yet.  to be determined! 

re-did the downstairs bathroom.  this bathroom is right off of the kitchen and very small.  but despite it's size and downstairs location, it's a good and handy guest bath.  the tile is a gorgeous ocean-blue, and the white subway tile on the floor is interlocked with small blue diamonds of the same color as the shower tile.  and -- wait for it -- there is a mirror above the shower!  of course!  what a great place for a shower-mirror, in the small bathroom off of your kitchen.  this room was painted olive green (why not?).  so i chose a blueish white for the walls and matched the trim (and door!) color to the blue tile.  we got rid of the bulky cabinet above the sink and bought a bronze metal one that fits much better.  we also ditched the wooden framed mirror above the sink and bought mirror tiles, also much better fitting.  philip installed a glass shelf above the sink for some additional space and it worked out perfectly.  the only thing we still need in this room is a new toilet.  

re-did the whole upstairs shower.  the rest of the bathroom will also be re-done in time, but the new bath tub and shower is monumental.  i won't bother writing all of the details since they are on the border of being blogged to death.  but we are done!  i haven't posted any new pics yet because we are still shower-curtain-shopping and i simply can't use it yet until i know it is totally finished.

got our fireplace working.  our fireplace is lovely but the giant insert inside of it was not.  after researching lots of options we decided we really wanted a wood-burning fireplace.  we had to have the size shrunk a bit with fire brick, but it is a working, wood-burning fireplace and we love it.  there is red italian tile around the fireplace but it's not in production anymore, so to tile over the new fireplace area we need to get new tile for the entire space.  that is still pending but will probably be an off-white subway tile.  

this is new and you guys don't know about it yet!  we had a painting party today (invited anyone who would come to help us paint and we paid them in pizza and beer) and painted the living room and dining room.  but we didn't just pick out a new color -- we painted the ceiling of the entire space, which really needed it.  there were yellow streaks all over the place from whoever tried to paint it before.  we also painted all of the trim, which is also huge because that bleeds in to the kitchen and the entry way, which both also need to be painted.  the space looks incredible though and i will blog about our party and upload pics tomorrow.  you know what's next thought... the artery! 

16 April 2011

10 best of spring

now that spring is finally here in colorado (i think it's safe to say that, anyway...) thought i would share with you the 10 things that are on my mind the most this time of year!  well this year, anyway.  with attention span short as mine it varies of course :)

10.  french music

if this sounds a little strange to you, i understand.  but put on eartha kitt's je cherche un homme, open the windows wide, pour yourself a glass of rose and you won't care what language it's in (think diane keaton in something's gotta give, minus the crying).  once you get a taste for it try carla bruni's album quelqu'un m'a dit for something a little folksy and flirty.  if you're home, it's hot and you want something a little sexy try makeda by les nubians.  paris combo is more classically french pop... or april march, or the fab brigitte bardot, or  madeleine peyroux... my list could go on and on!

always stunning... brigitte bardot.

9.  grapefruit everything

i gave up caffeine for new years this year, so i've become addicted to juice in the morning in lieu of my normal five cups cup of coffee.  my absolute favorite?  grapefruit juice.  no added sugars, just 90 calories for 90% of your vitamin c intake for the day, and it's MUCH more lively than plain old orange juice.  but i have taken my love of grapefruit juice and taken it well, outside the glass.  my kick-ass sister anne bought me some bath products for my birthday.  normally, that would not be super cool.  but she went to the specialized boutique where you mix your own scents - and mine was grapefruit spearmint.  it is the most amazing lotion and body wash in the world and that may or may not be my motivation for going to tennessee to visit her next month (jk anne!).  there's also jo malone grapefruit candles, creme, everything that all smell absolutely enchanting.  i can't get enough.  remember my obsession with the gin something back in boston?  

8.  leaving the front door open

because there's nothing better than the tender brush of a spring breeze against your bare arms, the smell of flowers and freshly cut grass, and the sounds of neighbors laughing outside.  it will absolutely cure any moody blues you might have.  when we moved in we installed a special iron screen front door so it could be locked securely but also get a breeze into our house (we have no a/c).  also our front door is the original front door from when the house was built (1905!), complete with stained glass and skeleton key.

even mussolini loves the open front door.

11 April 2011

the bathroom: update vi - tiling is DONE!

that's right!  the tiling is all done.  the shower isn't ready for use yet but it's only a matter of time... specifically this weekend (we hope)!

there you have it friends!  don't mind the orange home depot bucket (which i thought you were to use as shopping baskets the first time i went to one.  no joke.), like i said, we aren't finished yet.  but words can't even begin to describe how much i LOVE the look of the shower.  philip went to the depot to get some last minute tile on saturday and one of the staffers asked if he was doing a backsplash.  "no," he said, "i'm doing a shower."  "a border?" she asked.  "no, the whole thing," was the response she got.  she was shocked.  but whether or not people thought we were crazy it has turned out better than i imagined.  the bronze fixtures compliment the brown glass perfectly and the ceiling looks incredible.  a close up of the ceiling here:

the light fixture isn't my favorite but as far as shower lights go it's pretty standard.  i can live with it until i come across the right fit.  we also still need a shower curtain and we need to do the grout.  the grout will be done this week and i am on the prowl for the perfect curtain now.  i really want to find the perfect one online rather than settling for one from target that won't really go with the mood we're trying to create.  next up for the bathroom will be floor tile, a new vanity/sink/mirror set (or separates, which i'm leaning towards) and paint.  of course a few decor extras too...

first of all, i want to find the perfect mirror.  these are a few i have in mind, but ideally i'd like the one from this post.

mirror from alexander & pearl
mirror from alexander & pearl
mirrors from pottery barn
with one of these lovely mirrors and a few glass shelves holding votives i'll have it exactly the way i want it.  and i wouldn't have it any other way. :)

til the next bathroom update...


08 April 2011

it's kind of a funny story...

so i was sick on tuesday.  i left work early, came home, was a good girl and after popping ibuprofen pm in the middle of the afternoon (after my blog post) i fell asleep.  not sure what time it was, probably 4-ish.  i could hear peggy talking to don in the background of my dream (i feel asleep to mad men), and water rushing.  fast.  then profanity.  a lot of it -- very loudly.  and opening my eyes, i realized that there isn't profanity on mad men.  and that the water sounded a little too close.

i heard philip's voice and assumed he put on the few fixtures and was testing out the new faucet.  yay!  i walked upstairs in my drug-induced stupor and immediately realized as my foot hit the last step that something was not right.

water was gushing out of the broken pipe where the faucet should be.   shooting out would be a better word, actually.  it was shooting out with such force that the water wasn't even hitting the tub (which isn't totally sealed yet, by the way), it was hitting the opposite wall, which is still just half-tile, half-cement board.

"what happened?" i screamed over the sound of the water.  i won't even bother typing what he said... but you can imagine it was bad.  i ran to the bathroom and grabbed all the towels i could find.  philip had a wrench out and was twisting as hard as he could, trying to turn off the water or lessen the flow even a bit.  no such luck.  i threw the towels to the floor, sopping up whatever i possibly could of the water that was mixing with the construction dirt-and-dust grime on the floor.  philip rushed downstairs, yelling all the while, on his way to the basement.  his hurried footsteps were nearly shaking the house.  as he looked for a way to turn the water off at the source, i realized the towels weren't cutting it.  my pajama bottoms were soaked, my long sleeved tee i borrowed from philip was dripping.  i grabbed the shower curtain liner from the old shower, still on the floor of the bathroom (i knew there was a reason i hadn't cleaned that crap up yet...), and flung it in front of me.

keeping the shower curtain in the tub, i was able to deflect most of the water flow to keep it in the new bathtub -- which was rapidly filling up.  after standing there for at least five minutes, the water slowed steadily until it stopped.  philip came back up stairs and unplugged the tub so the water could drain.  i felt like the whole thing was a dream, still in my drugged-up state.  after having cleaned up the mess as best we could for the moment being, we walked back downstairs.  i went into the kitchen to put the towels in the hamper when i heard the drip... drip... drip... coming from our kitchen light fixture and fan.

yes.  the water had leaked underneath the un-sealed tub and through our ancient ceiling in the kitchen.  as i grabbed the damp towels and a dining room chair to stop the water, philip ran outside to turn off the breakers.  we now are the new owners of a lovely hole above the refrigerator where the water came through and bubbles in the ceiling paint.  as for the light fixture... well, it drained out as best as it could.

we have survived, and so has our kitchen, and so has our bathroom.  but it was the first big disaster of the bathroom project and i couldn't not share it with you all.

as for me now, i have an unexpected weekend off (yay!) so lots more bathroom work will be happening.   the tile might even get finished this weekend.  it's possible!  with my mother-in-law, patrizia, planning a trip out in may we now have some good motivation to have the bathroom totally done for her.

until the next disaster -- i mean update :)

05 April 2011

10 best movies

well, my cold yesterday has turned into a full-blown something awful and i'm stuck home on the couch.  in honor of my resting and watching movies i thought i would post another 10 best: my 10 favorite movies.  these aren't in order.  half of them were bombs so don't be surprised by my awful taste...

1.  vanilla sky

my all-time favorite, hands down.  the trippy love story of all love stories.  say what you will, but i love tom cruise.  and penelope cruz is enchanting.  i had to write an essay on this movie my freshman year of college, and after watching it over and over and over i fell head over heels.  "the sweet is not as sweet without the sour."  "the little things... there's nothing bigger, is there?"  "every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around."  "...the saddest girl to ever hold a martini."  i cry every time i watch this move and i love it more every time too.

2.  wicker park

"love makes you do crazy things.  things you'd never see your self doing in a million years."  another lovely fanatical love story.  and josh hartnett is crazy hot, so that's a plus too.  it's actually suspenseful... the first time philip watched it with me he kept asking, "is he going to find her?  just tell me if he finds her." it's unbearable and the ending is satisfying every time.

3.  jack goes boating

this is what i have the pleasure of watching today while home sick.  it should be noted that i am obsessed with philip seymour hoffman and think that everything he does is pure genius.  including this film.  he's soft spoken, shy, sweet, innocent even.  and all he wants to do is make her happy.  it's so romantic how much he does for her.  the scenes where jack is being taught how to swim by his best friend will have you forgetting you're watching a dramatic story about love of all kinds.  and the soundtrack is killer - fleet foxes, grizzly bear, DeVotchKa, goldfrapp.  perfect for a rainy day.

04 April 2011

another monday, another bathroom update (vol. v)

hey all.  hope you like the spring colors!  it's been another week since i've posted - sorry about that!  i always intend on posting over the weekends, but... just doesn't happen.  i worked on saturday but came home and went into yet another cleaning frenzy.  i just can't seem to keep this home clean EVER.  it's beyond frustrating.  but with two cats, a messy husband, hardwood floors in a 100+ year old house i don't know how it will ever be anything but dusty.  but it's what is inside the house that counts, right?  that's what i'll keep telling myself anyway.

i ended up having an impromptu girls night at layne's place and left philip behind.  of course, rather than watching the rest of the rockies game with his friends, he decided to keep tiling.  and it's a good thing, because this is what the shower now looks like! 

please forgive the poor quality, but i left my good canon at layne's on saturday.  but check it out!  there's still a ways to go, but there you can see the tile all the way down to the tub and it looks AMAZING.  i couldn't love it more.   we bought the fixtures, but haven't installed them yet.  i don't have photos of all the fixtures but here's the faucet.

we decided to go with bronze fixtures, because we aren't doing the white stone border anymore.  the stone is special-order only (you'd think we would have looked into that sooner...) and we don't want to waste any more time until this damn project is done.  we had a small tile mishap, but philip has sorted it all out and you never would have known.  and if you didn't notice, i won't tell you :)

sunday was shopping day!  among our finds were that our local blockbuster is closing (surprisingly we are not netflix people!) and they were selling all their movies for $6.  snagged seasons 2 & 3 of mad men (i wish i were joan) for only $16 each.  then found some shoe sales with mom and found these darlings.

perfect for spring
It's almost spring here... and before you know it the posts about the bathroom will be long gone and there will be posts of the yard.

lilac bushes i planted last summer - looking up! 

but for now it's time for me to rest.  i'm sick today and my head is absolutely throbbing.  more later loves!