Sunday, February 27, 2011

Master Bedroom Improvements

The master bedroom was one of the big selling points for me.  Sure, we don't spend that much time there, but the cathedral ceilings, large amount of space, and windows on three sides make it feel like a little escape.

When we moved in the walls were white with flower stencils around the windows, and an ugly, ugly green carpet. (Can you spot M?)

The flower stencils had to go.  And the white was overwhelming.

Aww, aren't I cute?

We attempted to paint the ceiling. It didn't come out awesome, but better than it was.

The first time we painted.  The walls looked awful with the carpet but decided we didn't care because knew we would eventually get rid of that nasty carpet.

The first time we painted we didn't paint the hall area.  Mostly because by the time we got to the bedroom I was completely painted out, and justified it by saying it provided more of a separation.

This was all done pretty much the first month we lived here (March 2008).  Last March, in 2010, our friend who does flooring let us know about a really good deal on bamboo flooring.  In order to do the bedroom, we needed a deal, because 400 square feet of flooring adds up pretty fast!  So we went for it, the bamboo is still wood flooring like the rest of the house, which is what we wanted, but provides a slightly different look.

In preparation for the flooring we planned to repaint the bedroom a slightly darker shade of green, and removed the carpet and baseboards the night before.  In removing the baseboards, we found what we seem to *always* find in our renovations, MOLD.  (There's a long story about some flooding that happen with the master bathroom that the previous owners never told us about...)

So B ended up having to take a good chunk out of the wall.  These projects are never as easy as you think they'll be...

M loves carpet padding. So gross.

It was a late night of re-drywalling before the flooring was supposed to go in.

It was the first really beautiful spring day, so luckily we could open up all the windows and let the fresh air in for our friends working on the floor.

Welcome to the improved B&S master bedroom.  This is the entry off the hall into the master 'suite'. The bathroom is on the left, and our closets are on the right. Feels cleaner, fresher, younger.

Now if I can just get around to replacing those shades...

Before and after of the closet

And that big hole in the wall?

Would hardly even know it was there.  Also, we replaced the baseboards with thicker ones, and I love them. So much so, we're in the slow process of putting them throughout the house.

And then of course there's the addition of the flat screen TV that B got me for our anniversary, and the electric fireplace we purchased.  It not only looks nice, but also the fireplace helps to take the chill off in the bedroom during these cold, seemingly never-ending, winter months.

Future changes in here definitely include changing the shades.  As soon as I can figure out what exactly I want, and then find it on sale somewhere :)  I've also considered a rug in there... not sure.  And of course, grown up bedroom furniture someday would be nice...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Bedroom "Renovation"

We moved in on a Friday.  And that night, my parents were still at the house helping us get organized.  My mom had brought her steam vacuum and had been cleaning up the carpets in the master bedroom, and the second bedroom.  While, shortly after starting, she realized there was really no hope for the second bedroom carpet.

I don't think we had ever asked the previous owners, but my mom had a hunch there was hardwood under the hopeless carpet.  We started in the closet and pried up a corner - success! Hardwood - in incredible shape, for having been hidden under a carpet for who knows how long - I'm guessing somewhere around 40 years.  So, mom and I decided then was as good a time as any to rip it all up.

It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever done.  Dust, cat hair (which I'm allergic too), and there was at least one instance of a finger and/or toenail. Gag.

Once mom and I had taken care of the carpet, B decided he hated the built in shelves in the far corners.  My mom reminded him it was our house now and we could do what we wanted.  So he grabbed a hammer and knocked them down.  Of course, over the next day or two we had the joyous project of ripping down wallpaper, that had probably been on the wall about as long as the carpet had been on the floor.

I have no good tips for ripping down wallpaper.  We tried all the fancy stuff they sell at the store, but I really think nothing helps much.  My fingernails have never hurt as much as they did after that project.  Regardless of the tools you have, you'll end up using your fingers for the small pieces.  And they will hurt.  And you will swear the next house you buy will not have a single sheet of wall paper in it.

After the wallpaper was down, we found that the bottom half of the room was painted a creepy red, with black markings.  Clearly, we needed to paint, ASAP.  So that's what I did.

For the most part, that's the extend of our work in that room.  We've rearranged a bit, and I've been thinking about what to do as far as decorating goes for quite a while.  Hopefully I'll get around to it one of these days...

Anyway, here's a couple shots of our guest bedroom.  It also acts as B's home office when he works from home, currently houses my exercise bike, and until about a week ago, every gift box from Christmas was still spread out on the floor.  Yea. I'm really organized.

Here's a peak at it these days.

That mirror is supposed to go over the dresser.  Someday maybe it will make it.  The dresser (and mirror) was given to us by B's grandparents - along with a tall dresser that's currently in our master bedroom.  They had used money from their wedding to purchase them.  The bed was B's growing up at his parents.  The lamp and crooked lampshade I think I found at Target.  I decided not to make the bed before the pictures, because I'm lazy.  The curtains were leftover from the previous owners, but they matched the walls, so I've found no reason to take them down.

See, not much has changed. Just more junk.

We do have a new light fixture, we just haven't gotten around to having it changed.  But that should probably be soon, since I realized tonight 2 of the 3 bulbs in the current one are blown.  So might as well just change the whole darn thing.  As I said, I'd like to put a little more love into this room, since it is the guest bedroom, and when we have guests stay over that would be where they stay. And it's not exactly *inviting* in its current state.  I like to think once the basement is finished, some of this will make its way down there.

Ah well, one thing at a time, right?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dining Room

Off the living room is our dining room. And wouldn't you have it, that awesome blue carried over in there as well...awesome chair rail, huh?

You can also see the old breakfast bar on the left that came out when we did the kitchen.

There's only so much you can do to a dining room, ya know?  So we've painted, taken down the shade you can see on the right, and replaced the chandelier.  We also added a rug, which was a Christmas present from my parents.  When we took out the breakfast bar the area felt way too open, so the rug was a good way to break it up.

This was by far the best transformation in the dining room.  I wouldn't be shocked if that was the original chandelier from the 1960s, would you?  Glad we brought the dining room into the 2000s...

And here's a look at the full room....

(as usual, excuse the mess.)

The bottom of the room is the same color as the living room.  The top is a lighter shade, and the chair rail is the same color as the mantel, living room window, and trim.

The small brown table in the corner is actually our old entertainment center, that I covered with a brown paisley tablecloth.  It provides storage in the corner, since there's two hidden shelves underneath.  And if I want to change the tablecloth out, its an easy decor change.  Our dining room table was actually made by B's dad, back when his parents first got married, and they gave it to us when we moved into our apartment.  Eventually we'd like to re-stain it, but we'll see if we get to that anytime soon.  There's also the built in hutch in the back left corner, which houses all of our china, wine glasses, and other fancy stuff.

We may replace the window this summer, its almost certainly original to the house, and I think might be the last original one left in the house.  I'd also like to get a curtain/shade for it as well, since we took down the old one that didn't match.  Someday I'll also get around to adding some more pictures to the back wall.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Half Marathon, for real.

I've survived my first three weeks of half marathon training.  In one piece at that :)

I'm following this program by Hal Higdon, with slight modifications, since I had more than 12 weeks from when I started until the race.  I mostly just doubled up on a few weeks a little later in the training, especially the ones that involve running more than 6 miles, since that is currently my longest distance.

My half-marathon is on May 7, 2011.

Which is currently 83 days away.  Seems like alot, but it isn't.

It's the Big Lake Half Marathon and looks like it'll be a blast.  Well, as much of a blast as running 13.1 miles can be.  Each water stop is themed, and the volunteers compete to have the best one, there's even some live music along the course!  It's also along the lake, which, as long as the weather is good, will provide for some awesome views to distract from the distance.  And, I'm a big sucker for the free stuff, I think "real runners" call it swag, from the race, and this race includes a multi-color tech shirt, as well as a finishers medal at the end.  Which I mean, who doesn't love getting a medal?

As I mentioned previously, I'm also running for charity.  I've signed up to be a Wish Racer, for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  You can read more about my decision to do that on my fundraising website, which can be found here.  I think its a great cause, and it seems to be a no-pressure fundraising effort, which I appreciate.  A friend who is running a marathon, looked into running for a charity, which stipulated that you must raise a certain amount, and if you don't, they will charge your credit card the difference.  I don't know how common that is, but I found it kind of.... rude. Maybe its just me.

I'll try to keep updated on the training, and not beg for money too much :)

Anyway, there you have it. I'm really doing it.

I haven't told my knees yet though.  Not sure they can hold out that long, so let's just agree to not let them know until it gets a bit closer, k? Kthanks :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Living Room

So, you've seen the front door.  Now let's look at what's on the other side of that door.  

Very white. Very empty. (Please excuse the pile of clothes on the couch.)

This was taken probably the day, or the day after we moved in.  It's a big space, and the bay window really opens everything up.  For reference, the front door is to the left of the window, in a little alcove.  Like our hand-me-down couch, chair, and coffee table? Classy entertainment center we've got there too, huh?

Oh, and remember the blue from the front door?  There's plenty more where that came from.

The mantel. The trim around the hallway door.  And I can't find a picture of it, but I'll tell you the trim around the alcove to the front door, the front door, and hall closet doors were also that blue.  Ugh.

We moved in on a Friday. If I remember correctly, Saturday I painted the guest room, and Sunday I painted the living room (with my mother-in-laws help!)  Painting is pretty much all we've done 'structurally' to the living room.  My mom kind enough to get us some awesome new cordless shades for the bay window for my birthday one year.  My parents also bought us a grownup entertainment center the first Christmas we were in the house and a new coffee table for my birthday last year.  And, after receiving a sump pump as a Valentine's  Day present last year, I convinced B we should buy new couches too, since that wasn't a very... cool present. (although incredibly helpful and wonderful when we had flooding last spring!)

In the process of changing out the shades.

All the trim and baseboard was painted the same color.  The switch plates were painted the same color as the walls. Which I did a terrible job on, and my mom still likes to mention on occasion.  I'll fix it some day.  We still have the window... curtain, valance, thinger, the previous owners left.  I'm getting a little sick of it.  It might be time to switch it, and its "hardware" soon.

Fireplace, updated.  Much better, huh?  Awesome fireplace screen bought at Target, on serious clearance.  I had to part with it this summer at the yard sale, due to the fact we no longer have a 'fireplace', but installed a wood pellet stove the first fall we lived here.  So, our fireplace now looks like this:

Note to self: consider cleaning before taking pictures of the house. Please excuse the dog toys on the mantel, and the ash all over the pellet stove glass.

The pellet stove was one of the best purchases we've made.  It's able to heat the entire house, which means we use a very limited amount of oil.  We're able to purchase our pellets by the ton (they come in 40lb bags) in the summer for pre-season prices.  And when the glass is clean, you can see the pretty flame.  Unfortunately, I'm the only one who thinks its a nice idea to clean the glass, and B is the one that usually cleans the stove.  So, it doesn't get cleaned too often.

And the rest of the living room?

Yes, that is this current post being constructed on my laptop. The entertainment center is from JCPenney.  The rug was a closeout purchase as Linens 'N Things prior to them going out of business.  The recliner... still the hand-me-down.  Lights were either Target or Walmart, we bought them back when we lived in the apartment so I don't remember.  And yes, the bracket from when the TV is still on the wall behind the TV.  You can only see it when you're standing.  Whatever.  I'll probably deal with it about the same time I deal with the switch plates.

M&B enjoying the couch.  The couches and coffee table are both from Jordan's Furniture.  The light to the left was bought at Lowe's.

Different angle. Same thing. American Idol on TV.  Don't judge.

So, there you have it.  It's cozy, often messy, and totally us.  I'm not exactly the best home decorator (if that wasn't obvious) but that's probably because I don't go out and buy 'pretty things' to just sit there, and well, be pretty. My mom has always called them dust collectors.  So, a majority of the 'decorative' items here, and throughout the house, have meaning to us.  For instance, on the middle left shelf is a couple wedding pictures.  There are several eagle figurines, gifts to B when he became an Eagle Scout, and on the bottom let shelf is an English Springer Spaniel figure that B gave me for our first 'dating anniversary', since that's the breed that M is.

Anyway, there's a little peak into where we spend most of our waking hours (when we're actually home).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 2011: Rewind

I've decided to change up my monthly reviews a little, and rather than talk about good stuff I discovered during the month, I'm going to highlight the things/memories/events I want to remember.

Our first Patriots game.

My parents got us tickets as part of B's birthday back in October.  It was 1-2-11, against the Dolphins.  We tailgated - getting to the "secret" parking lot long before anyone else. Enjoyed to steak tips and beers (at like 9am... oops), and climbed all the way to the top of Gillette, for a bird's eye view of the game.  Even though our seats were "nose bleeds" it was an awesome experience, and a ton of fun.  Definitely something I'd love to do again next season.  And despite our tough loss a few weeks later in the playoffs... we still love our Pats :)

Ice Fishing.

We spent a weekend down ice fishing at B's parents cabin and had a total blast with friends and family.  There's something very relaxing about being on an island, in the middle of a lake, in the dead of winter.  It's cold, quiet, and beautiful.  Don't worry, it gets above 90 in the cabin with the wood stove going :)

Family Weekend.

Pat of my Christmas present to my mom was a weekend away up north to go skiing and snowshoeing.  The dogs got to come too, and we stayed in a fairly rustic, but decent, cabin.  Saturday the two of spent the day skiing, which was a lot of fun.  That night we went to dinner w/ B and my stepdad at a local inn and brewery, which was delicious and a really cool atmosphere.  Sunday we spend a while snowshoeing and exploring a local trail before heading home.


Holy snow.  We've been completely dumped on.  And it's still going strong.

Resolution Check-In.

I had quite a few.  But let's just talk about a couple of them.

Do less housework Worry less about housework and spend more time keeping up with friends and family.  Well, I got the first half of that one down pretty good.  And there's plenty of evidence to prove it.  We've been lucky to squeeze in a lot of time with both friends and family this month.  And although there's quite a few more people I'd like to catch up with, it's a great start, and I'm hoping to get better at making phone calls, emails, and planning dates, a habit.

Stop comparing myself to others and enjoy my life.  This is all mental, and all me.  Not much anyone else can do to help.  And I'd say I've been doing a pretty good, but its certainly something I have to remind myself of.

Staying active and feeling good physical.  I've done way better here than I thought I would.  I've gotten back to "tracking" my food regularly (via, which is such a help for me to keep things under control. I also posted a calendar in the bathroom to mark down what I do for exercise each day.  It seemed like the most logical place, since brushing my teeth is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night - so I'm reminded every morning I need to fill that blank space, and every night I either get to fill in what I've done, and accept that I needed a rest day.

I think it filled it in pretty good for month, don't you?

(Please excuse my awful handwriting.  It's not going to get any better. Sorry.)

There's a whole lot of variety here too.  Zumba, elliptical, weights, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, running, etc.  8 days out of 31 I didn't do anything that I deemed enough to put on the calendar.  And that's ok.  Rest is an important part of any exercise program. Or so I've heard.

You might also notice some numbers on the Mondays.  I'm not focused solely on weight loss, but you can bet I'm still keep track.  So as you can see (or maybe you can't, since I don't really write legibly) I lost a little this month - I came in down 2.2 pounds.  Well, it's better than nothing...

I ran 18 miles last month.  Which is way better than the THREE I ran in December. But a far cry from the 37 in October and November.  For the record, I didn't start official half marathon training until this last week.  So yea, 13 of those miles are from last week. Not too bad in my eyes.

I flipped it to February last night, and I'm oddly excited to start filling the month in.  And really get into my half marathon training.  I have a separate training schedule posted by the kitchen for that.  Along with the spreadsheet saved to my work computer.  So basically, I'm never without a reminder.

Exciting Happenings of the Month

  • Happy Birthday to M who turned four!!
  • Congrats to my cousin and her husband on their beautiful and healthy baby boy who was born this month!
  • There are some properties in the process of being bought, but let's not jinx anything and wait for those to be closed on
  • One of our college friends announced she's pregnant - yay for babies!
And I think that covers it? If I think of more I'll add them later :)