Monday, April 28, 2014

trash day!!!

we got new trash cans!!! the city brought a big truck and dropped off new trash and recycling cans on everyone's front yard and it is wonderful! i can't believe that i am excited about this, but, you know, i am. if i could only get the city to come get the old ones...

Friday, April 25, 2014

shedding some light

we've made more changes in the den. the latest is changing out a sconce on the brick wall. the original sconce was a little too shabby chic. while i love that style (i have the book, duh), it's a little too feminine for phil.

so i looked high and low for something modern, simple, and relatively inexpensive. i found a lot of fixtures i really liked, but phil would nix for price : ) finally, i found this one forty three sconce. but it was sold out. forever. so i followed the studio on instagram to know when it was back in production. and i finally was able to order it!

it took a few, okay several, weeks to come in. but well worth it for a beautiful, handmade fixture at a reasonable price! i opted for white and brass. the room is gray, the door hardware is brass (and antique brass-ish), and the trim is white. it even came with bulbs! so we took off the old fixture...

and discovered it had cloth-covered wires!

uh-oh. glad we took it off. then we painted the junction box on the wall, so it would match the shiny new white fixture. and then we installed the sconce ourselves!

actually, it was much easier than i expected. we just watched a quick youtube video after a google search. super quick, super easy.

doesn't it look great!?! i love it. we debated whether to orient the fixture with the bulbs up or down, and decided on down. it seemed less "bathroom vanity" and more "back den."

the light is bright. phil thinks maybe a bit too bright, especially for movie nights. eh. i like it. but my couch seat is further away : ) i'm looking at dipped bulbs as an option to shield some of the more direct light. but i think i'll wait until these burn out.

the den is getting close to complete; the major things left are accent pillows and artwork. the pillows we currently use are from my first apartment in denver, and a little worse for the wear. since this is "phil's room" we're having a disagreement over the artwork... he wants movie posters. ummm no? haha. we'll see. i think we may have some compromises in mind...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

a most tedious undertaking

we live in an old house. old houses come with "old house things" - doors that stick, stairs that creak, weird night-time noises, and hidden quirks from previous owners. and layers upon layers upon layers of paint. this house has 85 years of paint. on EVERYTHING. including the door hardware.

yuck. and the doors between our den and kitchen / dining room have old metal weather stripping, since our den used to be a porch. the metal has paint all over it, too. well, one day, phil got tired of looking at it and started to rip off the metal. and he took off the door.

gorgeous. ha! luckily, the gaps that the weather stripping had been covering weren't huge. all he had to do was use some wood filler and then paint. okay, LOTS of wood filler. and LOTS of paint. 

five zillion times better, right??!? so then we had nicely painted, significantly cleaner-looking door frame. then the bad part started.

we had been researching ways to clean old hardware (the usual suspects: design spongeapartment therapythis old house), but didn't have a crock pot. well, we actually had TWO crock pots, thanks to a great wedding shower at phil's parents' church. but one we took back when we moved to DC. and the other we actually gave to phil's friend when he was in law school up at NYU (they took it back on the bus!!). i just didn't use it. i like crispy food : ) any who... we looked on craigslist for a cheap crock pot, because no one wants to use the same crock pot you use for food (as my friend alison said, "killer queso!"); but, didn't get any immediate hits. so we did the boiling water / baking soda method. 

we pulled a couple of mop buckets from the garage and started boiling water in the electric kettle. sidebar: i had a roommate in college with a british mom who introduced me to the electric kettle concept. they are AMAZING! thanks, becky! i use it way more than i ever thought possible. okay, i'm back. so we used a bucket per hinge and filled it with boiling water and baking soda. then it soaked for at least 30 minutes, so the hardware was cool enough to handle. then phil scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. the first layer of paint would peel, then he would use a toothbrush and brillo pad to get the next layer. and then we'd boil more water and start the process over again. each hinge took, oh, about five cycles of that. the scrubbing was brutal. 

one of the coolest things about the process was taking apart the door hardware. he even took apart the lock. since this used to be a back door, it has a locking mechanism - although we don't have a key. the soak and scrub got rid of more than just the paint: the rust came off, too. 

look how pretty! i can't even describe how clean the finished look is compared to the old. the patina is still there, you still know it's old hardware. i think it's brass-plated, judging by the color (and we did a magnet test), and i love it. the glass doorknob is cleaner, too. before we do the rest of the doors - there are TEN more (!!!!!) - we are continuing the crock pot search. i'll let you know if it speeds things up. man, i hope so!

ps - throughout most of this tedious process, this lucky lady was sitting at the dining room table working on a deadline for work. phil is amazing. he would let me know good times to jump up and take a photo. seriously, all you single ladies, the best traits in a husband (to me, at least!) are an outrageous sense of humor and an incredible work ethic. nothing better than knowing my good-looking guy is working hard all day and coming home to crack me up : ) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

our most magical craigslist find yet!

it's no secret that phil is a craigslist master. seriously most of our house is furnished from craigslist. no reason to buy new when there are so many people looking to get rid of perfectly good furniture pieces in great shape. he somehow finds amazing things and we (almost) never get burned. one of my favorite finds is the plycraft eames-style lounge chair (you can see it here, it's the brown leather chair in the back). well, he outdid himself this time.

he was just browsing for "large art" or "large canvas" or something. we have next to nothing on the walls (still!! i know!), and it is starting to drive him nuts. i already knew what i was looking for. and there is a TON to wade through on craigslist art. some real doozies. so when i saw "michelle armas" i FLIPPED. OUT. what are the odds??!? a nice couple in chevy chase had two stretched prints on canvas, and we were the lucky ones. i mean, isn't it gorgeous?

we have it rotated sideways and just resting on the mantle until we find the perfect home. it's such a happy piece to see when you walk in! 

aaaaaand it made a beautiful addition to a baby shower for a sweet friend : ) 

way to go, phil! and looking forward to using the money we saved for plane tickets to texas to see friends and family.