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Domestic Imperfection: June 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Guest Room Before and After

Since the guest room was a pre-blog project I don't have any pictures of it in progress. Trust me when I say that every item in this room could be its own post! Here are the before and after pictures...I wanted this room to have a totally different color scheme and design than the rest of my house, and it certainly does!

The before..

and the after!´╗┐

today is the day, black frame, yellow words

Update: Here is the link to the updated frame wall.

Linked to:
Polly Want a Crafter                                               The DIY Home Sweet Home
Ask Anna...                                                          Making the World Cuter
The DIY Showoff                                                   Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Skip to my Lou                                                      Be Colorful
Me Making Do                                                      Life Made Lovely
Tip Junkie                                                            Anything Related
The Blackberry Vine                                               Cherished Bliss
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia                              The Creative Blog
Momma Hen                                                         DIY by Design
Savvy Southern Style                                             The Lettered Cottage
Handy Man, Crafty Woman                                     Domestically Speaking
The Shabby Chic Cottage                                        House Of Hepworths
Remodelaholic                                                      The Shabby Nest
Fingerprints on the Fridge                                       Finding Fabulous
Chic on a Shoestring                                              Design it Chic
Addicted 2 Decorating                                           At the Picket Fence
504 Main                                                             Lolly Jane Boutique
Tatertots & Jello                                             Funky Junk Interiors
Be Different Act Normal                                         Nifty Thrifty Things
Under the Table and Dreaming                                I Heart Nap Time                      
Craft-O-Maniac                                                                     Dittle Dattle
Homework                                                          Passionately Artistic
Tidy Mom                                                          Thirty Handmade Days
Thrifty Decor Chick                                              Running with Gitter
Sassy Sites                                                                            Southern Hospitality

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Friday, June 24, 2011

If You Give a Girl New Appliances, She's Going to Want a Kitchen Renovation...

This Mothers Day I told my husband exactly what I wanted.... a dishwasher. It wasn't a suggestion, I was going to get my dishwasher. New, used, whatever, as long as it worked. We have been married seven years and have never had a (working) dishwasher. He (gasp!) said I could get a new one, a stainless steel one to match the future other appliances we wanted.  I started my research...consumer reports, checking websites for reviews, scouring the web for the cheapest price. We don't take purchases lightly around here. That's when I discovered that three weeks away, Memorial Day weekend was Texas tax free appliance weekend. I didn't even know that existed! Isn't Texas awesome? Memorial Day weekend also hosted sales out the wazoo, rebates, military discounts, price matching name it. I started to get excited... real excited. I thought maybe, just maybe, if I played my cards right I could convince my husband to buy all our appliances that weekend. Well, we did! YAY! Everything in my kitchen WORKS! We got an AWESOME deal at Lowes. I went in with my stack of paperwork and ads for price matching and picked out my salesman. Made him sweat...he even asked the Husband not to leave me alone with him, haha. Actually he was a really nice guy and I didn't have to be too hard on him. Anyway, we ended up *pretty much* getting everything for the price of the fridge. Awesome. So here is some before and after pics.

Now that our appliances are in I am DYING to start our kitchen renovation. The awesome appliances make the kitchen look better and GHETTO at the same time. Notice the color swatches in that last picture? I can't make up my mind about colors....I need your opinions. First let me show you what we are for sure doing so you can get an idea. 

We are definitely raising our current upper cabinets to ceiling height, painting them white, and adding open shelving below. A perfect example...

This way we can get a totally custom look for the price of a gallon of paint, some lumbar, and our time. ´╗┐Plus no more weird space between the cabinets and the ceiling.

Next, we are going to have butcher block countertops, a farmhouse sink, and beadboard backsplash...

The part I can't decide on is the color of the lower cabinets. I love the idea of a two toned kitchen and I super love the color on the kitchen below


Love, love, love that dark grey/blue. I'm thinking that might make our kitchen a bit dark? I don't know...we have a really light filled kitchen so that probably wouldn't  be a problem. Its just a big deal to repaint cabinets if I hate them.

Everywhere I look I'm seeing these beautiful, fresh, all white kitchens...

Beautiful? Boring? The last thing I want is to have a kitchen that looks like everyone else's!

Perhaps a lighter bottom color...

Maybe brown?

I know you have an opinion! Let me hear it!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Curb Appeal

Our house has zero curb appeal. Zero, zilch, none... it pretty much looks like an abandon house surrounded by a gravel pit. Here is a pic from the MLS back in 2008 as proof that I am telling the truth...

Whomever built this house basically dumped white, dusty, limestone gravel over nearly half of our half acre plot. Why, I don't know. Probably laziness or a lack of funds (there were a lot of other corners cut in the house building process. But that's another post.) Anyway, the Husband and I decided that it was time to make it look like people live here. Back in 2009 (when I lived in the house while the Husband was in Iraq) I planted flower beds across the front. It took me days with a pick-ax and Texas toothpick to dig out enough stone and gravel to put dirt down to make a flower bed. Flower bed isn't actually an accurate description, more like a 'whatever the deer won't eat' bed. Point is, those were already there. Our budget goal for this project was $500, though that wasn't based on anything but a number we pulled out of the air. And we all know how well that method works, right?

The first step was to outline a driveway. For this I strung a rope to make a straight line and started lining it with rocks.

Here is my method...a bucket. and rocks. Oh so cost effective!

"Where did you get all these free rocks" you may be asking. Well, here is our property line piled with rocks that we have pulled out of our yard....actually, calling it a yard is definitely be stretching it, but here it is.

Hmm....not satisfied yet? Well, here is the other side...

So yeah, running out of rocks is never a concern.
We planned to fill the driveway
 with decomposed granite, and according to the online calculators I needed nearly ten of course I decided to order five (hey, it was already filled with gravel!). I also needed 12 yards of dirt. If I ordered 200 yards we would have no problem using it, but for this project we decided to do 12 and just concentrate on a small (ish) area. So I start calling soil and stone places and guess what? The first quote came to $658! Well crap, that is already way over our $500 budget. Let me tell you a little about myself. I love to haggle. Give me a salesman and I'll make him sweat and totally enjoy it. Anyway, I picked three soil and stone places and started working them...long story short I got everything - including tax and delivery- for $370.  That still seems expensive...after all, its dirt. If you live somewhere else it comes with the house. Nonetheless, I was still pleased with myself. Here it is all piled up.

Nap time came and I stared to spread it. I quickly realized that it was going to take longer than anticipated.

Two days later it looks like this. Its 20 feet wide and 50 feet long, so plenty big. I'm so excited to have a driveway! Our house is starting to look like somebody loves it!

 As the Husband spread the dirt (good man!) my next task was to lay our flagstone path. The front porch sits about five to six inches above the ground, so I decided to make it kinda "rampy" to get rid of the step up.

We picked up about $40 worth of flagstone and I started piecing it together. Can you tell its gonna look awesome? I was on a roll until I ran out of flagstone halfway through and had to spend $38 on more.

Next step (I know, this post covers a lot) was to lay the grass seed. I'm not totally sure that grass seed was a good idea, it's coming up, but very sparse. Sod would have been instant gratification (and who doesn't love that) but also would have been about $400-$500 more for our small area. So for the budget lover that I am....seed it was. I hand spread the seed and covered it with bagged manure. I only did a quarter or so of the lawn to make sure it actually came up before committing to the whole thing. Plus it took me three nap times to finish that little area...I was tired, its 100+ degrees outside, and my preggo self didn't want to spread anymore manure. So I didn't.

Here is what it looks like now...Such a huge improvement!! Obviously these aren't true "after" pictures because we still need grass, but it the difference is still amazing!

Here is the before picture again for easy comparison...

...and after!

Another before picture - taken during the big Texas snow of '08. The New York part of me was thinking how horribly pathetic this "snow" was...while the Texas in me was more like "OMG...its snowing in Texas..woohoo!"

Now for everyone's favorite part, the budget breakdown!

Dirt and gravel - $370
Flagstone -$78
Buffalo grass seed - $107
Bagged manure - $30

Total - $585

That's over our original budget of $500, but I'm totally okay with was a way low guesstimate to begin with. It's actually going to be higher because I'll have to buy more grass seed. Oh, and all prices include tax, delivery and shipping fees. Let me know what you think!

Linked to:


Friday, June 17, 2011

Dining Room Curtain Project

This project actually took me almost a month to complete, from picking out fabric and brainstorming about how to make the curtain rod to only really being able to work during nap time. I love the way it turned out though! Here is the before picture. Well, its not a true before picture...remember the pink walls, card table and horrible light fixture from earlier posts? Anyway it's pretty dark picture(so is the after) because I can't figure out how to take a picture of a window and have it not turn out dark. Anyone have any tips? Here it is in all its glory...

The first step was to figure out how the heck to hang a curtain rod. It's a four window bay rather than the standard three, so I couldn't find anything online. Plus all the spacing between the windows is different....nice right? So off to Home Depot it was to try and create something. Four trips and a week later I had my solution. I bought four pieces of electrical conduit, four packs of wooden rod hangers and some plastic tubing. Oh, and a hacksaw. The cheapest one I could find ($3)...which turned out to be a not so good idea.  First step was to measure and cut all the conduit. I measured from crease to crease and took off about 3.5 inches to leave room for the joints.

And here is why the $3 hacksaw was a bad kept falling apart! It this about six times during the cutting process. I know what your thinking..."wait did you even have that many cuts to make?" All I have to say to that is thank you for assuming I get everything right the first time.  I actually make about 15 cuts because I thought "eyeballing it" would be sufficient.

Luckily my little helper was there there to encourage me....

I put the plastic tubing in the joints to make sure the curtain tabs wouldn't fall between the cracks and here is what it looks like finished...

Next step...make the curtains. After a few rejects I ended up choosing a grey/blue chevron pattern I bought off of I bought 15 yards and had juuuuust enough. I had to make back-tab curtains to that I could lace them around the hardware and have a clean finished look. I'd never made them before so I just winged (wung?) it. First I made the tabs by cutting 4 inch strips, folding in half and sewing. I did it this was so it would have a nice edge when I turned them pattern side out. Not that it mattered because they are hidden anyway. That's my perfectionist tendencies shining through.

Here they are finished (yes, I pressed them). I made eight for each curtain for a total of 40.

Next I hemmed all the four edges of each curtain, which was definitely the least fun part of this project. Well, that and getting all my cuts wrong ;).  Then I folded down the top edge of the curtain (4.5 inches) and pinned the bottom part of the tabs to the edge, sewing the tabs and seam all at once. For the top of the tabs I folded them over to be even with the top of the curtain and sewed them individually.

 Here is a view of the back of the curtains all hung up...

 And here it is finished! My casual dining room looks much more "grand" now!!

The grand total for this project ended up being just under $100. Not bad considering I've seen the same curtains (shorter, rod pocket) selling for $150 a pair on etsy. Hmm...maybe I should sell curtains...

I still have big plans for this dining room. We (okay, the husband) is going to build a Pottery Barn inspired table that seats eight and I'm dreaming of the seagrass dining chairs from World Market. It might be awhile before that happens though, as that part of the project will NOT cost under $100.

Linked to:

Between Naps on the PorchKeeping It SimpleRunning With GlitterHomemaker On A DimeDittle Dattle,  The Tattered TagThe DIY ShowoffHome SavvyBe ColorfulThe DIY Home Sweet HomeMad In CraftsThe Girl CreativePolly Want A CrafterSumos Sweet StuffMaking The World CuterLines Across My Face,  Coastal CharmSkip To my LouCherished BlissConfessionsMy Uncommon Slice Of SuburbiaTip JunkieCreative ItchTopsy TurvySassy Sites!A Bowl Full Of LemonsMe and My BoysSugar Bee CraftsBella Before and AfterNot Just A HousewifeOops I Craft My PantsHomeworkBlue Cricket DesignSew Much AdoEisy MorganMy Girlish Whims,    Savvy Southern StyleSomeday CraftsWomen Who Do It AllHandy Man Crafty WomanThe Thrifty HomeLil LunaSaved By LoveFireflies & JellybeansRemodelaholicSerenity NowLolly JanedelicateCONSTRUCTIONChic On A Shoestring504 MainDesigner GardenHappy Hour ProjectsFrench Country CottageThe Shabby NestFun To CraftFingerprints o the FridgeFreckled LaundryBe Different Act NormalTatertots and JelloNifty Thrifty ThingsI Heart Nap Time


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