Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brilliant ideas that weren't mine

When my parents visited a couple weeks ago, my mom mentioned that it would be really helpful to have some kind of shelf or storage unit by the pedestal sink in the guest bathroom. I had never thought of this, and while I love the sink, I subsequently noticed that guests' toiletry items were either balancing precariously on the narrow sink edge, or were migrating over to the windowsill. Not the most convenient arrangement for tooth brushing, face washing, makeup application, etc.!

I pondered this for a bit, because I thought something big and clunky on one side of the sink would make things look crowded.

Then the other night it popped into my head to see if I could find a glass shelf that would match the other bathroom accessories we'd picked out (as an aside, selecting things like towel bars, tp holders, and robe hooks may have been the ultimate "I have never given a single millisecond of thought as to what style of this item I would like in my house... and now I have to pick 'em out" moment in this whole process; see also: light switches, doorknobs).

Luckily for me, the bathroom stuff we ended up picking (the Gatco Jewel Collection for those who are curious or care more about tp holders than I do) has a matching glass shelf. Even more luckily, it fits perfectly on the wall by the sink! Sign me up.

The shelf arrived today, and I armed myself with a tape measure, level, and pencil to figure out where it should go. We just finished getting it installed, and I think it looks great! It is not too intrusive, matches everything else, and should make things a bit easier on guests.

Just for fun, here's the little nook you see as you enter the bathroom. Brandon's had this small wooden shelf his whole life, and it fits perfectly and is a great spot for guest towels, candles, and a few decorative items (the odd little bowl at right was a $5 treasure found on one of my Junk Hunts with Kit). Sorry for the odd angle - this nook is completely impossible to photograph without some kind of periscope camera attachment.

The second brilliant idea actually WAS mine, but someone beat me to it. I've posted previously about the fact that we're waiting for our new bed to arrive, and that it's a storage bed with drawers in the sides. It's going to be a great space-saver (not to mention that we won't have the dog-fur-tumbleweed problem going on underneath since it sits right on the floor). However, it means that we can't use regular bedside tables since they'd block the drawers. I'd considered using floating shelves (like these from IKEA) instead of tables, but thought they might be a bit crowded with lamps, cell phones, water, tissues, etc. Then I thought to myself, "self, wouldn't it be cool if there were such a thing as a combined wall-mounted swing-arm lamp plus shelf/table?" Well sad to say I am not the next Thomas Edison (although maybe I'm onto something with the periscope camera attachment??)... but happy to say that I found just thing thing I was looking for!

(image from Wayfair)

The ones I bought (with a gulp and a small apology to my credit card) have white lampshades instead of the dark color shown here, and were $107 a pop. They had great reviews though, and arrived today and seem very well made. They also look pretty cool! I'd love to get them up on the wall and share some photos, but we want to wait until the bed arrives so we can be sure to locate them in the right place for groggy snooze-button hitting. Once the bed comes (hopefully in the next week or so) I'll report back with photos!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting decent

No one will truly appreciate this update as much as our only neighbor (who doesn't read the blog... as far as I know)... but we've finally hung some curtains! There is really only one window in the house that needed them, and that was our bedroom. All the other bedroom/bathroom windows face the woods, so while I'll eventually get some blinds for them it just hasn't been at the top of the priority list. However, I was getting tired of wandering out of the shower and into our bedroom in the dark (or hiding in the closet to get dressed).

Hooray! I ordered these on Amazon, and also the new comforter/duvet set. I really like these colors together, so now I'm on the hunt for some more pillows and wall art with the turqoise/dark red combo.

The bedroom still needs a lot of things - for example, a bed. We've ordered one but it will still be another week or two until it is ready. I can't wait for it to arrive, since it's a storage bed so we'll finally be able to get rid of the boxes of clothes in the closets. (I might well throw a party once the last box is finally unpacked!) Once the bed comes I am thinking of mounting a couple of small shelves on either side to serve as bedside tables, since we won't be able to use regular tables (they'll block the drawers). Then we need bedside lamps and some art on the walls... oh and let's not forget I STILL haven't painted the darn closet doors. Even though they bother me every single day. Maybe I'll go do that now.

Also wanted to share a few quick photos of the completed book nook! There is one more shelf that will go up at the very top, but we still have to cut it down to size.

I poly'd the shelves, but it really didn't change the color much at all so they still look pretty raw. I may get motivated someday and stain them, but for now I am just enjoying having the books put away and no boxes (a.k.a. tripping hazards) on the landing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book nook

Remember the charming tower of boxes that has inhabited our stair landing since we moved in? Well, we're finally trying to do something about it by working on the built-in bookshelves. We had a fantastic visit with my parents this past weekend, so of course we put 'em to work helping on projects (to be fair, Roy is always up for kicking it on the stairs with a drill).

Partway through the project the landing was basically an explosion of tools, books, boxes and wood pieces.

That last pic shows the two bottom shelves in place - there are seven in total. After doing some upper-level painting yoga to prime the undersides of the supports, I decided to curtail the installation until I could get the rest primed and painted BEFORE they were attached to the wall. This involved some late-night painting in the PJ's avec beverage.

You can blame Brandon for that blurry artistic shot. But at least he looks cute with a level and safety glasses.

During this process I learned that the air nailer makes him reeeeeeal happy. Simon the dog, not so much - he was cowering in my lap during most of this process.

Yes, that's a single 37" board with 31 nail holes. Yes again, I counted them as I caulked (side eye Brandon).

Six of the seven shelves! Here's a shot of what it will look like as you climb the stairs, but I'd taken the shelves out to caulk and paint, so you'll have to use your imaginification.

The original plan was to paint the supports and shelves the same white as the rest of the trim... but after doing a lot of staring and hmm-ing, I am pretty sure I'm going to poly the shelves to hopefully match(ish) the treads and bannister - they are all red oak, so it should be pretty close. What do you think - white to match the trim, or natural wood?

"But will they hold... a book?!"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rootin' tootin' photo-shootin'

Turtle House designer Steven Varnum came over the other day with a wide-angle lens to get some interior pics of the house, and just posted them to his website. After doing a moderately unreasonable amount of squealing and clapping, I stole them (with permission) to share. I have nothing more to add except that we heart Steven and still can't believe we really get to live here...

Also, wide angle is awesome, unless your thighs are in the photo.

 (this picture is an accurate depiction of how I write most of these posts)

(I moved to get out of Steven's photos... SNEAKY, STEVEN)

 (dueling dog-butt photobomb)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wood boxes in my world right now

WOOD BOXES #1-6: the bathroom vanity drawers

Remember the old dresser that I refinished to use as our bathroom vanity? Last time you saw it without its drawers (scandalous!)... and so it sat for quite a while, while I contemplated the best way to deal with the inevitable drawer-plumbing conflict. Well, we finally went for it and created what must be the most grotesque set of drawers... ever. But hey, they'll only be seen by us, right? (I'm pretty sure there's no one on this whole "internet" thing.)

The top drawers (above) had to get huuuge chunks cut out of them, and I contemplated just removing them altogether and attaching the faces permanently to the dresser. But, that six inches or so of extra storage space won out, and we cut pieces of wood to keep our deodorant and contact lens cases from falling into the abyss.

The two bottom drawers didn't need to be chopped nearly as much, since the pipes run much closer to the wall down by the floor.

What did I tell you, they ain't pretty, but they get the job done. Except, they don't really, because the slides are all wonky and they don't shut right. This is going to require drawer surgery #2, in which we remove the slides and attach pieces of wood for the drawers to sit on instead. Regardless, some drawers and storage is a big improvement over this!

Yes, I took that picture from inside the shower. And yes, I forgot to take an "after" picture with the drawers in. Don't let the suspense kill you!!

WOOD BOX #(lucky)7: the toy(?) box

Don't you love when the internet gives you things like magical rugs? You know what's even better? When you find an "internet friend" and then you meet them in real life and they are hilarious and super fun and you can have adventures! Kit at DIYdiva posted about our first junk hunt (and the recounting made me laugh ALMOST as much as the reality). Well it seems to have become what we will call a "recurring pattern" (rather than a "bad habit"). (I prefer the term "genius," actually, now that I think about it.) The difference between me and Kit is that she has big plans for her thrift store finds, whereas I buy strange things and retrospectively try to figure out what on earth to do with them. Like... this adorable little box on wheels.

It was only after I decided that I completely needed this absurd item that I came up with the idea of using it to hold kindling for the wood stove. And it's adorable. And Brandon thinks I'm crazy... but isn't it so cute?

It may move down to the entryway to hold mittens and scarves or something, we'll see. Or dog toys, or sweaters... really the possibilities are endless. Strange little box, I dub thee "$20 well spent."