Plans for the new house

I already have a million plans for updates and upgrades to our new house. Although we don’t know how long we will be living in Cleveland, we do know:

1). It will be at least four years – that’s a long time!
2). We want to make it a wonderful home for ourselves without cutting corners or having to “make do” with any existing problems.
3). Any upgrades we make are likely to come back to us in resale value if/when we do sell the house.

Not to disclose too much about the cost of the house or our personal finances, but the price of our home clearly reflects that it hasn’t been updated or particularly well-cared for in the past 10-15 years. Given the location (great neighborhood) and the condition of other homes on our block, lets just say that it is perfectly reasonable for a house like ours to sell for 20-40% more than we are paying, if and only if it is well-maintained and updated.

Which is all to say that I think we are in a good place where we can make the changes we want without worrying that we’re throwing away our money. The house is solid, safe, and perfectly charming as it is. We just want to bring it into this century!

So, the house is a 2 story (plus attic) 1920 colonial with detached 2-car garage and a big yard. Here is a brief outline of what we’re working with and what we’d like to do:

Outside:

IMG_9433.PNG

 

While that paint color leaves something to be desired, the south-facing front facade of the house is really pretty cute. Looking forward to sipping iced tea on that big porch! Soem landmarks: the front door opens into a small vestibule and then to the main hallway. The big window on the first floor is the living room. The windows on the second floor are two of the bedrooms, and the dormer window is the attic. the driveway runs along the left side of the house to the detached garage behind.

As far as changes to the front of the house, we would like to add a railing on the steps, for safety. We also need to backfill underneath the front porch to ensure that water flows away from the foundation. And in the near future, we will need to need to plan to replace the roof – no one knows how old it is, but it’s definitely getting to the end of its useful life. Better to replace it before a catastrophic leak!

I am interested to see what the yard is looking like by now – these photos were taken in March, before the trees leafed out. The big mature trees in our neighborhood mean that the house gets plenty of shade in the summer, but lots of sun through the bare branches in winter – an ideal setup. I am excited to do a little landscaping around the house for interest. I think some hostas would look beautiful and do well in the shade.

IMG_9507

This weird panoramic view makes the garage look like it faces perpendicular to the back of the house.

In the back yard, we also have lots of shade trees that seem to be preventing the lawn from going strong. Which isn’t a problem, because Daniel and I really want to install a brick paver patio next to the house. (And we need to fix those ugly steps!) We would like the patio to be big enough to hold a grill and smoker, plus a dining area. And then I want to string up some cafe lights over the whole thing.

The back yard is narrow and deep. I think Walter will have a great time doing laps! And there is even a place for a hammock behind the garage. The yard is fenced in with ugly, rusting dilapidated chain link fence, but it is sturdy (safe for the dog) and honestly, it doesn’t bug me much. I think I’ll try to plant some kind of climbing vine like morning glory to conceal it. I can stomach saving up for a new roof and new furnace, but a privacy fence seems so not sexy (I guess we’ll see if I change my tune when we meet the neighbors!)

First floor:

IMG_9437.PNG

Downstairs there is a spacious living and dining room, which we will pretty much leave alone. I love the wood floors and the simple but beautiful millwork. I will probably paint the walls, install a new lighting fixture in the dining room (down with those awful boob lights), and then just move our stuff in!

IMG_9441I love the window seat in the dining room. The seat lifts up to reveal storage underneath!

IMG_9435The foyer has some wacky wallpaper going on, but its not too bad and again, I think I can live with it for a little while. It does add some nice color and it’s in pretty good condition.

IMG_9538

I do love the painted white woodwork. In fitting with the neo-colonial style of the house, the trim is very simple, without excessive curves or details (which would be more consistent with an earlier Victorian style). I especially love how the doorways look. I’m still learning all the architecture terms, but I believe this whole top thing is called the entablature, and that the three pieces of trim would be called, from bottom to top: the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice. Could be wrong though.

Many of the other original details have also been preserved, like the original lead-paned windows flanking the fireplace, and the original sashed windows behind the couch. Some changes have been made, such as adding new more efficient windows in the dining room and permanently stopping up the fireplace (fine with us!).

Kitchen:

IMG_9442We were actually really happy to find the kitchen in this condition. While none of the components appears to be original to the house, the cabinets and sink are still fairly old, probably from the 60s. When we were house-hunting, we saw way too many houses that people were trying to flip, and they all had kitchens that were, frankly, disappointing. We are not really interested in the ubiquitous granite/brushed nickel fixtures/stainless steel appliances look that is the new “builder basic” these days. And we certainly didn’t want a cheap “flipper” version of it.

IMG_9443.PNG So we like the old oak cabinets, which are sturdy and simple. We can work with the galley kitchen layout which, while not ideal, is better than some weird “breakfast bar” layout that no one will ever use. We can definitely live with the kitchen as-is for now, and we have lots of plans for a beautiful, inexpensive remodel within the next year or so.

Second floor:

IMG_9446Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms and 1 bath. Unlike the first floor, it seems like things haven’t been as carefully maintained up here. The floors are ugly lumpy cheap beige carpet and there is quite a bit of slope (we have looked into it and are convinced the floor is structurally sound at least). I did peel back the carpet in several closets and it appears that the original hardwood floor is still under there! We plan to rip up all the carpet right away and get the floors refinished.

Also, while downstairs has all original moldings and doors, everything appears to have been ripped out upstairs sometime in the past. Currently, the second floor is just a series of beige boxes with cheap skimpy moldings and ugly hollow-core doors (hence why I didn’t feel the need to show you pictures of each and every room). Thankfully, with everything so well-preserved downstairs, I have the templates I need to re-create the millwork upstairs. As soon as the carpets are out and the floor is refinished, I will be replacing the door casings and baseboard with all new trim. I also plan to paint all the interior doors black (not as weird as it sounds).

There is also one bedroom that was apparently wallpapered and then painted over (seriously, what a rude surprise for the next owner!) so that will be a treat to take down.

All in all, we plan to take the first few weeks of June to make the upstairs beautiful and livable before we move in.

Attic:

IMG_9448Although this space is “finished” with drywall, paint and carpet, it has no heating or cooling and therefore technically cannot be considered living space. It also doesn’t look nearly as nice up close as in photos – the intense thermal cycles that this room experiences have caused a lot of cracks and buckling.

We will be using the attic for storage, but since it’s not climate-controlled, it remains to be seen what we can safely store up here. In the future, we could consider adding baseboard heating and a window AC unit if we wanted to make the most out of the space. I think it would be a pretty cool guest room or music room/studio, don’t you?

Well, that’s pretty much it for a brief grand tour! I’ll continue to post more once we finally close on the house and are able to get started on some of these projects!

My bedroom

Bedroom

As much as I love the black paint in our bedroom (FYI, this is the gross color of the room before I painted), I haven’t always loved the room itself. For a long time, it wasn’t finished and it just wasn’t how I wanted it to be.

About two years ago, Daniel and I decided to build a big headboard as a “Do It Together” activity. But we ran into so many problems that we all but abandoned the project. Turns out, button tufting is a huge pain in the ass and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’ve come to realize that tufting is an upholstery project that you should always just take to a professional. It would have cost us less grief AND less money just to have someone else do it.

Fish scales

BUT, since we had already sunk the money into the foam, fabric, and button-covering kits, PLUS we already paid to have the movers bring it from Seattle with our furniture, we decided we finally needed to make this work. I’m about to start a really busy year of school, after which we will be moving into Chicago. The thought of shame-moving a giant unfinished craft project for a second time was finally enough to overcome our apathy. It took about a full week of dedicated work and a few minor arguments, but we finally got this thing finished and hung!

Bedroom

Another challenge in the bedroom was the bed. We bought a king-size platform bed from Overstock when we moved to Capitol Hill (Seattle) two years ago. It wasn’t the best quality, but it was what we could afford and it was really important to us to have a king bed. It worked just fine in our old apartment, but when we moved here, the uneven, slippery hardwood floors became a problem. The little legs that hold up the support beam that runs down the center of the bed kept falling down. Quite honestly, it usually occurred during nighttime activities, which was a double bummer.

Bedroom

For the past few months we’ve resorted to propping up the beam with piles of cookbooks, but we needed a permanent solution. So on Tuesday Daniel and I went to Home Depot, bought a 4×4 post, and had a guy cut it down into 8 squat, stable little legs. We used wood glue and screws to attach the legs to the support beam and now the bed is so stable. Hooray!

Sometime in the next year or so, we need to replace our junky old Ikea mattress, but for now, I am feeling pretty good about the bedroom. Good enough to finally take some photos.

Bedroom

Keep in mind this is the ONLY time this room has ever been this clean.

And here are a few panorama shots since it’s hard to get perspective when you’re shooting in a small room (click to embiggen):

Bedroom panorama

Bedroom panorama

Cozy, right?

8 months in one post

I have not blogged in forever! Why have I not blogged for 8 months? Because I am a fuck. Thankfully, I have been taking pictures. So quickly, here are some of the things that have happened in the past year that I never wrote about:

Exactly one year ago in late July 2012 Daniel, Walter and I road-tripped across the country from Seattle, Washington to Waukegan, Illinois. These photos were taken at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming:

Daniel and Walter at Devil's Tower, WY

Me and Walter at Devil's Tower, WY

Once we arrived in Illinois, we had a ton of free time until our stuff arrived, so we painted our bedroom black. Benjamin Moore Onyx, to be precise. It is a lovely, sooty black and I will definitely be using it again in future apartments. Our landlord just about had a heart attack when he saw it.

Paint is Black Onyx by Benjamin Moore

On August 6th, 2012, we celebrated Walter’s 3rd birthday with a cute hat, some poached chicken, and homemade froyo. Our stuff still hadn’t come yet.

Happy 3rd birthday, Walter!

A few days later, I had my white coat ceremony. If you’ve never heard of it, the white coat ceremony is a med school rite of passage where you receive the short white coat of a medical student and then you take the Hippocratic Oath. It was pretty cute, but Daniel couldn’t come, so I felt very alone. You can see from this awkward picture that I didn’t know anyone yet and was feeling very shy. A year later though, I’m friends with almost everyone in that photo!

White coat ceremony

(Fun fact: when we got our coats, we each had to stand up and say one thing that we are “bringing to medicine”. 10 points if you can guess what I promised to bring!)

We finally got settled into our new apartment and I took a few crappy photos:

Living room

Living room

Office

Looks pretty much the same as our last apartment, doesn’t it? Even the gray paint in the main room is almost the same shade – Benjamin Moore Stone Harbor.

And then school started and it was all about the studying (which is also ostensibly my excuse for not blogging).

Studying hard

It wasn’t all work and no play, though – my bestie Pamela and her boyfriend Javier visited in September for a few days and we toured the Few Distillery in Evanston. If you’ve never toured a bourbon distillery before, you have to try it! Everything smalls like warm toasty vanilla.

Me and Pamela at Few Spirits distillery

In October, we visited a pumpkin patch with new friends Svetlana and Jenny (med students like me).

Svetlana takes the lead!

Jenny racing

For Halloween, Wally was a lobster again, (but this year I think he wants to be a bumblebee):

Walter the lobster Walter the lobster

Walter the lobster

One big thing that happened this past year was us hosting our very first Thanksgiving. 2012 was the first year of our whole lives where we didn’t have the time or the money to travel back to Spokane for Thanksgiving. We hosted 8 people (also med students who couldn’t travel home) and everything went great. I’ll save the photos of that for now, because I want to do a whole separate post on that.

2012 was our second year with a real Christmas tree, and this time we decided to go all the way out to the farm and cut it ourselves. We all got bundled up:

All bundled up

And chose our tree.

Christmas tree hunting

Christmas tree acquired!

It looked beautiful up and decorated, but it didn’t smell as fragrant as 2011’s tree. I don’t remember for sure, but I think this was a Canaan fir. I think this year we will try for a better-smelling variety, even if the needles aren’t as soft.

O Tannenbaum

In December 2012 Daniel and I also celebrated our 10th dating anniversary! We celebrated on the 13th with flowers and champagne:

Anniversary champagne

December 13th, 2012

Followed by a romantic dinner and a night at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Anniversary

Later in January, we got dressed up and went into the city again for Dance for Diabetes, a charity event put on by the podiatry program at my university. Everyone looked fabulous and had a great time:

Dance 4 Diabetes

After the new year, I held a very special Galentine’s Day luncheon for all my favorite med school ladies. I want to do a separate post on that, but it involved pretty decorations:

Working on a fun tassel garland!

After February, school stuff really started to take over and apparently I didn’t take any pictures. Our amazing friends Chris and Kaitlin flew all the way out from Seattle to visit in March, but I can’t find a single photo! (To be fair, we did spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, drinking wine and playing Settlers of Catan, so I’m not sure how great those photos would have been).

But this summer has been great and I have plenty of stuff from the past few months to share with you soon!

Goodbye 2012!

Well, despite the fact that 2012 was the worst year ever for this blog, it was a pretty good year for me in real life!

I started off 2012 with my best friends Kaitlin and Pam at a raging party at Miss K’s house (no photos of that, thankfully). Daniel and I also rescued a stray dog last New Year’s Eve, and reunited him with his owners on New Year’s Day.

Here is a picture of me and my bestie Kaitlin at our last dinner party in Seattle:

Kaitlin and me

In Spring 2012, I traveled to several medical school interviews, and on May 1, I was accepted to Rosalind Franklin University! Just three months later, Daniel, Walter and I packed up all our belongings and road-tripped to our new home in Waukegan, Illinois. We were incredibly sad to leave our adopted hometown of Seattle, and our best friends Kaitlin and Chris. But after spending 3 years in a dead-end job, I was so happy to finally be going to medical school.

Me and my bestie Pamela when I was in Illinois to find and apartment:

Pamela and me

For the past 4 months, I have been pretty much living the dream, being a full-time med student, while Daniel has also been living his dream of being an elementary school general music teacher. We have a lovely home (which I know I owe everyone pictures of, sorry!) and lots of great new friends. Our neighbors are wonderful and they adore Walter.

Daniel and I hosted our first-ever Thanksgiving in our home this year. We had 10 people over for a fantastic feast. And 2 weeks ago, Daniel and I went down to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate 10 years together as a couple:

Anniversary

2012 has been a great year. A year with lots of change, some difficult, but most happy. Honestly, I don’t know if 2013 can top it, but I am looking forward to the future. Yes, even the surprises!

Walter

Love,
Sarah

a week in Chicagoland

Well, I’m done with work! I quit my job last week and now I have a few days to relax while Daniel finishes up his school year, and my mom and sister visit Seattle. After that, we’ll have just over a week to pack, clean, and say goodbye to Seattle.

Two weeks ago I flew to Chicago to look for an apartment. My awesome friend Pamela volunteered to drive me around all week.

As soon as my flight got in, we headed to Logan Square for a late night bite at the Longman and Eagle; we had some sort of corn-on-corn churro thing for dessert that was delicious.

at the Longman & Eagle

After noms, we headed up to the North Chicago/Waukegan area to spend the next 5 days apartment hunting. We put a ton of miles on the car, driving from suburb to suburb (more like ex-urb really) looking for a place to rent. The whole Chicagoland area is so different from Seattle; it’s going to take some getting used to. We also took the opportunity to sample the food and culture in the North Chicagoland area.

First we stopped at RFUMS for bumper stickers and t-shirts:

RFUMS swag

We also discovered that apparently it is ok to park on the grass when all the parking spots are taken:

Parking

Then we took in some nightlife in the nearby town of Libertyville:

Pamela

Then we spent a  whole bunch of time just driving around the city of Waukegan, Illinois, looking for FOR RENT signs. This is all old Saunders stomping-grounds, since Pamela’s dad grew up in Waukegan.

Pamela approved of Joplin’s Java, the only independent coffee shop in Waukegan (for the love of dog, please correct me if I am wrong here and Waukegan is full of secret local coffee shops – this is the only one we could find!) The coffee shop is really cute and it overlooks a beautiful ravine.

Joplin's Java

Anyway, so after lots of running around, a few disappointments, and some tears, I found an apartment! It is is Waukegan, in a safe, but working class area. It’s less than 2 miles from the elementary school where Daniel will be teaching, and it’s about 7 miles from RFUMS. We’re excited to have such short commutes in an area where it seems everyone is willing to commute miles and miles to work every day. We really don’t want to have to get a second car, at least right away. Also, Daniel is really happy about our close proximity to lots of taco shops and Mexican groceries.

Anyway, the apartment is a 3-bedroom, 1 bath with hardwood floors and a nice big porch/balcony area. I will have one whole bedroom to myself for an office, and we are also planning a guestroom for when family and friends come to visit. It will be so nice to have more space to spread out and set up a proper office. One of the biggest perks of living in the suburbs – you can get a 1400 square foot apartment for less than you were paying for your 525 square foot place in Capitol Hill!

Thanks for a great week Pam!

Pamela and me

Awesome shelving unit

(This is an old post I started writing back in November 2011. Even though it is not very timely, I thought you all might still want to read it!)

When we started making plans for decorating our current apartment, Daniel asked for some websites to read for inspiration. You see, my blog feed reader basically consists of equal parts design blogs and feminist/womanist/progressive blogs (with a sprinkling of critters sites, of course), and I’m also on Pinterest regularly. Daniel mostly reads about fashion and food, so while he isn’t design-illiterate, he literally just didn’t know where to look for ideas and inspiration. The first place I sent him to was The Brick House. Morgan’s blog has been a major inspiration for all the projects we’re attempting in the new place. Her aesthetic is spot-on and she is a major deal-hound.

So I promised a long time ago I would show you how we built the shelving unit in our living room. I have to be honest and admit that we ripped off the whole concept of the shelf from The Brick House. When I showed Daniel a picture of her unit and told him I wanted to copy it, he was immediately on board.

Shelving unit from The Brick House

shelving unit

Our version

Despite the fact that Morgan had pretty much laid the whole thing out for us, this was still a beast and we made so many (expensive!) mistakes. But it is just awesome, don’t you think? Here is how we did it:

First, we planned some changes to the inspiration unit to better fit our needs. We added an extra short shelf on the right to accommodate all our books, and then to keep the whole thing balanced-looking, we shifted the lowest shelf to the left side.

The whole shelving unit is built with steel plumbing/gas pipes and pine boards from Home Depot. It is only attached to the wall at the top with 4 screws in each flange, but since the poles are all steel and completely inflexible, the unit is really solid and stable.

After we had our favorite design sketched out, we planned how many pieces of each size pipe we would need. Here is our final* shopping list:

Assorted lengths of 3/4″ black gas pipe (you can totally use cheaper 1/2″ pipe for a slimmer look)

  • 20 – 6″ pipe (for shelf supports)
  • 4 – 8″ pipe (for the top pipes that go to the wall)
  • 11 – 12″ pipe
  • 2 – 18″ pipe
  • 2 – ~32″ pipe (custom cut & threaded to the same length as 18″+tee+12″)
  • 1 – ~43″ pipe (custom cut & threaded to the same length as 12″+tee+12″+tee+12″)

(You can buy one big 10′ pipe and have the guy at Home Depot to cut and thread it into our three custom-length pieces).

Fittings for 3/4″ gas pipe:

  • 20 – elbow joints
  • 16 – T-joints
  • 8 – base flanges

Wood:

  • 2 – 1″x12″x88″ pine boards
  • 3 – 1″x12″x48″ pine boards

(We bought three 1″x12″x8′ boards and had Home Depot cut them to the lengths we needed).

    Other stuff:

  • black spray paint
  • drill and spade bit (I think we ended up with a 1 1/4″ size bit)
  • wood stain – we used Minwax wood conditioner and stain in Special Walnut 224.

After a trip to Home Depot, we came home with a ton of greasy, dirty black gas pipes from the plumbing section. We decided to use black gas pipes instead of the shiny steel water pipes because gas pipes are a little cheaper and we knew we were going to paint them anyway.

Daniel laboriously peeled the sticker off each pipe and washed them in the bathtub with lots of soap. Then he spray painted them black. (Pro tip: assemble the pipes or tape off the ends before painting or you will muck up the threads).

building the shelving unit

Meanwhile, I sanded and stained the shelf boards and drilled holes for the pipes to go through. Each shelf needs 1 hole for each upright that goes through it. The holes go along the front edge of the shelf.

Once all the components were prepped (and we caught and fixed all our mistakes!) we laid everything out and got to building:

building the shelving unit

In the photo above you can see how all the components come together. The elbow joints sit at the back of each horizontal shelf support. Each shelf rests on top of the flat ends of the elbows and the top of the T-fittings. Four of the flanges are used as flat bases at the bottom of each upright (they’re not drilled into the floor) and the other 4 flanges sit flush against the wall and are screwed in.

There were a few tense moments before we were sure everything would lock in place, since there’s not a lot of wiggle room. But the assembly part came together so much quicker than all the tedious prep – it only took about 10 minutes total to build.

building the shelving unit

building the shelving unit

Ta-da! Our giant, awesome, custom shelving unit. It takes up the whole wall and it only cost a couple hundred dollars to make, including the cost of our errors. Speaking of mistakes…

* Here are all the things we messed up at first, and their approximate cost to fix. Homemade may be better, but it is only cheaper if you don’t fuck up.

  • Bought 3/4″ black gas pipe instead of 1/2″ like we planned to (and like the Brick House unit). I have no idea how that happened. Cost difference: +$60
  • Bought 8″ pipes for shelf supports, drilled the holes in the wood shelves, and then I realized I drilled the holes as if for 6″ supports. Since we had already washed and painted all the 8″ pipe, we couldn’t return it. Cost: $50 and an extra trip to Home Depot
  • Bought the wrong size spade bit to drill the holes in the boards. Cost: $5 and an extra trip to Home Depot
  • Realized we forgot to buy a board for one of the shelves we had planned. Cost: An extra trip to Home Depot, plus the cost of the board we were already planning to buy.

Yes, that is 4 extra trips to Home Depot over the course of a week. Later that week, we blew a fuse in the kitchen and had to run to HD again before we could make dinner.

new couch

Recently, we were forced to get a new couch. We bought an Ikea Karlstad sofa 4 years ago when we moved into our last apartment. I really liked that couch – it has nice clean modern lines, and it looked great with the metal legs we bought for it. But it was getting lumpy and saggy and not fun to sit on anymore, and then the whole frame started sagging really bad:

saggy old couch

The wood is completely broken, and since it is broken in a place where we already made some repairs with gorilla glue a few years ago, it was going to be really hard to get in there and repair it again.

So we went to Macy’s, opened the obligatory Macy’s account to get 10% off, and two weeks later:

new couch

Classy new couch! We even sprung for the 7 year all-inclusive warranty so that this doesn’t happen to us again.

Of course, Wally had to test the thing and give his seal of approval.

Walter is SO EXCITED about the new couch!

In case you can’t tell, he is running back and forth and rubbing himself all over the couch. I highly recommend clicking through and viewing at full resolution.

Of course, we haven’t gotten around to getting rid of the old couch yet, so it is just sitting in our living room blocking the closet. Does anyone want a cute but saggy sofa?

Edison’s chandelier

Edison's chandelier

The chandelier Daniel and I built, looking all moody. I was finally able to get a good picture of it all lit up.

apartment tour – living room

What can you say about a living room? Ours is pretty awesome – it is roomy, with a big south-facing window, old scarred-up hardwood floors, arched doorways and and high coved ceilings. We also have a big double closet and a little office nook off of the living room. The landlord painted for us, but we got to pick the color, so of course I chose gray. It is Behr “Ashes”. Let’s do this in pairs of “before” and “now” photos:

living room

shelving unit styled

This is what you see when you first walk in – you can see the dining room off to the left. Daniel and I built the giant shelving unit, and it totally deserves its own post. I am not really happy with the way the shelves are styled yet, and of course we need to do something about all those cords. We’re trying to live with the cords for a few weeks to make sure we have them exactly like we want them, and then we’re going to tack them neatly along the wall.

living room

living room

To the right of the shelf thing is the doorway to the (messy) office and then the closet is on the adjacent wall. Walter’s crate and all his shit is in the corner off to the right, but as much as I love that little guy, his gear isn’t cute.

living room

living room

And here is the other side of the room and the big wonderful windows. Seriously, this apartment has a lot of awesome qualities, but it was the windows that really sold me. I was so sick of cave living. The wall above the couch is another unfinished space; obviously we need some art there, but I don’t want to rush it. Also, that floor lamp has gotta go.

The living room is definitely a mix of pieces we already had, plus some important new additions. Obviously the shelving unit is new, and we also swapped out our old coffee table. The couch and purple chairs are old.

living room

And ten there’s the hutch. We gotta talk about that awesome mid-century hutch. I am gonna do a whole separate post on all the new vintage stuff in our place, but you can obviously tell right now that the hutch is badass.

living room

Things that still need to happen in the living room:
1). Corral the cord mess – seriously, look at that photo.
2). Replace the floor lamp with something better-looking
3). Hang some art above the couch
4). Re-style the shelving unit
5). Organize the office, since it is completely open to the living room.
6). Long term, I want to get a rug. Maybe by winter, depending on how cold the hardwood floors feel on our feet.

Only the little spaces left – hallway, kitchen, bathroom, and office!

apartment tour- dining nook

If there is one thing about an apartment that makes you feel like a real grown up, it is having an official dining room. Our dining nook may be tiny (and also house the refrigerator!) but it is a huge step up from the lap-eating that we were doing in our last place. Here is a “before” shot:

dining nook

We love the extra-wide arched doorway. The kitchen is through the arch and to the right, so in addition to housing the fridge, the nook also serves as a walkway. Here is the finished room – you can just barely see the fridge at the bottom right.

dining room AFTER

The window faces west onto the alleyway and gets great afternoon sun. Unlike the bedroom, the dining room came together really cheaply. The orange table was a free find off the street corner and we ran out and snatched it up. It appears to have been made for use in a school or something. It is just the perfect size for our little dining nook. The coral chairs came from a school down the street via Craigslist, and they cost a total of $12.

The little white cabinet is a favorite Ikea piece that used to live in our old living room. It kind of looks like a locker, doesn’t it? Combined with the giant alphabet print on the wall, I guess we may be going a little heavy-handed on the “vintage schoolhouse” theme. Whatever, I think it looks nice.

dining room AFTER

The most expensive item in the whole room is definitely the chandelier, at around $100 (including an emergency run to the hardware store to replace the fuse we blew). I have been dying to make this chandelier ever since it appeared in ReadyMade 2 years ago. It is made of glass balls from CB2 plus some basic electrical supplies from the hardware store.

I built the fixture and Daniel hardwired it in and installed a dimmer switch. And so can you! Hard wiring a light fixture is really not a big deal. We already have vague future plans to build this chandelier for the bedroom at some point.

So while it is a little bit of a squeeze, we can comfortably seat 4 people at the table – in fact, we’ve already hosted guests twice. The table is just the perfect size for the space. The only bummer is that since the table has to sit off-center to accommodate the fridge and walking space, the chandelier hangs kind of in the way. Daniel already cracked one of the balls with his head. Oh well, glass balls are cheap!

dining room AFTER

This room is pretty much finished. I did buy some oilcloth to make a table cover, and we may recover the chairs someday too. Oh, and I want to mount my pretty plate collection over the archway. But for right now, this room is really livable.

Next up: the living room!

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New curtains for the dining room.

New curtains for the dining room.

...and after the haircut

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