Friday, January 31, 2014

Dark Wood Floors

When it came time to talk about flooring for the main part of the house, it was a no-brainer for me to decide on hardwood floors.  The warmth that they bring to a room is what feels like home to me.

In our first house, we had hardwood flooring installed, and we went with oak wood with a lighter finish.  But pre-engineered flooring has come a long way in the last 15 years, and after shopping around we choose a dark, 5" plank, pre-finished, solid wood floor with an antiqued finish. 

I knew that the dark floors would mean more maintenance, but the other floors we liked: whitewashed or grey stained, didn't speak to the space.

So we rented a flooring hammer and went to work.  After my man did the math of the layout, I was design girl.  I laid out the flooring a few rows at a time and he nailed it down.  We've spent 2 weekends on this project now, and are 85% done.

It looks great -- so warm and polished, especially compared to the sub-floors. 

Sorry about the glare.  It's raining.

I love the depth this floor has.  One of the best things (other than the way they look) is they are so forgiving.  This was apparent only a few minutes into the project.   

These little chips happened every now an then, especially as my hubs was getting used to using the hammer.

This is what they look like after I touched them up with a black sharpie.

Like it never happened!  So awesome!

This dark color does show every.little.thing.  And due to the number of times I've mopped these floors since installation, we must be especially dirty people.  I haven't quite determined how I am going to deal with this.  I currently don't have a vacuum that I can use on these floors but I went out and bought a large floor micro-fiber mop to use, and it's great.  It doesn't take long to go around these rooms, and it's kind-of fun right now(even the boys enjoy it), but on the flip side I don't want to be a slave to my house and have to do this several times a day for the next 20 years.  So that being said, when it comes time to buy a vacuum (hopefully soon!) I am very tempted to try a robot one. 

Makes me giddy to even imagine I might have a robot vacuum someday.

I noticed too how much brown furniture we have.  I'm still feeling this out because there are still so many permanent layers to add.   

So much more work to do here.....but it's coming along.

Sharing with: AKA DesignFinding FabulousJennifer RizzoCommon GroundImparting GraceShabby NestNancherrowHome Stories AtoZ

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Putting pretty away....

I've tried to keep things decorated and pretty throughout the process.  I mean, I can't put life on hold just because we've undertaken this huge project.  Who wants to do that?! We've had to live and entertain in this space while at the same time, working to create and finish the space. 

But when projects are underway, all the pretty has to be moved, one, so you have an open work area, and two so the pretty doesn't break during.  Who wants to break a pretty?  

So things are a little more stark right now and all the pretty is packed in my bedroom and in my 1 finished upstairs closet (yes! a finished closet!  Celebrate the small things!).

It's just for a little while.  So floor, cabinet and plumbing fixture installation can happen.

And that way in a couple weeks, when the big projects are mostly finished (fingers crossed) the spaces will be fresh and ready to tell me what they want to be.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Breaking Up With You.

This post spoke to me in a big way.

I mentioned I might border on crazy recycling lady.  Part of my mother's borderline hoarding must have also washed off on me because I have a thing towards letting stuff go I see potential in.  Two dueling tendencies, battling in my person.

I think there is a natural inclination though, of not getting rid of things that you might need in the future.  Not wanting to be wasteful of either money nor supplies.  

But this house project has made me view my possessions in a whole new light.  I feel like I have had to move us 8 times in the last 2 years.  I say move us because while I literally moved us twice in 6 months, completely in and out of the same house, every time we begin a project here, it begins in a big way and every item is cleared out.  That's the downside to living in a house in progress. 

Because I haven't had any built in's upstairs, not even closet shelves, for more than 2 years, if the item doesn't have somewhere to live, it is a nuisance.  The things I have in our house have to have some value, because I will have to move them sometime, and I'm getting too old to move stuff we don't need, or want.

But it's taken me these 8 times of lugging stuff around to get to this, what can only be described as, an Ah-Ha moment.  I have lugged some of this un-needed stuff around for years.  


I was in high school when my Aunt worked at a Hallmark and the store closed.  I thought "I'll never spend another dime on a card again!  Yehaw!!  I'll be rich with all the money I'll save!"  Some of these cards are from then...27 years ago.

There are a lot of empty envelopes here too.

All of these are empty.

I couple of the notebooks are from college years, or first jobs, or first organizing attempts.  Some 22 years ago.  The files and hanging folders are from more recent hand me down or freecycled furniture.  Low mileage: 5 years or less.   

Granted, these card and notebook piles used to be a lot bigger.  For maybe the first 7 years, I always had a card to send.  And after the first time I bought 3 kids school supplies one September, the extra notebooks became very valuable.  

But these are now mostly the scragglers.  
The hanger-on-ers.  
The weigh-er-downers. 

It finally dawned on me as I was moving these items, yet again last week during prep time, that even though these items don't take up much space -- they take up a lot of space in my essence.  They weigh down my spirit somehow.....

I guess I can add borderline crazy guru to my list of personality traits.

But none of these cards fit where I'm at right now, and it has been a long time since one have them has worked.  I only need as many file and hanging folders as I have file cabinet drawers for.  The notebooks that were too flimsy or too large for us 3 years ago, will not change in the next minute, let alone 3+ years from now.  

I think most of us have places to stash things.  I used to have cabinets, drawers or closet shelves to stash things I didn't want to think about.  And I didn't think about them, unless I opened one of those closets, cabinets or drawers.  When I did, sometimes, for some reason, it made me feel kind of bad.  I can only describe it as guilt.  Guilt that I had these extra perfectly good free items, yet I had gone out and spent money on cards for my friends and family, or notebooks that my kids wanted for school that year.  

But the bottom line is that I enjoy picking out cards for people, and (most of the time) shopping with my boys.

I will give some of these away.  All the envelopes, enough to mail a lifetime plus of mail.  The extra and legal size file and hanging folders for a file cabinet drawer I will never have.  The cards, that, in all likelihood, will never ever apply to my life.  The notebooks that are perfectly fine, but always the last picked for paperwork.

Your lift into the happy girl at Goodwill's hands will be the last time I move you.

I am breaking up with you, you weigh-er-downers.  We're done.  I feel lighter already.

Sharing with: NancherrowImparting Grace  


Friday, January 17, 2014

Little Project, Big Words

While I am busy working to prep for this weekend's job of finishing this:

I am reminded of this little project in my laundry room:

I am guilty of recycling everything I can.  I fall short of the crazy recycling lady.... but not by much.  

When I got these little clothespins securing the tag of some t-shirts I bought my sons from Redbubble, I had to save them.  They were just too cute to throw away.

I had this strip of cork left over from a make shift bulletin board in the 'hub' in the kitchen.  Again, I saved that little strip.  I didn't have any plan, I just saved it because I liked it.

As I'm sure everyone does, I have a collection of quotes on Pinterest.  I printed out 3 of them.  After all my cutting and pasting and crafting, only 1 really turned out.  But that's ok -- it was one of the best ones.

I paraphrased it a little.  That's art too right?

Glancing at this quote, I am reminded that ALL of life is beauty.  There is great value and beauty in everything...
even the laundry...
even the dishes...

Not really sure about the ironing, but, I guess in the right light....

Sharing with Imparting GraceNancherrow


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Baby, you were worth the wait.

For the last 9 years I have bought almost nothing to decorate my home.  No new towels, no rugs, no vases, no artwork.  No cute little signs or sexy little lamps.  I think I can actually list every little pretty I just couldn't pass up -- and I think they would total 10, maybe 15 things.

I didn't try to buy my way out of my house discontent, although I was tempted to all the time.  I squirreled away inspiration and ideas. I tried to focus on the change that was to come -- even though in the beginning -- it was YEARS away.  Some days were depressing for sure.

It sucked quite honestly.  I avoided lovely places like Target, and Home Goods.  I wistfully browsed magazines and then online through Blogs, Houzz, and of course the granddaddy: Pinterest.  I daydreamed a lot of the someday.  I envied my friends with their homes, all a little different, but infused with their style and their stamp of home. 

We saved as much as we could, and sacrificed the current It thing, until it was priced as the common thing. 

I tried not to harbor resentfulness, but it was hard.  We had many late night discussions about the when, the how, the magic, of what was to come of our home plans.  That part was invigorating and would buoy my spirits.

It was a roller-coaster -- one day I was full of energy and the can do attitude and the next day I am depressed because we're 3 years or 4 years (which ended up being about 6) away from starting the project and I am living in a house that does not reflect my soul one iota.    

I put all of my creative energy into creating a yard -- creating an outside view for my someday home.  I did as much entertaining as I could when the weather was good so we could be outside. I got used to everyone saying what a "great yard!" we had and side stepping our house.  One year when my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday and then later our anniversary (I don't think he took me seriously the first time) I answered, 'an arbor between these 2 beds'.

Two years later for Mothers Day and my birthday I got a vegetable garden and a garden shed.  You can kind of see each in the picture below.  The pond area was built at the same time as the shed.  We all joked that it was too bad we couldn't live in the garden shed.  It looked so much better than the house.   

I volunteered at the school, & I joined the PTO board.  I was the Team Mom on all the boys sports teams.  I started running.  One year I kept track of my miles and by the end of the year I had run 1,087 miles.  I put my head down.  I focused on my family.  I tried to keep moving forward.  

Did I mention that it sucked?

Whatever I could do to not wallow, I did.... not to say that I didn't have my moments....more like days.

But, when I see how my bathroom is shaping up, I'm so happy I didn't care that my bathroom rug didn't match the bathroom wall color....or the towels...and that it was all 15+ years old -- (forest green and burgundy anyone?).  I'm happy I just used what we had and let that be good enough.  

Delayed gratification sucks, but it's worth it.

Sharing with: By Stephanie LynnHome Stories AtoZImparting GraceCommon GroundJennifer RizzoNancherrowCity Farmhouse

Monday, January 6, 2014


We got a lot of supplies over the break.

There are boxes everywhere, and jobs in process.

Not exactly the most perfect time of year to have an influx of chaos.  With the Christmas tree and decorations, shipping boxes, wrapped packages, " still unpacked from when we moved in, in 2011 boxes", and cookies + candy plates of goodies from our wonderful friends..... let's just say things can get a little hectic just when you don't need them to be.  But that's life right?  I have always believed that without struggle, there would be no story.... 

Without struggle there would be no triumph. 

Without struggle there can be no 'overcoming'. 

At least that's what I choose to believe.  I also choose to try and enjoy the chaos and beauty of the process. That's not always easy.

You can be rewarded for patience.

I'm still working on my word for 2014.  That's a tradition I'd like to start this year. There are many obvious ones, but nothing has spoken to me yet.  Plus, I want it to be inspiring to my whole family. 

I may be perusing the thesaurus for a bit this week.