Thursday, March 31, 2011

Living Room Tour: March 2011

Check it out! I finally have updated pics of my living room!

It could be fun to do a little house tour, one room at a time. And since the living room is the entryway into our humble abode, let's start there!

After walking in the front door, this is the first view you would see of the house. Sure, it's a little bland, but I'm looking at the neutral tones as an opportunity to amp up the color with wall art and pillows. I haven't decided on the color palette yet. A fiery red could go really well with the grey. I'd love to see something bold like the throw pillows (below) from Martha Stewart's site:

Can you tell that my taste is ADD? I am seriously all over the place!

Moving on ... this is the view you would have over your right shoulder from the entryway.

I reupholstered these chairs when we first got them three years ago. I recently stripped the fabric off of one of them to make sure it wasn't more difficult than I'd remembered, which hopefully explains why they're in two different fabrics. For the next project here, I'm hoping to refinish the wood in a darker stain and reupholster them (yes, again). Now I just need to find the perfect fabric...

And above is the view of our tv. Not so exciting, but I wanted to show yet another barren wall and voice my intention of picking out a proper tv stand. See those wicker baskets full of dvds? Those puppies have got to go!

Here's the view of the kitchen from the sofa:

I'm keeping it real for you by not tidying up the kitchen before snapping the picture. That was totally intentional. :)

And here's my final shot from the kitchen. The picture turned out super dark, and I used all the photoshop tools I had to bring it back to life. Sadly, it's still pretty grainy, but I think it gets the point across.

And just to give you an idea of the progress, here's a shot from May 2010:

We've come a long way, no? So here's my 2011 list of action items for the living room:
Refinish chairs
Reupholster chairs
Find wall art
Declutter book shelves
Find tv console
Find throw pillows
Hang blinds/add molding to window (a whole post in itself)
Paint the walls (any suggestions?)
Replace the floor lighting
Find a side table (for in between the chairs)

And that wraps up the living room tour! Lots done and lots more to do!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ode to the Texas Mountain Laurel

Texas mountain laurel is the bee's knees!

It's pretty, it smells like grape kool-aid, and it's currently IN BLOOM!
For me, it is the pinnacle of spring in Austin and it's finally here - I couldn't be more pumped up!

Needless to say, I'll definitely be planting one in my backyard when the time comes. Of course, the elephant in the room keeps asking, how long will it take me to kill it?

Any advice?

Photo courtesy of Texas Forest Service

The Shed That Is No More!

Backyard update: The fence is completed!

Toot Toot! I have to admit, it's tough to share pictures when the backyard still isn't finished (LOTS of landscaping to do). But, we've got to celebrate the little victories along the way, right? RIGHT!

(Side note, the fence isn't finished in the photo above. You'll see the finished version in the photos below.)

All week long, I excitedly pestered Jonathon about the upcoming shed demolition. Sure, a handier/thriftier homeowner might be able to salvage a termite-ridden shed. They could patch up the rotted wood, they could move it halfway across the yard to a less eye-scorching location, and they could scour it until is sparkled. We are not such people. We are learning that there are some things worth doing for yourself, there are some (ok, LOTS of) projects that are worthy of hiring professionals, and sometimes, you just need to start from scratch.

The shed was one such project.

A week ago, the shed was sitting on stilts (long story), and was no longer structurally sound. Knowing that Little E would be living with us this week, we both felt uncomfortable leaving the shed in its current state. Sure we could have made the back yard off limits, but why put off the inevitable?

The question in our minds then became how to demolish the shed without it caving in on us. At first, we decided we would tip it over (away from the new fence). Let me tell you now from experience. Sheds are very heavy. Two adults cannot tip over a shed with just muscle and rope. (How many of you are saying to yourselves, "Well, duh!"?)

Plan B (and a much wiser plan at that) involved removing the roof first. Jonathon tackled the shed with nothing but a hammer at first, and within minutes, T, our awesomely handy neighbor came over to see what Jonathon was up to. Before we knew it, we had several crowbars of varying sizes (and got some stellar advice on how to tackle the job).

Within 30 minutes, the roof was gone.

The next step involved removing each wall, starting with all the braces and supports in the corners.

Check out that awesome termite action!

Now, in case you're wondering what I did while Jonathon was busy with crowbars and axes, I carried everything to the front of the house in the hopes that someone on Craigslist would take all the scraps from us.

Finally, we were down to the bare bones.

Two hours later, we carried the last of the materials around to the front of the house, posted our ad on CL and wondered if anyone would want termite-rotten wood full of nails. Within ten-minutes, we found someone, and within 30 minutes every last piece of wood, tin, and shed scraps was gone. Win win!!!

And now, our back yard (sans shed):

Yes, there is so much more to do. But I gotta say, it feels good to have this checked off the list!