Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making do

Living in an unfinished house with a multitude of things that need to be done a.s.a.p. on a limited budget has a way of helping your priorities stay in order.  When your showering and you feel a breeze so you look up and at the ceiling, spying between the rafters and the insulation and spot daylight, it's hard to justify buying a new rug whose main purpose is to just sit there and look pretty.  Or how can you justify buying $60 worth of paint just to paint the subfloor which will be covered someday when after storms you have to add a few more staples to your two year old house wrap, hoping it will hold up just a little bit longer?  And when you see that it's time to roll on a new layer of contact paper that serves as your counter top because you've got a few to many knife holes and pasta sauce stains on the current layer, it is again hard to justify buying new living room chairs.  Especially when your old, oversized, ugly brown chair is still holding up just fine...but I did it anyway.  I caved.

I'm chuckling to myself as I type about the breezes, house wrap and contact paper.  While true, I happen to find it humorous.  My kids are going to enjoy telling their own children stories of their "impoverished hardships" growing up and laugh to themselves as the little ones gasp in disbelief.  Heh, heh.  It also helps me keep things in perspective by remembering that we chose to live this way.  I know there are far too many people in the world who are truly impoverished and suffering while I am truly blessed beyond measure.

I didn't buy a lot of new stuff or anything terribly fancy but it was just enough to perk the place up a little for me.  And like I always have to preface...it's still unfinished, as if you couldn't tell.

Let's start with a before picture, because if you've ever caught the tail end of a before and after program on HGTV and have been disappointed with the after and thought to yourself, what's so great about that?  And then you think, maybe this is a flash back to the before shot, until you see the homeowners come into the room and start crying and/or laughing and you realize it is, in fact, the after and then you think to yourself, I would be crying and/or laughing too if that was my house.  Yes?  You know what I'm talking about?  Okay, then you know why it's necessary for me to show you this terrible, awful picture. 

Brace yourselves for sheer horror because here comes the before (which is actually from shortly after we moved in because it was the ONLY picture out of literally thousands of pictures that I have of what it all once looked like.) 

Yes, I'm stalling.

Sorry you noticed. 

Okay, here we go.  Just take a quick peek then turn away, mkay?


Welp, that was traumatizing.   


As you can see, all of our living, dining and kitchen space is in one room that's 20' x 22'.  Just a mere 440 square feet.  That's about the size of a lot of peoples living room alone. 

Part of the problem for me (besides all the obvious stuff you can see in the picture) was actually the openness of the living room furniture.  The living area is about 14' x 20' which isn't too terribly small.  In fact, it was too big, too spread out and not well defined.  Because of the open rafters in the ceiling sound doesn't travel very well which makes it hard to have a conversation with someone across the room without yelling, and if we have company and there are multiple conversations going on at once, it turns into a yelling match.  On the plus side, it is very quiet in here most of the time which is essential to my staying alive.  I must have quiet and lots of it or my brain and nerves absolutely start to fry.

Moving on.  Let's start with the kitchen and what it looks like right now.  I just can't bring myself to say after because I haven't really done much in there and it's by no means finished and after sounds like it's done, final, finished, but it's not.  Sorry.  I'm stalling again.  I'll try to stop that from happening in the future. 

So here's the kitchen currently,

Eventually I'll have real cabinets and counters and a real floor and maybe even matching appliances but this is what I have for now and I'm content...for now.  I suppose if it never progressed any farther it wouldn't be the end of the world but I hope that doesn't happen.  (The blue between the rafters is foam insulation which will be covered in wood someday.)

My appliances are a hodgepodge of finishes.  Black, white, stainless and turquoise, so to bring them together at least a little bit, I bought matching vinyl stickers off etsy for my fridge and dishwasher.

They're a little on the frilly side which I'm not super crazy about, but it does kind of help bring the kitchen together a little bit.

I still have my turquoise blue stove which goes well with the styrofoam insulation.  (The small cat-like creature is my little Chili-choo-choo chihuahua, dining at his favorite fast food joint.)

In the dining portion of the room, Jeff added another window not too long ago to give us a little view of the back woods.  (Don't look at my highwaters!  I'll extend those or replace them someday!)

The table is a little 3' x 5' table that everybody and his brother had fifteen years ago.  It seats all seven of us just fine for now, but as the kids get bigger it might become too cozy.  Then, of coarse, I'll just have my personal man servant build me a newer, nicer, bigger table.  (I love you so much, Shnookums pooh bear!)

And last, but not least, the living room.

I arranged all the furniture on one side of the room for a cozier layout and we can actually have real live conversations with eachother now.  It's nice that way.  On the far right is our current computer cabinet in the hole where the fireplace was.  Jeff and I pulled it out and plan to build in a computer cabinet/entertainment center instead.  I've decided I'd rather have the fireplace outside on the back deck.

After I painted the subfloor (which I love better than the unpainted subfloor but hate how it now shows dirt like crazy, by the way) I bought an 8' x 10' jute rug off Amazon for a mere $1,444.00 including $1,200.00 in fraudulent credit card charges.  (I should have used paypal, but at least it's been resolved.)  I love the rug.  It's already been through a violent hazing when all of the kids had a nasty stomach bug a couple of weeks ago.  It cleans up nicely.  You've gotta be tough to survive around here.

I also bought a couple of matching chairs which the children are forbidden to even look at let alone touch.  (I'm so mean.)  They came with lumbar pillows that match the green fabric, but I made these blue and white ones for them instead.  I can't have things matching too much.  That wouldn't go with my home's chaotic theme.

Behind the green chair I have some fancy, shmancy wainscoting made up of a couple of old doors laying on their sides.  Nice, huh?  I'm still working out in my head what kind of a wall I want separating the kitchen from the living room.  I'm currently thinking a half wall behind the stove across to the far right counter that meets a full length wall right next to that counter for a little extra visual separation.  That's where the dirty dishes get stacked and I wouldn't mind if I didn't have to see them every waking moment. 

I think that about wraps it up for now.  If you made to the end of this post, I thank you...and I'm sorry you had to see all that.  I'm glad I got this out in the open though, so now maybe I can start lookin' you people in the eye! ☺

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recently we've been getting back in gear working on different projects around the house.  We finally got rid of the clanky metal extension ladder that we were using to get to the second floor.  That thing was really loud anytime the kids were shimmying up or down it and it's right in the middle of the house so it was a major eyesore too.  Since Jeff knew he would be needing the extension ladder to put the siding on he spent a day building and staining a new wooden ladder.

I also recently painted the front door which was still primer white.  I'm so ashamed that I waited so long.  There's just no excuse for not painting a door.  My bathroom door still hasn't been painted either.  Maybe I'll get that done this week if I can decide on a color.  There's no sense in rushing these things, you know.

Like everything else in this house, it's pretty snug.  There's just enough room to get up or down with the door open. 

We still don't have any trim and I just recently painted my subfloors.  Trim and flooring are both near or at the very bottom of our very long to do list.  

Keeping my glass front door clean is also near the bottom of that list. 

The kids helped me out in my recent living room mini makeover by painting some 8" x 10" canvases for us to hang on the wall. 

I have six more canvases that I want them to paint and add to the "collection" when we find a spare day with nothing else to do.

I also recently made my very first slip cover following the video tutorial made by Miss Mustard Seed.  Jeff brought home this old office chair a while back that is very comfortable (and it rocks, spins and rolls which makes it a fun chair!!)

As you can see, it's kind of gross looking even though I've scrubbed it (and it doesn't smell even though it looks like it could be stinky!) I've had plans of reupholstering it but when I started taking it apart I found that the arms were attached magically and I could not figure out how to get them off without destroying them.  That's when I finally conjured up the courage to try making a slip cover, something I've always wanted to try but thought I could never pull off.  Oh my goodness!  It turned out to be another one of those things that I should have done a long time ago.  Slip covering is time consuming but way easier than I imagined.  At least it is the way Miss Mustard Seed does it.  Her video tutorial is excellent and she didn't leave out any details.

It's by no means perfect but I'm much happier with the chair now.  I used cheap canvas drop cloths from Amazon and I even made my own piping!  (She includes directions for that too.)  

Just a hint about drop clothes that I've "learned" the hard way (more than once):  If you buy the long skinny ones that are say, 15' x 4' you'll have fewer seams (if any) to work around as opposed to the larger, wider sizes like 9' x 12' which seem to always be full of seams like a patchwork quilt.  That hint is probably really late to the drop cloth party and most people have probably moved on the next thing...whatever that is.  I do pinterest, but I still don't always know what's going on in the decorating world outside my own microcosm. ☺

I don't think I've ever shared pictures of my (unfinished) kitchen or living room, but I think I'll post a little of that next time.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Jeff has been working on siding these past couple of weeks. We chose ash gray or is it grey? I think it might be both. Anyway, it's going up slowly but surely. I saw a house on pinterest that was all monochromatic grey that I fell in love with. It helped me make decisions on trim/trim color. We're doing minimal trim and painting most of it gray to match.



He has one side, the gables and the dormer still to do and it's harder and slower than he anticipated, but everything always is.  He's a very optimistic person.  We balance one another out.

This is the inspiration picture of a house done by Ken Pursley found here.