Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home


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Bye Bye, Blues

Ok, so the blue tile and toilet in our master bath aren’t going anywhere soon, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t turn the frown upside-down on this bathroom!

Although, believe you me, if anyone had doubts it was this girl.

For weeks I was at a complete loss on how to tackle this room.  First I tried toning down the blue with more muted blues and beiges, but the result was, if at all possible, even more sorrowful.

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Then I tried creating a stark contrast with navy and brown and, while my horrible photography may not fully convey it, the result of the dark tones was both boring and oppressive (blue floor tile leading into matching blue wall tile can feel very confining).

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(Think this this pic is bad? You should have seen it before I sent 5 minutes “shopping” it.  Did I really take 4 years of photography in high school?!  Mr. Tofoya, if you’re reading this…I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me.)

Then one day I was flicking through photos on my phone and saw this.  It’s a bathmat that I had snapped a photo of a few weeks ago when I was shopping for curtains.  Remember it?

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I had liked the colors and the design–enough to toss it on the floor and photograph it!–but I guess I was just stuck on curtains that day because I didn’t snag it.

Well, let me tell you… I couldn’t get my butt back to Target fast enough.  And how thrilled was I when I discovered an entire coordinating bath set?  Ohmygod.  Words cannot even express.

Hopefully these (however so amateur) photos can communicate what my words can’t.

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Pay no mind to the rotting caulk lines… patience grasshopper.

This whole time I’d been thinking that busy prints were not the way to go since the blue on blue on blue seemed busy enough.  But I was entirely wrong.  I LOVE the way those little chevrons break up all that blue.  The color variations are great and they are bright and cheery enough to tie into the adjoining master bedroom design scheme without replicating all the same colors.

It’s fun, it’s young, it’s … dare I say it?…MODERN.

Yup, for $44 my dated blue bathroom has been successfully brought into the 21st century.  (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either)

And then, when I was flicking through images on my phone a second time … it was like kismet.

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I immediately thought of the walk-in closet.  We have to walk through the space to get from the bedroom to the bathroom and for weeks it had been a blank canvas.  How perfect would this be to tie the bedroom and the bathroom designs together?

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Logan posing in the still-empty walk-in. Like the new stool? His Mimi got it for us!

Too perfect — which is why I desperately searched four Target stores before I found this now-discontinued rug and snatched it up.

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…still need to install quarter round…

I had been hoping to find an ikat pattern like this (no more chevrons!) and was thrilled to find something in the bright green and blue we have going on in the bathroom.  The pattern works well with all the colors in the master bedroom next door and compliments all the chevrons nicely.  And it was only $19.  Although, admittedly, the rugs for all this extra square footage are adding up — including doormats, bathmats and area rugs, we’ve I’ve bought ELEVEN since we moved in.  Whoops.

Here’s an angle where you can see all three rugs at once.  I may or may not have crawled into my closet to get this shot (hence the open closet door reflected in the photo).

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On a whim, I also grabbed some fishing line and hung this art print.  I was hoping it would distract from all the mirrors that assault you when you walk in.  I’m not sure if it’s less distracting as the image is reflected on the adjacent mirror, but at least it adds another visual layer of interest — even if it is still very busy.  I’ve decided I like it.

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I am also toying with the idea of creating a valance or pelmet box like this as opposed to the DIY roller blind that I posted about last week.  After living with fabric draped over the windows (see first pic in this post) I realized that affixing fabric to the roller blinds would just be way too much activity.  Because of the nature of what goes on in the bathroom, our blinds are down 95% of the time, and I really think all that fabric would be too much of a good thing.  A pelmet box would keep things looking streamlined and just give  a hint of the ikat instead of an entire wall of it.  Plus, if we decided to upgrade the shades to white wood blinds down the road we could keep the pelmet box and not have to start all over.

Here I’ve made a quick ‘n dirty image of what I have in mind for the window with Photoshop.  I also took the opportunity to remove the pink wall paint from the photo.  You’re welcome.

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The ikat would extend all the way to the wall behind the shower, but you get the gist.

Now I’m itching to slap some paint on all these walls, fix the gold drawer handles, and do something with the two faux-marble countertops.  Has anyone ever tried a product specifically made for countertop coating?  I’ve been researching an epoxy and an oil product from Rustoleum, and a rollable stone surface from Daich Coatings…the only ones with great reviews are $125 or more.  We could practically replace it for that price.

And maybe we would, but I spent all our money on rugs.  Boo.

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The MCM Not So Top Ten

Last week I gleefully recounted some of my favorite features of the house, but the last thing I want to do is paint an unrealistic picture of our current situation.  There’s no way we could have moved to our choice neighborhood without buying a fixer-upper — and in doing so we had to make some sacrifices.  So, let’s remove the rose colored glasses for a moment and take another glance around shall we?

#1 — It’s dirty.  Like really, really dirty.
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I’ve talked about this on the blog before and I know you guys are probably sick of hearing about it, but I swear every time I look up (or down, or all around) I see something else that needs to be scrubbed.  After a month in the house I’ve tackled most of it by now, so going forward will be mostly maintenance, but I still need to see to the door handles, the light switches, and the darkest corners of the kitchen floor.  I’m not even going to bother with the baseboards, the walls, and the window sills because I figure those are going to get painted over eventually.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later, which leads to…

#2 — It needs to be painted.  Every wall, ceiling, baseboard, window frame, door, and closet needs to be painted.  These surfaces are ALL the same dingy white right now like someone got a little happy with a paint sprayer (it’s a color that you’d assume would be left behind by decades of smokers — although, thank heavens there were none).  I wanted to at least paint the insides of the closets before we moved in, but yeah, that didn’t happen.  Now, knowing me, it probably never will…
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The repainting of an entire house is a daunting task which is why I’ve been ignoring it — I have no idea where to start!  I think we’re just going to take it room by room for now, though we may hire out the painting of the great room because I have no desire to paint all that craggy brick or the 14 foot lofted ceiling with its 5 exposed beams.  Speaking of paint and living rooms — I also picked up some heat resistant black paint so that I can spray the gold on the fireplace surround.  Bye bye, brass!

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Old photo: check out how they painted around their curio cabinet!

As for outside, the paint is in good condition, but it’s a peachy-yellow.  I’m not really a yellow kind of girl so it’s days are numbered too.  Maybe something more moody and contrasting … like this?


#3 — Flooring.  We replaced 1400 SF of wall-to-wall carpet with bamboo hardwoods, and I scrubbed about 400 SF of slate tiles in the hall, but that leaves about 800 SF under our toes that still needs attention.  We’ve talked on the blog about the missing tiles in the yellow bathroom and we have shown you the horrors of the faux-wood laminate tiles in the kitchen/laundry room/half bath areas.  We’re still not sure how or when we are going to address either of these issues.

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This room got a little facelift this weekend — reveal coming soon!

#4 — Landscaping.  Yes, I realize that this was on the “pro” list last week and I foresee that long-term that is where it will stay, but there is no denying that the yard will need a bit of an overhaul before we can relax into the bi-annual trimmings of our dreams.  For starters, the hedges are way, way, way overgrown.
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The windows in the house are about waist height but all the hedges planted along the perimeter of the home are over my head so I can’t even see out most the windows.  We’re going to try to trim them down and see if they will fill in on their own — if not, some massive replanting of more aptly sized shrubbery will have to follow.

The other issue is the trees along our rear property line.  They are literally hanging over the telecom wires that run parallel to the house.
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Verizon doesn’t seem to be concerned as they are not “live wires”, but it looks pretty junky so Kirk will be doing some major limb removal back there before too long.  And then of course, by removing this foliage we will reduce the privacy screen it provided from our rear neighbors so some replanting will likely ensue.

#5 — The flat roof.  So far, all the things on this list are temporary, but here’s one that we’re stuck with for the long haul.  One of the iconic features of a mid-century home is their flat roof design and our house is no exception.  It’s not entirely flat, but it’s flat enough that Kirk has scheduled monthly alerts on his phone to remind him to ladder it on up there and do some debris maintenance.  So long as we keep on top of it, we are pretty sure we can avoid any standing water — like this that was discovered during our home inspection (and resolved before we signed the papers!).
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We were also told during our inspection that our roof probably only has about 5 years of life left in it, so there’s that to budget for too.  Oh, and the skylight has an ever-so-slight leak in heavy rain.  It needs a bit of cosmetic help too.

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#6 — All that glass.  It’s beautiful, but could it be too much of a good thing?  All the windows are double-paned and, with the exception of the great room, they’ve all been recently replaced, but our energy bills will be the deciding factor on whether we continue to love them or if we’re destined the be a love/hate relationship with our walls o’ glass.

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Can’t show you a current view because there are new goodies here yet to be revealed!

Maybe we’ll invest in solar panels?  This also brings up the three sliding glass doors that need to be replaced along with the solid door in our bedroom that we’d love to swap out for a light-filtering alternative.  Hello, dollar signs!!

#7 — The laundry area isn’t exactly functional.  It’s right off the garage which we use as our main entrance so it’s where we drop our shoes, bags and coats.  However, the coat closet is on the opposite side of the kitchen (near the front door) so where does all of stuff end up?  Directly on top of the dryer.

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Kosher fridge for sale. Any takers?

I’d love to create a little bench-style seating area with some coat hooks or even some closed cabinetry to make this a little lot more organized.  We’ve also talked about taking down the temporary wall that the washer and dryer are currently on (you can actually see light coming through where it abuts the ceiling and the accordion wall) and relocate the units to the opposite wall to make the design seem a bit more purposeful, but again … this takes money.  But as I mentioned, we did a little upgrade in here this weekend for zero buckaroos.  It’s far from done, but at least it’s a bit more serviceable now.

#8 — And, of course, there are the bathrooms.  The counters in the kitchen, the master bath, and the master walk-in closet are terrible.  The kitchen counter is cracked and stained and the faux marble in the master is just downright bad.  Accenting them with gold and copper hardware hasn’t helped so that will be the first (and less costly) thing we remedy, but you may see some countertop replacements down the road.  And the mirrors?  I don’t even know what to say about all the mirrors.

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I spy 5 mirrors in this photo, but at least the rose carpet is gone!

With a little accessorizing, I’ve actually come to love our yellow and even our blue bathroom (stay tuned for Friday’s post!), but there is still chatter of complete gut jobs down the road.  Even if we decide we like the rainbow aesthetic, there are structural things to consider such as regrouting and recauking … both of which have seen better days.  The half bath off the laundry room isn’t mentioned much around here because it’s a snooze fest.  I’m not sure if it was added later or was simply upgraded more recently, but it’s equipped with a honey oak builder-grade vanity and a tasseled roller shade — both of which need to go.

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#9 — Low Voltage Electricity.  On a day to day basis this really only means that we can’t run the toaster and the microwave at the same time, but it also means that a complete update of all our wiring and lighting fixtures is likely somewhere down the line.  While on the plus side our energy usage and electric bills will be lower than if we had standard 110-voltage or higher lighting, it also means that we’re stuck with these funky looking light switches that have definitely seen better days.  The replacement series for these old GE rocker switches don’t look much better that what we have and they are crazy expensive ($21 for a single switch and $46 for a triple) and we have 49 switches throughout  the house.

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#10 — Oh, and did I mention it’s haunted?  Kirk thinks I’m crazy, and while I’m not 100% a believer either, I don’t think this list would be complete without mention of the resident ghost.  He seems nice enough (albeit a bit of a prankster — things have a habit of going missing for days and then turning up right where you left them), but it is strange to catch movement from the corner of my eye as I make my morning cup o’ joe.  I can’t shake the feeling of being watched either, which isn’t exactly the most desired sensation when trying to make oneself feel at home in a new place.

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For the record it killed me to repost this typo! Charlie has never accosted (or accostomed) me in any way.

I could add 100 more things to this list (that’s why this blog was created after all — to chronicle everything from the minor tweaks to the massive overhauls), but that’s not the point.  The point is that yes, this house makes us happy and it was a good move for our family, but we are going to have to put in a bit more effort to make it feel like “ours”.  All good things must be earned, right?

Even if that means partaking in an exorcism or two.


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A Masterful Color Palette

Our master bedroom was probably the room that got the least attention in our first house, but ironically, it’s one of the closest to “done” in the new place.  I think that is because it’s just so large that our furniture suddenly seemed hilariously small.  We have a pretty substantial bedroom set, but it really looked dinky in the space — namely the rug.

I just realized I don’t have a true before picture with our furniture in place, so I took some lame screenshots from our video tour:

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Our 5×8 rug worked fine in our last bedroom, but it looked like a postage stamp under our bed here. It mocked me every time I walked in the doorway.  After two weeks I had had enough — I did  quick search on Overstock.com and come up with this 8×10 rug for $215.

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I was in love with the bold color palette and I knew that our dark bedroom needed something lively to brighten it up.  And it just so happened that the stars aligned: it was tax free week, Overstock offers free shipping, and I found a coupon code for $40 off which would bring the total cost to $175.  SOLD!

It was to be delivered a mere 3 days later which I was thrilled about … at first.  That was before I saw the FedEx guy ring the doorbell and literally RUN back to his truck; then I knew we were in for no good.  The rug arrived a little worse for wear, with a torn plastic cover and dirt ground into the white fibers.

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Rather than figure out how to send it back, I figured I’d try my hand at spot cleaning it first.  Some hot water, clear dish soap (harder to find in my laundry room than one might think–I have a myriad of other colors though!), a half hour of scrubbing, and it was clean.  Phew!

Once I decided it was fit to keep, I was so excited to get it in place that I couldn’t wait for Kirk to get home to help me.

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The kitchenware you spy was left by a less than helpful toddler running amuck.

I tugged, I lugged, I broke a sweat.  I prayed to the rug gods and pleaded to my Facebook friends.  Why, couldn’t I get this run in place?!

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While they had some great advice, I surrendered and waited for Kirk to get home (who literally lifted a corner of the bed and unrolled the carpet with a single kick).  Men. pshh.

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Three hours later in it’s final resting place.

With all this color going on under our feet it was immediately apparent that we needed to balance it out with more color around the room.  I thought we could add color through pillows, throws, and a new set of lamps (you can see above how painfully small — and mismatched — our bedside lamps were) so that was my mission.

I told you in our video tour about my attempts to arrange our books by their spine color, but sadly, our results were a little lackluster.  Kirk loves to poke fun and say, “Hmmm, I think I’ll read a RED book today! You should really call the Library Association of America and tell them they’re going about things all wrong.  Clearly, the Dewey Decimal System has no place in today’s world of home décor.”

Luckily, my mom had the same idea and, on a recent weekend visit, agreed to help fund this little style-party.  We hit up HomeGoods and grabbed four colorful pillows, an orange throw … and two hideous lamps.

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Don’t worry, I had a vision for the lamps!  A little spray paint and a new shade and we now have cute, adorable owl lamps at our bedsides!!  I’m entirely smitten.

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We still need to hang some artwork, paint, reinstall the baseboards, and figure out the curtain situation, but for under $350 I think we have a heck of a transformation.

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And I hope you like chevrons because the pattern carries into the newly accessorized en suite!  Remember that bathmat I loved when we were talking about roller blinds??? #teaser


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Sprucing Shades

Kirk and I have a long list of things we’d like to tackle in the house and as our first “warrior weekend” approached we wondered what why should try our hand at first.  That question was answered on our first morning here when we prepared to shower and discovered that the binds in the master bathroom are stuck in the raised position.  The bathroom faces the backyard which is really pretty private, but the window we’re talking about is 47″ across and the shower is a glass enclosure.

Hello, wall of windows, meet my glass shower stall!

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When thinking of what type of treatment we’d like to get as a replacement we thought of curtains, woven bamboo, and roller shades — mostly because they are the cheapest options and hey, it’s just the bathroom.  In the end we went with the roller shade.

I like the simplicity of roller shades in this style of home and I couldn’t argue with the price (I paid $37 for both the shades needed for our bathroom).  I was, however, hoping for something with a little more interest that plain ol’ white vinyl.  That’s when I remembered a while ago seeing a pin on Pinterest that provided a tutorial on how to spruce up standard roller blinds.

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This tutorial shows you how to replace the vinyl with heavy fabric, while this one outlines how to use spray adhesive to apply quilting fabric right over the vinyl.  Guess which one I’m leaning toward?  If you guessed the no-sew option you know me well!

Because one of our windows in the bathrooms is so large I knew if I went with standard quilting fabric I was going to have to deal with visible seams where I would have to join two panels.  Trying to avoid this I scoped out the options at Target.  I looked at flat sheets, table cloths, shower curtains and drapes — all of which were wide enough to cover the shade in a single go.

That’s when things got difficult.  As I’ve mentioned, our bathroom is blue.  Very blue.  I know I need to incorporate that color somehow but I also want to try and tame it a bit.  I took a sample of the tile color with me to the store and found a lot of fabric options that might work, but I just couldn’t decide.

Option 1
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Option 2
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Option 3
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Option 4
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Option 5
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Option 6
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I think this ikat pattern is my favorite option, but it was at Joann Fabric.  I didn’t check the bolt width but I think I may have to go back and see if it would be wide enough.  It’s similar to Option 1 but it has more white which I think is important.  All that blue is a downer and the white could really brighten up the room.  And wouldn’t it look smashing with this bath mat?

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I love that it has all the same colors, but isn’t matchy matchy.

So, what’s your vote?

In the meantime, Kirk got the new roller blinds installed and I’ve pinned up this fabric that I had laying around.

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I love the pattern, but it’s far more tame then I envision for this space — especially since we did a major aesthetic overhaul on the adjoining master bedroom this weekend and the color palette is anything but tame!

And that, my friends, is what they call a cliffhanger.


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Cinderella, Cinderella

The epic Clean-A-Thon of 2013 is still underway in our household. In addition to the usual suspects (toilets, counters, stovetops, etc.) that I tackle on the regular, I’m now working the commonly overlooked to my scrubbing repertoire as I try to get ahead of the gunk. This includes doorknobs, switch plates, window sills, and baseboards, each caked in their own unique breed of Ick.

Part of me is angry that we were promised a professionally cleaned house and failed to receive one (this obviously wasn’t contractual or I’d be venting to my agent and not to the interweb), and part of me feels really badly for the woman who paid for what little cleaning did, in fact, take place. Because this house was cleaned two days before we got it (although if I hadn’t have met the woman and watched her haul her vacuum in I wouldn’t have believed it), but even worse this was her usual cleaning lady, aka the Laziest Housekeeper on the Planet, which means she was paying this person for years and getting what? So I’m angry that this previous owner stuck us with a filthy house, but I’m also angry for her on her behalf for having paid for such substandard services for so long. Although, apparently it didn’t seem to bother her much…

Did I tell you about the two sponges I destroyed cleaning out the refrigerator? TWO! Both completely black when I was done. Or the three types of cleaning agents I had to use on the inner workings of the range? I haven’t even looked at the hood yet — I’m scared of what lurks in there. Thankfully, the woman at least knew how to clean a bathroom, because I’m not sure I could handle that.

Kirk and I did talk about hiring someone to come in and deep clean, and even agreed it would be a worthwhile expense, but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t trust anyone to do it right or well.

Which I why I took to the slate floors on my own with a bucket of ammonia and a tire brush. I spent the next 2.5 hours on my knees scrubbing Cinderella-style and it was so worth it.

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Note the center tile in it’s before state.  Yes, I deep-cleaned in my pjs.

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This is after scrubbing the lower half of the centered tile.  That’s not veining, folks!

Due to the varying color of the slate, it was hard to tell exactly how dirty this floor was, but judging by the layer of grime on everything else, it gave me the heebie jeebies to have my little boy running around on them. Turns out I wasn’t far off. What we thought (hoped?) was veining in the stones was actually dirt settled into the nooks and crannies of the stones.

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Here I’ve scrubbed the tile on the left, but haven’t touched the tile on the right.  Gross!

The entire hallway before had a semi-gloss sheen to it that we figured was either a sealant or years of crud. Turns out it was the latter, which is actually fortunate because I much prefer the matte finish these stones have now.

Here is the hallways as it looked on Move-in Day. Yawn.

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See the greasy sheen?  It was so dark and grimy.

But here it is now, brighter and lighter!  Look at how the green pops against the grey now.

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And, most importantly, it’s Mom approved for barefooted kiddie play.

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Next up on our mission to de-gunk the house is these bad boys:

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These old mini-blinds from the master bath didn’t getting a scrubbing though — they went straight to the trash!  *shiver*


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The MCM Top Ten

Every day I come across something new I love about this house so I thought I’d do a little round-up.

The laundry is right off the kitchen meaning I don’t have to venture into the scary depths of the basement like I did at our last place.  Ok, fine.  I never went down there, it’s true.  A dark basement with a single bulb in the middle of the room?  No thank you.  Besides, it didn’t even have a light switch by the door so I had to trust that there were no creepy-crawlies between me and the pull chain ten feet away. Long story short: Kirk did our laundry for years while I folded.  Ok, fine.  Sometimes I folded, mostly I just wore things straight out of the hamper.

Closets.  Our last place had exactly 40 SF of closet space.  Yes, I counted.  In case you’re having a hard time envisioning what 40 SF is like, let me tell you it’s not much!  We had four closets in the whole house and only one was large enough to stand in.  Not only do we now have a hall closet for things like linens and towels, we actually have closets INSIDE our bathrooms.  TWO of them!  This is epic.  It means that our spare toilet paper rolls are no longer stashed under a bed three rooms away…a situation left users in extremely awkward circumstances on more than one occasion.   It took me a couple tries to count all the closets in this house, but I finally confirmed that there are 13 of them.  The angels are singing.

Travel time.  I shaved a half hour off my work commute (even with dropping Logan off 6 miles in the opposite direction) and Kirk shaved nearly an hour off of his.  ‘Nuf said.

We have a garage!  Not only is this great for all of my furniture refinishing projects, but it provides a nice dry space to load/unload the kid when it’s raining buckets (as it has been more often than not).  Also, we can buy tools!  I have a long list of tools I’d love to own…can you say miter saw?

An indoor charcoal grill.  If you know me at all you know that I hate touching meat.  I like to eat it, sure, but cooking it?  No way.  The grill means that hopefully I can get Kirk in on the kitchen action too.  Just have to get that flue checked out….

Location, location, location.  I have no complaints.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.

Greenery.  Amid all the things we do have here, one of the pluses to this place is something that it doesn’t have:  high maintenance landscaping.  This house has mature shrubbery and trees that will need bi-annual trimming, but hopefully not much more than that.  Our last yard, while lovely, was a monumental time suck.  I can’t even begin to convey to you how much we hated to be out there mowing, weeding, mulching, spraying, and trimming.  It was awful.  The worst.  The one time we splurged and had it done professionally (when I was 9 months pregnant) it cost nearly $1k.  Yeah, it was like that.

No stairs.  While our little guy has become exceptionally proficient at the stairs, it will be nice not to have to monitor his ups and downs all the live long day.  Besides, when I’m old and gray, I won’t have to battle the steps with my creaky knees to relive my weakened bladder.  Of course, there is a down side to this too:  we used to be able to contain Logan to a single floor of only three rooms.  This is no longer the case.  I now lose my son more frequently that I care to admit and yesterday I found him with the wrong end of a flame starter in his mouth.  Time to install drawer locks!!

A bathroom on the main floor — three of them!!  Even if they are all the colors of the rainbow I no longer have to invite company (and workmen!) into my private bathroom.  I can leave the toothpaste out if I want to!  It’s the little things ain’t it?

Trader Joe’s is only one mile away.  I might move in.   What isle do they keep the Cookie Butter in?  If you need me, that’s where I’ll be.  The same complex also has a Fleet Feet, a Chipotle, a LOFT, and a Starbucks for when Kaity comes to visit.  :)

…Lest this list comes off as braggart, please know that a Not So Top Ten list is soon to follow.


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If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow. But If It’s Blue …

There’s no hiding it, the two primary bathrooms in our home are colorful–one yellow and one blue.  Both baths are technically comprised of two rooms–which I will get into in a moment–but because of this odd arrangement the spaces are incredibly difficult to capture on camera.  Bear with me, I’ve done my best.

Here’s Ol’ Yeller:

On Move-In Day.

On Move-In Day.

This bathroom has a washroom up front with a sink across from a large closet and a pocket door that separates it from the tub/sink/toilet area.

What you can’t see in the above photo are the nine yellow floor tiles that are missing in front of the far sink (see how the previous owners casually hid them under that carpet remnant?  Yeah, about that…).  We were none too pleased to find the big concrete filled hole underneath when I trashed that gray carpet scrap, but I managed to hide it with a strategically placed bath mat.  Two points for me.

And after some accessorizing.

Not so bad right?!  I actually really like it now.  For about $40 at HomeGoods I got new towels, a shower curtain and the two bathmats and I’m really happy with how they coordinate with the existing fixtures.  It’s just a stroke of luck that yellow and grey is all the rage these days.  Everything comes back in style again eventually right?

The cabinets, counters and sinks here are all original (not 1980s “upgrades” like we have in the master, re: faux marble and gold fixtures.) and are in great shape.  All we need in here are maybe some curtains (nothings says, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” like letting them watch you pee!) and some tile work on the floors.  Speaking of…

See the ratty gray carpet in the foreground of the above pic?  Apparently there was a plumbing issue at some time and all the original yellow tile was pulled up in the washroom leading into the bathroom and partially removed in front of the second sink.   Instead of replacing the flooring, the previous owners just laid a scrap of carpet down over the concrete floor and called it a day.  Perhaps the fact that they didn’t even bother to properly install the carpet is a blessing in disguise as I’m in no mind to revisit the task of carpet demo again just yet.

Side note:  there is also a HUGE hole in the drywall behind the tub–which luckily is in the closet.  We plan to install an access panel over it at some point, but for now we’ve just tossed some storage tubs in front keep the little one safe.  He can’t open the sliding closet doors yet, so we have some time.

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But back to the floor, we definitely want to get rid of that old carpet ASAP, but we aren’t ready to completely redo the bathroom just yet.  We thought of having the flooring installers carry the bamboo into the washroom, but there were moisture concerns.  Wood floor + sink = no bueno.  So we went on the hunt for replacement tiles.  Turns out (no surprise here) that yellow tiles are pretty hard to find!  We checked out Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake ReStore and Second Chance both in Baltimore, but came up short.  On to the interweb!  We’ll keep you posted.

In sharp contrast to our happy yellow bath is our sad, sad master bath–a true sight for sore eyes.  He’s got blue tile floors, blue tile walls, a blue tile shower, and a blue toilet.  All that dusky blue paired with the endless mirrors really make the space feel closed-in and claustrophobic.  This room is like the depressed counterpart of its sun-shiny sister across the hall.

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As it looked on Move-in Day.

We have a lot to do in here to help perk this space up, but we’ll be starting by installing new blinds as we quickly discovered the old ones don’t close.  Ever bathed in a glass-walled shower in front of an uncovered picture window?  It’s like high school gym all over again.

Maybe one day we can afford a total gut on this room, but not now.  To make this room a little easier to live with we have some grouting, caulking, and painting planned along with new counters, a new sink, spruced up drawer hardware, the removal of two grab bars, and the dismantling of one toddler-magnet space heater (I didn’t even know what that big while box was until Logan turned the dial and blasted me with hot air).

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A 50s bathroom + an 80s vanity = One Hot Mess.

What you can’t really see in the before photos are the toilets.  The yellow one had a broken baby pink lid/seat combo and the blue one had a cushy geriatric seat that made me feel 98 years old every time I sat on it.

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So, while the hunt for yellow tile continues I was perhaps a little too excited to stumble upon these treasures:

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Oh yes, we did indeed buy a yellow and a blue toilet seat.  The yellow one was only $5 at Habitat for Humanity (new with tags) and the blue one was also found new from Home Depot of all places (they still sell blue toilet seats?!).

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The yellow seat ended up being a perfect match, although the blue one a little light.  For some reason this photo makes it look VERY light, but in person the color difference is not that noticeable.  My 31 year old tuchus appreciates its rigidity and, really, that’s all that matters.