Tuesday, September 1, 2015
We're debating what our fireplace mantel should look like, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Since we bought the house and started working on the living room project last October, we knew we'd be making some pretty significant changes to the fireplace mantel. The mantel that was there when we purchased the house seemed fine at first glance, but when we really started looking at it we realized it was a slightly odd looking and somewhat out of place mantel that was put in around 1992.
It didn't mesh with the rest of the house, seemed to be somewhat shoddily built, and actually fell right off of the wall when I applied a little pressure with the pry bar. When I saw the back of it, I could tell it wasn't really meant for our house, and in a way, I was freeing it to go run and play with its friends in a field somewhere.
Now that we've made our choice to build a custom mantel rather than trying to find a salvaged mantel for the space, and we've made the choice to do our own version of shiplap above the mantel, we need to actually figure out how the new custom mantel should really look.
This week we've been getting stuff done.
That's about as simply as I can put it. We haven't had enough time for major projects due to continued hectic schedules, so I've been making a concerted effort to accomplish at least one thing in three categories each and every day. My goal is to get more done than just three tasks, but my focus is to ensure at least one task in each category gets checked off of our list.
Our To Do list is way too long and overwhelming to just start working through things, but if we don't start somewhere, it's never going to get done. So I've broken the list into three distinct categories.
1. Daily chores/maintenance (like laundry, cleaning, watering flowers, etc)
2. Home improvements/fixes for our Old Town house
3. Project work for our second home
Pretty simple, right? Get some chores done around the house, take care of a nagging thing that's broken or incomplete that needs to be done, and do a little work to move along the HVAC or project work at the other house? Well, as anyone without enough hours in the day knows (I think that's most of us) it's so much easier to use any extra time to sit on the couch, sleep in, or any number of things that's not nearly as productive.
I won't bore you with step by steps on the mundane things like "I did the laundry and watered the flowers," but I will bore you with the details of two items I checked off the list yesterday under bullets #2 and #3.
If you're a fan of the renovating and decorating television show genre you're likely well aware of the Waco, Texas husband and wife duo, Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV's Fixer Upper.
There have been a handful of shows over the years that really speak to us via our love of renovating old homes, and Fixer Upper is just that. They're always looking for great ways to take something old and tired, and attempting to turn it into something that is old and beautiful by embracing the traditional elements of the buildings and embellishing them with modern and often reclaimed approaches. This isn't a "gut and rebuild new" show, it's one that tries to honor the elements of antique structures that make the homes they're renovating unique and special. Couple that with the fact that Joanna's designs are right up our alley, and Chip is that traditionally likable goofy guy, and it's a recipe for a show that we can really get behind.
Our second home is one of these special homes with layers upon layers of antique features that really makes it special. While many original elements of the home have been covered or removed in one way or another over the years, it retains original molding, doors, floors, and much of the original fabric hidden behind layers of drywall applied in the early 1990s.
We filled you in on our progress in removing drywall from our living room to expose and restore the plaster walls beneath. That project had to take a little break while we worked on getting the plumbing and HVAC up and running, but we're getting back at it now that things are almost done with the big utilities. However, before we get to wall patching and plaster restoration, we had to figure out what we would do about the large section of missing wall above the fireplace...
Though progress has been slow, we've got ourselves the makings of a pre-sorted hidden laundry hamper.
Until now, we've kept all of our to be washed laundry in a large metal and fabric hamper that we bought back in 2000 shortly after we moved to DC. Since then we've thrown all of our dirty clothes into it in a heap. And since we renovated our bedroom and started our bathroom project, that hamper has been tucked behind the bedroom door, almost as if it was trying to hide away because it knows its days are numbered.
That old hamper has served us well, but we've wanted a better solution for quite some time. For our new hamper, our hopes are clear.
As you may remember, we've been building two custom cabinets on either side of our master bathroom vanity. While these will look like somewhat traditional tall cabinets that offer a bunch of extra storage, our plan from the beginning was to use the lower cabinet area to serve as our laundry hampers.
I'm responsible for the laundry in our home, and I have four different types of loads when I do laundry. Whites, warm colors, cold colors, and delicate colds that hang dry. If you'll notice, the two cabinets we're building have four large lower cabinet openings that just happen to be the perfect number for our load types.
Remember last fall when we started work on the downstairs bathroom? You know, the one with the floral wallpaper, floral border, floral curtains, and shiny brass fixtures? Allow me jog your memory.
Here's a look into the bathroom from the office the day we bought the house:
And here was the stunning view looking forward from the toilet:
We spent a couple months, a fair amount of elbow grease, and not a lot of money ripping out all traces of the flowers, installing new lights, skim coating and painting the walls, adding accessories, and generally completing a quick and easy makeover that transformed it into a space we could live with for quite some time.