Hanging a mirror. A simple task that can drive even the most seasoned DIYers to wildly slinging uncontrolled obscenities.

I don't know what it is, but when it comes to hanging heavy mirrors in a centered and level manner, I often find myself melting down, frustrated, sweating profusely, usually on the wall on which I'm trying to hang the mirror. To this day Wendy tells stories of the saga she endured while attempting to hang the (now removed) living room mirror, and it usually starts with "Alex doesn't normally lose his cool, but when he does, oh boy, it's a sight to see."

That whole endeavor ended with so much sweat on the wall that we ended up having to repaint a portion due to my "head grease."

As entertaining as it may be for my better half to see me spewing venom at inanimate objects, especially those that so cruelly show my contoured and angered face looking right back at me, taunting me with my own personal torture, I always think the same thing when fighting with these giant glass objects. "There has to be a better way."

We've long had an overall concept for our bathroom that included a double vanity, two custom cabinets, and a large and beautiful mirror, seen here on this sophisticated rendering, completed on a bar's napkin over margaritas several years back.


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A little while ago we were weighing our options in restoring the uncovered plaster in the living room of our new house.

This all stemmed from the partial wall removal in that room where we realized the room's original plaster had been covered over by a layer of drywall. And when we removed the drywall, we learned that the vast majority of the plaster was completely intact.

The interesting thing about this plaster is a top or finish coat had never been applied. Old plaster is typically a three part system. You have the scratch coat, brown coat, and finally, a top coat to smooth everything out. But often, if the plan was to apply wallpaper to the wall rather than paint, the top coat was omitted and the paper was applied as a sort of top coat of its own.


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The weather is finally warming up, and so are our moods. While we're still in the early stages of working our way through the insurance claim process to repair our damaged plumbing and heating at the new house (and still feel totally depressed and overwhelmed by both the magnitude of the project and all of the decisions we need to make in a very short period of time), we've been trying to make progress on other projects in the meantime.

We spent a large part of the day yesterday at the new house. Alex worked on the living room plaster restoration, and I researched lighting and paint options for a front porch spruce up. We've been looking for weeks for new front lights in an effort to replace the existing pair that looks a little past its prime (behind me in the photo below, taken the day we closed on the house). 

We're trying to keep our style relaxed and informal in this house, and I pulled the trigger and ordered a pair of these outdoor sconces from Lighting Plus's "urban barn" collection. 


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Comments 12

As of today we're saving $45 per month by using Google Voice and an OBi VoIP bridge for our home phone!

If that's not a infomercial sounding beginning to a blog post, I don't know what is. But we are, and it was really easy to setup. If you're like us and you still have a land line, and you've been interested in how you can use Google Voice for your home phone, this post is for you.

We're always on the lookout for ways to save a few dollars by altering our approach to normal things. And over the past few months we've been trying to take a critical look at our monthly spending in order to figure out which superfluous items can be eliminated from our monthly budget. When looking over our monthly expenses one of the first items we realized as a potentially unnecessary expense was our Comcast cable bill.

While dropping cable and joining the "cord cutter" movement is a possibility long term, we love TV and I don't see dropping cable anytime soon (though the new Dish Sling option is pretty appealing, and we'll see what Apple might offer in the next few months). However, the bundled services on cable seemed like it might be a good place to find some cost savings.

More specifically, I was looking at the $45 per month we were spending on our landline turned VoIP home phone service. Yes, that's right, $45 for the series of telemarketing, survey, political ad, occasional Microsoft Scammer, and periodic calls from our parents, grandparents, and other people from at least one generation older than us. In short, we were getting about 2-3 useful calls per month, and we were paying a lot for it.

I started to do a bit of research into the various options to drop our landline. Many of our friends don't have a landline any longer, and really the only reason we still had it was for our old security system that we replaced last year. So technically, we didn't really *need* our home phone. But our phone number has been our number since we bought our house 12 years ago, and we're sentimental and nostalgic and aren't ready to get rid of it.


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On Wednesday we shared the before & after of our antique store find buffet turned bathroom vanity.

This was a major moment of progress for our bathroom, and though we're not done yet, it went a long way to making our bathroom feel "complete." But in order to check this major step off of our list, it required something that's been in short supply for some time -- space in the basement to paint the doors and drawers.

While I had painted the vanity body in place in the bathroom using our HVLP spray gun, this was before the bathroom was a finished bathroom, so overspray and a cloud of paint dust hanging in the air wasn't a big deal. But now that we've got ourselves real walls, floors, and finishes, my only real option to paint these doors and drawers was in our crowded and hoarder-esque basement.

As you may already know, you really need a dedicated spray booth area for this sort of work. Somewhere that you can spray to your heart's content without the worry of dust and debris falling into your work. Also, somewhere you really don't care will get totally covered in paint. Many people setup a dedicated extra room in the basement, or a portion of the garage or shed for this duty, but in our house, no such space exists. The only thing we have is our complete disaster of a basement.


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