Monday, July 18, 2016

New House Tour: My Retro Kitchen

This house was built in the early 1930s, and (according to a neighbor) hasn't had many different owners in its lifetime, and it shows. One of the reasons why it was so affordable, and also why it appealed to us, is that it hasn't been updated very much. In one of the crawlspaces we even found a very dusty old washing board - I'll take a picture of it one day after H. crawls into that spider pit and retrieves it.

The most obviously dated room is the kitchen.

excuse the mess

Having just bought a house, and a car, I don't have the funds to renovate this baby for awhile, but it needs it. The appliances are new-ish, but those cupboards! OMG.

cherry-patterned window treatment came with the house
I have some wild ideas of how to live with these for a couple years, until a kitchen reno might be on the cards. Paint them white, replace the hardware (including hinges!). Still more work than I want to do right at this moment, on this 95 degree day though.


I'm also entertaining the idea of removing the beadboard, and replacing the counters with Ikea butcher-block. But removing that beadboard seems ambitious.

I'm not really a hardcore diy-er. Or, I don't think I am - though I haven't really had the opportunity to discover if I am. Please, point me towards any and all "win a kitchen makeover" competitions. Major hardware stores, come at me with your sponsorships. Bob Villa, I'm right here, baby. Barring any of those opportunities happening, I'll keep my visions small for the moment, and see where we end up. For now, I'm happy to have so much room, and so many cupboards.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Painting the new house

Here I am, resident of New Jersey. Will I ever get used to saying that? It's still weird that I'm not adding "apt. 4A" to my address forms.

Last Sunday, we packed up all our belongings, and said good-bye to that apartment.



In the days after we closed on the house, and before we moved, we came in to do some painting. I'll share with you the pics, albeit with the following warnings: these pictures suck. They were quick photos - I didn't sit and wait for the right light and the perfect moment.

First we painted what will be our TV room/play room. It was a yellowish-green color.


And now it's teal - a Behr paint color called Real Teal.


Then, the room that will be our office. It was beige.


It is now charcoal. I don't remember the actual paint name, but if you really want to know I could go look. It is also by Behr.



Finally we painted L's room. It wasn't really that bad - painted in a very Pinterest-y kind of way with green stripes. It just wasn't my style.



It's now a dark blue color, which is called English Channel by Behr.



I debated taking off that weird chair rail. Why have a chair rail in a bedroom? But when I looked at it, it seemed like too much work - which is why I will never really make it as a diy blogger.

Also, yes, this photo was taken before we did touch ups - that stupid chair rail made painting a hassle.

I'm very happy with how all these colors turned out, and will probably do more painting in the coming months. Just wait until you see my kitchen!

Now we're four days in the house, and loving it. We're still unpacking - without any exaggeration, H. has been unpacking his books for the last 36 hours. I've hardly had a moment for a tweet or an Instagram, but I stole this quiet moment while L. is napping to post something here for you.

More to come soon, I promise!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Done Deal

Yes friends, it has finally happened. We have bought a house.


The yellowest little house in New Jersey.

We don't move until July 10, and before then we're painting a bit, and prepping. I'm sure I'll share some updates on our progress, and hey - now maybe I will have some content for this blog! Fancy that.

It was so strange on closing day, that after all the mortgage paperwork and applications and the money (!!), I felt calm about receiving the keys and signing my name to the deed.

Now we have to wrap around our heads that in just ten days, we'll no longer be Brooklyn residents, or even New York state residents. Wow.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Apartment Memories

With just about 6 weeks left in the apartment, I have often found myself reminiscing about our time here. I've also found myself making lists in my head of all the things I won't miss.

We've lived in this apartment since January 2009. Or at least I have. I moved in first, because H. was still in England. I have lived here approximately two weeks longer than he has.

Have I ever told you the story of how we found this place?

In late 2008, H. and I were long-distance engaged. He lived in London, and I was in New York. We worked for the same company, and found out late in 2008 that they would transfer him to the New York office.

The plan was that he would move here in early February 2009. So, during a visit in early January, he and I set out to find ourselves a place to live. We looked at 5 apartments in one night, mostly around the neighborhoods of Kensington and South Slope in Brooklyn, but finally we looked at the one that became ours, in Sunset Park.

As soon as we walked in, we knew it was the one. It was so big, and so clean. It had so many windows, and closets! We told the landlords immediately that we were interested.

I recently dug out the photos we took that night.







And those empty rooms became:

 




And all the memories! This is the place that we came home to after our wedding, and where we brought L. home from after he was born. It's where we decided to get a secret cat, against out lease.


And where we've kept his presence hidden for the last 6 years! It's the only home L. and Izzy have ever known, and the only home H. and I have ever lived in together, so of course it is bittersweet to start to say good-bye.

And then, every day I'm reminded of all the bad parts: Izzy is illegal, for one. We live above a 24-hour deli - which is convenient but also annoying (think cabbies drinking coffee outside at 4 am, or fights, which are pretty regular). It also attracts little creepy crawly roommates that we need to stay on top of. We also live on a heavily traveled avenue, often used as an alternative to a highway, which is as noisy and busy and awful as you can imagine. We watch cars run red lights without a care in the world. Then there's our negligent landlord - I can't tell you how many times we've had to "remind" them what the legally-mandated minimum temperatures for the apartment and the water need to be...

All in all, so excited (and nervous) about what our new house will include, but thinking back fondly on this apartment we've called home for 7.5 years.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Home, sweet home

Wouldn't it be wickedly original to start with some Adele lyrics? Because, that's not played out at all. But, hello, it's me.

I've been laying low, waiting for the stars to align on our big move. And they have. And we are that much closer to being homeowners, or at least the bank has agreed that we are capable of being homeowners. Things could, always, fall apart. As my mom said, "it's not over until you write the biggest check of your life." She might have said "cheque" though.

I'm dying to show you pictures, but until we have keys it doesn't seem right. So I have drawn a picture.


And now; the mover is booked, the new daycare (sob!) is secured, the mind whirs, and we face the overwhelming task of packing.

Between now and closing day, along with packing and our day to day lives, we have the following:

  1. I am going to London (for work)
  2. L's birthday
  3. L's birthday party, which in a fit of madness we booked at the zoo.
  4. Our wedding anniversary
  5. Father's Day
  6. A trip to Toronto

But then, sometime in early July, we will be residents of the Garden State. And homeowners! And we will live near a really big mall, which I admit I am *pretty* excited about. And then a house to decorate! more content for the blog!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dining Room Chairs, Part 59

It probably comes as no surprise that the prospect of having a house, this particular house, sends my mind into a tizzy about how I'll decorate it. Truth be told, once (if) this all happens, we'll be poor for some time. But a girl can dream, right?

It's hard to prioritize what we will need first. I told H. last night that we need a patio set and kids' paddle pool first (it will be July). And that's probably right, because we want to take full advantage of having a yard asap.

But I'm still on the lookout for dining chairs for our little dining table.


I'm still using these crappy, uncomfortable Ikea chairs.


For me, in the new place, replacing these has become a priority. Last summer, when I originally wrote about this problem, I was leaning towards vintage chairs, but today I'm thinking vintage-style chairs, but new.

Right now, I love these Alfa Dining Chairs from DwellStudio

But $2500 for a set of 4 is kind of more than I want to spend at the moment. So, enter the knock-offs.

Target has the Sullivan Mid Century Chair, 4 for just over $500.

They look pretty good, right? The reviews are ok. They are a definite 'maybe'.

Finally, also from the knock-off column, we have these LexMod Hans Wegner Style Elbow Dining Side Chair with Faux Leather Seat


 
$137 each, so we'd be looking at $550ish for 4. I like these a lot, but actually don't think the seat would fit between our table's stupidly narrow legs.  

I guess I'm leaning towards the Target Sullivan chairs. But that leads me to more dining room thoughts, which is a rug.

What are your thoughts on rugs beneath dining tables? Do they get gross with spills?

I've said before that one of my biggest regrets after our 2008 trip to Turkey was that we didn't buy a rug. But, thank goodness for eBay, right? I'm thinking about something wildly bright, since my table, possibly my chairs, and my credenza are all so dark and brown. 

I love this one, from eBay

So bright and colorful! But maybe too bright and colorful?
This one is similar, but a little more muted
 
So, there you have it. My new house dining room visions. Now I just need the house.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Declutterfication and other updates

Did you notice that in the month of March I failed to share a sewing project? Well, yes, I did. When I said in January that I would attempt 12 new projects in 12 months, I didn't necessarily say one per month, though I certainly imagined it. In the madness of March, I did actually attempt at a small sewing project, which failed somewhat. I suppose I should share it, regardless of failure, at some point.

And then, another of my 2016 goals was decluttering. Last week, I started to tackle books.


I have a lot of books. H. has even more books. There was a time in my life where I held on to every book; it didn't matter if I even liked the book. But I kept it. And then, something changed. I had to dust those books, and I had to face moving those books. And so, I began to cull.

Now I comb through my bookshelves and I ask myself "does this book mean anything to me?", "did I enjoy this book?" and I face the hard truth: "am I ever going to read this book?" And then I pull.

And there we are.

Last weekend we had someone from a moving company come and give us a quote for how much it will cost to move all our stuff, the accumulation of 7.5 years in this apartment, on the fourth floor, four flights of stairs. Which means, yes: we are moving.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I told the world that we have notified our landlord that we won't be renewing our lease. A terrifying prospect.

I am terrified of spilling the beans on recent happenings, in case everything falls apart, but we are trying to/in the process of buying a house. In New Jersey. Details to come when I feel like everything is set in stone, but I'm on edge and nervous about every step, and believe in the power if jinxing myself.

And there you have it. Exciting prospects but vague on details. So please, say a prayer, light a candle, check your runes, consult your Farmer's Almanac and send us some very good vibes on this transaction, while I continue to cull cull cull to bring that moving quote down a nudge.
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