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Art for My Little Dragon Girl

My mom says everyone wants their daughter to be born in the year of the dragon — it’s especially lucky.  According to tradition, the dragon is the mightiest zodiac sign, and people born under this sign are passionate, driven, and ambitious.  My mom says my daughter will be a “Little Dragon Girl”, a famous hero in Chinese legends.

All that may be, but I really just want to get this cute dragon print for baby’s nursery:

Via Crowsmack on Etsy

I just think it will look so cute in the nursery, and at $12 for a 9×12 inch silkscreen print is pretty affordable.  And The Hobbit is one of my favorite books.  But Chris doesn’t really like me buying art online because he says I should just make some original art instead.  So I’m torn.  Should I get it?

New House Overview (Before)

Hi everyone, and welcome to our new blog! SomethingIsDone.com is a DIY/crafting/home improvement/lifestyle blog. We plan to document our adventures with home ownership and home improvement, as well as our lives in general on it.

SomethingIsDone is:

Chris – The brawns (and a lot of the brains) behind the operation. Chris comes from a long line of carpenters/DIY-ers and is never happier than when he’s got a project on the backburner. In fact, one of the first things that came up in the conversation when he first met Camilla over 4 years ago was, “I like making things”.

Camilla – Camilla is a freelance writer and is soon to be a stay-at-home mom once the little bun in the oven is born in a couple of months. She also loves to work with her hands, although her crafts usually involve fabric, hot glue, a sewing machine, or yarn instead of power tools.

Just a couple of months ago, we gave ourselves the Christmas present of our very first home. We were one of the lucky ones who were able to take advantage of depressed home prices to snag ourselves a great deal. Yes, the house was a bit “distressed”, and needed a lot of repairs, but we could see its potential and welcomed the chance to take on a new project. The thing is, our baby was expected just 4 short months later (now 2 months), and we had to hurry to make the place livable for the little bun. Let me show you a few “before” pictures of the house:

Kitchen

Before:

The kitchen was the part of the house that was in the best shape. It had recently been renovated with granite countertops and white cabinetry. Once we put in our shiny new refrigerator, it looked pretty good, although I’m still not a huge fan of the black stove and dishwasher. On our to-do list: replace the light fixtures, paint the wainscoting and trim in the breakfast nook, and add a narrow built-in bookshelf on the right side of the fridge.

Family Room

Before:

The family room was a later addition to the house, and we really like the bar area that opens into the kitchen, allowing whoever’s cooking to keep an eye on what’s going on in the family room. There was quite a bit of water damage here, so much of the trim needs to be replaced (or added to begin with). Luckily, most of the windows have already been updated with white vinyl windows. The water damage had also damaged parts of the wood floor, so we will have to figure out a solution for those parts at some point.

In here, we did a thorough cleaning and left it at that for now. I’m hoping to change out the brass sconces over the fireplace pretty soon, but this room is livable for now.

Living Room

The living room was in okay shape. It had been redone recently, but parts of the wainscoting were missing, and the spray-on wall texture was thicker than we’d like. The can lights on the ceiling aren’t hooked up to the wiring yet, and the ceiling is painted the same mocha color as the walls, which makes the room feel dark. We’ll repaint it at some point, but right now it’s our unpacking room.

Guest Room

The guest room had gunky old carpet and unfinished pine wainscoting on the walls. The window had not been framed, and when the window was replaced, some pieces of 2x4s were stacked under and over the window to make the new window fit the old space.

Painting all of the wainscoting was a PAIN. It needed to be primed and painted in bright white semi-gloss (2 coats) by hand to get a brushstroke effect (instead of the stippled texture of a roller). And there were lots of nooks and crannies that were a PAIN to paint. But after the wainscoting was painted bright white, the window framed thanks to Chris and his dad’s handy work with a router, and a new laminate floor laid, this room actually got pretty cozy and cute, in a cottagy way.

Progress:

The curtains were made by yours truly (Camilla), and the nightstands are just cheap RAST chests from IKEA that we stained fire-engine red and finished with polyurethane.

Not bad considering we’ve been living in the house for about a month, I’d say.

We also refreshed the closet, which was lined with unfinished pine, with white paint, and stained the floor a glossy walnut. The closet is actually one of my favorite projects so far. See more about the guest room transformation.

Nursery

Before:

Progress:

The nursery also had stained carpet, although it wasn’t in that bad of shape. The beadboard was cute and was pretty new. We ripped out the carpet and replaced it with a wood floor lifted from the third bedroom. We painted all of the beadboard the same semi-gloss white as the wainscoting in the guest room, and chose a soft buttery yellow for the walls. See more on the nursery transformation.

Master Bedroom

Now we come to the third bedroom and the master. The wall of the third bedroom butted out into the master bedroom, making the master narrow and awkward. In addition, there was dated wood paneling, stained carpet, and a rather dingy master bathroom that smelled of mold.

The first thing we did (or, to be accurate, what Chris and his dad did) was to rip out the carpet/paneling and tear down the wall between the third bedroom and the master. Although originally we had been thinking of keeping the third bedroom and merely enlarging the master bedroom, making the third bedroom a small one, we liked the open floor plan so much that we decided to combine the bedroom and master bedroom. This got us thinking about other walls we wanted to move, so we decided to close off the original entrance to the master and enlarge the master bathroom, making room for a double vanity. We also decided to combine the laundry closet and hallway into one larger laundry room. This is still a major work in progress, and hopefully we will have finished most of the messy stuff before the baby arrives.

Outside

The fascia boards around the outside of the roof were rotting and needed to be replaced. Areas of the roof had not been properly flashed so there were leaks, and rotting plywood under the shingles. There was some termite damage on a lot of the outside wood. Also, the house had been repainted only on one side (the side that faced the street). Before escrow closed, we had the fascia boards replaced, the south-facing half of the roof replaced as well as the flat roof over the garage, and the termite damage repaired. It still doesn’t look amazing, but at least all of the major work is done. Painting the exterior is low on our list of priorities right now, as our primary focus is making the interior livable for our little peanut.

That’s the gist of it! There’s still a loft and a bathroom that I haven’t told you about yet, but there’s still plenty of time for that. We hope you’ll join us on this new adventure. I can’t wait to share more of the progress with you!

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