Latest Art Love

I’m always finding beautiful pieces of art online.  I rarely buy them because with all the work we’re doing on the house, I’m not sure where to put them.  But at least, I can file them away for future reference, right? =)

Lately I’m loving the art prints on wood veneer by Lorena Siminovich. I love how Scandinavian they look and how unique the print looks on wood.

Lorena Siminovich via Anthology

Lately, art and illustration that has a childlike, whimsical quality to it has really been appealing to me. It just makes me feel happy and makes me think to the simplicity of childhood.

Grace cut her first tooth yesterday. Or at least, we noticed it yesterday. We could feel the little tooth coming out of her gums. Makes me realize how short her babyhood is and how I need to treasure these moments.

We’ve been working on the living room…

For a while after we had the baby, we didn’t really do any work on the house. It was livable, and we were too busy trying to survive being hit by the bus that is having a first child. But Grace has since gotten easier to deal with. She sleeps through the night, is happy and playful during the day, and is a great napper! (Crossing my fingers in hopes that I didn’t just jinx myself). So we’ve started working on a few other things that needed attending to…

Such as the cavernous living room that had hitherto been a repository for all of our moving in boxes, Chris’ tools, random bags of junk, old shoes, and a couple of wetsuits. It was kind of embarrassing because it was the first room people saw as they walked in the door, and it was full of junk. But because the lights didn’t work (the previous owners had installed can lights but they were not wired yet!) and we were planning to paint, the room had fallen by the wayside as we got engrossed in more pressing matters.

What pushed us to finally get started on the room was a microfiber sectional that we found on Craigslist. I had been scouting for armchairs online, and when I saw this couch, it was in such great condition and was such a great price that I jumped on it. I’ll show pictures of it once we put it back in the living room. But it was a shame to have a beautiful couch in the living room and SUCH a mess, so we got our butts in motion and started on this room.

This picture gives you an idea of how cavernous the room truly is.

It is a super long room and there is only one window, so it already lacks light. To make matters worse, the walls and ceiling had been painted a really dark mocha color, which made the ceiling look really low and the whole room rather claustrophobic.

You can’t really see in these pictures, but the whole room, including the ceiling, was textured with very very thick, gloppy wall texture. So it really did feel like you were in a cave. The lack of working electrical lights didn’t help either.

I like the wainscoting though, and I thought with a fresh coat of light paint, this room could really look great. So we hauled our butts over to Home Depot and came back with several gallons of primer, ceiling paint, and a gallon of Behr Silver Drop in eggshell.

I really wanted to do the complete opposite of what the room looked like before. We painted the ceiling a bright white, and the walls a very pale gray to bring some more light into the room.

We still have to paint the wainscoting (it was primed but not painted), and then we’ll be ready to move the furniture in!

I’m a little bummed that the window has that wooden valance over the top of it. It wouldn’t be so bad if it only didn’t stop right at the width of the window, but as it is, any curtains hung there would completely obscure the window. I’d love to remove it, but the wall is not textured underneath and we’ll have to match the molding…too much work right now, so window treatments will have to wait.

Anyway, there’s your sneak peek of our living room situation. Can’t wait to start furnishing it! We’ve got the tan microfiber couch to move in, a Persian-esque rug, and a couple of side tables that I love. I’ve also got my eye on a couple of leatherette club chairs from IKEA, but may have to wait a couple months before we get those…

I just love seeing progress, don’t you?


Welcome Baby Brownie

It has been 2 months, but finally, we’ve surfaced from our baby-induced brain freeze and we’re hopefully ready to start posting regularly again.  Our Baby Brownie arrived on March 15th, and she is doing beautifully.  She is not only a beautiful and healthy baby girl but she is an easy baby too!  She really only cries when she is hungry, has a wet diaper, or is overtired.

Even so, the transition to parenthood hasn’t been easy!  I have always been kind of a free-spirited person and have always enjoyed spending time exploring my own interests…that’s why I moved to China after college, met Chris, and spent 3 years with him traveling the world.  It’s hard for me to stick to a structured routine and to be “tied down” to this little person who needs me for everything.  I love spending time with my baby though — she is so cute and I love her so much!  It has just been a little tough changing my entire mindset about my life.  Chris and I often tell each other, “God knew what we could handle and gave us an easy baby to start out with!”

Now that Baby Brownie has started smiling and cooing, taking care of her has become really rewarding.  I can’t wait until she starts laughing and reaching for things!  Although I also don’t want her to grow up — she is just so small and cute, and she has already grown so much.

The baby is enjoying the nursery we put together for her.  The one change we made is that we moved a small couch into her room for nursing and got rid of the rocker.  The rocker was a little too narrow to fit my nursing pillow and it’s nice to have the extra room on the couch so both Chris and I can sit there when we’re soothing the baby together.  It will also be perfect for reading a book with baby when she grows a little older.  Best of all, a family friend gave us the little couch for free.  Love hand-me-downs!  We were originally intending to have the baby in our room for the first few months, but I’m a really light sleeper and I would wake up every time she coughed or grunted.  I didn’t realize babies were such active sleepers!  After a month of no sleep, we decided to put the baby in her own room with a monitor, to save our own sanity.  She actually sleeps better in there than she does anywhere else!

We’ve also made a LOT of progress on the master bedroom.  I’ll post pics of that soon.  The week before the baby was born we were drywalling, painting, and flooring, so that my parents could stay there when they came to visit the baby.  Chris and I moved in there a couple weeks ago.  I’ll update you all on the master bedroom in my next post.

Nursery Tour: Baby Brownie’s Girly Room

I didn’t intend for Baby Brownie’s nursery to be so feminine, really, I swear.

But somehow, it’s impossible to have a baby girl without receiving tons of pink stuff.  And after all the showers had been thrown, I actually really liked the pink stuff.

This 100-square foot room has come a long way since we first moved in.  We removed the stained carpet, put in a hardwood floor lifted from another room, repainted the beadboard and painted the walls a buttery Provencal yellow.

The crib and dresser were gifts from Chris’ mother, who is incredibly excited to be having her first grandchild, and a girl to boot!  The lovely pink blanket with the rosettes is from my sister-in-law Heidi.

I found the old rocker on Craigslist and recovered the seat cushions with some clearance fabric from IKEA.  The telephone cushion was on clearance for $5 at Homegoods. Curtains are from IKEA’s children’s department, side table is a $7.99 LACK.  The soft lambskin was a surprise gift in the mail from my aunt who lives in New Zealand.  Such a beautiful and unique gift!  Whenever I walk past it, I seriously want to throw myself on the floor and roll around on it like a puppy.

Because earthquakes are a concern in Southern California, I haven’t been able to put any framed art above the crib and dresser.  My temporary solution was to tape these shower decorations to the wall.

The oh baby bunting and sweet sugar n’ spice sign (mounted on foam board) were made by Chris’ cousin Malinda.

The one thing we haven’t yet done is to put doors on the closet.  I might just hang a curtain from a tension rod to hide the clutter.  But I also really enjoy looking at all of Baby Brownie’s cute little clothes.  For now.  I’m sure that as clutter builds up I’m going to want to hang that curtain to hide it!  Any suggestions for cheap but cute curtains for the closet?  And I still want to get some more lightweight wall art for above the crib.

But it’s basically ready for its future little inhabitant!  Though hopefully Baby Brownie will stay in the oven for another couple of weeks, as we still have a lot of work to do on the other parts of the house!

Check out the updated nursery tour here!

Laundry Room, With Walls

Last time I posted about framing out the new laundry room and tiling the floor.  Now, the laundry room is ALMOST done.  In fact, it is done except for the obvious cosmetic touches of taping off and texturing the drywall, adding baseboard trim, and painting.

Here it is after we finished grouting.  After this, we put up more drywall and fixed the cruddiness of the wall to the left.

We grouted the tile after letting it cure for a couple of days.  Adding the grout was pretty easy, and there are lots of tutorials for it on YouTube.  Basically, you mix the grout with water until it’s the consistency of a stiff buttercream frosting, and scrape it into the cracks using a rubber trowel.  After scraping off the excess, you go over the whole thing with a damp sponge to smooth the lines and remove any extra.  We went over the tile again with a soft damp cloth to remove any film on the tile.  Then after it dried, we sealed the grout to keep it clean and nice.

I think it looks pretty good considering it was about the cheapest porcelain tile they had at Home Depot, and considering it was our first time.

After the tile floor was done, Chris and his dad put in the drywall.  The most challenging thing about the drywall was first supporting all of the copper pipe in the wall, and measuring and cutting the holes for the plumbing to come out of the wall.  We had to make sure that there was enough room around the pipes to attach the fixtures once the drywall was up. Then, there were a few new electrical outlets that needed to be wired as well as a 3-way switch for the light.  Fortunately, Chris’ dad is pretty experienced at electrical, and Chris is learning quickly, but it’s not a DIY that I would do if I didn’t have someone experienced helping me.

So that’s about where our little laundry room is right now.  I apologize for the grainy pictures–it’s a bit dark in there right now.  And obviously it hasn’t been prettied up with paint and decor yet.  But you get the idea.

Our water heater, washer and dryer, and a new laundry room sink fit in there perfectly.  Eventually, we’re planning to build cabinets above the washer and dryer and enclose the bottom of the laundry sink in a cabinet as well.

It has been nice to have the laundry room wall and ceiling closed up, as cold air had been seeping into the house through the attic and other construction zones.  The finished half of the house is much warmer now.

Which is good because Baby Brownie is on her way sometime in the next 3-4 weeks!

Oh me oh my!

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