Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our New Floors

Wow, I am totally feeling guilty for not posting a new blog in over a month, but I have been so busy! On top of renovating our house I'm also a part time student and have a full time job, so my blog is the first thing that gets neglected. In fact I shouldn't even be blogging now as I have a history test I should be studying for, but I thought I'd take a minute to update ya'll with the latest progress.

Let me just say when we bought this house we knew it was a fixer upper, but being first time home buyers and completely clueless on home improvement we had no clue how much time and effort it took to fix up a house! A month into it and we've only gotten half the stuff done we anticipated, but the hard work is paying off and the house is starting to turn into 'home'. We were scheduled to move in this past week but with the delay on our flooring install and spending every spare moment working on the house, we never found time to pack! We luckily got our lease extended a few weeks on our apartment so we have a bit longer to clean and pack before we move.

Here's a few things we have been working on..
The first is our guest bathroom. This is the one with the amazing snowflake wall paper I posted about last time (which I have yet to do anything with). I love the green tile, but the flooring left much to be desired. When we bought the house it had shag carpeting... umm yeah, carpet in the bathroom is NEVER a good idea! I ripped up the carpet and there was linoleum underneath; this interesting tan color with gold streaks running through it.

I'm not really a fan of brown in bathrooms either; it's not as bad as carpet, but the whole thing still gives me the heebee jeebees. I chose the white and black hexagon tile and decided to lay it myself. After watching a few youtube videos I thought it wouldn't be so hard. Uhhh... let's just say I am definitely not going in the tile laying business anytime soon! It only took me two and a half days, but I finally got it laid and grouted, and have the back pain to prove it. Here's a picture before I did the grout, it's not perfect, but for my first time I think I did a decent job. I'm hoping the bathmat will hide the majority of my mistakes.

We also decided to sand down the wall that had the burlap wallpaper and paint it as an accent wall since we couldn't remove the wallpaper adhesive. I wanted it to be a vibrant 70's orange, but instead it turned out more like a pumpkin. Oh well, we will probably repaint it down the line, but with it being Halloween I think I can deal with it for the time being. We also got our new VCT floors! We decided we couldn't salvage the original tile since too much of it was cracked or broke when we took up the carpet tack strips. I love the new floors so much better anyways! Doesn't it look amazing? I was inspired by the floors featured on the Wedgwood Tulsa blog, but decided to go with green instead since it would match our kitchen counters better than turquoise. Check them out below... also note my amazing shadow hulk arms!

Last but not least, today we got our wood floors installed! We still have to sand and stain them, but the wood is there and it looks amazing thus far. I won't even go into the ordeal we had tearing up the carpet, pulling up the tile underneath and then removing the floorboards. I'll just say wearing painters suits, gloves, googles and face masks in the dead of summer in Texas is not a fun time. But those days are over and now we get to reap the rewards with our amazing new floors!

You also get to catch a glimpse of our new paint colors, we chose a light green for the formal living room and a yellow for the dining. I wanted to keep the original garden mural in the dining room although I wasn't completely in love with it at first. But once I cleaned it up and painted the walls it made a world of difference. Now it fits right in place and I couldn't imagine our dining room without it.

Well that's the latest in my world. Hopefully it won't be as long before my next post, but between moving in next week and a trip to NYC to see "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway for my birthday in 2 weeks, I'm afraid I can't make any promises!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our New House!

  Wow, what an amazing day today has been. Yes, today was our closing date which means we are now homeowners! I still can't believe it, I just keep repeating "We bought a house" out loud to anyone who will listen, and yes that includes our two dogs. We signed all the papers this morning and went out for a nice lunch at the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate while we waited for our funding to go through so we could get the keys. After lunch we stopped by Lowe's to get a head start on buying supplies for the house. We're tearing up the carpet ourselves because we want it gone ASAP since it's most likely a health hazard to be breathing in whatever creatures have been living in it for the past 30 or 40 years. We bought suits, gloves, goggles and breathing masks in preparation of getting seriously down and dirty in our new house. I also chose Lowe's because Retro Renovation recently featured a story on their retro inspired lighting and I had to check it out for myself. I did say I was lighting obsessed in my last post, did I not? I particularly had my eye on this baby for our foyer:

   I think it will look great in our new house, so I went ahead and picked it up. It is now anxiously awaiting to be installed in our entryway. While we were at Lowe's we got the call that we could come and get our keys!

  We picked up our dogs so they could enjoy our new backyard then headed to the house. We initially planned just to drop in for a bit to take some measurements and to take a closer look around so we could start brainstorming our plans. But "brainstorming" quickly turned into taking down wall paper and pulling up the carpet. There were several things in the house we wanted to get rid of right away, the first and foremost being the dingy shag carpeting which I'm guessing is left over from the 70's. The second was this strange wall paper in our family room that looks like it was made of burlap and has a matching upholstered cornice board with lighting behind it. Funky idea but just not what we are looking for in our home, luckily it was only on one wall.

  We were curious what was hiding behind the burlap so we starting picking at it and it came off pretty easily. The only problem was the adhesive they used to attach it to the wall left a film over the wood paneling. I have no idea how we will be able to get it off without damaging the wood, so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. I already was thinking this wall would look great painted as an accent wall to break up the darkness of the wood paneling, so we can always paint over it if the wood can't be salvaged, but I would like to try to restore the wood first.

The burlap wallpaper is gone!

   While Mike tackled ripping up the carpet in this room I started in one of the bedrooms. Much to our surprise there are VCT floors under the carpet! Unfortunately they used glue to secure the carpet pads directly onto the floor, so I'm not sure if we will be able to remove the glue without destroying the tile. I was expecting concrete underneath and was very happy to see the tile hiding below. I hope we can salvage the tile since it will definitely be a lot cheaper than the wood flooring we had been planning on installing.

The larger of the 2 guest bedrooms, this one will be Mike's office

   My favorite part of the day (which could also potentially turn into the most devastating in the long run if we can't find a way to save it) was my discovery in our guest bathroom. It appears the whole house was renovated in the 70's which is a whole lot better than it being renovated post 1980 but still not the 60's charm that I love. The wallpaper in the bathroom had to go, so I picked a corner to start pulling it off. What I found is probably the single most amazing wallpaper I have ever seen. And it is in MY house!
The 70's paper that was in the bathroom when we bought it

What I found underneath, there was a 2nd layer of pink flowered paper


Then under it all was this 60's diamond and snowflake paper, isn't it just jaw dropping? Why someone in their right mind would ever, ever, ever consider covering this up?! I haven't mentioned it yet, but I love snowflakes.. Mike actually bought me a snowflake necklace for Valentine's Day this year and I was just saying the other day how I would like to get a snowflake tattoo. Spending my entire life living in the south has left me with an affinity for snow that I realize I probably would not have if I lived somewhere that receives regular snowfall. The paper is pink, blue and green which ties it in with the mint green tile. I am crazy for this wall paper! Problem is there has been wallpaper sitting on top of it for the past 40+ years which left glue residue all over it. I will do anything I can to save this paper and it may very well be the reason I was put on this earth. What can you do to get glue off the front of wallpaper without completely destroying it in the process?

   Seriously folks, this is what my dreams are made of. I've been dreaming of owning my own home for the past 5 years and the day I finally do I was rewarded with hidden gems left and right. Yes, we have a few glue problems, but I can not wait to get in there tomorrow and be one step closer to us moving in.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Love Lamp!

   Saturday morning I attended the Austin City Wide Garage Sale. Despite the name it's not much of a typical garage sale, more like a weekend long make-shift antique mall. I've been a few times over the years and it can be hit or miss, but I have found a few gems. The first garage sale I visited I found this killer Vargas print my mother in-law had custom framed for me and which now permanently resides above my bed.

   Since it is Labor Day weekend and therefore estate sales were slim pickings I decided to hit up the City Wide instead. As I first entered the door I noticed a table with a large collection of Tickled Pink dinnerware I was instantly drawn to, but I had to pull myself away by reminding myself that pink dishes would clash with my red kitchenware. It took a while for the 'no' to sink into my head while I admired it, but somehow I finally pried myself away. Good thing I did because shortly after I found a great Pyrex dish in the 'friendship' pattern that would go perfectly in my kitchen! Naturally it came home with me.

   A little while later I found a booth with some amazing mid century pieces. The mister was eyeing a Sears Silvertone record player.. but I was obsessed with a 50's pink lamp with a fiberglass shade. I was instantly in love, but it took some convincing to get Mike on board. He's usually very tolerant of my adoration of all things girly pink and has actually agreed to let me paint and one day even possibly re-tile our master bathroom in pink! But once I told him I would like to put the lamp in our formal living room; which will be his 'Record Room' (his equivalent of a man cave), it took some finesse to get him to come around. I was in love and wasn't leaving without it!

   Once I got this baby back to the apartment I realized we really have nowhere to display it until we move in to the house. I'm starting to get embarrassed to even have anyone enter our apartment since I've been acquiring so much stuff for the house that every available space is being occupied with my most recent finds.

   Since I promised a post about some of my new goodies I decided to share a few more lamps I recently picked up. I keep buying lamps and then feel guilty because I have 2 perfectly wonderful matching sets already hiding in the back of our closet (not vintage but new lamps inspired by mid century design). I guess I have a lamp obsession and didn't even realize it!

  I'll start off with this great light my generous stepmother salvaged from a neighbor who was remodeling her 1970's home. She sent me photos asking if I wanted it since she knew it was my style and I pretty much freaked out at how wonderful it was! This lamp will look positively perfect in the breakfast nook of our house. There's also a great chandelier she salvaged but it didn't photograph as well, so you'll just have to wait to see it once we have it installed in our dining room.

   The next one I bought when visiting Jacksonville back in July. I found a great antique mall I had never been to and this wonderful lamp was waiting there specially for me. I actually left the shop without it because I wasn't sure how I would get it to Texas. After dreaming all day and night about it I headed back to the shop the very next morning to make it mine. I was so nervous sending it in the mail, but I packed it with an entire bag of packing peanuts and wrote "FRAGILE" all over the box. Thankfully it arrived safe and sound!

    This last lamp I found hiding in the garage of a marvelous estate sale last weekend. I was one of the first people in line to get in the house and I left with a car full of treasures. I had been scoping out all the rooms in the house and making a huge hold pile when I finally made it into the garage about 20 minutes after first stepping foot in the house. I somehow even walked right past this baby when entering the garage and then noticed it from across the room. I made a mad dash for it, took 2 glances and told the friendly employee stationed at the door that it was mine! The top of it is pretty rusty and the plug had to be replaced, but it works great and is very bright. Just what we will need in our living room since there are no ceiling light fixtures.

   Well that's all of my lamps for now.. at this rate I am sure I will add another one to my collection soon enough!

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Begins...

   After nearly a year of house hunting it is finally happening! We are buying a house! I never imagined it would take this long to find the house of our dreams and then actually come to an agreement with the sellers. We've had several close calls over the past 6 months but for some reason it always fell through. In fact it looked like it was going to fall through with this house as well. We were down to the wire; a few hours before the end of our option period, trying to haggle over a few thousand dollars for repair work. Right as we were writing up a higher offer we got a call that the sellers finally came around to negotiating, and then and there it finally fell into place. Mike called me while I was at work; on one of the busiest shopping days of the year nonetheless, and excitedly told me "We're buying a house!!" Of course I started jumping up and down ecstatically in a store full of people.
   We had high hopes for this one. Not only is it in the neighborhood that we love (and had put offers on 2 other houses just blocks away), it is also only 2 houses away from our friends who were delighted at the possibility of us moving to their 'hood. I spotted the listing for the house only hours after it hit the market and as fate had it we were meeting with our agent to see it just a few hours later. Finally the opportunity we had been searching for: not only were we the first people to see the house, it was also priced low because it needed "updating". At last there was a seller who was oblivious to the charm and popularity of mid century homes and priced it cheap to sell fast!

    I've been a huge fan of mid century blogs for a few years now. It all started when I found Retro Renovation and since then I have been obsessed with the idea of buying and restoring a mid century home back to it's glory days. We've lived in an apartment for the past 4 years since moving to Austin and therefore I've been able to collect very little due to space constraints. Our closets are already bursting at the seams without me coming home with loads of vintage goodies! I've still been able to pick up a few great mid century pieces, my favorite being our bedroom set I found on Craigslist. 2 dressers, a highboy and 2 nightstands: black with tapered legs and what I think is a white melamine top. It needs some touch up paint; which hasn't happened due to a lack of a work space, but it's definitely on the 'to-do' list once we get in the house.

   Now that I have a house of my own I've decided to stop just reading and start writing a chronicle of my own adventures in home ownership! I have become a complete shopaholic over the past several weeks in anticipation of decorating the house. Our closing date isn't until September 21 and I am so anxious to get in there I am compensating by buying everything I can get my greedy retro loving little hands on. Next time I'll post all about my new goodies...