Mattress Mania!

Quick!  How many mattress store jingles do you know by heart via their radio commercials?

“It’s not too late to sleep like a baby…Mattress World.”

“Why buy a mattress anywhere else…DING!”

Honestly, I rarely, if ever, listen to commercial radio stations – I’m an NPR Addict, through and through.  But when we’re working around the house, I abso-pos-i-tive-ee-lute-ly have to listen to Classic Rock.  It’s just a thing – I picked it up from my uncles and brother who would pour concrete, jackhammer a drain and work around the house, listening to Ozzy, Zeppelin, and the occasional AC/DC thrown in.  It’s like “movin’ music” to me.  And I have totally convinced my hubs that *that* is what you listen to when you’re working around the house – there simply is nothing better!

On that topic, I’ve been hearing more and more mattress commercials (because we’re doing more work around the house that requires “movin’ music”), and they have been taunting me as if to say, “So do you think your neck can take any more abuse, punk?  Well, DO ya?!?”  And the answer is NOOOOOOO!!!!  Seven years has done a number on our Queen Pillowtop bed that used to be so dreamy and comfortable…

But lately when we retreat to our bed every night, sore from painting, hammering, and bending over to reach tools, we’ve been waking up *more* tired, *more* sore and just downright poopy feeling.  Coffee can only do so much, ya know….So it has come to pass and we need a new mattress.  But the old one is still in reasonably good shape and will last a good long time in a Guest room where it only gets used once or twice a month….(*wheels turning*…) ….

Since we knew we’d be entertaining family throughout the summer months here in Stumptown, we were on a timeline to find a mattress – STAT!  We only have a full-size bed in our guest room and my mom is not afraid to tell me that the reason she and my dad have been married for 40+ years is because they have a king sized bed at home (a subtle but pretty obvious hint at her uncomfortability when she comes to sleep with us…).

…which means that an upgrade from a full to a queen might just be what the doctor ordered (it’s only 6 inches longer and 5 inches wider, but who’s counting?).  So here’s the bed breakdown as of right now:

  • Master Bedroom: New Queen Mattress, Simmons Beautyrest (no pillowtop – we’re over it!)
  • Guest Bedroom: Old Queen Mattress, Sealy Posturepedic Pillowtop – still comfortable enough for a Guest Room
  • Old Full Mattress…..hrmmm….to sell?  To donate??  What to do??

Well, we looked around the house and we landed next door in the Room of Requirement…

….a room so barren that it was just screaming for a little love!  And I know I said we were going to kind of “take a break” from renovating and such – I should just add that there’s *always* something to do around here….so stay tuned when this Mattress Mania takes hold of ye ol’ Tell’er All About It crew in the coming weeks…it’s gonna be fun!

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What….is your quest? Part Deux, Year 2, Paragraph 2, etc.

Stop!  Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.  What…is your name?  What….is your quest?  What….is the air-speed velocity of an un-laden swallow?

…African or European?

I love Monty Python.  Furthermore, I love that we totally stole the reference back in September of ’09 to plan out our house “quest” – i.e. trying to get our priorities in line so that we could actually get this house whipped into shape. The plan was to get it all completed for Christmas when we had a gaggle of family coming into town to stay with us:

Sorry, bros, but had to include you in on der blog-in-stein

Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, does it?  However, we have managed some pretty impressive remodels since Christmas in particular and have more or less completed our first round of changes!  You can actually click here to go back to the original post and click on the individual links back to all of the projects we’ve completed!  Honestly, I’ve gotta say….we have worked our @$$es off since a year ago and I’m pretty damn impressed with what we’ve managed to accomplish so far.  But it’s only just beginning…

So you’ve gotta be asking yourself, “Now what?!?”  Well, first of all, Lil’ Miss Impatient, just remember that we both work 40+ hours/week in Cubeland Jobs….they always get in the way of our renovating and blogging, but what’re ya gonna do?  We also have more gaggles of familials coming in throughout the month of August (and we can’t wait!!!!) plus a pretty significant amount of travel throughout the back half of the year and to top all of that off, we also adopted another dog!  Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet?  Yup, we added another pup to our K-9 family – check’er out!

Her name’s Tiki, she’s a 4 year old smooth coat Jack Russell Terrier, and we are presently doing a pretty major DIY project to get her accustomed to our house, our routines, and our potty-training regimen – oh, how she likes to try my patience at times!  Have I mentioned that I hate carpet?

Needless to say we’re pretty busy people, so prioritizing and making lists makes our lives much easier!  What can I say?  I learned it from my mother, Organizing Fiend Extraordinaire.  I’m not nearly as OCD as my she (i.e. I do *not* P-touch label my linen closet like *some* people I know – love ya, Mom!), but I think setting goals for yourself is always a good thing!  Especially since we still have *so* much we want to do to this house, we really do need to prioritize so that a) we can budget for major and minor remodels without going bankrupt, b) we actually schedule some downtime so we can concentrate on the important things in life like each other and c) make sure we don’t over do it on the house remodeling so as not to price ourselves our of the market – we’re definitely not planning to stay in this house forever.  Without further ado, here is the Year 2 Quest.  It’s a little more vague this time around, but no less ambitious!

Decorating/Wall Decor: We are still suffering from a lot of bare-as-a-baby’s-behind walls in our house.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’ve just been working our little @$$es off trying to get the basics done around the house and this is one of those things that has just fallen by the wayside.  Le sigh.  And this is really L-blogger’s territory and not Dr. J’s.  Love ya, honey!  We’ve actually already started doing this a little bit (which we haven’t really detailed too much of here….yet!) and so I’m looking forward to sharing all of those good stories as well as taking on a few more DIY art projects to boot!

GET ORGANIZED!: Remember the P-touch comment from above?  Well, as much as I love to make fun of my Mom, we really could learn a few things from her organizing ways.

  • A big part of the organizing is purging, purging, purging! I can’t tell ya how many bathroom drawers, laundry cabinets (yes, we have those now!!!!) and closets are filled with unused beauty products, toxic chemicals (which I am trying to rid from my home altogether), ill-fitting clothing (or hardly used clothing), and/or just plain extraneous items that are un-used, un-loved, and unnecessary.  It’s time to clear out the closets (which I do every season change anyway), clear out the vanities, and just generally clear my house of unused things that would be better left to somebody else.  In fact, I may actually take on the “A Thing a Day” challenge for a set period of time just to really force myself to re-evaluate my possessions and clutter!
  • Get the garage in order! When you have no basement and no attic, everything, by default, moves to the garage.

Oh, how I wish this garage would magically be less cluttered!

Not only is our garage a storage menagerie for Christmas decorations, athletic gear, tools and spare lumber, it’s *also* our woodworking/recycling/gardening center, mud room and car workshop.  It houses our hot water tank, HVAC and four (yes, I said FOUR) city approved trash bins that per the HOA cannot be stored in sight.  Needless to say, this room wears a *lot* of hats and it’s further complicated by the fact that it faces the prevailing winds, serves as *our* main entry and exit point to the house and is almost *always* covered in a fine layer of sawdust.  Furthermore, I’d say that this room is one of the smallest “two-car garages” I have ever seen.  I think you could probably park two small cars in the garage, but then you might have to climb out the windows in order to get out, so I don’t know what the realtors were smoking when they advertised it as such.  So when I say this space is a challenge, that’s an understatement.  While it’s not as exciting as, say, a Laundry Room or a Guest Room it’s certainly no less important!

How the Room of Requirement looked back in December

As helpful as it was, the room has really become something of a monster ever since then.  We’ve actually switched things up in there considerably since then by banishing our old TV up there to be a video gamin’ machine and switching up the furniture arrangement quite a bit.  We have many ideas in mind for this room, but rather than tackle it all at once, we’re kind of taking it one item at a time.  We still have yet to paint this room and give it some life and vigor….so stay tuned for all of those changes!

Traveling: One of the big things Dr. J and I agreed upon when we got married was to incorporate as much travel as possible into our lives.  The back half of 2010 is going to be spent doing just that!  Unfortunately, we won’t be traveling to as many exotic places as we would like, but we are hoping to incorporate some  big ticket places into our future itineraries.  Nothing has been decided yet, but Hawaii, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even Alaska have all crossed our minds.  Stay tuned for those details in 2011.  In the near future, though, expect some updates from the road as we make some pretty major trips at the back half of 2010.

Master Suite: We gave our Master bedroom a minor facelift this winter by switching out some pillows and brightening things up on the cheap with some happier accessories:

However….our bedding is seven years old and is, honestly, just a wee bit girly for me and WAY too girly for Dr. J.  We’d love to keep the blue-ish themes going on but just grow it up a little bit more.  We’ve recently purchased a new mattress, so new bedding is definitely in the works….it’s just a matter of finding it.

Another thing we need to tackle in our Master Suite is the bathroom.  Lord, it just needs help.  We have permanently etched/damaged marble top counters, black mold growing behind the caulk lines in our shower (which we have tried desperately to fix – twice – by digging out the caulk, bleaching it, and re-caulking to no avail).  Our shower is too small, the tub too big, and while I think we have plenty of storage, most of it is below-knee, which means I am constantly bending over every morning to reach simple things like lotions and sprays.  I’m kind of getting tired of it.  Soooooo…..we want to gut it…down.to.the.studs.  And, yes, we do plan to do it all ourselves!  But after our recent laundry room makeover, we definitely are taking a much-needed break.  So stay tuned while we build up the funds and work on our back muscles – you know we’re gonna need it!

So will we get all of these projects done?  I’m going for a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full on that one.  I’m certainly hopeful!  But since nothing is “dire” and/or entirely functional (most of these items above are about getting things gussied up for the prom), we’re just taking a “one-thing-at-a-time” approach (with some more breaks and fun mixed in for good measure).

So that’s the Quest for Year 2!!  Now You Tell’Us!  What major renos/makeovers are you planning in your house?!?  We’d love to hear about them!  We’d also *really* love to hear about how you tackled them, too!  Send us a few of your renovations with pics!  Who doesn’t love a good before and after?!?

Blog-i-ver-sa-ry Week! Happy Birthday, House!

It’s been one year since we closed on our house!  Which means it’s time for a little bit of reflection….

It’s been one year since we crazily decided to put in an offer on *this* house – the very same weekend I was prepping for a major examination that damn near killed me.  I think the stress of the test sent me over the edge and I “came to Jesus”, so to speak.

It’s been one year since we walked through this bland, boring, and uninspiring house with its unhooked plumbing, uninstalled sink, nil appliances (which we had to purchase from the get-go) and falling-off-the-wall microwave and thought, “Yup!  This baby’s ours!”

It’s been one year since the “stars aligned” for us to take possession of this foreclosed reject in a nice neighborhood with two parks close by and a whole bunch of eyesores.

Dear House, with your leaking gutters, holes in the walls, shoddy caulking, leaky windows, stinky and stained carpet, grease-covered kitchen cabinetry and tape stuck to the floor where the previous owners desperately tried to cover up all of the damage done to the baseboards and filthy builder’s grade painted bland walls – we still bought you because *we* knew you could be beautiful

You were ugly, that’s for sure.  You were a 4-year old house that looked like it had lived through ten!  A photo will go unpublished of me looking at this walk-through in revulsion the first time we saw it.  But we kept thinking back to you and we saw potential where others saw “maintenance nightmare”, achy backs, and dozens of gallons of paint.  This house definitely had its detractors (still does!), but there were a few things we just simply couldn’t find anywhere else…

Mt. Hood from our Master window....hazy in the hot summer of '09

We loved your big kitchen and your beautiful view!  We loved your three (3!!!!) walk-in closets, your upstairs laundry room, and your quiet-as-a-whisper street in the quiet neighborhood closer to the city.  We loved that we could take Maggie to the P-A-R-K without having to put her in a car (or jump into a ditch or walk on a busy road in order to get there) and, more importantly, that we could add a fence to our backyard to improve our dog’s quality of life as well as ours!  We loved that all of the houses across the street were custom “model homes” and ours was definitely the zit on the street.  We loved that you weren’t the biggest, the most expensive, or the strangest house on the block.  You were juuuuuust right….perfect for a little Botox!  We loved that you fit into our budget and could give us a “project” to keep us busy.  And most important of all, we loved that you were definitely a fixer that nobody else wanted and nobody else had loved….

And dear house, you have been a *lot* of work.  But you’ve been worth it!  And I love you more today than I did a year ago.  I knew I would learn to love you in time (and ensuing backaches, headaches, blood, sweat and tears – oh, and bruises, too!).  Baby, you’ve come a long way.  And we’re not done with you yet….not even close….so don’t get too comfortable….there’s lots more to come….

We love you, house!  Happy First Birthday!  Thanks for keeping us busy 🙂

Blog-i-ver-sa-ry Week! A House Hunting Retrospect!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to encourage you to head over to Remodelaholic.com today and check out a little mention that our Laundry Room got.  Check it out – we’re feeling ver-klempt!  Cassity, you’re the BEST!!

Since we’re still celebrating our one year anniversary of living in maison du Tell’er All About It, I thought I’d give a little peekaboo into our house hunting extravaganza and a little bit of why we decided to go with this house over some of the many dozens of other homes we looked at!  I know it sounds silly, but trust me, you’ll understand who we are better by the end of it.  Here goes nothing!

June, 2008: Dr. J graduates from Ohio State University (and gets Doc-tah-fied!) on a blistering hot, humid miserably Midwestern day (the ceremony was outside) and we begin the big transition of packing up our lives in Columbus, Ohio to begin life anew in Portland, Oregon where Dr. J landed himself a killer job (that’s ‘killer’ as in awesome, NOT ‘killer’ as in hired hit man)!

They don't call him Dr. J for nothing! He was smart enough to wear a t-shirt and gym shorts underneath this wool robe.

We decide to rent first before commiting to buy mostly because we want to have the ability to scope out neighborhoods and get a feel for our newly adopted hometown.  We pick out a ridiculously cute new-build pet-friendly Craftsman-y bungalow and on our one-year wedding anniversary (hey, we’re nothing if not romantic!  Who *doesn’t* want to spend their first anniversary sleeping on the floor in an empty house??!!) begin moving ourselves in!  The plan is to stay for about a year, save up some cash, and then purchase a house after I get a job in Portland.  Hey, we’re 28 and we’re not getting any younger!  Not only that, but Maggie is really tired of being tied up to a rope when she goes outside to do her business…

August, 2008: L-blogger finally moves to Portland after closing up shop at her old job and driving Maggie cross country to Portland with her best friend and brother in-law in tow!  Cheesy Momma and Doggy tourist photo ops are in abundance.

September, 2008: The glow and excitement of moving to a new city is quickly shattered when the economy decides to tank.  Two job offers on the table are pulled and much hand-wringing and stress ensues.  Looks like the house hunt is definitely on the back burner for at least a few more years!  Finding a job becomes priority numero uno!

February, 2009: Still jobless and with our debt-to-income ratio rapidly rising, we become intrigued by the idea of an $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers….maybe we should buy now…Dr. J has a great job with a steady income, we are renting and don’t need to sell anything, and we’re pretty tired of living in rentals where we can’t make any changes to the house to make our home more personal and our lives easier.  Besides, it’s always been our dream to live minimally on one income and have a second income for “everything else”, so forcing a purchase while we are a one-income household sounds like the ultimate test in frugality.  Looking under the couch covers for spare change becomes a daily occurrence.

April-June, 2009: We do the typical house-hunting tasks – apply for a loan, get approved, settle on a pricepoint, and put together a “laundry list” of needs, wants, and nice-to-haves.  Here is a little rundown of the things we *need*:

  • Good location – something that is closer to the city, but not too close to kill Dr. J’s commute (which is to the furthest west end of the Portland ‘burbs, which kind of limits our location options).  A quiet street is absolutely non-negotiable – our present location is on a very busy road and waking up at 4am with the grocery store delivery trucks bounding by is becoming a nightly annoyance.  It would also be nice to have a “walk-able” neighborhood where we can take Maggie on nightly strolls without having to cross said busy street or hop into a ditch to avoid traffic….ugh!!
  • Garage – Dr. J has tons of power tools.  Power tools take up room.  Power tools need either a shed or a garage.  Shed is preferred, garage is acceptable.  Garage and shed will become woodworking meccas for possible home improvement projects and renovations.
  • Decent yard size – neither of us are big into yardwork, but we figure a decent sized patch of grass for the Magsters is absolutely non-negotiable.
  • No major renos – we decreed that for our first homebuying experience, avoiding *major* renos is probably a safe bet from the get-go.  I.e. – everything needs to be mostly “functional” for the way we live.

It’s probably pretty obvious from the list above that we didn’t include anything like granite counters, hardwood floors, and/or anything else that was “taste specific”.  We were pretty much dead-set that any house we purchased was going to be a fixer and we were happy to break a sweat to fix up an ugly house in a good location!  I have my heart set on an older fixer-upper home (read: pre-1940) with character and expect to have a viscerally emotional response when I find “the one”…

May, 2009 – We look at houses all across the city, pricepoint, age, and varying states of repair and disrepair.  We even look at a ‘two-for-one’ viewing that had two foreclosed houses side-by-side that both needed some serious love.

They are both rentals, one had stood empty for about 9 months, and both are in piss-poor shape, bland, filthy, foreclosed and out of our price range.  NEXT!  However, I am intrigued by the beautiful view and parks within walking distance, though unimpressed with the state of the house and lack of character or charm.  I am still praying that we find an older, pre-war home that just needs some minor surface treatments.  That viscerally emotional response has occurred several times, however, reality is beginning to settle in…

June 5, 2009 – It’s the last weekend before I have to take a major examination which will hopefully help me land a job quicker and I am majorly stressing.  Dr. J and I are kind of hem-hawing about what to do regarding looking for houses because we are beginning to tire of looking at the same kinds of homes over and over again (i.e. newer build homes with nary a shred of character in sight) and I’m at my breaking point (probably induced by this examination breathing down my back for which I keep failing the practice tests).

I decide to call a friend who has also sat for the examination to get some advice and just generally chew the fat about everything going on in our lives.  She props me back up again (and encourages me not to pull out of the exam – more on that later) and then we get to talking about the house hunting experience and a lightbulb literally turns on in my head!  I realize that as “dreamy” as it sounds to buy an older home with character, the reality in a city like Portland (whose older, character-filled homes are in great abundance on the eastern side of the city) is that it’s much more difficult to buy an older home within our budget and within a reasonable commute distance – i.e. they are in short supply on the western side of the city where we dream of living.  And as romantic as it sounds to have a beautiful older home, a 90 minute commute one way every day just isn’t gonna cut it for being gas/eco-friendly *or* for having a decent work-life balance.  The other caveat is that Dr. J and I want to be able to travel to far away places and having a home that might eat into our travel budget via renovations is looking less and less desirable.  Lastly, we’ve seen many beautiful homes that didn’t need work and we were pretty set on finding a fixer that needed some love – why pay for somebody else’s renovations when we can do that ourselves?  Cue rational L-blogger, exit viscerally emotional response to finding “the one”.  So we thought back to all of the houses we looked at on the western side of the city (closer to work) and thought about the ‘two-for-one’ showing which was out of our price range.  We check the MLS listing to see if the smaller one is still available.  It miraculously is *and* the price has been decreased by about $20,000!  Interesting…

June 6, 2009 – …we call our realtor first thing in the morning to tell her we are going to put an offer on that ‘two-for-one’ showing.  We show up to our realtor’s office with my exam flashcards in my hand and checkbook in Dr. J’s.  We hurriedly sign the paperwork so I can get back to studying…

June 10, 2009 – I decide not to cancel the exam.  I take the exam and pass!  Phew!!!

June 10 – July 15, 2009 – Somewhere in there our price is accepted by the bank after a good deal of annoying back-and-forth (and us continuing to look at other houses “just in case”).  We float through the rest of June and July packing and getting ready for the move in a blazing hot summer, including scheduling the inspections and appraisals, purchasing appliances (the house had been ripped of its fridge, range, and washer and dryer), and planning for some minor facelifts.  Somehwhere in there while searching for decor inspiration, I stumble across this website and become intrigued by the idea of starting a blog to detail all of our renovations….hey, I’m still not working!  Why not?!

July 13, 2009 – We sign all of the paperwork (I think my hand still hurts to this day), but due to some weird Oregon law, we actually can’t claim the keys until July 15th.

July 15, 2009: Since our house was owned by a bank….and since banks are not in the real estate business…there were a few unfinished details that prevented us from claiming the keys.  It had something to do with back HOA fees that hadn’t been paid by the bank (see aforementioned comment “banks are not in the real estate business”).  As a result, the key hand off is pushed back a day.  However, we get money in our pockets later on down the line for overpaid interest!  Yippee!

July 16th, 2009, 6:00pm – we show up to our house, claim the keys, Dr. J carries me over the threshold, and we open a very special bottle of wine that had been given to us on our wedding day two years earlier:

It says "For the night you close on your first house - it won't stain the carpet!"

Maggie enjoys her first meal in the new abode…

…and Dr. J rips down the “For Sale” sign so that we can officially call this foreclosed dump our own!

Dr. J SMASH

All of the sudden, we went from being renters to homeowners with a whole boatload of responsibility and work to do like re-caulking and attaching our plumbing in the kitchen:

Dr. J and his Dad at work on our first weekend of ownership!

…painting what little we could prior to move-in (you can read about how we painted these stripes in our laundry room by clicking here and even how we completely reinvented the room by clicking here):

…and trying to stay cool in 100+ degree heat.  And while we were at it, we managed to start a blog to document our progress and keep our family and friends involved.  And 12 months later, we’re still at it!!  And we’re not even halfway done yet!  When will we be finished everybody keeps asking?  Probably never.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way…

So that’s our tale of house hunting and how we decided on a foreclosed fixer (and completely changed our philosophy about houses halfway through the search).  Anybody else have a similar story?  Anybody else wanna share?  Do tell!

Airing our dirty Laundry: Chapter 5 THE BIG REVEAL

These are my two favorite words in all of renovation-dom: IT’S DONE!!!  As in finito, over and out, roger, over!  That’s Clarence Over!  BASTA!  DONE!  FIN!  THE END!  THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE….you get the picture.  I should just remind you that our upstairs laundry room and adjacent hallway (which I walk through *every*single*morning*afternoon*and*night*) has been a construction war zone and tool graveyard for about two months now.  We started this process on Mother’s Day and are finally wrapping up the finishing touches just in time for the beautiful summer weather!  So when I say that many times this project tried my patience, I’m not lying!  It was easily the biggest project we’ve tackled to date with by far some of the most dramatic afters and we are *soooo* happy with it!  But seriously….what are we waiting for?  Let’s get to the before and afters!

Laundry Room Before Move In

Obviously needing some love, no??  Talk about a complete blank slate in this room!  We took the opportunity (before we even moved in the house) to punch it up a little and do a tone-on-tone painting technique that completely changed the character of the room.  We get by far the *most* compliments on this room’s painting scheme than any other room and we totally loved the results (well, this and the Guest Room, of course!):

Laundry Room Midpoint

…but after about 9 months of living with this storage-less box of a room with a piddly little hand-me-down bookcase as our only means of stash space, we *really* needed to reclaim some real estate and make it more usable.  We detailed all of our problems with this room a few months back, which you can read all about by clicking here.  Since that time, we have been spending most of our weekends and work nights installing cabinetry, re-wiring our laundry room for both electric and plumbing, installing sinks, faucets, and just generally giving this laundry room a 21st century overhaul and total makeover/renovation!  And did I mention we had to squeeze all of that functionality and style into a tight 9′ x 6′ room?  Enough jibber jabber, though – how about ‘dem apples?:

Laundry Room After!

Cabinets and counters and lights – OH MY!

We kicked off the Laundry Room renovation by exhaustively searching for cabinetry for our room only to find ourselves at the great Swedish escape of Ikea!  For the price, the selection, the warranty, and the ease of installation, you really can’t do much better!  And two months later, I have to say that we are soooooo pleased with our purchase.  They’ve already gotten a ton of use and are just as crisp, clean and gorgeous as the day they came out of the box!!

We were even able to get a “drawer unit” to store things like light bulbs, miscellaneous items and even some larger items like detergents and cleaners!  We have *so* much more space, in fact, that we were finally able to bring our extra paint cans inside and store them in a temperature controlled environment so that they don’t get “thick” from being stored in the cold garage over the winter.

…but since we had all this wonderful cabinetry, we wanted to be able to show it off a little  bit!  So Dr. J (the real brains of this bunch) completely wired the back wall for electricity (twice!  Which you can read all about here) so that we could install puck lights underneath the cabinets.  I can’t tell you how much easier it is to sort laundry now and we’re finding that our socks match *much* better now than they used to.  We no longer pair one navy with one black sock that you only notice when you are five minutes from leaving work….le sigh.

….and then we have our lovely new sink and faucet, bought for a screamin’ deal from Ikea and Overstock.com, which you can read about here.  Dr. J *also* had to rearrange some plumbing in this room to be sure that we could install a sink in here (there was a drain already installed, but it was in the wrong place.  You can read more about that by clicking here).  We decided to go with a smaller sized sink simply because the room is pretty tight and for the amount of hand washing we do (i.e. almost none), this was pretty much all we needed!  We’ve already used it several times and YOWZA!  We *love* it!  It’s also much nicer to clean out paint brushes in this sink as opposed to our nicer porcelain sinks in the upstairs bathrooms (our only option when we are upstairs painting).  And our cute little bar faucet fits so perfectly with the sink.  We absolutely *love* them both!

And then how could we forget the floors?!?!?!  Hands down the biggest change to this space and the entire upstairs hallway!  We had super cheap (both feeling and looking) vinyl flooring in the laundry room that did nothing to make this room feel warm and we also had about 200 square feet of white-ish, dingy, and stinky/smoky carpet out in the hallway that made the whole space feel dated and (worse yet) just plain dirty.  We ripped all of the carpet out and replaced it with cork so that we could have a seamless and cohesive look all throughout the upstairs hallway and laundry.   It instantly made the whole space feel more spacious, glam, and instantly historic!  Now everytime we walk upstairs, we can’t help but smile at how pretty these floors are!

So now I can safely say that I have the Laundry Room of my dreams and I couldn’t be more pleased with it!  Well, I’d love to get some better appliances, but that will come in time (we spent $80 buying those beauties on Craigslist – HA HA!).  We saved a boatload of money by doing *all* of the work ourselves, including my wonderful Father-in-law who helped out one weekend when I just needed a break and treated myself to some new shoes instead – thanks, Dad!!!!!  We love you!!  My husband did the majority of the work in this space with me just serving as backup catcher when needed and I can’t thank him enough for all of his hard work!  This space looks like it’s in a completely different house!!!!  All I can say is, I’m a lucky gal and he’s got mad skillz!  I am so proud of him and I have to say that we make a pretty good team :-).

But You Tell’Us!! How did we do?!!?  Have you tackled any major laundry room renovations?  They seem to be the choice place to renovate lately!  Share and share alike!

Want to check out all of the previous installments in our Laundry Room Makeover?  Click on Chapter 1 to read about how we formualted a plan to upgrade this room, Chapter 2 where we finally added some very functional cabinetry to the mix, Chapter 3 where we added electricity and plumbing, our teaser post, and Chapter 4 for the floors!

Blog-i-ver-sa-ry Week!

Can you believe it?! As of this Friday, July 16th, we have owned this house now for *one*whole*year*! And what’s even nuttier is that I’ve been writing posts on this blog for *one*whole*year*! Don’t believe me?! Check out this link for some cringe-worthy writing! Things have certainly changed in the one year since we moved into this house and began remaking it from top-to-bottom and we are uber-stoked to have come this far! So I thought in celebration of this mini-milestone that it might be high-time to sit down and do some reflection on der ol’ blog-in-stein and our dear chateau. So this whole week is going to be a party of sorts! Break out your party hats and sparklers and let’s have some fun!!

Picture courtesy of wikimedia.org

But first, I thought it’d be important to share a few bloggy milestones and numbers:

  • Over 122 (now 123!) posts since we started this here blog on July 16, 2009! Boy, would I love to write more – it’s that whole work thing…gets in the way… 😉
  • Over 38,000 individual views of this page since a year ago!
  • 331 individual comments posted to the blog (…but I could always use s’more!)
  • We’ve created 4 videos related to our home adventures, which you can watch here.
  • Our readership started with around 330 views/month in August of ’09 and has increased to a whopping 4,400 views/month in June, 2010. We’ve been really lucky to have a healthy increase in readership every single month since December of ’09! Whoop-tee-whoo!
  • We’ve been featured on lots of *other* design and home blogs throughout the interwebs, including this post, this one, over here, here again, and the big doozie of a shout-out on one of the top blogs in the world, according to The London Times, happened back in November and gave us a huge boost in readership that we’ve been soaking up ever since! Seriously, the day we were featured on YoungHouseLove.com, we received over 8,000+ views in one day! Talk about a serious boost in readership! I think the day before we *maybe* had about 30 views…? We were glowing for weeks after that one! Still are, actually…
  • Somebody (3 mysterious people) lovingly nominated us for Apartment Therapy’s Best Home Design blogs of 2009. I mean, for shiz? Seriously?!?! We were ver-klempt. And if you were a part of that lovely trio, a serious thank you goes out to you! *Blushes*. Of course, we didn’t win, but who cares?!? Being nominated was enough for us!

But most important of all, we’ve just had a ton of fun creating our own little niche on the interwebs! Probably a little more so me than Dr. J – I often have to drag him to the computer to write. But I’m a Chatty Cathy and could write for years without feeling the least bit bored or as if I’ve even got half of my thoughts on paper. You sure can’t measure satisfaction and pride with a yardstick, but if you could it would be at least THIS BIG! No, seriously – BIGGER!!! I love writing this blog and I love sharing all of our little mishaps and (mis)adventures with all of you glorious people :-).

And then, lastly, I just have to thank YOU…no, YOU! The one in the back….who hasn’t commented or said anything this whole time. The one with the funny hat! I’m talkin’ ’bout YOU! Hey, I love YOU, too! You’re the best! All of you! Thank you for carving out a few minutes of your day to read about the ramblings of a stranded Ohioan in the land of Oregonians. Thank you for giving me your support, your readership, and, most importantly, your inspiration. I can’t tell you how many blogs I have on my Google Reader (it’s a lot!) and I gobble them up each and every day like a kid on Christmas Morning! I am so inspired by all of the do-it-yourselfers out there who are just doing their best to make their homes magnificent on a dime. Keep the inspiration a’comin’!

But You Tell’Us! Tell’Us about your blog or just a little bit about who you are and why you’re here! In fact, here’s a little survey for ya! Just copy and paste this little form into the comments section below and tell’me a little bit about yourself!! Inquiring writers want to know!!

  • Who are you? Male/Female? Age? Homeowner? Renter? Married? Single? Any kids? Pets? Do you have a secret nickname?
  • What keeps ya comin’ back? Is it my quirky/wry/dry sense of humor? Pictures of Maggie? Before & Afters? Good ideas? Bad ideas?? Dude…why do you read us anyway?!?! I like my writing, but it’s probably because I’m a total megalomaniac…(don’t comment on that, please)
  • What are your favorite types of posts & why? Do you like the “It’s not easy being green” segments? What about Before & Afters?
  • What advice do you have for us to make Tell’er All About it even more delicious in year #2? More bacon, less fat? More fat and less bacon….dude, why would *any*body want that?
  • Anything else you want us to know, or just gotta share with the world? This is the perfect place to introduce me to your wonderful blog/website/Etsy shop and give me *more* delicious eye-candy to feast my eyes upon!

So stay tuned this week! We’re gonna do some reflection on where we’ve been, how we got here, and where we’re going! We might even have a little time for the big LAUNDRY ROOM REVEAL. I’m tellin’ ya, lots of anticipation on that one!!!

HomeGoods Homebound

Okay, OKAY!  We’ve been busy, doing a little bit of travel, having house guests, and just generally trying to take it easy now that summer finally made it to the Pacific Northwest!  However, I did want to share a few items that came home with me since I was swooning hardcore for some great finds at Home Goods!  Fortunately for you, I actually did bring a few treasures home and wanted to share them with you!  I even made my very first Etsy purchase (more on that later!).

I couldn’t resist!  She was so pretty and her coloring said, “Take me home!  I promise I won’t shed!”  But seriously, I just had to have this stool to pair right next to my Dolce Lounge chair from Tar-jay.  And she’s so convenient for plopping a drink, a book, or (*sigh*) a remote.  We’ve been needing a little some’n some’n to buddy up with this chair and when I saw this at HomeGoods, I knew she would be ours.  And at $59.99, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it!  And while I initially considered painting her white, I actually really like the additional texture it brings to this room, so she’s going to stay her shimmery creamy self until I decide that hot pink is the new ‘it’ color (might be tomorrow, ya never know!).  Stay tuned…

So I mentioned Etsy earlier.  Etsy is a website that is basically like a giant online craft fair.  Anybody who makes their own crafts (be it pillows, quilts, glassware, art, etc.) can log on, create a store and sell their wares to the masses.  I’ve been hearing about it for awhile now online and I haven’t really had the opportunity to take advantage of it (that whole house reno-ing thing, ya know).  So I thought I’d give it a try and look at what I found:

They are actually from a store on Etsy called Word Garden. Go give her some love because she creates some truly beautiful pieces!  The small lumbar pillow is made from a natural fabric with French words and sayings and I love the whimsical texture it brings to our space.  It’s really all about having fun and being playful and what could be more playful (or vintage feeling?) than some word art?  I also purchased from her this lovely crowned pillow, which I’ve put on Dr. J’s “Man Chair”.  Every man needs one and this is his….complete with a crown.  He loves me, he does ;-).

And while I was out, I thought I’d get myself some Hydrangeas…because they are in absolute abundance this time of year in the Pacific Northwest and they’re just too pretty to ignore!

So there ya have it!  Just a few little odds and ends that I’ve been picking up here and there and everywhere to keep things feelin’ fresh and inviting while all of this renovating is going on!  But what about you?!  Anything else going on in everybody’s world that makes you feel better about a renovation taking over your life?