First comes the bed, then comes bedding…

You may have noticed that even though we’ve wrapped up the big bathroom renovation of 2011, we are by no means done with all of the housework for the year.  Does it ever stop – really?!?  Our master bedroom is kind of in a “transitional” period right now.  After all of the hoopla of the master bathroom renovation and associated dust, dirt passing through our master bedroom every single day with some kind of tool or bucket of grout, etc the bedroom is feeling a little tired and DEFINITELY ready for a 2011 and beyond makeover.  So first came furniture…

….and then came bedding!

Quite a difference!  I have literally been searching for bedding for something like a year and a half – back when we switched up the color palette to a more soothing blue and taupe-y scheme – and I finally found something that both Dr. J and I could agree on from Overstock.com!  In fact, I believe they are still selling it, so you can click here if it’s up your alley!  This bedding fit our need for something that was more colorful and contemporary.  It also fit the bill for something that felt both feminine AND masculine – a near impossibility, lemme tell ya!  I was also looking for something in the blue/green color range, which was ALSO a difficult find.  And since I’m SUPER lazy, it also helped that it came with reversible shams and a few accent pillows that are making me rethink the whole soothing blue color scheme.  Hrmm….

Notice anything else?

We *finally* got nighstands!!  And the best part is that they actually are the same height as the bed, which is a huge improvement over what we had before.

And the source on those nightstands?  God bless JCPenney.com.  Though I admit we had to buy three of them and return one because the first one we got had a nice big crack in the front drawer, but it literally took a day or two, so no big deal!  I love how light and bright it feels even though it’s so much bigger than our previous nightstand (which didn’t match!).  And since it’s “mirror”, it automatically reads as a neutral so it really could go with any piece of furniture because it will always match!  How cool is that?  Oh, and here’s the other one just for kicks:

Pretty cool, huh??  So here is where we are now:

  • New nightstands.  Hopefully something shiny!
  • A new mirror
  • New bedding – ideally something with a little bit more color
  • Paint!  That wall paint is starting to feel a little too muddy to me.
  • Curtains
  • Accessories
  • Furniture re-arranging??  We’re talking about moving the current tall boy to the opposite corner, but it’s still up in the air
  • Get rid of our old “tallboy” dresser – it’s still sitting in the left corner which you can sorta see in this picture.  It’s totally empty, it just needs a new home:

It’s progress, but we still have to paint.  Paint….urg….this could take us awhile.  Ideally, I want a lighter color so that our furniture will pop against the walls.  But the lightest colors on the bedding are creams and I just don’t know that I could do a creamy-beige bedroom.  The room was originally “builder’s buttercream” as I liked to call it back when we moved in:

Wouldn’t it just be kinda silly if we went back to that??  God, I hated that color anyway – blech!  Ok, bad idea, bad idea!  If I could go with something more blue-y and/or gray or maybe even a very pale aqua, then I think I could be okay with that.  I’ve even considered taking the original color that we painted this room (Olympic’s Stone Gray, I believe) and just upping the white tint for a lighter version of the same color.  But I’m seriously SO OVER TAUPE!  I’ve really got to start looking around…

The bedroom furniture is here!

Ok, so it actually arrived well over a month ago, but this blog certainly isn’t in real time!!  Let’s dish the goods, shall we??  But before we do that, let’s take a trek back in time to what it looked like before…

…and here are a few WAY old pics (like right after we moved in pics) to show you the other pieces of furniture in the room:

And here we are today with the BRAND NEW FURNITURE!!!!!!!!!!

Isn’t it so pretty?  Again, I apologize on the quality of the photos.  Everything is still mid process so these were kind of taken on the fly.  And to answer a few of those burning questions right off the bat: it comes from Bassett Furniture, it does NOT match our bathroom cabinetry (this is espresso colored and our bathroom is black), and we only purchased a dresser, tallboy and sleighbed!  We did NOT buy nightstands!

So what prompted us to buy furniture in the first place?  Well, first off, the previous furniture was my Grandma’s, God rest her soul.  She bought that furniture as her wedding suite when she got married in 1941, which makes that furniture ~70 years old!!  It’s got that cool art deco retro vibe and a classic Waterfall design that I just learned about recently.  But as with all things old, it was just….ahem….OLD.  And much like our wobbly dining table that was also Grandma’s which we replaced recently, it also needed to go.  It was small, only had one nighstand and the bedframe didn’t fit our queen sized mattress.  Poor Dr. J also only had two drawers that he could use (which meant our closet was stuffed to the gills) and it just didn’t have enough storage to be useful to a married couple.  It was great when I was a singleton, but not so great when we got married.  I had always planned on replacing it, but I still wanted to keep it since it reminds me so much of my grandma and I still love the look of it all these years later.

Alas, I had no place to put it and I refused to put it in storage as I think if you have no use for a piece, then you should either get rid of it or *make* it work if you have nothing better.  My “dream” is to someday use it as additional Guest Room furniture, however all the rooms at the “inn” are full and the worst thing I could do would be to stuff it in the garage, which would just ruin the piece and not give it any credit.  I also refused to get a storage garage, which is sort of the popular thing to do in the Pacific Northwest since nobody has basements or attics – urg!  What to do…what to do….?

…then Dr. J’s parents bought a house!  A vacation/rental/investment house to be exact!  And with that began the great Pacific Northwest furniture expansion and migration project of 2011!  In the end, my Grandma’s heirloom furniture has found a temporary home with my in-laws at their permanent residence – at least until they retire and/or we buy a home where we can lovingly bring that furniture back.  I feel extremely relieved to know it’s in good hands and will be cared for and used less than it was being used before!  Phew!

Finally!  We were able to purchase furniture for our bedroom!  And as much as I loved the idea of finding something on Craigslist to rebuild and/or reimagine, I also knew that I didn’t want another hand-me-down furniture set.  So we began hunting and pecking.  Here were our wishes/wants for bedroom furniture:

  • A sturdy headboard.  We were originally looking for something upholstered and/or a nice sleigh/wood bed.
  • More storage than what we presently have (which honestly wasn’t difficult to find since we had practically no storage before)
  • Sturdy construction and finish.  Something that would wear well because I really don’t plan on buying more bedroom furniture in my lifetime.
  • In keeping with the above bullet, solid wood construction with dovetailed drawers – which is actually REALLY hard to find!
  • Nothing too matchy-matchy!

I don’t think the above is being too picky, is it?  Because of the above, I immediately ruled out Pottery Barn.  I love their furniture, but I have coffee tables/end tables from them and their finishes just don’t wear very well.  Restoration Hardware is great (and all of their drawers are cedar lined, which is a big plus), but their furniture is ridiculously expensive for what you get.  I’d be better off going to a traditional place for furniture.  Macy’s had some good pieces, but the construction wasn’t solid wood and the drawers seemed flimsy and cheap.  We also ruled out places like Ikea, Mor (local) and Ashley furniture for various reasons aligning with above.  So we finally decided on Bassett Furniture, whose Portland branch was going out of business.

via

Let me tell you why I LOVE our bedroom furniture.  First off, the lines and finish of the furniture is contemporary and (hopefully) classic.  It doesn’t feel pretentious and/or too traditional/stuffy.  We’re certainly not stuffy or pretentious and a lot of the overly traditional pieces felt very carved and too “fancy” for our tastes.  We’ve got a fancy bath now, isn’t that enough??  The best part of the pieces is that the bottom drawers on all of the dressers are actually cedar lined!!  How cool is that?!?

Regardless, now we have a few “issues” to deal with still in the bedroom.  Here’s a little rundown of some of the things that still need to be “tackled” in our new space:

  • New nightstands.  Hopefully something shiny!
  • A new mirror
  • New bedding – ideally something with a little bit more color
  • Paint!  That wall paint is starting to feel a little too muddy to me.
So that’s it for now!!  I’ll be back later with a few more updates – maybe after Labor Day weekend!  Regardless, we’re lovin’ our new furniture!  It’s so beautiful and I guess you could say that our bedroom makeover is well under way….stay tuned…

Bad blogger, bad blogger!

I am.  I truly am BAD at blogging.  I don’t blog every day.  I don’t “Pinterest” like it’s my job – ’cause I’ve got a regular 9 to 5 and it keeps me PLENTY busy.  I don’t have giveaways once/week.  I don’t really craft.  I read other peoples’ blogs but then I always forget to comment and say, “Good job!”  I don’t go to blogging events and/or conferences.  Hell, I just frankly S-U-C-K at keeping up with this here blog at times…

However, I feel I have a very good excuse for being a “bad blogger”.  Let me show you some numbers.  We started our bathroom renovation 22 weeks ago this past Saturday, July 30.  In that timeframe, we more-or-less finished an entire bathroom gut job (it’s 90% there and holding for reasons that I’m explaining in this post) and hosted out-of-town guests and/or were out of town for (wait for it) a total of 16 times (17 if you count this past weekend and Dr. J was out of town while I stayed home)!!!!  Some of those were during the weeks, but generally they were on the weekends.  There was one week where we had to change the guest room sheets three times!  Some of those guests were repeats, but for the most part we got to introduce more than a dozen friends and family to new experiences in the Pacific Northwest!  It was a lot of fun and I’m so glad we have that dedicated guest space for everybody to use!  But daaaaaaamn…..was it tiring.  And having to share shower and bath space with most of those guests for that timeframe got a little old, to say the least.  So things have been a wee bit quiet on the blog and I *still* haven’t revealed the bathroom in all of its glory, so let’s get a little update goin’ for all the curious stalkers.

So here’s a quick update on the bathroom….ya ain’t missin’ much.  The last time we worked on the bathroom was back here when we got the shower door installed.  I think since that time we’ve purchased a couple of shelves (that are still only halfway installed), bought a couple of accessories and that’s about it.  We still have to finish up the baseboards, hang crown molding and do a TON of touch up painting, caulking and sealing.  Needless to say we’re kind of crossing over the finish line by way of the Horn of Africa – i.e. we’re taking our sweet @$$ time, piracy not included.  Rather, we’ve been a little busy (see paragraph above).  My point?  We definitely have a lot of finishing up to do in there and hope to get it ALL wrapped up officially in August.  At that point I’ll definitely be sharing the full makeover (video and all) with pics, budget rundowns, the whole effin’ she-bang!!!

Which brings me to everybody’s favorite question – ok, mostly my Mom who is greedy for me to do more makeovers like an Extreme Makeover junkie – seriously, somebody has GOT to control that woman.  The big question is, “What’s next?!?!”  Since I’m not really in the habit of starting a project without finishing the first, I thought I’d break up that trend a little bit since the bathroom was a bit of a doozy and there’s only so much caulking, tiling, drywalling and grouting that a gal can do before she starts to go a little stir crazy!  Basically, our next project is going to be….

In fact, it’s already somewhat in progress.  New bedding is on order, new furniture has been delivered (more on that later), I got new lamps and I’m eyeing a couple of new nightstands and starting to brainstorm new paint colors…I can’t help it.  The room is starting to feel very drab/taupe/dull to me and I need a change.  I did a mini-switch about a year and a half ago but that old bedding is just not gonna make it to Christmas (especially since Maggie has made it her mission to jump into bed with us every single morning for her daily cuddle – even if it is only for 5 minutes).  Seriously, here are a few pics….and notice how she only gets up on Daddy’s side?  Hrmm…

Trying to appear coy..

UNDER the blanket, mind you...

...apologies to my husband for showing him shirtless but this is by far the cutest pic of Maggie!

Love that pooch.  She’s so damn cute….but back to the bedroom!  Basically, I’ve been sporting the same taupe-y style in the bedroom since 2004 when I made my first foray into design while still living at my parents house (which I don’t have a picture of).  The same essential paint colors and accessories have been following me around ever since then and the bedding is definitely starting to show its age.  You can see several iterations of the same basic design by looking at the pics below:

The Master Bedroom in our first Condo, circa 2007

First rental house in Oregon! Same motif

First iteration at the new house...

Starting to look a little tired, eh?  I thought so too.  I don’t know that we’ll get around to painting the room just yet, but we might tackle that as a somewhat “small” project sometime in the fall/winter.  We’ve become such old pros at painting anymore that pulling a room apart really is such a drop in the bucket compared to what we’ve done so far!  The hardest part now is painting rooms that are full of furniture.  Always a good time.  And for a really LONG project down the road…we’re kind of tossing around this sort of idea:

via

…pretty, huh?  The room needs a little pizazz.  And it needs glamour and WOW!  Right now it’s just saying….*yawn*….which isn’t a bad thing….except for when you’d like to spend time in your room reading or enjoying the view:

…time to get down to it.  Oh, and I’ll be showing pics of the new furniture here very soon…

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!

We’ve been Benched! Chapter 2

…and then there was a giant hole…in our bench!

If you’ve been following recently, you know that we are trying to inject more functionality into the window seat in our master bedroom.  While it’s a very pretty architectural feature, it seems like a waste of space, which is very frustrating for a multi-tasking person like myself.  If somebody can take the time to insulate a space, then they can take the time to add a hinge and create storage!  So why didn’t the builders do that?  Lord knows, but it was probably the same day they made the decision to omit Air Conditioning and a Garage Door opener.

Since we don’t have x-ray vision, we had to do “exploratory surgery” to formulate our plan.  Once the demo was done we discovered a large space inside of our bench that had a big stud right down the middle (see picture above), so we had to consider that in the design of our “storage area”.  We had to come up with a way to “finish” the space  taking into account this giant stud down the middle.  We also had some electrical wires that needed to be hidden for safety purposes (that coincidently ran underneath the stud – hooray for *some* planning).  Now I can say I’ve got *two* studs in my bedroom at all times – ba dum bum bump!  This basically meant that we had to create two storage areas rather than just one.  And as you can see from the picture below, the space is largely unfinished and needed to be enclosed somehow:

So our options were

  1. Drywall – messy, time consuming, and not very durable, which is not a good option if you’re going to be constantly dropping things into the storage area.  Drywall, FAIL!
  2. MDF – It’s sturdy and paints well, but we wanted a more natural look for the inside of the storage.  MDF is not natural looking, so ….  MDF, FAIL!
  3. Wood/Plywood – Definitely the best option.  It’s natural and if you’re lucky enough to find Cedar, it’s naturally repellent to bugs and other “critters”.  It also smells really great and looks wicked cool.  We couldn’t find Cedar plywood, though, so we figured Birch would be a good alternative.  It doesn’t repel bugs naturally but hey, that’s what dryer sheets are for!.  Maybe we will line the storage area with cedar in a future project … Wood, TOUCHDOWN!

To save time, energy, and money we needed to draft a plan to re-build and re-use as much material as we possibly could.  Especially since our window “sills” had a lot of complicated cuts that we wanted to avoid having to recreate, if possible.

One of the two window sills sitting in our garage - you can see the nails from where we removed it

After we demo-ed, we made an early evening trip to Lowe’s to buy our supplies to finish what we started.  This included:

  • One sheet (4 foot by 8 foot) of MDF, cut to Toyota Matrix size
  • A sheet and a half of paint-grade plywood (Birch)
  • One piano hinge (found in the hardware section close to door handles and the like)
  • One tub of wood putty

So the basic plan was to create two open-top “boxes” constructed of plywood to insert on either side of the stud so that all of the insulation, electrical wires, etc. would be hidden out of view.  That really was as simple as measuring once, twice, thrice….and then sawing away to create a 5-sided box times two.  Luckily, we own both a table saw and a nail gun, so this project went pretty quickly once we had everything cut.

Then we Polyurethaned the boxes with a spray poly and let them dry overnight.  At this point, it was dark on a Saturday night (yes, we really are that lame) and we thought that our neighbors would appreciate some peace and quiet, so we took a break from the noise and decided to come back to it on Sunday.

Now that the boxes were completely constructed, it was simply a matter of sanding them down and inserting them into our window seat:

Now while the above photo makes it look oh-so-easy, there were significantly more swear words, hammering, and “Oh, $#^&!” moments where it sort of fit, then it didn’t, then it did, and then when they were finally in, we could start to see where this project was taking us and how to finish ‘er off!  And just to give you an idea of how large these boxes are, here is a pic of me, L-blogger, trying one of them on for size:

But what about that window sill that is pictured above?  As you can see, the cuts around the windows were pretty complicated and so we re-used (reduce, reuse, recycle!) the two sheets of MDF that were already in place, but we cut them both down by about half, which we then repositioned back in place so that there is an opening to get into the storage area.  Now we have two storage boxes, ready for linens and the like….but we don’t have a lid.

I think this is going to be another Chapter, so stay tuned for the finished product!

 

We’ve been benched! Chapter 1

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, Dr. J and I decided to bench ourselves….rather, bench our rather useless window seat in our Master Bedroom.  So we decided to celebrate by practicing a little DEMOLITION!  It was our first demo project in the house and it was a doozy!  Remember this pic from our Nickel Tour below?

It’s a view of our Master Bedroom bay window seat, which wins some touchdowns for being one of the only architectural features in our house.  However, it’s being benched for some serious fouls and losing points for being a vast waste of space and having zero to NO functionality at all.  Window Seat, FAIL!  There, I said it!  It serves no purpose!  Now, I’m all about having something look good over functionality (like when we installed beadboard on the back of our kitchen island several months back), but to have a window seat with no storage?  Wasteful!  The bench itself is a prominent feature in our bedroom, it extends to the floor and, when you stand outside, you can see that there is “space” under the bench – why not make it functional – i.e. storage-able?  This is a project that’s been on our minds since before we moved in and we were kind of putting it off as something that wasn’t “mission critical”.  Then I had to open my big fat mouth this weekend saying that I wanted to paint it because I’m on a kick right now to paint our window sills in the house because it looked a little like this before this weekend:

But Dr. J insisted, “Well, before you paint it we need to repair it…ah hell, let’s just rip the whole damn thing out!”  This is what happens when you have a fearless husband and a wife who just goes along with it..

We knew we were going to do it eventually, but we also knew that we couldn’t go into it with a plan because we had no idea what we were going to find underneath the finish work.  That’s a little frightening for any would be DIY-er, but somehow we worked up the guts to just kind of get it out of the way this past weekend.  Some of the questions we kept asking ourselves while we were donning crowbars and hammers included; would it be filled with insulation?  Were we going to have to insulate it ourselves?  Was there drywall already down there?  Would we have to pull out a bunch of electrical work, etc?  So we decided to cross our fingers, take the plunge, and just whack away it.

The first thing we did was to remove the MDF “window seat”, which was actually two pieces with a rather large (and oh-so-obvious) seam right down the center.  When we ripped up the MDF board (very carefully, I might add, we don’t want to make those complicated cutouts for the windows!), we discovered that there was a large piece of plywood underneath – d’oh!  It’s like when people are trying to get out of a maze on TV and they end up getting the door open only to find another door behind it – curses!  But we weren’t deterred!  We figured if we’ve come this far, the worst that could happen is we would open up the plywood and find gerbils or something living in that space.  There has to be usable space in there somewhere!  We felt a little like Archaeologists on a dig – not sure what we’re going to find, but pretty sure it’s going to be a treasure trove when we do:

Since we had this plywood staring us straight in the face, we did a little “reverse construction” by following the secret trail of breadcrumbs….er….nails.  We looked at where the large woodworking nails had been placed and deduced that there were probably studs beneath the plywood that those nails were attached to.  Always an important tip if you do a demo project like this.  Remember, somebody had to put it together, so it can absolutely be taken apart!  Just be smart about how you “de-construct” something – you wouldn’t want to cut wires or make a bigger job for yourself in the end.  So we decided to just go for it and cut a hole to see what was under there!

But what, pray tell, is *in* that hole?

Nothing….JACKPOT!  Well, almost….now we have to get through all of that pesky plywood and there’s no easy way to say this, but just brace yourselves for a mess!

Now that we had the space opened up, Dr. J began to formulate a plan and at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we finally made our trip to Lowe’s to get all of our supplies.  We’ll be updating throughout the week as we finish up what we started above.

Stay tuned this week as we show you just what our Super Bowl weekend ended up looking like and, might I add, it’s another lifechanger indeed!