Curb appeal is coming slowly (very slowly) to the old mauve house. I have to keep looking back at the before pictures, particularly from the rather disasterous day we moved in (while the previous owners, who apparently didn’t fully understand how the whole Closing Day concept – ie: moving out so that new owners can move in – really works, rather obliviously took their time packing things up and were still picking up their belongings FOUR DAYS after we gained possession of the house) (true story) to fully appreciate that our house HAS come a long way in seven months. Especially considering that we were buried under several feet of snow and darkness and cold for five of those seven months.
The newest addition to our create curb appeal campaign? Pretty new house numbers.
I present to you Exhibit A: the old house numbers…
Brassy and rusted and old. Gross eh?
And, now, the snazzy new mailbox decal numerals (courtesy of etsy seller WelcomingWalls)…
I never imagined that a set of sticky little house number decals affixed to a plain black mailbox could make me so unbelievably happy.
And, just for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at a couple of rather disturbing before pics, shall we? Here’s the picture from the original house listing…
…and here’s what the house looked like the day we took possession, with all the previous owners’ stuff strewn all over our newly acquired lawn…
Yep. We bought THAT house. We’re rather brave (or foolish?) peeps, Sweetie and me.
And now the after…
See? Progress. Slow progress, mind you (we still need to dig out that ugly stump in the front garden and plant some more appropriately sized cedars or boxwoods and – oh! – some flowers in those flowerbeds would look pretty and the shutters and front door could definitely use a lick of paint and that deck would really look far lovelier if it was stained and gee wouldn’t it be awesome if our entire house was re-sided in any colour except for mauve?)
But, still, progress nonetheless. :)Leave a comment
So I decided the other day that I couldn’t handle these dark/dreary/oh-my-god-who-seriously-paints-their-walls-these-colours? walls any more. With Baby on the way (only nine weeks to go till my due date) (ack!), I had sworn off painting for the next little bit (even though some say you can absolutely paint while preggers) (however I’m super sensitive to smells right now, so painting just didn’t seem to be in the cards for me.) Based on a recommendation from a co-worker (hi Laura!) I brought someone in to paint my living room, dining room, and (yay!) kitchen. It took her less than five hours to paint all three rooms. FIVE HOURS! I was (and still am) in painting-land awe. I’m not sure how she did it (seriously, what she accomplished in five hours would have taken me several weekends!) (maybe I’m just a rather pokey painter?), but suffice it to say that the house feels like a totally new house now. The rooms feel bigger and lighter and cheerier. The ceilings seem so much higher. And I am one mighty happy momma-to-be.
However, let me break in on this little newly painted room love-fest with a bit of a confession: my kitchen was supposed to be gray. A nice, light, slightly bluish airy fairly neutral gray colour.
The Coles Notes version of the story? I got blue.
Like, really blue.
What I was hoping for? A slightly brighter lighter version of the same colour that adorned my happy little 1940s kitchen at our last house. That kitchen was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray, and I loved it. Loooooved it.
Our current kitchen, in our old mauve house, gets far less natural light than our previous sunny little kitchen did. And it’s less open and needed brightening up a bit. So my seemingly obvious solution was to confidently (ie “ruthlessly skipping the whole test-pot phase of painting”) go one paint chip lighter on the same paint-swatch card thingy from my previously adored Stonington Gray colour. Seemed foolproof enough, I thought. And, even when I held the paint chip up in various places around my kitchen, my newly decided upon colour (Wickham Gray) appeared to be a light gray with a teeny tiny smidgen of blue-y green-y muddy undertones mixed in for a bit of wall colour pizazz.
The real-life post-painting result? Apparently Wickham Gray turns blue in my kitchen.
Like, very very blue.
Here’s where we started (all gold-y and dark and such):
And here’s where we are now. Blue blue blue.
Yep. Definitely blue. Super ginormous sigh.
Don’t get me wrong! There are lots of lovely blue kitchens out in the world. In fact, my Pinterest Kitchens board features several blue-hued kitchens that I’ve admired for a while. There’s this one, from House Beautiful (although I searched the House Beautiful site and couldn’t find a link directly to this particular image – sorry!):
And this super lovely kitchen featured on the Better Homes and Gardens website…
And, my favourite (pretty!), this cheery blue kitchen courtesy of… um, Pinterest source unknown. (I hate those source unknown sorta Pins, don’t you?) (If this is your kitchen, a: I want to move into your house please! and b: let me know!)
So see? I’m not at all against blue kitchens. In fact, I think blue is so fresh and pretty in a kitchen!
But… it’s not what I had planned for my kitchen. And against my currently cream coloured upper cabinets and brown-tiled backsplash and countertops the blue looks a bit… off.
I’m going to live with it for a bit. And maybe (with a little tweaking and accessorizing and such) it’ll grow on me! With Baby on the (ever nearing) (ack!) horizon, and my painting budget tapped for the time being, blue is definitely, if nothing else, better than the muddy gold colour that was there before. And, when I someday get around to painting the kitchen cabinets a whiter crisper shade of white (Benjamin Moore’s Snowfall White, my all-time favourite trim and cupboard colour, to be be exact), I think the blue might actually look quite spectacular.
But, for now… meh. At least it’s not gold.
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Hello! Please humour me while I get irrationally excited about something really rather insignificant for a minute, k?
I bought new placemats for our dining room table yesterday. Yay! They were a HomeSense buy (and not at all what I went into the store looking for) and I looooove them. Love them! They’re adorable and dotty and pretty and perfect.
Pink polka-dotted perfection, if you ask me. :)
If we didn’t constantly leave our placemats sitting out, this would, of course, be a non-issue. But, truthfully, I’m lazy. The placemats stay out because we use them all the time. So why bother putting them away? That’d just be an extra (albeit, two second) step added to my day. And, with baby stuff looming and last minute renovations on the horizon, that extra two seconds is precious, precious time, if you ask me.
Plus, when you have placemats this pretty, why stash them away? :)
(Is it normal to get this excited about placemats? Likely not. But I’m excited nonetheless!)
They’ll look even better once the walls are de-greened. Until this de-greening takes place, however, I’ve decided to completely ignore the green. Kinda like when there’s a bee following you around, and someone (inevitably) says “Ignore it and it’ll just fly away.” (Which, by the way, never seems like particularly good advice. I’ve ignored many bees in my lifetime. Few have flown away just because I’m not giving them enough attention. In fact, I think they thrive on indifference. I personally prefer – and often employ – the run-screaming-with-wildly-flailing-arms method for ridding myself of random flying insects.) Similarly, I’m hoping that if I show enough disinterest in my walls’ blatant attempts to irritate me with their overt green-ness, I’ll blink one day and – poof! – they’ll have fluttered away to wherever bad paint colours go. With or without screaming and arm-flailing.
But I digress…
Yay! Pink polka dots!
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Doing the drapery dance (which doesn’t at all look like the Safety Dance) (ok, it actually kinda does, but just a little)
It’s spring! Well, sort of. I’m still wearing a winter coat on some mornings (albeit a very tight one due to my ever-growing and beloved baby bump.) And I’m keeping my toque and mitts and scarf close at hand. Just in case the weather turns wintery. Again. Since, you know, Mother Nature has cursed us with a never ending winter this year. (Dear Mother Nature… I love you, and you’re awesome, but you’re being completely irrational this year. Stop it. Please. Thank you!)
And while I despise the ridiculously cold snowy winter we’ve had this year, I despise my current window coverings even more. The previous home owners (being the
insane awesome people that they are!) left us a plethora of flood-ready bright white sparkly-swirl sheers for our windows. An intended act of generosity? Perhaps. But regardless of motive, the result is the same: the curtains are making me a crazy person.
Enter: Ikea. Yep. My beloved and dependable go-to for window coverings. Their curtains are cheap. They’re very cheerful. They come in really long lengths (for those of us who prefer to set our curtain rods a tad higher than the average population.) And their curtains come in pairs (which seems to be a bit of a rarity anymore.) (But really, how many people only need one curtain?) (Cough, cough, rip off, ehem…) During an Ikea trip about a month ago I purchased no fewer than six (much needed) new drapery sets along with the accompanying curtain rods and hardware and doodads and such. After a second Ikea trip a few days later (because a certain someone with a wee bit of baby brain forgot a few crucial curtain rod components…) we finally got everything up last weekend.
Here’s my front living room window before (with its icky swirly silver sheers all aglow):
(Here’s a closeup of the sheers’ sparkly swirls, just in case you’re interested. Snazzy, eh?)
I’m a happy girl! But why did we get another pair of sheers? The glass panes in this window are no longer sealed properly (one of the hazards of buying a fixer-upper with archaic windows) so there’s condensation and dust between the panes and this window always appears dirty from the street (despite that – I promise! – it’s very very clean!) The sheers help mask that a bit, which means we’ll likely be sheer-people until we replace that entire front window (which, sadly, will be a very expensive venture) (which, also sadly, means it’s pretty far down on our list of priorities right now.)
The Ritvas are waaay too long right now (I’m all for little drapery puddles, but this is a little silly) and will likely require shortening. Tip I’ve learned? Wash and dry Ikea drapes a couple of times before shortening them. They sometimes shrink. A lot. Whenever they’ve accumulated enough kitty fur to require a trip through the laundry (which, sadly, will likely be soon) I’ll get around to making them a bit shorter. For now, however, I’m just happy that they’re not sparkly. Or swirly. Or bright white.
Next up? Here’s the before of my dining room window…
Apparently the previous owners weren’t bothered by the too-short panels (or, um, lack of baseboards) but I think the windows look much lovelier now that they’re dressed with a few Borghild panels from Ikea…
And we added the same curtains to this previously un-adorned window at the end of our dining room too. Here it is pre-curtaining…
…and here’s the much improved after…
All of which makes me a very happy girl. :)
The last set of the six sets of curtains I purchased is earmarked for the baby’s room (should we ever get around to starting the nursery) (hello? Ambition? You should probably kick in about now…) If they don’t end up used in the nursery, we’ll hang them in our bedroom (since a certain black kitten has pretty much destroyed our bedroom drapes.) (He thinks bedroom curtain-clawing is a really fun pastime.) (Particularly at 5am.) (It’s a good thing he’s cute.)
And now, for your viewing pleasure (and a little post-title clarity), here’s a little
Drapery Safety Dance from Men Without Hats…
…because, well, it’s really, really weird, but so fun. :)
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Getting springy with it (a little organizing, a couple pretty print cushions, and a plethora of new curtains to freshen up our little mauve home)
It’s official: I’ve come down with a serious case of spring fever. After months and months of never-ending snow and cold (and more cold) (and more snow) and wind, the weather is (finally!) starting to suggest that the seasons have changed. Maybe. (Although, as I type this, I see evil little white frozen droplets of water softly falling outside my window.) (Sigh.) But I saw my first robin of the year last Thursday (on the first day of spring, in fact – he was a punctual little bird!) And I suddenly have this unbelievable urge to clean and purge and renew and make the house pretty and lighter and fresher and lovelier. These must be good, spring-is-near-type signs, right?
(Although all this might also just mean I’ve hit the “nesting” phase of pregnancy. Does nesting feel a bit like uncontrollable and obsessive spring cleaning? If so, consider me a momma bird eagerly vacuuming her happy little nest.)
First it was my loo: after months of cursing over our overflowing (and not particularly pretty) bathroom cabinet, I finally tidied it up last week. I ruthlessly threw out any old or outdated cosmetics and prescriptions, and then made it a bit more organized (and way more user-friendly) using some random baskets (courtesy of Bouclair) that I already had kicking around. The result? A much less chaotic and cluttered little cabinet that is not only far prettier from the inside…
…but looks way nicer from the outside too.
(I’m not a huge fan of these clear-ish frosted doors, btw. These doors may eventually fall victim to a little DIY-ing. Because, really, why would anyone want a semi-obscured glimpse at the inside our medicine cabinet? The same medicine cabinet that, while tidy right now, will inevitably end up looking disheveled within a few weeks I’m sure.) (It makes me super sad to type that, but, really, I’m a realist about these sorts of things.)
Organizing this tiny little utilitarian cabinet probably took less than half an hour, but it made me feel about a gazillion pounds lighter. Like stripping away a big bulky winter coat. And mitts. And scarf. And a super static-y winter toque that makes your hair all flooffy (techincal term) but you defiantly wear it anyway because, seriously, if you didn’t, your ears might actually fall off from the cold. Good hair days be damned.
(Have I mentioned how much I dislike winter? I really dislike winter.)
Next, I turned to my couch (which, btw, is overdue for its quarterly date with our washing machine. Don’t look too closely.)
After months of looking at the same dark brown (and, admittedly, very boring) throw pillows, I turned to the brilliant, pillow-scouting buyers at HomeSense with a great deal of pillow-related optimism.
They did not let me down. I found these…
And I think my exact words at the time were “Oooooh. You’re pretty.” Does anyone else talk to decorative objects while out shopping? I most certainly do. It helps me to bond with the blankets, and create rapport with rugs. In this particular case, I got a little complimentary with the cushions. They didn’t mind. And now they’re sitting happily on my couch, looking all spring-ish, like this…
And, they almost match the spring placemats I pulled out of winter storage…
It’s textile fate. It was meant to be. :)
And, speaking of textiles, and continuing in my must-organize-and-improve-the-house-in-celebration-of-that-one-lonely-and-cold-looking-robin theme, I then went a little crazy at Ikea. I purchased no fewer than six (six!) new sets of drapes for our living room/dining room (and all of the required curtain rods/brackets/fancy pieces to accompany said curtains too.)
Pictures of all this drapery actually hanging are still in progress (since, well, Baby decided I needed a day off from all this craziness and urged me to take a very long nap yesterday afternoon) but believe you me: it’ll be one epic and super happy day when the new curtains go up. (Because the sparkly white sheers must go.) (Immediately.) You just wait!
So that’s the story of spring coming to our little mauve-coloured house. At least so far. There’s lots more cleaning and organizing and nursery-decorating and probably another trip to Ikea looming (yay! I heart Ikea so much), but for now I’m happy with the progress made to date.
Now, please excuse me while I go play with my new, non-stark-white, living room drapes. Whee!
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