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Posts Tagged ‘keeping house’

For the first time ever, David and I have too much bookshelf in our life. After making a cross country move, we purged and donated lots of books and records. This house has 4 built-in bookshelves in the great room. I don’t know what to do with them because I’ve never had this much space to work with. I’ve collected pictures on-line to inspire me with bookshelves. I’ve figured out what I like about the ones in the magazines but I can’t achieve that in my home.

All the magazine ready bookshelves have these things in common:

-All the books are to the same scale. They are displayed by size. Most of their books are large. It appears that nobody in the magazines have City Lights Pocket Poets Series.

-Never do I see paperbacks! And most of the books appear to be for decoration. For example, they all look antique or old. They are like staged books.

-Cool things are incorporated in the shelves. These cool things, either pictures or knickknacks, all have a common theme. This theme can be white glassware or black & white pictures, you get it. It doesn’t feel so random.

– Sometimes books are grouped by color. I don’t know if I like this.

Tudorks bookshelf

A glimpse at one of our built-in bookshelves.

Here’s my problem:

– My books are all over the place in scale. I have giant hardbacks and teeny tiny City Lights Pocket Poets Series.

– I have paperbacks and books that look new.Many of the books have obnoxious, bright spines.

– I have too many cool things and they are all over the place in theme. I can easily choose a theme but it may take years to get that “look”. I want my theme to be old stuff that I like. Creepy, old stuff, almost like an apothecary. And pictures in black frames. I also want tabletop antique radios on the top of the shelves.

-I may have too much shelf. See this pic above and below. I have 4 of those from floor to almost the ceiling. Because of they are so spacious, they’ve been a catch all for all our random stuff. You see that shelf: antique lighting shades, antlers, 1930’s Guerlain, apothecary jars filled with exotic resins, and pictures of random people with bags of moneys. This has been were we put our stuff to keep it out of the way of the renovation. The bottom ones with the doors have been great storage.

Tudorks Bookshelf

A view of the entire bookshelf, now, add 3 more.

Our great room/living room is a disaster. This room has the most potential but we intimidated by the large space. Also, our furniture doesn’t fit and it will take time to save up to replace it all. Because this room is so useless and ugly, we never go in there. We never use it. I thought the easiest (and cheapest) thing to tackle at this stage would be the bookshelves.

Now what should I do? I’ve been thinking about getting rid of most of the books. I know this doesn’t fly with some people but I would love to go paperless except for antiques. If I can get it on a Kindle, then I should get rid of it. If I want a book, that’s what the library is for. Do I ever go  to that bookshelf and take a book off to read it? No. The only ones that I look at are the antique ones. How do I make my “theme” look intentional during the collection stage? Right now I feel it is all so random, because it is. I don’t want my bookshelves to look like me-maw’s curio cabinet of Swaroski knickknacks and Home Shopping Network collectibles. How can I make these shelves functional? Any ideas?

H.G. Lewis autograph

Had to share our H.G. Lewis autograph

I have to share our Herschell Gordon Lewis autograph. This was one of those too cool things we had boxed away. Who doesn’t want the autograph of the man that started “splatter film” and junk mail. What great contributions to our society!

So, yeah, here’s a peek at one of our many messes. I’m open to suggestions. I feel this is something that I can tackle and maybe this will motivate me to get the great room together. The room isn’t finished. We need a mantel and a sofa that is better scaled for the space. But, the bookshelves just need TLC and editing.

-Victoria

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OK. So this is my first recipe attempt. I want this to be more of a “home and life” type of blog. Hopefully, we won’t be renovating forever! Stop smirking. I keep telling myself that there is more to life than renovation!

We are getting a first round of seasonal berries raspberries in here in the PNW. They aren’t the best but they sure are good when you haven’t had them in a long time. Since they aren’t at their peak yet, I decided to make raspberry truffles. I took a recipe from Epicurious.com (don’t you love iPhone apps!) I am one of those people who uses recipes for ideas. I usually use them as vague guidance and do what I want. This recipe is from Gourmet December 2004. Here’s the recipe. What did I do differently? Well, didn’t have brandy, used cream sherry and I used 2 1/2 tablespoons. My fresh raspberries kept disappearing, hmm, David, perhaps? So, I had lots of ganache left over. I couldn’t let it go to waste so that is why my truffles looks so odd and globular. The rest of the ganache David ate with a spoon after planting hedges. (BTW- got hedges for $2.50 a piece!) This recipe is so easy. I put those deformed truffles in the fridge for about 2 hours while I tended to the garden and did chores. I then took the truffles coated them in a plastic baggie of organic unsweetened chocolate. And here they are:

My raspberry truffles

I just purchased this cake stand and couldn’t wait to use it. Isn’t the Eiffel Tower a cute touch? 🙂 The truffles didn’t last very long. It wasn’t me, it was David, I swear! A few were left out the next day. The cocoa powder begins to settle strangely on them. It doesn’t help that they were in a glass dome in our dining nook. The dining nook has windows and it was a sunny day in Western Washington. The flavor was still great but they looked pitiful. I’m sharing that information in case you want to make these for a gathering or something. Heat is not nice to truffles. Duh, huh?

This is a super easy recipe and I didn’t change much. I can’t wait to do chocolate covered cherries. And figs…

-Victoria

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Laundry room featured in Country Living

I love things to be organized. I’m not very good at it but I can spend hours on-line browsing silly storage and organizing ideas. The key to organizing and storing is to not have a lot of stuff. We all know that, but we still have a lot of stuff  in our daily living. I have rolls and rolls of paper towels, bottles of every variety of cleaner ever, and tons of other stuff that I need to run a clean household. I love for things to be organized in a “unique” and salvaged ways. I hate plastic totes! I spend hours drooling over well-organized basements and laundry rooms. The house is coming together but that basement is still as scary as ever. This is where I have to do laundry. It’s gross and I don’t know how much more of it I can take. I haven’t hand washed a cashmere sweater down there…ever. Just imagine the pics of this hoarder house before we got involved. Do you think the basement was clean if their was 20 toupees worth of hair around the stove? Nope. So, I’m spending time planning my laundry room/project room.

I came across this charming but somewhat terrifying laundry room in Country Living. I do like it despite my mixed feelings. It’s organized and better finished than my house, but it is still creepy like my dark, dusty, and scary seaside basement. (What’s up with creepy slasher film showers in old seaside basement homes?) The dollhouse used for storage makes this a bit of a horror flick. I’ve always been a little scared of dollhouses. They are interesting and they do take some skill to complete, but they are featured in many horror films. This has ruined their rep. I’ve passed up many antique dollhouses in my day. I find them too creepy. I find anything doll related creepy. Especially antique doll stuff. Now I wish I hadn’t of left huge handmade dollhouses in the dumpster. I kind of like this dollhouse used as storage/furniture. It’s creepy and novel. Two words that I would love to have describe my house. I want it to be contrived creepy not actually creepy like my current basement. We sure know how to grow spiders here in the Northwest…perhaps they could set up house in the dollhouse.

-Victoria

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vintagepinkkitchen

We were unable to buy a fixer-upper with a lovely pink bathroom but I did get the second best thing: a pink kitchen. Yep, under all of the mess there is a lovely pink counter top that really looks like the one in the vintage pic above. At one time you could tell (under the royal blue faux fur) that the cabinets were a lovely mint green shade, courtesy of paint stripper. When I saw they counter tops under the sky high mess on the “first impression” day, I knew I wanted to keep them. I knew that I wanted to rip off the fur, paint the walls a shade of 57 Chevy mint, and do the floors in a black and white marmoleum checkered board pattern. Our plan all along has been to work with the house and its age, not against it. There was no reason to get rid of those lovely, glittery pink counters. (I’d salvage the wallpaper if I could, but it is very filthy). Here’s my kitchen plan (other than the obvious make it work stuff such as appliances, fix the plumbing, cleaning!):

Keep the counters and sink. Surprisingly they are good shape. Remember this was a guy’s home for many years. When I opened the mini fridges stacked on one another, one was filled with Natural Light Beer, the other with Ensure. The sink is a nice shape. It is shallow and wide. It isn’t very practical but it looks cool. I hope that we can clean it up and have it looking nice. I’ll have to consult the plumber about all of this stuff. There appears to be some corrosion around the sink drain, no longer shiny.

Peel wallpaper & Paint. I want to paint the walls a ’57 Chevy mint green. Guess what? I found the perfect shade, a semi-gloss too, as a mistint for $25 for 5 gallons. The rest will be used for fun projects such as refinishing chairs, haha. I also want to paint the awesome trim a crisp white. I am considering painting the cabinets a white with a dash of pink. Or flat out pink. I feel this will make the trim pop and it will be cute. And this means that I am de-fuzzing the cabinets. I know, I’m in bad taste…It’s a shame really that the Austin Powers wallpaper has to go but it is felt paper and it is grotty. We will salvage and frame some. It’s just too cool.

Re-tile the floors. Currently the floor is a pretty awesome composite floor/linoleum. However, it was pink with mint and gray but it is faded. It is also curling at the seams. I read in an old home maintenance book that you can iron this. But, I’m pretty sure this stuff contains asbestos. And we’d have to try hard to make it look good. So I am going to do black/white linoleum tile. It’s eco friendly and durable. And pretty darn cheap.

New hardware. Well, maybe not new. At least vintage, very 50’s streamlined and simple for the cabinets. I’m as you can tell, making this a 50’s inspired kitchen. I might as well play the cards given to me. Or I may spray paint the current ones with a high gloss white spray paint. This is at least a savings of $80. And I think it will look cute. I want my money to go to interesting lighting.

Those are the main things. I’ve ordered very simple appliances because I am a simple gal. Not party platter tray holders in my fridge. I have chose white because I think it will look the crispest with the color scheme. I would love retro repro appliances but they are very expensive. My compromise: if I am there 5 years and I still want retro appliances then I will purchase them then. Oh, and can you imagine how cute pink Kitchenaid stuff would be in there? I can.

I also plan on using all the cute 40-50’s linens that I have collected over the years. Maybe I will use these as curtains or something?

Yesterday, David de-fuzzed the cabinets and the fur came off easily. However, there are 3 coats of paint and glue on the fronts and he is using a gel paint stripper to clean them up. Many of the fronts are down to their oak but I plan on painting them. We also found a really cute galvanized flour drawer. The goal is to get the kitchen finished before September!

-Victoria

The kitchen with most of the blue fur up, haha.

The kitchen with most of the blue fur up, haha.

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junkroomhouse

We think there is a room under this...

We now realize that we did make a risky purchase. When we made an offer on the house many of the rooms were cluttered, some you couldn’t walk into. This house was literally filled with junk. We had an inspector come through. He did the best he could do but he had to note that many of the rooms you couldn’t walk through. One room downstairs was overflowing with stuff. I could see a king size mattress, two couches on their side, bags and bags of kitty litter, a faux fur covered 8-track mini bar, huge moose antlers and tons of other overwhelming messes. This room could of had no floors, no windows, no walls. For all that we knew, it could of had a huge opening to hell. The realtor informed us it was a bedroom. Somehow we looked through this mess. I wanted to make this a “media” room. We have no need for 3 bedrooms and I don’t want a TV junking up my formal living room.

Well, the last time we inspected the home, it was pretty much cleaned out. Not all the way, but I could see the floors. They actually don’t look so bad. They are old growth hardwoods. Dirty, dirty, but Murphy oil soap works wonders. It has a nice reddish glow from age. I don’t think they will need refinished. And look there is base trim! I didn’t know if the room had it or not.

Cleaned out, sort of, but it's a room!

Cleaned out, sort of, but it's a room!

Seriously, we didn’t know if the windows were there. Ends up it is a bedroom. It has a nice size closet for an older home. The trim isn’t very wide but it will look nice painted white, for now. I hope to add some crown molding around the top to jazz it up. Maybe, one day I’ll add wider base trim. Oh, and the curtains come with the place. What a deal! I really wish he left that 8-track mini bar…

I plan on painting this room a neutral taupe and the trim white. It will house the couch that I so badly what to get rid of, which is an icy light blue. I wanted to keep it the walls this icy turquoise but that couch won’t go. It would clash. Not that I am planning my room around a couch I dislike, it’s just that all of my accessories, painted furniture, etc. is painted in this shade. I do have a love affair with this vintage color. This room will have the TV, stuff like that. This is my plan as of today. We’ll see what I want to do once I get it cleaned and primed.

-Victoria

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Who doesn’t love an all white bathroom? It’s screams cleanliness and looks like it would simplify your life. It’s crisp and it has never been out of style. If you want to add color, than do it with accessories, towels and stuff like that. I’m thinking of doing the upstairs bathroom in an all white color palette. I hope to put up my vintage Brocade Home styled mirror, have shiny fixtures, white tile (a pain in the arse to clean), and walls that are a shade of white with the faintest tinge of gray. This has been my plan, if we ever get into that house to start remodeling. Anyways, I am trying my damnest to stay positive and thinking about French bulldog puppies, humid florals, carnival glass, and decorating. This makes me happy.

countrylivingbathroom

Country Living bathroom

The first bathroom is from Country Living Magazine. I like it because when I started searching for bathrooms online all you get are these humongous, monster bathrooms that are at least 1000+ square feet. My life will not have the jumbo bathroom complete with hot tub and an entire sitting room furniture set and a flat screen TV and wine bar. I will have a 30’s bathroom, tiny, efficient, but it can still be cute. I was happy to find a small, cute bathroom. It isn’t completely white but it is almost. I am attracted to this one because in my little mind I thought the tiles upstairs where white hexagon under the awful linoleum. When we walked back through, it isn’t. It is more like this tile. I was heartbroken. I wanted white tile with white subway tile. I wanted it to be the “original”. But, when I found this and saw how they kept that clean and neutral vibe, it made me happy. Maybe I can use that floor. It’s a tiny bath that is still cute and very functional. I love the gray shade add a few more squirts of white and I’ve got my ideal shade for my bathroom. It’s a cute and simple bathroom.

whitebathroom

My "dream" bath

Sorry HGTV but I have never fallen for the colossal master bath bull hockey. I do not want to bust out A Picture of Dorian Gray and relax on a plum velvet chaise lounge, well, at least not in my bathroom. Bathrooms are for hygiene. Not as an oasis, go to a freaking spa for that. I want to go in with Ghost Busters attire and be able to bleach blast everything in sight. And I’d rather spend my dough on making a living space more efficient, investing in a studio, something that doesn’t get doo-dooed in. Plus, I have no desire to clean these fairytale bathrooms. If I had one I would pay somebody to clean the floor to ceiling tile and all those extra showers. I would rather have actual living space. My bathroom is a room that is necessary, not a room to make me feel rich or pampered. If I can’t have the solid black marble Valentino bathroom (or the mansion), then I’ll have my little functional white bath. This other bathroom is my “dream” bathroom. It’s large but still realistic. I love the tile, the tub, the little Saarinen side table. This is my “oasis” bathroom. But, the house we are supposed to be closing on someday, does not have clawfoot tubs. It was more of a “modern” home at the time with “modern” fixtures. The bathrooms aren’t really designed for clawfoots and I really don’t want to do a huge bathroom renovation. Not now. I just want a place to live.

-Victoria

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