Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kitchen Dilemma!

My husband was removing the old grout from the kitchen and everything was going so well. I was excited for the old (dirty) grout to be removed so that we could re-grout the tiles and seal them. I was also excited to start cooking again. This picture shows the tiles while we were removing the old grout:

Well as things often tend to turn out with old houses things sort of took a turn for the worse. While he was removing the old grout a couple of the tiles broke! It appears that some of the old tiles weren't even glued to the floor. There was no adhesive on the tiles at all. The good thing is we found the SKU number on the tiles which meant, at least theoretically, that we could find the tiles. Anyway, imagine my horror when my husband told told me that he had broken "a couple" of the tiles. How was I ever going to find tiles to match the old tiles? This is what the floor looks like now:

We tried to find the tiles by the same manufacturer but they had been discontinued by Home Depot. However, we found tiles by the same manufacturer, in the same color, with a slight variation in the perimeter design (ours was rugged and the new one was smooth).

Hopefully, some time this week we can remove the old adhesive, lay the new tiles and finish re-grouting the floor. I need my kitchen back!

This has resulted in all my other projects being put on hold. I haven't worked on the backyard, I haven't started spring cleaning, and I haven't finished lining the kitchen shelves. On top of all this Kiran's birthday party is in three weeks. Thankfully the invitations are done (and they've been mailed).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dining Room.

This is what the dining room looked like during our 10 year wedding anniversary dinner party (July 2008). It has since then morphed into something a little different.

This is the progression of the dining room:

View from the living room into the dining room

Yes...the carepets were red, there were a million layers of wallpaper, and the walls beneath the plaster were crumbling.

We had to demo one wall in the dining room and fix the plaster on the other two walls. This is a pic of the dining room after we removed the wall on one side (with the lathes). Also on the left of this picture we discovered wood paneling underneath the wallpaper and drywall.

This is what the dining room looked like after we installed the dry wall on the one wall.
This is a picture of my husband while we were putting our first layer of primer on the wall (we put on two layers of primer and two layers of paint).
As you can see in this picture we removed the blood red carpeting and restored the original wood flooring.

You can see the pine doors we installed in this picture. This is the door that leads into the basement.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Room (before)

My room (before)

This is what my room looked like when we bought the house. This is what the room looks like now. This room was an addition to the rest of the house. We thought it was a newer addition but when we started renovating we found wood beams that were really thick and very solid, unlike the newer wood used these days. The wooden beams were covered in faux wood panneling which was then covered in a couple layers of wallpaper. The floor had a really ugly shag carpet. To say this room was hideous is an understatement!

We bought the house on April 30, 2007 and didn't start doing anything to this room until mid April 2008. I think we were avoiding tackling this room because we couldn't decide what to do with it. My husband wanted to make the kitchen bigger and I wanted a room for myself. Anyway, the problem was solved because the connecting wall is a load bearing wall which would have made the removal of that wall very expensive...so I got my room! When I was nine months pregnant with Kiran, my husband and my father- in-law demolished the faux wood paneling, removed the carpet and pretty much everything else in the room. Then the original doorway was closed out and they put in the door that opens straight out into the backyard. We had to put drywall up and then my husband installed the wood flooring. Yes it is real wood and I am pretty amazed that he figured out how to lay the wood.

We bought this mantel at a thrift store in Philly. It was love at first sight. We bought it even though we didn't have a fireplace! (You can see a little bit of the ugly carpet in this picture). This room was used as a storage room while we renovated the rest of the house.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The Kitchen window

This is the window in the kitchen. The rest of the kitchen needs work. We are working on re-grouting and sealing the kitchen tiles. I really want the kitchen to be done. I love to cook and ever since we started the kitchen project I haven't been cooking. I need a clean and beautiful space to cook! I will post more pictures once the grouting is done. This is the view from the kitchen into my room.

The kitchen needed the least amount of work when we bought the house. The cabinets had brass hardware which I switched out for silver hardware from Home Depot. Other than that I changed the light fixture and painted the kitchen in Ultra Pure White from Behr in high gloss. The kitchen like the rest of the house gets tons of light and it is very cheerful.

I love the fact that the kitchen is separate from the rest of the house. We do a lot of cooking so having an open floor plan would have meant that the grease from the cooking would get on everything. I also like the fact that the kitchen is small. It is really hard to clean a large kitchen, especially if it is used all the time.

Friday, March 20, 2009


On Friday it took me for ever to get dressed for work. I have a closet-full of really nice clothes but most of them don't fit me. I keep thinking that I will go back to my pre-pregnancy size so I have not bought too many things in a larger size. Hence, my struggle every morning to look halfway decent when I go to work. On the weekends I have been wearing my pregnancy jeans with the elastic top. They are very comfortable but unfortunately (I guess I should say thankfully) they are too big for me now. I really need to spend a few hours this weekend trying on all my clothes and figuring out what fits and what doesn't so that I am not scrambling every morning to find something to wear. I am a huge fan of organizing everything. Someone once said "for every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

The picture below shows my spice cabinet. I find that having all the spices in glass jars makes cooking so much easier. Also it is totally uplifting to open my spice cabinet and see everything lined up neatly on the bright yellow shelves. A couple of weeks ago I lined all kitchen cabinets in "Dandelion" contact paper. It took me forever to measure and cut the paper but it was definitely worth the effort.

This is a picture shows a close up of the yellow shelves:

This weekend I plan on painting the backyard wall in a rusty-corral color. I am not sure if it is going to be too cold to do any painting. I am also going to motivate my husband to finish removing the old grout in the kitchen floor so that he can re-grout it. I like the tiles in the kitchen that the previous owner installed. The only problem is the that the tiles are white and the grout is white and they get really dirty. I was told that sealing the grout will prevent them from getting dirty. However, before we can seal it we have to remove the top layer of the existing grout and re-grout it. This takes for ever. But I will be glad when it is done because it takes me forever to clean the kitchen floors. I don't mind cleaning but it is a colossal waste of time to have to scrub every single tile and grout with a tiny brush when I could just mop the floor (once it is sealed).

I am also going to install two shelves in my room. I have a tiny room in the back of the house that I am going to use as my office/art room. I am super excited about getting that room finished.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Bedroom continued...

This is what the bed looks like now. When we bought the bed it didn't come with any slats. We bought wooden slats from Ikea and my husband had to custom fit them to the bed. I didn't really pay much attention to what he was doing but it took a very long time to custom fit the slats on to the frame of the bed. The bed is technically King sized but it is King size but sideways. The Ikea slats worked perfectly. We also bought a King size mattress from Ikea and topped it with a four inch memory form mattress. This is definitely the most comfortable bed that I have ever slept on. The sheets are a Marimekko print from CB2.

I bought the lamps on ebay for about $45 for the pair. They had to be re-wired which was easy to do. The shades were a little bit more expensive and are from Restoration Hardware.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This is what the back yard looked like a couple of weeks ago during the snow storm. Our back yard is a tiny city cement plot. It looked totally magical. Most of my plants in the "garden" are perennials, evergreens or other cold hardy varieties. I don't really like annuals as much because it is so sad when they die after the season. I really like to keep my plants alive. We've had some of our indoor plants for over fifteen years.

I want the backyard to feel like an extension of the house. This is what I want my back yard to look like this summer:

I have some wrought iron patio furniture that we picked up at a thrift store in Pennsylvania. I want to re-upholster a set of cushions that go on the love seat. I have been trying to buy outdoor fabric in a geometric pattern but I haven't found anything that I like that's not ridiculously expensive. So I've decided to buy six yards of fabric (three yards per cushion) from Ikea and sew some slip covers. I've never done any sewing other than hemming a few things so I am not sure what the covers will look like. The way I see it anything will be an improvement over the blue floral cushions that are currently on the love seat. I bought two yellow lounge chair cushions (made from Sunbrella fabric) last year for the two side chairs last year which are great. I love all the fabric in the pictures below:

I would love to be able to hang a chandelier outside like the picture below:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dressing Table and Master Bedroom

Here's a picture of the dressing table that goes with all the other bedroom pieces. This dressing table is what caught my eye at the auction. I love everything about it!

This is an awful picture but I can't seem to take any decent pictures with digital cameras. I will post more pictures of the bed (with a mattress) soon.

The picture below shows an Afghanistan rug that I got on ebay for about $50!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bathroom (upstairs)

When we bought the house, the upstairs bathroom had pink tiles (!) and looked really dreary. I was told that the tiling in the bathroom was "excellent" and that it would cost a lot to demo the original tiles which were set in cement. So we kept the pink tiles. I decided to go with the pastel theme and we painted the walls a mint green color. While the mint green did liven up the bathroom the color combination looked a little "southbeach-ish" according to my husband. So I added some black and white pictures in black frames to give the room some depth. I bought the layer cake chandelier on ebay for about $30. We painted the ceilings in high gloss paint so the ceiling glistens at night when the light is on.

The bathtub had really ugly doors on it. We recently removed the doors and I installed a shower rod with this fabulous shower curtain (Marimekko print).

This is the linen closet in the bathroom:

I love having a window in the bathroom. This window faces south so the bathroom is always drenched in sunlight. This is a picture of the window sill in the bathroom:

The picture below shows the bathroom after we had painted it but with the shower doors and original light fixture.

Dream Bookshelves

I was sick the last few days. I hate being sick because it is such a waste of time. It is great to have a few days off from work but I like to use my time off for either a vacation or to do stuff around the house. Unfortunately, I was so sick that I did absolutely nothing (other than complain a lot) . However, I did find some time to daydream about a few things that I would eventually like to have in our home. I love the room below because it has two things that I love: a wall of bookshelves and a wall of gallery pictures. I am a big fan of framing everything...especially old pictures. I love this room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Master Bedroom (with some furniture)

These are some pictures of the master bedroom while we were setting up the bedroom furniture. The picture below shows the bed frame. I ended up buying the bed frame, matching chifforobe, matching dressing table and matching end tables by accident! I went to Freeman's auction house on Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia and found what I thought were two end tables and a dressing table. I placed an absentee bid for a maximum amount of $175. I was totally excited when I got a call from Freeman's telling me that I had won the items. I went to pay and pick up the items when I found out that I had won a King size bed frame and a Chifforobe in addition to the end tables and dressing table. Clearly we couldn't fit all this in our tiny car so we had to find someone with a truck! We managed to get all the stuff in to our tiny apartment in center city (all the furniture had to be carried up a winding staircase). There was no place to set up the bed so we basically stored the headboard, footboard and all the many other parts under tables, behind couches and underneath our bed.

The picture below shows a closeup of the wood. What can I say other than that I totally scored. I have no idea who the maker of this fabulous furniture is other than the labels on all the pieces say that they were made in West Germany. I would guess that they are from the 1950s.

You can see a little bit of the chifforobe in the picture below. I don't generally like all my furniture (or plates, or mugs) to match but I love this furniture all together. I am so glad that all these pieces fit in our room.

I will post some pictures of the dressing table this week. The picture of the bed room is a little outdated but the furniture arrangement is the same. The furniture weighs too much to move around.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Master Bedroom

This is what the Master Bedroom looks like after we painted the walls and hung up the chandelier. I bought the vintage Spanish chandelier on ebay for $75 (and it had all the original crystals). I love the windows throughout the house. They are big and let lots of light into the house. All the moldings in the house are original pine or new pine that we installed. Some of the old wood had rotted so they had to be replaced. The old doors and old molding that we kept had to be stripped of the old paint before they could be re-painted. We hired someone to strip the old paint because it was far too tedious of a process. We also replaced all the hollow faux wood doors in the house with solid wood doors. I don't understand why all the doors these days are hollow plastic and why all the moldings are plastic. They look really bad and it doesn't cost that much more to get real wood.

This picture below shows the original pine floors that were sanded and re-finished. This floor was covered in greenish carpeting and beneath the carpeting there were two layers of linoleum tiles. The first layer of linoleum was made to look like wood...I am totally baffled that someone would want to cover up these amazing floors with something that looked remotely like wood!

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house:

There were three layers of wallpaper and crumbling plaster behind the wallpaper. It took us an eternity to remove the wallpaper and re-plaster the walls. The side of the wall that can not be seen in this picture is beautifully curved.

I will post some pictures this week showing what the bedroom looks like now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Front Door Inspiration

I love this front door. Blogged at http://www.desiretoinspire.blogspot.com/
(image from http://www.nyspacesmagazine.com/)

This is what our front door looks like now:

It is a solid wood door so I don't want to replace it but I hate the boring wood color. I want something bright and eye catching.

Kiran's Room

This is what the back room looked like when we bought the house. We were originally planning on using this room as a tv room/office. The floors were covered in beige bleach stained carpet. However, compared to the rest of the house this room needed very little work. Unfortunately the wood in this room was completely damaged so we had to install new floors. We had someone install wood planks and stained them a natural color to blend with the floors in the rest of the house.

The back room was used as a storage room during the renovations in the rest of the house.

The back room after the new wood floors were installed.

This is what the back room looks like now. It is now Kiran's bedroom.

The windows in this room face south and west and the room is always filled with light. I love hanging out in this room.

Lanterns and garlands over Kiran's bed.

Kiran playing in his room.