Monday, April 27, 2015

Because I'm Always Up For Some Good Demolition.

I honestly don't know what's come over me the last month. It's been nonstop project time in this house. I've gone from paint and scaffolds, to new light fixtures, and then I'm off to more moulding and huge ceiling fans and sanding and staining and sealing and cutting and nailing and tiling and grouting and heaven knows what else.
 
My husband puts up with soooo much crap.
 
While I really want to stare at my stairs (homonym again!) together, we'll get there, all in good time. But I need one more day to do touch ups. Never. Ending. Touch. Ups. Shoot.Me.Now.
 
So! Let's move on to part 438 of why Mandi is utterly insane.
 
First of all, my family room has truly become more of a room, instead of the ho hum, blah, just . . . "there" existence it so recently had. Let's just start with this real quick:
 
here's my fireplace. Annnd I think my daughter is watching like, Lalaloopsy or something? Random sidenote!: Have you ever seen Barbie, Life In The Dreamhouse? It is heelarious, and makes a total mock of all things Barbie. And I love Barbie. And it's a hoot.  Anyways, I love my fireplace. It makes me feel so cozy in the winter. Ooh and I love my new candlesticks. Thanks for noticing those.
 
 
 
As with most items in this house, it's a Monet. From afar it's okay but up close it's a real mess. Can you tell? 
 
Close up:
 

 
I swear to you I did not paint on it. Swears. Scouts honor. I say that to the Jeffro and I know he doesn't believe me. Anyway, I just knew with a little bit of high heat paint this could look sharp again. It's not a big deal, but it's simple enough to make it worth ten minutes of my time.


And it's better. Yes? Yes. Actually I might do one more careful coat. If you're a friend or neighb and you want to touch up your fireplace and need some high heat black paint, come borrow mine because I couldn't have used more than a couple teaspoons of this.
 
Okay! So!
 
I had this swell idea that changing out the tile around said fireplace would really update the space.
 
 
Take a little look-see at what we had before. Nothing really wrong here. Nothing really right, either.

Just some plain white 4x4 tiles that seemed a titch on the 90's side to me. Obvs, when I snapped this shot I was ready to do some demolition. No the subwoofer doesn't sit on the hardwood; it's tucked back there along with all those ugly wires.  But I was ready to start swinging hammers.
 
And the 10 year old really wanted to get in on the action. Three things to say about this:
 
 
1. Smashing stuff is fun
2. Nice undies son
3. I'm now aware that he was using the pry bar right into my hardwood and there's little dings all over the place where he was working. D'oh. (frowny face emoticon, palm to the forehead.)  I don't want him to know though 'cause I know he'd feel bad and I appreciated the comaraderie we shared as we smashed stuff.
 
So demo took about 30 minutes. I know because I was there.
 
This is where I fess up:
 
I constantly discuss what projects were totally legit and worthwhile, and which ones were hairbrained and moronic. This whole tile switcheroo business leans towards moronic, I'm afraid.
 
I honestly don't think it makes a big impact. I just don't. And guess what else? I figured it'd take me a couple hours tops to complete the entire thing. The actual tiling did. So I was right in that sense, except for I didn't take into account cleaning the tile, adding new moulding around the tile, the quarter round that needed adding, the second round of cleaning, the sealing, etcetera etcetera.
 
So I'm telling you it took me a lot of time to actually, truly complete this whole shenanigans, and plus, it cost a lot, too. I don't want to say how much because I want to be in denial. But let's just say it wasn't like,
 
"For $10 dollars we went from this. . . . to THIS!"
 
Anyways.
 
This is the tile I chose:
 
 
Humor me and tell me you can see why I chose it, would ya? It is smooth and travertine, and then it's also sandstone-y and rough, and it's so lovely in it's soft greige-ness and I figured it would add "texture" and I loved it--
 
But it just wasn't worth the headache and the price I paid.
 
We must do this. It's a DIY law. Here's a before of this general space:



Here's an after of the fireplace area.  Sorry. Different angle. But I've got so much going on in that other direction that I'm just no ready to discuss yet.

 
 So I like it. But I don't love it. It's just different for the sake of being different. It has no wow factor.

 
 
Well, I live and I learn.  Maybe I should impose like this 48 hour moratorium on ideas or something. It might stop me from impulsive Lowe's visits. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Falling Up The Stairs.

I fully admit to skipping around in the project mania that is taking place in the Tremayne home the last couple weeks--
 
what I mean is, I've taken on half a dozen projects all at once, and we aren't chatting about them in chronological order, and I'm okay with that, if you're okay with that. 
 
I just really want to talk about this huge undertaking that I never want to do again, because it truly involved blood, sweat, and tears, and it was a disastrous mess.
 
Also totally worth it.
 
But backing up. Three and a half years ago, and I can't believe it's been that long,
 
 
I had this totally nasty carpet on my stairs. Now, this picture makes it look a ton worse, but it was still nasty, believe dat.
 
Does everyone have a space in their house that is like, the armpit of the house? I used to call this the armpit of my house. That is an understatement.
 
My stairs have always been the crotch of the house.
 
And long story short (too late), I did something about it.
 
 
And you're like, "Did she. . . yeah I think she pulled up her carpet and painted the particle board treads. What the?"
 
Oh yes I dit-id. And it looked a lot cleaner, but still ghetto and it was only meant to be temporary.
 
Agree with me, fellow DIY-ers, when you say you've dreamt of pulling up your carpet and finding these beautiful, untouched solid wood treads begging to be stained and shellacked.
 
I'm telling you right now, particularly if you live in Utah, if your house is under 20 years old and it's not like, custom built and extremely expensive, you will not find anything but particle board underneath your carpet. 95% sure. Don't shoot the messenger. I wasn't stupid and I knew what I'd find, and I still did it.
 
Might be the partial definition of insanity, right there. Also, like I said, it was meant to be temporary.
 
 
 
I can't tell you how many times I sat in my family room and stared at my stairs (ooh! Homonym) and tried to figure out how to add stair skirts. Or stair trim. Whichever term you'd prefer. Who doesn't put in stair skirts?? For the love?
 
(stair skirts for the layman)
 
 
 
You think I'm being a drama queen, but if I were to ever, ever look for another home, stair skirts would be on my list of things to check out. No stair skirts? No dice.
 
'Cause I can tell you from experience that they are a serious pain in the A to add after the fact.
 
So!
 
Three years later, tons of thinking and pondering and studying of adding stair skirts, and a year of fear to work through, and I've finally made my dweam within a dweam come true.
 
And the work totally sucked.
 
Now, nobody cares, but this was a three phase project.
 
I started with the one direction up the stairs, stopped and took a much needed break, then went the second and longer (and much harder) direction, and then phase 3 will be the landing which still isn't done because I'm tired and are you insane.
 
I hate phone pictures.

 
First: every piece of clutter was swept under my stairs by the builders. Well done, jerk faces. You can't tell very well because this is a crappy phone shot but that's a Black Cherry Shasta can right there. That actually made me happy. Hello childhood beverage.
 
Second: I wasn't anticipating essentially having to reconstruct the entire stairs, with the exception of stringer removal. Oh well. It got the job done right.
 
Third:
 
 
every tread was stamped with the date. Interesting. Nostalgic. I was a junior in high school then.
 
Side note: the daddy-o popped by during demolition, and he goes,
 
"Are you going to clean this out?" (whilst sipping a Barq's root beer)
 
I shrugged my shoulders.
 
"Naw. I like to think of it as a time capsule."
 
"Good." (Tosses root beer can inside.)
 
 I've already talked too much, and so I'm going to stop,
 
 
 
but just know, that I love my new stairs. I love them. Also, getting the treads off this direction was a nightmare. The dude laid the liquid nails on these bad boys with gross extravagance.
 
But back to the positive: I love my new stairs.
 

 
Remember that I said the landing isn't done. And you can point out that I have a ton of touch up to do on pre-existing moulding and trim if you want, but you'd be pointing out the obvious and I'd protect your junk first.
 
 
Classic oak treads and white risers, baby. But most importantly:
 
Stair skirts. Finally.
 
 I'm so happy I could cry. From exhaustion, mainly.
 
 
Next time we'ere together, I'll discuss how I saved a crap ton of money on my treads, I'll show ya the whole thing next week all done, including the landing which has pretty exciting possibilities if I do say so myself, and ooh!
 
Plot twist!!
 
We've decided to use the space under the stairs. Secret space, people! Armory for potential vampire or zombie invasion. Or perhaps a panic room. Or just enough room for a bed. With a kid in it.
 
Fine, child endagerment nazis. We'll put the christmas trees there. Still exciting-- in a storage space kind of way.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

And Then I Realized Something.

I worked my badonkadonk off this week on several various projects that I'm just dying to talk about, but I'm interrupting all that because I realized something that's been staring me in the face and now I have to talk about that for a minute.
 
Thanks for your time, by the way.  Ahead of time. I should pay you for this small therapy sesh.
 
First off, let's listen to my favorite band and one of my favorite songs, because this song kinda sorta pretty much sums up everything I'm about to say.
 
 


Listen to it while we chat. I find it to be so choice.

Now don't get me wrong-- 2014 was an epic year. Loved it loved it loved it. But I have totally realized that I spent, and am continuing to kind of spend 2015 in fear. I have been crippled by it.

As far as my house goes, which is like, my favorite hobby of all time, I was at a standstill on my projects. This can be blamed on a dozen different things, and I had tons of excuses ("it's a lot of money, I'm not sure how to accomplish that, the hubby prefers when I'm not deconstructing the house" etc.), but mainly the source was fear.

I was afraid other people wouldn't like what I'd done. And mainly I'd talked myself into this strange feeling that I can't really accomplish anything. It was like I couldn't see the beginning to the end and so why even try.



This fear was stretching out into all other aspects of my life. Stupid example: my son needed me to fix his bike. I am capable of fixing his bike. I am. But in my head, I wasn't. I deferred it to the Jeffro to take care of business. And I'm constantly doing this.

"Oh, I don't think I'm capable of that. . ."

All my decisions have needed 10+ people to back me up and give me the go ahead. I can't make any decisions without mulling it over and getting approval.

I do not trust myself anymore. And I have no idea why.

Now I've really laid down on the proverbial therapist sofa, but truly, it's trickled out into my whole life. I can't speak in church-- even giving a prayer wigs me out. I don't play the piano in front of anyone anymore.


I am surprised I took my family on our vacays this last year-- I had myself so convinced that something would happen that I couldn't handle away from home.


I think putting up that dang scaffolding and finally, finally tackling some things that seemed impossible to accomplish is what snapped me out of it. And the Daddy-o, who knows me all too well, sent me this, out of the blue, while he was in China last month:





Yeah it's from a movie. I heard the movie wasn't so good but hey, this quote's great.

Okay, I'm done now. Still pondering on what it means for me. Sitting up from the sofa and walking away. You're the best.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vanity, Thy Name Is Mandi.

Hey hey hey, good morning and happy Easter!!
 
My belly's full of eggs hollandaise and cinnamon rolls,
 
 
the sun is shining and my tulips are popping out in the backyard planters and that makes me happy.
 
So life is good.
 
Anyway--
 
enough with the cheese. Let's get down to biznis.
 
I've said it before 'n I'll say it again: I've had some good ideas in this house, and some seemingly great ideas that turned out horrible, too.
 
My vanity table though,
 
 
still continues to be one of my fave things in my home if not thee most favorite thing. It gives me the false illusion that I've "arrived", if you will. I feel pampered and spoiled and like a real lady. Successful. Refined. And you can stop laughing now.
 
So I joked about said vanity table when I put it in years ago, that it would become a dumping ground. I already knew back then that I probably wouldn't take very good care of it, and it would become a catch-all for our keys and wallet and junk.
 
Pretty much true, thus far. I still love it, but I knew it could be so much more.
 
This is what we had a few days ago. Cords everywhere, I'm not putting stuff away, abandoned paint clothes on my chair (that I knew I'd just throw back on in a few hours), and so on and so forth.
 
 
When I cleaned out my little tray I made, I found drywall screws and washers mixed in with my earrings and makeup.
 
I am who I am.
 
So, I've worked on my closet:
 
 
and I've worked on my bed:
 
 
And that same rug's getting moved around. You're right. Ya got me.
 
And it was fun, nay, a pleasure, to clean up my vanity table and add a little bling.  Put the washers and the screws where they go. Put away the paint clothes and built just a little.
 
 
Ta da. 
 
I built a little shelf similar-ish to the nail polish shelf we made a bit back,
 
 
except mine holds every possible girly item I could think of. Obvs, I really spare no expense in the perfumes department. You know, it's kinda funny I care sooo much about having a vanity table when I make so little effort in my daily toilette. Are you feeling the irony? I'm feeling the irony.
 
 
But this shelf was fun to build. Used scraps from the window moulding experience. I keep thinking I'm going to come up with a great way to add some fancy moulding to this because I find it a little plain, but it hasn't hit me how yet, without making it look dorky.
 
It'll come to me.
 
I saw this online and loved it.
 
 
Makeup brushes and lip glosses held up with floral beads or those little glossy rocks you can buy.  ("Does she even use makeup brushes or lip gloss?"  shuddup.)
 
Earrings have been gathered from the four corners of the earth, and it's nice. You know, I hadn't worn earrings for 15+ years and then suddenly, inexplicably decided it twould be fun to wear them again, and here I am taking it slow with some studs.
 
 
 
 
Did you see I put up a little chandy?  It's a plug in chandy, so my husband didn't have to kill me for yet another thing to wire. (Found on Amazon.) It's too soon from last weekend's debacle.
 
Oops I should take off that warning sticker on it. Well this is awkward. Also it's missing a lightbulb because it came broken but don't tell.
 
Couple phony peonies,
 
 
and what I consider to be the crowning jewel,
 
 
I finally got a perfume sprayer!! They're soo dreamy. I feel like, Greta Garbo. Old school glam. If you want one of these, the best price I've found is the Hob Lob. But if you're a close friend, please don't buy one because I cannot wait for your birthday to gift you one. Have patience.
 
This was a deeply satisfying project. It really was.
 
 
And just to keep it realsies,
 
 
 
the rug goes permanently in my closet, and I'm not keeping that pillow there because that's just ridiculous. But it was fun to lay it there for five minutes. Oh, and I removed some hair products on that second shelf. I can't have people knowing that I use Suave aerosol hairspray. What?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em.

This was me last night.
 
 
I's like, done. And exhausted. And grateful. And done.
 
I hereby pronounce the family room painting fiasco el finis.
 
I'd like to thank my sweet, patient hubby for putting up with my crap,
 
 
and my awesome Daddy-o for lending me his scaffolding for 3 complete weeks and helping put it up and take it down. Risking his life. Wasting his Saturday afternoon.
 
Scaffold: it's been fun. But let's not do it again.
 
So, the new mirror. It was at this point when I was very upset and completely loathed the way I had moulded it out-- you should have heard me.
 
 
It was dinner time. I was ridiculous. I'd look over at the work I'd done and go,
 
"Ugh I hate it. I hate it. That is not the way I wanted the mirror to turn out."
 
(Growling, crusty face, irrational behavior.)
 
Jeffro: "Well, why don't you try. . . "
 
"I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT EW I'm so mad."
 
And then I'd talk about it some more. And explain why I don't like it. And then the hubs would lovingly try to interject a good idea and I'd cut him off and growl that I didn't want to talk about it again.
 
So I'm not easy to live with, okay? I apologized profusely later. Out of view of the mirror.
 
Guess what though? Mirror is staying the way it is. As the Daddy-o advised,
 
 
perhaps I'll come up with a fantastic plan that I'll love for this mirror. One that will actually work with it's 2" deep framing. And when that day comes, it's definitely something that can be accomplished with just my ginormous ladder, and not the scaffold.
 
Also, still not done with wood restaining. Ignore the blue tape. I'm now considering all the wood restaining in this house as a COMPLETE and SEPARATE project of the family room makeover/main floor repainting catastrophe. I have to, else might lose my mind.
 
Let's talk curtains, people!
 
 
These bad boys are 17' long. I have a good friend to thank for being willing to take on the job of hemming them.
 
So I love them. And I've always wanted dramatic curtains in here. But apparently everyone doesn't love curtains.?. What the? What's wrong with you people? I guess people see them as granny-style, which is similar to Gangnam Style but with less dancing.
 
And right, RIGHT as I was finished putting up my curtain rods (let's not even go there-- I was having a tantrum about the stud not being in the proper place, 18' up in the air. I've sunk to all new lows this week), the hubs informed me:
 
he doesn't care for curtains. Gulp.
 
Well, to quote that awesome scene in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith",
 
"You'll get used to them."
 
I'm totally teasing. He doesn't care for them, and also doesn't care if I hang them. I do have his permish.
 
Can you see our new fan in the corner of the new mirror picture?? Can ya? Can ya?
 
 
I have such conflicting feelings! You are Luke Skywalker and you can feel the conflict within me.
 
 
I was disappointed about going the "safe" route with a fan, but I knew it was practical. And then I started looking at large fans and was more disappointed because there wasn't really anything under like a bajillion dollars that was sleek and new and cool.
 
I had to lower my expectations.
 
 
Seriously, though, I really do like this fan. In realsies, it's actually pretty interesting. The blades are cool and it really moves the air, and it's huge and it's on a 6' downrod and I freaking love it. I bought a ginormous ceiling medallion that we could not make work with it so I'm disappointed about that but I'll get over it.
 
Thanks for all that advice.
 
And then there was the entryway.
 
 
Don't bust my chops about the other beam still not being done.
 
I have a new chandy with a ceiling medallion, and I love it. This upper window was thee FINAL window in this whole house that needed moulding. And it got done. Unspeakable things had to be done to get it completed--
 
 
things we should never talk about. Asinine things. Things that involved scaffolding and a ladder on top. Things you only see on Youtube and you laugh and go "nobody's really that stupid".
 
Let's just leave it at this: it was ugly, it wasn't Osha approved, Jeffro is a saint, and it involved us both on a ladder, my head in Jeffro's armpit, lots of cursing and taking breaks to let the blood rush back into the arms, but it got done.
 
And I hope I picked a classic enough haunted house chandy that will never have to be replaced before I die. Or I move. Whichever comes first.
 
 
Also, I do not promise I'll get back up to that top window and caulk or paint.
 
 
Oh man, between sicknesses in this house and utter chaos, I feel like I've been released from purgatory. I keep singing Barry's "I Made It Through The Rain", because that's who I am.
 
 
And I just decided that my kids are old enough to handle some cute pillows on my sectional, so a pillow hunting I will go. Call it a reward for the painting.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bringing My Home Out Of The 90's, One Project At A Time.

First off, I'm having a hard time deciding which words should and shouldn't be capitalized in my title up there.
 
Second,
 
I'm stilllll working my buns off to get finished in here and get the metal jungle gym put away. Dang good thing it's the Daddy-o's and not like, a rental from the Depot, right? 'Cause holy crap I'd be racking up a huge bill. It's been two weeks already and will definitely be a third with all the commotion I've caused.
 
So,

This is where we were. Paint. New crown moulding. My bro stopped by, and he's been trying to talk me into moving and building a home elsewhere, and he's all,

"Oh. So you're not going to want to move now."

That's another discussion for another time. ANYWAY--

I replaced my three footer moulding above the mantle this week.


 This is how it's been for a couple years. And I did like it. I did. But I thought, when you have a chimney that's 20' long, you can get away with more.

 
 
I looked and looked and loookednlookednlooked at different moulding ideas for my new mantle above the mantle, but when push came to shove, I liked my original choice, and I stuck with it. Mostly.
 
 
Plus,
 
 


It's now sporting a 8' mirror. Which I now get to mould out. So add another project to my expanding (NOT shrinking) list.

These projects are giving birth constantly, I tell you. They're like rabbits.

Also, I know you love these shots I'm trying to take around the scaffolding. They're so scintillating and inspiring.


Also, restaining my banisters to a nice dark walnut. That actually has been a bit of a nightmare. I don't love sanding all the poly off these things with it's nooks 'n crannies and it just bites the big one. It really does. Oh! And while we're craning our necks to take a look-see at the chimney, I decided crown needed to go up there too, so that got done.

Hey-- I really did get a few things done this week. This is making me feel so much better.

And the painting moveth forth.

Strange hallways got done,


the kitchen, the music room. . .

(I'm totally quoting "Clue" right now-- "You can show him around, Mr. Green. You could show him the dining room, the kitchen. . .the ballroom. . .")

 Where would we be in this world without "Clue" to quote? Nowhere I wanna be.

So now my music room is dressed in greige, which is a lovely combineige, of gray and beige.


Also, notice we're missing a violin. It's at the shop because my son is apparently a klutz don't tell him I said that.

My 20 foot entryway got painted, thanks to a great friend who was willing to come over and risk her life with me on a ladder. Thanks, great friend.


And don't worry- the chandy already has a replacement waiting. Bringing my home out of the 90's, on step at a time, people. And by the way, that is thee final window in my home that is awaiting moulding. One more to go. I can do this. Keeping my eye on the prize.

Oh!


And I moved my crazy heavy black mirror over to this wall for kicks. I just love how it reflects the scaffolding, just so. . . .


Other things of note:

-Fabric for 17' curtains purchased and dropped by my personal seamstress
-Totally boring and disappointing YET relatively extremely cheap and very practical huge fan is on order and currently en route to my place (thanks sooo much for weighing in. I was really surprised by everyone's thoughts. My entire family will thank you this summer).

So, here we are. And honestly I cannot wait to put this place back together. And since I'm into my favorite 80's movies today, I'll go ahead and quote The Money Pit: "How long will it take to put this place back together?"

"Two weeks."

Oh please, for the love, let it be really two weeks.