Monday, February 28, 2011

Master Bath Update

Over the weekend I managed to get a little step closer to finishing the master bath project.  Since it was drizzly and misting almost all weekend I opted to get the sewing machine out and get the window panel for the master bath window done!  The fabric is IKEA Kajsastina for $6.99 per yard, and was kind of the inspiration for the entire design scheme.  The pocket curtain rod is Target for $3.49.  

I measured the width of the window including the few inches of standoff needed for the pocket rod I am intending to use, then measured how long I want the panel to be since it is purely decorative and I don't want it to cover the entire window.  (The big window in our bathroom is textured for privacy so we get all the glorious light without the privacy issue).  I added a few inches to the width for seam allowance and a few extra at top and bottom for my curtain rod pocket and the hem, then cut my fabric.   

I sewed the two ends of the width first so that when I folded my top seam down, it would create the pocket with open ends for the curtain rod to run through.  Having the two sides and top pocket sewn, I could measure again to determine the appropriate length and sew the hem.  Voila an finished window panel!

Tonight's project is to hang the panel!  FINAL master bathroom pictures to come shortly.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Look Back

Our first major project in the new house was to paint pretty much Everything!  We began by painting the downstairs living room, kitchen, foyer and stairwell. 

We were so happy to have the "Little Giant" ladder and a nice extension rod to help us reach the "unreachable" places!  We were a GREAT team!

Say goodbye to the "Army" green!

Thank you Little Giant

The living room included removal of the existing mantel above the fireplace and installation of a more modern one. 

The kitchen included painting the kitchen cabinets, inserting frosted plexi glass panels in the upper cabinets, and adding hardware to all the cabinets. 

Cabinets ready to be primed!

Cabinets all nice and primed

Cabinets with 2 coats of paint

I guess I didn't take any pictures of the cabinet doors being primed and painted...just imagine them laid out nicely on tables in the garage during this process. 

 My amazing mom came down to help us with this daunting task. 

The woman from which I have learned everything I know about home improvement!  Love you mom!

Living room meets the kitchen in the breakfast area

Stay tuned for the after pics that include some new light fixtures and window treatments.  The images will look much better taken during the daylight you can see this was a "burning the midnight oil" project!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The BIG Backyard Plan

As you can see from the wheelbarrow post that we have begun our backyard project!  Ok, so here is the BIG plan for our ultimate dream backyard oasis!
I apologize for not being able to read my text on this quick CAD drawing of our future backyard.  This drawing at least helps me get an idea of layout and allows me to get some dimensions.

I will point out the highlights here.  We are using 12" x 12" concrete pavers to create the 628 square foot (that is 628 pavers!!) paved area for our patio.  The pavers are nice because you can phase the project and buy a little at a time (we have 20 thus far) versus forking over all the cash at once, but they also provide a great module from which all the design can stem from.  If you can see on the drawing, the planter that runs along the back of the house is just a two foot wide gap in the paver stones.  This planter will run below the large windows in our living room as well as a window in our office. 

NOTE:  These are not our toys...previous owners' children's toys

In the 2ft wide planter along the back of the house, we are going to plant some horsetail reed.  We adore the look of the small bamboo like reeds and they can grow tall enough to come up to the bottom of the windows. 

Horsetail Reed
 We love the Italian Cypress that we see growing in our neighborhood, so we are going to plant a few of them along our west fence.  They are tall and sleek and do not occupy a huge footprint.  They will provide a nice mask along the west fence, especially from our bedroom balcony, where we can see into our neighbors yard.  They can actually grow to be 30ft high.  Awesome!

In the two north corners of the yard along the fence, we are planning on Japanese Yew.  They are an evergreen and can grow to be 30-50ft tall and 20ft wide!  Perfect for creating the screen we want along the back fence since we have apartments behind our house.

Japanese Yew

Our big decision was what tree to plant in the yard.  After visiting the fantastic Ted's Trees in east Austin, we settled on the Chinese Pistache.  It has a medium growth speed with a mature height at around 35 feet and the same spread.  It loves full sun and can withstand high heat (Austin is freaking hot) and drought conditions.  The Chinese Pistache is a deciduous species and in the fall the leaves will turn a bright orange.

Chinese Pistache
 I am also in love with these beautiful Foxtail Ferns, so I will be finding a place to put them as well. 

Foxtail Fern
 That sums up all the new stuff we are planning, but we will also be reusing some of our existing plants.  Two trees along the north fence will remain and we will transplant our two existing Crepe Myrtles to the east fence line adjacent to our future shed. 

In the mean time we will be making several trips to buy pavers and working on relocating sprinklers in preparation for the BIG plan!  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Wheelbarrow

As we were sitting on our balcony outside our master bedroom yesterday afternoon, we were pondering our bare back yard and the mess that it is.  It made us take a few steps towards that huge project.

Step 1:  Purchase Wheelbarrow - Check

Step 2:  Assemble Wheelbarrow - Check

Step 3: Recruit all help you can get - Check

Some of the help just GAVE UP!

Step 4:  Bask in the glory that is the new Wheelbarrow complete with handy dandy
            cup holders!

Step 5:  Test the strength of the new Wheelbarrow to unload the FIRST load of pavers
            for the new back patio!  One load down, a bazillion more to go...

Step 6:  Reward ourselves with lunch from the famous Top Notch hamburgers as seen in
            the great film of 1993, Dazed and Confused!

A Mostly Dead Plant

I by no means have ever declared myself to posses a green thumb, but I would say it is more brown with a hint of yellow than it is black.  I can manage to keep things mostly alive...but I would say that this particular plant is mostly dead (a la Miracle Max in The Princess Bride circa 1987). 

So I had to replant...
The new and improved lovely plant is just what I have been looking for.

Of course I had help.

After about 30 minutes of sifting through the old plant soil to manage to save all the existing river rocks that are REQUIRED in our house plants to prevent cats poops from using them as handy litter boxes, I have the new plant.

 Notice the lovely cat repelling river rocks.

Not sure if this will remain in its current location.  We will have to live with it and see...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Master Bath Face Lift "Phase 1"

We have been "living" with our master bath since we moved in as it was not the priority project in the house.  Planning on a desing scheme in my head, our wedding registry included beautiful gray and white towels with the anticipation of someday re-doing our mbath.  

Below are pics of the completed "phase 1" of the Mbath project.  Primarily paint and new light fixtures. 

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