Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Ol' Switcheroo

Back in April, Devin and I had our one year wedding anniversary.  To go along with tradition we exchanged gifts of paper.  I presented him with the posters I made for our bedroom head wall as seen here and here.  I also made him this print of the Young coat of arms which explains the origin of OUR name. 

And he made me these: a super sweet love letter (which contents have be blurred for a little privacy, but I promise it is so sweet and made me cry)

and a certificate of completion for one year of being the best wife ever (again the actual wording has been blurred to protect the innocent remain private between us) which I have yet to buy a little (it is only 4x5 size) frame for. 

So now that we are up to speed, here is how they have been living in our bedroom for the last couple of weeks, which I might add is an improvement from them just being stacked on the dresser with a bunch of other junk that just gets sets there.  This is our Wall O' Love where I have put some of our wedding photos and our guest book and a couple of our wedding gifts. 

Well 3 months of looking like this is about as much as I can take, so back to the drawing board in order to get the two new frames added to the wall.  To quickly lay out my frames I put everything in my drafting program, Auto Cad.  I know I know, it's the nerdy architect way to do it but it is quick and accurate for me.  I measure all the frames and mirror and start playing with them in the program.  Here is what I came up with.

So after measuring the top frames to make sure they are at the right height and width (which is the same width as the dresser below the frames), I started filling in the space according to plan.  This includes me holding up the frame on the wall to eye it and nail it.  I have discovered over many years that I get much better results when I eye it rather than measuring and marking and doing all the tedious steps and it saves a ton of time. The process took me about 20 minutes which included time to stop and rub Lillie's belly as she was my project helper.

I relocated Ol' Yeller from the lamp table as seen here and added a few other items I had on hand like an Asian jar that we keep change in and an obelisk from trip I took with my family many years ago. 

Also a beautiful small gray Buddha I found for $10 at Burlington Coat Factory, (that place surprises me every time I'm in there) a yellow glass vase I purchased ages ago with some clippings from our laurel out front and a blue glass vessel that my late grandmother gave me many a moon ago. 

It looks so much better now and I can sleep better without having to look at the mess in that part of the room.  Now if I can fix the jewelry box situation (it totally does not go with the furniture in the room anymore) our bedroom will almost be complete...well for the time being.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Top Ten Animal Art Pieces

Devin and I are admittedly animal fans and we have inadvertently begun an animal art collection as we have snagged a cute little basset hound figure here and there or have had them as gifts bestowed upon us.  I have also been known to have large scale prints made of all four of our furry babies made for display in our home.  Since we love them, this is an ode to all things animal. 

We have our eye on this big guy!  He will be mine, oh yes he will be mine!

You can't beat a totally personalized piece like this poster size print I made of our Lillie.

This Austin artist has become one of my favorites!  You can commission a piece from her of your favorite pet. 

We also will be purchasing this fella to add to our growing basset hound collection.

This is a super cool piece from Modern House Art.

These cute paper mache birds by David Stark can be found at West Elm!

This artist is amazing with a pencil which is his only medium. 

Devin and I fell in love with these origami-esque figures at Z-Gallerie.

I have been a long time admirer of the cardboard taxidermy out there but this longhorn may have me sold...now to work on convincing Devin and finding a place to put him!  Hmmm....

And of course to end this list, we have another basset hound by Robert Bradford.  These sculptures are created from plastic toys.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our #1 Complimented DIY Project to Date

By far the most complimented thing about our house is our address.  Not because it is the super special coveted number by all, but because you can see it!  You see when we moved into the house, the front door looked like this...

You may notice that the sidelight (or window to the side of the door) is completely bare with no shade or blind.  You could literally see straight to our back yard from the street through this window.  And once we moved in, we noticed that from our couch we could see our neighbors across the street coming in and out of their front door, which had us thinking "hmm...can they see us sitting lazily on our couch in front of the TV?"  Well that had us a little concerned, not for the fact that they would catch us being lazy but the fact that they could see us period.  What if for a moment I had to run downstairs to the kitchen before jumping in the shower while totally nude...(yes this has definitely happened) or we implement "naked time" we want the option folks!

Ok for the sake of too much information, I will skip to the point.  We opted to frost the window.  I didn't much care for the idea of hanging a blind, shade or curtain in this little window.  It would just collect dust or be bulky or something!  We also had some complaints about not being able to find our house because our builder supplied house number is located to the right of the garage above a large bush.  See if you can spot it below. 

So this was our opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! (FYI, no birds were killed during this process)  We cut our house number out of the frosted window film.  Our house number has 5 digits and the window has 5 panels.  PERFECT!

We purchased our supplies at our nearest home improvement super store which included:
1.  Frosted Window Film

2.  Window Film Application Solution
The manufacturer also sells a kit of supplies needed for the job, but we had the other items already so we saved a few bucks.  The other tools needed for the job are:
3.  tape measure
4.  sharp utility knife or Xacto knife
5.  squeegee
6.  printed number on 8.5x11 letter size paper
7.  painters tape

In order to get the number size and position correct on the window I selected a font I liked and just super sized it in Photoshop until it was a decent size for the window.  This included printing several sizes and taping them up in the window to test.  

Once I had all the numbers printed, I taped up the window film cut slightly larger than the window (I would trim up the edges after it was installed to ensure all the edges were covered by the film) and then taped the numbers to the film.  Printing the numbers in jet black made it easy to see them through the film to make sure they were lined up correctly.  I also made sure to mark the corners of the window on the film which was important to ensure that the numbers were in their proper places and they were all straight once the film went up.  Then I took the film down that had the numbers taped to it as the template for Devin to use his handy dandy Xacto knife skills to cut out the numbers from the film. 

Next came installing the window film per the manufacturer's specifications.  Here is a how too video of how it is properly done, we may have used some creative license to install ours. 

And here is our final outcome...

I love the ability to provide some privacy but still maintaining the diffused daylight and the ability to look out of the numbered clear spots.  In the evening it is particularly nice to have the number glow with the light from inside shining through.  I kid you not, every person that walks up to our door (and even those that just drive by) comment on the numbers.  The delivery people especially enjoy them as it makes our house easier to locate.  And as you can see, the animals (in this case Lillie) still have a nice view out of the bottom number. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Bamboo Shade

Once upon a time, in a land about 700 miles away, Devin and I moved into our first house together.  We were just renting at the time in Albuquerque, but is was a big step for us.  We moved out of our separate dwellings (me an apartment and him a house he shared with 2 roommates) and officially began cohabitation.  After the big move, we of course had a house warming party and one of our house warming gifts by a dear friend was a gift card to World Market Cost Plus.  We proceeded to buy a beautiful bamboo shade for our kitchen window.

Well we lived in this house for a year and a half before we packed up and moved to Austin for the long haul.  The bamboo shade of course traveled with us but has been stored in our garage for the last 3 years.  Our first home in Austin was also a rent house so we didn't make ourselves too much at home there so finally this was my chance to use this beloved bamboo shade once again!  Eureka!

Enter the loft.  This is what we call our 'studio space'.  It is part art studio, music studio, sewing studio, and craft studio.  It is essentially a catch all space.  We did manage to get the room painted during the pre-move in painting blitz simply because this is what it used to look like when we purchased the house.

Super cute kids play area right, but no good for our loft/studio space.  So this is what it looked like on Saturday pre bamboo project.

Notice the bamboo shade hanging out in the corner just waiting to be hung in the window.  Well I added an arrow in case you can't see past all the other crap hanging out in the room. 

This image is a great reminder to get this space in order ASAP!  But the first step would be to get the beautiful bamboo baby hung up, this would require a minor adjustment to the width of the shade.  Our window width is 70" and the shade measured 72" wide.  So I had to do a little adjustment to the two larger bamboo dowels at the top and bottom with a hack saw.  I took one inch off of each side to keep the symmetry. 

Then came the big guns AKA tin snips.  I started out with Devin's handy dandy lineman tool but it was slow going trimming all the bamboo slats...enter tin snips!  They did the job in half the time.

Voila, done and done!  The shade fit perfectly in the window with just 3 hooks screwed into the top of the window frame. 

I am so in love with the warmth and texture it gave the room.  I also love the privacy it provides while still allowing diffused light into the room. 

But wait, it ain't over yet!  Did you happen to notice the black curtain rod mounted above the window in the prior pics, well I had hung curtains I had made for our prior home out of IKEA fabric in the window for the time being.  They were going back up after a quick wash and press.  So after all 4 panels were pressed, I attached the clip on curtain rings to mimic a pinch pleat. 

Awww...c'est magnifique!  I LOVE the new look.  The colors in the bamboo go so well with the colors in the curtains.  It totally warmed up the space!  Now we can simply open and close the shade without having to draw the curtains all the time! 

For those of you who appreciate a good before and after pic, here ya go!

The moral of the story is, it pays to hold on to the things you love if you are able to reuse them later!  And we all lived happily bamboo shaded ever after!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Austin Modern Architecture For Your Viewing Pleasure

Living in Austin, TX affords us the luxury of many things like great food, art, green space, lakes, vintage shopping and Great Modern Architecture!  I gather inspiration by perusing the listings on Austin Home Search for some examples of interesting modern pieces of architecture and tried not to drool on my keyboard too much!  Here is a little taste of what Austin has to offer!

This home is located in Central Austin and is actually a renovation project.  I believe it was completely gutted and renovated including the commercial windows!!  Me Likey!  For an easy $1.5 million it could be yours!
I love the concrete "stepping stone" path to the front door. 
I love the idea of NO upper cabinets in the kitchen which then allows for amazing windows above the counters. 
The exposed structure is super cool also, but I'm not too sure how I feel about the mega spot lights focused on the ceiling.  I understand what they were trying to accomplish because the ceiling area I'm sure stays pretty dark but I'm sure there was a better streamlined option.
Lots of texture with all the different materials...

This 2.6 million dollar beauty is located in Austin's Westlake area.  This home seems like the ultimate entertaining house!  It has almost 8,000 square feet!  Ca-Razy!  But that pool alone beckons me today as it is another 100+ scorcher in our fair city!

Just think of the dancin' that could happen in this living room!  You could have prom in this room!
Amazing kitchen island with 8 stools!  Yeah 8 people sitting in a row at the counter, I would feel like I was a waitress in a diner working in this kitchen!  But CHECK out the views!
If this house were mine, I would own stock in Swiffer!

For a cool $2.2 million you could be enjoying this gem.  Also located in the Westlake area, it overlooks Lake Austin.
The facade offers this super cool breezeway looking straight through to a big oak tree and the hill country behind the house. 

I quite enjoy the seamless deck transition out to the back!

Super sweet infinity pool!  Awww...if only!

Pretty simple idea for screening the stairs...hmm, I think I could DIY that one!

If we head over to South Austin we could enjoy this beauty.  This is more on target for those budget conscience buyers out there for $699,900!  This yard looks like an amazing entertaining space, I could definitely see some bocce going down there!

The showpiece for me on the interior are these amazing windows between the counters and cabinets in the kitchen!  AMAZING! 
I enjoy this simple shade device! 
More concrete stepping stones!  LOVE!

The last example here is also located in South Austin, and is priced at $525,000.  This example offers great natural light! 

I love this simple all white kitchen with stainless appliances. 

The kitchen and living space create one Great room.  Just look at that light!  Energy savings is always a plus!
The bath is another clean and simple space with its gray tile!

Gorgeous bamboo floors are our dream, these look great with the gray.  The capiz chandelier is a nice touch!

There you have it!  Enjoy the weekend folks!  If you happen to purchase one of these homes, let me know so I can invite myself over for a visit! 

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