Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Update: Sister's House

Remember way back when I was talking about helping my sister with her remodel project in her home?  Well, it has been a labor of love with special emphasis on the labor.  It isn't complete, but I can share a few updates at this point.  

Remember how dark and drab it was before?

And the new plan to make it come to life? 

My mom and sister tested the paint color I chose, to make sure it would be great, so my mom went crazy testing the color all over the house!  Remember: this is a long distant project for me, my mom and sister are doing the bulk of the work, with my general guidance. 

The bookcase wall is the dark blue pictured in the color board above.

The back door to the garage received some sunny yellow paint! 

The major stuff is done, like painting EVERYTHING.  I mean the walls in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and hall are all done.  Oh and after getting all the painting done, we decided all of the trim had to be painted also.  It appeared super creamy instead of white, once all the light blue paint was up.  The fireplace also got a nice coat of white paint. 

The blue paint made the entire house feel light and airy, a stark contrast from what it was before.  Here is a little glimpse of the blue paint.  

We've been working on putting it all back together with new furniture pieces and accessories.  The main purchases were the sofa and arm chair from Dillard's and they are gorgeous. 

The majority of the new pieces are from Craigslist.  No one likes a bargain more than my sister so this was the perfect way to bargain shop for her new living room.  We have found so many wonderful items and have made them uniquely hers.  Let me just say two words to sum up the entire Craigslist adventure, Spray Paint.  We should have invested in spray paint before we started this process. 

But totally worth it.  Here is a sneak peak of some of our bargain finds and painting projects. 

I have slowly been working on the main frame collage wall that is a major focal point in her living room.  Slowly but surely, we are filling that wall with some of her favorite things. 

It is coming along and looking so much better.  It is going to be so cute when it is complete.  I of course will reveal the finished project to you all when we get to the finish line. 

How about you guys?  Any of you helping out a family member?  Painting the interior of an entire house?  Rejuvinating an amazing Craigslist find?    

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Updating Our Curb Appeal

With the spring comes beautifying our outdoor spaces.  You have heard us talk about our Big Backyard Plan here and here (which we are getting closer and closer to starting), but in the mean time, we decided to do a small project in the front yard.  Well, we thought is was a small project considering the space is small.  This "small project" ties into our overall plan for landscaping in our backyard as well.  Let me explain. 

This is the future backyard plan, (minor things have changed, but that is another post).  I have noted the "issue" of a huge gravel pit we have in the back yard currently.  It is where the previous owners had a child's play scape.  

As you can also see in the plan above, we do not anticipate incorporating sad said gravel pit into our new backyard plan; therefore, we are finding useful and creative places to use the tons of pea gravel that currently occupy that large corner.  This is the culprit.

Enter our front yard plan. 

Below is a rough plan.  Items seen in color are either existing upon moving in or recently completed projects, while the items in white, are future projects. 
 For now, we will be talking about this particular strip of our front yard. 

It is the small strip of yard that lies between the sidewalk and the street. 

The issue with the strip is that the 4 sprinkler heads that are located there primarily spray the hard scape rather than the grass, and the grass in that area is...well...mostly weeds.  So in an effort to minimize water use and give the strip a face lift we opted to get rid of all of the grass and replace it with the pea gravel that we have an abundance of, and some ornamental grasses that require little water.  2 birds, 1 stone!

Simple right?  Well, digging all of that earth out of the 3 foot strip of lawn was tough.  We spent the entire day Saturday just removing the grass.  We dug down a good 6 inches or more if you include how much the grass was mounded up.  2 reasons.  #1, we wanted to modify the sprinklers that supply the strip, and #2, we wanted to fill that sucker with as much pea gravel as our biceps would allow. 

Here is what it looked like from our front porch Sunday morning after we almost died taking all of the grass out.  A special shout out to my big hunk of husband who kicked that grasses butt!  Another special shout out to Ibuprofen for keeping our muscle pain at bay.

So day two included the sprinkler re-work, installation of weed cloth, planting of new plants, and finally moving of gravel. 

We had 4 sprinkler heads to deal with.  3 in the large strip and one in the small strip on the other side of the driveway.  Devin converted the 3 in the large part down to 2 so we would have a total of 3.  He also replaced all of the heads with these super cool drip system heads.  Each kit from Home Depot, was about $11, and each kit replaced one head.  This would solve the problem of spraying the street and sidewalk and concentrate the irrigation only to the plants we have planted there.  SWEET!

The weed fabric went down super fast.  We used some that we had from this front yard project we finished last year.  Then the plants went in.  NOTE:  we actually dug the holes for the plants prior to installing the weed fabric.  It was much easier to dig without having to work around the fabric.  We then simply sliced the fabric where our holes were to plop our plants in quickly. 

We used 5 Mexican Feather grasses, and 2 Rosemary plants.  The Rosemary essentially flank the driveway. 

Oh and you can see in the picture above that we installed two pave stones in this large strip.  You can see on our plan, that we eventually will extend a paved walkway all the way up to our front door. 
 After we had the plants all planted, and the drip sprinklers in we could start hauling the rock from the back to the front yard.  YAY!

We finished the small strip to the right of the driveway first.  Notice the sprinkler head in the lower left side of the gravel, it has 4 quarter inch drip hoses going to the rosemary planted there.  It is all under the pea gravel.  Cool huh?  We think so, but we get excited about those types of things! 

Moving the gravel went fairly quickly, much faster than digging out the grass the day before. 

We finished up before the sun went down.  Then it was the time that Devin had been waiting for since the first shovel full of grass came out.  Power washing all the mud off of the sidewalk and gutter.  Cleaning it all up to make it pretty was definitely the finish line.

Now for the before...

and after!

We love it!  We are excited to watch these new plants grow and thrive.  What outdoor projects have you guys been tackling?  Any of you rockin' the gravel like us?  We would love to hear.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Weekend

So I'm a little late with this post, but we had a fantastic Easter weekend with my mom and sister in town.  We were able to spend a lovely day Saturday at the Zilker Botanical Gardens here in Austin.  The weather was perfect which made for a perfect visit to the gardens.  Mom captured a few dozen pictures of our visit with her phone, I will share just a few.  The pics didn't turn out too bad...

Nice view of downtown Austin from the gardens.

The gazebo at the reflecting pond.

I love all the different levels and textures here.

Striking a pose.

My mom with Devin.  Love it!

My sister's turn to strike a pose with a waterfall.  She is better at it than I am.

On Sunday we just happened to spot someone on their way to work I am assuming.  

Can you tell who it is?  Well it is the Easter Bunny of course.  On his/her way to hide some eggs I'm sure. 

I always wondered how the Easter Bunny got around, now I know it is a super sweet 3-wheeler motorbike thing.  And you can't ride one with out the goggles, very smart Easter Bunny, very smart.

There you have it, a nice Easter in Austin, Texas.  Keepin' it Weird folks!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Toss it Up to Finish

Our living room has slowly been undergoing a complete makeover.  I had every intention of changing things up a bit in that room, mostly with fabric but the fireplace project, lamp project, ottoman project, and console table project have transformed the space into a room that is light and fun and totally us. 

The "icing" on the living room cake though are these fun pillows.  I whipped them up really quickly with some fabric I ordered with the intention of unifying all the colors in our great room.  I have a few more to make, but I thought I would share the progress. 

I had the one orange pillow made from IKEA fabric several years ago, and I love the idea of adding a touch of orange to the room, also it was the motivation behind painting the Restore lamp orange.  As you can see from the above pic, Lillie quite enjoys the orange lamp also. 

Let's get a little closer to the pillows shall we.

These were super easy to make, I just made envelope pillow cases, which have no zippers or buttons or velcro involved.  It makes them super easy to remove the pillow insert and wash when necessary, which is super important in our animal house.  Here is a good tutorial on how to make your own. 

The fabric I used came from fabric.com, it is this and this.  Half of a yard will make you approximately 2 pillows, depending on the size of your pillow.  Mine are 18" pillows, so each pillow requires a piece of fabric 19" x 42".  Like I mentioned, I have more fabric to make a few more pillows since our sectional is large and I can whip a pillow out in about 10 minutes.  That is 10 minutes that will change the entire feel of the room.  Totally worth it.

I love it when a plan comes together!  The cats dig it too!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fireplace Face Lift

In our house, we have a plethora of projects going on at any time.  I can easily get distracted by small projects that i dream up in an instant...while sitting on the couch watching TV.  The thought of, oh I have tons of paint in the garage, and I hate this tile on the fireplace happens in an instant.  And that my friends, is how this little Fireplace Face Lift came to be.  This is the fireplace in all it's glory before I jazzed it up.  

Not horrible, right.  But it wasn't great.  We have great plans of someday doing an awesome stacked stone tile on the whole shebang from floor to ceiling, but that is way down on the list of priorities.  So in the mean time, I NEEDED to get rid of the the brown/peachiness that was all up in the fireplace's business.  

Simple solution, paint.  I have about 500 gallons of different paints in the garage, so I mosied on out there and grabbed some latex primer, some latex paint, paint brush, and foam roller.  The only thing I was missing was some water based polycrylic, which I picked up at Lowes for about $8.  

I removed the mantle from the fireplace, which is actually an IKEA Lack shelf that will get replaced when we do the BIG fireplace makeover, all while enjoying "The Voice" on the tube.  (please ignore the fluorescent green walls in these pictures, they really don't glow in real life) 

Filled a couple of small chips/cracks with paintable caulk.

Once the caulk had dried, I taped off the wall and firebox, and started priming. 

Do you notice my helper in the picture above?  This is what you have to do to your work zone when you have such great helper.  I created the no go zone for the the furry babies with the mantle I took off and a few things laying around.  I realize they could jump over this set-up but amazingly they didn't. 

I only did one coat of primer because it covered pretty well and with 2 coats of paint, it would look great.  This is after the 2nd coat of paint.

After the paint had dried thoroughly, I applied two coats of Minwax water based polycrylic to seal the paint and make it super durable.  The beauty of the water based polycrylic is it doesn't yellow like regular polyurethane. 

Here is the final result.  Not too shabby for $8.  I knew there was good reason to keep all that extra paint in the garage.  With me, you never know when you might need to paint something. 

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