Brrrr!

I don’t know how cold it is where you are at, but here in the Hoosier state it is COLD!

*Side note: does anyone else think it’s funny that Indiana is called the Hoosier state? And that they are proud of it?! Chris and I laughed every time we heard someone call themselves a Hoosier for the first several months we lived here. Ridiculous!

Anyway, we installed a programmable thermostat right after Christmas to help save on heating costs. Now it’s a little bit warmer (we still keep it at 65, people) when we get home, while it can stay ice-age cold – just above pipe freezing temps- during the day. Global warming, where did you go?!

Life has just gotten colder since we started our bathroom reno. We reglazed our toilet Monday night and have had to stay out of our bedroom this week due to the massive amount of fumes the glaze lets off while it dries, even with the exhaust fan running and the bathroom door closed. So we have been sleeping in one of the guest bedrooms with fewer covers and our heads by the window, brrr! So, whenever I want to feel warmer, I look at this:

cableknit

I only look because I can’t buy. We’re talking major buck-os here. But even looking helps. Doesn’t it look soooo warm and cozy?! Even this throw looks amazing.

img73l

Who would need a snuggie when you have that? Maybe I should take up knitting. And come across 100 skeins of free, soft, white yarn…

img9l

Mmmmm. Makes me want to cuddle up and read a book by our (non-existent) fireplace.  Maybe next year we will have a real fireplace, then I really will be warmer.

But for now, I’ll just use Yoshi. He’s just as snuggly as a cable knit throw, and definitely lets off as much heat as a fireplace.

DSC09638

Plus, he matches our new carpet perfectly. Anyone else plan their decor around their pets? Just kidding! Not THAT obsessed….yet…

*Images found here and here.

Let there be light (fixtures)!

 

I have been wanting to replace the light fixtures in our entryway and hallway for quite some time. This last weekend we finally got around to it!

I forgot to take a before picture of the entryway, but here is a photo of the entryway (and light fixture) before we moved into the house.

DSC096000

Yeah, not too attractive. I went on a hunt for a couple months to find a cute, but affordable light fixture and came up with a white bamboo pendant from CB2. Chris says it looks like a UFO, but in a good way.

But, when we got it in the mail, we realized that it is not a ceiling fixture but rather an wall outlet fixture. Thankfully, I had read a post from YHL on how they had a similar situation with a West Elm pendant and how they converted it to use it as a ceiling fixture. So, all we had to do was snip the cord, split apart the 3 wires inside the cord, and hook them up the same way you would do with a normal fixture. Oh, and we had to buy a ceiling mount so that the pendant had something to hang from and so it didn’t just go into a big hole in the ceiling.

DSC09580

DSC09582

And a close-up.

DSC09579

Isn’t it great? I love it. But, the hallway still looked like this.

DSC09594

Yuck.

DSC09595

Now that the light fixture in the entryway is beautified, this one just looked that much worse. So we had to come up with a cheap solution, fast! I’m talking a couple bucks here. The first idea was to invert a lampshade and hang it from the ceiling, much like Young House Love did. But when I couldn’t find the drum shade I wanted at Christmas Tree Shops for $2.99 (I’d bought one there before), I had to think of different options. I was starting to feel gloomy, like I was going to have to break down and buy an actual light fixture, when we passed  by a display of bamboo bowls on sale for $1.99. I had pointed them out before, thinking they were cute, but Chris and I couldn’t come up with a good use for them so we hadn’t picked one up. But this time when we passed by, Chris picked it up and (kind of jokingly) said, “Let’s just drill a hole in the bottom of this and use it.” Brilliant! So we bought it, ran to Menards for a 99 cent ceiling lampholder part and, within an hour, had it hung.

DSC09600

Here’s what we did…

First we checked to make sure the bowl would be long enough to cover the light bulb sufficiently. The last thing we would want is the bulb poking out the bottom and blinding anyone trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

DSC09597

After that checked out, it was down to business.

We measured how big the hole needed to be in the bottom of the bowl, then drilled away til it looked something like this.

DSC09608

Then we drilled 2 holes through the bottom of the bowl and the lampholder to attach them with screws.

DSC09612

DSC09611

Then it was just attaching the lampholder to the ceiling, and wha-la! A brand new fixture for a total of $2.99.

DSC09613

DSC09615

And that’s how we gave two areas of our home a lot of pretty for a little bit of dough.

Form+Function: Entryway organization

When I saw this idea on Martha Stewart’s website last week, I knew it was the perfect solution to the key and mail clutter that sits on our entryway table.

mld103886_0209_mailboxhal15_l

Isn’t it a great idea? Now we never have to lose our keys or figure out where we put our mail again. So I went on a mailbox hunt…it’s surprisingly hard to find a white metal mailbox with magazine hooks. There were a lot of brass and black ones, but no white. So I bought this one…

mbox

for 15% off at Menards with the intention of spray painting it white as soon as it gets warm enough outside. I think it will look superb in our entryway. Anyone else come up with unique organization ideas to keep your life less cluttered? I’m sure to save at least 5 minutes a day that I used to spend looking for my keys or the water bill…

Bathroom reno: the plan

We started our master bath renovation over the weekend. Before I reveal what our plan for the bathroom is, here are a few “before” shots. Shield your eyes…

bath4

bath2

bath1

These pictures were taken when we closed on the house. But the after isn’t much better…

newbath

It’s like a beige heaven. Like all color was stripped from the world when you enter our bathroom. All we did was paint the trim, gave it a new neutral wall color, and replaced the wooden toilet seat (seriously?!). Yeah, still a lot to be done. But, it at least made it manageable for me to get ready in the morning without gagging.

Alas, the time has come for the big remodel! Ok, it’s really not that extensive, but it’ll make a huge difference (we hope!). Here’s the plan: Knock out strange doorway in between sink and showering area (you can see it in the first photo), re-stain the cabinets using Polystain (thanks Bower Power!), rip up the vinyl flooring, put down marble tiles, add cabinet hardware, make a frame for the mirror, replace the light fixture, replace the medicine cabinet with open shelving, paint, and make a new concrete countertop. Sounds like a lot, but thankfully most of it should go pretty quickly. The concrete countertop will be the most grueling part (and the biggest learning curve), and it has to wait until spring so we can grind and buff it outside.

Here are some photos I am using for inspiration:

kbrown_bath_class_l_lg

This is the overall feel I am going for in the bathroom.

11-warmth-bath-1107-xlg-67828448

This is an example of the type of countertop/sink we are going to make. It will be one long, rectangular sink with two faucets. Our cabinet space is not that wide, so we will have to use single lever/single hole faucets instead of a 3 hole one.

And for those of you who are unsure what a concrete countertop would look like, here are a few examples.

concrete-large

concrete-countertops-22

Concrete is great because it is so versatile. You can stain it to pretty much any color, it wears well, doesn’t stain easily once you seal it, and can look AMAZING. Plus, it is the only type of countertop other than solid surface that you can use integrated sinks, because you can mold whatever shape you want out of it. Oh, and did I mention it’s cheap? Cause it’s CHEAP! Granted, if you pay a professional to do it, it will cost a pretty penny because it is a very time-consuming process to make, but to do it yourself the cost for materials is minimal. More on that later as we unpack the details of how we are going to make the countertop. On to the details…

faucet

This is the faucet that we are using. We scored two of them at Menards (our fav hardware store) last weekend on sale and wound up saving around $50 on each. WooHoo!

DSC09519
This is the marble tile we are laying. We got it on super sale at Lowe’s for $1.48/sq ft!

bathlight

This is the new vanity light we bought to replace that ugly wood bath bar light.

bookcase

It won’t look just like this, but this is an example of the concept for our shelving that we are adding above the toilet. There will be  more functional shelf space for storage (since we don’t have a linen closet), but it will follow the same sort of random, boxy design.

maxibathroom_m

I am on the prowl for a few glass bathroom canisters like these for storage on the shelves.

DSC09526

And here are the canisters I bought at Goodwill last weekend for storing the not-really-openly-displayable toiletries.

So that’s the gist of it.  Let the transformation begin!

Weekend deals

We had a busy shopping weekend last weekend. We had been planning to build an HD projector for a while to replace our ancient bubble TV in our living room, but when we saw the deals on TVs at Best Buy last week…we couldn’t pass up the deal on this tv.  So we wound up buying a 50″  Panasonic plasma TV for $699- can’t beat that! Now some of you tech-nerds may wonder why we bought a plasma instead of an lcd tv…and I have to say that plasma tv’s are very underestimated! The biggest issue with them in the past was the “burn-in” that could happen on the screen if you let it sit on the same picture for too long. Well, that is no longer an issue with the new ones. Plus, our TV has a built in screen saver that turns on when it’s been paused for a few minutes to stop any chance of that happening- score! The other issue is that it consumes more power, but with the amount that we watch tv (hint: not very often), that shouldn’t be a problem. On the up-side, plasmas have much richer color, handle on-screen motion much better (hooray, football!), don’t change color with different viewing angles, cost a lot less -especially for the larger models, and don’t run a risk of the pixels burning out (this happens a lot with LCDs and it makes the screen go black, apparently right after they go out of warranty too!). We also saved ourselves $300 by going with the 720p model instead of the 1080p. The only way to actually get the 1080p resolution out of your 1080p tv is if you have 1) blu-ray or 2)cable with HD channels. Since we have neither, and have no plans to get either, there was no reason to spend the extra money.

Since we got a new tv, we needed a tv stand. I was determined not to buy one of the basic cheapo glass tv stands (which really aren’t that cheap to buy); I wanted a real piece of furniture. Unfortunately, those run in the hundreds. But once again, Craigslist had my back. After persistently repeating the “tv stand” search, I ran into a new post for this bad boy, brand new, for only $135. Yes, please! We ran over to the seller’s house- luckily, only a block away- after work on Friday and picked it up. It looks even better than I imagined!

I also scored some awesome deals at Target. I got this birch candle for $3 on clearance, which I’ve been gawking at for quite a while at the $10 price tag.

DSC09527

I got 3 of these 11×14 frames for an art project that was inspired by these pieces at ZGallerie (more to come on that later)

I got this pinecone tree- something like this for $3 on clearance…it was missing the top pinecone, but all I had to do was grab an extra pinecone from my Christmas decor, hot glue it to the top, and wha-la! good as new!

DSC09524

I also found this glass pillar candleholder on clearance for $8. It is open at the top, so you can fill it with whatever you want. Love it!

DSC09526

Then at Goodwill I found these white canisters and glass canister for a couple bucks each…useful in the kitchen and on the future shelving in our master bath!

DSC09519

And for the grand finale…we scored this marble tile on sale at Lowe’s for $1.49/sq ft. Nope, nothing wrong with it. Yes, it is the same that YHL is using. Yes, that makes a grand total of $45 for our new MARBLE bathroom flooring. Yes, I wish I had a third yes. And yes I don’t! (Better off Ted? Anyone?)

So, we are pretty shopped out right now, but we still have a lot to get for our bathroom reno, which is officially starting this weekend (around watching the playoffs on our brand new TV of course). Anyone else score any good deals recently?