Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Behemouth Wall: An Update

       Just when I was about to nickname our house the 50% house, because we only get to about 50% completion on any given project, we actually finished a project. Okay…sort of. I mean, we're really close. If you follow me on Instagram you may have had some idea that this post was coming. If you don't follow me on Instagram (you should!), then here's a glance at what we've been up to since November.
       Walking into our house, there is a small (as in tiny) mudroom and then you are led directly into our living room. Our one and only living room. It's been suffering in the looks department since the day we closed on the house, but it's currently the main focus of our work (and wallets). In this space, there is a 17', windowless, featureless, no-tv, wall. It was a gigantic blank canvas, that really needed some immediate attention.
Here is the wall, while the sellers were still packing up.
Kind of hard to believe we wanted to buy the place, heh?
To be honest, it has looked just as bad since we've been here.
I talked about this wall, and my plans for it, here.
A random place to start our main floor updates…possibly.
Very needed…totally.
I debated many an option for the wall. 
But the choice became pretty clear, all on it's own. 
You see, I have loved white planking for years. 
That character. That texture. 
It was just what our design challenged 1980's home needed.
It gives an open and airy feel and we wanted this area of our living room
to flow easily with our open plan dining and kitchen spaces as well.
It can read very coastal, but with lots of layered furnishings 
and contrasting dark elements I think it can also read as very Country Cabin.
It was just what the doctor ordered.
Next, I weighed what exactly I would hang on that large expanse of wall.
The previous homeowners didn't get it right.
One square image was certainly not appropriate for that expanse. 
I considered a mixed gallery wall with some dimension and different finishes,
but ultimately settled on a grid style gallery wall.
I love symmetry, and it would be a great place to incorporate this style of arrangement. 
Lastly, I had to decide on what style of frame we would use.
This affordable frame from Target quickly became the glaringly correct choice.
They have a reclaimed look to them,
and the tones were perfect for the other browns that will be popping up in our living room
(via leather, hardwoods, etc.)
We used a couple of them in our bedroom, and Jon actually liked them.
When we both like something, it's a no brainer.
These Threshold frames are in high demand, so needing 20-22 of them,
I had to place a few orders when they presented themselves as available online,
and I grabbed a few in stores in person as well.
I was able to take advantage of sales,
so in the end they came out to about $13.00 each. 
A totally affordable mass wall arrangement if you ask me.

There are lots of tutorials on how to accomplish a tongue and groove 
or planked wall online, and many are more economical then the route we took.
We want to ensure that any work we do on the home is done correctly
and will add value, so we went with the more expensive technique
of tongue and groove 8" pine planks. 
We picked ours up at our local lumber yard for about $350.00, 
and got them home just before some rain set in.
The kids were enrolled in daycare and we both happened to have a weekday off, 
so it was the perfect opportunity to jump on in.
That was back in early November.
Here's that wall one last time, just before we got to work
(all of the white paint samples I debated over is a WHOLE other post).
Truth be told, Jon wasn't completely on board with the whole concept.
The coastal look I tend to gravitate towards, makes him nervous.
He's constantly (as am I) considering re-sale in our market and 
beach house, does not sell in the Sierras. 
He was doing it for me.
Those first couple of planks took a big chunk of time to get perfect.
Our house, like most, isn't perfectly level,
and as we had read the first couple of boards were the most important to get right.
All of the cut outs for the light fixtures and power outlets 
definitely slowed us down as well. 
I will say that Jon thoroughly enjoyed having me at his beckon call all day long.
When he said lift that or get me this, I was on it.
At the days end, after eight hours child free, this is what our wall looked like. 
I should probably mention here, that this wall, has been a lesson to me in how long it takes to tackle something. Seriously! I have a whole new level of respect for craftsman and builders. I honestly thought the wall would be planked, primed AND painted within the first eight hours. 
Several weeks later, Jon finally had a half day to himself, 
and when I came home from work WE HAD A FULLY PLANKED WALL!
And then it sat. And sat. And sat.
Jon was actually convinced that we should leave the pine exposed.
A few nights before Christmas (festive, aren't I?), while Jon was at work 
and the kids were tucked into bed, I decided there was no time like the present to prime.
And so, prime I did.
And several nights later, I painted. 
And painted, and painted.
Two coats of primer, and two coats of paint, 
plus all of those little grooves, took a good chunk of time out of my life 
(the wine may have contributed to my slow pace).
Okay, okay, okay, enough already, right?
Here she is
(we had just dragged our dying and dry Christmas tree from the house,
so please don't mind the pine needles).
Obviously there is LOTS of finishing work still to be done. 
All of our new wall switch plates are currently on their way to our doorstep, 
there is trim to be decided on,
yeah, and photos in the frames might be a good idea too.
But it was either write this post, or put together a photo order, 
and I went with a blog post.
You're welcome.
I'm happy to report that Jon likes it as much as I do.
We finally have one place in our house that reflects our style,
and that we like to rest our eyes on.
Who knew that a white wall, with some picture frames
and a couple of new lights could make a girl so happy?
So consider this an in-progress post,
not a finished-project post.
I had originally been obsessing, 
and had actually purchased (but cancelled quickly) the Reed Sconce 
for this wall. They were going to be over $600.00 for the two, 
and I just couldn't live with that.
Thankfully, I had a little lighting miracle (I should share the full story),
and instead grabbed up these Jordan Sconces on sale with free shipping
coming in at $100.00 each. Done and done.
       This wall is actually just the starting point for us for this room. We have a full furniture plan for our living area, hardwoods being ordered soon with installation beginning in the Spring, a storage project starting any day, and several other home updates (including Jon and I's Christmas gift to ourselves), and an Outdoors/Adventure room taking shape for Nolan. There is actually a post already in line for Thursday, so stay on your toes people!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Five Years and Counting

       Last Friday was mine and Jon's five year wedding anniversary, but lets pretend that I got this post up on time, mmmkay? Right now, we are in the thick of adult life. Adult life and all its responsibilities, kinda-sorta sucks. Between work, drop offs and pick ups at daycare, varying schedules, overtime shifts, middle of the night crying, 5:30 wake up calls by our toddler or alarm clock (whichever comes first), and lots of monthly bills, it can be hard to remember to have fun. I know we'll look back and remember this as a sweet time when we were raising up our babies, but at the moment, the grass is seeming greener. We feel thankful and blessed for all that we have (please don't think that we aren't), but gosh, what happened to us? So consider this an 'Ode to our Early Years' post. Roll the credits:
We use to stay up past 8:30pm
(Golf party, obviously).
Okay, we stayed up past 8:30, like, a lot.
We spent every day off we had floating the Truckee river in our yacht,
or out on the lake, on the boat we kinda-sorta owned
(I can't believe we kinda had a boat...that we didn't pay for!!!).
We use to go on hikes. 
Whenever we wanted.
With little to no planning.
We conquered Half Dome, 
and it's crazy cables together.
We use to remember to celebrate each others birthdays
(his curls kill it, every time).
We went to lots of fun weddings.
We use to got to concerts. 
And sleep in our truck bed in the parking lot outside of said concerts.
And get warned by the security guard as the sun came up that there were 
bears that came through the parking lot looking for garbage.
We use to take the slow scenic drive home.
We got a dog together five months after we started dating.
Because why wouldn't you? 
Our amazingly well tempered lab, 
gave us a fall sense of ability with
being able to rear children.
We use to go on little sunset hikes to picnic.
And now that I'm looking at these, 
apparently we use to have a lot less wrinkles
and look much more rested.
Happy Five Years to us!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Fall Porch

       Hi. My name is Meg. I'm an absentee blogger. Now that that's out of the way, let's move on.
       On Friday, I finally committed to what Nolan & Quincy will be for Halloween (I have a real commitment issue when it comes to Halloween costumes; so many good possibilities, so few un-opinioned years), and I placed a few key orders online for the pieces of their costume that I needed (please note that I am already second guessing my costume choice, but at this time, I have to move forward). With that out of the way, I decided that I actually had some time to devote to some Fall decorations. So that's what I did this weekend. I was devoted to decorations.
       Here's where the story takes an interesting twist. Jon was out of town for the weekend, so it was just me and the kiddos. As I usually do on nights when Jon isn't home, as the sun sets, I lock everything up. All the doors. The windows. Pull the bedroom blinds. My car. You get the picture.  After bedtime on this particular night, I had a second wind so I did lots of picking up around the house. I figured my Saturday morning would be a happier one if the house was already in good shape. But oh no, I didn't stop there. I figured I should get a jump on my decoration projects while I had a few moments to myself, so I headed out to the garage to see what I had that I could work with. I had run into our neighbors that evening on a walk, and found out that I had free rein on lots of freshly felled trees in their yard, so I was basing my plans on incorporating some free stumps into the design. I walked into the garage, and decided I would use some spray paint that I already had on hand to spruce up a few things that were sitting on my shelves. Here are the inner workings in my head over the next few minutes:

"Well, if I'm going to spray paint (in the garage), I should close the door so that the fumes don't get into the house." Picture me then pulling the door from our garage to our small mudroom closed. 

"I should make sure that door (that I just consciously closed) is unlocked."

Imagine me then walking over to the door, attempting to open it, and realizing: Oh Crap! I just locked myself out of the house!

With the kids asleep inside!

At 9pm!

And it's 30 degrees out!

And I'm wearing flip flops!

       After I had a mild heart attack in the garage, and for a moment thought I might actually be trapped IN the garage (seconds later realizing that the garage door button was 3 inches from my shoulder), I proceeded to check all of our doors. Yep, locked, just like I thought they would be. Luckily, we have a little lock box with a house key in it. Unluckily, I couldn't remember the code to the box. No problem right. I could just walk to a neighbors house, call Jon, and find out what that code was. Oh wait...I don't know Jon's cell phone number either (5 years of marriage, and I cannot for the life of me remember his last four digits). For years, when I need to know his number, I refer to our checks which have them printed on them. That wouldn't work this time...those checks were inside. Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap. Will I need to call a locksmith?
       Before I allowed myself too much time to freak out, I started checking windows. My first attempt was a bust, it was locked. Then I thought I could give our kitchen window a try. From the day we moved in I was frustrated that I could never get it to latch well. So I popped off the screen (which I didn't know that I knew how to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures), and gave the window a push. IT WORKED! Oh Lord. I have never been so happy to climb over a kitchen sink before in my life. When I descended into the kitchen, Blue was staring at me very concerned and confused. I on the other hand, was extremely relieved.
       And that my friends, is a long way of saying: Here's our Fall Porch set up.
       I'm pleased with myself to say that this cost me $4.00 + the cost of the pumpkins. I had grabbed the lanterns years ago for free at someones yard sale. They were brown and rusty. The thought has probably crossed my mind a dozen times that I should get rid of those dang lanterns, but I could never bring myself to do it.  A little gold spray paint later, and I'm loving them. 
The blue vase- that was a $4.00 clearance find at Michael's that I picked up on Saturday. 
I just wish I had picked up about four more of them.
The pine cones and leaves were all courtesy of our yard.
And all of the other knickknacks, I already had on  hand. 
They just needed some new life.

The view from our front door looking out.
       We're still hoping to make a big scarecrow to post on our front lawn. Crossed fingers that it happens this week!  Happy Fall Ya'll!   A little update soon on our Master Bedroom project, and where our house plans are taking us the next few months.    

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer 2013

       The mornings are getting brisk here. I know in other places 30-40 degrees is downright cold, but to us it's just brisk, and kind of refreshing actually. The cold mornings remind us that summer will very soon be gone, but luckily, we'll have fall to greet us. Before I say hello to autumn, I wanted to remember this summer. This summer has been one of the most full, runneth over with plans and activities, summers that we've had in many years. Having two kids makes the summer so full of life. Because of our kids we are outside in our neighborhood nightly, talking to everyone that lives nearby. Because of our kids we know the regular families at our community pool. And because of our kids, taking advantage of the late sunlight on our lawn in our backyard is both simple and fulfilling. I haven't popped in nearly enough the past couple of months with images of our life, so here's a glance at Summer 2013.
Our small town is full of awesome Americana traditions
on the Fourth of July.
Including a jam packed parade down the main street.
Red, White, Blue and...Green?
A popped collar screams Independence Day.

Nolan's birthday was very simple this year. 
We like things simple. 
He received lots of clothes,
and I just had to show his adorable face opening said clothes.
He thought it was the cats meow.

Quincy has been growing far to fast for this mama. 
She has us all wrapped around her fingers.
We all have such a soft spot for her.
Her sweetness is almost enough to make me ready for another one.
She just turned seven months this past Saturday.
That kills me.
I wish I could keep her at this exact age forever, and then some.
This past month, we introduced food. 
Apparently we had been starving her, 
because she could not get enough.

As usual, brother was not far away,
and hammed it up for us.
A couple of  weeks ago, Jon got the idea for him 
and Nolan to camp out in our backyard.
I have not seen Nolan so blissful and wired in a long time.
He was on cloud nine, running around and preparing
(that's a pirate ship he's carrying, an essential when you're 
sleeping in the great outdoors).
With the boys tucked in outside, 
I put Quincy down in her room and had a glass of wine in the quiet. 
The next morning, I had my coffee and took a shower in peace  before
the boys stormed the house.
I'd say I was just as  happy a camper as Nolan.
I'd say 5 out of 7 evenings a week, we take a walk. 
We walk from our house, to a nearby court 
so that Nolan can ride his bike and get out lots of energy. 
The court is usually bustling with kids,
and we've been growing great relationships with the kids and their parents.
 At nine this is the oldest of the group
(Nolan seems to be developing a crush on her four year old sister)
and she always wants to hold Quincy. 
Oddly enough, I'm pretty sure I looked JUST like her at that age.
We spent a lot of time at our neighborhood pool this year. 
Living in this neighborhood is worth it, for the pool alone.
The pool looks out over a pond and meadow
(that may or may not be my child in the lower right hand corner, 
relieving himself through the fence)
and it's totally awesome.
This is Nolan and one of his best friends
who lives two doors down from us. 
They were born twenty days apart.
I'm gathering pictures of them to play at their high school graduation. 
Here's another one of them I snapped. 
They were having a BYOT (Truck) play date.
Jon and I had our first date night in a very long time this month. 
We've had a few lunch outings on our own, 
but I think this was our first certifiable dinner date SINCE NOLAN WAS BORN. 
I know, that's ridiculous. 
It was so exciting to see other a restaurant...after dark...
and to eat sitting down...and not smell like spit up.
Yeah, I think we're going to make it a priority to get out a bit more
(and in case you're wondering...yes, we talked about our kids).
We've also taken advantage of our towns weekly Truckee Thursday's event. 
It's a farmers market, meets craft fair, meets street food, meets music, meets kid friendly activities event. 
Yeah, it's got something for everyone and it's popular.
Parking is at a premium every week, and you are bound to run into lots of friendly faces.
PLUS, it's right on the train tracks,
and a certain little boy I know is fascinated by the tracks.
And what better way to wind down our  summer then with a 
quintessential small town rodeo. Yep, our town has one of those too.
I actually went to this same rodeo with my family when I was a kid.
This year, our friends included us in their sponsor booth, 
which gave us the BEST seats in the house. 
We were about ten feet above the loading pens for the riders.

It's possible that I loved taking pictures of all of the cowboys. 
It's also possible that Quincy started crying several times
because Jon and I were yelling for the riders. 

         So yeah, it's been a rocking summer. I hate to admit that I'm open to falls arrival, but deep down, I know I am. I love a good pair of jeans and a scarf, and I can't wait to see how all of the aspens in our yard look as they begin to change color. Are you ready to say goodbye to summer?