Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Coffeebar Wunderbar!

Here at the Little Old House we are slooooowly getting back into the DIY groove, and one of the smaller projects with mega effect was what we did to our kitchen.

Ever since we moved in I ..well, we had been waffling over what type of seating arrangement to add to our little kitchen. Banquets were all the rage back then, and they are quite historically correct for a house like ours but our little Duckling house lacked the cute little nook that was just begging to be turned into a breakfast nook.

You see, our kitchen is a square. A small square. Our original plans of opening up the one window and turning that into a French door opening up to a small deck in the backyard had been dashed before we even started with our renovation. Copper thieves had torn apart our AC compressors and the new units had to follow current code which placed them right where we'd dreamed up our deck.

Oh well ...

Anyways, back to seating arrangements. I'm not crazy about islands, especially when they end up sitting smackdab in the middle of a line of traffic, and I was also not crazy about busting out part of the (load-bearing) wall for an open floor plan. I like my kitchen separate from the rest of the public living space, Yeah, I know I'm odd.

We went back and forth between a breakfast corner arrangement and a breakfast bar, and you know what? At some point, the breakfast bar won. Prooobably the last time I ran out of room for munchies and drinks on the diningroom buffet and wished I had more counter space in the kitchen.

So we ordered heavy duty shelf brackets from Rockler and a butcher block counter top and went to town!

Best husband ever and Little Man did most of the work while I supervised (and kept all the pets from photobombing the production and interfering with the work). Tough job but somebody's got to do it!

Yes, two levels. The husband takes measuring and leveling much more serious than I do which is why I'm the creative brain and he gets to lead the execution of plans that require measuring and leveling. We make an awesome team!

Here it is, our new breakfast bar, waiting patiently to be installed. This baby is seriously heavy.

Ta-da! Here it is, our new breakfast bar complete with husband's coffee station. The chairs I picked up ages ago (Two years? maybe even longer ago than that) through Amazon, and aside from having to add rubber feet to keep the hard plastic covers on the feet from scratching the hardwood floors we love them for their sturdiness and industrial 'chic.'

We LOVE our new breakfast bar. This thing was the BEST feature we have added to the kitchen by far. 
Spot to eat breakfast in the morning? Check!
Cup of Coffee/tea and a magazine/newspaper in the afternoon? Check!
Spot for Homework? Check!
More counter space for food prep? Check!
Serving space for parties? Check!
Space for folding laundry? Check!

Why again did we wait this long? Seriously.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Never Before Seen Footage

I'm going to squeak in one old blog post before the end of the week, and one with never before seen footage to boot!

You see, I inherited this fireplace mantle from our next door neighbor Mrs. Harriett before she moved into an assisted living facility. We so miss this sweet spunky lady and this little treasure she gifted us with brings back very fond memories of and with her, but we do love our new neighbor!

Long story short, the old computer died and with it the pictures that showed the husband and I spending days stripping this beautiful late 1800s fireplace mantle with the heat gun from layers of mostly bright frog green paint were lost. There is some lovely detailing on the mantle along with some beautiful wood grain that really deserves better pictures one of these days!

Anyways, we put in a lot of time cleaning up this baby and in the end it looked like this in its new spot in our master bedroom. It provides a nice counter 'weight' to our bed directly opposite and a simply great focal point on a wall that was simply plain boring aside from the batten and board treatment I'd given it before we moved in.

It's just a mantle, no actual fireplace, so we covered the opening of the firebox with a panel that we painted black for now. Maybe we'll add shelves for candles or something like that. Later.
However, with the black panel in place it did all look a bit too stark, and the black panel to wood ratio was off. Of course, since there is usually a band of tile surrounding the fire box!

So I went to the orange box and poked around the rile section for a bit until I scored a couple of sheets of this variegated cream and latte mosaic tile. At just $5 a sheet these were a steal, very much in keeping with the type of glazed tile you would see in an original, and fit the overall color scheme of our bedroom. Neat! I also grabbed two small buckets of pre-mixed adhesive & grout in a soft almond color, and went home.

This was an incredibly quick and easy fix. I cut the mosaic tile sheet with a pair of household scissors into wide strips, then spread some adhesive, placed the tile, and so slowly worked my way around the opening of the former firebox.

Oh look! You can catch a glimpse of "The Green" - that's the color the whole fireplace mantle was painted. It was very bright ...and very very green.

After letting it dry, I used the same stuff for grout, and then touched up the paint along the edge where board and tile meet. Done!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

And once more: Happy New Year

Frankly, I just cannot believe it has been a year since I last posted here.
A whole year.
Time really does fly.

Life at  this little old house is buzzing along happily amidst bees and chicken and cats and dogs. While 2015 has not been the grandest of years, we were blessed for the most part. Little Man went off to middle school and is now taller than his mom. His mom did a whole lot of other, non-house crafts, and the Best husband got some much needed quality time in lazying about on the weekends reading and smoking a pipe on the porch rather than checking off items on the honey-do list.

After all this time just doing house and house blog stuff, we apparently needed a year off, both from house projects and blogging about it. And looking at my blog reading list we were in good company. Great company even, seeing that YHL pulled the plug on theirs.
Anyways, long story short, a day before Christmas the Best Husband and I whipped together a small project in the kitchen that we'd been stewing over for -years-. It came together great, we love it, and it has made a -huge- difference in how we use our kitchen. You know, the kind of little update that makes you go "Why the heck didn't we do this sooner?!"

So, I guess we got the bug again. There will be projects again. A few, every now and then, and, thanks to a new camera that arrived today, even blog posts with pictures.

I promise you at least DOUBLE what I posted last year.
Make that triple.

Much love,

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Almost There!

Just a day before my parents arrived for their vacation with us we had reached the following stage (of completion):

Also known as "AD" / "Almost Done" we were almost done with painting. Both body colors were up, and all that is left to do is fine-tuning, trim work, and the porch floor.

That will most likely have to wait until after the holidays provided the weather plays along with days that are nice and sunny and not too cold.

The color?
We love it!
We are ecstatic that it turned out almost better than imagined and envisioned here.

Almost there!

After the holidays we will be back with more exterior goodness, but for now, this will have to do (and it does because, omigod, it's so much better than the flaky peeling blue and grey mess from before).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Color Going Up!

With my parents' impending arrival we were buckling down for good on the last free weekend.
Nothing, absolutely nothing is as inspiring and motivating as your parents coming for a visit. After all, you want to show them a little bit of progress, and we'd been talking long enough about painting the exterior so we wanted that baby done (or as much done as the weather allowed).

While it rained on and off on several days throughout the past couple of weeks, that last weekend was just brilliant, despite a weather forecast that stated the complete opposite.

So we decided to get at least the front painted.
No kidding.
In the beginning we had vowed not to start with the front because we had seen the occasional house where -just- the front had been painted while the rest lingered unfinished and forgotten. It's so easy to get sidetracked, so easy to be swept away by Life. We didn't want to risk that. Since we had hired help (Thanks, Mark!) coming to our rescue, however, we thought we were pretty safe in that we would get all the house painted at some point this year.

So here we go, starting with the front.
We had
and now, finally, we got to apply paint!

Here's yours truly atop the front porch roof getting started on painting the upstair's Sherwin-Williams' Oakmoss, a dark, sage-y green, color matched in Benjamin Moore paint.

Yes, I'm crazy excited about painting and seeing how lovely the color is turning out. The husband was mighty proud of me of braving the heights - I usually refuse to work on anything higher than 10ft up, but I felt pretty safe on the big ol' porch roof; it was almost like working on solid ground.

While I was up there, the husband and Little Man were down below.

Since you are supposed to paint 'top down' here's what it looked like after the first of two coats of Oak Moss upstairs:

Isn't it lovely?
Isn't the crisp contrast between the green and the creamy antique white just absolutely delicious?
No, the window frames weren't yet painted - good catch!

The order of painting is
1. Top down (start at the top and work your way down)
2. Details and trim last

While upstairs was drying and putting to use every bit of daylight we tackled the downstairs, first painting the ceiling Antique White, then rolling on the first coat of "Bosc Pear" onto the walls.

The change is drastic, almost more so downstairs than upstairs because Bosc Pear is such a warm, rich color - a huge change from the cool pale grey-blue we used to see.

And then the sun went down and night made it hard to see what we were painting so we called it a day!

The next day we would return for Coat II, paying no mind to our aching arms and backs and feet!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elfing Around

December arrived, and with it our Elf on the Shelf, "Barrigade." This is our third year celebrating the holiday season with the daily antics of our silly elf, and just as last year I'm wondering if this will be our last. Little Man is now 11 years old and will be headed for Middle School in the summer, and well, how long can you actually keep on believing in a world that bares it all all the time?

So far, so good. There was some empirical testing (he secretly touched the elf only to find out he was still moving through the house and committing his silly pranks at night - results of this test are, as of yet, inconclusive ... heh. Besides, we 'believe' that if you stop believing in Santa or, in my German case, the Christkind, you will only receive socks and underwear as presents) but he was and is still pretty excited to find the elf in the morning.

Husband and I enjoy coming up with crazy ideas to make finding our little elf fun to start off the day. Mind you, we have never used him as a parenting tool and/or in-house creepy stalker secret agent - we have fun with it, and leave the rest to Little Man's imagination.

So here are a few shots of our elf from this year - more to follow! Enjoy!

Rough trip back from the North Pole 
or feeling sympathetic to Little Man's minor foot surgery?

Playing Little Man's least favorite game with Enderman

Worst cookies ever - Do not feed (milkbones) to Santa!

Catching up on the chocolate advent calendar for Little Man - yes, he stole a piece of chocolate when Little Man wasn't up-to-date on opening his advent calendar. Bad elf!