Monday, October 17, 2016

Falling for Fall Colors

Among all the craptastic things Hurricane Matthew brought with him (fortunately not for us; we just had to survive five days without electricity), fall was the best. The days following the big storm have simply been beautiful: bright blue skies, lovely breezes, lower humidity, and - best of all - cool nights. Fall in Florida!

That's the time of the year I think my house loves best - its colors just belong into this season. Earthy fall colors to celebrate the Craftsman detail and lines on our house, warm and inviting. Picking those colors were a decision we did not regret one bit!

This past weekend I tackled a project which was delayed by Hurricane Matthew: painting the front door and touching up the paint job in those areas that were dedicated to our accent color (chocolate brown so we're looking at you crag stones and top rails).

After five years our front door is now a rich chocolate brown, and gosh, do I love it! It's one of those little projects you wish you'd tackled sooner. We loved the red, but it just didn't -reeeeally- go with the new color scheme (but life got so crazy it was one of those things that was easily pushed waaaaaay to the back burner).
An hour later, this is what the front looked like. It seriously reminds me of a chocolate bar, and it's just as delicious! Best husband ever doesn't quite get my excitement, but he does love it too.

And because we're slowly but surely approaching Halloween the front wreath got a little make-over too. Two sprigs of fake flowers from the dollar store, a pack of plastic eye balls, and some hot glue! Voila! Peekaboo, I We see you!

Monday, June 13, 2016


And we're back with a little update! Steampunk and industrial chic have been around as home decorating trends for a while now, and because we have pipe (shelf) dreams for our library due to the fact that simple wooden book shelves simply cannot handle our massive load of books I hopped onto the train to Steampunk Town and updated our lighting.

This is Florida and so getting rid of the ceiling fan was unfortunately not an option. That little bit of air movement makes such a difference 90% of the year Ill happily put up with its slightly tacky look. An easy and affordable update to any ceiling fan light, however, is the addition of better looking shades. Both, the orange and the blue box offer a wide variety of smaller shades you could use but I went and ordered light cages through (here). I only needed three but ordering the set of four only sets you back $20 (instead of $25 for three). Now I have a spare ...or an extra for another project!

First step is to unscrew your existing lamp shades. 
(Make sure the light is turned off and maybe even go so far as to turn off the electricity entirely. I only turned the lights back on for photos, not while I was working on it. Be SAFE. Always!)
Next you realize that your cage is too large to screw directly to the light bulb socket. 
And of course it appears to be too narrow to fit over the entire socket. 
Not so fast!

If you unscrew the screws on the neck of the cage and bend it apart ever so gently, it will actually snap right over the wide part and clamp onto it well enough that you don't have to worry about anything.
Crisis averted!

Rinse and repeat three times, and then stand back and admire your handiwork! Careful, this is much brighter than before which is great for the room but not so great for looking directly at it.
Even though it was bright I did notice that the light bulb sockets were a bright white sticking out like a sore thumb so I simply painted them with a bit of black acrylic craft paint.

Fabulous! I really like it!
And what I really like is that it is quirky and farm-y and industrial-y and not frilly and girly.
So the kitchen sink light got a quick update as well, courtesy of the blue box store and a sale on their cage light shades (On sale right now for $15).


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).