Monday, October 27, 2014

A Few Quick House Updates

I'm still holding off on the house tour until I get a proper camera, but I realize that I haven't really shown any progress on our house since we first moved in. We've been jumping around on projects, prioritizing things that need to be done more quickly (especially those involving keeping our house warm during the winter - last year was COLD, and our heating bills were horrifying). Nothing new to report on the guest room...I'm really dragging my feet on that one, eh? To my credit, we did have a couple of intimidating projects to tackle that took precedence, such as the windows downstairs and moving the vent in our living room, which I'll get into in a minute (and when I say 'we', I mean entirely Jeff, as I took absolutely no part in either of these projects apart from choosing materials).

So, about those windows - we got 'em done! And didn't majorly screw anything up! Luckily, our wonderful neighbor used to be a contractor and he was a major help. We replaced the window in our foyer and all three windows in our living room, and we're hoping that it will help retain heat during the freezing winter. Last year was ROUGH with the polar vortex, and we've been hearing reports that this year is supposed to be even worse (eek!). I think that it will help, at least a little, because when you put your hand near one of the old windows you could definitely feel a draft. As far as the actual windows go, I decided that I wanted the ones with the individual separated panes as opposed to the one big pane (I have no idea what that's called), but I was a little nervous that the extra wood (or in our case,  I guess vinyl) would make our already dark home even darker. I'm happy to report that they don't, and I love the way they look.

Speaking of our house being dark - I want to apologize for the quality of these photos AGAIN. I know I'm constantly apologizing about my crappy pictures and it's probably annoying, but some of the best features of our house - the huge wraparound porch and TONS of big trees lining our property - unfortunately make our house incredibly dark during the daytime, and it's really difficult to get decent pictures without editing them within an inch of their life. If anyone has any suggestions of how to increase the natural light in our home without cutting down trees, please let me know!

Also in an effort to increase efficiency in the winter, Jeff's pop-pop suggested moving our HVAC vent in the living room. The only one in the room previously was blocked by our couch, which meant that there was really no heat (or air conditioning) source in our living room, and we had to rely on heat coming from the foyer and the rest of the downstairs. I was VERY apprehensive about this project, as it required cutting a hole in our floor, and if a mistake was made it would be pretty difficult to correct. Luckily, Jeff's pop-pop (who I'm going to refer to from hereon out as 'Tom' because I hate typing pop-pop) is an HVAC master (how lucky we are to be surrounded by all of these handy people!) and they got the project done in the space of a few hours. We haven't needed to turn our heat on since the vent was moved, so I'll have to report back on the result later, but can we just talk for a minute about how much I love our new vent cover?

Tom had sent us some links to covers available at home depot, and they all looked like...vents. I wasn't very enthused by any of them. I didn't really know what was out there, but I wasn't super worried about it because a vent is a vent, and it needs to be there. Everyone has them. Just out of curiosity, though, I went to Home Depot's website to peruse their full selection, and found this beauty. It almost looks like intentional decor, instead of an necessary eyesore. And I'm happy to report that regardless of how "FANCY" the vent (by the way, I have no idea if 'vent' is an accurate way to describe what I'm talking about...'duct'?) cover is, they're all pretty affordable, especially since we only needed one. I'm talking under twenty bucks. They also had some pretty nice looking oil-rubbed bronze covers, but I loved the look of this brass one. It's so shiny and geometric and pretty! Now I'd like to eventually replace all of our covers, but since this is the only one in the room that it's in, it doesn't look like it's mismatched to anything, so I'm okay with it. As you can see, we're going to need to re-paint the section of baseboard in front of the vent. I'd actually like to replace most of our baseboards altogether eventually, because a lot of them are cracked or loose, and the one in our kitchen is actually plastic for some reason, but it'll have to stay there for now. All of the windowsills on the windows that were replaced need repainted as well, and now that the windows are so bright white I think we might need to select a brighter shade of white to match.

Finally, I have a couple little decor updates to share. A while back, I found this amazing midcentury sideboard on Craigslist for mind-blowingly cheap (I can't remember if it was $40 or $80, but either way it was an absolute steal), so I snapped it up immediately and put it in my dining room. It's in completely perfect condition, and up until recently it was pretty bare, but I've recently started moving my bar setup onto it.

Excuse the shade-less lamp. It's Nake Berkus for Target and I LOVE it, but I haven't found a shade that I really like for it yet. I want a large navy drum shade for it, but for some reason I can't find one anywhere, and that angers me because Target had the EXACT shade that I want several months ago, but now it's nowhere to be found. So, shadeless it remains. It's not plugged in currently, anyway. The picture next to it is this weird print I found while thrifting that Jeff hates. I intend to re-frame it - probably in a similar frame, but in wood instead of a cheap metal poster frame.

This is my little bar setup so far. The rest of my liquor collection is in my kitchen, because it's just a bunch of random crap liquor that we've gathered over the years. The tray is also from Target, the decanter was a Goodwill find, and the glasses are vintage crystal from Jeff's mom-mom, and I'm obsessed with them. I'm on the hunt for a mirror to go above the bar, and a few other things to hang on the wall - I'm not sure what, yet. Inside the sideboard, I currently have some extra dishes, as well as all of my magazines that I receive each month and don't read. I figure if I ever get the flu or something, I'll have something to keep me entertained for a while (I canceled my subscriptions for next year, stop looking at me like that.)

And last but not least, the rug score of the century. I'd been on the hunt for a rug to replace the Ikea one in my living room pretty much since we moved in. It wasn't really high on my priority list, because I liked the one from Ikea, but everyone and their mother has it and I was looking for something a bit more plush for the space. Here's a picture of the previous rug for reference:

Then, on Labor Day weekend, Rugs USA had an amazing sale. I don't remember the exact details, but it was something like 80% off, plus an extra percentage. I decided to look for a rug for the guest room, but they didn't have the type of jute rug I was looking for (this was before I discovered that the floor was only partially painted, so I'm glad I didn't find anything), but I did find a beautiful wool rug for the living room:

I originally wanted a larger rug for the room so that I could put the front legs of the couch on it, but after I put this one in, I realized that a larger rug would look awkward in such a small space. This rug is super plush and cozy, and it looks great, and I only paid right around $100 for it, which is pretty much unheard of for a 100% wool hand-tufted rug. I was pretty pleased with my find. It does tend to slide around, especially when Grooby jumps all over it, but that'll be easily solved with a rug pad (I'm really bad about not using rug pads). Now I just need to find a small coffee table and we'll be all set. That table under the window doesn't really go there - it was left in the covered porch off our bedroom by the previous owners, and I brought it down one night when we were having a takeout Netflix-marathon night. I'm thinking about painting it and relocating it, though.

So those are the most major updates we've made recently - I'll try to keep up more so I don't have to so such lengthy catchup posts. Real home tour to follow!

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