Category Archives: Planning

Apartment Therapy January Cure: Day 1

When my friend Lindsay introduced me to Apartment Therapy in college, I fell in love. The two of us would sit around looking at pictures of beautiful houses and apartments, imagining what our places would look like when we weren’t so gross and college-like. It was like moving out of Worcester would magically make us cleaner and more organized and better at life. Yeah. Right.

Okay, so I guess it worked a little bit. When we bought our house, I was OBSESSED with AT, oogling house tours, picking paint colors, planning full-on demolitions of our house. While some of the ideas actually made it into our house (blue dining room! painted chandelier!), most of them were (and still are) pipe dreams. Over the past few months, I’ve become (slightly) more realistic about our space, our budget, and what will and won’t work. I’ve also come to terms with “our style” and how that compares to “what is correct according to interior designers” and “what is popular” (they’re often not the same). But guess what! It’s our house! We’ll do what we want!

I actually read an article on there once about how you shouldn’t put family pictures and personal artifacts on the first floor. Because no one wants to look at pictures of your kids and dogs and family vacations. Funny, because I’m pretty sure that I live in my house and I’ll spend more time there than any guest ever would. And if I want to look at pictures of me and Jesse frolicking through concrete corn fields during our first road trip, then I sure as hell am going to do that.

Other than articles like that, AT is pretty great. This year, I noticed they’re doing this thing called January Cure. From what I gather, it’s a way of getting the year off to a good start, getting your house in order for the upcoming year. Since we’re finally settling in to the house and things are generally where we want them to be, I thought this would be a fun project to tackle. Also, it is winter and I have a really hard time staying motivated in the winter, and every little project helps!

Day 1 of the January Cure is Make a List of Projects! I love lists. I also love lists of things that I will never accomplish. Dishes I want to cook. Cakes I want to make. Places I want to visit. Things that need to be fixed in the house. Things I want to do in the house. Trust me, I am AWESOME at making lists. The best thing about Day 1? They tell you not to do anything! Just make a list! That is totally doable.

To make the list, you are advised to walk through each room in the house, making notes on any trouble spots organized by room. Note each area or item that needs a good cleaning, a de-cluttering or a re-organization. Then, go through the list and pick 3-5 things from each room as main focus points.

That’s it!

Walking through our house produced nothing that was unexpected. Everything on my list are things that I was planning on tackling over the next month or two anyway, so we’re all good!

Here’s my list:

PORCH

  • Wash floor and windows
  • Remove junk
  • Get a shoe rack
  • Paint it white
  • New front door
  • New light fixture

KITCHEN

  • Shelves for over table
  • Organize junk drawer
  • Get trash into a cabinet
  • Organize drawers and cabinets
  • Curtain over sink
  • New light fixtures

BATHROOM

  • Paint
  • Find a new mirror
  • Change hardware
  • New light fixture
  • Get a new bathroom rug & shower curtain

DINING ROOM

  • Build table and benches
  • Shelves
  • Finish curtains
  • Find new shades

LIVING ROOM

  • Paint
  • Rug
  • Ottoman
  • Hang artwork behind couch
  • New shades

HALLWAY & STAIRWELL

  • Paint
  • Hang pictures
  • New light fixtures

OFFICE

  • Rug
  • Chair
  • Curtains/shades
  • Get pictures off of the floor and onto the walls
  • New light fixture

SPARE BEDROOM

  • Make it more like a bedroom and less like storage
  • New lights

OUR BEDROOM

  • New dresser for Jesse
  • Rug
  • Paint
  • Space heater
  • Hang things on walls
  • New sheets
  • New light fixture

The awesome thing about this list is that every item on it is doable, just not in the month of January. These are all things that need to get done, at some point or another. The crossed-out items will have to wait until time, money, and weather allow, but everything else? I think I can do it!

The rooms I’m the most focused on are the living room and the bedroom. The office, if I have to, is completely off the list. Same goes for the spare bedroom (the only person who has been sleeping over is Jess, and she’s all about our couch). Now all I need is a little bit of motivation and a whole bunch of beer.

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Long Time No See

I wish I could say that, after being in the house for a month (already!), that we have made huge strides toward getting the place set up and ready to go.

But, let’s be honest. We are lazy. And we like hanging out and doing things that don’t involve a lot of work. Like drinking beer. And taking walks to downtown Maynard. And watching Pretty Little Liars. Even Jesse admits addiction to this show. It seriously cut into our unpacking/cleaning/painting time this weekend.

We have made a little progress though! We have:

  • Finished painting the dining room
  • Finished painting the kitchen
  • Sealed around the thing where the electrical comes into the house (I’m not sure what the technical name for this is…)
  • Filled in a hole in the field stone foundation that apparently a mouse had found its way through
  • Filled in ANOTHER hole in the BOTTOM of the field stone foundation that Crafty Mouse had chewed his way through AFTER digging about three feet underground (why Bean hasn’t killed this sucker is beyond me…)
  • Discovered that the fridge was leaking and, with the help of my dad, stopped it from leaking

 

When I first look at that list, I am a little disappointed that we haven’t gotten more done. I get really overwhelmed on the weekends and think that we should be doing so much more, but then I step back and I sort of like the slow progress of everything. We’re waiting for items that we really like. We’re waiting for everything to settle in. We’re waiting to see what we really want, and not what the internet tells us we should want. We did just buy this house a month ago, and while a month seems like a long time, it’s not. Our weekends are pretty busy! We’ve taken day trips to Portsmouth, NH. We’ve come back to the Fitchburg/Leominster area to pick up our veggies, hang out with my parents, and check out flea markets. We spend afternoons hanging out with Allen and Robin and their Most Adorable Child. We eat ice cream. We watch Pretty Little Liars. I make soup.

So while we’re not super fast at getting things done, I think the stuff we have done is starting to make the place feel like home.

Oh, you want pictures of progress? Ok! Don’t mind the crappy iPhone pictures… I can’t find the power cord to my computer monitor. Or, I haven’t really looked for it. Whatever.

The kitchen! I love the colors. LOVE. The backsplash looks awesome, and I’m so happy that we painted rather than tiled for now. It makes it so easy to change if we should get bored (ha, we’re too lazy to get bored). For paint, we used Behr Ultra Premium Plus in colors I cannot remember the name of right now (but will update when I can find the chips). The trim was already painted, and could probably use a touch-up, but that’s for another day (month? year?). I originally wanted to get rid of the grey laminate counter tops, but with the new color scheme, I can totally deal with them for another few years. They don’t look half bad, and they’re super easy to keep clean (aka they hide everything). I also originally thought I would want to paint the cabinets eventually (I’ve seen so many beautiful kitchens with painted cabinets), but I think they look great now. It’s amazing what removing a little yellow can do. This was the before (crappy pictures from Zillow, which still has our real estate listing for some reason):

I am SO GLAD the yellow is gone! The colors in the kitchen now look GREAT with our awesome dining room:

Painting the dining room was a trying experience. Covering white walls with dark blue paint is not the easiest  thing in the world. It took us four coats in places, and a couple of spots still need to be touched up (including that taped-off pipe that I haven’t started on yet). The color we chose was Deep Blue Sea by Behr, and these pictures really don’t do it justice. In the sun, it almost takes on a blue-green color and it looks so much brighter (or as bright) as we were expecting. The room itself is obviously not done. The chandelier NEEDS to go, but we haven’t really looked for a new one yet, and aren’t quite sure what we want. The round table will eventually (before Thanksgiving I hope!) be replaced with a farmhouse table that we’re going to build ourselves. There are a ton of pictures I want to get up on the walls after I paint their frames white, and I would love to get some shelving up too. Maybe next weekend. Or while Jesse is drugged out from his wisdom teeth removal. He’ll wake up and EVERYTHING will be painted grey. He’ll love it.

So! That’s it for now. In reality, it’ll be another month before another post, because that’s the rate we’re moving. This week, I plan on finding the (a) power cord for my computer so I can take real pictures of the house, painting some frames, and maybe narrowing down some chandelier choices. In reality, we will probably finish the first season of Pretty Little Liars and make a good dent in the second. At least we’re being honest with ourselves.

Indecisiveness

Jesse and I have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same music, movies and TV shows (I know he likes Dance Moms and Teen Mom. He just won’t admit it). Aside from his aversion to certain vegetables, we like a lot of the same food. We both enjoy being outdoors, aren’t particularly keen on the beach, and like long drives. We have similar temperaments most of the time, and are pretty much equal on the lazy scale. But. The one thing we have in common that is actually detrimental (not to our relationship, but maybe to other things) is our indecisiveness.

We are  incredibly indecisive. I don’t want to make a decision because I want to make sure that Jesse is happy/comfortable/whatever, and I generally don’t care what we do/where we eat/who we hang out with. I think he feels the same way toward me. Most of the time, we go back and forth for what feels like forever with things like, “What do you want to do?” “Doesn’t matter to me, what do you want to do?” “Well, I decided last time, so you should decide.” “No, I’m pretty sure I decided last time.” “No, I gave you two choices and you picked one, so that’s pretty much like I decided.” And so on.

Normally, one of us eventually makes a decision and we get on with our lives. After all, what we eat for dinner is not a dire decision. However, this home stuff?

We’re useless.

The past two weeks have been a lot of me showing Jesse paint chips, and him saying “Those shades of grey look the same to me.” I have to explain to him that one is a  cool grey and one is a  warm grey and they are, in fact, very different. He shrugs, points at one, and I come back with, “Do you actually like that one? Or are you just picking because I’m making you?” and he grins and walks away.

We do have some ideas, and some of them we will hopefully start putting into motion this weekend. We agreed that the dining room will most definitely be a shade of navy blue, and we have even narrowed it down to two choices. Jesse likes Planetarium, mostly because of the name. I don’t really care, because I think they’ll both look good, albeit slight different, once they get up on the walls. The only thing I am slightly worried about is the gigantic hole in the plaster where the thermostat is “attached”. I think we’re going to have to patch the plaster, which is going to take some time away from actually getting the room painted. BUT, we want to do it right, so we should probably do that. [Edit: Since I started to draft this, we bought plaster and patching mesh, pulled the thermostat off the wall, and you know what? The “gigantic” hole is only about 2″ x 1″ and there is plenty of lathe for the plaster to grip onto. This means we can return the $8 patch and get away with a little bit of plaster! Go us!]

A navy dining room for inspiration:

The other area that we have mostly decided on is that the major walls in the kitchen are going to be grey. I believe we have even decided on a shade, and I think it’ll look great. What we haven’t decided on, and this is all my fault, is what to do with the backsplash. Originally, I wanted to tile the backsplash with white subway tiles and charcoal grout. Looking at the pictures of the kitchen before we moved in, I thought that subway tile would be too large for the backsplash area, and maybe we should parse it down a little. Use the smaller subway tiles instead. Jesse agreed that this would look nice. Then I panicked a bit because 1) we’ve never tiled anything before and 2) what if we want to replace the counter tops? Will all of our tiling have gone to waste? So I concluded that we should just paint the backsplash, and we agreed on an awesome teal color.

Then last night, I saw a Reader Redesign on Young House Love with a tiled backsplash that made me swoon a little. Maybe we should tile the backsplash. Maybe we should learn to tile. It’s not that hard, and I’m pretty sure some friends of ours own a wet saw. On top of this, I got realistic with myself. We are not going to be able to afford to put in new countertops for quite some time (years maybe), and frankly, I’m not sure I really want to just yet. Sure, we have pretty average looking laminate counter tops, but they’re incredibly easy to take care of and, because they’re grey, go with everything. They don’t look that bad. Really. What this does mean, though, is that the time we spent deciding on paint colors has to be re-spent on picking out tiles. White? Teal? Something else? Can we actually do this? And measuring for tile requires a lot more calculating and forethought than measuring for paint (1 can. done.). After looking at tiles, I think we’re swaying back toward painting, but the decision won’t be made until we leave Home Depot with either a quart of paint or a box of tile. And then it has to stay made for awhile, because I’m sure as hell not painting and then tiling.

Then there is the living room. A few days ago, we came up with the idea of painting the walls white and the ceiling… some other color. I want to keep it relatively low-key since the dining room is going to be pretty intense. But then I saw a picture of a lime-ish green ceiling and I really liked it. Totally doable. It would totally match our curtains. It would look so good.

Maybe something like this, but not carried down onto the walls? Or maybe carried down onto the walls?:

And, guys, that’s just downstairs.

People keep telling me that this doesn’t have to be done all at once, and I realize this. We have thirty years (and longer!) to get everything taken care of, and once it’s done, it can be changed. We can re-paint if we want! Yes, it requires more work, but it can be done! What I do want, though, is to have everything downstairs at least painted relatively soon because, honestly, the place doesn’t feel like home yet. We don’t have any of our pictures or prints or band posters on the wall, and it makes the place feel pretty sterile (that, and the eggshell-colored walls in every room). The neutral creme in ever room has. to. go.

We just need to get off our asses and make decisions.

P.S. Congrats to our friends Jocelyn and Jeff for closing on their Housey Home and successfully ripping down the World’s Ugliest Wallpaper! Good job, guys 🙂