Thinking Outside the Box, er, Closet

The other day I ran across this post and I immediately liked the idea of a utility closet…except I don’t have a closet to use. This house has limited closet space – an entry closet, a linen closet, a bedroom closet, and then a closet upstairs that gets shared between two bedrooms. I’ve briefly considered using the upstairs closet but it has a slanted wall which would not be so great for a pegboard.

Then I started trying to think “outside the closet” (something I don’t excel at). I considered putting a set-up like this in the front entry way. We don’t use it as an entry way and it already contains hubby’s dresser, so why not a utility set-up. But I didn’t really like the idea of having that pegboard hanging in sight of our living room. I would always see it when I was sitting on the loveseat. Then I thought I could build a cabinet around the pegboard – that would look less cluttered. I still wasn’t sold on the idea of having it in the entry way though.

Then I thought of the dining room. I currently have a shelf set up where I keep a file box for filing mail and a drawer set for tape, envelopes, stamps, bills to pay, etc. I could get a cabinet of drawers to put there and easily incorporate the office supplies already in the dining room. I could build a cupboard around the pegboard and on the front of the pegboard I could put a white board and/or a cork board for notes and what-not. Hmmmm, now I might be on to something…

I’m still mulling this over, trying to decide how I want to do this. I would still really rather have it in a closet but there just isn’t one available so I’m going to have to improvise. Another option is to put it in the basement, though that would be a little inconvenient. Has anyone else done a project like this? Where did you put the “closet”?

Red, Yellow, Blue, or Green?

I’m getting the itch to paint again (why, I’m not sure…). Thus far, I’ve only painted the living room and the dining room. I started on one of the walls for the upstairs stairwell but haven’t finished it yet. I painted one wall the same blue that’s in the living room and dining room but now I’m thinking I want to paint it white. I’ve also been trying to pick colors for the rest of the house. I walked out of Home Depot with a large stack of paint chips the other day. It would appear that I lean towards blues and greens…
Paint chips photo DSC08731.jpg
So many colors to choose from

The paint chips often look very different at home than they do in the store so I can usually quickly eliminate a few. I’ve had a bunch of paint chips sitting on the coffee table for a couple weeks and occasionally I take a look at them. I look at them all sorts of lighting – direct and indirect sunlight, daytime, nighttime, on cloudy days, in a dark shadowy corner of the room, next to the window. That helps me narrow down the colors a bit more. Sometimes I really like a particular color at first but don’t like it nearly as much a bit later.

Paint chips photo DSC08738.jpg
Narrowing down the options

After I narrow down some options, I ask for hubby’s input. I pick the general color I want in a room (navy blue, light green, cream, etc.) then ask his opinion. He gives his input and I adjust the options accordingly.

Thus far, I’ve come up with the general colors I want to use for our bedroom, my office, and the upstairs hallway. I still can’t decide what color I want to paint the kitchen and whether or not I’m going to paint the bathroom. I’m sort of liking the green that’s in there and it goes well with the blue in the living room (you can see the bathroom walls from the living room). Perhaps I’ll paint the trim white and leave the green… We shall see.

Before we go, here’s a snapshot of the view out my office the other morning:
Bird feeder turned deer feeder photo DSC08739.jpg

This and That in June

There’s not much to report in the way of DIY work. We’ve mostly been working and trying to keep up with mowing the lawn between rainy days. We had a very rare week of our schedules matching up – hubby and I were both on day shifts, for an entire week. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. It was great! I’ve been doing some gardening and we’ve gone out hiking a few times. We’ve hiked on local hiking trails and visit a local state park. I started painting the stairwell going upstairs but haven’t finished it yet. Here are some photos from the last few weeks. There are some photos of our property and some from our hiking trips (and a couple pictures from the local zoo). Enjoy!

Front garden photo DSC08454.jpg
The front garden – Poppies and Hostas in the front, Bleeding Hearts in the back

One plant, two colors photo DSC08455.jpg
A surprise: This plant has white AND orange flowers

Japanese Spirea photo DSC08461.jpg
One of the (overgrown) Japanese Spirea bushes by the front steps

Yellow Lady's Slipper! photo DSC08441.jpg
Yellow Lady’s Slipper plant

Hiking trail photo DSC08425.jpg
One of the trails we’ve been hiking on

Collie taking a hiking break photo DSC08409.jpg
Our dog taking a break from hiking

Another view photo DSC08387.jpg
The view from partway up the trail

Cotton Topped Tamarin photo DSC08296.jpg
A Cotton-Top Tamarin at our local zoo. My favorite kind of monkey.

Straw Bat photo DSC08307.jpg
Straw Bats at the local zoo. I’m so glad these bats are not native to this area.

Almost night time photo DSC08248.jpg
Almost night time

My woods photo DSC08231.jpg
Some of my woods

Creek photo DSC08222.jpg
The creek on my property

Sunset in the country photo DSC08215.jpg
Sunset in the country

Sunset in the country photo DSC08198.jpg
Same sunset

Waterfalls at the state park photo DSC08178.jpg
Waterfalls at a nearby state park

At a state park photo DSC08105.jpg
View of part of a nearby state park

Living Room Before and After Photos

As I previously mentioned, I have the living room painted (save for a bit of touch-up work.  Here are the before and after pictures.

Living Room - Before photo DSC08010.jpg

Living Room - Before photo DSC08011.jpg
Another before photo

Living Room - After photo DSC08075.jpg
And after!

Painting the living room and dining room photo DSC08074.jpg
Partway done.

Painting the living room and dining room photo DSC08074.jpg
Another “in progress” picture

I’m quite happy with the new paint job. It brightens up the room quite a lot and is so much more “us”. I’ll have to get a daylight photo sometime. I painted the archway between the living room and dining room blue as well. Hubby thought it looked better white. I think it looks better blue. I’m still finishing up the painting in the “hallway” – I just have one more coat around a few edges and then we can put the trim back up. I still have some touch-up work to do in the living room and dining room and the window frames need a new coat of paint. The stairwell heading upstairs is still sage green and I’m going to paint it blue. The stairs are currently painted a brownish-maroon. I think I will paint the horizontal parts blue and the backs of the stairs white. At some point we plan to put a carpet runner on the stairs for some cushion.

A New Coat of Paint (or Two)

Last week’s project was painting the living room and dining room. As you may have seen in other posts, the living room and dining room were all a dreary sage green and the living room had brown curtains. Drab and dull and not my speed. I wanted to brighten up the place and ultimately ended up decided to paint three walls in each room white (Glidden White on White) and the fourth wall Caribbean Blue (another Glidden color). I wanted a bright color but the area just seemed too small to paint all the walls the bright blue and I didn’t want the entire room white. The area is much brighter now and I love the color choices! I still have a bit of touch-up work to do, the “hallway” downstairs needs another coat and some trim work, and the upstairs stairwell needs to be painted. The window trim in both rooms needs re-painting as well.

Other plans for the living room and dining room include getting new curtains (that aren’t brown), a new (at least to us) couch, and possibly other new furniture pieces if I find something that catches my eye.

I have yet to have a sunny day where I’ve had a chance to take a good pictures of the new look so for now you’ll have to use your imagination. We’ve had an exceptionally rainy/wet spring here and we seem to average about one sunny and warm day followed by five rainy, cloudy, cold days. Once I have a sunny day and five minutes, I’ll take a few pictures and get them posted for you to see.

Organizing Under the Kitchen Sink

When we moved in our cleaners, garbage bags, and similar items just got stuck in a tote and shoved under the kitchen sink to get them out of the way. The other night I decided to organize things so we didn’t have to dig for whatever cleaner we needed. The base of the cabinet was lined with an old dirty piece of linoleum.
Under the Sink - Before photo DSC07882.jpg
The before picture.

I removed the linoleum. Underneath it didn’t look a lot better.
Under the Skin - Before photo DSC07883.jpg
Under the sink, with the linoleum removed

I cleaned up the floor of the cabinet. Then I placed peel-and-stick tiles in the cabinet so there would be a clean, smooth surface in there that would be easy to clean up. Our kitchen floor has two layers of peel-and-stick tile and the extras from both layers were left here by the previous owners. I used some in the bathroom vanity in a project very similar to this one.
Under the Sink - with new tile photo DSC07884.jpg
Fresh, clean tile

Then I started putting everything back in the cabinet. It always takes me a few tries to get things arranged the way I like them. I’m not one of those people who figures out the arrangement in my head and then places everything. I have to actually put the stuff in the cupboard and see it there and then I can modify as needed.
Under the Sink - all organized photo DSC07885.jpg
All organized

I used our dish drainer to hold come of the cleaners and the roll of garbage bags is in the silverware holder in the dish drainer. We have a dishwasher at this house (yay!) so we won’t be using the dish rack but I didn’t want to get rid of it. The cleaners and items we use most frequently are at the front of the cabinet. Refill containers and empty containers to use for soapy water are at the back of the cabinet.

Under the Sink - a close-up photo DSC07886.jpg
Close-up of the dish drainer

The little clear organize to the left is actually an organizer that is designed to stick to the fridge. It doesn’t really work on our fridge here because of its location but it works well for holding sponges, gloves, and similar items.

I also considered using a tension rod to hang the bottles of cleaners on but I didn’t know where one was and I didn’t want to dig through boxes for it so I skipped using it. I can always go back and put one or two in later if I don’t like how this is working.

Welcome to Our House

Welcome to our home!  We’ve been in our new house nearly a month now.  All the “big stuff” is unpacked but there are still many boxes stacked in the garage.   We are now living in my hometown but moved back here from out of state.  Coordinating work schedules to get here to look at houses was a challenge and on our only available day there was a snowstorm.  We braved the weather and made it safely to our new hometown, met up with the realtor, and started looked at houses.  We looked at four houses in total.  Before we ever looked at the “little red house”, I knew it was the house for us.  I actually liked it less after I saw it in person, but I did still like it.  Negotiating with the sellers was a long, frustrating process, but we prevailed!

ourhouse (1)
Our first look at what was to become our new home

ourhouse (5)
The land. I wonder what we’ll find when the snow melts?

ourhouse (11)
A sky blue kitchen? I see some painting in our future.

ourhouse (37)
And a small, very bright green bathroom? More painting to be done.

ourhouse (32)
A nice bright basement, complete with a somewhat new washer and dryer.

ourhouse (12)
The sage green living room. More painting to do…

The area received many snowstorms between the time we looked at it and the time we moved in.  We were moving at the end of April and I had high hopes the snow would be gone when we moved in.  No such luck…record snowfall occurred in April and hubby had to spend the days leading up to our arrival chipping ice and moving snow (he moved to our new town a few weeks before I did so he could start his new job; I stayed behind to pack up the house).  The house had been vacant most or all of the winter so there was plenty of snow to move off the sidewalk so we could actually haul our boxes into the house.

Here we are on the day we moved in. Check out all that snow…at the end of April.

The house and garage from out on our property. The snow out behind the house was knee-deep.

Since our move-in date we’ve done assorted little projects and I’ve taken plenty of pictures. Before we go, here’s a picture of our house…after the snow finally melted.

The snow is finally gone!