Laundry Room

Laundry room may be a bit of a stretch at the moment. Perhaps laundry corner is more appropriate? The house had a washer and dryer in the basement, but they didn’t work. The basement had flooded at some point and they were ruined in the flood. My washer and dryer were sold with the house, so I was out of luck. I’d have to buy new appliances. I decided to take advantage of the latest holiday sale and purchased a washer and dryer from Sears. Total cost, including delivery, was less than $700!

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The basement walls got a coat of white paint to brighten the space, and the floor was painted gray. Please excuse the dish rag curtain. Once the basement is spruced up I’ll invest in better window treatments LOL!

I’d like to turn this area into a proper laundry room with tile and cabinets, but the washer shares a wall with the Outhouse. Since I plan to turn the Outhouse into a half bath it makes sense to wait and renovate both at the same time.

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Over the weekend I checked out the Cedar Grove United Methodist community flea market in Parkton and scored a new laundry tub (with a nice faucet and hook up) for $15! Mine is covered in paint and has seen better days. I plan to install the new tub in the next few weeks. It was a beautiful day to ride around and check out the other sales and farmers markets in the neighborhood!

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When I purchased the house the basement had a cave cricket infestation. Apparently, these ugly and frightening creatures thrive in dark moist places and jump at their predators as a defense mechanism. Enter my basement, specifically the laundry tub drain and the area near the basement door.

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First day of renovations, I turned on the faucet to clean a paint brush and four of these suckers jumped out of the drain and into my face! I screamed bloody murder. At the time I didn’t even know what they were! *shudder* The crickets would migrate up to the kitchen drain, and it became a habit to wave my paint brush over any sink to avoid getting a face full of cricket.

Luckily the infestation was easily taken care of by spraying bug spray around the foundation. I also purchased a dehumidifier at Lowes to help rid the basement of moisture. By the time I moved in the cave crickets had been eradicated.

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The basement continues to be an ongoing project, and as the opportunity arises a little is getting done here and there. In the meantime, I get to enjoy my new washer and dryer!

Make it Work – 2nd Floor Bathroom Renovation

The second floor bathroom was a no-brainer. Gut it. The wall tile was yellow with age and had a giant crack running across most of the room. The floor tile was dingy and also had multiple cracks. Oh, and the pipes to the shower were rusted and didn’t work. Yup, this has to go…or so I thought.

My budget allowed me to renovate the kitchen and bathroom, but I’d have to make compromises for both. The other option was to renovate the kitchen, exactly how I wanted, and hold off on the bathroom. I chose to renovate the kitchen.

I was stuck with this. On the plus side, anything I do (including cleaning out the former owner’s toiletries) would be an improvement. I would have to channel Tim Gunn and, “make it work!”

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Rugs, shower curtain, medicine cabinet, wood toilet seat and the rest of the clutter was tossed. Luckily, the bathroom is right above the kitchen and the rusty pipes were replaced when the kitchen ceiling was ripped out. The wallpaper was removed and the wall patched. Finally, the room got a fresh coat of primer and paint.

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Even after a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint the bathroom still looked pretty rough. Something had to be done with the dingy wall and floor tile.

I looked into purchasing a Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing kit at Home Depot. The refinishing kit was a little pricey, and I’d have to purchase several to finish the bathroom. I also thought about hiring a company that does ceramic tile refinishing. I did this at my last house. It looked great, but cost $600.

Dilemma. Is it worth it to spend several hundred dollars on a bathroom I plan to gut in a year or two? I decided it wasn’t. I could use that money toward one of the many other things around the house that needed to be fixed.

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I painted the bathroom tile using white outdoor paint I had left over from my front porch. I figured if it holds up outside, why wouldn’t it work in the bathroom? Next, I traced the trim line using black floor paint to help break up all the white.

The floor tile was painted with a white floor paint, similar to what I used for the concrete basement floor. It made the cracks in the floor much less noticeable. Inspired by the ladies at Classy Clutter, I toyed around with the idea of stenciling a pattern on the floor. Since this is only temporary I decided not to, plus stenciling the uneven cracked floors would be a nightmare.

I kept the original light fixture over the sink, but painted it silver. The bulbs were swapped with large antique ones that I left uncovered. It gave off more light, plus it just looked cool. The hole from the medicine cabinet was covered up using a mirror purchased at Home Depot. 

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The paint I used was left over from other projects, so I ended up spending less than $50. It’s nothing fancy, but it got the job done and I don’t have to look at dingy tile for the next year!

Beach House Added to “The List”

This past spring, and most of the summer, has been all about landscaping and unfinished house projects. After a year of non-stop renovating it’s no surprise I’m feeling a little burned out. I was perusing the Young House Love blog (its awesome, check it out) and came across their post DIYing vs. Living In Your Home & Enjoying It. It was a good reminder that renovations don’t happen overnight, and sometimes you need to step back and take a break. A vacation was in order! I headed to Ocean City, Maryland for a few days of relaxation.

Does anyone else have a “vacation list?” I’m not referring to places you want to visit, but AFTER you come back, you have a list of things you want pertaining to said vacation. Usually this list is filled with terrible ideas that are financially unattainable.

After college I went to France and came back obsessed with buying a vespa. Turns out vespas are expensive, plus I live in Baltimore City so it probably would have been stolen within a week.

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I spent two weeks in Italy and had to have an espresso machine. Why? Who knows?! At the time I didn’t even drink coffee that much.

Earlier this year I spent three days in Deep Creek, Maryland and a chic cabin was added to the list. I think a rustic weekend getaway is a necessity, don’t you?

BTW, please feel free to share your vacation list…hopefully its as absurd and ridiculous as mine!

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After a week in Ocean City I’m adding beach house to “the list.” The condo I was staying at was within walking distance to Fenwick, Delaware and I would walk around the neighborhood several times a day. I had convinced myself (but apparently not my scale) that walking was enough to work off the Ocean City essentials…Thrasher’s fries, Dumser’s Ice cream, and Fisher’s Popcorn. So I would walk and drool over the beachfront houses.

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My favorite houses though were the tiny run down bungalows that would pop up every couple of blocks. These were more in my price range (HAHAHA!) and I would mentally fix up each and every one.

Clearly, it would need a new roof. What if the exterior was painted a gorgeous navy with white trim! Window boxes! Of course, it would look dreadful without them.

LOL, if only it was that easy…and also my reality.

In addition to planning my future beachfront development business, I sat on the beach and read a few books, which I’m embarrassed to say has been rare since I got cable and internet. I especially enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews’ Fixer Upper, a book “about one woman’s quest to redo an old house..”

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I felt like I was reading about my own renovation, except this one was funny and stress free. The main character, Dempsey Jo Killebrew even inherited hundreds of National Geographic magazines. If you’re looking for an entertaining beach read and like DIY this book is for you. I liked it so much I also read a few of her other books featuring Weezie Foley and BeBe Loundermilk, a Savannah antique dealer and her best friend. These characters have a whole series and are entertaining reads. I tend to fall into a rut of chick lit and political thriller novels, so please share if you have any good book recommendations!

I’m back in town and vacation is officially over. I’m happy and relieved to report that landscaping is almost complete! Garden post coming soon!

DIY Botanical Print Wall Decor

This spring I’m seeing a lot of botanical designs, mostly as vintage inspired wall art. I love this trend as it adds pops of color to any room. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything vintage.etsy gnosispicturearchive

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hgtv photo by rachel whyte

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I decided to use this as inspiration for my own decor. Digging through the boxes of books I acquired with the house I discovered the Golden Nature Guide to Familiar American Wildflowers, published in 1950. The illustrations were perfect to create my own botanical wall décor.

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My kitchen nook has a very large plain white wall, and for months I had been debating what to put there. The colors in the botanical prints would pop against the white walls, but it is also a nice transition from the kitchen nook to the garden.

First, I did a little research to make sure I wasn’t ripping apart a rare or valuable book. Next, using a craft knife I cut away the binding to loosen and pull out the pages. I decided to group the prints together by color, and picked out my favorite blue, pink, and yellow/orange prints. I put them in black float frames purchased at Michael’s.

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I went back and forth if I should keep the descriptions of the flowers at the bottom of the page, or cut them off and just display the flower print. I decided to keep the descriptions for now. I kind of like that you can tell that the prints came from a guide book.

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The great thing about this is that I have hundreds of flowers prints leftover and with these frames I can switch out the prints anytime I feel like a change.

Door & Brass Hardware Restoration

The security door, front door and hardware looked like the rest of the house…rough. Structurally (aside from the crack in the front door) they were in good condition. Nothing a little patch and paint couldn’t fix.

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I wanted to keep and restore the original solid brass hardware. If I had to replace them, the new hardware would most likely be brass plated and wouldn’t come close to the same quality.

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I attempted to clean the hardware by polishing it with Brasso, but it didn’t make a bit of difference. The hardware would have to be professionally polished and lacquered. The hardware was removed and dropped off at Brassworks to be restored.

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In the meantime, the crack in the front door was patched and the entire door was given a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Exterior black paint in semi-gloss. The security door also got a fresh coat of Rust-Oleum gloss black paint.

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Brassworks was quick and did an amazing job! It looks brand new! Plus, it cost less than $250. If I had to buy new hardware, a door handle alone would have cost me that much! By salvaging the front and security door, and not buying new, I saved $2,000.

DIY Decorative Spheres

My love affair with ModPodge continues. Several months ago I used a box of stamps left behind for wall decor. If you missed the post, check it out here. I still had a lot of stamps left and was brainstorming creative ways I could use them.

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I decided to use the stamps to create decorative spheres. I purchased styrofoam balls at Michaels, and already had ModPodge left over from my other project.

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I applied the ModPodge directly on the styrofoam using a foam brush. Next, I placed the stamps in the desired pattern, smoothing out any wrinkles. I continued this until the styrofoam was covered.

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In addition to stamps, I decided to use maps I had found in some of the vintage National Geographic magazines. Create a travel theme! Don’t worry I still have plenty of vintage maps for other projects. I cut the maps into strips and glued them onto the styrofoam.

Once the glue dried, I covered each styrofoam ball with a second coat of ModPodge to seal it and give it a nice glossy shine.

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I scored this gorgeous vintage walnut bowl at Goodwill for $2! After a good cleaning with Dawn and Murphy’s Oil it looked brand new, and perfect for my decorative spheres.

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I’m glad the glue didn’t remove the ink on the postage stamps. I think its pretty cool that you can see what year they were mailed. Believe it or not, I still have stamps leftover. They are way too cool to just throw out so I have to come up with something. Any suggestions are welcome!

 

Unplugged

It’s finally happening! I’m getting cable and internet installed this weekend. Yes, you read that correctly. I haven’t had cable or internet for the past year. All my friends had the same reaction…OMG, how do you live?!

No longer will I have to fight for a table at the local coffeehouse. I can blog whenever I want, instead of furiously typing between loads of laundry at my parent’s house. LOL, I don’t have a washer/dryer either. Also on the list, but one thing at a time folks.

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You might be wondering, why did it take so long? Attempting to have cable and internet installed in a house that has never had it is an interesting process. It took a good two and a half months to clear up the confusion with the cable company.

Cable Company: Your address doesn’t exist in our system or map. Are you in a new development?

Me: No, it’s just a really old house that has never had service. Ever.

Cable Company: Really? Wow, well it will take several days to register your address in our system. Call back to schedule service.

I called back several days later to schedule and had the same exact conversation. I did get a little further the third time around as I was able to schedule an installment date. This was promptly cancelled one week later because my address doesn’t exist in the system. *sigh*

I eventually gave up calling and physically went to the cable company store to clear things up. I thought maybe, just maybe I would get better service in person. No such luck. It took another month of my following up with the store manager to FINALLY get my address registered and schedule an installment date.

I had the cable professionally pre-wired throughout the house, so all the cable company has to do is bring the wires from the pole into the house. Fingers crossed I’ll be on the couch binge watching Real Housewives episodes by this time tomorrow.