Not Martha

half way to a new fence

On Monday some nice people came and ripped down our falling-over fence and put in a whole bunch of tall straight posts. They all looked like they play in bands or bartend at night and they talked about The Avengers and how sugar leads to diabetes. I sort of wanted to invite them all over for a cookout next week. On Friday more people will come and put in the rest of the fence. I cannot wait. We saved up a long time to have the fence rebuilt and we moved some of it and made bits higher and chose a decorative top so that when we sit on our deck our main view will no longer be of the back of our neighbors cars. Besides one of us holding up a measuring tape while the other person pretends to lounge on the deck we don’t have much of a way to envision the result, so I’m nervous. I hope this is one hell of a fence.

The vines we grow to screen in our deck grew well this year but they’re already fading. Next year we’re going to plant more Cup and Saucer vines, they’re fighters.

· comments [5] · 08-9-2012 · categories:the home ·

links: the home

I have $150 to spend on my patio/deck garden in Seattle. What should I plant and how should I do it? | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great suggestions for plants that will grow well in this climate.

Sleep Better: Separate Covers for Blanket-Hog Partners – GOOD. I think we will adopt this side-by-side blanket arrangement for the colder months, Scott keeps letting all the cold air rush under the covers!

Cool Tools – Nest Learning Thermostat. I recently found myself giving this thermostat some serious consideration.

Design Crush » Light ‘n Go Bonfire Log.

· comments [10] · 07-19-2012 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

Vanessa Bruno’s Stacked Paper Lanterns – Remodelista.

swissmiss | Ideapaint CLEAR. Paint that lets you turn any surface into a whiteboard.

How-To: Cityscape Stenciled Canvas Wall Art blog.

Paint-Dipped and Lovely – Curated by Summer Robertson | kirtsy. A collection on Kirtsy.

Slow and Steady but Mostly Just Slow. « Manhattan Nest. I love what Daniel has done to his apartment, but I’m also bookmarking this to note that that Enje shades are back at Ikea!

Dewit Design Camp: NOLA Recap – Blog – AB Chao. These pictures from the NOLA camp make me so very excited for the one coming up here in Seattle!

Hold On Tight, An Adjustable Bookshelf Concept seen at Laughing Squid. I want one of these for my cookbooks.

· comments [0] · 05-22-2012 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

What is the difference in quality between Home Depot/Lowe’s porcelain tile and that from a specialty tile store? | Ask MetaFilter.

Flushmount Lighting Fixtures | Making it Lovely. “This is my least favorite category of ceiling lighting, but often in our homes, flushmounts are the only option that will work.” As a lady with 8 foot ceilings I highly appreciate this list.

The Brick House, paint dipped cord wrapped table legs. Simple and lovely.

Propagating Rosemary at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm.

· comments [2] · 05-8-2012 · categories:links · the home ·

Dewit Design Camp coming to Seattle

Dewit Design Camp

Yessss! Super lady AB Chao is bringing her Dewit Design Camp to Seattle in September 15th and 16th. The camp is, I’m just going to quote right from her site here: “A two-day workshop with interior stylist AB Chao, where you’ll learn everything from design basics to magazine-worthy styling.” Which I need, badly. There are rooms in my house I’ve put off decorating for real because I walk in and look around and I’m gripped by the overwhelming sense of just how much I don’t know how to make a room look pretty despite all the time I’ve put in looking at design blogs and Pinterest boards. The class is going to be awesome, sign up soon because it’s also going to be small! You can read more about it, see the Q&A and sign up for the Seattle class right here.

AB Chao is bringing the Dewit Design Camp to a whole lot of cities: New Orleans in May, Austin in June, San Francisco in July, and NYC in October (what a lovely time to be there, I’m officially jealous).

disclosure: I’m getting a discount on the price of the class in exchange for helping spread the word to all of you lovely people.

· comments [3] · 03-19-2012 · categories:seattle · the home ·

links: the home

DIY vertical garden tool from flora grubb | Design*Sponge. I love this.

Tempaper, Self Adhesive, Repositionable, Temporary Wallpaper. Via Fab.

swissmiss | Polaboy. A giant photo in a frame, I need this.

jk jk: DIY: Nail and String Letters. I love this! Via Petite Elefant over at Pinterest.

From Candlestick to Succulent Garden: How to Make Mini Color-Dipped Planters! » Curbly.

Accenting Walls with Temporary Wallpaper and Fabric « Real Estate News & Tips.

Cleaning a Mercury Spill – TodaysMama. How to deal when you break a CFL bulb.

Little Green Notebook: Bedroom. How to hang really big artwork, via Craftzine.

· comments [4] · 02-16-2012 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

Twig & Thistle » Curtain Trick!. She used a mighty magnet as a curtain stopper, smart!

string art – wise craft. I’ve been lucky enough to see this in person and it’s stunning!

Plantgasm – Ideal Office Plants 2: Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’. I need me a Peace Lily.

Pendant Light Cord :: NUD. Hey, nice cords.

· comments [8] · 11-10-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

The Calming Bedroom Makeover (a sponored post)

You know what is incredibly satisfying in the midst of dealing with a messy house due to a water leak needing repair? Redoing a room that is completely under your own control. We recently finished getting our bedroom in order (it took us, um, a long time). And know what? I think I finally understand what people mean when they refer to a room as a sanctuary. I keep wandering into the bedroom to take one last peek. Yay for new and more organized things.

While the room might be my sanctuary now it’s a very small sanctuary. The room barely fits our king sized bed (which I refuse to give up, don’t even suggest it) and because the window faces a neighbor’s house which sits higher on the hill above us it can also feel very dark even when the sun is shining brightly.

And before you say it let me say it, I know we need art above the bed. But we are struggling to find something big that we like and that won’t potentially fall on our heads. Did you know we have earthquakes here? We have earthquakes here. I’m afraid of earthquakes. Or, rather, big heavy things falling on my head while I’m sleeping because of earthquakes.

Because the room is so small I thought it was very important to avoid filling the room with unnatural materials whenever possible to keep the air quality in the space as good as I could. When we moved into our house we painted all the walls and ceilings with zero-VOC paint. We we decided our all white walls were good for keeping the room bright, but we really needed some color to make the room seem more intentional? Grown up? Yolo Colorhouse to the rescue. They make great colors.

Know what I’m not so good at? Making decisions. Going through the colors of Yolo Colorhouse paint options was so much fun I kept hanging more and more swatches on the wall, as you can see above. Scott and I went back and forth on what color to paint the wall. I originally wanted something dark and dramatic but he pointed out that the winters here are so dark that a dark wall might appear darker than I intended. Then we thought maybe a bright blue? But we just aren’t blue people. We wove our way through yellows, back to red for a moment, then Scott suggested we go with a gray that we could easily accent with different colors as we wished. Good thinking, sir. The paint is a cool gray and it looks richer than you might think of when you envision “gray”. We used Water .03 which is actually a blue but in our room it appears gray. I was so glad to get a few of Yolo’s painted posters that we hung on the wall, it showed us exactly how the paint color was going to act under the different light conditions throughout the day.

We tried to be conscious of the environment when we were painting. We bravely decided to skip the plastic tarp and use a canvas one instead, though we did put down a layer of cardboard underneath and used another bit of cardboard to hold the can of paint because, well, I’m clumsy. We gathered rollers from previous paint jobs, my favorite short handled edging brush and a smaller craft paint brush that I use to neaten up my atrociously crooked edges.

We managed not to spill anything! We also used a paint roller tray made from recycled plastic and bought some waste paint hardener. Waist paint hardener is like magic, it soaks up your leftover paint making it into solid so when you dispose of it it won’t leak. Just a note, Yolo paint is available at some Lowe’s stores. They offer all the colors that Yolo makes, we bought ours at the Renton store here in the Seattle area.

When we were ready to open the can of paint we found we didn’t have a stir stick, so we ended up using this old wooden fork we had in the kitchen.

I was all ready to buy the lowest profile bed frame I could find and DIY a headboard and some floating bedside tables in the little space that remained on either side of the bed. We have about 16 inches on either side of the bed and even the bedside tables I could find that are meant for tiny spaces were about 20 inches wide. Even if we could have found one I felt like it would have taken up a bit more visual space than I wanted to give up. That and I’m awfully clumsy so avoiding having yet one more thing I could stub my toe on made sense. I had plans for installing picture ledges on either side of the bed that would be just enough to hold a glass of water, a book and an iPhone and charger. I was pretty excited about it. But then we found a bed frame that has a built in shelf behind the headboard. Problem solved! Additionally it sits fairly low to the ground meaning that the room doesn’t feel filled with a tall bed.

I put these soft woven felt baskets next to the bed to hold extra pillows and iPhone cords. I cannot stub my toe on these no matter how hard I try. It’s basket love.

We have this Muppet-like shag rug at the foot of the bed. It makes my toes warm in the morning as well as reminding me to take my shoes off before I enter the room (a bad habit of mine). I find wool itchy (sad!) so I was happy to find this one made of cotton jersey strips. I’m honestly surprised at how well the rug seems to anchor the room and make it seem more welcoming. I see many more area rugs in my future.

To make this yellow and gray pillow that is out of focus in the photo above (sorry, apparently I didn’t take a better shot) I used silhouettes of our profiles cut out of wool felt. I was hoping it would look like that faces/vase optical illusion but instead it looks like we are about to kiss. This wasn’t my intention but I think it’s sort of cute.

The room is too small to hold a dresser with a top so I had to find some way to store my jewelry where it was organized and I could find it. I used these large cork tiles and t-pins from an office supply store to separate and hold everything. If I get more I can simply add some pins.

It’s great to be able to grab a pair of earrings and not have to spent a few moments untangling them. It’s also great to have a spot where I can put my wedding ring and do a quick check to make sure it’s there. Did I mention I lose things easily? I lose things easily.

What else? We have simple white cotton bedding and curtains to keep the space bright and calm and easy to accessorize should I find myself getting tired of yellow. We added a larger mirror and it makes a huge difference when I’m heading out and need to get a glance at my outfit. I’ve noticed that the sound in the room is softer, I think with the addition of longer curtains, a very dense rug and maybe even the yarn around the lamp sound is deadened a bit. It makes for a very “ahh” sort of feeling when you enter the room.

And last, the overhead light. I really want one of those Random string lamps but cannot afford one. I’ve seen them DIYed and figured this was the perfect time to try it out. And let’s just say I learned some lessons in the course of not getting this one right at all. It mostly fell apart when I deflated the small yoga ball I used as a form, there wasn’t nearly as much yarn in the skein I bought as I thought there would be, and I think my idea of setting it over a light fixture that is set in the ceiling is entirely the wrong way to go. You can’t tell from the photos but this ball is seriously lopsided. But, I did learn that as long as the light fixture is airy like this it doesn’t crowd the room as much as I’d feared, and it softens the room a bit, distracting you from the boxy shape that it is.

You will be hearing more about the string light fixture, at least once I have conquered it.

Huge thanks to Yolo Colorhouse for helping to transform my bedroom!

· comments [66] · 10-18-2011 · categories:the home ·

epic quest to find matching flooring

my floors

Anybody have tips on where to look when you just need a little bit of matching laminate flooring? We could use the help.

Remember the water leak I had last month? We’re on our way to getting it fixed. In the mean time our house with all of it’s stuff moved out of some rooms and into others means we look half hoarder and half squatter around here. It’s been so long that we have come to refer to it as This Is How We Live Now.

Unfortunately the water leak destroyed some of our laminate flooring. Said laminate flooring covers most of the upstairs and kitchen, the stairs down to the front door landing and the landing. It ties our tiny house together very nicely. The water only ruined about 12 boards and we could just replace those if only we could find matching laminate boards. We’ve been told by our very awesome contractors that there is a chance we could find old stock (apparently flooring companies change the colors every year or so, maybe so people like us have to buy all new floors?) but that we shouldn’t hold out hope. The thing is, if we do manage to find a box or two of our old color we could potentially avoid having half of the house ripped up. And I like our current flooring, more than the replacement colors we’ve gone to see so far. We’ve called the store that we know it came from (big box place, little they could do), we’ve Googled to death and have had no luck. I feel like this is a whole other world I know nothing about. So, anybody know of a fantastic old stock or remnants flooring warehouse we might try? By any chance? Oh-I-hope-so please?

· comments [36] · 10-14-2011 · categories:the home ·

what I’ve learned so far from having a flooded house

About 24 hours after I got back from my trip to New York I was standing under streams of water coming from the ceiling of my sewing studio. The water was there because our hot water heater had failed rather dramatically, and the water was in streams because the flood control guy had poked a few dozen holes in the ceiling to let the water out. Our poor house with it’s surprisingly watertight foundation had been flooded from the inside. (Dramatic music queue here.) I got to make a phone call to a plumbing service where I actually opened by saying “Hello, I am having a plumbing emergency!” Happily the guy on the other end was way more in control than I was and talked me through the process of turning off the water to where it was leaking from.

As I type this all of our stuff is has been migrated into areas of the house that managed to avoid the deluge. I cannot get to my television or the computer that holds most of my files, or to the window for that reason. Our bathroom sink is on the back porch. Startlingly large portions of our Pergo is in a trash dump somewhere. The picture above is the view over my laptop looking at the contents of my office closet that are currently in hoarder-like piles in the dining room. Industrial strength dehumidifiers, blowers (they look like giant hair dryers) and heaters are chugging away for three to seven days to dry out all the soaked bits of wood and drywall that I now know what look like from the inside. Our living room carpet ripples like water when you walk over it since it’s lifted by a cushion of hot air. Our office and bathroom are currently 125 degrees to dry out the layers of wood beneath the flooring. We have these many yellow tubes delivering hot dry air into the space above the ceiling and it looks incredibly creepy. If I could keep this around through Halloween I’d totally throw a party in this room.

But you know what? It could have been so much worse and we’ve kept in perspective. Drinking has certainly been involved. So far we’ve paired initial shock with tequila, waiting for the asbestos test with beers and the presence of giant heaters with chilled white wine on the deck. I’ve slept really well because we have white noise machines running on both floors of our house. It’s surprisingly exhausting having work people tinker around your house all day, waiting for this company to do X so that they can do Y. The other night we decided it was very late and we started getting ready for bed only to find it was 9:30 at night.

Here are a few things I’ve learned, or at least think I’ve learned, from this experience:

  • Tradespeople will try to help you if they can since they’ve seen this many times before, but there are limits to what they’re allowed to outright tell you. If they seem to be speaking carefully or in a code it’s because they are, so listen closely. One of our guys actually had to ask me the same question three times with his straight man comedy timing intact before I figured out what he was trying to communicate. (He was also a ringer for Paul Blackthorne and I expected he would pull out a hockey stock/wizard staff at any moment.)
  • Your homeowners insurance might cover the extra electricity used by all the machines that are drying out your house. Both our flood guy and our insurance lady let us know about this. Which is good because it’s taking a lot of power. As in, we turned on a fan the other day and our lights dipped. We had to unplug the stove (yay for the excuse to get take out!) to allow access to our only 220 outlet for the big heaters.
  • Don’t be afraid to push for more aesthetically pleasing solutions. Because I insisted that an overflow pipe run through the back wall of a closet instead of through the closet itself the flood guy was able to have a good view of what was going on with the flooring under our tub, and as a result we might not have to rip up a large portion of our bathroom floor to see under there. Also, resale value is a very legit argument. Also, nothing the previous homeowners had done will make any sense, brace yourselves.
  • You will suddenly become unsentimental. I have so much stuff! Where did this stuff come from? I think if I had a removal company come take it all away I wouldn’t miss it. Or much of it. I am seriously considering a move to minimalist after this. Or maybe just ruthless. We’ll see.

And so, wise and experienced people, have you had a big and inconvenient house disaster? What did you learn from it? School the rest of us so that we will be prepared!

· comments [46] · 09-16-2011 · categories:the home ·

links: the home

Dewit: Pillows – AB Chao. Simple instruction on throw pillows, what size, how many and where to put them.

FRÄCK Hack « Manhattan Nest. An adjustable bedside light, such a great idea.

Shift Space Design – Philadelphia, PA. I love these modern planters and yard accessories. They are expensive but so nice and clean looking.

Refreshing Vintage Wood The Brick House. A nice how-to with favorite products.

· comments [2] · 09-13-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

DIY – Concrete Countertops » Moore Blog Lots of step by step pictures. (Still, I’m intimidated.)

How To Make a Hanging Gutter Garden | Apartment Therapy. We have a small house with a sturdy deck but a small back yard and (forgive me) an ugly house next door. So our quest to find a way to screen it out inexpensively has led to vines or trailing plants. I might give pictures some day.

Top Secret « Manhattan Nest. Daniel leaves a note for the next tenants and one gets in touch, this story is so sweet. But, I take extra special note of this one point: “and we’ll also be doing some DIY projects of our own… starting with an oversized mirror that we’re turning into a chalkboard for the kitchen.” What a perfectly strong and flat surface to start with, so smart!

a little macramé | Design*Sponge. We have been searching for an affordable hanging pot for our String of Pearls plant for too long, it’s time to pull out the macramé.

How to Make Abstract Art DIY, at Oh Happy Day. They make it look so easy, maybe even I could do it!

Side Table to Lego Table {IKEA Hack} | Skip To My Lou. I’ve been wanting to do this to our coffee table, we have a Lego collection that needs more attention.

· comments [4] · 07-28-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

Potato Print Artwork DIY, at Oh Happy Day!. This is lovely and simple.

J-Me | Nest Wall Shoe Rack. Nice and compact.

When apartment-hunting, how can you tell if a place has good inter-unit sound insulation? | Ask MetaFilter. Knock on the laminate flooring that I own, may I never have to worry about this again. Then again, as I type this it’s 1:46 a.m. and I just heard my (otherwise very quiet) next door neighbor sneeze.

shelterrific » desk zen: footed aeriums. I want one of these.

shelterrific » kinda genius: painted foam core bookcase inserts. Instead of painting the bookcase itself, fake it with foam core. As somebody who hates commitment I salute this.

· comments [2] · 07-13-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

A DIY Freestanding Vertical Garden | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest.

Modern Parents Messy Kids: DIY Creativity Center (Toddler-Friendly & Baby-Proof). I like the use of the colorful plastic cups made to fit on the rail here, and the magazine rack to hold art papers.

Hack A Temporary Air Conditioner For Hot Summer Nights | Apartment Therapy Unplggd.

Outdoor Orbs Part II.How to Make a Birdfeeder From Glass Shades | The Art of Doing Stuff. So simple and so incredible looking!

shelterrific » everything you wanted to know about hammocks (but were afraid to ask)!.

The Brick House, DIY Terrarium.

· comments [3] · 06-29-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

links: the home

10 Modern Planters for Narrow Balconies Shopper’s Guide | Apartment Therapy New York. We have the last ones shown in this list, they work really well but I admit aren’t the most beautiful (but they were on sale and we needed ten of them!).

Ask a Clean Person: Spilled Nail Polish and Mysterious Smells | The Hairpin. I’m noting the recommendation for DampRid here, we have a finished basement where we spent lots of time and while it’s miraculously water tight (knock on foundation wood) it can be a bit too humid downstairs.

Use Black Paint to Hide TVs in Plain Sight | Apartment Therapy Unplggd.

before & after: paneled wood wall | Design*Sponge. I like the wood wall here but what I like even more is how the switch transformed the white banister into something much cleaner and modern looking.

Make Your Own Upholstered Bed in One Weekend at Big Box Detox, via Apartment Therapy.

Build a Patio: Notes from a DIY – DIY Life.

· comments [5] · 06-8-2011 · categories:links · the home ·