Let There be Light!

…and there was BETTER light!

My dad and step-mom came into town over the weekend to see our place to help us out with some projects.  My dad is kind of awesome (HI DAD!) and super handy and good with the problem solving necessary for old goofy houses.  Our project for the weekend was light fixtures.  Pretty much every light fixture in our house I want to replace, but I’ve never changed a hard-wired fixture before since I’ve only ever had apartments.  I figured I could learn how to do it through the power of You Tube, but it would be way easier to have someone here walking me through.

Sometimes I do actually make smart life choices.

The first light fixture we tackled was the family room ceiling fan which by far the most depressing of the 3.  We had also been unable to use the fan feature since the fixture was hanging out of the ceiling a good inch so we were not terribly confident in how well it was attached.  We also figured it would be the most difficult to deal with.

ceilingFanBefore

We were right.

The concern was that the electrical box in the ceiling would not actually be rated for ceiling fans.  The problem ended up being there was not actually an electric box in place.  Nope.  Instead there big ol’ screw in a ceiling joist that the fixture was hanging from.  Awesome.  I don’t actually have pictures of this step since I guess I was mildly in shock, but these are the pieces we pulled out:

ceilingFan1

WTF house?

The good news was that with the joist right there we had a really solid mounting surface.  I’m not really going to go into detail about what we did because it’s one of those things is not technically up to code (although still an improvement over what was there) so I don’t really want to encourage people.  But let’s be honest here, in an old home sometime you gotta do what you gotta do.

ceilingFan2

There was also a decent amount of ceiling damage that the previous medallion was covering. I hadn’t planned on putting a ceiling medallion in the family room, but at this point it seemed like the easiest solution and I was ok with it.

ceilingFan3

Better already.  At this point we could actually install the damn fan. Word of advice for old home owners, the hot and neutral wires may not be color-coded so you want to make sure which is which (our existing fan had the hot and neutral reversed… joy).  Everything else was following the instruction manual that came with the fan.  Putzy and annoying, but not ungodly difficult.

ceilingFanAfter

Ta-da! Much much better.  The light patterns from the water glass are a little crazy and it kind of turns into a disco in here when the fan is on so we’re going to try and find some more diffuse bulbs. This fan was also the last of its kind within 100+ miles of us.  I was scouring websites trying to find a ceiling with a some-what vintagey feel (nearly impossible) and finally found this one at Menards and had to drive out to Apple Valley to snag their last one on clearance.* It’s a Turn of the Century Cosmos 52″ fan in satin nickel.  The blades were faux birch on one side and silver on the other, so I just painted them white. It looks a little stark in the room at the moment so it may get another mini-facelift down the road.

The two other ceiling fixtures we tackled also had two more radically different mounting situations.

lrLightBefore

The living room was also lacking an electrical box AND there was what appeared to be a gas pipe (from when the house probably had gas lighting) jutting out of the hole. There was also a third random wire which in any sort of normal situation would have been the ground wire, but I think I’ve already established that we’re pretty far removed from normal in this house. (The picture make the wires look a frayed and scary, but they were actually in surprising good shape, just dusty)

lrLight2

Even though we were pretty sure the gas pipe was no longer connected to anything we didn’t want to mess with it so we went back to the hardware store (again) to get a different electrical box (technically an extender since it had an open back). We also had to saw a chunk out of the ceiling medallion to have it fit around the new electrical box that would be sticking out of the ceiling a bit.

Then we had to run to a hardware store (yet again) to get a 100 watt equivalent candelabra bulb** since the single bulb in the living room is kind of wussy and we wanted the bulb in before we finished assembling the fixture.

lrLightAfter

Voila! Matt was skeptical about the crazy mod MASKROS light in our fairly traditional (architecturally) home, but I think everyone was pretty impressed with the end result.

Fixture #3 was the entry light.  The existing light was this boring old (tiny) globe.

hallLightBefore

Not awful, but not so nice either.  Enter IKEA once again.  I loooove their VANADIN ceiling light.  Pretty simple, still interesting, cheap, and most definitely not a boob light.  It also has a vintagey vibe.  Win.

When we took this light down there was actually an electrical box in place.  WOOT! And color-coded hot/neutral wires!  There was even a ground wire! Craziness!  ….Only the electrical box wasn’t exactly attached to anything.  Luckily there were screw holes in the base of the VANADIN so we were still able to solidly attach that to the ceiling with drywall screws.

hallLightAfter

This one was hands down the easiest out of the three fixtures we tackled, but nothing was 100% as straightforward as it should have been so it took the whole weekend to change out three lights.  We also answered the slightly lesser asked question of “How many people does it take to change a light fixture.” Answer: 4 people, 2 days, and 5 trips to the hardware store.

 

* The lighting department guy is possibly my hero and also quite probably thinks I’m just slightly unhinged.  I called to make sure the store still had it and how much it was since the website didn’t list the price.  $80.  “I’LL BE THERE IN 20 MINUTES!” *click*

** The only 100 watt equivalent candelabra bulb we found was at Lowes and the closest one to us was in West St Paul.  Nearly every frickin’ road our GPS tried to direct us down was closed.  And then we went the wrong way on the expressway on our way home.  It was an adventure… or something.

Kitchen Reveal!

First house decorating success–the kitchen is DONE!  Mostly at least, I’m still looking for a new ceiling light and we plan to add some custom shelves into a corner, but all the major work is done!

Remember the kitchen before we moved in?

kitchen

Yeah… a little blah, a little drab, and then there’s that funky red radiator.

kitchen2

Also crappy faucet, ugly florescent bulb, and some pretty nasty counter tops. Oh, and like next to no storage and work space.

kitchenAfter3

Not anymore!  Now we have contrast, brightness, and a photo-bombing cat.

kitchenAfter5

Also storage, extra work space and a functioned mud room/shoe dumping ground.

kitchenAfter4

There’s still finishing work to be done–artwork and window treatments along with the lighting and shelves I mentioned before–but the paint and counter revamp have made a HUGE difference. The eagle-eyed among you may also have caught that we flipped the hinge side on the fridge.  This is, in theory, a pretty easy job but was made slightly annoying since our fridge is rather old so things did not unscrew well and the plastic caps that cover the unused holes just sort of crumbled when we tried to pull them out. Having your fridge door swing so it opens into your work area instead of cutting off your work area is extremely useful though.

50 Shades of White

If there are any wood-purists reading this, get your pearls ready. The first thing EVERYONE has said upon seeing this house was some variant of “omg look at all that wood!” Um well… get ready for some disappointment.

I’m painting the trim.

Commence clutching of pearls.

I know this is a very polarizing topic and I’m not going to change anyone’s mind, but here’s my thought process:

I’m a very firm believer of that if it’s yours you can do whatever you want to it to make you love it. Enjoy your space, your furniture, your whatever to the fullest. The wood trim just isn’t doing it for me. I think it works better with a more classic style and I’m very eclectic. The last couple apartments I’ve lived in have been from around the same time period and have had white trim. I personally think this is gorgeous in turn of the century homes. The trim is also not in nearly as good a shape as it looks form the general pictures. There’s a decent amount of damage, some missing quarter round, and assorted areas that just need some patching.  The trim in the kitchen/mud room is also completely different from the rest of the house and the dining room will need all new base boards after we rip the bookcases out.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the family room since the paneling is actually in really good shape so I don’t really want to paint that, but I still want to maintain continuity.

I know there will be plenty of people out there who think I’m doing a horrible thing (heck, I’m pretty sure my own mother is one of them), and that’s ok. We really all have to go with our own guts for our design choices because your home design isn’t really for anyone else but you. If you try and make every decision based around “the future home buyer” you’ll just go crazy.

ANYWAY

Do you know how frackin hard it is to choose a white paint? Hard. I could have just used an off-the-shelf white white, but I though that would be a little too stark, especially in an old home. But once you get away from pure white you get grey tints, yellow tints, blue tints…. basically every color of the rainbow tinted whites. This means your “white” can end up reading a little funky as the light changes.

Here’s the thing though, there’s no single solution for the “perfect white trim color.” Colors depend a lot on the environment they’re in—what’s the light like? What are the surrounding colors like? Yeah… the only thing to do is pick up a crap-ton of swatches and tape them up everywhere. I did do a little bit of googling to find out other people’s go-to trim colors (otherwise I’d be bringing home every single white swatch in the store…which I came close to doing anyway).

So if you’re trying to decide on a white trim color, here’s are what seem to be the top 5 go-to colors I found:

simplyWhiteBM

Benjamin Moore: Simply White

WhiteDoveBM

Benjamin Moore: White Dove

decoratorsWhiteBM

Benjamin Moore: Decorators White

cloudWhiteBM

Benjamin Moore: Cloud White

chantillyLaceBM

Benjamin Moore: Chantilly Lace

(Apparently designers/decorators really like Benjamin Moore…The nice thing though is that pretty much any paint place can color match to anything nowadays)

For the past few weeks I have had about 15 swatches (Benjamin Moore, Behr, Ralph Lauren… I just kind of hoarded white samples when I would walk by a paint display) taped to a shelf from a BILLY bookcase that I’ve moved from room to room and stared at. Eventually I hope to give our existing BILLYs an custom built-in look in the living so I want the trim color compliment them.  It doesn’t have to match exactly for my plans, but it can’t leave them looking dingy, so an ultra white is right out.

After 3 weeks of staring at the swatches in nearly every room and in nearly every light condition I think I’ve made a decision.  And the winner is…. BM Simply White.  It’s just ever-so-slightly not quite pure white but unlike the other swatches it doesn’t get too creamy, too gray, or even (as happened with a couple samples) too brown.  I also used it to paint our bedroom dressers a while back so I know it does actually read white. It was a close race with that and BM Cotton Balls for a while. Cotton Balls looked the absolute best with the bookcases, but a tad dingy against the white appliances and future carrera marble/subway tile plans for the kitchen.  Ultimately I figured I could always paint the bookcases, but that would be harder for appliances and tile.

DIY Fail

You may have noticed I’ve mentioned our tub faucet a couple times without any actual closure.  Our existing faucet is leaky as hell so we decided to replace it. Also the shower curtain rod was was too small for the tub (a little narrow and about a foot too short). We even got all fancy and splurgey and found this complete set (faucet/shower/curtain surround) at Vintage Tub and Bath because I figured if we were going to do it, let’s do it right.

showerBefore1

The new faucet arrived the day before we left for Europe.  We somehow got it into our crazy heads to try and install it that night so the faucet wouldn’t be dripping the whole time we were gone. Two hardware store runs later we discovered we couldn’t actually turn the water off.  There’s no shut of at the tub and the main house shutoff wouldn’t budge and we were afraid of breaking it.  So we called a plumber to replace the shutoff valves.

showerBefore2

All right!  Let’s do this thing!

We tackled the kitchen faucet last weekend and were going to do the bathroom at the same time… only when we went to start disconnecting everything we discovered that there are no actually hex nuts connecting the pipes to the faucet so our wrench was rather useless.  We had to give in at this point since it seems like the only way to disconnect everything was to cut the pipes and redo the connections.  We’re at least smart enough to know that is probably beyond our skill level at the moment so we had to call a plumber again, this time to replace a faucet.  Argh…. this should have been a pretty simple DIY job but our quirky house has conspired against us.

This morning the plumber came and nearly didn’t do the work.  Our old faucet was not up to code (faucet below the spill the line) and our new faucet didn’t fix this issue (since this is hard to on a clawfoot where the faucet is mounted to the tub wall).  Plus, St Paul is trying to change their codes to get rid of 2 handled shower faucets because apparently there’s a risk of scalding (????). We’re not worried about either of these issues since A) the spill line issue is only an issue if you have sewage backing up into the faucet (and contaminating your drinking water) which we’re not terribly concerned about on the second floor (and we haven’t found a record of this ever actually happening) and B) scalding could only be a possible issue if your water heater is set hot enough which ours is most certainly not. Ultimately we had to sign a waiver but we now have a non-leaky (and gorgeous!) faucet and shower head! … and a stupid-expensive plumber bill.  Nrghhh.

showerAfter1

Expensive, but oh-so pretty!  And much more authentic to the house! Granted, nothing else in the bathroom besides the tub are terribly authentic to the house (more like authentic to the 70’s-80’s), but I’m working on it!

showerAfter2

The new shower head sits significantly higher than the old one and can definitely comfortably fit even the tallest people I know (and I know some crazy tall people).

showerAfter3

We also ended up with this….er… beauty. If we had anticipated this we could have ordered nice looking connections.  But then, if we had anticipated all of this we might have just asked the plumber to repair the existing faucet. The good thing here is that the shower curtain hides it pretty well.

 

Unrelated: I’ve been home sick all day, pumping myself full of pain killers/fever reducers and vitamin C and really just trying to sleep it off. Apparently I get some trippy dreams while sick.  This time my house was invaded by a squirrel that both my stupid boy cat and my cousin’s six year old son tried to befriend.  The Bloggess was my neighbor and was giving me gardening advice, like growing carrots in bathroom vanity drawers and trying to keep renegade kale from taking over the yard. Then my Dad and step-mom came over and we went to the Gay 90’s (not exactly NSFW, but possibly mildly questionable for work) to watch the drag show but ended up playing a bizarre Clue-like game (involving the Waco, TX siege) instead. The really sad thing is I can see exactly how my sub-conscious arrived at about 99% of this.

Kitchen Progress

Last week we attempted a temporary counter top fix because the butcher block patterned laminate is just a little gross. We’ll get new counter tops at some point, but not until we replace the sink and possibly the cabinets as well.  In the meantime I ordered a roll of Instant Granite  (in a marble pattern) for $60.  It’s basically a heavy vinyl sticker you can put over your counters.  It actually seems pretty awesome for a temporary solution and it’s renter friendly since it peels off without damaging the existing counters… we’ll see how it holds up over time.

As a refresher, here’s what we started with:

counterBeforeKitch

We actually flubbed the first installation attempt and had some issues with the sink corners and gaps that needed patching… it wasn’t pretty.  Then I watched a shit ton more videos on people installing this and then tried again. It worked WAY better the second time. Here’s the quick rundown:

Step 1: Clean the counters.  I used a general surface cleaner and then wiped everything down with rubbing alcohol and remove any trace nastiness. (Vodka works too if you say, lose the cap to the rubbing alcohol and then your husband dumps it out so  no one accidentally spills it).

counterSuppliesKitch

Step 2: Cut the vinyl roughly to size.  Since we screwed up the first time we didn’t have *quite* enough the second time so I actually had to do a little piecing.  In a perfect world I would have done the back splash as a single piece and then the entire flat surface as a single piece (we ended up using 4 pieces and one very tiny patch stuck in the sink corner). Maker sure you give yourself generous borders since you can always cut it down later, but adding on patches looks weird.

counter1kitch

counter2Kitch

Step 3: Mist the counter top with water and start adhering the vinyl working in about 10″ sections at a time.  Peel off the backing and have your buddy hold the non-working section of vinyl up while you smooth out bubbles with you hands and a make-do squeegee (like a credit card… we had a hard plastic kitchen scraper that worked great).  Smooth everything out the best you can then expose a little more adhesive and slowly press that onto the counter.

counter3Kitch

Step 4: To fit the vinyl around corners (like if you have a over mount sink) a heat gun or hair dryer helps soften the the vinyl to make it a little more pliable.  Corners are tricky though so my absolute best advice is to take some vinyl you know will be extra and experiment a little bit.  Like wall decals, this stuff just peels right off.  It can take a little muscle, but doesn’t seem to leave an residue or gunk behind.

We put on the back splash first (the above pictures are from attempt #1) and trimmed it so there was about a 1/4″ overlap on the horizontal counter surface since it can be a little difficult to line up a giant sticker perfectly.  If you’re feeling bold you can try and do everything in one piece, but be warned, it is a little unwieldy. We also caulked around our sink after putting on the vinyl since any caulk had long since disappeared. Any remaining bubbles in the vinyl you can poke a pin hole in and then re-smooth.

We also made things easier by taking out our faucet. Our existing one was nasty and had the wussiest water flow ever.  We had a plumber look at it before and he thought the problem was in the faucet and not the pipes.  As we removed the old faucet this started to look increasingly probable.

faucetEwKitch

The hardest part of replacing the faucet was getting the old one out. There are lock nuts that hold the fixture in place, but are not any sort of watertight barrier whatsoever.  Whoever put this faucet in though had puttied these into place.  We finally had to break one to get it off (thankfully they were plastic). Everything else went about as smoothly as you would expect.

Now we have some much better looking counters and a beautiful and fully functioning faucet (We chose Premier’s Charlestown faucet)! Replacing that thing actually completely solved our  water flow problem!

counterAfter1Kitch

counterAfter2Kitch

faucetAfterKitch

And now doesn’t our sink just look especially awful?

Slice of Life: Friction (or lack thereof) Division

Me: I HATE OUR STAIRS!

Matt: You love our stairs.

Me: I hate our stairs; they tried to kill me this morning!  And that goofy mini landing that I said I was indifferent to last night? I changed my mind.  I like it, it tried to save me.  Also, I hate being thirty.

Lesson learned for the day: socks and wood treads do not mix.  Especially first thing in the morning.  Thankfully (?) I was slightly twisted as I went flying (falling with style?) so I didn’t bounce down on my tailbone, but rather my left butt cheek.  I’m now sitting on an ice pack and Matt just pointed out we have a 3 hour car ride ahead of us this afternoon.  Joy…

We also currently have a plumber in our basement replacing our main water shutoff so hopefully we can finally get our tub faucet replaced since it’s leaky as all hell.  We got it into our heads to try and do it the night before we left for Europe (are we brilliant or what?) but didn’t get anywhere since there’s not a shutoff right at the tub and we couldn’t get the basement one to budge (and were concerned about breaking it since it was pretty old). Fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong since this week has been pretty beastly already.

 

Update: I was all disappointed because before we left I check myself out in the mirror and nothing!  Not even the vaguest hint of a bruise.  Sooo disappointed!  If I was going to be in this much pain I wanted something to show for it!  Then we went to Wausau, we weddinged it up with my family (there is now, unfortunately, photo and perhaps also video evidence of me doing the Macarena.  Beware the open bar….).  I couldn’t sit comfortably all night.  Then we got back to our hotel room and I discovered I now had a giant-ass bruise.  A giant-ass ass bruise if you will. It’s like the size of my hand and almost entirely dark purple.  It’s the most impressive and horrible looking bruise I have ever gotten and I can’t even show it to anyone without being indecent! I just dissolved into giggles at this point.  My sister and brother-in-law were in the hallway at this point because they had managed to lock their 2 year old in their room* and were probably wondering what in god’s name we were up to.

 

*Believe it not this is becoming a trend at weddings we attend.  You have adjoining rooms and some well meaning parent bars the main door so the child can’t wander out when they can’t see.  Child then closes the adjoining door (or babysitting grandparents go to sleep) and you can no longer get in through the main room door since the extra latch is in place.  Good times.

Best. Tub. Cleaner. EVER.

Want to see something shameful?

This is our bathtub:

tub1

And this is our bathtub after I pulled off the grody non-slip sticker things.

tub2

Can I get a collective EEEEEEWWWW? Yeah, I thought so.  I’m a little ashamed to have my watermark on them…. although I am posting these filthy pictures on the internet so apparently I have no shame.

This nastiness is one of the many issues lurking in the Brown Bathroom of Despair, but it’s also the easiest to do something about.  And who doesn’t love scrubbing a tub while recovering from some crazy back spasm thing?*  Well, ya’know, desperate times and all that.  Thankfully I mastered claw foot tub cleaning a while back so it’s actually not too bad.

Here’s what you need:

  • Baking soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Dish Soap (I’ve heard other people say that the blue Dawn works best and it’s the only one I tend to have on hand so I haven’t tried others)
  • Sponge.
  • Spray bottle

That’s it.

Sprinkle the tub with a coating of baking soda (a mesh strainer or flour sifter can help you sprinkle more evenly).  Then fill a spray bottle with vinegar and good squirt of dish soap and spray down the tub surface so there’s a nice vinegary paste over the whole thing.  Let it sit about 15 minutes and then scrub away.  You shouldn’t have to use too much elbow grease since the baking soda does most of the work. Finish with a good rinse and you’re done!

Ta-da!

tub3

It’s not perfect but SO much better.  I think the only way to get it perfect at this point would be to completely re-glaze anyway which is not high on our priority list at the moment.  We’re hoping to completely gut the bathroom at some point in the future (probably WAY in the future) and Matt’s even talked about replacing the tub with a non-clawfoot.  *gasp* I’m going to fight to keep it though.

The vinegar/dish soap combo also works wonders on soap scum.

Note: I’ve only ever used the baking soda/vinegar method on enamel tubs so I don’t know how acrylic stands up to it.

Matt and I also tackled plumbing for the first time today!  And were successful!!! The fill valve in the upstairs toilet was faulty.  Basically the water in the tank should fill until it causes the float to, uh, float and that will trigger the water to stop… only ours kept getting stuck so the water wouldn’t refill until we reached into the tanked and jiggled it loose.  We also tried to add a dual flush system at the same time but the one we picked up didn’t quite fit our tank. I’m not going to make any claims of being a master plumber and certainly have no intention of reinventing the toilet-fixing-tutorial wheel, so if you’re looking for a how-to here’s what we referenced.

 

* I realized a few days later that my back spasmed like the second I turned 30.  WTF?  Matt lost his super memory as soon as he turned thirty (he can’t even remember my favorite flavor of ice cream anymore, it’s sad) and I apparently will have my body just rebel against me.  Awesome.  The bright side is that I’m now officially old enough for the NSFW deck of Exploding Kittens.

We’re alive!

Matt and I just returned from a pretty epic European vacation–London, Prague, Amsterdam, and Reykjavik.  It was delightful (minus some minor mishaps) and gorgeous, and we managed to experience the worst summer storm in recorded history in Amsterdam. I’ll do a mini rundown once I get my pictures sorted, but if you want an even briefer rundown you can check out my Instragram feed.

Also, as soon as I stepped off the plane in MSP my back spasmed or something so now I’m pumped full of pain meds and wedged into the couch so my crazy optimistic plans for today (counter tops! kitchen faucet! window repair!) have kind of stopped in their tracks.  Matt tackled the window repair since a nasty storm here the day we left did a number on 2 of our windows leaving our (awesome) cat sitters to have to come up with a temporary fix. I’m hoping I’ll be functioning again by this weekend since I’m itching to finish up in the kitchen and start work on the Brown Bathroom of Despair.

Curtain Panel DIY

When we moved in to our house there were no existing window treatments At All.  Not even the really shitty blinds like the ones that we had in our apartment.  I stocked up on inexpensive rods and curtains at IKEA and we strategically placed a few tension rods and curtains to have up until I actually start installing the curtain rods.  The problem is in the bedroom.  We have an air conditioner in one of the windows so I had to swag the curtain off to the side which leaves a big open gap of window and also leaves me to have to get dressed wedged into a corner.

NO MORE!

The last time I was at IKEA I picked up one of their panel curtains in the hopes of making a quick ‘n dirty privacy screen for our bedroom windows.  The panel curtains do let a fair amount of light filter through, but also provide a nice privacy layer for bedrooms, bathrooms, or any place where you don’t want people just staring in.  The downside is that they are only 24″ wide… our windows are about 30″ wide so it’s not a perfect solution (although there’s a fair amount of window casing in that 30″ so the panel does cover all the glass + a little overlap).

Now, you can buy the hanger IKEA sells for their panel curtains… but they’re $10 a piece so that’s $20 for our bedroom windows.  I cobbled together a way to hang both of them for around $5 and then figure I can buy a bottle of wine.  Win. (Also I didn’t really like the visual heaviness of IKEA’s system… and I do like wine).

curtainSupplies

Supplies

  • IKEA Panel Curtain (I used one GRYNET for both our windows)
  • Fusible webbing
  • 1/4″ dowel or small piece of wood, 24″ long (optional)
  • Cup hooks
  • Grommets (I like the tiny ones because they aren’t very noticeable)

Directions

Step 1: Measure your windows. Like I mentioned, the panel curtains come in very limited sizing options.  As long as your window glass is narrow than 24″ you should be able to pull this off and if you happen to have window that’s narrower than 24″ you can cut the panel down width-wise.  You also need the height of the window.  Measure from the height from the inside of the wood frame, subtract about a 1/4″ to compensate for the cup hooks and add 2″ if you’re going to hem both ends. (Full disclosure: I didn’t follow these measurement guidelines at all, I just eyeballed it cuz I’m a badass DIYer like that)

curtains1

Step 2: Hem (the easy way). I hemmed the top using a fusible web to create more stability for the grommets. Fold the top over an inch and follow the directions with your fusible web.  The panel curtain is not meant to be ironed but go slow and you should be fine. If you didn’t fail at step 1 like I did (math is hard) you can do the same thing to the bottom or glue the fabric around a dowel or other small piece of wood (but paint the wood white first).

curtains2

Step 3: Grommet.  I did 3 grommets across the top of the panel–1 in the center and other 2 about 1″ from each edge.  Grommets can be a little tricky if you’ve never used them before.  The key is getting the hole in the fabric just slightly smaller than the grommet that you will push through.  The best way I’ve found is to take a little pair of embroidery scissors and just push them through the fabric (twice, forming a small X) instead of trying to cut out a hole.  When hammering the grommets it’s also a good idea to put a magazine or piece of cardboard underneath and this will keep the shape of the “display” side of the grommet looking a little nicer.

curtains3

Step 4: Drill baby drill. Mark a spot on the underside of the top of the window molding in the center and about a 1/2″ from the back to compensate for the cup hooks and drill a small pilot hole.  I wanted the panel to hang pretty close to the window so you could hang it further out if you wanted to. The small cup hooks are a little annoying to screw in just because they’re small and can be hard to grab, especially that close to the window.  Once I got the center hook in, I hung the panel and then marked where the other 2 grommets fell.  Drill, screw, hang, and you’re done! Simple, elegant, and you won’t have to worry about flashing your neighbors.

curtains4

Now go and enjoy that bottle of wine.

curtainsDone

 

I’m really sorry this last photo is so crappy.  I was trying to get a respectable end result photo, but was pretty much shooting right into the light.  You can at least get the general idea though.

PSA for Movers & Travelers

If you are, say, planning an international trip after moving but before you are actually unpacked, it is very important to make sure the keys to the safe (where the passports are kept) are put in a Safe Place.  And because we all know what happens when you put something in a Safe Place you probably want to write yourself reminders of where that place is, and possibly get that reminder tattooed on your forehead as well.

Seriously, hearing “So… where did we pack the keys to the safe?” from Matt freaked me out way more than the news on the London Tube Strike and potential Grexit combined.  Thankfully the keys were found*, I double triple quadruple checked that the passports had not mysteriously vanished, suddenly expired, or spontaneously combusted, and EuroTour** 2015 is still on!***

Unrelated: This is the best thing I’ve read all day. I sort of want to move Toronto now… I may have found my people.

Also, there will be more actually design related updates coming.  The boxes need to be moved out of the kitchen so I can paint, and my temporary counter top solution needs to arrive so we can fix the beat up laminate and replace our faucet and then I can move on to the Brown Bathroom of Despair!

 

 

*The Safe Place turned out to be the bottom of my purse.  Naturally.

**We’re going to 4 countries and only one actually uses the Euro.  Are we efficient or what?

***Matt moved the keys to a new Safe Place.  Wish us luck for when it’s actually time for us to leave.