Friday, October 12, 2012

The Living Room (Coming Together) . . .

The poor living room aka "the staging area" is probably the most neglected room in the house.  The number of times we move the furniture around in a weekend is almost nuts.  To make up for our rough use . . . I've been trying to give it some little "presents".  The first presents actually came from my mom - new Pottery Barn Pillows -- I just love the coral one in particular, its great for napping. 

The second present was slip covers for our old college sofas.  The sofas were really getting run down -sun faded - needing TLC badly.  Unfortunately, we hope to replace the sofa soon with a hide-a-bed model and so I didn't feel like spending oodles of money on the cover.  Jump in IKEA & my favorite sewing project friend/master Laurel.  We tackled adjusting a newer IKEA slip cover to the sofa and the loveseat.  Needless to say, the loveseat went according to plan . . . the sofa not so much. 

The funnest obstacle to overcome was my oversite on the number of cushions our sofa has vs the slip cover (I blame it all on baby sleep deprivation).  The existing sofa had 2 cushions, the slip cover 3.  Ala the web, I found that you could cut upholestry foam with an electric carving knife.  Having convienced Gary of the project, I blatently used his measuring skills and confidence to forge ahead on cutting my sofa apart.  It worked like magic . . . the electric carving knife just went through the foam like butter.  Now I only need to figure out how to let the lower seams out a bit.  Its a bit tight - kinda like my jeans right now. 

The third and final present to date is a fun, funky bar stool.  I just love the power of paint, especially aqua paint.  It transformed an ordinary, beat up Goodwill find into a thing of beauty . . . just look

How do you do the things you do?

Okay, again another corny post title . . . however we often do get asked the question:

How do you do the things you do . . . with Kids?

The truth of the matter is that we have awesome kids . . . who are use to W.A.P.P. (Wildly Ambitious Parent Projects).  In reality, our ability to get house projects done is based on 3 principles:
1.  The absurd notion that we can actually tackle these projects with 3 small ones!!!

2. The divide and conquer principle -- one parent works, the other herds kids.

3. The play hard and work hard principle-- by scheduling a good healthy dose of play each day, the girls seem to let us alone during projects.  (Okay, so we are more prone to reminding them about the playtime vs worktime segments without guilt).

Here is a good picture example of our work & kids philosphies:

Girls playing with dollhouse --pretty normal huh?

Expanded view shows the truth - playing near Daddy's  ladder while he tackles a lighting problem. 

You Gotta Wear Shades . . .

Yes, I know its a corny title, but it's fitting.  After a sunshine filled August, September and oh yes  October, we decided that high on our list of projects were window coverings.  Gary really spearheaded this effort . . .  I merely made color choices. 

We decided on blinds for the bedrooms, the really thick kind that look like wood, but are more budget friendly.  The goal was a nice "cottage" look with the ability to decrease light from passing cars.  While the product looks nice, we would probably not go with this choice again . . . the slates don't close all the way and hence let in light & the number of strings per blind is outrageous.  (In future purchases I think we might go for light blocking honeycombs). 

Crooked, but nice look

See how you still see the light - hmmm
In the living room, however, the choice of roller shades is a HUGE hit!!! They are unobtrusive, allow some light in while blocking out the direct sun rays that blind people, and still allow you to appreciate the view.  Our floors and furniture are also very happy to not be glared at on a regular basis (hah hah)!

With and without -- lovely

Nice and unobtrusive -- melds into the background!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Where Are You?

Many of you are probably wondering if any more progress has been made on the cabin . . . I am happy to report that we've put working on hold and upgraded "PLAYING" to top billing.  Especially with a brand new baby, we are taking a well-deserved hiatus.

But don't worry we have lots more projects in the works . . .

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New Before and After . . .

The spring bathroom project is finally nearing completion.  All we need to do is add more towel hanging fixtures, reroute the bathroom fan to vent outside, and have fun with art work.  See the link below . . .

Butcher Block Countertops . . .

Thank you IKEA!!  Although it took 2 trips to IKEA to obtain my solid beechwood counter top, I think the result looks fabulous.  Now, we will see how it holds up to the general wear and tear of a beach cabin. 

The original counter top was a close match to the existing material used by the sink and stove, however, it was not secured to the cabinet.  During our brainstorming session on "how to secure a counter top we don't really like", I ran across the pre-made butcher block tops at IKEA.  It had a a lot of pros going for it . . . it was solid wood, it came in beech and oak, the dimensions were close to perfect, and the price. 

The next step after installation was treating it with oil (something I forgot to investigate -- lucky for me I have an amazingly resourceful hubby).  So instead of another trip to IKEA for the fruitwood oil they recommend, we used food grade mineral oil . . . you know the kind found in the laxative aisle at the grocery store.  It seemed to absorb in just fine.  Here are the before and afters . . .

Before -- note "unlidded" kitchen cabinet
After -- just oiled
Overview of kitchen so far!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bathroom Update -- Part Two . . .

Yes, its going to be a series of updates for a while, since we are not always able to complete our tasks in one weekend.  However, I do promise a full before/after bathroom tab as soon as we are totally done. 

Some comments on the bathroom . . . its fun, its colorful, its fully functional!!  I chose "Filtered Sunlight" by Benjamin Moore for the walls in a pearl finish (never heard of pearl finish, neither had I, but apparently it sits between satin and semi-gloss -- perfect for bathroom walls).  Once the paint job had cured for a whole 24 hours (hah), we couldn't resist getting a shower at the cabin.  Heaven. 

Sunny yellow makes a world of difference!

The 3 colors work really well together!

Tah Dah!!  Colorful display!

Shower curtain a nod to Mt. Vernon Flower Fields
I am just falling in love with my bathroom!!

Window Trimming -- Part Two . . .

The bedroom and kitchen windows are now officially trimmed and awaiting a final coat of paint to complete the project.  Let me just say "WOW" they make a world of difference. 



My Handy Man!!
Now we only have the big picture windows in the main room plus all of the other upper windows that we are desperately ignoring . . . just the thought of painting all that trim is making me dizzy.  Good thing its worth it!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trimming Out Windows . . .

Our next "big" project is to trim out the new windows.  While this task may sound small, it will make a world of difference towards a finished cabin look.  After searching through multiple magazines and examples, we decided to go with a simplified colonial look.  Ideally, we would love to use some of the more modern trims we saw . . . but they would be too large and heavy for the cabin plus be too expensive. 

The primary goal is good looking windows -- the second goal is using materials that will not rot in the "sea air".  To that end, we are doing the budget friendly mix and match -- hardwood for the extension jambs and sill with MDF for the inside trim.  Kuddos to anyone who knows what "extension jambs" means!!!  (This term took Gary a while to find)

We decided to use the back bedroom as our test ground. Gary got out his non-expanding foam for insulating the windows and started to insulate -- until he realized that the foam did expand, and expand, and expand.  We ended up with goopy, yellow mess, but were able to clean it up and move onto cutting/installing trim pieces.  Let me know what you think . . .

Expanding - non expanding yellow foam! YIKES!

The improvement is AMAZING!!

Finished window
The only question now is regarding the header . . . does it look too small or would a bigger size be "top heavy"?  At first, I wanted to go up a size on the top, but the problem is the depth would change.  Then, I thought "butt stop" (yes my vocabulary is expanding on this project), but then the top would look exactly like the bottom.  Gary's vote is too keep it like it is . . . what do you guys think??

Bathroom in Progress . . .

The Bathroom . . . runner up for room needing major rehaul! 

However, in looking over the budget and deciding where to really invest time/money, the bathroom will just have to wait.  Its functional -- you can take a shower, although the back wall is water damaged causing minor tile problems -- you can use the toilet, although it looks like it was installed years ago -- you can use the sink, although there corroded sink fixtures and a weird hole that leads to somewhere . . .

All of these problems aside, a fresh coast of paint, a little fan rewiring and removal of old hardware will go a long ways to improving the room.  I had already painted the vanity white (it will go later) and the new floor was installed.  Next, we removed the warped wood towel racks -- can anyone tell me why someone installs wood towel racks in a steamy, moisture ridden space??  Gary plastered all the holes created and then found multiple old dry wall patches gone wrong and patched those to the best of his ability. 

On Sunday morning we discovered that the mirror was not glued to the wall, rather just held in place in 4 brackets -- getting it off the wall was a cinch (yippee).  We removed the fan's hack job of wiring and will need to rewire up through the attic at a later point.

Then I went to work prepping the area for primer.  I used Zinzer stain block and some left over oil-based primer to really lock in all the stains and yuckies into the wall.  Even with just a coat of primer, the place looks a million times improved!!  I am also excited because I found a new oval mirror at a rummage sale for $5 and towel racks at half price at a going out of business sale -- yippee.

Enough talk . . . here are some pictures

Before, putty holes and all!!

Prego painter extraordinaire!
Bathroom half-way done!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Small Things . . .

Sometimes in life the "small things" really do make a big difference. Last weekend, once we finished planting our stick garden, we started in on some mini-projects. First on the list, hook up and clean the stove so that we can really start cooking!! Next, was to test the stove . . . of course in my chocoholic family that meant brownies.

On Sunday morning, Gary took a picture of Claire and I in our "real kitchen". We had spent the previous evening cleaning off all the counters, squeezing cabinet paper into the right places and aligning up all the appliances into their correct positions.

Gary was also excited to hang up the handmade sign I made for the Fairwinds this Christmas. I must say, once the sign went up I got a thrill -- one step closer to a finished place. For anyone who wants to know how I made this sign, please head over to a pinterest challenge

We also tested out our Ikea "I know its not the same sofa" slipcover on the love seat. It looks like the body will fit just fine with minor adjustments, but I will be calling on my friend Laurel (aka amazing seamstress woman) to help me make the pillows work. All I can say is for only $40 per slipcover, I will make it work.

Last, on the small things hit list was installation of the closet lights. This project just made Gary happy.

I am so glad to be onto small projects. It allows us time to really play with the girls and at night we can sit at the kitchen table with a hot cup of tea reading/dreaming about future plans.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Sea Garden . . . Maybe

We have officially "weathered" our first winter of storms at Fairwinds!! Granted, I think we got off pretty easy this year with only a couple of big storms. The ability of water and wind to move the sandy yard around is quite amazing. Below is a couple of re-cap pics of the "driftwood/debris sea" that flowed across our side yard and into our driveway.

In attempting to be good stewards of our little plot o' land, we are trying to put into place some key erosion plants. The weather was beautiful this past weekend and so we were able to finish planting all the bareroot "twigs" we purchased at the Snohomish Native Plant sale. Some of these plants look really, really wimpy . . . so we are really testing their hardiness factor! We opted for key shore plants: ocean spray, snowberry, shore pines, and hooker's willow.

You need to look really really carefully at this last picture to really appreciate how many plants went into the ground ( I think its 25). Okay, so you really can't see any of the plants except the shore pines, but believe me they are present!! If nothing else, we created a pretty fun driftwood wall and path. The true test will be to see if this survives the spring or if we end up again with the first pictures posted.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Updated Kitchen and Landscaping . . .

Yes, I know kitchens and landscaping really are not related, however that was the project task for last weekend. Now that the new floors are installed we wasted no time searching for new appliances . . . oh to have a working fridge and stove (drooling happening right now). We managed to score a great Craig's List deal on the stove, but did break down and buy a newer outlet fridge from Sears. Needless to say, they still make me happy no matter what the cost.

Our good friends, Wes and Katie, were kind enough to come back out and help with the heavy lifting and heavy kid entertaining.

Wes, holding up his end of the bargain!!

Katie and the girls having a good time!!

The fridge nicely covers up the odd wall installation done in the corner and the stove looks like it belongs. Next weekend I get to clean the stove . . . not so fun . . . and Gary gets to figure out how to connect 1960s plug to 2000 generation stove.

Girls in the "NEW" kitchen/dining room

Now onto a completely different topic - LANDSCAPING. Yes, many of you are wondering why in the world would you "landscape" an always changing, sandy pit. Our primary goal is to decrease sand erosion and to help divert storm water flow to the correct place (the road and NOT our garage). Lucky for me I have an amazing husband who can Internet search just about anything. Gary managed to find both a marine landscaping map of native plants for Washington + the yearly Snohomish native plant sale website. After comparing the 2 websites, we placed our order and picked up our plants at the Monroe Fairgrounds.

For those of you interested the plant sale is an annual event run by the Snohomish Conservation District, its a great organization with loads of great deals on native plants . . .

Baby shore pines all in a row!

Gary's new babies!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Floors . . .

The finishing of the drywall prompted the beginning of the next "big" interior house project . . . NEW FLOORS. In this case, we again opted for professional installation since we purchased a vinyl product that comes in 12 ft wide rolls. Last week we received word that the installation had gone well and that we could move back in at anytime. Gary was quickly ready to move all of our mattresses and couches over to the cabin. With a loan of Dad's trailer and a little help in loading . . . we left for Whidbey looking like the Beverly Hill Billys. Luckily everything made it to the cabin with no adventures on the way.

We picked out a warm maple pattern to accent our wood ceiling and opted for the "new" vinyl, which gives us durability and water resistance in one fell swoop. The results . . . lovely, lovely, lovely!!

Girls bedroom all decked out!

Our bedroom with a view of the blue door

Bathroom - most changed in the house with floors

Kitchen - wood floors adding that extra something!!

Living Room - ahh ahh ahh!!

The girls eating nook - improved!

The floors have added a whole new finished dimension to the cabin. I just love not worrying about water splatters and so far the floor seems to hide sand/dirt rather well. Its all coming together.

Now we just have lots of little projects ahead -- baseboard trim, window trim, bedroom headboards, moving in the dining room table, finishing up the kitchen and lighting!! Oh what exciting things to look forward to. I promise in future post, once we get everything situated, to do a really bang up before and after of each room.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Drywall Complete . . .

The inside of the cabin has finally taken one step further towards completion . . . after ripping out every bedroom wall and insulating, our drywall guy "Vinny" stepped in and made them look like real bedrooms. He even painted them for us, which saves us a ton of time and is well worth the money!! Here is the before picture . . .

Now the rooms look like "real bedrooms"!! I had no idea how much the wood was draining the "brightness" out of the rooms until everything was painted (Benjamin Moore - Linen White). There is also a sneak peak of our interior doors - I went BOLD. My favorite change is the master bedroom closet alcove. Before, I thought of it as the "yucky tunnel to dirtdome", now its my favorite space that I am happy to store stuff in.

My loves, the blue doors

Look at the beauty of drywall!!!

The closets - so worth the extra $$

"The Alcove"

Other than some angst over the outlets being pushed in and one bowed piece by a window, it was a good job. Gary was really excited about putting in the new outlet covers - now the house will not electricute anyone! The only concern we now have is . . . what to do with the drywall we purchased. Its currently taking up precious garage space.