Category Archives: home

{30-in-30} a tentative yes

So, I think we might could, just maybe be building a house. We have a million different steps to take before we can get there, including getting this house ready to sell and on the market (which scares the ever-living snot out of me, by the way).  But, there are lots of aspects of this process that are scaring me, so I am really trying to put aside that fear and just go for it.

The yes we got was from the builder. He is interested and wants to move forward with buying the land.  But, wait, hold on, let me explain. The land we are interested adjoins my mother’s property.

It is the part in red.  It is about four acres, which we would only be buying half of.  Our spot would be roughly the interior shape. It is still a little overpriced, so that is hurdle number one, but it would put us in the right school district, closer to the hubby’s job, in the right county, etc.  And, we would be able to get what we wanted instead of living with someone’s plan for our home.

Every time I tentatively tell someone about it, the first question I get is “isn’t that really close to your mother?” or “I could never live that close to my parents.” And, it is something that the boy and I talked about for a long time. But, we already live just ten miles away or so, and see my mom quite a bit during the week, partially because she and I work together and partially because, well, she is my mom, and I love her.  Her living situation changed over the summer, for the better, and that means that she could use a little more help around her large property. So, being closer would be a way we would feel better about being able to help her.

So, here are all the steps that have to align in order for this all to work out (does it help them be less scary to get them down on paper?):

  1. Builder puts offer in on land with a 60 day study period.
  2. Offer is accepted by owners, and studying commences.
  3. Studies (soil, engineering, etc) all come back okay, and land closes.
  4. We get our house ready and put it on the market.
  5. We (quickly) get an acceptable offer that leaves us enough cash to do what we need to do.
  6. We move everything out of our house (haven’t had to do that without the Army in a really long time), and move into Mom’s house.  More than half of our stuff would go into storage, and the other half would go in with her.
  7. After our house closes, we would buy our portion of the land back from the builder.
  8. We would secure a construction loan.
  9. Finalize the details for the new house, get all necessary permits from the county, and start building, meanwhile saving every possible nickel and dime we can.
  10. We would get to watch our house be built step-by-step from next door, and, hopefully, by next Christmas, we would be in our new home!

Just ten “easy” steps! What could possible go wrong?  Famous last words.

I am just trying to keep my eye on number ten down there. That’s the energy I want to put out into the universe!

{30-in-30} it was time…

For the last 11 years or so, these were our daily dishes.

old dishes

And, they served us well!  They were reasonably priced (even more than normal because we got them as seconds from the Pfaltzgraff outlet).  They were super sturdy; they survived multiple moves, roommates, and loadings in and out of the dishwasher.

They were fine, but I was bored.  I have been watching too much Food Network, and I was completely drawn to the white plates that always made the food look so sexy.  Then, I went to the William Sonoma outlet and the Pottery Barn outlet in Leesburg, VA, and I fell in love.

I think I must have filled my online cart a million times with all that clean, white goodness.  But, I could never see spending so much on new dishes when I had a full set in the cabinet that were fine.

Enter Fishs Eddy!  I think I found their store searching around for glass storage containers, and I bookmarked the site as a way to keep it in mind because there were so many cute things that I was drooling over!

So, one day, I decided to check out what they had in the way of dishes, and they had the perfect plates!  They were chunky like the ones that we had that had worked so well for us, and they were white, which is really what I wanted.    And, the best part is that they had colored plates in really cool colors that were the same shape, so I could mix things up a little.

So, I loaded up my cart, hemmed and hawed, looked over all the reviews of their stuff I could find, and a magical thing happened!  All their diner whites went on sale 25% off!  Score!

packing

Well, that sealed the deal.  I ordered them, spent less than a third on what I would have from Pottery Barn or William Sonoma, and we never looked back!

new pretties

I can’t say enough about them!  They are just like the sturdy plates you would find in a diner.  We have had them for several months, and they are awesome!  I particularly like that I was able to order a few bowls in a few different colors to spice things up a little.

And, their packers should be professional movers!  Seriously, I have been through four major military moves, and these were the best packed boxes I have ever seen!  I can’t say enough good stuff about this company!

stacks

just one more to really show off the pretty colors...

{30-in-30} sometimes i get a little addicted….

Music is an important part of my world.  While I don’t listen all day every day, I love music and find great comfort in my favorite songs.  And, because I am a word person, lyrics are hugely important to me!

I recently “found” this song again.  I went to buy it yesterday, and iTunes told me I already owned it.  So, I went and looked, and indeed I did.  Since last night, I think I have listened to it no less than 20 times.  I love everything about it.

And, the song immediately made me think of the Filler Print for free download over at eighteen25.  I love the little house on that print!

So, I tweaked it, and I added my favorite lines from the song.  I think it will make a nice little print!  Love that happy little house…

home print

{30-in-30} updating the boob lights

I have not hidden very well my disdain for a current popular lighting trend….the boob light.  Boob light, nipple light, whatever you want to call them, I truly dislike them, and I hope to soon eradicate them all from our home.  Our problem is that our builders, who were definitely in over their heads on this particular remodel, found themselves embracing the boob lights…in contractor packs…in every room of our house!

And, I mean, really, why wouldn’t you?  If you were completely out of money but had to install lights in order for your property to sell, you would probably embrace these affordable darlings as well.

boob lights{Just in case there was any question about why I call them boob lights! Shot at our local Orange.}

However, because we have to live here, and I really do hate them so, the boy agreed to help me upgrade the lighting around the house.  When we first moved in, we put ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and the family room, so that took care of that.  But, the “great” room on our main floor still needed to be tackled. It was on my list of things to accomplish for a while.  But, after I found our new chandelier on craigslist and found our foyer light on super clearance at the Restoration Hardware outlet, I knew it was time to bite the bullet on the flushmounts I had been eying to get rid of the boob-lights on the main floor.

Chosing the lights I wanted to use was difficult because of a couple of different reasons.

  1. First, as I have mentioned before, our ceilings in the main room of our house are very tall, so I wanted to have something substantial enough to provide lighting for the space.
  2. Second, there are four ceiling lights all together in one space, but they each have a different function.  So, I wanted to choose something that went with the foyer light we had, so it wasn’t too busy.
  3. And, third, it seems that what I was trying to get rid of is the norm for lighting these days.  Finding a light that didn’t have the connector at the bottom of the glass globe was a challenge.  What we actually went with are outdoor lights, but I feel like they work just as well inside.

So, I waited for them to go on sale, and I ordered the two we needed.  And, then we called our good friend, Tom, the amazing electrician, and he came over and redid a ton of the wiring for our main level, including moving a switch that was in the way of our new bookcases, removing a switch that didn’t need to be there, and moving around the lighting configuration to one that I am so much happier about.

Here is one of the new lights all up and beautiful!

IMG_0791

And, here are the two lights together along with the foyer light.  They aren’t all the same line from Restoration Hardware, but they are the same feel, so it all works together for me.  This room is so much happier now!

New lights


Part of my reasoning for this 30-day quest is to try to figure out what my hang-ups about blogging are now.  I see this space as a kind of virtual scrapbook, and there is a lot that goes on in my life that I want to capture.  I just wasn’t sure what the problem was, and this post let me in on some of them.

The first is simply perfectionism.  I didn’t have enough time today to pull out the big camera and the tripod and get perfect pictures of my ceiling.  So, I just used my iphone and took a few too dark shots.  They get the point across and tell my story, so it is good enough!

And, second, my house wasn’t perfectly clean.  Lots of bloggers have posted about this before, so I won’t belabor the point, but this is our home.  We live here.  It is never going to be picture perfect for long, and chances are good that the times when it is picture perfect, we are too busy living to just take pictures.  Posts are never going to be perfect, so I just need to get over it.  It is more important to tell the tale than to tell it perfectly.

progress report #4: the running to do list…

As long as I can remember, I have always had a running to do list.  I break up each thing I need to do into the compartment of my life it applies (home, work, school, etc.).  And, I don’t generally even need to refer back to the list.  Just the act of actually writing it down let’s me organize my thoughts enough that I can get everything done.

However, this house and all that we are trying to accomplish here has added a whole new dynamic to my traditional to do list process.  So, I decided I needed a new list.  One that I actually refer back to and cross things off of.  And, I thought there was no better place to write out this list than here, where there is some accountability.  And, I hope to share things as I cross them off, including some finished rooms!

The list is outlined below, but it is also included on its own page above where I will be updating it as I finally get things completed.  Here goes nothing!

{OUTSIDE}

{exterior}

put in a wrap-around driveway and parking pad in the side yard | get a shed for the side yard | landscape the front yard |clean out the woods | replace the siding* | add trim to the exterior windows | add a slate path around the right side of the house | paint the front door | clean up the front flower bed

{garage}

more shelves | get all the gardening stuff into the new shed when that happens | get the drainage issue for the air conditioner taken care of | paint the garage floor

{backyard}

add another concrete pad in the corner of the house (with a pergola maybe?)* | clean out woods and clean up fence line | add a cover over the stairs going in the back door

{MAIN FLOOR}

{main area}

finish the trim around room (caulk and paint) | build new benches | finish shuffling the art around

{dining room}

put in the new columns* | add built-in bookshelves like these* | paint the underside of the dining room table and refinish the top | paint the sideboard and hutch | trim the windows out | build a bench for the dining room table

{sitting area}

finish the rug or find one | paint the side table | find the right mantel to make a bookcase for in-between the chairs | have the wiring moved for the overhead lighting | replace the boob-lights with these | add the trim to the bookcases or replace the bookcases | move the light switch that interferes with the new bookcases

{kitchen}

replace all the kitchen cabinets* |replace the kitchen sink with this one | paint the existing cabinets (Benjamin Moore  – copper patina)| add bead board to lower cabinets side panels | finish mudding pass through wall | paint chalkboard section | add a back splash | remove the old cabinet above the fridge and build a new one | add extra storage on the other side of the fridge | paint the kitchen table | get new cabinet doors for the upper cabinets | redo crown topper to eliminate the jumper over the sink | add under cabinet lighting | add light over the sink | add pendant lights over the island | remove the boob-light in the hall and replace with a can light rewired to the kitchen lights | remove the blank ceiling plate to no where | paint the outside of the pantry door

{mud room}

take out the closet wall* | reduce the lights down to one* | add better storage with reduced hang-up storage | paint | add storage for all the cleaning supplies

{family room}

trim out windows & doors | paint all trim | add the board and batten around the room | build the shelves for the family room side of the pass through | paint the entertainment center | move the desktop computer downstairs | clean the carpets

{UPSTAIRS}

{hallway}

get doors for the laundry area | add all the board and batten trim | look for a new rug | start getting the gallery wall up | add built-in shelves on the ledge | stain the banisters | paint the risers and stair trim

{cade’s room}

replace the trim: baseboards, doors, and windows | clean out and paint closet | add built-ins in closet | put gallery wall up | create abc wall hanging | make curtains

{guest bedroom}

paint the dresser | clean out the closet | hang mirror | find new wall art | move Nana’s old table between the windows | make curtains

{master bedroom}

get art up on the wall | paint and build out both closets (starting with the boy’s) | update all the trim to match the main floor’s new look* or finish what’s still undone from when we replaced the floors | look for rugs for each side of the bed | build our new bed frame base

{master bathroom}

replace tub with this one | move toilet to where the shower is | move shower to where the toilet is currently | add new larger window between the tub and the shower | replace likely rotten subfloor | update trim | replace tile | create new medicine cabinets similar to this one | add more lighting throughout the room, particularly over the shower | add more storage (either something built-in or a huge cabinet between the tub and shower


{BASEMENT}

{sewing area}

clean, straighten, organize | move table to the center of the room | build door wall | build shelves under the other side of the table | move the changing table to under the table on one side | find a way to make the new awesome ironing board cover work

{rec room area}

level floors* | new flooring* | move the guest bedroom to the office space* | make the current guest bedroom a storage room* | add a wall between the rec room and the back door* | lots of general cleaning and organizing necessary | get rid of the boob lights (put something cool in the craft area)

{office/hope-to-be guest bedroom}

clean up and get rid of junk | move desk into this space and out or craft area | decide what to do with the old computer | move shelf | collect cabinets for new shelving area | paint cabinets we already have white | wall it in* | build a closet*

{guest bedroom/hope-to-be storeroom}

clean it out, so it can be used | curtains | decide which dresser will work best | get rid of the boob light

{bathroom}

order simple tub | tile in new shower surround | replace broken floor tiles | paint | hang art

KEY: italicized items are all we need to do before the party at our house on October 15th | * asterisked items are on the mondo beyondo wishlist for our house!

 

Operation Floors….Stage One: Prepositioning

Okay, so back when we first moved in, I knew that I wanted the floors in this house refinished.  We have ten foot ceilings, so I was really interested in doing something to make it feel a little cozier in here.  When we pulled out all the rotting subfloor upstairs, we replaced the existing hardwood and the carpet in our bedroom with strand woven bamboo from Orange!

Bedroom Floors

This was a crazy job, but we really love it, and we love the color.  It did just what I wanted it to and made our room feel much cozier.

Well, that meant that we needed to figure out some way to tie the stairs in with the color upstairs.  And, like I said, we knew that we wanted the main floors dark like the upstairs.  So, I searched all over the place looking for a stain dark enough to even get close (I know it doesn’t have to match exactly, since the only thing you can see as you are going upstairs is the stair nose), and I didn’t have any luck.  What I figured out was that I was going to have to have something custom mixed.  And, since I was doing that, I figured that I might as well just get a quick estimate for the other floors.

When I did, we figured out that the main floor wasn’t going to be quite as much as we thought.  And, the aspects we were trying to avoid (like huge amounts of dust and nasty vapors) could indeed be avoided with some careful planning and a little more money.  So, Operation Floors was born.  I thought I would share each step of the way with you.  (Please accept my apologies for the awful pictures.  I don’t know why they are so fuzzy.)  This week, our floors are being sanded with a dustless sanding system, stained with a low voc stain, and sealed with water-based polyurethane.

In order to make that happen, this first stage was all about getting ready for my amazing floor guys to come out.  To do that, we moved out all our furniture (including two really full bookcases, one packed glass cabinet, the stove, and the fridge) to other areas of our house.  I should have totally gotten pictures with everything in place, but I didn’t.  Such is life.  I have to remember to be better about snagging before pictures.

Empty Kitchen

Old sitting area/dining room

You also might notice that our baseboards were pulled up in the process.  Well, that’s just because we are insane.  Another of our pet peeves with this house is the under-done trim.  I am pretty sure I mentioned that the finishing work in this house was done as an after-thought, over-budget job.  So, the trim was standard colonial style 3 1/4 trim with shoe molding.

Old trim

This picture really does a good job of showing how little our trim was (and you should have seen all the animal hair I cropped out!).  And, as we pulled up the shoe molding, we figured out that it was installed around the outside of the wood, not generally the way it should be done.  That made it even shorter.  So, we figured that since we already had the furniture pulled out that we might as well fix the molding.

So, just in case you are keeping track, this all started because we replaced the subfloor upstairs!  Check back tomorrow with an update of our progress!

First Ana White Project – Six Cube Bookcase

I knew that I wanted a little bookcase for the little man’s room for under his windows.  But, I knew that it was going to be hard to find if I was going to avoid the Ikea route, which I am trying to do these days, and not pay a million dollars for them.

So, when I saw these plans on Ana White’s site, I took them to the boy and asked if he thought it was something we could do.  He agreed, so we gave it a shot.  We have seen a ton of plans on her site for things we would like to build, including a new bed frame for us, so we thought this would be a good place to start.


It turned out to not be that hard to do, and the boy and I learned some important things about cuts and why buying nicer wood helps your finished project.  We aren’t usually the type of people to skimp on materials, but there are sentimental reasons that we used this substandard wood (seems silly to be attached to wood, but it is done now).  This was made from the cheap stuff, and it still came out super sturdy and awesome.  Here is a picture of bookshelf in its put together, but not yet painted state.

IMG_6099

And, here it is in its painted but not styled state.  In all honesty, this is a functional bookcase.  One that has little hands in it all the time, so it never will really be “styled.”  There isn’t really anywhere in my house that gets styled.  We live here, you know.  But, when I got all the books put away, it did look really cute!  I just knew if I waited to have the camera up there again to get a picture of it in good light, blah, blah, blah, I would never get this posted.  This is part of my whole trying to avoid perfection thing.

Finished Bookshelf

And, here is the little man with his new shelf.  He was really proud of himself that he had just gone in and tried to put the teddy bear back when I asked him to.  Besides our grinning toddler, you can also see the bead board back nicely in this one!

Little Man with Bookcase

So, that’s it.  The first of many Ana White projects.  Next, we are going to modify this plan for the bookcase over our stairs!

PR (Progress Report) #3: Lessons Learned

So, back to when we first decided to buy this house, one thing we knew would need to change was the weird existing banister in our upstairs stairway, as seen in the top right of the picture below.

Old stairway up...

Here is another one just in case you wanted to see all the weird up close.

Old stairs with banister.

What’s up with the random banister up there? It was not going to cut it.  Because although our tiny human was only cooking at the time, we learned quickly from other visiting tiny humans that it was a lovely place to slip behind to gain a better vantage point of the rest of the main floor of the house while simultaneously giving your mother and adopted aunt (me) a heart attack!

Spot for a tiny human.

In addition, we have already talked about how much we despised the yellow, so I won’t got there again.  But, that stair runner wasn’t working for us in our house full of animals (3 cats and 2 dogs when we moved in).  It was impossible to keep clean, and there is no other carpet like it left in our house.  So, when we traded out all the nasty, rotting subfloor upstairs for nice, new strong subfloor, we ripped it all out: the banister, the carpet runner, and the squeaky hardwood upstairs.

Then, I started doing some research about what I might be able to do with that weird twelve inches above the stairs.  And, ultimately we decided that a built-in bookcase would be lovely up there and a way to go more toward the craftsman feel we are going for in here.  But, when we decided that, I knew that I didn’t want this beautiful bookcase to look like it was hoovering over the rest of the hallway.  So, when I saw what Thrifty Decor Chick did with her stairs, I came up with an overall plan.

The first step in this plan involved addressing the fact that our stairs didn’t have a skirt board.  You know, that nice piece of trim that runs up the side of the stairs like a baseboard.  (You just got up to see if your stairs had it, didn’t you!)  Instead, our builders used hardwood flooring for the risers (not my personal preference and more expensive than a traditional riser) and a thousand little pieces of mdf shoe molding (definitely not my preference).  So, I called Curt!  This wonderful finish carpenter that came and pulled up all my stair treads, put down the skirt boards (upstairs and down), and reinstalled the stairs correctly.  Here is the before.

Progress on stairs.

Here are the stairs going up, with the banister out, the carpet runner gone, and the top stair missing it’s lovely hardwood floor riser.

Stairway down, sans carpet.

And, here are the stairs going to the basement.  I know it is fuzzy, but I took it while Curt was knocking on my door, so I was sure to have a “before” of the down stairs even though it was after we pulled the carpet (same as in the basement).

Here is what we have now: new skirts boards, correctly installed treads, and lovely pine risers that will be painted white after the stair treads are stained to match the hardwoods.

"up" stairs“up” stairs


"down" stairs

“down” stairs

New Skirtboard

close up of all the fuss!

Not complete yet, but a huge step closer to what I envision for the whole space.  And, through this whole process I learned a few lessons that I thought I would share here:

Lesson #1: Know your limits

The boy and I could have figured out how to install a skirt board on our own.  I know that it isn’t that difficult.  But, we wouldn’t have known that pulling up the existing treads would have been far easier than trying to cut out all those little notches where the existing treads were sitting (something that even the professional wasn’t sure he was going to be able to do accurately).

And, deciding to have a professional come do the work gave me the time to really sand down the treads while they were off, which I was dreading doing.  Much easier than trying to sand them in place, particularly because the way they were originally stained (the builder knew the carpet runner was going in) made them really uneven and needed a really really good sanding.

This also gave us the chance to know that the stairs were really being installed right, particularly because as you can see, the “subfloor treads and the risers” (underneath the carpet that was on the downstairs and the existing treads and risers going upstairs) were 2x4s, not the way this should normally be done.  And, our builder also really liked liquid nail.  So, we could have gotten into a whole lot of trouble, spent a huge amount of time, strained our relationship for working on projects like this one, and still needed to call in the professional anyway.  So, for us, the cost-benefit analysis definitely favored calling in help.

Lesson #2: Use the right tools

After pulling up the carpet runner on the stairs going up, I spent roughly thirty minuted per step pulling out all the five million staples and nails they used for the tack strip and carpet staples.  And, pulling those nails out of the hardwood treads was really ridiculously hard.  So, when Curt pulled the treads, and I saw all those nails that were going to need to be pulled, I offered to help knowing that it would really increase the cost of the job if he had to do it all.

That is when he showed me this lovely tool.  These are called end nipper pliers, and I got this set at orange for about $11.  When I was finishing pulling the staples out of the bottom stairs, it took me about 20 minutes for four stairs.  So worth the $11!  And, this reminded me that using the right tool for the job is wicked important.

Lesson #3: When you are scared to finish the job for fear of screwing it up, call the professional back

While Curt was pulling up the treads, one had a weak point and broke.  We needed to go get a new tread, but we didn’t have it before he finished the job.  We were already planning on installing the down stairs treads ourselves, so we said, oh, don’t worry, we will just do that one ourselves too.

So, we got the treads and the risers we needed….and, then they sat.  We went on to other projects, and I finally said to the boy “I think we are scared.  Should we call Curt and see if he has time?”  So, I did.  And, he did.  And, back he came with all his tools and fixed everything.

It turned out to be a really good thing that we  called him back because the downstairs treads were a non-standard size, and he had to add a small piece to the back of each tread.  Again, something we wouldn’t have known how to do on our own.

I am super excited to get to the next step!

Progress Report #2: Tearing things up…

I found the pictures I was looking for that show what the dining room/living room looked like along with the chandelier we moved, like I was talking about.   Here is a good pic to show the chandelier (along with my cute hubby and our rockstar relator!).  It was a sad little chandelier.  And, you see that cute little space inside the weird half wall that I have huge plans for!

Old chandelier placement

That is where we moved the chandelier hook-up.  Here is the view of the same space from the front door.  We also changed the lovely yellow walls before we moved in too!  It was the color they painted the WHOLE house!  I now just have two bathrooms and a bunch of closets left to paint.

old living room - now dining room


So, the topic for progress report #2 presented itself this week when I finally attacked the pass-through from our kitchen to our family room, otherwise known as crap collector #1. You see, we have several crap collectors around our house, and we are crap collecting kinds of people, so the combination of have an easy place to stack crap along with our propensity to do so is a really bad combination.

So, one of our goals with the house is to take away the natural crap collection points (one of them being the ledge you see in the picture up there) and turn them into storage spaces, like built-in bookcases and the like. Because, although this house is quite spacious, it is actually lacking in the storage department.

So, here is the weird pass through that goes from our kitchen to our family room.

pass through

The family room is actually my favorite room in the whole house.  It is bright and airy, and even though the ceilings are low, it just makes it feel warm in here.  The kitchen is dark, as you can tell from the picture.  But, as you can also tell from the picture, the pass through isn’t actually adding to the light in the kitchen, and I hate it for lots of reasons like the uneven trim and the completely unlevel bottom shelf, but mostly because it is a crap collector!  You can see the crap creeping on in this picture.

DSCN0709

It had to go!  So, this week I started ripping out all the parts I could get to.  And, this is what I came up with.  This was a surprise for my hubby to come home to.  He knew that I wanted to rip it all out, but he didn’t know when.  I admit that I have a little home improvement ADD going on right now.

kitchen side

This is the kitchen-side, and below is the family room side.  You can see the new wall colors here too (along with a little of the horrible yellow coming through!  That color just won’t die.

ripping it out - family room side

The big plan here is the the family room is going to get a faux board and batten treatment that will help support the pass through better on the family room side.  The pass through is now going to turn into a set of shelves, and we are just going to stud out and sheet rock over the hole on the kitchen side of things.  This is about all we can do because there is a very large beam supported in that bulkhead, so it would be pretty much impossible to open up the wall completely!  I can’t wait.  I am so excited to see how it all turns out, and I am quite a bit nervous since we are planning on doing all this ourselves!  I will share more as we make progress.

Progress Report #1: Things are coming together in the dining room….

So, the other day, I was reading Remodelaholics, like I do, and Cassity was talking about the challenges of trying to get stuff done with kids. She decided to start posting smaller progress reports about what she is working on, and I thought it was an awesome idea. I too have a tiny distraction! He is wicked cute, but if I turn my back for one tiny second, this is what I find!

My Little Distraction

So, the idea of small little updates rather than trying to wait to show a fully completed room sounded wonderful! But, first I realize I have never really shared much about our house.

Our home has amazing bones! We live in an area where the houses are getting bigger while the lots are getting smaller, and we were lucky enough to find a unique home on a larger piece of land. After we moved in, we found out that there were a few challenges that we were going to have to overcome. One of them was the weird placement of the dining room chandelier in the middle of our “great room,” or the main area you walk into. Leaving the dining room here would mean that the table was 10 ft from the kitchen table and even closer to the bathroom. So, before we even moved in, we moved the chandelier to the space where the living room was supposed to be. (I need to clean the house and take some pictures of everything.)

However, one of the challenges we have faced in this house was that the builders quite obviously ran out of money when it came to the finishing details. This, as my mom points out, might have been a blessing because we don’t have to feel guilty when we change things out that work best for us. The chandelier in the dining room was one of the things we knew needed to go. Our main floor has ten foot ceilings, so it needs a large chandelier to balance the space.

Last year, I saw this picture on Design Sponge, and I fell in love.

jennie_after

And, I started my craigslist hunt for the perfect chandelier that I could transform. It took many months, but I finally found this little beauty. And, this wasn’t the craigslist picture. That is my messy house! I can claim it.

photo

It is all swirly and beautiful and long and skinny, which is totally what I wanted for this space. And, it was only $50. The lady that was selling it was super cool, and I think she just wanted it to go to a new home. So, using the spray paint you can see in that messy picture, I transformed it into this!

Pretty red

Here it is over the table and in really bad light. I am a little worried that it is still too high (it totally violates the height off the table rule, but our ceilings are 10ft high!). But, I am going to live with it for a little while to see if it is worth taking it down and lengthening the chain and all the drama that will come with that!

Keeping it real!

Sidenote: You see that glass cabinet in the background here? I got that on craigslist too, along with the table and the sideboard for only $250. Craigslist in Northern VA is awesome. Super fast moving and full of amazingly good deals.

Oh, and because it was such a cool way to do this, I thought I would share my hubby’s trick on how to paint the fixture without getting paint in the electrical crevices! I though it was pretty ingenious!

Painting the Chandelier

So, that’s my first progress report. I can’t wait to show what the whole dining room will look like if I have my way with it! A complete transformation is in the planning phases!

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