Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vanity Drama

Okay so I had this plan to save this post until the very end, until I was all done and had a beautiful finished product to show you and I was So looking forward to it, however those plans have changed and I feel I must let you in on what I have been up to. I found this awesome vanity on Craigslist. I knew I had to have it, especially now that we were going to be in a new place with limited bathroom space. It has a mirror but I only got a shot of it without...still pretty cool though. Here it is:


The first steps were going along great and I promise to detail it all in a future post but right I am stuck on something very heartbreaking. After consulting many blogs, and perhaps I read them wrong, because the people I looked at are like pros when it come to painting furniture...I got to this point and was so excited


I was so looking forward to getting home tonight and putting on the "protective coat" Well that is when everything came crashing down. I was told by my local Home Depot Associate that I could use the spray stuff over the top since it was going to be heavily used and then wax on the rest. I knew from reading some blogs that I needs a water based polycrylic so I thought I was all set. Until I went to spray it on tonight and this is what happened:


Dripping and pooling (even though the coat I put on was thin) I tried to sand it out between coats (even made a Wal-Mart run for low grit sandpaper in hopes of corrrecting what had gone wrong)


Cab you see the yellowing?? This happened immediately!


All because of this guy right here...

Perhaps it was the wrong thing to use, perhaps the Homer Depot associate was misguided. I called there tonight and talked to a different guy who told me that I should have just painted with a high gloss paint to start and not even used polycrylic or any protectant for that matter. I used a latex paint by Behr, it's a paint and primer in one. I wanted to follow the steps I saw at CentsationalGirl.com because all of Kate's stuff looks so great and you should check out the amazing transformations she has made! Unfortunately my Home Depot does not have the rub on polycyrlic, which I think would have been a safer way to go. 

So I know I am a little all over the place to night,but that is how I am feeling. This is where I desperately need your input. Has this happened to any one before? Any advice on how to correct it? What should/could I have done differently? Different paint? Different protective finish? or none? I am tired and stressed and hubby is waiting for me to come to bed. Hopefully I will not lose too much sleep over this..have you ever had that, something that seems so small in the grand scheme of things but also something that you have already put a lot of time and work into and when it doesn't turn out well your heart just sinks??

Monday, March 26, 2012

Phil's Rug Picks

The hubby has been daydreaming (and night dreaming) about his home office ever since he took his new job...he will have to make what we have for a little bit while we are in transition (i.e. the biggest work space we have right now is our dining room table) but he has big idea of what he wants in a desk, a chair, colors, etc. Today he e-mailed me some rugs he compiled...mainly ideas for his office but for the house in general too. So here is what the man of the house came up with...I think there are some good options for both of us...masculine for him and stylish for moi! Here is a shot that I took at the home inspection of what will be the office.



All the rugs below are from World Market. He had some ideas from Pottery Barn as well, but they wont let me copy the image URL's ...I will link to them at the end of the post!



Phil loves shaggy rugs, I was never a big fan but this one doesn't seem too bad and I think a nice neutral would be good in our bedroom to set off our Blythe bedding pattern


This is red one very much for a man who has many leather bound book and whose home smells of rich mahogany...


Ron Burgundy?

I like this dark one, Just might be too dark for a small room...what do you think?


I saved my favorite color scheme for last. Phil would like dark wood or black desk and I think this light motif would be a lovely contrast. A good blend of the two of us!


Finally here are Phil's picks from Pottery Barn.



Which one is your favorite? Should I go with the Ron Burgundy look? Have Phil grow a mustache while we're at it? Let me know your thoughts...I love hearing from you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Home Inspection

So we had the home inspection on Wednesday evening. Mark, from Kaub Home Inspections and who specializes in the inspection of older homes, was quite thorough...(like three and a half hours thorough)...it was a long night but we greatly appreciated him taking the time to properly inspect and educate us on the home we are purchasing.

Here are a few of the things we learned:


The bricks in the burn unit need to be replaced...this might cost around $500.00. What is happening is that the bricks in the burn unit are very thin and have a thing layer of mortar between them. There is about a 1/2" pocket of hollow space between them and the brick on the outside of the fireplace. this is because the outside brick and mortar can not withstand the heat from a fire so the interior brick are there to protect it. Since the interior brick is loose we have a safety hazard on our hands and we are not going to be able to have a fire in the fireplace unless this is repaired. What can happen is that an ember from the fire can get in between those bricks and up into the wall (since our walls are wood lath and plaster that means that we would have a house fire on our hands...not cool ) This kind of damage happens when people throw logs into the fire...the hit the bricks in the burn unit and since it is hollow behind them knocks them out of place. Once it is repaired it will last us for years to come as long as we place logs properly into the fire. 


The upper part of the chimney also needs some repair that could run us between 5-10k. We are trying to see if the seller will make a deal with us to make the repairs more manageable. I will keep you posted. A home with a wood burning fireplace was on the top of our list...so finding that we could not use this one was extremely disappointing. Hopefully the seller will work with us! 

We also found out that the home will be needing a new water heater. It is leaking on the inside. Mark pulled out some of the insulation and literally rung it out on the floor. Something we are asking the seller to take a look at. 

There were a few other minor things, but nothing we want to make a big deal over. There is some cracking in one of the window wells, but it should be fine for now and in the future since there is only about 1/8" movement per year, Mark estimated. 


There are also two wall sconces int he living room that do not have switches...again, it is inconvenient but not a deal breaker for us. We will get that fixed at some point I am sure. 

We will be sure to keep you posted as things develop! Random question...What song is stuck in your head right now? I have that Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks song "Stop Draggin my Heart Around"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Miss You!


Sorry for lack of photos today but you guys...I with all this house stuff going on (see here and here) I have been MIA from the blog for a few days...Let me first say I miss you! Since we are going to be moving I have stopped doing any sort of decorating projects around the apartment since I know we will be packing the show up and hitting the road pretty soon. I have, however, been getting overwhelmed by my list of potential projects and trying to figure out how I am going to get them done with limited time and limited money. Anyone else ever have that?

I thought what I might do is just share my list with you and see if you could give me some input on what to check off first! We have a few weeks before we actually move into our house, so some will depend on when we close (on or before April 30th assuming all goes well) I have big ambitions and may need some encouragement to carry them out. Here are my big and small dreams for the new place in no particular order.




Paint that awesome vanity I just bought on Craigslist. (I will throw a picture up here soon!)


Decide if I should refinish/paint the head and foot board that matches the vanity


Paint Rooms in the new house: Living, Dining, Bedrooms, Sunroom, and especially that aqua painted guestroom.


Find a desk for my newly acquired work from home husband


Create the perfect home office for said work from home husband


Sofa- I want to re-stuff it to make it work for a little longer until we can afford a new one (or two)


Buy a sewing machine and learn to sew like a pro so I can slip cover our current sofa and arm chair diy 
style! (again...must make it work until funds increase...buying a house will do that to you!)


Remodel upstairs bathroom


Increase closet space


Finish off the attic or garage loft (for a dream master bedroom or guest suite)


Add an iron fence around our yard


Create a work space for myself


Install wine cellar in the basement


Brighten up the entryway


Figure out window treatments


Add a second full bath (plumbing permitting)


Create efficient storage in kitchen and bath


Create an in-home workout space


Find time to knit and maybe even finish a book (something I have not done since freshman year of college)


Document the transformation of "the house we just bought" into the "Rossing Home" on the blog for all of you to share in.


This will give you an idea of what it is like to live in my head...the wheels are always turning..the problem is breaking it down and figuring out what to do first. Please let me hear your suggestions and leave me a comment, or two, or three! What's that you say? You have no opinion, make one up...I still want to hear it :)

Big or small, what is on your to do list? How do you tackle it all? Or do you? Do you guys remember those crank pencil sharpeners?? what a pain, right?]


Also stay tuned...as we get ready to pack up our apartment I have been putting together a little photo tour that I hope to share with you in the next week or so!





Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Step Closer to Home Ownership!


I am glad you are here because I am so excited to update you on our home offer. Things have happened quickly but very smoothly so far. We submitted our offer, and in about 24 hours we had a counter offer that we could not refuse, so...we signed on the line and we are on our way to home ownership! How exciting, not really sure it has sunk in yet. Let me give you a tiny tour of our soon to be home (assuming all goes well)...Pardon the photo quality, these shots are pulled from the listing website :)

Entry Way...that light over the stairs is SO cool!

Living Area with WOOD BURNING fireplace...Love it!

Get a load of that chandelier...

Granite counter tops

Sun room...That Phil is pining that this will be his new home office:)

I of course am already planning what I am going to do once I get my hands on that house...expect plenty of diy and home decor posts! I am so excited to have a home to share with all of you! I am already moving on my first project which is to create a little vanity area for myself. The bathroom in the new place is quite small, which is a great excuse for me to get the vanity I have always wanted. I found an awesome one on Craigslist and my hubby and I are going to look at it tonight...stay tuned to see how it all turns out!

Onto next steps now. Currently we are working with our buyer's agent to find a home inspector. We are keeping fingers crossed that the inspection goes as smoothly as the offer process did.

I invite you to share your home buying stories with me and other readers. How did your offer process go? Were any of you in a deal that went sour? Any lessons learned? For those looking to buy what information would be most helpful? What are you looking for in a house? When and where do you think you will buy? Talk to me people :) I look forward to reading your comments!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Entry Way Organization

I know that we may be moving very soon, even so, I have wanted to get this entryway organized since the day we moved in...so the organization commenced, partly do to the possibility that we may be here a while longer, but mostly on principle.


Unfortunately I store a lot of little things in the entryway that I would generally use at my desk which is across the apartment, but it is the space we have and in apartment living you have to work with what you have. So I did. When I stole those black photo boxes from my mother I intended to have them neatly organized, when I cam home things ended up in them but it was more random and not organized at all. I took it one box at a time. Here is my "Stationary and Stamps" box.



Cute little labels (I wish I had better handwriting...or a printer that worked) let you know what is what. My boxes are labeled:

Stationary and Stamps
Gift Cards and Coupons
Misc (contains batteries and mounting strips)
Office Supplies (pens, scissors, tape, etc...)
Receipts
Note Cards and Note Pads

That's just what I needed to be organize, you can make whatever categorical system works for you. I anticipate that mine will change over time as well!



I also had some books to arrange. Prior to the makeover they were haphazardly shoved in baskets, all they needed was a little straightening. I also arranged a couple of the baskets symmetrically and then used them to stand books upright, which broke up the arrangement a bit.


The big wicker baskets were so stuffed with books that it looked chaotic. Taking some of them out and arranging them on either side of the photo boxes helped with that. 


Ahhhh, this is what I get to come home to now. After a crazy day a work there is nothing better than getting home and seeing everything is in order...relief!

So now it's your turn...What are of your house needs some organizational rehab? Have you already tackled a problem area? Any hints or tips for the rest of us?



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Our First (Serious) House Hunt

Could we be saying "Bye-Bye" apartment with pool we never use?

I don't know yet....come along with me on our little adventure...


We are already learned the ups and downs of this house hunt thing even before we stepped foot into one place for a showingYes I made the mistake of finding what seemed to be the perfect house online, envisioning myself there, seeing my children running through the yard and my husband pulling to the drive way after work and greeting me at the door with a kiss...All after just seeing photos online. We called our agent only to find an offer had already been put in the house and they were going to close in a few days. Sad face! But even before I got this news I said a little prayer, obviously that was not our house...we would find some new house and live happily ever after.

After I let go we proceeded with our search and I had another lesson learned: Just because it is listed online does not mean it is available. Website for buyers like you and me are not exactly up to date all the time and wont tell you is an offer has been made on a house. So take it from me, don't fall in love with a house until you see it...it's just like online dating...it may not have been what you wanted once you saw it in person anyway (perhaps it used a photo from a year ago...before it gained 15 lbs and grew a beard!)

We have a nice little list though of what we are looking for. Which is an important first step in the looking process. know what you want. know what the function of your home is going to be? How will you and your family use the space? And an important one for us is to imagine a bab(ies) (who we love very much already but is still just an idea) and how will the home work with a little one...also how the schools in the area will educate a little one. What if my husband works from home...where will he do that? What if I work at home someday...where will I do that? Where will we keep all Phil's shoes?

On the List:
-Garage (preferably 2 car)
-Fireplace (which may change, but we haven't had trouble finding them available online anyway)
-Yard of some sort
-2 + Bathrooms
-3+ Bedrooms
-Nice Neighborhood
-Good Schools (for the children we
-Storage (basement or attic)
-Ample Closet Space

We know that this list might change or we might be willing to make adjustments and concessions based on cost or other benefits of the property


My favorite real estate agent , showed us some homes this weekend. I plan to take all of you on this journey with me! so stay tuned...I would love to have a house of my own to feature for you on this blog! We saw one that we really loved and would like to make ours...so we made a big scary exciting offer...We will have to see what happens, the house is far from ours yet but, who knows in a few months we could be here:




Or maybe right back here...


...which is not the end of the world and means there is something better for us out there just waiting for us to find it.


So what is on your list? Many of you reading have already found your happy little home...how long did it take, what was on your list? Did you have to give anything up? Share with me, and those around the blogoshpere who stop into my home on the web in the comments section!




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gallery Wall Round-Up

Gallery walls have been around for a long time, but there seems to be a gallery wall "boom" recently. Everyone and their brother...(not my brother's I am guessing though, he he) seems to have, or be dreaming of a gallery or some sort in their home. It is one thing to paint a wall, maybe hang a painting or print, but it is totally another to put meaningful items together in a way that expresses your personal style. Talk about making a house a home in a very unique and personal way...no two galleries could ever be the same!

I have a project in mind of myself in fact...I have all the frames and plan to put wedding (see them at Carly McCray Photography) and engagement photos (by Trevor Keyler) in them...just have to order prints...it's been almost 8 months already...let's hope I get them up before our first anniversary...you guys can hold me accountable!

For now I have three small galleries in our apartment:

Here are some shots of our Master Bedroom Gallery. It is a mix of items we had around the house. Some photos I had taken in high school and two that were taken by our friend Trevor. I literally eye balled this one! I started with the sailboat in the middle and added frames one by one. Not the most strategic method, but it worked out!



I don't generally use a lot of bright colors in my decorating, maybe a splash here and there, however, my mother-in-law paints, so I had to find a way to hang some of her brightly colored pieces in a way that made sense aesthetically. Here is what I came up with for our second bedroom which is a work in progress. The sailboat and palm tree's are by Ann, my mother-in-law. The big agave print I bought for my first apartment to hang above my double bed and served as a headboard of sorts. (the sunflowers I stole from my mom...well she let me take them I should say) I am noticing that my shelf could use some work...any suggestions?? Use the comments section if you have any ideas...:)


Finally our entry way. I made those green boards for our wedding, to fill some stained glass window boxes at the reception hall, now they work wonderfully as bulletin/memory boards. I just need to get some items stuck on the top one. More items stole from mom in this one...the lamp and the mirror. The tiny painting is another one of Ann's and my favorite of the ones we have from her. The dried flowers are from Ann's garden and the vases held the three dozen roses Phil presented me with when he asked me to marry him. 



The first step for me before beginning any project is the glean inspiration, my muse is Google search. I think the biggest challenge to starting a gallery wall project I think is picking your content and planning your placement; this is why looking at what others have done can help get the creative juices flowing. I did some looking so you wouldn't have to and here are some of my favorites from around the web. These folks definitely kicked it up a notch, take a peak:


I hate the idea of conforming a room around the television, which is why it is nice to have a family room of some sort, however many of us have small spaces, or more than one TV. While we all may want to hide our TV's so that guests assume that we "must do a lot of reading", most of us are not that way, which is why I love the idea above. The TV becomes part of the decor rather than an eyesore. Also notice how the frames are hung at eye level and even below...this really helps anchor the room and it is something you will see in many of the galleries I rounded up.



In this contemporary breakfast nook the gallery draws your eye upward in what might otherwise seem like a "short" space. The placement of frames from just below eye level to the ceiling and up over the window along with the full length curtains give this space height. The window almost blends right into the gallery, giving it cohesion and making it pleasing to the eye.




Can this be my home office? What nice composition. The frames and the pictures in them are all a little different. but have qualities that tie it all together, making it all work together. Again, notice the frames are hung low and extend the up towards the ceiling.



Pretty maids all in a row. Can never go wrong with classic summitry. Now if I only had that hallway...




Okay kids, so which gallery is your favorite? Do  you have gallery wall you are proud of? If you have it posted on your blog leave me a link in the comments section. If not send my a hot of it in an e-mail! If you don't have an answer to any of the above questions, leave me a comment anyway...I love to hear from you!

-Kate

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Buy or Not to Buy? {the age old question}

So we got this in our door last week...



Anyone who has rented knows that feeling of dread that comes along with this notice. Your left with that "oh crap what do I do feeling?" Either you sign your life over to your landlord for another year, rent somewhere else, or the scarier question..."Should we buy?" 

I am all for the idea of not throwing my money away on rent, for have walls that don't carry the sound from the neighbors party into my bedroom at 3am, and for have a place to "build my nest" so to speak, but buying a scary big commitment (but really exciting at the same time!)

So I know I have some homeowners who read this blog and I was hoping you might be able to help all of us little renters out there with your wisdom on home buying. What would your advice be to renter who are looking to buy? How did you decide when to buy? How did you know when you walked into your house that it was the one? Did you buy a move-in ready house or one that needed some updating? If you are updating how is it going and are you happy with your decision?

Happy Monday and I look forward to reading each and every one of your comments!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Pretty Package

Nothing beats Spring in the Midwest! The Groundhog saw his shadow, let's just hope this winter doesn't last for the rest of our lives. Snow today and lots of it, one of the heavier ones I have seen all year, which is why I am happy to be cozy in my apartment blogging away! My friend Marissa dropped by this morning with her beautiful baby boy which got me up and at 'em early...which means I got to have a lovely morning visit and all my errands done well before noon and the storm! I think this may start a new trend for my Fridays : waking up before 10am!



Speaking of weather that calls for warm and cozy clothes, remember that GAP-tastic cowl scarf I made a few weeks back? You do? Awesome...thanks for reading! If you don't check it out here. Well I shipped it out to my mom last week (after I wore it around for a few days ;) and I wanted to share some tips with you about gifting and sending hand-knits. After all, if you have taken the time to knit something for someone then that someone must be pretty special...why should the wrapping of your gift say otherwise?

I could have just stuck it in a box and sent it off, she knew it was coming anyway. But I like to go a bit further, I like those are I am giving to to know that they are very dear to me. Presentation says so much!

Okay, so this is how I added a little extra love for my mom.

 Hand-tied ribbon adds a charm to any gift, and especially hand-made gifts. A beautiful bow tells me that this gift was made with love, and then wrapped in some more!




Write a note. It can be short an sweet, most just letting the person know how much you love them and how happy you are to give them this gift. I just tucked it under the ribbon.


Include care instructions. I think many people who have been gifted hand-knits often handle them with kid gloves just because they don;t know how to properly care for them. Make it easy for your special someone to receive your gift by providing them with a care label. A hand made knit won't have a care tag, so I make my own. It's nothing fancy, but it doesn't have to be. Just use a sharpie and a note card to copy down the car instruction from you yarn label. (a good reason to hang onto  you labels). I simply tuck it into a fold. 



Wrap It. I just used white tissue paper, I was kind thinking about how whenever I buy something from J.Crew they wrap it up for me in crisp white paper. My anticipation builds as I look forward to getting home and opening up what is in my bag (even though I know exactly what is in there :) there is something special about unearthing a little treasure, even if what you find wont be a surprise)



Have you ever been the giver of a handmade gift? How do you "wrap it in love"? What about getting a handmade gift, what was it? and what made it so special? I will look forward to seeing your comments below.

Thanks for spending a little bit of time with me and have a wonderful weekend (after you dig out that is!)