Monday, April 27, 2009

Napkin Rings

S: Zach and I use cloth napkins for every meal, an effort which is partly environmental and partly aesthetic. I recently purchased a bunch of cloth napkins on clearance at Walmart and decided I needed some napkin rings to match. The napkins were cheap, so the rings needed to be as well. I took the same wire I used to make the bird's nest and wrapped it a few time around the handle of a flashlight to make the rings. Then I decorated it with copper wire and glass beads. It was really easy and turned out great. Feel free to steal my idea, I got it from PBS.

Why dandelions make me feel grown up

S: I was working in the yard the other day and stopped to pick a dried dandelion flower. I was about to blow the little seed parachutes and watch them scatter. Then I realized that this "flower" was really a weed. And all those innocent wish-bearing parachutes would become more weeds. I threw it away in the trash. It was a sad moment. We've been in our house for about 9 months now, but it took a dandelion to really make me feel like a homeowner.
Z: I was the one encouraging Sarah to blow the seeds. She didn't mention that she did blow them...into the trash can like a concerned responsible adult wanting a well manicured lawn but still wanting to make a wish. I saw a bit of whimsy die that day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Master Bath


S: Yes bathrooms have water in them. No that does not mean that they definitively lend themselves to a seaside theme. Enough of the seashell-shaped sinks. There were 5 of them when we moved into our house, now there's just 1 left! The height of the countertop was uncomfortably low, even for me, so you can imagine how Zach felt when brushing his teeth. (Z: Don't imagine. Try it. Put a ladder in your bathroom and brush your teeth while standing on top) Then there were the lovely brass sconces which hung from the ceiling above the sink, directly above your head. Zach rewired all the outlets and light fixtures in the room, per my specifications, which turned out the be quite a task. I'm thankful for such a patient husband :) My favorite part of the bathroom is the third outlet we added, which is hidden within the tower cabinet. We can hide electric razors/toothbrushes in there and still have them charging. I'd post a picture but that would defeat the whole purpose of having them hidden, wouldn't it?
Z: The microeconomics of remodeling, something I self-deceivingly claim knowledge on while in actuality I only understand the following: I sold a crappy wicker ceiling fan in my bathroom on craigslist for $20 and replaced it with an updated $4 clearance light fixture so I made $16 and improved the value of my home. I just kicked the microrecession in the face with some microprofit.

S: We ordered new cabinets, which Zach expertly installed. There was so much wasted space before, now we have extra storage. We went from 3 drawers to 10! We used a glass cutter to cut the original wall-sized mirror down to two smaller mirrors, and framed them with frames from Hobby Lobby.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Dining Room Before

S: Take one stair case/dining room wall, add 8 enormous, gold-edged mirrors, and you've got the best "gosh darn" mirror wall ever. At least according to Thomas and Johnny. These two guys were pretty proud of the work they completed on New Years Eve, 1984. Personally, I do not like to watch myself eat or come in the front door late at night and think my reflection is about to burglarize me. No thank you. The mirror wall had to go. However, this was easier said than done. The mirrors were super heavy, and super sharp when broken. Between Zach, my mom and me, we managed to remove all the mirrors, and reveal a hidden message in the process. Drywall retexturing and paint removed the last traces of the mirror wall. We got rid of the mirrors on Craigslist. some lady wanted to use them for her belly dancing studio.
Z: The only thing I liked about the mirrors was that it made it two of Sarah. However, being able to continuously peer into the 6th dimensional mirror world made me realize how evil my doppelganger was. We'll call him Hcaz because I don't know his real name since mirrors don't allow you talk to the 6th dimension. Anyways he was evil and was always checking out my wife even though he had one of his own. Hcaz was getting too comfortable in my house so we busted the mirrors. Strangely enough, he decided to do the same thing. I guess he didn't like me either.



S: I sat down the other night and made this little bird's nest from specialty wire, a little moss, and two feathers pulled from one of our feather pillows. I found the little egg shell just as it is, while raking the yard, and it was the perfect addition for my little nest!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Z: Don't ever try to eat popcorn ceiling texture unless you first add a dash of salt
Z: Why put textured cottage cheese on ceilings? Well its cheap, its incredibly easy to apply, and it serves as a magnificent acoustic dampener. So what's not to like about affordability, ease, and soft noises. Well for one, poop ceilings could do the same thing. And ten years later it would start flaking off.

Therefore we removed them all.
Removing popcorn ceilings is a 4 step process:
1. Protect the good stuff: We suffocated the walls and floors with tape and plastic. This was the only expense
2. Water the popcorn: Deceive the popcorn by offering it a drink. We sprayed with a garden sprayer and even pulled the hose in the house. A nice indoor sauna effect is created
3. Kill the popcorn after it has satiated its greedy thirst: We applied grease to our elbows and scraped for 40 days and 40 nights leaving slimy globs of popcorn laying dead on the floor
4. Clean up: Wrap the dead popcorn body in the plastic and place it near the curb and no will even know.

This project took nearly 6 months to complete 8 rooms, closets and all. Yes, it was worth it.
S: Safety Sarah says always wear a dust mask when removing popcorn ceiling!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Guest Bedroom 1

S: No need for a baby's room yet, so the former owner's baby themed room had to go. New paint for the walls, doors, and trim, and a new ceiling fan and blinds.
Z: Its a well known fact that babies love insects. My plan was to keep the baby room and convert the window into a giant ant farm and replace the fan with a giant spider. Also it needed some brown carpet (since brown and yellow are the two colors babies personally love to make)


S: No more stenciled dragon flies and flowers. What I like best about this room is the story behind all of the furnishings. We didn't have to purchase a single piece of furniture for this room. It was all passed down by family members, or rescued on trash day. The iron bed, quilt, and bedspread all belonged to my grandmother. The little dresser and night stands are from Zach's side of the family. The rocking chair in the corner was being thrown away by a neighbor! All it needed was a little paint, a new cushion, and some ribbon.

The pillow shams however, were bought with a price. Zach and I made a trip to the Linens N Things store closing sale and scored these shams for little to nothing. Or so we thought. I was so excited about the good deals we got while in the store, I thought I would review the sales receipt as we walked back to our car. bad idea. reading while walking in flip flops through a parking lot can have disastrous consequences. I jammed by big toe dead on into a cement parking space divider, which bent my toe-nail nearly half back. Every step left toward the car resulted in a spurt of blood. Luckily, Zach fixed me up with the first-aid kit in his car. lesson learned.

Z: True story, this room only cost one pint of Sarah's blood and one gallon of paint. Sentimental family vibes is the key here. I'm going to personally thank Andrew Vanderhoeven for painting the back side of that bright white bi-fold door on his Christmas break. Anytime we play Hide & Seek around here no one can shut up about how good the back side of that door looks. I dig the two oval framed silhouettes of my dad and me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guest Bathroom


S: Our guest bathroom before. We removed the wallpaper, old vanity, "marble" countertop (complete with lovely seashell-shaped sink) and wall-to-wall mirror. Z: Imagine: You indulge in 10 gallons of Rocky Road Ice cream. Then you puke it up into a sea shell and bake it into a rock and wash your face in it.

S: Guest bath after. We added a sink, new vanity, and new mirrors. All the walls, trim, and doors got a fresh coat of paint. This was the first finished room in our house!
Z: I believe a dove with an olive branch in its mouth would be jealous of the peace this room emits. My favorite part: the cabinets and countertop were perfectly level. Please feel free to place all your marbles on this vanity because you will not lose them. It is perfectly level. Your marbles are safe.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kirk Lesson #1

Zach acts silly. Sarah laughs a lot.

So we've finally entered the blogging world. We hope you'll visit often and share in all the details, exciting and mundane, of our daily lives.
Over the next few weeks we will be posting before and after pictures of our first house! It's still a work in progress but I figure it's time to share over 8 months of hard work, and brag on my very skillful husband.