Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm pretty sure you can't do this

I saw this on my way to work this morning. See the two faces?

Cooking without a kitchen

In general, I don't like to use the stove in the summer. It reminds me of reading books where southern women spent hours canning green beans in hundred degree heat. No thanks. That said, the idea of not having a stove for a couple weeks (read: month) is not something I am worried about. The real kicker? The sink. We will be without a fridge between the time when the old one is removed, the floors re-done, and the new one delivered, for about a week. I think I can handle it.

But, the sink? I suppose we can certainly wash dishes quickly using a outdoor hose and a make-shift drying rack on the patio furniture. I have visions of coming home to casserole dishes sunbathing on the lawn and pitchers of suntea brewing on the deck. Who am I kidding? I can't make a casserole with no stove!

I am compiling a list of things I can make using a grill and microwave and it's pretty long. The microwave is pretty useful in making couscous and you can certainly steam veggies in there as well. Grilled meats atop fresh chopped veggies is also great.

While this is all good, I'm not sure how long it will last. "Camping" at home sound like an adventure. . . until my patience is worn thin. I'm sure it won't be long until we're perched on our bed scarfing down cinnamon pop-arts and warm beers after work while watching The Money Pit on DVD.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not even halfway there. . .

I tried to pack up the kitchen this weekend. I just didn't go as well as I would have liked. Between laundry, cleaning, bills, and all the other tasks I have been putting off -- I had a little too much to do. With an estimated 30% done, there is plenty more to go and I only have 4 days left to do it! Oh dear. I know what I'll be doing tonight. . . wanna come over?

Sunday we trekked over to Sears to hunt down some appliances. I already knew what I wanted and we walked away with a pretty good idea of what we could get for our budget. We went home and measured doors and walls and more doors to see if the fridge I picked out could actually fit into our house -- it would be pretty depressing if we couldn't get it through the door. It looks like we'll be able to get this lady in the front door after all:

Isn't she lovely? Hopefully she'll like it in the new kitchen. She'll have 3 other new friends to hang out with so she won't be too lonely:

The microwave will vent outside to keep our tiny kitchen smell free as much as possible. I hope. It's also a convection oven! Which, essentially will be like having two ovens in the house now. Blissful.
Though, I won't be doing that much cooking for a long time. Our appliances will be leaving us on Friday to go to the big recycling center in the sky. They were too old to donate (according to their standards) and too broken to really give away. The cabinets however will be donated and overall are in pretty good shape. I hope someone puts them to good use.
Let the games begin!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Let the packing begin!

This weekend, it all begins. The house will once again be filled with chaos and clutter. It's a strange feeling to know that all the appliances (including the fridge!!) will be gone for weeks. I'm frantically searching for recipes and solutions to living without the option of refrigeration. Powdered creamer for coffee? Check. A small cooler with ice? Um. . . . don't have that yet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gearing up for the Kitchen

I've been a little busy lately. Work has been picking up speed. I have traveled 5 out of the past 7 weekends. Why so much travel? My lovely sister got married on Saturday! Here are some early pics (I know, not house related, but who doesn't like wedding pictures?):
Here comes the bride!:


My gorgeous sister and I:

My mom and I (seriously, she's a hot ticket!):

Now, it's back to reality. . . a little more time and the kitchen will be ready to begin!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A preview of things to come

I ran across this picture on This Young House yesterday and felt a tiny bit (OK a lot) of excitement as it is so similar to what my kitchen will look like when it is complete:

Will this be a new trend?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tread carefully

First, watch this (for some humor).

Then, read this. . . and if you dare to . . . go here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Enjoy Being a Girl . . . Sometimes.

"When I have a brand new hairdo. With my eyelashes all in curl, I float as the clouds on air do. I enjoy being a girl!" (lyrics from I Enjoy Being a Girl, Flower Drum).

This is a sad reality, but I try not to wear heels or dresses to the hardware store. The experiences when doing so is . . .well. . . altered. I'm not saying I storm in like Rose the Riveter, but I just try not to draw attention to the fact that I generally have no idea what I am doing. Yesterday, I went against this rule and sped over to the hardware store directly from the office in my skirt and heels. Big mistake. Picking up a piece of moulding from the hardware store was the first horror with me speaking like this "you know the piece. . .with the sides, and the points?". This received blank stares and followed with me heading to some back room to choose the piece myself. Fine. I can handle that.

But, the paint store. Oh, dear. I just wanted to get some drywall patches. Nothing crazy. But, the questions, the probing, it was like a CIA interrogation. What are you using this for? Do you have tape? What about caulking? Once I explained what I was doing and the man helping me said plainly, with a drawn face and hearty eastern European accent, "that's not how you do it". I sheepishly lowered my head and shuffled behind him through the store in my heels and pearls. During the whole explanation the phrases began with, "tell the person who is doing this, to ...". Finally, he said sternly, "Who is doing this". I gazed up and stammered, "well, mmmmeee?". You could have counted to ten while he looked me up and down. His response (dead serious), "Well, why not? I guess it's not rocket science." Translation: I guess some prissy GIRL can try her hand at it - knock yourself out! This was followed by, "Look, try not to set your expectations too high, OK?". Um, thanks?

Next time. . .jeans.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Vacation

I'm vacationing from DC Rowhouse over at Home Construction Improvement. Come visit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Design Board: Jennie's Kitchen

When Jennie wrote me to help her with her kitchen, I was ecstatic! She had already taken the steps to change her counter color and was ready to continue to journey. Here is here letter:

I have been lurking on your blog for awhile now – not really sure how I found you – it was either the Young House or another blog. I am in the middle of a mini makeover on my kitchen and need some help. I recently took the plunge and painted my laminate counter tops. They were a horrible hunter green. The problem I am having is all the wood in the kitchen matches. The flooring, the cabinets and our kitchen table are all that HORRIBLE honey color – I can’t change the wood flooring at this time but I can work on the cabinets and wall colors. I am attaching a bad cell phone picture. If you are up for the challenge and see potential I can send you better pictures. I am stuck with where to go from here – any help would be great appreciated. Thanks!

Here is Jennie's kitchen:

And, here is what I came up with:

1. Colors: Since Jennie dislikes her current matching floor/cabinet design, it looks like it’s time to paint those cabinets! I have chosen two complimentary tones for the cabinet and walls. They are mocha brown carrying cream and tan notes that will reflect well with the newly painted counter. Now, if the idea of a colored cabinet is a little off-putting, a white cabinet would certainly look great with either of these colors at the wall cabinet. As it is, I would paint the cabinets in the lighter shade and stick to the darker shade for the walls.

2. The lights in the kitchen are to be replaced by recessed lighting and Jennie wants to install some pendants for over the bar area. These clear rustic pendants from Potterybarn ($179 for two) do just the trick! They add a cottage yet elegant look to the space. Since they have clear shades, the light they provide won’t be compromised by the shade color.

3. The neutral colors from this rug are a combination of cool and warm tones (Walmart, $19.96-189.96). It comes in a variety of sizes so Jennie can either choose a small rug for beneath her sink or a larger runner. For these prices, a larger rug for under the kitchen table too!

4. In downplaying the floor color it’s important to not just glaze over it. Incorporating the color through these great bamboo shades is the perfect way to do it. It adds texture to the space, allows the user to determine the amount of privacy or light, and compliment the rest of the space greatly. (Walmart, $31.35-46.65)

5. Now, for the space above the cabinets. Since Jennie wants to remove the baskets and replace them with lettering, I found a great solution. Wall decals! The one I like best is the one in the collage which says “eat, drink, be merry” – but this company offer a slew of them to choose from. (Right on the Walls $30.95-45.95)

Are you looking for a little inspiration for your project? Shoot me an e-mail at dcrowhouse@gmail.com. Oh, and did I mention. . . it's FREE!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Steal this look. . . for less: Mirrored Nighstand

Exhibit A: Potterybarn's Park Mirrored Bedside Table ($399)

Exhibit B: Pier 1's Hayworth Nightstand ($199.95)

With a trendy look like this it's great to know you can spend half as much to create the same look.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Capitol Hill Victorian Reno

It's Friday. Here, have some candy for your eyes. Go on, you deserve it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Design Board: Carrie's Bathroom - Part III

For the third, and last design for Carrie's bathroom, I extended the budget a little and made it the most luxury of them all. Check it out:

Being the most expensive design of the bunch it's still pretty affordable. For the basic of this bath (vanity, two sinks, and two faucets) you'd have to shell out a whooping $1290.71, more than $500 more than bathroom design one. Here's the rundown:

1. This luxurious double vanity includes the marble top and sinks, which makes the price tag of $949.99 a little easier to swallow.

2. To break up the look of the large vanity, two oval mirrors above would do just the trick. At $71.36 a pop - you're getting two mirrors for under $150.

3. Since the vanity only the vanity doesn't include is the faucets, I added these brushed nickel beauties to reflect the style of the mirror. These babies ring up at $99.

4. I'm not one to go for the tissue cover, but the large tray, soap dishes and lotion pumps would look fab in this space. Each sink should have it's own lotion/soap pump as well as a soap dish (to place rings etc), I'd add the large tray in the center of the vanity for perfume or cologne. These are a little more of a splurge, but hey, it's the luxury design!

5. A wicker waste basket would add more texture to this space. It can even be placed out of the way under the vanity of side space doesn't allow for it. For under $15, you'd have to get it!

6. What luxury bath would be complete without monogrammed towels? The ivory/brown look of this set would complement all the features of this bathroom.

7. This shower curtain pulls the brown from the vanity and the blue from the tile to make a cohesive appearance. It's the most expensive accessory item at $59.99.

Grand total? For the vanity, two mirrors, two faucets, the ceramic accessories, waste basket, shower curtain, and two towels sets...drum roll please...$1574.13! Not too shabby.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Design Board: Carrie's Bath - Part II

For the second design on Carrie's bathroom I went a little more modern. Check it out:

This design pulls at a larger purse string: the total for the basics (sink, mirror, vanity and faucet -- for two of course!) would run Carrie $855.98. Still, a moderate budget for a double sink area.

Here are all the details:

1. The dark wood and funky doors on this vanity is a modern take on a classic two door look. It's hard to believe this puppy sells for $179.

2. The colors of the large mirror match the vanity adding a big punch of color together. It's a big bargain at $49.99.

3. The large white sink breaks up the dark wood and provides a back shelf area to stack your make-up while you get ready for the day.

4. A modern faucet rounds out the vanity set, and for $99, this baby is hard to pass up!

5. I'm normally not one to go for colored towels, but this set really would look great with the vanity and the blue tiles. For $24.99, Carrie could get two sets for her new bath!

6. The vintage-modern look of these cool bathroom accessories made them an easy addition to the group. All pieces are under $13!

7. Along with the funky towels, I added this striped shower curtain to add more color to the new modern bathroom. It's the highest price accessory in the bunch, and at $29.99 . . . that's saying something!

So, if Carrie chooses bathroom two and "splurges" on all the extras... what's the total? Well, for all the basics (two sinks, two vanities, two mirrors, and two faucets) plus all the extras (two towel sets, three green accent holders, and the shower curtain) her grand total would be . . .$998.91! Just squeeking in under a grand.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Design Board: Carrie's Bathroom - Part I

After my call for requests, Carrie e-mailed me about her master bathroom:

I read your blog pretty frequently, and I love all the things you've redone. Since you're offering free advice and I'm cheap/on a budget, I'd like to get your input about an update in this sink area of our bathroom. We've lived with this awfulness for the past few years. We're planning to eventually redo the whole bathroom (and remove all the awful seafoam floor tile). We have 2 year old, so our projects have concentrated more on areas of the house other people actually see. After a leak under one of the sinks, we've decided the vanity needs to be replaced, and therefore it's time to give the bathroom a facelift. The only thing we need to keep is the floor tile. So, do you have any wonderful & budget friendly ideas?

Here is the picture she sent:

It's such a great space! A nice private nook for your sink, separate from the other sections of the bathroom. Since "budget friendly" can be defined in so many ways, I did three design boards for her. Here is the first (and most budget friendly) design:

For the first design, you can get all the basic material (sink, medicine cabinet, faucet) for under $750! Pretty good for a bathroom for two! Here are all the details

1. Since there is a defined nook where the bathroom sinks should go, it would look nice to have too white pedestal sinks. The sink top runs a cool $90.90 and the bottom is a steal at $84.15 -- both from Lowe's. Oh yeah, the best part is that the price includes shipping! Score!

2. This faucet would look just lovely with the sinks and the price is not too shabby either. For $113 this baby is a fraction of the price of other look alikes.

3. With a pedestal sink, you loose the under sink storage, so I went with these classic medicine cabinets. I've seen many of these medicine cabinets as higher end stores like Potterybarn and Restoration Hardware. But, this one is actually affordable. For $84, you can store your good in style.

4. Another way to store your wares is in these gorgeous chrome shelves. One next to each sink would be great! For $40, why not? An interesting tid-bit is that I also saw them at Kohls for $64. Hmmm...

5. This wastebasket continues the theme of white porcelain. It would be a great addition in between the two sinks. For just a little over twenty bucks ($20.50), it's a good deal.

6. I love white towels. Big fluffy white towels. It makes you feel like you're at a spa and you can bleach them and they look as good as new. These towel sets at Target are only $29.99.

7. Coordinating with the wastebasket, these little accessories would look perfect inside or outside the medicine cabinet. The whole set can be snapped up for $19.96!

8. Though you can't see Carrie's shower in the picture she provided, I assumed there once one and added in this grey-blue curtain to tie in the crisp white fixtures and the cool blue towel. At $34.99, this one's a keeper.

So, what would the grand total be? For two sinks, two medicine cabinets, two faucets, two shelving units, a wastebasket, accessory set, two towel sets, and a shower curtain, the grand total for the materials for this bathroom make-over are. . . $959.53!!!!

Stayed tuned for the next two designs. . .

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lots in Store

There is much to come on DC Rowhouse this week! Including 3 bathroom design boards!

Stay tuned. . .

Injuries Obtained

  • Sprained Toe/Foot: 1
  • Blood Blisters: 2
  • Splinters under fingernail: 1
  • Bird Shit on me: 1
  • Eye Injuries: 3
  • Burns: 0
  • Falls off ladder: 0 (this is because we don't have a ladder yet)
  • Headaches: too many to itemize
  • Broken Bones: 0
  • Bandages Needed: 5
  • Electric Shocks: 2
  • Stiches: 0
  • Bruises: way too many