The boys’ updated room {ta-da!}

Finally! We are (almost, nearly) finished with the boys’ room makeover. Since there wasn’t going to be on a vacation this summer, I figured, why not spend that money on sometime more tangible. And the boys’ room was ripe for a makeover. The last time I did anything substantial to their room was 7 years ago when their beds were built.

Now. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself NOT to paint the room dark navy and the beds dark gray. (Well, one would hope I’d use my time travel for more important purposes, but trust me, this weekend there was nothing more important.)

Let’s get to the good stuff first…before and after pictures. I admit, their room was in quite a state when I took the before pictures. But if I’d waited for them to clean it up just so I could take before pictures, well, I wouldn’t have paint in my hair right now.

Okay, so I didn’t do a great job taking pics of the same angles, but you get the idea. Here are a few more:

Here is what we did:

  • painted the walls Alabaster (Sherwin Williams) and the trim (beds included) ultra reflective white (SW.) I wish I’d gone with Behr paint, but SW was having a sale. I feel like the good Behr paint covers better and is about the same price as Sherwin Williams Cashmere on sale. Oh well.
    Aside: on the advice of a friend, I got a paint sprayer and it really helped the primer go on quickly. And it was fun. But I didn’t want to put expensive paint in it (it has to be thinned) so it didn’t get as much use as I would have hoped. But it’s nice to have.
  • got these LED lights. This was basically what the room was designed around. They wanted light walls to show off the LED lights better. Ha!
  • got a rug from Amazon. It’s soft and squishy and was super cheap. We don’t do rugs in our house, so I didn’t want to spend a ton in case it didn’t work out.
  • removed all of the posters and (sniff, sniff) stickers from the walls. The original theme of the room (when the boys were 3, mind you) was “under the sea” so there were sea creatures everywhere. Linus was particularly sad to have to remove these Easter stickers he got from his preK-4 teacher.
  • took down the ratty “curtains” that have been up forever (really just pieces of fleece on clips) and got light blocking 2.5″ faux wood blinds.
  • put a set of their cubicles that were next to the old dresser into the closet instead. IMG_7192
  • bought a new dresser! Real furniture! The one that was there before was a hand me down from a friend. I really think this was the first piece of furniture I’ve ever bought that didn’t have to be put together. (I mean, I love IKEA, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something a bit more grown up, and that I could see in person first.)
  • used some of the 46 zillion soccer jerseys the boys have to decorate the wall behind the dresser. Hung their team scarves on the walls around one of the windows.
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  • moved the TV and Xbox to the dresser so the desk can be used for school, since it will be at least partially virtual this year.
  • got a butterfly chair from Target to make it more comfortable to rot their brains.

There are still a few things left to do, but I am burned out, so they’ll have to wait a bit.

  • install hooks on the back of the door for coats and jackets
  • re-hang a shelf with hooks in the desk nook for all of their medals and whatnot
  • hang the soccer team photo

I think that’s it? Overall, we are all very happy with the updated room. But I swear, I am never painting again.

IKEA to the rescue!

When Kristina was visiting, Mary Catherine came over to consult with her on the mess that is my house. After looking at my teeny-tiny closet that was stuffed full and the two random dressers stuffed full and covered in more stuff (so much stuff!) Mary Catherine declared that I needed to get rid of the dressers and get a wardrobe instead.

 

I loved this idea and hopped on the IKEA website and planned and eventually ordered a PAX wardrobe.

The space I had to work with was just about 66″ wide, and I was able to pretty much fill that area perfectly!

So what I needed from this wardrobe was lots of hanging room (well, more than the 25″ I had in my closet) and more drawer space than I had in my two dressers. That seems like a lot, but I was able to accomplish it with the use of pull out baskets and shelves. The fact that I was working with the 93″ tall PAX frames helped a lot.

(Also I didn’t realize how tall 93″ is. It’s TALL.)

Here’s what I planned on the IKEA website and how it turned out IRL:

Doors open:

Doors closed:

I’m especially excited about the mirrored door. It’s the only full-length mirror in the house! Up until now I had to carefully balance my phone on the mantle and take a picture of myself if I wanted to see what an outfit looked like.

Putting it all together wasn’t easy but it wasn’t too bad either. Probably the worst part was just the sheer size of the thing and the lack of space in the room to put it together. But it all worked out in the end, with help from Linus and George.

Oh, and my old tiny closet? I got a shoe rack that basically takes up all of the closet floor space and then got some hanging cubes for now to put fabric in. It’s a temporary solution until I can get built-in shelves.

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Much better! (Really!)

My grownup room:

So that is the story of my wardrobe. Now I can sew more clothes! Yay!

 

How to build a patio in 28 easy steps

Yesterday I posted a picture of our finished patio that George, some friends, and I built over three days last week. Now I am here to tell you how we did it.

Step 1: Mark out and measure the area. 

Our yard is on the side of the house, and it’s an L-shape. There’s a weird bit of sidewalk in the middle back from when there was a house there. Due to the boys playing soccer and Ziggy being Ziggy and other factors, there was an area next to the back door that was dirt or mud, depending on the weather. So we marked out a rectangular area between the side of the house and the weird sidewalk bit.

Step 2: Order stuff

We decided on these brick-like pavers from Home Depot called Holland pavers because they were on sale and I liked the look of them. Woot! Arranged for them to be delivered because, uh, we needed a bunch.

We also needed sand, so I did some googling and found a local company to deliver a truckload of concrete sand. Thank goodness they had a handy dandy calculator on their website to figure out how much we needed. Feel very adult-like.

Also buy a case of beer with which to bribe friends with so they will help. Go back to feeling like a college student. Continue reading “How to build a patio in 28 easy steps”

Ta dah! {brick patio!}

A week ago, this was basically mud (or dirt, depending on the weather.) But now, thanks to the help of friends and my parents (who took the boys for a few days) we have a lovely brick patio!


Naturally, this photo was taken very carefully so you can’t see the piles of dirt and sand and shovels everywhere. I’ll save all that for the post I’m planning about how we built it.

But for now I’m going to enjoy the nice evening with my back to the mess.

It’s gone!

After 7.5 years (kind of a lie, we really put it up probably 6.5 years ago) we finally took down the baby gate.

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I know it seems weird – do 7 year olds really need a baby gate? Well, our living room is upstairs, and the floors are wood. And at the bottom of the (hard, wooden) stairs is a ceramic tile floor.

And with the amount of running and wrestling and general tomfoolery that goes on upstairs, I just felt better having the gate there. But I’ve forbidden socks upstairs now, and the boys are a pretty cautious sort, so I feel okay about it.

Hopefully we won’t end up with any more fractured skulls.

Thursday stuff

Oliver lost one of his top teeth, finally! Poor dude was getting a complex about it. Woke me up at 1am to show me. Glad he didn’t swallow it in his sleep! Looks like the adult tooth is already coming in.

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While getting in the van to take the boys to camp this morning, I stepped in a red ant pile that was hidden under some Asian jasmine. A lot of cursing and slapping at my feet followed. I hate those assholes. (Here’s the full video if you want to see them up close.)

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Today a company is coming by to give us an estimate on having the attic insulated. Hopefully we can afford to do it, because I imagine it would pay for itself in a couple of years. Upstairs gets so, so hot. Anyone have experience with this? Our a/c is just struggling to keep up with the heat.

I also am scheming to get the living room in order. Painting, first of all. And then just making it look a little nicer. Maybe it’s time to take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs? I dunno if I’m ready for that. Here’s what it looks like currently. At least I moved the lego table into the boys’ room. It’s a start.

Oh shoot. Two days til the triathlon. Better start thinking about that.



Look, there’s our house!

Last night’s episode of NCIS New Orleans was terribly exciting, no? I don’t mean the plot or the atrocious accent of that one guy (HUH?) or just the typical New Orleans cliches they threw at us, but MY STREET!

Just for fun, a few screen shots from the episode, next to the photos I took while they filmed…

My view: The gray SUV that carries NCIS people (I guess) screeches into the driveway of the “coroner’s office”!

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On TV: The gray SUV that carries NCIS people (I guess) screeches into the driveway of the “coroner’s office”!

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My view: People run out of the building, away from the gunman! (Then they stood in our driveway.)

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On TV: People run out of the building!

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My view: Scott Bakula and other randoms run to help the security guard who got himself shot!

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On TV: The pain is so real!

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Okay, that’s enough. You get the idea.

One more screen shot, where you can see our house! And our garbage cans! And a tiny bit of my van! And my neighbor’s house/coffee shop!

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Handily labeled for you.

Well, I think we’ve proved that my block makes a great place to film things. Now if anyone just needs a cute 7 year old boy and some spares, have your people call my people!

Happy houseiversary

I cannot believe I forgot our 11 year houseiversary the other day. Okay, okay, maybe I don’t have to mark every anniversary of every thing that’s ever happened. Yeah, I don’t have to. I just like to.

But wait…I’ve only posted once about a houseiversary, and that was ten years ago! So now I don’t feel quite so ridiculous for posting one today.

In the past eleven years, we’ve been through a lot in this house. Engagement, Hurricane Katrina, marriage, and the arrival of three kids at once (as you can imagine, we bought this house on the assumption we’d have one or two kids, max.)

We’ve redone the kitchen, rebuilt the stairs, moved rooms around, built in triple bunk beds, painted the exterior, and added a wall, but I still want to repaint the living room and get new floors downstairs and fix the ones upstairs and redo the totally ’80s downstairs bathroom and finally change the lightbulb at the top of the stairwell that has been burned out for a decade.

One day.

Would I love to have a bigger house? One without so much wasted space? God, yes. The boys won’t fit in those beds forever, and I’d kill for, say, an actual laundry room and a back yard. But I also love the idea of the boys growing up in the same house forever. And I can still remember the knee-weakening feeling I got when we walked through the front door for the first time.

(Of course, the previous owner was an artist, and had one teenage kid. And was more on the minimalist side than we’ll ever be.)

A mini-makeover

The kitchen is done, and now our attention turns to the living room. It’s not terrible, I suppose. We got a new sofa from IKEA a few years ago, and as the boys have gotten older, their toys have gotten fewer, so it doesn’t look like Toy R Us vomited everywhere (just the LEGO factory.) But still, our “entertainment center” was a mess of wires and dust and functional but ugly furniture.

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Before: So. many. wires.
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After: Much better!

The unit is by Prepac and if you’ve put together IKEA furniture before, this will be no sweat.

I have more plans for this room, like re-painting and fixing the floors, but this is already so much better.