Thursday, July 31, 2014

Year Five

Every year we do an annual report in lieu of a Christmas card. I personally love reading updates of what all my friends are up to, we just didn't feel like the Christmas Newsletter thing was very "us." We determined that we would send out something on a random holiday, and then we decided our anniversary, which is near Tax Day would work the best. We change up the format every year and are DEFINITELY pairing down for next year... but here is our Year Five Annual Report.

You can read it HERE!

Friday, June 6, 2014

On Gratitude

The other day, in between vomiting sessions brought to you by Wilson 3.0, I watched a documentary titled It's a Girl on Netflix. I am not ignorant about world affairs, so I was aware that this problem existed. One of my political science professors in college devoted an entire semester to gender issues in politics. I also spend a fair amount of time reading essays, books, and the odd article or two about a wide variety of topics hot with feminists. I have no idea why this documentary touched me so much at this time, but it did. Perhaps it is because I have a little girl of my own. How grateful I am that I was born in a location and to parents who truly wanted a little girl. I am grateful that my parents taught my brothers and I that we could do achieve anything that we worked for. Gender was never mentioned, because there was no distinction of one gender being better than another. When I needed extra money for summer camps and travels while I was in high school, my dad suggested I mow lawns. My brothers learned how to cook and be self sufficient house keepers.

I am grateful that my little girl was born into our family. I am grateful when we discuss what she might become one day, Big Steve says. "She's good with her hands, I bet she'll be a surgeon." I am grateful that my two nephews (Ladybug's only cousins on my side) let her boss them around shamelessly even though she can't really talk. I am grateful that the Beardocrat talks about the mission that she will one day serve, and the adventures she might one day go on. I am grateful that her older brother adores her. He does not think he is better than her (though he DOES think he is her boss, but that isn't unique, he thinks he is everyone's boss), he loves to make her smile and see her happy. I am grateful that Ladybug's opportunities will be wide, and varied, and of her own choosing, just like mine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nautical Victorian Bath II

The devil is in the details now. Nautical Victorian. I am not exactly sure where I came up with the idea, but I liked the idea of a striped shower curtain, and as I said, I didn't want to repaint baseboards which had already been painted dark. I had the idea for how I wanted things to look, but it took a while to get all the elements together. By far and away, the most difficult was...

I wanted a wooden black/brown toilet seat. The one I REALLY wanted I saw at Ikea, but sadly, they stopped making them. It was perfect and inexpensive. I wanted something with an actual wooden texture, but the models at all the hardware stores and home improvement stores were too glossy and cost WAY too much. I found one that I thought would work, but it was a hundred and forty dollars. Who wants to spend that much money on a toilet seat? Not I, finally after HOURS on google I hit They had a cheap version that wasn't perfect (it had crome hardware and the other hardware is brushed nickel), but I liked it well enough and it only cost twenty dollars, so it works.

These gems were nice additions and fit well with the victorian theme. I like the color, and the ornateness. Once again, you'll notice that not all the hardware is matchy, matchy. In modern baths I like clean lines and matching, but in this, I wanted it to look like a bathroom that could have existed when manufacturing was not as wide spread and a bathroom would have had hand crafted details.

I wish you could see the color of this shower curtain, it is truly nice. It is kind of a bright navy. I am currently still searching for some kind of bath mat/rug that matches well enough to use in this room. I haven't found one that fits the style or color I am looking for so I am holding out.

This is the original light fixture. Before it was a gross copper color. Yes, I realize it is a bit art deco but the sconces are pretty and look like they belong in the victorian era. I spray painted this. ME. SPRAY PAINT. Yes, I'm a bit ashamed. And while we are at it, lets discuss the paint on the walls. I did that. Yep. I inhaled fumes for a couple days and --fun discovery-- I am a really decent taper. Also, when we went to get paint, the paint man told us about this mix in scent that he could add to the paint. We bought the Clean Linen (one of my favorite smells) mix-in, and it is awesome. 

This was not my original faucet choice, but happily, I like it better than the original choice. The Beardocrat and I installed this one and it was leaky and awful. Then Alan re-did it by himself and now it is wonderful. I removed the old faucet, if that counts for anything.

These wall plates were actually last minute purchases. After the whole room was finished, the cheapo white wall plates really stood out, and they didn't look great. These plates gave a great finishing touch, and *decorating tip, hold your breath* these are an inexpensive way to add interest, color, or personalization to a room. Clearly, one could go overboard, but I think with the victorian theme they weren't too much. The swirly pattern also compliments the light fixture and some of the accents.

This hand towel rack is the only original hardware I kept leftover from the old bathroom. I liked it, it works, and I didn't have to paint it. We can talk a bit about other leftover pieces. The shower curtain rod, inner shower curtain, and shower curtain rings are things left over from other bathrooms. Brushed Nickel, always my favorite. 

These are two of the three pictures on the wall. I couldn't get a great photo of the compass art, so these examples will suffice. I worried about being too literal with the art, as the shower curtain was very nautical. Happily I felt the whimsical nature of the Sea Meets Sky was nice, and embraced the theme without going into literal land like the hook. Also, the Adirondack shelf pictured in the other post is meant to be more of an art piece as the towels aren't meant to be used. Just for show.  We can talk about the mirror at this point as well (picture on other post). The Beardocrat removed the old mirror, and it was no small effort. That is one of the reasons we decided to paint. 

Overall, this was a fun project. I like the effect. Once again, not perfect, but I feel like this whole designing thing is getting easier. I am making rules, and following them, and the results are pleasant. Maybe I am saying this because I only have one more bathroom to go, and I've already done a majority of the planning on that one, so it requires a few trips to the hardware store and some Beardocrat labor and it will be good to go. After the third bathroom, I will be moving on to the Master Bedroom, and then David's bedroom, which will be David and Adele's bedroom by the end of the summer. I promise no jungle or nautical themes for either.

Nautical Victorian Bath I



What I was going for: Nautical Victorian Bath
What I achieved: Awesome Nautical Victoria Bath!

The Beardocrat and I refer to this bathroom as the mezzanine bath. It is the guest bath on the main floor. We used to give the kiddos baths in here, but that was destroying the bathroom. Seriously. Our kids are animals. We also have a complete guest bath downstairs, so we never encourage bathing in this room. Overall I am pleased with the way this turned out. Sure, there are some things I would change, but these will be in part II, stay tuned.

I chose the color palette of black, dark brown, navy, antique blue, blush, and cream. Who says seven colors are too many? Not I. Especially when the dark brown/black color is so similar. I chose this palette deliberately because when we first started this project the walls were a gross gray color and I had no intention of repainting. I am lazy like that. The baseboards and vanity were also darkbrown/black. In addition, we can discuss the tile color, which I've never liked, but am not about to rip out. Midway through the project I decided that painting wasn't such a big deal, so off to the hardware store we went but I'd already committed to the colors by that point.

Special thanks goes out to:
Lowes: Paint, scent stuff to put in paint, spray paint, various screws/wall anchors, and plumber's tape. Adirondak shelf, outlet /light switch covers, toilet paper dispenser, toilet bowl flusher, and the Terry Fan 'Ocean Meets Sky' wood plate. Amazon is great, though it is hard to judge color from some of the pictures, so be wary.
Target: Soap dispenser, antique blue towels, cream towels, trash can, kleenex box, and soap/knick knack dish.
JC Penny: Blush towels. Can I tell you, it was an EPIC search to find the right shade of blush. Who knew that very few companies make the right color. In fact, the towels were called Pearl Rose I believe. Either way, it took a long time, and JC Penny finally had it. Toilet Seat. Also, I will let you know in the next installment JUST how long I searched.
Ikea: Mirror Faucet Shower curtain
Etsy: Anchor and Compass wall art.
Alan Wilson: For fixing the faucet, helping paint, hanging everything on the walls, and generally letting me boss him around when this wasn't his idea of fun.
Mike Krimme: For lending ladders and tools, as always.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Upstairs Kid Bathroom

What I was going for: Safari Bungalow Bath
What I achieved: Awesome Safari Bungalow Bath*

Thank you!
So what do I mean by Safari Bungalow? I wanted the kids bathroom to be a fun place that straddled that line between juvenile and not TOO juvenile. I didn't want to have to redecorate in five years or so. The bathroom needed to look like a bungalow bathroom if you were on safari somewhere: a loose jungle theme with bright pops of green with some classy hardware to finish it off. I also didn't want the hardware to be too matchy matchy.

See the towel rack on the first picture.
We have some modern hardware on the vanity that I liked and wanted to keep some of those modern lines. In an effort to compliment that modernity, I selected a soap dispenser/garbage can/bathmat combo that had a more modern feel. Then with the toilet paper and towel racks and hooks I followed the modern lines, with a different finish on the metal.

For the sink faucet, shower curtain rings, and hand towel rack I selected a more ornate bamboo feel. Which amazing plumber installed that sink  you ask? Oh, that is right, me. I did. Sure, Big Steve came to the house and held my hand during the process.

I love these great illustrations and frames. The angles are difficult so I didn't get a great picture of the other prints hanging, though you can see pictures of them if you scroll on up. They capture the whimsical feel without being too cutesy which was hard. They add the perfect element to the bathroom and really make it a warm space.

And Ta Da! I installed a toilet seat. This was the first item I purchased for the bath and the first of my installations. In the lower photo you will find my two helpers as they are drumming on the seat, because what else would you do with a toilet seat?

Now lets talk about some extras. I needed a place to store the toothbrushes, toothpaste, q-tips, cotton balls, etc. Of course I also needed a fake plant, some towels, and some cheesy grinning Squirmy. He does this thing where he closes his eyes now when he smiles for pictures. Weird. You can also see the base boards that we painted a shiny white! I could write epic poems about painting anything with my husband, but I will spare you... for now.

Special thanks goes out to: 2 8x8 prints, 1 12x12 print. The shop out of Canada can be found on Etsy and was great to work with. The 12x12 was a custom order and they got it out fast. I would recommend them for any projects you are doing, particularly things for kids that you don't want to look fun and yet sophisticated
Signed and Numbered: 2 8x8 picture frames, 1 12x12 frame. Another Etsy gem, but they have a shop in SLC, so I can cruise on by and pick up more frames anytime. The pics don't do justice to the craftsmanship.
Ikea: Toilet seat, toilet paper dispense, robe hook, towel rack, fake bamboo plant, bamboo pot, decorative baskets, cat tail shower curtain. Seriously, I am so glad I married the Beardocrat and he turned me on to the joy that is IKEA!
Home Faucet, hand towel rack.
Target: 2 brown/tan towels, 2 brown/tan hand towels, 1 tan wash cloth, bath mat, trash can, soap dispenser. Even though they compromised all my personal informations at various times during the holiday season, I still can't get enough.
Lowes: Shower curtain rings, white paint for baseboards.
Alan Wilson: Manual labor, hours talking about bathrooms, patience, $$ to redecorate. :x
Steven E. Sweat: Assistance with sink faucet.

*What didn't turn out perfect: I didn't replace the tile, mirror, vanity, light fixture, or the current window treatment. Though I can promise to replace the window treatment, I probably will not replace the other things. They aren't ideal, but I can live with them, as this was a primarily cosmetic remodel.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things I Have Learned About Myself... Bathroom Remodel Edition Part One

*Backstory: Our house has four full bathrooms. I have never been a decorator. I simply have never cared what a house LOOKS like. I am more concerned about ceiling height and flow. My only opinions when it comes to decor are that vinyl letters are disgusting, and I like clean walls.

I am not sure how it happened, or why, but earlier last year I decided that we needed to do something about the bathrooms. When we moved in initially, I knew we'd need new shower curtains, but I thought that was it. Months later, still without proper shower curtains, we decided we needed to redecorate all of them.

I think all this transpired around the time we decided to put our townhome on the market and I started watching home improvement shows while I was at the gym. It began innocently enough with shows about selling homes so I could nod and grumble and relate. Then it morphed into DIY shows on hulu and shows about Sweat Equity and then Bang For Your Buck. While I was watching these pseudo educational programs I realized that I DID have some opinions about what I was seeing. I had LOTS of opinions. With the bathrooms, I could put those many opinions into practice. Now that I am engaged in the process, I've learned the following things.

Thing One: I am a control freak
This, I will admit, I've been told a time or two. If I ever doubted it, I certainly have proof. Before I began the process, I planned. And planned. And planned. The Beardocrat asked me to make a pinterest board (I know, I rolled my eyes as well, but apparently my use of "You know it will look kind of like brown, with some green" didn't evoke the mental images I'd supposed they would) so he could see what I was going for. Then he offered opinions. I DID NOT APPRECIATE THOSE OPINIONS. See, control freak.

Thing Two: I believe in loose themes
I do. I believe in them, but when people get too literal about them... I think it goes into cheeseville, which is not what I want in my bathroom. For the kids' bathroom upstairs I wanted a jungle theme. I can not express just how difficult it has been to find things that aren't cheesy, and that work with the vanity which I did not want to replace. Themes are important. They tie things together. Also, when you say jungle and kids all the sudden you only find cartoon artwork. Finally FINALLY on etsy, I was able to find some art work that I found acceptable.

Thing Three: Champaign taste, beer budget
I guess that isn't necessarily true. I am cheap, independent of size of budget. I gave myself pretty low budgets and looked into salvaging everything I could from the current bathrooms. Now that I am actually spending money for hardware and accessories, I realize that I like the good stuff. I like quality. I like beautiful fixtures. I like the idea of walking into something that looks like a model bathroom... I just don't want to PAY for it.

Thing Four: I hate throwing good things away
Many of the items in our bathrooms are serviceable, and not exactly ugly. They just don't fit with what I am trying to do. They don't work with my 'vision'. So I truly agonized over form versus function on this one. I despise getting rid of functional things, until I found out I could donate the hardware to Habitat for Humanity and they could be used by people who needed them. I still feel pangs about the loss, but they are lessened knowing the goods will find a new and appreciative home.

Thing Five: I have a vision
Like Lehi of old, I have a vision. I can see it in my mind, and it is awesome. One bathroom overflowing with hipster cherry blossoms, one in nautical victorian inspired, and on happy jungle oasis for children who will never understand the amount of effort that went into my dream. The Beardocrat does NOT have the vision, and as I said, I have a difficult time explaining what I see in terms the graphic designer might understand.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our House is a Very Very Fine House...

Well, folks, we did it. We sold our townhome. I've  been approaching this day with mixed feelings. We haven't lived there for over a year, so it isn't as though we are scrambling to move and don't know where we are going. We are comfortably established in The Hills, and life is nice. The mixed feelings come with saying goodbye to a place that meant a lot to the Beardocrat and I as a family. I suppose I will have to tell you the whole story so you understand what I mean.

2009- The Beardocrat and I got engaged in February and kept moving up the wedding date. Eventually we settled on 24 April 2009. This left us about two months to find a house, buy a house, move into that house all while working full time and planning a wedding. We used my friend Casey's realtor, because my trajectory in life seemed to follow Casey's closely at that moment in time. I should blog about that another time, but I probably won't. We knew that we would only stay in this first home about 3-5 years, so we wanted something without much yard, not too big, vaulted ceilings. I have a thing about high ceilings. I have to have em. When our realtor showed us this new construction townhome, I didn't even want to go look at it. It sat smack in between two railroads and was close to several schools. After hemming and hawing we went to see it, and the place just felt right. It felt like home. We loved the open floor plan, all the LINEN CLOSETS (our current place has zero linen closets. I know, right? What kind of a place doesn't have closets for linens!?). So we did the new home buyer stuff, put in an offer, signed paperwork at 1:00 AM one evening after an Andrew Bird concert and before we left for Colorado at 2:30 AM. It was a whirlwind adventure, lets put it that way. And on the 18th of April we moved in most of our stuff.

Moving day. I am the girl. My brother is there and our Home Teachers. Good guys.

The townhome was where Alan and I stayed before we left on our honeymoon. It was where we planted (and promptly killed) an herb garden. It was where we ate dinners on the floor before we bought furniture. It was where we discovered we would be parents for the first time... and the second time, surprise! It was where I read books. Where the Beardocrat played Starcraft II. It was where we entertained our friends and family. It was where I threw up incessantly for nine months waiting for Squirmy to arrive, and the place we, as two bumbling first time parents, learned the ins and outs of baby gates, child proofing, and that we would never own anything nice again. It was where we played board games and drank Martinelli's on the date of the first snowfall of the year. It was the birthplace of our family tradition. The townhome was where I had a life changing career switch and spent many, many, MANY nights awake with Squirmy while he explored the world. It is the location where I embraced wearing stretchy clothing. In short, the townhome meant a lot.

When we knew that we were moving, and we started looking for our second home, I was worried that I would never feel the same way about a place again. I worried that I would not get that Crosby Stills Nash and Young feeling of closeness and comfort in another location. After all, the townhome was OURS, no one else had ever lived there. I am happy to report that the moment I walked into our home in The Hills, I did feel that it belonged to us, and we've made beautiful memories here as well, but it will never be the FIRST home that the Beardocrat and I made our own, together. So it is with a fond farewell that we signed the closing paperwork this morning. The townhome is no longer ours, but the memories are, and I can't wait to drive there one day with my grand kids and show them our first place.