Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Retro at Ikea

Last night, the husband and I ran over to Ikea to pick up what we needed to finish up the laundry room. We needed one more kitchen cabinet and Ikea will be changing up their cabinets in a couple of months. We didn't want to risk not being able to get what we needed. BTW, Ikea has 10% off kitchen off (most?) of their kitchen products right now, which was a fantastic surprise when we went to pay.

I had recently seen in an Ikea flyer email that they have a limited edition collection of things inspired by the 50s to 70s. Here's a link to the flyer info, but it's for the Minnesota Ikea. I'm not sure how long the link will last or if it's the same for all Ikeas.

The tables have laminate tops, which I'm not really a fan of. I didn't inspect the boomerang shaped ones too closely. I do like the rounded, tapered legs and the boomerang shaped top. In the picture I took below, they do look really good with the laminate emphasizing the shape.

The low, rectangular one definitely could have been better, but I can see where Ikea is trying to keep costs down with keeping of style. From far away, I really like the LILLBRON coffee table. The brassy look legs are just a painted metal and the top is very laminate looking. If those legs were a nice antiqued brass and a real slab of wood, it would be amazing.

The STRANDMON wing chair has great legs that I'm fairly certain were real wood, but I think the chair falls short with the choice of material. It just looks weird... I should have actually touched it to see what it felt like. I guess it's not also my style.

What I was most surprised about was the EKENÄSET sofa. The wood frame appeared to be solid wood. The arms looked like they should from above. I think they could have done a little better with the legs by giving them the rounded, tapered style, but overall I would call it a win. It was comfortable and looked great for $399!

I haven't seen anything like this as a new / reproduction type piece that wasn't much more higher in price. One thing to to note as well is that, at least on the bottom, the cushions are connected. I think this would be a fantastic option for if you were looking for something in this style and just couldn't afford the real deal (or find something in decent shape). There would definitely be the opportunity to have cushions custom made later on in life to give it a different look too.

Update 11/26/14:
We ended up back at Ikea and it seems as though they do have a non faux leather option of the STRANDMON wing chair. There is also a couch in this style. Even with the other fabric options, it still really isn't my style. Also, I've seen a chair variation of the EKENÄSET sofa popping up on the internet. Our Ikea seems to not have that chair yet... And we have to go back again for a return/exchange because someone in the kitchen department selected the wrong item on our order and we didn't realize until I was about to put it together... The point of that was, I'll probably check to see if the chair is there yet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back from Denver, CO!

Whoa... I've been MIA for awhile. We've been so focused on ourselves that most home related things have been put on the back burner. Every fall & winter, I always think back and wish that we had spent a lot more time outside... so, this summer and fall we've been packing in the outdoor activities.

This has also been coinciding with trying to be healthier. I'm not on a diet, just trying to make better decisions and not over stuff myself. We've also been making it a point to make sure we get to the gym regularly. We also picked up running outdoors, which is actually something I really hate... but, it is quicker than doing cardio and lifting at the gym because we can just step out the door and start running here. I've also started some yoga and barre classes at a new studio and I love them!

Bill and I have been camping together quite a few times in our relationship, but we always wish we could go more often. Because of the camping, we did a lot of hiking. Hiking became our quick camp trip like running became the quick trip to the gym. That was all an elongated version of "we have been doing a ton of hiking at state parks."

This summer we've hit 7 Minnesota State Parks, 1 National Wildlife Refuge, 1 Wisconsin State Park, and a few other miscellaneous places (1st hiking trail in Minneapolis, etc.). We also just go back from Colorado last night, which was really the point of this post.

We were in Denver, Colorado for just 3 days to visit Bill's sister and her husband who moved there earlier this week. Neither us had ever been... And I for sure had never been to a mountainous area in the US. Because of this trip, we got to do even more hiking! I really can't wait to go back and do even more.

Here are a few shots I just pulled from my instagram from the weekend...

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO
Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO
I have more... lots more... But I'm way behind in the land of photo editing. Technically I haven't really gone through any photos from my good camera from our trip out to New York in June...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kitchen Paint & Trim.

So... you remember how I painted my kitchen twice in one week... Oh, you don't? That's because it happened MONTHS ago.

In May, I was trying to get the house put together in a presentable manner for my husband's big 30th birthday party we were having. I scrambled to paint the kitchen a second time in one week because the first color did not go well at all. Strangely, I think it looked pretty good in photos. In person, the lovely gray I picked out, turned out to be a weird purpley color, a lot darker than I wanted. It would probably look fantastic elsewhere, just not in my kitchen.

Here are a few more "detailed" shots of the new color, Behr's Dolphin Fin. I tried to get similar detailed shots as before. Someday, when all of my tiny kitchen is clean at once again, I will take new whole room shots. Someday....

We purchased these prints a few months ago and it was quite the hassle to get those frames... Especially when they were at my local Target in the end (long story short: I ordered them online and they sent ones that were a different size and color). Anyways, those fantastic prints are from Michael Ellis Studios on Etsy! Let me say, I knew they would be awesome, but they look soooo good in person! I also maybe just ordered one more for a gift...

Anyways, we had also ripped out the horrible baseboards in that room. Read some about that here (and glimpse a little of the old). Both Bill (the husband) and I took work off on the day of the party, so that we could finish up some things. One of those things happened to be installing the new baseboards. I had spent time over the last week painting them out in the garage so that as soon as we got the chance, they would be ready to go.

Behr had to get in on the action. We splurged and got this fancy dog dish stand off Etsy from Modern Mews. We LOVE it. The mat under it is from Crate & Barrel awhile ago.

Above is the only real issue we ran into... The old door jam came out far enough to cover that gap. Any ideas welcome! We also still need to address the edge of the tile at the top of the stairs. The electricians put a huge chip in the edge the first time they were out working in the basement... Plus there are lots of little chips from the general up and down from the work that went on down there. I'm debating between another metal edging like seen between the landing and kitchen or something better... tile maybe? Our contractor offered to cut the old tile back if we ever decide on something and need it cut back since the giant chip happened on his watch...

There are also a few places that need a little caulk and I need to do some touch ups yet...

It looks SO much better! I still have a strong dislike for our floors but having the baseboards match the rest of the house and not be in a stage of horrible makes it better. I hope that our next big project is the kitchen. Right now that's probably the biggest of things that needs to be tackled besides some un-fun things happening outside, mainly crumbling cement.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Minnehaha Falls

Over the weekend, Bill and I decided to finally go check out Minnehaha Falls. I really don't know how both of us have lived in Minnesota for most of our lives and never been. We had some friends who recently went and shared on social media that finally gave us the push.

While a beautiful Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend may seem like a great time to go, it probably wasn't the best. It was crazy busy. But it was definitely worth it! Check out a few of my pics below...

The water is exceptionally high this year, which I guess is making everything extra "gushy"... So, it might not always be quite so awesome. The water was really high everywhere around and some areas of the park are actually blocked off because they're so flooded.

These were just two shots of the main falls area. The first one was from high up, the second from below right at a stone bridge that crosses over (like the one you can see at the top of the falls in the second photo).

We will definitely be going again. We didn't really know what to expect, so we were both wearing sandals. And in case you are planning to go check it out, there are LOTS of stairs if you plan on going down (and eventually back up)! Another trip with some appropriate hiking shoes/boots is definitely in order!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to the 50's

Over the weekend, Bill and I went and checked out the Back to the 50's car show at the Minnesota State Fair grounds. We thought it would just be an open area there that was just filled with cars... Nope, it was the entire grounds. It was crazy.

Here are a few photos of some of the awesome cars. I didn't really keep track of what was what, so I don't have model names or anything... and let's be honest, I think you can tell they weren't solely from the 50's...

Monday, June 16, 2014

We're back!

Bill and I are back from NYC as of very early this morning! We went out for a mini vacation and a family wedding in the Hamptons. We hit up the basics in about 24 hours in NYC including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Times Square, Central Park, and more! The wedding was amazing and it was great to see family from all over the country!

Wölffer Estate Vineyard  |  Sagaponack, NY

Thursday, June 5, 2014

And nothing turned on...

Monday, Memorial Day, we caved. It was 85°F in the house, a storm was rolling in, and we were about to leave the house. While this may not seem warm to some, we just survived one of the coldest winters that have probably happened during our lifetime in Minneapolis. Above freezing has been warm lately and up until just over a week ago, we were still down in the 30's overnight.

Then there are our floors, they are affected greatly by any water and leaving all of the windows in the house open when we know it is going to rain is too risky. We also have the dog to worry about... can't let him suffer. So, we decided to turn the central air on.

Nothing. Nothing happened. We tried everything. We flipped breakers, checked connections, googled for solutions. Absolutely nothing would turn on... not the furnace, not the air conditioner, not even the fan. We gave up, closed all the windows and moved Behr's extra kennel into the basement where it was nice and cool.

When we got home, we searched the internet some more. We figured it was very possible that the thermostat had gone bad. We figured out that it was probably about 10 years old. After removing the backup batteries and flipping the power off, it still stayed on... weird. But then once we flipped the power back on it went all electronically crazy (weird lines and sort of characters on the screen) before it finally went out.

At that point, it was just after 10pm at night. Everything was closed... except Target. We quickly ran over to Target and looked at what they had. They had 4 different Honeywell thermostats and the Nest. We ended getting the most expensive Honeywell with all the bells and whistles. We did go back and forth with the Nest, but the Honeywell one was on sale for under $200 (the Nest was over $50 more) and Honeywell has been around for a long time... Bill was concerned with the newness of the Nest and it's longevity in the market. Plus, regular programing works great for us, I'm not so sure that the "learning" feature of the Nest would work well for us.

The exact model is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat RTH9580 Wi-Fi. I would link to Target, since that's where we got it but they don't have it online, so I linked to Amazon. In all honesty, Amazon will probably have the price if you're interested in picking one up. We did get a really good deal since it was on sale and we get the extra 5% off with the Target debit card.

We rushed home to do a quick install and hopefully have a cool night for a good night's rest (neither of us slept well the previous night because the house was so warm). We took down the old one, fairly easy.

Honeywell really emphasizes that you label your wires... we didn't right away and because ours were really straight forward, we could have done without but eventually labeled them.

Putting up the new "plate" was straight forward. Just make sure it's level really...

The wires get pulled through and put into their appropriate slots. At this point we were missing a normal wire, so we had to look up the work around on Honeywell's website, which was very clear.

We got it all put together and....


So frustrating. Except we realized that there was a wiring step we had to do at the furnace. We pulled the furnace apart to move around a wire for the work around for not having the one wire. Well, we found that we did in fact have the missing wire. So, we went back and pulled everything apart again... the wire we needed (along with a couple others in a bundle) were hidden in the wall.

We assembled everything again. And...


At this point we gave up. It was way past our bedtimes and I had to be up for work in 5 hours. I figured that worse case scenario, I would get ahold of our contractor the next day and see if he could have his HVAC guy come back out to the house.

During the night, Bill had a stroke of genius. I don't know how he thought of it or he maybe saw something in the furnace when were trying to get everything to work... Did you know that furnaces have fuses? Like the same ones that are in cars? They do...

Bill ran over to Home Depot and was able to pick up a box of a ton of them in multiple wattages because they didn't have an option to buy just one. I think it cost around $15, way better than a $200 thermostat.

The one on the left is the old one, you can see how in the middle there is a black dot where you can tell it's burned out. This little fuse was the whole problem. We discussed returning the thermostat, but we decided against it. It's actually really awesome...

This thermostat can connect to our wi-fi and grab the current outside temperature and humidity. It also has a bunch of features, like vacation mode and the ability to change it online from a computer or smart phone, that will be extremely helpful in the future. It even has the ability to change the background and font colors to match your home. I went with back for now so it helps it to blend in.

I do have to fix the wall now... There are holes to fill and some interesting ridges from round thermostats past. My goal right now is just to get it done before our annual 4th of July party...

Now you know... if your furnace/ac/fan aren't coming on, it could be a fuse!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Painted front door.

Over the long weekend, I finally had a chance to paint the front door!

We had the color picked out quite a while ago. I already had the number plaque painted and installed. We used Behr Ultra paint from Home Depot. It's the kind with the paint and primer in one, which is my favorite. We did a satin finish in the outdoor paint. The final color is called Teal Zeal, which was not easy to pick out...

Since that photo, we've also had the screen door installed, which has been great with the nicer weather. I don't love the look of the screen door, but it is what it is. They help a lot here in Minnesota with the hugely varying temperature range we have from winter to summer for both protection and alleviation.

Anyways, I did some basic prep work for the door. Made sure it was cleaned up after it was exposed to the element for about 5 months. I taped off the windows so I didn't have a lot of clean up and I also taped off the weather stripping on the bottom to make sure I got a clean line.

I used a brush on the window framing and around the lock and handle, but used a foam roller as much as possible to keep the finish smooth.

Essentially it all got two coats of paint, maybe three in a couple spots. I excitedly pulled off the tape only to find out that there was a fair amount of bleed through to under. I also wasn't the most perfect painter, so there were a few thing white edges in a few spots by the glass. I just took the paint brush and touched up those spots not worrying too much about getting it on the glass since I already had to clean that up from the bleed through. I used a razor blade to carefully scrape away any paint from the glass.

Now we have a fantastically bright front door!

I found the pots at Target this spring. Somehow, they were a perfect match for the color I picked months before. Win! I may have also snagged the same pots, a hanging one and maybe a few pillows to match for the back.

We have some landscaping to address... as well as painting the foundation and addressing our cement issues that are currently happening. I'm not sure how much we'll get done in our few months of summer this year, but I'm hoping to tackle a good deal of it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doors, doors, doors.

You would never think that doors would be an issue when finishing a space... well, ours kind of ended up being one.

When we got our initial quote from the contractor we used, he said that he would be putting in doors that matched our doors on the main floor, which are original to the house. At that time, we weren't 100% on what the layout would be, it depended on what could be done about things like the furnace. As the walls were just being finished and the carpet was about to go in, I got a "We'll probably have to put in solid slab doors because of the size we need. Cutting down doors like the ones you have wouldn't work because they would look weird and we can't just order them in these sizes." I responded with a very disappointed "Really?" I just kind of left it alone... I was irritated, but I just wanted to keep things moving and solid, plain doors that look right would be better than matching ones that were wonky.

A week or so later, the contractor arrived with someone I had never seen before. Surprise, surprise! He had contacted a cabinet maker that he has worked with for many, many years about making doors to match our current ones. Sweet!

In the photo above you can sort of see some of the detail of our original doors. They have two panels. In more of a shaker style they would be "straight," but ours have "ridges"... I know no door/wood terms...

I can't remember how long it took to get the doors, but the contractor brought them over, painted them, and got them installed. They look fantastic! They look like they belong here.

Above is the office door. It is a normal width, maybe a little small on the width, but it is definitely shorter than a normal door.

In this photo you can see the utility room door on the left of the stairs and part of the laundry room door on the the right. The utility room door is super wide and lower than normal. The laundry door, also shown below is a normal width, but probably a little shorter than normal. Those door sit under the main support beam for the house.

Because those doors turned out so well, our contractor had mentioned that the cabinet maker would be willing to make another door to replace our not original bathroom door. While it was pricey, we decided it was worth it.

You can sort of see the old door in the photo below. I strategically took photos that mostly kept it out of the shot, but I also was trying to get everything else...

The cabinet maker came and measured everything to make sure proportions were correct for that door, especially since it would be next to the originals. He said it should only take him two days, unless he was extremely productive that day.

He was back a few days later and installed it. I'm glad we didn't have to install it because I would have been worried about making holes that can't be fixed, etc.

I was a little... shocked... when I saw what it looked like. I kind of assumed that it was just all wood underneath the paint for the doors downstairs. It was more of a Frankenstein door...

Totally not a big deal since it was just going to be painted anyways. And I'm guessing real, solid wood would have cost more...

After a good coat of primer and a coat of paint that we had labeled "interior trim paint" from the previous owners, it fits in like it has always been there.

I think it's one of those things that makes a big, almost unnoticeable difference. It's weird.

So, I'm thankful that our contractor took the time to follow through on matching the doors because not only do those ones look fantastic, the new bathroom door makes the upstairs feel a little more complete and "right."