Before and After: Hallway - Phase 1

I definitely get made fun of often for the hankering I get to swap rooms whenever the wind blows. Not just move a chair to the other side of the room kind of flip flopping. I'm talking let's turn the dining room into the living room - like I did here - and the bedroom into the family room.

Well now I know why.

I haven't done as well as I would have liked keeping track of the house progress through pictures and blogging. But let's see if I can explain this room progression nonetheless...

The house has three upstairs bedrooms and one downstairs. The downstairs bedroom has a full bath and was part of an addition back in the 40s - meant to become the master bedroom. It's directly off the dining room and has a door that brings it into the den. Here's what that first floor master in all its floral glory looked like when we bought the house.

Below you can see the full bathroom on the right. But pay attention to what's happening on the left side of the picture. Big armoir. Small hallway. And a closet.

Well, folks, let's all take a cue from C.S. Lewis and hop into the armoire. You'll find yourself, not in Narnia, but in the den. That's right. The previous owner's armoire hid some western saloon-esque shuttered doors which take you here...(you can see the shuttered doors directly beneath the chandelier)

But, no dice for us. Because we don't have a giant armoire. And no dice, once more, because those shuttered doors are on some crazy, high powered spring hinges which snap shut the minute you let go. Annie about got crushed every dang time she walked between the rooms. So we 86ed them, which left us with a nice little hallway. We also 86ed the flush mount light because we're gangster like that and of course we've yet to replace it because we're gangster like that, too. Word to the wise. Don't trash something unless you have a replacement ready to go. Roger that on all future endeavors. Except, it's too late for us. I threw half the house away that first week and promptly regretted it.

Anyway, back to the master bedroom, we dove into getting the hardwoods ready in here. That's when we noticed all the water damage by the windows and came to grips with needing to replace a good portion of the floorboards in here.  (Pardon all the iPhone pictures coming your way.)

After the installer finished rebuilding the subfloor and lacing in new wood (I wrote about that process here), the electricians came in and added canned lights, the drywallers removed the popcorn and skim-coated the ceilings, and my mom and I knocked out the painting.

This next picture is sort of the focus of this post, because below you can see the master bedroom "hallway" I'm sitting in as I type. This is where the armoire used to sit and where the shuttered doors used to swing. Phase 27 of this house remodel will be walling off the doorway between this room and the den, adding double doors and making this hallway/closet into one giant master closet. But we still have 26 less expensive phases before that happens.

Oh, and the den. That's a whole other post. But here's a shot of this newly painted "master" bedroom from the newly painted, but yet to be carpeted den. Dang, I forgot to ask if anyone wanted some mildewy, red carpet before I chucked it into the dumpster. Bummer.

And let me introduce you to our refinished hardwood floors. Ebony. Ebony. Ebony. That's my jam.

Anyway, we knew we wouldn't use this as the master bedroom for quite some time. We have some youngins who don't allow us to sleep which necessitates some close proximity during the night. So, when we moved in, this room became the catch all, nightmare mess of a playroom/office/craftroom/make-me-crazy room.

And then one day, I decided to clean up and for a few weeks we rolled with this setup:

Worked for the interim, but a little awkward.

OK, but now backing up a bit, we drove out to Nebraska Furniture Mart on a thrilling Saturday night back in August and found and bought this sectional, which we custom-ordered in a different fabric. Chief-hypocrite, that's me. I used to scoff at people who bought their furniture out there. Thought it was all La-Z-Boys and microfiber.

And a lot of it is, don't get me wrong. Here's John and Annie patiently waiting for me on a straight-up hideous rug...

Well, when six weeks later the sectional arrived, we put it in the den. (this room...)

Then last week my dad came over and said that the sectional basically swallowed the den. Way too big. And that we ought to move it into that original "master bedroom." So he must be who I get my room swapping ways from.

(By the way, if you think I should be embarrassed at how messy this next photo is, just now, I am indeed rightfully embarrassed. But I didn't ever take any decent pictures before we hauled everything back out.)

Anyway, I agreed with my dad. And the sectional now lives in this master bedroom which is serving as our family room. And the den has become the playroom.

And the hallway between the two became my office. Whew, that was a long windy road to finally get to my point.

It's nowhere near finished. All the walls are plaster and I'm too scared to hang anything lest we flip rooms again here soon. So ignore the random pictures leaning everywhere you look.

For anyone super observant this little desk is the same desk that I made out of old wood and Ikea bookshelves for John's studio way back in New Orleans three years ago. Got the idea here.

Then it later landed in our Branson townhouse...

...and condo living room in Kansas City. It's a desk whore. It's been around.

So now it's taking up residency in my little hallway.

Along with this gold $2 chair from Revivals that I lurve.

Along with this lamp from JCPenny's that was originally $195 and was clearanced for $78 but that somehow the manager gave me for $7.50. Boo-yea. I think he just wanted me and my two screaming children to leave his department.

And the desk holds this laundry basket, because all you folks with kids know that no matter how hard you try, at least three times a week a kid ends up naked in your living room and you need somewhere to toss their clothes without trudging upstairs. Or a kid vomits all over themselves and you really, really need somewhere to throw the clothes.

And for anyone who cares - can't imagine who that would be (!) - as far as organization goes, we keep all our receipts in that gold pottery on the left and all of our bills, etc in a wire basket to the right of my computer. John calls it our inbox. I call it our this-is-the-last-thing-I-want to deal-with stack of annoying paperwork that I begrudgingly sort every couple of weeks.

One last thing! Right across from this little hallway was a really bad closet that backed up to the master bath. Right now, it's still a really bad closet. But come the first week of December...hello first floor laundry!!!! 

It's a slightly odd place to put laundry, I admit. But the bids to put it upstairs next to the bedrooms was akin to a semester's tuition in college and this was about 95 times more affordable down here being that it backed up to a bathroom and was over a basement. 

So what does that mean, kids? Mama ain't doing no mo' laundry til the first week of December. Start watching where you puke because we can't afford to continue going through four outfits a day. 

Anyway, there you go. This house overwhelms me and sometimes you just got to take it one small hallway at a time.


A Shout and A Shout Out

Here's the thing. If you let me, I could easily sit and read design blogs from breakfast until dinner. Maybe just one more for dessert. And another before bed. It's excessive. (And perhaps why we forwent internet for six months.) So in the last year or so, I've done some major editing as far as what stays on my bookmark list when I get on my iPhone. I hit five blogs. Young House Love, Little Green Notebook, Elements of Style, Pure Style Home and House Tweaking. There's a much longer list of sites I bounce around occasionally - Apartment Therapy, Lonny, etc. But I chose the five above because they produce content, not just share it. I'm ok with bloggers who share their inspiration photos from magazines and others' websites. But what really gets me flush in the cheeks is seeing their photos to inspire me. I like creators of design, not just curators of it. And three out of the five sites I listed are major go getters when it comes to creating their own homes. The other two are young designers who inspire me, but hire out all the work. Bottom line, these are the sites that get me going. Moving. Thinking. Conspiring to break out another tool and make something happen in my own home.

House Tweaking is a site I stumbled on last year - no idea how - and keep a steady tab on. Dana and her husband are in the middle of remodeling their ranch. This is the kitchen they recently finished. Love it.

Here are a few other pictures of her house.

This next one, by the way, is actually her laundry room which sits exposed to their dining and kitchen area. Purty cleever...

Anyway, here's the part where I freaked out. I was reading this post on her blog last month and here's what she said...

And so I read this and am thinking, too cool, maybe I'll get turned on to some new websites with designers who have kids. And then, boom. SHE FEATURED MY CONDO! What?! I about peed my pants. Ok, I really did. But that's nothing new. I was pregnant at the time and I'd pee my pants whenever I sneezed, coughed, laughed, you name it. It was glorious. Love what carrying a child does to your body. And your dignity.

But the point is, my chin hit the floor. I know. This is totally NOT comparable to seeing your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stones. But whateves. It's about the coolest thing that's happened to me in a while. Someone I've never met, whose design I admire, whose website I read, who lives half way across the country from me has seen pictures of my condo and was inspired by it.

So yes, I did. I woke up John. 'No honey, not in labor. But get this! This girl likes our condo!'

She had seen these pictures featured on Apartment Therapy this summer.

And here's what she said about it...

I’ve only seen peeks at this small and family-friendly home and I want more! I’m hoping the full house tour will pop up on Apartment Therapy someday. Anyhow, right off the bat this space feels oh-so-cozy and personal.

The oversized black and white photos, the pops of red, the painted brick walls, the overscale décor pieces, the neatly tucked in kid stuff…all of it makes me want to snuggle in with my family. This space is less than 900 sq ft {!} and yet it feels livable even for a family. The owner admits to tweaking each and every thing she could over a six year period. She bought the small condo as a single woman and has since added a spouse, a dog and two kids into the mix, revising the décor as necessary. For example, she and her husband turned the master bedroom into a kids’ shared bedroom. She’s passionate about living with only the things she loves and nothing more. So inspiring!


Anyway, I know these are old pictures and maybe you've already seen them. But sometimes, when you're doing your dishes in your bathtub, microwaving dinner in your den and you've got your fridge in the dining room, it's nice to take a trip down memory lane and remember what it's like to walk through your front door and see everything in its place. Frames on the wall, not the floor. Your pantry in a cabinet, not a plastic bin under your table. You know, those sorts of things.

And I'll be honest, putting our furniture in this new house with its old trim and bad paint didn't give it the immediate face lift I thought it could. I figured that painting over the yellow crown molding wouldn't be so urgently needed once we'd refinished the hardwoods, done away with the popcorn ceilings, and had our own furniture in place to pull your eye away from all the, well, eye sores.

But it wasn't true. It almost looked worse. People would come over and I felt compelled to tell them that we were in fact going to paint the crown and get new window treatments because I was afraid it looked as though I chose all those things. No, these aren't the sort of life-altering things that keep me up at night. I have a child who does that for me. But, when there's nary a single room in the house that looks or feels like we'd like it to (and won't for quite some time the way the way Quig's colic is affecting our family), it's nice to get affirmation about some design work you've done in the past.

Anyway, if nothing else, go check out Dana at House Tweaking. She's one of those super moms who has three kids AND a blog with pictures she actually edits. And she posts. Often. As in doesn't take random 6 week hiatuses. Plus she's got stuff going on. Major stuff. So it's not just, hey this is how I set my dining room table last night. It's like, hey this is how I knocked down this wall last night.

That's my kind of blogger. :) And I'm pumped that she featured our place!

But now back to my current reality...eek.

(Full disclosure... I wrote this post a while back and then never published it because, you know, I nurse a child 23 out of 24 hours a day. Approximately. Maybe more. Anyway, that said, things are beginning to take shape 'round here and I'll hopefully have the follow through to post an update with some pictures soon!)


Let's Bake A Turkey!

So, ever since my past post, a few things have changed. Namely, our family went from three to four! Our quiet little boy arrived October 4th and we named him Colic. Oh wait, sorry. I'm a little sleep deprived and my mind isn't too sharp this morning. Rather, our colic riddled child who knows only how to nurse and cry arrived last month and we named him Quigley! Yes, that's right. That's what happens when mom and dad can't think of a name and the nurse tells us we absolutely must sign the birth certificate in the next five minutes before we're discharged. You go with the name you came up with when you were five years old before you even knew how babies were made. So, no, I don't have a thing for Tom Selleck. And no, it's not some obscure family name that we were guilted into using. Yes, you heard. We chose to name our son Quig. I know. I'm thinking what you're thinking. It's weird and I can't believe we did it. My mom said she'll pool together with the rest of our family and hire an attorney to have the name legally changed. Oh, grandmas. They're the best. 

Ok, but for real. Quigley is a good strong name. And you just watch. It's going to rise to the top of the most popular baby names by 2030. Errr, maybe not. But either way, our kid is going to rock it.  

And yes, I wasn't kidding. Quig has a bad case of colic. My mom said if we absolutely refuse to use the money to change his name that we can instead put it toward a miracle doctor in Wichita who makes colic disappear after a week of daily visits. Ha. We're not that desperate. But if we already lived in Wichita...I'm just saying. It wouldn't be a bad idea. It's raining right now, but I only know that by seeing the drops on our windows. I most certainly cannot hear the rain over the sound of my son's bellowing cries. I feel like God has poured an abundance of grace down on our house these past two weeks to get through this phase of his life. Otherwise, we'd be doomed. I'm not sure how people survive colic without that grace. 

(As far as this picture is concerned...if you can't be an angelic looking baby, you might as well be the cutest grumpy-old-man looking baby you can be. That's what I always say.)

Aside from the cries, we love, love, love this child. And so does Annie. She is a rockstar sister. I'm pretty sure she'll be a way better mother someday than I ever was. But I'll do a little catch-up family post later this week. Got to actually take pictures of Quig first. Poor second child. Has like two pictures for every twenty of Annie at this age. :/

So as we settle into this new life, our kitchen cabinets settle into theirs.

Feel free to clap. Or at least I did as they were hauled into our house last week. Annie did a happy dance and then found a new hideout. 

Sadly, though, their arrival only marked the beginning of the next phase. Then there were countertop templates to be made, things to be fitted, crown to be hung, trim to be installed and of course paint. But wait, then there's appliance installation and electrical work and cabinet hardware and floors to be refinished! 

But whateves. No one can take away the joy of the cabinets' arrival. Noal Yungeberg, our trusty cabinet-maker/carpenter extraordinaire custom built our kitchen for us in his spare time over the last 8 weekends. And these things are crazy well-made. 

You'd think, though, I'd have had plenty of time to make the all important decisions about countertops and paint colors during the 8 week build.

But, no. No, because the power that two kids weighing a combined total of less than 35 pounds have wields an astonishing amount of control over your schedule as an adult. It's phenomenal really. Say goodbye to all your freedoms. Who cares whether the government taps your phone calls. They couldn't hear what you were saying anyway over the cries of your newborn and the tantrums of your toddler!

But I did finally settle on some countertops. They were installed last week and then promptly covered up before I could snap a picture.

And at the eleventh I chose a paint color and then about two days after the painter started, I of course, changed my mind. But because our painter - Hugo Morales - is the bomb, it was no big deal. And when I say he's the bomb, I mean - he's the BOMB. Unbelievably detail-oriented. Has spent a full week just prepping. Super nice. And his whole team has a crazy work ethic. Anyone who can take this door and make it look new again has super powers.

Plus, they totally transformed our garage into the perfect place for Dexter to slaughter his next victim. I truly felt like I was walking on set when I saw the paint tent Hugo set up. Plastic walls, floors, ceiling. Tables set up for the latest victim cabinets to be slayed sprayed.

So that's where we are now. And that's why we stayed at my parent's last night. The oil paint fumes were overwhelming. But I welcome them. Because, folks, that means we will have an operable kitchen soon enough. And we even booked a trip out of town for the week the floors are refinished which puts our completion date on Thanksgiving morning. Fitting, given how thankful indeed we'll be to have a kitchen! An oven to bake a turkey...one can only be so lucky.

Oh wait, there is the part where I didn't ever choose a backsplash. So, the FULLY completed kitchen - window treatments, backsplash and all - will be further down the road. That date is unknown. Completely unknown. I'm thinking 2015.

In the meantime I'll leave you with before pictures and then the pictures John shot of the newly installed cabinets and sent to me while the kids and I were at the farm last week.

And progress...

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