Living Room Mood Board

I can't decide if I like doing things to the house more or buying things for the house more. As far as the living room, buying definitely wins. If for no other reason than that there isn't much to be done beyond paint, and that is at a standstill until after the ceilings are finished (next Thursday). 

Here's the lovely before...

And here's where we're going to take this room with a little help from our friend, Visa. 

Let's break this thang down.

A. A Fiddleleaf Fig. A girl can dream. I can't keep basil alive, but I'd like to take a stab at keeping one of these alive. I feel like my deep desire to have one will preempt any tendency John and I have to neglect houseplants. I suppose we usually cross our fingers that Kansas City's humid air will be enough moisture to satisfy the thirst of whatever plant we're trying to keep alive. But, for reals, how is our humidity NOT enough? Ok, alright. I'll stop. Clearly what I know about botany could fit in a shot glass. 

B. The Rug. A few weeks ago while we were staying at our inlaws and I was wired one night, I got my online shopping groove on. To the tune of...well I'd rather not say. It wasn't pennies. But for the sheer number of awesomeness I was able to purchase I think the sticker shock should be a little less shocking. That's what I keep telling John. These things I bought will last forever! You can't put a price on quality! Anyway, this River Rock Rug from Serena and Lily was among my purchases. It was a summer flash sale and I had about an hour to decide. The price bumped back up to almost double the next day and all my previous reservations were wiped away. It was a solid deal, people. And apparently everyone and their mom agreed. The sale was so successful that it took them two full weeks to even get it on a FedEx truck. Fi-na-lly it's in transit. 

C. The Art. So why I have this painting on here is for the very purpose of the 'mood.' This is after all a mood board. It establishes the mood of the room; it doesn't necessarily show the exact pieces. As in, this is the painting I passed up in Aspen earlier this month. As in, this painting is not actually going in our living room. As in, I'm having major regrets to not have bought it last month. But here's to liking the mood this painting would bring to the living room if it were to find its way to Kansas City. And here's to finding something in the same vein for half the price in the very near future... 

D. The Fabric. Brasserie - Tangerine. Saw the fabric in a design shop. Choked on the price. Tracked it down on a shady website a few months ago and am now just waiting to pull my order out of the POD to whip up some new couch pillows.

E. The Couch - we already have. Crate and Barrel floor model from about four years back. Another solid deal.  

F. The Coffee Table. Very, very rarely do I stumble upon anything worth bragging about on Craigslist. Usually I find that site totally picked over. But, alas, I scored. A driftwood coffee table. I think I got took a little on price, but whateves. It was substantially cheaper than a new table from Pottery Barn and the like. But maybe a little pricey for the Craigslist crowd. Plus I when I called her she had already promised it to someone else who couldn't pick it up until the following week. I paid her $20 extra to break it off and sell it to me that same day. Bing-o. Front row. The table was mine.

G. The Windows. The other part of my late night shopping spree included capitalizing on a drapery sale at Restoration Hardware. Well, I should clarify. Even their drapes on sale are well above my budget. But I bought a curtain rod and rings for our living room with a price tag I could swallow. The drapes I'm going to have to sew myself. Gonna get all pinch-pleaty up in here real soon. Triple pinch pleaty. Linen. Buckram. Boom. 

H. The Seating. I'm. in. love. After my coffee table saga you may not believe me, but truly I am not a good deal finder. I hate thrift stores and garage sales. I'm not a digger and will rarely weed through junk to find a treasure. But I did have the afternoon to myself Sunday and went down to the Rivermarket Antique Mall. Everything I've ever bought there over the years has fooled no one. It all clearly came from an antique mall - chipped paint, broken pieces, frayed edges. Basically, I buy junk and it looks like junk. I bum out when I see some gorgeous house featured somewhere and the owner's source list consists almost entirely of "found this at a thrift store." Where are these thrift stores with beautiful things? Not on Wornall Road, that's for sure. Anyway, I was bumming walking through the Rivermarket. Third floor, no AC and 8 months pregnant. Told myself I was wasting my time and then I saw them. And then I saw the price and I had to check myself. Clearly, I was mistaken. They were just too cheap to be for real. And why had no one among the swarms of Sunday shoppers at the store not already bought them? I thought I must be crazy. So I texted a picture to my aunt Jeanie to see if I was losing my mind or if these were in fact great chairs. She told me to absolutely buy them! And well, what do you know. I went in looking for a chandelier and came out with two chrome and leather chairs. Pretty gangster. And the funny thing is I took them down to the register and the guy said that the seller had only just brought them into his booth about an hour earlier. No wonder they hadn't been snagged yet. 48 dollars, my friends! Anyway, I have a renewed faith in antique malls and thrift stores. They may not come through for me often, but when they do it's real bad worth it. Real, real bad. 

And there you go. The basic plan of the living room. Oh, and picture white walls, ebony stained hardwood floors, more art, canned lights in a slick white ceiling, and a fireplace. Oh yeah, the fireplace. I don't have a great picture of it. But I think I'll go dark on the mantle and surround. We'll see.

For now, I'm just excited to have a room that won't require much work on or after move-in day. All the finds have been found! Glory to God! 

Before I go though, I'd like to introduce you to my new BFF, Porter. Porter Cable. And his buddy Rigid. That's right. I bought a pneumatic finish nailer and compressor. Third best day of my life following the obvious. I get butterflies in my stomach just looking at this nailer. And I hate to play favorites with my  babies  tools. I love my compound miter saw equally and unconditionally. 

More to come on the closet I started building yesterday for the master...


Master Bathroom - Before and During

"Do you hate your life?"

"I love my wife," he replies. 

Always the same answer when I ask the question. Evasion 101. But for reals, John has many reasons to hate his life. I actually had to give him a haircut Saturday night to cut out all the primer that was sprayed across his head. Because that's right, folks. The contractor said we needed to hire someone to come in and sand all the old already-removed popcorn ceilings and then prime them all with oil-based Kilz before the drywallers would skim coat. But, why hire someone when you're married to a free someone? Glad we agree. Deadline is Wednesday and he still has three bedrooms to go. But otherwise this husband's doing me real bad proud. And with a surprisingly nice attitude. When I went to Sutherland's to buy a respirator for this awesome experience I was oh so tempted to be cheap and get the $10 one. But I figured it was bad enough that I manipulated him into this project, I should atleast splurge, buy a good quality one, and give him the chance to smell food again. Because 2400 square feet of ceilings with Kilz kills you. That's where they got the name. No joke. Say goodbye to the ability to use your nose again for atleast a week. Oh, and say goodbye to a half inch of your hair.

Anyway, while John has been rolling his heart out on the ceilings, I decided to tackle the one room in the entire house that didn't have popcorn ceilings and is thus not waiting on skim coating. Basically, it means that this "master bath" (or for us - the family room bath) is the only room we could theoretically bust out in its entirety before move-in day. So down came the wallpaper, drapes, medicine cabinet, sconce, and sink. But not without a few - ahem, a lot - of hiccups.

Just to get your bearings, below is a shot of the room on the first floor that leads you to this bathroom. Clearly, the previous owner's favorite color was yellow. It's EV-ER-Y-WHERE.

We decided to stay with a pedestal sink and because we already had it in the house and it was still uninstalled, we went with the Kohler sink I originally bought for the powder bath. The original pedestal sink wreaked of outdatedness. It's hard to put your finger on what makes something look old, but this had Goodwill written all over it. Plus, like all the other faucets, it leaked.

With that in mind and with a swoon-worthy sconce on its way in the mail any day, here was my game plan. We're keeping the square tile because it's in relatively good condition, is white (thank you Jesus) and would be hella expensive to tear out given we discovered they tiled over old tile.

Then, I stumbled upon a great mirror on sale at Wilson Lighting on Saturday. And I headed out to Nell Hills yesterday and forced myself to finally commit and buy some fabric to make a shower curtain. So, this is the direction we're headed:

In an effort to stay within budget and make things easier I reused all the paint samples I bought for the exterior of the house. I have a thing for gray. It's hard for me to force myself to paint a room anything but some shade of gray. At first, the seven options (one not pictured) overwhelmed me. But thankfully just holding up the fabric I'd already bought clearly eliminated several options. Sometimes with the way the cards fall, it seems easier to pick a paint color for a room first. But I swear, having a fabric or a rug as your anchor makes everything go so much more smoothly. It's a hundred times easier to find a paint color to match a particular fabric than it is to find fabric to match a paint color. If you hear nothing else, hear that!

The colors obviously read nothing like they do in person, but you can atleast see the spectrum of gray I was sorting through. In the end, Sherwin Williams' 'amazing gray' was the winner.

And below is the edge of my super exciting new mirror.

But now for the problems. Taking off the giant medicine cabinet revealed a huge patch that had never been properly mudded or sanded. It had huge puck marks from where the mirror was screwed in and having never been painted, the whole patch sits a little lower than the rest of the wall. PLUS, they stopped the tile to go around the medicine cabinet. Now a non-pregnant, money-to-blow (or maybe just good) renovator would definitely patch in new tile AND skim coat the wall. This woman, however, did one layer of mud and called it a day. If it drives us crazy, we'll fix it some other day. For now, I just want ONE room to be finished.

Except that as you may have noticed, when we took down the Hollywood style, horizontal, 4 bulb sconce, we discovered that the electrical box isn't centered over the vanity. It was way to the right of center, in fact. So there went any visions I had of nearly finishing this room in one day. We now needed an electrician to slide it over.

Oh but there was more fun in store for us. After a half hour of grunting, John finally pried the old sink out and unlike in the other two bathrooms, they actually cut the tile around the pedestal. Of course our new pedestal had a different footprint. Because why would this process be easy? And just for kicks, neither the sconce's electric box, the plumbing OR the pedestal footprint line up. Very bizarre. And very annoying.

Well this was the part in the evening where when I asked John one more time if he hated his life, I could tell that he was at his breaking point. Something had to give. 

So here's the new plan. I'm going to chip away at the broken tiles tomorrow and find new 4 inch white tile at Home Depot. I'm counting on it not being difficult to match (please!). Then we'll line the new vanity up under where the sconce is already wired to go - and eliminate hiring an electrician. The sink won't be square in front of where the plumbing comes out of the wall, but again, something has to give. I really don't think you'll notice given how small the bathroom is and how confined any viewpoint you have is while you're in there. And really all the water lines will be more or less tucked behind there to where it won't probably matter.

That said, I went ahead and painted the first coat of Amazing Gray on the walls. And because I'm me, I made John prop the mirror up so I could get a taste of the future.

Without the sconce the lighting right now is terrible. But you can kinda sorta see the shower curtain fabric. In person the main fabric is all but identical to the wall color, so don't be fooled by how dark it's coming off.

And only the bottom quarter of the curtain will be this cinnamon linen. I have high hopes to track down a really killer gold rod that I saw used in a store showroom as a room divider for the shower rod. I asked the owner of the store where they got it and she couldn't remember but gave me the number of someone to call who might know. Fingers crossed. It'd be a game changer in here.

So that's where we are as of now. Only, I'm afraid that might be where we are for a good bit, because it dawned on me this morning that my sewing machine is in our POD in a very inaccessible spot. So unless I can borrow a machine, showering might be a bit breezy in there for while. 

And speaking of the POD, we did get out move-in date. September 18th. Yikes. I hope this baby can hang tight inside for another five weeks...

...and I hope this bathroom project is downhill from here. 


Mountain Air

Before the whirlwind of homeownership was in full throttle, John, Annie and I got away for a week to Colorado. We had about five ways to schedule this trip as far as what life altering events to squeeze it between - potty training, moving out of a condo, being homeless :), moving into a house, having a newborn. You know, the youzhe. In the end we snuck the trip in a few hours after moving out of our condo. Yep that's right. On a Wednesday we packed our condo into a POD and the following morning at a ripe 3AM we hit the road. Just ripe enough to hit a 3 car wide brigade of highway patrolmen slowing traffic down on 1-70 from 70mph to 10mph in order for a crew of workers to bring on equipment and block off lanes. Nothing like getting a headstart on your trip only to be the VERY FIRST car stuck behind this hour long delay. At 3 in the morning. With a 2 year old. If only I hadn't run back inside to go to the bathroom before we piled into the car that morning. If only we'd packed the cooler the night before. If only John didn't make that cup of coffee. We could have been one car farther along that morning and never known the bad luck befalling our fellow travelers trailing us on the road. If only...

But otherwise the drive went well. Would you believe me if I said we woke Annie up at 3 am and she did not nap again until 4:30 in the afternoon as we pulled into town? Well, believe me or not it's true. This girl must have been darn ready to see the mountains. Cause her eyes stayed wide open the whole boring time.

And you also better believe that she didn't let John and I sleep either. I never got more than five minutes in before I'd hear a 'mommy, mommy, wake up!'

We spent the first half of our time in Snowmass, Colorado where I've been blessed my whole life to spend vacations. Thursday nights are free concerts on the mountain - which is why we busted our butts to get there so early. 

I think I maybe heard half a song. Most of the time was spent chasing our runaway daughter.

The word 'stop' means nothing to her. Neither does 'freeze.' Neither does 'come back.'

It's glorious. An obstinate child who takes absolute pleasure in disobedience.

But, gosh, we love her.

And John loves her even when she pees on his khaki shorts. That's unconditional, my friends.

Rest we needed and rest we got on this trip. The rain wasn't shy and we spent a good chunk of time inside watching movies and cooking. Always cooking. And cleaning. And cooking more. And picking up after sweet Annie whose joy in life seems to be making messes.

But a few days we got out. Took the gondola up to Elk Camp for their family night. Packed picnic lunches and dinners cuz cheap is our middle name.

Wondered why when we brought our jackets, we melted in the heat and when we stepped out in shorts and left the jackets behind, we froze.

Annie took a whole two steps on a Strider bike before she decided she was NOT into it. But she looked darn cute for those two steps.

And then hippie girl and her too-cool-for-school sunglasses went flower picking down the mountain with dad.

Thankfully, the skies also cleared for about half of the Aspen Art festival. And it's official. Our daughter is a dog whore. She thinks she loves dogs. And she bolts when she sees one, desperate to pet them. But she's barely laid a hand on their backs before she's spied another and is running to it.

You think I'm kidding but I'm not. There were even times when her hand wouldn't even make it to their backs - just float a few inches from their fur - because she was so distracted searching for the next canine.

And luckily for Annie, dogs are about as prolific as Range Rovers in Aspen. You can't go half a block without seeing three.

We also made it up the gondola to the top of Aspen mountain for the inevitable photo-op. I think we have about a dozen family pictures in front of these very mountains from over the years. So here's the most recent...

And despite the misting rain, we listened to a classical concert before lunch.

Oh and here's the one and really the only artist at the art fair that had me seriously considering a purchase. I lurved these paintings. And I'm still bummed that I didn't go for it. But I couldn't decide between the one on the top left and the one on the top right. And we wanted to feel 100% before making the commitment. If Annie is a dog whore, I'm a bit of an art whore. I love something. I buy it. I hang it. And within three years, I'm ready for something else. Not quite the mentality one ought to have when investing in fine art! So I resisted in the absence of total clarity (and the presence of a disagreeing husband).

And then I stumbled upon this rug and once again almost succumbed! But thankfully I'm married to a man who makes me slow down a bit before whipping out a credit card. Sadly, we came home empty handed from Aspen.

But on our way out Annie had one last frolic in the fountains.

And one last swing in the park. Kansas City, you offer many things. But parks with views like this, you don't have. And oh how hard a truth that is.

So after four days in Snowmass we took Kebler Pass to Crested Butte. But not without a few potty breaks. Talk about a nice view!

I wish I could upload all the fabulous pictures we took in Crested Butte...but we didn't take any. Or very many, anyway. But for sure, that was the highlight of our week. Hanging out with Aunt Kristin and Uncle Jesse in what has to be the most beautiful town in Colorado. And usually I'd say the opposite just to spite my sister :) But Crested Butte is undeniably gorgeous.

Someone - anyone - please offer John a job he can't refuse so we can live out there. And evenings watching music on the mountain can just become our normal Wednesday night!

But even here the rain followed us. So we did some pretty stylish wardrobe alterations to accommodate the weather. But this girl can rock anything.

But being adorable can be exhausting. And Annie passed out hard at naptime. 

And couldn't quite make it to getting dressed after a bath before she was drifted off. Presh. 

But a girl can wake up anytime if it means Aunt Kristin is treating you to a breakfast of homemade donuts and freshly baked chocolate croissants before heading back to Kansas City.

So that was our trip. More or less. Less, really. Because there was so much more. There was a stop in Denver to catch up with my hostess with the mostest aunt and her family. And a big, exhausting, expensive trip to Ikea. But this is all you get when a pregnant, busy mama with a broken laptop trackpad waits three weeks to write about a trip. 

And now, as you know, we're back. And in the thick of a home remodel. And homeless. Sort of. Except we get to live in a beautiful home with my parents. But it's not our own and we're anxiously waiting for the day we the three of us get to become the four of us under our own roof! 

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