Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue Thoughts

Like I mentioned last week we spent the last couple weeks flying around the West Coast.  With all that time between the flight attendants mime version of the proper emergency procedures and reaching the cruising altitude, you know, that time where the use of electronic devices could cause the plane to spiral to a fiery crash, I had a lot of time to think.  Side note, on one of our five flights that we took, one attendant actually told everyone to turn off their phones, music players, and calculators - no joke.  If a little Ti-30 can interfere with the radio signals of the plane I'm on, I think I'd rather drive.

Anyways, some of that time was obviously spent making sure none of the kids around me were trying to be badasses and doing their homework on the plane, but then that in itself is an oxymoron seeing as how it's summer and no kid in their right mind is doing homework, so the rest of the time I thought about a lot of random things., (kind of like this post so far, sorry).  One of them being our living room, specifically the color of our living room.
Since moving in I've had a problem with the color of this room.  I even painted it gray after not digging the green the first go round.



And although I love gray, it's not enough.  Not enough color, not enough warmth, just not enough.  As the title mentions my thoughts have been a little blue, not the sad blue, but the moody blue, as in a moody navy blue.   

Whenever I'm looking to paint a room I use my favorite painting tool online first, to see if the color I want works in the area I'm thinking.  That painting tool is from my go-to paint store Sherwin Williams.

A while back I was perusing SW's website for some color inspiration and I came across their Color Visualizer tool.  This brilliant tool allows you to virtually repaint any room you want, without having to clean any brushes, (in my opinion, the worst part of painting anything).  The way it works is you upload a photo you want to repaint and use the masking tools to outline which surface will get the new color.  After you've created all of your surfaces, you can choose from any of the hundreds of colors in the SW color catalog to change up the colors in your room.


Before I made Mike go bonkers by painting the room a third time, I uploaded a couple photos of the living room to see if it could pull of a deep blue.

I masked out all of my wall surfaces and found a really pretty blue color named "Cyberspace".  I found it kinda fitting since I was virtually picking the color anyways.



 
And, here's the room as it is now next to the blue for a better comparison:

 
I like the brown furniture against the deep blue, and think the white trim and curtains look really crisp.  The large beige carpet also looks better against the blue, rather than the light gray.  And I think the silver accents also look better against a contrasting color, (not the first time I've noticed this, remember my gray/silver overload project here?), so I may switch out the black curtain rods for some silver ones, or maybe jump on the bandwagon and try spray-painting them.  

The only thing I worry that might not go are the black accents, like the tables, mirror, and picture ledges.  The larger furniture, (except the side tables next to the couch), were all made by Mike when we lived in the townhouse, and although they were custom made to fit that room, they fit pretty well into the new space.  The only problem I have is the black is too dark for blue walls.  I'm thinking they would need to be painted white or a lighter color.  

And since I didn't have to clean any brushes with my virtual painting, I decided to see what other colors caught my fancy.

0047 Studio Blue Green
7068 Grizzle Gray
7032 Warm Stone

And, I even found my first color and tried it out for nostalgia.  Oh, how I wish I knew about this tool before I wasted my time painting it this color!

6163 Grassland

I have to say I'm really digging the 'Warm Stone' color.  And, the black furniture seems to work with it.  Maybe I'll try that first and then move to a blue if I don't like it.  Just kidding Mike, (I have to say that, because he may have a heart attack and/or kill me if I paint a forth time)!

What are your thoughts?  Are you feeling blue too?  Do you think I'm crazy for wanting to paint the living room for a third time?  Anyone else out there can't sit in one of your rooms without thinking of all the ways you'd like to change it?  Do share! 

PS. Sherwin Williams doesn't know me, let alone want to pay me to talk about their website.  I just like their paint and love having the option to virtually paint without having to clean-up!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Good to be Home

Thanks to Blogger's scheduled posts option, Mike and I flew off for a much needed vacation.  We started in California where we stayed with Mike's grandparents who live in Torrance.

(Torrance Beach, California via Wikipedia)

We enjoyed family, the pool, beaches, food, and even a show at the Hollywood Bowl.  To show you how un-hip we are, the show was Hairspray and the character Link Larkin was played by Nick Jonas.  Mike and I didn't even know it was him until I looked it up on my Blackberry after all the girls started screaming.  We were more excited about Drew Carey and John Stamos, (okay so maybe Mike could care less about John, but we were both excited about Drew).

Overall, the first part of our trip was calm and relaxing and exciting for me to see where Mike grew up and where he spent a lot of his summers.

After about a week visiting with family, we continued our West Coast tour in Cannon Beach, Oregon, where one of Mike's buddies was getting married.

(Cannon Beach, Oregon via BestBeaches)

To say it was beautiful is an understatement.  It was spectacular.  From the mountains and the forests, to the beaches and water, everything was amazing.  It was the perfect spot to have a wedding and we were so honored to be invited to the small ceremony on the beach.  We spent time meeting new people, drinking homebrew, (Mike and his friend share the love of the hobby), enjoying beach bonfires and fireworks, (which may or may not have been illegal, hey, just because some drunk groomsmen decide to light some against our protests, doesn't mean I can't still enjoy them), and all the shopping, beer and wine drinking the Oregon coast has to offer.

We didn't want to leave, but with the suggestion from some friends, we spent the last couple days in Portland.


It was the best of both worlds, a lively downtown atmosphere with parks everywhere and views of the mountains.  I sound like a darn travel channel, but numerous times during our stay in Oregon, Mike and I told each other we could definitely see ourselves living there.  We spent almost a full day wandering around Knob Hill shopping and eating, went to a local food event called "Bite of Oregon", spent time in a couple of the parks that literally have views just like the one above, (that's Mount Hood in the background), and generally did things outdoors to soak up as much as we could of the city.

In total we were gone for 11 days, and with all the packing, re-packing and living out of suitcases, hotel stays, and rental cars, we are happy to be home!  And, who would want to be away from this guy for longer than that anyways?



(Safety Tip: With all of the social media outlets out there, it's easy to forget that letting people know you're leaving for vacation or updating everyone of all the cool things you're doing, also let's everyone know that you're not home! That's why I never share things like travel details until after we've come back.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why I'm the Greatest Girlfriend Ever

Every couple of weeks our kitchen goes from this:


To this:



This is all of the homebrewing equipment that takes over the kitchen.  Since our kitchen is the size of a large walk-in closet, it's best if I leave Mike and his stuff alone during his brewing.  That means for about 4 hours every couple of weeks our kitchen is completely out of commission to me.  Mike says it's mostly due to the contamination factor, but he allows the cat to go in and out whenever he pleases, so I think it's just that he doesn't want me in his way asking a million questions and moving stuff around.

And, I only complain a little.  That's why I'm the greatest girlfriend ever!

How about you guys, anyone else put up with your boyfriend's/husband's/wife's/girlfriend's messy hobbies?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Captain Sparkles and Lieutenant Trippy (Deck Build | Part Five)

Those are the names that Mike and I came up with for each other while we were working on the deck framing.  Captain Sparkles for Mike since he was getting all sweaty and bossy, and Lieutenant Trippy for me, because I refused to get my tennis shoes out and wore flip flops, (not recommended) and tripped on every little mound of dirt, and sometimes nothing at all.

Don't mind us, it was in the high 90's and the sun was making us loopy.

In our last deck post, we finished all the beams and the framing on the top level to get to this:


Well, after some late night framing, Mike, (with a very little bit of my help), was able to frame out the bottom level.  Since Mike doesn't get the whole "Wait until Mallory has time to take a picture for the blog before moving on to the next step" idea, I came home from work to the decking already started and didn't get a picture until the entire top level was already done.  So, here's the the top level decking looking to the left, then the right.



For those wondering why we chose the more-difficult-than-straight diagonal decking approach, the truth is because the two levels have opposing beam set-up.  Meaning, if we chose to go with a simple straight decking, the top level would have them going one way, while the lower level had them at a 90 degree.  Okay, okay, I know you're all waiting for me to whip out my mad Paint skills and give you a diagram, and I wouldn't want to disappoint, so here's a diagram of how the straight decking would have looked:


We didn't really want the two levels to run in different directions, because we didn't want them to feel separate and wanted them to flow into one another, so we chose diagonal.  It also makes it just a tad more fancy looking.  Just don't let Mike hear me call our deck fancy, he'd prefer awesomly manly or something equally less girly.

Anyhoo, with the top level under his belt, Mike didn't waste any time starting on the lower level:



It was about at this point that Mike felt like something was off, so he went to Google to confirm his suspicions.  You see, from Mike's experience with decking, he was always told to add a 1/8" gap between each board.  This is accomplished by placing a nail between each board to give it the desired spacing.  This is done so that the wood has room to expand without warping the decking.  I'm not sure what made Mike stop and think about it, but, when does wood expand?  When it's hot and wet.  Like the 90 degree heat and the rainy weather we've had lately.  Which means that the wood is pretty much at it's largest right now.  Not to mention the fact that the wood is treated and full of chemicals.  That means that as the deck ages, the wood will actually dry out and shrink, causing the what began as 1/8" gap to become even bigger.  Like, small children will fall through and be lost forever, big.  Okay not that big, but big enough to not look nice and for small things to fall through.

That's when he realized he had to shift all the decking he had already put down to eliminate all of the gaps.  The small bit that he did on the bottom level wasn't that bad since it wasn't cut to size and could easily be unscrewed, shifted, then screwed back in.  But, the top level was already cut to size and there were even spots that were custom cut to fit things like the door trim and the posts.  It was almost as time consuming as it was to originally but it down.  But, in the end, all the decking was put down, without the gap, and turned out amazing:



And, for those wondering how big the deck actually is, let me put it into perspective: it has the same footprint as our house.  That's right folks, about 530 square feet of deck!  Needless to say, we won't have to worry about not having room for everyone when we have a summer party!


After cutting the boards along the edges, the next step is just that, the steps.  Then, we'll finally have a somewhat functional back door that we can use to get to the garage again! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Working the Night Shift

When you want to finish a deck in a short amount of time, you sometimes have to work late.  So late that you work right up to your bedtime.  It's a good thing we have understanding neighbors, because this was the scene a couple nights ago at 10:45 pm as Mike finished up the framing on the lower level, (yes, that is a headlamp on his head, an x-mas present from me last year):


I pooped out around 8:00 pm and could barely stay outside to take this picture there were so many bugs out.  Thank goodness for crazy, workaholic boyfriends. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge | Summer Edition

Last week, one-half of my favorite home DIY duos, Young House Love, posted a challenge based on Pinterest, using everyone's favorite time sucker to inspire a real life do-it-yourself project. 


I loved the idea of this challenge, since I've already been using Pinterest as inspiration for some of the projects around here, and I really wanted to participate.  But, since we're smack dab in the middle of building the deck I wasn't able to do anything this past week.  So, I'm cheating a little bit and revisting my Pinterest projects from the past month of two.

The first one was the Ohio state art that used this pin as inspiration:


To make this piece of art in the office, (click here to see the step by step):


After that, I couldn't stop pinning and came across this pin that I thought would be a good inspiration to add some much needed color into the living room:


You know I love me some paint swatches, I was using them as art last year too, and loved the impact of all the color just from the small paint squares.  So, using my own paint swatches, I came up with this little project to liven the gray living room up:


While my projects may not have been done last week during the challenge, they still were done in the spirit of Pinterest as inspiration!

If you want to check out all the projects, (that, ahem, followed the rules), you can head over to all of the host's websites and see what everyone else is pinning!


Sherry (Young House Love), Katie (Bower Power), Emily (Style by Emily Henderson) - Yes, THAT Emily Henderson, and Lana (Making a House a Home).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't Mind The...

(Insert unfinished project here.)

I'm spilling our secrets.

As I was walking around the house the other day, I realized how many projects have been started and abandoned and sit ready for my attention again.  I'm sure I'm not the only one when I say this, but I'm okay with it.  So what if the picture frames are hung, but don't have anything in them, (true story), there are more important things in life than making our house perfect.  I'm fine with the state of our house everyday, until someone comes over.  It's then that I see all of these half-finished projects.

Since I blog both the good and the bad here, I thought I'd show you some of the things that we overlook on a daily basis and someday, (maybe soon, maybe not), hope to complete.

First, we'll start in the dining room.  I hung picture frames about 3-4 months ago knowing that I'd do some sort of artsy thing in them someday.  Well that someday is still no where in sight and we might be bringing the Ikea poinsettia flower in style:


Get it?


I've got some ideas for these two frames, but I've got bigger plans for the dining room, so they'll have to wait until I have a better idea of the direction we're going.

Another thing we like to look past is Mike's desk.  Yes, the same one I blogged about almost a year ago!
I even wrote, "Someday soon, I'd like to paint the top".  I don't think a year later would qualify.  We kinda dig the weird rustic sanded finish it has since it was an old stained door from Re-Store to begin with, but the bond-o spots aren't that cool looking.

We have since added Mike's stuff to the desk and I've even given him my old chair, but that's about all the progress we've made.


And finally, the one thing that definitely gets a little embarrassing when company comes over, (especially the overnight variety), is our lack of doors.  Yep, I'm admitting it, we don't have any bedroom doors.  Or closet doors, or an office door.  The only upstairs door we do have is the bathroom door.  There are some things we have to keep private.

When we moved in and started stripping the trim, we decided to strip the doors and replace the old hardware.  We figured the best way to do this would be to remove the doors and put them on some saw horses outside to be the most efficient.  Well, I got about a half of one side done before I realized the stuff I bought from Home Depot was crap.  Like the rest of our house's woodwork, there are about 5 layers of paint and stain on the doors and something a little more potent than the cheapo stuff I thought I could get away with, is going to do the trick.  So, we put them aside to tackle another day, and a year later we still don't have doors.  Life got in the way, what can I say.

And as weird as you think it would be, it's not that bad.  I actually prefer it.  No doors to get in the way, or close on the cat accidentally.  Meaning locking him in or out of a room, not literally on him.  He's too quick for that.

It does get a little tricky when we have guests over, but we've actually had a friend live with us for a couple months and my parents stay for Christmas vacation for a week and we didn't have any problems.  When Mike's grandparents came to visit last month we finally broke down and came up with a temporary solution for our doorless predicament.  Since we didn't want to add anything that we would have to fix later, I came up with a simple privacy screen that we could remove and add when we felt like it.  I bought a simple tension rod for about $4 and a cheap white shower curtain and threaded the tension rod through the curtain holes and we had ourselves some temporary doors.  Kinda like an updated bead curtain.

They worked out great for our guests and Benelli loves to run between the curtains and jump out when you're walking by.
 


Of course there are other things around the house that I want to change or do something to, but these are more in the "We just got too lazy" category and will probably stay there for a while.  I hope it's not just me who has blatantly unfinished projects laying around!