Monday, February 18, 2013

Bye Bye Brass, He-llo Bronze!

We are getting our bronze on over here at Chez Curran!  As we've gone through the process of updating our bedroom, we've added some details in oil rubbed bronze, such as this floor lamp and curtain rod,

this hand towel ring,

the toilet paper holder,

this mirror,

and some not-yet-installed robe hooks and towel rack.

We also found (on clearance--yippee!!!) all the pieces we'd need to ORB the shower... except the shower doors.  We were going to replace the shower doors with something a little more modern, but have not done so as of now.  We're looking at all our options.  In the photo above, you can tell that we haven't yet swapped out the light fixture or the bathroom faucets, but those are both on the to do list as well.

I'd love to hear about things that you're currently swapping out!  Maybe it's accessories... maybe furniture... maybe you're making your house more kid-friendly?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Welcome Home!

I moved directly from my parents' house, where I grew up, to my husband's house on our wedding day.  He had already lived here for just over 2 years when we got married, but I have been around since before he purchased the house. Although I went house hunting with him (a little bit), helped him to coordinate paint colors, put up some artwork, added my own little touches, and made seasonal decorations for this house long before we even got engaged, it wasn't my house. As our wedding approached, I started moving all my stuff into his house, but it still wasn't my house and it still wasn't our home. Our wedding was over seven months ago and we are now expecting our first child in this house. We've received some new and gently used furniture, I've rearranged our living space, hung artwork, painted our office, and chosen paint for the nursery, downstairs bathroom, and laundry room. I have completely remodeled our master closet (with some major help from my big brother), begun the process of updating the master bath, and painted/arranged our master bedroom; using our existing furniture in new ways to fit our space.  And, about a week before Thanksgiving, as I walked upstairs after closing up the house for the night, I said goodnight to my home. That was the first time that I didn't feel like I was supposed to 'go home' as bedtime approached. I feel like all of our hard work is starting to pay off and our reward is that we are home!

How long has it taken for you to feel at home in a new house?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh, How Time Flies!

I know this is my second post for the day (after not posting for almost 2 months), but I just haven't been up for posting until I was ready to share this huge part of our life.

We have an exciting announcement!  We're growing a little bean!  Here's the little bean sprout in all his/her glory:

This little guy or gal is due May 11th.  We're now 14 1/2 weeks pregnant and we're hoping to find out the gender right before Christmas!

So far, I'm feeling pretty good!  I'm always (always!) hungry and I'm craving any food that I can imagine.  If I see a picture of food, I have to have it.  For the most part, I'm craving savory food and cheese.  Matt has walked into the kitchen while I'm trying to make dinner and watched me devour whatever raw ingredients (cheese, veggies, etc) I'm using as I'm trying to cook.  My sense of smell is more distinguished, too.  My prenatal vitamins smell disgusting, as do hot dogs, hot asphalt, hot cars, and toiletries.

Speaking of prenatal vitamins, WHY must they torture pregnant women so?  Prenatal vitamins are the size of horse pills and smell like rotting fish.  Many pregnant women get queasy/nauseous during their pregnancy and have a stronger sense of smell and quicker gag reflexes, so of course it makes sense that these pills are twice the size of normal vitamins and smell awful, to boot!

We're going to turn the front bedroom into the baby's room.  We already know that we'll paint it orange, but we'll accessorize based on whether the bean sprout is a guy or gal.  Eventually, we'll post photos and before/after shots.  I can't stand the smell of paint, so I will probably have to wait for Matt to get around to painting.  The orange was originally meant for the guest bedroom, but the plans quickly changed and our office is staying put in the middle bedroom.  We may try to add some sort of sleeping quarters in the office for guests, but that is TBD for now.

What projects have you had to revise due to surprises or unexpected changes that have been thrown your way?

What a Great Room!

When Matt moved into this house over two years ago, the downstairs was arranged in a much different way than it is now. Isn't it amazing to watch a space evolve over the course of several years? It took a while to get our bearings about how to use our space in the best possible way. We do not have a large house (it's fairly small compared to most other houses in our area). We have 1573 square feet plus a 2 1/2 car garage man cave. When Matt moved in, he arranged the family room in a similar way to the previous owner: a single couch in the family room, next to the fireplace, and across from the television.

The living/dining combo room housed two stormy blue chairs (and a Christmas tree).  Then, I fell in love with a table. It was a cold winter evening at Ikea and I was meandering through the as-is section when I stumbled across my table. He was a handsome table; perfectly fitting the description of tall (er, large), dark, and handsome. His name was Bjursta, but we'll just call him Buster. Buster was marked down 30ish% off his original price because he had been put on display and had a scratch to show for it. The scratch was hardly noticeable and everything was intact, so I had to take him home.  They were also having a sale that took an additional 25% off all as-is items, so I only paid $173ish for him; tax included.  But, what I noticed was that he seemed a little bigger than his supposed dimensions, so instead of being the $299 version that seated 6-10 people, he was the $399+ version that could comfortably seat 10-16 people!  I still lived at my parents' home, so I stored Buster under my bed until we decided to host both of our families for Christmas.  We enjoyed a day-after-Christmas feast with 16 people at that table, in the dining/living combo that only held a Christmas tree, two chairs, and the commotion of 16 well-fed people.

Matt wasn't sold yet on the table, noting that while it fit in the space, he was hoping to have a sofa in that room, too.  So, when I was in Mississippi during Spring 2011, Matt replaced the floor downstairs with laminate wood flooring.  When I came home, we discussed the possibility of turning his family room into a dining room and his living/dining combo into a great room. We both liked that idea (we were almost engaged by this time) and went ahead with that plan. Our goal was to have three spaces that served a single function instead of having three spaces that had to multi-task.  So, we removed the table from the breakfast nook (we have plans for an island eventually), turned the small family room into a large-capacity dining room, and moved the television and couch into the new great room.

Fast forward about a year. We are now married and wanted to finish off the haphazard family room.  When my parents' neighbor offered us their old set of couches for free, we jumped at the opportunity. The couches are in great condition and fit the room well.
However, the way that the room was set up didn't allow for the couch and loveseat to sit next to each other, so Matt and I started playing with the room configuration and settled on this:

Well, on my birthday, my mom and I went shopping (my parents weren't sure about what to get me for my birthday) and we came across the rug in the picture above.  It was the right colors, right size, and right price, so we snatched it up and brought it home!  It is PERFECT for this space, which is now a comfortable sitting area for 6-10 people, thanks to added sofa space and several ottomans that are strategically placed throughout the room.  Our room that was once closed off and dark is now light and welcoming!
Eventually, I would like to paint the walls in a cooler tone, but that's a project for another day.  Our master closet is nearing completion, so stay tuned for the big closet reveal.
What little tweaks have you made around your house that have vastly improved the functionality of your house?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sleepin' Pretty, Part II

It feels great to say that we're done (for the time being) with our master bedroom and we are smitten!  We have switched out every single ugly beige light switch and electrical outlet for white switches and outlets, painted every square inch of the room (except the carpet), and arranged the furniture in a way that works for us.  In the beginning, the bed was on the big, blank wall on the far side of the bed and Matt's dresser and television were directly across from it (where the console table now resides).  Those were the only furniture items in the room until my papasan chair moved in.  See this post for the before pictures as well as pictures from the other half of the room.

Here is the view from the doorway.  The walls are a soft grey-taupe-brownish color, which is a nice contrast to our green accent wall.  This picture was taken before we swapped some of the accessories.

This is the view from the bathroom.  I think this corner could use more color, especially in the form of a new chair.  I am smitten by a tall, dark, and curvy chair at Home Goods (it's even on clearance!) and I'm currently trying to convince hubby that it would make an excellent birthday gift (if it's still there).  The curtains are burlap and I made six of them from 15 yards of fabric, which was on sale (regularly $3.99/yd, $1.60/yd with my 60% off coupon) at JoAnns.  The total cost for the curtains (not including hanging hardware) was $25!

This picture has the most accurate paint color portrayal (except the pinkish spot in the middle).  The blank wall in this picture will eventually become a wall of floating bookshelves.  My inspiration for this wall is a combination of my grandparents' house (no pictures available), Young House Love's zippered patio seam, and my pinspiration

I would like to find some livelier accent decorations and sew a small accent pillow for our bed or for the chair in the corner from a napkin I found on clearance at Cost Plus World Market for under $2.  Eventually, we plan to swap out the floor for something dark and sleek, swap the baseboards for something more decorative, and build cabinets and a really tall armoire in the random nooks in our bedroom.  We'll eventually get around to those projects!  Next up on our list: the master bathroom, the master closet, and the office.

What home improvement projects are you dreaming about right now?  Are you planning to tackle them soon or do expect that you'll have to wait a while?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cleanin' House

Let me tell you a little secret.  We're almost into our third month of marriage and we're still settling into our house.  As in, I'm still moving in.  My old bedroom still has quite a bit of stuff that I have yet to pack up and move over.  Plus, we still haven't put away all of our wedding gifts.  I think a few of my bridal shower gifts are still searching for a permanent home, too.  We have a lot of stuff that doesn't have a home yet and most of it is sitting on our dining room table.  This weekend, however, we decided to take care of an area that was haunting Matt: the garage.  His man-cave-to-be was filled with unfinished furniture, lumber, stuff to give away, tools, and holiday decorations.  It wasn't giving off the vibe he wanted, so he literally pulled EVERYTHING out of the garage.  I wish I had a before picture (like usual, I didn't get to snap a pic of the space before starting), but there was stuff everywhere.  In about a five hour span, he pulled everything out of the garage (except for the stuff in our awesome cabinets) and we worked together to put stuff back into the garage in an orderly fashion.  We still have stuff to recycle (our bin is full), stuff to donate, and stuff to sell, but each of those piles are separated into boxes and don't intrude on the rest of the garage.

Here are the soon-to-be poker table and the bar.  Oh, and I used a prop from our wedding to hide the water heater.  Can you see it hiding in the back?

Contrary to how this picture may look, all of the wood is well organized in this photo!  We have a lot of projects going on right now, including one hiding beneath the blue sheet.

Holiday storage (and extra carpet?!)
There's still some work to be done on these shelves, but we'll get around to it eventually!

Matt also intends to further organize the open storage area (above) as well as our paint/fertilizer/anything-that-would-be-harmful-to-dogs-or-kids storage area.  We keep that stuff (aside from sharp objects like saws and tools) in a single cabinet that we will be able to lock up before we get a dog and/or have kids.  Hubby is thrilled to have the garage finished!  Now he can move his movie and Simpsons posters to the garage man cave.

Then, our office and guest bedroom/craft room walls will be blank and ready for some decoratin'!  We finally agreed about what we will do with our two secondary bedrooms!  The current craft room/guest bedroom will become the designated guest bedroom (complete with my old bed) and the current office will get a complete facelift (because scrapbooking supplies are oh-so-pretty).  We've already started by moving the sofa bed into the garage (we don't intend for it to be used as a bed out there), thanks to the help of my parents.  It took all four of us to move the sofa downstairs and out of the house on Sunday.  The next step is to figure out how we want to arrange the office, which now has my desks in it as well as Matt's desk.  Here's to hoping that we figure out a good configuration for our desks!

Are you currently in the midst of re-purposing rooms? Have you given your husband the go-ahead on a man cave?  What's your best tip for merging households?  Leave a comment and let me know what's up in your house!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Am. (A departure from home improvement and DIY)

I Am.
By: Sarah

I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a person.
I am an aunt, a cousin, a niece, a friend.

I have thoughts. I have feelings. I have convictions. I have faith.  I have boundaries.
I am entitled to my thoughts.
I am entitled to my feelings.
I am entitled to my convictions.
I am entitled to my faith.
I am entitled to my boundaries.

Do not trample upon my thoughts.
Do not trample upon my feelings.
Do not trample upon my convictions.
Do not trample upon my faith.
Do not trample upon my boundaries.

If you want to be in my life, you must not force yourself upon me.
It won't get you far.
If you want to be in my life, your actions will speak louder than words.
Use force and meet resistance.
With grace, we will meet halfway.

Update: Since this was an incredibly random post, I wanted to give some background.  This poem was written for an art project that two ladies from church are putting together.  It's a combination of taking photos of women, pairing the photos with an I Am statement, and compiling the photos/stories into a large display.  They have taken pictures of women from various walks of life, including women who were living in a shelter when their photos were taken.  I will post a link as soon as I can find one.

Have you ever participated in a large scale art project?  We'd love to hear your story!