Category Archives: inspiration

from the man of this old house

(I’m posting this on behalf of Greg)

So after my lovely wife’s suggestion that I do some blogging and write my first blog post as the other owner of this house, I thought I might as well blog the hell out of this blogged blog (via blog) with a discussion of the greatness of a particular publicly televised show concerning those old homes:

One of the unexpected results of buying a home in the past year has been how much my fondness for watching “This Old House” on television has proliferated and propagated. While the advice they give is decent and sometimes helpful, I think Kate and I watch it much more for the personalities of each of the hosts rather than for the practical, visual guide to old homeownership they hope to provide.

Much like Voltron, the cartoon robot hero of 1980’s youth, each of the hosts easily combine to form a show greater than the sum of its parts.

From Roger’s insistance on making the homeowner grab a shovel when he shows up at their house for some landscaping to the plumbing guy’s constant use of that stuff to clean the pipes before soldering, it’s not really the subject matter that makes the show worth watching, it’s them.

If we were more avid alcohol ingesters than we actually are, we could easily create a drinking game based around the show. If you had to take a drink every time that Tom uses a shim, you’d be absolutely destroyed by the end of the half hour. If an episode of its sister program, “Ask This Old House”, follows immediately thereafter (as it normally does here), plan on many more shimmings with shims and then having to take a day off from work. I bet Tom has a method to cure a hangover through the use of shims though, it’s probably in an episode I missed.


Craft studio inspiration

My craft room has been years in the making. There’s no greater feeling for me than making something, probably because the nature of my day job is so intangible. The problem is that I always use the excuse that I don’t have the room to do these things. Well pretty soon it’s going to be time to put my money where my mouth is, there will be no more excuses, so I’ll be very interested to see if I carry through with these grandiose plans. I’m actually going to be starting another blog in the near future to document my attempt at craftiness, so I’ll keep you all posted. In the mean time, I’ve been perusing other people’s craft studios on the interweb for ideas…

And although I can’t seem to link to the individual photos, Alicia’s studio (of Posie Gets Cozy fame) is fantastic, I especially love her use of crisp and girly color combinations.

step 1

We had our first kitchen design consultation tonight! Everything went great, I think knowing what we want has put us a bit ahead of the game, because I was able to talk them through what we like and don’t like pretty thoroughly. Considering all I read are home design blogs, I have a pretty refined sense of what I like and don’t like, and Greg is just going to have to deal with it. I kid, I kid. Greg claims that he honestly does agree with all the things I said, so we’re definitely on the same page with most of the stuff. My confidence in our choice of contractor was also strengthened by the sense that they seemed to know exactly what style we are trying to go for. At first they just let me talk through my ideas without offering too much feedback, presumably because they were just trying to get a sense of our style without influencing us, but on a few occasions I would mention something that I was specifically *not* going for and they would respond with relief and say, “Yes, exactly, I know exactly what you’re talking about.” It was also great to have the same style vocabulary, because I could say something like, “vintage modern” and they seemed to understand completely. I must say, I was sort of surprised and impressed with myself that I was able to sit there under pressure and actually articulate exactly what I wanted, using somewhat intelligent language. But again, that’s just from reading blog after blog after blog about this stuff, I’ve just never really had a chance to use that knowledge before. In any event, I think had we gone with one of the other contractors, we would’ve wound up going ten rounds trying to explain why 12×12 terra cotta-colored floor tiles and marble countertops wouldn’t really go with our aesthetic. So now they draw up the plans to scale on the computer, and in a few weeks we’ll have an elevation drawing to post!

In the mean time, I’ll share some of the inspiration photos that I showed them. Clearly some of these are incredibly high-end kitchens, but I was trying to just give them a sense of the overall look we wanted to go for.

bravery in the homespace

One thing that I really want to do with the house is be a little more whimsical with decorating. I am hopelessly addicted to home design websites and magazines, and I’m always drawn to quirky accents. Greg and I both take pride in our senses of humor, so there’s not really any reason why that shouldn’t be reflected in our house. The problem is neither of us are very brave, and that’s definitely a requirement when making a quirky statement in your home, whether it be through artwork or color or furniture. I’m trying to work up my nerve to do something like a huge wall mural, or a zebra print rug, or some kind of crazy wallpaper. Here’s hoping.

More putting off of actual progress

No new photos yet. We’ve been working on the office, but there’s still a few more things that we have to get around to doing before I can post the before and after pics.

In the mean time, we’ve been doing some kitchen-related research. We had a contractor over the other night and got an estimate for the work we want done, which was of course more than we had planned on. It’s not that we don’t have the money, it’s just that, much like weddings, saying the actual amount out loud is incredibly scary. I like my money much better when it’s all safe and snug in my bank account, not when it’s written down on a check to be cashed. Spending this kind of money sort of feels like sending your kids off to college: you spend years working for it, and just when you finally get to a point where you are getting used to having it around, and being comfortable with the amount on your monthly bank statement, you have to say goodbye. And even though you know that you’re sending it out there so that it will do good things, it’s still a little sad. Maybe the best thing to do is just close your eyes and do it, and don’t think about it too much. It’ll come back some day, right?

I swear I’m not really that materialistic, but in the past year or so I’ve been having to get used to having large amounts of money change hands, and it’s still a bit strange. Anyway, we have a few more people lined up to come take a look, so hopefully we’ll decide in the next week or so, and then I can stop stressing about it and just get it over with so I can cook a proper meal.

Also, I found a fabulous idea for the dining room. I’ve been wanting to hang picture rail in the living room to avoid putting too many holes in the plaster, but we couldn’t quite decide what to do for the dining room. I considered painting a simple mural, which is still a possibility, but I also saw this today on Apartment Therapy. This is the wallpaper we originally wanted to hang in the dining room, but the price tag is a bit on the obscene side. But this would be the perfect marriage of picture rail so we can hang things and fancy wallpaper to add interest: