kriselkeeper: October 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I had every intention of changing our mailbox.  I think it's a major factor to the overall design of an entrance and I've loathed ours for 6 years! However, for the time being I decided to paint it instead.  The mailbox decision is sort of contingent on the door decision. Since I haven't made up my mind about the door I decided to hold off on any major purchases. Plus as I started looking around I realized our current mailbox wasn't too off from what I wanted in the end.  A change of color might be enough to save my wallet from continuing to empty out. Something it's done since the start of the painting. 
Here are some of the options I was/am contemplating:

The Basic Classic:
Umbra Postino Stainless Steel Mailbox
Found at All Modern for $99.

The Colorful:

The Three-Piece-Suit
Amsden Locking Wallmount Stainless Steel $79.95

The Great Etsy Find:

The Second Great Etsy Find:

The European Look:

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Monday, October 28, 2013

New Colors!

The house is finally painted!  We're so happy, relieved and excited to have our "new" house.  With the change of colors and texture it feels like a new house.  Walking in and out of our front door feels so good, kind of like when you get an amazing new haircut.  We all have a spring in our step!

Here are a few before and after shots:






Here are a few other picture from the exterior.  I'm not ready to take pictures of the backyard. The painters left it really messy.  We had a few changes and  our own clean up to do. However, I'm still cleaning debris left from the two weeks of work. The painting process is a topic for another day. I learned a lot. I would do things rather different next time and I want to share/remember my experience. 

I put off doing any landscaping prior to painting. The new colors are now giving me new directions.  I've started adding and moving things here and there already. 

This is a favorite new angle of mine. The grey really makes the trees and greenery stand out.  I can't wait for the purple flowers to bloom.  

 The colors of the wood and the border of the roof ended up matching.  It wasn't my intent. I actually wanted the wood to be a bit more red. I wanted it kind of like rust so that it would almost look like corten steel.  However, when they put the sample up I really liked how it all tied together.  

A detail that makes me happy is the slatted wood at the center of our windows. They had been removed when I attempted to fix it all myself.  For almost four years it was an awful hole. Now it's back to its prime Mid Century self again!

I absolutely love the contrast of the flowers and plants against the grey and dark brown now.  The house colors made the entire garden really stand out instead of blend away.  I just love it!

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We're so hip...?

I just read this article on Remodelista and it made me feel like we're ahead of the hip curve.  There's a whole back story to our fireplace. You can read about right here.  I was going to have it redone soon but none of us here at home are ready to let go of our art just yet.  P loves to tell people when they come over that she's allowed to draw on our wall and in fact they can do it to.  But no one dares....

The art work is actually not complete.  My idea is missing one major element. After reading the article I think I'll have P finish what we started. The finishing touch involves her using a can of black spray paint.  I won't tell Dave the plan. I'll let him come home to it finished. He might have a heart attack if he knows what's in store!  

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

All Mine!

The paint job spurred a few projects.  If you're going to go through the effort of painting you may as well do it ALL right.  Our side gate didn't get redone when we did the fencing around the house.  The rest of our property has a stylish horizontal fence but the gate continued with the old vertical wood. I decided to take this project on myself.  To be honest it took me 3 days to get it done but it took about 2 days of juggling to get materials and the gumption to use a circular saw. Well, I also must say that I needed to juggle the nanny and push off all other appointments (dentist) and needs (sitting at Pete's enjoying a good book and quality me time) to make time to build a gate.  It's not so easy for us stay at home moms.  Plus, we have a mess all around the house because of all the work.  I couldn't find things like my protective eye gear, working gloves or wood screws so easily.  I ended up buying new wood screws.  It's these stupid, redundant purchases that hike up the cost of projects. I hate buying anything twice. But in the essence of time I had to do what I had to do.

This past week I was finally ready: tools in hand, measurements done, nanny set and so I tackled the gate door.  I ended up asking our painter how to use the circular saw and I saw the look of fear on his face.  He did the cuts for me...out of pity, out of fear. I lied and told him I had less pieces to cut than what I actually did so I could cut some wood myself.  I do have pride you know.  And let me tell you it was the best feeling ever.  I still fear the saw like nobody's business but at the time I grabbed the bull by the horns and did it! As P says "easy peasy lemon squeezee"!

I started out the project having peaceful time to myself as Dave took the girls to school.  I got as far as making all the cuts before he returned with Gemma.  He gave me another hour but I knew he had to be at work so I felt under the gun. I hate working under a time constraint...specially when doing something new. I make careless mistakes.   But I did manage to get one of those anti-sagging tension things on the back side of the gate and 5 boards up before he came out and said I had another 15 minutes.  I got a another two boards up.  

The real juggle began as I continued putting boards up while tending to 18 month old Gemma. She doesn't wander off but she does want to do EVERYTHING I'm doing.  She was incredibly helpful;  she passed me screws and held the opposite side of each board as I screwed it in.  She was incredibly unhelpful;  she dumped out multiple boxes of screws into one giant pile and moved the drill bits around in the mud.  But through it all she seemed to have fun and like my dad taught me, building is not just for the dudes.  She is becoming comfortable with power tools.  I love that!

I finished the gate in one day.  Once I had all my ducks in a row it took about 2 hours.  It feels so good to know that as long as we are here I can say "I built my own gate".  I will look at that gate everyday and know I did that!  It's a great feeling.  

One of the painters cracked me up. He came over to tell me the gate looked good. And then he said "I didn't think you were really going to do it. You've been walking around that wood for days just looking at it but not touching it!"  I told him I had to face my fear of the saw and do something with the kid.  We laughed.   

The pictures here will give you a little sneak peak into the new color scheme of the house.  As of today the house is basically done. There are a few details....important details that will get finished next Saturday.  I also have a huge trek ahead of me to clean up, throw away and reorganize things outside.  And then and only then will I take pictures!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Out with the Old

Our house is finally getting painted.  It's been a long project in the works, from thinking about it, selecting colors, saving for it and finding the right man for the job.  Every time were ready something else of the utmost importance popped up.  We had insulation put in back in May (where the holes came from).  At the time we didn't have money to paint so for four months we lived in a polka dotted house. Funny....not so funny.  

We loathed the texture and color of the house since the day we moved in. We should have had it painted from the start but we had grand plans for construction and add on space.  Our eyes were bigger than our wallets.  Our plans of what to do have also changed in the six years since we've been here.  The first thing to do had to be the paint and texture.  My soul was hurting every time I came home.

During one of it's previous flips, the house had gotten a horrendous coat of stucco.  It would have looked like a frosted wedding cake if it was white. Fortunately, the brilliant fools who redid the property didn't know how to apply stucco.  It was falling off in sheets on just about every wall. You can really see it on the picture below. The dark part is the old stucco.  Unfortunately, the entire house wasn't done the same way. The windows were not flush to the exterior walls so they grated the difference down with cement.  Cement was also used in other places to make up for bad architecture.  

Fortunately for us, our painter Martin knew how to make it all right. He is in the picture below with Dave discussing all our house issues.  We found Martin from a friend who is a prop master with the most equisite taste and amazing craftsmanship.  I need to post pictures of the house he redid. It's just amazing.  So, if anyone is good enough for Sebastian then they are good enough for me. 

My inspiration for the new colors was a house I saw on the west side.  I prefer dark colors but with our summer heat it's not ideal. This color scheme could work because of the white and dark used.  Perfect for our form and needed function. 

Another thing that bothered me about our original color scheme was the lack of contrast.  In the back yard specially, I felt I looked out into a sea of hot stone.  The fence and floor are essentially the same color. In the summer all I feel is heat.  The wood fence needed to get restained as well and a good contrast is what I wanted.   

Over the last six years I have strategically taken pictures so as to frame out the really awful parts of the house.  I couldn't always do it but I know I never fully revealed the awfulness of how we were living.  But now that the end was in sight I took many pictures to document the before. Here they are. And the after is soon to come!

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