Archive | June, 2011

The other bathroom

28 Jun

Last week I showed everyone our 1/2 bath, and today we can check out our full bath.  The room has decent ivory and hunter green (thumbs down)  tile and ivory sink/tub/toilet.   We are not ready to do any major renovations to this room so my goal will be to paint and decorate so it looks like I put green tile in there on purpose!  Here is a look at the room before we do anything:

"ivory and green bathroom"

Our "Big" bathroom

It is currently a watered down pea soup color with ivory beadboard and white trim, and the medicine cabinet is a pale/natural wood color.

"Ivory and green bathroom"

What is with that medicine cabinet?

The first step in making this room look better was taking the sticker off of the garbage can…lol…I accomplished that last night!

The room is quite large for an old house and everything is in good shape; it is also nice and bright with the window and the skylight.  We just need some paint and accessories and we will be good to go.

I started with the hunt for a nice shower curtain that had either shades of green or hunter green in it, and hopefully brown because I would like to paint the room a rich chocolate brown.  I ended up finding a pretty shower curtain on-line at Walmart.  I had it shipped to the local Walmart, and I think the total was less than $20 =)

"Brown and Green shower curtain"

Brown and Green Shower Curtain

Kevin and I picked out some brown paint from Benjamin Moore (the paint & primer combo like we used in the other rooms).  Also, due to my infatuation with owls I got these on-line at Target:

Owl shower curtain hooks

What a hoot!

I figure, what the heck, they are brown, right?

So…brown walls above the beadboard, ivory below, and white woodwork (because the entire house has white woodwork).   And either that medicine cabinet needs to go or we need to fix the magnet on the door and paint it white!  It drives me crazy daily because it is really hard to get open-the magnet sticks really well or something.   I plan on spray painting all the fixtures so they look new.  I am not sure what color yet, possibly silver or a bronze color.

You can not exactly tell from the photo, but to the left of the doorway is enough space for a dresser or some sort of storage cabinet.  I am going to stalk craigslist/local thrift stores/garage sales this summer in search of the perfect chest of drawers.  I will let you know what I find.

Kevin is going to start painting tomorrow, yippee!  Hopefully I can show some results in no time!


33 things I need to do!

27 Jun

I’ve seen other bloggers talk about making lists.  I too make lists….I typically lose them before I can cross anything off of the list…but boy can I make em’!  I usually make lists when I am bored and/or while on the train to work.  My lists usually result in me getting stress out about the time required to complete the list; or the money needed.

One of my many lists

Today I think I will make my list on here, and we will see how far I get in, ohhhhh…let’s say six months.  And I just realized that six months from today is my birthday.  LOL, totally not planned.   In honor of my 33rd birthday, let me think of 33 things.

Here goes:

1. Purchase items for the master bedroom:  floor mirror, floor lamp, chair, accessories/art, area rug?

2. Organize closet in master bedroom

3. Paint guest bedroom

4. Purchase items for guest bedroom:  bedding, window treatments, nightstand, accessories/art, TV and stand?

5. Paint office/craft room

6. Purchase & install shelves and/or furniture for craft room

7. Organize office/craft room

8.  Paint full bath

9.  Paint fixtures in bath (or replace)

10.  Purchase items for bath:  new medicine cabinet (or just fix existing one), window treatment, storage unit/dresser, art/accessories

11.  Paint upstairs hallway & walls in stairway

12.  Create a wall of photos for stair/hallway

13.  Install carpet runner on stairs

14.  Paint foyer

15.  Purchase items for foyer:  hall tree or bench, accessories/art

16.  Paint living room

17.  Purchase items for living room:  all new furniture (eek…sofa, coffee and end tables, etc), art/accessories

18.  Replace tile on fireplace

19.  Decorate fireplace mantel

20.  Have chimney repaired (tuck-pointing and various other things I am not familiar with)

21.  Paint dining room

22. Put up chair (or plate) rail & add detail wood to lower 1/2 of wall

23.  Finish dining room chairs (paint and recover)

24.  Purchase additional items for dining room:  2 parson’s chairs, fabric, art/accessories, window treatments

25.  Organize china and crystal in the china cabinets

26.  Make slip covers for parson’s chairs

27.  Purchase & install new kitchen cabinet doors

28.  Paint cabinets, doors, and walls in kitchen

29.  Install new floors and countertops

30. Purchase items for the kitchen:  stove/oven (ours is ok, but one of these days I am going to singe off my eyebrows…that will be a good look), small flat-screen TV, smaller table and chair set, window blinds (or clean existing…if possible)

31.  Install heat in the sunroom (I should be able to cross that off the list next week!)

32.  Purchase items for the sunroom:  accent chairs, tables, lamps, cellular shades and drapes?, Entertainment center, art/accessories

33. Purchase items for the 1/2 bath:  small white cabinet/table, art/accessories

That is probably enough to think about for now!    Hopefully I can look back at this list from time to time and cross some things off, but for today- Happy 32 1/2 Birthday to me! =)

La Fortuna & Monteverde, Costa Rica

27 Jun

Happy Monday Everyone!  It is officially summer and I have had vacation on my mind!  Every summer as a child my parents, brother and I would take a family vacation.  Whether it was the Wisconsin Dells or Disney World, we were always headed somewhere in the big ol’ station wagon.  Hopefully Kevin and I will be able to do this when we have kids, but for now or vacations are full of a little more adventure.  My favorite place that Kevin and I have visited was probably La Fortuna and Monteverde, Costa Rica.   We took a trip to Costa Rica a couple years ago on a whim seeking to see something new and exciting, and we definitely got what we asked for.

We landed in San Jose pretty late in the evening, maybe 10 or 11 PM.  This is not a city you want to be in after dark, and certainly not a place you want to get lost in…in the dark…where you do not speak the language.  Needless to say we survived that night (after about 3 hours of driving in circles, an accidental drive by through the red light district, and an encounter with the San Jose police).  Oh….but it was worth it for the rest of the trip.  Lesson learned:  arrive during daylight and either make sure you have exact directs to your hotel or stay across the street from the airport!  Kevin and I tried to find Hotel Grano de Oro (A tropical victorian mansion turned hotel), finally gave up and ended up back at the airport paying for the same night twice at the Holiday Inn.  We did manage to find the amazing mansion on our return trip; it was WONDERFUL, but let me tell you about the rest of the trip….

The first stop on our Central American adventure was La Fortuna, a beautiful city with (what was/prior to 2010) an active volcano named Arenal.  Apparently the volcano has been “sleeping” since July 2010, but when we were there it was erupting just slightly everyday.  Kevin and I stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge, a hotel that was originally built for researchers tracking the volcanos actvity.  Our room had a huge picture window and it looked out to the volcano.

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano viewed from our room

We were able to see the lava flowing out each night; it was pretty cool…it looked somewhat like fireworks!

La Fortuna was just beautiful.  Monkeys in the trees, natural hot springs, exotic flowers, and random animals running around everywhere (I don’t know what these were…maybe leemers?  I am sure Kevin knows; he is in the other room right now or I would ask him).

These little guys were everywhere!

Tropical Plants Galore!

And there was even a hanging bridge!  Little did we know this was the first of many we would see on our journey…

Hanging Bridge at Arenal Observatory Lodge

The rest of the bridges we found were in Monteverde, Costa Rica…the next stop on our tour.  Monteverde is 4, 662 ft above sea level; high enough that it is in the clouds of the rain forest.  From my (little) understanding that is why it is called a cloud forest.  In Monteverde Kevin and I stayed at the (I am willing to put money on this) the best hotel in the whole entire world, Hidden Canopy Treehouse Hotel.   Talk about inspiration.  This place was like a dream.  Our treehouse (named Rising Sun) was just beautiful inside:

Hidden Canopy Treehouse

Our house for a few nights!

The house swayed as the wind blew and we awoke to the sounds of monkeys right outside our window.

Another view of the treehouse

Monteverde is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery…

That kitty is livin' the life!

Or explore on foot…

Suspension Bridges through the Cloud Forest

I can hardly read that sign, but let me tell you, these bridges were REALLY high in the air…and while they appear stable they sure did move as you walked across them!  Once you got about half way across the (what seemed endless ) bridge you started to have second thoughts about crossing.  What fun we had scaring ourselves half to death!

Kevin and I on a Hanging Bridge in Monteverde

Once we had our feet back on land we could also enjoy all the beautiful flowers growing in this area also.  Here are just a couple of my favorites (I don’t want to bore you!)

Lady Slipper

It’s a shoe, it’s a flower…it’s a lady slipper orchid!  Kevin and I went to a huge orchid farm while we were there.  They even had the tiniest species of orchid…you had to use a magnifying glass to view it!


I love it!  We found that flower in the the rain forest.  Writing this post reminds me that I wanted to make some of these floral prints for our bedroom (here, here and here).  So much to do so little time!

After leaving the treehouse (boo hoo), we packed up and took a ferry to the beach.  That was beautiful also:

Ahhh...wish I was there right now!

After the beach we were back to San Jose.  Thankfully this time we found the original hotel.  All this talk of vacation makes me want to take one, I better go book some plane tickets to our next exotic local…

This post was inspired by the link party at Centsational Girl =)  Check it out and have a great Monday!

Tomato Trees and Eggplant pizzas

26 Jun

The other day at our local produce store eggplants were on sale for something crazy…like 39 cents a pound.  Not that I track the prices of eggplant, but that sounded like a good deal (is it??).  I picked up two decent sized ones and have decided to make a pizza of sorts for dinner tonight.  A few months back I had seen something similar on TV (I believe it was on Hungry Girl…she has a website and now a television show where she makes healthy meals).   I searched her site and she had some similar ideas, but I made my own version.   Because I really did not want to go grocery shopping today I tried to use items we already had at home.  Unfortunately our tomato tree only has a few tiny green tomatoes, but it does have a decent amount of basil (who knew basil grows on tomato trees? lol).  I told everyone about our Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree a few days ago here, but take a look at the impressive before and after pics of the tree:



Mini green tomato

Basil before I stole some for the pizza =)

I am happy to see that we are able to grow food out of a plastic bag!  Too bad the tree isn’t growing mozzarella…we could have a nice caprese salad, or at least some cheese for the pizza!  Speaking of pizza, here is what I came up with:


2 Eggplants

1-15 oz can Pizza sauce (or you can use a combo of tomato sauce and paste and add Italian seasonings)

Pizza toppings (tonight I am making green pepper & onion and fresh basil)

olive oil (or spray oil)

garlic salt (I could probably add garlic salt to everything)

shredded cheese (regular or low fat mozzarella would probably make the most sense, but like I said I don’t feel like going to the store so I am going to use whatever we have in the fridge)


Let’s get cookin’!

Heat oven to 425.

Slice Eggplant into 1/2″ thick pieces

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, lay slices of eggplant on cookie sheet and lightly brush with olive oil (or spray)

Check out that brush!

I definitely did not have to take a photo of this, but I love that brush…my mom got me him a few years ago 😉

Sprinkle with Garlic salt (to your liking)

Put in oven for about 12 minutes (or until eggplant is a bit softer)

If you are putting fresh veggies on pizza, dice them now, and heat a pan with oil (or spray).  Add veggies to pan and cook till tender.

Remove eggplant from oven, top with sauce, cheese, & toppings

Put back in oven and cook till cheese is melted and pizza looks good enough to eat (probably about 10 min)!

eggplant pizza

A healthy alternative to pizza!

It was pretty good, and Kevin even enjoyed it also!

Making Progress in the Master Bedroom

26 Jun

I have gotten so caught up in work and fixing up the other rooms in the house, I forgot to give the update on our bedroom.  This was the first room we tried to redecorate in the house.  After living in a teenie tiny condo for the last five years I was so excited to actually have room for a king bed and a nice bedroom set!

Here is another look at the master when we moved in (or you can read more about it here or here):

Think Pink...

And here is a look at the moodboard I made:

"master bedroom moodboard"

Master Bedroom Moodboard

We were able to score the Pier 1 furniture on sale shortly after we moved in.  I really wanted our bedroom to feel like a luxury hotel:  complete with comfy mattress and fluffy bedding!   I did such a great job in that department I have been late for my train in the AM several times in the last few weeks =(  Perhaps I need to start setting 2 alarms!

I still need to find a mirror, chair, and lots of art and accessories, but take a look at the progress we are making:

"gray bedroom"  " four poster bed"

"Almost After"

I think I had to make the bed about 10 times to get the blanket to look right.  It’s tough trying to fling around a king sized down comforter!  I actually really hurt my back trying to throw it across the bed!  I am feeling slightly better now.

Here are some more detailed shots:


2 identical lamps and nightstands...

When the light is off the shades look like a gray/grassclothy like fabric.  I was pretty happy with that find!

"four poster bed"

Tall Four Poster Bed

Our bed is actually the exact bed on the moodboard.  It can change from four short posters/two short and two tall/four tall/or a canopy.   It is an amazing idea!  Currently it is the four tall posters because we haven’t taken the canopy out of the box, but perhaps we will put it up before the room is totally complete.

Movin’ right along, in this corner we have:


A Dresser!

I am definitely thinking we need some art above the dresser; that orchid is lookin’ pretty lonely!

And in the other corner:

Two RANDOM gray chairs!

Waaahhhh….waaaahhhhh…those chairs are totally random.  They are left over from my modern/urban loft.  I figured they were gray so we could throw them in there for now.  The big plan for the above corner is a nice comfy chair, maybe leather or a cute print of some sort, along with a floor mirror.  Unfortunately it is not like we really need that stuff right now, so we will have to hold off for a bit.

Here is another look at our headboard, and some more empty space:

It looks a little empty above the bed...

I purchased a wire vine-like piece of art at HomeGoods, but I actually think it is too big for that space, so it is probably going back, or to another room.

Opposite the bed is my dresser:

Larger dresser =)

See that little owl sitting on the corner?  I love owls, and my collection keeps growing.  Instead of keeping them all together, I think each room will get a little sprinkling of my hooting friends!

This pic is a bit dark, but it is of my Roman Shades that you can read about here

Shades pulled up, elephant!!

Well, that is our progress so far.  Oh, I almost forgot to show one little detail:

Mrs. Always Right

What more can I say? LOL!

Have a great night!

The post was edited on September 23, 2011:

We have made a few more changes to the room with accessories; check that out here.

Or take a look at more mood boards at Remodelaholic!

Come see the view from our Sunroom

24 Jun

I am so excited because we are finally making progress on our sunroom.  When we moved in 4.5 short months ago this room had some stinky, dirty, old carpeting that we could not wait to take out.  It also had way too many dirty, stinky cellular shades.   In it’s current state the room is definitely only usable about six or seven months out of the year because it has AC, but no heat.  You can’t exactly do much in a room with no heat in Chicagoland…let’s keep in mind what our house looked like when we moved in:

colonial home in winter


And the fact that June is more than half over and today we had temps in the 60s (I was kinda chilly as I walked to my office in a fleece)!

I need to get a little better with taking pictures; I just realized we don’t exactly have much of a “Before” photo of the sunroom.  Here is all I have:

Looking inside room from Garage

Yuck, check out that gross carpeting!  You can see in the back that we are starting to take it up…

A second look...

Don’t mind the moving fan and the handsome little doggie.  I guess now is a good time to meet Stewie, our son.

Jack Russell Rat terrier

How could you not love that face?

You may be seeing more and more of the little devil, as he likes to get in the middle of every photo…it’s kind of like “Where’s Waldo” sometimes =)

Our plan is to make this room more of a family room where we can watch TV and play with Waldo, I mean, Stewie.  This should involve painting, replacing carpet, adding a heat source, then decorating (my favorite part)!  Here is a peak at my moodboard for said room:

Sunroom moodboard

Sunroom Moodboard

The first step is getting rid of that wall to wall carpet.  Kevin did most of the work, but I tried to pitch in.  Underneath we found some rotten boards, but mostly a strange wood-like tile…

No more carpet!

Look at that view!

I look forward to being able to utilize this room; the view into our backyard is so lovely…including our…um…Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree!!  Can you see it on the deck?  Has anyone out there successfully used one of these?  Kevin and I decided to try it since we didn’t really have time to build a proper garden, but wanted to try to grow some veggies.   We planted quite a few tomato plants in that crazy tree, as well as basil, oregano, and some hot peppers.  I’ll let you know if we get anything!

Back to the room with a view:   we decided to paint the walls Benjamin Moore “Sail Cloth” paint and primer combo.  Just one coat covered the areas we patched with wood-filler and even the knots on the knotty pine.  Kevin also gave the woodwork a fresh coat of white, and replaced the rotten wood.  The carpeting was installed just hours ago; we should have a finished room in no time!


An "Almost After" peek at the Sunroom

It is hard to tell from the photo, but the carpet is a longer/almost shag-like two toned Mohawk product.  It looks so nice and new; hopefully we can keep it clean!  The next step is ordering all the blinds and getting that heat in there.  Thankfully we have a pretty powerful boiler in the basement that will be able to heat this room by installing radiant baseboard heat.  I am not entirely sure what that will look like…but I will know by the end of next week when the come out to install it!    Check back soon to see the results  =)

Quick update to our powder room

22 Jun

The next room we can visit on our house tour is our 1/2 bathroom on the main floor of the house.  It is kind of tiny, and hard to take photos of, but here is what it looked like when we moved in:

"half bath before"

1/2 Bath Before

The room was probably remodeled fairly recently because the pedestal sink, toilet, and medicine cabinet seem newer and are in great condition.  I love light blue and white bathrooms.  If only I could have a master bathroom like this:

"blue and white bathroom"

Taken from

Taken from

There is something about the light blue and white that is so soothing…oh and the claw foot tub helps with that feeling also!  Since our full bathroom has ivory tile, tub, sink, and toilet, we decided to make our 1/2 bath light blue and white.

Armed with a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Select Premium paint & primer in ‘Sea View,’ Kevin was able to transform our bathroom in no time.  Here is a look at our “almost after:”

"Benjamin Moore Sea View Bathroom"

1/2 Bath Almost After

You may recognize the photo on the wall (there is a similar photo in the ‘About Me’ section of the blog).   Kevin and I took that photo while on our Hawaiian honeymoon.  We thought it would go with the “Sea View” bathroom so we made it into a stretched canvas print.  We also updated the curtain rod so it matched the fixtures.  I plan on making a prettier curtain at some point, but right now it seems to do the job.  That window actually looks into our sunroom…random!  The sun-room was an addition done a number of years ago from a previous owner; I will be showing that room later in the week!

Back to the original topic…I also need to update the white shelf unit with a cute white table of some sort, but at least the room looks fresh and clean!    I saw the perfect cabinet at HomeGoods yesterday, but I just can’t spend $99 on a little white cabinet right now.  I think I will try to find a similar shaped one on craigslist/at a thrift store and perhaps I can attempt to paint a blue design on the front.

"white and blue cabinet"

Is $99 to much to spend on a cute little cabinet...

What do you think?  Would you spend $99 on something that probably won’t serve much of a purpose, other than holding a box of tissues and perhaps a candle?   Perhaps it will go on clearance 😉

We were extremely happy with the Benjamin Moore paint.  We opted for the paint & primer version, and I think it was worth the hefty price tag.  We also used it in our sunroom.  So far, just one coat did the trick in both rooms…thank goodness because Kevin and I hate painting!