All Done

I never have been 100% happy with the living room layout in my condo.  Couches were all quick purchases needed for seating.  TV was a box-type big screen. Tables were never anything fancy, just functional.  I practically eat at the coffee table every day because God forbid I eat like an adult in my dining room with no TV.  When the TV went out earlier this year, it wasn’t worth the cost to fix it with the low prices of flat screens these days.  So after the new TV purchase, I started designing the room I always wanted.






I picked last Saturday to be the day to start.  Already had hit quite a few stores during shopping trips with Mom, but Kittle’s Outlet hadn’t been visited yet.  And after 10 minutes there, I found my couch.  In my price range.  WTF.  I was not expecting that.  Hopeful that I would, but it seemed too easy and I was skeptical of my own feelings.  Salesclerk said they could hold it until close so I could go home and measure.  Called both Mom and Dad to talk through it trying to uncover anything that I was missing about why I shouldn’t drop some coin on this couch. 

So I told myself to hit a few more stores just in case and while I’m walking down the first aisle of my second store, I stop dead in my tracks.  They had the exact bookcases I had designed for myself nearly 5 years ago.  WTF.  I took my sketches to a few people to try to have them built and no one was interested.  Guess the times just needed to catch up to my idea!  Quickly purchased 2 and was on my way to the next stop.  While at Target looking for a rug, which I found and under my budget price, they had small mirror-top end tables on clearance.  2 please.  Told myself that was enough for the day.  My car was full and my debit card was empty.  Got home to put some masking tape on the floor and confirm it was all going to work.

I hadn’t seen any media centers that I really liked, so I switched that search to the internet.  Ended up finding a piece on Craigslist from a guy that gets leftovers from Best Buy.  This one had 2 small scratches in the top.  I planned on having a piece of glass cut for the top anyway, so now I’ll just touch it up, get smoke-colored glass and enjoy my $120 media center!  The result that fell into place in 48 hours:





My furniture delivery yesterday happened to coincide with my brother’s family yearly holiday trip.  Their flight was a Tuesday late night arrival so they opted to crash with me instead of making the trek north.  Little did they know the chaos that they were in for.  I secretly was happy to be able to use my brother to move the existing furniture.  Delivery was scheduled for the afternoon, so I woke up early to go pick up my bookcases and get started before B’s family was up.  As I was putting bookcase 1 together, Kittle’s calls and they are running early.  HOURS early and will be at my place in 10 minutes.  WTF.  Well, B and I made quick work of emptying the couches and chair from the room.  I think he was still asleep when we moved it.  Everything else was already out.  New couches in & back to the bookcase assembly with some minor delays from Kayla who found a seat perfect for her size.


Since Reagan was just staring at the TV, I put her to work on covering the wood holes.  No free room and board here!


Need to get some more accent pieces and finally get new artwork for the walls, but the hard part is over!  What did I do with my old furniture, you ask?  Physically, its stacked in my dining room.  Virtually, its all on Craigslist at bargain basement prices just trying to move it by 2011.  If you are interested in loveseat, chair, ottoman, fake tree… you know how to reach me.

Art Class 201

Family Dollar make me holla!!!  Seriously, this place has some bargains!  On a recent trip to the lake, a few tolietries were needed so I stopped off at Family Dollar in North Webster to grab the supplies.  Little did I know how much stuff there would be for me to buy!  Rugs, pictures, lotion, iPod stereo, the list goes on.  I happened upon 2 pieces of art work with open frames that were Asian inspired.  I’ve been wanting to paint and redo the art work in the master bedroom but hadn’t found anything I thought was good enough.  These were the first pieces I saw in months that made me step back and think about how they’d look.  Problem was I need 3.  I went to find a clerk to see if all the stuff in the store was out on shelves.  He said that for those pieces, yes they were all out.  But… there was another Family Dollar in Syracuse that we could try!  Excellent idea Sir!  Went ahead and bought the 2 hoping I’d find another.

While at the Syracuse Family Dollar I found art work that I liked better!  I told K to go to the car immediately and get the other pieces.  I’m returning them and buying these!  These = 12 $3 wooden tiles that have leaf/twig patterns carved into them.  They had highlighted sections of silver and gold, so I instantly knew they were perfect for my champagne color bedspread and nickel hardware.  While I was so excited for this purchase, I moseyed around the store some more only to stumble upon more art that I literally pictured 3 years ago but could never manage to find.  A large ceramic spoon and fork to hang in my kitchen for $8!  Problem was they had roosters on them.  Way too country, but I saw through the gaudy and knew I could make these into what I needed and wanted.  Here’s what I bought…


After a $5 can of white spray paint and $5 can bottle of shellac…


The space is next to cabinets that open, so I couldn’t have anything to deep and the wall space is narrow so I couldn’t have anything to wide either.  So so so happy to have found these and be done with looking for them everywhere I go. My mom can stop looking now too! 
Once that tiny artsy job was completed I moved to the heavy duty task of the bedroom.  Not only have I wanted new art, I wanted a new paint job.  The first time I painted every single room in my condo I went too light.  So the second go round, I’ve always picked the middle or the darkest shade on the color swatch.  I liked to call the old color of the master bedroom Pale Pee Pee Yellow.  Not good.  Basic and boring.  The art work that I had up were pieces that I had painted to match the previous bedspread.  It all was just ok, color family related and liveable.  Here’s a look.


After a trip to Lowe’s, I ended up with Mocha Syrup as my new color.  A wonderful warm cozy brown.  I was suppose to paint this weekend, but after a change of plans, I was left to take Monday off from work to get the job done.  Happy to report that after a total of 12 hours, the boom boom room is complete!


Valspar makes a great paint that took 1 major coat then some touch ups.  I still have some white edging to do around the doors and on the closet doors, but the majority of the work is done and my furniture is back in order.  Without the extra gallon of paint I bought, the transformation cost under $100 and it feels like a totally different space now.

I already have a new idea for the canvases, so stay tuned for Art Class 301.  It’s an idea that is stolen from a magazine, but each person can really add their own creative touch.  I guess I’ll let my 2 charity events, 3 volleyball leagues, work, life, sleeping, eating slow down a bit for I tax myself out on another project.

Gun Time

I admit I haven’t kept my patio in top shape in the past few months.  Priorities, what can I say!  Mom bought me 3 rose bushes that I am happy to report are flowering, but that doesn’t make it all pretty.  I’m debating removing all the grass since it serves no purpose for me, but until then, it was time to tackle the dirty concrete.


Less than 1 minute of using the power washer, it showed how much my patio needed this! You can see in the pic above, the left side was already wet, but the right was not. After a little work, this was uncovered.


It only took about an hour, but this will last so much longer!

Master This

My master bath remodel all started back in January with 2-$20 pictures that I found while shopping with my Mom. I was drawn to the deep blue background and instantly had a vision of how I can change my master bath to a more cozy environment. I found it very drab with the tan walls, white floor, white shower, white cabinet… blah blah blah.

Here’s a look at the old stuff. The ceiling was the awful drop fluorescent lights under plastic panels. I had some idea of what I was going to demo seeing as I had the kitchen redone a while back, but I was ready to tackle this on my own.


The counter top was a built-in sink and always had a crack in it but I lived with it because it wasn’t worth the money until I could really do something that fit what I wanted.  It was also an offset sink, so you had to special order at $300-400.  You can barely see the rug, but it was about the only thing I actually liked in the bathroom. All my wall fixtures were silver and I had to test 2 blues to make sure I got the shade just right.



So, I started to work.  First came the ceiling.  Had to pry off the metal frame supporting the panels, take down the fluorescents and patch.  Since they were just wires through the ceiling again, my Dad showed me how to install junction boxes the last time he was in town and it was much easier than I had expected.  Lesson learned – Get plastic ones, not metal.  Much easier to drill through.  I needed to texture the ceiling since it was just drywall. This was a chore. Not fun putting goop overhead standing on a chair, but I managed. It doesn’t match the stomp above the tub, but they aren’t on the same level anyway, so I think it looks fine.  The pictures had bronze frames, so that became the secondary color in the room.  Here are my boobie lights.


Next was to texture and paint the walls and ceiling.  I did a wider texture than on the downstairs bathroom, but same technique.  I went on a rug spree one night finding 4 different ones to try.  This ended up the winner with a small brown one I put down when actually showering.


I reorganized the items on the shelves and bought some oil rubbed bronze spray paint to change out the towel bars and toliet paper holder. Much better deal at $6 than $60 for new fixtures.



Then came the counter top, faucet and sink. I fell in love with the faucet as soon as I saw it. It was the perfect blue/bronze combo I needed. I had picked out a rectangle white vessel sink to go with it. Next came the counter top shopping. I figured I’d go a step above the hardware store countertops and shoot for granite. I know it’s a bit more expensive, but might as well upgrade $100 from the custom one I was doomed to order anyway. After 6 trips to granite yards, I found the perfect stone at the perfect price. Once I saw how beautiful it was, I did not want to cover it with a big white sink. Luckily for me, and to my surprise, the faucet I ordered actually came with its own matching blue glass sink! La piece de resistance!


A photo attempt at the finished product.


I think the bill will come out to be close to $1k and 5 gallons of my sweat.  But it is worth it to enjoy walking into there each morning and start my day out with color and style.  Mama, your quaint Indy B&B awaits you next weekend!

P.s. – If anyone is looking for a brand new white vessel sink, I’ll make you a helluva deal.

Long Weekend

With my training schedule dedicated (ha) to Bop, I didn’t have anything planned for my Friday  night, so I tackled my new home improvement project of the upstairs bathroom.  I have an idea of a spa like environment for my tiny little “master” bathroom.  New texture, paint, lights, counter… you name it, I can imagine it.  I’ll leave the final pictures to later.

Meanwhile, Purdue had a home game where I got to converse with a fav man of mine.


And maybe not one of my fav people, but still a person that I do respect, The General.


I really didn’t get to talk to him, but he’s got good street cred in my book even though our students were yelling “Guard the chairs”.

I started on my demo and remodel, but was pleasantly interrupted by my parents wanting to celebrate my birthday with me this weekend.  We spent time going over photos and stories, but more importantly, Mom and I tried to spend some money at Midland Antiques and Crafts, but couldn’t.  It certainly had a lot to offer, but we didn’t see anything worth buying.  We all finished our visit together with cake and myself learning how to install a junction box in my ceiling.  Totally stuff 31…I mean 32 year old women do.

Thanks to my Dad teaching me new home improvement techniques.  Thanks to them both for spending the day with me!

Click here to watch the video of us making a video that probably only we will laugh at.

Procrastination Pays Off

I had all intentions of starting and finishing my kitchen ceiling back in April when I began to tear it apart.  It had 4 florscent bulbs under a drop plexiglass ceiling.  So ugly.

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As I started to dismantle everything, I discovered that the wires were literally just hanging down into the ceiling.  No housing unit.  Is that up to code?!  I’ve done some basic rewiring in other rooms, but this was way over my head.  Plus since the ceiling was hidden, it was unfinished, so I would have to figure out how to get it stomped like the rest of the house.  Hault the project until I could find someone with the skills necessary. 

Enter Jason!  I’d seen his work at a local establishment I visit from time to time, so I asked  him if my ceiling sounded like something he was interested in.  He stopped by a few days later.  His quote was right in my price range.  We have a deal!

I knew exactly what I wanted.  4 drop pendants straight down the center of the ceiling.  I had purchased a few different styles but settled on a stainless steel pendant line with a flared square white glass shade.  Tonight I painted the now exposed side walls, and voila!

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Jason does good work if you ever have some home repair you need done!  Now, on to the bathroom fan. Let’s see if I can accomplish that on my own in less than 7 months.

Let There Be Light

My aquarium light went out about a week ago.  The housing unit on it was shot.  The ends were flimsy and the bulb no longer sat firm in the sockets.  Even the piece that held it on the lid was covered in duct tape.  I adopted this aquarium from my parents when I downsized my 125 gallon to this 55, and they upsized this 55 to a real koi pond at their house.  I started researching hood lights and was finding new pieces from $40-$100.  I’m ready to sell this tank because now, I want to upgrade to a new one I’ve seen.  I wasn’t in the mood to spend any money to fix it, so I let the creative juices kick in. 

About 3 days ago I realized, the pieces I needed were actually in my kitchen!  I’ve been waiting to redo the kitchen anyway, so this would be my kick start to that project.  So, I flipped the circuit off, climbed up my counters, and disassembled 2 of my florescent lights for parts.  I removed the entire old light housing from the tank lid and got the wires off.  With a little gorilla glue ($4.50) and some electrical tape ($0.60), TA-DAH!



So here’s the final product!  I think the fish are quite excited for light. (or maybe that’s me and glad I don’t have a ghetto fish tank anymore)


A Window to the World

I took a week break from the manual labor scene, but decide my next home improvement project was going to be my front door.  Living in a condo, you have little options, but i’ve surveyed the community and found a few I liked.  I’ve been waiting for some Sunday sales and Lowe’s finally had a decent looking storm door in the paper for $100.  Sweet.  I went over to check it out.  Once I got there, I quickly realized this was low end in the product line and could practically pick it up with one hand.  Crap.  I’m in the mood, ready to buy, alright, give the deluxe model.  The Lowe’s guy and I got it to my car to realize it barely fit.  I literally had to sit under it while driving home.

I called up Papa Rick to see if he some time this week to help me out.  Just like a good friend, he gave up a few hours last night to help out.  I did my homework the night before by taking off the old door.  Once I took it off, I realized I didn’t take a picture!  Doah!  Here it is in the trash.


Rick came over and the box says “6 easy steps”.  Not sure who did the advertising on that because the directions clearly had over 20 steps.  It took us about 2 hours, 10 shims, 1 broken drill bit, but we got it.  Here’s the final product.


I love it!  Thank you so much Rick for helping me!  I realized I lived with the other one for so long because I never had to look at it.  All my neighbors did but not me.  While Rick and I were admiring our work, I said “It’s so pretty!” and my neighbor happened to be outside and she agreed.  I told her I did it all for her.

P.S. Yes, I blurred out my address.  Didn’t want to invite any unneeded stalkers to my doorstep.

EDIT:  Forgot to mention my dream connected to this story.  Kyle and I were on vacation and ready to pack up the car to go home.  No clue where we were, but I told him to go get the car and I’d get the luggage down the stairs.  Instead of carrying it down, I went to a different hotel room door, took it off the hinges, and started carrying it out.  I didn’t notice that people were in there sleeping until Matthew Lillard (a.k.a. Shaggy or creepy Scream movie dude) started chasing me down the hallway in his boxers while I’m running with the door over my head.  I woke up before he could get me.

Cinderella and My Wicked Step-Boyfriend

I never want to scrub a floor like that again! For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been helping Kyle with his latest home remodel project. After his bathroom remodel a month ago, he wanted to update his 80’s Aztec kitchen. I was fully on board because I hated the wallpaper, the lighting, the curtains, the blinds… well just about everything. Plus it was quite dirty since 3 guys live there and needed a good scrub down. Kyle offered up his kitchen as my Divine Design opportunity with the caveat that he could veto something if he didn’t like it. Deal! Let’s get working!  Some before shots…




Week 1 – First order of business was peeling wallpaper. This paper did not want to come off! It had been on there since 1982. The first round of gel didn’t even make a dent. So, I reverted to steaming the top layer off with an iron then using gel on the remaining layer. Once Kyle finished installing new flat switches and outlets, he got on the steam train and it went much quicker with 2 of us. During this week, we were also able to put a new light above the table, take down the old blinds and prime the walls. Here is an action shot.


Week 2 – Kyle is a bit adverse to color. He likes white, beige, neutral. I say “blah blah blah” to those colors. When I redid my condo, I went way too light upstairs and learned my lesson to try some bold colors when I redid my downstairs. Kyle had picked out a light gray. I vetoed that. After some negotiations we ended up with Charcoal Seal Gray. If you ask Kyle, he’ll say it’s purple. I disagree… maybe there’s a tinge of a tiny hint of purple.  We put a coat of white on the trim and windows to freshen up the look and added white wood blinds.

I put together a decorating budget of $350 and took Kyle to all my favorite discount stores to get vases, baskets, rugs, art…. And my favorite, a new stainless steel trash can. His trash can was so bad I didn’t even want to put trash in it. My last order of business was to scrub the floor. With a bristle brush, my Barkeepers friend powder and a bucket of water, I spent 5 hours scrubbing 50 square feet of linoleum. At this point I had kicked Kyle out of the kitchen and slap-happy set in. This is when I became Cinderella and starting complaining about my Wicked Step Boyfriend and the work he made me do. Instead of getting a glass slipper at the end, I got a glass of Jack. Tomato… Tamato… Here’s the finished product.  




A few things are still left to be done, but the budget has been exhausted. New countertops and cabinet pulls will come soon. We are debating staining the cabinets from the 80s brown to a cherry finish. What’s your vote?


Interior Design by Natalee

I’m always looking for some new way to spice up my condo.  Problem is projects cost money and money doesn’t grow on trees!  I redid my downstairs bathroom on my sabbatical last year.  For a mere $400, I stripped the wallpaper, textured and painted the walls, added some new accessories and a faucet… brand new bathroom!  Here’s the finished product. 


Of course, I didn’t take a before picture but let me tell you, it was boring tan wallpaper with a leaf boarder.  How I lived with it for 5 years… I have no idea.  My next big project is the florescent lights in 3 of my rooms.  I’ve only rewired my light switches and tried to wire a fan… I’ll need to leave that job to someone else.  What next?

I’ve been trying to warm up the master bedroom and was toying with new paint or new bedspread.  It’s hard to put money down for new stuff when your old stuff is still good, but I’m just tired of it.  And speaking of tired, I’m getting old and don’t sleep well these days.  My windows face directly west and it’s a flood of sunshine bright and early.  So I combined this need for more shade with my attempt to updated the master.  I already shelled out money for expensive dual motion cellular shades when I bought the place… what could I come up with?  Before…. DSC00946.jpg



Mission accomplished for $60.  I have great deep window seat ledges in some rooms.  I didn’t want to lose that, so I opted for shower curtain rods that extend to the width you need.  I pushed them all the way back to the current shade and added chocolate textured panels that block 99% of the light.  I pinned them to a length so they pool nicely on the ledge, and presto… I got exactly what I wanted!  Too bad I don’t get to sleep in until Sunday this week!