January 31, 2011

"I Found It!" or The Story of an Ugly Half Bathroom Renovated

When we moved in, she was a MESS. Gross. Gross. Gross. I call her a she because now that she is finished she is a beautiful masterpiece. But … we had to tear out the walls and re- dry wall the entire side with the vanity and the toilet. We needed to buy a new toilet and a new vanity as well. And a mirror. And lights. Oh, and did I mention the idiots who lived here before us carpeted the bathroom?? Yuck. This was a full project.

Why did we have to tear out all the walls and re-dry wall the entire room you ask? Well… Half because the walls really were awful- weak, water damaged, and not easy to paint. The other half… is because of Jamie. Now Jamie is one of the calmest, most laid back people I know. We were actually in our full bath upstairs installing light fixtures. I had ONE job. Hold the screws. Don’t drop them. Welp, I dropped one. Down through the hole in the wall. Down to the bottom floor of our house. Out of sight, out of grasp. And our made-to-order light fixtures were now missing one decorative screw. I cringed, I gave Jamie those big green “I’m sorry” eyes he fell in love with. I hoped he wouldn’t hang me by my toes through the wall to grab the screw.

Jamie didn’t yell. He didn’t get mad at me. He just shook his head and walked away. I thought he was going to mourn his loss. Approximately two minutes later, I heard a VERY LOUD noise. It sounded like a drill… or a Sawz-All as it would turn out. By the time I made it down the stairs in my slippers, Jamie had cut a hole about 3’x3’in the downstairs bathroom wall. He reached his hand inside, grabbed the screw and proudly announced “I found it!” At which point, the psychologist in me said “Nope. You’ve TOTALLY lost it”.  So, once the deed was done… we were already knee deep… the walls had to be replaced. The floors had to be replaced.  How would we ever get this done? And more than that, how would we ever get this done and still like each other?

Enter James. 
James is one of Jamie’s best friends from UVA. James has a penchant for all things medicine and as it turns out, house renovations too. James is a super smarty pants, and has both his MD and PhD. Smarty pants, or if you are one of us academians, you are thinking “why the hell would you ever do that to yourself?” Anywho, James signed up for a visit right in the middle of house destruction. James, did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into? Either way, thank you. thank you thank you. Your brains and friendship helped create this beautiful piece of work. And sorry ladies, James is taken. So the first step came and in one short weekend, our floors went from this BEFORE:
Ugly carpet with dog pee stains.
 And..... here is the bathroom AFTER James + Jamie worked extremely hard to make it look good:
Beautiful 12" tiles with brownish/grey grout. Totally in Love.
And here is the general before picture of the ugly old bathroom. Check out the gold light that barely functioned and the vanity that looks like it's from a 1994 rerun of 90210. BEFORE:
Don't you LOVE the dirty walls? And wasn't it nice that the old owners left us a plunger for the old toilet (that leaked)?
So, after tearing out and replacing the walls, painting, building from the gorgeous new floors, we came up with a little something like this for our abode. AFTER:
Ahhhh so much better!!!

It looks happy now :)
 There you have it. The renovation of the ugly duckling bathroom. The brand new toilet was another gift from my parents. I know, I know, who gives a toilet for a present? But mom, if you're reading this, WE LOVE IT! Thank you. The vanity is a Home Depot find. The hand towels, small table holding the plant, and the plant are all from my favorite Marshalls' Home Goods.

Don't worry, everyone. I did watch the bachelor tonight. I will be blogging about it tomorrow morning. Until then...

Our house is a very very very fine house.

with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard now everything is easy cause of you...

Okay, so our cats are not in they yard. They are in our house, we don't let them outside. Our (very nice) old man Ukrainian neighbor is constantly telling us how mean it is to keep pets inside. I say, better than your feral cat who mates with everything male in its sight and taunts our two cats by sitting on the outside ledge of our bay window.  But, I digress....

I am now commencing the "meet the house" section of the blog. Let's start with my current favorite room, the sitting room. Ha, I've never called this a sitting room before. But it sounds cute. That is now its new name. So, without further adieu, let me share with you the BEFORE:
Also was accompanied by this awesome vomit-inducing stencil:

Ugh. The worst. And the wall color, while it looks acceptable here, looked like the color of dirty water. This room went through a few phases, but it has shaped up pretty well. We still need window treatments in here, but sometimes I just love how the sunlight comes in lights up the room.  Here are some AFTERS:

This is at night.... and then....

sunshiny (or half snowy) day. love the light in this room.

This does a good job of showing the wall colors... which I love. That sign on the top of our bookshelf was a present from our friends Kelly + Mike for our wedding. And as you can see, this makes great wine storage.
These two books are fantastic... the love quotes was a gift from my friend Jess for Christmas- we've loved quotes forever. the Story of A Lifetime book was a wedding present, which I highly recommend. We are literally writing the story of our lives inside of it so we can pass it on to our (non-existent yet) children. Crazy but really cool idea. 

In case you care: To reno this room, we had to sand the walls (remember, the dog house- always holes in everything), fill holes, and do many coats of paint. Also had to paint the ceiling and all of the trim. The couches are from American Signature Furniture and were really affordable. They are a mix between microfiber and leather. Pillows are Pottery Barn covers. The coffee table is Pier 1, a Christmas gift from my parents a few years back. Most of those frames on the built-in are from TJ Maxx, with the exception of that rustic light blue frame gifted from my wonderful sister in law, Emily,  from South Moon Under. The book case is good old Ikea.

There you have it. My favorite room right now. Next up will be our lovely downstairs half-bath that my husband and his friend James tore apart and put back together with their bare hands...  What rugged men.

January 30, 2011

I am a Walls.

So, after stalking maaaaany decor and house blogs (YHL, Bower Power, Thrifty Decor Chick, Hi Sugarplum!), all of which I stole borrowed from my friend, Shannon (Shanannigans), I thought... wait, why aren't we keeping track of building our home together? By building, I mean tearing apart walls, cabinets, etc... and "renovating". Why not keep track of building our life together too? And while I'm at it, why not have a place to type and talk? I mean, we all know I looooove to talk.

About this blog name-- House built of Walls-- is really just that. My new married last name is Walls. Our house is a 1950's split-level, and these walls needed some major work when we moved in. We actually affectionally (?) called this beauty "the dog house" when we were looking at homes, because the overwhelming pungency of wet dog hit you like a wall when you walked in. What did that mean? We scooped it up on short-sale and ripped out those disgusting smelling carpets pronto.  It also meant exploding pipes in the bathroom during move-in weekend, and ripping out walls. fast. It is no wonder our house is always stocked with wine or beer; these projects deserve some feet-up, glass of Evolution, and relaxation when they are completed. So, now we are two Walls building our home and making the walls and everything else inside our own.

A little about me? Welllll, okay if you insist. Long story short, I grew up in the picturesque town of Yardley, PA. I went to college at Penn State and to grad school in Philly at La Salle. There I met my now-husband. In Philly, not at La Salle. Jamie is fantastic, but wouldn't be caught dead in psychology graduate courses. Jamie is my other half, he calms me when I am freaking out (which is often) and he makes me laugh when I'm taking things too seriously. He also cooks. Oh, he also let me bring home TWO kittens from the SPCA a few years ago instead of one. My friend Kelly says that's when she knew he was the one. I concur.

Jamie and I got married back in October, after my return from residency in Ohio. Our photographer rocks. Here's a link to a preview of our photos:Winterthur Wedding Pictures. Scroll down to view. Speaking of weddings, that's another one of my favorite things. At some point, I'll take you all through the whirlwind three months in which I had my own wedding, bridal shower, and three other weddings, two of which I was in. Weddings are related to crafts, and paper goods, which I am also in love with. Self-inking return address stamp? Yes please.

Okay, well that's sufficient rambling for the day. Here's to my very first blog post!
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