Showing posts with label new house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new house. Show all posts

Monday, September 8, 2014

DIY paneled door headboard for under $50

after a night spent flying home from a business trip, partying with e.tittlemouse and co. at the night of noir event for jc fridays , and snagging a "night cap" of sour cream blueberry ice cream and earl grey fudge ice cream at milk sugar love , who knew we could even be functional on saturday, let alone saturday MORNING.  (see tomorrow's post for details from the night of noir event!!)

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here's the story.  hung and i had been putting off getting a headboard for our bed for a long time.  like 6 months.  which doesn't seem that long for normal people, but for people who complain nearly everyday that the pillows fall behind the bed because we don't have a headboard, it's a long time.

with the way our bedroom is laid out, there's only one location that the bed fits while allowing the drawers beneath the bed to fully open on each side.  this spot puts the head of the bed about partly in front of the exposed brick area of one wall, which leaves about 7 inches of space JUST big enough for all of the pillows to fall behind the bed.

we knew that putting a standard headboard on the bed would waste that precious 7 inches of space behind half of the bed, so we knew we needed to put shelves behind the headboard..... shelves that would hold our phones, glasses, chapstick, etc. since we don't have room for a nightstand and desperately needed a "landing zone" for that stuff.  how hard could it be right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Small Cool 2014

hey guys! did you have a great memorial day weekend?  ours ended with a fun neighborly bbq last night downstairs.  anytime i can eat bbq, drink wine, AND cuddle with a baby i'm pretty much in heaven.

what else is new?  go over to apartment therapy today to vote ( click here to vote! ) on our home for the small cool contest!  we're featured in the "little" category.  although our home is big(ger) than the last, it still qualifies, because it's only 675 square feet!  help us out, friends! ...or, just go over there to see a mini-tour ....

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happy monday (well, tuesday, but it feels like monday)!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

it's here! it's here!

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it's finally here! i've been waiting since last july for this beauty.  when our offer was accepted on the house, we immediately took a trip down to the of iron and oak showroom to test out the cococo home sofas.  i knew exactly what i wanted, but my only stipulation was that we had to close on the house before we made any moves.  it's a good thing we waited because we didn't close until NINE MONTHS later!  we were the first customers at the showroom back in july (our names are the first on the sign in book!) and they were happy to see that we returned with our promise to buy a sofa when we closed.

although it was a bit of a splurge, it was exactly what i wanted.  we worked with the guys at of iron and oak to create our custom sofa, picking out the fabric, the length, the depth, the feet, the cushion material, the cushion length, the spacing of the tufting, the locations of the tufting, the upholstery pins used for the tufting.... we could have created anything, the options are endless.

it's made in america too, so a part of me is giving myself a high five for that fact ;)

now our home is feeling a lot more like, well, "home".


Thursday, May 1, 2014

come one, come all!

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we now have a fully-functional guest bedroom! i know it's quite a luxury in our downtown jersey city neighborhood, and we're going to take full advantage of it, by hosting guests as often as we can! not that NOT having a bedroom stopped us before, our friends loved setting new records for how many people could sleep in our old 450 SF apartment (the record is 7 by the way, and my previous, same-sized hoboken apartment was even more).

hosting 4 friends this weekend should be a breeze then, right?  well, in theory, yes.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

mini updates to the new house

although i feel like i haven't given many updates to the new house, we've been busy bees making it feel like home.  small touches like moving a plant to a different location or changing the duvet cover from an OFF-white one to a WHITE one makes such a big difference!

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new white pintuck duvet cover.  ( find it here )
cliché? maybe.  but i knew i wanted white, and i couldn't find another one reasonably-priced that i liked.  i'm the kind of person who has to FEEL it before I buy it, so just ordering one online wasn't going to cut it. we had the pillows from our old apartment, and the blue thing at the foot of the bed is a scarf.  i had been wearing that scarf a lot lately, tossed it on the bed changing my clothes one day, and decided i like it there! now it's decoration for the foot of the bed instead of a practical accessory to wear.  oops?

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new shoe cabinet.  (find it here)
when we first moved into the place, we found ourselves each leaving 5-6 pairs of shoes by the door.  that's a LOT of shoes. it got really cluttered really fast. this thing holds 2 rows of shoes per "drawer", meaning we can each stow away at least 6 pairs of shoes!  this also helps us in managing our shoe collection taking up the entire floor of 1 of only 2 closets in the whole apartment.  it also has a small drawer at the top, perfect for stowing our reusable grocery bags, sunglasses, all the "junk" that didn't have a home in our old apartment.  the only bad thing is that the base trim is taller than the legs can accommodate for.  if you look closely at the bottom of the second photo you can see that the back of the cabinet is supposed to sit above the trim, but instead rests against the trim.  we need to put something clever beneath the front legs to raise the cabinet.  i'm thinking something like bed risers, but not tacky.  not that bed risers are tacky, but they would look totally tacky used in that spot in that way.  anyone have clever ideas?

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new guest bedroom bed frame!  ( find it here , but we got the queen one)
i think i'm most excited about this one.  what I really wanted was a old iron bed frame with big thick rungs and a headboard AND toe board.  however, i didn't win that craigslist waiting game , and we settled for ikea instead.  it's not ALL bad though, this frame was just $129.  and even the ugly, gawdy, thin-rung vintage frame on craigslist were more than that.  i could only find full-sized vintage ones anyways. btw the balls/finials are missing from this photo, you'll have to wait til the finished room to see them. (aka, we were lazy and didn't finish it yet)

now we just have to get the mattress delivered tonight (eek!) this new bed! i am so excited... i feel like a real adult (and slightly guilty) with a "spare bedroom" and all.  but, in our defense, we "are" getting married and plan to have kids sometime in the future ;)  in the meantime... who's coming to visit?


Monday, April 21, 2014

playing detective in the laundry room

most of what i have shared so far about our new apartment completely neglected the fact that we have a washer and dryer.  for you suburbia readers, maybe this isn't such a shock as those of you fellow city-dwelling readers.   THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR US.

once a week for nearly every week of the past 4.5 years of living here, i have taken my clothes up and down flights of stairs, paid up to $6.50/load for a washer, always 8-minutes-per-quarter for a dryer... and dealt with the "excitement" of sitting my sunday afternoons or my friday nights at the laundromat.  i've trekked through snow and rain, and could never let hot summer days and blistering cold winter evenings stop me from just doing the simple task of doing my laundry, only to have them come out smelling like hot metal (not matter what brand or scent of dryer sheet or detergent i use).  on average i spent around $15/week just to use the washers and dryers, which works out to be about $750/year.  guys, when they say the "cost of living" in NYC and surrounding areas is expensive, these are the ones that add up that are often forgotten. you say "why don't you just get an apartment with a washer and dryer then", and i say "that apartment is probably $300 more PER MONTH just for the 'laundry in unit'".

like i said, having a washer and dryer of our own is a really big deal, especially in a home that's 150+ years old.  with that said, it doesn't mean that i was excited about actually using the ones we have.  you see, when we moved in, the room with the washer and dryer was caked (and i mean CAKED) in lint.  the back wall is exposed brick, and it was almost solid lint.  it was stuck to the ceilings, in between the dryer and the wall, it covered the floor so much it peeled up like carpet, it covered the pipes in the room...  the dryer has a vent system on it that i had never seen before... one that vents INDOORS.  i didn't even know this was possible until i researched dryer systems and found out that it is indeed a real thing.  people vent regular dryers indoors with the help of a water reservoir that is supposed to collect the lint that passes through the lint screen that you empty with each load. 

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our first thoughts were

Thursday, April 17, 2014

blue sofa style inspiration

one day while perusing apartment therapy, i caught an image of a gorgeous blue velvet sofa.  i couldn't stop thinking about it.  how it was such a statement piece of furniture in a time where friends looking to find their "forever" furniture go for quality-made, brown/tan/white/grey/only-neutral/never-goes-out-of-style-but-not-ever-really-IN-style styles.  i had to have it. the blue sofa stayed in my mind.  while it was impossible to find that exact sofa, i knew in my head that when i bought my first house, i was getting a blue velvet sofa.... that was years ago, right after i bought my first "nice" piece of furniture, a brown sofa from CB2 (damn, just missed my chance).  in my defense, i knew that i was still renting, and i knew my style would change over time, and i knew i shouldn't couldn't spend MULTIPLE thousands on one piece of upholstered furniture when i had a car and student loans to pay off.

i have always had an eye for decorating a home.  whether i actually put my style to good use in my own home is another thing.  my sense of style, and finding inspiration in places outside my home (i.e. anthropologie, boutiques, restaurants) has leaked to hung.  before we started dating he only really cared that his home was clean, the kitchen was stocked with good tools and appliances, and the fridge had beer and the freezer had frozen pizza.  oh how times have changed ;)

we went into lou lou in annapolis one weekend while visiting friends in DC (maybe it was alexandria? i forget which one), and hung fell in love with this antique, rounded settee (something like this , but more curved and just as gawdy).  he wouldn't stop talking about it.  though he really does enjoy the look of the small, upholstered, velvet sofa with wood around the edges (why he was down for getting this blue chair for our apartment), i realized the thing he liked most was the look of a tufted sofa.  then i got him hooked on a chesterfield sofa, the most indulgent of all tufted looks...

put our desires together, and you have a blue velvet, chesterfield baby (i mean sofa).  google images is a wonderful thing, and led me to Cococo Home (or, The Comfortable Couch Company).  a blue velvet chesterfield that's a reasonable price, custom-made, AND made in the USA?  i was instantly sold.  now that i knew what i wanted, i just had to buy a house, and figure out how to style the REST of the room around it. 

now that we have the house, and made the most expensive furniture purchase of our lives, we have to figure out how to make it work in our space!  see some of our inspirations below:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

sometimes the craigslist hunt is worth playing the waiting game

you know the story.
  1. you have an idea of what you want in your head.
  2. in your head you think "oh, i'll just find it on craigslist."
  3. you look on craigslist, it's no where to be found, or absurdly expensive.
  4. you wait, hoping to find that "gem" nobody knows is cool for a steal of a deal.
  5. you wait...
  6. you wait...
  7. you wait...
  8. you suck it up and buy the new, not-vintage, double-than-you-wanted-to-spend version at west elm and you're still unhappy.
luckily, that didn't happen to us this time!! we actually got lucky on craigslist.  the dude knew what he was doing though.  he knew the dresser was cool, and he painted the frame white, sort of like those west elm cats did with the drawers on their faux mid-century modern with less storage that they are selling for double the price .  i'd totally buy from him again. check him out at forgotten furniture   (though lots of his stuff is also found on the north jersey craigslist page, which is where i found him)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

embracing the tiny kitchen

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sure, yesterday morning i knocked my head on the corner of an open cabinet above my head, and sure we run into each other, and sure our sink practically only fits just a cereal bowl....

...but is it weird that i'm actually LOVING the tiny tiny kitchen?

here's why:
  1. it has the "kitchen triangle" - if you draw a line from the sink to the fridge to the stove to the sink it makes a triangle.  i never knew how much this really mattered until i had a kitchen that was actually laid out this way.  so many brownstone apartments get stuck with long and narrow kitchens, making the only practical layout one with EVERYTHING on one wall, and NOTHING on the opposite wall.
  2. i can get almost anything without moving my feet - ok maybe i'll take a step sideways or backwards, but still, i don't have to go across the room, into the pantry, on top of  stool just to get the sugar... it's 1 step and an arms reach away from where i do nearly all my prepping.
  3. i'm forced to purge - do i really need 4 pairing knives? do i really need that mango corer? (sorry mom) do i really need to have 4 bottle cap openers and 2 wine bottle openers? no, no, no, and no. it really does feel good to get rid of things we don't need, but kept because we had the space in the old kitchen. and when's the last time we used the deli slicer anyways?
maybe i'm still on the high that i finally OWN my home instead of rent, but we're learning more and more everyday that "more" space doesn't always mean "better" space.  finding more efficient ways of tetris-ing storing things is so fun!

check out a little (very little) kitchen tour below.

Monday, April 14, 2014

we hosted our first dinner!

did monday come too fast for anyone else?  hung and i are finally starting to feel at home at our new place . as if we weren't homebodies anyways, we feel like we just want to stay home, in our house, together.  no matter if i spent the whole week home not going to work, i'd feel like i need "just one more day" to enjoy the new place. 

we had such a great weekend though, seeing friends every night, celebrating new apartments, seeing friends we hadn't seen in a while, and hosting our first dinner at the new place!  saturday we got a few drinks with friends at battello .  we went there once before for a "we finally got the house!" celebratory dinner, but our friends had never been.  inside the space seriously makes you want to pinch yourself to make sure it's not a dream that a place like this is walking distance from my house.  guys, it's BEAUTIFUL inside.  edison bulbs dimly light up the place just enough to make it cozy, and just enough to reflect on the walls of windows, blending into the already-breathtaking views of manhattan.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

someone put us on hoarders

oh hey guys! did i tell you we finished moving? and also the new tenant is in our old place already? and we spent the weekend in DC? it's no wonder i got sick over the weekend, my body is trying to tell me "enough is enough already!"

first let me tell you that we're NOT hoarders!
(the first sign of hoarding is denying it)
it just looks like it because we're terrible packers.
(the second sign of hoarding is making up excuses)

while i "know" everything will have a place in our new home, it once looked like the video below.  we're moving in the right direction in getting unpacked and organized though, and i can say the place is now finally starting to look like home. (but i've got to leave SOMETHING for tomorrow's post right? stay tuned!) 

we only had so many boxes and reusable grocery bags to move all of our things, so we had to move a load, empty the contents of the bags and boxes, and go pack some more.  it's obviously not the most efficient way of doing things, but it worked.  that's how that huge mess of random things ended up on the floor of the first bedroom you see in the video.

i also had about 10 trash bags of pillows and blankets and extra towels and linens.  i REALLY felt like a hoarder when i started to unpack that stuff, but then i realized that we NEED those things for when people come to visit! we're far enough away that when people come to stay with us from out of town, they usually fly, which means they need an air mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets, and towels.  i can purge a pair of shoes i only wore once and hated, but i can't purge linens.

ok since my mind is wandering in so many directions right now, i'll just share the video, and update you tomorrow with the de-hoarding process :)


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

white on white on white

before moving into the new place, hung and i painted.  and painted.... and painted.... all because i had this vision of having a pure white, blank slate, bright space like i see in all the magazines these days (ok, really, i don't read magazines, i really just read apartment therapy and houzz and the links they post). 

what!? bright white walls and bright white trim? are you nuts?

hear me out. or, just see my inspirations below...

[ 1 ]     [ 2 ]      [ 3 ]      [ 4 ]      [ 5 ]      [ 6 ]      [ 7 ]      [ 8 ]      [ 9 ]      [ 10 ]

i'm in heaven with this look!!  hung gets to design the kitchen when we redo it sometime in the future... i think i may have him locked into this look too ;)  maybe...


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

what would i do without him?

apparently be about a grand poorer for paying a moving company.  this move is only taking us 3 blocks from our old place.  between the short distance, the lack of parking for moving trucks, and the lack of big things that require a moving truck, we decided that we could do it on our own. as in the two of us, volunteers, and a yaris.  you saw yesterday's post, right? we can fit in it as many things as an SUV...

a few things won't fit in the car though.  the mattress is one of them.  hung decided to take the task on himself.  i helped him get it down the stairs, but he turtled the whole thing by himself, all the way to the new house.  can you imagine if you saw this scene while walking down a rather busy city street!?

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he's a beast!!!

while we saved a few bucks moving everything without a moving company, it did bring some chuckles along the way too.  like last night when our friend and i accidentally left hung in the back of the yaris as we were about to walk inside the old house.  he was NOT happy about that one! sorry babes... (but it really was funny! if we weren't so stressed about moving you would have been laughing too)

we're almost there. almost done moving. no more big things for the boys with big muscles to move.  and just one more night of moving and cleaning and moving and cleaning until we can hand over the keys to the next tenants.  ....and hopefully tonight is also install-the-shower-curtain night too so i don't have to take a bath in the sink again... yeah. real showers are nice...


Monday, March 31, 2014

my ultimate new house indulgence

how are you guys this morning!? for us, today's a bit of a pain.  it's like someone took away a day of our weekend.  you know, the weekend we were supposed to move?  we can thank mother nature for that one.  although the boys got in a good 2 carloads on sunday, the rest of the day was a monsoon. or, at least, rainy enough that we didn't want to move the rest of our upholstered or wooden furniture. 

while we could have sucked it up and moved the little things and just gotten really wet, instead we spent the day battling crowds at ikea.  apparently it's the place to be on sundays at 3:00pm (i'm an idiot, i absolutely knew this, but after finding a parking spot at that place there's no turning back) we perused the living spaces picking up ideas, practically forgetting what we went in there for in the first place.  we decided that maybe a mid-century credenza just isn't in the cards for a tv stand, and possibly a more clever, low-lying, space-saving set up would work better (considering the fingertips on my 5'5" body can reach the ceilings on the window side of the living room).  i'm not exactly into the things that scream "I BOUGHT THIS AT IKEA," but damn they have some good ideas for small spaces.

we went there for a bed.  we decided on the mandal bed .  we knew this before stepping foot into the place, but i just wanted to see it in person before i swiped the credit card. inspiration for this bed came from this post on apartment therapy.  the main structural parts are solid wood, it has 4 drawers for storage, and it's soft on the eyes (and our wallets). we had been looking at gothic cabinet and design within reach for different styles and different budgets, but eventually decided that we knew we needed some extra storage, but didn't know how much, and didn't know if we would like the drawers beneath the bed, etc, etc, etc. so the mandal bed it was.  perhaps in the future we will purchase a nicer bed frame, but this one does exactly what we want right now for a quarter of the price of the others we looked at.

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a whole queen-sized bed fits in my little yaris.  no big deal...

we made this purchase after putting in the order for our new sofa.  THAT's the "ultimate new house indulgence" referenced in the post title.  it felt good going for a budget-friendly bed after the not-so-budget-friendly sofa purchase.  hung and i will each have an indulgence or two in our plans for the new place, and this one is certainly my choice! by now i'm not sure how i found out about the comfortable couch company ( cococo home ), but i've had my eyes on this company since before we put the offer in on the house over 9 months ago.  my initial inspiration was designer emily henderson 's blue sofa (see the post with the sofa here ).  i thought chesterfield sofas would be too gaudy for hung's taste, honestly.  but after a few instances where he fell in love with similar sofas in boutiques and stores, i knew he would like them too. 

i perused the website and instantly locked my eyes on the blue velvet shown in the weddington style page on the cococo home website.  i told hung "i want the chesterfield sofa in this blue velvet color", but he instantly fell in love with THAT sofa... so (being the good girlfriend) i agreed to the weddington as long as we got blue velvet.  after getting the keys to the new place and seeing the low ceilings, i realized i needed to change plans and go back to the chesterfield.  the back and arms are lower, and we could always go back to them and ask for the shorter legs and make the sofa even lower. anything we can do to open up our space is key. 

after talking about buying the sofa for so long, we finally did it.  cococo home is a made-in-the-USA company that builds the sofas in north carolina.  while they ship all over the US, their only two showrooms are at the factory in north carolina, and (you guessed it) new jersey, just an hour away from us.  we couldn't be more pleased with the hamilton township store.  we sat on nearly every sofa, laid on them, kicked up our feet, debated over styles, fabrics, seat depths, upholstery pin spacing, you name it. 

we left the store feeling good about our purchase, the service, the homemade gingerbread cookies (we devoured nearly the entire batch)... and we can't wait to get the sofa delivered in a few weeks!!  for a sneak peak, check out the chesterfield sofa i found on their facebook page:
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ours will be a mini version of this. no ottomans, no sectional shape... just a straight, normal-sized couch. did i mention i can't WAIT for it to arrive!?!?

with just an hour or so before our seemingly-weekly sunday supper club at our friend's house, hung started putting the bed together as i started putting things away.  the intention was to be done moving by the end of the day, but between the crowds of kiddos at ikea and the rain, we definitely did not get done.  we actually ended up moving all of the pillows in the morning too, and forgot that fact until we went to bed.  FYI, plush robes make good pillows.  at least we made the major purchases, and had a good meal to boot.

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cheddar waffles with orange tomato sauce
broccoli parmesan soup
brussels sprouts with bacon

not exactly the healthiest, and they didn't exactly go together, but gosh it was good... feeling like i need to add orange to our marinara sauce now!!


p.s. stay tuned via instagram or twitter @beyondthestoop

Friday, March 28, 2014

happy weekend

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while our weekend didn't exactly start off with a bang, we're super excited for an action-packed weekend of celebrating and moving and moving and moving...  did i say we're moving yet? we're MOVING!

we have friends coming to town this weekend, who we couldn't be happier to see! while they are soon to be a family of 3, i'm happy i'm getting to see them several times before their lives take a new turn, including the epic olymp-nick's birthday olympiad in virginia .  they used to live in the area, and are excited to snoop around their old stomping grounds (and get some good food while they're at it! seriously the food in nyc is incredible)

now onto the moving part.  last night was laundry night, and the night to move some things.  on my way home i got a call from a friend saying he had a special delivery.  when i walked into my house, 2 of our good friends were in the house with hung, munching on boxes of treats from dean and deluca (think chocolate grand marnier mousse, macarons, cupcakes, you get the picture).  with 2 extra sets of hands ready to work, hung made sammiches for everyone while the girls went to the laundromat (for hopefully the last time!! high fives to having laundry at the new place!). after laundry, we started packing as much as we could...  as in just starting to pack, nothing in boxes or bags yet. 

the boys did a great job taking stuff to the new place while the girls tried to pack as fast as we could, folding laundry while we were at it. thank GOODNESS for those 2 extra and unexpected sets of hands!  later, another set of hands showed up, and even later, 3 more sets of hands, and 1 more even later.... what did we do to deserve so much help!?  at one point in the night we had SEVEN extra people helping us move, all who voluntarily came offering to help....

unfortunately, between the lack of packing, the need to do laundry, and the lack of having any boxes or any more bags to pack things in, we had to stop around 10:30pm.  i admit, i was pretty stressed and overwhelmed with so many people at our house to help with so little preparation, and i snapped...

why?  i'm still asking myself the same question...   i was embarrassed at how unorganized it was, overwhelmed at how much stuff we had to move, and wondered if i was going to get any sleep because we had to prepare for our out-of-towners coming the next day.  but, those are no acceptable excuses.  the reality is that we put a big stab into the moving process, and without hung's enthusiasm and all of our friends who unexpectedly showed up to help, we probably wouldn't have gotten anything moved at all (laundry night at our house is usually a pretty jam-packed night anyways, let alone trying to move a whole apartment!) 

undeserved, hung took the heat for nothing. he worked his butt off and so did all of the people who came to help (to everyone who came, i can't thank you enough!). here's to looking forward to a more positive, smoother moving day on sunday.  i can't WAIT to be in the new place and start decorating!! that's when the real fun begins ;)

cheers to a happy friday!

p.s. that photo above is a photo our new downstairs neighbor sent to us of our house "a long time ago" that she found at the library (who knows when it was taken) the front looks so different now!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

like a basketball court

pretty, shiny, (mostly) free of scratches...

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it's all i could really ask for when we wanted to DIY refinish hardwood floors for the first time that were THAT bad...

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last night we applied the second coat of polyurethane, and MAN did they look good!  we did a light sanding on the first coat of poly with 320-grit sandpaper, swept, and wiped them down with mineral spirits before applying the second coat of poly. we've been applying the poly with a sponge brush on the edges and a lambswool applicator for the rest.  it works great, except it leaves bubbles.  maybe we didn't get all the dirt out before applying the first coat? either way, after sanding the floors before the second coat, the floors felt AH-mazing!!

last night we left with floors that looked as shiny as a basketball court.  wait, is that what we wanted? we're going with it anyways. in the impulse decision of what finish i wanted to get when i was unexpectedly faced with the decision of satin, semi-gloss, or gloss.. my reaction was "go big or go home".  how that really applies here?  i'm not quite sure, but we both knew that reaction meant "go for the gloss!"

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seriously, what would i do without him???  we missed a spot in one of the bedrooms after we already did the entryway, so hung spidermanned his way to getting it.  #rookiemistakes (and here i am complaining i can't even get to the bathroom when the floors are wet... i gotta step up my game)

the final day of doing anything to the floors is today, and man we couldn't be happier.  who knew it would be such hard work.  after a few days of letting the stuff COMPLETELY dry, we'll be ready to start moving in!!

guess it's time to start packing, right?  if we were moving more than 3 blocks away, i'd be more motivated to put things in boxes.  but because it's just a short distance, i have this vision that i can carry things over without messing with silly boxes..   maybe i'm crazy...  packing is the worst for me.  unpacking is SO much more fun!


Monday, March 24, 2014

hard work is, well, hard work

i just realized that it's been a week since we made our big announcements , and i haven't shared any updates!! if you follow on instagram  or twitter , you may have seen a few sneak peaks, but this space has been pretty silent, or at least i haven't shared any photos (that's the good stuff anyways!)

between last monday and now, we've finished painting the entire apartment and trim bright white.  no "off-white", no "eggshell", no "cream", no "ivory".  literally i wanted the brightest white possible.  i would have been fine with primer if it wasn't flat paint. 

speaking of flat paint, flat paint and white walls aren't friends. it would show practically every fingerprint.  silly me, not doing my homework, i thought the next glossy-ness up from flat was semi-gloss.  so when i sent the boys out to get a 5-gallon bucket of the brightest white they could find, i told them "get semi-gloss bright white". i totally forgot about satin, and now we have sort of shiny walls.  and because hung (and practically everyone we talked to) didn't want the trim to be the same glossy-ness, we had to go to high-gloss for the trim.  kids, it looks awesome, but the catch?   IT PEELS. and it sticks to everything.  including the blue painters tape that's supposed to be your friend.  so now we have to go back and touch up all the spots that peeled off a bit when we took off the blue painters tape.  we even took a box cutter to the trim and we still had problems.  do your homework people! we were suckers for that one. lesson learned.  but... at least it LOOKS awesome when you look at the big picture.... bright white walls are my thing. i've loved it for a while, but this article on apartment therapy solidified my design ideas.

we were also lucky enough to score some skylights in the living room, so painting bright white is only going to emphasize the awesome natural light in the apartment (sorry in advance to those who slumber party at our house, you may be woken up at 5am in the summer time)

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next up on our to-do-before-we-move-in list was refinish the floors.  it sounds simple enough. "sand it down, stain, and poly-coat."  friends, THIS is the hard work.  this is the back-breaking part reason people say "just pay someone to do it".  i realize now that, yes, they will obviously do a better job, because it's their job, but because it's HARD labor.  it's especially hard labor when you have to rent equipment from home depot, who takes ZERO care of their equipment. 

we initially picked up a drum sander and an edger. after 4 hours of taking off the first layer, we realized "maybe this isn't right".  we only had 2 (small) bedrooms to do.  we took off the sand paper loop and realized that although the drum sander had the capability to sand about 12" of flooring, it was only sanding about 2".  that's not all.  the edger is circular sander that spins, with capability of getting right up to the edge of the wall.  however, the "edge" part of the "edger" was so worn down that we had to dip the front end of it just to sand anything.  friends, that thing is NOT light, and you have to be in a awkward, bent-over position to do it anyways.  AND when you do that it puts divots into your floor (the exact reason every youtube video we watched told us NOT to do that)

furious that we spent all day using crappy equipment, we took it all back to home depot to exchange for different equipment or get our money back.  well, there was no way to get our money back, so we picked out the best of what was there and went back to work.  the hardest part of deciding whether or not to take it back to home depot was deciding whether or not we wanted to lug that stuff up and down the 2.5 flights of stairs again.  that stuff is HEAVY.  it's a good thing hung has muscles ;) 

however, the new drum sander worked wonders, but the new edger was the same.  the nice worker at home depot gave us 2 extra hours to our rental, and thought we might be able to get the kitchen and entryway too (we didn't plan on doing it originally, because we plan to gut the kitchen in a year or so, replacing the floors in the kitchen, entry, and living room while we're at it)

saturday night at about 12:00am hung started the stain.  although we may have finished sanding around 10:30pm, we had to prep the floors for staining, making sure there was no dust or dirt or grit on the floors.  we swept with a broom, took the shop-vac to every inch of the floors, and wiped them down with mineral spirits.

exhausted after the long day, hung graciously stained both bedrooms himself.  seriously, he's a trooper.  we're not REALLY on a deadline to get finished, but we sort of are.  we have friends coming to town this weekend (and we're SO SO excited to see them!!!) and we would "like" to be out of the current place by the end of the month so we don't have to pay another month of rent (and so our friend can move in as soon as possible!)

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2:00am we called it quits. we figured with the extra two hours on rent, we had time to do the entryway and kitchen the next morning.  we were right! with the better drum sander, we were able to knock it out in just an hour or so.  hung and i quickly stained those floors after returning the equipment to home depot, and were done working on the house by 1:00pm.  high five!

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(don't worry, that lighter rectangle part in the middle of the wood floor isn't a mistake, it's just the skylight shining down :P)

happy to have some free time for once, we fixed my car, got an oil change, went to the grocery store, SHOWERED, and relaxed before our friend invited us over for dinner.  he's a great cook and he's teaching another friend the basics of cooking.   luckily for us, they always make enough to share, and we often get invited to enjoy the final product (thanks guys! we definitely needed it last night!)

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enchiladas with salad and guac and chips. aka, a recipe for a happy jenn.  mexican food is my FAVORITE.  i don't care if it's most authentic mexican food, taco bell, or (my guilty favorite) chinese-mexican . i love it  ALL .

successful weekend, but man am i exhausted.  at least the hard part is over...
(wait, we still have to move EVERYTHING in our apartment... sigh)

cheers to another week!

p.s. i promise to do a house tour soon.  it won't be the true beginning, but hey, at least you'll get to see the place before we funish it ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

we have some announcing to do

while some people tend to space out their larger life events, this week hung and i landed upon two of them...

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i am extremely happy to say that after 9 months of negotiations and paperwork, we closed on our house last week! it has been quite the frustrating experience, to say the least, and so hard to HIDE it from this space for so long!  we now own our small sliver of a brownstone in downtown jersey city. it's small (under 700 square feet), but it has 2 bedrooms and it's perfect for us.  although our current home has been creeping in on us, we like to live a simple life with less things.  so if we only have 700 square feet to put "things" we will stop accumulating unnecessary "things" (with the exception of kitchen gadgets and appliances, i don't think we will ever have enough room for those, no matter where we live). we now have TWO bedrooms and a dedicated parking spot right in front of the house (both luxuries in our neck of the woods).

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the second exciting announcement is that WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!! after seeing the matinee performance of werther at the metropolitan opera on saturday afternoon, hung got down on one knee and proposed in the middle of lincoln center .  it was such a surprise, and he planned it out perfectly to have his best friend train in from philly to take pictures of the whole thing.  apparently i was the only one who DIDN'T know it was going to happen, and the bugger had the ring since we put an offer in on the house 9 months ago!!

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i couldn't be happier to have so many happy things fall into place :) :) :)

this space is about to get exciting, friends.  we have so many things to share with the new house, the engagement, planning a wedding, i can't hardly hold in the excitement!!

cheers to a very happy monday!
jenn (& hung)

p.s. remember this post about having a date at battello ? that was our "celebratory" dinner for getting the house ;)  saturday was supposed to be our "monthly date".  i can most certainly say, i will never be able to top THAT one ;)