Bathroom Makeover Adventures

You probably can’t really tell a huge difference from the before/after photo above, but yesterday I spent literally all day painting it white. After three coats of primer and three coats of white paint on the ceiling and walls, the room is finally looking a bit more clean. That being said, we still need to address the lack of hardware (we tossed the previous owner’s towel racks and toilet paper holder), vinyl floors, depressing mirror and the overdose of blue toiletries. The hardware is something we can do within the week, but everything else will have to be pushed until a proper bathroom revamp is within our budget. As a side note, don’t judge Betty White for the face she’s making above…it’s not very flattering (I think I caught her mid lip-lick).

The worst part of the bathroom was the ceiling—I snapped a photo just as I started priming so you could see the difference between the white primer and the yellow stains. All of the ceilings in the house looked like that because the previous homeowner was a smoker and everything just yellowed overtime I suppose. Note to self: scrape the paint off the light fixture and stop being so messy!

Pete’s mom came over and primed four of our downstairs doors (our bedroom door, the hallway closet door, our bathroom door and the critter/computer room door), which smelled of tar when she sanded them. I still have to paint them white, which I’m hoping to finish up this week. We’d like to eventually revamp the hollow, soon-to-be white doors by doing something like this, which will be a fun DIY project and give our doors a fresh face without breaking the bank. They are also in need of new hardware, which you can tell by the photo below (one side is gold, one side is silver…both are pretty darn hideous).

Betty White was not a happy camper today when we had our very first earthquake experience together. I was in the upstairs bathroom, standing on a ladder with a wallpaper steamer in my hand while trying to remove the butterfly wallpaper when I felt a little tremble. I hopped off the ladder and convinced myself that one of the following had happened:

A.) We live across from a train station, so I thought perhaps that was how much the house shook upstairs when the train went by since I could hear it passing. I rarely go upstairs (thus the absence of upstairs photos on my blog), so I thought the house might just shake upstairs when the trains pass.

B.) The previous homeowner’s dead husband’s ghost came back to haunt my ass and tell me how much he loved the pink, butterfly wallpaper and that I was making a huge mistake by ripping it down.

C.) That the construction crew outside of my window had jackhammered so hard that the house was going to crumble apart with me in it.

Once the rumbling grew to the point of the shower doors clattering back and forth and falling off their tracks, I realized none of the above were realistic options. All of the neighborhood dogs started howling and Betty White ran to the bathroom and barked at me until I scooped her up. I immediately went back into elementary school, emergency practice mode and remembered that I should probably be standing under a doorway, which is where I clutched the walls and Betty White until the shaking stopped.

I was too scared to look outside because I was worried that there would be pint-sized demons fleeing from a hole in our backyard (someone tell me I’m not the only person who loves the movie The Gate), so instead I reacted like the rest of the East Coast dwellers and freaked out via Twitter and Facebook.

Where were you during the earthquake and how long did it take before you realized the rest of your friends were already Tweeting about it?

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Before & After: Rocking Chair Revamp

Remember that rocking chair I thrifted last week? Here it is in a lovely shade of avocado! I had every intention of painting it a sunshiny orange-yellow when I went to Lowe’s, but when I saw this color I couldn’t resist. It’s really similar to the shade we painted our critter/computer room, which I’ll have to give you a better look at soon since we’ve added a drawing table to the space.

I think the chair would look cute with a grey and white, striped cushion to match the nearby IKEA rug, but for now we just have our bunny pillow resting on it.

{Photo credit}

When I was browsing my old “pins” on Pinterest recently, I noticed I had favorited a photo of an avocado-colored rocking chair a while ago. It must have had a subconscious influence on my decision to select this paint color, but I had no recollection of it when I was spray painting the chair this past weekend. Also, my friend Mandy recommended “grellow” in a comment, which I believe this would be classified as! I thought I was being random by choosing this color, but I guess not!

For you fellow Pinterest lovers, have you noticed the site influencing your lifestyle in any way? The site definitely inspires me on a weekly basis (like this photo, which motivated me to paint the chalkboard door in our kitchen). Oh, and in case you were wondering, I just threw in a mopey Betty White photo because I feel like there’s been a lack of Miss BW in posts as of late! She’s happier than she looks, I promise!

Kitchen: Before & Progress

This past weekend was spent making over our kitchen, which was much-needed to say the least. My parents and grandma visited from Delaware, which was a nice break. My dad power washed outside while Pete tested out his new battery-powered weed wacker (which he has since returned). My mom and I worked on removing the last of the bunny wallpaper, patching and sanding the ceiling and priming everything. Pete and I decided to paint the kitchen Martha Stewart’s Lagoon color, which matches a lot of our kitchen accessories.

In case you need a refresher of what the kitchen looked like a month ago, here are photos from the initial walk through of the house. The wallpaper which was once bright white had turned an unfortunate shade of brown. The same can be said for all of the ceilings throughout the house, which have been taking at least three coats of paint to cover on average.

We have plans to get a new sink unit and vinyl, black and white checkered floor tiles once things settle down a bit for us. I am in the job hunting process and Pete just accepted a brand spankin’ new job, so we are going to wait a wee bit before we make any purchases for the moment.

The light fixtures in the kitchen made me cringe even more than the floor, which always looks dirty no matter how much you mop it. Luckily Pete has picked up on the handyman thing very quickly, so he has been tackling a lot of electrical projects throughout the house, including simple light fixture installations.

Here’s a glimpse of the kitchen right before we moved in—filled with painting supplies and tools galore.

Notice the wires popping out of the wall from a hideous light fixture which was underneath the cabinets. We ripped it out and Pete replaced it with a much more updated version.

Here’s one of the most unfortunate, unflattering photos ever taken. You’re welcome. This is what I look like after sanding a recently spackled ceiling. And yes, I am wearing glasses under my safety glasses.

My parents brought their dog Whiskey, who took a nap on my grandma’s shoe while she took a nap. It was definitely a priceless sight.

Here’s the kitchen in all of its patched/painted glory. I know it’s only in progress, but I think the pop of color really makes a difference in the mood of the room. The updated light fixtures seem to make an impact as well…thank god for no more florescent lighting.

The door to the mudroom was incredibly scratched, chipping and yellowed, but two fresh coats of paint made it look a lot better. We’ll eventually paint all of the doors throughout the house (we are on a budget, people!) and probably swap out the hardware for something more modern.

Pete’s sister gifted us this adorable, mosaic owl from HomeGoods, which I fell in love with instantly. Yesterday my friend Cubby came to visit and she gave me the mama version of the owl as a belated birthday gift. People sure do know how to make my owl-lovin’ self smile. The chalkboard calendar was from Shauna and Stephen of Something’s Hiding in Here as a thank you for drawing a portrait of their cute pooches for them.

Here’s a peek at some of our kitchen gadgets, which were a gift from my friend Susan a few years ago. I especially love the little veg-hog veggie brush. The “how to eat a lobster” serving tray was a find at one of my favorite thrift stores in the area, Impact.

This is our bird hook for hanging Betty White’s leash, our keys and any other randomness.

I’m hoping to be able to add more photo booth pictures to our fridge after we go to the shore in a couple of weeks with Pete’s family. It’s the little things that make me happy.

This Grandma Was a Cowboy painting is by Jason Sho Green, one of my favorite artists whose exhibition I visited at Art Star a few years back.

Quirky aprons, linens and pot holders are just the thing to cheer up a previously dreary kitchen. The apron and potholders were a gift from my brother and lovely sister-in-law this past Christmas. The tea towel below was from our friend Valerie, who shares an appreciation for all things embroidered. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who know our style so well. I really love looking around a room and thinking of someone when I see a certain object.

Like this teapot, which was given to me by the always stylish Cubby…I like how the cherry red contrasts with the blueish green tint of the room.

Betty White approves of the new lighting since she can see the crumbs on the floor a lot better now.

Speaking of crumbs, she was dying for a Beggin’ Strip while I was taking photos, so I had to oblige. This is her smug, I-knew-I-could-get-a-treat-out-of-you-if-I-flashed-my-puppy-eyes stare. I’m such a sucker.

Anyway, this is our kitchen progress so far! We are trying to make major impact changes without putting a dent in our wallets, which is really making the place start to feel like home. What little changes did you make to your home to make it your own when you first moved in?

Before Photos: The First Floor

On Thursday, Pete and I settled on the house! Unfortunately, there were some discrepancies between our requested repairs and what was actually finished, so we had to start an escrow to have those problems resolved within the upcoming month. It’s not an ideal way to start off as homeowners, but we will work together to figure it out I’m sure. Thursday evening we devoted to emptying out the house since the previous owner left a lot of belongings that we wanted to get rid of (rugs, curtains, a shed full of antiquated push mowers and lots of other stuff that made me sneeze).

We bought a wallpaper steamer, which has been our best investment yet, second to the shop vacuum, which has been a great help in cleaning up the place. There were nails, screws, dead bugs, peanut shells and dust bunnies galore, so it felt good to walk around without stepping on anything. Pete found a mummified mouse in the basement, so needless to say, there is a lot more cleaning to do before the place stops smelling like a smoky nursing home.

On Saturday, Pete’s family came over to help us with cleaning and prepping the living room and upstairs for priming. We finished up all of the primer on the wood trim, windows and doors, so we’ll move onto painting those after we tackle the wallpaper in our bedroom. Pete swapped out the front door hardware with a new deadbolt and lock, which was a big project since the deadbolt didn’t fit the hole in the steel door. Thank god for chisels. Lowe’s is officially my new favorite place. Gone are the days when I long to go to Target to browse their new dresses and shoes. Now I am more concerned with having a new kitchen than a new wardrobe, so unfortunately you guys might have to see me sporting some outdated outfits for a while until we can afford to revamp the kitchen.

This is the living room, which we will be painting a medium gray with white trim and a white fireplace. Our soon-to-be IKEA couch and chair in Isunda Gray will lend some lighter gray tones to the room. We’re scouting out chartreuse rugs to find something to bring a pop of color to the space. Not sure what to do about curtains yet, but we’ll get to that once the room is a bit more together.

Betty White is our tour guide, and here she can be seen in our dining room, which is now wallpaper-free. “After” photos of the dining room to come once we’ve sanded and primed the walls! The dining area will be painted a pale, cheerful yellow with white trim. We managed to take down all of the wallpaper in the dining room, the walls just need a bit of sanding to smooth everything out before we prep it for priming. Our goal is to have the living room, dining room and bedroom ready and painted by the time we move in. We’re not sure when we’ll be moving, it really depends on when our landlord can find new tenants for our current apartment, but we’re hoping it will be sometime in June.

Here’s my super crooked photo of the other side of the dining room. Sorry for the super rushed photos, I was just racing through the house to snap “before” photos carelessly because I wanted to shop vacuum the place before the sun went down (a lot of the rooms need lights in them). We bought a new thermostat so we won’t have to stare at that hunk o’ junk on the wall anymore thank goodness. There are large vents all over the house since the air conditioning/heating units are pretty ancient, so those are things that we’ll probably want to address next year once our home warranty expires. We also removed the door from this frame since it seemed pretty unnecessary and just made the room look smaller. We took the door leading to the upstairs down as well and listed them on Craigslist as a curb alert, so they were luckily gone within less than a day.

The kitchen is the room that pains me the most. The vinyl floors just look dirty no matter what you do, so we will be likely addressing that with some temporary stick-on vinyl until we can afford our kitchen makeover. Pete created a mockup of what we’d like the kitchen to look like in less than a year from now, so I’ll be sharing that with you soon. Hopefully we can save our pennies to make it happen sooner than later, because I’m not so sure how long I can tolerate the hideous sink/dishwasher combo. Until then, we’ll be removing the bunny wallpaper eventually, painting the cabinets white and replacing the hardware. It kills me that the knob on the middle bottom cabinet doesn’t match the others, but I’m trying to not obsess about it and focus on wallpaper removal instead.

The kitchen has a door on the right that leads to a mudroom (with clunky storage furniture that the homeowner left us), which takes you outside once you fling open the insanely heavy door. We’ll be working on getting that door replaced, as well as the basement windows since they are not good condition.

During our pre-settlement walk through of the house we discovered this plumbing in the room that will one day be our office area. The previous owner must have stacked things perfectly in front of it so we wouldn’t notice it, so this will be one of the things that will be addressed (and removed) as part of our escrow.

We were left with some pretty hideous Thomas Kinkade wall plates, which matched the border of the wallpaper remarkably. I’ll be sure to capture photos of all of the wallpaper borders before we tear them down so you can appreciate the “after” photos even more.

The blue bathroom is another room that makes me cringe, but we’ll work slowly to try to replace the sink with a nice vanity and address the floor situation. Until then we’ll paint the door, room and probably replace the medicine cabinet and lights with something more modern to distract from all of the blue.

This is our next project, which we’ll be working on every night this week after Pete gets home from work. Our goal is to have all of the wallpaper down in here by the weekend so we can focus on priming next week. Next up will be “before” photos of the upstairs and basement, along with the front and backyard, which just might be my favorite parts of the house.

The house needs a ton of work, so we are excited to work on small changes like removing wallpaper and painting since they’ll make such a big difference in the look (and smell!!) of the place. My goal is to make it not smell like old lady anymore by the time we move in. No offense to old ladies, but they just have a very specific scent that I’d very much like to avoid until about fifty years from now.

Before & After Inspiration

Our house inspection is this Saturday, so we’re crossing our fingers all goes well on that end. We will be working on saving for any potential house emergencies for the next few months. That being said, we will have to be creative in figuring out affordable ways to modernize the house if it ends up being ours in a couple of months. Since we don’t want to spend on any major renovations right away, we will be removing wallpaper and painting for the most part. Once we have our goal amount of emergency savings, we can begin renovating the kitchen, which is number one on our makeover list.

Here are some affordable before & after ideas for sprucing up our potential new home:

“After” Image Source

In the smaller bedroom upstairs, wood paneling covers the walls and ceiling, which can hopefully be revamped with some cheerful color and painted white ceilings.

“After” Image Source

The sunroom is pretty as is, but could use a fresh coat of color and trim, maybe something subtle and earthy to go with the blue floors.

“After” Image Source

I’ve mentioned before my obsession with white fireplaces, which I think would look really lovely with grey walls and pops of color incorporated in the room.

“After” Image Source

The bay window area needs some love, which could be accomplished by hanging airy curtains with new hardware and an area rug.

What are some simple ways you’ve given your home a new look on a tight budget?

School desk makeover, check!

Progress is well underway for my upcoming Cafe Estelle art opening on Friday, December 3rd from 6 to 9pm. I have finished drawing and painting the school desk which will have my prints, button packs and pocket mirrors for sale inside. Next up: create as many originals as possible within the next 10 days. Please RSVP if you plan on attending the opening so I can figure out a rough estimate of how much grub and drinks to bring!

Here’s my updated to-do-list (eep!):

  • Make cow illustration
  • Make chicken illustration
  • Make duck illustration
  • Make owl illustration
  • Finish ink drawings on children’s school desk
  • Paint children’s school desk
  • Order “say hello to my little friends” custom wall decal
  • Order number pins for labeling work
  • Create and print title/price list
  • Set up printer and scanner at home
  • Scan new pieces and add to website and Etsy
  • Order prints of any pieces that are not in stock
  • Order more chipboard backing and plastic sleeves for prints
  • Print labels for buttons and pocket mirrors
  • Package buttons and pocket mirrors
  • Design and print postcards to promote the show
  • Redesign business cards and order them, pronto!
  • Pick up food and beer for the opening on Friday, December 3rd

The redesign has launched!!

As you may recall, up until today, youwannatalkjive looked a little something like this:

The original design was thrown up there quickly because I wanted to transfer all of my posts from Blogger to WordPress. I didn’t have a chance to customize it, apart from adding a background pattern and a rushed header design. Luckily my boyfriend Pete offered his fantabulous design and coding skills and revamped my entire blog in a matter of days.

I provided Pete with a few illustration concepts (I wanted to include our pets in the header) and patterns I liked, but he really went above and beyond anything I could have expected from a personal blog. His attention to detail is fantastic—he immediately understood where I was coming from when I said I wanted to mix vintage patterns with playful graphics.

If you are considering giving your blog a makeover, be sure to contact him or find out more about pricing here. He offers all sorts of customizable packages so it’s pretty darn easy to personalize.

Do you have any new features you’d like to see around these parts? Don’t be shy with suggestions, now is the time to throw them out there! Thanks for visiting the new digs, let me know what you think of the fresh look!