Friday, March 30, 2012

Paint Fixes Everything

The process of repainting the cottage has begun. I was lucky enough to have my husband, a friend who is a contractor, and a friend who loves to paint (sometimes, she repaints walls in her house just for fun!) assist me last weekend in giving a whole new look to the living room in the little cottage that could.

First, on Saturday morning, attempted to cover up the green walls - those things just sucked up paint! My plan was to accent the awesome decorative trim in the room with crisp, white paint. I was thrilled to bid goodbye to the color my friend deemed "psychiatric ward green" - ha!

I'll be honest, one of my favorite parts of the process was taping around the trim after we finished the second coat of paint on the walls. My husband actually suggested adding a blue stripe in between the beige and the white - not a bad idea, eh? But I decided to stick with the original (albeit slightly more boring) color scheme.

Yup, that big ol' ball of painter's tape is what it took to tape up my teeny living room. I can't imagine how many rolls it would take to do a house-sized living room!

But look at the results! Freshly painted with two coats each on the walls and the trim. I love, love, love the the colors!!!

It's probably hard to tell the real color via your computer screen, especially since I took the pictures with my Blackberry, but hopefully these photos will give you an idea.

I read a lot of reviews and got a lot of recommendations from friends on paint brands, but ended up going with Behr in the end not only because of good reviews/recommendations, but because I liked their web site. The main color in the room is Behr 730C-2M Sandstone Cove in an eggshell finish, while the trim color (which will be used throughout the cottage) is Behr W-D-700U Powdered Snow, also in an eggshell finish.

The color is definitely looking darker than it is in this picture. Care to guess what's behind the tiny door on the right?

The entire entry wall from the far side of the room. You can see the partially-painted bookshelf in it's new home, on the wall in between the door to the hallway and the door to the closet (on the left). So what else makes a cottage a tiny home? Textiles, of course - time to make the curtains!

The fabric for the curtains came from a tablecloth I picked up at Value Village for $3. Going along with the neutral theme of the room, I decided to edge the semi-sheer white curtain panels with a pleated eyelet trim from JoAnn Fabrics. The edging was...let's just say the most expensive part of the curtains was definitely the trim.

It's hard to see the curtains in detail with so much sunlight, but I definitely like the overall effect. I'll tell you one thing: I sure am glad I have the luxury of painting before I move in. My cottage is so teeny-tiny, I have no idea how one could repaint it with a functional amount of furniture in there! As it is, I am happy that the living room is complete so I can move the bits of furniture from the bedroom and kitchen upstairs so there is room to paint in those rooms. Little cottage, here I come!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yellow Ruffles for my Kitchen

I had a decision to make after work today: I could go over to the cottage and start painting by myself, or wait until tomorrow, when I most likely will have one or more helpers. Since the extent of my room painting experience is exactly one (albeit, large) wall in my husband's classroom last year, I decided to come home and get some work done on textiles instead. Ah, yes, textiles - all the colorful, cozy, eye-catching, soft things that make a house a home. Or, in this case, a teeny-tiny, century-old mother-in-law out back into a cottage in the heart of the city.

First thing on my list was curtains - 2 windows in the bathroom
, 2 in the bedroom, 3 in the living room, and 1 in the front door. I call it the front door, although there is only door in/out of the cottage. If I get really curtain-excited, there are also 2 tiny (yet functional) windows in the attic/storage room. I have a dream of making the attic into a combination storage space for me and hideaway for Monkey but, you know, it may just be a dream. We'll see. For now, I'm starting with the more liveable spaces. My kitchen curtains were built on this photo & linked tutorial I found on Pinterest. Here are the curtains in progress:

...and he
re is the finished product:

I promise I'll post pictures of the curtains in the kitchen, which will be much more impressive, once the walls have been painted and the curtains hung.

The teeny-tiny bedroom has a charming, built-out closet (complete with a super-tiny window inside of it), as well as built-in open shelving to hold clothing. Wary of spending tons of cash on bins large enough to hold the necessities and make good use of the space, I decided to get crafty and try my hand at making some. More to come on that later.

In other news, my Dad & Step-Mom (who have been kind enough to let me squat in their large, beautiful, daylight-basement guest room since July) have been on vacation in Switzerland for the past two weeks, which means that I have been house-sitting. And cat-sitting. Guess which one is harder? That's right, the sweet, mild-mannered, somewhat skittish kitty has turned into a whiny, needy, infant-like creature who meows at me day and night, demanding...what? I've already fed her...I've already let her out to potty...I gave her a tummy-rub...aargh! I don't know what you need!! Total flashbacks to Monkey's infancy. I've said it once and I'll say it again: Monkey is very lucky his Daddy is a baby person!

Here is my little charge, on her way out to stalk the neighborhood from the the safety of under a bush in the front yard. She's a little picture-shy, so the only good photos I'm getting of her are from the back. Poor little kitty - Be strong! I'm picking your Mommy & Daddy up from the airport on Monday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Feeling Sick & Ogling the Cottage

It started a couple days ago with a headache and some stuffiness. Next came the fatigue and achy ears. Finally, around 1 am, it all hit - fever, stomachache, diarrhea. Ugh. This is one of those days that being home alone is definitely not enjoyable. I would be overjoyed if I had someone to bring me some gingerale and hold my hair back while I puked today. Sad, I know.

In the spirit of giving you more than my piteous state of health to read ab
out, here are some more "before" pictures of the cottage I will shortly be moving into, this time some details:

The bathroom. That is a serious green paint job!

The view of the hallway/front door from the kitchen doorway

The light fixture in the hallway. Screaming for a chandelier, no?

The view looking out the bedroom door

The teeny, tiny, adorable door in the living room, with steep little stairs leading up to the attic

The view across the attic. I'm curious about the reinforcing beam in the middle of the floor.

The sad part is I was supposed to go by after work to sign a rental agreement and get the keys today. Sigh. No taking possession of the cottage for me today :-(

Monday, March 12, 2012

King Size Mattresses & Sewing Machine Clunkers

There is nothing quite like waking up in your own bed. It makes you appreciate it even more when you only get to wake up in your own bed 2-9 days per month. The firm mattress, the luxury of space in a king size...I am having a hard time with the wall right next to "my side," but the THUD of me rolling over into the wall doesn't seem to disturb my husband's sleep anymore. What can I say? It's hard to be clumsy and, apparently, my sleeping self's muscle memory is harder to break than my waking self.

When I allow myself to think about it, I feel very unsettled this year. It's hard not to have a home with my family, to always be in someone else's space and, honestly, even once I'm in the cottage it will be "my" space, not really big enough to be "our" space - even if all of us were there at any given point in time. Folks at Monkey's school seem to think we're either secretly separated or secretly divorced, which is kind of amusing and kind of sad, all at once.

The big news of this rainy, dreary Monday in the City of Roses? My sewing machine, the trusty little Singer on which I learned how to machine sew (MUCH harder than learning to hand sew 20 years ago was!) is officially kaput. The needle alignment is off, resulting in skipping on the running stitch and 3 broken needles in the last week with a simple zig-zag stitch. It can be fixed - for about $120. The machine is two years old and cost about $80. Kind of a no-brainer, huh? My dear husband did have to get in one little "I told you so" - meaning that, two years ago, when I decided to augment my 20ish years of hand-sewing experience with teaching myself how to machine so, he suggested I get something more expensive/advanced/durable to start with. Yes, honey, you told me so. So sue me - I'm frugal!

This little number I have my eye on (Janome's Magnolia 7330) is a little under $400, but definitely has all the bells and whistles, as well as a 25 year warranty. Please ignore the so-ugly-they're-almost-cute '70s flowers on the body of the machine. I'd really love to know what you're using and any recommendations you have, especially those who have been machine sewing much longer than I have - help? Please?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Little Cottage That Could

So things are changing. Next week I'm picking up the keys to an extremely adorable little cottage in SE Portland, a mere 5 minutes from my office, and will begin the process of painting so I can move in at the beginning of April. Is painting really needed, you ask? Well, let me show you some samples of what the interior looks like at the moment:

The hallway - beige, white & sea green

The bedroom - sea green & a bright red built-in wardrobe

The kitchen - white, with one red wall, a beige floor & the avocado fridge

...and a sneak peek at the living room, also sea green

Yeah. Not really my colors. Are you a cotton-candy pastel kinda guy or gal? Then maybe this would work for you. Personally, I was overjoyed to hear from the owner that I am welcome to paint, install shelving, etc. at my discretion - yay! One of the many benefits of renting privately instead of through a corporation. It's going to be a busy few weeks, but I'll do my best to keep y'all updated on my progress with the little cottage that the middle of the city, of course.