amis au fil des ans

just a few good friends, sharing adventures in family, arts, and sometimes heavy machinery

Archive for the category “house”

evolution of a craft room

when we bought the house the sunroom was a series of sliding glass doors.  it was a step down off of the kitchen and although it was open to the kitchen via a door with no door in it and a window with no window in it, it had no heat.  brrrrr…

immediately after we closed we began destruction and construction.  the floor was raised, the wall between the sunroom and kitchen was removed, a beam went up, the sliding doors came down, 2 large windows and 2 sets of french doors went in.

and it got a good dose of marshmallow spray (er…insulation).

some awesome plasterers worked their tails off to have the room drywalled and plastered.  on new year’s eve.  cheers.

all that work was so we could actually move in (and move out of my in laws apartment…).  the first of our furniture in our house!

after a series of trial and errors we settled on a soft green for the walls.  benjamin moore dried parsley is the official color.

and the room takes (some) shape.  i would call this sunroom version 1.

the introduction of the sewing machine into the space marks sunroom version 2 and officially denotes the sunroom as the craft room.

lack of storage posed some serious problems with my sewing supplies.  a quick trip to ikea to purchase these cabinets solved that.  rearrange the furniture some and you have sunroom version 3.

and just like that the cabinets are down and ledges are up.  sunroom version 4.

ledges remain but the chair is gone.  you may also note the salvaged door that was painted white and given legs to function as my new desk.  sunroom version 5.

all of that to bring us to sunroom version 6.  the current layout.




the desk has found a permanent home under the window.  the ledges are still (begrudgingly) there for now but are not final.  i am on the hunt for a large (huge) mid-century piece that will take up most of that wall and provide ample storage for both craft items as well as home office items.  the tv wall is just a placeholder as well.  the grand plan for that is to have an elfa media system on the lower half of the wall and mount the tv on the wall.  the 2 chairs are good (west elm slipper chairs) and will stay but i am looking for a vintage settee or sofette to upholster to compliment them.  the cowhide rug is from ikea.

that top shelf looks lame bare.  i spent all weekend cleaning it off since it is too high for me to reach anyway.  but something needs to go up there…  maybe art?  pictures?  this is where you are supposed to say, “no sarah!  don’t put anything up there because you will find the large mid-century piece for that wall.  you will!  you will!’

k.  thanks.


give an old book(case) a new color?

would you try to hide them and make them disappear into the wall or would you paint them in an accent color (think pear green) and make them stand out?


i have been toying with the idea of painting them since we moved in.  but i hate them.  and i don’t think painting them is going to make me like them any more.  or will it?  can you give an old book you hate a new cover and all of a sudden like it?

i was all set to give up on the idea until i saw this picture in the design within reach catalog over the weekend:

it was love at first sight.

but can my dysfunctional shelves ever make me swoon like these do?



diy ombre curtains

after tackling the sunroom in a relatively cheap manner…i thought i should move on to the living room.  first up were the brown curtains that we were never really sold on.  they were ok when we got them but after having them up for a few months we realized we wanted something lighter.  i have been seeing a lot of these ombre style shower curtains, window curtains, bedding, etc. recently and thought i would take a stab at it.  and the added bonus:  i had bleach!

so here i went…

step 1:  prewash fabric

step 2:  roll up fabric and place rubber bands at the various places you want the shade to change.  also decide here if you want them to be lighter at the top and then get darker towards the bottom or vice versa.  i decided that i wanted ours to be lighter at the top and then get darker.  i also wanted the original brown to start right around where the window ends.  then i evenly placed 4 rubber bands on each curtain.

step 3:  fill up the laundry tub (or other large bucket or vessel) with hot water and bleach.
step 4:  place the first section of all curtains in the bleach solution.
step 5:  keeping an eye on the fabric, and knowing that the first section will be in the longest, move the next section in when you think you are at a good amount of time.  i planned to do 10 min per section.  so the first section would be in for 50 min, second section 40 min, third section 30 min, etc.  but after i was done i wanted the top to be  even lighter so i then went back and stuck the top part in for about 10 more min.  this part is probably a lot of guess work.  so do it when you have time to sit and watch.
step 6:  cut off the rubber bands and wash them!
step 7:  hang and enjoy!
and to recap…here is the before and after (sorry for the lighting in the after, i never seem to have time to take the pictures during the day anymore!):
all in all i like the effect.  it definitely lightens up the room which is what we wanted.  but the top never got white.  it is more of a peachy creamy color?  not terrible…but not what i wanted.  however i did find a cool print from urban outfitters that has blues and peachy creamy tones in it and ordered it.  so i will put that up and hope to tie it all together.  stay tuned!

before and after…

and i know it isn’t much.  but it was.  we dug away and moved so much earth from along the wall to to steps.  so much dirt.  oy.  seriously.  i need compliments on this.  can you see the 18″ wall in the first picture?  NO!  can you in the second?  YES!  we are getting mulch delivered next week and i think i will put in a few more junipers and maybe even a huneysuckle ground cover.  just worried it will overtake our yard.  we also need to grow more grass on the top of the slope and define the grass line some.  maybe add in a landscape border?  that could keep the honeysuckle at bay…

anyway…forward (???) progress is being made!



ever bite off more than you could chew?

b and i are very good at that.  we have a hate-hate relationship with our yard.  so last week we had a company come and tear out everything in the front yard and take down 4 trees and now we have to do something with it.  but it needs so much work that it sends me into a mild panic attack just thinking about it.  but we have to do something.  we just need the something to be in the low low low low low financial requirement category and the something has to be in line with our master plan.  some pictures to give you a framework:

front before and after:


right side before and after:


back before and after:


master plan includes a new front entrance-way, pergola, play structure, garden, flagstone patio around the house and off of the sunroom, and a fence.

i think the steps for this year will be as follows…

1.   excavate more of the land in the back right of the house to expose more ledge (rock).  both for 2 reasons.  1:  we like it.  2:  it will act as a natural retaining wall and can (hopefully) save money by using what is natural versus creating something man-made.  we also need to address some drainage issues since during the rainstorm yesterday it was discovered that we have a waterfall coming through our basement window.  sigh.

2.  level the front, right, and back yards.  the front yard will remain on a hill but we need to level the top part so we can put a fence at the top of the hill and do a low maintenance mulch garden down the slope.  b wants to rework the steps and path to come up by the driveway as opposed to the sidewalk.  we also want to level the area to the right so we can put a play structure for the girls.  the back left we also want to level so we can put up a pergola for an outdoor sitting area.  did i mention we also want to remove all the vines and ivy on the ledge?

3.  update the sprinkler system.

4.  lay sod and spread mulch.

5.  install a fence.  (note:  this is a pipe dream as my budget is $0 and clearly the above items will not be free.  but…a girl can dream.)

next year we will get the play structure for the kids, do some plantings, build window boxes, and hopefully get a couple raised garden beds.  main concern with the garden is that it will have to go in the front yard as that is where the sun hits.  i think as long as we have a good fence that should be fine….?

the following year we will tackle the new front entrance-way, pergola, and patios.

totally doable…right?

felt inspired

congrats…you both inspired me!  (pat yourselves on the back or something please.)  since we painted the hallway we have been trying to figure out what to do with wall space upstairs.  bookshelf for girls’ books?  gallery wall?  picture ledges?  well…i finally convinced b it was time to do something and ledges and family pictures won out.

this is what you see coming up the stairs.  door to the right is the bathroom and to the left is e’s room.

if you make a u-turn at the top of the stairs to the right you go down the hallway to b’s office.  this is along that wall.

only downside is that all of these pictures were on the shelves in the sunroom (i.e., my office space).  so now i need to fill those shelves with something…

(ledges are the ribba ledges from ikea and frames are a combination of styles from kohl’s, michael’s, and ikea.)

since we were on such a high from getting these up we also decided to put up one of our pictures in the family room.  it is a picture of the manhattan beach pier that i had broken up into 3 and mounted on canvas.

the only wall space in the family room that really would work for this was the backside of the fireplace and brick…so we got a little creative on how we hung them.


happy saturday!  and now go hang more pictures!

updated kitchen

ah yes, the kitchen.  when we first moved in, we had the pleasure of finding all kinds of issues with the kitchen.  the fridge had a water / ice dispenser but nobody ever bothered to install a water line, much less connect it to the fridge.  the faucet sprung a catastrophic leak on about its 4th use, the microwave is enormous and hung down super low so that if you had a pot on the stove you couldn’t fit a spoon in the pot to stir it without hitting the bottom of the microwave.  it was genius.  all the cupboards were really easy for me to reach, which is not a good thing…and all the knobs were old basket-weave style that just looked hideous.  the floor plan is a little weird too, with the kitchen being a little offset from the main house.  i guess that’s what happens when you take a 107 year old duplex and make it a single family home.  sometimes the walls just aren’t where you want them.

fast forward about a year (good grief!) and voila!  we have a whole new kitchen.  we raised all the cabinets about 4″ – including the microwave – installed a slate tile backsplash with glass tiles as a stripe (not the original plan but we got the slate for free, so alas), new knobs on all the cabinets, and this weekend i finally painted the walls a medium green-gray color.  of course all of the colors look off in this picture, but at least now you can see it looks like a more colorful, functional space. (with a lot of junk on the counter, sorry I was in the middle of cleaning when i took these).

many older homes have sections of rooms called “bump outs” which is exactly as you would expect – a piece of the room that sticks out on the exterior.  we have a partial bump out in the kitchen, which is currently waiting for it’s makeover, hopefully into a dining space.  i painted this the same green-grey color.  i think we’ll do a tall bistro table with two tall chairs, just to give it a better look than the hookah table currently sitting there.

next up – window treatments!  i think i might actually just do something on the bottom half of these tall windows since i really like the light that comes in from them.  maybe i’ll just whip up some simple shears to give us a little more privacy…what do you think?

bump out after

bump out before

dining room pre-party

think of it as the dress rehearsal when you still don’t know what dress you are going to wear.

for some background…this room connects to both the kitchen (green) and hallway (gold).  all the furniture in it is black (chairs, table base, bar, and chandelier).  the room has no artwork and i don’t think it really can do to the high chair (?) rail.  unless we hang a picture over the chair (?) rail…which i think would be too strange.  even for me.  also note that the wall color extends to the crown molding and ceiling.

the black may be a bit too bold and modern for me but i like that print and i think b will like it.  the softer one has a lot of the colors from our house in it and i think offers a softer but still modern feel.

thoughts?  opinions?

decision time



progress report…

first an update on the dining room.  brendan and i successfully peeled all the old wallpaper off and did not cause any damage to the existing wainscot…or each other.  whew!

i know it doesn’t look terribly attractive but it will!  all the paper was cut off around the molding and peeled off.  the walls were scrubbed with a bleach solution (what an awesome product bleach is…).  the seams were all caulked.  do you guys use caulk when you paint?  after living in 3 houses and painting most of the rooms of each one we have just now started using caulk.  brendan and i both think it is the difference between a “good” and a “professional” paint job…thoughts?  discuss.

the carpenter came by on friday and straightened out those french doors too.

the plasterers came to give the wall that is receiving new molding a nice skim coat.

and then cora came and gave the plaster a nice rustic look.  not quite what i was going for when i paid $200 to have it done all smooth and gorgeous…

to wrap up the weekend, progress was made on the sewing front!  4 burp cloths and 8 bibs are done.  almost.  still have to hammer the snaps in but i need the girls to be asleep for the night for that.  their nap sleep isn’t quite deep enough and i can’t risk waking them up.  best to let the beauties get their zzzzzzzzzzs…

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