Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trash Can Be Pretty, I Promise

September 2010
Oregon is big on composting, it's even bigger on recycling.  Now that we had our own place these things were suddenly a part of our world.  There was no trash room anymore, instead we now had to go outside to dump it, and remember to drag it to the curb every week.  Welcome to the world of home ownership.  My google searches have recently changed from 'new restaurants' and 'beer fests' to finding a good composter. hrmph.  If there was one thing I knew, it was that we were not the type of people to turn our compost every week.  I mean honestly, I can barely remember to shower every day... keeping a composter turning schedule was not going to happen. After much research, I stepped up and bought an Aerobin 3000 and for that fancy of a name you would hope it would make dinner too.  

Unfortunately, the Aerobin did not make dinner... however, it was big and green and required placement on a hardsurface.  In order for us to start greening our lives we need to set up an area for it.  We decided the muddy weedy area next to the driveway would be a good fit.  We went to Lowes and bought 12 stone pavers and constructed our composter. 

Then it happened, what we would soon learn is the way every project begins... the project tripled.  The composter looked so pretty on it's pavers. I was smitten, but then you looked left there was our sad trashcan and recycle bins sitting there in the weedy abyss.  So, another trip to Lowes followed and we got 120 more pavers, three bags of gravel and spent one long hot Sunday bringing 'a trash center' into our lives.   

This was our first exterior project on the house.  It seemed a little silly to spend that much time and money on a trash area when there was so much other work that needed to be done.  Yet, every Wednesday when we smoothly roll the trash over the pavers instead of dragging it out of the mud I am glad we did it. O and for those who want a review of the Aerobin... it is amazing! We never turn it, we put about 3-4 gallons of food compost in it a week and it hasn't been close to full.  It rarely smells and looks a lot more attractive then most of the ones I have seen around town.  So trash can be pretty, although I hope that this blog does not involve many more entries about it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Electrical: Important! But Unsexy

August 2010
During our home inspection it was brought to our attention we had a 1960's pushmatic electrical panel. They were called pushmatics because instead of switches for your circuits they were actual buttons you pushed to turn the circuit on or off.  These were not recommended since they tended to leed to electrical fires.  Wonderful... cough. After talking with some electricians at work, we found out it wasn't 'horrible' but when they got a surge of power they tended to not trip... making them: a fire hazard.  On top of this, after living in the house for almost three months we had started amassing a large list of electrical needs and figured it was worth it to bite the bullet. Also, for those who don't know, my Grandfather owned his own electrical business and I am sure somewhere in Virginia he had started developing a twitch, sensing my electrical deficiencies.
Josh called in an electrician he worked with and we went through the list: 
1. Replace panel
2. Add circuit for our new (still in box) dishwasher
3. Install exterior outlet on front porch(yay christmas lights)
4. Change electrical outlets on exterior to GFCI
5. Repair taped together electrical line to cabinet light
6. Install fancy new light in kitchen
7. Add another outlet to back bedroom
8. Correct anything that looked very scary
Randy came out and spent the whole day bringing our house up to some level of code.  He also fixed our doorbell for free, bonus.  It was our biggest expense to date on the house and we slept a lot better. 

Since electrical is necessary, but unfortunately not so sexy.  I bought the aforementioned fancy kitchen light and a new globe for the kitchen cabinet light. Apparently, fire safe still isn't quite enough for me.  But, when you find a light in the character of your house that happens to be the same lime green of your kitchen, it is meant to be (this was my line to Josh).

Let there be light! and no fires.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dining Room Bliss and Other Rambles

July 2010
I abruptly left the last blog post about the dining room because I felt it was getting long and probably not overly interesting.  Also, I wanted to convey the length of time it takes us to finish these projects.  It feels a bit criminal to sum up 2-3 weeks of work in one blog entry... although I am sure to blog world it makes it look like Josh and I are rock stars. 

Since I broke this blog up into two I can also talk a little about our trim/ceiling color.  As many of you may know from this blog, life, or any other interaction with me I do not like white.  Apparently, this is one of the reasons I can never be a true architect.  I feel quite simply, white is for pussies... wow I said it, gulp.  I love color, I think in colors, I want to express my moods in colors.  To the white lovers, I apologize, I try not to make it personal- I just feel deeply about this and wish I could go into every white house/apartment and paint it when their on vacation (so far this has not happened, so friends and family you are safe).   I realize that artwork and furniture can 'pop' against a white wall but so to can a sky blue vase on a chocolate brown wall.  Okay wow, that was a huge aside. I didn't know you could ramble in writing but proof is here.

So yeah, trim, I didn't want white trim in the house. Trying to pick out non-white white is kinda similar to a slow death by fire.  So I was lucky that we were using an 'attractive' cream white at our buildings.  It seems crazy to use a color that is used in health care clinics... how is that not cold?? But it is the perfect shade because it doesn't seem to fight any colors and doesn't change much with the lighting.  So, I had Josh buy a huge 5 gallon bucket for the trim and another for the ceilings.  We applied our Bone White and let me tell you, it was a leap of faith, against the stark white of the primer it kinda looked the color of flesh, urgh.  And Josh was looking at me in that... 'we just spent $200 bucks on the ugliest thing ever look.'  However, as soon as the white was banished with color it looked AMAZING.  It was antique without looking dirty, cream without looking pastel, and it looked fabulous with our oil rub bronze hardware, yay!

After we finished with the trim we pulled up the paper on the floors, cleaned the room and rolled out my favorite rug I got in Morocco, which fit perfectly!  Josh's boss was amazing and gave us an 80 year old Oak dining table and chairs that had been in his basement for years.  It is adorable and totally something I might have bought at an antique store if we had to go.  We slowly unpacked the room and ate our first dinner at a table in our own dining room.  Bliss.
Also can we all love this Gus photobomb?