Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Depaving the Castle

May 2012

Some of you may know that Josh and I have been involved in an organization called Depave for the last three years.  We like to take a few summer weekends and give back to our community that has been so welcoming.  We volunteer to help rip up asphalt and concrete at schools, churches and small businesses to allow for green space, water infiltration, and general place making.  After doing this for over 10 locations we have really seen the benefits.  The transformation of black top to gardens, playgrounds, and bio swales have been truly inspiring.  One of the things Depave wanted to try was to have a workshop to show how homeowners can depave their own properties.  In Portland,  many of our small yards are filled with driveways and parking areas that we don't use. These spaces could be growing plants, absorbing water and providing habitats for animals and birds. 

 We offered up our house as a good candidate for the workshop.  We actually share our driveway with our neighbor Mary.  In the backyard we have a confusing, code breaking triple garage that we share with a huge parking pad in front.  I mean huge.  The pad actually is one continuous concrete area that is our patio, parking spot, two other parking spots and her own patio.  It was a crazy 100' x 20' area which frequently flooded due to a capped storm sewer line.  We decided we would be willing to remove huge areas to become flower beds, gravel parking, and a center planting strip to improve our drainage and allow rain to sink into the ground and refresh the water shed instead of running back into the street and sewer.
All in all, it was about 1,500 square feet to remove.  We designed a landscape plan, ordered tons of gravel, rented a concrete saw and bought plants in preparation for 30 workshoppers, 10 depavers, and one videographer to document our progress.  This was a big project, which in many ways will not improve the value of our home, or even make a huge difference in curb appeal.  However, we felt it was the right thing to do for our planet and for the organization.

The weekend before in the relentless rain that is May in Portland we worked to get the space ready for the workshop.  We look down our fence which divided the patio from our parking spot, pre-cut the concrete, selected the materials, and made numerous trips to get supplies ready.  Plants in hand, on soggy and cool Saturday we started to work....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mudroom Before and After

April 2012

After taking some time off from our bedroom and hallway paint-a-thon we finally got enough good weather to finish off the mudroom.  This room seriously feels like it haunts me... how can we still be working on it?  Over the winter, I had sanded the closet door and painted it and also stripped the hardware and reinstalled it back in place. I also added two coats of poly to the floor so that it was easier to mop up.  The porch paint tended to scuff and discolor so we thought this would help make it more resilient.  Josh also install some base shoe around the room to clean up the edges. The only thing we had left to do was to paint the doors and add the finishing touches.

Josh and I took a Saturday and teamed up to add two coats of our favorite red paint on the doors. We decided instead of painting the doors white in an all white room, to paint the doors the same color that we did on the exterior.  We felt this was in keeping with our theme of this being a porch, not a staircase landing.  We wanted it to feel more a part of the outside then the interior. I think this reforced our decision to paint the floor with porch and install exterior bead-board.



After we finished painting, I added the old hallway runner to the space and started to think about accessories.  The room gets a lot of use and a lot of bangs and bumps. We were a little nervous to put up a lot of artwork in the space.  In the end, I pulled out two photographs I bought in London ages ago and decided it was their time to shine.  I took them to Michael's to be framed, using our signature black frame and white mat to beef them up and hung one on the wall from the kitchen and another on the wall to the basement.  I was happy to see them find a home after 8 years of hiding in a box. I also think the pops of red, black and white work well with the room as whole.  My last addition was a cute brass dog head coat hook I got a couple of years ago at anthropologie.  It made the perfect spot to hang Gus's rainjacket (yes my dog has a rainjacket, you laugh, but the smell of wet dog 9 months out of the year is not a joke).



Down the line, I would like to update the rug and add some additional art.  Hopefully in a year or so this area won't be as much of a construction zone and we can put some nicer things in it.

Dare I say... I another room down?

The round up:
Where we paid:
New custom made French door $1,900.00, New energy star dog door- $175.00, Installation of new french door and dog door $300.00, Cost for paneling, installation, and skim coated ceiling: $650.00, One gallon Acrinamel Semi-Gloss basic white paint- $43.00, One gallon porch paint- $45.00, Artwork- $120 for custom framing and matting, Coat hook-$12.00 Anthropologie, New light fixture-$120 School House Electric, Electrical for light- $60.00

Where we saved:
Tore up the linoleum ourselves, decided to keep original floor instead of installing tile, sanded the floor ourselves, painted the room ourselves, reused an existing rug, reused existing paint for the doors, reused existing poly for the floors, reused existing hardware by stripping it.

It still a huge expense which feels crazy for a mudroom, but then I have to remember: we had an unusable door, structurally unsound framing, no light, falling down plaster, horrible floors all of which greeted you from our kitchen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunny Hallway

February 2012

Hallway part two!  After we let the plaster dry I went ahead and primed the entire room.  This proved to be one smelly situation since our primer decided it was old and was going to be stinky.  It quickly became one very small and very smelly room. It seems painting in the middle of the winter with no exterior windows allows odors to linger for a long time (who knew?). Can you say fumes? After going back and forth about colors and painting 12 samples on the wall we decided to go with a creamy gold color for the hallway. Since the room is so small and all the surrounding rooms had such vibrant colors we thought this was the warmest way to transition between spaces. We went with Benjamin Moore Concord Ivory.  Which is not ivory for the record but more of a butter color. 

I bought a color-matched gallon of Miller Acrinamel Satin and pulled out my trusty Bone White Acrinamel Semi-Gloss for the trim and ceiling and went to town.  By went to town I mean I hand painted the entire space.  It was slow going.  There was a lot of cutting in since there were so many doors.  There was virtually no space to roll anything.  Also, the room is 9 feet tall so I couldn't use a step stool,  I had to move my 8 foot ladder up and down the hallway as needed. But three coats of Ivory and two coats of bonewhite on the doors and trim and I felt like I had a whole new space.

At the same time, I stripped the hardware for the closet door (which someone had slopped paint all over) I also ordered a vintage inspired light on Etsy and picked a clear glass shade to allow as much light as possible. Smaller changes included adding oil-rub bronze light switch covers, painting the thermostat bone white (a huge bonus since it was a gross 1970's gold color) and getting some frames for all of our national park posters.

The end result was light and bright and a huge difference from the blink and you missed it dirty white hallway.  Part of me wishes the color was a little more orange and went with the rug a little better but I didn't want to sacrifice the brightness for matchy matchy requirements. All in all, I was pretty happy with the space.
Just as a reminder: Before 2010

After 2012

A round up:  plaster repairs $200, Concord Ivory wall paint $43.00, Bone White trim/ceiling paint $0 (because we bought it a year ago), vintage inspired Etsy light $75.00,  oil rub bronze switch cover $8.00, Michael's black frames for three posters- $60.00, and Pottery Barn sale runner $75.00.  That's a whole new space for under $500.00! Although when you realize the space is about 8 square feet it may not work out to such a great deal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Hallway?

February 2012

On the main floor of our house we have a very small hallway filled with 6 doors.  It's a blink and you'll miss it kinda space that gets you from one area to the next.  When we moved in it looked like this. 

The first thing we did was refinish the flooring.  But from that moment on I chose to ignore it's existence besides the weekly vacuum and occasional spider web removal. However, this room needed love.  The plaster walls and ceilings had cracks and were stained.  The only light came from a bare light bulb that was one of those CFL's that had to 'warm up' so we pretty much never turned it on.  It was a mess. 

But what really started it was the rug. The existing runner in the space was from my college dorm room and was approaching 9 years old. It was worn, stained and always seemed to be coated in Gus fur.  I could not wait to replace this rug.  So, after careful consideration I decided on a West Elm rug and ordered it during the Christmas sale season.  But my rug was back ordered and then sold out and I was sad.  Until I found this even cooler Pottery Barn rug on after-christmas sale!  Win!  I ordered it up, downgraded the existing rug to our mudroom and rolled this out.  Swoon.

But wait... how can such a beautiful rug be in such a horrible space?  After Christmas when the plaster guy did our upstairs bedroom we had him skim out the walls and ceilings.  Josh and I debated paint colors and went back and forth.  Did we want a cool light gray? Warm golds? Classic browns? It was going to be tough, the rooms off of the hallway are fern green, lime green, butternut squash and seafoam green. More importantly you ask...  how have we still not painted over that horrible blue trim in the stairwell?

Stay tuned.