Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pass It Thru, From Me to You!

When we first looked at this house, it came pretty close to meeting our list of requirements (I should post that sometime!). One of the things it was missing was an open floor plan. We were pretty realistic about this item on our wishlist, as most of the houses we could afford were built before the advent of the popular 'open concept' floor plan.

After thinking about it for a while we decided that the empty wall in the kitchen (empty save for an outlet and heating register) could be knocked out to create a more 'open' feel to the living space in the house. When doing our pre-purchase inspection, we found out that said wall was load-bearing. And, being proud new homeowners, we didn't want to cave our pretty new roof in. This is where a pass-thru comes in.

To refresh your memory... this is what the room looked like before:

Behind that big empty wall on the left is the kitchen. This is the view from the front door.

After determining that a pass-thru would let the wall remain load-bearing (and determining what I wanted was called a pass-thru), I started to look for some inspiration online.

Not as great as a truly open floor plan, this would allow us a little more breathing room in the kitchen and flow throughout the living/public areas of the house.

Here's our pass-thru after...

Looking into the kitchen (with a sneak-peek of the re-finished kitchen cabinets!).

Looking out from the kitchen to the front window...

From the front door again...

And the gratuitous beagle shot.

All in all, we're very happy with our pass-thru. It was well worth the money to have someone do this for us. Our guests don't know it isn't original and it makes entertaining and watching Jeopardy while cooking dinner so much easier!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm still being a bad blogger (but... I'm being a good student!) so I'm going to post a bunch of pictures to try to get you all up to speed... we're still in October in Fruits/Roots land!

Up first... our ugly, broken, thankfully-not-glued-to-the-wall mirror. Marcia taped it all up so she, Callie and I could remove it safely. I neglected to get a photo of the way the previous owners updated the paint colors by carefully painting around the broken section...

Here are some 'action shots' of some of my painting supplies. I am/was so sick of painting. I went to the massage therapist because I hurt my back and she asked me what I'd been doing because my right side was so much tighter than my left. I couldn't think of it at the time but Byron mentioned later that I'd spent dozens of hours painting in a very short period of time!

The paint color in the office and guest room is "Tatami Mat" by Behr.

Buy yourself an angled 2" good quality cutting-in brush. It was the best $10 we spent. Another fine recommendation from John and Sherry at, our home reno/deco idols!

Having a 5'10" sister-in-law is very useful. Saves money on ladders. ;)

Having a 13" tall beagle does not.

After applying the fancy, color-changing spackle to the walls, Callie declared it looked like our house had leprosy. Thankfully, it dried clear. That wall to the left now has a giant pass-thru in it and the whole living/dining/hall is painted "Sanctuary" by Behr!

I'm going to scour my hard drive and SD cards... see what other photos I can come up with. We're having our first real 'party' this weekend with my classmates so hopefully I'll remember to get some photos of the house all dressed up in its holiday finest! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


There's this great website - - which allows you to make digital collages of images from the web. Here's a few I've made!

This first one is an inspiration for our bedroom. We already have the Hemnes dresser from IKEA, and I'd like to get the pictured Avington headboard from Target. We ended up going with a paint called "Juniper Ash" by Behr. It's a blue/grey/green color. I have big plans to stain the nightstands dark like the ones pictured and we have light blocking curtains in a tan/taupe color as well. We'll have to see if you think our bedroom turns out like this collage!

Here is another board I made when we were registering for wedding gifts and trying to imagine them in a fictitious "someday" house instead of our apartment.

Our bathroom still needs some work, mostly because I got off the painting train and haven't been able to get back on! :) Look for progress in the future!

Finally, here's the board I made when we were registering for kitchen items. It's not so much decor as 'stuff', but I think you get a feel for the mood I want in the kitchen. We have almost all of these things, except for the cupcakes, unfortunately! :)

Looking back on this post, I see how much I like that seaglass green color! So, it's not surprising I just purchased a green 'demijohn' bottle a bit like these! ($15 at TJMaxx!)

Hope you're liking my inspiration... hopefully soon I'll be moving onto the 'after' pictures!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Progress

Here are some photos of some of the work we've been doing. It's much more complete than this now, but I like to show the 'before,' 'during,' and 'afters'. :)

Here are all of the kitchen cabinet doors being laid out and labeled for easy reinstallation. Mocha is supervising.

This is the kitchen 'before,' with doors removed.

Here is one view of the kitchen primed with Oil-Based Kilz primer. We got our cabinet painting technique from, my favorite home renovation/decoration blog.

Here's another view.

These are the doors on our side porch, laid out and drying on the sawhorses (AKA picnic table benches).

Mocha was tired of supervising and decided to play with her beloved peanut butter jar instead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beagle Containment

So we now have a fence to keep the dog from running away. She tried to convince us that she would just stay in the yard of her own volition, but we didn't believe her.

Thanks to Jeff and Justin for their help in putting the fence up last weekend.

Here is the yard before..

And after...

And here is the little one surveying her territory.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things We've Purchased

Sorry for the absence, readers (reader?)! Turns out it is a lot easier to blog about your house before you move in than it is once you're actually here. We've made lots of progress and have lots to show you!

We've been dropping some money into the house purchasing some new things.

Like this fancy new fridge! It's much more appropriately sized for our kitchen. And, coincidentally, we just happened to pick paint color for the kitchen that matched the sides of it exactly!

If anyone ever wants to take an adventure, go to the Sears Outlet in Lawrenceville. It's the scratch-and-dent center for Sears. While we ultimately didn't purchase our fridge there, there were many many options. Don't let the fact that it's located in a nearly abandoned industrial park and that it has a sign which faces not the road but the Allegheny River scare you off.

If you'll remember, our old fridge was big-ass. Conveniently, my parents have a big-ass kitchen and their 12 year old fridge had nearly kicked the bucket. So they got the old one and we got this one! Two birds, meet one stone. :)

Another recent purchase is this rug from Pottery Barn. It was on clearance!

It's technically an indoor/outdoor rug (it's some sort of plastic) but you really can't tell! And it's perfect for life with a dog. Especially since she deposited candy-corn colored puke on it this afternoon! (she found my stash!)

Another item we've purchased- the Expedit workstation from Ikea.

We already had the bookcase and as such just bought the desk part. You'll see it in our new office soon. :)

Continuing on the IKEA theme, we also picked out these curtains. Continuing on the "Jeni is cheap" theme, they were $14.99. A. Pair. They're cotton and have a lovely linen texture to them. They really look way more expensive than that price!

One of my favorite purchases are our new house numbers. These ones are from Design Within Reach and are $48 PER NUMBER. Never gonna happen.

However, I found these at Home Depot for $5.99 per number! Practically the same. Both sets are 'floating' and give a really cool effect, but my set has a much cooler price. Look for them in an upcoming post!

That's the round-up of our latest purchases. What do you want to hear about next?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Okay... one last post about the... let's call them... "quirks" of our new pad. Then we'll be onto the makeovers! :)

While I like the sentiment of "Home Sweet Home", and it does match the heart cut-outs on our shutters, I think this will be replaced. With some nice modern, streamlined house numbers. :)

This gem of construction is the little 'jail cell' opening between our laundry room and basement. We're not sure why it is there. Decorative, I guess.

This is part of the water damage/repair from our basement. Which deserves its own post. Maybe I'll have Byron rant at you about that.

And here's our TINY dishwasher. We're going to have to run it every day, at least. It is really as small as it looks!

Our dead tree stump in the backyard. Would be perfect if we had a cat that needed a scratching post!

God Bless America, these people really loved their faded wooden decorative items!

Exhibit C: The crooked wooded mailbox, with a convenient large HOLE for entrance of rain and snow!

That's it for the 'quirks'! Up next... painting!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sooo.... the previous owners loved decorative lightswitch covers. This we have established.

Their other true love? Ceiling fans. Lots and lots of ceiling fans. Want to see a selection?

This one brushed the back of my head when I was removing cabinet doors for painting. (pics of that coming soon!)

Dining Room-
Yes, I said dining room. I guess maybe to cool your food off while it sits on the table?

Guest room-
Strikingly similar to dining room, no? At least they're consistent!

Master bedroom-
Who doesn't want to look up and see that in the morning? (not to mention it seems like it's a little out of balance and may fly off the mechanism at any moment!)

Please note the angel fan pull.

Need a close-up? Here you go!

Happy Halloween! (if that won't scare you... don't know what will!)

Only a few more posts featuring snarky commentary, I promise. Soon we'll get to the makeovers!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The next blog post is going to be about some of the... let's call them... "not-so-chic" aspects of the house. No offense intended if you love these design decisions, but we'll be changing them out...

Up first? The variety of lightswitch covers throughout the house. This first one was, we presume, located in the previous owners' daughter's room. We hope. I tried to convince Byron to keep it, to no avail...

Next, the main bathroom. Who knew you could get a white wicker lightswitch cover?? coordinates perfectly with the fruit basket wallpaper. (Maybe that was the idea?)

This gem of electrical engineering was created to fit a very specific spot. This is the switch for the basement lights, and is located halfway down the stairs.

And finally, in the master bedroom. Nothing against Americana (some do it very well), but this is the only indication of anything of this style in the house...

Up next... the ceiling fans!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Inside the house... the nickle tour...

After that extensive outdoor tour... here are some shots from inside. I'm still getting the hang of the photo thing...

If you couldn't tell from the other photos, the house is a ranch over a garage, with 3 bedrooms, a bath, living room and dining room on the main floor.

The upstairs bathroom. Please note the fruit basket border. The shower window was just replaced; the balance was broken and the window wouldn't stay open. That sucker was $300!

The dining room. Pretty self-explanatory... View from the living room, kitchen is thru the door to the right.

The big-ass refrigerator. This fridge is so big it didn't fit under the cabinets. Those cabinets above it were taken down and just sat upon the top of the fridge. Behind the cabinets the previous owners were kind enough to leave us some Frosted Mini Wheats and Protein Powder. Door to side porch is on the right.

The kitchen, with the big-ass exhaust fan. That thing is like a jet engine! It opens up a little flap on the back wall of the house.

The living room wall, which may soon have a 'pass-thru' into the kitchen to open the room up some.

The master bedroom. Please note the square left on the rug from the previous owners' bed.

The (tiny) office. Will contain desk, bookcase, chair and not much else!

Closet in the guestroom. Looks pretty much like the other rooms! Will eventually be called the guestroom/library/reading room.

Up next... the lowlights! The best collection of ceiling fans and light switch covers you've ever seen!