Spoiler: the house we bought has radiators.

All the heart eyes, however the roommate wanted to rip them out. When I lived in a rental after college the house had radiators and I LOVED them. A hint of nostalgia as they were prized possessions back in their day! No longer is your house riddled in soot, radiators were invented! These hunks of metal have heated the home for over 100 years (it's since (thankfully) gotten a new boiler attached), how cool is that! 

The thing I love the most about radiators is the consistent heat. In my last house we had forced air which had it's perks (AIR CONDITIONING), but I recall in the winter when the system wasn't on, all the hot air was at the ceiling, and I unfortunately was on the ground. Yes, heat still rises in this house, but it's less of a rapid change than before. We plan on installing AC next summer in the attic, with that will be ducts and a fan, which when we run next year, will make this house even more cozy in the winter bringing the warm air back down.  

ANYWAYS. The radiators in the house were, at some point, painted. They were in horrible condition when we moved in and we knew we'd have to do something about that. So, what do you DO?! I asked around, read online forums and posts and the ideas were scattered. The BEST way to refinish them is to take them outside  and sand blast the paint off before re-coating. I mean....maybe if this was our forever home? Maybe. I mean, we took out one radiator and it almost broke Dan's toe. So, to take out 8 doesn't seem like a walk in the park, not even considering draining them all to do so. SO, other options please?!

One recommended Aluminum paint, another recommended a high heat paint. Both only come in a spray bottle and are highly toxic. SO, other options please?!

When we had the boiler tuned up I asked the technician if he's ever painted radiators or seen them painted...and what paint they used. He suggested a good primer and paint. WHAT? You can use wall paint for this? So, then I asked the kind people at Sherwin Williams about it, because I was there on other business (which once I actually resolve the issue i'll dive into it withya). And she suggested their paint and primer combo to brush on. WELL THAT SEEMS EASY. 

There were portions of the radiators with rust which I had some concerns about. She sent me home with a product to prevent that from seeping through. Thankfully, I only needed to use this on one of the radiators.

First thing we did was clean them all (omg gross). Using a wire brush we got off all the paint that was chipping (we tested for lead, thankfully there wasn't any).

Then we washed down the radiators with soapy water to get off any grease/dust that had collected over the likely 60 years since they've been painted. This was the radiator that had some rust on the bottom, so I tarped/cardboarded off the area to spray that so it wouldn't bleed through the paint.

Once that dried it was time to paint! Took one night, one quart of paint, 5 episodes of the office and a vodka tonic to get them all done.

We painted all the radiators on the main level the same color as all the walls (Navajo White). We noodled the idea of painting them black (GASP) but we decided to let them blend into the walls as opposed to letting them stand out. They are shy like that. Before and after for ya?

 The previous owners painted that blue color EVERYWHERE. There is only one baby sliver of it left upstairs then it will NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN.

Oh hi Christmas tree! Quick shot of the lovely radiator in the corner in our dining room. This room still has a ways to go (light fixture, rug, chairs etc. etc. etc) but progress from the shot above? No?

ANYWAYS! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and happy new year! Thanks for reading along in our progress, we are VERY excited to see what's to come in 2018 for this place :)

Trimming Oak Trees

Did you know that you can only trim oak trees in November? I had no idea! Apparently if you trim them prior they are more susceptible to die/rot (THE MORE YOU KNOW). Not exactly sure on the science but we had a few tree trimmers over for quotes and that was the unanimous time to trim!

We have 4 huge oak trees on our property, two on the front lawn, and one on either side of the house. Three of them had branches that were overhanging our roof a bit. When we first moved in, we were greeted with an army of ants. A few inside, but mostly all over the siding. We had our pest guy come over and spray, and he highly recommended getting those branches trimmed. He said little buggers will climb the branches and drop onto the roof which is no bueno for the future of our ant-less house.

The branches were not all that large, so falling on the house wasn't a concern of mine, but a re-occurrence of an ant army was. So, we got a few quotes, and had them ring up a few other items on our daunting landscape to-do list....SO! I thought i'd give a little exterior update.

The main areas of concern were two trees to the left of the garage (currently hitting the neighbors power line & our NEWLY INSTALLED garage roof line), the forest to the right of the garage, and a tree that has been entangled in our house's powerline just ASKING for it to snap.

So, while they were there trimming the ol' oaks, we had them chop down the three trees, and clear out the brush on the side of the house.

YES, we could have cleared the brush on the side but wanna know something? Dan got poison ivy 2 years ago. And that my friend is something neither of us ever wants to live through again! Also, sometimes when the price is right, ya go for it. We wanted to clear the side of the house as basically a 'prep' for next spring. Next year is THE YEAR OF LANDSCAPING. And we have SO much work to do, so a jump start was necessary.

So the crew came, and within 4 hours they had 3 trees cut down, 3 oak trees trimmed, and cleared out ALL THE BRUSH from the side of the house. 

Do normal people landscape their trees with concrete rubble? Is this a new trend CAN THIS BE A NEW TREND? We knew there was a bunch of concrete over there. Apparently there used to be a large dog kennel back here (OMG SAD), but the fencing was taken down (all but one post) and the concrete has since been broken up and left there. Another great treat from the previous owners.

ANYWAYS, so after the landscapers left Dan and I stood and surveyed the land to see what to do next. OK we can rent a dumpster to throw the concrete into, a jackhammer to break up the concrete, and have someone deliver dirt to level out the area...totally doable...probably $400 and a weekend of work...

THEN, the next day the landscapers texted me and were like..."hey girl, want us to get rid of the concrete...and backfill with dirt...and make all your landscaping dreams come true?" YES PLZ.

So, they came back, this time it took a bit more time to level everything out, and dump the dirt etc.etc. but THEY DID IT.

And then it snowed, so just imagine how great that area is!

What's next, you might ask? Well Winter. Then we need to edge/mulch the ENTIRE yard surrounding the house. But for that back area, we have been noodling a few ideas...including A CHICKEN COOP.

To further convince Dan it could work, I drew up a plan. We have the garage (white box), the black cylinder is a tree...and I want to grow some veggies next year so that's what the two planter boxes are for. The chickens would (eventually) be able to roam the area behind the garage...but LOOK HOW CUTE IT COULD BE!

What do you guys think...SHOULD WE GET CHICKENS? Do you have chickens? Can you tell me all the things? Please?!

Small Victories!

GUYS! I still owe you some juicy updates on the Kitchen Drywall and the (finally, fully) FINISHED upstairs bathroom. HOWEVER, my DSLR of 10+ years has recently decided that it's not interested in focusing any more. Which is usually fine because i'm coo with iPhone photos (like, all of today's post), but the bathroom and kitchen photograph SO MUCH BETTER on a manual mode. I'll get over it soon and getcha an update but until then! Thought i'd drop by with a few small upgrades we completed between traveling lately.

FIRST! Outside.

I mean, obviously the house has since been painted, but I wanted to focus on that little red box. Our mail box, it's a super cute old post box that had seen better days. 

Since getting the house painted it sat in our planter boxes for the rest of summer while we debated all 10 million options on what to do with it. There were a bunch of scratches on the box, but nothing offensive. So we debated ordering a new sticker and spray painting it (what color? Red? Green? Yellow?). While we went over color options I tried to find a new 'modern' post sticker and came up short. After considering making my own we both threw in the towel once we found this little mail box at the Pottery Barn:

It matched all the black accents we have out there, and is just so cute. BTW if you are drilling through stucco as we are, be sure to get the right drill bit so it doesn't take you an hour to bore one hole :)

Also, you'll notice (probably not) that the screen door is gone! The door was so old and janky and every time we opened it a curse word came out. So, we ordered a new door and after picking it up from the store we took out the old and promptly destroyed it into 10 pieces (we take all our scrap metal to the metal recycler and omg the door yielded a WHOPPING 96 CENTS! LOL). Only to find that I measured the wrong jamb of the door, and that of course our door isn't 'typical' and that now we'd need to return this door and custom order a new one! So, TBD on when THAT will happen. 

This one is inside, so you can take your jacket off now...i'll wait.

Let's talk door hardware. At some point, the previous owners took out all the original doors to the bedrooms and put hollow core doors (WHY!) with some  cheap looking brass handles. I knew I wanted to get new handles for them to mimic the handles on all the closet doors:

But first I had to paint. In my last house I took one entire weekend and painted ALL the trim and doors. It was one of the worst weekends, but it was like ripping a giant bandaid off. I'm taking a different approach on this house...small doses of trim paint. SO! Here is the door, if you didn't know what a door looks like:

And from the inside, sneak peak at some towel hooks we FINALLY installed...

Close up of the door handle, for good measure...

SO, changing out a door knob. FAIRLY straight forward since you are basically taking apart something and then putting it back together with just a better looking item. So, unscrew all the things:

^^Evidence of my very clean painting skillz

Then you put it all back together! The bummer part for me was that the circumference (math!) of the new latch was like 1/16th larger than the old one. So I had to sand that hole down for what felt like an hour to jam it in there. The rest was smooth sailing.


Stripping Hardware (the right and the COMPLETELY wrong way)

You guys! You're welcome. I did something completely wrong to show you WHY it's wrong. Isn't that SO nice of me? Like, a project that should have taken a week, is now on week 4 just because I love you. What is that project? Stripping hardware!

Let's dive into this telling tale of 4 doors. These doors are the closet doors in our bedrooms. Beautiful, original doors that I love so. The doors have seen better days, riddled with scratches and questionable coloring splotches. In a perfect world, I would strip them and seal in the beautiful dark wood that is under the 3+ coats of poorly painted latex. However, 2 issues here. 1. I don't want to go insane stripping and refinishing doors, at least not at this point in my life. 2. My husband has a thing with mis matched wood coloring (light floors, dark doors is not OK in his book...still not sure how i'm getting away with the light floors and dark trim on the main floor but I'LL TAKE IT!).

SO, we wanted to paint them the same white that all the trim is getting (some day) upstairs. The doors have been off the hinges since we sanded the floors. Since they weigh a million pounds, it made sense to paint them now before re-hanging. As you can see in the image below, the previous painting crew decided to throw caution to the wind and just paint RIGHT over all of the hardware. Slackers.

 My vision was Oil Rubbed Bronze hardware against a beautiful white door. And come hell or high water IT WILL HAPPEN.

So I spent a week painting the doors. One coat of primer 2 coats of paint (my go to combination). As I rounded the corner on the final coat I picked up some Citri-Strip for the hardware. After trying (for all of 10 minutes) to get any of the screws out of the hardware I threw in the towel and had a GENIUS plan to meticulously paint the stripper on the hardware and scrape it off with a brush.


It KINDA worked. Day 1, I picked up a metal brush to help and some paint came off. I felt hopeful. I added another layer of paint stripper on. I did this for three days, it was moving at a snails pace and wasn't looking like my VISION. I started to notice the metal of the hardware wasn't Oil Rubbed Bronze, and one door was even a brassy color (THE HORROR). Also, they were pretty scratched up.

After snail steps with that idea, I bit the bullet and decided to take off the hardware. It took 4 different flat head sizes and the strength of an ox to get some of those stripped screws out (pro tip: put a rubber band around the tip of a screwdriver for stripped heads). But really, it's what I should have done in the first place.

Here's what I was working with. This was one of the handles that hadn't gone through the 3 day Citri-Strip failed method. SO! I tossed them into a crock pot with soapy water and OMG SO EASY WOWWWW.

 I put one of those crock pot bags over, since I still plan on using this bad boy for human food and don't really want chipped paint residue lingering.

THE PAINT PEELED RIGHT OFF. So easy, wish I would have saved myself the time and just powered through in the first round. SO NOW YOU KNOW! Then, I picked up some ORB (oil rubbed bronze) Spray paint and made them look SO AMAZING.

BUT! THE STORY DOESN'T END THERE! So that Citri Strip? That I delicately painted on the hardware? Started to leak onto the paint around the hardware! So everything I wanted white was actually pink! SO GREAT! I sanded these areas down to the BARE WOOD twice. Didn't work. Scrapped it away with paint thinner THEN sanded again. Didn't work. Had a meltdown in the garage. Didn't work.

So, I painted LAYERS of primer. It took about 6 coats before I could no longer see the pink coloring. OMG so fun guys, just hanging out in my spider infested garage watching paint dry.

ANYWAYS. All's well that ends well?


 Better? Yes? Yes!

An Office Update

THE OFFICE! Have I mentioned that I work from home? I DO! This little nook was a HUGE selling point for us. Most of the other houses we looked at didn't have a den/office, so we would have had to transfer a bedroom into an office. This is MUCH better. Also, the windows! It's right off the front door too so I can creep on passer-bys - BONUS!.

Here is what the room looked like immediately after we signed the papers, and before Dan ripped the blinds off (not much time in between mind you.). 

Since then, we (my mom!) painted the walls, and we refinished the floors. THEN, we loaded it up with the nearest furniture in site so I could have a functioning office ASAP and VOILA: 

So pretty right?! Go ahead, pin it, i'll wait. The table was from the previous owners, it has since found it's way up to the cabin (we were going to use it in the dining room, but found a different option and IT'S ON IT'S WAY!). We were noodling over a desk for foreverrrr (stand up, sit down, 2 desks?, vintage, white, ikea, omg the choices), and finally when we found this one from Crate and Barrel it was ALL the heart eyes. It has THREE little drawers too which was an added bonus.

Cable management needs to be a college course...HOW IS IT DONE. I am destined to find a way to huge the quadrillion cords it takes to set up an office. So far my ideas involve twist ties and command strips...so we will see how far that takes me. 

I picked up a little storage unit from IKEA for the corner. This holds all those 'officy' things that you rarely need but then do one day and OMG WHERE IS IT. Between that and the desk drawers, that's the only storage in this area. 

We got some planters for the corner of the room, I put 2 cute little plants in there that i'm bound to kill in a few weeks, please send your thoughts and prayers to them that they make it longer. #nogreenthumbhere

We are still on a mission to find the BEST paint for our little radiators (we have 8 to paint!). They all got serviced this week and are (finally!) full of water once again and ready to take on the winter. We are leaning towards a metal paint so we can color match them to the walls. 

I also need to hang some art still, isn't that the hardest thing to do when you move into a new place? Stick a nail in a wall. Yes we will tear down two entire walls and rip up flooring but NO NOT A SINGLE NAIL! We also need blinds BAD, there is about 2 hours in the morning when the sun pierces my eyes at my desk. Thankfully there is a strategically placed oak tree out front that I can dodge the sun with. But I feel like blinds would be a better long-term solution?!

So, what's left for this room? We are noodling a new rug and light fixture. I like the navy rug we have, we just want something a little bigger (maybe 5x7), and perhaps a little lighter to tie into the couch and walls. For the light fixture, since this room is across from the dining, we will likely find something complementary for the two spaces. OH, ALSO.

The opening to the office has little hinges on it AND THE FRENCH DOORS WERE IN THE BASEMENT. They are in....ROUGH shape, but I am destined to at least TRY and revive them. We are thinking a nice color pop (I am just assuming I can't salvage the original wood, but here's hoping!). TBD if we will actually want doors here, but it might be in the cards...

WOo! Finger snaps for functioning rooms!