One More Christmas Post

OK, one more Christmas post before the big day! This time, our entry. (Family room here and den here.) I loved walking down the hall to our simple entry Halloween decorations this year, so I basically copied that but in Christmas form. I swapped mirrors (this one is from Amazon and is one of my favorite purchases!), then added a little white tree and lights. Again, pretty low-key decorating this year. Festive but contained. Give me a few more years and I might be down to nothing! The older I get, the more stressed I get, and the less excess I can handle. Is this natural life progression…or should I talk to someone in 2018?  This special little vintage “KISS ME” mistletoe decoration was made by my kiddos great grandma. So sweet. Around the corner from the entry, in the dining room bookshelf, I tucked my favorite vintage reindeer along with our advent calendarSo if you are keeping score, I completely failed at a calm, simple, reflective December despite my best efforts. I’m a wreck. Does this just happen as kids get older and have more of a social life/homework/etc? While I’m not ready to pack up the decorations, I’m really looking forward to some quiet next week after all the celebrating, when we have nothing scheduled but some hardwood flooring install (in the kid bedrooms!). I desperately need a break, mostly from being my youngest’s teacher, ha! Christmas plus regular mom stuff plus homeschool has just pushed me over the edge this month. Like pass the pillow, I’m gonna scream. So sad, but true, and just life. Hope your December fared better! And if so, tell me your secrets to simplicity. If not, there’s always next Christmas! Merry Christmas from my crazy house to yours! xoxo

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Flooring Updates and DIY Feelings

When it comes to this house, sometimes I feel like a super successful do-it-yourselfer and other times a complete failure. The flooring, the literal foundation for every room, falls into the failure category. But we are working on rectifying the situation, only 3.75 years into living here! Approximately half the house has had most of its wood floors installed for a least the last year or two, but lingering rows remained unfinished and abandoned under furniture. Preventing us from baseboards. Preventing us from any “finished” look anywhere in the house.

I’m so ready to move on with my life so I’ve pushed this project to priority status, though installing wonky boards is the last thing my husband wants to do in his free time. I’ve talked previously about our love/hate relationship with the hardwood floors we chose. They are so pretty, but have been THE WORST to install. Not like I’m doing any of the hard stuff. My husband has taken on that burden completely upon his shoulders (and knees, and wrists, and hands, and back…). But the installation has been so hard and so frustrating that the flooring is the #1 project that we avoid and ignore in our house. Which is unfortunate, because it’s not as is the flooring in your entire house can be hidden behind a closed door. I see it daily. It became that thing we were semi-blind to and forget how bad it actually is…or how much better it could be if we just put in a few days of work. This past weekend was dedicated to tying up some lose flooring ends and the few miserable days of work have paid dividends! Among other things, the flooring in the entry and adjacent coat closet is finally finished! hardwood floors diy install entry threshold bellawood maplesubfloor This part of our house was at one point an open hole to the earth below – we had to remove and replace subfloor because it so not level that floors couldn’t even be installed upon it. Only a few unfinished rows of floors remained, but it was hours of work that included refinishing the exterior wood threshold, custom fitting a new gasketed threshold under the door, and impossibly shimmying the puzzle pieces of the last row into place. You can’t see this, but the door even got some new hinges to help it hang a little better on our old crooked and shifting house (!). My husband does really great work and I’m so thankful for all the different kinds of hard works he puts in for our family.
hardwood floors diy install entry threshold For so long the first steps into our house were unfinished ones, a taste of what was to come. This seems to signify a great shift in our household! The entry is now leaving me with quite the good impression. I know why we pushed this project off for so long, but at the same time, why did we wait so long to do this??? coral pink front doormaple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsWe also checked off the den flooring, kitchen flooring, and dining room flooring this weekend, which means those rooms are now ready for baseboards. Which has brought us to another exciting but frustrating stop on our journey: picking out the baseboards! I am sick of making decisions and want someone to just tell me what to do. I’ve narrowed it down to something void of ornamentation, but I can’t land on a height. Really tall? 60’s short? In between? What is the answer internet? We could go with a super simple cove that is probably most like the original baseboards of the house, but it reads cheap to me compared with simple squared off options. NO MORE DECISIONS.maple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsThe next stop on this flooring journey is an irritating and unexpected one: the decision whether to continue as planned and hardwood the entire house (minus the sunken family room and the bathrooms) or to keep/replace carpet the bedrooms. I fully believe in cohesive flooring in a house so I’m against carpet in the bedrooms…but the pace, hours and scale of installing these stupid crooked boards ourselves is irrational, even for me. It would be perfectly reasonable to quit sinking money into floors that my husband swears he hates enough to never refinish (the only reason we bought the real stuff instead of the easier to install, incredibly straight engineered wood flooring). He would love to just pay someone to install new carpet in the bedrooms and never look back…and never give another dime to Bellawood. My kids would prefer carpet in their rooms too. And I’m sure my aging dog sides with all of them. It’s me and my choppy floor pet-peeve against them all, and I can’t argue with their rationalizations. I’ve conceded the final decision to my husband, so we’ll see what gets handed down. Choosing new carpet, something I never imagined myself doing, might be in my future…

I’m realizing that our renovation style is slow and unfocused. We jump from project to project as motivation strikes and disappears, rarely seeing things through to completion before moving on to the next thing, and then living amongst our half finished projects. (Evidence: the master bath project that went so bad and frustrating that we needed to take a breather, but now we’re living with an even dumpier space that we began with). I’m sure part of that is our personalities, but I think a majority of it is out of necessity because of our time/energy constraints. The massive undertaking of fixing up an entire house almost 100% yourselves while also juggling parenting and job responsibilities (add in homeschooling!) is crazy person business when you step back and think about it. I’m not complaining, because I’m the crazy person who again and again eagerly volunteers for this. But there are days when I step back and think why are we doing all this??? and it’s usually on hardwood floor install days. I also ignorantly assume that everybody else is spending their weekend plugging away at projects on their home, forgetting this isn’t normal. I can see why most people spend their weekends relaxing. Maybe one day I’ll be one of them – or maybe I’m not cut out for a life of leisure? High fives and pats on the backs to all you other DIYers out there! Keep up the good work and I get/like your kind of crazy!

Porch Freshess

mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exteriorHeeey! Here with some porch freshness today: a new door color (same old door), a new doorbell button, a fresh coat of exterior paint on the wood and eaves, and the removal of a handrail. It all adds up to a much cleaner look!

Why am I painting the same weird scrolly old door again when there is a new door taking up space in the garage waiting to be hung? Umm, mostly because I’m crazy. Secondarily, because I have a hunch the new door is gonna be a long time coming. Hanging doors is one of our most dreaded house jobs and I foresee it continually dropping to the bottom of the list. Considering that, I was ready to move past the coral, which was only supposed to be short lived. The color was fun and all, but certainly wasn’t doing the exterior paint color any favors. I tried out a bright turquoise this time around, a color that seriously brings out the best in the tan exterior. It’s the same color I used on our backyard mosaic wall: Behr water park.mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

mid century turquoise front door sputnik entry light behr water park

mid century bullet planter porch Behr Water Park waterpark

mid century double cone exterior light brass

rejuvenation starburst doorbell mid century vintage star

mid century letterbox mail box bamboo brass

mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

mid century turquoise aqua blue front door entry

mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exterior

mid century rittenhouse long chime doorbell door bell emersonWe finally switched out the old doorbell button for this starburst repro from Rejuvenation and rewired our long chime doorbell so that it actually works again! (Read more about them here.) How cute! How loud! It was disconnected for so long to address some electrical iffies that we all forgot how boisterous and wonderful our chimes are. The back porch doorbell only warrants one ding, but ringing the front door button produces an entire song! This massive beast, made by Rittenhouse, is 4.5 feet tall and is one my favorite original fixtures in the house, even though kids constantly crash into it when barreling down the hall (…or intentionally slam it when they are pissed to get a rise out of me…totally works). mid century rittenhouse long chime door bell

mid century rittenhouse long chime door bell Losing the rail (which you can see more of here) along the wall has been a huge but subtle improvement. So subtle that I think I’m the only person in the world who actually notices. But trust me, when you do notice, the streamline hits you hard. I’m hoping to remove the other side sometime down the line, but I need to verify handrail codes and patch concrete and all so, not now. The rail’s last hurrah:

mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailboxI have almost given up like 20 times on the paint-your-house-yourself fool’s errand that I’m on. I joked that it would take a year, and it’s almost been that long. Granted, I rarely work on it. But when I do, it’s full days of backbreaking, exhausting misery. Looks good, though!

As for this plant, it’s not gonna make it, is it? This south facing corner spot is a certified killer. It’s in shade for most of the day but then is pummeled with the strongest sunlight for the last few hours of the day. The heat radiates off the walls, killing all life. Everything sunburns. Any ideas internet? I’m going to try a full-on spiky cactus next, but I fear even that will burn in these conditions and, as a bonus, also possibly impale someone???mid century bullet planter porch

I think changing door colors might be my thing. It’s like a quick and cheap outfit change for your house. Better, right? (Though side by side this looks like a gross baby shower.)

    mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

    mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exterior

    mid century turquoise front door sputnik entry light

The end. Thanks for reading! (Itching for more, more, more door talk?…go here for a mega-post on vintage door hardware. xoxo)