Moved in!

The last few weeks has been a bit of a blur, full of moving, unpacking, paying the mortgage (belch!) moving furniture around, and quietly lamenting the need to unload some of our older furniture and purge the space of things we don’t absolutely love, or absolutely use.

One project that has been in the works for almost a year though is moving forwards to a reimagining session:

the coffee table! 

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Bad photo, sorry!

I’ve had this amazing Walnut slab since June 2013, when our dear friends (and Paul’s old roommates), Eric and Amy, were packing up their house in anticipation of a move to St. Louis for grad school. I immediately wanted to make it into a coffee table, since the wood is gorgeous, but also because of the sentimental value the wood has. Eric milled this slab of wood with a chainsaw and his own two hands, and I love that you can still see the scars from the saw in the wood. 

Plus it would be a great addition to our little couch-living area!

When I got the slab, hairpin legs were the only kind of leg I wanted to consider, and so I promptly purchased a three legs from a fabricator in Philadelphia that sells on Etsy. The only problem? The leg brackets are too big to fit the slab and can’t make a triangle that would keep the table from tipping over. 

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There is a limited amount of space where brackets can be attached, which makes constructing a base a bit more difficult.

So now I have to reimagine the table, and I think I’ve decided how the base should work. I am enjoying the bent tube slab tables quite a bit, and I am thinking a mix between these two tables would probably work.

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This is a doll house table, but that is pretty much the kind of base I need.

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This was made by a local lumber and furniture company where we live.

Now all I need to do is find someone who can weld me a base for not very much money and I’ll have my dream coffee table!

Does anyone have any resources for affordable custom welding in the Pacific Northwest?

Finishing (almost) with paint and refinishing the floors…

Last week was spent in a marathon of painting the walls a bright, clean white in anticipation of having our wood floors refinished. After refinishing the ceiling, we opted to go with a flat white paint called ‘Mountain Snow’ by MetroPaint, a company based in Portland, OR that recycles latex paint. Much less expensive than other paints (coming in at $50 for a 5 gallon bucket), the paint seems to be a bargain as well as having great coverage and looking great. There’s a plus in it being recycled and that the purchase goes towards supporting MetroPaint and BRING Recycling, which is one of the first places I check to look for building materials and is where we got our awesome new front door! But one step at a time…

The reason we had to rush to finish the walls was because the monumental project that was refinishing the ceiling took a little more time than we anticipated and it snowed 8 inches (unheard of in the Willamette Valley) the first Friday of December. The snow made the whole city shut down and we were only able to spend a couple hours a night (instead of an extra 5-6) at the house working since the temperatures stayed so cold we were worried about late night road conditions.

The good news is that we managed to finish both bedrooms and the living room and kitchen parts that were over the wood floors plus the beams so that we would only have a couple spots of touch up if necessary. The difference is huge, even though it may not seem like it would be.

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Primered previously wall-papered wall and trimmed window and heater.

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Refinished ceiling and newly painted walls and beams.

After about 7 days, we finished painting two bedrooms, the living room, hallway, and part of the kitchen the same nice, refreshing white.

And against that lovely, crisp wall existed these floors. Nearly 60 years old, and lacking love for much (if not all) of their life in the house. Short plank red, white, and golden oak hardwood, the floors have some beautiful color and grain variation, but no longer had any finish left on the boards at all. The result is a floor that looked dirty and grey, scratched and dry after so many years of being improperly cared for.

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ImageImage Since we technically aren’t allowed to step foot in the house, most of the next pictures of the floor will be sneak peeks through the window, with better ones to follow when we are no longer exiled. We opted to go with a natural oil finish because it is UV stable and we wouldn’t need to refinish the entire area if the floor was scratched or when we remove the baseboard heaters. With proper care, the natural oil should stay beautiful for many years to come.

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ImageOur official reintegration date is Saturday, when I believe we will begin moving furniture! After almost two months of bargaining with the sellers and almost two months of working on the place non-stop, I am looking forward to the move-in process and all the exciting projects we have coming up!

Finishing up the ceiling and getting started on other projects

We have spent the last few days finishing up the sanding and urethaning of our cedar ceiling, and the only project left of that is a coat of poly on the last bedroom. All the other aspects of the ceiling are taken care of and we are gearing up to have the floors refinished. In preparation of the floors, we are painting the walls a beautiful, bright white that makes the creamy white walls look yellow. It is already a huge improvement and my dad has only done the trim on one bedroom.

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Baseboard heater blocking off about 6 ft of the living room

In thinking about the floors, I am having to make a decision about our heating situation. We have baseboard heating throughout the house, and thank goodness the old owners insulated (about the only thing I am thanking them for) because they actually keep the house fairly toasty. The problem? They aren’t the most energy efficient, and frankly, aren’t wonderful to look at in addition to blocking off furniture placement in some crucial areas of the house.

I am looking at trying to replace the baseboard heaters with Cadet heaters throughout, but to get the five heaters would be over $500! We have been looking at a ductless heat pump, but because we aren’t sure we want to live in the house forever and may even make it back into a rental, I don’t want to drop $4000 on a heating system that we wouldn’t get to enjoy only to have to keep the baseboard heaters installed.

Does anyone have any grand ideas for zonal heating that gets rid of the ugly baseboards?

We got the house!

After almost 12 weeks of forcing our agent to bargain and argue with the seller’s agent, we finally managed to buy our teeny, tiny, adorable Mid-Century Modern!

We got our keys about three weeks ago, and started renovation immediately. And the one word that would best describe our reno? Dusty.

Our house looked like this when we bought it:

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The house still looks a lot like this on the outside, just remove the teal flower boxes (which were two 2x4s nailed together to make a random, 3-inch wide flower box)

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You’re probably kicking yourself over how great these MLS photos make the house look, how did you miss out on it?

And when I first looked at the listing on Redfin, I ignored it. The house has those great vaulted ceilings, but I just wasn’t overly impressed by anything about it (especially the price!). But after a year of searching for a house to no avail, I decided to take a risk and Paul and I went to look at the place. I pored over the listing and starting reading room dimensions, and the teeny, tiny house wormed its way into my house addled brain.

When we pulled up to the house the first thing I thought was how small and dingy the place looked. It had been a rental for the last 10 or so years, so I wasn’t surprised it wasn’t in its best form. Walking into the house was a different story. The first thing you notice are the 12-foot vaulted ceilings (which makes the dingy disappear a bit). The extra ceiling height makes the house feel very spacious and open, especially compared to the other houses I looked at that were all bungalows and cottages with standard height ceilings.

Looking at the vaulted ceiling, however, presented an immediate renovation must. Every inch of ceiling between the beams had ugly, decrepit acoustic tiles attached and they needed to come down.

The first thing our agent said is, “I bet there are beautiful cedar boards running the length of the ceiling underneath those tiles.”

So when we got the keys, the first thing we did was take a small tile down in one of the bedrooms to see what was underneath.

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And it was cedar!

As we started to pull down more and more boards, it became more and more apparent that the only problem with the beautiful cedar plank, tongue and groove ceilings was messy painters who didn’t tape off the beams when they painted them all those years ago.

More tiles came down and our ceiling started looking like this:

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The brown section of wall is in the bedroom where the previous owners had painted over wall paper and we removed it.

The last few weeks have consisted of Paul painstakingly hand-sanding every cedar board to get it ready to urethane…

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And the results are amazing. I have urethaned the bedroom and kitchen so far, and the living room and other bedroom should be done by Saturday so I can finish them in the next few days.

This is what the ceiling looks like now in the bedroom:
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After a single coat of water-based polyurethane the bedroom looks completely refreshed. We are going to get started painting it this weekend because our floors are being refinished next Wednesday and I may even do a second coat of poly.

More pictures will follow!

And so it begins…

Over the past year, many things have changed.

I started a new job, tried some new hobbies (which I will expand on later), moved into a new house, and am now embarking on another type of adventure.

Buying a house!

After a year (almost to the day) of looking all over Eugene and downtown Springfield for a home, we have finally found one in East Amazon/South Eugene and are signing the papers on Monday.
The past year has also been full of disappointments in the housing market with four different homes falling through, so I’ve been avoiding saying anything about the house, mostly out of paranoia. But now that we are so, so close to closing, I just can’t keep it in any longer!

That photo is from the RMLS, and thank goodness the photos are terrible or I don’t think we would have even gotten to look at the place!

It looks like a crapshack, but it's not, promise!

It looks like a crapshack, but it’s not, promise!

Trying to buy this house has been a saga in the league of Homer, but that is a long story for a different day.

Ashley