Halfway to a Sunroom!

by Rachel Blackburn in ,

Sometimes progress seems slow, but honestly, so long as it's progress we're all good.  People have been asking for pictures lately to see where we're at.  Truth is, we're moving forward but at a slower pace than we have in the past.  Michael's had to put in a bunch of hours at work, Caden has had school events that take up any spare time Michael might have, and I've had projects that are keeping me at work for 10-11 hours/day and then coming home and working some more after the kids are in bed.  It's been a little nuts.

We are anticipating having the sunroom up and running in a little under 2 weeks!  The walls are drywalled, seams are mudded, window trim is installed, wall trim is up, floor is installed {still unfinished}, old {uuuuggglllyy} ceiling fan is down, and as of yesterday, the ceiling is painted!  

For reference, this is what it used to look like in all it's wood paneling and pink-tasseled wicker fan glory:

Still to do in the sunroom: install the new ceiling fan, skim coat the walls, paint the walls, paint the trim and doors, sand and apply topcoat to the floors and install the baseboards.

Speaking of ceiling fans, yesterday I found one that I actually like AND that was in our price range.  This is an unheard-of event.  Normally I tolerate white or stainless ceiling fans and really dislike the fake wood and/or brass ones.  I had yet to come across one that I could look at and say "Wow!  That really adds a nice design element to this room!"

Yesterday that changed.

I found this:

I know, I know.  It's wood.  But it's PRETTY wood, in a warm color that works for mid-century modern design.  It has rounded lines, which also lend to the mid-century modern feel, and it will tie the wood beam ceilings in with the sunroom, which has a white ceiling.  The fan looks better in person than it does in the picture - less shiny.  Even if I wasn't shopping for a mid-century modern house, I'd still love this fan.  Seriously.  I think the saleslady thought I was nuts for being so giddy. 

In other renovation news, we have come to the conclusion that our glass backsplash project won't work for the kitchen - that'll be on the back burner for another room.  Because of that, the hunt has begun for a backsplash.  We're pretty bummed about the glass not working out.

In between projects Michael is working on the butcher block countertops, which are looking gorgeous, and I started removing the rust/burgundy/rose floral wallpaper from our master bedroom.  I couldn't take it any more.  

So, lots going on.  Hopefully work allows both of us some time to get things done around the house.  Every night Caden prays for Daddy to finish the kitchen and sun room by spring.  I think his prayers are working!

Living Room and Hall Before/After

by Rachel Blackburn in ,

We are done with stage 1 of the living room and hall!  Well...done-ish.  There are 2 dummy door handles to figure out how to attach which I'm sure will become a future blog post.

But here it is!  The walls are smoothed and painted, the ceiling is stained, switches and outlets are brand new, doors are painted, new door hardware is installed and there is a gorgeous new light fixture in the hall.

Hall, before and after:

Living room, before:

Thirsty ceiling, bad, Bad, BAD drapes, forest green carpet by the doors, pinkish-red wall.


Better picture of the wall.  We had switched out curtains at this point (had to get rid of the smell).  The lady who lived here before us had big bushes in the front window for privacy.

Aaaaannnd AFTER!

The bushes are gone!

We left the wallpaper because that wall will be going away in the not-too-distant future, and it's a good reminder of how far this house has come.  And I was feeling lazy.

I can't wait to get decorating!  I hit Michaels tonight and scored big on some frames.  A little spray paint and they will be ready for the wall behind the couch!

Time/budget: 2 weeks (spread out over about 4 weeks...life happened), $450.  Door hardware is expensive, and the hall had a lot of doors!

Still to be done: Refinish the floor, do the baseboards, do the light switch by the back door, knock out the wall between the living room and kitchen, hang a new light in the dining room, wash the fireplace, replace the fireplace hearth, replace the front door, decorate!

Final tally of odd things: Tons of hooks in the ceiling and on the walls, wallpaper behind the baseboards (we're up to 10 different prints now!), fuzzy wallpaper that had been painted over, but only around where an armoire sat, and fire crystals (70's anyone?) in the fireplace.

Next project will be the kitchen.  We will spend the next few weeks planning it out, then tackle it head on!  It's one of the most complicated projects in this house, because it has a domino effect on a bunch of other rooms.  We're excited to get started!

How to Swag a Pendant Light Without a Chain

by Rachel Blackburn in ,

We are currently in the market for a considerable number of light fixtures.  Every one in this house needs replaced, and it's dark so we need to add a few more. 

With beam ceilings, that means swag lights only.  There is no attic to move junction boxes around in.

Did you know there are a fairly limited number of reasonably-priced swag lights that can handle more than a 40 watt bulb available on the market, and most of them are not mid-century modern?  I don't want a dining room chandelier in every room thankyouverymuch.  

I loooooove the look of more clean-lined lighting fixtures.  I've been drooling over a few at West Elm and Crate and Barrel for a few months now.  Only problem is, I haven't been able to figure out how to get them to swag.  They have no chain, only a cord.  That won't work on a hook - it'll just slip and put too much tension on the line, besides looking ugly.

Recently we decided to take the plunge and figure out how to make it work, because we found a really awesome light for the hallway at West Elm for not too much money.  Great look, reasonable cost.  No chain.

Michael googled for a bit of inspiration and came upon this post.  Ironically enough, it's even the same light fixture!  He made a quick trip to Home Depot and had the loop assembled in about a minute.  

This won't work in every situation, but it is sure going to open up a variety of lighting options for us!  It keeps the line in place, gives it some extra support so we're not hanging an electrical wire directly on a hook that will pinch and cut into it, and it looks kinda cool.

- Swagging a Pendant Light Without a Chain - 

You'll need a 1/4" wire rope thimble and clamp, and a ceiling hook to hang the light on

1. Mark on your line where you want the loop to go.

2. Run the area where you want the loop over the thimble (the u-shaped device that makes the curve).  

3. Attach the clamp right below the thimble, and hand tighten it.  You don't want it so tight that it impinges on the electrical cord.  You just want it to hold.

4. Hang your light.

5. Voila!