Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

There’s Fungus Among Us

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Hey friends! I know you’ve been dying for a garden update, so here it is! Things are going growing well, but we have a little problem. No, not a serious problem. More like a mushrooms-are taking-over-the-garden kinda problem. Look at them all – it’s like someone planted mushroom seeds!!

Now I’m an amateur gardener, so somebody tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they’re really hurting anything. Just an unsightly nuisance, right? I could water less, but with this heat and our record-breaking drought, surely the plants (the ones we actually want to grow) would turn into crispy critters. So I think I’ll continue my aggressive watering schedule and pluck out the mushrooms when I have nothing better to do (or want to avoid more strenuous projects).

In more exciting news, some of our fruits & veggies are blooming…

{squash}

{tomato}

{strawberry}

…something edible showed up a week or two ago…

{poblano pepper}

…and I have the cutest dog on the face of the planet (but you already knew that).

April 27, 2011

Make Way For Ugly

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Before unleashing the photos, let me just apologize for ugliness you’re about to witness. There’s nothing pretty about bathroom demo (or construction for that matter). But sometimes you just gotta rip it all out & start over. And that’s where we began on Saturday – our big demo day for the half bath. We started with this…

And ended up with this…

Let’s face it. Sometimes (probably most of the time), it has to get worse before it gets better. Pretty ugly, huh? No complaining – you were warned.

Ethan’s parents were in town from Dallas last weekend, so we took advantage of some extra hands & expertise. We certainly know how to welcome guests, don’t we? So here’s warning numero dos: If you grace the threshold of our home, we reserve the right to put a tool in your hand and request your assistance. I’ll try to hold back if you’re not family, but no promises.

Anyway…back to the bathroom. I won’t go into all the details (because to be honest, I didn’t help very much!), but disconnecting the plumbing was the hardest part. Ethan did great job. I decided to take the role of “official event photographer” (aka, I did not help at all).

After a trip to Lowe’s (because it wouldn’t be a real DIY project if we didn’t go at least once) and some tweaking with the main water supply, it went pretty quickly. Ethan & his dad ripped out the sink cabinet, toilet, baseboards and tile without much trouble. Except for some really sad eyes from the Abby dog who was banished to the backyard during the process (yes, we’re terrible people).

The toilet has been temporarily relocated to the garage, where it now lives with the new pedestal sink (details coming soon). I feel like a redneck plumbing showroom. Oh wait, redneck would be if I planted flowers in them & proudly displayed them in our front yard. Come to think of it, I may have some relatives sporting that look over in Alabama (kidding!)

So after last weekend’s work, we’re about 95% done with bathroom demo. The real hard part is ahead of us…busting up the remaining mortar from the concrete slab so we can lay new tile. Since I’m going with tiny mosaic tiles (which I ordered today – yeah!), we need to start with a fairly smooth surface. So Ethan’s parents let us borrow their fancy tile-chipper tool, and so far, it’s doing the trick.

I haven’t a clue what its technical name is, but basically you smack/scrape/pound the mortar until it breaks into teeny tiny pieces. It’s about as fun as it sounds. And after an hour or so of work, you have this terrible ringing sound in your ears (this, I actually know from experience – I worked hard last night). But thankfully, the room is not that big and about a third of it didn’t have tile/mortar in the first place.

So if you need me this week, I’ll be hanging out in the ugly room, taking out all my frustration on some mortar that just doesn’t want to go away. I’m looking forward to installation!

April 13, 2011

Four Yellow Doors

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

If you missed Monday’s post, my parents came over on Saturday to help us out with some of this DIY business. They’re experts…they renovated the 1940’s ranch I grew up in from top to bottom. The real estate listing deemed it a “tarnished jewel” and they had an 8 month old baby (me). But that’s another post for another day.

While my dad & Ethan were downstairs handling the half bath situation, my mom convinced me that it was time to deal with my ugly yellow doors. Here’s a look at the guest bedroom, last week before I painted the trim. I’d already coated the walls with Benjamin Moore’s November Rain (it’s a muted grey-green color…neutral with just the slightest bit of color). I have absolutely no plan for this room (since we have no furniture for it) so I just picked a paint color I loved! But next to the yellowing trim & doors, it wasn’t looking so hot. Don’t you agree?

{guest bedroom – before}

If you look to the far left side of the photo, that’s a closet door in the gameroom. We painted that room (walls, ceiling, trim) back in December, but I was a little hesitant to get busy on the doors. I was afraid if we didn’t have them professionally sprayed, they would look DIYed – and that’s no good.

Well Dad, the expert painter gave me the last little push I needed. He suggested thinning out the paint with just the tiniest bit of paint thinner, so any bubbles or imperfections would level out as they dried. And he had some little foam rollers (specifically for painting cabinets & doors) in the car. That was the final straw – I gave into their peer pressure.

Mom & I got working right away. The prep work took the longest…removing the door knobs, puttying holes & removing scotch tape (I’m sure this was a kid’s room at some point) and sanding down the surface (just to scuff it up a bit). Then we wiped down each door with a rag, just slightly dampened with paint thinner, to get rid of all the dust & residual gunk.

It probably took a door & a half to come up with a system, but she brushed, I rolled, and we took turns holding the door steady. That turns into quite the job when all sides are wet! And by the way, did you realize a door has 6 sides? Think about it. We only painted four. I’ll let you wonder which two are still yellow…

Enough thinking – it’s time for the big reveal! I still need to hit them with a second coat but…LOOK HOW PRETTY!

{guest bedroom – after}

I’m beyond excited. White trim makes me happy, but white doors? I’m ecstatic! I keep popping my head in that room to check them out…just because it makes me smile. It’s amazing how white trim makes me fall in love with the wall color all over again (probably because I picked the paints side by side & this is the way I intended it to look – go figure).

Doesn’t it feel like a brand new house?? Four doors down….19 to go!

April 11, 2011

Where’s My Motivation?

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

It seems Ethan & I have been feeling less than motivated to work on projects lately. While building the garden was fun, it completely distracted us from the interior projects that need to be finished. We’ve been doing our best to refocus efforts, but sometimes the best motivation comes in the form of a third (and fourth!) pair of hands. My mom & dad graciously donated their Saturday to working on our house (thanks again guys), so the four of us spent the day tackling all those neglected projects!

Dad & Ethan got to work on the half bath…a project I absent-mindedly started around Christmastime, without a clear plan. It’s been sitting in limbo ever since. (I always tell people to have a plan before they demo, so this sort of thing won’t happen. It would be great if I’d listen to my own advice.)

So here’s what it looked like in December. (It’s a tiny room, so this is the best angle I could get. See me hanging through the door on the left side of the photo? I’m super talented.)

{bathroom before}

One day shortly after this photo, I thought it would be a good idea to start removing the wallpaper (this room too, is painted over wallpaper…a lovely feature we discovered after moving in). I planned to peel off the wallpaper, slap up a fresh coat of paint, and deal with the rest later. About 30 minutes into the wallpaper-removal process, I realized that was about the worst idea I’d ever had.

Then in February, we had a roof leak that resulted in water pouring through the ceiling (remember this post?) That was the same week the pipes froze.  Since then, we’ve just shut the door in denial…until Saturday.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but basically the guys ripped down the existing sheetrock ceiling and were up to their knees in insulation. They looked pretty cool in pants, long sleeve shirts, goggles & masks, covered in insulation. My dad even tied a long-sleeve t-shirt around his head with only his eye peeking out through the head hole. I wish I’d taken a picture, but I was up to my elbows (literally) in oil-based paint (more on that later).

After demo, they re-insulated & re-sheetrocked, leaving us with a nice looking ceiling in this tiny 3’x6′ room!

But they sure left a mess below!

Sometimes it just has to get worse, before it gets better…just wait until we demo the sink cabinet & floor! Does anyone have a similar disaster lurking in their home?

April 5, 2011

Living the Dream

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Not to rub it in if you’re reading this at work, but…I love working from home. Especially now that my chair actually fits under my new desk! I actually called Ethan last week to tell him how awesome it was…at home in my shorts & t-shirt, rocking out to my iPod, designing an album, and sitting comfortably at a huge desk!

{Please ignore those awful cords. And the putty on the trim. And anything else ugly you might see.}

Just like the breakfast area, there’s a whole lot that needs to happen in this room (paint the awful yellow trim & replace the carpet…just to name a few). But for now, new furniture is a welcome improvement!

{love the wood top!}

My old home office setup was pretty sad. I was working on a sewing table (with sewing machine still inside) I recently inherited from my grandmother. It now lives in the gameroom, at least until I have a better plan. Check out the door in the background…white trim (new paint) + yellow door (old paint). Real classy. Or a new trend…you pick.

{yes, I am aware of how sad & pathetic this is}

I don’t know how to sew, but I asked my grandmother for her machine in an attempt to learn (first things first). I was completely unaware the machine came with its own piece of furniture. At least it gave me a place to put my computer for the last 9 months (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) Now that the machine is freed up, anyone want to teach me to sew?

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