Midcentury Built-in…To Demo or Not Demo…That was the Question

“Oh no these gotta go.” I said looking at the wall of orange cabinetry.

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This was two years ago standing in our eat in kitchen. I had dreams of punching through this same wall and creating an open concept floor plan. Then one year passed…Two years and the built-in is still there.

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The burgundy brick of our eat in kitchen has been painted to a muted gray. The mustard yellow walls are gone, but the orangey built-in still remains. As we slowly started to neutralize the kitchen colors the midcentury aged patina of the paneled wood started to grow on me. (If you follow us on Pinterest you’ll notice my weakness for 1950s architecture and design.) Yet apparently I’m not the only one sipping the kool aid: Sunset magazine, Dwell, Domaine, and even House Beautiful seem to love mid century style and this shade of amber wood:

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Is midcentury design everyone’s style? No! Vintage farmhouse and industrial elements are still all over pinterest and the blogosphere. Yet with Nate Berkus working his magic at Target, and other big name companies copying Classic midcentury textures, colors and designs, I think we’ll be seeing a resurgence soon enough. If not at least everyone should have a faux Eames chair! (That design will never die, they’re just so comfy!)

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Yet it wasn’t until we unearthed the original blue prints of our house that I realized there was something special about these cabinets…

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Holy smokes! This built-in was meant to house a 1948 sound system. (We still have the original speakers in our attic today!) Yet the wiring has long ago been cut and vintage electronics gone.

I started to rethink my initial plan of a complete tear down. I researched that Midcentury design and original features can add value to an older home. Also admittedly I’m a huge nerd when it comes to retro audio systems and classic records. (just check out our “Vintage Sound” board on Pinterest and you’ll see my geeky adoration for tube receivers, and all things vinyl)

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A bonus to restoring the built-ins versus demoing, I will have a place to display my small collection of vintage audio, rather than take up space in our guest room.

Therefore we’ve decided to forgo demo in favor of restoration. We need to keep a few elements of our early midcentury home original. It may not be all the rage in interior design right now but sometimes design is about what’s in your heart and what makes you happy.

Therefore over the next couple Sundays we’ll be focused on this little orange corner becoming the heart of the home. To lighten it, style it and above all give it back some purpose. This will be my little sanctuary after a long days work. Where I can kick off my heels, cook dinner and dance with a glass of wine to Sinatra. Do you have an ugly duckling in your home waiting to become a swan?

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Happy Sunday everyone!

So What is the Plan for 2015?…

Do you remember the office/guest room’s before pics…

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Now here is the “After”…

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Say what?!
No I did not accidentally flip flop the pictures. We really are starting out 2015 with a clean slate. We’re finally “cleaning house” of our college dorm and single days decor. The broken Big Lots and outdated Ikea furniture are going bye bye!

Don’t get us wrong, we are loyal to the big yellow and blue Swedish design, as well as killer prices. However after 11 years, it’s time to swap out some key furniture pieces and reconfigure wall decor. Rather than focus on filling a space based on what we’ve just had around or hand me downs, we are going to be on the hunt for quality, personalized and keepsake furniture.

We also need to do some major organization overhaul. (I think I counted 12 bankers boxes of files in our office closet that are waiting to be scanned then shredded)

Meanwhile the dogs are back to mischief and tearing up their sheets and bed when we’re at work. (Apparently they were feeling our burn-out and long work hours too) Thus we need to keep them in mind when choosing new decor, as well as balancing business, work and the all important dog walks.

Therefore the whole family is focused on balance, following the plan and “dog proofing” the house in 2015.

The diy plan is very simple:
1. Redesign our guest/office
2. Finish the unfinished projects (the kitchen, eat in dining room, living room, backyard and master bedroom)
3. Get a start on the guest house/apartment (right now it’s just glorified storage space)

We do have a few surprises up our sleeves, this year. (But scared to jinx them by posting too soon)
Maybe along the way we’ll manage some honest to goodness “after” pics, but we’re not going to rush into design choices. Nor do we want to suffer from diy burn-out again. In the meantime follow us on Pinterest for some style sneak peeks and our design inspiration. Like these dual office and guest rooms…

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We are excited for 2015, finding balance, some big changes and even clean slates. Happy Sunday everyone!

Slow and Steady = BORING!…And lots of planning…

Me: “Honey, I have a great idea, we could…”
Hubby: “Ummm, no”
Me: “But it won’t cost more than $200…”
Hubby: “Love let’s stick to the plan.”
Me: “Yes but I…”
Hubby: “No.”
Me: “What about…”
Hubby: “No.”
Me: “But if we do the project that means we’d buy that nail gun and air compressor”
Hubby: “No we have a plan and budget…Nice try with the bribery though.”
Me: “Yeah I thought so too.”😉

Now here we are, second Sunday into 2015, and I’m twiddling my very twitchy and bored hands. However that’s the “plan”…[long drawn out suffering sigh]

We’ve taken inventory of all the projects, figured out a timeline and categorized each of the projects by estimated cost.

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However we have taken into account a few sorely neglected and unfinished projects (that we hope no ones noticed.)

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So here’s the strategy, we’re going slow, and tackling some of the less glamorous projects first. Most can be done in under $20 bucks. However we do have a few “oh wow”, and “Pinterest-worthy” projects coming up. (We’re even sticking to the budget.) 😉
Have you ever had to hold back on an amazing project? Whether the reason be budget, timeframe or because of a patient spouse with more sense than you? (I’ve learned sometimes in a relationship there should be one person as the “analyst” and one person the creative “mad” genius) Unfortunately the hubby is not getting a new nail gun for reigning in the DIY, but that’s his loss…Happy Sunday everyone!

Dealing with DIY Burn-Out…And Learning to be Kind to Ourselves

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We didn’t disappear in some dramatic fashion! Nor did we even have a good excuse…Instead “DIY and blogging burn-out” insidiously crept up on us without warning. One day gun-ho and ready to take on the next big project…Then days, weeks, months dragged out, and we did not lift a finger.

Looking back on 2014, I was able to identify four key reasons why we lost our diy mojo:
1. Energy
2. Finances
3. Long term plan
4. Purpose

Interestingly aren’t these the four reasons experts attribute to why businesses, goals and even relationships fail?

Not surprisingly we were impacted by all four reasons, and thus the blog suffered from our severe burn-out.

Originally as I wrote this post I was very unkind to myself. (Beating myself up both with words and pictures of our unfinished projects.)

Yet as the words of self-deprecating humor and undisguised sarcasm flowed forth, there was a moment of clarity…

Robert Collier’s famous quote came to mind…

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”

Instead of taking the approach of “slow and steady wins the race”, we took off like jack rabbits only to finish half-way. We lost steam, didn’t want to spend the money, and even considered selling the house.

In the midst of self doubt, burn-out and feeling like a failure, I had forgotten the purpose of this blog in the first place:

A little corner of the Internet meant for weekly diy mistakes, inspiration, silliness, humor and “four legged” kids.

The blog was supposed to be the sum of our small, diy, efforts with the hope of inspiring others…For two years hadn’t we accomplished this?

After several sleepless nights of Internet research. We’ve discovered a greater “purpose” and plan for the blog.

The benefit of a plan will prevent lapses in Sunday posts and DIY burn-out. As time passes and I grow into a stronger and braver writer, I hope to have the courage to share with our loyal readers and friends, what our purpose is, and how we found our way back.

In the coming Sunday’s you’ll see a major change in both writing style and DIY. We’ll be tackling projects in bite size pieces, be kinder and forgiving to ourselves, and laugh more at our mistakes. We are grateful to those of you who stuck by us these past months, and we love you for it!

Happy Sunday everyone!

When house projects fail…Build a $5 bike crate!

This post was never supposed to happen…Instead the plan was to reveal our DIY concrete planters. (Sort of like these)

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What I thought would be a brilliant idea for cheap and light weight planter boxes, turned into a cracked mess of gravel and concrete. (Which of course I spent the afternoon cleaning up)

Shortly after, I was scratching my head and wondering what am I going to do with 12 sets of wooden handles, and 6 plastic garbage cans?

How about use the wooden handles for a wine crate? What if the wine crate was attached to a bike?

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See the hubs has a vintage bike, used mainly for cruising around town with the guys. Yet his bike has been sorely lacking in storage and beer hauling capabilities.

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Alas when searching the web for instructions, there weren’t any for “easily” removable bike wine crates. So here is our how-to for the $5 bike wine crate:

You’ll need…
2 wooden 1×1 inch dowels (cut to the width of your bike rack)
2.5 inch screws and accompanying nuts (4 total)
Some wood stain
A wooden wine crate
1 inch screws and accompanying nuts (2 total)
An empty paint quart (or empty vegetable can with no sharp edges may work)

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First I stained the wine crate and dowels (since I had already drilled the holes in the dowels)

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After we let the stain dry overnight, we added the 2.5 inch screws to the dowels. We also darkened the tips of the screws with a sharpie so we could mark the wine crate for drilling holes.

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We then drilled holes in the bottom of each crate.

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And secured the crate with a wrench and nuts.

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(You can see how the crate is secured to the dowels from the bottom)

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Finally we drilled holes through the paint can and bottom of box.

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Then secured the can with the 1 inch screws and nuts.

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The bike is now ready for picnics, commuting with coffee and “booze” cruisin with the guys.

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Not bad for $5 and 15 minutes to install right? Happy Sunday everyone!

Did you miss us? Where are we today…

Summer is nearly over! Hopefully you’re all out doing something amazing this Labor Day weekend! We’ve spent the last couple Sundays trying to squeeze in as little diy labor and as much summer fun with the pups as possible. (Sorry folks we’ll be back to tackling fall house projects soon enough) Today we’re hiding out over at Studiogblog.com a website all about beautifully designed gardens and fabulous backyard inspiration.

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We were thrilled when they asked to feature our (nearly) dog proof backyard makeover! The website is just gorgeous, filled with gardening inspiration, and is an absolutely addicting website. Send LHBD some love, leave a comment or like us on FB, while you’re checking out studiogblog.com In the meantime the pups and us wish you all a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend! Happy Sunday everyone!

Happy Dogs, Vintage Trailers and Chicken Soup

What do they all have in common?

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Give up yet? We did not lift a diy finger at all this weekend. Instead we spent time with the pups, laying on couches, and eating chicken soup while we tried to get over our summer colds. I also spent way too much time on Pinterest. (The best way to mindlessly waste a Sunday afternoon when sick) Our few ventures out of the house this weekend were to pick up a craigslist shell for the truck…

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( Wait did she just say truck?! Aren’t they little car people?) Yes, finally after 6 long years, we pulled the trigger and bought a used truck. You’d think after a couple fixer homes and monstrous dogs, a truck would’ve been very practical.

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Now both us and especially the pups are in love. The world of camping and adventures has been opened up to us. Including the dream of owning and restoring a vintage trailer.

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I’ve been blog stalking Kristiana of Silvertrailer.com ever since she’s been featured in Sac Magazine 4 years ago. Her air streams are just gorgeous!

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However renovating these beauties are a bit pricey, and towing them even more so. Considering we’re tent campers by experience, I’ve turned my interest towards the idea of renovating a tent trailer. Compact, light weight, and inexpensive (used), renovating a tent trailer seems like a great baby step towards an actual airstream someday. Especially when there are so many cute ideas floating about on Pinterest…

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(Via Pinterest)

If you follow us on Pinterest you’ll see our outdoor adventure board filling up with all these wonderful sources of inspiration. The idea of renovating another little home “on wheels” is such motivation to save our pennies, and break out the tool box…I think once I’m over this cold the DIY sickness will strike again…Happy Sunday everyone!

Big Dogs Best Travel Gear

No DIY this weekend! No house projects or crafts! Just good ol’ relaxing and quality time spent with pups. We realized the summer is speeding past us and we can count only two weekends away with the dogs.

Speaking of which, if you aren’t yet following us on Pinterest, we have an inspiration board devoted to dog friendly travel. However traveling with two large dogs in tow is not always the easiest…At least without the right gear. Therefore we rounded up our favorite dog gear for easy camping, and travel with the pups.

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1. Natures Miracle Port-A-Crate

These crates have been crucial for stress free, dog friendly travel. The crates are durable, light weight and easily fold flat to fit into car trunks. Here is our crate after 5 years of wear and tear, and it still looks fabulous.NATURES-MIRACLE-Port-A-Crate-Dog-Crate-.jpg

When the dogs see the crates getting packed in the car they know it’s vacation time!

2. Armarkat Pet Bed w Waterproof Lining, Non Skid Base

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We think we finally found the perfect dog beds to fit inside the crates. Supposedly waterproof, washable, and durable orthopedic dog beds. We’ve used egg crate mattress toppers and pillows to make due over the last few years but as the dogs are now “middle aged” we figured we’d invest in some age appropriate beds for them.

3.Easy walk dog harnesses

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These front lead dog harnesses are perfect for long hikes. The dogs pull less than the traditional back lead harnesses and less strain on their backs/necks for tireless hiking.

4. OllyDog Mt Tam Hands-Free Dog Leash and Running Belt System

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Believe it or not these were on our wedding gift registry at REI. Perfect for runs on the beach with fido, we added carabiners to the leash ends for easier clipping in and out of the harness. The pack has just enough room for an iphone, hotel key and plastic baggies for poop duty.

5. Precision Pet Eight Panel Silver Wire Pen

 

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This is another new product for us. The verdict is still out for whether these wire pens can stand-up to our two huge dogs . However when camping these seem to beat long tethers that they can get tangled in. (We’re going to try staking them to the ground for added support)

6. Musher’s Secret

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This wax is amazing! Cracked paws begone! It saves our pups paws on the trail and general protection from long distance walks. Since our dogs won’t wear booties, this is the most economical and best option for paw protection.

7. OllyDog Dog Pack – Large – 2014 Overstock

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These were another favorite from our wedding registry, that allow for easy hiking. The pups can carry they’re water and kibble in comfort. Maybe even a beer can or two. (hey the dogs need to earn their keep once in a while)

8. Remedy+Recovery Liquid Bandage For Dogs

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This stuff is essential for travel first aid. I can’t tell you how many times our dogs cut a leg or paw on rocks, tree branches, etc. The liquid bandage is a quick remedy and dries fast. (We never leave on trips without it)

9 . Ruffwear The Beacon Pet Light

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Finally the last of our favorite travel gear is the beacon light. Why? Ever try to see your black dog at night? Well our dobes have the perfect night camouflage so these are essential for safety and night time walks.

Hope our little list has helped all you dog parents out there. We are always on the search for great gear and ways to travel stress free with your dogs. Happy Sunday everyone!

Be Careful of What You Promise Husbands…

Hubbs (Eric) had but one request when we first moved into our home…He asked that the living room “doesn’t look girly.” It’s taken a year to understand what that means to me (no floral prints, salmon colored anything, white furniture, etc) Luckily this is a style request we both agree on and find marital bliss with “masculine”. To this point our “style” has been more like “hand-me-down-chic”. We’re only now realizing we’re in our thirties and the house needs to look less like a college dorm and attempt to decorate.

My biggest decorating quandary had been the living room…(specifically the walls)

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(I snapped this pic on a morning running out the door to work, no staging, no cleaning.) As you can see a guy lives here. However this is still the first room upon entering the house so something needed to be done.

Except I ignored the room for two more years, until one fateful day this spring and found something ridiculously amazing…

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Four original blue prints of our 1948 home rolled up and hidden in a cabinet!

I’ve been in love with blue prints as art for years!

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OK how ridiculously cute dogs even look as blue prints! (Imagine a high pitched squeal of delight)framed-blue-print-of-dog.jpg

 

It must have been kismet to find these blue prints and finally a solution for “masculine” looking art work. Michaels coupons in hand I was able to score four beautiful frames and matting for $60.  Then up on the wall they went!

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Now another Before…

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And After…

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I think we can all agree the room looks a bit more “mature”, less hand me down chic, and definitely that a guy lives here. Someday there will be a perfectly staged photo that belongs in Sunset magazine or House beautiful, but for now I’m just happy I have decorated walls and it’s clean! Happy Sunday everyone!

 

Even Guys Need Roses…Or Rather Mancave Storage

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By bringing home a $15 truck tool box from a garage sale! Com’on what self respecting man doesn’t like diamond plate? It’s practically on every tractor, fire engine, and monster truck!

Luckily hubby knew this was a man cave project for him and not going to be some random piece of junk about to collect dust. He loved the idea even more when I told him what it was going to replace in the garage…

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These disgustingly old, spider harboring, rubbermaids. The truck box was going to be storage for the camp chairs, extra golf clubs and other Mancave randomness.

I did have to make some modifications to the truck storage box, before cramming it full of boy junk. First I marked the bottom corners of the storage box with a sharpie, where the cart wheels were going to be placed.truck-storage-diamondplate-turned-garage-storage-diy-ideas.jpg

Next I drilled holes at each sharpie point.

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Since the flecks of metal and remnants were sharp I cleaned up with a handheld vacuum after each set of holes (to prevent metal splinters finding their way into the pups paws)

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Then using washers, screws, and nuts, we added the four cart wheels, then securing them on the inside of the box.

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This turned out to be one of the easiest DIY man cave projects year to date! (I also got a few wife points in the process.) It’s not everyday that I bring home garage sale junk that is hubby approved. Now the before and newly improved garage storage…

Before

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After

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Who knew diamond plate was the man equivalent of “roses”, and not just for monster trucks anymore?

Happy Sunday everyone!