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!