In front of the camera

Sorry for the radio silence. We have SOO much going on right now and not enough hours in the day. So I’ve been prioritizing wine and the couch over blogging. I’m sure you understand. We’re friends like that.

A few weeks ago, before things got crazy, we coaxed our friend, Stacey, to this side of the state to take our picture. We can be incredibly awkward in front of the camera, which is why Stacey’s “day in the life” session was perfect. It doesn’t hurt that we’re already friends, and he and Aaron bond over the love of film cameras. #photonerds Stacey brought a bunch of film (!!!) and we took him out to our favorite spot in St. Louis: a beach on the Mississippi River that only exists in the winter months when the water level is low. It’s the perfect spot to explore: cameras for us and nose to the ground for Mojo.

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And, because it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t WORK on something, we also used the trip to grab some (too much?) driftwood. The shot below is one of my favorites from the day!

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Then we headed back to the firehouse for some forced cuddle time out front. Because when you have a firehouse blog, people will ask you for pictures of your FACES in front of the firehouse. Weird, right? So we decided to get some proper blog profile pics.

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The only problem is that now I want to redo this shoot when everything is leafed out and green…

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Then it was time for dinner and relaxing in the courtyard, as you do.

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I love all of these images. They really do capture what life is like for us right now…. well, the days we’re not working on the firehouse. Trust that we basically killed ourselves before Stacey arrived to make sure the guestroom was ready for a human occupant.

I’ll be back (maybe next week?? It’s going to be a crazy one) with some more substantial updates. As always, if you want a sneak peek or a real-time look at our lives, feel free to follow me on Instagram.

KC River Market Antique Mall finds

Who needs a break? Our hands are raised! DIY-ing is tiring!

We’re not the best at slowing down or stopping, especially when we are mid project renovation. We only made it back to Kansas City to visit Aaron’s family once last year (for Christmas) and we heard about it from his grandma. To stay in Grandma E’s good graces, a spring trip to KC was a necessity. We lucked out with the weather and spent a few days eating at as many favorite spots as we could (Oklahoma Joe’s – yes I know the name changed – Extra Virgin and Nara topped the list) and doing a little shopping. We even convinced Aaron’s parents to join us for a little jaunt through the River Market Antique Mall, one of our favorites in the city. As usual it didn’t disappoint!

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These sweet butter pat dishes were holding jewelry and that’s exactly what I had in mind for them. At $4 a piece it was an easy decision to grab two. I love the subtle floral patterns.

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The jewelry was actually what drew me to the case with the dishes originally. This bird necklace caught my eye. I love how simple it is. It’s the perfect piece to toss on with a casual dress (yay for being nearly dress season!) I scooped this up for $20.

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Fun fact: Apparently my husband likes wood bowls. I’ve always been drawn to them, but this was the first time he’s picked one up and said, “Look at this!” This particular bowl is really cool, so I’m not surprised.

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It has great lines and is in really good condition, although we may revive the wood just a bit. Plus it’s Dansk and was only $28!

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The biggest score was this map.

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I’m a pretty big map lover (as evidenced by a Pinterest board devoted exclusively to maps) so Aaron has to keep my collection in check. I appreciate that, because I do understand that logically one house only needs so many maps. This one caught his attention and when we opened it up the color scheme reminded us of a certain room we’ve been talking a lot about…

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It’s huge, measuring 42″ by 29″ AND it’s the “First Color Photomosaic of the 48 Contiguous United States” so there’s that. And that’s pretty cool.

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We folded it back up and searched for a price. $10. TEN DOLLARS! Sold.

So those are the few trinkets we hauled across the state. I’m glad they were small because we had plenty of Ikea flat pack boxes (pieces destined for the captain’s suite closet) already stowed in the car. Have you scored any pieces lately, vintage or otherwise?

The closet also goes green

We’ve been focusing on the bedroom portion of the captain’s suite, but the bathroom turned closet is also getting some love during this makeover. Here’s a reminder of where we started: gray walls and ceiling, weird pink window trim, plaster damage.

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Oh and a “sweet” light fixture…. NOT!

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After Aaron fixed the plaster, the painted portion of the room got the green treatment. The walls, window and door trim, and ceiling all got a few coats of Pantone’s June Bug to match the bedroom.

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Everything is looking so much more rich.

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The green goes really well with all of the existing stone, which we have no plans to remove.

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Ok, everything is looking great except the overhead light fixture, but that’s getting replaced.

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We grabbed some pieces from Ikea to make this into a multi-functional space: closet, vanity and back bar. It sounds weird, but I promise it will make sense. As soon as I wrangle the 100+ Ikea parts into working cabinets, I’ll show you what I mean.

In which we look at WAY too many rugs and a few duvet covers

Because we chose such a saturated color for the walls in the captain’s bedroom, we knew that some of the accessories would need to be a bit more neutral. When it came to choosing a rug and a duvet cover, which we did simultaneously, it meant that one could have some green (and maybe other colors) and one would need to stay in the white/gray/black range.

With that in mind, I started my search looking for a rug that had some pop. But, guys, rugs are hard! Or maybe we’re picky? It seems like very few rugs walk the line between “boring one color” and “OMG PATTERN AHHH!” We wanted something in between. Something with some interest. My green rug searches were not delivering that balance so I asked Rugs Direct to show me black/gray options. It responded with more than 3,500 options, and I was like “game on.” Wait, first I was like “I need to get some wine and get comfortable, then game on!” Here were some of the top contenders that I pinned to remember.

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Surya – Gemini from Rugs Direct

When this beauty popped on the screen angels sang. Those tones! That organic texture! It’s BEAutiful! Then I noted the price: $2,500 for an 8′ x 11′ WHAT?! Sure, it’s a gorgeous rug and I’m willing to pay for things of beauty, but for a space like a guestroom that was already blowing the miniscule budget we set, this just wouldn’t fly.

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Safavieh – Retro from Rugs Direct

This one caught my eye for the same reason. Nice tones, a distinct pattern that was interesting, but not too loud. I also liked the organic nature of the design. An 8 x 10 was available for $447, which fit in our imaginary “$500 for a rug” budget for this space.

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Surya – Contempo from Rugs Direct

Another nice, subtle pattern that had more of a dark edge to it.

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Shaggy 3D Gray Area Rug from Wayfair

Much darker, but a thick rug that would surely make guests feel at home.

At some point, Aaron joined in the search. He has accounts for several flash sale sites and he perused the options while I turned my attention to the duvet cover. I don’t remember why, but my first stop was Society 6. Again, I searched through pages of options, pinning a few standouts. I liked both of these neutral options:

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D24 by Georgiana Paraschiv from Society 6

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Water at Night by Marcelo Romero from Society 6

They’re both very directional and could compete with the rug. But more importantly, I wanted green somewhere in this vignette. There were fewer viable options, but I did pin this guy, which would add some nice dimension to the space.

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dryma mynt by Spires from Society 6

At this point, I decided to turn to Etsy and quickly stumbled on the pretty patterns at NikaLim. None of the green options struck a cord, but I showed Aaron a pink/purple option that faded to black and said “Wouldn’t this be cool if it was green?” Well, duh, this is Etsy, land of customization, so I wrote to ask if they would do a custom design. The shop owner, Veronika, was happy to oblige and quickly sent a design that perfectly matches our Pantone June Bug walls.

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I love it and I love that it’s one of a kind. Plus it shipped quick!

But, let’s rewind. When we started this search (on the couch, wine in hand… just setting the scene) Aaron was drawn in and looking for rug options. We knew the duvet cover would have green (either the one from Society 6 of the one from Etsy… because we had not ordered yet) so we felt confident purchasing a gray rug. His search didn’t yield any additional contenders, but he did find the Safavieh – Retro rug at One Kings Lane and it was several dollars cheaper than Rugs Direct.

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In fact, the price difference was so great that we could afford the 9′ x 14′ option for around $500. Sold.

Geez, this is a long post. Who is ready for some room shots?!

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We’re both very happy with our choices. Actually, all three of us are happy because Mojo has decided that the rug is the perfect spot for capturing some morning sun.

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The rug totally softens up the room and makes me want one for our master bedroom.

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The duvet cover matches the walls perfectly! I still need to grab some black pillow cases for the second set of pillows to finish it off.

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These are pretty tight because we’re still finalizing other parts of the space. We moved all of the furniture that was living in this room back in and said “Well, that looks dumb.” Most of it leftover pieces, one from as far back as our house in Kansas City.

So this project spiraled even further. We found some sweet mid century furniture at one of our favorite local shops (more details on that as we clean up the pieces and put them to use).

And a trip to Ikea gave us some of the parts we need for the captain’s bathroom turned closet. So, much more to come!

Captain’s bedroom ceiling: Two wins and a fail

Adding the lighting and HVAC to the list for the captain’s suite renovation was an easy decision. The ceiling in this space was just messed up. True to form, the previous owner decided to “accent” the HVAC with orange paint. That was bad enough, but the vents were also the wrong style, limiting their effectiveness to keep this room hot or cold.

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The lighting was actually a bigger problem. We inherited two fans that held MR16 bulbs… only three of which worked. You can imagine that three bulbs that produced maybe 50 watts of light each weren’t enough for a nearly enough for a 338-square-feet room. Well, hopefully you can imagine it because I was remiss in taking pictures that demonstrated that. The corner by the pole closet was basically a black hole.

Let’s dive right into some before/after shots.

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SOOOO much better!

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We needed a lot of light in this space, especially with the dark walls, and we had a lot of space to cover. We decided to create another DIY light fixture. This one is reminiscent of the fixture Aaron built for me in the kitchen when we moved in: black cord twisted around pipe and free hanging bulbs. It also ties in nicely with the living room lights. Our dimmer of choice, Lutron’s Maestro IR (which really deserves it’s own post) would allow for 10  40-watt bulbs.

Aaron created this diagram to figure out the the best layout. We were aiming for even light throughout the space and we didn’t want to change the placement of the HVAC (denoted by the thick black lines.) The bed is the rectangle this is just off center. The pole closet is in the upper left. We’re hoping to find a chair to put next to it, so we ran a piece of pipe out there to add some extra light to that corner.

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For the installation, first he painted all of the pipe components and the electrical boxes black. He removed the fans and installed electrical boxes in their place.

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Then he screwed floor flanges into the ceiling and started assembling the grid by screwing the pipe pieces together.

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He used the same process as in the living room to wire the sockets.

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For the HVAC, we painted about 12 inches of the existing tube in the green wall color, which gave Aaron some space to cut it off. He removed the offending orange pipes and installed plain silver ones with new (and proper) vents.

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The only thing that didn’t go to plan in this space is this random metal panel. Eventually we want to remove one to see what the heck is up there. We assume it’s some sort of old roof vent. If would be awesome if it could be turned into a skylight. But for now we just wanted it to disappear. For some reason, they chose not to cover it with the texture that was applied to the rest of the ceiling. Except they didn’t mask it off, so it had some obvious over spray.

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Aaron grabbed a can of “ceiling texture” that looked like it would match at Home Depot. Before applying, we spread out some kraft paper, which was good because this stuff made a HUGE mess. It claims to clean up with water, but this seemed easier.

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Apparently he should have grabbed two or three cans because the nozzle was clogged and basically unusable with minutes. He tried to clear it several times and it worked with less success each time. We gave up when the can was spraying more texture onto Aaron than the ceiling. We decided it didn’t look any worse… even though it doesn’t actually look better. Two out of three successful projects isn’t bad.

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The panel tends to fade anyways thanks to the other upgrades.

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At this point we were both ready to get all the furniture back into this room (and out of our living room.) But we let the project spiral a bit further with the purchase of a new rug and new duvet cover. More details on that search in the next post.