Painting is easy when your furniture is delayed

Moving is never easy, but if I have to move I’d like someone to pack my stuff, load it and unload it. In this cross country venture, I got my wish, but we also became acquainted with the many pitfalls of hired help and long distance moves. Some issues were minor, like unpacking the sink stoppers that belong to the master bathroom at the firehouse (sorry new firehouse owners!), and some were major and majorly stressful. Topping that list was this series of events:

Wednesday whilst in an RV park in Arizona during out trek from MO to CA: A friend from work who was also relocating texts to say that I should check on my household goods because she just found out that hers were going to be delayed. I emailed our moving coordinator and she wrote back almost immediately saying our goods would be delivered on Friday as planned. Me: WHEW!

Thursday whilst driving West through Arizona, less than 24 hours after after confirming our delivery for Friday: Our moving coordinator calls to say that our truck hasn’t departed from St. Louis, despite the fact that they have had all of our stuff for 2 weeks at this point. Me: WTF?!

We were without nearly everything we own for a week. In the interim, we pillaged the trailer for cookware, camp chairs, a thin mattress, bedding and eventually pulled all of the cushions out to make a faux couch. And as the saying goes, we made lemonade out of lemons and decided the best use of our first weekend in California was to paint our master bedroom, master bathroom and guest bedroom… because when you move from 5,500 square feet to 1,800 tackling three rooms in 2 days is actually feasible.

Master bedroom

We’ve long been fans of dark walls in our master bedroom, usually some form or gray,  but we’ve even talked about going black. Cut to us at Home Depot pulling all of the gray and black swatches available, when we stumbled on Opera Glasses, in Behr’s Marquee line. This deep blue resonated with both of us immediately, so we decided to break away from our traditional monochromatic leanings and give it a go.

I’m SO happy! I absolutely love this shade of blue. It made the entire room feel more refined. And thanks to the fact that it’s a huge space, the dark color doesn’t make it feel small.

Those dark corners make my heart happy. It feels very cozy.

The photos above are all shot in natural light, but  it’s worth a look at the electrical upgrades we made to the space.

We swapped the ceiling fan for a much sleeker version without a light kit. The lack of proper lighting in this house (and really all California homes) is mind boggling. We will be adding ALL of the can lights (I vow to the renovation gods as I sit here in our very dark living room).  Here we opted for 6 square LED cans, which put out a ton of much needed light.

Aaron also swapped all of the outlets to white, rectangular versions, and he installed our favorite dimmer: the Lutron Maestro IR. Our love for this dimmer is a hold over from my days working in the electrical distribution business where I got to know about all the latest and greatest electrical products. Calm down guys, it is not as glamorous as it sounds, but I did get a pretty sweet employee discount. Even when that discount went away our love for the Lutron Maestro IR kept going strong thanks to the easy light control and remote for adjusting lights from the bed.

Other notes about this room: I wouldn’t consider it to be done. We’re still using Ikea shelves as bedside tables, which I called “temporary” in this post from Sept 2013. We also really need some seating, like a bench at the end of the bed, and I have some art that needs to be hung. I doubt this space will get much more than that before we overhaul it down the road by stealing some of the space for an expanded master bathroom.

Guest bedroom
In the guest bedroom, we stayed a bit more true to form, opting for Behr’s Shark Fin, a medium gray.

Chair rails are not our jam, but removing these seemed like a hassle. Besides the normal drywall work that would be needed, in this room the top half of the wall is textured and the bottom is smooth. It’s really odd and not worth the time or effort to even things out. So, just like in the master bedroom at the firehouse, we painted it in order to get it to blend in with the walls.

This room also got new receptacles, a window shade and a more modern fan and light kit (not pictured). It also houses a bunch of things that are basically homeless, like extra fans and a bunch of weights from our workout room that I can’t decide whether to keep or get rid of. The good news is that the only real plans we have for in here are decorating – art, probably a new duvet, a chair and maybe different side tables. After nearly 4 years of constant, real renovation, it’s nice to have a list for a room that’s mostly “buy things we like.”

So one room is blue, one is gray (and bonus points if you noticed the master bathroom is white with black cabinets… more on that later) and obviously all of our stuff made it to the house eventually.

In which we plant succulents outside and all my dreams come true

This wasn’t the first project we did at the new house. The first project we tackled was painting our master bedroom… and our master bathroom… and, for good measure, the guest bedroom. We tackled those first because we spent nearly a week in our house without ANY OF OUR STUFF. But that’s a story for another day… a day when I have edited “after” photos when my husband lives full time in California with me.

It’s important to share these updates because you may have noticed in the introductory post for the new house that I failed to take good “before” photos of the backyard. Now I can’t do that without bringing you up to speed on these quick updates we made soon after moving in.

Up first: Swapping this table for our fire pit.

While it was great to have this outdoor eating area when we were waiting for our things to arrive, it didn’t fit in our overall vision for the backyard for a lot of reasons. 1. We have a massive slab (aka future table) and designs for a larger outdoor dining room. 2. This seemed like the perfect spot for our fire pit.

The post of the table is cemented in place, so removing it just required a quick tour with the sawzall.

We kept the chairs – 2 for the fire pit and 2 for the interim outdoor dining area.

Project #2: A planter makeover.

There are approximately 1,000 planters/planting beds at this house. While most of them need to be converted in groups, this standalone guy (no pun intended) was an easy target for ALL OF THE SUCCULENTS! I love succulents and have a Pinterest board to prove it. (Ok, that sounds weird, but it is true.) They grow outside here and this may officially be heaven. So you shouldn’t be surprised when you see a lot of these make their way into our landscaping.

Boom!

Succulents + gray rocks. Be still my heart.

I intended to list the names for all these plants, but those photos are with Aaron in St. Louis. If you’re dying to know, leave me a comment and I’ll swing back with the info. In the meantime, I’ll just be sipping my wine gazing lovingly at these beauties.

Welcome to our SoCal mid century ranch

Even while living at the firehouse, we always lusted after mid century ranches. St. Louis has quite a few (not within our budget) and we’re obviously enamored with the simplicity of mid century modern design. I tell you this because I think it’s kind of cool that in giving up our “forever home” we landed in the only other style of home we’ve ever had heart eyes for.

So without further ado, I present our new home.

It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1,800 square foot ranch that has only been owned by one family before us. Let’s take a look inside and chat about our renovation plans. (Note: all of these photos are from the day of the inspection. None of the furniture is ours… although if you think we own a recliner you may be new here…)

Reno plans: We already want to paint the exterior, which sucks because the previous owners did a really nice job painting it before they put it on the market. But seriously that yellow beige has got to go! We’re envisioning a blue grey main color and black roof (more on that later). Ultimately, we’d like to change the front yard to water friendly, desert landscape. We’re already noodling it, but we may need help from a professional designer (suggestions please!) because landscaping isn’t our forte.

We also ran into a little bit of an issue trying to get our trailer parked on the pad to right of the driveway. So we’re nixing the light post and curved wall on the right and extending the concrete to the sidewalk. As we work on the exterior, we’ll eliminate the “country” leaning aspects (like the fixtures and the brick around the front door) to give it a sleeker vibe.

To the right of the entrance is a front living room. The photos don’t do the space justice, it’s rather large has gorgeous corner windows with extra deep sills.

Reno plans: The entire house is getting new flooring, so let’s get that out of the way up front. We’re just not carpet people and the Danes have only confirmed that by reveling in every square inch. They’re in heaven. I keep telling them to enjoy it while it lasts, but their very small grasp of the English language leaves me feeling like they’re not getting the message.

I digress. This space will likely become our dining room and contain a desk/working area. I think this will make more sense as we go so bear with me.

It opens into an existing dining area and the kitchen. So looking right you see this:

Looking left you see this:

The kitchen is rather compact… even more so when you realize the large open space in the photo below is the laundry area.

Both the kitchen and existing dining room look into the rear family room, which offers a TON of natural light from a huge slider, two doors and another set of corner windows.

Reno plans: Per usual, I’ll dedicate an individual post to major renovations before we dive in. I mention that because it’s a little hard to describe exactly what we’re going to do to the kitchen/dining areas without sticking you in the center of the space and gesturing… maybe a video is in order? Suffice it to say that we’re merging the spaces together to form a large kitchen, carving out a dedicated laundry room and adding a walk-in pantry. We’re planning to lose even more walls between the front room, kitchen and family room so the space feels super open.

Speaking of the family room, there were no photos of this space in the listing and it’s one of the reasons we fell for this place. Hello high ceilings. Hello fireplace.

The kitchen is to the right in the photo above. If you turn to the right, this is what you see… minus Aaron and the inspector. We’re amazed at the custom woodwork and the former owner’s ability to get a TON of storage in this home. But this bar has got to go. It’s totally impinging the flow in this space.

Here’s a shot looking to the other side of the room (with your back to the fireplace).

This corner includes a custom sewing area and you probably already guessed that it’s on the chopping block.

Reno plans: This space has some major issues with flow, mostly because every wall has a window, door or built-in. By the fireplace, we’ll install a different set of built-in cabinets to house our bar and hide a projector screen when it’s not in use. We’re also seriously considering moving the large sliders to the sewing area (in favor of a large window). More to come there. Oh and this space needs white paint like WOAH.

Back through the kitchen and down the hall you come to the smaller of the guest rooms, which we’re planning to turn into dedicated wine storage. Exact renovation plans are TBD, but paint and wine racking are obvious.

The guest bathroom was recently renovated, which is great. It would be more great if it wasn’t a melange of beige on beige on brown, but it works for now. This space also has a huge skylight, which I love.

Reno plans: This is lower on the list, but when we get it to it we’ll de-beige and make it match the rest of the house.

The actual guestroom is at the end of the hall on the left.

Reno plans: It’s mostly basic decorating in here: paint, new light/ceiling fan, then figuring out what furnishings and decor we keep from the captain’s bedroom.

At the end of the hallway to the right is the master suite.   

Reno plans: The bedroom is HUGE and the bathroom is tiny… and has a lot of awkward angles… and there’s no mirror over the sink. So it’s kind of a hot mess. When we get to it (this is probably at the very bottom of our list), we’ll do a total overhaul and give more space to bathroom. For now, paint will tide us over.

I did not take nearly enough photos of the backyard. Another post with some better shots is definitely in order. So let’s hold on that for now.

Three large sheds line the walkway to the garage and were another huge selling point for us. This eliminated the need for Aaron to build a sh-workshop because the storage space freed up all of the garage space for the larger tools.

And here’s the garage/future workshop. It’s #1 on the list (and already in progress) because we need those tools for the other renovations and there’s a BUNCH of boxes that I’d like to get out of my front living room.

Reno plans: Remove all the cabinets, patch the walls, paint, epoxy the floor, new electrical and lighting, then re-install everything that we JUST installed in the workshop at the firehouse. Moving is fun, guys! (Sarcasm)

I mentioned that Aaron got to see the house for the first time during inspections. His eye, along with a lot of input from various professionals, added several major projects to our list:

  • New roof (it was way past due and will require a full removal/replacement)
  • New furnace (it was original) and possibly adding air conditioning (because global warming)
  • New electrical panel and additional sub-panel in the garage
  • Stucco repair around the new electrical panel
  • Tenting for termites (a common need, that is normally covered by the sellers, but wasn’t in our case… and to get into that story I would really need to have you here in person… and a bottle of wine)
  • Minor fireplace repair

So, here we go again… albeit in a much more manageable space. Questions? Encouragement for a video? Or maybe just an extended story on Instagram?