30 December, 2010

We've Closed on the Cottage!

We closed on our new project!

We're starting with the interior. Plan A is that Daughter #3 is going to rent the Cottage from us when she graduates in May.  That being said, she is certainly putting a lot of sweat equity into her future home.  She has chosen all the paint colors and will choose bath floor tiles. She's decided on simple exterior colors and we'll work on that after we get the interior finished.  Here's some of the progress we've made.
Master Bedroom Before


The floors seem to be in good shape.
we have some glue residue to remove from them.
It seems someone thought it was a brilliant idea to glue indoor/outdoor carpeting to oak flooring.
And, while we're on the subject of brilliance, why would anyone think painting pretty much a whole house this color was a good idea?
If you're going to spray the whole dang house one color-make it WHITE!

here's the Guest Bedroom.


Hallway, before.

OK, not really.
Maybe I should call this an in progress.
The ceiling has been painted and hardware installed since I took this picture.
I just don't have a picture of that, yet.
On my to-do list for tomorrow.

I have in progress pictures of the Dining Room and Living Room.
Dining Room

And this.

I think someone yanked the curtain rod right off the wall.
One of my favorite DIY items is drywall mud. Gotta love it. Patched the holes in the wall, and we'll be more careful when we install drapery hardware. Here's what it looks like today.

This is actually the other side of the window, but there was a matching hole here too.
Here's the progress I've made on that gorgeous popcorn/glitter ceiling in the Living Room.
A definite improvement already.

We've replaced the AC/Heating and are hoping to get a rebate from the State of Texas.
We have to re-grade the backyard.
This was a bank owned property and there was no Disclosure because of that.
We have a wonderful neighbor and she filled us in on the story of this house.
That's a whole other posting.
We now know that the Living Room has water "issues' when there's a large amount of rainfall.
And we have Carpenter Ant damage behind the shower wall enclosure.
We've yet to see what was done to fix said damage.
On a more positive note,
our new neighbor, Maria, seems to be an amazing cook.
So is her 12 year old granddaughter, Tori.
Tori brought over a Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting the other day. While it kind of fell apart,it was still warm from the oven,  it was delicious!
Today Maria brought this over.
You might want to have a napkin handy.

Homemade tortillas.
Beef & Potato Tacos
Chorizo, Cheese, Egg Taco
And this too.

Homemade salsa with my favorite-
These were the BEST tacos we've ever had.
And we've eaten lots of tacos.
And we live in Texas.
Yeah, they're that good!
                                                     It's wonderful having great neighbors.
I'll keep you posted on the cottage.
It's going to be so pretty
There are so many great ideas we'll borrow from wonderful blogs.
Thanks for all the inspiration!
ann marie

24 December, 2010

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!

We'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Here are some of our simple traditions.
It's not the Holidays without them!

Cinnamon Rolls!
I wish I could send the delicious aroma to you along with pictures.
Here are a few special ornaments on our tree.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a wondrous New Year!
ann marie

08 December, 2010

WHY ???

Head's up.
This will be short.
Why would anyone think taking something as beautiful as this-

and turning it into this is a good idea?

These trees are in my neighbor's yard behind us.
They were magnificent, and that's not an understatement.
After spending the morning at the hospital,
this is what I saw looking out back.
It makes me sick to see them.
They are not removing these trees.
These trees were trimmed.
Trimming a tree like that should be illegal.
Thanks for letting me vent.
ann marie

03 December, 2010

New Cottage Project

Well, not being one to pass up a good bargain, Marc and I took the real estate plunge and bought this!

Well, we're in the process of buying it.
We have to get an inspection, but unless there's a huge problem, it'll be ours by the end of December!
We bought it as a rental, but I plan on updating it and adding a little character to it.
I figured if I'm going to tweak it some, I might as well enjoy the process and make it look good .
Plus, I'd also like to make it an asset to our little vintage neighborhood.
It's a small, 2 bedroom, 1 bath cottage.
It's on a double lot, probably about 50'x130'.
Here's some of our before pictures.

Both bedrooms have these built ins.
There's an awful lot of storage for such a tiny home.
There's a lot of beautiful, natural light throughout.

Under the carpeting in the bedrooms, hallway and living room there's 2 1/2"  oak flooring original to the house.  It was built the same year as ours-1951.
The kitchen has built ins which give it a little character.
It also has fluorescent lighting, which does not.
The cabinets are new-but they'll have to be painted.
White seems the obvious choice.
Hardware will help pull it all together.

The bathroom has a wonderful cast iron tub that is also probably original to the house.

The fiberglass tub surround will come out.
I'll put subway tile in, maybe with a herringbone pattern as a highlight of sorts.
The lighting has to go.  A sink skirt might be a nice detail to soften things up in here, and it'll add some color.

Oh, a new mirror too.
And we'll lose the towel bar.
Another neat detail in this house is the linen closet.

It's right outside the bathroom.
The door you see to the right is to the bathroom.
The linen closet makes the most out of an awkward corner.
The door at the bottom tilts out-
it's a hamper.
This house used to have a small 1 car garage attached.
Previous owners converted it to a family room.

The truly beautiful detail I didn't get a close-up of was the ceiling.
Gorgeous popcorn texture with, of all things, glitter to sprinkle-sparkle.
The exterior will get new colors, we're just not sure what those colors will be.

There's a need for some landscaping too.
The shutters are not working for me either.
The back of the house is even better!

This should make for one heck of a before & after project!
Wish us luck.
ann marie

20 November, 2010

The Legs Have It!

As I've said in previous posts-I love furniture with great legs.

I ran across these legs earlier in the week.
They were listed on Craig's List.
In Austin, an hour's drive up IH-35.
I kept going back to the post all week.
And my heart did that little pitter-patter thing that means I'm in serious trouble.
I finally contacted the seller, and made an offer.
They accepted and I found myself in the truck with "Lola", my GPS.
When I arrived, they were actually being sold in a funky resale shop with all kinds of goodies.

They're a pair of wing backs with legs I've never seen before.

The front ones are very curly and carved.
The back legs have a graceful curve to them.
I don't know the age, but I would peg the fabric that was used to cover them was from the 80's.


These chairs are 12" from the floor.
The one below is 10" from the floor.
The dimensions are almost the same as this chair.

Maybe it's because there's more air between the floor and chair, but they feel more petite to me.
The backs are also curved, no corner like lots of other wing backs I've seen.
I'm going to slip cover them.
I think a classic linen .
Or maybe matelesse.
Maybe fabric covered buttons down the back.
Maybe a graceful scalloped front.
I'm not sure if I should paint the legs, or sand and restain them.

ann marie

14 November, 2010

The Driveway Re-Do

We've always taken the simple act of driving up the driveway to our house for granted.
Whichever house that happened to be in our 27 years in the Air Force.
Even our duplex in Yigo, Guam had a driveway.
Then we moved into this little cottage of ours.
Curb appeal was non-existent.
So was the driveway!

We had a driveway, kind of.
I think someone dumped bits and pieces of leftover blacktop over time.
Then, they ran it over, a little.
There were no boundaries, and over time grass and weeds began to grow through it.
And I felt like I was going to bottom out each time I drove in or backed out.
And it drained into the garage when there was a heavy rain.
So, we decided to
put in a nice big driveway that was engineered to drain away from the house.
Isn't that a novel idea.
There's actually a funny story about the "price quote" I received from the people doing this for us.
The gentleman shows up, measures, asks how many expansion and control joints we wanted.
I gave him the numbers our city inspector gave me.
Yada, yada.
He comes back with a quote of 450.
Dollars? I asked.
Are you sure only $450 dollars.
4-5-0 dollars?
Yes, yes, yes. He says.
I think I was borderline obnoxious.
He had a very heavy Mexican accent,
then throw in my New England accent,
and the fact that I LOVE a good deal!
Well, the husband comes home and I relay the whole story to him.
He looks at me like I've been smoking something.
"You can't even rip the old stuff out for $450!"
Long story short-
When in doubt, have the contractor WRITE the amount out.
Lesson learned.
So. here's how it went.

Tear it out and make it bigger.

Put in rebar and chairs.
Groovy boots!

Bring in a couple of concrete trucks.

The "make the concrete vibrate" machine.
I'm pretty sure that's the technical name for it.
It vibrates the concrete so there are no are pockets that would weaken the structure when cured.

They level it.

I don't know what the term is for this.
However, in my professional opinion, I'd call it "smoothing it out".

These guys definitely knew what they were doing.
We now have a great place to park.
I hope we added value to our property.
Although it wasn't the deal of the century,
we love that it adds a finishing detail to the front yard
 and we're not bottoming out any more.
These guys did this all in 2 days.
It pays to know when to call in the professionals!

ann marie