No Ice Ice Baby

Today marks day #25 without a refrigerator. You read that right, we’ve actually been without a fridge since we moved. The space in our kitchen (and the doorway in to our kitchen) is so uniquely sized that there was only 1 fridge carried by Best Buy or Home Depot that could work and that was pleasing enough to the eye that we wouldn’t hate staring at it 3 years from now.

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That teeny, tiny cooler has been our “fridge” for the last month.

So let me rewind – for those of you unfamiliar with the LA rental landscape, it’s a fairly common practice for most landlords to not provide certain appliances to future tenants. Jefe and I have been lucky thus far that our last 3 places all came fully equipped with stove/oven, dishwasher, fridge and washer/dryer (which is like the white whale of apartment hunting).

But our new place was just so right for us that we decided to bite the bullet and rent a place without a fridge. We never in a million years anticipated we’d have to go a month without one.

When we first signed the lease, we immediately headed to Best Buy (Jefe’s version of heaven) to find something. We decided that we didn’t just want something that was the right price and size, we wanted something we could keep for years to come (and potentially move with us in to any future home). We found one that we loved, and it happened to be on sale.

Two days later we’re letting the delivery men in the apartment. They pulled out their tape measures and proceeded to walk right back out the door. We very carefully measured our rather small fridge opening but we never in a million years thought the doorway to our kitchen would be even SMALLER. Well, lesson learned.

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Who has a doorway that’s smaller than 30″?!

So back we and the fridge went to Best Buy. We managed to find one that hypothetically will fit with a clearance of over 2 inches (minus the doors). Today is D-Day as Jefe anxiously waits at home for delivery while I’m working the 9-5.

Really looking forward to that grocery run after work tonight where I can finally pick up ice cream, cream for my coffee and tons of cheese. Unless, of course, it doesn’t fit again in which case I’m going to down that pint of ice cream before it melts to drown my fridge-less sorrows….

Hiatus & a Project!

So I inadvertently have been taking a blogging hiatus.  Work has been nuts and as of my last post, Jefe and I were traveling.  A LOT.

Since then, I’ve felt less than inspired as I grew so tired of seeing the same stuff online recycled over and over and felt the pressure that if something wasn’t “Pinterest Perfect” that there was little point in blogging. But I do love writing.  And designing – be it for myself or my limited group of family and friends who are crazy enough to unleash me on their own homes.

With that all said, I have a new life update that will include a LOT of projects in the future that I will do my best to write about and recap in semi-real time: Jefe and I moved!  Now, don’t get too excited dear East Coasters, we haven’t moved that far (yet).  We’re only went a mile east and 2 blocks north of our last apartment.

You may ask – why bother if it’s really that close in the same hood?  #1 = square footage.  We gained over 300 extra square feet back by upgrading to a 2 bedroom.  #2 – PARKING.  I finally have a garage space to call my very own!  No more fighting for a spot and worrying about early morning moves to avoid street cleaning.

There’s also a million other reasons like the 3 walk-in closets, a backyard, etc.  But I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  And note these are all 100% before pictures as we’re still unpacking boxes and I’m not quite ready to share the place in it’s current state.  I also have HUNDREDS of ideas of how to make this place a true stunner that we can call home.

Bedroom: It was painted grey by the previous owner.  And we would have loved to keep it.  But our landlord is pretty strict about paint and we didn’t want to inherit the financial responsibility of required professional painters down the line.  So white it will be (But we’re keeping the navy blackout curtains.  Nap time just got 1,000 times better.)

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Second bedroom: Our future office.  I’m already worried this is going to turn in to a bobblehead museum, but one challenge at a time Sledge.

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Bathroom: So this may be the one down side – we’re downgrading from 1.5 pure white bathrooms to a single with pink tile. Luckily, a non-clear shower curtain can cover 75% of it.

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Hallway: Closets. Closets.  Closets.  I think I just heard an angel sing.  The grand total is 3 walk-in closets and 2 linen closets, one of which we’ve already turned in to a pantry.

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Kitchen: What it lacks in counter space it definitely makes up for in storage space.  And new appliances are a definite perk I was afraid we weren’t going to find again.  And although I’d prefer stainless steel, I honestly don’t mind the white, especially with what I have in mind.  Winner winner, chicken dinner.

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Living room: All the space we could need and then some.  I’ll just need to create some sort of fake mantel/shelf getup for the Christmas stockings.

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Dining room:  No longer will we have to cram into a tiny space between our dresser in the living room, the bedroom door and the sliding balcony door.  We shall have a whole room for eating and entertaining.  And it’s got a walk-in closet.  I am officially spoiled.

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Backyard: The landlord told us no one ever uses it and we’re welcome to set up a grill, furniture, etc.  My head is bursting with ideas, I can hardly stand it.  I’m already envisioning dining al fresco, Parenthood-style.

Parenthood Outdoor Dining

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So there you have it friends, the new space.  We moved in two weeks and although we still have a ways to go, its already starting to feel like home.

I’ll be back soon with ideas and plans for each of the rooms; I can’t wait to get started!  But for now, I’ll leave you with a preview of the first real project in the new place:

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Isn’t It Revealing?

Yesterday after a great brunch with Jefe’s family, we FINALLY tackled some finishing touches to his parents’ place that were long overdue.

First we started in the office.  A few frames from Aaron Brothers and 3 college pennants later, and we’ve got a wall of artwork.  We choose a few long, skinny frames that were meant for 3 photos.  We ditched the precut mat, attached the pennants to the white backing with a little painters tape, and closed them up.  These 3 pre-made frames cost us a LOT less than the custom ones and they seemed to work just fine.  The pennants happen to represent the alma maters of Jefe, his father, and his brother so it makes it all the more meaningful.  What do you think?!  (Please excuse the bad lighting as I wasn’t planning to blog about this quite yet, but couldn’t hold in the incredible results….)

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Next we moved to the right, in the area above the desk.  Luckily, Jefe’s dad already had some great, classy artwork already framed that we popped up there.  It’s a print commemorating when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.    Just around the corner to the right, Jefe found this stellar metal sign – an old ad with Ted Williams.  It’s got great coloring, has vintage style and is sports-themed (Have I mentioned this is a die-hard Red Sox family?!)

Last week we relocated a plant from their dining room to really it give it an old-school library feel.  And that sucker has THRIVED.  It’s grown at least 6 inches in the last week, thanks to the direct sunlight.

And without further ado, the big picture, literally:

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We haven’t tackled the artwork on the accent wall yet as we’re waiting to get a large poster custom framed.  Once that’s up, we’ll finish it off with Jefe’s dad’s diploma and a small gallery wall of Sox themed artwork above the globe.

Moving down the hall to the guest room, we finally tackled hanging the great Target mirror we ordered.  Much to our surprise, it was much lighter than anticipated.  It was also NOT painted red – it was the perfect shade of wood to match the bed frame.  Go figure.  So that was quite the happy accident.  And in the spirit of using what you’ve got, we hung a great picture of Golden Gate Bridge that Jefe’s parents already had up on the wall above the bookshelf.

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We still have a few more to things to go in this room including his mother’s rug and painting from Ecuador as well as a planned family photo gallery wall.

But here’s the **almost** finished product:

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More to come soon as we’ve got our momentum going to really get this project finished.  And yes, I’ve recently become obsessed with the iPhone’s panoramic option.  It really is a quick and dirty way to get wide-angle shots in VERY tight spaces – an overworked blogger’s dream.

Are any of you trying to wrap up any unfinished projects?  How did you find your motivation?

…And the Reno Continues…

Take a gander at our beautiful new (albeit laminate) wood floors! Aren’t they great?!

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Now, you see that blue x of painter’s tape? That would be the warped board they failed to replace yesterday.  It also happens to the damaged board that was furthest in to the room. And the one we MARKED yesterday with painter’s tape. Le sigh.

The thing is, it’s a tiny spot that’s only warped right where it meets the wall… And it will be hidden under our desk. But shouldn’t the point be that they totally just goofed yesterday despite our best efforts to both mark it and with me pointing it out IN PERSON when the flooring guys first arrived?

Needless to say the reno that was supposed to be done tonight may last in to the weekend. In order to fix the board, they have to pull up EVERYTHING they did yesterday. Ugh.

In addition to the living room, they had to rip up the wood in the entryway of the kitchen, washer & dryer unit, and the front bathroom.  That section was warped during the Great Washing Machine War of 2012-2013.  Luckily they’ve decided to replace it with the same tile that is in the kitchen and bathrooms instead of of the laminate.  We honestly can’t blame them for that because if the washer were to leak again, they’d be dealing with warped laminate flooring.  For a third time.  Since we moved in 10 months ago.  So here’s what my entryway looked like at 9am this morning anxiously awaiting new tile:

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So Jefe and I have been thinking of ways to spend an entire Saturday outside the house as I am doubtful the work will be done tonight. Thinking we may finally knock a few movies off our must-see list and try a new restaurant… I mean what else are you supposed to do on a June Gloom-filled Saturday in SoCal?  Happy Friday everyone!

The ABC’s of Living Through a Reno

Last week our kitchen sink pipe burst.  Water everywhere.  Today we start floor demo and repairs.  I’m honestly a little sad that I can’t be there to see the process (and maybe learn how to lay tile myself), but there are certainly a few things I’ve learned already about living through our little version of a renovation:

A) Be thorough.  Last week the flooring guys came to do an estimate of how much of our lament hardwood they would have to replace.  As Jefe and I weren’t there in person to talk them through it, they estimated a good 4 feet less of damage than actually existed.  But Jefe was awesome, and made sure to tape out on the floor all damaged areas last night, so I could clearly point out to the contractor this morning that their initial estimate may have been a bit too small.  Had we not done that, we may still be living with some damaged boards a few weeks from now and a job half done.

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B) Delineate your space.  We live in a 900 square foot apartment (which by NY standards is large), but to us after downsizing, is not massive.  And when you’re forced to move all your furniture in to about half that space, it can make living through the renovation tough.  We had to make sure all of the damaged floor was exposed with some room to spare for the workmen to get around.  So Jefe and I made sure to condense everything as economically as possible while still ensuring we could access the things we needed to (ie-our dresser in the dining room that houses 1/3 our clothing).  We also made sure we still had someplace to sit by putting our couch in a spot so it’s still useable.  Not everything is accessible as in I won’t be going on a printing rampage or mixing up cocktails at the bar in the corner, but we are still able to grab all of the essentials we need in a pinch.

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C) Having a good partner.  My Jefe and I certainly don’t agree on everything, but when you’re living through any sort of situation like this where you just have to suck it up, deal, and do what needs to get done to just make it through to the other side, it’s essential to have somebody who’s willing to suck it up with you and not just bail.  Somebody who’s willing to do the heavy lifting when your arms give out (literally), wash gross soggy towels from mopping the floor, and still stop at Magnolia on the way home to bring you dessert.  So kudos to my guy for always being awesome, even when I’m not.

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And although Jefe may kill me for saying this, the small insight in to living through a renovation has actually made me look forward to FUTURE ones, albeit in a MUCH larger space where we have somewhere to retreat to while the rest of our space is in shambles.  I know they won’t always be as manageable as this one, but I love the idea of taking something old and creating a beautiful new space with it.  So who wants to hire me to flip their house?

And I’ll be sure to update you all on what state our place is in once we get home tonight….