the bar.

August 22nd, 2012

remember that time we did the built in shelves? and a bar? after a puke-inducing number of hours spent caulking, sanding, priming, painting, repainting, staining, and touching up…we’re, what, 90% done now?

we have a neon budweiser sign that alex’s grandpa picked up for us on one of the top shelves. we still need to drill a hole and drop the cord down to the plug near the floor. and we need to build a glass rack for our stemware. I want to hang a honeycomb pendnant with a battery light above the bar because…why not? also, because there are no lights except a neon red beer sign. there’s still some awkward looking empty spots on the shelves that need to fill in…I want plants. and a globe and other odd shit that I find for free on garbage day. the bottom shelves are reserved for B’s books and other crazed-toddler friendly stuff. so…mostly kid books.

that brass wall light is going in the spot above my white couch. also a rug. oh, and floors. floors would be great. also, I found that wicker shelf thing on garbage day. it’s kind of awesome. and that amazing sombrero was a garbage day find too. (it’s clean, dont worry). I’ll chalk alex’s reaction up to mildly annoyed. I got the fabric for the curtains from a garage sale – enough to do 4 panels plus a curtain rod for $3.

alex built the bar alone with his two bare hands. I did the staining/painting part. he has wanted a bar for so long. and here it is. that spice rack on the left was an antique for $1. I filled it with our mini liquor bottles and am still deciding on what color to paint it.

we’re going to put up some track lighting beneath the shelf that runs along the top of the window and put a locking door on one of the bar cabinets so B doesnt get drunk one day when I’m not looking.

also we need plants. and the piano bench is getting painted/reupholstered…maybe something orange? I’m not touching the piano because it was alex’s grandma’s and she taught him how to play on it. his music books still have all the dates and stickers from his lessons. and the wall color makes me stupid-happy. I sat down the other day and made a list room by room of all the crap we want/need to do…and it made me lightheaded. and rex just woke up.

the kitchen.

July 26th, 2012

our kitchen is disgusting.

manageable, but disgusting.

the previous owner had really awful renters living here and there was a kitchen flood that NO ONE TOOK CARE OF. the grout is crumbly, the counters are bubbling, and the cabinets are all damaged/rotten. we knew we needed to renovate the entire thing when we bought the house, more out of necessity than aesthetic. and the ceiling is dropped and it just felt awkwardly suffocating. we’ll probably gut it in 6-8 months or so…and I’m counting down the days. and this is what we’re planing:

1. white subway tile back splash with dark grey grout 2. metal shelves from ikea where one of the upper cabinets used to go. 3. teal peacock wallpaper along the front of the bar and the wall between the fridge and the floating shelves. 4. new light fixture – right now we just have a bare fluorescent. 5. textured tile wallpaper for the ceiling cutout 6. mismatched hardware – I’m aiming for 3 different kinds. 7. RUG 8. white shaker style cabinets…conveniently, also the cheapest. 9. white sink. deep white sink. also a garbage disposal because we don’t have one. 10. copper faucet and sprayer thing. I don’t even think that one is for kitchens, but hey. 11. dark wood grain laminate countertops. I love butcher block but I need these bitches to be indestructible and zero maintenance….so laminate wins. it even has wood grain texture so it looks like real wood.

1. we already got rid of those and moved them to the garage. that’s where subway tile is going – the exact width of that section of counter – and the two metal shelves. 2. we closed that in when we converted the dining room to a 4th bedroom/office. that’s what I’m wallpapering/stenciling. 3. when we buy cabinets, we’re not buying new ones for above the fridge. instead we’re going to put up subway tile and a white wood shelf just above the top of the fridge for some open storage for pitchers and my yellow scale and stuff we don’t use too often. cabinets are stupid expensive, yo. 4. we already took that down. with the screen gone, it leaves a coffered ceiling effect because it’s raised about a foot and a half. padre trimmed it in and that’s where we’re putting the white tile wallpaper and new light fixture. we tried to hang the wallpaper once but it fell down because we used spray adhesive, naturally thinking we were fucking geniuses. nope. 5. it irritates me that the outlet is on the side – it taunts Brigs. I want to move it up to the counter back splash, out of reach of grabby baby hands and dogs named stella. my laptop has to be plugged in to turn on and she whacks it with her tail and unplugs it all the damn time.

and if money were no object, I’d keep everything exactly the same, except we’d get yellow Big Chill appliances.

because, yes.

I’m free, the walls are bouncing, the light is green.

July 20th, 2012

i feel like this was a good look for our hallway.

disregard the disgusting tile.

that shit is the bane of my existence.

i refer to this as my art gallery.

everything we collected over time, frames from alex’s papo, paintings done by my stepmom’s grandmother. holiday cards from 1973, things I made, things I found. a cross made by my dad’s friend in california, empty frames that still need filling, finger paintings by my first born.

that canvas was a wedding gift from my mom, painted by her cousin.

it’s one of my absolute most prized possessions.

B watched me hanging all of this up and now he holds paper to the walls and bangs on it with a mallet.


I want to make a runner like this for the hallway – which is really really long – and replace all the janky mismatched painted-over door knobs with glass ones.

but not any time soon judging by the rate I’m able to actually complete projects these days. the sheer size of alex and I’s project list for the house gives me anxiety. I feel like it all has to be done now because we’re running out of time. from what, I have no idea. but my head seems to think it’s a very pressing issue.


June 28th, 2012

it was 7 o’clock in the morning. we were sitting in the kitchen, coffee in hand, breakfast in front of us. we were dropping off the boys for the day so alex and I could go to the beach, just the two of us. our bathing suits were on, our towels were in the back of my car, skin smelled like sunscreen…coconut and sea salt and white sand.

we had talked about building a room full of bookcases, floor to ceiling built ins with a bar in front of the window. we’d stayed up late measuring, drawing diagrams. we’d been to home depot and priced things out. we’d walked through that room day in and day out, picturing it in our heads. but it wasn’t until that morning weeks later that we decided to bring it to life.

we were supposed to go to the beach. but instead, alex said “let’s build the bookcases today.”

and so we did.

I went to home depot in my bathing suit, picked up paint and other things. the boys bought the wood and filled our garage with saw dust. and over the course of two days, they filled that room with bookcases, up and over the window with a spot for the piano.

B helped.

I painted the walls a figgy purplish/brown color while the boys got everything ready. they constructed each shelf unit with a dowel system in the garage and then brought them in and attached them to the wall and the one next to it and worked their way around the room. the shelves go up over the big window, framing it in. once the shelves and trim were all up it was time for me to caulk and sand and prime and paint them in between baby nap and bedtimes whenever I could get a minute. we went with white, so they contrast with the fig color. right now all the painting is basically done, we just need to attach a couple of small trim pieces, and things are starting to find homes on each shelf. the bar is almost done being built and then we need to figure out lighting…because in the 80′s it was a good idea to build giant rooms with absolutely no overhead lighting whatsoever. shit gets real dark real fast.

hopefully next week it’ll all be good to go.

Phase One.

March 13th, 2012

yard work, bitchessssssss

lets start with the before shot.

after - phase one

Obviously we painted. I lost the battle for the blue house so we settled on dark brown. DARK brown. with off white trim.

Then Padre built us a fence – both sides of the front were down so he took care of it. It looks nice.

And the awkward half wall to the far right got demolished because it served literally no purpose.

And lots of things got cleaned or killed or pulled.

And then came Sunday. Sunday was great. Alex was all happy about doing yardwork and B and I cleaned inside and listened to music with the doors open and whatnot. It was boring and fantastic all at the same time.

The rock to the left of the house got covered in trellis and jasmine vines that should cover most of it by summer.

the bright green hedges that were there got moved to the right of the house to break up all the brown.

the rose bush got moved to the right of the garage and we’ll try to cut it back and get it to fill out more.

And that weird spot between the hedges and even weirder concrete wall?


Phase Two will involve removing the ugly holly by the door and continuing whatever those bright green shrubs are.

And closing in the concrete wall and connecting it to the house…so it doesn’t just stop in the middle of the grass.

And we’ll plant a yellow bougainvillaea tree to the right of that wall.

And we’ll tear down the ugly palm trees and plant a different tree in the middle of the yard.

And some pretty flowers in pretty pots will go up on the wall and we’ll trim the walkways and flower beds with mulch or something. And I picked a spot for my hanging basket. I just need plants for it.

And I will have a succulent garden by the front door in one of those 3 foot tall planters with the holes that stick out of the sides, if I can ever find out that isn’t crazy expensive.

Phase Three will be new light fixtures, house numbers, and mailbox. And we talked about adding dormers to that long stretch of roof on the right.

I don’t know.

And there’s this stretch of blank wall that bothers me.

Give me your thoughts.

Because I have none.


the living room

February 15th, 2012





















so. this is what the living room looks like now. we primed the fireplace – I still need to paint it white and stain the mantle darker. also, the toy box is being made over and I’m making a cushion for the top so that when people are over, we can hide all the kid crap and make it a bench. and the tiles will be gone and the concrete painted dark brown. and I want to get (or make…?) some painted tiles and line the inside of the two cutouts in the wall that separates the living room and lounge. and one day I would like a purple couch. and we need a rug. and I need to hang up some stuff on the walls and make the beaded curtain for behind the TV. and we talked about replacing the sliders with french doors down the road. and I have a GIANT chandelier sitting in the garage that I want to paint green and hang up…but husband already vetoed that idea.

i fucking love this house.

the lounge.

February 6th, 2012


our home, in its current state.

this is what I’m calling the lounge – I guess it was originally intended to be a formal sitting room. So we knocked out part of the wall to open it to the living room and ripped out the carpet and painted the concrete. the plan for the lounge is to just be the room with the bar and record player and guitars and piano. We’re going to make some floor cushions and pouf things and hang curtains. I want to get a narrow wine rack for next to the book case, which needs some storage for all of our bar glasses and cards and what not. Old afghans for the chaise and lights strung from the ceiling. We need to paint the baseboards still. And build a giant bar and unpack some boxes and hang our metallic gold fringe behind the tv. (yes. another tv.) and I want to get a giant rug and throw away the zebra one…that rug and stella had a very intimate relationship for two very long years. It’s the first room you see when you walk in.





so, we should have just sucked it up and rented the industrial sander before we painted the concrete – so when we do the rest of the house, we’ll re-do this room. and we should have given another day to fully cure before moving in furniture, but we knew we would re-do it later, so whatever. it was the trial and error room. and even with a few imperfections, we love the painted concrete. love. and it’s going to look amazing in the rest of the house. right now the wall color kind of looks washed out with the white tile…but I love the wall color too. it’s a kind of grey/green tinted white, and we’re deciding which walls need to be accent walls and what kind of crazy shit I can paint on them.





also, we built a room, kind of.







the door needs to be painted black like all the other doors. also, I want to figure some kind of cool light. and I want to get a dresser/hutch with a mirror and put against that wall with the crap on it. and paint leopard spots all over it. and get a little rug and the closet door needs a big knob.

in time.

right now

January 19th, 2012

we’re here. we’re home.

most of our things are still in boxes, but we have a place to sleep and we can find most of our clothes and dishes at any given time. but it’s a small semblance of normalcy. there are boxes everywhere. boxes full of things that don’t yet have a home, that won’t have a home until we build our pantry and renovate our kitchen. things stacked on top of one another, furniture awkwardly sitting in the middle of an open room. things that can’t be put away until other things are unpacked and found, which makes a bigger mess and just different things cluttering the counter now. switchplates that still need to be put up, trim that still needs to be painted. and sometimes I walk into a room and I’m completely overwhelmed because all of the things need to be unpacked, all of the projects that need to be finished and started, and B wants to play and the dogs need to be fed and the dishes washed and laundry folded…and maybe I should shower. But B is happy here, and the windows let in so much sun that we don’t have to turn the lights on during the day. and the girls can run wild out back for as long they please and they have a stack of blankets to collapse onto when they’re done…and a fireplace to sit by when the nights get cold.

despite the current chaos…this is home.

and, finally, she was happy.

January 12th, 2012

I don’t think anyone has ever loved this house as much as we do, or taken as good of care of her before. we’re fixing her, mending the holes, making her right again. you can almost feel her smiling, almost hear her breathing a sigh of relief through the walls.

but as much as we’ve done, she’s still in limbo. every last wall, every ceiling, every door, every piece of trim, needed to be sanded and re-textured, primed, spackled, and painted. every window needed to be fixed. we built new walls and tore down old ones. we got some paint up on the outside, tamed the wild trees that grew out back. we’ve done so much since Friday. and there is still so much left to do…and come Monday when everything is done and we can sit in that house for a quiet minute, on our own beat up couch, and be still, it will only be our starting point.

there is so much we want to do to every last inch of that house, not even a single blade of grass in the furthest corner of that big backyard will go untouched. and I watch my husband’s eyes light up when we start planning, when he talks about his garden and the landscaping out back. and I watch B smile when we walk through the mangled front doors. and I feel the butterflies when we pull into the driveway. and it will take a very long time…but this house, she deserves it.


December 28th, 2011

what we’re dealing with and why we’re excited.

excited enough to continue with the continual circus that is Georgia Armstrong.















we left off with the title company and our lender scrambling to get an extension letter from one of the lien holders of the house.


the title girl is really the one who is handling that situation- and she is also unbelievably frustrating.

on December 7th, she says we are good to go and will have our letter within 2-3 days.

so our lender sends us our list of things we need to do for closing. we complete EVERYTHING within a week’s time.

during that particularly hectic and stressful week, title girl says it will be another 2-3 business days.


so we arrive at December 14th. she says another 2-3 days.

2-3 days pass.

And on the 17th, she says it will be ‘a few more’ business days because they needed a HUD, which she decided to send over on that day, instead of a week ago.

which begs the question…is she a complete effing idiot? If they needed a HUD, why in the hell did she wait so damn long to send it to them? And also, can she count? It would appear not.

In the meantime, we’ve rushed our appraisal and had to shell out extra cash for a second home inspection, switch home insurance companies, have a roof inspection, fax things, and sign things, and copy things, and email bank statements, and all kinds of things, so we’re kind of stressed without title girl proving to be just as big an idiot as Georgia – who by the way, didn’t take care to have the renters leave on the water before the inspection, which is a requirement. She wouldn’t answer our calls. But LUCKILY the home inspector was cool and just let it slide, knowing Alex’s family owns a plumbing company. We haven’t heard anything from Georgia in about a month, actually.

So Julie sends more emails to the title girl, as does our lender. So she decides to tell us it will be another few days, that she’ll go ahead and update our title – because she hasn’t done it in the last 3 weeks – and still hasn’t ordered our survey.

We were expecting to close on the 23rd. And we are most pleased that we spent extra money to rush EVERYTHING to have it all in within the first week, since we were told our extension letter would be sent to our lender within 3 days and to get everything done ASAP.

Then to top it off, Georgia’s jack ass assistant starts firing off emails asking just unbelievably dumb questions. I think it should be a requirement that in order to work in ANY professional setting, you must first master the basics of the English language, proper spelling, grammar, etc. And common sense. You must also have common sense. And not be lazy. And answer phone calls.  These bitches are all of those things…dumb and lazy and rude.

And now it’s December 28th and NO ONE is answering any of Julie’s emails and no one has any clue why the Ocwen extension letter is taking this long. We only needed it extended by a week in order to close but it’s taken almost a month to even get the letter back to begin with.

And here’s the kicker: Our mortgage loan will expire on the 5th if we don’t close before then. It’s already happened once in the time we’ve been trying to buy this house…so we’ll have to start all. over. again. At that point, we’ll probably walk away and then do everything we can to have Georgia fired.

But on the bright side, the samples came in the mail for the new kitchen counters. HUZZAH.


    Easily Dunn