Thursday, December 9, 2010

House Pics

This is the first time in nine years we are home for the holidays, which has its upsides and downsides.

Downside: Jack spent Thanksgiving Day raking 32 bags of leaves.

32 bags, no joke, plus another 21 the following weekend. When our real estate agent was pitching half an acre, he somehow forgot to mention the part about raking 53 bags of leaves.

Upside: We were in town for the school Turkey Trot, and got to watch our first grader forfeit a win in favor of helping her little sister cross the finish line.


But I digress. The point of this post is to show you some pictures of the house and I had better stay on topic because I have about 20 of them to upload.

This is not only the first time since we were married that we're home for the holidays, it's the first time we're in a home at all. Nine years of dwelling in small apartments has given us a happy, daily appreciation for things like grass, and storage space, and not having to worry about people being annoyed when they can hear our kids cry. Or jump or yell or play. Or when they poop in the pool at their sister's birthday party.

When we moved out of our last apartment in Santa Barbara, we left behind all of our furniture except for one bedroom set and a crib, so we're basically starting from scratch. We still have a long ways to go, but here are a few of the projects we've finished so far -

The first item of business after unpacking, was figuring out where to put our sweet 2004 27-inch beast of a box television set.

The answer came to me on top of a double decker bus. Jack's parents were in town and treating us to a tour of the city, when I got an email that someone in the ward had left this baby out on their curb for free pickup.

It weighs about 400 pounds, and I had to have it. I made Jack and his dad drag it home, then spent every Saturday morning for two months doing this.

Did you know that paint stripper can burn a hole right through your hands? Twice.

But every birth story is painful, and now what would have been garbage has a whole new life.

Once you start stripping furniture and painting it white, it's kind of hard to stop. I found these at the thrift store for $7 total.




Next item of business were the walls. When we moved in they were a deep, what-were-they-thinking terra cotta red.

And now they are warm and happy Niagra Falls Blue, and Moonlit Yellow.

The kitchen also needed a little something, as the custom corner cabinets the owners provided just weren't quite right.


The cabinet was a $30 find (!) at the Arlington Flea Market. The bulletin board, I dug out of a recycle bin, then painted the edges and covered it with fabric. The only thing missing are your Christmas cards. (Do you see the six beautiful, but lonely families on the right? Their party can't start until you arrive.)

We've also had a ton of luck on Craigslist.

This desk was 30 bucks. With chair.

And this was only 70 (!) the cost of permanent damage done to Jack's back when he lifted it into the van. (That bow, by the way, is a Christmas decoration. I have yet to buy something on Craigslist that comes gift wrapped.)

Also, in case you think I only know how to search Craigslist for white furniture, my favorite find so far is this antique sideboard.

The owner said he had over 50 requests for it, but chose us because I sounded nice, and because I was "so consistent." I guess it pays to be nice. It also pays to flood people's inbox and voicemail until they finally throw up their hands and consent to sell you their stuff.

When we brought it home and set it against the wall it looked a little lonely and sad, like it was wondering how it went from living the DC good life to serving as a hide-and-go-seek cave for our kids. So I gathered up every frame we own

repainted them, ripped up a few art books, then laid everything in the entryway for a week and made people step over them

until I settled on an arrangement.

I'll stop now, before you start begging me to. Also, because if I take any more pictures you might find out that some of our windows are still covered like this

or that while we save for a new couch, we are sitting on a nasty free one from Craigslist that looks like this.


Kristin said...

You're a downright miracle worker. I'm in love with the red kitchen chest! I too can totally appreciate how long it takes to get pictures on the wall (I never did bother unpacking mine this move). And um, leaf blower for Christmas? I thought so.

This is the FIRST TIME EVER I've been your first comment. (Of course my day would be on the home DIY projects post- my favorite topic in the world! YAY!)

Jodi said...

1) I love it 2)I have been regretting for some time now that I didn't get myself a Goleta lemon picture (I'm going to have to bribe someone to send me one) and 3) the only thing your house needs are some Sparks to crash on the floor...and maybe a new couch.

Alison said...

you MUST, post-haste, make up a charming story about the couch. Somehow, for some reason, it is waiting to be transported to the Smithsonian... your job is to provide us the background story!!!

Beautiful home darling!!! You didn't fall far from your mother's tree... not at all!!!

krissiecook said...

Wow, this post makes me feel good. First, because I've seen some of it firsthand and photos are much more fun when you remember seeing the subject. Second, because we moved around the same time you did, and I have been feeling bad that so much of our somewhat dumpy-looking home still looks really dumpy and telling myself that the Erbs must have their home looking awesome by now.
Well, your home is 100% awesome. All the repainting and refinishing is awesome and represents lots of work I feel to the need to catch up to. And things like the couch are awesome because they make me feel like I still have time.

krissiecook said...

P.S. I'm not sayin' it's a bad couch. Rachelle enjoyed more than one lovely nap there and I have fond memories of both FHE and MNF (a better pairing than wine and cheese in my book) as seen from that couch.

Allison Hansen said...

Gasp! Beautiful! What a dream, Katie! Sweet colors, natural light, wood floors, and a half acre of jumping leaves! I love EVERY detail!

So... when can we come visit?!

Lorie said...

It is all beautiful! The TV cabinet/dresser is to die for!!! That is just what I want for our living room!

Good for you for making grandpa Jack carry it in the house!

Jeannie said...

LOVE it all, Katie!!! Your work is amazing. And now I'm wondering if I can hire you to decorate my house for me. Your skills with refinishing were quite unknown to me. I should have enlisted your know-how (and your Craigslist prowess) while you were here. One of the many million reasons why I miss you...

Jane said...

Gorgeous, I wish we were spending the holidays at YOUR home this time. Christmas won't be Christmas without the Erbs coming to town.

Becca said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I am feeling SO inspired right now! I never could have done that! I love it!!

Lara said...

Someday I aspire to be as cool as you! :) Seriously, everything turned out beautifully and I truly believe that it takes an artistic eye to see past the ugly varnish and funky swirls to make it into something stylish and new!

Randy said...

Katie and Jack, you have a beautiful home. Jack, after saving up and purchasing the much needed couch, a purchase by the name of JOHN DEERE might be a nessecity. Give my love to your little Erblets.

Memzy said...

So, hypothetically speaking, how much would you charge me to, say, fly you out here for a few months, scour Craigslist and then repaint stuff to decorate my house with?

I'd totally let you tape of my entryway the whole time too.

Hilary said...

you are the coolest person I know. that's all I have to say about that. as a side note- how do you bribe your husband to help with these projects? My husband is incredible, but I know this would take some serious bribery.

Susan said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS.!!! Everything looks amazing! I would curl up on that nasty old couch just to be in your house.

Lyndsi said...

WOW! Katie, I never knew your craftiness went beyond cute hairbows, cards...who knew you were an interior decorator and refinisher!! I vote for more fun never disappoint. LOVE your house and you style! Oh, and Jack, nice work, Matt would've stopped at 3 to make a game plan :-)

Maryann said...

Seriously? Seriously! Katie. You. Are. Amazing. Period.
Everything looks beautiful! The TV stand transformation is the greatest thing I've ever seen.

Leslie said...

You are far more industrious than I. (Heck, I can't even work up the energy to blog! ;)) Your craigslist skills are impressive and your house is looking great.

And if it makes you feel any better, our windows were covered in paper shades for a good year after we moved in.

Jenny ESP said...

I covet your house and your clean, fresh furnishings. But I'm soooo glad you have that homeless-shelter couch. Now we can be friends!

Courtney Vance said...

I love the house Kate, I don't know how you always seem to do it all. The furniture looks amazing!

Marci Coombs said...

I absolutely adore every last detail!!! You are the craftiest of the craftiest!! On my agenda: come see it all in person!

Flem said...

Katie!! I have always been impressed with how frugal yet elegant you always have been. I am neither frugal nor elegant and have been looking at the RC Willey website to furnish our new place in Utah (TBD) which is both tacky and expensive. You have inspired me and I assume you will be out here for a couple of weeks RIGHT when I need you to help me figure this stuff out--summerish. You are amazing and my only request is that you more frequently post around here. Don't you have a smart phone by now?

Humpty Dumpty

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