Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holiday Upcycle

We had a good old fashioned Virginia Christmas, and it’s high time I finally sat down and thanked those who made it so.

I also hope that I’ve given everyone a sufficiently long break since my previous post, because we’ve finished another Craigslist makeover, and I have about 15 more before and after pictures to upload.

But first, thank you to our holiday company, cast & crew -

1. My father-in-law Jack

I adore my father-in-law, to pieces. Here he is in the freezing cold, fixing our car when the power steering went out in Alexandria. He is the hardest worker I know, and I’ve never once heard him complain. When he wasn’t fixing our car, he was having it washed and vacuumed, buying our groceries, running our errands, and improving the house. He did the dishes after every meal, and fixed our entire Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast. How many fathers-in-law fix the meals and wash all the dishes? I know! He’s a keeper!!

2. My mother-in-law Daneille

I adore her equally, to pieces. Here she is during the aforementioned power steering breakdown. While the rest of us were whining about how cold/tired/hungry/power steeringless we were, she spent the entire wait doing word games with Jolie, and teaching her about American history. If our kids are smart, it’s because their Grandma D has been supplying us with educational resources and advice from the time they were born. Daneille is an avid reader and a world traveler, which also makes her the best Christmas gift giver. My very favorite books and movies are the classics she has introduced me to.

3. Jack’s sister Elise

I had to post a paparazzi-style shot of Elise, because everywhere we went, people mistook her for a celebrity. She is stunningly beautiful, and my fashion idol. Thank goodness she took pity on my outdated accessories, and wrapped up an entire collection of the latest and hippest for me under the tree. Elise is toying with the idea of living with us this summer, which would be a dream come true for the kids. I’m just not sure Jack & I are prepared to deal with having our door beat down by every eligible bachelor in the greater DC area.

4. My friend Jen

Jen & I worked together at the Utah State Capitol before she moved to DC to take exciting jobs on the hill, then settle down with her husband & two beautiful girls. Everyone who moves to a foreign part of the country should have their own Jen. When we first arrived in town, she sent flowers and balloons to our hotel, and has since been patiently answering my incessant pleas for advice - Where to shop (Wegmans), what to eat (Wegmans), where to go on a date (Wegmans), how to entertain the kids (Wegmans), what insurance plan, what doctors, etc. etc. etc. She also has cooked for us, introduced us to new friends, and included us as guests at all of her fabulous, perfectly hosted parties.

I mention Jen specifically in my holiday thank yous, because she saved Christmas by loaning us her electric sander (see below), and also because she suggested we spend the holiday at Mount Vernon, where we got to meet

5. Apple

Apple is the turkey that President Obama pardoned in November, then apparently banished to a frigid, 6x6 outdoor penitentiary at Mount Vernon. Who can pass up a photo op like that?

And speaking of photo ops, while at Mount Vernon, we were also pleased to discover a display of George Washington’s dentures. I would show them to you, but

Sorry guys. Rules are rules.

Lastly, thank you to

6. My handsome, handy husband Jack,

For dragging home another one of my back-breaking, 800 pound Craiglist finds without complaint, and then spending all twelve days of Christmas, into the wee hours of the morning, sawing, sanding, drilling, and painting until he had put every Elf in the North Pole to shame.

Here are the before pictures, direct from the Craigslist post.

Thank goodness the set was beat up and hideous, because it kept all my potential competition from realizing what gold it is. All the pieces are made by Community Playthings, which means they are solid maple, hand crafted and, I’m pretty certain, capable of surviving a nuclear attack. New, this set retails for over $1,000. I almost felt guilty giving the guy the hundred bucks he was asking, since all it needed was a little love.

Here’s what it looked like on Christmas morning, when the kids came pounding out in their footed jammies -

Plus the ironing board,

(That is a TOY iron!!!)

And the table, which was another curbside freebie from a ward member,

that just needed a fresh coat of paint.

Jack did some very clever upcycling. The burners are spray painted furniture gliders,

the hutch lights up

EEEEEEEE!!!!! (Wait, who is this kitchen for anyway?)

He used a bathroom faucet, and the sink is a 9x13 baking pan.

That's right, boy. Real men do the dishes.

(His future wife already owes me a thank you note)


Kristin said...

I'm dying over here! That is by far the cutest little kitchen I've ever seen! I can't wait to have kids. You guys did SUCH a good job!! And all of your craigs list re-do pictures could not come soon enough. Before and after furniture is the best.

Maryann said...

Ok, I am seriously LAUGHING right now at how amazing you guys are. Seriously?! You turned that into THAT? What ARE you? Some kind of superhero? I am literally giddy for you right now!

Jane said...

The kitchen makeover is AMAZING, I wish my kids could come play in it every single day. If I didn't have such a great mother, father, and sister-in-law I might have to steal yours. Lucky! Although, I do consider the Erb's my family too. (Good job on the housework Cal, you are my kind of boy.)

Memzy said...

I want to go to there. I don't even have girls (or little tiny people) and I am already instantly and seriously breaking a commandment.

The covet one.

Susan said...

The makeover is amazing!
Your in-laws are amazing!
Your husband is amazing!




Mike said...

Without any disrespect toward you father-in-laws handy man skills, your skills of turning lemons into lemonade with the woodwork is becoming legendary.

You definitely have a creative gift in that area.

Mary Karlee said...

What an amazing make-over! That was like watching a design show. Can I take credit for the gray and white cupboards? :)

PS Ryan said, "Ask Jack why he didn't install running water."

Jenny Coombs Bradford said...

Oh my goodness. Your last 2 posts seriously have taken my breath away. You should start an official "Before and After Craiglist Finds" blog. I'm so floored by that kitchen...Now I have to make one of my own!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great makeover!

Flem said...

I feel like I am following Bob Vila's blog. This is really incredible!

The most amazing part was the iron. Seriously. I don't know that many people who use REAL irons, let alone a fake one!

Lorie said...

Okay, their kitchen is cuter than MY kitchen!

I love it!

And I can't wait to see all of your other Craigslist finds. And I need tips because I have been looking for a dresser to turn tv stand for weeks and haven't found one.

Our poor new TV that Jon got for Christmas has been sitting on the floor for a month!

Julie Knowlton said...

I just threw up all over my computer from wanting that kitchen set so bad.

I don't know how to talk to you.

Marci Coombs said...

Ok my jaw is still on the ground from looking at that ADORABLE kitchen!!! I am in AWE!!!!!! Another reason I must come to watch you and Jack in action with your craigslist finds. For some reason...I've always been deathly afraid of buying anything on there. Gasp! I know!!!! P.S. Mt. Vernon is one of my VERY FAVORITE places EVER!!! Have you been to Williamsburg yet? Another must see!

Jeannie said...

Absolutely incredible make-over! What a treat to wake up to Christmas morning. And, again, can I please hire you to refinish some pieces that are dying for attention here? If nothing else, just to have you back in SB for awhile...

Cathy Leavitt said...

I'm so impressed with the final finished looks super! My only question is why does that toy iron look better than my real one? (By the way, I hate to iron, so it probably doesn't matter since it doesn't get used all that often anyway.)

Tanita said...

Katie Jo Dana Foutz Erb! I cannot even handle the awesomeness that is you! Ashley and I are putting an offer on a house that is circa 1979 and if we get it, I am hoping that I can channel some of your vision and creativity. Or maybe I can tempt you to come to Tucson this summer with a stay at Westin La Paloma and you can help me for a few days with some decorating. You like 110degree weather right?

Lara said...

May I be half as cool as you when I "grow up". You are awesome!

Brandy said...

My mouth literally dropped open when I saw the "after" shot. They are AMAZING!! You guys did a fantastic job on those. We miss you guys :)

Katie said...

Kristin, Maryann, Jane, Susan, Mike, Jenny, Lara, Brandy, and Anonymous(!) - Thank you so much!!

Memzy - Covet not. One day we'll sip soda & watch our (joint) grandchildren play with it. One day Memzy, one day.

Mary Karlee - Yes, you inspire me!! Plus, I figure since you stole our apartment, we can steal your cupboard idea, right...?

Ryan - Why didn't I think of that!? I am sending Jack to Home Depot as we speak!

Flem & Cathy - Promise not to judge me? I iron my kids jeans.

Lorie - Have you heard of the Craiglist Easy button? It helps a ton!

Julie - Your blog makes me throw up ALL the time. It's how I stay skinny!

Marci - I know, right? Craigslist killer! And thanks for the Williamsburg tip! We'll go there next!

Jeannie - I'm afraid if I came to work on your furniture, I would be WAY too distracted by those boys to get any work done...

Tanita - Um, YES. Especially if you throw in some Egees. And keep me posted on the house!!

Leslie said...

I am truly dazzled by your craigslist kitchen transformation. Great job! You make me want to get going on all the half done projects sitting around my house.

Jenni Price Illustration said...

Really??!!! I can't believe how fantastic this looks! You have seriously done a wonderful job!

senategirl said...

That kitchen set is AMAZING and it will last for your grandchildren as well. Now, I want to toss ours and go get a craig's list kitchen set.

Jenny ESP said...

Mount Vernon is like Disneyland for History nerds. The happiest place on Earth.

You make stuff look good. It's both inspiring and frustrating cuz, try as I might, I will never come close.

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