something to do

Last week I was over the to-do list of the home variety. Today I'm reviving it because--let's be honest--to-do lists work. Yesterday Alex and I met with our new realtor, and we were beyond thrilled with his expertise and suggestions. We may have to sink another $1,000 or so into this place, but everything he said made sense and he has a crazy eye for detail. I'm ready to get back on the market, and I know this isn't going to be another 18-month haul. So, in the spirit of my new found enthusiasm to get this place sold, here's a look at the actual to-do list ahead of us (in no particular order):

- throw out doormat in kitchen
- stock up on air filters for hallway vent and change weekly
- fix cracked tile on fireplace
- all cords off the floor (behind the TV and desk in the bedroom)
- fix Alex's closet door
- get rid of the dead bush in the back yard
- move trash and recycling bins to the side of the house (DONE!)
- blow the lot
- mulch "the heck out of the trees" (realtor's words)
- planters (with some color) on the front porch
- window box under front window where screws are sticking out anyway
- get light for side porch
- fix light on front porch
- fix electric "issues" in living room (i.e. lose the kill switch)
- cut monkey grass
- plant evergreen (something) around the giant HVAC unit
- skim living room ceiling and cracks where wall meets ceiling
- paint the living room and dining room ceilings white
- touch up trim in hallway
- skim wall in (master) bedroom where shelves were hung and touch up paint
- touch up trim in Catcher's bedroom
- replace shower curtain and shower liner
- hire mason to fix loose bricks on outside of house
- update washer/dryer
- remove shade on kitchen (side) door
- fix or remove mullions on kitchen door
- place uplights behind the TV
- cover drainage extenders
- fix kitchen cabinet where it's peeling slightly
- re-caulk the tub

There isn't anything too overwhelming on the list, but I think our best plan of attack is to focus on one thing/area per week. Considering our schedules, I think it's realistic (and not too aggressive) to give ourselves a deadline of March 1st to get everything accomplished. When it's all said and done, we're just hoping to come away from this whole experience not owing anything to the bank. If you had asked us in May 2009 what we wanted, the answer would have been at least $20,000 in our pockets. But things change, and we just want out.


not more stripes

Yes. I am tired of writing about stripes; however, I feel like I have created a little challenge for myself to see how long I can keep this stripes thing going, so I'm moving on to striped furniture (watch out accessories, you might be next). Just remember, stripes are in this spring.

ThuThu Stool, image from de zeen



patiently striped

Elle Decor
As long as I'm on this little stripes kick, I figured I should just go with it. I find striped walls intriguing simply because I could never harness the patience to create the effect in my own home (and being a do-it-yourself kind of girl, I would never hire anyone to do it for me). While the finished look is pretty cool, thinking of the rolls of painter's tape and levels involved gives me a slight headache. So kudos to those who've tackled this project (especially the person who painted the stripes for the room pictured in Metropolitan Home, below).

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Vastu Design Clique

Metropolitan Home


stripes are in

When I was in high school this very cute older boy commented on my shirt saying, "stripes are in this fall," and that line has become a running joke in my head ever since--it's kind of like an inside joke where I'm the only one on the inside. But the truth is (when speaking of fashion) stripes are in this spring. Actually, this is about the third season in a row that stripes have been in, and yesterday's stripes theme kind of got me on a kick. So here are more stripes...and there will probably be more before the week is over...

This is one of my favorite kitchens ever from Domino magazine. It's a favorite because of its simplicity and contrasting color palette. The fact that it is the exact shape (and I would wager to say size) of my own kitchen is another reason I fell in love. The stripes on the floor give the illusion of a wider space in this little galley kitchen...why didn't I think of that?

Love the diagonal; love the coral and turquoise. Love! Image from Material Girls.

The decor in this room (from House Beautiful) is a little country for my style, but I like the juxtaposition of the white cowhide and black and white striped floor. Plus, the stairs look pretty cool.

I'm beginning to see a theme here: robin's egg blue (or turquoise) is a go-to compliment for black and white stripes. Image from decor pad.

Of course Jonathan Adler would do it!


earning your stripes

Atelier Hermes, Sinsa-dong, Korea

Call me crazy, but I want to paint stripes like this on the floor of my house. Not the house I live in now, of course, and when I say "I" want to paint them, I mean I'd really like an artist to come in and do it for me. Jim Lambie is responsible for this amazing work of art (and patience) pictured above, and I'd hire him in a second if my budget permitted. As ambitious as I've been in the past, this is not one project I would want to tackle on my own. Who am I kidding? I could never do this anyway...

Here's a look at some of his other work:

Image, Black.White.Yellow

Spoon & Tamago

National Galleries

Big Look See


to do

We're almost (almost) ready to get this house back on the market. But every time I turn around, there seems to be something new we need to do (even though we've been doing this for 18 months now). Below is a list of things to get done before we meet with our new realtor on January 30th. By the way, we were supposed to meet with him this Sunday and we had a shoot scheduled with HGTV. Then the Packers beat the Falcons: end of story.

1. Finishing packing the books on the dining room table and get them up to the attic.
2. Re-caulk the tub in the bathroom.
3. Unpack/hook-up the Sony PlayStation (or take it to the attic).
4. Get rid of the giant box that the new TV came in.
5. Take the old TV up to the attic (and pray that squirrels don't make a nest out of it).
6. Take Catcher's bike up to the attic (he's still too short to ride it!).

I know I'm forgetting 100 things, but I'm kind of bored. I find myself making to-do lists all the time with my new job, so I'm not really in the mood to make another one right now. Later!


bathroom bliss

Thanks to the 1980's (and old people), wallpaper tends to get a bad rap. But wallpaper can instantly add drama and sass to an otherwise ho-hum space. I especially love wallpaper in a bathroom. If you can't afford the $6,000 stand-alone tub or aren't ready to invest in a spa-like rain shower, then wallpaper is a great way to make a bathroom inviting. Plus, it's fun to experiment. Maybe you're not ready to tackle the living room walls, but the bathroom is a safe entry into the wild world of wallpaper. Below are some inspiring pictures of bathrooms that you wouldn't mind hanging out in for a while:

Walnut Wallpaper
Brown Design

Elle Decor


Metropolitan Home


smart home green

S.N.A.P. Designs
My mother-in-law recently visited Chicago's Smart Home--a fully-functioning, eco-friendly home exhibited on the grounds of the Museum of Science+Industry. She mailed me the brochure outlining the green resources and inspiration behind the home, and I fell in love. It reminded me that if I had a million dollars (or if I had won the Mega Millions last week) I would build my own green house right in the middle of one of Charlotte's traditional neighborhoods. Actually, if I had the Mega Millions I wouldn't be living in Charlotte, but you get what I'm saying. Until I hit the jackpot, I'll just dream about living the green life in my own little box.

Images below of Chicago's Smart Home from Apartment Therapy.


boys and their toys

Saturday morning I woke up and heard "I want to see the backhoe! Mommy, I want to see the backhoe!" Catcher had heard a beeping noise from his bedroom and knew there was some sort of "man" work going on outside that he just had to witness. Considering a backhoe had been parked on our street for the better half of two weeks, he was pretty accurate in his assumption that this backhoe was up to something that morning. From his room he ran straight to the dining room window only stopping to say "I can't not see it. Move the curtain please." (He did say please. He's very polite).

There's a giant hole in the street directly across from our house. I'm thankful that there weren't exploding pipes in our front yard so we didn't have to pay for this in any way, and I'm thankful that our house is temporarily off the market. I'm not confident that the black mulch--for curb appeal, remember--would counteract the eyesore of the construction vehicles inhabiting our street.

I left the little guy unattended for a few minutes to change Scout, and I came back into the living room to find him standing on the back of the sofa peering out the window for a bird's eye view of the action. Boys are funny.


the hills are alive

Baby, it's winter outside but I'm a summer baby. Born during summer's hottest month (August), I've always preferred humidity over a dry winter. I love a warm summer rain on an even warmer--and by warmer I mean hot--summer day, but I'm not that impressed by a winter snowstorm. Then I came across this home in Salzburg designed by architect Anouska Hempel and thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad to live in the snow for a while (as long as you didn't have to go outside and actually do anything in the snow).

All images from Anouska Hempel Design.


the single girl

With Alex's busy travel schedule, I sometimes joke that I'm a single girl at home at night. If you want proof, here's a look at what's on my agenda for the evening:

Pad thai from Trader Joe's. Served directly from the microwave to my coffee table (no dishes required other than the plastic container in which it came).

Sex and the City re-runs on E! It feels like 1999 all over again; I think I've done this before. Except the first time it was 1999 and I was single (and my TV wasn't quite as grand and sat on the floor of my studio apartment).

Bill, taxes, mortgage, oh my! Of course I wouldn't be paying a mortgage if I were single...

Surfing the net. I haven't used the term "the net" in a while. Maybe it's time to bring that one back.


a cave fit for a man

For the past several months, I've been consulting my brother over the phone as he turns his formerly wide open, blank basement into the ultimate man cave. Although most of the ideas have been his, he asks for my opinion on the really important things like, "Should I paint the wall of the theater room a really dark blue that's almost black or a really dark purple that's almost black?" In this photo you see him showing off his handiwork to Alex as he points to the space where something--I lost interest but he was probably talking about one of the six televisions designated for the basement--is going to go. Or maybe he's explaining the wiring for the surround sound.

I don't really remember the conversation as the guys walked through the basement pointing to things and reassuring one another how great their ideas were, but it may have gone something like this:

Alex: So what if you put a kegerator right here?
Jay: Yep. Yep. I see what you're saying.

Alex: Nice TV, bro. Did you mount that yourself.
Jay: Uh-huh. It was easy. I still have to hide some of the wires, but whatever.

Jay: See, the ceiling isn't that high. I can almost touch it with my finger.
Alex: Hmmmm. Interesting. Can you touch that light?

Alex: So what's this ledge for?
Jay: The other night I put my beer right here.

Alex: I really don't think you should be wearing flip-flops while you're working in the basement.
Jay: No, it's cool man. See all these tools? I don't really do anything with them.

Alex: Let's be serious. I see that case of Bud Light. When do we start drinking?
Jay: Wait. You have to read this and see what a deal I got on the TV first.