• Room Redo Up on Copy Cat Chic!

  • 4 years and a puppy

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Baby Got (I'm) Back

You guys--sorry for the radio silence. I have no excuse other than things were HAPPENING. Our house is coming along like gangbusters (sarcasm). The most we've been motivated to do over the past few months is hang some new art, set up a trampoline in the backyard, throw up some crown moulding in the master bath, and Jake built a window-accessible cat lounge. I shit you not.

Also--big time news. We got a new kitten! His name is Alfie and he was the best (and tiniest!) treat I received on Halloween. He is a major bundle of joy and a perpetual source of sunshine. It should be mentioned that he and Pan are such buddies, I almost can't stand it. Whatever Panda is doing, Alfie has to do it too (typical big/little bro situation). I even made them their own Instagram account because how could I not.

Also of amazing amazing note--Derek & Tara (our favorite human beings this side of Pluto) are pregnant.

Actually, Tara is the pregnant one but Derek is hogging the limelight per usual. They told us on New Years Day at brunch, and my BFF Elizabeth and I screamed and started crying in the middle of the restaurant. You could have heard a pin drop but nothing was getting through our haze of giddy, overwhelming joy. Needless to say, NURSERY TIMEEEEEEE. Oh and then this past weekend we went to Dallas for Derek's bday/surprise baby announcement at Craft & Growler (in our old hood--get at me Deep Ellum), and got to share all those happy cry-y vibes with all their/our friends and family. Such a special time. And then to celebrate, we got what can only be described as "turnt up". After the best fried chicken sandwich in the universe (The Foundry, at the Foundry), we found our way to the San Francisco Rose for karaoke, where Derek and I tore the mic up with our rendition of the seminal Ludacris classic, "What's Your Fantasy". At one point we found ourselves standing on chairs spittin out some very NSFW Three 6 Mafia, and then the building blew up when 4 of us sang Friends In Low Places. I'm happy to say we went out on top--microphone drop and all. Thankfully very few pictures have survived, though there is a video I will need to hunt down. My heart was full to bursting (as were our heads on Sunday, while Tara gloated and rubbed it in).

Another exciting (and way past due) development: I'm now a regular contributor to Copy Cat Chic! I so look forward to my room redos every other week, and I'm beyond thrilled to keep working with Reichel. The latest room is up today, you should ch-ch-check it out!

I think that pretty much hits the high points? I've got so much busy busy busy stuff ahead of me that I will probably not be updating as much as I'd like, but I promise I'm always thinking about you. I'll leave you with some kitties, because...kitties.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bathroom Remodel REVEAL!

Today I'm really excited to share my first remodel with you! I hadn't planned on doing this quite yet since we still have some things we need to finish in there, but I posted a room redo yesterday on Copy Cat Chic promising you can redo your bathroom for under $2000 and now I have to prove it ;)

I briefly mentioned on CCC that the bathroom was on the tragic side:

This is what we saw when we walked into the house the first time with our realtor. And while this picture is not the worst bathroom you've ever seen, I promise you these pics are probably the best this bathroom had looked since 1986. In person, the toilet was installed at an angle away from the wall, wobbled when anyone touched it, had things growing in and on it, and was generally disgusting. The vanity was not in good shape either--the drawers and doors were broken, the bottom had fallen out, the countertop was partially detached and the faucet was barely operable. Add to that the big cheap cabinet above the toilet, the old junky mirror, the ancient cobwebby light that cast an ominous glow from its inexplicable position in the top corner of the room as well as a hanging bare bulb next to the shower...it was so sad. And dangerous. But obviously those things spoke to us, because we put an offer in on the spot. 

We got the keys on a Friday, I met Jake at the house after work and he'd already ripped out the mirror, vanity, doors, mouldings, toilet and wall cabinet. As you can kind of see above, the wall cabinet was mounted to a soffit that we tore out, revealing some good chunks of mold and pipes that a large rodent had chewed through. Really good stuff. The only thing we left in the bathroom was the bathtub and surround, since they'd just been replaced and we didn't hate them. Most of the initial work in here involved scraping the popcorn ceilings (literally the easiest project in the whole house) and sanding down the walls in an attempt to remove a crescent pattern that had been very liberally applied. I suspect they used something like cement, because after seven separate sanding sessions, three different electric sanders, countless packs of sandpaper, and three different people spending what amounted to several days in there...the pattern is still not totally gone. We finally threw in the towel--crescent shapes or no, we just couldn't sand anymore.

The first thing we installed was this tile, which still makes me so happy every time I walk into that bathroom. These were 12"x12" tiles on a mesh backing, so I hope no one passed out thinking of us setting each of these by hand. Jake did an awesome job on this, and despite having no experience tiling floors, the whole process went pretty quickly and very smoothly.

Jake installing the cabinet after we painted and installed new doors and mouldings. We also had to move an electrical outlet so that it wouldn't be covered by the upright cabinet, and moved the lighting from the corner right above Jake's head to its current position above the mirror (pics below). 

Our new sink cabinet installed.

The plumbing master at work.

So all in all--this bathroom is brand new except for the tub, surround, and the drywall itself. See for yourself:

Not too shabby right?! This space is completely unrecognizable from where it started. It's about 95% finished at this point, and the only other "project" we have planned for it is to build a decorative cabinet (for lack of a better phrase) for the tub to make it look like it's built in. You can't tell from the photos but there's a gap between the tub and the floor, and since the front of the tub isn't flat or straight, there's not really a way to put any kind of moulding on there.  I also owe you a DIY on how to hang a shower curtain from a sloping ceiling (after months of research we hadn't found a workable solution, then my genius of a boyfriend came up with the best solution on the planet).Other than that, we only have a few small things to finish, like adding crown moulding and maybe adding a little open shelving.

Jake and I are both really happy with the way this room turned out, especially because it was even better than our imaginations and mood boards told us it would be ;) And being able to take a sad, lifeless and literally broken room and turn it into a happy, bright space is just the best feeling, you guys! It might be my favorite room in our house.

Not only am I proud of Jake and I for doing it all ourselves (of course our parents and some friends donated some of their nights and weekends too), I'm also still dumbfounded that we spent less than $2,000 from start to finish. If you don't believe me, check out the CCC post I did on it, complete with source list and pricing. This room is total proof that you can do anything with a small budget and your own two hands.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

San Francisco Part III

This section is mostly Sonoma (which between you and me, was my favorite part) and our drive back to San Francisco down Highway 1. My mom and I, as previously mentioned, ate pretty well on this trip. We over-ordered, to say the least, at Bouchon Bakery and ended up eating salted chocolate tarts and pain au chocolat and giant macaroons for breakfast for more days than I feel comfortable sharing with you. We also had a sensational dinner at Bottega, which we'd been eager to visit since last year when we took a cooking class in San Antonio with Michael Chiarello (!!). That guy is awesome (obviously) but that is a story for another time.

But the wineries! Oh, the wineries. What a dream. (Literally, it is my dream to always be drunk in the California sunshine.) We visited some pretty choice wineries this trip as well. I'm by no means an expert, but I purposefully steer clear of the big names in favor of smaller wineries that are doing really interesting things with that humble grape that we're all so inexplicably fond of. Because we had such a large geographic area to cover, we spent a lot of time figuring out map routes and yelp-ing hotels in the area (we are not usually the ones to fly by the seats of our pants, for the record). A little hectic, but also pretty fun.

When we got to Napa, we had roasted beet salads and chestnut soup at a cute downtown bistro before our first appointment at Honig in Rutherford, and actually got into Sonoma earlier than planned. We drove around for awhile before stopping at Mumm (my favorite champagne besides Andre; why yes, I'm very rich and my library contains many leather-bound books) and ordering several champagne flights. After tasting each of the six glasses, my mother informed me that she didn't care for any of them and pushed them all in front of me. I won't say what happened next.

From there, we spent our first warm afternoon of the trip drinking wine on the patio at Honig and soaking up as much knowledge as our wine-sodden brains would allow. Honig is small but they make my favorite Sauvignon Blanc (you can find it at Whole Foods!) so I couldn't resist making some purchases. We also tried an incredibly sweet dessert wine that was thicker than honey--not something I'd ever order but I'm glad I tried it. I could totally see drizzling it on top of adults-only baklava or something similarly decadent.

From there we went to our hotel in Calistoga for disco naps before our stellar dinner at Bottega. Then we were up bright and early Saturday morning for our appointment at Lancaster Estate in Healdsburg--not a lot of people have heard of them, but they are by far one of my favorite producers. And I should have mentioned by now that my mom is not a wine person--she drinks Riesling. Just Riesling. Which is also the one wine I won't touch. So bearing that in mind, my mom RAVED about Lancaster Estate. We tried only reds there, and she drank all of them and proclaimed them the best she'd ever had. So there's that.

ANYWAY. No one else showed up for our tour, so we ended up getting a private tour of the grounds. And it was so fun!! It's such a small estate that we were able to drive through all the vineyards as we heard stories about the grapes and the family that owns it, etc. Then we had a private tasting in their wine cellar and almost chained ourselves to the walls so we'd never have to leave. I felt like a movie star (maybe it was the wine?). I spent too much money on two bottles that I'm saving for an as-yet undecided occasion, and I can't wait to do it again.

After some great sandwiches and heirloom-seed-purchasing lunch at the Jimtown Store, the last tasting room we visited was Medlock Ames, which I was actually most excited about but most disappointed by. Maybe because we'd been to Lancaster right before, but Medlock just didn't measure up. Our experience there was fine--the people were knowledgeable and they served some great little canapes with the wine. They just didn't have a cellar carved into the mountainside to serve us in :( But they did have some great gardens full of chard and strawberries and all kinds of herbs to keep us company as we sat on the patio.

After that was a splendid five hour drive back down Highway 1 to San Francisco, hanging my camera out the window the whole time. We drove through Point Reyes National Park, marveled at the redwood forests and the sunbathing sea lions, and held our breaths when we ventured to look over those sharp craggy cliffs. We stopped at every scenic outlook and raced the fog rolling in all the way back to Marin County. We even took a short took a detour through dairy country, which brought back memories of my high school FFA days. My mom even told me I did a great job driving, which made my decade. We passed back over the Golden Gate Bridge and ended our journey with dinner at Tyler Florence's Wayfair Tavern, which had some high points and some really amateur low points too. Another story I guess.

The next morning we were up bright and early to fly back to Texas. All in all, a fantastic trip. And I'm really glad I got to share it with my mom; it just wouldn't have been the same without her.