Monday, December 19, 2011

Home is Where the Hearth Is

I'm recycling that title (a punny one I enjoy) from an AT post I wrote the other week while I had our fireplace on the brain. The mantel basically sold me on the house, but the hearth used to be closed off with gray plaster over brick (ugly).

Eventually I'll do a proper "Before & After," but here's an in-progress shot. It's the guy who sold us our house and who, as this photo shows, has been cool enough to help us with some things after the keys switched hands. It was a dusty mess.

Our plumber ran the gas line to the fireplace, and the floor of the hearth had to be re-bricked because there was a hole down to the basement. The gas still has to be hooked up to our ventless heater, and I am trying to get over the fake log look. We're ordering a fireplace screen. Aaand, to round things out on a cute note, here's a close-up of that fox ornament from the top photo. 

Images: Charm City Home

Friday, December 16, 2011

All a Facade, and Debating the Front Door

Our house is at once very old (110 years, give or take) and mostly brand new. Despite undergoing serious renovation, the house has certain things, such as our front door, that are still just a little off.

The door is missing an escutcheon, which leaves open a hole for cold air to gush through. The other problems are how the door is hung (poorly) and painted (poorly). We've also been debating the glass, which is great for natural light but not for privacy. I had added some window film for a compromise, but that didn't go over well. We got a quote for a new, all-wood door, and the total including installation was ridiculous. I think we'll just end up adding a curtain.

I want to paint the door, but, for now, this is what the front of the house looks like. Clearly the best thing about the facade is the brick, which is in great shape and about a thousand times better than the awful, awful formstone

Image: Charm City Home

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bedroom Decoration Progress

Our bedroom is one of my favorite places in the house so far because of its high ceilings and original pine floors. It feels nice and airy but grounded, to me, and I surprised myself by adding some pink (lamp, pillow). My mom and I painted the room pale gray back in September (Martha Stewart's "Nimbus Cloud"), and slowly I've gotten around to adding things like black-out shades, some curtains, etc.

The little table with baskets (above) is an Ikea hack that'll be a "Before & After" post on Apartment Therapy tomorrow (update: link here). The bedside table (below) is also from Ikea's cheapo-o "RAST" line, personalized with leftover teal paint and some on-sale Anthropologie knobs. I still need some art for over the bed; I think I want a tall black and white photograph. Finally, please disregard how bizarrely lumpy our new comforter is. Calvin Klein steered me wrong with that one.

Images: Charm City Home

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Festive in the Front

My mom is in town for a quick visit, and she brought clippings from the giant, decades-old evergreens in front of our PA house. In the past I haven't take the time to decorate for holidays, but greenery is another story. We made a little swag for the front banister, and Kojo approved.

Image: Charm City Home

Monday, December 12, 2011

Progress/Getting Past the Camping Phase

Oh man. It has been many moons since I wrote on here, which I blame mostly on how much time I spend on the MARC train. My commute is good for naps and The New Yorker, but it means I'm behind on most other things I'd like to be doing. Someone buy me a netbook/iPad for Christmas?

Feeling short on time hasn't meant I've stopped working on projects (because I love projects), it just means I haven't documented them beyond a few sad "before" photos. I probably won't be ready for "afters" for months anyway, but I've fallen way behind in my house blog updating goals. Like did you know that I finished sewing a cool shower curtain yesterday (in this fabric)? And that I had to learn how to make buttonholes in order to do it? I need to tell you about that and our fireplace and all kinds of stuff.

The other reason for delays in any sort of documentation is that for a long time it felt like we were squatters, not owners. We sold a fair amount of furniture before we moved and then needed to fill up our new dining and TV rooms, etc. Just to give you an idea, it took until November (that's three months) for us to get our sectional. (There might have been a miscalculation on my part that resulted in the original sectional we ordered not fitting, but now we have a giant one from Crate & Barrel, and it's awesome.) Pre-sectional we had stacked my generous collection of pillows against the wall and watched TV and ate pizza from the floor - and no one needs to see a picture of that.

Anyway, it's almost a new year, and I resolve to take more photos and actually update. There's a lot to share.

Images: Charm City Home (1. The love seat in our front sitting room is from a Baltimore shop called Pad. 2. KR: The dining room was just a pass-through in October, before we bought a table and chairs. As of December, we still only have two dining chairs (but they're cool, so it's alright). KM has nixed the lamp, and the glass desk is stored in the basement.)