Getting Somewhere

So, it’s been a while.  Life gets busy this time of year.  We can all relate to that.

I think we last left off in the office.  Here’s a reminder where we started off…


We painted it Retro Avocado.  Since then we have added a few things that are really making the room come alive.  I’m only going to show you one side of the room today, since well, I’m too lazy to clean the other side of the room.


First, you might notice the amazing blue carpet.  It was a $25 Goodwill find.  In a way, it’s Oscar’s little brother.  We are calling him Zoot, after the saxophone player in Electric Mayhem.  It’s a 9×7′ shag rug made up of blue and green yarn.  The couch is an amazing find that we picked up at Rocket City Retro.  Since the color of the couch and wall color are pretty close to being the same, we knew we needed something to break up all the green.

Etsy to the rescue.

curtain4We found this wonderful MCM curtain and thought that it just might do the trick.  The only problem was that there was only one curtain panel.  According to the seller it was 78″ long and 64″ wide along the bottom.  We took a chance and bought it.  I took out the pinch pleats so that it would be a big rectangle.  I took out the top hem.  That added an extra 3 inches.  Then, since I don’t trust my ability to cut a straight line, I took it to a tailor to have it cut in half and hemmed.


They turned out perfectly!  Now, we can’t close them for privacy since they aren’t wide enough, but we can always add plain white or yellow panels to the rod if we decide we ever want privacy.  Since it’s just an office, privacy isn’t really big concern.  I personally love how the greens from outside just blend right in with the greens on the inside.

We ordered the pillow from Urban Outfitters.  It was the perfect yellow color.


The other side of the room looks awesome.  You will just have to take my word for it until I get off my lazy, I don’t want to do anything because it’s Christmas time butt (not to be confused with my lazy, I don’t want to do anything because it’s thanksgiving butt) and clean it up so I can get some pictures.

Overall we are loving all of the color.  So much happier.


Stop the Presses!

We have a color!  It has taken more than two months and 20-plus paint samples to finally find one that we both think looks right.  We started with whites. I thought that white-ish stark walls would really make the bright colors pop, but then I started to worry that too much white would make them pop too much.

We even went as far as buying a 5 gallon bucket of Glass of Milk by Martha Stewart before I chickened out of white.  We ended up using it in the boys rooms, so it didn’t go to waste.

I played with the idea of a light grey next, then taupe and beige. I mixed my own colors one day trying to get just the right feeling.  What makes it even harder is that I worry too much about stuff that really doesn’t matter.  I always have.  Is grey too trendy?  Is it too cold?  Why does the beige always look peach?  How did I manage to custom mix the exact color that is already on the wall?  Maybe these colors aren’t fun enough.  Does this color say mid century modern surfer?  Am I being too trendy by trying not to be trendy?  Will the kids think “oh remember when mom went through her (fill in the blank) phase”? Will this color be enough to unite all the rooms while still fading into the background so the art and accents can pop?  Yes, I’m crazy.

I even asked the super nice people on the Friends of Atomic Ranch Magazine what they thought.  The popular colors there were white, grey, a shade of green, and turquoise.  So today we made a trip to Home Depot and collected even more samples.  Brighter colors than what we had been originally thinking.  I picked out a pale green, pale turquoise, a pale yellow and even a pale pink (who knows, it might be amazing).  Come home and slapped them on the “sample wall”.

We’ve been using this wall as our sample wall so that we could see the colors with the couch.  This picture makes it look so much more red than it really is.  I don’t think we will ever get an accurate picture of this couch.  You might notice the construction pile is much smaller now that we are, fingers crossed, a week away from being done with the construction part of the kitchen.

We also wanted to see the colors against the fireplace.

The pastel colors that I picked up today just aren’t right.  Not the look we are going for.

NOTE from Jamie: For two months we couldn’t agree on a color. It’s probably the most we’ve ever been in a disagreement about something. In the 1950s, colors were colors. Solid colors. Blue was blue. Not Smurfette blue summer-breeze! I found a color palette online and wanted to stick to a deep, rich solid color. To avoid Morgen’s flavor of the week paint scheme, I would just wait her out. But after a couple of weeks, I realized the colors – weren’t getting any darker. So finally, in the interest of getting some paint up on the walls by Thanksgiving, we agreed that if she picked out five finalist paint colors, I would pick the winner. After painting carnival-blue cotton candy and banana creme pie on the wall, I was happy she left a couple previous samples in the running. I should have snatched up her idea weeks ago. The color we picked really helps accent the furnishings and lets everything in the house shine.

The color is one that I custom mixed, so I guess we get to name it.  Let’s call it Groovy Grey.

I guess the hard part is over.  Now we just need to paint the inside of the house.  Thankfully the “sample wall” offers the right amount of incentive to get it done.

Yes, after all of that we picked grey.

Taking Back the Yard

We’re learning.  Almost everyday holds a new lesson.  Today, don’t start any project until you have taken “before” pictures.  Because when you tell someone you unearthed a new patio they probably won’t believe you unless you show them the before pictures.  Well, today we unearthed part of a patio.  Our side yard to the west has been over-grown,   covered with leaves and home to hundreds of lizards.  There is, what we thought was a concrete walkway that lead from the gate to the back patio.  Turns out that most of our west side yard is patio too.

This discovery probably wouldn’t have happened until the fall if it hadn’t been for the AC dying Friday afternoon.  The soonest we can get someone to come and look at the AC unit is Tuesday, after the holiday weekend.  So we have been spending the mornings and evenings outside where it’s cooler and the heat of the day inside where it’s barely cooler.  This morning Jamie headed out to mow the lawn, so I decided to tackle some of the leaf piles in the yard.  Well, about two hours later and a trash pile that rivals our moving in trash piles, the side yard looks like this (the side where you can see sunlight was the part covered in leaves and branches):

You will just have to take my word for it, this is a vast improvement.  There was leaves and debris all along the fence and it was about 2 feet wide.  Some areas were a little bit wider.

The dark areas on the concrete along the fence are the areas that the leaves were covering.  That is all new patio!  We had no idea the concrete went that far over to the fence.  I love the circle planters that are built into the concrete.  There are technically 3 of them, but one is filled with a tree trunk.

Sorry these pictures are so contrasty, Florida sun is not very forgiving when you are trying to get pictures.  Look at all that reclaimed space!

There was chicken wire running the full length of the fence on this side of the yard.  Jamie worked on getting that off.  He’ll write more about that later.  It was something that made you wonder why one of the previous owners had put it up.  It was buried under the ground in some spots and even had the trunk of a tree that had grown on top of it.  Bizarre.

After it was all cleared I felt bad.  We had just removed the homes of lots and lots of lizards. I didn’t want them to leave our yard, they eat so many bugs, so I headed out to Lowes and bought a bunch of plants and mulch.  I’ll show you the end result after the sun goes down a little and I can get some decent pictures of the side yard and new patio space.


UPDATE:  Check out the after pictures here.


Today was a big, loud, wonderful, stinky day.  It was countertop day!

In previous homes we have always had dark countertops.  Our last home had black granite and the house before that had a brown and black speckled granite.  Those countertops were very pretty, however they had one flaw.  When an “early human” makes a messy peanut butter and jelly sandwich and doesn’t clean up the mess, it’s really well hidden on dark counters.  So when the unsuspecting victim walks in and puts the mail on the countertop, it gets set into PB and J.  In this kitchen, I decided I’m done with dark counters. We chose to use an almost white silestone.  There are little beige flecks in it, so even though it’s not pure white, jelly will have a hard time hiding.

I didn’t realize how smelly and loud the countertop installation process was.  We had to open up the house for about an hour to get the smell out and I’m sure we didn’t get it all.

Part of the countertop installation is the sink.  I’m very excited about the sink.  It’s deep, very angular, and has a built in drying rack type of an area.  And it came with all sorts of fun accessories that we were surprised with when we opened the box.

The other very big and exciting part of the day was the refrigerator.  We finally pulled it out of the garage and put it in place.  And by that, we mean our contractor roped the countertop guys into helping haul it in the house.

We are so happy with it. It helps break up the white on that side of the room and it adds a great retro vibe.  I can’t wait to get the finishing touches done, but I guess things need to be more finished before the finishing touches can be done.  The dark wood area to the right is going to be painted white to match the cabinets.  We’ll probably paint all the walls around the fridge white just to keep it clean looking.

There is still much to be done.  The plumber is coming tomorrow to hook up the sink, dishwasher, disposal and ice maker.  The tile backsplash starts next week, hopefully.  Also next week the lower cabinet drawers and doors will be done.  The cabinet knobs will be installed after the doors are on (obviously).  We need to paint the ceiling, walls and the area next to the fridge.  The tile on the floor where the trench was needs to be fixed.  Oh, the stove needs to be put in place (tomorrow), the oven vent hood will be hung when the tile is done and the microwave will have it’s own little cubby crafted for it.  I’m sure I’m missing things, but this list is overwhelming enough as it is.

All in all today was a great day for progress.  It’s amazing what countertops will do for a person’s moral.  Not that I’ve ever sat watching HGTV, crying because my house isn’t done.  No, I’d know nothing about that.




Kitchen Plans

The cabinets are going in today and I realized that we haven’t written much about our kitchen plans.  I’ve written about faucets, knobs, trenches, garbage disposals, inspirations, and even fake kitchens, but not our plans for the kitchen design.

The kitchen started out as a U- shaped kitchen.  We wanted to open it up and create an island.  Which explains our trench.  The island will not have a breakfast bar.  Since the dining room table will be right on the other side.  The sink and dishwasher will be in the island.

We are only going to have one wall of upper cabinets.   This may sound blasphemous to some.  “What? What about all the lost storage?”, you may ask.  Well, we thought about it.  Between the lower cabinets, the pantry cabinet, the weird storage closet next to the fridge and the one wall of upper cabinets we will have more kitchen storage than we have had in all of our previous kitchens combined.  I’m actually wondering how I’m going to fill it all up.  It will also help us keep the things we love and give away the things we have grown past.  Keeping life more simple.

The wall the stove is on will be all subway tile in a yummy green.  It’s where we are brining in the color.  We can’t live without color.

Here is a sneak peak of the cabinets so far:

Ok, that was technically this morning.  I’m waiting until they have more done before I share more, teeheehee.

Bathroom Projects: Day 2

Today’s project was removing the grime, paint, dirt, wall texture stuff, and did I mention dirt off of the tiles that are around the top of the room.  This is what I started with:

 I started just using water and my Dobie.  But that wasn’t getting me very far.  It got some of the grime off, but didn’t dent the wall texture stuff.  So, I stopped to rethink the situation.  I decided to kick it up a notch and use the box cutter.  I scored along where the wall and the tile met.  Next, using the box cutter, I would scrape as much of the “stuff” off the tile as possible (I know, bad tool owner- I was having a lazy moment).  Using the Dobie, I went back and scrubbed the tiles clean.  I used a damp towel to wipe the excess debris off of the tile.  I didn’t get any during pictures because: 1) I was balancing on a ladder/vanity/bathtub/toilet with a box cutter that was being improperly used, 2) this was a messy dirty job, 3) my lazy moment lasted longer than I like to admit.  Feel free to pick any 2 of the 3 excuses.

Parts of the wall around the bathtub area looked like they needed to be sealed, so stray water droplets wouldn’t drip down behind the tile.  I decided to caulk around the tile in the whole room.  I used the trick mentioned here, but only taped off along the tile.  I figure since the caulk is paintable it’s ok if it gets all over the wall.  And that brings us to this picture:

But wait, there’s more!  After picking Ben up from preschool, I figured I could get the ceiling done.  I set him up with a snack and some toys and got the ceiling painted in about an hour.

It keeps getting better!  Ben was being quite good this afternoon and I was able to get half the walls painted too, before I had to pick up the kids from school.  Nothing else got done from that point forward.  The house slowly crumbled to mass chaos and hysteria, or as we like to call it dinner time.

The paint color is Little Bit by Behr, as in I used a little bit of white semi-gloss and 2 samples pots, which is only a little bit, of turquoise paint that we are considering for other parts of the house.  It turned out kind of pretty and since there is so little painted wall it won’t be too expensive to change the color later.  I might do some research tonight about techniques on how to paint and cut in textured walls and ceilings.  Right now I’m faced with going back and touching up the ceiling paint with a tiny artists brush.  Ugh.  It’s not fun, but it will look great when it’s done.

Here’s the short list for this room (in no particular order):

  • fix the caulk around the bathtub  done
  • paint the ceiling  done
  • remove the gunk off the tiles around the top of the room  done
  • paint the walls (which now includes touching up the ceiling) –  almost done
  • refinish the medicine cabinet
  • clean the grout
  • get matching lightbulbs  done
  • get a shower curtain
  • get accessories and art
  • replace the drawer handles
  • re-caulk around the base of the bathtub
  • new to us light
  • new to us mirror
  • new to us vanity
  • possibly new floor tile, one day
  • figure out if we need to have the tub reglazed or if there is a cleaning product that will get rid of the white grime in the tub

I’m hoping to finish up the paint tomorrow and get it pulled back together.  Oh, here is a sneak peak of a painting I’m working on for the bathroom.  More on that later.

Bathroom Projects: Day 1

Our house has 3 bathrooms.  One tiny one with a shower, the one that got the quick and dirty “makeover” so we could buy it, and this one with the very original raised bathtub.

Some time during the history of the house the vanity and floor tiles were replaced.  I suspect the previous owner, but I could be wrong.

The slate tiles aren’t too bad.  They work with the grey tub and with the time period, but the vanity is a bit too new for my taste.

The room is full of all sorts of little projects that I want to get done.  Painting is on the top of the list.  The wall color is the same color that the whole house is painted.  EVERY room is this peachy beige color.  And can you see the spots on the ceiling where the light bulbs have “burned” shadows?

The there is the vent cover that needs to be reattached to the ceiling.  It covers the original bathroom fan.  When the texture was applied to the ceiling and walls, they coated the fan too.  It still works, but it grumbles a lot before it gets going.  But once it gets going it sounds so much better than modern fans.

The original medicine cabinet is here, but needs a little facelift.  I’m sure I can get it to shine again with a little love.

The tiles around the top of the room are coated in dirt, wall texture stuff, paint, and more dirt.  It all needs to be scraped off and the tiles cleaned.

This picture doesn’t even begin to show how gross this is.  The grout is yellow (not on purpose) and needs a good cleaning as well.

The first project I decided to tackle was the caulk around the bathtub.  It was grimy, despite the scrubbing, and missing in most areas.

So, using a trick I learned over at YHL, I taped off around the tub and spread the new caulk.

This was an amazing, stupendous, wonderful idea!  My past experiences using caulk always ended up very messy.  This time it came out clean and only where I wanted it.

Beauty!  I know it doesn’t look like much, especially since the grout is so dirty, but it  looks great in person, if you know you are supposed to be looking at the caulk.

Here’s the short list for this room (in no particular order):

  • fix the caulk around the bathtub  done
  • paint the ceiling
  • remove the gunk off the tiles around the top of the room
  • paint the walls
  • refinish the medicine cabinet
  • clean the grout
  • get matching lightbulbs
  • get a shower curtain
  • get accessories
  • replace the drawer handles
  • re-caulk around the base of the bathtub
  • new to us light
  • new to us mirror
  • new to us vanity
  • possibly new floor tile, one day
  • figure out if we need to have the tub reglazed or if there is a cleaning product that will get rid of the white grime in the tub

Mostly little projects that can be done during the 3 hours that Ben is at preschool (YAY!), which makes it a little less daunting to tackle.  Check back tomorrow, when we tackle the grime on the tiles.

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

It only took 15 minutes for the contractor to rip out this small section of wall and another 5 to clean up.  We now have an official island.

And the kitchen has a bridge now.  I’m really hoping there aren’t any trolls living under this bridge.  Just to be on the safe side, the kids aren’t allowed to go across it.

I keep telling myself it has to get worse before it can get better, thinking that we have reached the worst.  Oh, but I’m wrong every time.  Monday it gets worse again.  It’s time to get ready for the drywall guy and the electrician.  Then, maybe it will start to get better, or not.  This is definitely an adventure.

Ultimate Power!

I’m a Star Wars geek. While I can’t wield the force, I still can have unlimited power. In preparation for the kitchen remodel, I bought the tour-de-force of garbage disposals that any Sith or Jedi would be pleased to grind bantha bones in. It’s not even in yet and it has me shouting:

You may be asking what’s this have to do with mid-century modern design. My answer is … absolutely nothing. However, we do live on the Space Coast and this machine has some series NASA-like ingenuity. Named the InSinkErator Excel Evolution, experts call it the largest residential-use garbage disposal one can put under a sink (Cue the Tim “Tooltime” Taylor grunts!). Hard-core rubberized connections with four “stomachs” encased in silencing fiberglass with a ONE FULL horsepower engine for grinding food waste, sharpening spears for an entire Ewok village or just mulching a flower garden. Things just got real, folks.

Did I mention FOUR stomachs? This thing has four stomachs like a cow or an ox or better yet: A deer! That’s right I said a deer. But a ferocious deer! A cunning, quiet, voracious deer … like this one:

The Devil is in the Details

About a week ago we gave the ok to have the cabinets ordered for the kitchen.  The estimated date of delivery is somewhere around August 16, give or take a week.  So we have been trying to make sure that we have all the details ordered so when it comes time to install everything we have it and don’t have to wait.

Today’s task was to pick out a faucet.  Who knew there were more faucet options out there than there are stars?  One handle or 2, 8″ spread or 4″, 1 hole or 4, maybe 3 holes, low profile or high goose neck, maybe a pot filler.  Just plain crazy how involved a faucet is.  But I didn’t go into this blind.  I knew that we are going for a  mid century inspired kitchen with a Danish feel.  With that in mind I narrowed the search down to a low profile faucet with 2 handles.

After stopping first at Retrorenovation to get an idea of the silhouette I wanted, I then ventured on to Home Depot.  Most of their faucets just didn’t fit the bill.  There was this one:

I wasn’t fond of the handles.  So, I went back to Retrorenovation and dug deeper.  I found this post about which faucet Pam used in her own retro kitchen.  She used a faucet from Chicago Faucets:

I liked the look of it, but knew that I wanted 2 handles.  I spent the next hour or 2 searching Chicago Faucets website trying to narrow it down to what I wanted.  I eventually got it down to these 2:

I like the handle design on them both.  They remind me of little rocket ships and since we do live on the Space Coast I figured that would be a fun touch.  I wasn’t fond of the metal piece that the first faucet sits on, but I did like the curve of the faucet.  The second one doesn’t have that piece of metal, but the faucet is a bit higher.

I ended up choosing the second faucet and ordered it, but now that I’m sitting here writing this I’m wondering if I made the right choice.  Maybe I should order both of them and return the one that doesn’t fit with kitchen.  Maybe I should stop stressing, I mean it is just a faucet right? Ugh.

I think too much. Please tell me I’m not the only one.