18 Nov

Quilt Storage

I Instagrammed a bit of this home improvement project, but never really took all the photos I wanted to write a blog post about it. Oh well, sometimes yo have to write the blog post you have, not the post you want.

storage-1

I sketched the storage that I wanted to build and then went to my mom’s house to use her tools. We also bought my supplies at her local lumber yard, Jerry’s, which is pretty darned awesome. I wish there were one in Portland.

 

storage-2

We cut angles, and nested pieces together with dado cuts, and bolted it all temporarily in my mom’s basement. Then I didn’t take any photos of me painting the pieces back at my house, or of me removing bits of wallpaper in the closet/boiler room and painting it.

 

storage-3

And here’s the contraption assembled in the closet/boiler room off my studio. The rails are closet rods and sit in the same cups that one would use in a closet so that I can easily remove each rail and roll and unroll the quilts. Each roll is a sturdy tube covered in archival tissue paper. The rolls also now have dust covers. They should have tags with pictures of each quilt on the roll, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.

19 Aug

Check Out My Bathroom

It’s time for another house remodel update. When we bought our house (over a year ago!) there were several things that we knew needed immediate attention. The 30 year old rotting deck with no stairs was the first thing, which is now replaced by a gorgeous deck that connects to our yard (we hired a company to do all of this work). We took a short detour to the basement this last spring to fix some leakage (also hired out). And, we’ve spent the last six months working on renovating this downstairs bathroom:Downstairs bath reno before

This is what it looked like when we received the keys to the house. When we first saw the house there was stuff all over the counter and kitty litter all over the floor, plus the shower was really gross (and tiny). Looking at the house now, I can hardly imagine all the wall paper that was previously here.

Dowonstairs bath reno before 2

My first step was to sketch out ideas of what I wanted to change and what I could change. I even made a mood board to share with my mom as she was removing wallpaper in the house and I was still in Virginia. I wanted something that was contemporary, but simultaneously looked appropriate in a mid-century home. A grey and yellow tiled aesthetic fit the bill.

Downstairs bath reno sketch

My mom and step-dad removed the wallpaper and primed the walls. We hired a guy to take out the plastic shower insert and create a larger shower space for me to tile. He also installed a light in the shower stall and prepped the baseboard area for tiling, plus smoothed out a lot of the wobbly walls and coordinated with a plumber and carpenter. The result of this awesome team’s work is now ready to share:

Bath0

The key piece is the drop in, bull nose, new old stock yellow sink I found on Ebay before escrow had even closed on the house. Once it was installed, I realized that it was no longer centered under the light fixture (which I replaced with a retro looking update). My mom suggested, and my friends encouraged, a collage of mirrors to mitigate the imbalance. I think it adds a lot of fun to the room.

Bath1

The old vanity was small even though the room is large. The baseboard heating limits what will fit. So, I designed a vanity with an overhang of sorts. We researched retrofitting a standard vanity or something from the ReStore, but ultimately we decided that we deserved a custom build. I chose knobs from Rejuvination, and found a sparkly white quartz counter remnant which was ours for the price of cutting and installation. The result wasn’t exactly cheap, but it is so sexy and worth the investment.

Bath2

The baseboard in the bathroom was wood on some walls and vinyl on others (because of wobbly walls and floor). We opted not to change the heating, the floors, or the toilet because they would more than double the cost of the project and potentially affect other rooms as well. So, a tiled baseboard evened out the vagaries and underscored the retro aesthetic in the room.

Bath3

My mom and I did all the tiling. I chose DalTile 4″ porcelain tiles as they are essentially the same as would have originally been in the house. I had to special order the yellow ones which match my sink, but the yellow and grey mosaic floor tiles were a return from the University of Oregon and therefore on super-special while supplies last. The yellow and grey were perfect for my project! I replaced a few tiles with white to lighten the look.

Bath4

In the photo at the beginning of the post you can’t see how small the original shower was, but by taking 18″ from the closet in the room next door, our shower is not only attractive and clean, it is spacious as well.

Bath5

I painted the door grey to match the color scheme, and to continue the trend in the rest of the house. Doors into a room are different colors (to coordinate with the room), while closet doors are white.

I am so happy with this renovation. Not only does it make the room pretty and easier to use, it’s the first step in bringing the basement on par with the main house upstairs.

22 Jun

Fun Stairs

We’ve owned our house for just over a year now, and have actually lived in it just under a year. It is looking cleaner, fresher, and a lot more modern these days. In the two and a half months before we moved in, my mom and step dad removed what seemed like a metric-tonne of wallpaper, and painted the bedrooms and a few other high use rooms. That made a huge difference in the house right away. Adding our furniture and stuff made it “ours.” Since then, we’ve been moving from project to project, hopefully improving the house, and definitely updating it. The deck (two posts previous) has proven to be well worth the money spent. We’ve been enjoying the warm weather and entertaining friends and family on it. The interim kitchen/dining room is comfortable (though not optimal for large groups — I think we’ll need a big table option). I love the upstairs bathroom (scroll past the “before” to see it’s bright “after”), and the colorful doors have continued downstairs. Of course, the girl’s room is still awesome. The downstairs bathroom, which we identified as a “right away” project is nearly done, but stalled out until I get around to tiling the baseboard. Guests report that it functions very nicely though! The other urgent project was to waterproof the basement storage area from the outside so it doesn’t leak. That’s now done, but things pretty much look the same. And we won’t really know if it’s fixed until torrential winter rains.

So, my most recent finish to share is the stairwell from upstairs to downstairs. It started out with wallpaper and worn grey carpet which we all agreed was just sad. A few months ago, my mom and step dad came over and we got rid of all the wallpaper. Then I did nothing (well, nothing on the stairwell. I was tiling the shower and freshening up the man cave instead).

Stairs wallpaper

Finally, a couple weeks ago, I realized that we were going to have a slew of houseguests and I probably needed to at least get the handrail back up. That meant I needed to paint the walls. with white walls and a fun orange handrail (to match the bathroom door and accent wall), I was compelled to rip up the carpet. The stairs underneath were a big mess and I spent a day with my heat gun, scraper, and sander getting rid of residual glue from rubber tread mats and smoothing out splintery edges.

Stairs WIP

I uncovered a bit of confetti patterned linoleum original to the house on the upper landing. It’s pretty dingy and crackled, but I think it will inspire the next flooring when we update the kitchen in a few years.

A few coats of primer and blue floor paint left over from the man cave update and the stairwell is looking almost inviting!

Stairs down

I’d like to add a runner, but for now, this will do.

Stairs up

02 Jun

Our Deck!

Woo hoo, another finished home improvement project!

Actually, this one’s been done for a little while. We can report that this new deck is a success as we’ve been enjoying the evenings relaxing with the great view and an adult beverage.

Deck 1

 

The view was a big selling point for this house. The house is on a busy street, and is a bit odd inside, but the rooms are large and we can see Mt. St. Helen’s most days and the tip of Mt. Hood when the trees cooperate. When we bought the house, it had a large deck, but it was about 30 years old, rotting in many places, and didn’t have stairs to the yard.Deck 2

 

So, we had it torn down and started over with an upper deck to enjoy the view, and stairs down to the back yard. Because of the horizontal siding on the house, I really, really wanted horizontal cable railing. The compromise to be able to afford it was to use mahogany uprights instead of steel, and to forego a lower deck for the immediate future. I’m so happy we made that choice — I love the look of the deck, and all the neighbors who can see it from their yards have complimented it as well (no hiding the construction as the neighbors were subjected to the roar of power tools for several months!).Deck 3

 

The lower transition from the stairs to the concrete patio is larger than I expected, so it’s kind of a lower deck. Eventually, it will be the transition to a deck over the grass large enough for a big picnic table. Eventually, I’ll also paint the under structure to match the eventual color of the house, and do some tidy gravel area under the deck.Deck 4

We’ve now owned our house for one year and it’s feeling more like “our” home than something in transition. The deck is done, the garden is filling in, most of the rooms are freshly painted and decorated, we’re pretty sure the basement leak is fixed, and a bathroom renovation is nearly complete! It’s pretty nice.

24 Apr

Just Checking in

So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.

There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity in progress: pro built, stained by me, I added hardware, waiting on a countertop and plumbing.

I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.

Block Printing

I’m super happy with how these designs turned out — both from a printing standpoint, and a design standpoint.

I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…

Project Chair

Hand stitching at the ready for quiet evenings.

… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!

Project Table

Lots of work in progress on my studio table and sewing machine. Nothing worth showing yet though.

Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.

The Pine Needle

This is where I work — surrounded by a wide variety of gorgeous fabrics. That yellow, teal, and maroon whirligig sample in the middle of the photo is one I made. I’m working on an asian-inspired version now.

I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.

17 Feb

Too Many Quilts (1)

I am struggling with storage and access of my stuff. Now that we’re pretty much settled, I am figuring out what we need and what actually works in this house. Last week was re-organize the china closet (serving stuff I use often stays, alternate sets of dishes go downstairs and maybe ultimately to consignment). Today was re-organize the linen closet day. Linens stay, pantry items get relocated.

The outcome? I have way too many quilts. There is no need for me to store all these quilts that I’m not using on beds or entering in shows. I’ve decided to sell off a few practical bed and lap quilts at bargain basement prices because I don’t need them but maybe someone else does. I’m starting small, but may get more brutal in months to come.

The first quilt on the block is titled Hidden Garden and is 55″ x 72. I made it in 2013 as an exercise in using up scraps. The backing is a fun orange with white polka dots. It is free-motion quilted with flowers and leaves. I’m offering this quilt for $300, oh who am I kidding, $200, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. SOLD Thank you very much!

Hidden Garden web

Hidden Garden back web Hidden Garden detail web

 

05 Feb

Fugly Friday

Fugly Wallpaper

Eighties wallpaper. When it comes to F’ing Ugly, I probably don’t need to say any more.

Nearly every room in our not-small house had eighties wallpaper in southwest and Laura Ashley motifs — sometimes even used together. Closets and doors were not immune. Team Deco/Reno did an absolutely amazing job removing the bulk of this now-dated eyesore last summer before we moved any of our furniture in. While wallpaper removal is not Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy, it has gone a HUGE way towards making our house on the whole look clean, contemporary, and much more us.

30 Jan

A Facelift

Time for a Before & After.

Staging was not really a priority for the previous owners of our house. Luckily, we could see through such surface annoyances (with each mortgage check I write I tell myself how much higher it would have been if the house and been staged and therefore attractive to buyers). The biggest offender was the wallpaper everywhere! But there are many other things that were just dated or not our style.

Here’s the kitchen before:Kit Before

 

And now:

Kit after 2

 

The core members of Team Deco/Reno (my mom and step-dad) removed all the wallpaper and I joined them to finish painting the entire space white. We hired an electrician to replace the kitchen lights with recessed can LED lights and to install a cute retro looking pendant from my dad. We replaced cheap mini blinds with new roller shades and I painted the sideboard cabinet solid white.

Looking the other direction:

DR Before

 

Which now looks like this:

Kit after 1

 

And here’s the “dining room” at the other end of the space:

DR Before 2

 

And here’s the dining room now:

DR 1

 

We’re guilty of bringing some ugly with us too. Our dining room chairs, while stylish enough just a few years ago, and still quite sturdy, decided to shed their leather upholstery. With a kitchen/dining room renovation on the horizon, I can’t bring myself to replace these otherwise perfectly good chairs, so I made slipcovers.

DR Chair slipcover

Not wanting to spend much money, I couldn’t find any oil cloth or upholstery fabric that I liked. However, white denim remnants were a great deal at the Mill Ends store. Of course white would stain quickly in a dining room so I needed to do something to the denim. I considered dyeing each slipcover a different color, but then, inspired by the designs of Timorous Beasties, figured I’d try painting them in colors based on my collection of Bauer pottery.

Eventually we’ll do a big kitchen remodel, but in the meantime the space is clean and now light and pleasant to live in for the near future.