Home Projects | Before & After

It's a quiet night at home alone, just the buzzing of bugs to keep me company outside the open windows, which I'm hoping will filter out the last of the hot summer air before I head to bed. It's been fairly warm here (for Santa Cruz standards, anyway), but I'm rather enjoying it. I think it's because I know my tomato plants are happy out in the yard. Their little yellow flowers are starting to open and every time I water the plants I imagine the things I'll make with the fruits... fried green tomatoes? Salsa? Endless possibilities. But I digress.

I have been keeping busy with little home projects on the weekends and doing my best to keep track of them all. It's these little touches that one-by-one make the home feel like ours, and it's been a slow and rewarding process.

First up, our back (front?) door.  Living in the woods with confusing driveways makes the front/back door an interesting concept. Anyway, the inside of this white door was the first thing you see when you come in the other door... and it was completely surrounded by white walls, white cabinets, white decor, etc. I stared at it for a long time, and decided it needed to be painted a fun color. A trip to Home Depot, some taped-up paint swatch samples, and a few convincing arguments with Brent later, I had the go-ahead.  This is Ralph Lauren paint in Jackson Hole, and it's a perfect steely blue-gray and it's my new favorite color.  Now I just want to replace the horrid 80s gold hardware on the door. Baby steps.

The previous owner of our home remodeled the kitchen in the short 2.5 years she lived here and while I don't love every detail, it's very tastefully done and it'll do for now. What would NOT do for now was this pointless. little. stupid. cabinet.  It hardly fit anything of use and looked like a sad afterthought, just stuck up there because there was just enough room to work with before the sloping ceiling line made the space unsuitable for mounting cabinets.  Thankfully Dad and Kim visited only a couple of weeks after we moved in and Dad ripped it off the wall for me immediately. Big sigh of relief.  I decided to stain and mount some simple pine shelves and keep them open for displaying old jars full of bulk pantry items and mounting wine glass racks for nifty storage. Special thanks to my friend Loni for helping hang the new shelves :)

Also during that first Dad & Kim visit, we wanted to tackle re-painting the deck furniture they gave me a few years back in hopes to cover the many redwood dropping stains left behind from living outside our old cottage.  Kim and I picked a very nice, sensible forest green color at Home Depot in their solid wood stain line, and when we got home and Dad got that first chair sprayed we knew something was wrong. This crap was day.glo.green, y'all. Consider this a public service announcement, and Behr should really thank me for this personally... they have a color in their interior paint line called Sagebrush and it's a perfectly nice color for a guest bathroom or gender-neutral nursery. But it ain't suitable for redwood forest deck furniture... we were looking for Sage Brush (two words!) in a much nicer, dark green that blends in with the surroundings here.  A couple of months later they visited again and Dad re-painted with the correct color, which I had to exchange with a gum-chomping, acrylic-nailed, eye-rolling Home Depot employee who was clearly writing me off as some unhappy housewife who is repainting my bedroom for the 29th time, insisting it's their fault for the shade not being exactly right.  Whatever, I give up. You'll see what I mean!! 

Kim and I also stayed busy while Dad worked in the guesthouse on the little garden area outside the guesthouse door. This is the first thing we see every day when we get home, and its haphazard assembly of forgotten plants and debris left behind by the previous owner was really starting to irk me. A little bit of hard work, sweat, and two trips to Mountain Feed, and we've got ourselves a little patio area for guests to enjoy! 

Last but certainly not least, the most satisfying home project to date, was removing the crazy storage loft and ladder protruding into the guest unit space. I know Dad had his wheels spinning when he saw this place while we were in escrow, and he was just itching to get in there and rip that thing out. I am incredibly grateful to have the most handy, perfectionist man as my father... he does the most beautiful work!  The space is no less useful as a storage loft, since we couldn't reach anything all the way back there with that giant ledge sticking out anyway, and I'm happy to have a ladder we carry in and out to access the stuff up there rather than have that freaking massive ladder bolted to the wall. Ick. I wish I had taken better photos of the before/after, but this shall suffice. 

My next projects will be setting that space up to be my art studio that is completely convertible to a guest house, fencing in our garden area, and if budget allows, re-doing the wood stove area in our living room. I feel like we are single-handedly keeping Home Depot in business at this point.