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Happily Going Grey

Somewhere along the way we developed a love for grey. Maybe we was inspired by our fluffy ragdoll of a cat, Gusburger:
Grey, grey, grey, grey

All I know is before I realized it we had a grey couch, grey duvet cover, grey china, grey towels, and even a grey living room/dining room. That isn’t even counting the grey rattan placemats, pewter napkins, and graphite placemats we are registered for 😀 Perhaps it is the only color John and I can agree on. Regardless, I like that it is gender neutral and looks great with a variety of accent colors.

Early on John and I agreed to go grey in the living room. Because our living room morphs into the dining room and also leads down the hallway to all the bedrooms, it meant we had a lot of ground to cover. We wanted the rooms to flow together, so we decided not to chop up the connected spaces with different colors. We grabbed a handful of grey swatches at Home Depot as well as our local paint store that carries Benjamin Moore. We decided to go with Benjamin Moore because we liked the color options and had heard that higher quality paints can give better coverage and hold up longer.

We picked up two test pots in Moonshine and Silvery Moon. We painted test splotches in several different areas of both rooms.
dining room swatches
dining swatches
Gus Grey

Moonshine is on the green spectrum, while Silvery Moon is has hints of blue. I was fully expecting to pick Silvery Moon because I’m generally not a big fan of green but we both agreed Moonshine was the winner. We lived with the test splotches on the walls for several weeks before taking action. They even made it into some of our holiday pictures:
Christmas cats

Eventually we took the plunge and bought a full gallon. We ended up painting over the course of several non-consecutive days. I did most of the cutting in by hand and John rolled when he was in town. He mysteriously seems to go out of town on business whenever I get the paint rollers out. Maybe I’m more ambitious when he is traveling.

It took us 3 separate days to paint the living room, 2 days to do our little hallway area, and we did the entire dining room the same day we finished in the hallway space. I had left work early that day due to heavy snows and I figured if I was using up my precious PTO then I would be productive! This is somehow our only progress picture from all of our painting days:
My Little Helpers

In pictures the difference is subtle but it makes a big impact in person. Here are our slightly less barren walls:
Living Room Before
IMG_5140

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Not Yet “Afters”

Today we are celebrating our one year house-iversary!
Seasons of House

One year ago today we woke up early, signed closing paperwork, moved two U-hauls worth of furniture, cleaned the condo we had been renting, made a quick Home Depot trip, and started unpacking. My favorite memory of the day was in the evening when my parents brought over Thai food from our favorite local restaurant and we ate at the dining room table surrounded by boxes. It was dusk, so every neighbor who walked by had a clear view into our living and dining room through the big bay window. We waved at everyone who stopped to stare.
Clear View

We thought our one-year anniversary was the perfect time to show you around upstairs. Both where we started and where we are now. Big thanks to Christine Rich (http://www.bestarlingtonhomes.com/) who gave us permission to use her pictures so you can see some “Befores” of our home. Most of the rooms in our house have come a long way since we moved in but we aren’t ready to call any of our rooms done. Trust me, there is a lot we are simply tolerating at the moment, but I’ll share all the rooms with you anyway:

Exterior:
Exterior Before
Exterior

Living Room:
Living Room Before
IMG_5140

Dining Room:
Dining Room Before
Hutch

Kitchen:
Kitchen Before
IMG_5157

Bathroom:
Bathroom Before
Curtains x2

Office:
Office2 Before
IMG_5151

Guest Room:
Guest Room Before
IMG_5166

Master Bedroom:
Our Room Before
IMG_5131

We still have a loooooong way to go but we are excited with how far we have come in our first year as homeowners. We can’t wait to spill the beans on our basement renovation. I wonder what changes this year will bring.

**We now have a “Home” tab up above so check back to see our progress.

Paper Shade Upgrade

One feature of our house that I fell for right away is our big bay window. It is the cats’ favorite as well:
Happiness

Paper blinds got us through the better part of a year. Including one cousins weekend:
Cousins Weekend
They actually looked really cool with our Halloween decorations:
Spookie

After months of avoiding the living room on weekend mornings (paper doesn’t do much to block direct sunlight), we decided to take the plunge on a permanent solution. We could have put curtains above the window moulding but that would have blocked the window seat whenever we closed the curtains, which would not only cut our functional seating but also would make our room feel smaller. We contemplated getting curtain rods specific to bay windows or installing blinds. Ultimately, we decided that we loved the look of plantation shutters in bay windows. They are by far the priciest option but we hope to stay in our house long enough to make it worthwhile. We even justified it as our splurge for the year….which ended up being overshadowed but that is another story for another day.

We got price estimates from two different companies and considered both vinyl and wood shutters. The company we chose charged the same price for vinyl and wood shutters. We floated the idea of only getting plantation shutters for the living room even though the original quote was for the living and dining room windows. They offered us 10% off the total quote if we did both rooms at once, and we signed on the dotted line.

The shutters had to be custom ordered so it was several weeks before two gentelmen were able to come for installation. Of course Al wedged himself into the process as often as he could.
Al on the side
Al worried about his view

As the shutters were being installed, we learned that nothing about our bay window was plumb. Not even the window seat was flat. The guys who came to install ended up trimming and shaving each shutter so they would fit our wonky windows. Before we added the shutters three of the five window pannels could be opened. We didn’t make a habit of opening them because we didn’t like the way the screens obscured our view and an open window without screens would make our indoor cats outdoor cats. However, it is always nice to have options. We were bummed when we first found out that the shutter trimming and shifting would block our ability to open all but one of the windows. In the end we couldn’t stay mad at our beautiful shutters long.
Pretty

We ended up removing the white, plastic window grills. John never liked them. I thought they were a good architectural detail but along with the shutters they made the windows too busy.
even better

We have been living with our shutters for about five months now and haven’t yet felt the need to open our single functioning window. Regardless, it feels like a fare trade to be able to use our living room when the sun is out!

Bonus Hutch!

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on their favorite buffet here!

Last week we went to go check out Buffet # 5 (aka the MadMen-true-50s-style-buffet).
Mad Men Hutch

It has a really cool look but it is all drawers. We have a couple of large items (KitchenAid!) that need a safe spot within reach of the kitchen so all drawers isn’t ideal. The drawers were on old metal rollers which made them pretty sqeaky and difficult to open. A bit of WD-40 might be enough to fix the squeaks and skids but for $500 we weren’t willing to find out.

We also made a trip to see Buffet #1 (aka our inspiration) from West Elm.
West Elm Buffets

The store didn’t have a floor sample of the Mid-Century Buffet (above left) but did have the Dumont Buffet (on the right above). The Dumont gave us a pretty good idea of the quality and size we could expect (with the “Mid-Century Buffet” clocking in at 4 inches longer, 1.5 inches shorter, and 2 inches deeper). As expected we really liked the West Elm buffet but the $1025 price tag (price+delivery+shipping+taxes) convinced us to keep our options open.

The last field trip we took was to see Buffet #7 (aka fan favorite and best storage).
Buffet and Bonus Hutch

It was being sold with matching hutch, which we consider a bonus. We have a hutch, which is currently stuffed to the gills:
Stuffed

When we inherited our current hutch we knew it wouldn’t be a forever piece in our dining room. The blonde wood veneer isn’t our favorite. We considered painting or staining but we don’t love the shape either, which is much harder to manipulate. We might try to paint it a funky color and use it for a liquor cabinet…. or we might Freecycle it. Any suggestions?

We knew we were serious about Buffet #7 before we even walked through the door so we came armed with measuring tape and a notepad. The buffet came in at 71 inches long, 35 inches tall, and 19 inches deep. Both the buffet and hutch are a light cherry color and the drawers opened smoothly. We were even more impressed with the quality in person than the craigslist post had let on. Our one concern was that he buffet was HUGE, which is great for storage but possibly overkill for our little dining room. Once once we got home we taped off the walls and floor to see how they would fit our space.
Always in the mix

We will have to move the bar cart and side table to other rooms to make it work but we felt pretty comfortable with how the buffet and hutch would fit our space. Gus felt really comfortable:
Our Hutch Might be Growing

The asking price for both items was $350 but we knew from our craigslist search that our area is fully saturated with people trying to sell buffets. We offered $300. He accepted. Our friend Jeff graciously volunteered agreed after much flattery and few details to help us move the furniture.
Thank you Jeff!!!!!

Once you factor in Uhaul rental and gas we paid almost exactly $350- yes we are suckers and got the uhaul insurance. We were happy with the final price tag considering the runner up options were $500 and $1025. The way I see it we paid less for our buffet and got a bonus hutch!

Here is how they look in the dining room! I’m so happy we no longer have our beautiful gifts on the floor!
Hutch
Inside the Hutch
Buffet

Legs for Days

Last weekend my extremely kind, generous, and beautiful maid of honor and her equally generous and beautiful mother threw me a bridal shower.

shower

I was overwhelmed by generosity in the form of dozens of friends and family coming to celebrate with me! And in the form of gifts! So many gifts, in fact, that once we got them home (and by we I mean my sister-in-law single handedly got all the gifts home before I even knew what had happened- thank you Shannon!!) we realized we didn’t have a place to put all our beautiful things!!

IMG_6755

We have been discussing getting a buffet for the dining room for a while now but our sudden influx of bounty has put us on the hunt. We haven’t yet decided if we are going to go with a Craigslist/thrift store find or or buy new so we are entertaining all options:

Buffet Moodboard
(click on image to enlarge)

1. This beauty comes from West Elm. It is 1950s style which makes sense for our 1950s house. I love the leggy look. The buffet has tons of room for storage but doesn’t look too bulky because of it’s thin legged perch. At $899 + delivery + shipping it serves as more of an inspirational jumping off point than a serious contender.

2. We spotted another leggy posibility on craigslist for only $50. It is a bit more traditional/fancy than our usual aesthetic but the main strike it has against it is it’s size. Although the width and depth are the same as our west elm gold standard above the extra leg length takes away from the functional storage.

3. Craigslist also turned up this sturdy looking buffet for $500. We aren’t in need of wine storage (we have something in the works but I need to get my sander and stain back out before I can share) so unless we could retrofit shelves the sides wouldn’t be very useful to us.

4. This antique beauty is $300 but would require a quick decision (must sell by today). It would also require quite a bit of TLC. Have you started to notice a leggy theme.

5. Another mid-century modern option that was actually built midcentury. It has a cool retro vibe but the off track drawers might drive us crazy.

6. This tiny buffet is so adorable. I don’t dig the current fuchsia paint color but it has great lines. I would love to paint it a crisp white or even a deep ebony. It might be worth the $100 asking price but sadly it is 21 inches shorter than our “gold standard.”

7. Craigslist also revealed this buffet with matching hutch for $350. We think it is the closest match to our West Elm inspiration. It may warrant a field trip.

Do you have a favorite? Let us know what you think!