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ORC: The Big Boy Room – Before {Week 1}

I’m going to skip all the jokes I could make about taking oh, 14 months off from blogging.  I never really expected to take that long of a break, buuut…I did. I thought about posting a clip of the opening 3 seconds of Sid the Science Kid but realized how lame it is to admit that was the first thing that popped into my head as my welcome back post.  #transformationtoparentcomplete #IusedtobecoolIswear

Reasons why I stopped blogging: my baby became a toddler, I’m expecting #2 in a few short weeks, work seems to be busier than ever, you know, life in general. In short, blogging just didn’t make it on the priority list anymore.

Reason why I’m making myself start again now: as mentioned above, and fairly evident in my instagram feed, baby boy #2 is coming soon. I’m 32 weeks now, and in case anyone remembers slash cares, William was born at 37 weeks. I’m told we should just be ready for anything as far as timing – this one could be earlier, could be later, no one friggin knows.  So – as my tax season winds up we are in overdrive to get William transitioned into his “Big Boy Room” and into a toddler bed ASAP.  And what better timing than to document it all and participate in the internet-famous One Room Challenge! This room is getting updated in a short period of time no matter what, so let’s see if I can eek out 5 more posts on the next 5 Thursdays? Challenge, accepted.

Of course you might also recognize some of the Featured Participants as well. I’ll be linking up on Thursdays (hopefully) to the Guest Participants page. Go check out the other 200+ bloggers that are joining in on the fun (or at least pretend to).  And if you landed here from the ORC main page – kudos to you for clicking through this far. I know I’ve gotta be one of the last thumbnails. That is dedication.
So let’s look at the glorious “before” of this room. I’m going way back to the MLS listing. We bought this house back in June of 2014, and had the rugs ripped up and the floors refinished before we moved in.  After that, this room became a catchall for out grown baby junk and whatever else we didn’t want to look at up until about 3 weeks ago.  Feast your eyes:
The real estate photographers get a lot of credit. I haven’t seen this picture in a long time and this room doesn’t look terrible, just majorly dated.  What you can’t really tell from this picture is:
  1. Those radiators have about 10 layers of paint on them, and are constantly falling away from the           wall. Hours of fun for a curious toddler.
  2. There are about 3 different types of molding in this room. Some clamshell, some colonial, some walls have shoe molding, some don’t. This inconsistency is quite consistent throughout our house, by the way. Drives. Me. Insane.
  3. This room is pretty small. Like 8 x 10 small. Trust me, that bed, if it were still there, is way closer to the doorway in person.
  4. And that doorway is in the left corner of the room (basically where the photo is taken from), however, the door opens TO THE RIGHT. Whyyyyyyyy.
  5. The ceiling boob light is about 11 inches to the right of the center of the ceiling. I repeat. Whyyyyyyyyy.
Good news is 1, 2, 4 and 5 are fixable to a satisfying degree for me. And, even better, they actually are now fixed.  
So come back next week to either see if I had this kid super early (dear god let me at least make it to 37 weeks again) or to see what we did next in the room.  #nailbiter

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 6

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The Hunt for the Hutch {Dining Room Progress}

So in my last post I gave you a rundown of the progress in the dining room. It didn’t need too much to come together, being that there are very few walls in this room, but it was definitely missing a hutch.

I had a few items on my checklist for what I wanted – large enough to display all of my anthro dishes I received for our wedding, fully enclosed shelving to help deal with dust and cat fur, and I wanted solid wood shelves after I saw the glass break from too much weight in my mother’s cabinet. I also wanted a walnut wood, and oh a great price too of course.  I wasn’t really digging anything we were finding in the big box stores so I knew I was going to have to be patient on craigslist.  I checked randomly for the past few months, but we had other projects and things we were looking for and I wasn’t feeling pressured to buy anything just yet.

Right before Christmas I found a beauty – this United beauty in fact.

But I got greedy.  I low balled them and balked at the delivery fee from Philly. Who do I think I am? And deservingly I lost it to someone else.  I called their bluff and lost it.  I hated myself for about a week and constantly opened up the saved photo on my laptop.  I may have pet my screen a few times.

But the guy I was emailing was great – he kept sending me photos of other pieces they had – I almost went for this Stanely piece but it wasn’t grabbing me the way the United piece was. A little too plain. I hemmed. I hawed. I checked CL again.

Then I took a second look at a Kent Coffey Perspecta.  It was for sale in Queens, I would have to hire movers myself, and it was more than the United piece by $400. But I was in the zone. We were purchasing a hutch, and we were purchasing one soon, dammit.  Suddenly, I didn’t really care that the shelves weren’t wood.  I checked back with my guy in Philly and saw they had just the bottom piece for only $100 less than what the person in Queens was selling her top and bottom for.  She even found my blog and complimented our chandelier. I was ready to say Sold! and decided to do one last search on CL.

And then I found the same piece, top and bottom, only 20 minutes away for less than half of her price. The pics were a little grainy.  The seller was friendly, but not entirely forth coming with details on the quality. (“What do you mean by luster?”)  I figured either he didn’t really know what he had, or he didn’t really care and just wanted to get rid of it, or it wasn’t in great shape and he was being vague on purpose.  We decided the price was too good to not check it out, so one cold Saturday in January we loaded up the baby, borrowed a friend’s truck, and made the drive to check it out.  I wanted to bring a truck so we could load it up on the spot if we liked it.

Spoiler alert. We liked it. We bought it on the spot and I paid his full asking price because it felt like the right thing to do. Tom and the seller loaded it up and tied it down.  He had previously removed the three glass shelves as well as the glass for the two sides and the two middle doors to make it easier getting it out of his house. He said his wife just grew tired of it and wanted something more modern and even though it was outside covered in tarp, it looked like it was going to clean up nicely.  We got it home, returned our friends truck and finally gave the baby some jumparoo time since he had been so good for what had been 4 hours already.

The next puzzle was figuring out how to get the glass back in.  We even called the seller back after a few hours of not being able to figure it out.  It was a damn puzzle. A puzzle I tell you! The doors were easy, it was figuring out how to get the side glass pieces in (they had to be inched in at just such an angle) as well as the shelves.  They had to go in before the last side was in, but had to be laid against the back wall in just such a way to get the last side in. Then we could put in the brackets and raise each shelf. Another 4 hours later, and we were in business.  Yes folks. 8 hours start to finish to buy a piece of furniture that existed only 20 minutes away.  But we now have bragging rights. And we didn’t even fight once. This feat was more impressive than a trip to Ikea.

Love those side cut outs. It really allows so much light to flow through the room.  This piece is bigger than the bookcases, yet it feels so much lighter in here now.

And look at how pretty all of our stuff looks in it.  Most of the white stuff on the bottom two shelves are from anthro, my ugly monkey tea set and the lions were my grandmothers, as were the Japanese vases and little shot glasses on the top shelf. The Japanese plates were Tom’s grandmothers and the W etched shrimp glasses were a gift from a family friend from her first marriage when she was a W.  It is amazing how it looks like it was always there.

We kept up with the Asian theme and hung prints that were also my grandmothers on either side of the doors.  I’m torn on the idea of getting them reframed and matted.  I believe they are original from Korea (my grandfather was in the Korean War) and they were framed at a spot in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (which is now sentimental for me after living there for the past 8 years).  But, the frames are thin and weak, and the matting has yellowed.  In this bright white room, they almost look dingy by comparison.  But I hate to part with the original pieces. Is there a right or wrong answer here?

And just for fun – let’s compare the before and afters one more time of the whole dining room, shall we?
I found a better pic of the placeholder bookcases on my phone. Oh the days when William sat in that infant seat (PS: LOVE OUR STOKKE STEPS – totally worth the money IMO).
And what it looks like today!

And to clarify, these rooms are all the same size – it’s actually slightly bigger now  with the wall gone – I am just not as fancy a photog as the real estate broker apparently was.  Anyone want to volunteer to photograph our space?? #kiddingnotkidding #seriouslyemailmeifyouknowhowtoshootinteriorsandwillcometoNJ

Have any epic CL stories of holding out for the right piece at the right price?  Anyone better at negotiating prices than me? I once haggled a guy for a sugar shaker from $2 to .50 at a yard sale and I may have oversold my expertise to myself.

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Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself {Our New Old Dining Room}

This started as one long post but I decided to break it up into two because my rambling can be excessive, even for me…

So we have been jumping all over the house for the past few months.  No single room is what I would call “finished” but the Nursery is probably the closest.  And now I think the dining room is pretty damn close too!

I’ve briefly mentioned that we did a gut renovation on our kitchen, and removed the walls that separated the kitchen and dining room, kitchen and living room, and the dining room was already pretty open to the living room.  (Did you follow that? Me neither. Here is the file Tom created to give out to the different companies that gave us estimates for the work. Everything in the red zig zag is gone now).

Some before pictures from the MLS listing of the dining room/living room/kitchen:

So that wall to the right used to lead into the kitchen – we took it down (but we saved the accordion door and the chandelier!).  The double doors to the left head into the office/man cave.

Now from the other side, the wall to the left with the opening into the dining room is gone. There is a wall you don’t see in this picture to the left of that kitchen table that we also removed (See it below). Essentially, our island is now where the kitchen table was. And this yellow kitchen is completely gone but that deserves its own post.

The living room:

And that wall to the right (which was the same wall in the kitchen) is now gone.  You can see the original opening into the dining area was already large, but now we’ve maximized that opening.  I would also like to note that clearly photographers for MLS listings use a wide angle lens.  These rooms are definitely roomy – but these photos make them look down right huge.

So now everything is super open and we have a solid ‘great room’ which we love and is oh so en trend.  But I still tend to look at these spaces separately when it comes to focusing on pieces to purchase to fill up this home. During demo we had them remove the dining room windows and put in french doors – eventually these will lead to a deck when we finally build one, but for now they serve as an nice way to get big furniture into the house. And they let in a lot of light.  We had them replace the old chandelier (which I saved for another project) and had them install this darling. Ohemgee I love this light.  We even learned how to put in our own dimmer switch after the electricians left. Let’s just say because the instructions say you can put in 25 watt bulbs, doesn’t mean you should, especially when there are 42 of them. Wattage literally accumulates. Did you know that? Now you do.

We purchased a new extendable table from West Elm, and the chairs are from our last dining set, whose remaining pieces have been sprinkled throughout the house.  They are a little beat up and not quite the same genre as all the MCM we’ve got going on in here but they are comfortable and I spent a lot of money on the upholstery back when I didn’t have a ton of money to do that sort of thing and I cannot let them go. And because of GOLD, obvs.

And we temporarily placed our two old bookshelves from Target on this wall when we moved in and threw in some tchotchkes as place holders while I searched for the perfect hutch for this space. I only have this not so great picture of part of the bookcase, and you can see we saved the accordion door and used it for our holiday cards this year:

I’ll take a break there, because the hunt for a great hutch is really what this post was originally about…

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