Archive for the ‘Furnishings’ Category

Our second guest room has a real double bed now – no headboard, but box spring and mattress.

I look forward to eventually replacing the carpet – so much green! – but hopefully our guests are here to see us and not our carpet anyway.  This puts us to two guest rooms with double beds, plus the air bed that used to be in here.  Like I said in the last post, looks like time to host a party 🙂


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It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pictures of our family room. Although none of the updates are brand new, I figured it’s time to get around to showing them off!

1.  Media cabinet

The biggest change happened in December, when our media cabinet was delivered.  Ta-da!

For all the furniture in our house, it’s the first piece we’ve picked out and bought because it was exactly what we wanted.  Exciting.

We’ve intended to buy a media cabinet to house the receiver, cable set top box, Blu-Ray player, etc. since we bought our current TV and wall-mounted it.  That was, ahem, almost 3 years ago.  We finally decided to start seriously looking when we knew Marcy would be joining the family.  All those accessible wires under the sofa table seemed like a puppy dream – and a puppy parent nightmare.

We shopped pretty extensively, online and in store, across a variety of price points.  We ended up splurging a little on the piece we chose.  It is an Ethan Allen piece, the Jason buffet with glass on 2 doors (it’s also available with 4 wood panel doors) in the caraway finish.  It came about 2 weeks sooner than promised when we ordered.  In an ideal world, we might have found a piece that sat flush with the floor rather than on legs, so tennis balls (and paws) wouldn’t find their way under.  But such a piece was not to be found.  The legs on this piece are removable, but there’s a support piece under the rear middle that prevents it from sitting flat on the floor.  Unless we have as yet unforseen trouble with the legs, we’ll leave it as is.

2.  Pillow covers

I used leftover fabric from re-covering the dining room chairs to cover the throw pillows on the couch, two each in hounds tooth and paisley.

3.  Table runner for the media cabinet

I found enough of the hounds tooth fabric still at Joanne Fabrics (on sale, woot!) to sew a table runner for the top of the media cabinet.

4.  The puppy gate

The gate was a custom made birthday present from my dad.  We’d been keeping a baby gate leaning in that corner for the occasions on which we needed to keep Guin in one room – because we were brewing beer, moving groceries in/out, painting, trick or treaters were at the door, etc.  That gate became a full time thing when Marcy came home, until she gets a little older and a little more reliable with the house training.  I thought a permanent gate would be a useful thing to have, but I didn’t want anything that would restrict the width of the doorway.  Dad made the sliding gate out of cherry, and mounted it to the studs under the cutout.  Permanent puppy (and little kid) boundary!

5.  Recessed lighting and surround sound wiring/speaker installation

These were actually two separate projects, that happened a couple years ago.  I started a post on the project a long time ago, but I never got around to finishing it.  So, white flag.  In brief, since there is attic space above the family room, we were able to go up and relatively easily run the wiring for 5 recessed lighting cans, and rear and overhead speakers.  The 5 lights are on 3 switches – one for the row over the TV/media cabinet, one for the row nearest the exterior glass door, and one for the one spotlighting the fireplace.  The lights are all on dimmers, which makes for great “movie theater lighting.”

Eventually, we’re looking forward to a new sofa (brown leather?) and coffee table.  The ones we have are serviceable, but they were hand-me-downs and are showing their age a bit.

We’re going to hold on new leather furniture, though, until Miss Marcy outgrows some of the fiendish puppy chewing.

I’m also feeling a little undecided about whether the walls need something.  Looking at most of the photos above, I think they do.  But I like keeping the fireplace the center of the room, so we’ll see.

So there you have it, that’s our family room these days!  To wrap up, since today is Sunday,

Happy Sundogs!


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So, it’s been a while since I’ve visited Guin’s Yard.  Oops.  I’ve been a little busy this spring and summer:

In June I visited here:



and since February, I’ve been training to do one of these:


with some of this

<– in the middle.

My first tri was successfully finished a week ago today, although now I’ve done all this training, I’m planning to do 4-5 more races this summer, a mix of tri’s, open water swims, and road races.

All in all, I haven’t had much time for house projects.  Nonetheless, I did (finally) get around to finishing the cork wreath…  Ta da!

I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, although I didn’t anticipate that it would be so close to the color of the brick.

From any distance at all, it really kind of blends in with the brick facade of the house.  I bought some teal ribbon, and am considering a bow for it, just to see if that would help it stand out at all.

I don’t know about the ribbon… we’ll have to see.

In any event, I’m happy to have the project done, off the table, and onto the wall!


Dahlias are pretty.  Just sharing.  🙂

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…and, it’s tax time!  Time for a project to drown our collective sorrows!

For a while, I’ve been trying to think of a spring/summer/fall idea to take the place of the winter wreath I make every year from the bottom boughs of our Christmas tree.  It fills the space on the front porch so nicely, and since it’s covered by a roof, I have some options that will withstand being outside.

Since wine is pretty popular here at Guin’s Yard (we may or may not have had our wedding reception at a winery four years ago), I decided I’d try a wine cork wreath like the one here.

So I gathered up my corks, my hot glue, my straw wreath base, and my bottle glass of wine, and gave it a whirl:

(I’m not sure whether I’m more proud or embarrassed that I didn’t buy any of the corks; they’re all ours.  Well, I guess I did buy them.  In bottles…)

Unfortunately, I got maybe 2/3 of the way around the wreath and ran out.  Woe!  I guess I’ll have to drink more wine.  For now the project is stashed in a big shopping bag until my cork reserves bounce back (memo to friends & family:  donations gladly accepted!).  I’m pretty pleased with how it’s coming along so far though.  Hopefully it won’t be too long until I have finished photos to share.

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The kitchen ceiling fan:

Photo circa August 2010

has been on The List for some time now.  My biggest grievance is that it was mounted as if it was a standard light fixture, i.e., with completely insufficient support for a ~60 inch dia. ceiling fan.  We couldn’t turn the fan on even if we wanted to, because it wobbled precariously.   Not to mention, we don’t really want to fling dust around the cooking area.

Push came to shove, as many things do around here, when something broke.  This time, it was a light bulb (for the second time) — the glass broke off of the metal bulb socket, leaving the metal screwed into the light fixture.  This happened before, but this time we couldn’t get it out (even with turning off the circuit and using needle nose pliers).  Since there wasn’t any love lost on the light fixture, we started shopping, and it came down.



We gave consideration to canister lights, but decided against them because we plan, someday, to redo the kitchen, layout included.  Canisters are a lot of work if you’re not sure you know where you’ll want them long term.

We also looked at some of the beautiful fixtures at Hubbardton Forge.  But those are pricey, and again, a lot about our kitchen is done with the “this’ll be nice for the next 5-10 years” mindset.  So off we went to Lowe’s to see what they had.

After some wandering, and some debating, we brought home this Allen + Roth fixture.  It was significantly less expensive than other options we were considering, and with 3 CFL bulbs, we figured it would make a nice, bright work space.

Not bad!

The CFL bulbs do take a minute to warm up when you turn it on, so at night it takes a minute to get up to its full brightness.  Admittedly, not my favorite feature.  But it coordinates pretty well with the existing hardware and fixtures, including the light over the table, and definitely does the job.  We still need to do just a little patching in the ceiling, since the cutout is a smidge too big, but that’s just minor cosmetic work.

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In the last almost 4 years we’ve been married, we’ve never really gotten around to buying bedroom furniture.  For the most part, that’s been fine.  It’s not a room that most people see (well, except blog readers and us!).  We bought the essentials, a queen mattress and box spring, and a metal frame to pick them up off the floor, an inexpensive dresser, and a freestanding full length mirror from Target.  Combined with a handed down armoire and nightstand, and we had the basics.  Other rooms ranked much higher on the furnishing priority list.

As the last few years have gone by, though, my satisfaction waned with the situation.  I really wanted a bed.  A real bed.  With a headboard to lean against to read, and a footboard to keep the comforter off the floor (and ahem, out from under Guinness’ lounging furry self).

I tried really hard to convince myself not to give in, to wait until we were ready to buy an actual bedroom set.  It’s inefficient to bring in an imperfect piece of furniture only to replace in a few years.  But the last couple years since we’ve been in this house has made clear that we aren’t getting much closer to shopping for that bedroom set.  New priorities – house related, and non-house related – keep cropping up.  And that nagging want for a real bed remained.

So, after months of trolling Craig’s List, and a few listings that I lost out on to someone faster, this weekend we found, saw, and bought a bed frame!


I’d been looking for a slatted mission/shaker style bed, preferably with an arched head- and footboard.  Those don’t seem to come up very often.  I saw this one, though, the price was right, and it was awfully close to the target.

After we got it all set up, I was really glad we did it.  It is delightful to have side rails that take the place of a bed skirt.  What with sharing a bedroom with this character:

ease of vacuuming is a big plus.  The too-long bedskirt that we’ve used for the last few years was not a win on that count; it needed to be hoisted up to vacuum under.  Plus, it just looked sloppy and too big.   It just wasn’t working for me.  The footboard keeps the comforter from slipping off the foot of the bed and becoming a de facto dog bed, and the headboard keeps the pillows from doing the same thing at the head.  Reading in bed is a lot more comfortable, too.

There were a few things that surprised me, though.

– the headboard is really tall!

– it’s a lot bigger than the bare metal frame was.  There’s less room to walk around, even though it’s exactly the same mattress & box spring we’ve always had.  I was not anticipating that.

– we’ll need even tinier night stands than I’d expected as a result.

All in all, though, a very exciting second hand purchase!  Another score for Craig’s List.

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As I posted last spring, our collection of dining chairs has been a little mismatched and worn.  We had 4 with faded velvet upholstered seats in generally good condition, and 3 with vinyl seat covers (2 red and 1 white), and at least their fair share of cracks and chips in the wood:

…neither of which matched each other or in here:

especially post re-decoration.  We also had two smaller maple dining chairs without any seat coverings.

I bought fabric to redo the chairs back when we were picking out paint and curtains, and finally got around to recovering them for the holidays.  The figure-8 chairs were fine with just a fabric swap.  The other 3 needed a little more work in addition to the new fabric:  they needed new foam padding, a few wood repairs, and a paint job to hide the repairs.

The sanding, repairing, sanding, priming, and painting went smoothly enough.  It was just a huge time sink.  I used adhesion primer and satin finish enamel, and did it with a brush for corners, and a 2″ foam roller for straight pieces.  Each coat took about an hour per chair.

For the seats, rather than upholstery tacks, we stapled the material to the underside of the seats.  We ended up needing to go with smaller sized staples (smaller gauge and shorter) to get them sunken in far enough, but it wasn’t hard.  Having 2 people helped too – one to stretch the new material over the padding and seat, the other to staple it down.  You want it to be as tight as possible to avoid creases when people sit on it later.

The end result was pretty exciting:  something I could allege in vague terms looks like a “set” of 7 chairs!

Whee!  And I didn’t actually buy any of them!  Awesome.

I confess I cheated, and only got to one coat of black satin finish enamel before the holidays.  The chairs had to be pressed into service, so I put them back together as they were.  I’ll need to take them apart for a 2nd coat after the holidays.  I discovered that I would’ve needed to do it anyway, though, because I think I need to do a coat or two of polyurethane over the paint.  There were a couple spots where the black paint left marks on my newly painted white chair rail and molding, so I obviously need to add a protective coat to keep that from being an ongoing issue.

All in all, though, it was one of those “why didn’t I do this sooner?” kinds of projects.  Pretty good bang for the buck (and the effort!).

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