Time for a change

PHEW. For the last few weeks I have been steeping in a giant cauldron of end of the semester/holiday shopping/work event planning/social calendar stress, and I have emerged from it reeking of booze and coated with sugar and cookie crumbs.

But now I have a solid week+ here at Ye Olde Rowe Home. And I have a proper to-do list:


Don’t squint, I’ll summarize: I’m going to be scrubbing a lot of floors and caulking a lot of sinks. BUT I’m also in the process of redesigning both this blog and my personal website, as it’s (past) time for me to establish a real design portfolio. And I have lots of new work to share. Plus a few house tweaks that I’ve neglected to post. Stay tuned!

Day 15: Getting moody

I mentioned in the last post that I was going to be a better design blogger, and that means that I owe you a mood board. “Mood boards”, I can only assume, are things that design students learn to make while fine art students such as myself are applying infinite coats of gesso to an infinite number of canvases.

They look something like this:

And now I get to tell you what’s in it!

  1. Hunter “Westminter” brushed nickel ceiling fan – Lowes
  2. HOVET floor length mirror with aluminum edging – IKEA
  3. Fern painting on an old window – made by me
  4. MALM full bed in oak finish – IKEA
  5. Southwood berber carpet in Flagstone color – Mohawk
  6. TYRA BLAD full duvet – IKEA
  7. Satin finish black closet doors – DIY project?

Putting this together made me slightly more confident about my choice of carpet. The guys in the display room tried to talk me out of doing berber in a bedroom (it’s not soft! Think of your feet!), but I really do not want a plush carpet in some pinky beige color that will look filthy in a month. I want something low, modern, tough, and a little textured. In a warm mottled gray. For cheap. Keeping all of those condition in mind, this carpet was practically my only choice. I can only hope that I love it.

You and I both know that I will eventually give in to temptation and buy a big ol’ IKEA sheep skin to plop down by the bedside, anyway. Sorry about that.

The one daring choice here is the semi-gloss black closet doors. I’ve spotted them in a few other homes and I really like the umph they give to a room — as long as there’s enough natural light available to balance them, and I think in my case there just may be. But one of my doors will be twice as wide as the other and I can’t decide if that will make the color choice seem more idiosyncratic than dramatic. I’ll wait until they’re installed and photoshop it up.

Not pictured: my darker brown dresser, and the cream-colored nightstand that I trashpicked. Don’t ask me how they work into this color scheme. There may very well be some stripping and refinishing projects in my future.

Here are some hastily-photoshopped diagrams for putting together my own pipe shelving!

General dimensions:

Pipe lengths*:

I narrowed the The Brick House’s version and altered the design to accommodate a new aquarium; this one will not be filled with water and therefore should not be too heavy [new pet hint!].

This leaves me with a dilemma, though: normal so-called 12″ wood planks are actually about 11.25 inches wide, but aquariums take up the full foot. I may have to adjust the design a bit more to incorporate wider planks. Some Home Depot research is probably necessary for this part.

All that said, here’s the notated supply list in progress:

Pipe (at 1/4″ or 3/8″):
12″: 4
18″: 4
32″: 2

30″: 3 (Custom cut and threaded)
8″ (maybe a bit longer?): 10
9″ (maybe a bit longer?): 3

90ยบ elbows: 13
3-way tees: 10
Base flanges: 6

Wood Shelves
1″ x 12″(or wider) x 80″ pine planks: 2
1″ x 12″(or wider) x 31″ pine planks: 2

Other Junk
Glossy black spray paint: 2-3 cans
Wood stain

*I know the math doesn’t look right on some of these pipe lengths. I’m assuming that the extra the 3-way tees on the right side will add a bit of length to those joints, so I’m trying to compensate by increasing the length of pipes on the left side. We’ll see if it works…

I’m going to be posting a lot in the remaining weeks of the year. I think it’s the pending party’s fault: a lot of my guests will be seeing this place for the first time, so now when I pass each minor annoyance around the house I think “I can’t let them know I’ve been living with that for a year and a half.” Which is silly. But at least it’s inspiring me to knock out some quick fixes that I’ve been meaning to get to. So, without further ado…

New in ’09

I’m a little iffy on the resolution thing. Instead of making a list of things I plan to force myself to do this year, I think I’ll list the things I hope to learn:

  1. How to be less broke. I don’t have a plan of attack for this one yet. Moving on!

  2. Cooking. I hope to start a recipe journal to scrapbook together what I’m learning on that front.

  3. Gardening. I have modest goals, here: keep some tomato and pepper plants alive long enough to get an edible product. Maybe set up an area in the back “yard” for container gardening. I’d like to compost some old leaves, too…

  4. Some new artsy techniques. I just bought a book on mosaic tiling and I’d like to pick up some info on upholstery and sewing soon. The craft projects I do for the house are my most enjoyable hobby at the moment. In fact, I just made a Flickr tag for the crafty things I’ve accomplished in the last year.

That reminds me: I upgraded to Flickr’s pro account, so all of my photos are properly organized now. Photos of the home improvement projects are tagged by room, in sets by season/year, and sets are grouped together in a collection. (I made one for Jack, too, as a Christmas surprise!)

My house: A Flickr Collection

I also have collections of images from trips I’ve taken and of photos from different Philly neighborhoods. Pictures of people, though rare, will probaby go to Facebook.

Home, sweet….

Yesterday, my parents, my buyer’s agent and I all met at the new house to get it inspected. The first time I stepped inside the place was on the day when I saw seven other houses, too, so a lot of the details had slipped my mind. Luckily enough, now I have them captured in digital format! So here we go — a Flickr slideshow of my (and my inspector’s) photographs:

Don’t laugh. Too much, anyway.

As you an see, the current owners like wood. Really, really like wood — ceilings, floors, trim, walls, cabinets, shelving, radiator covers… Also, they’re fond of the goldenrod yellow / painter’s tape blue color combinations.

I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m starting to develop a list of things to help make the place feel brighter and more modern:

1. Prime the ceilings white, at the very least.

2. Repaint the living room, dining room, and master bedroom with lighter (and less abrasive!) colors.

3. Save up to have the living room floors restored (rip up the carpet, refinish the hardwood).

4. Save up to have the master bedroom, hallway, and staircase re-carpeted in something lighter and more durable.

5. ???

6. Profit.