Cody the Bernese Mountain Dog

November 21, 2010   //  Posted in: Dog-Related   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

He doesn’t fetch, and he makes it impossible to maintain clean area rugs, but my 2.5-year old Bernese Mountain Dog, Cody has proven himself to be a helpful boy, assisting with nearly all of my projects. He came to live with me just before he turned one-year old — house-broken, obedient, and drooling love, and has made himself quite comfortable (even claiming one bedroom for himself). Aside from being incorporated into my main header, you’ll see him poking his nose into many of the photos on this site. Such a good buddy.

Cody and I on the beach.

My salvaged door (#1)

November 20, 2010   //  Posted in: Curb Appeal, Entryway   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

Not only did I replace the steel door between my living room and sunroom with a lovely salvaged (and greatly rehabed door), but I also had a vision for a new front entry door.

The door that was installed when I moved in was also steel – but it had an etched-glass design inset into the center (it may have even been a cross? I blocked it from my mind); nonetheless, it just wasn’t my taste at all. I really liked some doors from basic big box stores, and I had budgeted myself $1,200 for something new and handsome. Someday I hope I can install a pretty arts-and-crafts door, but the ones I most coveted didn’t really suit the American Foursquare style of my home. I was about to surrender for a solid steel door (which I would have painted to taste) when I found this gem at a new salvage shop around the corner from my house. In typical Emily fashion, I snapped a photo with my phone and asked for a tape measure.

A blah front entryway. I wish I still had photographed detail of the inset glass.

First shot of my new dream door - sought from across a crowded salvage shop!

My dream door (solid wood with leaded glass diamond detailing along the top) was a mere 3″ too short, but the appropriate width for my doorway (which, FYI, is the best thing to hope for while hunting for old doors). The owners of the shop recommended me to a local handyman who was experienced in re-framing doors. After a short meet-and-greet, I hired him and entrusted him with my new entry.

He showed up with a buddy and spent a (surprisingly!) short time uninstalling the existing door (which I sold for $50 on Craigslist to offset the cost of the new door) before prepping the doorway for the new frame. I watched on from a far at how they went about their efforts, impressed at how quickly they were able to custom-fit and seal the new door. The new one works better than the old one! I had a new door in approximately 3 hours!

  • Install. Note the space at the top of the door - that's where the reframing really happened.
  • Very exciting new teal door. I had them replace the hardware with the goods that were on the existing door, instead of having the ancient hardware cleaned and re-keyed.
  • Loving a paint transformation.
  • Eek! I love it. Can't wait to see the final product with an all-glass storm door.

The odd thing about the existing door is that some previous owner actually decided to cut into the frame in order to install the 83″ door (hence, 3″ taller than the door I wanted to buy), so it was an “easy” matter of rebuilding the existing frame. Picture this: the storm door was 80″ but the entry door was 83″. After the install, both doors measured 80″ high.

The overall costs? $175 for the door, $240 for labor, and $30 for paint (because I splurged for Behr 2-in-1 exterior and saved on tinted primer).

Very pleased with the outcome of the new entry (and the money still left in my bank account), I proceeded that very afternoon with painting the door (and the existing side door, and the door off the back of the sunroom) a crisp plum color (which selected to eventually go with my updated siding). Also, I’m happy to report that I can afford a nice, all-glass storm door for my front entry. While I wouldn’t attempt installing a main entry door, I’m told a storm/screen door is easy enough to do yourself. That’s for a future post.

Oh, No Christmas Tree…

November 19, 2010   //  Posted in: Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

In 2009, possibly the first time ever, I didn’t buy a Christmas tree. I couldn’t rationalize the cost — I wasn’t going to be in town for the holiday, I was living alone, and I only owned about 15 ornaments (probably would have looked pathetic). I still wanted to celebrate (it was my first holiday-season in my new house, after all), so I bought some lights (garage sale + leftovers from mom), and strung lights inside.

Ceremoniously, I promoted my indoor house plant to become a fill-in for a pine tree, complete with the lights and my small collection of ornaments. I strung lights around the insides of the living and dining room windows (but didn’t actually do anything to the exterior of the house). I relied on baking lots of cookies (although, I didn’t have cookie cutters yet at this point) and burning a pine candle to keep the house feeling seasonally-appropriate.

Adorned my living room with lots of white lights.

Proud to be a Christmas tree.

Sugar cookies. I didn't own cookie cutters yet at this point. Awesome saturated dye, though.

Since then, I’ve picked up a few items to slowly grow my collection of holiday decorations – I bought a small faux-tree a-la-Pottery Barn at a summertime garage sale, and scored some older electric “candles” for the windows…  photos to come after Thanksgiving!