Apartment Therapy: Week 2

Now that Week 1 is completed, here's my assignment for Week 2:

  1. Fix one thing in my home myself
  2. Clean the kitchen from top to bottom and throw away old food
  3. Buy a water filter and use it (we have well water that is taste-free, so no filter is necessary)
  4. Run my hands over every wall in the hosue
  5. Clear space for an Outbox
  6. clear one surface utilizing the Outbox
  7. Buy fresh flowers
  8. Determine our style
  9. Find a new recipe and cook one meal at home

The assignments are getting harder...! :)

Apartment Therapy Progress Report: Week 1

I'm feeling very motivated and proud of myself. Week 1 was a success, and I managed to complete all of the tasks assigned. I just bought the flowers last night, but I hadn't been to the store all week (unusual for me), and I didn't want to make a special trip. All of the floors were vacuumed at least once, and most got it at least twice due to German Shepherd tumbleweeds. There's no such thing as shedding season with that dog, it's just a year-round thing. I already use earth-friendly cleaning supplies, but I bought a fresh stock of some of the things I've been running low on. I also asked Maggie at 1901 House for a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I have a large box for Goodwill that I will drop off tonight after work. Sitting for 10 minutes in a part of my home I don't usually sit in was difficult. Our house isn't that big, and I use it all nearly every day. Instead, I substituted a walkthrough of the entire house, taking time to study each room and figuring out what its strengths and weaknesses are. I also brainstormed for improvements. Here's what I came up with, starting at the bottom.

Basement storage/utility room
  1. not enough shelves
  2. too many boxes of furnishings and other items that are not ever used
  3. one full wall of wasted storage space
  4. kitty litter out in the open
  5. items from previous owners must go (paint cans galore)!
  6. love the high ceilings
  7. walls and floors in good condition
  8. nook under stairs perfect for additional shelving
  9. lots of light for a basement

Basement family room

  1. cluttered!
  2. not enough storage for Shayne's electronics projects
  3. need shelving or storage solution for DVDs and CDs
  4. needs new carpet
  5. excercise machine takes up lots of space and is rarely used


  1. need recycling/trash area to be better organized
  2. junk accumulates on top of microwave
  3. good counter space
  4. probably the most organized room in the house

Dining room

  1. "Drop Zone" for mail, shoes, uniform items and work supplies
  2. cluttered by living room furniture and furnishings
  3. needs curtains
  4. HATE the wall color - repaint ASAP as a temporary fix
  5. excellent light

Laundry room/bathroom

  1. Small and cold (or hot in summer)
  2. lots of storage, but unorganized and poorly utilized
  3. need solution for dog food bags
  4. need curtains

Living room

  1. needs to be finished!
  2. love the wall colors
  3. beautiful wood floors
  4. lots of natural light


  1. least favorite room in the house
  2. need new cushion for papasan chair or bring in futon to use for guests
  3. new bookcase/armoire for books, magazines, and office supplies
  4. wallpaper MUST GO!


  1. need headboard and coordinating furniture
  2. new fan/light fixture
  3. drab wall color (very light sage/tan/gray) that I hate
  4. built-in shelves give extra storage
  5. needs more decoration to feel cozy

Spare bedroom

  1. catch-all room with lots of clutter
  2. used as ironing center
  3. AWFUL wall color (bright yellow with green trim)
  4. might work well as a utility room


  1. needs ventilation fan
  2. tons of storage
  3. small but organized

I was surprised to find that only 1 thing in the house needs repair (the furnace ignition works sporadically), and I found 2 light bulbs that are burned out.

I've been motivated this week to start organizing. I bought a magazine file to keep in the bathroom, since both of us usually take something to read while we take baths or if we plan on spending a little time in there. There was a small pile that moved between the floor and the counter, and it's now neat and orderly. I don't really like having reading material in there, but since it ended up there anyways, I might as well make it look as nice as I can! I also cleaned and organized my nightstand, which was pretty scary. Shayne and I are both making an effort to pick up after ourselves and not leave anything laying around that shouldn't be. Training ourselves to new habits will take some time, but I'm so sick of the clutter...


Apartment Therapy: Week 1

Here's my assignment to myself for week 1:

  1. Make a complete list of repairs and solutions
  2. Vacuum and mop all floors
  3. Remove one item from your home and put it outside (Goodwill for me)
  4. Buy fresh flowers
  5. Sit for 10 minutes in a part of your home that you never sit in
  6. Look into earth-friendly cleaning products (I already use them, due to our septic situation)

Today will start with a thorough cleaning and a house tour. As I clean, I'll make notes about what I like and dislike about each room and what purpose I'd like it to serve.

More later!

Apartment Therapy: The Quizzes

After being inspired by the Apartment Therapy going on over at The Litter Box House, I decided to start a little of my own. Shayne and I agreed to work on one room at a time, but nothing in the house feels right anymore. The renovation/restoration has squashed any hint of comfort or style in the entire house, even in the basement family room. I've known there was a problem for quite a while, but thought it would get better once the living room was out of the dining room. It didn't. Even though one room is destined to be a mess, there's no reason not to make the rest of the house as comfortable and inviting as possible. So today I started with the Quiz...


List your favorite in each category:
Actress: Keira Knightley
Actor: Ralph Fiennes, Russell Crowe
Artist: Michael Whelan
Writer: Melanie Rawn, Stephen King, Terry Goodkind
Music: Classical (Bach), swing/big band, country
Restaurant: The Vine, The Chocolate Cafe
Automobile: pickup truck, Jeep Wrangler
TV Show: NYPD Blue, The Shield
Clothing (designer or store): Eddie Bauer, NY&Co

How would you describe your style (3 words)?
1. earthy
2. simple
3. functional

Personal History

Where have you lived?
Where you were born: Dearborn, MI
Where you grew up: Riverview, MI and Mishawaka, IN
As an adult: Mishawaka, South Bend, and Lydick, IN

Whom would you consider a role model?
My mother and grandmother, my friends, my uncle Chuck

What 3 adjectives describe the qualities you admire in this person (perople)?
Honest, hardworking, high integrity


What is the problem with your home?
1. Clutter
2. Lack of storage in bedrooms
3. Not enough furnishings

If your home could speak, what would it say is the problem?
"Too many layers on top of the original surfaces keep me from expressing my true self. The clutter hasn't helped..."

What one thing would you like to do or do more of in your home?
Entertain small groups of friends

8 weeks from now, when this project is done, if friends came to visit, how would you like them to describe your home (3 words)?
1. Inviting
2. Cozy
3. Warm

The above questions are designed to illustrate my personal style and aspirations, which seem to me to be mostly in harmony with each other. I do have tendencies towards fantasy (Michael Whelan, Melanie Rawn, Terry Goodkind), but even those somewhat embrace my core values of simplicity and integrity. Stephen King and The Shield show that I have a bit of a dark side... Overall, I like simple elegance and high functionality. Maybe I should work on having some things around that are purely decorative? There's also nothing particularly feminine about my answers. Aside from NY&Co, you probably couldn't even tell that the answers came from a female. Hmm.

There is also a second quiz designed to assess the "health" of your home. I scored in the low end of the "healthy" range, but I feel personally that my home fits more into the "weak" bracket. Especially since it refers to energy drain, which the house definitely does. It also talks about problems being put off for some time, which I have. Nothing needs repair, but I'm definitely a procrastinator on the cosmetic end of things.

I've decided to do the deep treatment, since some of the rooms need ore help than others. It focuses on cleaning and decluttering (which definitely needs to be done) and sets out an 8 week schedule designed for a 1 bedroom apartment. Since my home is obviously much larger than that, I think I may allot myself some extra time on some weeks, but I'll try to stick as closely as possible to the 8 week plan.


Fun with toxic chemicals

I started really working on refinishing the staircase today. A lot of it is going to be hand sanding, so I bought a couple packages of sanding sponges so that I can get in the corners and concave profiles of the woodwork. I'm excited about working on the house again, and that's good. The living room is overwhelming at times, because there's no little projects to work on. Everything is BIG. Lots of walls, lots of windows, lots of floor, lots of woodwork, and the staircase...

This morning, I sanded the banister and about half of the newel post. Right now, I'm waiting for the toxix paint stripper to finish its job on the underside of the banister and some of the molding on the newel post. Once those little areas are stripped, it's all sanding. I'm really excited; the living room really will be done around Christmas!

As a take-it-easy project after the living room is done, I'll be repainting the small front bedroom. The walls and ceiling in there are already done, and there isn't much woodwork, so that will only take a short time. Then the office will be next while we save up for the bathroom. I'm trying for a promotion at work, and if I get it we'll be able to hire someone to do the plumbing and tile work in the bathroom a lot sooner than we were planning. ::crosses fingers:: It would be so strange to actually HIRE someone to work on the house and just watch as it gets done in a month or so!


You may have noticed a distinct lack of pictures lately... It's actually not because I haven't been doing anything, it's because my camera broke. I don't know what the problem is, but it will not turn on. The lens is stuck extended, and the camera is completely unresponsive to new batteries, hitting, and swearing. Maybe Santa (or Shayne) will get me a new one for Christmas...?

As far as progress goes, I've been working on cleaning up the living room windows and woodwork for sanding/staining. I've been doing some training at work, so I've been busy, but I'll have six days off starting next Sunday, and I've vowed to spend those days working on the house. It's not too late to be done in time for Christmas!


Interior Decorating Advice Needed

This is our inspiration picture for the living room:
Yes, I know it's a dining room. But those are the colors that now grace the walls in our living room. Our pine floors are about the same color as the ones shown in the picture, and the woodwork, should we ever get it stained, will be a few shades lighter than the photo.
We are going to be buying all new furniture, so we're starting with a clean slate. We're thinking that a lighter colored couch would be good, since the walls are so dark. We also want an area rug, probably also in light colors. The furniture, aside from the couch and a piano, will be Craftsman/Mission style. I realize this is pretty wide open, but I'm a color wimp, and I'd like some suggestions on what colors would coordinate well without being boring or looking too modern. Any suggestions on what color the couch and/or rug should be? Thoughts on accent colors?