Friday, May 27, 2011

It could only be worse if taffeta were involved

As a child of the 80s, I recognize a recent resurgence of the elements of my teen culture... Jellies--shoes and bracelets; leggings, which have evolved into a scary thing called "jeggings;" and side ponytails/updos. Those of you who made it through the 80s and came out the other side sans scrunchie may agree that there are some things that should be laid to rest forever. For exclusion from future trends, I present to you the color peach. Here it is on the wall that divides our foyer and dining room:


^The color peach has me so thoroughly riled up that I find it annoying that it translated rather inoffensively in this photograph.

I'm not sure why peach was so big in the 80s, but oh how it was, and our home is swathed in hues of pallid salmon as evidence. At some point, every single room was peach. I found traces of it under the A/C register in the only non-peach-painted room (which is, thanks to the previous owner's change in taste, now a flat blue that shows every Magic Eraser mark the G Family has made--and with four kids and a bucket of markers, that's a shocking number, people).

Peach + darkness = dingy. In my first post, I mentioned the lack of windows on this house, save for the casements on each side of the front door. This results in a pretty weird aesthetic, first and foremost, and a void of natural light once you get over the initial "Why the hell would someone build a house without windows?" perplexity.

The G Family is a lot of things, but dingy ain't one of them.

In order to create a fresh, crisp entry, I did something I never thought I'd do. I intentionally bought a bucket of white paint. White, like what's in the space below this paragraph:

As a courtesy, I will give us all a moment to mourn the absence of color.


Now let's celebrate the clean look of Martha's Tailor's Chalk white, as pictured below, following one coat of primer and two coats of paint.


[You may notice in the photo above that our wood blinds are installed. Yay! BG did a fantastic job getting them in place. They are Levolor, real wood, Cinnamon finish (Auburn was a might too red, as it turned out).]

Please ignore the missing switch plate in that photograph. I am planning to hit the Home Depot's switch plate aisle pretty hard this afternoon. "Why not reuse the originals?" you may ask. And I answer. Just as any good bridesmaid in the 80s matched her dye-able shoes to her taffeta dress, when the walls of this house were drowned with vomitous pools of anemic apricot, so too were the switch plates.

Chant with me now: DEATH TO PEACH.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yuck! Ugh!

It took a month of in-the-weeds analysis, but I've come to the conclusion that our yard is simply antagonistic.

You guys remember the poison ivy, right? That's just one of many invasive species we're up against. This weekend, BG attacked the dreaded yucca.


This plant is so evil--with its cruel toothed swords disguised as pretty sage-green leaves--it's been known to win in street fights. When BG's mom saw it, she practically sobbed in the foyer: "You HAVE to get rid of that plant! It MIGHT KILL THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!" Then she told me a story about how BG's childhood friend fell into the yucca at their home in 1982, and they were in panic mode for days, police tape roped around the perimeter of the dangerous Xerophyte as my in-laws waited to be sued. That yucca may or may not have met its fate in a cane field in rural Louisiana, leaves severed and root ball plotting revenge.

I don't play around when a plant threatens my family with death. Or litigation. That bad boy had to come out. BG manned up with my beloved hedge trimmers and a shovel and taught it a lesson in dominance. Now our kids can play in the shade of the pecan tree without testing their mortality.


*wipes brow in relief*

Monday, May 9, 2011

That's going to be a no.

Since my last post, we've done more yard work (all editing, no adding) and lots of virtual window shopping. Hey you guys--remember when "window shopping" meant looking through actual windows? My kids will always think of it as minimizing and comparing browser windows, but I digress.

The interwebz have helped in my hunt for several products. Among them, window coverings. We have two long, narrow casement windows on each side of our front door. I was feeling a bit queasy at the thought of leaving those windows undressed, which is what many of our neighbors have done. Peeping Toms just aren't my thing, and those open windows are like an invitation for pervs who look into windows as they walk their kids around the block in the evenings and admire all the Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware furniture and fixtures as well as grandma's antiques. Revolting behavior, I tell you.

The idea of cherry wood plantation shutters entered my brain and seared it, and I haven't been able to shake it. I was envisioning installing shutters like these to close the louvers when we want privacy and to open them when we don't.

Today I got the quote and learned that my gorgeous plantation shutters are going to remain a fantasy. Drum roll please...................


Per window.

I died.

Then I came back to life and started pricing blinds. [Let's pause for a moment of house geekery here. Did you know that faux wood is two times heavier than real wood?]

Cherry blinds (color: Auburn. Don't you just love that?) are going to cost a quarter of what the plantation shutters would. Now that's what I'm talking about!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Behold! The power of the wash!

My friends, it took about 10 hours of effort in total, but Operation: Pressure Wash has been completed--for the front of the house, at least.

As a reminder, here's our before:

^Isn't that pixelated baby in the background presh?

And the after:


I even washed that baby right out of there!

A leetle closer, please:


Studying the before and after in such proximity, I can't believe we lived that way for three weeks! Like animals... with filthy masonry.

Now, just in case anyone is motivated to bust out the pressure washer on your house, I give you what we in the defense business refer to as "lessons learned."

1. Work from top to bottom. If you are too excited about your pressure washer *cough* and just have to do a spot on the sidewalk *cough* to see how shiny and perfect you can make it *cough*, know that you will be cleaning that spot again thanks to the trickle effect of dirt and mud down the steps on to that gleaming patch of sidewalk. Make like Sir Isaac Newton and say yes to the theory of gravity.

2. Ants are vengeful little so-and-sos when you step in their hills or give them the teeniest splash with the pressure washer. The only option here is go out and kill them before they kill you. If you don't follow this bit of advice, they might just bite you 87 times and make you cry. Don't ask me how I know; just pass me a Kleenex and the bottle of rubbing alcohol.

3. Set a goal and stick to it, though it is difficult to quantify cleanliness. "I want it clean." OK, but how clean? There will always be dirt if we're talking about an outside surface. It's easy to get carried away here. I relate to Marc Summers on a new level after exorcising my pressure-washing demons. Ultimately I settled on two full passes and a touch-up. And I'm trying not to focus on that green sludge RIGHT THERE that I so obviously missed in the after pics. It may not be perfect, but it's still awesome.

Thanks for looking!