Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reality Photos

It's not as bad as you might have thought! The two areas that really benefitted from the glamour shot school of real estate photography were the floors and the master bathroom.

The top is the reality...floors are not a reddish gold but a yellowish hue- which is ultimately good because it means they are oak and can be sanded, stained and refinished. This will be necessary because the second photo is what's left of a piece of packing tape that has been there so long it's almost ground into the grain of the wood. The last photo is what looks to be water damage- maybe from a large potted plant? 

I tipped my hand a bit with the master bathroom because I already told you that there is NO shower but based on the difference in the size of the counter and the room itself, the photographer in the real estate photo had to be standing IN the closet, using a panoramic lens to give even the illusion of size to this tiny bathroom.

I know I promised a post on our plans for the house but apparently architects are very touchy about their drawings appearing online so I can't even copy the plans to show them- even if I attributed them to the architect. I'm going to try and find a way around this for my next post but no matter what more fun  and photos lie ahead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Going Inside: the Finale

To wrap up what our new house looks like here are the bathrooms and bedrooms. Bedrooms are pretty boring but the bathrooms sum up all that is colorful about midcentury interior design. 

Up nextour plans for the future.

Not too bad, right? The cabinets look like a nice wood. Except, this is it. A toilet and a sink in the master bedroom. The door, is a linen closet. Apparently, lifestyles were very different in the 50s because this will NOT cut it now.

So, this is where they put the master bathroom- in the hall, for the guests. It's a whole lotta pink! And wallpaper. 

Two views of the master bedroom. The windows are nice but the side one looks directly out on the neighbor's garage and garbage cans- not a view I want to keep. I'm really hoping we can replace the glass with something frosted. The door to the right goes to the tiny bathroom.

This is the second bedroom, soon to be known as "Catherine's room" because, yes, I need a room to read, write, pay bills, meditate, and do yoga. More beautiful, high gloss wood, right?! 
Across the hall is the third bedroom soon to be known as husband's office. Just like this room only  smaller because, well, you know why. It's all about ME.

Now you've seen some of the standard parts of midcentury design- what do you think? What kind of home architecture would be your dream house?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Going Inside: Part One

Enough of hanging around outside. It’s time to head inside our new house. 

One of the most interesting things I learned in our year long search is how real estate photography has moved into the glamour shot business, meaning that what you see online is not reality. Special lighting, special lenses and the ever-popular Photoshop means that everything looks bigger, better, glossier, newer. For today, I'll stick with the realtor’s photos today just to give you a sense of what drew us to the place in the beginning. There will be lots of time later to see what these rooms really look like. And to avoid buyers' fatigue we'll start with main rooms and come back to the less interesting rooms in later this week. 

 The view from the front of the living room looking back to the dining room and kitchen. The owner moved out before the house was put on the market so they went with minimal staging—cheesy art and a plastic plant. Note the lovely warm glow and polish of the floors

Look, more plants! Also, a nice slate hallway and a solid wood front door.

 The dining room with the dual sided fireplace. To the upper left is another plastic plant in what we're pretty sure would be a nook to stack firewood. Important note: the light fixture hangs at about 5'6" meaning that I have a permanent dent in my head from the number of times I've already walked into it.

Could this be more of a June Cleaver kitchen with it's sunny yellow cabinets?! They are the originals, which I'll share more about later.

The first of the wallpaper. The wallpaper and the fridge on the opposite side of the kitchen away from everything. All by itself.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting Fenced In

Apparently, the neighborhood of Olympic Manor had no idea who they were inviting in when they allowed this house to be sold to the Seattle Gilbillies. Let me refresh your memory. Here’s a reminder of what the fence looked like when we bought the house. Granted, it’s not much. In fact, it was probably put up 30 years ago, as evidenced by the Pacific Northwest moss on it.  Still, the last time we looked, shortly before closing, it was still standing.

Imagine then how we felt getting an email from the listing realtor who had been notified by a next door neighbor that our charming historical fence was negatively impacted by a recent windstorm. Yup, before we even had a chance to move in, we’ve become the white trash neighbors with a falling down fence. We haven’t even gotten inside yet or opened up walls and we need a fence. More importantly, as you can see from these photos, we need A LOT more fence. For whatever reason, the owner who put up this fence only put it around the small concrete slab directly outside the kitchen. Our yard goes all the way to the street visible in the background. That has an old chain link fence around it- not a look were interested in keeping so it will be replaced at the same time. And this, folks, is what people talk about when they say you always have to pad a renovation budget by at least 30%- for unexpected expenses. Stay tuned to see how that goes!

The good news is that all that lovely green yard and the raised beds are ours. The beds are overgrown and decrepit but Jed is already planning what vegetables he'll grow.

Go ahead, I know you're thinking it- the close section does not look long for this world.

On a lighter note, these bright happy fellows are already popping up in the backyard. 

The previous owners did leave us with the wonderful gift of lots of perennials planted around the house. If any of you can tell what they are, please share- I'd love to know what to expect!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Seattle: Making a House a Home

I had no idea where the name of this blog would take me when I started it 5 years ago but now it's apropos of the next stage in my life. Back in January 2014 we began the process of looking for a home here in Seattle. Having bought homes in two states before, we gave ourselves 3-4 months to find something. How adorable is that?! You see in Seattle, words like “bidding war”, "multiple offers”, "escalation clause” and “pre-inspection” are legitimate real estate terms. What they mean is that you are no more likely to be able to find and purchase a home in 4 months than you are to win the Powerball. After a year of looking and walking through over 150 houses, bidding on and losing on three, we finally purchased a home last month. It would be nice to say it is our dream home in our dream neighborhood, dream dream dream but that’s not how it works here. It's a nice home but not a style we've thought about or know anything about. What it is is a home with good bones, in neighborhood that works. 

What does this have to do with Inside Out? It’s a midcentury style home built in 1958 that has never been updated so almost everything needs to be done. We’ve never done a remodel before so with some gentle pressure from friends addicted to home renovation TV shows (I’m looking at you, Shannon), I’ve decided to document the whole sloppy, aggravating, glorious process. You’re welcome.

Before anyone gets too excited, this is NOT going to include selfies of me in a hard hat gamely swinging a sledgehammer and accidentally hitting Jed in the kneecap. One, because I have yet to figure out how to take selfies and two, anyone who knows Jed at all knows that he is far too responsible to ever let me within 50 feet of a sledgehammer. That aside, there will be lots of photos of all the big and small things that go into trashing one house and (hopefully) turning it into a better home.

This is a traditional, midcentury look. One level, brick front. Landscaping is part 2 of our master plan so while this is definitely not our style it's here to stay for awhile. Maybe I'll have the juniper shrubs sculpted into yard gnomes. 

Back of house, where the less desirable mustard yellow siding is visible. This is definitely a part 1 issue so more to follow with that. And how about that fence? That fence that is almost up against the house despite there being so much more backyard. Needless to say there will be more to follow about the fence.

Thanks for tuning in, I'm so excited to be sharing this with all of you. Please feel free to comment- have you ever remodeled a home? What's the best and worst you've had to deal with?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Las Vegas Weekend

Last weekend was spent in Las Vegas for a library conference (trust me, librarians can tear it up like nobody’s business) and despite heat over 105˚ every day it was interesting to be back—after having been gone for a decade. Despite the recession, tearing its housing market to shreds Vegas is still a city that knows how to put on a show.
Some of my favorite window shopping (because no way can I afford anything in any of these shops):
 This is H&M, Las Vegas style. The music and lights were brighter and louder than most nightclubs, but it was energizing. Probably the only store on the entire strip where I could shop.
Home of the ubiquitous red soled shoes. Owning a pair is on my bucket list even is they cost a mortgage payment.

Trendy, chic fashion. Clothes and designers you won't find anywhere else.
 L.K. Bennett is best known for making the nude pumps that Kate Middleton made famous because they go with everything. Now, they have stores and I want to shop there simply because the Duchess of Cambridge does.

Carolina Herrera is on of my all-time favorite designers because her looks are timeless- just like this gorgeous dress in the window. Classy lady, classy clothes.
Yes, you're in the middle of a desert but you'd never know it by the abundance of water features and flowers. I know it is a wicked waste of a dwindling resource but it is beautiful for the eyes.
These floral balls are absolutely exquisite and perfume the walks of the Wynn hotel. Decadent to the extreme, they're replaced every day. I would still like to have them in my backyard.

Massive mosaic pool with fountains at the lower level of shops in Caesar's Forum.

A little bit difficult to see but this a wall of water that flows into a reflecting pool at the Wynn hotel. The sound is delicious and the water makes it possible to sit in the outdoor patio without melting.
 Whimsical ceiling painting and ornate light fixtures at Wynn.

Yes, I love the shopping and extravagance but let's not forget the food! Las Vegas now hosts some of the finest restaurants in the United States. We opted to return to an old favorite- Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. This is the fresh corn tamale (the masa is handmade) with grilled tiger shrimp and a garlic cream cilantro sauce.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Met Gala 2014

Look I’m not interested in being one of those blogs that revels in bitchery but when a fashion event goes as far off the rails as the Met Gala did last week than I have to jump in. And usually, when I do, I try and mix the good with the ugly but this year it was all I could do not to pluck out my eyes.

Setting aside that Beyonce had just witnessed her sister try and beat down her husband in an elevator, there is still no excuse for this underwear covered by a sheer sparkly wrap look. And Naomi Watts has no excuse at all. This is diaper couture and adding meticulously layered bits of ombre chiffon doesn't make it any better.

This is the sheer maxi-skirt for the younger, hipper set and honestly, it's not the overlay that's the problem here, it's the mash-up of pattern and texture. Kristen Stewart, in all her awkward I-don't-want-to-be-here posing has chosen a skirt length that is just that- awkward. Shailene Woodley's embroidered silk overlay is lovely but the Game of Thrones feel to the top does nothing for her skin tone or figure.

I see a slip covered with a fishing net studded with feathered fishing lures. Why Prada thought this was the best way to showcase the beauty of Lupita Nyong'o is beyond me.

Fashion 101: horizontal stripes do not work on anyone. Trying to disguise them with a multi-hued effect and feathering of the fabric only makes this look like a craft project. The fact that this is Chanel makes me really sad.

Oh, Rodarte, really? You are usually so attuned to women's figures- what happened here? A hip length, frilly tier and bunchy, fussy top are just, well...unfortunate.

I respect Lena Dunham so much for her belief in herself and her refusal to play the shame game but, honestly, for big red carpet events someone needs to step in and style her. This is not a style to flatter her figure and her hair...she's so much better than this.

I am rendered almost speechless by this but then that would be no fun. Katie Holmes has spent years perfecting a style that gets her on best-dressed lists around the world but this, this, this is shockingly dreadful. The slightly crazed look in her eyes doesn't help.

In case, you don't recognize her under her vintage mop cap this is Kate Upton, widely acknowledged as the hottest model in the world and undisputed favorite in the Victoria Secret's runway shows. There have certainly been times when I've been jealous of her looks and figure but this is definitely not one of them. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the girl whose prom date she stole in high school styled this look for her.

On the brighter side, she wins for most heinous look of the evening.

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