Posts Tagged: Home Renovation


#Micdrop (a.k.a. My Move To Malibu)

You and me both, dude.

I think that what happened over the weekend was that I fell into a fugue state, or perhaps a wormhole wherein the space/time continuum as we know it ceased to exist, thereby allowing the hours in each day to expand in infinite directions. Because that is the only reasonable explanation I have for what just transpired over the course of my move from the Valley to Malibu, which was that I DESTROYED IT.

And by "it" I mean "life."

Before & After Renovations

Before And After: Black and White (And Wood and Gold) Bathroom


I love, love, love, LOVE my bathroom. I say "my" bathroom even though it's the bathroom in the hall (as opposed to the master bathroom) because from the time we moved in it was the only bathroom with an actual bath in it - and we all know how I feel about baths. So while it was the kids' primary bathroom, too, I sort of adopted it as my own.

When I set out to renovate this bathroom (before and after pics are below, but you can take a look at what it looked like when we moved in, and then it's first evolution before the major renovation here), I wanted to make sure that it worked for the kids...but I also thought, what the hell: I've always felt like my bathroom is my sanctuary. So if I'm going to put in the work to fix it up, I might as well go ahead and make it everything I've ever dreamed of.

Before & After Renovations

I Stole My Three-Year-Old’s Closet, And I’m Not Even A Tiny Bit Sorry

This is not my closet; it's Ashley Tisdale's. Mine doesn't have a chandelier, alas.

I was talking to a colleague the other day about a very particular manifestation of mom guilt: the home-and-decor-related type. In short: On top of the other ways that you feel like you have to prioritize your children's needs (all of them), you also feel like you have to prioritize them when it comes to how you set up and decorate your house. And if you don't?



A Little (More) Help Over Here, Please?

I would like my table to look like this, please. 

I'm on a big redecorating kick, as you might be able to tell. First there was the exterior makeover, and then the kitchen makeover, and then the backyard makeover, and then there was the kitchen island/bar addition (I'm STILL waiting on barstools for this, and will definitely post about once I get the stools in, because I ENDED UP MAKING THE BAR MYSELF AND IT'S AWESOME).

And then I decided every single plant in my home needed to be moved to another location, and then I replaced my wood coffee table with a glass one, and then I started getting weird about artfully arranging books on top of it...and now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the console I bought to make the kitchen/dining room not feel horribly unbalanced once the new island/bar thing was in.

Before & After Renovations

My Dark, Dated Backyard Got A Light, Bright Makeover

I think I bought our house because of the pool (okaaaaay, and the school system). Not because our pool is especially pretty - it's not. And was extra-not when we moved in thanks to a semi-terrifying algae issue that alerted us to the fact that the water hadn't been changed in eight to ten years (uggggggg). No no: the exciting thing about our pool was the fact that it existed. And was part of a property that we could actually afford. (Such a fortuitous combination is, shall we say, "uncommon" in the Silicon Valley area.)

The reason I wanted a pool so much is because I hate entertaining. (Stay with me, because I'm aware that this doesn't make sense.)

See, here's the thing: entertaining makes me fall asleep, like those narcoleptic goats on YouTube. I've mentioned this before, and it's true: all I have to do to get in a really good nap is know that I am about to be forced to interact with large numbers of human beings.


My (Incredibly Boring) Ranch House Got An (Incredibly Cool) Facelift

ideas for how to make a boring ranch house feel modern

When we first moved into our house, I did a lot of work on the inside - adding entryway tile, turning a tiny bedroom into an office/playroom, adding lighting, et cetera - but aside from doing some (necessary, thanks to the drought) xeriscaping, I pretty much gave up on the house exterior. It was tan and dusty blue - with an orange-brick "accent wall" - and sure, I figured, I could paint it...but it'd still look like what it was: a more or less personality-free ranch house built in 1969. It's not the kind of house that screams, "Emphasize my architectural details and singular flair!" Because on this house, details and flair are nowhere to be found.

But still, every time I drove up to the house, it bugged me how much I disliked it. So the first thing I did was paint my door pink. This was done pretty poorly, because I did it myself, but at least it helped (a little). Then I decided that the orange brick was the next-worst spot, and my friend Erin helped me do a mortar wash on it. And then, when we had our kitchen done, I was so impressed by how excellent and affordable the painters were that I asked for a quote on painting the house, and: yes. (FYI, in case you're local: I used Proficient Painters. If you click over to their site you'll see pics of this makeover, but that's not because they did the work for a discount or anything - I just liked them a lot, so I gave them pics to use in their gallery.)

What I decided to do: give a sort of nod to the house's 1969 build date with a mod-ish color palette of white, black and pink, and then figure out a few places to add high-impact details.

DIY Projects

Make Your Ugly, Boring Wood Look All Cool And Reclaimed: Video

OK first: my apologies for the not-so-hot sound in this one. I was sick and all blah and there was construction going on across the street and we accidentally left the camera on autofocus so it makes a little click-click-click sound throughout and excuses excuses excuses I know I know. Sorry.

That said, I had to post this anyway because it's just the coolest-looking effect (the before and after photos are here, if you missed the post earlier this week), and I wanted to show you just how simple it is. And you don't need to coincidentally have ugly support beams in your house - you can use this technique to create anything from an incredible-looking dining room table (like this one) to your own sliding barn door.

DIY Projects

How You Make Your Ugly, Boring Wood Look Like Gorgeous Reclaimed Barnwood – For Just A Few Bucks

how to create a faux distressed wood effect with paint

The poles in front of our house have always vexed me. They're ugly - just blah wood that's been painted white - but they're also necessary, being as they sort of...hold the house up. We're getting towards the end of our full exterior makeover - which I'll be posting later this week, as soon as I finish up the last few details - and over the course of the process I've toyed around with a few different ideas for what to do with them. I didn't want to paint them an accent color, because they're not particularly attractive and don't really need to be "accented," and sure, I could just paint them the same color as the body of the house...but eh. They felt like an opportunity to do something cool.

I considered "wrapping" the posts (basically covering them with pieces of nicer-looking wood), and even dragged a bunch of barn wood boards home from Home Depot, but ended up realizing that even if I could make this look good, the wrapping would create a weird gap at the top of each post. And then I also realized that the boards were too narrow, and dragged them all the way back to Home Depot, and got frustrated and decided to try something else.

That's how I found myself standing in front of my bathroom door - the sliding barn wood door in our bathroom.  You know, this one:


Before And After: Our Kitchen Makeover Reveal

I've been dying to do something with our kitchen since the day we moved in. There's nothing especially hideous about it; it's just...dark. And when I take photos in it it's just super off-brand, you know? (Kidding. But only sort of, because I'm a blogger and photograph stuff in my kitchen all the time and how dark it is makes me nuts.)

Let's take a look at the before. (Note: when I moved in there was a black-brown-grey-white tiled backsplash, which I took out and drywalled over, and I replaced the off-white tiled floors with grey composite wood beams. So this is more like the "before...after I had one pass at it.")

DIY Projects

The Mortar Wash (Or “German Smear”) Experiment

The hideous, bright-orange brick on the exterior of my house has always vexed me: what to do about it? I mentioned this to my friend Erin, and she said oh, why don't you try a German Smear?

...See, to me "German Smear" sounds like a porn that I don't want to see. (Or maybe that I really, really do, depending on my mood and whether I've eaten recently.) Or maybe an extremely delicious sandwich. But probably not something I want to have happen to my house.

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