house buying…not for the faint of heart

Two years ago, my fiancé and I bought a house and completely gutted and remodeled it.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time, as all terrible decisions initially do.

After being told it would take six weeks to complete, 6-8 months later they were finally ‘finished’.  And by finished, I mean it looked like absolute shit.  The painter, after initially painting all the rooms the incorrect colors, had stopped showing up.  He honestly painted half the kitchen and never returned (but did manage to steal my sunglasses on his way out).  Our hardwoods all started buckling and coming up so bad, we even took a nail gun to them one fateful evening.   Our General Contractor (who ended up not actually being a contractor) had moved to Idaho and stopped returning phone calls.

Then we learned while hard, it’s not impossible to sue someone in Idaho while in Louisiana.

And while I learned a great many things about myself during this period, be it the fact I can easily now paint, tile or stain anything, another interesting thing I learned was apparently if you take my money and run, I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.  Idaho included.

So after sinking another round of ungodly money into the house to actually finish it, we finally sold it.  Literally, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that house.  And since we had a lot of trouble selling it, we decided to take a break from house buying for a bit.  We needed time to lick our wounds and have lots of drinks to dull the memories.  And just have some drinks in general.

Apparently, forget we did, because we just bought another house.  And it needs so much work, it’s getting completely taken down the studs.

I barely survived House War I, lets see if we survive HWII.

I’m already skeptical.

moving is fun!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted; as ‘they’ say, “life gets in the way sometimes”.

We finally sold the house that we spent an eternity (and an ungodly fortune) remodeling but it hasn’t really set in yet.  While we look for a new house (oh God.), we’re renting a temporary space in a gorgeous area called Bayou St. John.

Last week, I had two hours to find somewhere for us to move to before the movers got there.  As my mom has not subtly informed me several times since this happened, most people do this in advance.  And that most people probably don’t live in an insane housing market quite like New Orleans.  Hindsight blahblahblah.

But the most exciting part of all this is I finally had the opportunity to open the champagne that I have been dragging around the southern part of the country for the better part of three years.  [side note: I’ve actually found none of this is very exciting, it’s more like a big incredible stress inducing money pit.  I honestly might as well take my checking and savings out of the bank, head-on into the backyard (that doesn’t exist because I live in New Orleans, which is just a weirder, smaller New York space-wise) and light it all on fire]

So in any case, here is my new stoop.  And my traveling champagne.  Which, not surprisingly, tasted funky.  Apparently hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold over the course of three years is not good for the quality of your bubbles.

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So you live, you learn and so on.  Except I seem to have trouble with the learning part so I just keep living and repeating the same shit.

But at least I’m finally in New Orleans.  On my stoop.

when in bloom…

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As a florist

Let me begin again, I don’t care for the term florist.  So dated.

As a floral designer, obviously I’m pretty biased when it comes to flowers.  They’re all great.  Really great.

And I’ve gotten into gardening, so even rooted plants are great.   Clearly I’ve found my calling.

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But in terms of favorite flowers, in my opinion [IMO- I’m trying to learn the verbiage of the young, but might be a wasted effort since I’m talking about branches and gardening], nothing beats the flowering branch season.

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I lean towards quince every time.  I buy them in a bud stage, so they look just like dead branches.

And just when you start to think you have thrown your quince money down the drain, they start popping open, like little bundles of gorgeous pink popcorn.

orchid whisperer…

Several years ago, I decided I wanted to grow orchids.  They died.

Fast forward several years, I’m wiser, I drink slightly less (more?) and I am less fashionable than I once was (somewhere along the line leggings were introduced into the mix).  It was time.

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Plus, now I’m a floral designer.  All the orchid shaped puzzle pieces have fallen into place.

I am an orchid whisperer.

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Actually, I just have five orchids from Trader Joe’s  that have lasted two years.  I fertilize them.  When they don’t die, I give them tiny kisses.  And I put them in our sunroom.  Finally have a purpose for  that room.

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Once I felt confident I was past the point of murdering orchids, I have moved from Dendrobiums (in my professional orchid whispering opinion, the easiest to care for) and added Cymbidiums to the mix.

This one came from Whole Foods.  It’s all too easy, just throw an orchid in the cart while grabbing some eggs.

Today I went to Fresh Market to pick up coffee and walked out with coffee and a potted hyacinth.  The Boyfriend told me to stop buying plants, we’ll run out of living space and have to start sleeping out side where the plants actually go.

I’ll stop buying plants when we agree I don’t have to go to the grocery store anymore.

lemon tree, oh lemon tree…

 

Several weeks ago, I was shopping at Winn Dixie (that still exists in Louisiana, as does The Piggly Wiggly) and they were having a sale on lemon trees.

To this day, one of the greatest regrets in my life would be not buying that lemon tree.  Why did I choose that one moment to be practical?  I’m never practical.  I’m a ‘chips land wherever and deal with it later’ type of girl.

But I told myself I would come back for lemon tree.  And I did.

And lemon tree was gone.

lemon tree 3Since then, I have agonized over missing out on this tree.

But fate intervened.

lemon tree 2The other morning I woke up and the first thing I thought was ‘by God, today I’m buying a lemon tree.’  So I roll over, grab my phone and looked on Amazon Prime.  When I want something, I want it now.  Prime honestly isn’t fast enough, I wanted lemon tree in bed with me at that moment.

So I dragged myself out of bed to get to Home Depot by 7am (I know, weird) and was perusing the caladium sale ($3 for quart sized caladiums!  It looks like a caladium bomb exploded all over my front and backyard) and imagine my surprise when I saw rows of citrus trees.

As I dug my way through all the trees, I found the last lemon tree.  Apparently everyone else feels the same way I do about kumquat trees (who wants whatever that is?) and it was a pink lemon tree.  Pink lemons!

The only way I could be more excited about this tree was if it was pink.  Pink lemons!

yellow pot

To go with my new found purchase, I fell in love with the idea of putting it in a yellow pot.  I should have put it in a pink pot since it’s pink lemons (!) but The Boyfriend only lets me go so far.

Well, Home Depot has a great ceramic one for $42, which is so ludicrous I can’t even wrap my mind around it, so I bought a cheap plastic one and a can of glossy spray paint and made my own.

I’m a cheap DIY genius.

lemon treeFast forward to 10am, I now own a pink lemon tree and several hundred caladiums.

Winn Dixie can keep their dumb yellow lemon trees.  And they don’t even sell caladiums.  But they do have great egg prices.

 

 

 

books…check ’em out

This morning I started promptly at 6am, was at Home Depot by 7 (to buy at lemon tree that I decided I absolutely had to have at 6am), had painted a fence by 8am (sounds weirder than it was and it was spray paint;  I freaking love spray paint) and by 9am was over this day already.

reading corner

That was, until I walked into the garage and saw we still had one last box to unpack.  Just when I’m positive I couldn’t possibly own any more crap, another box materializes.

But then I got excited.  What could it be?  More dresses?  Suddenly I couldn’t wait to get it opened.

Books.

Womp.

book table

How did I not notice we lived in a  library before we left Texas.  The last book I read that was actually made out of paper was probably over four years ago.

So as I unpacked (and was heckled for my slowness incredible accuracy), I started to wonder where exactly these new found books were going to go.  And then on a sidenote, wondered why we have four copies of Runaway Jury by John Grissom.  Honestly, who even needs one copy?

I had set up a reading nook under the stairs the other day, but quickly realized that while antiques add an amazing aesthetic value, they’re a horrible option when aiming for comfort.

So this time I set out to create a more comfortable sitting/reading area in our bedroom.

vintage vogue

I had to work within a budget of $0 on this improptu project, so I, once again, went shopping in my garage.

I remembered seeing a table of some sort in there fairly recently, so that combined with some vintage Vogue magazines, I was still within my budget.

marble coaster

Oh, and some granite coasters I had made from leftover granite from the kitchen remodel.

So for the rest of the day, I’m going to sit in this chair, read non-paper books on kindle and drink margaritas.

eight minute bathroom remodel…

bathroom artWe recently remodeled the master bathroom and it turned out great.

Except I hate it.

Pre-remodel, the bathroom looked like a 70’s Greek revival.  Post-remodel, it looks like it belongs in an expensive bachelor pad.  Neither theme really appealed to me (I just thank God there’s no more carpet) so I set out to add a little color.

And I wanted to do so by spending zero dollars.  I’m positive next time I step into an antiques store my Visa will spontaneously combust.  So instead, I stepped into my garage (currently full of crap) and went shopping among things I already own.

bathroom wall

Eight minutes later I’m slightly happier with my bathroom. It’s not a major change (next bathroom I get my hands on I’m wallpapering), but enough to make a small impact.

Fortunately for me, my cousin is an amazing artist.  Unfortunately for her, one time when she was out of town, I raided her closet and ‘grab-and-dashed’ all I could get my hands on. Thankfully she lives in New York and not New Orleans.  If she walked through my house she’d probably call the cops.

perfumesAnd this finally gives me a place to put out all of my pretty bottles of perfume that smell like old ladies.

Win-win.  I need to go shopping in my garage more often.

 

 

sewing, whiskey & brass cats…

sewing machine bar cart 2I received this antique sewing machine from my grandmother (and it belonged to her grandmother, etcetcetc…) around the time I was 21.  Apparently everyone had a little too much confidence in my ability to take care of antiques, because, not only do I cringe when I think of what this table has been through, I cringe when I think of the crap I’ve decorated it with.

But thankfully, it has remained in storage the last couple years so the damage I could inflict has been minimal. Now I’m a fully functioning adult (I’m sure some people who read that will get a good laugh on that one) and can decorate a table.

Well, I at least won’t be putting Hello Kitty stickers on it this time.

sewing machine bart cart

And as I mentioned, since I am a fully functioning adult, I need a whiskey bar.

I had previously thought to use it as a side table and place of gorgeous piece of slate colored granite on top.  My contractor said he had a piece and would give it to me for free (he used to like me).  As our friendship turned into him never showing up for work and me constantly bitching at him, I realized my dreams of a granite covered side table were like dust in the wind.

Similar to my thoughts of remodeling this house on budget.  God, I love remodeling.

But since, I’ve ‘revisited and revised’.  I modernized my sewing table into a whiskey bar.  Complete with an antique brass cat The Boyfriend bought me for my birthday last week.

brass kitty

And doesn’t everyone need a whisky bar?  Whiskey can make all your problems go away.  That is, until you wake up with the original problem and the additional new problem of being hungover.

Maybe I still have a little too much of my 21-year-old self in me.  But at least my tastes in whiskey have improved…

 

under the stairs…

Recently we were the recipient of a set of gorgeous antique dupioni silk covered chairs previously belonging to the Boyfriend’s late grandmother.

antique chairs

I was hesitant adding antiques to our very contemporary house, but as they say ‘only dead fish go with the flow,’ so I decided to be adventurous and throw them into the mix.

And seeing as this weekend we’re moving all our furniture in from storage (IcantwaitIcantwaitIcantwait) and I wanted to have a good spot for these oldies before they were lost in the mayhem.

book nook2

I love to read, but not so much while The Boyfriend is watching every TV show ever created on Netflix so I invented a nook style reading space under our stairs.

I’ve always wondered what to do with this little area.

The previous owners had a gorgeous baby grand piano under there and it was a perfect fit.  Apparently they weren’t willing to leave it behind, and seeing as we aren’t terribly cultured we don’t own one.

Thank God they left us all their books.  I remember when we were moving in wondering what in the hell we were going to do with Encyclopedia Brittanicas dated 1969-1984 but yesterday I figured it out.  Put them under the stairs.

book nookLastly, added some little antique finishes along with my modern carara hairpin table.  Now I have a TV-free reading area.

I told The Boyfriend’s mom how much I love them, so now were are receiving two more matching orange love seats.  I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this but orange is actually my least favorite color.

So those will be getting recovered.  A little orange goes a long way.

 

 

plant jail…

plant jail 1The little flower shop where I’ve been doing floral design lately has been around for about 50 years.  And apparently it’s been that long since they made an attempt to clean out the attic.

Of course all sorts of bizarre things were uncovered but what caught my eye were the little “bird cages” made of metal and glass.  Extremely dirty glass.

So as they were being carting off to the dumpster, I begged for their release into my custody.

I loved them at first sight.

plant jail 2

When I was on the way home with my new treasures, I texted The Boyfriend that I was bringing home a surprise.  Upon seeing my surprise, I was informed that unexpected cheeseburgers were surprises, not dirty cages.  Clearly we have different definitions of the term “surprise”.

So I removed the glass and hosed them down.  Then I hosed them down again.  With forty years of accumulated dirt, you can’t be too careful.

Then I bought a couple of english ivy plants (my fave) to trail out of the sides.  I took a pic and sent to my mom and The Boyfriend.

plant jail 3

Her response: “Oh my gosh, I love them!”

His response: “Looks like plant jail.”