a little progress…

In our new uptown home, we had a bit of remodeling to do.  Every single wall (interior/exterior), ceiling and floor is being removed, so essentially we are just starting with the façade and building back.

But something I’ve found interesting with this house, and in older homes in general (I think ours is about 100+ years), every couple decades people just seem to slap on another layer of whatever is popular at the time to redesign.  The family that owned the house before us, and whose family it has been in since its house birth, apparently stopped updating around the 70s.  Although too bad for us they didn’t stop before they decided to nail laminate over all the original hardwoods.

Or cover every single wall and ceiling, upstairs and downstairs, with this swirly plaster shit. But we later realized, you know after buying the house and all, the plaster swirls were added to hide the fact the walls aren’t straight.  Which, of course, we didn’t realize till the siding went up and the exterior of the house looked like heat waves coming off sand dunes in the Sahara.

We’re currently working on that, just FYI.

But they did leave the original fixtures, and these antique crystal chandeliers are enough to make all the time and pain (and expense!) due to remodeling worth it.

And thankfully this time we are hired someone we trust-ish and aren’t forced to do any work ourselves.  We’re currently about 3 months in and have about 2 months to go.

 Here’s a pic of that room to-date.  We’re opening up the large double living room, brought the kitchen to the front of the house and combined the spaces.  Although unfortunately for us, I read an article recently that said ‘open concept’ is over.

And I hope to God that’s not true, because at this point I really can’t do much to stop this open concept freight train.

So that said, our ‘post-work’ evening ritual has become heading over to the house to take a peek at all the progress.  I asked my fiancé, “once it’s completed, what are we going to do after work everyday?”

“Sit in our new house and figure out how to pay for it.”

So if you’re ever looking for me, that’s where you’ll find me.  And hopefully the walls will be straight.

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.

drawer bugs…

When it comes to interior design, I think eclectic is great.  Unfortunately for me, I seem to lack the filter that differentiates ‘eclectic’ from ‘terrible’ and have often been known to confuse the two.

This lack of filter has led me down two paths: the first, buying interesting pieces that I will love for many many years.  The second path usually ends with me saying “well, that was a poor, non-refundable decision…”

scarabs

I’m really hoping I didn’t take the second path with my scarab pulls.

I love them (currently), and am hoping I won’t regret my decision to pay $50 for a pair of giant bug drawer accessories.  And to mention I actually don’t have a drawer to put them on.

I guess that just means it’s time to shop.

Wish me luck!  Because God only knows what I’ll return with.

imaginary gardening…

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Much to the dismay of everyone that has ever met me, I’ve taken up gardening.

Thanks to Google, I’ve learned the difference between perennials and annuals.  Although sometimes I still need to look it up because I can’t keep them straight.  I still have to do “lefties” and “righties” on my hands to know direction.  Apparently, there’s just some things my brain won’t keep on retainer.

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But as my interest in flowers has grown, my interest in gardening has like-wise grown.  And I’ve been quite successful.  Until I planted some lavender and three days later is was dead.  That one’s not my fault.  I don’t know who to blame but it’s not me.  Three days seems a little record breaking.

So now I’m trying my hand at bulb planting.  I ordered Lily Trees, Daffodils (my complete least favorite flower ever created but they were free with Lily Tree purchase) and Poppy Anemone hybrids that will (hopefully) bloom in the spring.

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And these are some lackluster pictures of planted bulbs.  After planting over 100 bulbs, which oddly takes forever and in the end you have nothing to show for it, The Boyfriend came outside to bring me a cocktail.

Just kidding, there were no cocktails.  Apparently he only came outside to ask me, “why’s this imaginary garden taking forever?”

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.