Saturday, July 05, 2008

Kitchen and Sun room: Before and After

After my earlier rant today (see previous post) about stagers, I feel obligated to let my family know what the house looks like now. So here we go....

Kitchen before, with the wall paper that I was so-so on, but that I kept for eight years...
Kitchen after.

Breakfast nook...table for two and couch. Currier and Ives hunting prints on the wall.

(I've had that couch for over 20 years...I must blog about that couch!)

Breakfast room staged. Table has leaf, the two chair that were in our bedroom bay window are now in the kitchen, the couch is gone, and the picture that used to be above B.'s dresser is now on the wall.
Dishes are my Herbs and Spice set, the china set I selected at age 16 and that B. never liked.
Goblets belong to the stager, as do the napkins and secondary pattern plates.
Kitchen desk area, cook book shelf, rocking chair.
I didn't have a chance to re-do the open shelving area; it has always been objectionable to me as it is a dust collector in the kitchen.
Noticed the canning jars on the top shelf?
They were later staged on the other counter top.

Desk after. Notice the needle point tiger is now on the counter for "a pop of color." The needlepoint celebrated Jeff's love of tigers as a child, and the mascot of the children's Christian elementary school.

No, I would really rather NOT have that sitting on the kitchen counter....

Notice the staging with my wooden salad bowl. It was the one I used to block a hat upon once...

The bright yellow napkin is another color "pop."

Wall with a big picture, the picture has now been moved by the stager to near the door to our bedroom.

Two small pictures instead of one large. They belong to the stager.

I have to admit I really like how this space looks now. While it was nice to lounge on the couch with a cup of tea, the area seems a lot airier now. Lord knows we don't need any "warm and cozy" spaces in hot old Houston!

Close up of the table top which will need to stay in place until at least after the virtual tour is filmed.
(Don't you set YOUR table like this in the kitchen EVERY day...all day long???)
I liked what I had before, I really like what it is like now, for now.
Now that I understand the process that allows you to paint over wall paper, I think I will be much more comfortable buying a home with funky wall paper if needed.
Sun room, before.
Bernie was using it as his office. For the first seven years we didn't have his desk there, and we had a TV where the chair was.

Sun room after paint. Layout similar to how it originally was.

Before. Two sided fireplace: Nice detail.

Bernie's bonsai forest on the table is nice....

Before. Little change really except the chair position and the second plant by the door.
(I think Tiggie is still in the same place now too.....)
I really like the sunny yellow paint, especially in the morning as the sun comes in through the trees and through the french doors.
The grass cloth was nice, and it was one of the reasons why I bought the house originally, but eight years later, I prefer the paint. I think I have just moved on from neutral/natural/bland colors.

All the world's a stage...upon which a tragedy or a comedy occurs.

(Our house is now officially a stage as well. See below for details.)

Yesterday I spent from 7 am until 11 pm racing around getting everything in the house absolutely PERFECT.
Why the big push?
Because I am sensitive.
Or maybe just touchy.
Probably both.

You see, when our realtor came over a few weeks ago to meet with us (she is the same realtor that we used when we bought the house) she said the house looked great, aside from the need to update the wall paper and a few other small thing; things that I was in total agreement about.

She also told me at that time that she is teaching a certification course for "Home Stagers", the name for those people who come into a house that is on the market and help the owner rearrange their items to make the house more appealing.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, Home Stagers redecorate homes that are about to go on the market with decorative items, rugs, bits of furniture, or arrange for new furniture to be leased.

This is a very helpful service for those who have furnishings that are the worse for wear due to raising children, or financial challenges, or simply lack of energy, talent or interest in make the interior decoration look the best possible. Even in the most lovely home, a fresh look at everything is useful to elimate that which the homeowner thinks is wonderful, but a buyer might find quite offputting.

When I heard about the class which was to be held last Wednesday, I was so excited. How fun it would be to go into people's homes and gussy up the place. Why, it would be just like play! It would be just like on those HGTV shows where a few touches and changes change a room from blah to FABULOUS! Oh wouldn't my course work in interior design be just the thing to put to use?

I could just see it all now: Me going into some interior decorating challenged soul's home and bippity-boppity-boo, I would turn a homey (or sloven) mess into a masterpiece.

The timing for taking the Home Stager certification course didn't quite fit into my schedule. The painters/polishers/buffers got behind schedule, and next thing I knew Bernie was informing me that our realtor would be over in two days, on Saturday, to sign the contract to put the house on the market.

I was fine with that.

The film crew would arrive three days later, on Tuesday, to take pictures of the house and film the "virtual tour" footage so anyone with Internets access could see 360 degree views of our rooms.

I was fine with that as well.

Then Bernie added one more detail.

Our realtor would be coming on Saturday, while I was at work, (where I am right now...) with her HOME STAGER!


Suddenly the shoe was on the other foot.

How dare anyone suggest that I needed a home stager! With that bit of news I was off to the races, spending every waking moment making every detail of my house perfect.
This effort on top of needing to dust every crevice of the house because of all the dust from the painters/polishers/buffers (dust which is still settling by the way...)

Now I have often heard the expression "Unsought advice is felt as criticism" or words to that effect.
Now I truly understand that phase.

Once in the past I won a consultation with an interior decorator, and found her suggestions for wall colors and rug placement to be most helpful.

It was sought advice that she offered.

To have it suddenly announced that advice was about to be given, asked for or not...let's just say that I had a totally different response.

I guess you could say when it came to decorating advice I was ready to dish it out, but I sure was not ready to take it.

Adding insult to injury: Two women would be coming into MY home, and advising MY husband on how MY house should appear.
If I could have been there, I might have enjoyed learning the "why" behind their suggestions. Now I just imagine them clucking to themselves about how much I sure did need their help!
I imagine them shaking their heads at my inept decorating skills.
Worse, I picture them simply pointing their flawless manicured fingers at furniture and things to be re-arranged from here to over there and my husband trotting swiftly to make their wish his command.
Believe me, B. may be an Very Superior 1930's husband (see previous post) but he is rather disinclined to leap up to move furniture or pictures at merely a snap of my finger.

I can't figure out the right word for how I feel, but it isn't a happy word.
Us women: Possessive of our homes and our husbands.

All the world's a stage all right.
I'm just surprised my feelings are so dramatic about this!

Update: I talked to B. from work to pry from him exactly what sort of changes have been made.

All our art work has now been lowered.
(Hum along with me the song "Short People")
Yup, the stagers were short.
Yup, I am annoyed.
I will be stopping by the Petite section of Macy's to vent my irritations with the world's overwhelming capitulating response to the vertically retarded...enough with babying the bitsy ones!

Is it possible that putting pictures at a child's level might make a tall buyer feel like the room is sinking???

Rant time: I personally hate art work that is at the placed at the level of my throat. If you want the cats to enjoy the art, then put it a little lower on the wall. If you have children or midgets your home, then put it low on the wall. If you want normal sized women (like me and Laura and Sara...) to enjoy the art work, put it a little higher.
If you want men to enjoy the art get my drift.

Surely it is easier for short people to stand on their tippy toes for a moment than it is for a tall person to squat down or bend to a crouching position to enjoy seeing the art!

Rant over, for now.

Our bedroom furniture has been re-arranged. I'll have to see how that looks. Oddly, I'm feeling pretty OK with that idea as I was never totally happy with the really oddly shaped room anyway; it is shaped like a rectangle with a bay window on one side at the end. Kind of like a backwards letter "P".
The bed faces the window, but the wall space for the bed make it center on where the bay window area begins. Awkward...

I didn't get a chance to arrange our kitchen open shelve area; it was cluttered and I knew it had to be cleared, but I just didn't quite get to it last night. I'm OK with them arranging that...whatever is fine.

Apparently our kitchen table is now set with some of their dishes. I'm not sure where we are now supposed to eat. Are we supposed to clear their dishes, reset with my own, then reset with theirs?

Bernie just called to ask me to bring dinner home, as he is afraid to cook now. I countered with going out for dinner. The house had better sell FAST, I'm pretty sure we can't just eat out three meals a day until the house sells.

The sun room, office, guest room and hat room passed with flying colors.

I get off work in about a half hour. Stay tuned for more news and REACTION after I see all these changes in person.

Who knows, maybe there will be even more rants/raves/tragedy/comedy... maybe I'll be up for a Golden Globe award before I'm done!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ahem...just thought I'd let you know....

Darlin' Mr. B. took the quiz. I sat next to him while he did it just to make sure he was totally truthful.


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Get a load of that score!

0-24 - Very Poor (Failure)

25-41 - Poor

42-58 - Average

59-75 - Superior

76+ - Very Superior

(He first took the test and checked all the bad responses just for fun, and got a -29. After that I sat next to him and made him answer truthfully.)

Guess I've got some work cut out for me if I want to be as good of a 1930's wife as he is a 1930's husband!

Inside, outside, upside down...

While my inside space is all a-whirl, I'm still taking breaks to see the outside space.

A trip to the water spigot was diverted by this tiny fellow leaping across my path.

The yellow rock is about the size of a golf ball; Mr. Toad could easily sit on my thumb nail and still have room to spare. A baby bracelet sized black ribbon snake with a white stripe the length of his body slithered away when I went in for a closer look at Toad; the snake was so very tiny I hadn't even noticed him as he was sneaking up on what I'm sure he was hoping would be dinner.

Inside amidst the carpet crew tearing up old carpet and painting crews jabbering away, Tiggie is relaxing in an interesting pose. It must be some kind of kitty yoga stretch; front paw between back knees....

I'm glad both cats are taking all this upheaval in stride.
I just wish they wouldn't snore.
They are parked next to where Bernie is working at the guest room desk, and it gets hard to stay focused when it is warm, and the cats are gently snoring away in the afternoon.
Tiggie did get up to welcome the man who came to give us a bid on moving costs.
Tiggie just fell in love on the spot; followed the fellow from room to room, making circles around him as he jotted notes on his clipboard.
When the man finished his survey, he had tears running down his face.
Poor man...totally allergic to cats.
He really should of said something.
And Tiggie really needs to lighten up with the "I'm here to love you through this" routine whenever he meets cat allergic people.
Back outside: The neighbor around the corner has a Pride of Barbados plant in bloom.

I'm all about the stamen, as usual And the fact that some of the flowers are orange and red while others are just red.

While I was running an errand I spotted this splatter of flag blue flowers beside the road.
I parked and got out with my trusty camera to get a better shot.

The blue stars with white sparkler stamen makes it a perfect Fourth of July garden candidate.
I'm not sure what the name of this flower is, or if it is even available in nurseries. Or even how it came to be growing in a drainage ditch.
I do know that I should know better than to not watch where I am going when I am trying to take a picture while wearing sandals.
I got multiple fire ant bites on my right foot; I who have been so proud of avoiding fire ant bites the entire ten years that we've lived in fire ant territory.
(I figured it was nature's way of making up for the fact that probably every mosquito that has ever lived in Texas has had a shot at my blood.)
Back inside.
The dust from all the counter buffing, wall sanding, and carpet tear up has created a fog of dust in the air.
I soon realized that even my camera lens was affected by the dust.
Today the floor tile guy comes to clean the grout on the kitchen and sun room floors, and to clean the tiles as well. I suspect more dust will be generated; I am trying to hold off on wiping things down until everything is finished.
This is harder to do than you might think.
This week has been all about turning a blind eye to messes every where; next week everything must be examined with laser vision. The house will be on the market, and even a speck of dust will not be tolerated.
The new carpet looks great, and the new pad beneath the carpet makes walking on it feel like I am wearing the softest shoes ever. I love how it looks.
The soft yellow paint in the sun room looks great, as well as the Khaki in the kitchen.
The counter tops shine as do the sinks and tubs. They look brand new!
My interview went well. I should hear by Monday if I have the job.
It would be a very cool librarian job if I get it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Actually, I am a Very Superior wife in any decade!


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Sara over at Much Ado About Something posted the above test on her blog.

After seeing her results I knew I wanted to take the test too.

As a Home Economist, I felt duty bound to not only take the test but to ace the homemaking part of it as well.

As a wife of 32 years, I was sure I could rock the wifey part too. Even though my speciality is being a 1910's wife. (See this post for inspiration about homemaking in that decade, just after the story about the raccoons. Having the Raccoons for dinner: all in a day's work for a Superior wife...)

And I'm a pretty good 1950's wife (Cocktails anyone? Jello mold?)

And of course I excelled at being a 1980's wife. Recession memories, pinching a dime, squeezing a nickle...ah, those were the days. Good practice for being a 2008 wife.

Well, I came close to getting an "A" on the test.

But what the heck, it is has been thirty two years since I graduated with a Home Ec. degree, and thirty one years of modern wifehood has made me a bit sloppy I guess.

(I'm sort of wondering about the pajamas vs. nightgown test question though. And also wonder how many people nowadays understand what "marital congress" means. Hint: You don't have to decide what side of the aisle you are on for voting purposes!)

Back to being a 2008 wife. Think green, recycle everything, think twice before running an errand in the SUV, and remember to think fiber when planning meals.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Random patterns

The Louisiana Walking Lily (Iris) has another blossom. Usually they all bloom in one week, in April, and that's that for the year.
The striped design on the petals fascinate me, as well as the color scheme.

The crape myrtle blooming against a blue sky seems to also have a bar or striped pattern.
Once you start looking for patterns in your world, it is hard to stop.

This comic in today's paper made me laugh out loud. Right after we saw it, one of B.'s co-workers sent him a copy of a wedding invitation in which guest were invited to travel to New Zealand to witness the nuptials.
Yeah right.
What ever happened to a nice tasteful ceremony in a local church anyway???
Today we have the four paint guys chattering away in Spanish as they work on the sunroom. The counter top polishing team will be working in the bathroom; Bernie and I have moved into the guest bath for now, and will continue using that bath until the house sells. It is smaller, and I figure easier to keep up (see yesterday's post for details) once the house goes on the market.
We are sleeping in the guest room as well, where B. has set up his work space. That leaves our bedroom available to be an island of sanity; it doesn't get messed up at all, and I can just go in there when I need to escape.
This morning I will have an interview (via phone.) Things are getting very interesting, in a good but nerve wracking way.
I'll report more as I know more. These things take time; it may be weeks before I know if I got the job or not.
Tomorrow the new carpeting goes in, so I have to box up more stuff today; everything in the cupboards in the office, dining room buffet side table, the tea cart, and the living room. It will be a busy day....
Finally, Happy Canada Day to the neighbors to the north!

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'll miss this....

I will miss our Master Bathroom.
It is a tiny space by Texas standards.
(Except on the days when I am cleaning it. Then it is HUGE!)
I love my garden tub, with two views to the garden.
Right now the stubby looking crape myrtle tree outside the window is flowering brightly.
Today, however, the bathroom is not available for lounging.

The bathroom is cleared of the violets and counter top item, ready for a crew to arrive and polish the tub, counters and re grout the shower.

Split vanities? Oh where I can sit and apply my makeup, and a taller vanity and sink by the tub where Bernie can brush his teeth and shave.
We often wonder at the many years we shared one bathroom that had a toilet next to the sink which was next to the tub, and you could reach all three from any fixture, and touch all four walls while standing in front of the sink.

Now we think it is just a good health practice to have the toilet in it's own separate room.
(We are going to have get over this notion....)

My African violets love those window sills. I love lolling in the tub where I can see the trees turn color just outside the windows, and the azaleas blooming in the spring time. I've even enjoyed soaking in bubbles up to my chin by flickering candle light while outside a walloping strong thunderstorm pelted the trees and windows.

It is a totally private yard. I have to wonder why more builders plan house placement so each house has no windows facing another house, except in the front of the house?

(By the by...there are pleated shades ready to be dropped from behind the curtains if one wants to.)

This is our second Texas Master Bathroom. Our first Master Bathroom was in our Dallas house. Our first experiences with Texas Master bathrooms was eye opening: Who knew people actually hosted parties in their bathrooms, and had wedding pictures taken next to soaring columns and waterfall features inside what I always had considered to be a rather private room.

We got used to being spoiled by the Texas bathroom concept really fast.
The Older members of our family came to visit, and raised their eyebrows when they saw the clear glass shower doors and all the wall sized mirrors and lighting in the bathroom.
They acted like we were being immodest or something, because we had clear shower doors.

I kept explaining that we had been married for a couple of decades by then, and had ALREADY seen each other naked...and that when you shower in a shower with clear glass doors the doors steam up anyway, but they declared stoutly that if it was THEIR house, they would have to replace the doors with something frosted and more modest.

One relative said she felt it would feel like showering in the middle of the street.
I've never showered in the middle of the street, so I wouldn't know what that might feel like....

A comment was also made that all those mirrors must make you want to keep in shape.
You'd better believe it....

The wall facing the shower is the wall that is actually mirrored sliding doors, which open into the walk-in closet. So, yeah, you do see yourself coming and going when you are going in and out of the shower.

The funny thing is that now when I have to use a shower with a curtain or frosted doors, I feel claustrophobic.

Funny how fast things change.
And change again when you least expect it.