OUR STAIRCASE: THE PLAN

 
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Our almost-100-year-old little bungalow was blessed with a death-trap of a staircase. It's steep, tight, low in areas, and even has carpet from I don't even know when. I've had my share of spills down it, and anyone who is over 5'4 is sure to hit their head on the way up or down. Worse yet, if you're trying to carry anything up, there's a point about half way where you have to lift the item above your head, otherwise you slam right into the stairs above you. They are terrible. The worst. I am not exaggerating. AND, again... they are carpeted! YUCK!

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So, we started to talk about how we can improve these stairs as-is and couldn't come up with any cost-effective way that would actually solve the issue. We had already been entertaining the idea of opening up the wall that separated our living room and the front bedroom. So, why not just move the direction of the stairs while we are it? Genius! 

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The idea is to have the new staircase follow up the side of the front bedroom wall (this room will later become part of our living room), beginning with a slight turn upward, and then continuing up in a straight path. This will give us a longer, more gradual stairway, and allow us to have more room to work with upstairs, eliminating a lot of dead space.

Our house also lacks quality closet space, and the current staircase intrudes into our bedroom closet at an angle, cutting off the otherwise usable top right corner and leaving us with an awkward, two-thirds of a closet. So, when we close it up during the new staircase build-out, we are also thinking of re-purposing the current staircase entryway into a walk-in closet, or into built-ins. 

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This major project will not only prevent injury or death to us and our guests, but open up the room, creating a very welcoming appearance (see inspiration photos above), and instantly adding major value to our home. Win-win! We are currently waiting for drawings to finalize with our engineer and are on the books for a mid-to-late April start! Can't wait to update with progress soon!

Inspiration photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

Special THANKS to Bonney Johnson (aka prettygoodpdx) for letting me use her photos of her beautiful staircase - our major inspiration. 

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OUR BATHROOM : THE PLAN

 
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So we bought a house! 
In Portland, Oregon!
(oh yeah.. and we moved there.)

Danny and I made a giant leap this year and pulled the plug on moving to Portland, something we have been discussing for years. So what a better push than buying a house. We got serious about looking in August and by September 13 we put our first offer in on a 1920's bungalow located in NE Portland - sight unseen.

(Also, this is my excuse for taking six months to post about our honeymoon.)

Before we even stepped foot inside, we knew this house wasn't our style as-is. It's on the darker side, was possibly "updated" in the 80's or 90's, some walls are blue, some are purple, yada yada. But one thing we didn't know until we got there was really how much potential this home has. And THAT was exciting! We quickly started bouncing ideas off each other and for me, this really is a dream to finally be like Joanna Gaines and fix this house up! Minus the shiplap. 

So, of course, the first thing I focused on was wanting to gut the kitchen... and I wanted it done before we moved in... and I wanted it done now. But as life has it, we ended up having to move quicker than anticipated because we have to work, right? So, we accepted having to live in the house in it's current state for a while.

Now, people told me to "live in the house first" before you start any work, to really get "feel" for the home. And you know what? They were right. Because now we realize the bathroom is the first to go! So here we are.

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This bathroom... wait, let me rephrase that:  This toilet, is a nightmare. I am usually all for old things, but this pull-chain toilet has got to go - and fast! I can no longer pee in fear! I am creeped out by the older linoleum floors and counter tops, the un-centered mirror makes me cringe, the brown-blue combo is dated, and I swear the "lovely" oak vanity was made for really short folk because I am 5'4 and this thing hits the top of my legs. 

Soooo here's the plan!!

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We really want a minimal, clean, and somewhat modern bathroom, but since the house is old, we we want to restore its charm and vintage look while introducing a somewhat modern, updated style. Let's call it "vintage-modern".  

Aside from painting the walls white, we want to remove the stained glass window (and re-purpose it elsewhere) and install a casement window. We'll likely use the large round mirror we purchased from Ikea earlier this year and flank it with vintage-inspired brass sconces with matching brass fixtures (though we may stick with stainless to not be too trendy). We'd like to re-tile the shower with a matte subway tile, replace the floors with a white, hexagon tile and a light grey grout, and replace the ancient toilet with a Toto brand, because, as my Dad told me about his Toto toilet: "That mother-effer will flush anything." Lastly - and my FAVORITE part - we'll be re-purposing one of our many mid century credenzas (I don't have a problem... you have a problem) that I insisted we schlep up to Portland, transforming it into a vanity (this will be a HUGE money-saver), and placing a rectangular vessel sink on top!

If all goes as plan, I may never leave the bathroom!

 

Inspiration photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

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PROJECT BOOKSHELF

 

A few years ago, Danny and I embarked on what we affectionately called, "Project Bookshelf". We hand drew and rendered 3D sketches, bought materials, and began execution. Well... it didn't work out as planned.  

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Danny and I are both design-oriented and pretty handy, but we are neither engineers nor physicists. On paper, we had created something very pretty, but it lacked the structural security necessary to stand. We quickly realized that our perfect-DIY-corner-mid-century-inspired bookshelf would not become a reality.

A bit discouraged, we put the project on hold, and 2 years later, we've found ourselves with the same disposable Ikea bookshelves that we purchased almost 5 years ago to flank a faux fireplace in our former Koreatown apartment. With the recent event of becoming husband and wife, I think it's time we have some real, adult bookshelves, damnit! I suppose we do have a lot more time to focus on other things now that the wedding planning is over.

So, it's back to the drawing board, and I'm currently gathering inspiration for the next idea.

I love the idea of floating shelves. They are so clean and minimalist. Unfortunately, we live in an apartment and don't have the freedom to make holes as we please. These might have to be placed on the back burner until we buy that real, adult home.
(Also... I missed the chance to buy one of those adorable wooden birds by Danish designer, Kristian Vedel, on our recent vacation to Copenhagen (more on that later) at the Danish Design Museum, and I'm kicking myself over it. Sure, I can get it here, but it won't have the same nostalgia later. Luckily, we got the Eames House Bird as a wedding gift... whew!)
 

Floating corner shelves would be cool, too. We have the perfect corners for them.

So, for a less-messy-when-we-move-out, money-saving route, bookcases it will have to be. This also allows freedom to rearrange and move our furniture around later!

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Feeling this minimal mid-century inspired shelf!

And WHAA!! Such a fun Ikea hack of their Expedit line! Danny and I have a source for cheap spindle legs and discovered how easy it is to switch out the ugly block legs with them. You can also stain them whatever color you wish! This could be a winner, but since we are trying to break up with Ikea furniture, let's see what else we might come up with! Stay tuned!

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