Monday, March 22, 2010

Home Improvement

This past week Jason and I have been very busy with a big home improvement project. It was an ideal place to make major changes. This little "nook" that we have at the front of our flat is the first thing you see when you walk into the flat. Since the windows look out to sea it is the first thing that everyone looks to when they walk in our front room. This started out as a plan just to tear up the carpet and refinish the wood floor underneath, but it ended up turning into much more...

Phase 1: After tearing up the carpet Jason sanded down the floorboards. I had a moment of panic when the carpet first came up and the floorboards were dull and black with age and had large paint can rings all over. I couldn't have been more impressed with how beautifully they came up!

Phase 2: Painting the walls. This was not part of the original plan, we had only planned on refinishing the floor but then we figured as long as we have the area cleared why not paint as well? The new coat of paint makes this really look like two separate rooms instead of one room with a little nook. The darker shade instantly made the space look much bigger and created a sense of depth. The color is "cookie dough" although I think it looks like chocolate milk

Phase 3: Varnishing the floors. We bought a "yacht varnish" from a local hardware store. It was much cheaper than other varnishes made especially for floors, but I was really impressed with the results. It did take a long time to dry between coats, but I can't imagine that spending extra money would have yielded an incrementally better result. I am so happy with the way the floors turned out!

Phase 4: Finishing touches. The finishing touches were definitely not part of the plan when we set out to refinish the floors but as long as we had to take down the old curtains in order to paint the walls (home improvement is addictive) it seemed like a bit of shame to put the bland dusty old curtains back up. I knew exactly what I wanted and scoured all the stores looking for my vision until I found it. I love the chocolate brown with lime green accents and I think it gives the area its own unique look but also complements the red accents we have in the adjoining living room area. I bought the new rug a couple weeks ago and it goes great with the new curtains.

Jason also had an idea to get a bookcase to put in the room. (He will probably not be too happy that I revealed that he did have some creative input, he would have you believe that I did all the designing and he did all the labor.) I've got books and little decorative things stashed all over the house and I thought it was a great idea. We got the bookcase for quite cheap and had to assemble it ourselves (which you may remember is something I actually quite enjoy) and it fit perfectly in the space and is a great little display area as well as a practical storage solution. I love when form and function come together! To put a cherry on top I got a couple little lime green decorative pieces to put on the shelves and I think they give the whole project a catalog finish!

Last night we had our first dinner in the new improved space! I made Jason a special meal of penne pasta with a roasted vegetable puree sauce to reward him for all the hard work and elbow grease he has put into the project. I feel really confident about our upcoming kitchen remodel after seeing the results of this project and how well Jason rose to challenge.

It has always been my favorite place in the flat since I can sit there and tinker away on my laptop while watching the waves and the people walking along the coast, but now its just as beautiful a view inside as it is outside! I'm beyond thrilled with how it turned out, and even more happy with how cheap the project ended up being.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Leave!

Since Jason was sent home from the gulf early and he's now approaching the end of his Royal Navy career (only 2 1/2 years left!) he's kind of in limbo at the moment and I think they basically just don't know what to do with him. He checks in weekly with a Warrant Officer up at the base in Faslane outside of Glasgow and each week he gets told that they really don't have anything for him to do up there so he might as well stay home. There is a pretty good chance its going to continue like this for the rest of the month and he's just found out he won't be meeting back up with his crew until their leave is over at the end of May.

Its a lot of time off, but I think he deserves it and he's making full use of his time and doing what they sent him home to do which is to spend time with his daughter. I'm really grateful to the Royal Navy for everything they have done and for putting family first. We see Leeimi several times a week and our relationship with her grows stronger every day.

I struggle with how much to reveal here on my blog, its pretty much the most important thing going on in my life and at the top of my mind most of the time. However, its not my story it is hers and being a minor I don't feel comfortable telling that story for her. So I've resolved to tell the highlights, the birthdays, things we do together and photos here and there but for her privacy most of it I'm going to keep to myself. I want to talk about it and I know it would probably make a great story and some compelling blog material but this isn't tabloid news, its a child's life and some things still are sacred.

Luckily I've got plenty of other material for you. The long awaited kitchen remodel is finally getting underway, and we're going to do all the work on our own. We took the plunge this week (or rather I did, since I made all the decisions and forked over the cash) and we bought new door fronts and hardware for the kitchen cabinets. I'm really excited about it, the cupboards we chose are really beautiful and I love the brushed nickel handles we chose. The best part is that the home improvement store had a 50% sale on the door fronts and since we are doing all the work ourselves, its a steal.

The cabinet doors won't be delivered until April 14th, so you'll have to wait for a bit for before and after pictures. In the meantime we are going to be painting the kitchen and doing some other small things so I'll take photos as we go!