Our Closet, Before

This is what we were working with (and it has worked pretty well).



At its widest, it is 8’8″, and 9’6″ at its deepest. By those measurements, it would be a decent sized closet, but there are curves and angles to account for, two doorways, a window, a radiator, and oh yeah, that sink. The longest expanse of wall is 72″ and has an Elfa system with double hanging rods, with a rolling rack for more clothes. I created a 3D SketchUp model to give you a better idea of the space.

There was a soft spot in the floor that has been getting worse. Since we’re about to finish replacing the flooring in the adjacent hallway, we may as well address the closet now too.

Closet Carpet Pulled Back

I figured the carpet had been added prior to putting the house on the market because it was the easiest/cheapest/fastest fix before selling, and you can tell that there has been an attempt to fix the wood. It will be good to get the old stuff out of there, fix the subfloor, and lay new wood.

Soft Spot in Wood Flooring

Yay, repairs!

The Big, Not Fun Project!

I’ve been clearing things out around the house in preparation for some work that’s going to be happening on the first and second floors. Dun-dun-dun (scary movie music cue)… REWIRING.

This stupid rewiring project. It is expensive, messy work, and because we paused after getting to a stopping point on the third floor, it feels like it has taken forever. It has held up tons of other things I’d rather be focusing (and spending money) on. So we’re ripping things out now, the electricians will come in and do their thing – around the holidays, which I can only assume will make this a speedy, uninterrupted process – and then we’ll have to patch and repair and fix and paint and blah, blah, blah.

This is our past, but also, our future. (Whoa, deep.)

Hallway Renovation

The walls won’t be completely opened up, so at least there’s that? Here’s the work to be done…

The Second Floor Hallway
Goodbye, unblemished ceiling. See ya, floor. Hello, studs and subfloor.

We opened and reconfigured the hallway while remodeling last year (photo above) turning the house’s second kitchen into a bedroom/nursery, and we replaced a portion of the flooring when we did that. We had planned to continue down the length of the hall anyway, so we’re timing it to coincide with the home’s rewiring so that hopefully it will lesson the damage to the ceiling on the first floor. The hallway ceiling is either getting Swiss-cheesed or taken out completely in hopes that most of the wires can be fished through for the bedrooms. There are probably still going to be plenty of holes in every single room. But maybe less so?

The Closet
Since we’re already ripping up the floor in the hallway, I figured hey you know what’s fun? Emptying the entire contents of the bedroom closet you and your husband share, pulling up the carpet, fixing the subfloor, and laying hardwood. I mean, let’s make the house feel as chaotic as possible by taking over the room where you sleep! (There’s a pretty noticeable soft spot in the closet floor that is getting worse, just inside the doorway. ADD IT TO THE LIST.)

The Dining Room
The huge pendant light is centered on the room, not on the table. Guess which I’d prefer? The beam (hollow, not original) is probably going to have to come down for access to the junction box, so this seems like a good time to reposition the light. Thinking about adding a couple of sconces in there, maybe. Flanking the windows.

The Double Parlor
The electricians are going to be taking down the light fixtures when they do their work. It would be nice to have something different to replace the matching lights in both rooms rather than putting the same ones back up. I want to add a couple of sconces to the bookshelves, too.

Actually… Lots of Rooms
I should probably have some new light fixtures ready to go for other rooms. Ceiling fans in some bedrooms for sure. Rewire/replace the broken kitchen pendants? Entryway? I’ve been looking at tons of options, trying to come up with a cohesive plan, and pinning, pinning, pinning all along the way.

And the Kitchen
Ooh, boy. The electricians don’t even want to touch the kitchen because they’ll open the walls, damaging the wallpaper, and they need to get up behind the tin ceiling. “Leave it until you renovate it,” they told us. Sounds great in theory, but renovating that kitchen is going to be expensive to really do it right, and I won’t know how much we can afford to do in there until the work in the rest of the house is closer to completion. The wiring is old and crazy in the kitchen and it needs to be addressed at some point, but do we just open all the walls at once and go for it, or approach it more sensitively, trying to minimize damage and keep the existing ceiling/cabinetry/everything intact? Fun stuff.


On My Nightstand

This is not a clever new title for a post about which books are metaphorically on my bedside table. No, it is literally the stack of books and other things that I have been making my way through lately. Like a “what’s in your bag?” post, but heavier! Unstyled for authenticity (though I did take the picture this morning, as opposed to last night when I actually wrote this).

So many books to read! So little sleep!

Let’s dive in, shall we? Very brief summaries ahead.

The Humorous Memoirs

Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
Her first book was a collection of things that had happened to her, but this is more of a peek into why she thinks the way she does. A brilliant, funny, and inspiring read.

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson
We’re all a little weird and wonderful, Jenny perhaps more so than most (and that’s why we all love her).

The Magazines

One Kings Lane: Style Your Season
Impulse buy at the checkout. “One Kings Lane made a magazine? Is this a regular thing? Buying that.” A pricey impulse buy ($14 for a magazine), but I was curious. It is the new Domino model (create a magazine to drive sales to the shop) in reverse. With a holiday twist!

House Beautiful
I subscribe, and this is the magazine I most look forward to every month.

Martha Stewart Living
Another subscription, another I always look forward to. Martha, my love.

The Decorating Books

Pink, Lisa Cregan for House Beautiful
Well of course I bought this. (The author, Lisa Cregan, wrote a piece on me ages ago for Chicago Tribune Magazine! To this day, I think it’s the only bit of press I’ve received that my dad is aware of.)

Styled, Emily Henderson
There is decorating info to be gleaned from the book and the photos are beautiful, but the core of the book truly is about how to style (especially for photos) vs. how to decorate or design a space.
I suppose it should be noted that I did not use Emily’s tips to style the photo for this post. If I had, you would have noticed smaller, neater stacks, a color story, and perhaps a throw placed just so. Also real flowers. And a plant. And some ceramic bells on the wall.

Habitat, Lauren Liess
Whereas Styled is about the finishing touches, this is about the substance and planning that goes into a successful room. The field guide approach is smart, and this has been the best read of the decorating bunch.

Beekman 1802 Style, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Photos are pulled from the Country Living archives, making this a sort of highly edited Pinterest board (albeit from a single source) come to life. That said, the photos and point of view are fantastic and I love their take on historical homes and new country style.

Modern Mix, Eddie Ross
Inventive layouts and photo spreads (pulled straight from the Martha Stewart Living handbook it would seem), with useful and inventive ideas for rescuing and repurposing finds you may have otherwise overlooked.

Absolutely Beautiful Things, Anna Spiro
A riot of color and fun, and of course, absolutely beautiful things.

The Board Books

Daddy Loves Me, DK
This would be creepy if it were there for me.

Pajama Time, Sandra Boynton
Some are pink and some are green. Some are the ugliest you’ve ever seen.

The Extras

Fake flowers that are so fake it makes me smile (those peonies are the size of my baby’s head!) and a brass lamp. An alarm clock, an iPhone, a toy iPhone, a dimmer switch, and Nintendo 3DS with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Glass water bottle with a small motivational quote below the heart (“it’d be really nice if you had your shit together a little more.”), Rosebud Salve, two pairs of glasses, and my daughter’s hair tie. Missing: the usual assortment of Star Wars guys that somehow make their way over here.

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