Open House (not the sort we’re used to) by stegall
December 24, 2008, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Family, Friends, Holidays, Home

After owning two different places in as many years, the phrase “open house” tends to make us a little nervous. But apparently an “open house” is also a sort of party where people stop by and stay for as short, or as long, as they like. Kir’s parents usually have one, but this year they passed the torch to us and it seemed appropriate since we hadn’t done a house-warming yet. This meant that we had to rush to complete all of the projects (see the last few posts) to get everything ready in time. We think we did ok.


img_37651The dining room, complete with tree, centerpiece, and stockings hung on the windowsill.



Living Room 2.0. We painted, hung our artwork, and installed a new ceiling fan. Oh God the ceiling fan. It was an epic installation–one worthy of its own post, if only I could bring myself to remember it. Traumatically frustrating. But it looks good I guess.


img_3770And finally the kitchen. Not a whole lot of fuss here–just a simple garland running down the staircase and our usual cafe curtains that just happen to match a Christmas color scheme. Time to party!

img_3777Lindsay and Dennis enjoying some hors d’oeuvres around the kitchen island because…

img_3776…we’d run out of real estate on the dining room table…

img_3778…and in the living room where everyone was crowded around the Iggles game. Things were also getting crowded in the guest bedroom where we were throwing everyone’s jackets. Note: Cats hate crowds and strangers, but boy do they love coats.


All in all the open house was a smashing success. I just hope none of our guests have feline allergies.


So tired… by stegall
December 24, 2008, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Holidays, Home, Madeline Pawlbright

After all the rush to get everything in place for the holidays, we’re feeling a little tired.  There was a flurry of blogging today, and there’s bound to be a lot more over the next week or so.  One small bit of news is that we’ve started bringing Maddie into the living room with us when we watch TV (she’s normally confined to the kitchen).  The purpose of this is a) to let us keep an eye on her while we’re in the living room and she isn’t crated and b) to get the cats used to having her in their space.  It’s going well, I guess.

img_3802As well as can be expected.  At the very least Maddie is learning to be the thing that we want her to be the very most:


img_3790An ornamental nap dog.

Our license plate should be R3NOV8RS by stegall
December 24, 2008, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Home

One day in late Novembr, Kir and I were sitting around the house, unemployed and watching HGTV (never a good combo), when we began to feel restless. Our cup was running over with Protestant work ethic, Yankee ingenuity, and Design on a Dime when Kir stepped into the bathroom and saw this:

img_2960Yellowing baby blue paint clashing with the brown tile floor, chintzy brass fixtures, and oak trimmed… everything. I had a few more days of down time before heading off to New York for three consecutive jobs, so we decided to make a quick and cheap project of our bathroom.

So we started by painting every scrap of oak in the bathroom white. Then I started dismantling the wash cabinet and sink (not pictured) so that they could be painted white. That’s when I got a little rough with a drawer that wouldn’t cooperate and, well… good luck finding replacement drawers for anything built in 1984. Solution: new wash cabinet.

img_3816As you can see in the picture, that also meant a new sink (because nothing from Ikea adheres to standard US dimensions). And that meant a fancy new faucet.

img_38141The fancy new faucet from Ikea didn’t quite jive with our existing plumbing connections, so I learned how to solder or “sweat” pipes (immensely fun) and haven’t had too many leaks.

After all of the trim and remaining cabinets were painted white, we were left to debate color. I had left for New York at this point and Kir and I did most of this by phone (you can imagine what that was like). She finally just picked something and painted while I was gone. When I got home all I had left to do was hang some towel bars, throw up some shelves, and help Kir deck the room in decorative towels and nicknacks.


img_37961It’s not perfect, but we think it’ll do until we have the time/energy to knock down walls. Maybe after New Year’s.

O Tannenbaum! by stegall
December 24, 2008, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Family, Holidays, Home

Another fun thing about being a new homeowner is having our first Christmas tree.  Gone are the dinky, three-foot fakeries of our NYC apartment days that needed less than half a strand of lights (really, what am I going to do with the other 3.5 feet?).  This year we stuffed a 9 foot monster, unseen the days of my childhood on Silverwood Trail, into the Prius and drove the quarter mile home from the nursery with the hatch open.

img_3727Something about lugging a tree bound in plastic mesh across the front yard makes me feel like I’m dragging a fresh kill back from the gamelands.  Which is appropriate, seeing as both then need to be “cleaned up”.  Any excuse I can think of to play with a reciprocating saw is a valid one.


Once the trunk was trimmed, it was time to put the tree in the stand and introduce it to the cats.  If you aren’t already aware, cats have some strange genetic affinity for Christmas tree.  They love them.  So.  Much.  I haven’t seen them so happy since before we brought the dog home.



img_3743After the tree was fully vetted by the guys, Kir’s parents and sister stopped by to help us decorate.



img_3759And that’s the (sort of) story of our first real tree–and also the story behind why we keep finding Mr. Christmas Bear in the cats’ water bowl.


Another Patch in the Wall (pt. 1) by stegall
December 24, 2008, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Home

Ed. note: The title of this post reflects the fact that I anticipate no fewer than 2 new installments of the “Another Patch in the Wall” series after the Holidays. Head of Household has put a stop order on all new demo-related projects pending various Christmas parties.

You might remember the unpleasantness that was this debacle. Here’s a picture to remind you.

img_3525So here’s what became of all that. I’m quite proud of my first successful major repair (even though the fruit of my labor is hidden behind the couch, the point is that you don’t notice it).

First I had to strip away all of the debris…

img_3523Once that was gone the sandy bit got a several coats of concrete bonding adhesive which made it solid. Then the drywall was cut and put on the wall and the joints were taped and mudded.

img_3762Once that was nice and smooth I primed it, replaced the trim, and it all got a coat of paint.

img_3779Done and done! Further photos of Living Room 2.0 to follow.

Raising a Puppy (Haiku) by stegall
December 24, 2008, 11:41 am
Filed under: Madeline Pawlbright

Raising a puppy

img_3708is the most adorable

img_3704pain in the tuckus.