Laundry Room Progress

In what feels like a never-ending saga, let’s dive into the progress we’ve made in the basement.  Specifically, the laundry room.  For it’s purpose, it’s a decent sized room at nine feet wide and eight and a half feet deep.  We started out with our washer and dryer side by side, below a row of orange oak upper cabinets.  Since we immediately ripped out the pet stained carpet, we tossed a rug below to have a less dirty floor to walk on.


Just to the left of the appliances was a big, plastic wash tub and open floor space.


Opposite the washer and dryer was a full wall of dark oak upper and lower cabinets, complete with stunning orange countertops.


Based on the cabinet configuration and the large mirror, we think this room was a designated sewing space for a previous owner.  While the room boasted a lot of cabinetry, it wasn’t laid out in the most functional way for our uses.


When we gutted the entire basement, we decided to tweak the door placement to throw more depth to the appliance side.  This minor change centered the door on the open floor space, making each side a better depth for what would go on the walls.


After five months of working toward an updated basement, we are nearing our finish line.  Let’s take a look behind the pocket door.


We still have the sink, washer, and dryer on the left side of the door, but opted to stack the units to accommodate an upright freezer.


For the most finished look, we built a floor to ceiling panel to block the side of the stack.  A 40 inch wide by 24 inch deep cabinet, which will have a sink once we get our countertops, fills in from the side panel to wall.


Above, we opted to skip an upper cabinet, and built two floating wood shelves instead.  At eight inches deep, we won’t have to worry about crashing heads, but we still have enough room for laundry essentials.  Of course the shelves can also hold a few pretty things to add a bit of personality to even a laundry room.


Over on the other side of the room is a wall-o-cabinets.  Sleek white cabinets keep this dark, windowless room from feeling dingy and depressing.  At the back of the room is a 5 foot tall by 2 foot wide vacuum/ironing board cabinet.


This leaves us with a 6 1/2 foot long counter space, which will be great for folding, but also getting laundry baskets off the floor.


A pair of upper cabinets gives us ample space to store, well, I’m not sure yet, but whatever we need.


Clearly the bottom drawers aren’t finished, but the shallow tops aren’t actually drawers.  Surprise, it’s a pull out drying rack.


To be honest, we don’t have much that can’t go in the dryer, but we didn’t have an option before.  Yes, we could have added a pull down wall mount version, but I love that these are discreet when not in use.  More than anything, we built the cabinets, so we easily added the option.


Even when fully extended, there’s a little more than two feet of space to get around.


Like the kitchen and master bath, all drawers and doors are soft close.  It’s a small feature that is just so nice to have; no more accidentally slamming anything shut.


Before we can call this room finished, we still have a few things to finish up.  Two more drawers to build, a cabinet will go above the freezer, a panel to cover the top of the dryer, countertops/sink/faucet to install.  Baseboard and crown can go in soon and then it’s fill, caulk, prime, and paint.


Even with those lingering tasks, how about a side by side to show just how far we’ve come in five months.


Guys, we have floors that don’t feel gross underfoot.  We’ll have counter space by the sink to actually set stuff like soap.  No more mirror to creep everyone out.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Shortly after we finished building a massive deck, hauling and spreading truckloads of rock, I set out to lush up the blank slate.  Before getting to the fun part of buying and planting, I created a simple landscape plan to serve as a guideline.


Even with that loose plan, I’ve made some changes based on plant availability and other things that caught my eye.  I started out as a complete novice, simply wanting to add some greenery and color.  As time went on, I realized I really liked researching, looking at, shopping, and caring for plants.  It’s so relaxing to wander through the plants, noticing the changes and getting excited by new blooms.  Growth can be such a slow process (just check out this post to see how dramatically different a year looks), it’s hard to remember just how small everything started out.  Because of this, I’ve decided to make more frequent garden updates, just to track progress.

Okay, I’ve chatted long enough, let’s look at the plants.  Out front, these smoke trees make me stupidly happy.  Dark burgundy leaves are a great contrast against all the green.  I also adore the way it looks with the siding and decks.


Those smoke like flower plumes are so pretty and delicate.


The row of nest spruce are absolutely covered in bright green new growth.


Near the front walkway, tucked under our balcony, is a hydrangea that looks healthy and happy.  Along the street side of the beams, I replaced the dead boxwood (poor choice on my part as they need more water) with a row of Karl Foerster reed grasses.  Closest to the door, you see a trio of catmint peeking out.


Just a warning about catmint: It gets huuuuge, so be careful where you plant.  Both here and in the back, each plant has spread to about two feet across, so leave ample space between to not overcrowd neighboring plants.  I happen to like a full, thick garden, so it’s good, but just something to keep in mind.


At the end of the front walk, there’s a rock planter filled with peonies and coneflower.  These Costco plants have done so well, with about 25 buds on each plant in only two years.


A lone coneflower bloom is starting up.


To the left side of the front steps, there’s a trio of day lilies and Russian sage.  Russian sage also gets big quickly, so I cut these back to the ground this spring.  This should help create a thicker plant, rather than a thin, spindly one.


For whatever reason, adding plants in the front hasn’t been as fun as the back.  Maybe because we have more hardscaping to work around?  There’s also an even more steep slope that’s almost impossible to add plants to.  Sure the back has some steep areas, but overall, it’s pretty workable.  Here’s a view from the driveway, showing off nearly every part of the back yard.


Over to the right of the steps coming up from the driveway, there’s a full sun flower grouping.  At the base of the hillside, a row of Karl Foerster grasses softens the edges and adds height.

Also taken from the driveway, but angled toward the house to show the little bed bordering the house.


This area includes two catmint, four coreopsis, two day lilies, an Icelandic poppy, and a butterfly bush.


In our zone, the butterfly bush dies completely back, starting from the ground up each year.  It’s on the tiny side right now, but I’m hoping it’ll come back with a vengeance.


It seems most full sun, drought tolerant plants come in purples.  To offset all the purple, a yellow Icelandic poppy at the center of this grouping adds a different splash of color.


As with the butterfly bush, the coreoposis die back, but are making their comeback.


With the way our house is situated, there’s very little shade.  Between the back walkway and house, there’s an eight foot wide by twenty or so feet long garden strip.  Of that space, about five feet from the house is shaded and that’s it.  Closest to the house, I’ve planted hostas, coral bells, Ajuga, and a hydrangea.  At the corner of the house is a beautiful Snowball Viburnum, a great alternative to Hydrangea.  Planted only last spring, it has doubled in size and is now covered in fist sized blooms.


Much like hydrangea, the blooms are clusters of tiny flowers.


With seemingly hundreds of hosta varieties, I’ve tried to add a mix.  After all, variety is the spice of life.


With so many single plants that kind of keep to themselves, I wanted to add a lower ground cover type plant to the mix.  Ajuga is the perfect addition, spreading out greenery and blooming purple flower stems.


Not quite as fast growing as the viburnum, the hydrangea has dozens of tiny cauliflower like buds emerging.


Filling up the three-foot full sun area next to this is an alternating mix of catmint and salvia.


Up on the hillside, we have low growing, spreading Buffalo junipers to add as much greener as possible.  Between the evergreens are a variety of plants.  Seen here are a smoke tree, three Hameln grasses, Stonecrop Angelina, and native Yucca.



Toward the bottom of the rocks, I’ve dotted Artemisia, lavender, and day lilies around.


Everyone likes touching the Artemisia.  It’s this soft, silver-green mound of fluff.  It’s crazy to see just how much this has grown in less than a year.


Once this lavender blooms, it’s going to smell amazing in the back.  In the house, too since it’s a great cut and dried flower.


To liven up the patio, I picked up three five dollar arborvitae trees to fill in the planters.


Looking from the house toward the waterfall, things are filling in nicely.


These stonecrop Angelina are perfect to tuck between the cracks of the waterfall.  It’s as simple as plucking the offshoots, nestling each in dirt, keeping watered until rooted, and enjoying.  The plant that keeps on giving.


Since getting hooked on gardening, I’ve added over 200 assorted plants throughout our property.  I’m far from an expert, but through trial and error, I’m figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and enjoying the progress along the way.

Bentwood and Marble

Three years ago I stumbled on a cute little bent wood stool with a cane top.  It was a mere eight dollars and cute as can be.  Sadly, the cane top was already broken, a slight tear along the edge.  Regardless, I set it by the claw foot tub in the master bath, to hold towels and such.

Master Bathroom with Clawfoot Tub

Several months ago, someone, I don’t know who, stepped or sat on the top and further damaged it.



On another thrift shop stop, I spotted a white marble serving tray, priced at three bucks.  Not having an exact use, I still bought it, knowing I’d find a use for it somewhere/sometime.


It sat in the cabinet for a few weeks.  As I was cleaning the bathroom, I moved the stool, and a lightbulb went off.  Would the marble fit on the stool?  I dug it out, flipped the stool to a side, and set the marble on.  Wouldn’t you know it, the marble was a perfect match!


Knowing the shoe (marble) fit, I cut off the broken cane.  After pulling the outer cane strip off, I set the marble back on.


It’s the perfect pairing, adding a solid surface to set a plant and candle, or stack of towels on.


Not exactly a DIY, more a matter of luck, but it made a huge difference.  In fact, we did something similar to update our living room end tables.


Further proof that white marble can cure nearly home related problem.  Moral of the story?  Buy all the affordable white marble when you see it.  Even if they’re cute, relatively useless small stemmed glasses.


Just trust me on this one, you’ll find a use for it.

Basement Bedroom Plans

Now that we’re nearing the end of (parts of) the basement remodel, I’m determined more than ever to put together a cohesive, inviting, and colorful room.  The newly created bedroom will serve as an overflow/more secluded guest room, at least until our kids are old enough to want separate sleeping spaces.  Right now, the room looks like this:


She’s all dressed up with nowhere to go.  All the trim is painted Simply White and walls are Templeton Gray, both from Benjamin Moore.  Carpet has been finalized and ordered, but we’re waiting on install.  After that, we can put closet doors on, and get what little furniture we have back in here.


Right now, the only piece of furniture we have is a mattress.  Everything else still has to be built/found, but that hasn’t stopped the ideas swirling around in my brain.  Some days I want a plush upholstered headboard.  Others, I’m brainstorming up a beautiful leather creation.  And then there are days I want nothing but a simple wooden headboard.  This beauty has stolen my heart (as with many of the other items in the mid century Chairish collection), but it’s two sizes too small for our California King sized mattress.

Even if the size isn’t right, it doesn’t mean I can’t use it as an inspiration/jumping off point to create something like this:


I’ve mimicked the wall, trim, and carpet colors before layering in some of my favorite elements.  Neutrals mixed with a few bits of color, but nothing overwhelming.  Above the bed, I’d love to frame a turkey tail my father-in-law gave me.

If the final headboard is neutral, I’d love to add in some more color with painted night stands or dressers flanking the bed.  These green beauties by The Painted Hive are so fantastic. ;lkuefrlkaseliuth  Oops, that was me, wiping the drool off my keyboard.  Lamps are still up in the air until I find a pair I love.  Sconces are also an option, depending on the size of the night stands I can muster up.  Have you noticed the trend?  Everything is in flux, each item depending on another to know which way to take the design.

Over the years, I’ve realized I absolutely loathe making king beds with solid colored sheets.  Since the dimensions are so close, it always seems like I get the wrong side on and have to start over again.  Striped sheets not only look pretty, but the directional pattern is helpful when making a nearly square bed.

When I selected the wall color, I knew I wanted something that wasn’t a neutral, but would easily pair and complement my favorite colors: blues, greens, and mustards.  A beautiful, but simple color blocked lumbar pillow in a neutral and mustard colorway is just enough color.

For a bit more green, I’d love to hang a pair of beautiful prints by the ever so lovely Living Pattern shop.  I especially like the Pine and Maidenhair ferns.

Depending on how the space feels, I may or may not add a bench at the foot of the bed.  If that happens, I’d love a natural linen tufted beauty.  At this point, I haven’t had much luck finding pieces I absolutely love.  A test of my patience is probably going to happen, and I’m always impatiently waiting.

Carpet Sampling

Choosing carpet isn’t something we’ve done often.  In our first house, the only rooms with the cushy stuff were the basement bedrooms.  At this house, hardwood and tile are the only flooring types currently installed, but that will change soon.  Before we can get to install, we had shopping and serious deliberations to go through.  Ironically (or luckily?) carpet is the element Ben and I disagree on most.

At the beginning of our search, I said I preferred patterns created by texture, something like this.  A shorter, dense pile that holds up better to foot traffic, with subtle interest from the pattern.  All great selling points in my book.


Ben, however, prefers for his carpet to feel, well, like a wall to wall mattress.  Thicker + cushier = better.  I tease that he’s a princess about area rugs and carpet, and he doesn’t argue against that.


He also wanted nylon fibers, which greatly whittle down the available options.  After hitting up several stores, we dragged any and all interesting sample boards home to evaluate.

I nearly had him ready to pull the trigger on the waffle-esque  pattern, but then he talked to installers.  Always researching, that guy.  Turns out, installers don’t really like the pattern, because it takes considerably more time and effort to keep the lines straight.  Essentially, the pattern is like tile and grout lines, but can easily be stretched out of alignment.  Crooked walls are even more of an obstacle.  Unlike tile, as carpet wears the fibers loosen and look saggy, needing restretching down the road.  Often times, the wear is not even throughout the room, and certain areas can be stretched up to several inches while others go untouched.  For these reasons, a patterned carpet was officially out of the running.  Womp, womp, wooooomp.

Back on the hunt for a plush carpet we could agree on.  Here were our basic considerations to get to our final choice:

1.  Fiber type:  In our search we found that the majority of carpets carried are polyester, polypropylene, or a polyester blend.  Yes, there are some nylon, wool, cotton and other fibers, but polyester seems to greatly outnumber the other options.  Generally speaking, nylon costs more, but is the strongest fiber, thus can handle heavier foot traffic.  Nylon carpets hold their twist better, preventing the worn look of frayed ends.  For this reason alone, Ben wanted a nylon carpet.

2.  Pile length:  From my wish list, I wanted a shorter, dense pile to minimize the look of traffic patterns.  Just like grass, the longer it is, the more obvious the wear.

3.  Face weight:  The face weight of a carpet is how many ounces of one yard of actual fiber (not including the backing).  To generalize, the higher the weight equals a more dense and better quality carpet.  That is, assuming the pile length is the same.  If it’s really easy to feel (or even see) the backing, the lower the face weight will be.

4.  Coloring: With the carpets we considered, we had the choice between solid or flecked.  I immediately eliminated the obviously speckled look, since it’s just not my thing.  On the other hand, in some cases, Ben likes the interest it adds.

5.  Price:  Like all products, there’s a wide variety, covering all ends of the price spectrum.  We didn’t set a budget for carpet, instead, we wanted the quality and durability to take priority.

After checking all of those boxes, we had our winner: a nylon, 70 ounce face weight, subtly speckled plush carpet that feels like walking on a cloud.


Of course, there was one last debate-colors.  I loved the lighter slightly oatmeal gray, Sharkskin, to keep the rooms feeling bright.  Ben, being the more practical of the two of us, liked the darker, more forgiving if spilled on Grey Flannel.


Basement-Carpet-Samples-in-Bedroom Both are good neutrals and will work, but I really pushed for the lighter, arguing these aren’t high traffic areas.  Ben still insisted on the dark, and I gave up the fight.  When making so many house design/decor decisions, we’re in 100% agreement.  Sometimes, Ben just doesn’t have an opinion (typically when paint colors are involved).  Since he so rarely insists on something, I couldn’t argue.


In both doorways, the carpet will butt up to the slate tile, so the darker will allow the color to flow a bit more seamlessly.


The basement has been measured, carpet is ordered, and we’re waiting for it to arrive and be installed.  One last step to moving furniture back into these rooms and finishing the laundry and bathroom.