Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Exterior Painting Prep, Guest Room Complete, and ANOTHER Photo Booth

Ahoy, hoy internet friends! It's been about a minute (thousands of minutes, actually) since we've graced this blog with our presence. Truth is, we've been BEYOND busy with house-related things and non-house related things. I'll just dive right in because, I feel like, if I draft one more post, blogger is going to send me a letter. Like, 

Dear nice lady,
Please stop clogging the internet tubes with drafts you never intend to publish. It is slowing down the informations.
Your friend, Google McYahoo. 


I'll start with the non-house related stuff because it's at the top of my mind.

We added a photo booth to the fleet. Yup. We just can'

This one doesn't have wheels, thank the lord! We call it the Birdie Booth and Conan made it with his own two hands! What a guy!

Handmade Wood Photo Booth

It's basically the same equipment as the Grand Wagoneer photo booth but in a MUCH smaller package so we can get in on that sweet, sweet, wedding reception photo booth market here in Wichita. But, the Jeep is still around and speaking of which, I made a lil' video of it in action a few months back: 

Also, the little camper photo booth that could is still kicking, though mostly for promotional stuff and our own private, picture fun times. She did get a new, DIY marquee sign, though. Cute with a capital C, huh? 
Vintage camper photo booth sign

So, that's why we've been swamped. That and the fact that we FINALLY started renting out the guest room on Airbnb. We currently have a tenant staying with us for a month! Turns out, that's the majority of our requests - long term stays. Go figure! People don't want to stay in Wichita longer than a month. That should be our new city slogan: More than a day, less than a lifetime ~ Wichita!~

So, if you even remember, here's what the guest room looked like originally:


Then it got a little better with the addition of the antique bed I fixed up...

Guest Room Antique Bed

And finally, here's the ready-to-rent version!

Small Guest Room Antique Bed

New rug, new sheets, new bedspread, old everything else.

Guest Room Blue Bedding

It's quite a bit cozier and comfier now - Conan jokes that it's actually nicer than our master bedroom, which may be true but you know I've got plans for that...

Speaking of plans. We STILL have plans to paint the exterior of the house in the next year. We actually got a pretty decent start on it thanks to mom and dad of the century, Connie and Dave. Unfortunately, with the Lamphouse stuff and the whole, having someone stay with us for a month, it's taken a backseat. 

Before it got demoted to the bottom of the "to-do list from hell", here's a look at what we accomplished. 

 What seems like forever ago, my mom and I managed to scrape a good deal of paint off the porch railings and windows.

Scraping Porch Rail for Exterior Paint

Scraping Exterior Window to Paint

The porch isn't actually in awful shape - that's why we started there. But, the paint was practically falling off of the railings and the porch floor so it has to go. My mom touched up the glazing on the windows there (after this picture was taken) and hit the trim with this neat, paint feathering tool that works pretty okay for smoothing out bumpy paint that's not necessarily coming off.

Old House Soffitt Rebuilt

A BIG project that already makes the house looks a million times better is replacing the fascia board and soffit on the first floor roof. My amazing, awesome, beautiful, perfect parents did all of that pretty much while we were at an event with the Jeep. Man, I know we're lucky but...DANG.

It's since been primed and the cruddy job the old roofers did on the bit between the fascia and the shingles has been all fixed up.

Rebuild Old House Soffitt

It's waiting for me to get off my duff and put some trim paint on it. I'm going to do my best to make use of this unseasonably warm weather and hop up there in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, and until I have another spare minute (lol, never),

Keep Smiling!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Radiator Sludge Removal & Floor Repair

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about those radiator pipes  in the guest room.

Old Radiator Pipes Removal

About a foot away from the bed, perfectly hidden behind the curtains, prime toe smashing territory, folks.

If you've been reading for a long time, you might remember us mentioning the heating ordeal with this house and why we got rid of the radiators in the first place. If not, here's the cliff's notes:
foreclosed property
vacant a couple of years
radiators froze and burst in that time
poor, young dummies buy house, discover lack of heat
love can keep us warm, etc., etc.
no it can't
get central heat installed
start removing some radiators where space is a commodity (i.e. guest bedroom, living room)

So, yeah! Conan and his dad removed the boiler and the rusting pipes that were accessible from the basement.

Radiator Pipes Removal

Then my mom and I took a few of the radiators (like this one in the living room) apart and removed them.

Radiator Removal Tools

It wasn't all that difficult to remove but unfortunately, on the second floor where we can't get to them from underneath, there were still these lovely pipes sticking up out of the floor...

Radiator Pipes Removal

and a heavily damaged floor underneath where the radiator had sat.

Radiator Floor Stain Repair

 Well, while I was at work a couple of weekends ago, my handy dad cut them off at the floor and CAREFULLY lowered what was left of the pipe down into the floor! Toe smashers be gone! 

I hit the area with a belt sander (the same one we used to re-finish the kitchen floor) and that pretty much took care of the ugly black spot that was there. 

Floor Stain Repair with Belt Sander

I put a single coat of poly-shades on there and wasn't a perfect match color-wise so I hit it with the belt sander one more time and tried just plain polyurethane on the spot at Conan's suggestion.

Floor Stain Repair After

Is it perfect? No. Is it an improvement? Heck yes. I'm glad to know that it's as easy and simple as it was so that I might be inclined to do this in the living room someday and make a better match. It would also be easier to plug the holes since we can do it from the basement underneath.

Floor Stain Repair After

I had planned on buying a runner to put there anyway to cover up the holes until we can devise some sort of plug/peg solution and after shopping around I found one at Target that spoke to me. Well, Cartwheel spoke to me and it sounded like, "Katherine, this particular rug is 25% off so maybe you like it a lot, yeah?"

Flower Runner Rug

It really ties the room together, man.

So, that worked out pretty well I think. Well enough that I feel comfortable trying it down in the living room.
As you can see from this photo, I picked out a real, grown-up bedspread. It's kind of a blue-ish gray in person and it looks really nice with the ship painting above the bed.

Just a few more little things here and there and I'm calling it done. In the meantime, we gave the front porch a good cleaning the other day and my parents may have tracked us down some affordable (i.e. borrowable/free) scaffolding so the exterior of the house might get a little attention before the fall. Our neighbor saw us outside cleaning and said he was going to start painting his house this weekend. My mom asked him how long he thought it would take and he said, "Few days."
He asked us how long we thought ours would take and we laughed like two crazy people and said,
"A year? Maybe more?"

Here's to realistic expectations!

Have a great week, everybody! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Yellowstone, There's No Place Like Home

The thing I love most about vacation is how much it makes me appreciate coming home. Sure, it's always sad to end a trip but boy, does it feel good to use your own bathroom : ) 

Just the other day, we returned from what we'd affectionately referred to as "the trip of a lifetime" to Yellowstone National Park. So if it seems like I kind of put the projects and the guest room and the blog on hold for a second, it's because my mind was racing with campsite reservations and packing, and my most favorite pastime, making lots and lots of lists. 

If you're planning a trip there yourself or you're just curious what it's like here's a few pictures. 

We drove through Colorado and Wyoming (stayed at our first Airbnb which was really reassuring since we're planning to rent out our guest room on there in the near future) and camped in Canyon campground for four nights.

It was unreal. I'm sure that's a given but until you've seen it for yourself, there's just no way to imagine it.

 Conan had actually been once, about three years before we got married and although I had seen all of the pictures and heard all of the stories I was not prepared for a) boiling mud or b) the sheer volume of people who are there. 

Now, I'm going to brag a little bit so brace yourself. 
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on this trip (July 18th) and since it's our wood anniversary, Conan made me these amazing magnets! 

Can you even believe that? When I saw them, I called him at work to make sure he didn't just buy them before I went and started telling everyone he made them!

They're taken from a picture of us last year on our anniversary.

So cute, so talented, so easy to brag on : ) 

But now, vacation's over and it's back to work on the house and the Lamphouse. Before we left, we had managed to do quite a bit of work on furnishing the guest room so that our friend Lisa could stay in there while she house-sat.

New linens, new curtains on both windows, toe-smashing radiator pipes gone, two new outlets, pretty new rug, and a Dollar Tree trashcan spray-painted gold (which I will totally do a DIY of later this week, lol).

I'll post some more pictures once I've gotten everything settled and unpacked. In the meantime, have a great weekend and Keep Smiling!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

One Chalkboard Shy of an Elementary School

I don't know if you've noticed but I like the chalkboards. I like 'em a lot. 

I painted my fridge with chalkboard paint. 

I have one hanging on your way to the powder room with a lovely little reminder for all of folk. 

And, as of yesterday, I now have a big ol' five footer in the kitchen! 

I've always thought there should be something on that big, blank wall (preferably a giant, antique cupboard but you and for $20 this fits the bill perfectly. 

Like I said, in a perfect world there would be a big, wood cupboard there but I haven't found one in my price range (read: $300 or less) yet. 

Until then, this fills up the space nicely and I really like it - even if my mom thinks it's a bit much. 
Her exact words? *to be read with a southern accent*

"It's've got a lot of chalkboards." 

Yes mom, yes I do. Thanks for noticing : ) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Lamphouse!

As you may or may not recall, a couple of years ago (October 2012 to be exact) we had this wild idea that we were going to buy a camper and turn it into a traveling photography studio and darkroom. 

Well, it wasn't easy but with a LOT of help from my parents, a LOT of trial and error, and a LOT of crying (me : / ) this space...

became this...

and on the last Friday of June, one year ago, the Lamphouse Photo Co. made its first public appearance! 

This Friday (tomorrow, June 27th), we'll be celebrating our first year with the "Lampy" camper and if you feel so inclined you can come see us at Reverie Coffee Roasters (2611 E. Douglas) from 6-9 PM.

I'll be in the darkroom but you can hang out with Conan and enjoy the AC for a minute. It's always fun when blog and business worlds collide so please bring your smiling faces down if you have time! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chalkboard Fridge Update

A couple years back, as part of our "Accidental Kitchen Remodel" I decided to paint our old, beige, came-with-the-house fridge with green chalkboard paint. 

So, here's what it looked like all shiny and new and gussied up for pictures in March of 2012:

Since then, astonishingly (or not, depending on what astonishes you) that has been one of the most heavily trafficked posts on ye olde blog!
Which gives me a feeling that's equal parts gratitude, shame, and regret.

Well, that was not the greatest DIY post I've ever done. The camera we had at the time that I had taken pictures of the process with crapped out on us and so there weren't really any pictures of the process. 

Just this sad before shot that didn't even really show the fridge:

*Man, that was an ugly kitchen!*

So, the other day when I was making a list of little things that I need to do and I noticed that the fridge needed some attention, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk about how this really simple and super cheap ($7) DIY chalkboard fridge has held up over the past two years.

So, here's what it looks like today:

Covered in magnets, pictures, and receipts from our bathroom remodel (lol) but still holding up really well considering how cheaply this was done.
We've had a few people ask us over on our Houzz and a few other places if we are pleased with how it has held up and honestly? Yeah! Really pleased, actually!

The only wear and tear has been the corners of the doors as you can see in this picture:

I don't know if that's where we mostly grab the doors to open them or if that's just where the paint was thinnest.

Either way, I grabbed the leftover paint that I had from two years ago (still good, after a little stir), a small brush and went to work.

I put three coats on over the course of a couple of hours. It dries pretty quickly if you don't put it on too thick. Now it looks pretty much the way it did when we first did this DIY!

So, after 2 years of use, would I recommend that you paint your old fridge with chalkboard paint?
I realize that we don't write on it very much but all in all, it has held up exceptionally well.

A lot of people had misgivings about the chalk dust situation but again, we don't write on it much and even when we do there's not enough dust to make a difference in our already not-spotless house ; )

Speaking of chalkboards, I got a little something at the thrift store yesterday that I can't wait to share : )

Oh, and some exciting (to us at least) progress has been made on the Guest Bedroom!

Until next time,
Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Updating & Decorating the Guest Room

You may remember, a few years ago, I got a wild hair and decided I was going to finally tackle the guest bedroom.

That basically consisted of re-locating the old dresser that my mom kindly re-finished for me in college, cleaning out all of the old clothes that had been tossed in there during the move...

I fixed up an old bed I got at a thrift store...

and painted the walls and closet a pail pink color.

My parents also put an outlet in this previously OUTLET FREE room (seriously old houses, what the?)

Then I basically took a couple of pictures, shut the door and forgot about it.

Now, three years later, I've decided to throw a little bit more love its way.


Well, when we first moved in five years ago, we were mostly just concerned with getting paint on the walls and making the house look like it hadn't been vacant for several years. That resulted in a lot of rooms just getting the very basic treatment and now that I have a spare moment, I figured I should try to make them feel a little more filled out.

Also, we're going to start renting it out on Airbnb : ) so, there's that. 

So far, here's what I've done and what I'm planning to do: 

I got this small bedside table from a thrift store for $10 the other day. 

It's in need of a little work and a little cleaning up but I really don't want to paint over the lovely, little details. 

I got that little bedside caraffe a few months ago at a D.A.V. thrift store as well. The planter is from the ol' Hobby Lobby clearance aisle ($5) and the coasters are from T.J. Maxx ($3)

The lamp was actually something that my parents got me in high school when we were decorating my room!
I might replace it because the light is kind of bright and flourescent-y but only if I find something I love and it's so cheap it's basically free.

On to the bed frame. I like the metal one and I put a lot of work into fixing it up but I'm having trouble picking out a comforter or duvet cover that goes with it : /
I'd appreciate any links or advice you can throw my way.

I've been tossing around the idea of replacing it with this wooden one I got last year at a thrift store.

If you remember, it has this neat engraving on the back from the young man who made it in shop class in 1940!

My reasoning is two-fold. 

Fold one: it's real neat and it's a shame that it just sits in our sunroom

Fold two: The wood color is pretty and warm and I think it would look nice with these curtains I got the other day...

They were HALF OFF ($30 for two panels) and they are extra long - 96"! 

I got a couple yards of this pom pom trim with because I really like the colors and I thought it would pick up the pink on the walls a little.

I'm not sure if I want to get more and use it as a tie back or if I just want to trim a pillow with it.

Back to the bed for a second - the wood frame has a big split in one of the pieces that holds the mattress so that's one thing that's deterring me from using it. Since we want to get some visitors in this room ASAP, I would really rather just get a nice, new comforter/sheets that look good with the black bed.

The light fixture in this room is pretty old (maybe original?) and it's cute but I don't know if it's cute enough to not replace. Thoughts?

There's also the terrible, awful situation with the old radiator pipes : /

We removed the radiators a few years ago when we were fixing this room up the first time because space was a premium oh, and they also didn't work. Unfortunately, the pipes that are sticking up are real toe bangers and they need to be pulled up, sawed off and dropped back into the floor. This is number one on the list of things to do.

My mom and I are also going to try and wire another outlet for this room so that we can plug the window unit AC in without having to run an ugly extension cord to the outlet behind the bed.

I'd also like to find a tall, wooden dresser to put in the corner next to the big window but I'm coming up surprisingly empty on my thrift store trips : (

So, let's see what's left on the guest room list for now:

- Remove radiator pipes and plug holes in some fashion
- Add another outlet
- Find comforter/duvet cover that looks good with the bed frame
- Clean up scratches on bedside table
- Find tall, narrow dresser for corner
- Maybe do something about that postage stamp sized painting above the bed?

I'll let you guys know how things progress!

Until then,

Keep Smiling!
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