Sunday, February 20, 2011

I cried...

It was bound to happen and in fact had already happened before.  When you take on a project the size of my cottage, you are going to shed some tears.  Yesterday was horrible.  Let me update everyone a little.  Here is a picture of what my kitchen used to look like.

Here is what the kitchen looks like now:

Dramatic change, right?  But truly that is not the reason I cried.  See all the braces going across where the floor should be?  That is why I cried.  Dad and me spent hours upon hours leveling this floor.  We even had to purchase a new level because dad's poor level that he has had for probably over 20 years finally warped.  Do you know what good a warped level is?  Not a whole lot.  So we have a new level and everything is good, right?  We think so.  Until dad gets his new toy......a laser level.

To understand my understanding of a laser level, you have to remember one thing, I am definitely a creative mind.  Mathematical though and logistics passed right over me and landed directly in my dad's and sister's lap.  That being said, dad sets up his new toy and guess what it says.  That's right, basically all that we had done levelling prior to yesterday was all for naught.  Nothing seemed to be level.  Well, there were a few areas that were level.  But then when you moved the level to another spot in the cottage, the area that was level was not anymore and a new area was level.  Hence, I cried.  And I cried, and I cried some more. 

Me and dad came home so he could work it out and mom was standing at the door with our new cat, Bobby Jo, and I just burst into tears.  It was all me, and it was.  I was feeling very  frustrated and didn't know if it would ever be right.  Dad came in and explained some more.  --Let me break in at this point and say that dad was wonderful.  Never once yesterday did he yell.  I think more than anything I was upset that we had done all that work for nothing. 

The night passed and I was resigned that we would have to rip out everything and start over.  This morning dad tells me that even though he read the directions on the laser level, he calibrated it wrong.  Good news for me!!!!  However, we didn't make it over there today to see how on-target we are.  I am remaining ever so hopeful....

Now on a brighter note, I got 3 things out of layaway from Witherspoon's Antique Mall and am so excited.  The first is a shabby chic antique wardrobe that I am going to use as a linen closet in the space at the bottom of my stairs.

It has a working lock with a skeleton key.  Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE skeleton keys and that I own something that requires one is the greatest thing next to mac-n-cheese!  I just think there is such a Romantacism to skeleton keys.

With the purchase, I also bought 2 little nightstands.

They are super cute as is, but of course, I have to do something to them.  I want to strip the night stands as much as possible and then either antique them or crackle them.  Not sure which yet.  Since I'm doing a sea cottage look, I am thinking about choosing plain hardware and hot gluing seashells to them for something different.

I have also made some design changes.  I had planned on using an antique dry washstand that I had purchased at Montgomery St. Antique Mall in Fort Worth as a sink.  The more I thought about it though, the more worried I became.  You see, it has this beautiful granite top that I could just see crumbling into a million little pieces when we tried to drill a hole in it for the plumbing.  And I didn't even consider drilling a hole into the tile in the back of it because it was original tile.  So, Home Depot, one of my favorite stores ever was running a sale on bathroom sinks.  This one had caught my eye ages ago, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $170.00 for it.  Thanks to HD, I didn't, I only paid $69.00!!!!  I was so excited & it will fit in the little guest bath just perfectly!

Now I'm just tossing around how big to make the guest bath.  The footprint for it is already set, what I keep tossing back and forth in my mind is whether to make it a 1/2 bath or 3/4 bath.  I keep telling myself a 3/4 bath is much more practical, but a 1/2 bath is cheaper.  Lowe's has several shower stalls that I'm interested in and they also have a new shower stall I'm looking at for the master bath.  Decisions, decisions....

My refrigerator was almond color with lots of rusty spots on the outside.  The inside was still in good shape after a lot of elbow grease from the previous owner.  I wanted to do something different.  My house is going to be unique, to say the very least.  I saw where a woman in one of the magazines had painted her refrigerator with chalkboard paint.  I thought that was super clever.  So, here is the final product of my re-purposed refrigerator:

I'm going to cover the handles in jute to tie-in with the burlap that I'm going to use for the window treatments.  That's right - burlap.  I want everything to look very homey and welcoming.  My walls, I have decided, are going to be 1"x8" boards that run horizontally, and are going to be white-washed.  The ceiling is going to be tongue and groove siding that is going to stay natural.  The trim, I'm thinking about a blue-gray color with the same color showing through the crackle paint that I'm thinking about doing to the kitchen cabinets.

It is funny how in my mind everything is coming together, even to the point of completion, but when I go over there it is still in stage one.  There are not any little elves that take care of everything, dang it.  Oh, but how I wish there were.  I would give each of the little buggers a big ol' kiss right now!

Mom and dad have been wanting to do raised plant beds.  Well, 24 cinder blocks, 24 bags of top soil (40 lbs. each), and 12 bags of cow manure later, we have 1 raised plant bed.  That's right, one.  I was sore for 3 days carrying that stuff (I'm sure mom and dad were too, but this is my blog, so I get to be the one to complain!)  I'm really excited about the raised garden, because in the cinder block holes we are going to plant herbs.  In the first garden we have lettuce, onions, asparagus, strawberries, and potatoes.  It is going to be great!

We have harvested our first crop of lettuce and it tastes yummy!

Enjoy the spring weather that has come to visit us.  Get outside and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.  Until next time....

Tammy Jo

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Decisions, decisions, decisions

No pictures to post at this minute, but just wanted to give everyone some updates.  We (my parents and I) have decided the best plan of action at this point would be to gut the entire house and start from scratch.  Now keep in mind, when I say gut, I mean tear out interior walls and insulation - down to the outer shell, studs, and subfloor and start planning!  Needless to say we are all exhausted and have taken at least today off, maybe tomorrow too!

I have made several major decisions about Briar Rose Cottage today.  The first was going to hinge on a decision I had made earlier in the week.  I have decided to put in the 2'w x 4'l galvanized horse troughs as bathtubs in both bathrooms.  I am so excited about this.  The price is right and it will be something unique!  So then I went back and forth all week about what fixtures do I use?  Chrome or Brushed Nickel?  I kept thinking chrome was too shiny, but then I am on decision overload, so I walked away.  We camed down the lighting aisle at HD and I found 2 light fixtures on sale for over half off!  And guess what!  They were both brushed nickel - decision made!  Whoo, one down a few dozen more to go!

Then I started thinking about paint color.  I love color, but I'm afraid too much color is going to make the cottage look even smaller than what it is.  So, I found a very light tan that is very neutral that is going to go with all my things.  It is called "Soft Slipcover" and it is in Valspar's "Seaside Retreat" collection.  The nice thing about it is it's neutral, it is very relaxing and "curl up with a good book feeling" and not too flesh-tone looking!

One thing I did find that I was truly amazed at was all the options for electric plugs and light switches.  I think that was truly when the headache set in.  I still have a lot of planning and demolishing to do.

See you in the next blog!

Tammy Jo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do you believe in magic????

I definitely do!  Whether we are talking about strange magnetic forces at certain times of the year (Haloween of course!) that can make a broom stand on its own...

or the demolition of things that just shouldn't be.  Both are magical in their very own way!

I have finally had a chance to download the pictures of the demolition to share with all of you.  I promise to take pictures of underneath the house to show all the cinder blocks we have moved and used.  But until then, here are some before and after shots of everything....

Kitchen Before...


Above is my sweet dad getting in on the demo action.


We took out everything, including the loft! 

It is so open now!  I am looking at putting some track lighting in.  My dad likes the little lights, I like the pendent lights, especially this that I found at Home Depot.

In the next picture, you can see what our next job will be to tackle...rewiring the electricity and rerunning the plumbing.  They are currently running side-by-side.  Yikes!  And yes, we did have a small flood, but thank goodness we had turned off the electricity first.

The Living Room/Offic/Dining Room has gotten a face lift. 

Dad said, "This wall is really bothering me.  What would you say about opening it up and tearing it down?"

My reply, "I'm good with anything.  If something is wrong, you will be the one that has to fix it anyway."

So, what happens next?  Down comes the wall!  TIMBER!!!!!  (But he was so right!  It looks so much better. 


There was a partial wall that seperated the office (above) from the living room (below).


No cabinets!

Wall coming down!

Almost gone!

Getting down to the subfloor!

Yes, you saw right.  That is 1/2" insulation sheets and 1/8" plywood that the builder polyurethened after putting down.  And can I just say that there were at least 15 million nails in the floor!!!!

Finally, a clean slate!!!

Downstairs, we took out the "bathroom" that the builder had put in and removed the shower stall.  However, we found out it would not fit through the exterior door to get rid of it.  So what do we do?  Let Aaron (one of my best friend's loaned me her son for a few days) have at it with an axe.  Afterwards I received a big hug and he said, "Burnsey, thanks for making my Spring Break so great!"  Who would have thought givin a teenage boy an axe and sledge hammer and letting him destroy things would bring him such joy.  He just kept laughing and saying over and over, "I love my job!"




The Craft Room....

Darlene, Aaron's mom and one of my besties, came over and took a look around.  The bubbles on my craft wall were driving her absolutely insane (she is so OCD & I love her for it!).  You could still see the pencil marks on the outer edges of the "bubbles" from where I drew them with the compass.  She took my swatch of paint colors, got the darker coordinating color and outlined the bubbles.  And I must say it does look marvelous!



They really pop now!

Wow, we really did a lot in just under a week (everything was done during Spring Break).  I have a feeling we'll be working on things this weekend too!

Happy blogging!

Tammy Jo 

P.S. - I think I have come up with a name for my cottage.  "Briar Rose Cottage"  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Next Step.....

Exhausted.  Sore.  Poor.  These are the three adjectives I am using to describe myself after this week.  We (my parents, a dear friend of mine and her son) have done so much.  We have ripped out the kitchen cabinets and the flooring.  Taken down the loft that was above the kitchen (WOW! Did that open it up in there!).  My dad and I caused a small flood, which looking back ended up being a comedy of errors.

Then we bought, loaded and unloaded (down a hill) a 100 cinder blocks and mini blocks to use as bracing under the house.  I can honestly say that there is no need for me to workout this week.  Not with all the stuff I have been doing. 

What I love most about this whole process is...well, several things actually.
  1. Finding out that things are not as bad as what they first appeared.
  2. Being able to see in my mind how everything is going to look when all is said and done.
  3. Knowing that if I buy one thing a paycheck to make the house presentable, that is way okay, because I still have two loving parents that aren't going to kick me out.
  4. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, even though there is a lot of fog between us.
  5. Having wonderful family & friends to help turn my little do-it-yourselfer into a home.
Now, my mom has set me to an impossible task.  Come up with a name for my cottage.  I first thought of "Rose Cottage", but that is a retirement village in Fort Worth.  Ummmm....not so much.  My friend's son wants me to call it "The Burnsey Cave".  I love him dearly, but nah.  So I need help.

There are hills, cedars, a brook (yes, as in the babbling kind), and roses.  Inside there will be lots of books and a nautical theme, mixed up with decorative crosses and collector Barbies.  I know, I am very eclectic to say the least.  Mom has named theirs "Hillside Acres," so please nothing like that.  I need help!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One step closer....

OK, so it has been too cold in North Texas to do much work on the house that needs to be done without the warmth of a heater (i.e. bracing underneath and re-running the electricity).  Who would have thought that almost every school district in North Texas would have been called due to anywhere from 6 - 12 in. of snow?  Wow!

So to make myself feel like I was making progress, I went to my very first auction!  And the coolest part about it was that I won everything I wanted plus a few other things.  Don't worry, I'm attaching pictures.

I absolutely fell in love with this dresser!  It is old and better yet, someone had ruined it being a priceless antique by cutting a whole for a sink in the top!  Perfect for my bathroom vanity!  Voila! (And I got it for a song!)

I love the details of the knobs.  I wish this picture were clearer, but it was the best of all that I took. 

Check this keyhole.  I love this feature that is on every drawer, especially since I love old skeleton keys so much.

This drawer pull has more rich detail!  I am just so excited by this purchase.

My next bid was really two separate purchases that went together so well that I had to have  both.  I was in a bidding war over these items, but they were worth it and I still paid less than what I would have in an antique store.

I just love the nostalgia associated with the old ice cream parlor table and chairs.  I won 4 of these twisted heart back wire chairs and the oak top table.  I have the perfect material to recover the chairs -- my nautical striped that I had purchased the last of the remnant.  It will be great for the chairs and then to make valances over the windows to tie the kitchen together.  I'm giddy with the possibilities!

I also bought a print of a sailing ship that needed a home desperately and was super cheap and an old shoe salesman stool.  Some of my favorite memories is in sitting in Buster Brown Schoolhouse in South Plains Mall with one of my feet propped on the stool ready to be fitted with my new patent leather dress shoes.  It will be great to have to reach the bottom of the bookshelves without standing on my head.

My next find was actually at an antique mall and I got it for about 60% off the original price.

This is a ladies slipper chair from probably the late 1960s or early 1970s.  It was in excellent condition and the color matches some of the stripes in the bedspread I purchased for my daybed that is going to serve as my couch.

This is a wine rack I bought at a little store here in town.  It was marked to half price and was something I just couldn't pass up.  The top piece is where the wine glasses hang from.  In the background is a chair painted in Mary Engelbreit style with a hole cut into the seat.  Perfect for a planter to sit in.

I can't say that this is my most exciting buy of the weekend, but I do think this is one of my best deals.  My parents and I went to Home Depot to look at some bathroom sinks and other things for my new bathroom, when we stumbled across these two items.  The top is a Pergo floor that looks like tumbled marble.  This is going to be the flooring for my kitchen and two bathrooms.  Did I mention it was $.89/sq. ft.?

This is my new laminate flooring.  I think it will make the house look super without having to go to all the trouble of laying polyurethane or any of that stuff.  This was a low $.79/sq. ft.!  This will be my flooring for my living room, office, dining room, and bedroom.  I am so excited!

When I went over to take these pictures to post, I threw out some paint samples to see what they looked like in the different light.  There are so many cool colors, that I'm having a hard time deciding which way to go. 

I'm really wanting to go with a blue in the bedroom and do something with stencils and joint compound to make the room look very Victorian and be a calming place for me to retreat to.  Let me know what you think!


This is what the office looked like before I got a hold of it today. 

This is what it looks like after I ripped out the shelves this afternoon.  The room looks so much bigger now!  My dad and I are going to build floor to ceiling bookshelves in place of the built-in.  Maybe I will finally have a place for all my books!
Wow!  This was a long post, but a lot happened this weekend to the cottage.  I hope my next post is going to be titled "Bracing and Electricity is Done!", but we are expecting more snow this week, so it probably won't happen this week.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The following two fabric samples are my inspirations for the cottage.  Would love to know what you think....