Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tiny Lemon

A tiny unripe lemon from our dwarf lemon tree.

Yeah, really tiny.

We had to pull it off early (that’s why it’s still green), because we were afraid it was keeping the tree from really growing.

In other gardening news, we’re getting plenty of tomatoes these days now. And zucchini, cucumbers, and beans!


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We’re Back!

After a nice break visiting family in Tennessee, we’re back! We enjoyed our time away and time spent with Jarrett’s parents and family, and we even managed to bring back a few great finds. One of those is a huge relief for us after our somewhat regrettable IKEA bathroom sink purchase.

Jarrett’s parents actually live in a beautiful old bungalow as well. Theirs was built in the 20’s, and it’s in Tennessee, so it’s a bit different than ours, but much of the beauty we love in bungalows is the same. They have beautiful old wood trim, handmade solid wood doors, and gleaming hardwoods throughout. They’ve also managed to accrue quite a collection of beautiful home features that are either in disrepair or had to be removed from their home when updates were made. Their loss is our gain! We scored this beautiful old cast iron wall-mount bathroom sink for our basement bathroom update:

It’s a little dirty, but is otherwise in great shape. The porcelain coat is still intact, and the faucets work wonderfully. There’s a bit of rust on the old soap dish (incorporated into the sink!), but it’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t clean up. We’re excited to finally have a solution to our bathroom sink debacle.

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A Little R & R

We’re leaving today for a short road trip. We’ll be away from our computers, too, so we won’t be updating the site for a few days. We’ll come back soon refreshed and ready to tackle new projects, though. See you next week!

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Garage Updates (some made, some needed)

I finally got around to replacing the bare light bulb hanging on the corner of our garage with this jelly jar light fixture we blogged about some time ago. Here’s the sad exposed bulb before:


And now with a little protection.



Simple change, no doubt, but needed. At least for safety reasons. Plus, I like the simple, timeless style of the jelly jar. And for under $10 at Ace, it was a definite upgrade.

Ignore for a moment the bare, badly trimmed garage door. For about a year, we were left with this solid wood door. (Picture from March of this year – wow, how the backyard has changed!)

Nice, but severely rotten. It had almost totally rotted off its hinges, and the bottom of the door only needed a swift kick to fall apart completely. So, a couple months back, when my dad was in town, we replaced the rotten door with this steel one. We bought the new door pre-hung, so we tore out the old door and framing and planned to pop this one in place. As with most projects around here, it didn’t go quite that smoothly. The garage wasn’t (of course) square at all. In fact, it leaned ever so slightly to the right as well as to the front. So, with much grunting, shimming, and sweat, we finally got this steel door securely in place.


Now, though, the brick mould (trim around the door) doesn’t close off the gap. So, I’ll have to trim it out again soon to mask the leaning quality of the garage. But, at least we have some security in there and a door that works. Also, we have to paint it. We’re thinking of a bright, fun color, since it’s in the backyard and not visible from the street. Also, a bright color would go well with our somewhat bohemian backyard.


What about turquoise?


Or this pea green (or “grellow” as Meghan calls it), stolen from here?

They both look great with gray houses, which our garage is. The latter might not look great with our trim colors on our house, but maybe we should just treat the garage as a different beast entirely?

Either way, that project might not be happening for a while – we have lots to do!


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Three Years (and a week) Ago Today

One week ago was our three-year anniversary. We got married in Catherine’s hometown, Rockford (about 85 miles northwest of Chicago). A lot of work went into pulling off our wedding, and we had a lot of help from wonderful friends and family members. That’s what I love best about our wedding – remembering how for days, friends and family gathered around us, encouraging us, supporting us and mostly just being there with us. It still registers as the best day of my life!

Our amazingly talented friend Davin Youngs took these pictures:

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Weekend Update

Summers are mad busy around here. Catherine is teaching summer school, which, though it gets out at 12:30, still makes for quite a bit of work over the break. She’s also taking a couple of classes. Jarrett’s working as usual, but summers always seem to fill up so fast. Parties, barbecues, family vacations, weddings…a lot is packed into these three months. And for good reason, too. At least in Chicago. We have a long winter to suffer through, so when the weather perks up a bit, and we can crawl out of our long hibernation, we want to pack as much in as possible.

But, busy summers lead to less and less time to tackle home projects. This weekend was fully packed, but we did manage to squeeze some necessary errands and chores in. One of those involved the bathroom project we’re beginning to tackle. Our goal for the downstairs bath is to finish it as inexpensively and quickly as manageable. We want it to be functional and not break the bank most of all. With that in mind, we turned to one of our standys, IKEA, for the basics. Last weekend, we picked up a few things like a light fixture and some accessories. As we were leaving, we also noticed in the As-Is section, this sink with below faucet already attached:

That’s the Hollviken oval sink and the Apelskar bath faucet.  Normally the sink alone retails for $90, and the faucet is $70. We picked up the combo for $75! We looked it over well, and everything seemed to be intact. There were no scratches, dings or obvious loose parts, so we felt pretty sure we could make it work.

What we liked about the sink is that it can also be mounted directly to the wall, which is pretty well a must for our small space. And at less than 18″ deep, it wouldn’t make a major footprint in the room.

Eager to put it to use, I quickly removed the old, non-functioning sink and set to work installing the Hollviken. I knew I’d need some mounting hardware as the sink didn’t come with any. What I didn’t know was how hard that would be to come by. I picked up some mounting brackets for a pedestal sink at the hardware store, but they seemed to be a bit too loose to hold the sink tightly in place. I googled the instruction booklet for the Hollviken sink (available from IKEA as a pdf here), and noticed it came with some pretty specialized clips with an especially tight fitting.

Also, the faucet, unfortunately, didn’t come with any supply tubes to connect the hot and cold water taps. Ordinarily, two supply tubes running from the back of the faucet are included to connect the faucet. Without them, the faucet is pretty useless.

So, maybe that over 50% savings wasn’t quite good enough! There’s no returning these products either, seeing as though they came from the As-Is section (trust me, I tried!). So, it looks like we’re going to have to either MacGuyver a way of using these guys or chalk it up to experience.

Any suggestions? Help, please!


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Bathroom Inspiration

Well, we’ve torn out the tile and ripped the old sink out. We still have lots of work to do to pull our basement bathroom together. As usual, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite bathroom pictures to serve as inspiration as we go. We’ll definitely be pulling ideas from each of these:

(Groves and Beckstedt bath from NY Times)

We’re always inspired by the Ace Hotel, and these bathroom pictures are no exception:

This bathroom found at Remodelista has great dark slate floors and white wall-mount sink:

We’re thinking of black ceilings to camouflage the pipes running overhead like these:

And finally, these great galvanized shower surrounds may make an appearance at our house. This one’s from Country Living:

and this one’s from Remodelista:


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