The morning that I drove up to New York with all my stuff from home a few weeks ago, my Mom went digging through her kitchen drawers and cabinets to find things she could contribute to my own kitchen. Eventually she sent me on the road with a few pots and pans and some assorted Tupperware, all of which has been in constant use since.
According to my mother, these pots were wedding presents and conduct heat really well. I can personally attest to the second half of that statement, and since gas is not included in our rent and I like to cook, preparing food quickly is the name of the game.
So in honor of my parents’ 29th anniversary today, I did a mini-project to give these pots some tlc. Almost 30 years of use on several hot stoves and washing inside multiple dishwashers had taken its toll on the wood handles and knobs. So while I was working on another project involving wood stain (stay tuned, it’ll be a doozy), I sanded down the wood bits and gave them a couple passes with the stain. Yes, this is really what I do when living alone in New York on a Sunday night before a national holiday.
The stain is Mixwax Wood Finish in Jacobean 2750. I’m going to guess the original color was a reddish-cherry finish, but I think the darker stain is a subtle way of making them a little more contemporary. It’s also what I had around.
I probably have to pick up some kind of oil or wax-based product to protect the new stain, but it’s Memorial Day and the hardware store is closed.
I tested one of the knobs before I committed to staining all of it, so here’s a good side-by-side comparison of the before and after. If you can’t guess which is which, get off my blog.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. May your happiness together last as long as your cookware (but really longer).
It’s been a busy week or so working on the apartment, so since there are a lot of little projects in progress, I wanted to post about something outside our (mostly freshly painted) walls.
I’m not a very good vacationer. I don’t really think of myself as an incredibly energetic person, but I’m not somebody who can kick back on a beach for hours or even get through most TV shows without taking care of something else at the same time. And right now, this little apartment is like one big exciting project and I recently realized it’s become a bit consuming. So in the spirit of not becoming a hermit, I’m trying to get out and explore our new ‘hood a little bit. And the first little adventure purely for the sake of chillaxation was only a few blocks away to the Carl Schurz Park.
Away from the boardwalk, it’s a really green park with lots of lawns, plants, and paths. Much more structured than the more natural landscaping of Central Park, but definitely not a bad place to have only a few blocks from where I live.
And I couldn’t be more pleased with how many dogs there are on the Upper East Side. I didn’t pet these giants, but I do end up petting somebody’s dog almost everyday. Summer seems to put everybody in the sharing kind of mood where they don’t care if you snorgle their pup for a few minutes on the sidewalk.
More house-y posts coming soon, promise.
Well, I’m 90% done painting the living room and it looks amazing. It might be hard to justify painting white walls white, but the walls really weren’t in good shape and the previous “white” paint (renter’s white, which is really the color of mayonnaise mixed with nicotine stains) was a shiny semi-gloss that was painted on the walls, ceiling, and trim, washing out any sense of nice architectural details. If you don’t believe me, check the pictures:
Whoever said prep was the most important part of painting knew what they were talking about. I’m a pretty experienced painter, but I’ve never had to do quite so much work– ripping out all those cords left tons of holes to patch, and I did end up priming most of the walls so that I only had to paint two coats. But it’s done!
It might be hard to tell, but I painted the transom “windows” (which have been replaced with wood) the same as the wall color rather than the trim color, and it looks nice. The walls are Benjamin Moore “Moonlight White” in matte, the ceiling is BM “Simply White” in eggshell, and the trim is “Simply White” in semi-gloss. The semi-gloss trim next to the matte walls is beautiful. Evidence:
This picture makes the walls look more beige than they are, but there is a nice contrast in real life, too. I need to scrub the floors like crazy– I was pretty careful with drop cloths, but it looks like the last several painters weren’t. That should be fun.
And yes, the doors are off the frames. That’s the next project! And getting some furniture, that might be nice. And painting my room. And all the other things. My to-do list is roughly fifty items long, and counting.
I guess I should take the opportunity to clear some things up, like how this is all happening. Basically, Eva’s back home in Jersey for the summer and I’m staying up in New York. Because her family is full of lovely people and keeping a car in New York is an incredibly and uniquely hellish task, I’m keeping my old rustbucket Roxanne in her garage.
Ain't she a beaut'?
So this weekend, I took the train out to New Jersey and we drove back to Ikea in Brooklyn. We both love Ikea but mutually agree that we don’t really want an “Apartment in Minutes!” kind of place, but would rather have it come together with stuff we really like. Which doesn’t mean this will be the last piece of furniture we’ll get from there, but it is the first:
The KARLSTAD Sofa in Sivik Dark Grey. We opted to get a different style of legs than the standard birch rectangular ones and I think it makes the couch look so much nicer. Originally we wanted that really cool mid century sofa– you know, one from Mad Men with the buttons along the back and the tapered legs. Eventually, I did so much sofa research my head spun. And even though it’s more modern-modern than we originally intended to go, in the end this seemed by far like the best couch for the money– it’s very comfortable, it looks good, and at $350 you can’t really beat the price. It’s also slipcovered, so every last stitch of that upholstery can be dry cleaned and we could potentially swap out the upholstery someday if we’re bored of the charcoal (Ikea changes the available slipcover options but the couch will probably be in production approximately forever). Assembly was really really easy, we probably had the whole thing together in about half and hour.
We also got this STICKA blanket in natural, and I love it as well. The stitching is yellow, orange, blue, and brown.
And yes, those walls are painted! I’m nearly done in the living room. Ceiling painted, light fixture put back in place, walls spackled, sanded, primed, and painted. Now I just have to pick up the trim paint! Phew. These pictures are taken at night so it’s not a great representation of the color, but the walls are “Moonlight White” from Benjamin Moore. It’s an amazing white that I’ve used before– it’s a very bright white but also has very warm grey undertones. I know it’s hard to appreciate white walls repainted white (I’ll post better pictures when the trim is done!), but I can’t express how much better and brighter it looks. Really psyched for the painting to be over with!
And so it begins
I didn’t really wake up today with the intention of painting. It just sort of happened that way.
It all started this morning. After our cable and internet was installed, it became clear that there were TONS of extra cords stapled around the apartment, some of which had been painted over a couple times, some many times, and some fairly fresh. And once I started ripping them down, I couldn’t really stop. I fully planned on painting over these cords like every sane person in a rental would, but that’s just not the way it’s happening. Check it:
I know looking at this should make me feel like it was a questionable choice, but I think it was fine. I was careful and didn’t take out anything that was actually connected to anything. And the walls, door frames, and baseboards all thank me greatly.
Of course, this entailed plugging tons of holes in the walls, and peeling lots of paint that was practically peeling itself off the walls. I swear, it wasn’t provoked. Well, barely. I have a problem.
I feel like I’m taking on a mini-renovation, but I’m okay with it. I think this stuff is really satisfying. This picture’s of my bedroom, but I’m taking painting one room at a time, starting in the living room. So at the end of the day, I’d gotten the ceiling done. I know you thought these walls were white, but check out that contrast!
The ceiling alone ended up taking three coats and an entire gallon of paint. Perhaps I should have primed. The ceiling is Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in eggshell. Sorry for the night pictures, the walls really do look (dirty, old) white in real life! I swear they’re not painted yellow. Lots of work ahead, can’t wait for the painting to be done!