beach house

surfs up, doors down

we arrived back to our chilly house yesterday afternoon after a few days in brewster – our first trip down in months. we planned to spend the long weekend tackling a few house projects and watching the patriots win the afc champtionship. neither of which went as planned.

i’ve obviously figured out by now that a baby is a full time job. but i never realized how truley impossible it would be to get much of anything done with an extrememly mobile, curious, silly, mischeivous, hilarious, unflappable, 9 month old on the loose. he is into e v e r y t h i n g.

(dane doesn’t seem to mind the fashion faux pas, so he will be wearing those santa pjs until he outgrows them)

we have a lot of plans for off-season renovations. so many ideas, very limited time and money. the usual. its tricky when you have to chip away a weekend at a time. this time around, the plan was to revamp the doors. unfortunately i don’t have much to show for this because we only got about 1/3 of the way through.

but all was not lost. we were able to slam up a few floating shelves in the 2nd bedroom and i whipped up a very simple no-sew window treatment.

i planned to have a nice little tutorial. i’d be like, oh this? no big deal here is a clear step by step description of the seamless process… but it was anything but seamless. i changed my mind a million times. i undid and redid and in the end- i probably could not replicate exactly how this was accomplished, never mind explain it to someone else.

somehow it worked out. and what may impress you is that i used all materials that i already had, so it cost me nothing. the burlap was left over from the nursery book sling and i had the bonding tape and tacks laying around..

the bad news is that this room currently has no door…

… another unfinished project and another story for another time.

so the projects were not tackled … more like the projects were ray rice and we were brandon spikes… a good effort but fell a little short!

too soon?

sunroom post

the sunroom is off the kitchen in the back of the house.
here it is before we moved in. a bit heavy in the vegetation department and not very functional.

early sunroom related drama resulted from my attempt to dye the cushion covers of the wicker furniture mike’s parents graciously handed down to us. i successfully converted the fabric from this light blue denim color…

to this darker blue…

however, the fabric shredded at practically all of the seems. thus the thumbs down. i used hot water and the normal wash cycle, which was clearly too much for the old stitching to take. at first i didn’t think any of the covers would be salvagable. later, i realized i could cover the top cushions with “european” sized shams (25×25 inch) from west elm and the bottoms could be strategically positioned so that the bad seems were hidden. (moral of the story is to be careful dying with hot water on older fabric and test one before before diving in with the other 7 to be sure the process is safe).

i had to really shove the pillow in there, but its a good alternative to having new covers made, or the old ones repaired.

look what else now live in the sunroom… the stumps!
oddly, i first received only two of the three tables i ordered – the third came a week later and hasn’t made it to the cape yet. these tables look perfect in the middle of the room but are so heavy. so my whole theory about having smaller, moveable tables for when we want to pull out the trundle is out the window. they are the opposite of easy to move. and mike just asked me to mention that he carried them all by himself across the yard. they are 103 pounds each – he is oh so strong and manly. 
the day bed and trundle are from hayneedle, which is a pretty awesome website for all sorts of furniture. shipping was free, and it included a twin mattress. (the futon mattress is from west elm).
we also put up rods along the full length of the three walls and hung sheer panels – inspired by younghouselove. you may also notice our daybed is similar to theirs…. sometimes i like to make my own crappy version of their amazing rooms and pretend i have great taste. i’d love to eventually replace our blah carpet and do something fabulous with the floor like they did in this pic.
all our pillows are from west elm, except the “avocado” green are crate & barrel.
over-all the room has a very outdoorsy, nature feel with its green/blue/white color scheme. it is very fresh, crisp and apropos for a sunroom. 
before & after:

the rope border that almost wasn’t

bathroom makeover priority number two – after removing the hideous wallpaper – was framing the large, industrial vanity mirror (use your imagination to picture more than the sliver below).
the project was inspired by this fabulous little photo. it even came complete with a “nate berkus: how To:” link.
natural, nautical… seemingly simple and affordable. sign us up.
first, we had to trim a side of the mirror for it to fit under the new light fixture. luckily we found a glass cutting place right down the street. we literally left it against the side of the building (as they asked us to) with a note with the dimensions we needed. a few hours later, we picked it up and slid a $20 under the door. i like how people do business around here!
the rope was very inexpensive at home depot. we didn’t measure – just “eye balled”, steph-style…
i cut cardboard strips out of a big box to frame the mirror and eventually glue the rope onto. next i used a glue gun to adhere them to the mirror.
it didn’t work. after the glue dried, the cardboard peeled right off. glass is extremely difficult for glue to adhere to because it is nonporous. this quickly became the theme of this project.
after some googling and discussions with true value employees, we decided to try epoxy glue. it appeared much stickier and seemed to work.
laying the rope down was a two-man job. the glue dried in less than a minute. so mike slathered it on while i covered it with the rope. it was intense.. a lot of yelling and cheering,  a little cursing… shakespeare was very excited.
the process was pretty messy. the glue was not easy to work with and we first realized this could be a huge disaster and waste of time.
never-the-less, we followed nate’s instructions and finished up by binding the duct tape covered ends with twine.
after letting the (hopefully) finished product sit in closest for a few weeks (we were busy), we finally brought it out and assessed the staying power of the glue.
it wasn’t exactly sticking.
again, we’re thinking this might be a total bust.
in the spirit of making a long boring story less long but still boring i will paraphrase:
getting the rope to stay stuck to the cardboard and the cardboard to stay stuck to the mirror involved two more gluing sessions, a lot of sitting around pressing the rope down, a little prayer, and finally some clamps to hold everything down while the glue dried. if we had the clamps in the beginning we would have saved ourselves some serious time and trouble!
finally, we improvised and stuck extra twine along the inside of the border to hide the still very visible gluey mess.. i braided three pieces and stuck it in along the inner edges of the rope with some thin nails. you can see best in this pic below.

in the end, (for no lack of effort) it turned out AWESOME and cost under $30.

we laughed, we cried, we framed our mirror with rope.

fire dancer

another beach house must-have for us was a fire pit. we did our homework on diy versions.. there is no shortage of instructions and youtube videos on the subject. in this case, there didn’t seem to be any bargains or shortcuts if we wanted the quality we were looking for which would require some sort of heat sheild, or metal insert to fit inside the stone ring. buying the stones and metal ring seperately was an option that may have saved us a hundred bucks, but then it would have been a gamble if it would all fit together… and stay together properly…
so we compromised.
this company, just 5 minutes down the road, sells fire pit “kits”.
 a kit includes 4 layers of stone, a custom-fit heat sheild, and 3 bags of sand

putting it together was a cinch.
we already had the spot cleared for it. our yard slopes, so it was important to find a flat area to build.

it was as simple as piling the stone

inserting the ring (we had to jiggle some stones outward so it would drop-in cleanly)

and filling the bottom and sides with a few layers of sand.

ta-daaa. it took about 10 minutes to get this beauty in working order.

we then called on shakespeare to inspect our work….

once he was satisfied, we lit the inaugural mini-fire!

which obviously included ‘mellow roasting.

and our first (of many) s’mores of the season!

 one day we’d love something like this built into a patio

but for now we are thrilled to have this addition to our yard and can’t wait to gather ’round with friends on cool summer nights!

trash collectors

have you ever swallowed your pride and picked up a piece of furniture or random object from the side of the road? well in the past few months, i have. twice. this last one was a real thriller. while we were walking shakey around castle island, we passed a heap of discarded odds & ends on the side walk with a scribbled sign that said “all free”. in the midst of a bunch of trash (or someone else’s treasure?!?) was a dirty, white, wooden desk. i almost didn’t even want to finish the walk for fear someone else would get to it first. seeing as it was literally in a junk pile, mike assured me we’d be ok…

the stealth pick-up operation was a success. mike drove the get-away car and we used a few ninja moves to throw the desk in the jeep before being spotted by anyone we knew. (that’s a lie… our old landlord was walking by and a 10 minute conversation ensued before we closed the gate).

and so, yet again, we were carting a trunk full of furniture 80 miles to brewster.

i was hoping i could sand down the white surface just enough to give it an antiqued, drift wood – like appearance. if all else failed, we would repaint it white. i sanded away while mikey mowed the lawn.

the antiqued approach was a semi-success. the legs and lower shelves looked perfect.

the top surface – not so perfect. it was either a different type of wood, or was finished with a thicker varnish… or maybe both. it came out uneven and had some very noticeable blemishes. my solution for the time being was some strategically placed objects. maybe i will come up with something a little more creative further down the road.

remember the ugly back of the sectional couch i hid by swapping around some furniture a few weeks back? i referenced a “long, narrow desk” being the ideal fix, however it “wasn’t in the budget”. well guess what IS in the budget… FREE. free is always in the budget.

i obviously need to manifest a nice little chair to complete the concept as well as something visually aesthetic for the shelves. (i can’t help but giggle to myself when i find the extra storage space problematic here in brewster. we would kill for a few empty shelves in our city apartment!)

these little beachy trays (tj maxx bargains) fit perfectly on the first tier.

i am so proud of this project. after all the spending we’ve done getting the house ready, free feels so good.

quality control inspector

the other object i snagged that had been discarded by a stranger is still in our garage. hopefully i will have a story to tell about it before the summer is over!

cape & the islands

memorial day weekend turned out to be the perfect summer kick-off in the cape.

hello, house

its started with a fun friday night cookout with old friends (like really old friends… i’ve been playing with these girls since 5th grade & still am!) and a game 7 play-off victory (hooray Bruins!)

(saturday night):

(circa 1994):

they were kind enough to watch the peanut the next day

thanks lizzy! bahha

 while mike and i hopped a ferry over to nantucket in the morning to join other friends in the festivities of figawi race weekend.
what started with a serene walk around the island… cobblestone streets, overpriced antique and souvenire shops… quickly turned spring-break 2011… in a good way…

their shirts say, Figawi University… “FU”… very clever

the only glimpse of the actual race was captured during the ferry ride home… but it was quite the scene… hundreds of sail boats in the evening fog

when we returned, we kept the party alive and headed to the local watering hole, “the woodshed” which was surprisingly ROCKIN! i don’t know where all these people came from, but the place was packed.

 needless to say, a little recovery time was warranted the next morning. i don’t know how mike was able to golf for 5 hours.. shakespeare & i slept in.

later that evening, thanks to liz, we caught the most amazing sunset at the beach… which prompted MUCH self-indulgent photo snapping… the scenery was breath-taking:

lizzy & david

the fatz family

this was an amazing weekend. we can finally begin to really enjoy the house and all this little cape cod town has to offer…. but mostly, we look forward to making memories with our little family and all the friends we get to share it with, which is really what its all about.


i received a very exciting email this morning. the accent tables i ordered way back in February have finally been shipped! this was a very memorable on-line order because after the purchase was made, i cut my credit card into a thousand peices. i don’t know what came over me, it was a sort of bald-brittany-type furry. i knew i was getting myself into trouble with the online shopping and had to pull the plug! since then i’ve been much better with only spending what i actually have in my checking account.. sure i’ve over-drawn a few times (well i have over-draft protection) but i’m much more disciplined with impulse buys.

i got three of these to go in the sunroom in brewster. compared to a large coffee table, these will be easier to move around incase we pull out the the trundle bed. i’ll have to post about the sunroom soon, its one of my favorites – lots to talk about!

i first fell in love with these “stump” tables at west elm. i didn’t know how into the rustic look i was until i fixated on these. the natural look is perfect for a beach house.

luckily i came accross this home decorators version for 30 bucks cheaper. i love the rail road ties and bundled wood look (tho i’d be lying if i said i don’t still have a crush on the west elm stump).
this is a nice collection of natural wood side tables by designsponge. they seem to be very trendy!
i wish they came in time for the long (mem day) weekend, however, they originally had the ship date in july!
i can’t wait to meet my fashionably late stumps.

slowly progressing mbm

mbm stands for master bath makeover. we are using acronyms now.

in case you have been having nightmares with this reoccuring image:

i’d like to leave you today with a slightly less frightening visual
i asked mike to give me a recap of what exactly went on when i was in NY and he and his dad prepped the walls.. heres what i got:
1. Stripped the wallpaper by hand
2. Soaked the wall with a sponge and water
3. Used a putty knife to remove the glue residue
4. Patched holes (name of the stuff is down in the Cape)
5. Let dry and sanded
6. Primed the walls
7. Painted ceiling
8. Caulked around the shower
fair enough.
next step was painting…
i decided to spring for the fancy premium paint because it claims to have the highest mildew resistence. mold spores on bathroom walls really freak me out. there was definitely some questionable action in the corners above the shower before we tore the wall paper down.
this color is called “teatime”. its much darker than i envisioned, but i’m happy with it over-all.
…we took off these handles from the year 1752
 and replaced with these simple, silver ones. they were under $2 each at home depot.
… replaced the old door knobs
(i attempted to do this myself… without reading the directions… its slightly more complicated than i anticipated… mike swooped in just in time)
shiny and new. don’t you just want to turn this knob all day long?
…new shower curtain
…light fixture
and here it is in all its slightly-less-frightening glory:

(its very difficult to photgraph a tiny bathroom)

hopefully the finished product – including the big DIY mirror project reveal – will provide a more drastic before and after contrast- but here is the first draft:



i decided i hate looking at the back of the couch from the kitchen. its ugly. 
a long, narrow desk would be perfect here and a good use of this space. eventually. its just not in the budget right now. i don’t have the time or the heart to scour craigslist lately and we are currently trying to focus our energy and resources on salvaging the master bathroom.
i experimentally flipped the shoe cubby and elephant (“eleanor”) from against the wall to against the back of the eye sore couch. i added the little cabinet (real cheap christmas tree shop purchase) that we had been using in our bedroom as a side table, to fill the space. 
not bad, right?!

quick fix for zero dollars. happiness.