The dining room and the living room are finished!*
*As long as the popcorn ceiling exists and the crown molding does not, these rooms will never be finished in my mind. But my handlers have told me to draw the line somewhere.
That means that today, for a limited time only (or for however long the internet lasts, because why would I ever voluntarily take this post down?), today you can get not one, but TWO BIG REVEALS! That’s two, two, TWO for the price of ONE!
Never mind that they’re usually free anyway.
Let’s start with…THE DINING ROOM!!
Such a quick* and easy makeover!
*Nope, not quick. 9 months.
*we’ll talk about the definition of “casual” in a minute.
and you too could go from this…
But WAIT, there’s MORE!! Didn’t I promise you TWO BIG REVEALS today?? That’s right, the LIVING ROOM is done* too!
*See previous note re: the word “finished.”
I didn’t even have to refinish any hardware in here.*
Okay, let’s pause here a second. I just need to take a moment to soak in how perfect and orderly everything looks in these photos. I totally did the blogger-shuffle, you know, where all the kiddie toys and other assorted detritus got thrown into the closet and the powder room so that they weren’t in the shot, so now you all can participate in my fantasy of living in a neat and tidy home in which perfect children only play with aesthetically pleasing toys, and then immediately return said toys to the appropriate decorative shelf and place them at an appropriately photogenic angle.
LOL, bloggers are such frauds.
Anyway, let’s talk about shoes and accessories. And by “shoes,” I mean, shoe moldings — the overlooked, underappreciated stepchild of baseboards. But if you ask me, shoe moldings are a crucial element of giving old houses a polished look. I’m talking about that little rounded piece that covers up any gaps between the baseboard and the floor. Because after 100+ years, your baseboards and your floors may have grown apart a bit.
Or maybe, despite your best efforts (or possibly because of no effort at all), you were a bit sloppy with your paint lines.
Shoe moldings aren’t something you notice when they’re there, but you do notice when they’re missing. Case in point: I never put any in the kitchen, even after spending all that time making the custom millwork. It was a conscious decision, because unlike most people, shoe moldings are something to which my brain feels compelled to devote crucial resources. My rationale was that since there weren’t any shoe moldings in the rest of the house, I didn’t need to put any in the kitchen. But while I was finishing up the living room, Chris — who I guarantee never gave any thought to the shoe molding situation in the kitchen before this week — walked out of the kitchen and said, “Boy, you can really see where it’s missing now, huh?”
Yes. Yes you can. I’ll add it to my project list.*
*Right after popcorn ceiling and crown molding in the living and dining rooms.
One thing about shoe molding, though, is it’s totally worth the effort. For something you don’t really notice, it goes a long way towards making a room feel finished. And it only took me maybe 6 hours total to do both rooms, including filling nail holes and caulking a couple of joints and touch-up painting. Of course, that’s 6 hours over several days, because I don’t like to overextend myself when there’s Netflix to be watched, but still, not bad.
It depresses me a little bit to realize that I’ve installed so much trim over the years that maybe I might actually be getting kinda good at it. If I start to get proficient at this DIY stuff, I’ll have to find a new way to make an ass of myself on the internet.
Luckily there are no shortage of options.
And now, let’s look at pictures of pictures!
Did you see how much stuff I managed to cram onto my newly-boring gray walls?
Also, do you love those little wooden planters as much as I do? I made them. Even put the fake succulents in myself. Adorbs.
As I pointed out at the end of my last post, I had a ton of blank space to fill. I filled it with those casually-placed cherished memories I mentioned earlier.
I feel like I’ve read at least a dozen blog posts about how to create a gallery wall, so I felt pretty confident as I casually made three trips to IKEA and two trips to Target to find the perfect combination of frames — some matted, some not matted, not all the same color but not too many different colors, a variety of thicknesses but not too much variety, the right ratio of big-to-small — you know, all casual decisions that I casually made over the course of several aggregate hours of casually talking to myself in the frame aisles of big-box stores while squeezing my eyes shut and trying to visualize exactly how casual everything was going to look if I chose this frame over that frame for this picture, or maybe that other picture I chose would be better, or maybe I just need a smaller print of this picture because it would look best in that frame even though that frame doesn’t come in a size that works for this print, and as long as I’m going to order reprints I might as well as order these other pictures that didn’t originally make the cut, oh and by the way now these new pictures are going to need frames too.
Eventually, I found myself back home with an appropriately casual assortment of frames (more than I needed, because the best thing for people like me is to have MORE OPTIONS) and an appropriately casual assortment of cherished memories. After a few casual hours matching them up, I casually began arranging groups on the kitchen table and taking pictures of each group (with tape measures laid out next to them to give me a casual sense of scale), so that I could compare and contrast arrangements casually using hard photographic evidence.
Then, having decided upon casual groupings, it was simply a matter of making paper templates of each group with the nail locations precisely marked, taping the templates to the wall where each group would go, staring at them for a while to make sure everything looked random yet proportionate, and then casually driving nails exactly where they needed to go with the type of confidence that can only be gained by spending an entire week questioning every decision you’ve ever made over something most people would simply call “hanging a photo on the wall.”
I remember thinking, right after I got everything up on the walls, that I might have overthunk the whole thing a bit. But now that it’s done, I feel like maybe I thought about it just the right amount.
Looks effortless, doesn’t it?