7th House on the Left

SIMPLE STORAGE UPGRADES

posted by Ashley  /  28 Comments

Our laundry room still has a way to go before we get to the point where we “love” it. So far, all we’ve done in this room is paint the walls and replace the light fixtures…

And in the “laundry nook”…

We have plenty of hopes and wishes for this area of the house… like replacing the tile, purchasing a front-load washer and dryer and installing a countertop above them, taking out the temporary bookcase (which is from our apartment’s pantry/laundry room) and replacing it with something more functional, hanging a pendent light in front of the window, window treatments…. and all of that doesn’t even include the half bath!

Those to-do’s will come in due time, but for now, we’re working with what we’ve got. And that includes the awkward shelf over the dryer. Over the past few months since the above “progress” photo was taken, it has been turning into a messy “catch all” of sorts. This is better explained with a photo:

No matter how neat and tidy you try to be, you always have that one catch-all shelf or drawer in your house. The thing that’s been bothering me the most (aside from the general disorganization), was the plethora of dog treat bags. We give Bentley one every time he comes in from “using the restroom”, so they need to be accessible. Before I get to my ultra simple solution, though, remember when I mentioned this mud room in the new Ikea catalog?

red and blue laundry room

Well, I still can’t decide if I love the red/aqua combination for our laundry room. Something about it is so “I Love Lucy” (which I love) and then on the other hand, it may not blend with the rest of the house either. I can be so indecisive sometimes! So, to test the waters, I ended up buying a $2 canning jar and spray painting the lid apple red.

apple red spray paint

I really love this particular shade (which by the way is Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch in Apple Red)! It’s very cheery, bright, and has a slight 50′s flair to it. I thought this would be a quiet way to introduce red into the room. And if I end up changing my mind (again!), it can easily be painted another color.

A few coats of spray paint and some drying time later, we now have a new and much improved treat storage system:

Since I was in the “prettification” mood, I also found this small $2 tin bucket at Target and thought it would be perfect to corral the small odds and ends on the shelf.

It’s not an extravagant 10-step DIY project or anything, but it’s an ultra-simple solution to a small problem. It’s little upgrades like this that can make an otherwise messy shelf much easier on the eyes.

Since we’re on the topic of laundry (sort of), I’ve been wanting to trade in the detergent and try out a more “natural-ish” option. I’ve heard great things about making your own (my aunt does it all the time) and the Trader Joe’s brand detergent. Any other suggestions?

DECORATING ON THE GO

posted by Ashley  /  23 Comments

For months, I’ve been keeping paint swatches of the colors we’ve used in our house in my wallet just in case I happen to come across fabric or wall art that might look good somewhere. The only problem was, the swatches were so small, it was hard to really get a good idea of how the combination would look.

The obvious solution was to make something a little larger that would accurately capture the wall color. It didn’t need to fit in my wallet, just my purse. Of course, this isn’t exactly the biggest problem in the world, so it just sat in the back of my head, and I didn’t really give it much more thought until I stumbled upon this at Office Max in the scrapbook/craft section:

It’s 5 pages of 6″x6″ chipboard, made into a “book” with a metal ring and cut into a cool pattern. I’m not sure what they are normally used for, but it looked like a good alternative to my teensy weensy paint chips.

When I got home, I gathered the paint from the shed. At the moment, we only have four paint colors, including the trim, so I’m just saving the fifth card until we have another paint color to add to the mix. Now, when it comes to painting, I tend to make a mess. Apparently I’m not coordinated enough or something. I don’t know. So, just in case, I laid down some kraft paper in the dining room, and set each card on a paper plate to dry:

Once they were dry, I put the cards back on the ring and ta da! New and improved, larger handy dandy paint swatches for when I’m on the go:

These swatches are so much fun to use, I ended up making a second set to keep in my desk.

Now, I’m not sure what I’d do without these. They’re small enough to fit in my purse, but large enough that I can get a real idea of what something might look like against our walls. The perfect solution to a small problem!

How about you? Any on the go decorating tips up your sleeve?

HIS + HER FAVORITE THINGS

posted by Greg & Ashley  /  4 Comments

Happy September everyone! This month, we’ve got a big mish-mash of all sorts of awesome stuff that we’ve come across. From time/space machines to popcorn, iPhone covers to nail polish, here is our newest bunch of favorite things:

1. Georgia Brown Plectrum Wallet - Ash and I bought a wallet that held guitar picks for my brother-in-law for Christmas a few years back, and I thought it was awesome. This wallet is a slightly different take on the same idea, and would make a great gift for any guy who needs an emergency pick every now and then. I love brown leather accessories (always have), and the white stitching on this just adds to the character of the whole thing. I’m going to have to put this on my Christmas list this year.

2. Mix Match Gourmet Popcorn: Cheese & Caramel – While we were in college (in Tennessee), Ash and I found this popcorn at the Walgreen’s next to campus. It quickly became a favorite study snack. We hadn’t been able to find it anywhere since and thought it might have been a local product or something. Last week, this long lost favorite came back into our lives when we found it at a local drug store. We’ve even got some family members hooked! If you’re thinking, “Cheese and Caramel at the same time? Ew,” you’ve obviously never tried it. This stuff is so good, it’s addicting! Also, for you adventurous types, they have a version with spicy cheddar. It, too, is amazing in its own way. Go grab a bag (or two) at your local Walgreen’s (or on the Mix Match website) for the weekend!

3. Electricity – While it’s nice to turn off the electronic devices and “rough it” for a while, I really like my refrigerator, microwave, and air conditioning; especially the fridge. I never realized how many times I go to the fridge just to grab a drink or a snack. I’m pretty sure that Ashley and I are going to be investing in a generator as soon as we can.

4. Off! Clip On Fan – When Ash and I bought these, I had my doubts about their effectiveness, but my doubts have been proven baseless. My father-in-law got a new van for his company, so we spent some time working on transferring everything from the old van to the new. However, the mosquitoes were eating us alive! These immediately came to mind, so I ran over to our house, unceremoniously unboxed them, and hung one in each of the vans. Let me tell you, these work great. After a minute or two, we didn’t even see another mosquito.

5. Netflix Streaming – Netflix streaming is great on the TiVo and my computer (despite the somewhat limited selection), but I never thought I’d get so much use out of it on my phone. However, it is quickly becoming my new favorite thing to do from time to time or while I’m coding our new site design (coming soon!). I can just grab my headphones and my phone, check out what’s on my instant queue, and watch any number of episodes from my favorite sci-fi TV shows! What’s even better is it works great over AT&T’s “4G” data network, so I don’t have to sit near a WiFi hot spot.

6. TUL Pens – I’m not completely sure what it is about these pens that is so enjoyable. Objectively, they’re nothing too special, but they write very smoothly and consistently. I’m going to grab a box of them the next time I run to the office supply store just so I can stay stocked up.

7. Doctor Who – Maybe this makes me an even bigger geek than I usually am, but I have recently been obsessed with all things Doctor Who. For those of you who don’t know, Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi series of all time, so it’s a pretty big deal. While I haven’t watched many of the old episodes, the reboot is absolutely phenomenal, and thanks to a combination of Netflix and xfinity on-demand streaming, I can watch every episode, from season 1 through the newest episodes in season 6. In light of my new obsession, I kinda want my own Talking TARDIS Cookie Jars (pictured above) soon.

1. Kate Spade New York iPhone Cover - Sometimes I like to change my iPhone cover as often as my clothes! My newest favorite is this one from Kate Spade. I love the colors and the charming, watercolor-esque artwork.

2. Owl Umbrella Stand - When we finally get our foyer in ship shape one day, I can totally see this little guy in there to house umbrellas. Isn’t he cute?

3. 80′s Glam Ultra Fine Sharpies – I’m a self-proclaimed Sharpie addict. I use them for everything from making lists to doodling on the margins of my notebooks. I picked up this 80′s Glam edition pack the other day and I’m loving the fun color combo.

4. Subtle Zebra Print - Lately, I’ve been loving zebra print. Not the in-your-face kind of print, but muted/subtle zebra print – like this rug from West Elm. It’s classic with a little bit of “exotic contemporary” mixed in. Love it!

5. Scrabble Slam! – I randomly bought this card game the other day when I was at Ben Franklin Crafts buying spray paint. Last night, Greg, one of our friends, and I played it, and it is now, hands down, one of our favorite games. It’s one of those games where you will find yourself saying, “Just one more round!” over and over. It’s fast paced (you can play a round in just a couple of minutes), funny, and really addicting.

6. My “Fashion Passion” Pinterest Board – Pinterest isn’t just for home decor inspiration anymore. I recently starting “pinning” fashion photos, hair styles, outfits I like and such on a separate board called “Fashion Passion”. It’s a fun place to collect things I want to try out for myself, like this hair style (pinned here, from here).

7. Only Gold For Me by OPI + Sephora – I picked this nail polish up at Sephora last week and I’m simply addicted to it. It’s very sparkly and looks great over nude/neutral nail colors. It’s not sparkly like “I’m in 8th grade” sparkly. It’s more like… “sophisticated glam”… which is awesome.

How about you… Any current favorites?