Christmas Trees are Festive this Time of Year

But who wants them on wallpaper in their bathroom all year-long? Not this girl, just saying. As many of you are already aware if you read this blog post that in our only full bathroom we have Christmas tree wallpaper as shown below.

Underneath the Christmas tree wall paper is another layer, which it looks like the previous owners tried to paint unsuccessfully. Anyway, I’m sure you might be asking yourselves what coordinates so well with Christmas tree wallpaper, that’s right sea shells.

Oh, the cherry on top of that combination is the yellowed marble print panelling and white linoleum sticky tiles.

Anyway, I’m bringing all of this up because Max so lovingly signed my permission slip to add an affordable bathroom redo to the list of items on the agenda next week. When we found out the paneling isn’t hiding tile earlier this week too, that was all I needed and my mind started whirling. The plan is to replace the current paneling with more modern paneling like shown here. I can’t wait. The state of the bathroom has really pushed the limitations of my tolerance, and I’m really excited for all the upcoming changes.

The game plan right now is to keep the vanity. Also, the lighting is covered because when we moved in we bought a new light fixture for the bathroom. Awesome. The only thing we’re going to have to work into the budget is paneling, new flooring (most likely a better linoleum tile), and well the anticipated big money grip – the new sink top. We’ve been debating checking out some of the reuse/recycle shops around here such as Second Chance of Baltimore. We’re planning to taking our measurements and our searching gloves  and getting our dig on before heading to Lowes or Home Depot to check out new sink tops – again like I already said I can’t wait.

The Holiday and the House

Coming up after Christmas, we have the whole week off AND NO SCHOOL! It’s really exciting to finally have time to finish all of the things we’ve been talking about doing for months now. There have been so many weekends that we have planned to do something, but the effort never got off the ground.

Lining up on the agenda for our time off besides cleaning up after Christmas includes:

Tearing down the paneling in the master bedroom and the other spare bedroom,

Tearing out the remaining carpet in the upstairs,

and, painting just about the entire house…

Since we decided on the paint colors a few months ago, I’ve wavered a bit so the final selections might be a bit of a surprise. This week long effort will most likely include tearing out the molding and re-installing new molding in the upstairs and the around the floor downstairs. I’m thinking this week I might walk through all of the things that drive me nuts on a  daily basis as a memorial to what’s about to be no more. Stay tuned.


(DesiredItem + MouseClick) – MoneyInMyAccount = Online Shopping

Despite the busy schedule happening around this house lately, something I have found plenty of time for is shopping particularly online shopping. I knew I wanted to work  a pair of chairs or a nice size chair with an ottoman into seating in the living room/ dining room. During recent consignment shopping, I found a chair and ottoman that seemed perfect, but I was trying to wait for the next price drop indicated on the tag. The day after the date that the price lowered, I was there to get my chair, but  it was gone. Oh well, I was not too upset  because I had resigned that if it was meant to be then it would be there on that date at the lower price (particularly because it needed to be re-upholstered – which would’ve been a project), so obviously  it was not meant to be.

Then two Sunday’s ago my mom text messaged me while I was doing homework that Target had  chairs on sale, and they were in my color scheme. A little online searching, followed by some g-chatting with Max, and we had decided we both liked this chair. At the time, it was more on sale then is showing right now (with free shipping), and it seemed like a bargain compared to some of the other chairs we were seeing around. I decided to ‘mull it over’ a bit, and then impulsively purchased them (yes that means I bought 2) one day during lunch last week.

Well the package arrived today and in Zdunosmith household fashion they were quickly assembled for evaluation! Well at least one was until I stopped the presses.  Then a ghost from my past appeared and my old ‘I’m afraid of patterns’ self just reared her ugly head. For those of you who didn’t know me before, I have in the past experienced difficulty embracing patterns and textures, but decided it was time grown into a new style which was more fearless. Needless to say, this has again left me in  mull it over mode. I’m trying to figure out if the chairs go with the couch.  Here is one piece of the chair on the couch, which has a slight pattern to it, with brown pillow:

Target Slipper Chair

Here it is with the rust colored pillows:

Target Slipper Chair

And here is the chair in potential chair location:

Target Slipper Chair and Couch

While I take the next few days to think it over, I’d love to hear if you think I’m just falling into my old – no pattern one texture way  – or am I right to intuitively feel like maybe these things don’t go together?

Blogging and Balance

It is a sad fact that I have not completed a new blog post  in  just about 20 days. The weekend following the my silly stripes post I was able to finish painting the primary color  in the spare room. Unfortunately immediately following the conclusion of the painting which was on a Saturday, it hit me that I had midterm coming up the following Tuesday and  immediately after it (immediately like met someone in school parking lot to go to airport kind of immediately)  I was whisking away to Huntsville, AL for work for a few days. There was no choice for me but to switch my focus from home improvements to the other things that I had going on.

The weekend following my return from the business trip, I had big plans to finish those stripes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t accounting for the fact that I would be wiped out from traveling and well I still had homework to finish. In previous years, I would have pushed through the pain, but these days I’m really learning the value and priority in getting those 6-8 hours a night. This is especially important with the delicate balance that is my schedule these days of working full time (while experiencing a job transition), attending graduate school, and well just life in general. I think this is a good lesson for me that it is OK for me to take a break and that I can’t be superman and do it all, all the time, every time. I’m in acceptance that although I make big plans, I won’t maintain my sanity if I beat myself up for not meeting home improvement deadlines as a result of my (very demanding) life schedule.

I look forward to continue updating you on the slow but steady progress in the house, and I’m going to let go and allow the evolution to take place in the time it’s meant to – that is until I finish school this Spring or Summer.  Stay tuned for additional progress of the spare room in the upcoming weeks.

Black and White and Red All Over

What’s black and white and red all over?


In case you can’t tell, I have stripes on the brain. There has been some serious contemplation about painting the first spare room and somewhere along the way stripes jumped on the train of thought. I’m not the biggest fan of the standard uniform sized and spaced stripage some folks have going on – no offense to anyone with these type stripes- it’s just not so much me. While spending all this time in contemplation, I’ve been searching on line and I came across these top contenders.

Holding the top spot, we have mish-mosh fun stripes. For our application, I think this one would require the same color in a different finish rather than a whole different color stripe. Please look through fun colored chairs to stripes on the walls.

Holding spot numero dos, we have thick and very skinny horizontal stripes. This obviously looks much simpler than the previous inspiration photo.

Taking spot number three, I like again the simplicity of this style. I think that without the chair rail in the room, it might not be the best option for our little project.

At this point, anything goes – we have a color picked out and we’ll just have to see how it turns out!

Setting the Table

After a few weeks of having the dining room table and buffet situated in place, I was feeling the urge to take it to the next level. During meals, Max and I found ourselves worried about damaging the surface of the table top or turning the buffet into the place where we dropped our keys and stuff when we came in the door. The buffet issue has taken a lot of discipline to walk the extra three whole steps to drop our keys on the Ikea shelf in the kitchen. (we were stink eyeing each other each time we came in the door to see who would mess it up first)  We’re pretty adjusted at this point, but to solve the table dilemma something had to be done.

For a week or so I’ve been just thinking about replacing the place-mats and maybe getting one or two extra to put in the middle of the table. Then during some consignment shopping I came across a set of gold/silver leafed chargers. Prior to that shopping experience, if you had said charger, my mind would’ve drifted to cell phones, cars, or batteries. Now, I have a new definition to at to the list, it’s a platter  and it seems fancy. I got a set of 10 of them and each one was less than a $1.00! As I was putting some felt feet on the bottom of one of them (to protect the table), I noticed a Crate and Barrel sticker. I was looking them up on Crate and Barrel and they run $15.00 or more a piece. Snap! It turns out I got quite a deal!  Here is one of the chargers with felt feet.


Also, I’ve been looking on, and I’ve noticed a lot of people put plants on their dining room tables. I liked it. Between the chargers, the plants (thanks to my re-potting project), and a new set of place-mats I think it turned out pretty nice! It really makes the room feel much more homey.

Set Table

BOOM! Dining Room Furniture Arrives!

Here are the much overdue photos of our awesome new dining room set:

We certainly splurged on this purchase, but I did have a 10% coupon! The dining room table extends (on both sides- EXCITING!) and there are six chairs. There is debate of possibly purchasing more chairs toward the end of the year. The buffet was um well it was definitely an impulse buy. We were standing there and I was like, “I want that too”, then Max said his famous “well  what are we saving for anyway” line and of course the sales lady nodded. Here is Max modeling the new buffet:

Looking in the catalog, I loved the wax refurbished pine style of this furniture, but in person the finish did not seem very accident proof. I asked the sales lady, and she was less than convincing. It was decided that we are just too clumsy a family to purchase furniture that looks like it might absorb a spill. I was a little bummed to settle for the darker wood, but I’m loving how it all looks now and how well it is coming together. More pictures to come!

House Plant Re-potting Project

I love plants, and I think they work as great affordable decor to make a home feel cozier. I have been pretty lucky to have a good survival rate of my little green friends which is good because it helps when the plants stay alive if you’re using them as decor. So at this point – I know most plants will stay alive, but it always surprises me when one out grows its pot.

I’m annually re-potting these guys into larger pots, and at the rate I’m going I’ll never have to buy new plants just bigger pots. I’m certainly no expert here, but it seems when you take care of your plants they seem to multiply.  Not to mention I have some pretty great family who give house plants as presents (Thanks Ruth!) and split up their plants to help me expand my collection of friends. (Thanks Aunt Nancy!)  I mean really – who doesn’t like free home decorations?

Up until just recently, it didn’t bother me that I had 10 different kinds of plant pots which didn’t coordinate because most of the time they were free. After the move into this new house, it’s really been bugging me. Here’s what I’ve been looking at for since July- all of the plants just sitting in the living room in a pile.

Let me tell you, there are like 12 plants in that pile, and once I was done I felt all WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!  I decided today would be the day to do something about it since I’ve finished up my painting project for the weekend yesterday. I knew I wanted to choose some new pots that were neutral to enable me to place them around the house to create some flow. I picked out two packs of three various cylindrical clear glass vases. I also purchased some rocks to make the vases a little more interesting. See  the new glass pots below.

In addition, I think the wrought iron accents on the new dining table and side tables (as seen above in the before picture) take away from the new silver light fixture in the dining room. To help re-incorporate the silver back into the room I placed silver lamps on the side tables, and the other half of the pots I choose today were silver metal pots. See the new metal pots below.

To start I dragged all my mismatched friends outside.  I started breaking up the plants into smaller portions to fill all of my new pots. An extra bag of potting soil makes this work a lot easier. I found myself scrounging to make sure all of my extra pots were filled with the leavings  from my old pots. Once I was finished, I was feeling whooped and I was very dirty. The new homes for the plants look great and the whole house is starting to look more homey as a result. All in all I purchased each pot for just under 7 dollars, and some of them were quite large – not a bad deal considering how the whole turned out below.

Persistently Primered!

I was very fortunate today to be let off of work a little bit early for what my company like’s to call, “quality of life time”. SCORE! I’m sure you’re all wondering what that means in regards to my primer project planned for this weekend? Well, it means I’m finished!

In addition to the walls, I also painted the inside of the closet which added several hour of work to the project. I worked from 3:30 PM until about 10:00 PM with an hour break to get more primer and eat dinner. The house smells a bit like the people who used to live here, and it is driving me nuts. I’m hoping painting all wall surfaces and removing the carpet will contribute to lessening the smell. As of now, everything else I have tried so far (and it’s been a lot of things) hasn’t worked. Anyway, to paint the inside of the closet meant I had to remove everything from it, which contributed to the mess you are seeing on top of the desk. At this point, it’s about progress not perfection, so please don’t mind the distraction.

The walls are white now giving us a fresh perspective on the room and we’re feeling motivated to pick a paint color. We mulled over the idea of still selecting a paint primer mix to further improve the coverage. The choice was made to primer the walls due to the amount of Spackle that was applied to repair the holes from the paneling.  For not even being half finished, the room has certainly come a long way from the before state!

Jumping Off in Spare Bedroom 2

I apologize for being so long with out a new blog post. Lame I know. I could list the 100 reasons for not blogging in the last 2 weeks, but who cares. I’m back having learned a valuable lesson about motivation and momentum in blogging – when you stop for more than 3 days you lose your dedication!  I’m sure the ‘progress’ pictures of the dining room are much anticipated. However, it’s too dark to take them right now, and I wasn’t going to let that stop me from blogging today. I’m planning on painting primer in spare bedroom 2 this weekend (shh Max doesn’t know yet), so I thought that might be a topic to get back into the groove.

I’m sure everyone is already familiar with the before pictures of Spare Room 2, which is also lovingly referred to as Elsie’s room. In case you missed them in this blog post, here they are again. This view is all the way in the room looking out.

Here is the room facing the opposite direction.  I removed all of the wall paper covered paneling and beige carpet since these pictures were taken. Unfortunately,  I was not blogging at the time of the removal and deconstruction, and I missed the fun demo pictures – my bad. There is Sheetrock underneath of the paneling, and it is this fun green color you can see below.

The modeling was removed with the paneling because it was the cheap stuff and it was in bad shape. As you can tell from these progress pictures, I have already used Spackle to repair the holes created from affixing the paneling to the wall. Again, an awesome photo opportunity was missed, but I do have a great lesson in applying Spackle to share. Many applications of thin layers allow you to wet sand making much less mess than putting it on thick and thinking –  ‘oh, I’ll just sand it off later’. The later was what I choose to do even though someone shared this lesson with me before hand (thanks Dad!). Apparently for me to completely grasp this great parental advice, I needed to do it the hard way. I spent 4 hours sanding and what was a huge mess. Max came home from work one Friday, and there I was in the room sanding away with a 1/8 inch thick layer of mint green dust everywhere.  It took cleaning the floor 4 times before it was the right color again. To give you an idea of how stylish I was looking when I was finished check out these two sandy dudes (who I don’t know – thanks Google Image Search!).  At least I was smart enough to wear a respirator and safety glasses!

I can’t wait to see how the room looks after applying a layer of primer. WOO!