Remodel a Rambler

Rambler remodel, Porch remodel, Entry remodel

Our new project! Due to a dryer fire, we have an opportunity to do a bit of remodeling at our little rental house (shocking amount of smoke damage! See prevention tips here). We’ve always wanted to update this home. The first decision was whether or not to follow the lead of the town and try adding some Craftsman Charm – but that feels a bit contrived and boring frankly – there’s nothing here that suggests Craftsman, in fact here’s the total amount of style this home has:

Remodel Dining Room

Wood flooring, mahogany trim and a 1950’s shelving detail – needs a coconut monkey, right?

It’s not a bad start though for what I really want to do, which is clean and modern. Modern has the potential to make the 988 square feet feel a bit bigger (ha!), accent the original good work/materials and maybe bring a bit of an authentic style to the home. I’m also very interested in being as green as time and dollars will allow me.

So I start with the front elevation. I’ve always thought that a home can be significantly improved with a well designed entry. The design parameters are: protection from the rain, add style, and to somehow convert the dry/dusty planting bed into something useful. The cost needs to be low and the maintenance basically non-existent.

Design Porch, How to Design an Entry

I start as usual (“how to” here) by enlarging a photo of the elevation and overlaying it with draft paper. Then I freehand multiple ideas until I find something I like…when (not if) discouraged I cruise the internet for ideas.

Design an Entry, Design a Porch, Remodel Rambler

Here’s the design to date – a simple shed roof supported by heavy wood brackets, bolted to a vertical piece painted the same trim color (white? off white?) It’s a tiny bit Craftsman with the construction detail of the angles and the bolting being exposed, but the shape of the shed is far more modern than a gable would be. Plus a gable would need to be much larger (read more pricey) and more detailed. I know because I drew one – yuck!

I will probably design the brackets on site, forcing someone in the family to hold up 4X4s as I take way too long to decide where they should meet the vertical. They love it when I do that.

I like this clean look, especially if the drought tolerant grasses will take in the concrete planting box. They grow in my yard and have been really hardy –  I’ll visit next week and see if they’re surviving. My next question is I wonder if I might be able to lightly stain the concrete a black or dark grey- a more uniform color might look really great.

Off to sand mahogany base moulding :)

~Monica

 

 

Repurposing a Machinist’s Cabinet

Sometimes the easiest path to creative repurposing is to simply clean things up and use them. One day this machinist’s cabinet showed up at Second Use and I brought it home for a little TLC.

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage,

I don’t like matching furniture, what can I say? I also don’t like smelly furniture, which is what this was when we found it at Second Use and Mary Jean got so excited about it –

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage

Mary Jean, excited about stinky machinist cupboard.

But – there’s something about little drawers, little pulls and built in shelves that I do like. And square shapes plus imperfection. And I had a coupon. So, there you go – I bought it.

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage

I scrubbed for two days, but despite my best efforts I couldn’t remove all the previous owners labeling (you were thorough sir!) – so I left some – until the day when I don’t like them anymore and will probably have to sand them away, but for now let’s call them patina.

I removed the middle door so we could appreciate the shelves that don’t line up and the little drawers.

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage,

And that was that! Added a few bright red accents (see Plumbop) and driftwood colored knobs – stuffed the hidden shelves and drawers and now I feel so organized :)

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage,

Green design,  Re-purposed,  Second Use,  Salvage,  Repurposed furniture,  Repurposed storage,

See? Clean, organized, and doesn’t match a thing!

~Monica

 

 

 

Exterior Paint – Design Ideas

Every time the sun comes out on these short Seattle days I start dreaming up exterior projects – Paint! Garden! Fence! Paint Again! – If you find yourself brainstorming in circles like I am, here’s a bit of exterior paint inspiration from four of my favorites:

A few random thoughts on exterior paint design:

  • A flat sheen is usually preferred
  • Three colors is a nice balance. Be thoughtful if you add a fourth color, you don’t want to get too fussy.
  • If you choose to paint the door a contrasting color, consider carrying that color into the garden with pots, outdoor furniture/cushions or plants. It’s a nice, subtle effect.
  • Breaking up/dividing large areas of siding with horizontal trim or different siding materials can allow for a more interesting finished look.
  • Think about how your plants will look with the new color.
  • Take a close look before you tear off old siding and trim! Some of that material is beautiful – tight grain, large dimensions/profiles, much of it is unavailable these days. If you do decide to demo, your local reclaimed building materials store may LOVE to have it, lead paint and all.
  • Spend the money and time for samples of your paint! Mock up your ideas on a wall that receives good light – You’ll be glad you did.

Are you ready to get started?? Here’s a nice overview of the process from one of my favorite local paint stores, Daly’s and a few tips from DIY projects – a list of handy tools, two favorite painting hacks, and stripping and painting old trim.

Paint on!

~Monica

We Are Shifting Gears!

It’s 2015 and we are in the midst of some exciting transitions over at “Hammer Like A Girl”.  We are inviting you to come along.

Heidi is focusing on creating functional (and not so functional) art.

“I’ve been slowly realizing how important it is for me to create art and so I’m looking forward to focusing on that. Please check out my new blog, “Old stuff. New Stories” at HeidiFavour.com. I would love to hear from you as I free fall into this new adventure.”

Mary Jean is off supporting her family.

“Although I’ll miss our weekly “get-togethers”, house projects and lunches, I’m certain that focusing on my family is where my heart leads me at this point. Keep following Hammer Like a Girl and check out Heidi’s blog, too. These are two women who continue to amaze me every day.”

Monica is still hanging out at Hammer Like A Girl.

“I will miss my girlfriends, our lunches and jokes and wish them the best of luck! I plan to continue to collaborate with friends and professionals, write about recycling and creative re-use in design, green ideas and DIY. I hope you will follow both our blogs, linked by a love of the “urban forest” – foraging from our beloved second hand stores and street corners.”

Make This Tonight! Super Easy Pasta Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce, quick sauce

Here’s what you need. Does it look easy? It is! It’s the…

Super Cinchy Pasta Sauce that is Awesome

adapted from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Italian Cooking

5 minutes of prep, 40 minutes simmering, serves about 4-5 with pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 Tbs butter (We use unsalted but doubt it matters)
  • One 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

The short directions:

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the onion, let it cook 2-3 minutes
  • Add the diced tomatoes
  • Simmer for 35-40 min, stirring occasionally
  • Remove the onion, add salt and pepper to taste, serve.

The long directions:

  • Melt the butter over medium heat, (a heavy bottom pot is best).
  • Place the peeled onion cut side down into the pot.
  • Allow the onion to begin to cook in the butter – approx 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes
  • Stir occasionally to mix in the butter and to keep the sauce from burning to the bottom of the pot. (Hint: if it does burn a bit, just stir without scraping up the burned bits into the remaining sauce and call it “smoky tomato sauce”).
  • Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn down the burner to simmer gently for another 30-35 minutes.
  • Taste. Add salt or pepper if you like. Or not.
  • Remove the onion.
  • Serve the sauce over pasta, vegetables, potatoes, polenta etc.

Enjoy! Feed the people real food! Go paint the basement!

 

 

New Year’s Resolution – preserve my kid’s art!

Paper Mache Animals 1

Before my kids graduate from high school I should probably get a start on preserving some of the adorable, one-of-a-kind art projects they’ve brought home over the years. Things are getting a little (very) dusty plus starting to fade and become brittle. I decided to experiment with a Mod Podge protective coating thinking that it might preserve my favorite pieces and maybe even restore them a bit. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I had a couple of questions: Continue reading

Upcycled Awesomeness in Kauai – KIKO simple goods

Kauai, Kapa'a, Recycled, Upcycled, Crafts

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka (that’s Hawaiian for Merry Christmas – a tad late, but still –) We’ve just returned from a very fun trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. In between the (muddy & fun!) hiking, beaches, and dodging wild roosters, we explored the lovely low-key town of Kapa’a. This was one of our favorite finds, KIKO simple goods*, specializing in unique local art, upcycled goods and clever environmental products. It just made us happy (plus it doesn’t hurt to be located in paradise…). Be inspired, visit the web links and if in Kauai, visit the store!

 

 

* KIKO’s has opened recently and they don’t have a website yet, but when they do I will update this post with a link – because they really are awesome. This is NOT a sponsored post, just love from an admirer.