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

 

 

 

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!

 

 

The Big Albert Lee Appliance Sale is Coming!

Need new appliances for your home or rental? The Albert Lee Appliance Sale is coming this Nov 1 & 2nd.  We’ve seen everything from your standard kitchen appliances to Viking ranges, Miele vacuums, to outdoor BBQ’s and more. Check out this link as it also contains important hints for shopping. You may also want to bring a smartphone for research on the spot. Be sure to get there early – 3:55 am if you’re serious (and crazy like Monica) – they will have coffee…

Make a Home Office Pendant Light

I needed a light for my workspace. I wanted to find a really awesome Pendant Light. I poked around online and found some that were amazing, but a little too expensive for me to handle. I had a very basic $17.00 IKEA pendant light left over from my kitchen update. $17-40.00 was more like my budget. But, it was so small and lacked any funk at all. Plus it looked like it belonged in a kitchen.

Original Ikea Pendant Light

I was hoping to snag an inexpensive, awesome, retro light from Second Use Building Materials or RE Store. Continue reading

Modernized Armoire

HammerLikeAGirl_GrayCloset1

I have a cottage style home which means very little storage space. I purchased an armoire from a friend several years ago with the idea that one day I’d paint, stain, or at least change the door handles.

I wanted to modernize the whole room. It currently serves as a makeshift office, spare bedroom and a lazy catch-all storage space. The thought was to get rid of a lot of useless stuff and shift the room toward a contemporary office space that could quickly convert into a bedroom when guests arrive.

Continue reading