(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Old news: The Cabindo's to-do list

I realized recently that I had not blogged in a year. I'd thought having a little baby was time consuming....oh silly me.....I had  idea the time sink a vertical baby is. It was a year ago this week she found her way to her feet, and has only picked up speed since then. 

I have continued to do work at the new house; mainly on furniture projects and decorating rather than the house's structure, so I'd like to get back into the swing of posting on occasion, even if no one reads this anymore. 

As I was going through ancient draft posts today, I found an old to-do list that I never published, and was amazed to see how much stuff I plowed through in under 3 years at the Cabindo. It's incredible what productivity a single point of view and no munchkin affords you....


As many blogs do, I thought I should put together a to-do list for The Cabindo.

Gussy up porch (had tons of plants during warmer months)
paint inside of front door to match outside
Get rid of realtor lock (3 days before finding renters. better late than never)
create storage solution in utility closet (leftover ikea bare wood shelf for the win)

Replace light
Decorate walls
Make 'crash' zone (a certain spot on the floor where crap piles up counts, right? right)
Come up with organization system for pantry (small rubbermaid bins with lids)
paint pantry door
fill out shelving in pantry (those tubs spanned any gaps, didn't need to be pretty)
put down rug

paint walls
install new light (3 light fixtures over time)
install new switch
new stove
new dishwasher
new microwave
new faucet
paint fridge
add open shelving
make kitchen island
install backsplash
install window dressings (2 different kinds)
put down rug
put down sink mat
put up wall items

Dining Room
install new light & switch
install window dressings
decorate walls
update dining room table n chairs
slipcover settee (got a new one that didn't need a slipcover)
put down rug
refinish shelving
add more shelving

fix sliding glass door
remove carpet
put down rug
make plant stand
plant plants
screen in
make tables
make seating
enable air movement
decorate walls
install sun/privacy shade (had one, never made it on)
get small lighting
get electrical wired (extension cord worked fine)
remove screen door

Living Room
decorate walls
install tv on mount
put down rug
install window dressings
update couch (4 or 5 times)
add extra comfy seating (what started my chair hoarding tendencies)
figure out storage solutions (2 different mid century refinished dressers)
figure out best layout

implement storage solution for coat closet (getting enough hangers went a loooong way)
build shelves for 'garage' closet
build storage solution for 'garage closet'
paint coat/garage closet door
decorate walls
cover fuse box with art
get laundry machines to fit in nook (they always stuck out about 1". I stopped caring)
build door for laundry nook (a curtain worked great)
implement storage solution for linen closet
paint bathroom doors
paint bedroom doors
put down runner
build barn door at end of hallway (stupid idea)

Small Bathroom
paint walls
replace mirror
paint vanity
paint or replace hardware
install towel bar
install shelving
fix crooked toilet (that sucker was attached to the sub floor with wood floor cut around it. was not gonna happen)
replace flushing mechanism (compliments of either Al or Papa Steve, I don't remember)
put down rug/matt

Large Bathroom
re-glaze tile surround
re-glaze tub
build tub front
replace showerhead
paint walls
build wainscotting
paint wainscotting
install shelving
implement storage solution for bathroom items
replace mirror
paint vanity
paint medicine cabinet
paint or replace hardware
tile floor
seal grout (Didn't know this was a thing when I first put it in. Got quite stained so I used grout renew to color and seal it before renting, that stuff is a miracle.)
install quarter round
figure out towel solution
get wastebasket
dye all towels to match (I bought new ones. Like a sane person. It happens sometimes)
replace flushing mechanism (compliments of either Al or Papa Steve, I don't remember)
put down rug/mat (a highly coveted kitty landing spot)

paint (3 tries to get the right shade of yellow. Accent wall in fuchsia got painted yellow before rented out.)
build closet shelving (conveniently ripped itself off the wall when moving right before I was going to take it down)
install window dressings
find desk that works
refinish furniture
install floating shelves
install built in
hard wire in a ceiling light (running a ceiling light to a plug counts for me)
address litter box (in the best way: getting rid of it)
implement storage solution for stuff
decorate walls

Master Bedroom
refinish bed (refinished the original, replaced. refinished replacement. replaced replacement. replaced 3rd one. broke 4th one)
refinish dressers (and then gave away when free idea wardrobes came into my life)
refinish light stands (I don't even know what this means? Did I mean night stands? I'll take it to the grave)
build shoe racks
implement storage solution for clothes/shoes/accessories (craigslist a palooza. shocking)
create dressing area
replace closet light
hard wire in a ceiling light (I'm cheap and lamps worked fine)
install plant hooks
install wall sconces (" ")
install window dressings
install shelving
decorate walls
put down rug/matt (Giant free craigslist rug that I drove 40 mins each way to get. Has found a happy new home in the big living room at Links House)

Bedroom Balcony
screen in (compliments of Papa Steve)
install sun/privacy shade (compliments of Papa Steve yet again)
build litter box solution (now I'm spoiled for life and never want litter in the house again)
create outdoor storage (threw some high shelves up on the wall for gardening stuff)
add greenery (didn't last long, apparently a plant is hard to distinguish from a litter box if they are in close proximity. ew)
build cat tree
put down rug
put in seating (why I thought I'd want to sit next to litter boxes: a mystery)
decorate walls (again; why Lindsay, why?)
remove screen door (happened on its own, like magic one day jumped off the track! where did I put it though? also magic: disappeared)

External Storage Unit
find (was a mystery for 6 months or so until the key I had been given to the 'storage room' finally unlocked one of the doors I tried it on)
clean out
build solid floor (chicken wire worked just fine)
put in shelving
get camping/outdoor/winter/construction stuff moved over there
put in battery powered light (totally unnecessary)
come up with organization system (labeled tubs count)

Idle hands?? Pfft, the devil has nothing on me.


Post occupancy update: The place has been rented for two years as of this month! The tenants are lovely and staying for a while longer, but there have been some necessary updates throughout that time, with the most severe/expensive of those happening recently and all at the same time (#life).

- New washer & dryer (The existing dryer cut out as they were packing to go on their honeymoon, and being a combined 20 year old unit; it was time for an update. I got the SHALLOWEST stacking full size washer & dryer on the damn market, and they still stick out a bit. Oh well, I tried.)
-New electrical line run to plug in new seperate washer (small bathroom fan broken in the process & hole cut in textured ceiling, which I have yet to fix)
- New wall in the 2nd bedroom & ceiling in the large bathroom (Thanks to shoddy plumbing in the unit upstairs. Also, home insurance agents are *so* pleasant and responsive....for months. This happened while my poor tenants were welcoming family in town to get MARRIED. They were thrilled...)
- New thermostat (old one crapped out, new one with wi-fi connectivity installed compliments of Al)
- Carpet cleaning in dining room (concrete rained down from above when new owner was using leveling concrete prior to installing new floors but did not seal the concrete substructure gaps....same thoughtful person who caused the plumbing leak, what a gem) 
- New flushing mechanisms for both toilets (guess the water is hard and bricks things up pretty quickly)

Hopefully there will not be any more surprises in the near future, and all the place will need is a good cleaning and a few holes in the walls filled when I get it ready to re-rent over the winter.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I still do stuff....during nap time

The new house is coming together, finally. A year and a half after we moved in.
Paint needs patched or redone, furniture needs purchased and/or arranged, built-ins need built, etc. Funny how a tiny person, when cooking, and even more so when out; slows to a crawl (harhar... but not yet thank god) any projects or house update progress.

This kid. Showing my cousin her impressive jaw flexibility.

BUT, now that little miss is happily occupied/trapped for MANY minutes at a time in her bouncer (girl wakes up wanting to jump), and naps reliably for 45-90 minutes in a stretch; let the (small) projects begin!

HAPPY lil dumplin'

I have knocked out several projects recently, but a good one of note was whitewashing an antique low oak trunk that came from an estate sale for $17.

It looked great as it was when I got it, but the opportunity to try out whitewashing without having to strip or sand a piece was too good to resist. Because there are only so many nap times and it was 100 degrees out that week. Mamma didn't raise no fool.

milk was a bad choice will ferrell gif

I researched approximately 3 million different whitewashing techniques, and ended up going with a milk paint sample packet, water, and additional white paint to make it go further. That sample pack was not cheap; so I was not going to get 2, or god forbid a quart. I like my first born too much to sell her for what that costs.
After two or so washes with the paint, I lightly sanded and went to town with a homemade liming wax.
Minwax plain 'ol furniture wax + acrylic white paint > $20 fancy pants liming wax.
Heating up the wax before mixing in the paint really helped de-lump the consistency and make it much easier to apply.

nice grain there mr. cabinet

Turned out a very Restoration-Hardware like finish. A bit brighter than the photo above in real life, but does have good grey undertones.

Original hardware, or just old (who knows if it really came from this piece) was a nice surprise to find bagged up in the drawer once I got the piece home. It had several layers of paint, so I stripped and scrubbed it back to bare metal. Brass I do like, but not here, so I spray painted with metal-specific sparkly grey rustoleum paint. 
I used the same paint as on The Cabindo curtain rods and several other pieces, to the point that this is the only metal paint kind and color I use for anything. It applies/wears well, looks good, and keeps me from expanding my already alarming paint can collection. 

Et voila. Now mr. man can fill it up with his downstairs collection of electronics/camera/AV gear/flashlights/cords/treasures. 

Like this guy. In 25 years.

Storage for the more formidable 'archive' of upstairs electronics in Al's office is yet to be decided on....... perhaps 2017?

picture this, but 10% smaller. and all still in boxes so...

To be fair, my office/craft room goes by 'the crap room' for now. Whatevs, we prefer to snuggle babies.


- Lindsay

Monday, September 14, 2015

Utilizing Empty Spaces - Floral Edition

I had some fun flower shenanigans utilizing the empty space in the new house before we moved in, and then the empty Cabindo while getting it ready to rent.

Shenanigan 1: wedding flowers for some good friends a la Cabindo

Her colors were orange/coral and blue. 
While that was not something I'd innately go for; girl totally knew what she was talking about (insert z-snap here), and everything came out so unique, beautiful, and just to her fantastic tastes.

a living room full of bridesmaids sorting and prepping flowers

We had blisters on our hands by the end of this day from cutting veritable eucalyptus trees down to manageable floral-use size pieces. 
CPR compressions with pruning shears turned out to be a winning technique. 

Empty bedroom (minus crap on the shelf, which doesn't count) full of arrangements.
Cocktail table (left) in mason jars, and dinner table (right) in wooden boxes w/floral foam.

orange and white buffet table arrangements

The orange roses were huge, fully open, ombre, and generally incredible (once we made a second trip across state lines by lunch time the day before the wedding to get them...MANY bad words were said en route).
The pieces above with white hydrangeas, peach spray roses and berries, dusty greens, el roses special, cream stock, and some pops of yellow billy balls were my favorite.

head table arrangement

bouquets sporting the orange/coral, blue, and dusty green color theme

There were at least 4 other kinds of arrangements for various bar, isle, entrance, cake top, etc locations.
The flowers were beautiful at the wedding and the bride was happy with how it all turned out (groom too, but priorities people!).
It was a last minute scramble to get everything done, placed, and then put on a dress to see the happy couple actually exchange vows on the day, and I totally threw out my back in the process; but it was very much worth it.
The venue manager even asked me for a card to refer other brides, and I laughed and said no thank you. That much work is only ok for very, very good friends. Unless I can quit my real job and overcharge like woah on the regular, which I doubt will be happening anytime soon.

Shenanigan 2: the unsuspecting florist of Links house

"Just help me figure out which flowers to get, and how order them" she said.....
Famous last words from a friend I once 'taught to sew' and ended up making a formal gown for.
Yeah @myra_khan... I'm talkin about you.

Said friend Myra has a crafty side company and wanted to test the waters of adding floral work as a viable new line of business.  

After several conversations back and forth between me/Myra and Myra/bridezilla, a decent amount of planning work via spreadsheets and budgets, along with going to the wholesaler to get the flowers (me paying for them upfront), then doing a lot of the arranging work; my fee of a milkshake-for-a-simple-job was feeling very low. I raised her one salad, and won. She is also known to feed me every time I go to her house (I can't say the same), so all measures of kindness even out in the end I'd like to believe.
Regardless; it's still a pretty good day when I get to hang out with Myra and play with flowers.

I only have one picture, because my lovely and truly well meaning mother in law stopped by the Links house while we were arranging, and brought with her: 
- an ice cream cake which became a crisis to fit in the freezer (because let's write off any freezer that doesn't fit a full sheet cake w/o finagling)
- and some landscaping 'must-do's (mulch is stressful)
- and some furniture placement recommendations (all my furniture is garbage apparently)
- and some contractor names who had to be called (the totally stable roof/plumbing/electrical are all going to explode imminently)
- and thought Myra was a non-english speaking housecleaner (even after that was cleared up; it wasn't)
This happened to be the day after closing, so all Mr.Links House had to his name was 3 folding chairs and a camping table, and with 2 hours logged; I'd spent double the time in the house that even Al had to that point.
Bonus: Al's birthday party/surprise house party (to the guests who didn't know we'd bought a house) was coming up in mere hours. 
And I was tired & under the weather. (whine, whine, bitch, bitch. i know. #firstworldproblems)

To say I was distracted was an understatement. 
If you've read this far: god bless you: here's the damn picture.

in the foreground: a BIG cascading bride's bouquet (drapes left to right as seen here)
propped up in a giant beer mug from college.
thanks Green Leafe Cafe!

in the background: some of the 10ish small bouquets made from:
baby's breath, blush spray roses, ivy, and tears

I have no idea if the bride liked the flowers. 
Myra was pretty disillusioned with the whole thing too by the time of delivery and didn't hear much back afterwards, so we'll just chalk it up to a floral learning experience, and be glad to not repeat it.

Floral design: ya win some, ya loose some.

But when you get to share important life events with your person like buying a house and having a milestone birthday all wrapped into 24 hours; it turns a loosing day into awesome day pretty quick.

I really like my person.
I'm happy to report he likes me too.

P.S. The ice cream cake was delicious. But I'm still waiting for my milkshake.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Curtains on the Cabindo

The eagle has landed condo has been rented.

A very nice couple will be continuing the Cabindo love for a while, and I couldn't be more excited for them, and for me.

On the way to getting it rented, we had quite a time washing and re-hanging the curtains.

Let me start at the beginning: there were zero window coverings or even window hardware when I moved into the Cabindo. It was a touchy couple first weeks and months of changing in the hallway and hanging sheets via thumb tacks (with questionable opacity) before I was able to find affordable, attractive, long enough, and opaque enough drapes to cut the mustard. 

Ikea Lenda for $20 a set
Great 'linen' look like Restoration Hardware-ish products, for less than one drawer pull at Restoration Hardware

They hung on the cheapest walmart hardware for a year or more before I got around to building metal pipe-based rails for the extra wide sliding door walls in the dining room and master bedroom. 

4 iron pipes cut to my measurements at Home Depot  ~$40
Various fittings ~$15
Spray paint to seal the iron pipe - had it
Anchors & bolts - had 'em
Labor - had him (Al)

$55 and some mild cursing is MUCH cheaper than the West Elm version that would have cost me an arm and a leg, and been made of glorified aluminum foil. 

West Elm pipe curtain rod. $109.
I would have needed 4 of them. Uhhh... no.

The DIY version worked great and the curtains hung attractively and REALLY securely long enough to acquire a nice coating of cat hair.

To get them down and washed, I realised they had to be cut off at the tabs, as they were put up on the rails when the system was built, and it was bolted to the wall.
I'm not stupid (most days), and knew those bolts were staying put if I wanted the system to stay intact and secure.
So the curtains got cut down, washed, and dried by the ever helpful Mama P. 

I rigged shower curtain ring/track curtain clip do-hickies to hang them up again, since the tabs were now gone. (Mama P's idea. So helpful)

Yet again, thank you Ikea.
I actually really like how it looks.

Al, Pookie (the dog), and I set about ironing and rehanging the fresh and clean curtains.

Wrinkle free? Hair free?
Meh, close enough.

To our great consternation, we'd forgotten that cotton shrinks, and the curtains which previously had an attractively generous break on the floor, were now were waiting for a flood.

Since flood insurance is not necessary on a 2nd floor condo,
neither are annoying 3 inch slivers of daylight.

To say I was unreasonably upset is an understatement. There may have been tears. It's a theme at the Cabindo the past few months I guess.

I've shrunken other cotton curtains previously, and fixed them by rewashing and line drying. Figured it was worth a try on these suckers too.  
When that was done and we hung the first panel; they were better, but still too short. 
I was again thrilled and handled it exceedingly calmly and well.

Back to the washer they went to get wet, we had a soothing ice cream break, and then tried option 3 while the curtains were still damp:

Nothing to take out your anger like tug of war with purpose.
This of course turned into us trying to pull each other over.
No one was hurt, but Pookie was VERY worried the whole time.

Lo and behold, it worked: those suckers all touched the floor. We prayed they would not shorten up as they dried, and luckily they did not. 
There was no ironing of these babies and risk shrinking. They are rocking the 'crushed linen' look, and it actually seems intentional/passible. The new renters even noted that they liked them (even if they were just being polite: #kludgeforthewin).

The new folks don't have, nor do they plan on getting furry pets anytime soon. So as long as there isn't some errant spaghetti sauce accident: they shouldn't have to enjoy toil through washing the drapes. 
And they can change their pants wherever, whenever they please.


Friday, August 28, 2015

New House, Old Chair

The new place is getting unpacked, slowly but surely. Al and I each have an 'office' room which are box repository areas right now, but other than those black holes; most rooms are liveable.

The modern architecture of the Links house (yes, it still needs a better name), goes very well with my horde of mid-century modern furniture, which also compliment Al's modern-leaning tastes.

Here is one little corner in the family room (adjacent to the kitchen) that will surely get shuffled around, but is a good start down the 'clean & neutral' road this place seems to call for.

Navy approves of the Craigslist chair.

I got that chair for free and fixed up the worn finish. Happens to be one of these Baumritter brand ($$$) bad boys, but I have no plans to actually sell it.

El chair bones

There may or may not be about 6 other chair 'projects' stashed away in our storage area for some undetermined future use. Options, I consider them options.

Until those options are exercised: they are darn good box shelves.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting the Condo Ready to Rent

The past several weeks have been an exercise in finishing the myriad of 80% done projects at the Cabindo.
SO MANY moments of 'damn, that looks great.....and only took an hour..... damn. I REALLY should have done that 2 years ago'.

Oh well. Nothing to dwell on.

Switchplates seem, in particular, to have been something of a huge blind spot for me.

Open switch plate with unfinished woodwork transforms to:

So, so simple

Oh hello there you pretty 'tenants-wont-run-the-same-risk-of-electrocution-that-I-did' thing.
I'll lie to myself and say I lived for the adventure of it all.

Aaaand another switch plate oversight rectified:

Call me Steel, Stainless Steel, baby

Seriously. 2+ years. I can't even remember what I thought was such an impediment to finish.
Papa Steve finished this one, so; guess I never really did get over the mystery problem, just outsourced the solution.

Actually, more than half of the switch plates that had no special construction requirements never even made it back onto the walls after painting.

Painting was the day after closing.....for SHAME, Lindsay!

But: fear not. Yesterday was momentous: ALL OUTLETS AND SWITCHES ARE COVERED.
That deserves a milkshake. Or hopefully, even better; a renter?

oh, oh but I have


Friday, June 26, 2015

Time To Say Goodbye

Well, it's the end of an era. A relatively short era, but a very important one in my life.
The Cabindo is empty.
I have moved.
It's exciting and sad all at the same time.

Mr.Man and I bought a townhouse about a mile away from the Cabindo a couple weeks ago. The Cabindo was a lady, and new place is definitely a dude; so while it's a very different vibe; he's a handsome fellow, and I'm so excited to get to live there.

When the moving truck was full and the Cabindo was empty this past Saturday, I sat on the floor and ugly cried.
I loved living there.
In that moment, it didn't feel empty; it still felt like home, but somehow I was missing all my furniture and stuff, or just didnt see that it was gone.
The new house did not feel like home at that point, and still doesn't; but it's getting there. We have a mountain of boxes in every room, so hopefully as the trove of stuff gets sorted and put away (or thrown/given away), it will start to fulfill the job of 'home'. It has big shoes to fill, but I think it will do very nicely.
Once all the damn kitchen stuff is put away.
And there is a bed to sleep on.
And a dresser in which to put clothes away. (I know, how could I have refinished so many dressers and not have one? Answer: I'm after 2 matching ones.)

On a less sappy note: anyone looking for an apartment to rent in Reston, VA??
Thats right, the Cabindo will live on in my life as a rental property. I'm even leaving the highly prised Porch Couch for the next occupant to enjoy.
I'm clearly biased, but see above: it's a great place. And you can have kitties/puppies, and a boat, and lots of happies.
Seriously, email me if interested.

Remember the Alamo Cabindo!!

-Lindsay P

PS. I have so many half finished posts about the Cabindo, I'll surely throw a couple of them on here before all is said and done with home #1. And there's always the new place...... ;)