Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finally a Finished Bathroom!

Okay, so we still need to do some touch-up painting and baseboard, but it's so close to done, I thought I'd share now. First, brace yourself for the 'before' picture. I'm warning you, it's not easy to look at...

((( shudder )))

But after months of hard work, and plenty of frustration along the way, we finally have a bathroom we love.

Eco-groovy cabinets (FSC certified birch with non-offgassing, non-urea-formaldehyde finishes) with Paperstone countertop (made from recycled paper!), Marmoleum flooring, super-efficient toilet, no-VOC paints... a green homeowner's paradise! :-)

The mirror frame is decorated with rocks that Matt, Carlos, and I collected from Agate Beach. I think it's my favorite part of the whole room.

Storage baskets made from recycled paper.

Shower surround also constructed from Paperstone.

Another shot of the mirror.

I'm kind of in awe of how much storage we were able to cram into this tiny space - tons of cabinets in the bathroom itself, plus we were even able to use an under-utilized corner of the bathroom to add a linen closet in the hallway just outside the bathroom door (though I forgot to photograph that).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's the Chicken Taj Mahal

I cannot tell you how much time and energy we spent getting our property ready for our birds - probably more than on any other project! There was lots of fencing to be built, and lots of gates, and then of course the little barn itself... but it's finally done (well, okay, except for some custom feeders Matt's still building).

We were feeling overwhelmed so opted to have the basic structure pre-built, but we painted it ourselves and outfitted the inside with all kinds of perches, nesting boxes, storage, etc.

While I would have liked to go a 'greener' route for the barn's construction, I have to say that I would do it this way again in a heartbeat, given our time constraints and the need for the structure to be super secure. Duane at Capital City Sheds did an awesome job - he pre-cut all the materials, showed up at our house at 8:00 in the morning, assembled the shed, and was gone by 5:00 that same day. Pretty incredible to watch, and much faster than Matt or I could have done. Not too expensive either.

Here are some pics of its progression.

Here it is with some paint (same color as the house), and with the lower fence posts in.

Upper fence posts added...

Side enclosures going in...

Some salvaged windows and a couple of Wooly Pocket planters (made mostly from recycled plastic bottles, how cool is that?) complete the front of the barn.

We're still planning to add a little cement patio/landing in front of the big door, with a small planter on either side for home-grown greens for the birds.

The barn interior and the yard is divided into two sections - one for chickens and one for the ducks and turkeys. The duck/turkey side has lots of nice trees and such, but the lower yard for the chicken is in need of some enrichment - I'm planning on adding a few maple trees but don't want to put anything too close to the fence because I don't want them to use it to escape. Any other enrichment ideas besides trees?

Bye-bye from Rosa. :-)

Fruit Trees!

I am so excited to have so many mature fruit trees on our new property! They are all badly in need of pruning, but are still producing a ton of fruit.

Apples, apples, and more apples!

How do I know when they are ready to be picked? They are kind of small right now but a few have fallen to the ground already.

It looks like there are maybe five or ten different varieties of apples!

And the plums are beginning to be ripe enough to eat! Hooray!!!

A Sea Life Bed for Carlos

We really wanted to find a nice twin/full bunk bed for our son, Carlos' room at the new house. But I wasn't thrilled about spending $1,000 on a child's bed, and I couldn't find any eco-groovy twin/full beds even if I was willing to spend a lot. Thankfully, I have a very capable husband and he and I decided to build a bed instead. We found some plans on the internet for about $10 and constructed it from solid redwood. We ended up spending more than we hoped just on the materials (I think it was around $500), but at least we ended up with a sturdy bed that hopefully had less negative impact on the environment than a commercially made bed would have. (And I can say with 100% certainty that it wasn't made with child labor in China!) We used a low-VOC clear finish on the wood.

Carlos' current obsession is sea life, and it's an interest I'm happy to nurture in any way that I can. I decided to turn the bottom bunk of his bed into an undersea wonderland, and he and I are both thrilled with the results. :-)

The felt animals are from Etsy sellers ObeyMyBrain, jelene, and Heartfelt3, with a few more still on the way from LochNessMonsters. I made the bedspread from an old blue sheet, which I tie-dyed and added some sparkly fish appliques to. I found some ocean-y fabric for the backdrop and the ceiling, and made a few clumps of 'seaweed' from green and blue ribbon. The finishing touch is a strand of white LED lights, which you can't see too well in the photographs, but they look super cool at night. :-)

Bedroom in Progress

Well, we're all moved into the new house. There's still a lot to be done, with minor tweaks scheduled soon and major renovations/additions over the course of years, but it feels good to be here full time, and the place already looks so much better with the work we've put in so far, and with all of our own furniture and decor here, it's so much more homey and appealing.

I have a few updates to share - I'll start with our bedroom which I've posted about a few times already. I'm bound and determined to use this extremely bright blanket we bought in Guatemala last April as our bedspread, but it's driving me nuts - I'm having the hardest time matching anything to it - I don't want our bedroom to be day-glow neon colors, but I do like this blanket...

The blanket in question - I have a love/hate relationship with this thing.

Beautiful embroidered pillows, also from Guatemala.

I think I want to hang these above the bed - they are from a huge vintage wall calendar that I found at an estate sale a while back. They are one of the few things I've been able to find that incorporate some of the vibrant colors of the blanket without being overwhelmingly bright/garish.

More Guatemalan accents above my antique dresser - a hand-painted chicken mask and brightly colored table runner I bought in Antigua.

On the eco-friendly front, our dressers (which we've had for years) are antiques, our bed frame is made from maple grown and processed here in the Pacific Northwest, and our mattress is all-natural latex, free of the chemical flame retardants, plastics, vinyl, and petroleum-based foams often found in conventional mattresses.