Friday, September 1, 2017

Little American's "Big Boy" Room Makeover

Amazing how time flies....My little American turned 10 in August.  One of his birthday wishes was to convert his play room into his big boy room so he could move in.

Play room Christmas 2016

2 days after his pool party celebration, we began our DIY transformation.....

Initially we were going to hire someone to paint the room.  Surprisingly, our little guy wanted us to do it as a fun family project.

East wall Before

Well, after about 10 minutes of taping off the trim, guess who gave up leaving everything else to Papa and I?

East wall after

The wall color was completely his idea.   Both Papa and I were originally  unhappy with his choice.  However, once the color was up we were both sold.

We found the indoor/outdoor area rug  at

West wall Before

West wall after

The 3 cubby storage benches by Martha Stewart were purchased 9 years ago to furnish the play room.  The bench cushions and storage bins were unsalvageable after years of the Little American's numerous art projects.  Unfortunately, the unique size of the bench made it difficult to find a replacement.  So, instead we used chair cushions found at Ikea.  Red and Blue bins from Target.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Victorian Tile Pathways...Quintessential English!

Before the winter rain in late November, we started on a much needed curb appeal project repainting the exterior, adding decorative shutters and replacing old shrubs with boxwood evergreens and Italian cypress for a more traditional look.   The project also included a new straight pathway from the sidewalk to our front door.  We had it made of concrete with a brick border.  I am happy with the new path but it was not my first choice.  Since I had other home projects I wanted to complete too, I had to spread my funds across the board.

My first choice was a black and white checkered tile pathway like those common in England.  The  style is referred to as "Victorian tile flooring".

Check these walkways out:

The look was popularized during the 19th century neo-gothic revival which is also known as Victorian Gothic.  The style uses mosaic multi-colored  and patterned floors made of polished stone or marble.
Historically, the cost of materials and labor limited this type of flooring to palatial estates and public buildings like universities, government  centers or grand cathedrals.

In the late 19th century that all changed and the more affordable tile making methods developed at that time made the floor pattern tiling available to the growing upper middle classes of the era.
 Thanks in large part to Herbert Minton, son of successful and popular earthenware potter Thomas Minton, this change came about.

Check these walkways out:

 Herbert used his knowledge of earthenware to develop new industrialized production methods for creating decorative tiles known as encaustic or inlaid tiles.
 His new technique allowed mass production and brought this once exclusive look to the homes of many Enlanders.
Looking forward to continuing the curb appeal projects in the spring when the rain stops.  My next task/goal is to add dentil moulding trim above the windows like the images below.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

Here is to Christmas 2016.  It was a year full of challenges, but it was wonderful decorating the home to end the year on a creative note.  Keeping fingers crossed for a prosperous 2017.  

Christmas day dinner with Daniel's aunties and uncles.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 All Hallows Eve

We had  another festive year with several hundred little goblins,ghouls,and super heroes at our door. 
2 days before Halloween, Daniel hosted his 2nd fright night sleepover.

This is a photo of last year's sleepover when the weather was perfect for the kids to enjoy watching their favorite movie outside.
This year we received some much needed rain so Daniel had to host movie night indoors. 

The sleepover was a great success with the kids sugared up and playing non-stop past midnight. 

Halloween Night
Here is our own Pikachu  trick or treating before doing what he now enjoys the most on out the candy.

A clip of the window projector show by AtmosFX from Daniel's playroom window which was a big hit with the kids and adults.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Years Anniversary At The Dacha

Spent another great weekend at the Russian River Dacha. This month marks our 5th year anniversary at our little redwood log cabin.    We are still as excited to spend our leisure time here as we when we first purchased the place in 2011.   

The decor has evolved with additional layers  of wall art and bibelots.
It's always a mental struggle for all of us to return home from here.   The Dacha just magically imbues a great sense of calm in our family.  It always warms our hearts when our son Daniel expresses how much he loves coming to the Dacha.   I envision him growing up here and returning back to the Dacha with his friends as a young adult and sharing his childhood memories with them.
2 1/2 years ago we were  contacted by FEMA informing us that due to our close proximity to the Russian river and the increase of floods in the area, our mandated flood insurance rates would be drastically increasing.  In fact, in the last 2 years, our annual rate has tripled.  In years past, FEMA has always subsidized insurance rates for this river town.  However,  the rising costs of natural disasters relief support due to increased occurrences has created a financial hardship on FEMA. It is why it announced that it can no longer continue.  Because the Dacha is not our primary home, we were subjected to the maximum rate increase.   Unfortunate news for us but we completely understood.

Our only alternative is to raise the entire cabin a minimum of 4 feet.  The project will be costly.  We lingered over the decision on whether to sell the cabin and seek another outside of the flood zone, or invest the money and go up.  After much deliberating, and sad eyes from our little guy who wants to keep it, we decided to pursue the lift.

So now in the search for a contractor  begins.   
This is a current photo of the dated but functional kitchen.  I am looking forward to the remodel. Our  contractor that worked on all of the other Dacha renovations advised that we hold off on the kitchen remodel until the cabin has been raised to avoid damage to remodel counter tops, flooring, etc.

 The main part of the remodel that I look forward to is removing the low ceilings in the bedrooms and kitchen to expose the height of the cabin's arched roof top.

The bathroom underwent a priority budget renovation just so that we could start to stay at the Dacha as it was unusable(no working sink,toilet,shower and huge hole in the floor)at the time we purchased the property.

Thank you for visiting and please stay tuned for more updates to come!