Archive for month: July, 2016

shining up the good stuff – brass fittings

12 Jul
July 12, 2016

so… if you’ve ever lived in an old house before (which is pretty much always if you’ve lived around here), you’ve probably dealt with old windows. i had an apartment in my 20’s in bellingham, and my super old windows looked right out over the bay. we didn’t really do much with them. they were old, creaky, sticky and pretty. i usually popped one or two open all winter, so i didn’t die of (the overused radiator) heat that i had zero control over.

20 years later, i have my very own Read more →

getting going – just getting started

11 Jul
July 11, 2016

for as cute as the photos of my old place looked, i realized right before we listed, that we had a lot of things that got put off, and a few things that were works-in-progress. you realize that most when you’re selling, because you’re basically finishing all those little… i’ll-get-to-that-later… things. and then you sell, and it’s all… not your problem any more. not that there was anything big… but just all the things you hoped for that space… cease.

and then you find a new place, and especially with the house we found, there’s just so much potential. you start imagining, and planning… and then you have to move. and you can’t do anything but schlep junk. boxes, and boxes and (holy cow, just purge already) more boxes. moving (with two small kids) is a drag. but (yay!) it’s over!

so. we’re in our new place. and although i was able to get a few things done before we got here, we are very much starting from scratch. the things i tried to get out of the way were bigger- i got the (asbestos!) popcorn scraped off every surface it covered, i got the downstairs floors refinished (original!! beautiful!!). and unfortunately, found out the upstairs floors were painted with lead paint. bummer. and you know who takes that off? NO ONE. so while i was having the ceilings fixed (popcorn removal jacked them just enough that i couldn’t paint) i also decided that the upstairs floors would get painted. it’s stop gap. maybe in a few years we’ll have them yanked out and new ones put in. kidding! i’m going to send my family on vacation and scrape all the paint off myself, because 100 YEAR OLD ORIGINAL FIR FLOORING!! i’m still kidding. i don’t know what the next step on the upstairs floor is. i’m not there yet.

what i really want is for beds to be off floors, and not be sleeping all in one room little-house-on-the-prairie style. feel me? so… this past weekend (the ceilings and some paint finished last friday) i busted out with painting trim and doors for the kid’s room and adding one more coat to the floor. and today, i need to bust out with painting the trim and floor in our room.

i’m truly awful at before and after. i always forget the before, and about halfway through (around midnight) i’m like… hmmmmm, i forgot to take a picture. and so i take one, and the next morning i think, hmmmmm, that picture looks like garbage. but! today i took some befores! it’s not true before, because the ceilings have all been redone, and the painters did the walls and ceilings, and there’s already one coat on the floor… but trust me. it still looks like a before on the doors and windows. i’m attacking those today. will try to post the afters tomorrow… HAHAHAHA assuming i finish before tomorrow.

up above- those are the windows. i’m going to start researching old windows. how can i save these, but still also have a heating efficient house? i think that’s a rainbow unicorn, yes? also, every single room has 3 windows. my living room… NINE. nine windows. one room. i’m sitting in my kitchen… just counted… 7. the people who built this house loved windows. also, has anyone heard of spackle or caulk? man, my perfectionist little heart is itching to get rid of all those cracks and curtain rod holes. speaking off… what on earth covered all these tens of windows? in some rooms, there’s nothing… no trace of anything. ghost blinds? i’m stumped.

and below:


this door technically goes to a place you don’t want to see. there’s eave storage all throughout the upstairs, but it’s not pretty. so lets just admire this filthy door. if you ever read door sixteen, i love her take on paint colors. she often references warm mayo as being a color in houses she moves into. this is warm mayo. i also have lots of pesto mayo (thanks jessica) in the downstairs. i cannot wait to paint away all the mayo in this house. please note the tiny knob- it’s brass! i promise it will look more brass in the ‘after’ pics.


another door. yes there are 3. this one actually belongs to a finished closet. a rather large finished closet. i’m not bragging. it’s the only closet in the house that doesn’t require anything from me other than painting it’s trim and door. it also doesn’t have a light fixture on the inside, with a cord coming out the wall beside it, plugged into the outlet outside. for this, i am grateful.


this is very close up photo of window fittings. they look black. they are actually brass. i shined them up in the kid’s room, and i felt like i had found treasure. finding gold under black grunge will do that. also, i get that you’re in this house every day, and maybe you didn’t know… but this is a 15 minute task. you missed out on admiring pretty brass fittings on the daily because you didn’t invest a little elbow grease. whatevs. i’ll do it and enjoy them. win!


one last fitting. because they are so gunky, and so is that window (barf), and this is truly a representational ‘before’ photo. but you know what’s better than fresh paint and some brass polish? nothing i can think of in relation to this photo. so i’m going to get to it. lots to do today. xoxo- k.


we bought a house! {again}

08 Jul
July 8, 2016 the martins say goodbye to the old house…

let’s see… left off… we were just getting ready to list our house. it happened! it looked adorable in the photos, we had the best agent ever. and much like all sales in seattle, it was on the market for a week, we reviewed the offers, there was one that won, and we were done.

so then. house hunting… wow. so much to see. so many considerations. and house hunting here is WACKO. i was somewhat worried about selling- i was freaked about buying. just to give you an idea, there were 9 offers on our house. nine. and it basically goes to the person who puts the best deal on the table. so when you’re looking, you get excited about a house, and you think… can i make an offer on this house that will beat out all other offers? am i willing to go through actually starting to like a place, only to lose out in some small (or big) way to someone, basically with more money? what is the most amount of money i’m willing to spend. and then up it. up it to discomfort. and then back down. and then get comfortable with upping it again. we did this back and forth while looking… talking about caps, and maxing, and what was realistically doable.

what’s crazy is that we looked at a lot of houses. all over seattle. so many of them were tiny. a few of them were huge. most of them were gorgeous. people put so much into their homes. i liked seeing that. because most houses here are old. old old. i’m trying to think if i saw anything younger than 60 years… doubtful. and strangely, having really wanted midcentury, i fell in love with houses that were about a century old. i looked at 3. and even odder, because we only bid on one house, we won it.

we won it.

god i love this house. i love it. i don’t know if i’ve ever loved a house. wait… yes. i loved an apartment i had in bellingham. my first apartment alone. and it was about 100 years old! maybe that’s where this love comes from. large spaces, wide trim, gorgeous old windows, tall ceilings… this house is… it’s amazing. ok. maybe it will be amazing. it’s got some good things going on. first, there’s a crazy amount of room. i think just about every house i’ve lived in in this city has been… right around 1000 square feet (or under). which is fine. i’ve learned to live in small spaces. i get small spaces. i would tell you my new square footage, but i’m almost embarrassed. almost.

the floors, original. the built ins, original. this crazy textured wallpaper stuff (lincrusta) that’s between my board and batten (that was under wallpaper and paneling) in the dining room… original. there were LAYERS of wallpaper to scrape (and discover!). there was asbestos popcorn, the floors needed refinishing… the plumbing and electrical need to be redone… but it feels like things that will feel good to do. this house has stood here for 102 years. 102!! i hope it stands here for 102 more.

i can’t wait to complete a few projects, and post along the way.

oh! and once there’s a dedicated corner for a workroom, get back to making. i miss it fierce. but first, time to paint some trim. xoxo- k.


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