The Landing of a Lifetime: I've Made a Huge Mistake Edition

It took me less than 24 hours to come crawling back here to tell you that I've made a huge mistake. Maybe less of a huge mistake and more of a huge miscalculation.

Yesterday, I had straightforward plans to rip up the carpet from my staircase, sand down the wood, and stain it to restore it to its original state. Boy did I underestimate the painstaking steps the previous owner took to make sure nothing could be reversed with ease. I knew the wood had been painted, but I did not know mass amounts of hardware would be mounted on it.

Under the carpet, I found a rubber backing glued to every single step. This is in addition to the metal bar soundly nailed to each and every step from the very bottom to the tippy top.

Sanding and staining? That is the stuff of yesterday. The new goal is to get this goo and hardware off of the steps so we can take off our shoes before Thanksgiving.

The Landing of a Lifetime

When I saw it, I knew the landing and staircase in our house should be a statement area. It's the first thing you see when you walk into the house and the big old blank wall draws your eye all the way to the top of the house.

I've thrown around some ideas about what to do with the wall and we've also made great progress on stripping the banister down to its original state, but before I can move forward with polishing anything off, I need to address the staircase.

A thick layer of beige carpet is covering - you guessed it - painted hardwood. A very thick layer of paint at that. Sanding isn't for the faint of heart and doing every single crevice of this might break me, so I'm thinking of going halfsies with myself on this one.

 Image via  Houzz

Image via Houzz

 Image via Design Alchemy

Image via Design Alchemy

This approach splits the difference, meaning I would only need to sand the top part of the step and then paint over the bottom half. "Only" I say now.

Time to break out the orbital sander.

Ikea Kitchens - Tell it to Me Straight

I had to delay my Ikea kitchen home measurement appointment because I'm going to Sweden of all places next week. Hoping to return with lots of design inspo and after watching the Great British Baking Show Season 1, one of these in my tummy.

 Image via

Image via

Ikea will come over when I return to measure my kitchen and put the Kitchen Remodel Project into motion. From my understanding, the parts are affordable, but the labor is not. I've built some Ikea dressers in my day - can I build a whole kitchen? I need to identify the break even on sanity vs. savings in this scenario.

Our plan is to hire contractors for the flooring, electrical, and plumbing. We'll demo ourselves. We have a few appliances all ready to go. So, what's the damage going to be? It's a small space in desperate need of countertops and storage space. Maybe a few floating shelves.

Did you build an Ikea kitchen? Did you pay Ikea to build your kitchen? Did you go another route entirely? I'm dying to know here, folks. Tell it to me straight.

Scavenged: Most of My Living Room

I can't believe the luck I've had on Craig's List lately, although my luck is preempted by plenty of internet scouring, studying, and saving. Right now, we are squirreling away as much money as possible for a big kitchen demo and renovation, so any room I want to freshen up needs to be freshened on a budget, which has made Craig's List a real asset lately for buying, as well as selling so that I have more capital to turn around and spend.

Ikea Stockholm Rug

Eames Style Rocking Chair

Danish Lounge Chair and Cushions

Picture Frames

The keys to Craig's List success are:

  1. Know what you're looking for.
  2. Don't get distracted by junk you don't need, even if it's great.
  3. Check the site often.
  4. Always negotiate. I typically offer half of the asking price and you'd be surprised how little people haggle with me after my initial offer. I go in ready to negotiate, but hardly ever have to pull up my sleeves.

The recent refresh to the living room was done for just a few hundred dollars thanks to the One Woman's Trash approach. Because I spend a lot of time at CMU, I love to look at data, so here's a breakdown of what I saved:

List Price My Price
Ikea Stokholm Rug $199 $50
Eames Style Rocking Chair $100 $30
Danish Lounge Chair and Cushions $600+ $200
Total $899+ $280

Check out those savings!

I also scavenge picture frames from yard sales and my parent's throw away pile whenever I can, so there's a stock pile in my house for when I'm ready to hang something on the walls. Not sure of the value of these particular frames, but it's safe to say it's more than $0. Scavenge savings achieved once again.

It's peaks and valleys with the scavenge game, but like all good things, patience and a good eye help things along. Happy scavenging, gang!