Friday, January 28, 2011

Living Lighter Without So Much…STUFF

With the new year, I know many of you have been working on organizing the different areas of your home.

Several years ago, I made a vow to get rid of  the unnecessary STUFF and get organized in my own home.   After my parents had both passed away,  it took my sister,  my husband and me  SEVEN  full weekends to clean out the home where my parents had lived for more than 40 years.   The amount of STUFF they had accumulated through the years was overwhelming.  I decided right then and there that I never wanted my daughter to have to  deal with cleaning out an over-abundance of  STUFF her dad and I have saved through the years.

Well, much like the pain of childbirth, the time-consuming and overwhelming task of cleaning out my parents’ home was soon forgotten and the STUFF in my own home, garage and the backyard storage sheds     I/we  no longer used  or wanted  continued to sit untouched…


a couple of months ago when I started packing for the move to the house in Hooterville.

I have been determined  to go through every closet, every drawer, every piece of paper, every storage box in the garage and sheds, every inch of this house and decide what to keep, toss, donate and sell BEFORE  it gets moved.   I refuse to take STUFF to the new house that we don’t want or use. 

Not surprising, after  38 years of marriage and 35 years in the same house,  this task has been equally as overwhelming as going through my parents’ home was.  Our garage has looked like a bomb went off in it ever since I started the sorting process.  Yikes!

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However, this is the perfect opportunity to pare down and   move only  the STUFF that is most important to us.

In this process of purging, I have realized I’ve kept a lot of STUFF for sentimental reasons.  I still have my daughter’s crib.  (She’s 28 for pity sakes!)  I still have her childhood rocking chair and her little wooden table and chair set.  I also saved  her Teddy Ruxpin bear, her Cabbage Patch and American Girl dolls  and some of the other popular toys from her early years.  I feel a sentimental  attachment to them but I also thought perhaps someday, if my daughter had children of her own, they might like to have them.  I have come to realize these things have more meaning to me than they do to my daughter.  So…it’s time to let them go.

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I also still have my wedding gown from our wedding 38 years ago.   

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If/when my daughter gets married, I’m sure she will want to pick out a wedding gown that is reflective of her taste and the current styles rather than  wear mine that is out of fashion, yellowed, stained and has a weird smell  after being packed away for so many years.  So why am I saving it?  It’s a HUGE dress with tier after tier of lace.  It weighs a ton and takes up a lot of space to store it.   It’s time to let the wedding gown go too. 

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But, before I get rid of it, I do plan to cut a piece of the lace off  to be made into a special (smaller) keepsake…to appease the sentimental part of me.

It also occurred to me that I have kept a lot of STUFF because I’m afraid I might need it again someday.   Things I bought years ago and used for years have served their purpose but I continue to hold onto them…JUST IN CASE.  Heaven forbid…what if I might want it or need it again?!   In reality though, I’m finding I didn’t even remember I had most of this STUFF until I started going through the storage bins so, in all likelihood,  I’m sure I won’t even miss it after it’s gone.

As I continue to go through the process of deciding what to keep, toss, donate and sell, I still have a tendency to want to keep more than I should but I have weeded out an unbelievable amount of STUFF.  This is only about 1/3  of the STUFF that will be sold at our garage sale.  (Doesn’t look like much in the photo but in some places STUFF is piled up 3 feet high!)

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We’ll be living a lot lighter and more organized in the house in Hooterville and I think it’s going to feel really good!

What about you?  Do you hold on to things because you are attached to STUFF, like me?  Or do you find it easy to let go of things you no longer want or need?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

From Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan (A Bathroom Metamorphosis)

I’ve been itching to  post the results of  the house in Hooterville hall bathroom renovation but I was detained in Hooterville last week babysitting my daughter’s two cats and dog while she was out of town and didn’t have access to my blogging computer.

So even though Rodney, the cabinet guy who remodeled my kitchen, is still working on the storage cabinet for this bathroom, and I don’t have the chair rail molding up yet,  I’m now ready to reveal the transformation…which turned out to be a pretty remarkable transformation, if I do say so myself! 

Just a reminder of what we inherited when we bought the house…

a mish-mash of bad flooring


a privacy wall that made the toilet area extremely cramped

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a pedestal sink that afforded ZERO storage


no mirror

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and approximately 5 feet of wasted space to the left of the pedestal sink.

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After we bought the house, I painted the peach walls white, just to freshen up the space until I could decide what I wanted to do in here.

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While pondering renovation options,  I was of the opinion the privacy wall should come down but there was just a hint of doubt in my mind so I asked my readers.  The overwhelming consensus was YES, rip it out! 

You don’t have to tell me twice!  Out it came!

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In fact, the whole bathroom was gutted, right down to the studs.

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Below the new bathtub is in and the tile being installed. 

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I used bead board wallpaper on the lower part of the walls and the paint color on the upper walls ended up being  a happy accident.  I couldn’t decide what color I wanted to use in here and on a whim I thought I’d  *try*  the the same color I painted the formal living room and dining room since I had a whole gallon of it left.  It’s  a bluish gray called Winter in Paris (Valspar paint sold at Lowe’s).  I actually like it better in this bathroom than I do in the formal living and dining room.

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When you compare it to the aqua in the adjoining bedroom and the green in the hallway, you can see that it is really more gray than it appears in most of these photos.

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Inspired by user Colleen_Christine on Rate My Space,  I went on the hunt for a free-standing vanity similar to hers and found one identical  here  (although I didn’t get as good a deal as she did).  I was pretty nervous about ordering it sight unseen but when it arrived, I was 100 percent pleased.  It’s a solid, sturdy piece and it made the trip from New Jersey to Florida without getting so much as a nick or scratch on it.

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With a  little paint, new hardware (instead of the wood knobs it came with), and a top made from the same  LG Hi-Mac solid surface  I selected for the kitchen  (fabricated by my amazing cabinet guy, Rodney), and ta da…

WOWSERS!  Ain’t she purdy????

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(For my readers who voted on the other style vanity, I’ve decided to use something similar to it when I renovate the 3rd bathroom in the house within the next few months.)

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As I mentioned, my cabinet guy  is building a storage cabinet for that far corner.  It will be 24 inches wide,  go all the way to the ceiling to look like a built-in and it will be finished off at the top with crown molding.

**Update:  the built-in storage cabinet can be seen here.

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I love the flooring!  Believe it or not, it’s vinyl planks from Home Depot.  This was one of the special order colors  but it only took about 7 to 10 days to come in.   Oh how I wish I had used this product instead of the wood laminate I selected for some of the other rooms in the house!

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I’m still keeping my eye out for some little something to add a pop of color in here, and as soon as my cabinet guy gets the storage cabinet installed, I’ll update with photos of it but in the meantime, I’m totally loving my new bathroom. 

Hmmm….I think the cat is liking it too!

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Product Sources:

48 inch Vanity:  Sagehill Design Heartland Home  (Model #HH4821D)

Vanity top:  LG Hi Mac Solid Surface in “Graphite Granite” (G103)

Vanity cup pulls and  knobs:  Lowe’s

Chrome Sink Faucet:  Moen “Caldwell”  (Lowe’s)

Paint:  Valspar (Lowe’s) Winter in Paris  (5002-1A)

Bead board wallpaper:  fellow blogger, Rhoda’s (Southern Hospitality)  shop

3 light polished chrome vanity bar:  Portfolio (Lowe’s) #0226810

White Framed Mirror:  Allen & Roth 32 x 44 inches (Lowe’s Item #239797)

White ceramic & chrome tissue cover, soap dispenser and cup:  T.J. Maxx

Wicker basket:  T.J. Maxx

Shower Tiles:  Ceramiche Guocera Glazed Tiles in Canyon White

Shower/tub  faucet:  American Standard Colony in polished chrome  (Home Depot)

White ceramic tile corner shower shelves:  Lowe’s

White waffle weave shower curtain:  Target

Vinyl Plank Flooring:  Traffic Master “Allure” in Mahogany from Home Depot

Bath rug:  J.C. Penney’s Linden Street



Linking up to:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bathroom Renovation Sneak Peek

The renovation on the hall bathroom at the house in Hooterville is taking a little longer than I expected.  However, it IS progressing and I am extremely excited about the changes.

Everything was ripped out, right down to the studs in some places.  Initially, I was undecided about replacing the bathtub and the tile around the tub  right now because it wasn’t THAT bad.    I finally came to the conclusion it was probably better  to bite the bullet, financially  and replace everything now, rather than try to do it in stages, since remodeling is so disruptive and messy. 

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Here’s a not-so-great photo to give you a sneak peek of the new tile, bathtub,  flooring, bead board wallpaper, paint color and the base of the new toilet.  (I asked the contractor to leave  the toilet tank off temporarily so it would be easier for me to hang and paint the bead board wallpaper behind the toilet.)

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As I recall, when I asked for opinions, the vote was unanimous to remove the privacy half-wall and what a wonderful difference it made!  In addition,  using all one type of flooring instead of the mish-mash combination  of (badly laid) tile and parquet certainly enlarged the space, visually.

Just in case you forgot, here’s a “before” photo of what we inherited when we bought the house.


The new sink/vanity is also in.  It was installed Monday but I’m going to keep you in suspense a little longer as to which style I decided on.  I will say I am over-the-moon THRILLED with it!    It’s BEAUTIFUL!  Or at least I think so.    I’ve stood in the doorway at least 47 times, just staring at it and smiling.

There is still work to do  in here  so I  hope you will keep checking back for the big reveal.  Hopefully, I’ll have better pictures to share and, for those who might be interested,  I’ll soon be providing the low-down on all the details like paint color,  flooring info etc. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Roving Rudolph Mystery—Part II

Before we get too far past the Christmas holiday season, I wanted to provide  an update on the Roving Rudolph Mystery.  If you missed that post, you may want to go read it first so this post makes more sense…or as much sense as something this bizarre can make.

During the month of November and into December, Rudolph continued to gad-about the My Cottage of Bliss neighborhood, as he had done since mid-summer. 

On this day, he had picked up  a different straw hat, a pair of  red shorts, a  Hawaiian lei, sunglasses, and a camera.  What is difficult to clearly see in this picture is Rudolph has a red straw up to his mouth and appears to be sipping something from  a red “Coke” beverage container.  Yep, I’d say there is little doubt Rudolph is enjoying his laid-back Florida vacation to the max!

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Below  he was sporting a Florida State University pennant banner and  a yellow handkerchief that he elected to wear on his antlers.  This reindeer is one style icon!

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It would appear Rudolph  is not only a fan of  the various  Florida college and professional sports teams but he enjoys playing sports himself.  The next time I saw him, he was wearing tennis shoes and carrying a tennis  racquet.  (But if he wears his shoes on his front feet, how do you suppose  he swings the racquet?)  There was also something above his hat that depicts the University of Florida gator mascot.  (A tee shirt wrapped around his antlers, perhaps? I couldn’t tell.) 

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Closer to Christmas, Rudolph was spotted fraternizing with other reindeers.  He stayed in this yard longer than I had seen him stay anywhere but at some point, I think he must have slipped off to the mall to do a little Christmas shopping because he was carrying a blue plastic bag.  (I’d love to know what he bought.  Something sports-related, no doubt, but hopefully some shorts that aren’t quite so baggy!)

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Several days before Christmas, I left to go over to  the house in Hooterville.   I was gone for about 9 or 10 days so when I returned to My Cottage of Bliss on New Year’s Day, I truly expected Rudolph to be gone.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted him on the roof of this house!

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Geeez, I have to say this sight sort of tugged at my heartstrings.  Still wearing his sunglasses, doesn’t it appear as though he’s looking toward the sky and waiting for Santa Claus, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen to pass over with the sleigh so he can link up with them?

Poor Rudolph.  I think he might have  missed his chance.    I suspect Santa and the other reindeers have already returned to the North Pole to rest up and then prepare for Christmas 2011.

Now it will be interesting to see if Rudolph continues his vacation in this Florida neighborhood until NEXT Christmas.