Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Living room Page 3 of 4

There Are Cows in Our Living Room!

Happy Friday! I am stopping by to give you a quick update on our living room – we now have cows!

Not just cows. The Cows. Nine of them.

This cow print was sold by IKEA for 99 cents each when we spotted them a few year ago. Slav was immediately in love. He bought nine of them – yes, he bought nine identical prints! We had them hung 3 x 3 on our bedroom wall for a while and had no idea what to do with them. Until one day, an idea struck to let our friends in North Carolina decorate them. The goal was to have nice different products, from nine people/couple who made significant impact on our lives during our time in North Carolina. And all the people we asked kindly accepted the challenge! By the time we moved to CO, we had seven of them decorated in very different ways (still need to pick up the last two from NC). It is like a DIY art gallery from our friends.

And our living room could really use some art:


We hardly had anything hung at this point so the living room looked so pale.

We picked the southern wall to hang the cows:


I used some newspaper to map out where I wanted the cows to live, and Roxie was of course there to help:


Maybe she smelled our old apartment from these cows? Maybe she smelled our old friends who decorated them?


It took me about an hour to get them all neatly lined up. Now this is the view when you walk into our living room:


Pretty nice, right? Since I had my hammer out, I also hung the new painting we got from Poland in our little hallway:


This painting is also from Adam Faglio, the painter who did the castle painting in our bedroom.

These were tiny updates to our living space compared to most of the projects we do (grading with gravel this week, and roof next week!), but it made the space so much warmer and more welcoming. I hope you like them as much as we do!

Brighten Interior with Paint

When we first moved in, every interior door in the ranch was brown.


I love a good wooden door. But these doors are far from perfect. They have holes, broken corners, missing screws…Our bedroom door has a fist-size hole in the middle and was patched over with a piece of thin brown paper.


However sweet the message is, we do not wish to live with these doors. Slav hated these doors from the day 1 and was nagging me all these time to paint them white. It is interesting how different details bother us differently. Slav was so bothered by old paint on the floors, the dirty grout in the bathroom and kitchen, and the baseboards vent covers with peeling paint. I on the other hand, cannot stand carpet,  nail hole on the walls, or dusty surfaces.

Painting doors is actually a lot of work – if you do it right. The doors need to be removed, properly cleaned and dried, patched and sanded, then primed and painted. The hinges and screws all need to be taken off, cleaned and painted as well. The previous owner painted the wall white without taking the doors off, so all the hinges were more or less covered in white paint and these are very difficult to remove. When getting painted, hardware usually need many thin coats of spray paint, and take a couple days to completely dry.

But the result is worth it when you go from this:


to this:


The pictures were taken on the same time of the day, both in sunny afternoons. You can see how much brighter the hallway is now with white doors. I personally adore a good black door, but Slav was like “what!?”. Since I knew that we are changing the main floor plan and all the doors will be replaced one way or the other, I picked my battles and moved on with white.


Not only white, FREE white. We inherited a bucket of interior eggshell paint in the garage, which was likely used for trims. Eggshell is not a particularly good sheen for doors, but I could not argue with cheap. So interior eggshell these door shall become.


The first batch of doors I painted were two closet doors for linen closet and pantry. This was actually the same time when we painted the hardware for our shed. In total we have nine interior doors on the main floor, if not counting the one between kitchen and garage. There are two bedroom doors, two pairs of closet doors in the bedrooms, bathroom door, linen closet door, and pantry closet door. We took down both pairs of the closet doors during carpet removal, and eventually rehung the pair in Slav’s office. In our bedroom, we opted for grey curtains which give a much softer look.


That day was a massive paint party among me and the dogs. They love to hang out in the garage whenever I am working there with the garage door is open, probably because they can see people and dogs walking by. But every tail wagging brings dust and hair onto wet paint, so I have to lock them inside sometime. In such situation they usually sit by the garage door and whine to remind me they are waiting (!) to be let out again…oh dogs.



The closet doors are small and dried quickly. They were up in just the next day. And what were left includes the two bedroom doors and a bathroom door. It took me another month before getting them off the hinges – I just did not want to work on them. They are heavy, damaged, and just gross. It is funny that I chose to live with them but not work on them.


Above: the bedroom door on the left and the bathroom door on the right; Below: Office door (left) and bedroom door.


On the Labor day weekend, I stopped procrastinating and brought them out to the garage. This was how they look after a good cleaning Friday night:


Saturday morning, I set out my rollers, primer and paint. I like to prepare everything ahead of time and work in big batches.


By noon, one coat primer was on:


This primer gives pretty good coverage so I moved on with paint. It took two coats and some touch-ups at the end, so the paint game lasted until Sunday morning.


I also sprayed paint all the hardware black, just like what I did with the closet doors. I had to soak all the hinges in paint thinners and scrape the old paint off – they were finally ready (well most of them) Sunday morning:



I like to have the handles and knobs dry upright. Fruit boxes from Costco came in very handy:


We let everything dried for more than a day with the garage door open, and brought them in by the end of Monday. Here is Slav’s office door in white:


And this is the same door before:


Our bright little hallway:


But the work is not over yet – all the screws are still in their golden glory and need touch up.





So I sprayed the same black paint on a take-out container lid and brushed all the screws with a small brush:





And this is what our hallway looks like from Slav’s office: white, white, and white.


A fresh coat of paint made these doors looking a lot better, but they are flawed and we will replace them down the road. After living in this house for 2.5 months, Slav and I started to feel clear how we want to update the floor plan of the main level. None of these door, if we stick to our (secret) plan, will be used in the new plan. So stay toned!

The Small Project Continues

Hi friend! Happy Monday! We had another busy weekend here in the ranch house. We got a fire pit off Craigslist and picked up some free firewood in the area. Loading, splitting, and stacking firewood took a lot of time! Slav definitely got his workout in this weekend.

I, on the other hand, am recovering from the first week from work. Not working for 5 months really made a difference on my energy level, and driving 45-minute each way has taken a lot out of me. My did manage to take the Basic Life Support (BLS) and got certified! The BLS classes at my work are offered by American Heart Associations (AHA) and teach people how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use automated external defibrillator (AED) on adults, children, and even infants. I hope that I would never have chance to use my training – because that would mean someone is in trouble – but if there is an unfortunate situation, I could potentially save someone’s life!

Without my help, Slav still did plenty of updates on the ranch house. Some are big and some are small. I adore small updates, which could really make our life easier (I’ve shared you some before here). So I am excited to share the second round of small updates with you today!

1. Upgrade the backdoor lighting

Since we moved in, we have improved the function of the back entrance a lot by installing a new storm door. Demoing the old patio and metal covers and building a new concrete patio certainly helped too. However, the porch light next to the back door was till this giant stadium lighting:

It is 600W (!) and lights up not only ours, but also our neighbors’ backyards.


Because of its blinding power, we tried very hard not to use it. Slav finally could not take it anymore and bought this light from the Habitat for Humanity:


It can be mounted in three ways. We decided to honor the wall mount tradition. Since it was never used, all we needed to do was to install a LED light bulb (also from habitat for Humanity, for only $1.50 a pop!).


And this was what it looked like 20 minutes later:


Easier on the eyes, right?

2. Moving Dog leashes to the garage

As I told you before, our kitchen is a high high high traffic zone. From basement to the main floor, from garage to the living space, going out of the back door… to get anywhere, you would have to pass the kitchen. So it quickly became a messy drop-off zone. To keep the kitchen neat, I decided to find everything a designated place. That means shoes off in the garage, keys and wallets goes to the front entry, etc. This week, we moved the dog leases out of the kitchen to the garage. Our kitcken immediately looked cleaner, from this:


to this:


The leashes are now hanging on two hooks next to the garage-kitchen door , on the garage side:


I picked up these two lovely hooks from IKEA last time we stopped by:



I wanted these hooks years ago when they first came to the market, and finally had an excuse to get them! Yay!

3. Hang the closet door in Slav’s office

When we first moved in, we took all the main floor carpet out. And we removed the closet doors in the bedrooms to make things easier:

01 start from bedroom closet

After we removed the carpet, we did not bother to put back the closet doors. In our bedroom, we hung a pair of IKEA curtains instead of the doors:


But in Slav’s office, it looked like this for quiet a few weeks:


The closet is organized, but it still made the room look busy. So we decided to add the doors back on:


As you could see, I painted them white to match the wall color. Eventually we will reverse the closet to face the bedroom and dry wall this side, so I wanted to create a feeling that there is not a closet from the get-go. Now when we walk into the room, our eyes no longer land on the clothing in the closet, but more focus on the desk and the computer. I hope it will help Slav to be more focused when he works here.

4. Switching out all the baseboard vents and grilles

We have 6 baseboard vents and two return grilles on the main floor, and they all looked like this:



Two baseboard vents



Return Grilles

Since we were in the process of installing a central AC, we replaced all the old metal vents and grilles with these plastic ones from Lowe’s:


Slav spent a couple hours switching them out. The old metal ones were rusted and some screws were stuck. So it took some force to wrestle the old vent covers off. There was also a lot of dust tucked in these vents! So Slav vacuumed them all out. It made me feel so good knowing that we are no longer breathing these dust!


New vent in the bathroom


New vent in the kitchen



New return grilles in the living room

The crisp and bright white vents and grilles certainly made the floor look a lot worse. LOL. That is the story when you renovating an old house, anything new just makes the old stuff next to it 100 times worse! I am not bothered by the floor as much as Slav is, but we definitely want to refinish all the floor on the main level soon. More furniture we have here, more difficult the refinishing would be. So before we start knocking down walls or work on any build-ins, we will have to work on the floor first!

Here you go, four recent small updates! We are discovering small stuff to do everyday and I will come back to tell you more when we have a few done. Don’t you just love these small upgrades? Have you done any lately in your home?


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