Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Steph's New Web Page

That's right: web page. Not site. I don't want to have to maintain an extensive portfolio, and I don't actually want people to contact me. Haha. But I needed something professional, and something updated for the new year, so here it is:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Remember these photos...

These are the "before" photos of my master bedroom. Remember them well, because I am in the middle of a bedroom re-do that will knock you socks off.

My master bedroom is actually pretty awesome, functionality-wise. The high east-facing windows let in the early morning sunshine. The big west-facing windows look out into my back yard. I'm a big fan of sunshine and heat, so having west-facing windows in and of itself is a plus, to me. However, these windows are also offset by my home's large roof overhangs. This keeps a lot of direct sun off the windows in a passive-solar way.

The best part about the windows is watching the thunderstorms as I lay in bed. The room is truly a pleasure to sleep in. But it has some serious cosmetic issues.

Issue #1: That godawful carpet. Seriously?? No one should have to walk on that. It looks like something rejected by a public school. I'm getting rid of it and instead getting stain-resistant white. Yes, white. I don't have kids, I don't drink coffee in my bedroom; I'm an adult and I'm pretty sure I can handle white carpet. Nay-sayers, begone!

Issue #2: The blinds. They're in great shape, actually, but they aren't very bedroomy. More like 1980's attorney office. They must go.

Issue #3: Walls. The window wall frame is due for a repainting, the brick wall needs a good scrubbing, and all that lucious, honey-warm wood needs some refinishing.

Issue #4: The ceiling. It's fiberboard tile, and while I'm relieved it's not asbestos, it's still nausea-inducing. So out it goes, traded up for a smooth-finish drywall ceiling (none of that tape-and-texture here!) and a brand new ceiling fan. I've already mentally chosen the one I want from Lowe's.

Issue #5: The closet. It's huge, so I keep all kinds of stuff in there: skis, golf clubs, mountain bike gear, my faux xmas tree... And that's fine, but what would make it better? A custom built-in, complete with shoe rack, cute hooks, and a cubby for Miss Tim to sleep in.

Issue #6 is the fun part: decor. Window treatments, furniture, bedding, rugs, artwork and flowers. :)

So let the fun begin! I'm probably not going to post "during" pics, but I'll be sure to show off the after. This is my big indoor project for 2012 (barring any other unforeseen catastrophes, fingers crossed!) and what's most exciting to me about it is that it's 100% voluntary. That is, until now, my big projects have been must-dos: replace the thermostat, repair the chimney, replace the roof, retrofit the windows, insulate and drywall, major yard clean-up. But this is purely a gift to myself: a luxe bedroom retreat that I want and deserve.

Happy renovating!

Monday, January 23, 2012

R.I.P. Danny

It was a cold and blustery Saturday. I was spending the day painting and refinishing the master bathroom door and two sliding closet doors in my office. The storm would shudder through in bursts of wind. The clouds threw fistfuls of rain. I was sanding the closet doors outside, beneath the carport cover, and every time a serious gust of wind blew, I thought to myself, "How convenient! It takes all the sawdust right out of my way."

The wind gusts were pretty loud, even after I'd moved everything inside the house for a few coats of primer & paint. So when a nasty gust grabbed my cottonwood tree in a headlock, I didn't even hear it... until the house shook. At first I thought something at the neighbor's place had come apart or fallen over. I looked out the sliding glass door and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but my mostly-dead, bare-branched cottonwood, uprooted, tipped on its side, and smashed against the house.

Since I could see some kind of cable dangling into the dead branches and clearly ripped from the nearby power pole, I texted my friend/tenant downstairs to tell her not to venture out back. "Don't go outside," I wrote. And what I meant to write next was, "That damn tree just blew over." But since I have one of those fancy new phones that tries to complete your sentences for you, it censored my cuss word and instead sent my tenant, "That Danny tree just blew over." Immediately, we christened the tree Danny. And oh, Danny boy, the pipes the pipes were calling you that day.

Long story short, the dangling line was just the cable, which was quickly reconnected and working in about 40 minutes, thanks to the superhero technician who came straight to the house, impervious to rain or wind.

I went outside to try to clean up what I could, but I realized if I started, I'd end up spending all night raking branches and scurrying around like an idiot, so I headed to a friend's birthday party instead.

Here I need to state the obvious: I have the best friends in the world. Upon hearing I had a downed tree, Eric said, "I've got a chainsaw in the back of my truck." Brenda added, "Yeah, we can totally come over and get it off your house." I was certainly not going to be demure. I jumped at their offer.

The next morning, I started cleaning up the yard and noticed just how lucky I'd been. I mean, if you're gonna have a tree fall, this is the way to do it. It fell east, instead of west, which could have smashed my neighbor's brand new fence and taken out power to my 92-year-old other neighbor Winnie's place. It could have fallen south and plunged into my living room. It could have been still alive, which meant the branches would have been heavier and stronger than the roof, doing damage instead of just splintering into toothpicks. It could have taken out my windows. It could have blown down on a Monday, where no friends could help the next day due to work. It could have stormed the next day, but it wasn't, it was clear and warm. And to top it all off, the one living root that was holding the tree up ran directly under my concrete patio, and the patio didn't even crack a hairline. Danny knew what he was doing. He must have known how hard I tried to keep him alive, and showed me some mercy when he took his own life. Perhaps he heard my plans to tear him out this spring. Perhaps he wanted to save me the Benjamins it would have cost for professional tree removal. Maybe I'll save a slice of stump to remember him by.

Brenda, Eric, and my tenant Teresa helped me slice, dice, chop and clean up Danny's remains. In half a day, we had chopped him into log-sized pieces and delivered the pieces to friends for firewood. We had loaded all the branches that were too scratchy for Brenda's truck into a trailer and covered it with a tarp. We'd crushed the tiny bits into big black lawn garbage bags. The only thing left in my yard is the stump and two big logs that were too heavy for us to lift into the truck bed.

As I took them out to dinner that night to say thank you, I realized there are two kinds of people in the world: those who'll help you at a moment's notice for no reason other than it's the right thing to do... and those who won't. Here's to the the ones who will! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

I like this video

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Birthday

Wishing you all the best today, and I hope we get to do this again very soon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chef and Chef Junior