All Work and No Play

So I've been having this internal (and occasionally external) debate lately on whether it is better/easier/more rewarding to do all the work on our house by ourselves or to hire someone and have the time we would have spent on the project to just play.  For the last 2 years, it has been all work and no play.  Literally.  We love doing DIY projects, working side-by-side and learning things along the way, but I can't remember a weekend where we weren't doing that.  We have spent so much time fixing it up that we haven't taken the time to enjoy it.  

Before our son came along, it was easy to spend an entire weekend painting every room in the house or installing a new walkway, because we were doing it together.  But now we want to spend the time together as a family.  If we want to complete a project (like the basement, for instance), one of us has to watch him while the other does work....and vice versa.  Not only do we miss out on that time with each other or as a family, but it also takes 10 times longer.  I know it should probably just be twice as long (I tend to exaggerate for effect), but I feel like we motivated one another to get stuff done when we were side-by-side.  Things just seemed to get done so much faster. 

It's just not as much fun as it used to be either.  Pace is #1 (of course) and I have found myself doing the unimaginable (well...at least unimaginable as of 2 years ago).....calling to get quotes for our upcoming projects (lawn care, trim painting, etc.).  Now I'm not saying that we are going to give up on DIY completely, I think we are just going to tone it down a little.  Whereas we used to jump at a new project possibility, we might stop and think about our options before doing that in the future.  Just the big projects....I think. 

Does anyone else feel this way about DIY??  I have to say I am a bit disappointed in myself for even thinking any of this, let alone writing it, but its the truth.  I am just as surprised as you are.  And maybe its just a temporary thing.  B has been traveling a lot lately (and I mean a lot.....like the last 5 weeks!!!) and being home alone has really got me thinking about all of our outstanding projects.  I really thought I could make a dent in them while he was away (ha!), but its so much harder than I thought to be productive with a crawling/teething/active/wonderful/curious/nosy 8-month old.  Maybe I'll get the hang of it soon though.....right as he starts to learn how to walk.

Surprisingly I have actually managed to do some spring-cleaning/organizing throughout the house in the last few weeks, so I'm slowing whittling (sp?) away at our long to-do list for 2012 (which I'm not sure I even talked about yet).  

Well, in case I didn't, here is a quick run-down:

  1. Tile the basement bathroom shower
  2. Install the vanity and light fixture in the bathroom
  3. Caulk and fill nail holes in molding
  4. Paint trim and doors in basement
  5. Touch-up some molding and trim in the kitchen (it contracted in the winter and there are a few cracks here and there.....which probably are unnoticeable to anyone other than me)
  6. Paint/touch-up railings on the deck (note to self: never let B paint anything)
  7. Plant some shrubs and perennials around the base of the deck and the basement door
  8. Add some life to the deck (rug, lanterns, potted plants, etc....hopefully very inexpensively!)
  9. Replace trim on the house that is rotting/slit/broken.  
  10. Paint the trim on the house white (this might be a hire-able job since I'm nervous to have me or B or ANYONE I know up on a ladder 3 stories high painting the trim in the back of the house...EEEK!!!!)
  11. Paint the garage doors black - I have wanted to do this since we moved in!
  12. Decorate the basement with some DIY artwork projects (I saw this whale blueprint at an adorable store in St. John a few weeks ago and I can't get it out of my head.  It was $600 and shipping would have been $500 on top of that, so there was no way we could ever buy it.  Hopefully I can re-create it though!!)
  13. DIY a curtain for the kitchen sink window.....it looks so bare.  Maybe just a little tailored box-pleat one.  Seems easy enough.
  14. DIY a new bench seat cushion for the entryway - found someone on etsy that will do it for $175 but I think I can make it for a LOT cheaper!
  15. Find a used project-height table and make it into a desk for the basement office.  Could be regular desk height, but I like the higher ones for doing any hand-made things (calligraphy, drawing, sketching, etc.).  
  16. Refinish some side tables that I found on the side of the road (pictures to come soon).
  17. Re-paint an adirondack chair for the deck......it needs a little love!!
Hmm...I could go on and on, but seeing/writing it all makes my heart rate soar, so I'll leave it at that for now.  So as you can see from my list, I definitely don't want to give up the DIY in our lives, I just want to tone it down a little.   Call in some reinforcements when necessary.   Have any of you guys done that?  Did you regret it?  Wish you had soldiered on and finished it yourself?  Was it worth the money to have the free time???  I doubt I'm the only that has felt this way, but for some reason, I feel like that right now.  Any thoughts are more than welcome.

Until next time...


Rug Search

We are getting close to the decorating phase of the basement remodel and I can almost taste it.  I enjoy most other parts of the process just as well, but I think this is my favorite.  It is definitely the most fun.  No work, all play makes a happy wife and mom.  I keep telling B that I'm really not that hard to please, but for some reason he doesn't believe me.

To give you a quick update on the progress, the floors are all down and the molding and doors are up but I still haven't started tiling the shower in the bathroom.  That is pretty much the final piece of the contruction phase that is left.  Until I get the time/courage to do that, though, I am investing any free moments into finding fun, affordable, kid-friendly decor.  We already have a couch.  It's a white/blue stripe sectional that we have barely used.  I know what you are thinking, "didn't she just say "kid-friendly decor" and "white" all in the same breath.  Yep, I did.  But thankfully we were smart in our pre-baby days and bought the couch slipcovered and with scotchguard protection as well.  And I say "we" in the loosest sense of the word.  I'm honestly less worried about my son destroying than my husband.  I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that can relate.

At the moment, my current obsession is with rugs.  I want to warm up the space a little (not heat-wise, just fabric-wise) and make it a little cozier down there.  I have looked at a few online, but its so hard to tell how it feels if you aren't there to touch the fabric.  I am leaning towards an indoor/outdoor rug so that we can just hose it off if it gets dirty, but I'm worried it won't be very soft.  My next option is to do a berber material and keep it plain.  I did that for the stairs, but I am just worried it will be too boring.  The walls are a blue/gray, the couch is blue and white and then I would get some sort of blue solid patterned berber rug......hmm.  It just seems too blah.  Definitely practical, which is what I need....but I want it to be a little fun down there.

Any other suggestions for a durable, comfy, soft-ish, cool rug style for a basement? 

Here are some that I've been looking at so far on Dash & Albert:

The first one is wool and the second two are indoor/outdoor.  I used to like hooked wool rugs until I spent most of my days sitting or playing on them.  They shed a lot and I hate having the fibers all over me and my son.  We currently have one in our living room (from Home Goods) and although it has held up pretty well to constant wear and tear and its relatively comfy, I am just not sure I want to go down that road again with the basement.  The last rug from the photos above is a rope pattern which I like.  It's sort of boring since it's just one color, but the darker color is good for kids (or husbands) and the pattern gives is a little something.  I know I said I didn't want berber because it was boring and this is pretty much the same, but I am a woman and I change my mind.  All the time.  Even in the same 5 minutes it has been since I typed about the berber.....ah well.

Long story short (sort of), I bought a groupon for a local Rug Store - The Rug Merchant in Rockland, MA, so I need to buy the rug from them.  Groupons are great, but that means that I'm limited to the brands they carry.  So far, I know that they definitely carry Dash and Albert, but I'm not sure who else.  I will keep looking for inspiration photos and keep you posted.

Worst case scenario, I can always buy a rug for the guest bedroom/office in the basement or the second bedroom upstairs if I really can't find anything for the living area in the basement, but I would really just like to focus on one project at a time.  My brain (and my pinterest searches) can only handle so much at once!!