Deuce Cities Henhouse

Scary Stairs

Hey Guys! I was supposed to be cleaning windows yesterday (SO lame), and I was supposed to be bloggin’ about my foundation garden today; however, I got distracted by my ugly basement stairs and I just started taking them apart instead of doing all of that other boring crap. You know how that just happens?

Stairs are a different kind of animal, you guys. Originally I thought that I might be able to strip these and repaint them, but they are super beat up. I had two options, just leave them how they are or start the big project of replacing treads and risers. Gently removing the treads has been it’s own challenge, and that’s just the beginning. I have plans to skirt the sides of the basement stairs with baseboard to match the rest of the basement. I have no idea how the hell I’m going to figure out how to do that, but I plan on referring to this piece of wisdom often. Let’s just say I will have to math.

I’ve got some inspiration though because I need a goal. Next time I post about these stairs I hope to be sharing with you a simplified version of this – it will be great, promise.

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in Around the House, DIY

Blue, I Love You.

Dark Blue Interiors

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1 | 2 | 3

Friends! I love dark blue. Did you know this about me? Well it’s very true. I always thought my favorite color was green, but I don’t think that holds up anymore. Although I love almost every shade of green, blue is my true BFF color.

With the fall being all like “hey, I’m chilly and gray and I’m taking all your day light away”, I’m all like “this fall business sure makes me feel cozy, I think I might sleep a lot and watch a bunch of tv, and oh for some reason I like the color blue a lot.”

Anyway. I like blue, I like it in my home, and I don’t want a single room to be without it, and I’m fine with that. Here are a few of my recent blue favs.

Do you have a color that you just can’t resist liking?

Dark Blue Interiors

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4 | 5 | 6

Dark Blue Interiors

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7 | 8 | 9

In other Scoops News™: I’m keeping a PMA. I’ve been pretty busy lately doing really boring stuff and I figured you probably didn’t need a post with photos on how I cleaned my washing machine and figured out to actually do laundry the right way. I’ve also made a few super delish meals, including a birthday celebraish feast last friday evening (for some guy I know that is turning 34) that included homemade ravioli and squid ink pasta. Anyway, doing all this mundane homemaker crap is really making me feel good and centered. Yay for routines!

In the coming weeks I’m gonna start tackling a few bigger items, and I’m ready. So. Ready.
I’ve got the fall gardening itch – I’ve been working on restructuring the foundation garden in the front of our house – I’ll have more to share on that this week. I’ve got to do the dreaded-fall-garden-tidying to get ready for that white stuff. Also, I kinda can’t stand my fence stain, after a summer soaking up the sun it’s look very brownish-orangeish and I think it needs one last coat of dark, dark stain.

Although I love our kitchen table, I think it’s time for an updated piece of furniture. I’ve got plans in the works for a new custom tabe (aka table) on the cheap. Oh and then there is that basement-project-thing that is still waiting on me to finish the stairs, countertops, floating shelves and the entire bathroom.

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in Inspiration

Welcome Back, Inspiration!

Inspired by : Feeling Cozy
Hey Guys! First of all, I have to say thank you so much for all your comments in my last few posts. You have all made it known that I am not alone in this fight. I hope that I am able to return the favor or pay it forward someday. Seriously, thanks.

I’ve been spending the last week being really gentle with myself. I have not given myself too many or tasks or duties as to not overwhelm myself. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I got here, to this deep dark stupid pit of depression. I’m not sure what triggers it, or how I can actually attempt to participate in life like it’s not happening to me. I know that I’m not honest with myself when I begin to feel it creep in – I think that if I just keep one foot in front of the other I’ll get rid of it. The unfortunate fact is that if I don’t address it immediately, it sticks to me like a dumb shadow and it will take over.

I pretended like it wasn’t happening until I hit that low, low, desperate point. I’m thankful that a supportive, kind man married me. Although I’m stubborn to admit that the depression is happening, the second I finally let Jeff know how low I’ve gone, he’s there with a shovel to help me dig out. I trust him, and I trust when he says we’re going to get through this. Just knowing that I’m not alone makes everything seem a little bit better.

Thankfully I’ve been feeling much better over the last few days. For the first time in weeks I had interest in looking at decor and catching up on design blogs. Depression can be so numbing that you don’t even realize passion and excitement is missing from your life. It feels really good, and really reassuring to feel that part of myself being woke the fuck up!

I know it sounds a little dumb and saccharin to go straight into a post talking about fall weather and feeling cozy, but actually having those sensations feels so incredible to me right now that I have to share. Having slowly tidied up the house over the last few weeks I have become re-inspired by my home. I realize that when my home is clean I feel safe and secure. All these are big feelings to me in light of what happened next door to us a few weeks ago.

Unexpectedly, I am in love with Target’s fall home decor offerings – they are kind of nailing it with those urban cabin vibes, and I can’t deny how much I like it. Maybe it’s the flannel and plaid reminding me of my grunge roots or maybe it’s the cozy cabin vibez. Whatever it is that’s drawing me to it – it is inspiration for this safe and secure home that I love, and that feels good.

Oh, and on a little side not, because I am just realizing I never officially wrapped it up. Our crazy neighbor was arrested (facing two felony charges) but is currently out on bail until his next court date. Thankfully, the court put a clause on his bail and he is not allowed to go near the house, which means he is not allowed to go near our house! It’s anticipated that he will have to go to prison for some lengthy amount of time. All this gives us some peace of mind.

Brass Swing Lamp – One Forty Three
Woven Felt Basket – Target (in-store only)
Plaid Throw – Fairbault Woolen Mill (MN represent!)
Brass Task Lamp – Target
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in Inspiration, My Life

Tidy It Up : The Music Room

Piano & Record Room
Hey Guys! How’s it going? As promised, I’m sharing a bit more with you guys about my mission to tidy up this house. By tidy I don’t mean “clean.” I mean go through everything, determine what can stay and what goes, and finding a permanent spot for every item/object/thing.

My go to strategy is pretty simple. I empty the room or area that needs to be cleaned of all its contents – that’s right, every last thing. It’s kind of like moving without the packing.

Next, I consider the space and determine if any of the main pieces of furniture need to be moved out of the space or rearranged. In the case of the music room I decided it made much more sense to have the piano on a different wall. The space is small, apprx 9 x 12 feet. I also added some more Expedit shelving that I had been hoarding since last summer, when the line was discontinued. Once the furniture was in place, I then began to slowly and methodically place the items back into the space. I consider each item determining whether or not it is garbage, can be donated, needs to be moved to a different location, or remains in the space.

I do that for the better part of a day, an blamo! – I’m left with a clean tidy space. Everything in the room feels fresh and new.

Piano & Record Room
The purpose of our “music room” is to house our always growing record collection, while at the same time hosting a growing stash of instruments. The room is used nearly every day. Finn practices piano, Jeff will sneak away to play guitar, and jamz are being played on the record player often.

It was fairly easy to come up with two main areas for the space. The record and stereo zone, and the instrument area. It all just needed to be organized to be cohesive and easily accessible.

Piano & Record Room

BEFORE : Piano & Record Room

Piano & Record Room

Piano & Record Room
The room was in need of lighting. It faces east and becomes very dark in the evenings. Our fam is on a budget, so I decided to come up with the best looking, lowest cost solution available. As always, Ikea had me covered. I was able to use the Ekby bracket with the Sekond black and white braided cord to achieve a easy modern look. I spray painted the plastic tubing flat black and inserted a few of these cool mirrored bulbs. The lights plug into an outlet that operates from a switch!

BEFORE : Piano & Record Room

Piano & Record Room
I would love to paint this piano flat black someday.

Piano & Record Room

BEFORE : Piano & Record Room

Piano & Record Room
Ribba shelves to the rescue. Our number one problem when listening to records is not putting them away when we are done. The additional shelving give us an easy place to display our most recently played records and then hopefully we’ll eventually put them away. Fingers crossed.

Also, BRANDON FLOWERS, you guys! My newest favorite guilty pleasure is listening to the Killers everyday and playing the Desired Effect on repeat. It’s the best pop record disguised as a rock record that you’ll ever listen to.

Piano & Record Room

Piano & Record Room
Now onto a little more different note, or just because I’d rather hide my feelings in a makeover post then actually dedicate a whole post to them. I am having a hard time struggling with anxiety and depression these days. About 18 months ago I began a daily anxiety medication after suffering from lots of anxiety attacks. The medicine did its job. I was relieved of many of my anxieties within weeks. However the medicine also seemed to slowly stifle my ambition and drive. I’ve been aware of this problem for months and it has caused me in turn to feel depressed. Oh the endless cycle! The trauma with my neighbor two weeks ago pushed the whole thing into high gear. It’s been a daily struggle. I am seeing a doctor, and I have changed my routine. I am doing morning yoga daily, walking 4 miles every day and trying not to push myself too hard in the stress department. I’ve been focusing on the cleaning and tidying the house (slowly) as it brings me great peace and rejuvenation. I want to get back to my gardens, they always seem to help center me and give me peace. Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know – in case you were wondering why things seemed so quiet here and there around da blog. This little place on the internet is still my favorite thing I’ve ever made, and I can’t wait to get back to it with a vengeance.

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in Around the House, House Keeping

Modernizing Antique Doorbells

Updating Antique Hardwired Doorbells to operate wirelessly
Friends! First off let me start off by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for all the supportive comments you left me in the last post. This has truly been one of the more difficult times in our life and your kind words really helped to uplift me and the fam. Things are still a little rocky, but for the first time last night I began to feel safe in our house again – and it was such a relief to go to bed without a anxiety pit in my stomach.

I’ve been trying to distract myself and feel control by giving myself small projects to take on. Last week I was able to check off an item on my home-to-do list that had been sitting there for a good five years. Friends, the Allen fam now has a working doorbell!

I forever held on to dreams that I would masterfully figure out how to rewire the original doorbell. Like a lot of older homes, our doorbell wires had been cut years ago during a previous owners renovation. Usually connecting the wires back together or replacing the transformer is all it takes to get a doorbell up and running. In our situation the wires had been cut and the chime had been removed long ago. To take on the proj of rewiring the doorbell would have meant that I would have to fish wires through the existing lathe and plaster walls and that just didn’t sound fun to me. The basement reno just happened to be the the nail in the coffin for my doorbell dreams. We sheet rocked the whole basement in, so there was no way I was accessing doorbell wiring now (too bad, so sad). I just decided to give up on the dream of having the doorbell work again.

I begrudgingly began researching wireless doorbells and to my surprise might have discovered a new solution to save homeowners from having to replace antique doorbells with gross modern plastic wireless bells. I win!

NuTone makes this 3″ long push button doorbell, meant for simply being recessed next to a door. Being that the profile is so petite and the width so slim, I wondered if maybe I could hide this wireless push bottom behind my antique doorbell escutcheon. This would allow the vintage button to trigger the newer wireless push button cleverly hidden behind it. Following me here? Well, it totally worked, and I couldn’t be more pleased with myself for my super smart and genius hack.

Updating Antique Hardwired Doorbells to operate wirelessly

+++ supplies +++
doorbell escutcheon | 3/4″ boring bit | wireless push button
| wireless chime

Updating Antique Hardwired Doorbells to operate wirelessly

+++ how-to +++
1. remove doorbell and disconnect from wires – i choose to strip the gold paint off of mine.
2. using the 3/4″ bit bore out a hole, being that I didn’t want my pushbutton to be flush I took care in boring it so the push button protruded apprx 3/4″.
3. insert the push button
4. cover the push button with your vintage hardware

Also, this crazy-man-wielding-a-gun-and-threatening-to-kill-a-child-thing couldn’t have happened at a better time *please notice the extreme sarcasm* it really ramped up my desire to clean and purge to gain some sort of control over my home, so I’ll have some good organizing posts to share with you later this week!

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in Around the House, DIY, How-To