Deuce Cities Henhouse

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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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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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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Feeling Unsettled

Hey Guys.

This blog is first and foremost a journal, (here I am Scoops Howser M.D) always has been, always will be. Because of that I feel compelled to be honest and I feel it is natural to share this here. This isn’t a fun post to write, but I hope it is healing.

Last Thursday night we (the Allen fam) experienced a terrifying few hours in our home. Our mentally unstable neighbor became agitated, aggravated, and then, suicidal and homicidal (taking his three year old daughter hostage) which in turn led to a 5 hours stand off with the police (in the middle of the night). Thankfully it ended with him being taken into custody, and the little girl being rescued by police – safely and physically unharmed.

The road to get to that safety point was beyond terrifying for us as we experienced the whole ordeal with limited information from inside our house with our kids.

As we listened to a police scanner (online) from a huddled position behind our bed we were able to piece together the severity of the situation. Our neighbors from across the street were also able to give us accounts of what they were witnessing via text messages. My neighbors really banded together and it felt good to know that we were not alone in this. It was only until later that we realized that there were 50+ police officers around the perimeter of our block, including snipers, the bomb squad, and an entire swat team in our backyard. The operation to save this child and secure our neighborhood was BIG – and I’m so glad that those officers were there to keep us safe. I am beyond impressed, and have a new found respect for the people who risk their lives to keep communities secure.

The terror that we felt as a family is unsettling. We were in our home, this place that is supposed to provide us with safety and security and we felt anything but safe and secure during those late night hours and into the days following. How do you explain what you are experiencing to seven and four year olds, and how do you make them feel safe? We feel desperate to make our home feel like ours again and have been doing what we can to feel in control. Feeling violated is an understatement and I hope that we can begin to bring peace back into our home in the coming days.

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Tidy It Up : The Garage

Hey Guys! Thanks for all the sweet and honest feedback on my tidying post last week. I would’ve done it either way but hearing that so many of you felt similarly about your houses, apartments, and spaces, encouraged me to jump right into the deep end!

Ace was also super generous encouraging all us Ace bloggers to really get into a big project this summer. For me that was the garage. Last month I shared with you the exterior transformation and the big update on alley appeal. What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” or in this case “you can’t assume I would give any craps about the interior of my garage just cause I threw up a few windows, and added a-couple-a flower boxes on the exterior of it”. See below.

I started with what is most likely the biggest mess in town, our garage. Since the spring it has become a dumping place and what was to be a temporary home for all our displaced basement items. When we began moving our basement into the garage earlier this spring we attempted to be organized in our process. Eventually as it became more crowded we would just open the smaller garage door and toss stuff in. Needless to say it was a complete and total chaotic mess, and everything needed to be taken out, gone through, and organized.

I started by removing everything from the garage. I choose a time when I knew weather would be in my favor, the days were cool and the chance of rain was minimal. All the contents of my garage where moved into the backyard. I immediately began making piles for kids stuff, gardening supplies, tools & construction materials, garbage, and items to be donated. It was tedious but I felt encouraged the more and more I emptied the garage.

After the garage was totally cleared out, I began thinking about the best way to use the space. I had quite a few shelves and tables from the basement that I was able to repurpose and I began thinking of storage in terms of zones. The biggest new additions to the garage was my tool collection. Prior to this spring all this handy stuff was making its home in what is now our laundry room. It was always the plan that in order for the basement to be realized, the tools would have to move to the garage. I needed to make myself new workspaces that were organized and very useful. The pegboard was removed from our basement in the spring and I quickly hung it up in the corner of the garage so that I could use it again to make my favorite go-to tools easily accessible. Sitting below the pegboard is a table reused from the basement that for the time being has been appointed the title of ‘my miter-saw-table’. Under the table is a new upright tool box which will make me feel much more secure in storing my bigger more expensive tools in the garage since it locks up. Next to that is my wet dry vac which will be easily accessed for miter saw clean up. What a workflow!

Next to the miter saw/tool situation is shelving (which came up from the basement) that now is a home to all of my other gear; tiling supplies, lighting odds-and-endds, wallpapering crap, sanding stuff, and lots of paint. I have plans of bringing a big chunk of that paint to the hazardous waste drop off tomorrow and then I’ll store the rest of it on shelving in the laundry room over the winter.

I used some scrap wood to make an elevated scrap wood pile. I’ve been watching a lot of Naked and Afraid (which I highly reco) those survivalists are always elevating their shelters so I thought it would be best to elevate the wood pile so it wasn’t wicking up water and getting infested with creepy crawlies and stuff. I might be most excited about this garage addition.

The other majorly sweet new zone is my gardening station. Not only do I have all of my gardening stuff organized on shelving (see below) but I also decided to use this table to make myself a work bench. Above the table are the drawers saved from the original 105-year old workbench that was in the basement. I think it’s pretty cool, and if Nicole Curtis and I were bros, I’m pretty sure she’d be patting me on the back, although she’d probably be pissed that I threw away the rest of the work bench, womp.

Guys! Don’t let them make you feel like you need to get fancy storage bins from the container store, especially in a garage. Reuse containers and if you feel inspired, write what’s inside of them in some sort of overly eager and quirky hand lettering.

I mentioned it last week, but my goals for this house don’t end at just tidying, I also want to repair all the little stuff that’s been driving me nuts. In the garage that was the weather proofing on the big garage door as well as the threshold and weather stripping around the smaller entry door.

This always seems to happen: so many of the projects that I try and constantly avoid turn out to be the easiest quickest and least expensive fixes. Replacing the weather stripping on the big door was as easy as sliding one piece of garage door vinyl out and sliding a new one back in. The smaller entry door was a little more tricky as I needed to chop down this metal threshold with a jig saw and then drill into concrete flooring, but still, it took minutes. Replacing the weather stripping was a breeze and I’m confident that snow, ice and dirt will not be as abundant in our garage this winter as they were last. I was able to update the entry door and the big garage door in less than half an hour and the difference it makes to the space is huger than you’d expect. It takes the garage from appearing forgotten and uncared for to seeming well loved of and happily maintained.

Stay on top of your home-owner-to-do-lists people! It feels good.

I was able to order a few sections of this metal tool organizer from Ace. It was such a game changer for me. Now I was able to get all of my gardening tools, shovels, bike, saws and pruners, up off the floor and hanging vertically and nearly flush on the far wall of the garage! This will all be easy to access and leave lots of room for car parking which I’m pretty sure is what I hear garages are intended for.

We actually got our bikes up off the ground! Can you believe it? I used a pair of these shelf brackets from Ace and was able to mount the bikes on our wall. I grabbed a piece of wood from my scrap wood pile to use as a shelf above and now all of our bike gear, helmets and pumps are all organized, together, in one amazing place!

I didn’t feel like a real home blogger until last weekend when I made my first trip to the city dump. Before then we’d use those bagster things in lieu of a trip to the junkyard. This time we had lots of concrete to get rid of and we didn’t feel like coughing up the $100 plus bucks it costs for the bagster. We had to take a family trip to the dump, and to our surprise throwing chunks of stuff at a big pile of garbage turned out to be really fun and slightly dangerous!

It took over a week to get this garage to where it is now, but the satisfaction and organization that it is bringing to my life is totally worth it. I’m actually a little excited to tackle the next part of my punch list.

Tips for Organizing

Remove all Items from the Space
Organize by Category
Set Goals
Any container can be a storage container
Attack the things that you’ve been avoiding first
I’m excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided me with compensation and some of the materials necessary to complete this project! All opinions are my own. Thanks a biznillion, Ace!
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