Weekend in Review: Burgers, Backyards, Sweaty Runs

This past weekend was gloriously devoid of an agenda. My house-spouse XFE took care of most of the errands when he got back on Friday, so there was very little running around. Only one brief trip to Home Depot, which is pretty unusual since we moved into the house. I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t at least stopped by, the folks at HD would have sent out a search party and plastered Missing posters over the greater Northern Virginia area.

We spent Saturday poking around places like TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and World Market looking for decorative items and pillows. We’re not really knickknack people. We don’t collect things. This, however, poses a slight problem when you have multiple large flat surfaces to decorate. Thus, the trip to Homegoods, et. al. We mostly came up empty, except for these very cheerful striped pillows to classy up our plastic Adirondack chairs.

My personal interior decorator XFE did order these gorgeous mercury glass candle holders from Gilt. I have a candle addiction (no, seriously. I have a stockpile. And I have a blaze going pretty much every night.), so these are perfect for the house.  They came in Monday and will definitely fill some surfaces.

Personal chef XFE did a pretty good job of keeping my weight up this weekend by visiting his favorite man in the whole world, Steve the Butcher at Let’s Meat on the Avenue. The result was burgers with thick cuts of bacon, avocado, and cheddar and sriracha spiked mayo on Saturday.

Those burgers fueled my 3.87 mile run on Sunday (nope. Couldn’t make it one more time around the block for an even 4.) I started pretty late (around 9 am) and just about died.

Not really sure why I started my run so late. Oh yeah. Because this is the forlorn little cat face I have to tear myself away from when I go for a run. She sits at the top of the stairs and just watches me walking away from her.

After the minor heat stroke, I stayed inside the rest of the day, which suited my borderline agoraphobic/misanthrope personality.

We closed out the weekend with the inaugural Big Green Egg effort at the new house. Ribs, pork and beef, and corn on the cob. After dinner we sat on our cheap plastic chairs, lit some outdoor candles (I told you I have a problem), and finished off an Austrian red wine, called, I think, zweigelt (??).



I know there were other things going on Sunday night, including the closing ceremonies for the Olympics. I was fine with missing out on that until I found out that this awesomeness happened. That Kate Moss sure knows how to bring the fierceness.

Now that the Olympics are over, I understand there’s discussion of future events to add to the Olympics. One of the main contenders is pole dancing. Which brings us to this.

By Popular Demand (for all the creepers out there)

We’ve been getting a lot of requests to see the new house. Mostly, I’m sure, folks want to pick apart our design aesthetic and say things like, “hmmm, isn’t that rug from Ikea?” To which I say, “HA! We’re not done yet.”

And which has been the main reason I haven’t wanted to post pictures yet. We’re not done. Things are very much still a work in progress. But, we think it really is coming along nicely, and since so many people have asked, and we’re really quite house proud, I thought I’d post some photos. Hopefully, we can use them later on as ‘before’ photos. Without further ado or qualifiers:


This is immediately inside the door. We’re actually looking for something to replace that entry way table. Maybe something with a little height? Also: artwork needed throughout the house.


This is on the entryway table. It’s a painting of our house that I commissioned as a housewarming gift for XFE. It was a bit of a frustrating experience dealing with the artist (was supposed to be 7-10 days, received it a full month later), but still worth it.


The living room. That glass console table needs a lot. Books, artwork, just everything.


Another view of the living room. The cream leather couch is new (XFE;s perch), as are the cocktail tables, rug and entertainment center. We have actually ordered the Blake chaise from West Elm in dark gray for my seating area (to replace the old couch in the bottom of the frame) but it’s still about six weeks out. I believe very slow children with small fingers are making it. Or something.


Another view of the rug, the travertine topped cocktail tables and the entertainment center. We’re pretty obsessed with all three of these items. We plan to have the television mounted on the wall and then we’ll paint the entire living room a nice, medium gray tone. And get much brighter pillows to brighten things up.


The dining area and into the kitchen. We’re looking for a new rug to go under the dining room table after moving the gray ikea rug upstairs for Petunia (you’ll see later).


The kitchen. Forgive my lighting. I did this photo shoot early in the morning, five minutes before leaving for work. This place is really, really bright in the morning.


Another kitchen view.


View from the sink of the backyard. This is very much a construction zone right now. We’re having a shed built and in fact, you can see the materials under a tarp on the left hand side. I’ll take pictures of that, and the backyard, when all that’s done.


The hallway towards our bedroom (and our crooked comforter). The washer and dryer are behind those doors on the right.




We bought that duvet cover in Ireland and we’re thinking it might be time to replace it with something else. But I like that it’s silk and therefore, Petunia hair slides right off it. Also, the black and white photos on the wall were all taken by XFE and come from each of our trips. We obviously have more to hang. We’ll get around to it.


My overstuffed closet. My shoes are in the narrow closet between mine and XFE’s. See Toons photobombing AGAIN? She tried to get in every photo. I’m pretty sure that’s why this photo is blurry. I probably was trying to shoo her away.


My bathroom. Still in love with it. I love everything about it.


This is the second bedroom, basically the Petunia room. it’s pretty small and we have the two closets packed with stuff from our old shed (the wine fridge, luggage, golf stuff, winter clothes). That’s the old Ikea rug that used to be under our dining table. Since we want to paint the walls gray in the dining/living area, we thought it was too much gray, so we’re looking for maybe a turquoise or some other blue rug to go in the dining area. Let me know if you have any good suggestions (modern, geometric design preferred).


XFE’s bathroom. The walls are actually more brown than this picture suggests, and it’s a really big bathroom, but since it doesn’t have a sparkly glass sink, obviously, I took the other one.


He does have this very spacious and incredibly cool pebbly shower. In fact, it’s so spacious, he’s ordered a teak bench to sit in there. We also added the glass doors, which it did not come with. He also wants to paint the walls, maybe some kind of blue. He says “something more spa-like.”


So that’s our house! Still a work in progress, like I said. We’re still moving things around, buying things, hanging things.  But we have a lot of ideas and we’ll keep posting photos as we go. Let me know if there’s anything you want to see more of and I’ll post it!

I Now Understand the Phrase ‘Bone Tired’

As in, even my bones hurt today.

I am physically in no shape to become a partial homeowner/dweller. (I’m probably not mentally, emotionally, or financially in shape for such a life project either, but let’s just talk about my unbelievable lack of muscle structure for today, mkay?)

We closed on the house exactly two weeks ago, but had some more work we wanted done, including getting the floors stained and finished (we chose Jacobean for our light pine floors).

They’ve now gone from this:

before floors

To this:

After floors
Better floor pictures are forthcoming. The floors are covered with protective paper right now.

They make me so happy I want to lick them. Primarily because the floor staining did not require any manual labor from me, but also because they look like very expensive chocolate.

This past weekend, however, my favorite wanna-be-construction-worker-boyfriend XFE and I had big plans. Very, very big plans. Like, plans that required two UPS trucks to deliver.

What can brown do for you indeed.

Yep. 16 boxes and 483 pounds worth of custom closets from EasyClosets.com for the new house. Which we then had to put together ourselves. Yikes.

In a stunning triumph for do-it-yourselfers everywhere, we did it. Well, XFE mostly did it, with some vague assistance from me. But, I now know what a “cam screw” is and I think we can all be super excited for that truly invaluable life skill. (I also learned from a very patient XFE that it’s easier to hammer something straight on rather than at an angle. Related: if you utter “uh-oh,” the proper thing to do is stop whatever activity caused that utterance and ask for help rather than continuing the “uh-oh” activity.)

So now our closets went from this:

before closets
After we ripped out the Elfa system, which was nice, but not really sufficient.

To this:

Chanel closet

Just kidding. They look like this:

Anyone else hear singing angels?

Actually, they look full of clothes because we moved all of our hanging clothes over, along with a ton of other boxes. The good thing about moving 8 blocks away? You get to go to your new house everyday to check on it and oooh and aaaah over it. The bad thing? You get to move lots of boxes yourself because you are so impatient to move, you just can’t wait for the movers to show up on the scheduled date.

In addition to the clothes, we moved over all the kitchen items and got that set up, which is a huge relief.

Speaking of the kitchen, I also provided totally useless assistance in replacing our kitchen faucet. We had a very nice new faucet that came with the house, but when we saw this fellow at Lowe’s, we were smitten.

Meet Vigo, our fancy new faucet.

However, switching out this sink:

before sink
Perfectly adequate builder’s sink, but certainly no Vigo.

This was not easy. Maybe because we’re not plumbers? Plus we didn’t have instructions for the old sink and were doing it all wrong. The hard, frustrating way wrong, especially for XFE who was lying on his back under the sink for hours. But, eventually, with the help of the almighty Google, we finally got the old faucet off and the new one on. We’re both enamored of the cool industrial design of the final product and feel that the effort was (almost) worth it.

Since the final move is on Wednesday (two days!) and the trash pick-up is on Monday, we had to move everything to the curb that we wanted to get rid of. This included a guest room mattress and box spring (and all the empty custom closet boxes at the new house).

Funny thing about this box spring: we couldn’t get it into our current house and up the narrow stairs. The result was a hole in the wall that we had to get repaired.

So to get the bed out of the house without putting any holes in the wall, we had to saw the wood and bend it around the stairwell, which is one reason why that bed is not coming to the new house (Two-word warning for future couch surfers: Air. Mattress.)

We also got rid of a very, very large entertainment center that weighed approximately a kajillion tons. It was “liberated” from the trash Sunday evening, but even the dumpster divers had a hard time getting the unwieldy piece attached to the roof of their SUV.

We have held off from buying new living room furniture the last couple of years since we weren’t sure where we were going to be living. I’m so glad we did because the layout of our new house is completely different from our current house.

So we’ve begun looking at some new furniture options, including a new entertainment center (which will be much smaller next time around).

We’re also investigating some new coffee table options (I spilled nail polish remover all over our current one about 2 years ago. It pains me to look at it everyday, but does provide an excellent argument for paying for professional manicures). This table’s definitely in the running.

table aquarium

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t ruin it with nail polish remover.