Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Half a Year in Casa Meg (Give or Take)

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now--a then and now post--but life has been busy and blogging light. Still, I've been collecting pictures of Casa Meg and planning a post to showcase just how far this little place has come in the last seven months.

When I tell people I bought a home that "needed some love," they smile as though they think I'm exaggerating. How cute. If the subject continues, I tell them of the guinea pig poo found in random corners, the holes in parts of the carpet, the stove that had years of food cooked onto it.

Part of me actually relishes their grossed-out expressions.

Anyway, the place is better now--cleaner, neater, cuter. I'm quite proud of what I've done.

The Living Room

To be fair, when the inspection pictures were taken, the tenants were in the midst of packing to move out. Still, the way this place is set up, their entertainment center wouldn't fit on the wall where the TV plug-in is located, so they put it on what is now my couch wall, and hid the fireplace with a massive sofa that was too big for the room.

These days, things are different. I still want a bigger TV and an actual TV stand, not a night stand that should be in the bedroom. That will come in time, but for now, the set-up is functional. The cat tree is here to stay, too--the boys love it, and bless their fuzzy little buns, they use it as a scratching post, too, instead of my sofa.

I'm very proud of how my wall gallery turned out, and I love my paint -- it's white, but with the barest touch of grey, which sets off my black accents and gray sofa perfectly.

Part of having cats means having toys to stimulate their need to hunt and play. When I clean I throw all the toys into the basket, then watch with amusement as, through the week, toys come out of the basket and wind up all over the condo. Sometimes if a toy has been in the basket a while, it feels "new" to them when it comes out again.

This is my spot on the sofa--I shove the throw pillows over (I'm eventually going to find the time to get some fabric at JoAnn to cover them to better go with my scheme) and leave about six inches between my hip and the arm for any cats that might wander along.

Mom gave me the mirror--she'd found it at a flea market and painted it red. Dad helped me paint it with the teal that is used on my kitchen/dining accent walls, and it looks fantastic over the fireplace.

The Dining Area

The dining area and the living room are part of one larger great room, and I've kept them open to each other because I like the space and actually use it to work out. I don't take a lot of pictures of it because I use the dining table for my laptop 98% of the time, and usually have my purse hanging from one of the chairs, my school stuff piled on the table, etc. I also actually eat at the table when I'm having a meal at home.

The last time I came to the condo before signing was the first time I actually saw the dining area.

Of course, now that Popcorn and Archie have moved in, they need a food station. This little corner is the easiest place, where I won't step on it or kick it (because believe me, I would). The little sign is from Rome, and says, "Attenti al Gatto." The water dish says "Tuna Breath." 

After Christmas, I finally replaced the taped-up parchment paper with blinds. So much nicer.

I hesitated to take a picture as the dining room is right now, but what the hell, this is pretty much what it always looks like. My computer is going, my purse and a couple of reusable shopping bags are hanging on the chair. My phone is on the table, as is my planner and a few important papers. The boxes are stuff for charity that will be gone in a day or two. Otherwise, the room is actually very neat. It's just lived-in.

P.S. I adore my little wall sconces. I was on the lookout for sconces to hang by the hutch when I found this pair at an antique store in Folsom. I had to have them.

The Kitchen

Yes, the kitchen. It was disgusting.

By the time the old stove was removed (the oven didn't work and there's no way I wanted to clean that heap), I was no longer shocked by anything--so when I saw what was under the oven, I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Ms. Clean Freak took over things, and the counter stays this clean. Make a big mess while cooking? Clean it immediately.

The stove was the first home appliance I ever bought, and it's so beautiful and...clean. And yes, I actually use it a lot.

I hate clutter, so keeping my limited counter space clear is a big deal. Still, one needs a fruit bowl and a Snoopy cookie jar.

The Mistress Bedroom

This was another case of too much crap in a room. I personally prefer to keep my TV separate from my bedroom, and want my bedroom to be simple and easy to relax in.

I love my bedroom set. Mom and Dad used it for about a year before deciding they wanted a king-sized bed, so I got a gorgeous set when I moved to Antioch. There was some question of how my bright green bedding would tie in with the teal walls (those two walls are teal, the other two are the white-gray), but I love it. At the foot of my bed is Dad's old foot locker. Above the bed are three reproductions of vintage airline posters. I bought them when I was teaching at the Large Suburban High School and getting ready for our big "Come Fly With Me" concert. I adore the style of them, and found inexpensive poster frames to display them in (as well as my England map).

 Not pictured--my day and night pill boxes, or my glasses case.

I hated the old closet doors with the fire of a thousand suns. They were cheap particle board, and huge. I wasn't quite sure how I'd replace them, and what I could possibly do to make it look better, but figured curtains wouldn't be bad. In my college dorm, I hung a shower curtain over my closet to hide my clothes because I couldn't stand staring at it while trying to fall asleep.

I love my closet curtains so much, I have no plans to replace them.

The top of my dresser, which is nearly as tall as I am. I recently made two simple "cubist" style oil pastel drawings with my 6th graders, and I'm going to frame them and hang them over the dresser.

The Mistress Bathroom

I've had the teal and seashell theme going on for over ten years now, and I love how my teal paint sets off the white of the shower--which was brown when I took possession. Your eyes are not deceiving you.

I also immediately replaced the toilet seat because hello, duct tape?!

Of course, I also said goodbye to the peeling linoleum in favor of my lovely vinyl flooring.

Have I mentioned how white the shower is now? That's hours of labor. I not only scrubbed until my arms were ready to fall off, I removed caulk. Do you know how labor-intensive removing caulk is? And then I re-caulked it all while not knowing what the hell I was doing. It was while using the razor to remove the old caulk that I discovered it was also handy for removing years and years of hard water build-up that Lime Away wouldn't even touch, and that's when I was finally able to get the worst stains out.

I impress the hell out of myself sometimes.

The Office

While I call it my "office," I keep my laptop in the dining room, because I like being in this part of my condo, for the most part. I do use the office, however, as I play the piano daily, and use the table in there for crafting. The printer is in there, too.

You'd hardly guess it was once home to a chinchilla.

Kristen showed me a few one-bedroom condos, but in the end, we both knew that two bedrooms was necessary. The second bedroom is home to my piano, my file cabinet, printer, craft table and craft supplies, all of my books, my Snoopy collection (what's left of it--I've downsized), my ballet bar, and one litter box. Oh, and a bean bag chair.

I created extra space by making the closet part of the room.

The Guest Bathroom

It's funny, having two bathrooms. I don't really need a second, but it is nice to have, because it's always clean for company (though I do use the toilet depending on where in the place I'm hanging out when I need to pee), and I've stowed a second litter box in the bathtub in there.

The cheerful shower curtain hides the horrors within. That's the boys' favorite litter box (it's uncovered).

I found some cute cheap fabric and asked Mom to make me some bathroom curtains. She got the idea to crochet little squares for the top, and it turned out great. She's making a little valance for the top.

The pictures are two little prints I bought on my travels--a cat in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, and a watercolor of the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia.

Other Bits & Pieces

I have a laundry closet, rather than a laundry room, in the small hallway outside of the office and second bath.

Over my winter break from school, my friend Matt helped me put the doors back up, which I spray-painted gray. I did a terrible job and will, at some point, sand them down a bit and paint them again, but for now, it'll do.

They still look better than all of this stuff just hanging out. And they keep the cats out. For some reason, the boys are fascinated by the washing machine and I'm just waiting for one or both to try to climb behind both machines and get stuck.

Across from the laundry closet is one small wall that has about four different devices on it--a carbon monoxide detector, a smoke detector, and other stuff. It's hard to make that wall pretty, but hey, I tried.

It was the week of Thanksgiving that I started to finally feel at home in Casa Meg. It's hard to explain, but before that it was just a place to park. Spending a week on the couch, reading, made me appreciate it more. Adding The Boyz in December and having my first Christmas there did even more to make it my home, and now I feel like it's truly mine. I've put a lot of work (and money) into this place, and there's still more I'd like to do. For now, though, everything (knock on wood) is working--though the dishwasher will be replaced by the end of 2017, for sure--so my focus is more on decorating and cosmetic improvements.

When I first saw the listing for this unit, I loved the possibilities of the floor plan--and the pictures were taken before the last tenants moved in. Seeing it in person was eye-opening, but I still saw a diamond in the rough and knew I could make something of it.

And I have! I'm proud of how far it's come, and how much cleaner it is (though with one long-haired woman and two cats it can get quite hairy quite fast, so my Swiffer gets a lot of action). It turns out I can do this home-owner thing quite well.

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