Monday, April 30, 2012

Landscape Saturday, Part 3 + Chilewich Mats

I keep wondering what I USED to do on Saturdays before we took on Project Norton. Pretty sure it involved brunching, shopping, museums, and the like – aaah the days...

So this Saturday began with us headed to Home Depot to pick up 15 Arborvitae, on a tip from my Dad that they had the right height in stock for where we wanted to start. We had previously decided to line our property line separating our driveway and our neighbor's driveway with the arborvitae, just for a nice framing of our property line.

Got to Home Depot, packed up the 15 bushes on 2 flat push carts (note: waaay too many to fit into the Prius we drove there), paid, .... and then realized all their trucks were checked out for the day -- UGH. An hour passed while I sat with the bushes and Mike went to Lowe's (on the other side of town) to get a truck.

Yes, I was wondering at this point why we just didn't get these things delivered....

So Mike pulls up to Home Depot in the Lowe's truck
My Dad, always up for a good planting project, meets us at the house
Dad and Mike fought the 2-man augur to get the holes in the ground
(I couldn't even lift this thing!)
And - Arborvitae are in!
You can see them on the left here after the brick wall.

I have to say we're very happy with how they turned out. We spent the rest of the weekend weeding, mulching, watering our new grass, bulbing more mondo grass, etc. Yard is coming along as we wait for our grass to grow...


The other exciting arrival of the week was some new Chilewich mats. Chilewich is a line of woven vinyl textiles by Sandy Chilewich, which I discovered a couple of years ago in a store on Montana Ave in Santa Monica. Our first purchase was placemats like these in silver. I loved that they almost looked like chain mail, and I'd never seen anything quite like them:

Sandy Chilewich placemats
I realized that she also made floorcoverings, when I bought this interior doormat recently from Crate&Barrel:

I went on the hunt for other Chilewich floorcoverings and found a whole line of larger coverings, in the form of really thin mats, giving off a super-mod look.

From their web site

I didn't foresee us using these in a bedroom or den, but thought they'd be perfect as runners over the ebony floors in our kitchen, and on the tile in our bath. The standard size runner offering at Design Within Reach didn't seem to work well with our space and I ended up finding when I was looking for somewhere who would custom make the sizes I wanted.

Here are the finished mats:
Bamboo pattern in chalk weave in the master bath 
Bamboo pattern in smoke weave in the kitchen – one mat on entrance
and another in the distance between the island and sink

Better picture of the first mat even though it has my fat cat on it
(coincidentally, staring at his kitty door because he gets fed in there)
Really happy with how these look, and surprisingly, they sent ALL the excess cuts of material with the mats. I thought our order had been doubled for a bit but then read on the package that it was the scrap.

Seriously, all excess rolls!
I am racking my brain on what I can do to use this stuff, and thinking I'll see if a tailor can cut it down and bind the edges like the mats I ordered had. If so, I'm thinking a couple more smaller entrance area mats, and maybe even a handful of coasters. Don't say I don't recycle!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Page – Then & Now Pics

Hope everyone has had a good weekend...

I get a lot of requests for the "Then & Now" pics (I hesitate to say "Before & After" because we really still aren't completely finished with much!) so I added a new tab at the top of the site which has the latest pics of a few key areas of the house. I will continue to keep this updated as we make progress.

Also, Landscape Saturday, Part 3 happened this weekend – so I'll post pics from that very soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Backyard Bettered

The long road to backyard normalcy continues in the joy of a fixer-upper...

Some of you might remember our backyard started here:

Steps to where we are now:

Step 1) Cut the trees

 Step 2) Bobcat clears everything out

 Step 3) Manage mud

Step 4) Kill more stuff and move bricks / cinderblocks out in prep for tractor ... and grass

Step 5) Tractor arrives

Mike had him cut the crumbling brick wall while he was at it 
Then figured out he could also trim off the damaged concrete on our driveway – score

Step 5) Tractor leaves a leveled yard

With a clean cut on the driveway...

Step 6) Plant grass

Pics to come when it grows!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Landscape Saturday, Part 2

Last Saturday was Easter weekend...
We decided to tackle this monstrous section of the backyard instead!

When the first bobcat came through we'd originally left this area overgrown as a hiding tactic, because the paint on the garage is peeling so badly in the background.

As well there are a bunch of other issues here, not the least of which is that there
is street light in our backyard, ha (which unbelievably we are billed for each month by the power company)
10 feet of limbs down to the street later...
...and a pile of bricks and cinderblocks dragged out of the yard
(in prep for the tractor guy this week)...
and what this got us is....a better view of the peeling side of the garage - awesome!
(painter called this week to quote)

My brother and sis-in-law were in town and it was so nice of them to help spread half of the 75 bags of mulch you see in the background, into new beds in the front:

William, Amanda, and Mike...

...their finished mulch and edging work on the beds in the front, now awaiting grass planting
Well deserved beer break~

And in inside news, our window shades came in ... 3 botched tries, and 4 months later!

These are solar shades from Smith & Noble – we ordered them for every window in the house.
 They let in sunlight during the day but are almost completely opaque at night.
We are really happy with how (FINALLY) they turned out...
although I have to say it was a bumpy road. 

 Other small and new:
Cool new paper towel holder, and orange toaster – had to get mentioned :)
The glass shelves....finally up in the guest bathroom
(another view)
And the long-backordered new light from Artemide – in the guest bedroom!

Happy week everyone~

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Landscape Saturday, Part 1

(The first of many installments, I'm sure...)

The front yard took a step into Spring last weekend. We got a last minute call from my Dad on Saturday — he was itching to help in the yard and wanted to go to the nursery. Like right then. Not wanting to lose our set of very capable helping hands, we said yes.

We had not done a lot of research on what we wanted to do in the front yard beyond the initial inclination to do a very-California landscape of succulents and grasses. We were crestfallen when we realized not only would this look not work well in the South, but our front yard is in mostly shade to boot.

Cali-like grasses and succulents

Paver heaven

So, we did what any reasonable couple would do and quickly hopped in the car to stalk the yard of house we love on Hampton Road.

Favorite house on Hampton

Love these pavers for our yard down the line

Of course their house is in mostly sun so they have the grasses we love, along with creeping Jenny and simple bushes. While we can't replicate the grasses in our shade, we definitely are drawn to the minimal approach to the landscaping — low, simple, clean.

At Roundtree nursery we found these, which we thought looked like grasses but could survive in the shade:

A form of Yew plant (totally cut my self out of the worst photo ever).
We bought 10 of these with the plan to space them out along the front
of the house as our main foliage.

And this cool variation on a fern, which we bought a few of as accents.

So here they are going in:

My dad

....and fully in!

Yew plants spaced along the front with our Japanese maples and holly tree
Ferns for accent around the cone-shaped boxwoods

Now that we have landscape fever, I took a few photos around the neighborhood of other plants that we like the look of. (Inspiration for later, or for the backyard)

Along with creeping Jenny, for it's bright color

The ultimate wish list is to replace the brick walkway with those pavers that I mention above as a walkway, and let the grass grow through them. AND to replace the steps and our brick wall around the perimeter of our yard with a slate like this:

(Color variation due to it having just rained)

We ran into this slate wall around the corner in Myers Park on a walk — and seriously almost
knocked on the door to tell the owners how awesome it was!! We're both currently obsessed with it and are racking our brains for a way... I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it to come :)

And in prep for Landscape Saturday, Part 2, 75 bags of mulch were delivered today and are sitting in our driveway waiting for some attention this weekend... There is also a tractor coming on Tuesday to level the backyard!

Have a great week~