January Nesting

Katie held still for the camera.  Thank you, Katie.
Slow cooker black bean soup (smitten kitchen recipe), with cheddar and plain sour cream.
Santa put nuts and peanuts in the stockings again this year.

January is spent at home.  Warm food on the stove or in the Crock Pot.  Christmas nuts and fruits and yes, candy canes remain on the table or in the treat bin.  Money is still low from Christmas.  Mr. B's vacation time starts over, meaning he can take time off to do household projects.  (There are no weekends on the railroad.)  Christmas decorations come down, and my eyes take in what's left.  My mind takes off...  what can be done with what's left...

Our house was built in 1950.  It isn't big.  It's a modest one-story house, situated in a neighborhood on the cusp between good and not-so-good.  When we bought it, we had big plans.  Then things went sour for a while - very sour - and we couldn't do the things we'd planned.

Now bit by bit, room by room, we're finally making our home look the way we want it to look.

Sometimes I get distracted.  When the girls, Grandma, and I went on a walking tour in Wichita's Historic Midtown district in October, I found a house I could really daydream about.

This used to be the "Christmas house."  It was the most magical house in the world at Christmastime.
Before that, it was in this movie.

Just kidding.  That's the historic Wey Mansion, and while it's for sale, I can't even imagine owning it.

Four bedrooms, fabulous bathrooms, remodeled kitchen and laundry area, hardwood floors...

No, this sweet craftsman four-square has been on my mind.  My grandmother lived in it for a short time in the '50s (I think it was a kind of boarding house then), and even though it wasn't officially part of the tour, since it is also for sale, they opened it up for tours.  The price is awesome.  The house has so much potential.  I have redecorated it in my mind, over and over again...

But we're not in a position to buy a house.  We own our own house.  Danzel, let's get back to your own house, okay?

Last year, our January project was to paint and decorate our living room.  (I made a Pinterest board for that.  See?)  The Christmas tree is down, and Mr. B spent yesterday rearranging the furniture.  I'm not sure if it's better than our previous arrangement, but it does refresh the space.

Note cards from Out of Print, purchased at Watermark Books

We snuggled on our cozy, hand-me-down love seat last night and attempted to watch Downton Abbey on Mr. B's ancient laptop.  Alas, either it overheated or wasn't plugged in well enough (it won't hold a charge), and we had to move to the desktop.  But we got our fix!  Yay!

Real quote from the husband:  "I want to be a Dowager Countess."  

This year, we have several projects to choose from.  We still need to refinish the floor in the girls' playroom.  (I think the bedroom will be fine.)  The two rooms that need the most help, though, are our kitchen and dining area (one room) and the family room/den.  

We know we will paint the tiny dining space yellow.  We also want to put peg board on one wall, attempting to use it as storage while maximizing the space.   Someday I want to paint the cabinets in the kitchen white.  The cabinets are new - our house was a flip - and the wood is modern and cheap, especially compared to what we have in the family room.  

I have a Kitchen/Dining board on Pinterest, too.  I love vintage kitchen stuff, and I want to bring a lot of reds and bright greens into the space to mix with the yellow.  We decided we couldn't afford to go completely Mid-Century Modern/Atomic cool.  Instead, we're going Granny Chic.  Eclectic vintage with a little kitsch.  I have a Pinterest board for that, too.

One corner shelf over the sink, by the pass-thru.

The other corner shelf.

This was our family room before we moved in.

The knotty pine!  The stone fireplace!

I love these windows.

That cheap carpet?  It was toast within a week of moving in.  It tufted up so badly that it killed our vacuum cleaner.  This carpet is my most hated thing in this house.  My sworn enemy.  It must be replaced.

This is our true 1950s room.  And it needs help.  A friend of mine asked why we don't paint the knotty pine and I just stared at her.  This isn't cheap '70s fake wood paneling.  This is good stuff.  It's a keeper.  And under the carpet is some old-fashioned beige VCT or linoleum stuff.  It needs a good cleaning, and I don't know if it's in good shape or not.  I'm worried that we need carpeting in here to keep the room warm in the winter, but I really dislike carpet.  

So I've been combing the internet, looking for inspiration.  One of my favorite online resources for homes like mine is Retro Renovation.  Pam, the fabulous site owner, has started a new spin-off site called Knotty is Nice!  I'm glad I'm not the only person under 65 who doesn't mind this old paneling.  I started pinning photos like crazy.  Through Knotty is Nice, I discovered the blog Betty Crafter.  This house is full of knotty pine, and in the rooms with the wood, they installed apple green VCT for the floor.  I must say, I love this idea.  Green is my color, you know.

So this is where my head has been for the past few days.  Swimming with ideas, daydreams, plans, and schemes.  January is my nesting month.

And this nest needs a little feathering before cabin fever sets in.

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  1. I want to come over!! I love your place! And if you renovated to have a retro kitchen that would be sooo cool! And I LOVE that you have the Out of Print notecards on display!! I want to do the same thing with Vintage Ladybird books notecards, if I ever buy the set. And I looove the Kewpie dolls on display!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Leanne! The notecards were something we decided to do on a lark last night. I would love an old metal kitchen, but the space is VERY small. The den was an addition, added on a few years after the house, and the kitchen/dining area sits in the middle of the house, between the living room and den. We still intend to buy a larger house someday (we're working on a 5 year plan), and we don't want to put more money into this house than we can get back out of it someday.

  2. I've lived in Wichita for 5 years and I had to go look up Historic Midtown. I didn't even know that there was a neighborhood association there or anything. I love some of the houses, but I don't get west of I-35 very often except to go downtown. Paul works on the east side, so we're in College Hill (which I love to bits!). Wichita has some great architecture--it's too bad so much of it is either in bad neighborhoods or needs some serious TLC. People need to move back from the 'burbs!

    Don't you just love Out of Print and Watermark? I bought a Jane Eyre t-shirt there a few months ago and it's awesome.

    You just got yourself a new Pinterest follower!

    1. We actually live just north of Central, so we're not quite College Hill. I've lived here all my life. Well, technically I lived in Park City during my elementary and high school years, but the mailing address was Wichita, and I choose not to count it. When I was at WSU, my dad bought a big old house on Country Club (Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, still not quite College Hill), so we're less than 5 minutes away from him now. College Hill, Crown Heights, the Douglas Design District... Most of my favorite haunts fall along here. I am a Watermark regular, I love Il Vicino and College Hill Deli, Bella Luna is just down the street, we attend St. James, and I often perform there and at Community Theatre. :)

    2. Paul and I are at Watermark all the time and we go to Il Vicino and Bella Luna pretty often, too.

      Do you know Ben and Liz?

    3. Liz and I started at the WSU theatre department the same time. In a funny coincidence, they just moved 2 doors down from my dad.

    4. It's amazing how small a world the internet can be! We'll have to meet for coffee sometime soon.

  3. I LOVE GRANNY CHIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! House Tour!!! YAY!!! Do you know that I wish I had gone to Interior Design school and that I stalk decor blogs and that I live for shelter mags and, and , and....I could look at houses all day long, and I love old houses but we're not crafty so that wouldnt work for us....and your husband's comment is so funny, and your cat looks EVIL LIKE MY CAT, SO awesome!

    Sigh. Now I'm even more sad we are too far away for playdates.

    1. I know. We should be next door neighbors, swigging cocktails after the kids go to bed.

      I try to avoid all design stuff until we have some time and/or money. I get depressed too easily otherwise. The grass is always greener...

      Seriously, our cats sound too much alike, along with their relationships with our husbands. Totally.

      My other favorite thing my husband has said while watching "serious" television: When Roger Rees played the alcoholic English ambassador on The West Wing, he looked longingly at the TV and declared, "I want a drunk English lord." We saw Roger Rees do a one man show at WSU a few years ago (Kirstie Alley lives here part time, and got him to come, since he was also Robin Colcord on Cheers), and that kept going through my head as we watched him.

    2. I asked him what he'd do with his own drunken English lord. "Take him with me wherever I go!"

  4. I absolutely love your house! It is so cool, and very retro! Though the best part is that it is a home filled with two beautiful girls, an awesome caring mom, a hardworking dad, lots of love, and last but not least, lots of very cool books that get read. (Did I say lots of cool books!)

    1. Aww, thank you so very much! I need to tame the toys, but I admit, I don't even want to tame the books. I love book clutter.

  5. This tour of your home was great fun! I'm so glad you shared it with us. Your house is fantastic and those windows are TO DIE FOR. They are really wonderful. I have a friend who bought a fifties home a few years ago and is slowly going through the process of trying to take it back to its original splendor. Hard work. And it takes lots of time.

    1. Thank you, Robyn! The windows were my favorite part. We need to figure out a way to keep the drafts out, though. I'm intent on preserving them. We have good thermal draperies, but sometimes we want to let the sun in! We've decided to concentrate on this room, as far as preserving the time period. Everything in the kitchen is new, whether it's what we would have chosen ourselves or not. I don't want to be wasteful, and kitchens are so expensive. The bathroom will be another project down the road. There is no tile around the cheap surround, and the wall is starting to look a little water-damaged. And while the huge vanity means lots of storage, it isn't particularly attractive. I know Mr. B has big plans for it!


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