Archive for April, 2011

earth day, mad style

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

We haven’t spent much time talking about the exterior of our humble maison. Honestly, it needs a lot of work–and it’s the sort of work that we can’t do ourselves. Despite this, we were inspired by our neighbors (who did a little clean up work on a major street near mad maison) to do a little front yard clean up. We’re not quite sure what our long term goal is for the small front yard. We’re pretty sure we want to get rid of the strange vegetation/ground cover that is there, but we don’t yet know what we would replace it with. Here’s what it looked like before we began:

front yard, before
You’ll notice the broken gate, as well as the horror-movie-creature-like tendrils that were starting to reach out toward the sidewalk. The current state is not exactly gorgeous, but it is more under control:

front yard, after

Pulling up every weed is challenging because they get entangled with the bushes that are planted. Overall, we’re happy with the progress and more motivated to maintain it on an ongoing basis.

Mike did almost all the hard work on behalf of mad:

Wishing all our faithful readers a happy earth day!

a day in the life. . .

Friday, April 8th, 2011

One of my favorite things about the blog mi piace kate are Kate’s adorable cats. Not only are her cats cute, but they really like to cuddle. While our cats typically hang out in the same room together, they rarely cuddle. Today, while I worked at home, they assumed a series of poses that came dangerously close to (though not quite) cuddling:

Now you know who we’re really rehabbing this house for!

The saga of the window coverings

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

It’s interesting how a room comes together–and the little challenges you face along the way. Given that the upstairs of mad maison is petite (two bedrooms connected by a small landing/hallway that is also connected to the bathroom and the staircase), mike and I knew that we wanted to use the same color paint in both bedrooms to “tie them together” as they’d say on HGTV. Which means before we started stripping the wallpaper in mike’s office we knew what color the walls would be. And a few months ago, while looking for a chair we encountered a beautiful grey felt pendant lamp at Room & Board. It was a great deal (over 1/2 off the retail price), so we snatched it up even though we knew it would be months before it was installed. And before you can say “color splash” we had “selected” the primary colors for the room–the soft blue on the walls and grey (and then I decided we could throw some splashes of red in the mix). Given that we’d already chosen red window coverings in the living/dining rooms, we decided to go with grey window coverings in this room. In addition, we figured out that we’ll probably put a low console under the windows, so we knew that shades or blinds would be better than curtains. We also really like the clean and tailored look of minimal window coverings that show off as much of our beautiful window frames as possible. Never fear, I knew that ikea would serve us well. Two of my favorite shelter blogs have sung the praises of the ikea Enje roller shade, and I learned they produced a dark grey version of the shade. I mean, they really are perfect. We wouldn’t even have to cut them:

Ikea Enje Shade, dark grey

ikea delivers, again

Or not. As I start looking for a local ikea that has the shades in stock, I keep coming up short. There aren’t any in our two Bay Area ikeas. There aren’t any in Sacramento, or Southern California. I quickly realize they aren’t available anywhere in the US. So I email the good folks at ikea only to learn that they’ve been discontinued. Which is what can drive you crazy about a place like ikea–what could have possibly possessed them to get rid of a clearly popular item? Alas, we’ll never know. We’ll also never know why the shades are still available to our noble neighbors to the north but not us (I’m sure I could come up with a sarcastic political joke, but this is not that kind of blog). But I do know that I have some pretty immediate window covering needs. Any time we wanted to get dressed we needed to close the door to mike’s office. Direct sunlight left mike’s computer unusable due to glare for the better part of the day. My only recourse was the interwebs. I encourage all of our fearless readers to start looking online for grey roller shades that are between 24-25″ wide. Oh, and of course, please limit your search to coverings that will cost less than $50 a shade (which is still more than I wanted to spend). You’re not going to find much. From Target and to the shade store and blinds galore. I finally found a shade I thought would work from my good friends at Option

perfect, you would think

Alas, when we received the shades, here’s what it looked like:

Window Covering Misstep

not so perfect. notice the transparency feature!

Not only will you notice that the shade looks a lot more black than grey, but they aren’t that private either. . . so back they went. And back to door closing and computer screen glare. My partner was getting understandably frustrated. In a moment of weakness, he even did this:

Temporary Solution #1

glare can cause desperate acts

For those of you who know me well, you know that when I rarely admit defeat in such situations. My research continued. So one day I was browsing and encountered a temporary, paper grey shade for only $9–that was in stock at my local store. And, it had a good review by a happy customer. My curiosity and my skepticism were definitely piqued. $9 seemed like a pretty safe gamble to me. So on the way home from work I picked up said shade, completed the quick and easy process of cutting it to size and Mike installed it. And here is the result:

Temporary Solution #2

our temporary fix that we want to keep

The color works well with our beautiful pendant light. The texture is a lovely. The light blockage is right where we want it–no glare, but continuing to let a little light in. mike is so happy he’s proposing they might work as a “permanent” solution to our window covering challenge. Even if that’s not the case, we now have a realistic solution that will work until we find another covering that we absolutely love–or we decide to take a trip to Canada.