Have You Watched Happy Valley?

Surprise, it’s a Monday post!  We’re doing an experiment for the next couple of weeks by adding in some bite-size posts about books, shows we’re watching, products we’re into, or just whatever we’re thinking and talking about.  Is there something you’d like to hear about or discuss?  Let us know in the comments.

Have you seen the British mini-series Happy Valley?  It’s a smart, character-driven crime drama with strong women in lead roles, including the greatest TV cop ever.  We’re hooked!  The first two seasons are available to stream on Netflix.  What are you watching these days?

Mera’s House: The New Master Bedroom

It’s been a long time coming, but our new master bedroom is done!  If you recall, the room is tiny, full of sloped ceilings, tricky angles, and little eaves.  If you want to revisit the plans and progress for this room you’ll find them here, here, herehere and here, but suffice it to say this has been a slog.  Seeing these before and after shots gives me a proud sense of achievement.  Let’s get into it!

Looking from the doorway into the room, before:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

and after:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Before:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

And after:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Looking back toward the doorway and closet, before:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

and after:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

And finally the closet eave, before:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

And the closet eave, after:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Ahhhhh, so fresh and clean and, best of all, functional!  The closet easily houses both of our wardrobes, and a few of the drawers are even still empty (once this baby makes his debut (in approx. 47 days, not that I’m counting) bring on the fall fashion!).

One of the best things about the closet is the simple brass hardware on the sliding closet doors and drawers.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Red House West || Master Bedroom RevealHere’s the view from the closet looking back toward the bed:

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Those of you who’ve followed these chronicles might remember that I had my heart set on an indigo upholstered bed from Serena and Lily.  I ordered it, and then I waited, and waited, and waited.  Seven months later, the bed still hadn’t arrived, and I started looking for alternatives.  This bed from CB2 appealed to me because of its small size and simple shape.  I posted a plea for input, and that very day I got an email from Serena and Lily saying that the bed was in production and would ship a few days later!  But after getting great feedback from you, dear readers, and after several calls to Katie in which she design and life-coached me, I cancelled the order for the Serena and Lily bed.  The CB2 bed got the rose, and like Trista and Ryan Sutter, I’ve never looked back.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

I’m so glad I went this route.  The Serena and Lily bed is beautiful, but the reality of this room is that with the angled ceiling, the paneling, and all of the nooks and mullioned windows, there is a lot going on in here before you even begin to talk about color.  As it is now, the subtle palette of mostly white and off-white, with touches of peach, indigo, and deep teal green gives it a quiet, restful, and slightly unstudied look that I love.

In its naked form, the CB2 bed was a little too masculine for me so I layered my antique piano shawl over the headboard.  I love the way the inverted triangle mirrors the triangle shaped ceiling above, and that it adds a quiet dash of romance.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Once during this long process I googled “feng shui bedroom” and learned that a bed (1) should never be under a window, (2) should never face a door, and (3) should never be under a sloped ceiling. Check, check, and check.  Despite breaking all the feng shui rules, I find this set up restful and comfortable.  My side of the bed is under the sloped ceiling, and I was worried about hitting my head or having to stoop uncomfortably every time I crawl into bed, but so far, even with pregnancy-induced limited mobility, it hasn’t been a problem at all.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

The bed faces this over-sized mirror and bench.  The mirror isn’t so low that we stare at ourselves from bed, but it’s the perfect height to reflect the view out the window behind our heads.  It gives us the feeling of gazing at the trees and sky, and also functions well as a close-to full-length mirror.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

In the other eave I made a nursing command station.  Eventually I think we’ll build a hinged window seat with storage below for linens, but for the foreseeable future me and my boobs will be right here.

Red House West || Master Bedroom Reveal

So there you have it!  I’ll be sharing more details in upcoming posts, but for now here are sources:

CLOSET AREA
|| sliding door hardware || drawer hardware || ceiling light || rug ||  necklace holder || small triangle mirror ||

BED AREA

|| roman shades || bed || linen sheets (a gift from my mother in law!) || peach linen pillowcases || Catherine of Aragon portrait (a present from Katie!) || peach sky print || bench || round mirror (no longer available in gold) || face planter || peach planter || table lamps (no longer available) || pendant lamp (similar) || wall hooks ||

ROCKING CHAIR AREA

|| chair || pillow ||

Ranch Rambler: Before

In my last post I shared the reasoning behind our decision to sell our pretty red house and move back into the much smaller – and decidedly less pretty – ranch house we’d been renting out.  The decision continues to feel like a good one; it’s fun to be making lots of plans, both short and long term.

It’s a little terrifying to show ‘before’ photos without any palate-cleansing ‘after’ photos to follow them up.  But this is gonna be a process, folks, and you’re going to start right here at the beginning with me.  Just you, me, and that boob light that greets you right when you walk in the front door.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeHoo boy.  Just look at that marvelous ceiling texture – so three-dimensional! so tactile!  A perfect background for the mammiferous light that presides over the entrance, threatening to squirt any interlopers.  The ultimate booby trap.
Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeSo welcome! Welcome to our home!  Once you’ve entered that aggressively red door (painted by yours truly), you are in a room that comprises the kitchen, dining, and living areas, and makes up most of the house’s square footage.

I have got big plans for that kitchen, but we’re tackling other projects first; taking the uncharacteristically sensible approach of settling in before creating a vortex of chaos in the middle of everything.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler Before

Though it may be hard to tell, we started the process of updating this house when we lived here before. We put in the bamboo floors and we took down a wall and some hanging cupboards that used to separate the kitchen from the rest of the room.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler Before

I don’t have any of those before before photos, so I decided a quick Photoshop rendering might be the most useful way to see what we did:

Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeThe wall and hanging cabinets made the kitchen feel dark and closed off, and the rest of the room feel oddly shaped; I like the beam much better.  We’ve started drawing up new island configurations that will provide a little more separation of space (mostly just easing that line of sight to the sink and fridge when you walk in the door) while still keeping the open feeling.

The high ceiling is nice, and we’re really excited to have the woodstove for this winter.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler Before

This photo is taken from the kitchen looking toward the front door.  So much brown wood!

Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeAnd this one is taken from next to the woodstove with the front door on the right.  The door on the far left is a coat closet, and the other one leads through the laundry room and into the garage (which we’re using as a woodshop).

Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeMore brown wood and popcorn ceilings down the narrow hallway, with doors that open into the bedrooms and a bathroom.
Red House West || Ranch Rambler BeforeThe two doors on the left lead to two small bedrooms – 10′ x 10′ – that are mirror images.  One will be my office, and the other will be our guest room.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler Before

The color of the paint is Composition, and Pre-Red House West Katie – who strongly felt that every room should have its own personality and color – painstakingly chose it and applied it.

The master bedroom gets lovely light.  We swapped out a window for those french doors the last time we lived here (though the curtains were left by the renters) and they open to a small deck and side yard.

Red House West || Ranch Rambler Before

Looking out of the master bedroom, closet on the right and hallway on the left.

Looking out of the master bedroom, closet on the right and hallway on the left.

Are you still with me, or have I scared you off?  In the interest of time, and in an effort to not lose all our readers in one fell swoop, I’m going to leave the bathrooms for a later post.

As I consider plans – and their associated costs – I have to frequently remind myself that it’s unlikely we’ll live in this house forever.  The goal is to live here and save money toward building a house ourselves, and to meanwhile take advantage of the easy maintenance and lower expenses to do some traveling.  We’re not sure whether we’ll ultimately sell this house or keep it as a rental, so we want to make changes that can cover both of those eventualities, while also making it a nicer place for us to live in now.

Obviously this house could use a lot of updating, and we’re dialing in on what is essential and what is not.  The kitchen will definitely get redone, but I also want to focus on some of those whole-house changes that will improve its overall quality and functionality.

The essential whole-house updates:

  • Remove popcorn ceilings
  • Replace hollow core brown doors with solid white ones
  • Replace door hardware
  • Replace rounded brown trim with more substantial white trim
  • Replace light fixtures
  • Paint walls, ceilings, trim, and doors a single color
  • Update heating/cooling system

We’ve already started making progress on some of these, including the  harrowing-but-ultimately-fruitful search for flush mount light fixtures that don’t cause “lactation” to be the first word that comes to mind when you see them.

Can’t wait to share!  Any other thoughts on essential upgrades for bringing a house like this into the new century?

– Oh, and in case you were wondering about the title of this post: In reading our insurance policy, we noticed that this house is referred to as the Ranch Rambler and, since I’ve been trying to come up with a name (thanks for your help in the comments of the last post!), I thought I’d take it for a spin.  What do you think?