Bee for Brian's Profile

Display Name: Bee for Brian
Member Since: 8/17/11

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Maybe if you glued new veneer all over the old dresser, you could achieve this result. But I agree, something looks fishy.

Before & After: A Damaged Dresser Gets a Dramatic Upgrade
7/30/14 04:33 PM

It was around $10,000. When we bought the house, there wasn't evidence of chronic water problems, just one or two places on the paneling where you could tell water had been. We had a French drain put in (jackhammering a trench all the way around the edge of the floor in the whole basement [poured concrete foundation], installation of drain, new concrete to fill, two sump pumps just in case, major dehumidifier). Three years in, and we have never had the first drop of moisture. We wanted to put laminate flooring in the finished part of the basement, but the existing concrete was too sloped for drainage -- not a flat enough surface. We put down a subfloor with drainage channels on the bottom and then had carpet installed with radiant heat underneath. I wouldn't have felt comfortable with the carpet unless we had done such a thorough job with the waterproofing.

How Much Did it Cost to Waterproof Your Basement? Reader Intelligence Request
7/30/14 04:29 PM

"I always knew what I wanted for colors: neutral grey, grey-blue, dark chocolate, etc., but I don't think these colors fit well with textures."

Why do you think those colors don't fit? A lot of people would think they're perfectly fine. There's no bible that says textured walls have to be white. Stick with the least glossy finish you can stand, and keep it neutral. Once you have your art up, you'll stop noticing the walls. (And next time you buy a house, keep looking until you find one where you don't hate any components as substantial, omnipresent, and hard to change as the walls.)

Paint Ideas For Textured Walls? Good Questions
7/30/14 02:43 PM

You're asking questions that only you can answer. Do you like the chair's shape, or were you more attracted to the color and the fact that it was free? Does it get sat in a lot, or is it "for show"? It's an attractive, unusual, "vintage-looking" shape, so yes, the bones are great (provided that it's still sound, which again only you can answer). If your budget allows, the perfect path would be to reupholster it and love it some more. Keep the tufting; the vintage look is what makes the chair valuable, and tufting is integral. Don't go crazy with pattern; the shape of the chair already provides enough pizzazz. Just pick a color you have always liked, and picture yourself enjoying this when you're 75.

Should I Keep It: Midcentury Gem or Goodwill Donation? Good Questions
7/30/14 10:23 AM

That kitchen did not "go back to its midcentury roots." It bypassed the modest practicality of midcentury kitchens and went directly into 21st-century layout and materials and excess. At most, you could say "Kitchen is brought ever farther from midcentury roots, but is given a few MCM garnishes."

Kitchen Before & After: A Kitchen Goes Back to Its Mid-Century Roots Reader Kitchen Remodel
7/29/14 04:28 PM

The chartreuse took my breath away -- so much more powerful for being in a house that is not already saturated with color. What a good idea for a guest room! You give your guest that "wow" moment that makes them feel like their room is a special place, and they get a brief chance to live in an exotic color that they might not otherwise ever get an opportunity to be immersed in. The homeowners, too, can enjoy the color without having to be married to it 24/7.

Chris and Amber's Old + New Renovated Home House Tour
7/29/14 01:01 PM

"Curious: What was the reasoning/explanation for not using the grindings as 'free mulch'? The acidity?"

Yes, I've since read that the acidity can be a problem, depending on what the mulched plants like. Also, freshly chopped-up wood apparently sucks up any nearby nitrogen as part of decomposition, so "fresh" mulch is going to interfere with plants in ways that normal aged mulch wouldn't/

How Much Did It Cost To Remove a Tree From Your Yard? Reader Intelligence Request
7/29/14 11:43 AM

We had a gigantic old maple with an unsound trunk. Two weeks before we closed on the house, it lost one major limb in a windstorm. A year after that, another big limb came off and fell in the street (city showed up within 45 minutes on a Friday night and sawed it up and carted it away -- we were impressed). Six months later, a third limb fell and clipped the gutter. We paid $1495 to have the whole thing taken down and the stump ground. (We're in Kentucky.) Cost extra because the home's original owner had poured cement into a hollow in the trunk to strengthen the tree.

Two notes from experience: I did not know that, where a stump has been ground, the soil is likely to be way more acid than the rest of your yard. I saw the grindings and thought "Free mulch!" but was cautioned not to go down that path. We filled our yard waste recycle bin over and over to get rid of the grindings. If you're going to plant grass over this area, you'll want to test the soil and amend it.

Second, I think it's kind of a ripoff that the insurance company used this episode as a lever to bump up our premium -- it's as if they decided that we are a higher risk for having trees fall on our house, AFTER we REMOVED the TREE.

How Much Did It Cost To Remove a Tree From Your Yard? Reader Intelligence Request
7/29/14 11:14 AM

The tray effect on top is a great way to get rid of the formica, which never had any business being atop a rustic Mediterranean look. But the bones of this piece (the chunkiness of the ribs between the mirrors, those little beveled carve-outs around the doors and drawers) will continue to betray that this cabinet is secretly "begging" to look like a rough, artisan item. The frivolous paint color and glitzy mirrors seem out of synch with the peasantlike origins. However, the disguise is so splashy that most people probably won't look beneath the mask.

Before & After: A Thrift Store Cabinet Goes Glam
7/29/14 10:50 AM

In my first apartment, the only bathroom was off the only bedroom. It never occurred to me to be self-conscious that people might find out I sleep in a bed. If the apartment is that small, it's not that arduous to keep it clean. And figuring out which door leads to the bathroom is not that difficult -- no need to paint it purple or hang a whimsical sign. Just leave it open, for Pete's sake, or say "Through there, and on the left." If you're terrified that someone might open the closet door by mistake, hang a couple of shirts on its doorknob to discourage them. If you're worried that your friends will count the threads in your bedding, a folding screen or canopy bed is not going to thwart them.

How To Make the Most of Typical Rental Features: The Only Bathroom is Through the Bedroom
7/28/14 01:52 PM

If you have "stacks of magazines," installing those copper hoops and putting magazines in them is not going to make your life better. You will still have stacks of magazines, unless you have gone crazy, in which case you will have walls full of magazines. Meanwhile, instead of just reading the darn magazines, you've blown a bunch of time bending wire.

8 DIY Decor Projects That Will Make Your Life a Little Easier
7/28/14 01:43 PM

"If I only had a cloche." If you can afford all those shoes, you can afford a cloche.

Shoes as Art: 10 Clever Shoe Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
7/24/14 01:29 PM

The underlying premise here: Many people like styles when they're "fresh" and want to discard them once they become "oversaturated" or "too popular." And that indicates that tastes can be fickle.

Many elements of our homes (furniture, tile, wallpaper, upholstery, remodeling) are relatively permanent, big-ticket decisions. And that indicates that tastes (in these things, at least) shouldn't be so fickle.

Unfortunately, a lot of style publications are written (and read) as if the fickle trends had some enduring and universal value: "This pizza oven is the accessory every backyard must have, even if you don't like making pizza." "Chevrons are everywhere, so if you like polka dots your style is dated and you have no taste." "Can you believe people used to like horrible avocado-colored appliances? Too bad they didn't know about poppy-colored appliances, which will be adored until the end of time." "Marble counters are timeless, which is why they were everywhere 100 years ago, completely disappeared for 60 years, and resurfaced recently when it became apparent that they have always been the only sensible choice."

I've said it before: A trend is not a statement that a design idea is good or bad or lasting or evanescent or right or wrong. A trend is nothing more than a mild shopping alert: "Hey, if your personal sense of decor favors colors like Radiant Orchid, now's the time to stock up, because you will never see as much of that color again in your life. And if you came up empty five years ago when you wanted a brass faucet for your kitchen sink, it's a good time to look again. Congratulations on getting that chevron wallpaper -- revel in it for as long as you like; it was a good investment, since you bought it because you've always liked chevrons and not because of peer pressure."

How Do You Know a Trend is Officially \"Over?\"
7/24/14 12:01 PM

I'd choose the full-size fridge. The function of cabinet storage can be compensated for in other places -- store your seldom-used wok and your once-a-year Bundt pan under the bed or in your basement locker. The function of refrigerated space can't be outsourced like that, and you'll be up a creek if, even once, you find yourself with several bulky things that need to be chilled. I'm thinking of a dinner party where you need to chill the wine AND the turkey AND the tres leches cake.

What's Better in Small Kitchen: More Cabinets or Full-Size Fridge? Good Questions
7/24/14 11:01 AM

If it's a "tin" that can only be opened with a can opener (like the oyster and blueberry examples), the herb planter idea should work fine. But the tea tins might be more liable to rust if exposed to constant moisture. If I were dead set on planting herbs in a tea tin, I'd line the interior with Plasti-Dip.

The paprika tin as a refrigerator magnet is brilliant! I tossed just such a tin less than two weeks ago, and I'm kicking myself.

9 Stylish Uses for Vintage Tins
7/24/14 10:51 AM

Discouraging to see that the closet wall was put up first and then the marble went down around it. That means that if any future owners want to reclaim that window and restore the room to its original intended layout, they'll have to deal with a big gap in the marble, or redo the floor.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/23/14 11:40 AM

My last house had an occasional mouse problem. I kept an opened box of Rid O Rat* in a zip-lock plastic bag, only to find later that a mouse or mice had apparently chewed through the bag to get to the delicious poison.

*It looks just like Skinny N Sweet ... except for the little skull and crossbones on the label.

Which Pantry Items Should I Keep in Airtight Containers? Tips from The Kitchn
7/23/14 11:04 AM

Your look seems to be on the spare side, so empty space is suitable and is certainly better than needlessly filling the space just so you can say "There's no empty space here."

That said, if you have some unaddressed functional needs, sure, put up a little rack for cookbooks, or a rattan bin for rarely used accoutrements.

And if you've accidentally kept your kitchen too spare, that is a nice gallery space for some substantial pretty thing that would be there just to delight. You could use a bit of color and organic shape, so I suggest something like this ceramic rooster -- -- mainly because I wish I had a good space for it.

What Should I Do with Awkward Space above Fridge? Good Questions
7/23/14 10:57 AM

I work in a building with lots of marble floors, and there are large doormats inside every entrance. This plan might be safe enough if they cover a good chunk of the precious marble with a rug or doormat, even though that diminishes the pricey effect and clutters up the "zones" they're creating. Still, that's probably what they'll do after the first rains, especially since this is a space designated for the removal of wet coats and shoes.

The rim of the wooden flooring looks like it has a pretty significant lip. Visitors are likely to be looking at the staircase or the glorious window closet, not the floor, so watch out for tripping.

Mike & Sandie's Foyer: New Flooring Renovation Diary
7/22/14 04:10 PM

Like SherryBinNH, I too was around when the original midcentury stuff was still being rolled out, and this blue, although gorgeous, doesn't seem to have anything to do with what we recognize as midcentury modern. Bright primary colors would be more reminiscent of Space Age ultramodern things (say, contemporary with when Lucite really started showing up) or the less tie-dyed end of the Flower Power spectrum. They're beautiful now, but if you put them in an average vintage MCM room they might be jarringly vibrant.

Before & After: Nightstand Nightmare No More
7/21/14 04:12 PM