Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

So far we've really liked most of what we've done to the house, but once in a while things just don't work. The kitchen shelves would be one of those things. We originally installed four shelves with brackets on an open wall in the kitchen, which provided more "counter"-like space.

Well, they seemed to look just fine. I was never a huge fan of the brackets, but figured we could change those out at a later date. But then the problems started. They were right in the walking path from the dining room to the pantry/back of the kitchen, so we were constantly scraping our arms on the corners. Without anything under the shelves and without big, chunky brackets, we were also hitting our heads when we would pick up Sadie's water and food bowls. The last straw was when I hit my head so hard it drew blood. Changing out the shelves had officially jumped to the top of our list.

We decided we wanted to pull a bit of the industrial design from our pipe pot rack into the shelves. And we wanted to make sure there was also some structure at the front of the shelves to make sure we don't walk into them/hit our heads anymore. Thus blossomed the idea for pipe shelves. They were constructed from the same electrical conduit that our pipe rack was. Using a 1inch drill bit, holes were drilled in the corners so they could slide onto the pipes. And finally, the entire structure was attached to the wall.

The entire project cost under $300 and was put together in a day. Though, I do still need to stain the wood shelves. But that's a project for another day when it's warm enough to open windows.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Office Space

So there was a slightly awkward addition at the back of our house. It left an extra room on both the first and second floors. We have yet to tackle the second floor addition area, but on the first floor we opened up the wall and extended the kitchen into half of this addition. But that still left half of the addition room empty. It was a bit of an odd space. Originally we thought about turning it into a den/sitting area, but realized that would probably never get used. We're not the formal living room type. So instead we turned it into a home office.

The office made the most sense for our lifestyle. We'd never use a space with just a couch or a chair. But the office allows for us to have a space to work from home or for Kevin to work for his consulting job. It also allows a place for us to put Kevin's extra large monitor that would otherwise sit in the box in the basement. It also allows us a place to hook up a computer and pay bills or the like, if we'd rather at a desk than sitting on the couch with our laptops (still has yet to happen, but maybe one day).

We used a desk we had in our last apartment. I've talked about painting it black to match other furniture (it's currently a black-brown color), but just haven't gotten around to it yet. We set up our display bookshelf on it's side in front of the desk for all of our tchotchkes. It also made the area seem a bit more finished rather than looking at the front of a desk (it's not a fancy, ornate desk). Then finally I painted and glazed some old glass jars and put some flowers in them to give a sense of privacy at the desk, and divide the rooms a bit since it is open to the kitchen eating area.

Take a look at our *mostly* done office!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Down Under, Part 3

Last stop on our trip was none other than Sydney, Australia.

The day we arrived, we decided to walk around the city a bit. We walked down towards Circular Quay and ultimately ended up walking around the botanic gardens. From the gardens, there were some great views of both the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Our first full day in Sydney, we traveled out to Olympic Park for the Color Run. For those of you that haven't heard of the Color Run, it's a 5k fun run where you get color thrown at you throughout the race. By the end of the race, you end up rainbow coated from head to toe. We spent a little time post race to walk around Olympic Park to get a better view of everything (you can only see so much while running).

Day two's big highlight was the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb. A 3 1/2 hour journey, about 440 feet above sea level, about 66 feet of ladders, and 1439 stairs. It was a combination of slightly terrifying and absolutely amazing. If you ever have the chance to get to Sydney, I highly recommend it.

The following day we left Sydney and spent the day in Hunter Valley, one of Australia's oldest wine producing areas. Here we went to two different wineries for tastings--Lindman's and McGuigan's, as well as a the Bluetongue Brewery Cafe.

We spent a day out at Bondi Beach and the east coast of Sydney as well. We walked along the beach and coastal trail. There wasn't really much of a plan for the day, so we just walked down the coast until we got hungry. After grabbing lunch on the waterfront, we sat at Bronte Beach for a while. The plan was to enjoy the sun, possibly walk further south down the coast, and ultimately walk back up to Bondi to catch the bus back to our hotel. Unfortunately, mother nature was not on our side. Around 4pm it started to mist. And looking out over the ocean, you could see the storm rolling in. So we hightailed it back up to Bondi and caught the bus a bit earlier than planned. It was still a great day at the beach though.

Our last full day in Sydney was Valentine's Day. We spent the day walking the city and taking things in one last time. From the BridgeClimb, we had tickets to get into one of the bridge pylons. You're able to climb to the top of the pylon for a great view of the city. And for this one you can actually bring your own camera up. We also walked around Darling Harbour and had drinks and dinner on the waterfront. We then walked down to the Sydney Opera House to see La Boheme. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime to get to see an opera at the Sydney Opera House. One last walk along the water and seeing the Harbour Bridge and Opera House at night finished our night.

The next morning we packed up, had a nice, leisurely breakfast, and headed off to the airport for our nice long flights home. We did get a break from airports in Los Angeles when we left LAX and went to In-N-Out.

And at 9pm we arrived back in freezing Chicago, just in time to catch the end of the Blackhawks game (which they won!)