Tacky gets upgraded with texture

Our story so far: Choosing the right rugs for our newly converted church proved to be challenging.

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For more than a month, our new dining room table sat on a bed of furniture blankets as we weighed our rug options. One evening, as Tyler forced me to adjudicate while he paged through literally hundreds of rug options on various online retailers’ websites, we struck upon a jute rug with formal navy striping. I liked the texture of the twine-like substance (ease of cleaning remained to be seen) and the simplicity of the design which was on the edges, not the center of the rug (what’s the point of a center design when the table covers it?). When the rug arrived, we wasted no time replacing the ugly furniture blankets. Classy replaced crass in about ten minutes.

dining room rug
Here’s a look at our dining “corner,” complete with new jute rug, in this picture taken from the balcony.

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Tomorrow: You think jute has texture. Wait until you see what we put in front of the fireplace. Check it out here.


I like to say I believe in ghosts so I don’t get haunted by one

We interrupt our storytelling to wish our readers a happy Halloween!

church sign halloween
Because people ask, for the record, we’ve experienced no sign of any ghosts residing in the old Methodist church. If they’re there, they’re fat and happy (i.e., quiet).

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Today’s headline is a quote from “The X Factor” contestant Ella Henderson. The quote on the church sign is a popular internet meme, sometimes attributed to @lovemydogduck.

Tomorrow: Anything is better than what we first put the dining room table on. Read about it here.

I’m with stupid

Our story so far: Choosing rugs to cover the hard-earned refinished wood floors in the old Methodist church proved difficult.

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I agonized for weeks leading up to the move about the color scheme for our master bedroom, mostly because I was too cheap to buy new sheets. We had good quality sheets for the king-sized bed in khaki and in a white-and-blue print. Either would work just fine in our master, but I didn’t have a decent quilt to match. (I was the sort of woman who liked to match her bra and underwear to match, too, even though almost no one but ever saw them.) I ended up with an all-white bed-in-a-bag with a comforter, knowing I still wanted a lighter quilt to fold at the foot of the bed (eventually, I found a great deal on a navy blue one). Maybe later I’d invest in some more printed pillow cases.

I settled on a mottled gray, black and turquoise rug. We also bought a matching runner for the Hall of History, which was right outside the bedroom. The runner was so wide, it covered up all the interesting paint we left on the floor, so I moved it into the bedroom as a path to the bathroom (so main rug was right size, runner was wrong size, at least for its intended purpose). Of course, this meant making another choice for the Hall of History at some point—ugh.

master rugs
An ant’s eye view of the master bedroom.

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Thursday: A rug with texture. Read about it here.

Magic carpet

Our story so far: My husband and I had renovated an old Methodist church into our home, and now worked to make it cozy.

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Floor coverings. Oh, you’d think we had the most difficult part done once Tyler applied the last coat of polyurethane to the refinished floors, but no. Wood floors are oh, so chic, but they are not cozy. Rugs are de rigueur, and choosing rugs is not for the timid. Google “how  to choose a rug,” and you’ll get 113 million pieces of advice. Tips on finding the right size sift to the top, so anyone with access to the internet and a few minutes of time can figure that out. Choosing a material, a design and a color proved to be paralyzing for me. These were not towels or curtains that could be easily changed if they were wrong—a properly sized rug covered a lot of real estate. And if I didn’t like what I purchased, cha-ching. Good rugs weren’t cheap.

The first rooms to get rugs were the bedrooms (which saved us the trouble of having to move beds). Tyler’s favorite approach—shopping Amazon—led him to Houzz, where he found the rugs for the second floor guest room and our master suite. He parsed through hundreds of options, narrowing them to three, and made me choose.

On the second floor, where the trim was white and the walls were gray as in the rest of the church, my accent color was seafoam green. I knew I wanted to use a handmade quilt I’d won in a raffle on the bed (it was quite a prize for $5 in raffle tickets), and its main color was crimson, so a version of green would complement it. I also planned to put my antique steamer trunk at the foot of the bed, and Tyler had once had it painted for me by a Rockford, Illinois artist as a gift; the color scheme was cream and blue and seafoam green. For the rug, I chose a muted tradition design in gray and greenish, big enough to cover the floor beneath the bed and the walkway to the bathroom.

second floor bedroom before
Here’s a look at how the second story looked when we first took ownership of the church.
second story bedroom
And here is how it looks now, complete with rug. The door on the left leads to the bathroom, the little door on the right leads to the playhouse under the eaves and the white door on the far right is the belfry. (A different headboard is in store.)

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Tomorrow: A rug for the master. Read about it here.

You don’t know anything about space

Our story so far: We moved into the old Methodist church we renovated, and commenced with installing creature comforts.

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One weekend morning, Tyler and I installed shelving inside our master closet. The closet rods were great, but only half the story. Shelving was necessary to make the space above our heads useful. Much measuring, sawing and drilling ensued, but we accomplished this necessary project, too, with only one mishap. While sawing a hunk of shelving on a table saw, Tyler lost his grip and the hunk hurled itself into his stomach. “Ooph,” he exclaimed in a manner eerily similar to Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island”; for a week, he had a perfectly rectangular bruise across his torso (fortunately for me, I earned no blame in this). Just another badge of honor earned by renovating a 126-year-old church.

closet shelves

With shelving and coordinating baskets installed, my master closet could now neatly contain all my purses, scarves, workout gear and swimwear.

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Today’s headline is a line from the ’60s television show “Gilligan’s Island” uttered by Skipper, to which Gilligan replied, “I do know one thing. You take up more of it than I do.”

Tomorrow: Choosing a rug is hard. Read about it here.

A place for everything and everything in its place

Our story so far: We continued to make ourselves at home as we added cozy and convenience touches to the living space inside the former Methodist church, now our residence.

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As all of our cabinets were brand new, none of them had any sort of sophisticated organizers beyond shelving. One evening, early in our residency, Tyler and I addressed the storage situation inside the kitchen island.

tongue of island
That space beneath the tongue of the island would have been a lot of square footage to leave empty. See one of the cabinet doors we installed on the right.
lazy Susan
Lazy Susan, at your service.

As a display kitchen, the supporting structure to the tongue of granite that was a seating area was nothing more than pretty support. But in our real kitchen, where we had no lack of serving bowls and trays, that space could serve as storage—if only we could get to it. Tyler installed three cabinet doors, but the interior was so deep, even I with my freakishly long arms could not reach the back of the cabinet. So he ordered a two-deck lazy Susan. It was a bit of a trick getting the pieces through the narrow cabinet doors and reassembling it again inside, but we triumphed, and all that hidden space became useable.

Dad also helped a lot when he visited by installed the tip-out trays in the bathroom vanity and a number of wire racks inside various cupboards to contain spices, glassware and rolls of tin foil and plastic.

spice racks
Not too high, not too low–Dad installed these racks juuuuust right so the spice bottles would fit and the door would still close.

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Tomorrow: Master closet shelving. Read about it here.

Old lights, new lights

Our story so far: We implemented meaningful ways to make the old Methodist church our home.

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old light in back entry
One of the old lights formerly lit the side entryway to the church (the doorway through which this picture was taken was walled up to enclose our master bedroom).
light globes

The Hall of History, when we purchased the church, was paneled and dark. Removing the paneling and installing drywall helped immensely, but it needed good lighting, too, to be inviting. What better fixtures than historical ones? Among my favorite recycling projects in the church was our reuse of these various light fixtures; one of them, for instance, originally lit the side entry. The globes shared color—white—but varied in shape.

rusty collars
Collars before spray paint.

We also unearthed a number of rusty collars of unknown age. I spray-painted the collars in matte black and had them rewired. The globes required only soap and water.

collars in spraypaint
Collars in the spray paint booth (that is, the basement).

Then they sat in storage for ages. I could hardly wait until it was their turn to get installed. They were among the last ones.

The best parts were the screws used to secure the globes in the collars. I, hater of all things brass, chose brass. They were just the right accent, and I loved them.

hall of history lights
Hall of history lights (with brass screws!).

When we moved in, I took great satisfaction in flipping the switch to turn on the lights in the Hall of History. They warmed my heart a little bit.

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Tomorrow: More cozy touches in the kitchen. Read about it here.