Thursday, March 24, 2011

all new surfaces on which to urinate

You'll have to forgive me, but this has been a really exhausting week. Aside from the move last weekend and a busy few weeks at work, I've been literally limp with exhaustion every night. They're the kind of evenings where, in med school, I would have once easily fallen asleep in front of the TV with a sandwich sitting on my chest, only now I have these damn kids demanding time and attention and some kind of moral compass (default answer: be nice to your brother) so instead of watching "Top Chef" and passing out early as God intended, I have been preparing snacks and pushing trains around a wooden track, making pathetic chugging noises symbolizing breakdown. So sorry if I'm a little haphazard with the grammar.

Anyway, here is my grand plan for the living room.

The house itself is in good shape. We just don't have anything to put in it, and the stuff we have looks terrible. The fate of the former med student(s) is Ikea Purgatory, and Joe and I are certainly no exception. In fact, the only room that looks halfway decent is the playroom, and that's because it's a playroom and aesthetic sensibility plays second fiddle to comfy carpet and easy access to Legos.  Here's a little before and after of the playroom--the former owners had used it as more of a solarium, which was very nice and very suited to their purposes as an older retired couple.  We, however, need a place for the kids to amass their impressive array of colored plastic whatnots, and this seemed like as good of a place as any:

The dining room we are repurposing as a dining room-cum-living room, because we rarely eat in a formal dining room, and anyway, we need somewhere to put the TV.  Here is what it looked like when the former owners lived here.

Obviously they took all their furniture and art, as well as their chandelier.  We did a little more paring down by taking down the much-discussed mirrors, and now we're sort of halfway there with what we need to do with the room, given that we've set a moratorium on buying anything large-scale new for the house.

Instead of one oversized dining room (which we will never use), we split the space into two separate areas.  We kept the dining space but moved it a little bit over towards the former mirror walls, and made the rest of the space into more of a living area using our old dog-pee couches.  How do you make old couches look somewhat less terrible?  Well, the grown-up answer is to reupholster them, but you overestimate the investment value of our furniture--these are really, really cheap couches.  So for now, we just got some neutral, bright slipcovers, and I splurged on (well, splurged is the wrong word--they were pretty cheap--let's say sprung for ) some new couch cushions at Home Goods.

I got a neutral jute rug (on the recommendation of the lovely Miss AB Chao--we solicited her advice for the family room but then we ran out of money for anything new, and anyway, the family room became the box room and now it is extra terrible-looking, though STAY TUNED WORLD, we may get our acts together yet) and put it underneath our dining room table.  The main reason I got it is to prevent the chairs from scratching up the hardwood floors, but it tries my compulsions every day--particularly my compulsions to make sure everything is at right angles at all times.

I put up this old poster that we had framed a while ago on the mantle, first because we have nothing else to put up, and secondly, because the colors are going to tie into my next project, which is to recover the dining room chairs with new fabric.

Our dining room tables look...sad.  If you think I was just kidding about us having pee on all our furniture, well, obviously you don't have two little kids and a dog, because, for realsies, there is old pee everywhere.  Kids just want to eat dinner and pee on a chair at the same time, apparently.  IT IS THEIR WAY.

Yes, in retrospect, the decision to cover a dining room chair cushion in plain off-white was unfortunate, but look, this was way before I had so many messy beings in my life.  But it's OK, because this weekend, I'm going to try to recover the chairs, a project that I've been putting off for (literally) the past two years.  And I have a whole bottle of Scotch Guard now.  And it's going to be awesome.  Just try to pee now, you little detrusors.  (No, wait...don't.)  Here's the fabric I picked.

Anyway, we're trying to do one of those "big changes, small budget" things, and look, I'm not saying that it's going to look like the palace at Versailles, but at least it will look a little bit more updated and modern and kid-friendly.  As long as there's two decent rooms that I can spend time in, I can deal with the fact that the rest of the house looks like some kind of cardboard shantytown.


  1. HAHAHA I love the part about the chairs!

  2. I feel ya! 6 cats, 4 kids (2 with special needs)and a house full of pee. We bought new furniture last year and my only requirement was that pee not show and be easily wiped off. Yep, a 22 year old in a leaky diaper will NOT ruin my sofa. :-)

  3. well, the playroom looks lovely. I'd have loved to have one like that when I was a kid :-)

  4. our solarium is also a playroom and I love it! I am wondering though if Mack is through the whole peeing on chairs while he eats thing...after all he just turned 2 right?

  5. Anonymous10:31 PM

    omg, the eat-and-pee comment was hilarious. but the house looks big!

  6. The livingroom-diningroom is great! Very comfy and kid friendly for a young family. (Man, that sounds cringe-worthy. When did I get so old?)

  7. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Looks like a very comfortable setup. Props on the home interior design skills!

  8. I love the rug. Does it have rubber backing so it doesn't slip? We need one of those -- like a giant bathmat for the living room.

    Incidentally, what happens if you are color blind and decide to go into anesthesia? I only as because I noticed your syringes are color coded....

  9. This just made my day. Possibly my week -- I don't have kids yet (first one due in June!) but I do have 4 dogs, and they love to pee everywhere. Our apartment is covered in throw rugs to keep my oldest dog from slipping and hurting himself, and all 4 dogs pee all over them. I can't decide whether to buy a steam cleaner or throw them out and start over with new ones. They also love to pee on our couch (PB slipcover!) and bed (we own 4 waterproof mattress covers for 1 bed!). I always felt like less of an adult for having a pee-covered apartment, so I am THRILLED to hear that you have the same problem! I feel much better about it now!

    I also love your playroom -- I am extremely jealous of how many windows your new house has!!! Wow.

    Finally, I love the right angles thing. IMO, compulsiveness is a fabulous trait for an anesthesiologist to have -- if I ever need general anesthesia, you can bet I want the most anal, nitpicky, obsessive-compulsive doctor I can find! (I can also identify with this, since I love right angles. I've gotten better as I've gotten older, but for example when I was little, I couldn't sit down for dinner until the legs of my chair were perfectly aligned with the lines between the dining room linoleum tiles. Then I'd have to climb over the back of the chair to sit down, so as not to dislodge it from its painstakingly arranged position).

  10. Is that the biggest beanbag in the world, or is it some kind of optical illusion?

  11. Marianne12:26 PM

    My desire for that wavey-stripe rug grows with each new picture of it. Alternatively, I want to crochet a replica as a bedspread.

  12. You forgot to add throwing up stuff everywhere - after a kid with a hair trigger regurgitation reflex and 2 elderly unwell cats, my carpet and upholstery looks like camouflage from a combo of stains, cleaning product residue, and new spots that need cleaning.
    This is why I call HGTV "home decorating porn" - it makes it look easier and more fun than it is to achieve the orderly, clean, and aesthetically pleasing result you see in those home shows.

  13. No, your eyes do not deceive, it is indeed a giant bright orange 7.5 foot beanbag. It's Beanbag...TO THE EXTREME!

  14. Anonymous6:08 PM

    heh. Your workspace in the O.R. makes mine look positively messy. And I am considered the Compulsive one! When I am at work on monday I will enjoy flashing back to your space!

  15. Anonymous12:37 AM

    I am 24, and therefore supposedly an "adult," but I have to say I definitely prefer the playroom version of sunroom. Between the rug and the giant beanbag, it is such a fun space!

  16. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Marianne, for crocheting a bedspread like that, it looks to be just a regular ripple design. I want one too!

  17. Hmmm, I don’t think it’s enough to just recover the dining chair cushions. The smell very likely would have seeped through the cloth into the foam, so even if you changed the covers, the smell would still be there. I think it would be best for you to remove the cushions altogether and clean them first, and then, change the fabric to something that doesn’t absorb liquids, like faux leather.