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Mid Century Modern Collection at Target

05/18/2016

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I’ve been seeing ads pop up for Target’s Mid Century Modern collection. Has anyone seen these in person?  Very nice designs… West Elm look at IKEA prices. I’m curious about the quality.

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Home Tour: Living Room

01/14/2015

Our living room has changed a bit since February 2013 when I originally did a photo tour.

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Sources:

Sectional Sofa – IKEA Karlstad
End Table – vintage from Jason’s grandmother
Arm Chair – yard sale find, reupholstered by us
Pillows, Throw blankets – Target
Coffee Table, Lamp, Wall Birds, Clocks – vintage from estate sales and antique stores
Lamp Shade – made by us
Rug – overstock.com
Painting – gallerydirect.com
Bookshelf – IKEA

If I missed anything you’re curious about, feel free to ask.

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Courtyard Deck and Built-in Bench

06/25/2014

I gave a little sneak peek of this project on Friday. Jason recently constructed this bench and deck into our courtyard. This is the main entrance into our home, a private garden space that’s secluded from the street and neighbors. It’s a lovely space to sit and it just got better! We still need to add some cushions but we’re enjoying it already.

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Real Life

03/27/2014

In an effort to keep up with writing more frequently, here’s a really random post. I’m practicing with my wide-angle lens on my DSLR and photoshop settings as I’m starting to get into real estate photography. Practicing with my own house was the obvious choice. The living room was pretty tidy but I made no effort to clean up the other rooms. I’ll spare you from Ali’s bathroom and our bedroom. Here’s a little real life peek into my house:

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DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition)

04/16/2013

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Almost 2 years ago, Jason and I built a modern horizontal plank wood fence at our previous house to enclose our back garden. We used the same technique to build this fence and gate to make the fourth “wall” of our courtyard. There were two major differences. 1. We only had a 12′ spanse to build. 2. We had concrete walls on both sides.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

There was only 1 post hole to dig. Hooray! Jason used our trusty old post hole digger. (Jason and that post hole digger have made holes for 2 fences prior to this!) We were only making our fence 4-4.5′ tall so we used a 6′ 4×4 pressure-treated post. The post hole should be 2′ deep.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

After making sure it was level, we added a few braces to keep it in place before adding the dry concrete mix and water into the post hole. Jason also added a little concrete mix and water under the post.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Next we attached two 2x4s to the side of the house. The bottom piece was going into the concrete block foundation of the house.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Drilling screws into concrete is not easy! We used these pretty blue concrete screws.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Jason pre-drilled the holes for the screws. He opted to drill into the mortar to make it a little bit easier.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Once that was secure, Jason added a second, longer 2×4 along the house. This one should have been easier because it was only going through wood (the hardibacker siding, the corner beam in our garage and the shorter 2×4 below. We borrowed this powerful hammer drill from a friend (necessary for drilling into concrete) and it was so powerful it stripped our drill bits and one of the outdoor screw heads. It seems like there is always something that goes awry on a project like this. Thankfully, he was finally able to get it secured to the house with a combination of this drill, every star drill bit we own and our wimpy Ryobi drill. The screw that was stripped was cut off with a hack saw.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Another 2×4 was attached to the concrete block wall of the courtyard. Everything went smoothly with this one so I didn’t have time to take any photos.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I don’t know if it’s the correct carpentry term but we call the horizontal boards planks (as opposed to pickets on a vertical fence) and to differentiate between posts and planks. Adding the planks went every quickly since we’ve done this part many times before. We started at the bottom, putting the plank as close to the ground as possible and leveling it.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We used 8′ untreated 1x4s. (Our last fence we used 1×3 ferring strips.) They’re cheap…around $1.20 a piece at Lowes. (Side note: in our experience Lowes has much better quality wood than Home Depot.) Jason used a nail gun to put four nails into each plank at the 4×4 post end and 3 nails into each plank at the 2×4 end. We work together doing this part and it moves rhythmically:

I position the plank into place.
Jason places the spacer between the planks.
Jason fires the nails into place.
I position the spacer at the other end of the plank.
Jason fires the nails into place.
Jason removes the spacer.
(Repeat.)
15x in this instance.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Anything sturdy and square can be used as a spacer. Since it was a fairly common question about our last fence project, I made a point of taking a picture. We used a plastic grout sample that was left at our house after construction. We have a bunch of them and it was quite convenient to have two so we could leave one at each end of the fence. They provided a gap of about 1/4″. It’s hard to see in the picture below because it’s brown…

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We added another vertical 2×4 on the back side of the fence to keep the planks straighter. This 2×4 post is pressure treated but we didn’t put it into the ground. It’s only helping to keep the planks straight, not supporting the weight of the fence.We used the spacer again to make sure the gap between the planks was consistant. They’re often slightly bowed so we pushed and pulled to get them as straight as possible before nailing. Where the gap was too small, we used a pry bar to move the planks apart enough to fit the spacer.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Let’s step back and admire our work for a second. Ahh…

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Because we used 8′ planks, we made sure the space between the posts was slightly less than 8′. (If you’re building a fence with more than two posts, check out what we did here…I even have diagrams.)

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We wanted the planks to be flush with the 4×4 post and we made a chalk line where they needed to be cut.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Jason used his circular saw for this. It’s a bit awkward, especially close to the ground. There may be a better way but this works for us.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I always insist on the safety glasses. I like how Jason tucks his pencil into his hat.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I didn’t do a very good job documenting the gate building process. (We started this project after Ali went down for her nap around 1pm on a Saturday and at this point 3 hours later, she was awake so she could “help” us.) We built a frame out of 2x4s just a bit (maybe 1″ both way) smaller than the opening for the gate. The extra 2x4s down the middle and diagonally (that I didn’t photograph here) help the gate stay square. We attached planks in the same way as the fence – starting first with the outside ends, using the spacer, and then the middle post, also using the spacer, using a pry bar as needed.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Once it was hung, I took a picture of the back side so you can see the two diagonal pieces of 2×4 we added. I’m sure there is a simple way to calculate those angles and cut them but we had a heck of a time and ended up just experimenting until we got some angles that worked. It was pretty amusing! Jason hung the gate with three hinges while I was inside with Ali so I didn’t get a picture of that process. How he did that himself, I have no idea!

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

He quickly stained the fence using deck stainer and sealer while Ali and I were having a snack. Just before dark, it was finished. Time to go out for dinner!

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A couple days later, I took some finished pictures.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A hook and eye (attached to the house) hold the gate open.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A hinge door stopper (the same kind we used inside) keeps the gate from hitting the side of the house.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I love how the fence and gate make our courtyard feel so cozy and private. We can sit out here with the toddler and the dog and not have to worry about either wandering out toward the street. This is quickly becoming one of our favorite spots for lunch alfresco, afternoon tea, blowing bubbles for Ali, and evening chats. It’s going to be even more wonderful once the landscaping matures.

All of my posts related to “modern wood fence”

Modern Wood Fence —Finished! (at our previous house)

Enclosed Courtyard (intro to this post, including some before pictures.)


Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse

04/10/2013

Jason and I built this birdhouse a few years ago. It used to hang from a dogwood tree in the back garden at our last home. We didn’t realize at the time that it had a major design flaw: it couldn’t be opened to clean it out. Apparently birds like to move in, build an intricate nest, and then move out. Eventually the bottom boards started to get loose so I decided to give it a little TLC a couple weeks ago. I took the bottom two pieces of 1×4 off and reattached them with hinges and a brace that can be unscrewed when I’m ready to clean it out again. I also added a little perch under the front door. All of these were just bits and pieces we had in the tool box. I was planning to hang it up in a tree but I wasn’t happy with how much it moved when the wind blew. I ended up nestling it in this bush along our back chain link fence.

Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com

It was important to me that it was located where I could watch it from the living room. One morning while I was having a cup of tea, I spotted some little birds hopping around near the house and then one went it! I was so thrilled. There were two of these little birds and they ended filling it with twigs and making a nest.

Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com

I’m glad I made it openable because these cute little birds have already moved on. This ugly black bird decided to investigate but passed. Either he was too big or unhappy that the previous tenants moved out and left all their furniture inside. I guess I need to do a little more Spring cleaning.

Mid-Century Modern Birdhouse - myMCMlife.com


New Home Tour: Dining Room

02/25/2013

Our dining room is sunny, shiny and functional. It’s pretty minimalist for now, which helps with keeping it clean when you have a 19 month old. It overlooks our courtyard and natural light pours in all day long.

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I’m very happy with our impulsive decision to get the big version of the IKEA MASKROS light for this room.

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Besides the planet-size chandelier, the biggest statement of the dining room is the exposed concrete block wall that runs along the face of most of our house, including the courtyard.

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This room gets some pretty amazing sunlight. Lunch time is particularly nice.

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It may not look like it since it’s all sparkly clean for these photos, but we’re one of those weird families that all sits down together to eat here every evening. We hold hands and thank God for the food and then we all sit together until everyone is finished. Strange, huh? I love having six chairs even though we only use 2 plus a high chair most days – it feels like we’re always ready for more.

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In a dream world, I’d add a rug under this table but with the amount of food that ends up under the high chair, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A tarp maybe, but not a rug! This sweet puppy helps a lot with food clean up but she’s a picky eater. Lucy won’t eat any vegetables except raw onions, very little fruit and no seafood.

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This big blank wall is just begging for art. I know what I want to put here but it’s not going to be cheap to get a giant canvas or poster made. So we wait. Good thing we like white walls. We’d also like put a credenza or hutch against that wall.

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FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room