Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh Mickey You So Fine

I mentioned last week our haul from Ikea. Most of it was for our living room improvements, but I did snag a Micke desk from Ikea while there. It was actually a huge hassle. I decided that I wanted the all white lacquered looking one, rather than dark wood tone + white + stainless steel or white + pale birch wood (which looked like the 70s threw up in my opinion). I just liked the simplicity. When we got to the warehouse part though, there were no all white Micke's in the correct bin!! Oh hell no! I didn't drive 2 hours up there to be told to come back the next day. 

Luckily Rob is a super sleuth and found one Micke in the wrong bin... but it was a bit banged up. So obviously that meant that Rob had to put on his serious haggle face and start demanding a discount. As a side note, Rob is the BEST haggler in the world. On our trip to Tunisia he haggled some knock off coach/fossil watches down from 100 pounds to about 8. Yeah. Anyways, he got the random Ikea worker we snared in to take the desk to the As-Is section and they took off 27% of the price. I don't know why they chose exactly 27. I'm not complaining though. 

 (Damage Shot)

Instead of the desk costing us $69.99, it cost $54.00. I then used a $3 credit we had there to get it to $51. I know, BIG SPENDER! But every bit helps. Plus, the banged up bit is on the underside of the desk against the wall. No one will ever know... except House Pour readers. Booyah. 

(Teeny sliver missing... which is shoved against the wall so only the hobbits will notice it.)

We'd originally planned on buying two kitchen cabinets and then DIY-ing a surface over top of them so it all looks like a built in. Well, our Restore decided to go crazy on us these past few months and suddenly jack their prices up by about $100. I am NOT paying $120 for a banged up kitchen cabinet. So, Ikea it was. We wondered all the around that store trying to figure out the best desk to make/diy/hack. In the end, just buying an actual desk was cheaper/quicker. 

Long stories are over now. We put it opposite the queen sized bed in our guest room.

I would have taken a better 'whole room angle shot', buttt this is what the rest of the room looks like thanks to constant flooring installation:

Speaking of which, we're done with the hallway now. This is us waving a pathetically tiny flag in not very spirited excitement. Flooring is BORING! It's time consuming and not at all interesting to show people.

Oh hey, that driftwood looks like it's in a bit of suggestive position. Sorry for driftwood porn there..... So anyone think I got a good deal with the desk? Does it look smexy?! I know it's not what I had envisioned, but I get lazy sometimes. 

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Make Your Own DIY Drum Pendant Light

Whoa we had some serious mojo going this weekend with the extra day on Monday to work! I've got about 3 weeks of posts backed up so I'm considering rolling in more than 3 posts a week (which is what I normally strive for). Anyways, as a warning, this tutorial is extremely picture heavy!

I just want to give a shout out to my man Rob. When we bought the house in October he made his visiting father put up our light in the mancave because he didn't know how... now he is an electrical god basically. He built this pendant from scratch using random parts he found at the Home Depot. The great thing is that it cost less than $9 for the entire pendant! 

In the end, it turned out to be fairly easy thanks to some advice from the lighting guy at Home Depot. So easy that you can do it too! 

(again, ignore the flooring and free poop dresser... too heavy for me to move!)


First, you'll need a few things:
1.) Lamp piece. These are the replacement heads that are on lamps, it has an on and off switch, but most importantly has two bolts for black/white wires and a screw in spot for your light bulb. This was about $3.

2.) Something to connect your pendant into. In our case, we were connecting it to our Ikea 365+ track lighting system. We bought the line voltage converter that Ikea sells for $5.

3.) Wire. We bought 4 ft. of black/white electrical wire in a silvery color for .44 cents a foot. You will not need a grounding wire (green) if you're using a track system like us (it's already grounded). IF you needed grounding wire (green wire) than you could simply buy a grounded extension cord (the ones with 3 prongs at the end) and cut off the plug end and use those wires! It is cheaper (and more aesthetically pleasing-- no one wants an orange wired pendant light) to buy it from the foot though. Ours was $1.25ish.

Also wire cutters, light bulb (max of 120w), and a drum pendant (any size. Ours was "medium" at 15 in. diameter). 

Now you have to pull the plastic sleeve off the ends of the wires and seperate the two wires a bit at the ends (so you can feed them in their own slots). Rob was fancy and used scissors. 

Next, you need take the sleeve off your ugly gold lamp part and put your newly exposed wires into them. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PART: Your lamp part has two screws you'll clamp/screw down onto the wires. They are color coded to go with a specific wire. The white cord goes under the silver screw and the black wire goes under the brass screw. If you're using the silvery cord we used they aren't colored. Therefore, the ribbed wire goes under the silver screw and the smooth wire under the brass screw.

Slide the wire in place under the screw, then tighten with a screw driver. Rob pulled on them a bit after this step to make sure they were held tight.

Ta-Da! This is what it will look like when done correctly.

Now, slide your goldy sleeves back on your lamp part.  

Lastly, tighten the screw at the top onto your silvery cord. This keeps it tight and puts any weight you'll have on the pendant, on the screw at the top rather than your handy screw work on the inside.

Finally, attach your wires to the pendant voltage track converter or straight to the ceiling wires depending on how you're wiring your pendant up. It works the same way it did before, black wires go in the specific color coded spot and so do the white wires. If you're wiring it to the ceiling it's even easier since you twist the white wires to the white and the black to the black. Easy.

Now it is looking more like a pendant right?

So you need to give it a test run. TURN OFF YOUR POWER TO THE ROOM YOU'RE INSTALLING THE LIGHT. Sorry, that's very important. Oh, and put a light bulb in it. We used a halogen E26. LOVE!! Such a pretty clear light. 

Anyways, install it or pop it in your track system. Turn your power back on. Turn your light on. 

IT LIVES!!! Woo! Make sure it's the right length and turn the power OFF again. Take your new fixture down because now you need to add the shade. Find any drum shade at walmart/target/etc. We found a Christmas one at Lowes on sale for $3.

You can attach the shades two ways. One is to hack saw a small opening through the metal ring at the center of the spider bits on the shade and slide the cord in. The other way (the one we chose) is to uninstall the wires from the track connecter (or ceiling) and simply slide the shade onto the cord.

Reinstall and then turn the power back ON.

As a final step, we peeled off the ugly Christmas ribbon. 

Enjoy your extremely cheap pendant light! But as always, do electrical work at your own risk. This is a DIY job and I can't guarantee your house won't blow up. Hopefully mind won't ;)

Edited to add: Hmm apparently you do need a grounding wire thanks to some insight by Rob's engineering dad... we're going to work on it and get back to you this weekend with a newer, safer, tutorial! Don't blow up your houses just yet! 

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Living Room Lighting Revamped. Oh Yeah.

I found some old pictures on my harddrive from when we first moved in. 

I really hate that fan. It cast such a harsh yellow light. Anyways, with the addition of our new flokati rug, the ikea 365+ track system and Rob's handmade pendant....

I LOVE the new rug. The cats love it too -- not in a litter box kinda way (yay) but in a "this rug makes me feel like I'm hunting in the serengeti" kinda way. They play together on it. Or nap. It's so soft and squishy on my toes too. :) It definitely warmed up the room. Leather can be cold so I think they balance each other out. Oh and Rob removed the coffee table. He's always hated it and it was looking cluttered in there anyways. 

If you're wondering what that box in the lower corner is, it's flooring. We have the flooring for the living room stockpiled next to the TV. It's heavy and Rob keeps whining when I ask him to move it! 

Lightingwise-- We had to do the track on a diagonal to get the pendant over the table. An L shape wouldn't have worked with the track lengths.

I'm going to do a tutorial on Friday for that pendant. It cost us $9 to build! It looks a bit little in these pictures but in real life it's a good size. Anything bigger would have competed too much with everything else going on in the room.

 Behind the table is our free poop dresser. Again, it's heavy and I can't move it myself... or with Rob. It's going to take three people. So, excuse the dresser and the pile of flooring while you look at these next photos! ;)

Bringing it back to the whole point of this post, the track lighting was a good compromise for Rob and I. I definitely did not want another track light in the house. I wanted a pendant light to be swagged over the table and some wall lights over the couch instead. However, this lights the room SO well. The halogen lights are crisp and wonderful, and I still get my pendant. Yay for happiness all around. Plus, the track light is fairly subtle. It's not in the pictures, but in real life you just don't notice them up there.

 (Dang, forgot those mirrors were still there on the wall, ignore those too)

Okay, so in all, the lighting system was not cheap. The track parts, track, spot lights and connectors totaled over $160. Luckily, the pendant only cost $9. Unluckily, we found out after we installed it that Home Depot sells a similar system for half the cost :( But, the Ikea one is a bit more unique... and Rob didn't want to uninstall it and drive 2 hours away to return it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I'm just glad the ugly fan is gone! 

Now that I look at this I realize there are a few changes I'm going to make pronto. First, I'm going to take out the side table with the palm tree on it. The palm is an outdoor plant anyways, I'm just waiting for warmer weather. It can go lurk in another room. It's just too cluttered in that corner. It needs breathing space! 


The shelf behind the table looks crazy busy so it's going as well. I can't seem to like it anywhere in the house... it might be time to let it go. And I know that basket on the table is weird too. It used to be on the coffee table but that got moved so it landed there temporarily. 

It's funny how pictures show what needs to be changed. 

Regardless, how do you like the new bought and homemade lighting?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Softness, No More Nakieness, and Lightness.

In 2012 we took a little trip to the mighty mississipp Ikea. We didn't take any bacon either... or beans. And we were no where near New Orleans. Anyways, we decided to relegate a small corner of our income tax money to help the house. So of course we went to Ikea, our favorite place on earth. Here is what we got:

Ikea Flokati 4.7' x 6.7' for $79.99

This has been on my bucket list as you know (link to my want of flokati here). I kept stroking it all the way through Ikea. Sooo soft. This will go in the living room under the couches. 
Two Ikea Enje Roller blinds - $24.99

These are for the living room as well. We have been opening and closing the curtains since we've lived here and it's getting old. I just want to walk around naked without showing the neighbors for heavens sake! These should help with that. 
Micke Desk - normally $70 but I got it for $54. 

Meet my new sewing table! I have looked high and low over Lexington for a table I can make-over but no luck. Everything is either too big or too small. I looked into putting two cabinets together and putting a top on it but this was a much cheaper option. Plus it's sleek and shiny. It really looks quite sexy. Rob has already built this so you'll be seeing it soon ;)

Lastly, and most importantly, remember our living room? And the whole lighting quandary? (link here)

Well, we discovered something we think is perfect:

The Ikea 365+ lighting system. It's a track light yes, which I'm sick of, but you can put both spotlights AND pendants on it. We're still working on the pendant, but we got the track system parts we need!

This will enable us to light up all corners of the living room without sacrificing the look of a pendant over the dining room table I've been pining over. 

As for the pendant, we've picked up the parts from Home Depot and Lowes. It will be a DIY and it's sooo cheap. Sorry to leave you hanging (har har) but I am going to keep that a secret for now in case our living room blows up. :)

Now we just need to build and install it all... 

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Twin Kitties

I've got a secret. For the past month we've been trying to find Loki a friend to play with during the day while we're gone. We fostered a little white girl kitten for two weeks but she was too skittish. Last week though, the Lexington Humane Society put all their 6 months+ cats on sale for $5 each. 

What can I say? We like bargains... even with live creatures? We headed down and found the perfect cat. He's so laid back and chill. 

We named him Gable. After Clark Gable (who was mainly in black and white films... and hot. He was Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind!).

Him and Loki are fast friends now (a week and a half later). He is my sweet buddy who loves to be held constantly. 

There is just one problem, 

They look just alike! 

(ignore the skanky living room)

They're both 6 months old. Now we don't feel so guilty leaving them alone during the day as much, all they do is play! Then when we get home they snuggle :) 

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