Sometimes, it’s helpful to be married to a car guy.

Okay, a LOT of times it’s helpful to be married to one!  I’ve lost count of how many times Jack has been able to diagnose and fix problems with my various cars over the years…  it’s saved me a ton of money and aggravation!  (Plus he loves to do it, so everyone wins!)  But it turns out his major car mojo has been extra helpful with our new home as well.

Jack with the other love of his life, his ’55 Chevy. IMG_0806

So, recently Jack surprised me with a cosmetic spruce-up of our double oven.  When we bought our house, the chrome surround for the oven had been pretty gross — dull and tarnished, pitted, and just blecch looking.  One weekend Jack pointed out the chrome, and I couldn’t believe the difference — I wish I’d gotten before and after shots, because it looked gleaming new!!!!  His secret?  Simichrome polish! IMG_1656

This is the same stuff that he uses on parts of his ’55 to get it looking so shiny — you can use it to polish up any metal, not just chrome.  So that includes stuff around the house!  We put it to the test a couple of weeks later, when trying to salvage part of our medicine cabinets.  See, when we first started our renovations, a very well-meaning family member took all the aluminum shelf clips that we’d set aside (these are the clips that hold the glass shelves up in each cabinet)…  and in the spirit of wanting to help, they ran the whole lot of them through the dishwasher to try to get the nicotine residue off of them and shine them up.  Instead of shiny, the combination of harsh soap and hot water left all of them dull and flat: IMG_1654

I panicked, because I wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to replace them.  And they’re such a visible part of the cabinets, keeping them as-is would just look bleh.  But Jack gave the Simichrome polish a try…  and although it was tedious work, it shined them up good as new! The one on the left in the photo below is post-dishwasher…  the one on the right is post-Simichrome.  It was actually hard to get a good shot because the polished one was so shiny!  🙂 IMG_1662

So this weekend, Jack finally tackled something that’s been driving him crazy for months — the fish detail in our shower door.  Same as the oven surround, it was disgusting — pitted, nicotine-stained, and tarnished. IMG_1232

Here’s a closer shot. IMG_1235

Jack with his Simichrome to the rescue!  Let’s see if he can try to bring it back to life. IMG_1236

First he taped off the glass to protect it.  The Simichrome doesn’t really hurt glass, but it’s a pain to clean off of it, so better to just prevent any from getting on that part of the door. IMG_1241

Time to start polishing!  You only need a little bit at a time (a dab the size of a pea can cover a decent amount of chrome), and just buff it into the chrome.  Ours is especially pitted from 60 years of steam, so Jack had to go over it a few times. IMG_1244

You can see that first area already coming up much shinier than the rest! IMG_1243

Here’s a short video to show how well it worked:

And now for the “after”!  The pitting is pretty deep, so at some point we’ll have to get the door re-chromed if we want it to look good as new…  but in the meantime, this is such a massive improvement!  Again, before: IMG_1235

And after!  Soooooo much better.IMG_1796

Yay shiny chrome!!!!!  Yay for my handy, smart car-guy husband!

We have had a wallpaper cat-astrophe.

Can’t believe it’s been almost 2 weeks since our last post!  Although in some ways there hasn’t been much to report — the past 3 weeks have been pretty much 100% focused on wallpaper and paint.  With no exaggeration, almost every room has looked like this:


Floors covered in dropcloths and protective plastic, stacks of paint cans and buckets of wallpaper paste, papering tables, boxes of wallpaper.  It’s made most of our space practically unusable.  Jack and I have wanted nothing more than to have our house all to ourselves FINALLY, without tripping over all this stuff and having our painting, paper-ing friend working here every day.  We were so close last weekend, until our friend discovered that he had underestimated the amount of wallpaper needed for the kitchen…  by one strip of paper.  No lie — every wall of the house was finished, except for one little strip of blank wall next to the kitchen door.  *headdesk*  So after a few more days’ wait, he was going to come back for a few hours with an extra roll of paper, and finally complete the job.

And then… Saturday morning, uncaffeinated, I stumbled towards the kitchen to make my morning coffee and my eye caught something odd by the planter.  We have a recessed area in our entryway, where a stone planter holds fake plants under a really cool pendant light:


But something about the newly-papered wall didn’t look right.  Upon closer inspection, I found this:


What the…?   In my sleepy, freaked-out state, my brain scrolled through everything that could have caused those tears in the paper.  I was out of my mind.  Did we nick it moving something down the hall?  No, we didn’t move anything with sharp edges.  Did our paper-er friend accidentally ding it with his exacto knife?  No, too many marks.  The process of deduction left just 2 culprits: the feline contingent of the household.


image-1 copy

Jack and I asked them to ‘fess up, but they seem to be protecting each other and are both claiming innocence.  Based on prior transgressions, we think Duck is the perpetrator.  He does love to sharpen his claws while reaching up, and his tall cat tree was still in our storage unit so he was lacking a scratching post.  So a freshly wallpapered corner, with a nice planter ledge to stand on, would be the perfect substitute in a pinch.  But since we didn’t catch him in the act, we can’t pin it on him.  Sneaky, sneaky Duck.

When our paperer friend came back to finish the job (finally!), we sheepishly told him that a corner had already been ruined and asked what could be done.  We fully expected that it was going to be another day’s worth of peeling off the paper, sanding down the wall, prepping it, and re-papering.  Instead, he grabbed some of his wallpaper paste, put a little blurt of it over the marks, and used his fingernail to work the shredded paper back into the grooves:


Voila!  You can’t even tell there was a problem there unless you look for it.  (And yes, we immediately got the cat tree out of storage to avoid future claw run-ins.)

Cat-astrophe fixing aside, our wallpaper friend showed us a really cool trick for another paper issue we ran into last week.  You’ll recall from our last post that we had picked out some really cool silver patterned paper for our dining room…  problem was, we wanted only the dining room area to have that paper, and with the open floor plan of our main living space, it meant that two different wallpapers were going to have to meet at a sticking-out corner.  If you don’t do it right, you’re left with a seam going down a corner that can peel over time if you rub against it or moisture gets in there.  BUT — if you’re planning on doing this yourself — there is a solution!

Here’s what you do.  You leave extra paper and actually run it around the corner so it’s on the perpendicular wall…  then you putty and sand the seam, so it blends into the wall.


Then you start the new wallpaper right along that corner.


It keeps the lines so clean, and will last for a long time with no fraying or anything.  Yay!

Now that the wallpaper is FINALLY done (trust me, even our wallpapering friend, who got paid for his work, was eager to be finished and out), we can focus on the next phase of transformation — fixtures and furniture!  w00t!  We should have much more to post in the coming weeks now that we have usable walls!