Sunday, September 15, 2013

Alaskan Adventure

Back in June we took an Alaskan cruise and had a few days in Seattle. It was great to spend time with family and Alaska, as expected, was beautiful. We were worried we'd be cold and wet from rain, but we had great weather the entire time and the temperatures were a nice respite from the Baltimore summers. Here are some pictures, and more to come soon.

Space Needle

Random Yukon Lake

Sea Otters of Sitka

Carcross, Yukon

Bubblenet Feeding

Leigh in Ketchikan


Bald Eagle of Sitka

White Pass Yukon Railroad Bridge

Ketchikan Creek Street

Yukon by Train

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Man Cave

At the old house, I never really got to enjoy the basement after it was renovated. That was a bit disappointing, but the new house came with a great finished basement. The space had a built-in to the side of the room for media components, and some wiring for surround sound. While wire was run, it was just hanging out of the wall in a bundle at the back of the built-in (sorry, no before pics) and cables were not run to the wall where the TV would hang. Please note my foam Michigan Wolverine foam head at the bottom of the cabinet.


Soon after moving in work began to finish the space. I cut a gaggle of holes into the drywall and ran 2 HDMI cables, 1 set of RCA cables, and an optical cable from the built-in to the TV. I picked up a new tv and a slim TV mount because I didn't want my TV sticking out too much, and some wall plates for all the speaker wires. I got all the cables from monoprice and after reading reviews I decided to the speakers there too. I got some front speakers, center speakers, rear mount speakers for the ceiling and a small sub. I really liked the look of everything built in and not needing a media cabinet in front of the TV.


Since we loved our previously purchased Crate & Barrel Axis sectional we decided to also go with C&B for downstairs. We went with the Vaughan. While not as comfortable as the Axis, it was a much smaller sectional that fit in the 12'x 12' space and still allowed room for a chair. We threw some beer themed pictures up on the wall to complete the man cave aesthetic and now the space is complete.


On the back wall are closets that run the width of the house, and the sump pump in the right-most closet. The chairs are on this side to make sure we can still access the space. We also got a white ceramic deer head as a Christmas white elephant gift, so we decided to hang it above the TV. Gotta keep it classy.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Bawlmer Art

With the Baltimore Ravens making the Super Bowl, the country is about to be bombarded with the wonderful Baltimore accent. How can you tell if someone is from here? They've abolished the "T" in Baltimore, preferring either Bawlmer, or Baldamore. I don't understand it, but I've grown accustomed to it. But I digress. This post is about art, but especially local Bawlmer art. I love local art because it provides so much character and is just fun to shop for. There is nothing like the feeling of digging through a pile of junky art at the thrift store to find a gem. My second favorite find is a map we found in Hampden, a young quirky hipster filled haven of art, midcentury furniture and Pabst Blue Ribbon. It is a railroad map of Baltimore from 1948.

Baltimore Railroad Map

The map was in the basement of a thrift shop, unframed and mounted on canvas. It is in great condition, and I loved the historic industrial roots of the city in such vivacious color. After $100 for the art, an arm and a leg to frame it, it has a place in the front of the basement (aka, the Leely-cave).

Baltimore Railroad Map

At the same store in Hampden we found another local artist, Greg Otto. This picture was at the back of a heap of crappy art, and it was even signed by the artist. $25 later, and a promise of a future first born child to get it framed, it sits in our living room.

Fed / Fells - Greg Otto

After finding the one Greg Otto print I've kept my eyes peeled for more. The Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had an online auction with a Greg Otto picture with Uniquely Baltimore written on it. How could I resist? A size wasn't listed and there wasn't much description, but we took a gamble and for less than $20 it was ours. It arrived and we found it in perfect condition. And it was also signed. SCORE. Since this was a standard size, custom framing wasn't required and the promise of a second born is deferred until our next art purchase.

Uniquely Baltimore - Greg Otto

The next picture was a gift from Valerie, my sister in law, and we absolutely love it. She commissioned a picture of our house from the talented Miranda.

Our House

She did an amazing job and we look forward to always having a keepsake of this house. I also keep meaning to commission a print of the other house too. I'll need to get on that. Miranda also does pictures of normal houses (not just rowhomes) and did a great job on a picture of my in-laws home. You should go over to her House Love Shop to order a print of your home.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

All is Well

After living in the house for a year, it isn't really new anymore, but it still feels new to us. Some of the shiny newness has worn off due to some construction issues but we still love the place. It has been adjustment of not being able to start with a blank slate of a space and build what I want. I miss being able to rip out walls, frame new ones, run all the electrical, drywall, paint and trim a space. I don't miss the dust. I don't miss the mess. I do enjoy having more time. The extra time means more decorating and upgrades and less making a space livable and safe. I've also found my niche for decorating - art. I seem to get lucky by finding art on craigslist, antique markets, or charity auctions. Our ultimate find was a 4'x6' painting by Gladys Goldstein.

New York Abstract

The painting is an abstract of the New York skyline, and a label on the back said it hung in DC's Corcoran Gallery in 1969. Our first floor has something like 13' ceilings so it fits perfectly in our kitchen. We love it. I'll post some pictures of some other art finds soon.

During the past couple of years, despite less renovation, life has kept us busy. We had a trip to Ireland, including a stop in Galway where we sat on the grass and enjoyed this view.


We haven't taken enough vacations though, so hopefully we can make more time in the coming years to get out and see more. I look forward to more adventures with this lovely lady.