Happy House, part 1

September 5, 2013

  In my last post (Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes) I mentioned that D and I talk about moving to another house on Kwaj.  We live in a 1950's concrete block house with two bedrooms and one bathroom.  I think it's around 1000 square-feet total.  When we came back to Kwaj with our son, we were offered the chance to move into one of the dome houses on island but we turned it down.  Our current house is in a great location, a quiet street that's close to town and to the grocery store, with a huge back porch, and it suits us perfectly.  Some of the things I love about it: since it's small, it's easy to clean; it has just the right amount of storage, and since the kids' bedroom is small, they play in the living room most of the time so I know if they're getting into something. 
  Of course, there are things I don't like about the house and that's why I've started my Happy House project.  Lately I'm feeling very convicted by this book and inspired by this blog, so I'm trying to find a happy medium between the two to help me be happier with where I live now. 
  Some things I'd like to change about the house:

Stair treads (currently black sand paper that collect every hair and every piece of dirt and are impossible to clean).  I think I've found some carpet ones on amazon for a good price that would be easier on our feet and much easier to clean.


 Bathroom storage (or lack thereof).  There's one cabinet in the corner of the bathroom but the top is full of bathroom stuff (nail polish, band-aids, and all that) and the bottom is full of cat food right now.  I bought a little rack and made the blue cloth drape earlier this year:
 but it's already starting to look worn.  I have a friend on island who is (hopefully) going to build me a cabinet to go under and around my sink.  If it works out, we would double our usable storage space and gain almost 7 inches of counter space- that may not sound like much but seven is a lot more than zero!
 

 Our dining table and chairs:  blah!  They are functional but boring.  We tried table cloths (which got pulled off)  and place mats (which were distracting and also got pulled off).  I'm rolling around the idea of painting the table legs white, painting the table top with chalkboard paint, and getting slip covers for the chairs (so much dried food gets into the cracks in these chairs!).  This one's a work in progress...

The pantry and refrigerator doors:  Always messy!  These are my favorite place to have photos of family and friends and they're also my "command center" with calendars, menus, shopping lists, and phone numbers.  With all that in a small space, it just looks so cluttered.  
 
 After a few days of brainstorming and seeing this post on Millions of Miles (love, love, love her blog!), I stopped at the store on the way home from work yesterday, picked up a few things and turned my cluttered spaces into this:
 I'm surprised at how well it turned out and it makes me happy just to look at it.
 
A few months ago, I moved all our cookbooks to the top of the fridge, so now they're right where we need them (and they hide some of the things stored on top of the fridge).   I moved the calendar to the fridge, along with a notepad for groceries, both held up with bulldog clips and command hooks, all backed by a pretty piece of wrapping paper. 

The paper isn't cut as straight as I would have liked (for some reason, it's hard to cut straight when kids are helping...) and it's only taped on to the door, but the overall effect is just what I was looking for.  I got rid of all the old (weak) magnets and moved all the pictures to the pantry door.  The only extras on the fridge now are the phone lists and some quick cleaning tips (and a lobstah!)

I save photo Christmas cards all year long, along with other things that make me happy, like my friend's wedding invitation and another friend's adoption announcement.  I put up another piece of wrapping paper and hung all these, along with all the family pictures from the fridge, on the pantry door.
 
I couldn't find the fishing line I'd hoped to use so I used cooking twine instead and I think it looks really good.  The twine is tacked to the door and the pictures are hooked on with paper clips
 
 
The whole project took less than an hour to do and the supplies cost less than $5.  I'm so glad that this first part of my Happy Home project turned out so well.  I can't wait to tackle the other parts of my house that could use some more happy!

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