Sunday, May 26, 2013

Austin ! (And a DIY fireplace surround upgrade)


Whoo-eee !  Austin, Texas isn't the fastest growing city in the county for nothing!  Just big enough, careful planning to save lots of space for outdoor fun, great river front,  fantastic  restaurants, bookstores and fun, funky vibe with just enough urban sophistication. It's the  first time I've seen so many boats (non-power only - it is, after all, "the people's republic of Austin"!) on a river that runs right through a city and there were  people paddle boarding on the river.  Plus there are swan boats and Duck Boat tours a la Boston.
And a statue of Willie:
Lunch at  one of Sandra Bullock's Austin restaurants:

And everything really is bigger in Texas - check out this chi-chi outlet mall in San Marcos.  Gucci, Tory Birch, Prada, Restoration Hardware - this is one F.A.N.C.Y. outlet!



 Enough play, though - we had some serious work to do first. Stacks of boxes everywhere and each one filled with a mountain of paper. 
There was outside work, too  Austin Daughter turned into Junior Woodsman, wielding loppers and clearing brush:
Isn't this a lovely spot for morning coffee?   We did sweep up all the debris, just not before I took this picture.
The previous house owners liked color, LOTS of color.  Austin Daughter likes any color, as long as it's white, so clearly there was work to do.  She had the walls and kitchen cabinets painted before we landed and the house looks so bright and airy.  But, there was this pesky fireplace surround.  She thought it looked like an explosion at the Fiestware plant.  SIL hated it - not surprised - all that chaos must set his math-genius brain searching for a pattern.  I kept trying to find the theme, or see the magic picture if only I could stare at it long enough.  Clearly it had to go.  We talked about options- chipping it out, covering it up and then I suggested my solution to nearly everything - paint the dang thing!  Brave Austin Daughter agreed.
We sanded it down to remove some of the shiny-shiny and then painted on 2 thick coats of oil-based paint (windows and doors open to let the bad smell and bad color juju out).

It took lots of paint and some serious dabbing into each little space between the tiles. 
We're pretty happy with the results.
 There is a better fitting screen coming!

I told you she likes white.  The kitchen cabinets got a coat of white (too much wood , too much brown before) and the bar light shades swirled with blobs of vivid color got switched out for some plain white ones.  So much nicer! And behold, the fireplace that is still a focal point, just  not a seizure-inducing one.

I'll be going back in July as Yaya to our first grandson.  I did try hiding in the agave plant, but decided The Captain had been home alone long enough.


(Please excuse the weird fonts, colors and sizes as I TRY to redo my blog template.  Clearly it's a work-in-progress.  Some changes work, some get lost!)


  1. The new house looks charming and Austen a 'happening' place to be!

  2. Apologies, Austin. It didn't look right in the post.


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