There is this one spot in my kitchen that’s just perfect for making coffee. Trouble is, I don’t have it set up that way.
Most days, I’m an early riser. I always have been. Never needed to set an alarm clock a day in my life.
I wake up, rub my eyes a few time, thankful that I’ve made it through another night successfully, and mosey into the kitchen. To simply make a cup of coffee.
Heading over to the drip coffee maker, I take out the carafe, which I usually have to rinse out before I even get started. Thankfully I’ve got the coffee maker near the sink. So there’s that.
While I’m cleaning it, I fill it up with water, and dump it into the reservoir. So far so good.
Then I have to dump out the used filter and ground in the garbage can – this is on the other side of the kitchen, in the pantry. Generally the grounds have dried out a little bit so they don’t drip on the floor, but sometimes they do. Now I’ve got a mess to clean up.
Heading back to the coffee maker, I reach into a cabinet and fish out a new clean filter and assemble the whole thing.
Next back across the kitchen to the fridge where I grab my pre-ground Peets Major Dickason, and then take a little side trip to the silverware drawer to grab a tablespoon to scoop out the magic crystals.
Back to the drip machine, grounds, and measuring spoon in hand, where I carefully scoop and dump the required amount for the volume of coffee I am preparing. Shut the lid, hit the little green button to turn it on, and wait.
Soon the house is filled with the delicious, and familiar morning smell of freshly brewed coffee.
There has to be an easier way.
So many steps, so many trips around the kitchen. So much work!
I’ve been noticing a trend at some of the houses I visit. No, not the houses I am previewing for clients, or touring with buyers. These are actual homes that people live in.
When I take my 5-year old kiddo over to a friend’s house for a play date, the other parents invariably offer me a cup of coffee. I do the same when the situation is reversed. But I’ve noticed something different at these other houses. All their coffee supplies are in one place. Neat. Tidy. Efficient.
These folks weren’t running all over their kitchens gathering the supplies needed to make a simple cup of Joe. Why hadn’t I thought of this?
So now I’m on a mission.
There is this perfect section of counter in my kitchen that would be ideal for a Coffee area.
Right now it has an oversized, under-cleaned toaster oven, a 5 gallon jug of homemade wine, and the rest of the space collects empty bottles and boxes for recycling. – now that I think of it, this may lead to a recycling station as another upcoming project. Stay on topic, now Eric.
Of course the first step in any project is to turn to Pinterest and the web to get inspiration.
What are some of the essentials you have in your coffee station. Do you prefer a more industrial look, or something a bit more country? How have you streamlined your morning ritual? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below and I’ll incorporate them into my area as I’m re-doing it.
It’s not that we didn’t have grass, only that my parents always had someone come and service the yards when I was a kid. That’s why I was so excited to move into this house. I finally had a front and back yard to mow!
One of the very first tools I purchased was a $100 push mower.
Before I even moved our furniture in, I had pushed that thing back and forth across the yard, slicing each blade of grass literally by hand. Even in March in Austin, I worked up a healthy sweat.
This is great exercise, I thought. If I can keep this up for 6-weeks, I’ll be in great shape, and my yard will look like a putting green – (isn’t that the dream of every home-owner?)
As you can guess, after just a handful of cuts, things began to change.
My enthusiasm began to wane. The reel mower, as eco friendly wasn’t powerful enough to slice through the thick St. Augustine grass in my front yard and I began to neglect the turf. Finally I gave up and did what my dad did as I was growing up, and hired a guy to cut the grass for me every few weeks.
Over time my lawn began to look less healthy, and last year, when a neighborhood kid came by and offered to cut my grass for$20 (and then scalped it nearly to the dirt), I had to re-take control and reevaluate my lawn.
First I turned to the internet, and then I found the Lawn Care Nut on YouTube. This guy makes taking care of your lawn easy, and even fun! You should absolutely check out his chanel after you read my blog.
Then it was time for me to buy some tools. Manly tools. The kind that are gas-powered, and heavy, and noisy!
I don’t just whip out my American Express and purchase the very first one I see – no sir! It takes some research, spreadsheets, and interneting.
Must Have Features that are important to me in a new lawn mower (in no particular order):
Easy to start
Easy to clean
Ability to mulch or bag
Not too loud
Handles sticks and leaves
User replaceable parts (in case something breaks)
This is quite a wish list, I know. Most likely I won’t be able to get all these, but hopefully, I can get enough to make cutting the grass more fun, and less of a chore.
With my initial research done, I headed over to Home Depot – and got to work.
Let me tell you – even with all the research it is still super hard to decide. Over 15 choices framing in price from $100 to over $1000. There were some features on my must have list like self-propelled , mulching, and easy to start that were non-negotiable. At the same time I also didn’t want to break the bank. Ultimately I went with reviews. Using my iPhone n the store I went to Home Depot.com and began to look at reviews right in the aisle. First I looked at the top of the price range for me Toro brand and I kept seeing recent 1 star reviews with all sorts of different problems. That pretty much elimitated that choice.
Then I decided to check out the reviews for my #2 – it was less expensive, but had all the features I wanted, and tons of 4 and 5 star reviews, both recent and old.
I had to make a few sacrifices – Ultimately I wanted a metal deck for longevity but overall the price and other features won out.
Once home, I unloaded the nearly 100 pound box (all by myself) and began the unboxing process. I was a bit concerned because the cardboard box was damaged, and had some crushed edges, but inside the Yard Machines lawn mower was in great shape, and undamaged.
Included in the box was a plastic bag with some instructionmanuals, warranty cards, and enough oil for me to get started without having to take a 2nd trip back to Home Depot. Of course it wouldn’t be unusual, as I forget some little doo-dad all the time, but it was nice this time to be able to get home and stay home.
Assembly was SUPER easy.
This thing came completely assembled right from the box. All I had to do was attach the collection bag to the metal frame. Everything else was all put together.
Additionally, I had to unfold the all metal handle and extend it like the instructions called for. Sadly and Thankfully no tools were needed. Of course I love using my tools, but this mower came with big easy to grip plastic handles that easily unscrewed to extend the handle and put it at just the right height for my six-foot tall frame. The whole process took like 3 minutes.
Next I had to add oil and gas to the engine. There are two clearly labeled screw caps which maked identifying the proper reservoir easy. The oil was easy to fill one handed so I grabbed a quick photo, but the gas took 2 hands so no picture of that for you. Just close your eyes for a moment, and imagine me using my red jerry can to fill the gas tank.
Scroll down and read how it went for me after the photos.
Third I had to add the motor oil, which thankfully was included – I really appreciate that, as I’d have to take another trip back to Home Depot if it wasn’t.
For the first time in my 46 years on this earth I used a gas powered mower to cut my own lawn.
It was so easy!
First I primed the engine by pressing the red bulb about a dozen times. I could feel the pressure inside the carb change when it was full. That’s how I knew it was ready.
Then I held down the blade control lever, grabbed the pull handle, and gave the thing a good yank just like you see in the movies.
Guess what? It started right up on the first pull! There was a little bit of a stutter as the engine slowly came to life. Imagine my surprise! I expected to yank on that rope for a good 20 minutes and then have to call customer service or something, but NO! It worked right out the gate.
Mowing the lawn was easy.
I adjusted the height of the wheels to the middle setting pulled the self-propel lever and in literally no time was able to cut the extra thick and tall grass in my front yard!
It looked amazing!
And I got to experience that summer smell of cut grass all day long.
Are you thinking of buying a new mower? What features are important to you? Share your story below in the comments about the first time you mowed a lawn – I can’t wait to read them!
It is so hard finding good, current shelter or DIY blogs to read.
It’s even harder to find some written from the guy’s perspective.
Two of my favorites are Kim & Scott of Yellow Brick Home and Sherry & John from Young House Love – one is actively still blogging, the other has stopped blogging on their website, but launched a Podcast (which isn’t exactly the same thing, but something I love listening to every week).
I love good photography, and beautifully styled rooms. I don’t always need all the step by step DIY how-tos, or material lists. Mostly I just want inspiration, and a little bit of “what were they thinking” when they started this project. For me that’s the fun part. Especially when they are written as a good story.
Why are blogging guys so rare in this space? Is it that they don’t have the same sense of style? Are they computer illiterate? Impossible! Is there no audience for them?
I don’t think so – there are some great male designers like Colin Cowie and Jeff Lewis, but they don’t really blog that much. There are of course lots more but I don’t have the ability to add them all here.
A few others I want to shout out specifically are: Daniel Kanter who authors Manhattan-Nest is one of the rare guy home bloggers, and Chris from Chris Loves Julia is another one where I have read every post. Every single one.
Finding the perfect blog to stalk is hard. I think Emily Henderson says it best:
To find blogs that have great ideas, information and pretty styling and photography is super rare.
And when you start to look for one written by a dude, the list gets real short real quick.
The combination of all those things, as well as the ability to tell and write a great story keeps me coming back again and again.
Are you like me? Do you prefer a blog that stays on topic – one that is almost from the perspective of the house?
Who are your favorite male / guy shelter bloggers? Let us know in the comments below. – Thanks!
My 5 year old loves looking at pictures. He prefers to look at pictures of himself as a baby, or of photos of me and his mom together when we were younger. A few days ago he asked about our house.
For some reason, today, he wanted to see pictures of our house when we moved in. 2009 was the year, and although I had a big professional Nikon D200, and took tons of shots when we closed, I have no idea where those photos are stored.
I think they are on one of my old servers that is currently stored under the guest bed in my office.
I also had my old iPhone which is in my office at work – that probably has some photos on it as well.
I could be better at organizing them. I SHOULD be more together at organizing them. My main excuse is that I need a new laptop. It’s a good reason, but if I wait too much longer, I fear I won’t be able to access the old storage systems I used to use as new technology stops for nobody.
Remember those old 5 1/4 floppy drives? I do. Most of my college papers were saved on those. I’ve got a box of them in the garage attic – not even close to archival storage.
Anyway, when he asked about seeing what our house looked like before he was born, I scratched my head for a minute, trying to figure out the easiest way to solve the problem.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could look at the old MLS photos from when our house was listed.
In fact, it’s a great archive of what this place looked like when we started, before our first series of renovations.
The place looked like 1988, complete with tacky wallpaper, wall to wall carpet (including in the bathroom), and popcorn on every ceiling.
For me, it was easy to access these pictures – Since I’m a Realtor, I simply logged on to the MLS, and searched for my house. There is a record of all the sales, as well as photos from the last time it was on the market.
So I just downloaded them.
You probably aren’t a Real Estate agent, but I’ll bet Zillow may have a record, and I know your agent would be happy to dig them up for you using their credentials. Maybe give it a try.
This is the fireplace in the living room. I really like the herringbone brick pattern, but can’t stand the fake brushed bronze fireplace doors. We still haven’t changed this, but I have some ideas to make it more updated, and add a mantle as well.
Here is the kiddos bedroom. Absolutely nothing to write home about. For a while this was my office, and I had bookcases against the wall you see next to the window.
One of the features we really loved about this place was the backyard. Especially this deck. Of course all the ferns and house plants are long gone, but we still have the french doors. We spend a ton of time out here.
The complete backyard. The big Elm in the middle of the photo had to be cut down, and I’ve done a lot of landscaping, but we still really love our yard.
This is the 3rd bedroom. We also call it the ball room, It gets the best natural light in the morning.
This is the master bath. Notice the wall to wall carpet, old vanity, and amazing wall paper. We have pretty much gutted this room, and totally redone it.
Here is the living room. It is a huge space with amazing light in the afternoon. Behind the camera is a wall of windows that look into the yard. Also, it’s hard to tell, but ceiling slopes up to a final height of 18-feet, creating a majestic space. My goal is to build some built-ins against the long wall and put in my vintage stereo, and record collection.
Anyway, I hope you liked this starting tour of our house. It’s come a long way, but there is a lot more to show and do!