baltimore gets smart bikes!

Remember how I was just telling you about how excited I am to ride my bike around town? Well, apparently other people want to be cruising in the bi-wheeled fashion, too. And it's about to get a whole lot easier, since "smart bikes" are coming to Baltimore! As I mentioned, hauling my bike in and out of my house is pretty brutal, but the new bike-share program eliminates the need to own a bike of your own. Think of it as ZipBikes - bikes when you need 'em!

They're all high-tech, with built in computer chips that enable you to pick up a bike from one "B-station" and drop off at another, charging you for the amount of time you used it (the first 30 minutes are free, though!). You probably won't see people taking these smart bikes out for long day trips since the price rises steeply after an hour of use, but what a perfect solution for hopping around town to run a quick errand, or if you're late for an appointment and want to skip traffic... and parking...

And here's more good news! Patterson Park is one of the proposed locations for a B-station!
Preliminary plans call for B-stations in Mt. Vernon, Penn Station, Bolton Hill, North Ave, 25th Street, Homewood Campus/Charles Village, Harbor East, Fells and Canton. If all goes well, we can expect additional locations to open, including Locust Point and Fort McHenry. Since the Additionally, stations can be moved easily to adjust to ridership and use patterns.

If you're thinking, "Yeah, I give those bikes 10 minutes till they're stolen!" fear not! They're designed with an imbedded GPS tracker, parts that can't be broken down and sold, and all kinds of locks. Tracking software has been used to track usage and reveal cool statistics, such as Denver collectively burning 6,333,332 calories the first year of operation.

Get biking, Baltimore!

love k

from IKEA to "i love it"

The thing about rowhouses is that each room is in close enough quarters to the next that furniture and decor has to flow. Standing in my entryway, you see every inch of my living room, dining room and kitchen, so I've worked hard to try to create some sense of continuity. When I first moved in five years ago, I did what most people in their early 20's moving in to their first house would do... went hog-wild at IKEA! Heck, what else could I afford? And it did the job, but little by little I've replaced things with nicer, more unique pieces that I like to think suggest a sense of personal style.

First there was the couch and love-seat from Nouveau when they moved to a new location - yay 80% off!
Puppy, my love-seat & two old whiskey crates stacked as a sidetable
Bindi the cat and my sweet sectional sofa - best napping sofa ever!

Then I coveted, and finally bought after a year (when it finally went on sale), my reclaimed factory cart coffee table. I bemoan the fact that they became hip a year later and now are in Pottery Barn, etc. But then I needed a new area I splurged at Arhaus and it tied it all together.

But all these lovely upgrades made my IKEA dining table look...silly. I wanted some lovely, reclaimed wood rectangular table, but every one I found was insanely expensive and way too wide for my rowhouse dining room. I started joking that N would just have to make me one...


I love it. I more than love it. It's made from reclaimed floor joists from 1900, so the boards are thick and beautiful. It's lightly varnished, so safe from heat, etc and a total work of art. I don't even really understand how he made it, and I imagine getting it in to my house, disassembling my old table, and getting the new one in place was quite a feat. But it was definitely the best Christmas present ever!

Now all I need is a rug for the dining room...

love k

bathroom bonanza

So now that you're caught up on the first floor bathroom, I can move on to telling you about the second floor bathroom. Whereas the former was all aesthetics, the latter announced its issues by cascading water down my dining room chandelier and on to my new hand-made table a month ago. I re-grouted. I re-caulked. I re-waterproofed that sucker to the point that I'm reasonably sure I've caused a shortage of sealants in East Baltimore. But to no avail.

With a jetted tub circa 1990, completely irregular dimensions, and myriad problems, this shower situation called for expertise beyond my abilities. So, after one quote for $18,000(haaahahaha! hilarious!), I got a referral for the most wonderful person on earth named Faramarz who is both a plumber AND a tiler! Did I mention how insanely wonderful he is?! And reasonable? And lovely? I digress.

At first the plan was to just rip out the tub (no small feat) and surrounding tile, find the problem, fix the plumbing and create a nice, modern, step in shower with a built in bench. But then trying to find tile that went with the old pink and gray cheap floor tile (again, circa 1990) and uninspired two-bit vanity was...challenging. And seemed really dumb. So, out it all came! The whole thing! For about a day it sounded like large circus animals were battling to the death upstairs.

Now it looks like this:

Turns out the plumbing wasn't doing so well, so it was all replaced and moved to one wall (it had been coming out of two places. Weird). Also, the bathtub had been leaking in three places! Good riddance!

My tile is all picked out (challenging since stores don't keep tile in stock like they used to due to the recession, slower turn over etc.), as well as a new vanity. I'm beyond excited to show you the progress and completion!

love k

(last) winter home project wrap-up: laundry/powder room makeover

Last year, as you may recall, I overhauled my first-floor laundry/powder room. "Wait!" You're probably saying, "What the heck happened with that?" What happened remained a mystery to you all since I forgot to, say, give you the "after" half of the "before/after" concept. Well, I love it! Before it was horrible and gross and overly utilitarian, and now...

The stackable front-loading washer and dryer (Sears, on sale, half price) freed up tons of space. I had to have a plumber come move the plumbing around, and then a carpenter built the dividing wall.

I lucked out with the vanity (good LORD, vanities are pricey!) by acquiring this lovely brand-new one for free from my sister (didn't work out at their house, couldn't return)- score one for me!

The mirror is from Target - I decided an oval framed mirror classed it up. Repainted the room the same lovely shade (Restoration Hardware) as before with bright white trim.

The little prints are actually a postcard collection of vintage Nancy Drew covers (my favorites growing up) that I framed using IKEA frames! Final touch with a new soap pump that matched the sink and a cute diffuser from Target to keep things fresh.

I have enough room between the washer/dryer and the dividing wall to stash a drying rack, broom, reusable grocery bags and my outdoor pillows for my patio.

So that was wonderful and rewarding and I love it. Finally, I gave you the closure you've been waiting for since last January! I am now just starting a TOTAL overhaul in my 2nd floor bathroom... stay posted!

love k

please spring, Spring!

Spring is being really slow on the uptake this year, what with two threats of snow since the official first day last week. Super lame, especially since I shiver dramatically at any temperatures below, ooh, 64 degrees. But luckily I'm the stoic type, and can cling to all the great things that are around the corner. Along with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, here are a few of my favorite things (about Springs!):

1. The Farmers Market - Starting a whole month early this year, the JFX Farmer's Market kicks off this Sunday, April 3rd! It's probably still a tad early for much produce, but my mouth waters at the thought of the dairy and bakery and smoothies and coffee,and....oh, my, I can't wait! After recently reading a wonderfully written letter to the public by a small business owner about how every little effort to support local entrepreneurs makes a difference, I am filled with desire to do just that! Who wants to join me?

2. The Color Green - No, I don't mean money (though Spring is a lovely time for real estate....), I mean leaves! And grass! And vines and creepers! Even WEEDS make me happy after a whole winter of various shades of brown. I really have my work cut out for me this year with my garden and planters, which are currently in major disarray. But just thinking about how lovely my (itsy bitsy teeny weeny) back patio is when in full bloom makes me relish all the digging and planting I have in my future.

3. Patterson Park - Ooooh the park in the spring is just the best thing on earth! I consider myself outrageously lucky to be able to look out my window every morning and watch color creep back into the park's flora. Even before the trees and grass become lush and green, the park begins to fill with people. Old and young, rich and poor, it doesn't matter. Everyone can enjoy a lovely public park, and the first warm days of Spring are like a siren song. Complain all you like about how the warmer months make it harder to park because of the flocks of park-goers - I'll take a busy, well-used park over easy parking any day.
4. My Beach Cruiser - Most of the year I consider my 3 zillion pound beach cruiser to be one of the worst investments I've ever made. Most, but not all. In the Spring that bike is the best thing on earth.The basket is perfect for groceries, farmers market purchases, dog.
And the bell! The bell calls out for friendship, I swear. Even though getting it in and out of the house is a feat of true physical
strength and determination, I have hopes of forming a posse of fel
low bikers to cruise the streets. [Public Service Announcement: Dear auto drivers, please please please understand how terrifying it is when you swish by me with a 7 inch clearance from my leather-bound handlebars. My heart is literally somewhere in my throat, choking me with terror.]

5. My Birthday! - As an Aries (April 12th, baby!) I live with hope eternal that I can have an outdoor birthday party. Pretty much every year I do, but I can't claim that it is exactly...pleasant. But I hold out! Even if it's slightly damp and reasonably chilly, I swear there's promise in the air of warmer weather soon to come. I like to think of raindrops as little drops of hope and life for all the flowers soon to come.

6. EcoFest - Totally cheating that I'm putting this on here since I've never actually been before, but I am going this year! And will be loads of fun! And N is playing music and a friend of mine is making/selling food! Come with me!

So you see, even though the weather is still bonafide horrible, there are just so many great things around the corner! Oh, and can I add one more? 7. I'm back to blogging.

love k.