Aug 052020

I don’t even know where I am in this whole progress post process anymore. But here are some pictures of new additions. Things have been getting more fun for me because all of the big stuff is done (wall-painting, floor-laying, Ikea stuff-building, etc) and I’m free to add all my stupid touches.

Like a pastel Caboodle to hold all the band-aids and sundry that Henry loves to pile atop the fridge!

My friend Courtney made me those Golden Girl magnets a few years ago – they were perfect then, but even more so now! We’re also turning a bunch of pictures of ourselves from the 80s into photo magnets, so that’ll be super obnoxious.

My phone arrived over the weekend! (Sorry if that crooked photo bothers you but please note that I straightened it after I took this photo and didn’t feel like retaking it because I’m a lazy blogger whose life is anything but curated.)

Henry the amateur electrician is going to find a way to make it light up (we think it still works, according to the eBay description) and if the kitchen gods decide to smile down on us, he’ll hopefully be able to find a way to get it to do what I REALLY want, which is to turn on a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen when the receiver is lifted, at which point the room will be filled with the joy of 80s new wave.

But with the way things have been working out, I’m not holding my breath! In any case, it’s a fun decoration.

Another thing that we finally checked off the list was the spice rack!

This is actually how the whole thing started, btw. It was sometime last spring and I said to Henry, after watching the video for Damien’s song Cassette, “We should make a spice rack out of old tapes.” I don’t know why my mind went specifically to “spice rack,” but it did and from there, it turned into, “Actually let’s just redo the entire kitchen in an 80s theme. You know, to match the spice rack.”

It took Henry about a half dozen attempts until he finally understood my vision and built something that was (mostly) what I wanted. I mean, not that it matters, because I don’t cook and have no use for spices, but Chooch is already bitching because he can’t see what anything is, so I was like, “Uh, just alphabetize them? Then at least you’ll know a roundabout starting point.” He was super thrilled with my solution.

It just needs an LED lightstrip underneath it.  I mean, obviously.

Fun fact: That’s my favorite Cure album. That’s not my favorite Phil album though. (Come on, No Jacket Required.)

Meanwhile, if you would have told me six months ago that I’d be up until 1AM working on one (1!!!) cabinet door on August 3rd, I’d have cracked up in your face and said, “yeah OK I’ll be on the Erin’s 41st Birthday Mini Cross Country Amusement Park Tour then and also ew, I hate my kitchen, it’s a dump.” Oh, how covid has changed our lives.  I decided that only the top two cabinets will have this design and the rest will just be painted in geometric quadrants in the 4 colors of the walls. Because this is best used in small doses, I think – even I know my limits!

The cabinets, being as old as they are, have clearly been through the war. So even after Henry sanded them down, the surface was still pretty pocked on both. I was originally going to make stencils and handpaint the shapes, but I knew because of the bumpy surface it would like ass. So instead, we made vinyl stickers, which didn’t really save too much time because handcutting these were a bitch, and  then I did all the black squiggles by hand and that’s what took the longest. My hand and back hurt so much by the time I was done, but I was determined to get at least one banged out in one sitting. I made the second one last night so I’m excited to eventually have cabinets again!

This is just sitting in there right now, for picture-purposes. I think it will look even better once we make “The Coreys” cabinet pulls! Also, I need to get some old teen magazines from the 80s to make a collage inside the cabinet doors.

Still on the To Do list: Making the curtain for the kitchen door, the neon sign (which is paid for and in production!!!), whatever Henry can manage to do with the phone, the rest of the trim needs painted and reattached, and supposedly Henry is redoing the countertop but we’ll see how that actually pans out because Henry and epoxy aren’t the greatest of colleagues. Oh, and I still haven’t found a ceiling light that makes me happy.

But even in the state it’s in right now, it is a million times better than the den of despair it was as recently as June, and walking in there doesn’t make me want to put my fist through a wall anymore!

Jul 292020

AHAHAHAugh…fucking kitchens.

I had to look at the calendar on my phone to see if I even have the weeks straight because it feels like this project has been going on as long as COVID’s been in town, but I guess that this is technically the end of the week 4 since we started this on July 2. I really thought we would be done! I guess it would help if Chooch and I could be trusted with tools and whatnot, because this has basically been Henry’s solo project. (See the drawers in the background? Those are from the coffee table that we started redoing in June and then never finished because the kitchen happened.)

I had been dreading this part of the process because I was concerned that my lack of doing anything painterly or artisterly lately would hinder my ability (and patience). But it ended up being OK and didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would! I didn’t time myself, but maybe it took a total of 90 minutes? I did part of it while the door was upright and then Henry took it off the hinges for me and that was moderately better except that I had a hunchback for a while afterward. Also, that Memphis design is programmed into my muscle memory for life now I think so if you need anything with a 1980s pattern scribbled upon it, I’m your girl.

Chooch wasn’t impressed. (Actually, he did walk past once and say, “That looks good” which was super alarming because he never cares about anything I do.)

Henry finally did some of the trim so now one side of the room actually looks finished!!

The door matches my coffee cart, lol. I couldn’t find a coffee canister that I liked so I made this one out of a basic canister from Target: just painted the top pink and got a vintage Alf figurine to use as the topper/lid pull/whatever. And my Korean ahjumma instant coffee sticks are perfectly contained in a Goonies cup.

My Baseball Card Vandals Phil Collins card is right at home here!

Meanwhile, Henry finally finished stripping the paint off all of the cabinets so hopefully this weekend we can start painting those so that another side of the stupid room will be kind of complete. And we went to Eide’s (a big music store/comic book place in Pittsburgh which used to be way cooler than it is now and it’s where I used to go in the late 90s/early 00s to get all of my Cure bootlegs!) because I needed a couple more cassettes to be able to start working on the spice rack. I had snagged a lot of 30 tapes from the 80s on eBay but it turned out that I needed about 6 more. I’ll tell you what – vinyl may have made a comeback and I know it started to be trendy a few years ago for bands to release limited edition cassettes, but it’s been surprisingly difficult to find used tapes! We went to the Exchange and Henry went to a few Goodwills, to no avail. And honestly, Eide’s only had one small display that held maybe 75-100 used tapes, but IN THAT COLLECTION WAS, OMG…..


Henry was the one who actually saw it and I yelled, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, although it was muffled because I was wearing my mask. They also had GLORIA LORING which was a no-brainer because she was on Days of Our Lives and that soap took up a huge chunk of my life in the 80s! IT’S THE ONE THAT HAS “FRIENDS AND LOVERS” ON IT.

Henry started building the spice rack on Sunday and now it’s Wednesday and still unfinished because that’s how Henry rolls. He starts a project and then doesn’t touch it for days (sometimes months, you can ask the Seoul Subway Wall Hanging that’s been chilling in the basement, untouched and unloved, since May, no big deal).

I even let him include one (1!!!) Ted Nugent tape in the rack, and now I’m about to take it back because he doesn’t deserve it!

(OMG Henry is actually finishing the spice rack as I write this so maybe I’ll be able to include it in the next round of updates.)

Jul 232020

When we last left off, Henry was ready to demolish the entire kitchen to get the pantry to fit. I’m pleased to tell you that he was able to finagle it into that tight space without coming in on a wrecking ball, thank god. But now it’s way too close to the stove so he has to get some kind of metal sheet thing to put on the side of the pantry, apparently, else the kitchen goes up in flames.

Drew is so excited to have new things to explore, much to Henry’s chagrin, lol.

Her own shelf!

My rug came in the mail last week too so I put it down immediately but then Henry was like WE NEED TO GET SCOTCH GUARD and he ordered some but then still hasn’t sprayed the rug, so that’s cool.

I mean, I suppose I could.

I’m excited because we’re getting closer to the time when I can finally start adding my magical flourishes! I have been carefully curating an 80s themed art collection for the room, which is great because I’m running out of space on the walls in every other room in the house. #junkhouse

And my fabric arrived over the weekend! I’m excited for Henry to take off his contractor helmet and put on his pin cushion headband to make curtains out of this beauty!

Meanwhile, I busied myself by adding Memphis design details to light switch plates.

Over the weekend, Henry FINALLY STARTED TO  TACKLE THE FOURTH WALL! I never knew that the window could be so clean! He even took down the screen and cleaned it!!

One of the things I wanted to include, decor-wise, was framed postcards from 80s-era Wildwood, NJ. My family vacationed here every summer from the time I was a baby* until I was 11. I’m not sure why we stopped going, although I like to blame the birth of my brother, Corey, lololol. I get that warm coating of nostalgia in my gut anytime I think of this place and when I started scrolling through the options on eBay, hoooooboy, mama got blasted to the past.

*(I asked my mom about this the other day and she said that when she was a kid, they went there every summer with my great-grandma, and I honestly never knew this and why have I not seen any pictures of these trips!? Unless they perished in the house fire that happened when my mom was a teenager….God, there are so many things I don’t have the answers to and I wish I had asked my grandparents to tell me more shit when they both still alive. I’m a failure.)

I mean….duh.

I knew I wanted stripes on this part of the wall but I didn’t feel like painting them so I found this glittery black tape on Amazon and told Henry to have fun.

Henry was going to throw this cart/shelf thingie away but I was like WAIT!! There is nothing spraypaint can’t improve, I fucking swear. So this ugly cart is now sparkly silver and ready to hold all of my coffee stuff. Tom Selleck needs to be hung up, but he’s going to live right above the cart. I love him and I’m so glad that he’s one of the things we salvaged from my grandparents’ house

I have a plain, basic coffee canister from Target, but I bought an Alf figurine from eBay to use as the topper so I will include that in my next update post! (God forbid I should use a plain coffee canister.)

This design is programmed into my muscle memory for life now, I think.

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Tom lives in the kitchen now.

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I loathe to post this, but this is what the sink sitch currently looks like. The cabinets are still not stripped and that whole bottom part needs to be cleaned and repainted. The drawers need to be painted too. I looked up Corey Haim and Corey Feldman cabinet pulls but SHOCKINGLY they do not exist (see also: non-existence of Phil Collins cookie jar) so now we have to make our own, I guess. I’m sorry, but I’m not going through all this effort into cultivating an 80s haven and then using regular cabinet pulls?!

The one thing we CAN’T make ourselves is the neon sign. We shopped around from some prices and I think we found a good place but we keep dragging our feet. I don’t want to commit to anything until the design we came up with and the proof they send us is 100% perfect because custom-made neon ain’t cheap, would have guessed.

(Actually, who would ever think that neon signs are CHEAP?)

I’m considering this my birthday present to myself since I can’t do anything else for my birthday this year, lol ugh.

Vintage Halloween masks! The one on the far right is pre-80s, I think, but I didn’t want him to be left out.

She takes over EVERYTHING.

My current project is finishing the design on this door (Henry has to take it back off the frame because I need to assume my official artist posture which is HUNCHED OVER a/k/a Chiropractor’s Dream Patient. Once the door is down and the trim is put back, I think the room will finally start to come together! TOO BAD I HAVE NO PATIENCE.

Last but not least for this update, I suggested that Henry and I find a picture of ourselves from the 80s to also include in the room (maybe just in a magnetic fridge frame?) and he proudly presented this gem last night:

Oh, you guys. This is fucking perfect. Plus, it was when he was IN THE SERVICE!! I hate how nice his legs are! They still look like that, too.

“I can’t remember if that was my dorm room or the one next door. Nope. That’s mine because there’s my Atari 7200.” This was when he was living in Indiana!!!

Well, tune in next week to see if any progress is made, I guess.

Jul 142020

We’re limping along at a snail’s pace over here, but things are kind of happening! (And I do mean limping. Henry and I both hurt our backs, although MINE IS WORSE/MORE DRAMATIC.)

Halfway through last week, we finished painting 3/4 of the room. The floor was still plywood at that point. I did the stripes! Everyone likes that part the best and I’m so gloaty about it. We still have the wall behind the fridge/sink to paint. That will be yellow, and the cabinets will be a combination of all four wall colors. 

Things were at a standstill for the most part during last week though, since we both work (Henry does not work from home, sadly, although perhaps this is a blessing considering how many people have been splitting during quarantine?) And naturally, since our house is in ruins, the serial killer and kpop card orders have been rolling in. Henry flipped out at one point out of card-making stress and I offered to put our Etsy shops on vacation but he told me not to, so….he secretly loves it.

In the meantime, I busied myself with design details. I know right now it’s like, “OK, that’s moderately 80s, I guess…” but once it’s finished, it will be the 1980s nostalgia palace of my dreams. 

I found this fabric to make a curtain for the door that leads into the back porch!! And a rug that features the signage of various 1980s arcade games! Both of these things should be here by the end of the month, and I can’t wait!

Then I went on an eBay rampage and found this poster from the 1988 Olympics! The 80s, Olympics, and SOUTH KOREA: all things that are near and dear to my heart, (Still fucking sad about the 2020 Olympics.)

Finally, on Saturday, Henry put the floor in! And by “put the floor in” I mean that he literally rolled it out, cut it to size, and glued it down with some pasty-cement shit. This floor is super fucking cheap because we don’t own this place and didn’t want to put much of our own money into it, but shit, he could’ve just left it sitting there, unglued, and it still would have been a million percent better than what was originally there. He could have just left the exposed plywood there and even that would have been better!

Saturday night, Henry and Chooch finished putting the counter together, which meant we able to put *some* stuff away! I was like BLESSED BE! and started a conga line of pots-and-pans. It only made a small dent in the mountain of “kitchen” that has grown on the back porch. I mourn for the days (two weeks ago) when I was able to enjoy my morning coffee in the comfort of the back porch. Now you can’t even see the chairs :( 

After a brief discussion, Henry and Chooch went out on Saturday and bought a new stove. Let me tell you something about our old stove: my dad bought it for me, used, from the Pennysaver when I first moved into this house in 1999.

In 1999! So you can imagine, buying it from the Pennysaver, that sucker was probably already at least 15 years old.

Granted, I don’t cook, hardly ever, so I was like, “Cool…?” and mostly used it to store chips and other assorted snacks, lol. But then Henry moved in a few years later and was like, “Why is your oven a pantry” and then proceeded to actually USE it. That’s also when I learned that there was a broiler at the bottom of it! I always just thought it was like, a loose panel or something! 

So yeah, with Chooch now flexing his own chef muscle, we felt that it was time to upgrade, also the vanity in me was like, “why would we put that gross stove back in the kitchen after spending all this time making the room look cute?” 

It’s an LG and it makes a cute Korean subway-esque jingle when it turns on and when the timer goes off! Granted, I don’t give a shit about cooking things, but Chooch and Henry are happy, so thanks COVID-check. 

I guess. 

Meanwhile, I’ve unlocked the level of “COVID Says Stay Home!” where I’m carousing eBay like a predator in a van, buying up vintage postcards from my favorite childhood vacation spot, Wildwood, NJ, and then finding myself negotiating with the Wildwood Historical Society when one of the postcards is unavailable. DON’T WORRY: I found another seller who had it, and it’s currently en route to my house.

Yeah, so I thought it would be fun to frame some of these and hang them in the kitchen, because 1980s summers were the best summers, fight me. (Actually, don’t; my back is fucking busted.)

I also have some 1980s Halloween masks on the way! I have been doing v. important things over here while Henry is taking his good ol’ time with flooring and painting.

Yesterday’s progress was….well, it wasn’t really progress at all. Henry and Chooch built the Ikea pantry-thingie that Henry measured fifty million times and was SO CERTAIN it was going to FIT PERFECTLY between the wall and the stove.


Doesn’t fit. 

The measurements didn’t account for the lip on the counter and the fact that this house is old AF and the walls are crooked. So Henry had to cut out some of the plaster from that striped bump-out in the corner, and he almost made it fit but now there’s something going on with the heat vent on the other wall and he basically just wants to burn down the whole house and start over in a forest, cottage-core style. 

He claims he can “make it work” and I stopped listening because I was afraid the words “tear down the wall” were going to march off his tongue to the tune of Jack Hammer Sonata. 

In between all of this, he has started the tedious task of scraping the old paint off the kitchen cabinets so that we “can repaint them and do it right this time.” Whatever that means. He has this cool heat gun thing that looks like a space weapon and I am desperate to use it but every time I ask if I can help, he says NO.

This would have been done by now if Henry trusted me with tools (and to keep my temper) and if Chooch could care a little more. Maybe if we convinced him that this renovation project was sponsored by Minecraft, he’d be more available. 


I hope Blake and Haley’s babies aren’t napping next door because if they were, well, they’re not now. 

OK, I think I’m going to end the kitchen update here. (I mean, just the recap of it, but trust me there have been a million times during this process where I have said WE HAVE MADE A MISTAKE. LET’S JUST STOP HERE WHILE WE’RE AHEAD.)

(OMG I hope Henry doesn’t saw his hand off. I’m scared.)