Category Archives: Interior Decorating

Get a Good Look Now

We got a new sofa and love seat today.  Not a moment too soon.  Here is what the old loveseat looked like:

And the sofa was in similar disrepair.

We have our 18 month old bulldog, Wonderbutt, to thank for this fine furniture handiwork.

What you can’t fully comprehend from these pictures is the discomfort of sitting on decidedly lumpy cushions, the animal fur that clung to the fabric, and the decidedly musky smell of dog that permeated the upholstery.

A month ago, in a rare moment of family unity, my husband, daughter, and I all agreed that we needed new couches.

We even agreed on the criteria.  They needed to be leather and/or vinyl, and they were not allowed to have removable cushions.  Oh, and they needed to be cheap.  Because it would be hard to explain to the authorities why we abandoned our bulldog in the middle of a busy highway after he chewed through our antique, expensive leather davenport.  If it’s cheap, we can just leave the ruined furniture on the side of the road instead.

Behold Wonderbutt’s New Chew Toys!

Our new rear end receptacles are not completely Wonderbutt-proof, I have a feeling.  This is why I have decided that we will host our daughter’s graduation party and wedding reception here in the next couple of months – even though Dimples is only nine years old. This is probably the only furniture we will be buying in the next 15 years, and everyone is already taking bets on how long it will be worthy of visitation.  Unlike JP Morgan, I’ve decided I should try to play it safe.

So, if you happen to receive an invitation in the mail for our Summer Recept-uation Party, you should not hesitate to accept.  This could be your last opportunity to enjoy our hospitality for at least another decade.

Oh, and just try to ignore the plastic wrap on the couch.

Back to the Drawing Board – Before it Gets Eaten

I mentioned a few posts ago that we had been furniture shopping.  Our bulldog, affectionately nicknamed Wonderbutt, has thoroughly annihilated our sofas in his never-ending quest to make our home inhospitable to guests.  We felt like we needed a new plan, and Step 1 was to order new couches that will a.) deflect dog hair, 2.) have no removable cushions, and III.) not smell like Wonderbutt.

The danger of this plan, of course, is that Wonderbutt will find new ways to sabotage our attempts at interior decorating.  Crating Wonderbutt has been recommended by many fans.  But I must tell you that, with Wonderbutt, crating was a disaster.  He does not like being treated like a dog.  His vengefulness is tenfold when he is crated – resulting in daily crate cleaning and sterilization, belligerent bulldog baths, and house defumigation.  Even when his crate was cleverly positioned so that he could go in and outside whenever he wished, he continued to soil his crate in defiance of his semi-imprisonment.

Our new plan is to restrict him to the kitchen while we are gone, using the baby gates that keep him from entering the Forbidden Section of the house.  This plan has many potential perils, I must admit.  There are table and chair legs aplenty for him to chew on.  In addition, there are numerous cabinets to explore and windowsills on which he can gnaw.  But we have decided the kitchen can be our sacrificial lamb as we haven’t really invested anything in renovating it – yet.

In order to make his kitchen stays more pleasant, we have decided that, upon the arrival of the new furniture, the old sofa cushions will be retained.  I plan to toss one into his area every day before we leave, and admonish him not to destroy it.  As soon as we exit the house, I expect, he will begin to decimate said cushion – hopefully concentrating so well on that project that he will live the rest of the kitchen alone.

We have also ordered a clever little dog bed cover to give him an alternative to sleeping on the couch.  We can stuff it with the old cushions or pillows – or even with Dimples’ old crib mattress.  The cover was fairly inexpensive, so I won’t feel devasted if he manages to pierce it with his sharp little teeth.  And, the bonus is that you can have it personalized.  I was very tempted to use one of the predetermined phrases – such as “Danger Toxic Gas”, but settled on a simple “Wonderbutt” logo instead.

Do I think that this carefully considered plan that we have devised will work?  Will we finally be able to invite guests to our home in larger numbers than the current one safe place to sit that we have now?

Sure – at least for a week or two.

Since I have used up all of my torn up couch pics in previous posts, I was cruisin' for a pic on the net, and found this poor woman's blog post. What struck me was how much this couch resembles ours. Maybe it's not the dogs' faults. Maybe there is a certain type of couch that just begs to be destroyed...

Exactly What is Your Definition of “Accident”?

In defense of Wonderbutt, I will say that our sofa is very old.  And that we have been wanting to replace it since we moved into our house three years ago – when we inexplicably painted the walls blue when we had a maroon, brown, and green couch.  Our golden retriever’s fur clings to the fabric of the sofa in large clumps.  No matter how many times I vacuum or lint roll the cushions, every visitor that makes the unfortunate decision to sit on our furniture stands up with golden hairs affixed to every inch of his or her clothing.  If we invite friends over, I always add the clause: if you value your appearance, do not wear black.

And now tiny white hairs are added to the mix.  The pillows that Grandma specifically recovered for us so that we could pretend our sofa was designed for a house with blue walls have had their corners chewed off, and decorative braided trim trails from the sides.  The back of one sofa has a giant dark circle where Wonderbutt obsessively licked the couch for no apparent reason.  One sofa cushion has half its foam and a zipper missing.

I have no idea what was so lickably tasty about this part of the couch.

Once we got our floors back in shape, it was even more evident that the sofa would be a fitting prop for the living room on Sanford and Son.

So, we decided to get a new one.  Yes, I know that it is counterintuitive to replace a piece of furniture that was destroyed by your dogs with a new piece of furniture when said dogs still roam freely in the house.  But a quick poll of those who know me well will reveal that I regularly defy logic.

We found a sofa that will not attract hair, will go with our blue walls (that will soon be a different color, but that’s a story for another day), and – most importantly – does not have removable cushions.  At least, they are not designed to be removable.

When going over the details of the sofa, our ears perked when the salesperson asked if we were interested in purchasing the accident protection.

“What is included in this plan?” I asked.

“Rips, tears, spills, stains.  All of those will be repaired if you buy the accident protection.”

“Let me get this straight.  If the cushion has a big hole in it, you will replace it, free of charge?”


“And, if there’s a huge watermark on it, you will replace it, free of charge?”


Cap’n Firepants, Dimples, and I all looked at each other in wonderment.  Why the heck hadn’t we heard of this miraculous plan before?

“So, what you’re saying is – no matter what my dog does to this couch, you will fix it?”

“Oh no, Ma’am.  This doesn’t cover pet damage.”

I stared at the woman, unable to speak.  Cap’n Firepants quickly stepped in.

“We don’t need the accident protection,” he assured the salesperson, as I tried to tell myself that throttling her would be counterproductive.  I wondered if she had accident protection.

“You could say that your child did it,” the woman conspiratorially whispered to me.

If you have video of a child doing this kind of damage to a couch cushion, let me know. Before you have him/her committed, I may need him/her to explain to the Accident Plan Board of Directors how it happens that a child who is not a Wonderbutt "accidentally" shreds and eats a piece of furniture.

If You Are Considering Getting a Bulldog…

One Bulldog Puppy. $2000+

4 Vet Bills in 2 years. $1,000

1 Bulldog Weight Loss Program. $500/year

1 Ruined Floor. $8,000+

One Canine Who's Lucky He is So Darn Cute. Priceless. A sofa cushion away from being too friggin' expensive.


The last picture is Wonderbutt in the hallway on the border of the Forbidden Zone.  He dragged his bed there to wait for me while I worked in the office on the other side of the gate (not the gate leaning against the wall). You, too, can have this kind of devotion for the low, low price of $11,500 – and counting…

Wonderbutt’s Revenge

So, Guap asked in the comments from the The Big Reveal how far along Wonderbutt is into eating our new concrete floors.  I would also like to mention that I clearly stated at the end of yesterday’s post that we now need new furniture to go with our indestructible floors.

This is what I saw when I arrived home today:

Generally, we keep the cushions on the couch. Wonderbutt seemed to feel strongly that they work better on the new floor.

Since Wonderbutt does not have carpet padding to consume anymore, he decided that cushion foam would make a nice substitute.

Wonderbutt says, "What are you going to do now - get a concrete couch?"

Of course not.  But I know a couple of places I could buy a concrete bulldog.

The Big Reveal

Last week, my daughter and I went to Houston, leaving my husband, Cap’n Firepants, to supervise the installation of our new concrete floors.  Actually, “installation” is probably not the correct word.  The floors were already here, and already concrete.  But we wanted them to be transformed into something a bit more esthetically pleasing.

Original, carpeted floor (with Wonderbutt's inferior decorating)

Concrete slab under the carpeting. Mrs. P.I.B. says she had nothing to do with this travesty.

The Cap’n was great about keeping me updated during the whole process.  He would periodically text pics to my phone so I could see the progress of the work by Riverbed Concrete’s crew.

First, our kitchen floor, which had been tiled, needed the grout from the tile ground away.

Our kitchen

Then, the floor in our “Great Area” had to be ground as well.

Grinding the living room

The kitchen needed a “micro-topping” of concrete to smooth the floor out.  We chose to forego the micro-topping in the Great Area, opting instead to embrace any imperfections – such as the long crack down the floor – as details that would give it character.

Kitchen "micro-topping"

The Cap’n had designed a grid for the Great Area based on a picture we had found online.  The men had to measure and tape off the grid, then put grooves in the floor along the lines.  This would allows for the different stain colors to have crisp edges.

Laying out the grid

Once the floor was prepped, it was stained.

Dimples and I arrived home from our Houston trip just as the floor staining was finished.  I almost cried to see the improvement in our floors.

What we saw when we came home (unsealed)

The next step was to seal the floors.  This is where things went a bit different than what we had planned.  The sealer surprisingly acted as an equalizer between our dark and light stains, making the contrast much less than we had originally hoped for.

After the sealant

We were a little disappointed in the change from unsealed to sealed.  However, the overall effect is a dramatic improvement over our original floors – and way more durable for a house with a kid, two dogs, and a man who likes to spend time in the yard (sometimes bringing some of it back in with him).

Kitchen - final coat over micro-topping (we did not do a grid in this section)


Living room entryway. Note the cool "doormat" Cap'n Firepants designed in front of the door. The cedar wall in the back is going to be torn out and replaced by dry wall.

You can see what the above area looked like originally here.

The living room - the circle in the floor on the left side is an outlet the previous owner put in the floor.

We finally, after six months, can usher people into the house without having to say, “Sorry about the floors…”

Now we just need new furniture.

I am Not Ignoring You

Dimples and I are off on a great girl adventure to visit our cousins, the Globetrotters, leaving Cap’n Firepants to deal with the noise, dust, and contractors who are working on our new concrete floor.  Although I will have my iPad, my favorite piece of technology ever, my WordPress app is a little persnickety.  So, I am leaving you with some short posts I scheduled to roll out each day to tide you over until we return.

For those of you who questioned our wall demolition on Saturday’s post, here are some pictures to show the progress.  At least, we call it progress.  You might call it a travesty.  But, trust me – that wall had to go.

Original wall - made of cedar. Very 70's. Always getting in the way.

Halfway through the demolition.

Done. Now the floor crews can take care of that section, and we don't have to worry about it later. And, it made it much easier to carry our furniture out the front door!

I Think I Better Get Out of the Way

Our bulldog, Wonderbutt, and my husband, the Venerable Cap’n Firepants, are now in fierce competition to see who can demolish our house with more panache.  The Cap’n claims that he is trying to prepare the house for the stained concrete flooring contractors who are scheduled to appear next week – but I think he just likes alleviating his stress by  pretending he is an actual pirate marauder who must destroy everything that isn’t made of gold.  Wonderbutt is apparently the reincarnation of Attila the Hun, and is determined to leave nothing alive in his wake.  The following pictures will show you the current status of our house.  See if you can identify the artist of each interior landscape.

Tile Removal - Because removing the carpet didn't make things look bad enough.

See the baby gate? Used to be a wall there.

There's the wall.

The artist behind this masterpiece left a few clues.

All I can say is that these BEFORE pictures better result in some darn good AFTER pictures by the end of this coming week.

Pay No Attention to That Dog Behind the Curtain

I have a confession to make.  Wonderbutt is a sham.

No, he eats shams.

No, he hasn’t actually eaten a sham yet, come to think about it.  Just the actual pillows.  Too bad, because I don’t really like our shams.

Anyway – what was I talking about?

Oh yes, Wonderbutt’s False Front.

Wow, bet that particular phrase has never been typed before.  Would that be an oxymoron?

O.K.  I’m done meandering now.  Let’s start over.

Wonderbutt likes to talk a big talk – squeaking his toy relentlessly while some people are trying TO think, DARN IT!

But when he feels like anyone is going to actually challenge him in any kind of serious way, he runs and “hides.”

Behind our curtain.

You Can't See Me

He likes to go there when he has a toy he does not want to share, when he wants to get our attention during dinner, when he feels the slightest bit threatened, or just when he feels like it.

Amazingly, the curtain rod has not fallen on top of him – or anyone else – yet.

I’m hoping he will come out wearing a cape one day.

But so far, this is the only transformation I’ve seen.

“Wonderbutt’s Whimsy” to be Auctioned

“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”Andy Warhol

Wonderbutt has made our floor his ongoing masterpiece.  Andy Warhol would have approved.

Cap’n Firepants, on the other hand, has no appreciation for modern art, so he has decided that Wonderbutt’s canvas needs to go.  He allowed me to take some pictures before tackling the project.  When I loaded the pictures onto the computer, I realized that they didn’t really do justice to the monumental  contributions Wonderbutt has made in the last year to our carpet.  So, I decided to add a few labels in case you don’t happen to have a magnifying glass near your computer monitor.

This was only one portion of the carpet.  If our family had ever gotten murdered in our beds, it would have taken an entire season of C.S.I. episodes to exclude Wonderbutt’s DNA evidence and isolate the killer’s.  The pup even got blood all over the floor when I once cut a toenail too short.  He was too busy trying to get a treat off the table to realize his hemorrhaging was creating a monochromatic Jackson Pollock painting on the carpet beneath him.

We have been talking about getting rid of the carpet ever since we moved into the house (pre-Wonderbutt), but his arrival has necessitated this happening sooner than later.

The problem is that we don’t have the money to execute the second part of the plan – lovely, polished, stained concrete floors.  Kind of like this.

We had entertained the thought of doing the job ourselves – until we saw the floor awaiting us underneath the carpet.

Mrs. P.I.B. asks Cap'n Firepants if this was part of the plan.

Big improvement, right?

Apparently, the people who built our house over thirty years ago pretty much used the concrete as their own version of a drop cloth, not being able to  conceive of any kind of reason that sane homeowners might want to actually expose a cement floor.

They clearly never met Wonderbutt.

So, this is what our floor looks like now and for the foreseeable future.  Dimples is eager to break out the sidewalk chalk and do some of her own home improving.  I am thinking we can just draw a Christmas tree in the middle of the floor and our holiday decorating will be done.  And I am keeping my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that Cap’n Firepants doesn’t decide the best improvement would be a chalk outline of Wonderbutt.

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