Author: Christine


New Lighting


Life has been busy since moving into our new place! Since we have had a lot of big purchases lately (especially flooring) we have had to slow down a bit.  This gives us an opportunity to work on all of the little stuff that we’ve put off.  We have put in doors in the office and guest bedroom and put some more finishes in the guest room.

My favorite upgrade we have made lately involves our dining room lighting. Most of the lighting we had before was missing pieces or didn’t exist.  This is what we started with (nice huh?):OldDiningLight

 

And this what we replaced it with:DiningLight

 

The new picture was taken at night so it’s a little harder to see.  It’s a brass fixture with a white shade inside and a glass base (Hampton Bay, Edgemoore).  Since this is in the dining room we wanted something a bit more formal, but a chandelier style wouldn’t work with our layout.  This light was the perfect compromise.  We also have it set to a dimmer so we can adjust it however we like.  The best part…it was less than $90.  (Lighting is so expensive!)

I’ll have a few more posts coming soon and hopefully the progress will just keep on going so posts will be more consistent.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Living Room Update


I don’t think I can even explain how different this room is from our closing date.  The living room had a really uneven floor, smelled like a litter box, and had some crazy paneling that the previous owners tried to smooth out with drywall mud.  Now, we are living in that same room, which is crazy! This house didn’t have much as far as selling features, but the fan in the living room was listed as a special feature in the real estate listing.  Check out that beauty in the next few pictures, definitely a selling point (bulbs not included, we put those in ourselves):

LROriginal2

 

LROriginal

 

We took many layers out of this house.  The main issue was the uneven floor so we put in a new sub-floor after leveling the foundation:

LRGutted

 

The fireplace is a very special part of this room.  You can see an update on that project here.  This room was a challenge to prepare for move in day.  The floors were a big issue, but we were able to level most of it and the people who installed our carpet did a great job taking care of the rest.  Here is the room with carpet:

LR Carpet

 

We also added some laminate wood in the entry.  After moving in most of our furniture this is how it looks now:

LRCouchLRUpdate

 

At some point, I would like to get a different couch (smaller and lighter color).  For now, the room works great and is a good size.  After we add some trim it should really start to look nice! Hopefully we will have a fireplace update soon when we tile in our insert, so check back soon.  Thanks for reading!

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Antique Fireplace Makeover


Our fireplace is easily the most important part of our renovation.  The fireplace was the only original piece of character that our house had left.  Everything else had been stripped out over time.  When we bought the house, the fireplace was in rough shape.  REALLY rough shape:

LROriginal2

FireplaceOriginal

 

We stripped of many layers of paint and stain.  There were layers of white, gray, bright red, more white, stain and some permanent marker.  You can see the tutorial here.

FireplaceStrip

 

Once the fireplace was cleaned up it already looked much better:

FireplaceClean

 

Last night we were finally able to sand and stain the surround.  I love the way the stain turned out.  The color matches our dining room table almost perfectly.  (The color is English Chestnut and we let it soak for about 6-7 minutes):

FireplaceStain

 

We ordered a custom cut mirror to replace the old one.  Also, I started building a custom made hearth, but it is not quite finished yet.  I will write a tutorial post for that as soon as I finish up.  I will also be putting tile in around our fireplace insert.  Here is our most updated picture (still needs a little work):

FireplaceUpdated

 

 

It sure makes a big difference in the room! Let me know what you think.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Guest Bedroom Update


So far we haven’t spent too much time working on the guest bedroom.  The drywall was decent and only needed to be patched in a few areas, so there wasn’t much renovation work done.  Here is what we started with:

GROriginal

 

We tore out the carpet and trim because there was a “cat smell” issue we were dealing with when we bought the house.  The carpet was torn out the day we closed on the house.  We also put in a new window and lighting early on.  For a long time the room looked like this:

GRGreen

 

After we chose the green color for the living room, it seemed like we had too much green and they didn’t match well.  When our paint froze in our pantry and we had to buy all new, we decided to switch the paint to yellow.  The green still needed another coat so we needed to paint it anyways.

Last weekend I did a dresser makeover (the tutorial can be seen here) and we had carpet installed.  This room is the one we will be staying in for now because our master bedroom hasn’t even been started!

We received a nice quilt from a family member last summer that was my inspiration for this room.  Some of the details have come together already, but we do have a ways to go.  I promise that the yellow doesn’t look quite as bright in person.  Also, keep in mind that we will be adding trim, neutral colored curtains, a DIY headboard, and some extra touches in the near future. (The yellow will be toned down quite a bit.)  So here it is, our guest bedroom as it looks today:

GRFurnish

 

Dresser Final

 

It is such a big difference from what we started with, be we still have a long ways to go! We will keep you updated as soon as anything new and exciting happens. Thanks for reading!

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Dresser Makeover


Soon after we bought our house I was already looking for cheap furniture to put in it.  I have seen a lot of dresser makeovers online and decided to start with a nice easy project.  I found this old, basic dresser at an estate sale for $10:

DresserOrig

 

I recently saw a similar dresser tutorial by Young House Love (with a much nicer dresser) and found that it was very simple. If I can do it, you can.

First I had to get rid of those awful wooden knobs, prime, and paint the dresser white.

Pick an accent color to put on the drawers.  Only the edges of the drawers will be painted and you only need painters tape and paint.  First apply the tape horizontally on the top and bottom edges at whatever thickness you would like (I used 1.5″).  Make sure the tape is very secure so paint can not leak underneath.  Paint the edges with your accent color:

DresserPaint

 

It is important to tear the tape off while the paint is still wet in order to get a nice clean line.  Once the paint is dry, you can tape and paint the vertical edges.  Be sure to paint in the same direction on each edge to make it match:

DresserPaint2

 

It’s really just that simple! Just let the paint dry and put knobs on each drawer.  Somehow I ended up one knob short and since I’m no good at photoshop you’ll just have to pretend they are all there until I can find the last one:

Dresser Final

 

So, for less than $20 and an hour or two you can turn an old, basic dresser into something fresh and new.  Thanks for reading!

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Always an Adventure


Today is an exciting day! We are getting carpet put in and we will be moving in most of our large furniture items.  We have been working really hard, but luck hasn’t been working out in our favor.  After dealing with nothing but problems yesterday Ryan said, “This is good, because that means nothing will go wrong tomorrow.”  He jinxed us.

We arrived at the house this morning about 15 minutes before the carpet installers were supposed to get here.  We sat in our nice warm car outside because we didn’t want to deal with the -10 degree weather between us and the house.  Finally we got up the courage to run to the door and get into the warm house.  Only problem….the house wasn’t warm.

The thermostat read 32 degrees.  32 degrees and the carpet installers are coming in 15 minutes.  We ran to the furnace and tried to adjust the thermostat, but the furnace would not come on.  Panic! Turn the oven on, get the space heaters, maybe a hair dryer?!?!?

Lucky for us the carpet guys came an hour later, so we could get the house to a nice warm 40 degrees.  The furnace repair man arrived at the same time as the carpet installers.  Now the furnace is up and running, but it takes a long time to warm this house up.  We are actually very lucky we were here when it decided to quit on us.  Our pipes did not freeze, but it was close.

I was planning on getting before pictures of each room that is being carpeted, but with all the panic this morning it just never happened.  Here are the most updated pictures I’ve got of each room:

greenlrIMG_3292IMG_3308

The room with the table in it is actually yellow now.  Funny story: our paint all froze last week and we still needed a second coat in this room.  (Apparently heat isn’t our strong point.) Since we couldn’t get that color anymore we completely switched it up.

I will update with new pictures soon.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Kitchen and Dining Update: Flooring


Here it is! The kitchen flooring is installed.  We are so close to having a finished kitchen.  We just need some trim and other finishes and we will be done!  Unfortunately, the trim won’t come until the other rooms get flooring too.

We decided on putting in a dark laminate flooring.  The installation is pretty simple.  The hardest part is cutting the pieces to fit around corners and edges, but after that it is very straight forward.

The planks lock together with tongue and groove:

planks

After they are locked together, you use this tool to tighten up the joints while tapping with a hammer:

laminate

 

That’s really all there is too it!

In our current apartment we put in laminate flooring, but in a light shade.  I wanted to have a bigger contrast in the new house, so we went dark.  I couldn’t be happier with the color, and it looks even better in person.

kitchen

We also got our faucet installed.  Since we don’t have a dishwasher we put in a nice large sink with 2 basins so we can hand wash out dishes.  We found that we rarely use our dishwasher in our apartment and hand wash anyways.  There is still the option of a dishwasher down the road, but we don’t want one right now.  Check out this sink:

sink

kitchen2

The kitchen flooring flows right through the hallway and into the dining room:

diningfloor

This is one of those projects that changes the whole look of things.  We are starting to get our momentum back after the holidays and hope to have even more updates soon.  Thanks for reading!

 

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I Blame My Parents


Growing up, my parents house was painted completely white with only one exception, my room.  It drove me crazy growing up.  In our house, color is everywhere.  From the blue kitchen, to the purple bathroom, to the green living room.  I love the colors, but I’m starting to realize not everyone would like to live in my colorful house, just as I didn’t like the all white house.  Here is the green living room freshly painted with the first coat:

greenlr

 

The wall in the living room with the fireplace mantel will be cream colored, but the rest will be this green color.  I picked out the color (Long Meadow by Dutch Boy) a couple months ago and have been nervous I wouldn’t like it ever since.  I finally put the first coat on 2 walls just so I could get a good idea of what it would be like.  Just like the kitchen, the color seems really intense at first.  I think some nice curtains and trim will soften the look.

There is still some painters tape in this picture for the dining room paint, but here is a look through the house to see both the green and blue (Summer Fun Blue by Dutch Boy):

colors

 

The dining room is white, so my parents can at least enjoy dinner at our house 🙂

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Wall Texture


We were able to get a lot done over the holiday break and I am so excited to show all of our progress.  I will be posting a few different posts within the next week, so check back soon!

We started out the week by working on the dining room drywall.  We attempted to salvage some of the old drywall in the dining room, but it had a knockdown texture.  Since we had new drywall meeting the old and some patch work done, we knew we would either have to cover it up or scrape it off to make it match.  We considered textured wallpaper but were not to happy with the price to cover a space as large as we needed.  I was not sold on the idea of scraping off texture because it would be such a mess.  Finally, I decided I would just try to cover it up with drywall mud since the texture was relatively flat to begin with.

The process was slow and messy, but I eventually got the walls coated in mud.  It took a lot of mud and drying time, but turned out pretty good.

texture

*Tip* Apply the mud nice and thick at first and then use more pressure to get rid of any bubbles.  When it is thick you are less likely to hit the texture when you smooth out the mud.

So far, sanding these walls was the worst job that I have done in the house.  The walls turned out incredibly smooth (way better than I expected) but the dust was unreal.  The walls needed some patching, especially where there were a lot of bubbles in the mud, but after the initial sanding the job was much easier.

With textured walls it would be easier if you scrape the walls first, but I have read that you should still coat the walls in mud afterwards.  Honestly, in this case I think it would have been easier to tear out the drywall and put new in.  My concern was that we would get into slat and plaster underneath and have a bigger mess than we wanted to deal with.  Overall it turned out great, it just wasn’t much fun.

Dining2

After the sanding I primed the room to make sure I was happy with the drywall.  It looked great, so I went ahead and applied our new texture.  I bought 3 cans of spray on orange peel texture.  I bought the kind that goes on blue and dries white, but the blue barely showed up, so I don’t recommend it for the extra cost.  The texture is subtle but gives our white walls more depth.  After applying the texture I primed and painted.

We also got our kitchen and dining room flooring installed so more pictures will come when I get that post put together. Thanks for reading!

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Building Furniture


Ahh! This weekend is graduation weekend! I can’t believe it is finally here, after 5 and a half years of hard work.  While preparing for graduation I paid my student bill (they are squeezing every last dime out of me) and picked up my cap and gown.  No matter where you go, people ask the same question.  “What are you doing next? Are you unemployed?”  Even though I hear it at least once a day, answering that question doesn’t really get any easier (mostly because I don’t have any clue what my plan is).

Ryan knows that I have been stressing about not having a plan, so for graduation he got me a new fun tool to play with.  I am the proud owner of a Kreg Jig! It is a pocket hole jig that makes extremely strong joints when building furniture.

Here is a good video that explains what a Kreg Jig is and why it is used:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LnhMFNqRZ4

I recently became very interested in Ana White.  If you are at all interested in making furniture you have got to check out her blog: Ana-White.com  She posts furniture plans online that can be made with basic materials and simple tools.  The only thing I had to get was a Kreg Jig and now I can get started! You can make most of the plans without the pocket hole jig, but it is much easier with this tool.

So, where do I start? We need a day bed for the office, bed side tables for the guest room, a farm house bed for the master, and some book shelves for the living room.

Maybe not having a plan isn’t so bad after all…

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