Author: Christine

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:


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



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.


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:



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


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:



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):



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.


*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.


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:

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:  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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Dining Room Drywall


I just wanted to drop in for a quick dining room update! As a reminder this is what we were working with:

We decided to rip out the wall with the window in order to insulate and have nicer drywall put in place.  As you can see, the drywall around the window was in rough shape.  When we tore out the beadboard in the living room, it damaged some of the dining room.  The beadboard ran all the way through the living room wall and continued in the dining room.

Here is a picture of the new drywall:

The other walls in the dining room are texturized.  We are going to attempt to smooth them out and then apply our own texture to all of the dining room walls.  Then we will be painting this room a simple white and begin our flooring that will match the kitchen.

Thanks for reading! We hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.



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Dining Room

Ah, the holidays are here!  Busy, busy, busy…it seems like our work will never get done.  We have not had much time to spend on the house with deer hunting, Thanksgiving, and now my graduation and Christmas coming up, but we try to get a few moments in here and there.  We don’t have a ton of updates to post, so I’ll try to keep it short. (Which is hard, because I could ramble on about this house for hours!)

Our biggest achievement involves the dining room.  The dining room is kind of a strange room that is more like a hallway between the kitchen and living room with a guest bedroom off of one side.  We haven’t really posted anything about the dining room before, so here is a look at what we were working with:

The floor is decent and the drywall is good for the most part.  Our big concern was with the exterior wall.  When we replaced the window we noticed that, like the living room, there wasn’t any insulation in the wall.  We decided to make a mess now and save the money in energy bills by tearing out the wall and insulating it while we had the chance.  We had to tear out the original beadboard walls, but it was well worth it.  Here is our newly insulated wall:

We are also slowly chipping away at our ridiculously long list of small projects, so we have a kitchen sink (no plumbing yet though) and a BATHROOM DOOR!

Ah, privacy 🙂 You don’t realize how nice it is until you design a bathroom next to large window and wait a few months to put the door on! That door is my new favorite thing!  We originally planned on painting all of the doors white to match the white cabinets and trim, but I love the way this looks.  Just another decision to flip-flop back and forth on for the next few months before we even get trim… Ryan may be getting sick of my indecisiveness.  His motto is always, “Good enough for the houses I build.”   (Although I’d be afraid to actually see a house he designed himself.)

Well, that wasn’t nearly as short as I thought it would be, so thanks for sticking with me.  Ryan and I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and Merry Christmas! Hopefully we will have more updates soon.  Thanks for reading!

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Laminate Flooring

We had a busy and fun weekend, between picking up supplies 3 hours away, a Halloween party, and the Packer game.  We weren’t able to get much done, but we bought our flooring for the kitchen and dining room.  We wanted a dark floor to contrast the white cabinets and trim.  We went with a laminate flooring because we have had good luck with it in the past and the price is right (on sale for one day only). Of course, we unloaded our supplies at the house and Ryan brought the camera bag without the camera.  Luckily my cell phone has a camera, but the pictures are poor quality.  Here is a peek anyways:


We won’t be installing the flooring for a while because we have a bit of drywall work to do first.  We are even considering tearing out a wall in the dining room to insulate the exterior wall.  (One of those “Do it right, or do it later?” kind of projects.)   Hopefully we will have more updates soon, but bow hunting has been fighting for attention lately, so you never know.  Thanks for reading!


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Kitchen Counters

I can’t even believe the difference that counter-tops and appliances can make in a kitchen.  This weekend we made a trip to pick up some of our finishes and were even able to get some installations done.  Here is the new and improved kitchen:


We still need to install the sink and we haven’t put in our flooring yet.  Once we have our flooring in we can start on trim and the room will be done before you know it.  Since this room is so far along compared to the others, we will probably be switching gears and spending more time in the dining and living rooms.  We hope to have a lot of updates over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

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Turning Up the Heat

Since we plan on moving in sometime in late December/January we are getting into crunch time. Our weekends are getting busy and we have A LOT to get done…fast.  We took care of some much needed jobs this weekend.  Since the snow has decided to come early this year, we are very lucky to have our furnace installed.  This weekend  we ran our hot water heater’s vent outside, some more heat ducts, and our bathroom fan vent into the attic and through the roof.  After we got all of the attic vents run we added R-30 insulation (10″ thick!) above the kitchen and bathroom.  You can see our new cross-beams for support and insulation here:


The furnace and water heater now have almost all of their ducts and vents run.  The furnace just needs one more elbow to connect the upstairs duct.  This is what the new equipment looks like:


Now that most of the work is done with the furnace, we worked on building it into a closet.  We were able to build the walls and put up drywall for the closet.  Now it just needs some drywall work and bi-fold doors.  It is located between the kitchen and dining room and took up a lot less space then we thought it would:


Lastly, while we were working on heat-related projects we cut a hole in the living room drywall to make room for our electric fireplace insert.  The insert will be under the stairs and will vent the air from our bedroom closet.  Here is a picture of Ryan in the closet cutting our hole:


The insert actually doesn’t take up much space at all in the closet, so we will still have quite a bit of storage space.  It isn’t done yet, but the hole is in the right place, just waiting for our drywall to be finished up:


We still have a lot to do, but now we have a warm house to work in and our pipes won’t freeze (fingers crossed).  Thanks for reading!

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How To: Choosing Appliances

I have spent many weeks researching appliances and trying to pick the one perfect for our kitchen.  After a lot of research I am happy to say we have finally made a decision.  If you are doing a kitchen renovation or just need new appliances here are a few things to think about:


  1. Make a list of your must-have functions.  Functionality is by far the most important part of kitchen appliances.  Paying an extra fee for extra features may be more important than having stainless steel if those features make your life easier.  However, if you don’t need a water and ice dispenser in your refrigerator, there is no need to pay extra for it!
  2. Before heading to the store, know how much space you have available.  Some appliances come in standard sizes, while others can vary a lot.  This is especially important if you need built-in appliances rather than free-standing ones.
  3. Decide what kind of energy source you will be using.  Many people have specific preferences about gas and electric ranges and stoves.  It is important to decide which you would prefer (everyone has different reasons), as well as what hook-ups are available in your home.
  4. Choose the finish you would like to match your kitchen style and your budget.  Most appliances come in multiple finishes and prices can vary.  If stainless steel is a must, you may have to increase your budget.
  5. Decide what brand you prefer.  The best way to decide what brand you prefer is research, research, research.  Even if you can narrow it down to a couple of brands to begin your in-store search it will help.  Read customer reviews and make sure you are getting what you really want.  Your appliances do not all need to be from the same brand, but you may get a package price if you stay within one brand when you purchase.
  6. Shop around.  Very few stores have every appliance on display.  Shop around for the appliances you want, at the price you want them.  You may find the perfect appliances at a store, but make sure they are giving you the best possible price.  Once you have chosen your appliances, bring the model numbers to other appliance stores and ask what kind of price they can offer.  Most appliance stores can special order appliances and many will quote a lower price than what you can find online, so go negotiate!


For me, functionality trumps finish and our budget is tight!  This automatically removes stainless steel from my options.  I shopped the big box stores as well as some local appliance stores to decide what functions and features I wanted.  Here is my list:

  • Large oven
  • Convection oven
  • French door refrigerator
  • No water and ice dispenser in refrigerator
  • About 22 square feet refrigerator/freezer space
  • Microwave with hood combination
  • Whirlpool Brand

I found my appliances at Lowes, but was able to negotiate a better price at our local appliance store.  Here’s what we chose:









While everyone has different preferences, research can make your appliance shopping much less stressful.  At first, I didn’t know where to start and just looked at the appliances available in the store in my price range.  Once I streamlined my search, it became so much easier!  Pick what works for you and spend the extra dollar if you have to.  You will be using these appliances a lot and it is important to like them.  Good luck!


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