Sunday, February 24, 2013

day 112

Ready for another list?

1. I like the paint colors.  Phew.  We had selected Valspar colors from Lowes but the painter uses Sherwin Williams, so we were forced to find new colors.  The kitchen was almost an exact match (Gull by Valspar vs. Gray Clouds by Sherwin Williams) but the master bath wasn't (Smoked Oyster by Valspar vs. Perfect Greige by Sherwin Williams).  I like the master bath color quite a bit, but until I see it with the granite and cabinets, I won't be 100% sold.  The main bath color I actually like better (Light Raffia by Valspar vs. Nantucket Dune by Sherwin Williams).  I was unable to get good photos this weekend, but here's a preview of what the new color palette looks like:

[color samples from Sherwin Williams]
2. The trim was finally finished being installed on the front of the exterior!  It's amazing what a difference it makes having that one piece up.

3. After a bit of drama, our kitchen faucet has arrived.  We decided on the Wheaton by Pfister and ordered it from on January 31.  We were aware that there was about a one week delay for shipment, but when I received an e-mail on the 15th that it might not ship until February 28, I started freaking out a bit.  Their customer service team was great to work with, but ultimately we ended up cancelling the order because their shipments from Pfister were on back-order.  We found a new faucet being sold from a user on Amazon for $50 cheaper so it ended up working out for the best.  Despite being a tad nervous about the condition, it arrived in the original box, in mint condition.  Yay for small victories (savings)!

[Wheaton by Pfister from]
4. Flooring started going in on Friday!  The main bath, fireplace hearth and half of the master bath tile was laid on Friday (day 110).  The hardwood floor started being laid out on Saturday (day 111) and they were back out working on the tile again today (day 112).

5. I did a bit of shopping at Restoration Hardware today.  The towel rings, toilet paper holders and towel bars at the big box home improvement stores are cheap.  In price and quality.  I've been hesitant to spend the money for decent ones, but I'm finally giving in.  The Restoration Hardware outlet had a matching towel ring and toilet paper holder so I picked them up for the powder room.  I thought I had been diligent about comparing finishes at the store, but upon getting home, I realized one was polished chrome and the other was polished nickel.  Ugh.  Hopefully I'll be the only one to notice.  But, for $32 each instead of $55, I was happy with my purchase.

[Chatham Tissue Holder by Restoration Hardware]
[Chatham Towel Ring by Restoration Hardware]
6. I also picked up some hardware for the main bathroom.  We'll use the pulls on the middle three drawers and the knobs on the two doors.  These were $4.99 each instead of $11.00.  Have I mentioned I love the outlet?

[1-1/4" Aubrey knob by Restoration Hardware]
[4" Aubrey pull by Restoration Hardware]
[Portrait series in Maple - Sable by Merillat]

7. I almost bought pulls (the Gilmore) for the master bathroom vanity but ended up putting them back.  The only con to the outlet is their no return policy.  I still love the pulls, but I was worried how they would fit on the top drawers. I'm having a really hard time picking out hardware for this vanity.  Any ideas or suggestions?  We're looking for polished chrome without fussy details.  Our inspiration vanity actually just uses simple knobs for everything.

[Gilmore pull by Restoration Hardware]
[master bath vanity]

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

8. The hole in our master bedroom floor was patched.  However, our floor is starting to look a little Frankenstein-like.  I had requested the floor vents be moved from under our windows (and ultimately under our nightstands) immediately after they were cut out.  So, now we have three patches - and another large seam along one of the side walls.  I know it's only the subfloor but I worry about the integrity of the patches over time.

9.  We hit up Home Depot on Saturday and finally purchased the hardware for the kitchen cabinets.  I'm happy with both the price and style.

[Cup Pull by Liberty Hardware from Home Depot]
[Contempo Knob by Liberty Hardware from Home Depot]
10. Finally, we started sanding and priming the Craigslist dresser tonight!  So far so good, but I'm still completely stuck on what color I want to paint it.  Ivory?  Light gray?  Charcoal?  Yellow?  Light blue?  So many possibilities.  Anyone have some uh-mazing inspiration photos to share that will help me make up my mind?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

day 104

I had a work conference all week and am just now downloading the photos I took last weekend.  Better late than never, eh?

The stone work is done!  The masonry team started on Wednesday (day 101) and was finished the next day.  It looks great in person and I think will look even better once the front door has been stained.  It's so hard to tell from small samples how things will ultimately look and the stone is one area where the samples weren't quite representative of the full product.  Hubby likes it more than he was expecting to and I like it slightly less.  It's growing on me, though.

[does it get much cuter than this?  the hands in the pockets melt my heart.]

The piece of trim that is missing above the front porch drives me crazy.  I'm pretty sure it was fixed this past week, though.  Amazing how a simple thing can make such a difference.  Also?  I'm anxious to see the front pillars built up the rest of the way.  We really wanted to bring the stone higher, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth the cost.  I'm sure seeing the upper sections boxed in and painted will make a big difference on the overall curb appeal.

Our main reason to stop by the house was to measure for our dining table (first mentioned here).  I want a large table, but because it's not going to have leaves, I want to make sure it's not too big for the space.  We ultimately decided on a 7-1/2 foot long table that's at least 42-inches wide.

The cardboard cutout was done to size, so it gave us a nice idea of what we'll be working with.  I'm planning to put a buffet along the wall on the right and may add a small bar cart behind the patio door on the left.  We're also thinking of doing a mix of upholstered chairs, wooden chairs and a long bench.  I like the casual look of the mixed seating but wonder if a bench would just be too big and bulky.

We also attempted to tape out the cabinets.  I say attempted because I'm pretty sure we weren't all that close.  Between a certain two-year old that liked to move the tape, the tape not sticking well to the texture residue on the floor covering and a cheap tape measure, we gave up before we'd finished.

Can you tell how excited a certain someone was to be out there?  His patience is wearing thin now that he can't run between walls and get into things.  I can't say I blame him, though.  Drywall isn't really all that entertaining.

The other thing accomplished that week (on Friday, day 103) was the wall texture being applied.  Nothing too exciting about this photo, but the walls have since been painted and I'm anxious to get out to the house to see the colors up.  Fingers crossed the colors actually match the small swatches I selected them from and I'm happy with the results!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

day 102

I feel like we should have had a big 100 day celebration... but I totally missed it.  Ooops.  Instead, want to see what has happened up until day 102?

Here's the high level summary:
Day 96/97 - drywall work - taping and mudding
Day 98 - rest day!
Day 99/100 - drywall work - sanding and touchups
Day 101/102 - stone work and cabinet delivery

And the proof is in the details:

[master bedroom - see the boards on the floor?  they're hiding a hole.]
[pretty purple master bath]
[nice and smooth kitchen and living room]

We had been to the house on Saturday (day 97) and were aware that the drywall work had been started.  I was awarded a (much needed) fun day with one of my girlfriends on Sunday and then I spent Monday through Wednesday avoiding/caring for the sick boys in my house.  Staying away to avoid sickness yet being around enough to provide care is an interesting balance.  The good news is, everyone seems to be healthy now!

So, all that to say - I hadn't been to the house since Saturday and was pleasantly surprised to see a crew out laying stone this morning.

I like the stone in person much more than I do in these photos.  Let's blame the iPhone camera?  I think I'll like everything even more once the front door is stained to match the garage doors.  And once the posts are finished.  I have the worst timing imaging how everything comes together.  Usually, I find a photo of what I like and then try to replicate it (e.g. our master bathroom).  For the exterior of the house, I really haven't been able to do that.  It drives me crazy.  But I think it drives my Hubby even more crazy.  If he hears another "I'm not sure" or "I don't think I like it anymore", I might be looking for a roommate!

The real reason for my visit to the house this morning was to accept delivery of our cabinets.  Aren't they pretty?

I'm super excited for them to be installed.  But first - priming, paint and floors.  We're getting closer!  I dropped off our paint samples with the Builder this morning and am told painting is supposed to start next week.  Then, some more magic and hopefully we'll be moving in towards the beginning of April.  My patience is getting thinner...especially as we start to get calls for showings again on the Condo.  As unready as I am to pack up and move again, I seriously can't wait to be in our house.  Our home.  This Condo still doesn't feel like home and I truly miss that feeling.

In the mean time?  I'll continue to love on the cuties I get to call my Valentines.  Aren't they sweet?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

kitchen remodel

I fell in love with our first house the first time we walked through it.  But not as it was.  I fell in love with the vision of what it could become.  As I was walking through, I was already starting the mental to-do list of the various projects that would make the house a home for us.  The first item was the biggest.  The kitchen desperately needed updated. Popcorn ceiling? Check.  Outdated light fixtures? Check. Wood paneling? Check.  Ugly cabinets? Check.  Odd hardware? Check.

[north wall]
[south wall]
[above stove cabinets]
[above fridge cabinets]
[large drawers]
[tall upper cabinets - what is up with the handles, though?]
[solid cabinets]
We started making the to-do list before we'd even signed the papers to buy the house.  Lucky for us, my father-in-law is a woodworker and was able to help us with the hard stuff.  We decided right away that the cabinets were solid and it would be more expensive to purchase new than to fix up the old.  I really wanted cherry cabinets, though.  So, my FIL came up with the ingenious idea to reface the cabinets with cherry veneer and then order new doors in the style I preferred.  Once we decided on that plan, the list below was born.

1. Remove paneling.
2. Patch plaster walls.
3. Scrape popcorn ceiling.
4. Skim coat ceiling.
5. Replace light fixtures.
6. Remove shelf paper.
7. Paint cabinet interiors.
8. Reface cabinets.
9. Install new cabinet doors.
10. Build new cabinets for south wall.
11. Build new drawer boxes.
12. Replace laminate counters with solid surface countertop and flush-mount sink.
13. Replace sink faucet.
14. Paint walls.
15. Paint trim.
16. Purchase new stainless steel appliances.
17. Replace blinds and curtains.

We basically ended up replacing or refinishing everything except the tile backsplash and tile floor.  Hubby and I did the prep work of scraping the ceilings (the key is lots of water - we found a garden sprayer worked best!), removing the paneling, patching the walls and removing all of the doors.  We hired a guy off of Craigslist to skim coat the ceiling and I'm so glad we didn't mess with it.  For $100, we got a super smooth finish without hours of frustration.  Instead, I spent hours scraping shelf paper and applying 2+ coats of white paint to the cabinet interiors.  It was a pain to work in such small spaces and I think my forearms were coated in white paint for at least a week.

While we were busy deconstructing, my FIL was busy constructing new cabinets, re-configuring our counters and sink (we'd purchased a 'reject' and were able to trim/piece it together to fit our kitchen - the beauty of solid surface!), building new drawer boxes, staining veneer and trim and fighting with the door supplier over the quality of our first shipment of doors.

By the time we'd wrapped up our work, he was ready to come up to help with the next phase.  With the help of my brother-in-law and Hubby, my FIL completed the cabinet and countertop overhaul within a week (while also working on the other random projects I had for him throughout the house).  He also helped replace the faucet and change out our light fixtures.  It was a learning experience in DIY for both Hubby and I and we were so thankful to have someone to show us the ropes, so to speak.  I really can't thank him enough for his help and expertise.

The finished project was more than I hoped for but ended up costing less than we'd expected.  Our budget was $5000 and the rough break-down included:
  • 'Scrap' solid surface counter and sink purchased from cabinet shop - $1000
  • 4-piece faucet (from Lowes)- $160
  • Solid cherry doors and cherry veneer - $800
  • Stain, wood, glue, hinges, drawer glides - ???? (donated by my FIL)
  • Frigidaire microwave, oven and refrigerator (from local appliance store) - $1800
  • (2) light fixtures (from Menards) - $120
  • Wall, trim and cabinet paint (from Lowes) - $75
  • Cabinet hardware (from Lowes) - $125
  • Garden sprayer - $10
  • Labor to skim coat ceiling - $100
  • Asbestos test before we scraped the popcorn ceiling - $25?
  • Faux-wood blinds (from JCP) - $120
  • Curtains - ???? (made by my Mom)
  • Grand Total = $4335

[blinds not yet replaced]
The first three photos were taken by our Realtor when we sold the house just recently.  The bottom three photos were taken right after we'd finished the remodel. As you can see, we really didn't change much in six years.  If I were to re-do anything today, I might swap out the light fixtures again and I'd definitely update the art above the table.  And, while I'm dreaming, it'd probably be time to update the tile on the floor, as well.  Maybe I should e-mail the new owner and tell her to get on it?

If you happen to be looking for an update on the new house - it's day 94 and we have heat!  The drywall scraps are cleaned up and it looks like they're getting ready to start the taping and mud process.  Also, we officially decided to have the main bath, master bath and kitchen/dining area painted professionally. Such relief.