Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

House Update

It has been 3 months since we moved into the house and we have been busy busy with house projects and keeping up with our 2 year old.  I thought it was about time for a little update on our progress. 

I only photographed the downstairs because besides painting the hallway the same color as they foyer we haven't done much up there yet.

In the living room we opened up the left wall, painted the walls, painted above the fireplace, and painted behind the shelves to add some color to the room.  We also added bamboo blinds, got a new outdoor/indoor rug, and new furniture.  We are loving our swivel chair and Ikea couch.  The couch has a completely removable and machine washable cover and has already come in very handy on our first potty training attempt, haha!  I painted the Ikea couch legs because they only came in a natural wood and we weren't really digging the style.

We still would like to add either cabinet doors or large baskets to the two bottom shelves to hide some of the clutter.  We also want to add curtains and update the fan/light to get rid of the gold.


The kitchen has probably seen the most attention besides the yard since we moved in.  We cut down the island to make it one level surface, completely changed the electrical lighting to remove the big florescent light and add can lights and two drop down pendants above the island, painted the walls, added granite, added marble backsplash, changed the cabinet hardware, and changed out the light above the kitchen table. 

We still have need to paint the island and add trim to the top underneath the granite.  We are thinking about painting the island with chalkboard paint but haven't completely decided.  I really want to paint the cabinets because they are in rough shape and are a little more cream colored than I prefer but I am in no hurry to tackle that big project.  We also need to paint the ceiling since we had the electrical redone it needs a fresh coat of paint.

This is my favorite view of our new kitchen, it makes the hard work of doing the backsplash worth it!
Oh and I also love my sexy new refrigerator I got for a steal!

 This is the picture of our front door, we haven't done much here except paint the walls.  I have plans to paint the risers of the stairs white and paint the banister black.  I also am debating painting the front door a fun color, but not sure I will be able to convince Mark or decide on a color. 

This is the office that is connected to the living room now.  Haven't done much here either besides paint the walls.  We do have plans to build a two person built in desk on the wall where our current desk resides.

Here is an awkward view of our front foyer.  We replaced a gold and glass chandelier with the more modern funky chandelier.

And here is our empty dining room.  We painted the walls and removed wall paper in here.  After removing the wallpaper I was ready to take a break from the dining room so we haven't really returned to do much work.  We are currently in the middle of building a farmhouse dining room table and I can't wait to get that baby finished and put in place.  We updated the old chandelier that was in this room by painting it with Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.  I am going to add little shades over each of the lights once I find ones that fit right.

We still have plans to add artwork to that big wall, put board and batten up and add a bright piece of furniture somewhere as well as add our farmhouse table.

And now for a little bit of before and after action.  I didn't use the same camera to take the before and after pictures so they are slightly different but still show the progress.

The biggest difference in the house is still probably the yard but I will need a whole post to show that progress.  Lets just say I am VERY grateful to have such an awesome landscaper as a father-in-law! ;-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tackling Tile

Some of you may have seen some Instagram photos recently where you could see I attempted back splash in the kitchen.  For some crazy reason I thought it would be a great idea to tackle tiling the back splash in the kitchen this past weekend by myself.  Eli was going to be staying with his Nana all day so I thought it would be a perfect time to try and get it done.  Well knowing what I know now, I would have waited for a time where Mark and I could try this together.  It was extremely stressful trying to make sure everything was lined up AND learning how to do it at the same time.  Don't get me wrong....I had tried to watch several tutorials and blogs of other DIYers that did amazing jobs tiling their kitchen.  I knew the basics of what needed to be done but had no "on the job" training.  It really is not a difficult is just probably much easier if you don't feel that you need to get it all done in one day AND you aren't doing it by yourself.

*Note the lighting in these pictures is not an accurate depiction- it was past 8pm when I took these pictures...I will get better more accurate pictures after grouting*

 I did some prep work the night before and taped and covered our new granite counter tops with brown paper to protect them.   

 All I have done is lay the tile...the grout is the next step but I needed a break before attempting that. 

 See those 2 different cabinet door handles...we have been trying to decide what we want to go with and I am about 99.9% sure we are going with the nickel hardware.  I think it will tie our stainless steel fridge and sink hardware together nicely. 

So now I have a confession.  I did something really stupid while tiling that I have wished a million times over that I could go back in time and change.  I watched a ton of tutorials and no one mentioned this as a potential problem so I didn't even think of it as I was going along.  I don't have any pictures of it at its worst because I was so upset that I made such a stupid mistake I didn't want to document it.  I did take this picture today which gives you an idea.

See those white balls of thin set between the tiles?  Well imagine that everywhere and all smeared on top of the tiles as well.  Apparently I am an extremely messy tiler.  I thought I was duplicating what I had seen over and over in those tutorials....smear on thin set, rake with trowel, place tile.  I was following the steps but I was applying the thin set too thick.  You would think that I would have known when the stuff is called "thin" set!  Reading up on this after the fact, it appears that this is something that is common but I should have cleaned the grout lines and the face of the tile before moving on and BEFORE IT DRIED!!!!  What is even worse is I distinctly remember thinking to myself "man, i am going to have to go back and clean this up before grouting...".  I guess I just assumed it wouldn't be that bad??  I have no idea...I think the stress of putting the tile up in general got the best of me...that is the only excuse I have.

So now imagine Mark and I slaving over the tile with a wash rag, razor blade, plastic putty knife and finger nails scraping this stuff off without scratching the tile.....thousands of tiles!  Yes, my love of the 3/4 inch square marble tile is biting me in the butt!!  All I can hope for is that after we finish grouting, caulking, and sealing...the look of the beautiful small tile will be worth it.  I hope that sharing my misfortune will some how save someone else from making my same mistake.  And if you do happen to get messy with your thin set because you simply can't manage to do ANYTHING without wearing it all over your hands, clothes, etc. like me, well then I have some tips for getting the thin set off. 

After attempting several techniques the best I have found is a damp wash cloth.  Not a soaking wet one....if the tile gets too wet and seeps behind the tile, then they become loose and fall off.  Yep, I learned that the hard way too!  You will need plenty of elbow grease but a lot of the thin set will rub off and the stuff that doesn't can easily be scraped off with a plastic utility knife.  I highly recommend plastic because metal could scratch your tile.  Yep, I learned that the hard way too!!!  Oh and the last step is to get out your vacuum with brush attachment and sweep it over the tile to suck up any loose thin set that may be resting between the tiles.  I have never loved my Dyson more....

Mark and I plan to spend the next 2 days painstakingly picking out thin set and then try grouting.  I am hearing mixed reviews about the it should be interesting. As for now, I am still thinking that the tile looks pretty darn good and am getting excited that the kitchen is starting to shape up.  Now that the tile is in though it does make it even more apparent that the cabinets need a fresh coat of paint.  They are 18 years old and the gloss they had on them has yellowed a bit with age. 

This before picture (taken in the middle of the day as compared to the picture above taken this evening)shows a glimpse of the progress made....but it really is an awful before and after shot since the after is still mid construction phase.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Before Tour

Well we have been busy trying to get the house to a point where we can move in.  We actually took the plunge and moved in on Monday but have still yet to finish any of the interior projects we are working on.  However, most projects are 75% done.  I hope to be able to show you some progress in the near future.  Meanwhile, here is a tour of the house before we moved in.

Here are some shots of the kitchen.  Just to give you an idea of what we are doing....the counters and sink have already been replaced.  We have tile samples on order for the back splash and we are having the entire kitchen lighting changed to get rid of that florescent and replace with recessed lighting and 2 pendant lights over the island (which is now one level).

Here is a shot of the living room that is open to the kitchen.  And that wall to the left is where our new door way to the office now stands.

Down this hall which is off the kitchen is the front door and the stairs on the left.  On the right is a half bath.  And on the very end on the right was the only doorway to the office (not anymore, however).

And right about now is when I was wishing I had grabbed my other camera lens....I had a hard time capturing the whole room.  This is the office that I mentioned near the front door.  That wall in the first picture is the wall that is now open to the living room.  The third picture down shows the french doors that lead to the front patio from the office.

Here is the dining room which is opposite the office.  Gotta love the gold chandelier and dark village wallpaper.  This wallpaper has been removed but was thus far the worst renovation we have done.  I despise wallpaper at this moment.  If anyone has any awesome removal techniques PLEASE let me know...we still have a master bath and guest bath to work on!

Here is a shot of the stairs...

And at the top of the stairs is what will become my sewing/ craft room.  It is a room that is actually off the master bath.

If you make a left at the top of the stairs you will find the master bedroom.  The lens I had on me cannot capture the bedrooms very well.  I will have to update later.

Here is the view looking back towards the stairs into the foyer.

Master bathroom picture below.  We have no shortage of mirrors.

  And this is the last picture I have of the inside of the house.  This is a shot down the hallway to the other bedrooms.  There are 3 other bedrooms plus a laundry room and jack-n-jill bathroom.

 I can't wait to share the updates for our backyard we have already made.  Mark took a week off work and dedicated his time to cleaning up the randomness the previous owners had going on.  Mark's priorities have always been the yard.

And here are my cuties enjoying our deck after a long day.  Can you believe Eli will turn 2 on Tuesday???  How did that happen???