Laundry: Before & After

Here is another quick post just to keep everyone updated.

While the original plan was to completely relocate the laundry to the basement, that didn’t happen. The plan was to use the area next to the stairs and run a pipe to the main drain in the mechanical room — as we have seen done in friends and family members houses. Well, we had a plumber take a look who said that’s not exactly allowed and we should properly plumb the laundry into the main drain. Which would mean locating the main drain and jackhammering out the basement floor. So we passed on that. We did revamp the current laundry area though.  The all white looks clean, crisp and helps it blend into the wall. The middle drying racks means no more setting up a drying rack in the half-bath or kitchen! Which is awesome.

So here’s the final transformation:

  • Replace previous owners old washer/dryer with ours
  • Properly vented the dryer into the backyard instead of whatever was going with that box on top of the dryer
  • New Ikea cabinets + drying racks
  • White Walls
  • White ceilings
  • New baseboard (not that you can see it) and casing
  • New tile floors
  • New LED lighting
  • New outlets and light switches

    Categories DIY

    Entryway: Before & After

    This is a simple post. Before and after pics of the stairs. Carpet was installed just this morning. Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints?

    Rundown of what was done:

    • Took out coat closet
    • Removed walls on both sides
    • New tile
    • Painted the ceilings a matte white
    • Painted the crown glossy white
    • New blue-white walls
    • New baseboards
    • New carpet
    • New, gorgeous railing

    The final entryway.

    Categories DIY

    L’s Room: Before & After


    Miss L’s room is not quite complete.  We tried to paint the old brown closet doors a fresh, bright white but the paint just wouldn’t stick to whatever finish was applied to the doors.  Yes, we could have stripped and/or sanded them but I’m not sure a hollow door could withstand that much sanding.  So, we dropped the old doors and haven’t gotten a replacement yet.  No biggie when the newly painted closet looks good and doesn’t need to be hidden. 🙂

    What we did do to this room:

    • Painted the ceiling bright white
    • Fresh paint in the closet
    • Painted the walls a bold purple
    • New baseboards & casing
    • New door + hinges + door knob
    • Patched hole in the wall from previous door knob
    • Lighting upgrade
    • Installed 10-year smoke detector
    • New carpet
    • White outlets & light switch
    • New faux wood blinds

    And now to the pictures:

    Bare wall, stained carpet, uncovered window
    Bold wall, fresh carpet, privacy; plus room for Geraldine and Clive
    Plain wall
    Fresh paint & artwork from L’s nursery
    New light – backordered for 1 month but arrived a bit earlier

    These pictures don’t even do it justice.  This room is perfect for little L.  It’s so inviting with plenty of room to play.  I’m not worried about her touching anything; everything is clean and fresh and grime-free.  She loves it.  I’m excited to see her grow up in this room.



    Coffee and Wine Bar

    The kitchen has a small area, in front of the sliding door that is too small for a breakfast nook but too big to leave empty. We had an idea to get a shallow cabinet unit. My MIL was kind enough to get us the Ikea Ivar system.

    Inspired by Pinterest, I wanted a coffee bar in our new house. We decided to use this little kitchen nook and Ivar cabinets as a coffee and wine bar. Behold!

    It fits perfectly! I like having a place to display all our glassware and fun mugs. J likes having a display shelf for all our favorite Octoberfest mugs too. The lower cabinets provide extra storage for liquor on the glassware side and coffee and teas on the mug side. 

    Since it’s sold unfinished, we used a bit of  Danish oil in Natural finish to seal and protect the wood. It looks awesome.

    Categories DIY

    Window Treatments

    No, I did not drop off the face of the planet. We took a little break from renovating after moving in, went on vacation, but now we’re back at it.

    For window treatments I was thinking we would repurpose ones from the apartment or ones left behind from the previous owner.  Well, after move in I really just wanted new and fresh and something that matched the new paint scheme.

    For the kitchen I wanted grey. Since the blue came in strong in the kitchen I wanted to play up the grey in the finishing decor.

    For the playroom I reused the playful curtains from little L’s room in the apartment. They had to be shortened by 15 inches but they look good now.

    For the dining and front rooms I wanted to tie the whole main floor together by bringing in the paint colors from the other rooms.  That means blue for the dining room, from the kitchen and brown for the front room from the dining room.

    Bonus: I found this rug at Home Goods which is all our main floor colors. Sweet!

    I’m currently working on window treatments for the half bath and kitchen sink. As well as the final touches for the kids bath. Posts will continue — just maybe at a slower pace. 🙂

    Updated: added horribly backlit photos of curtains open.

    Categories DIY

    The Grand Reveal: moving day

    The house is not 100% complete but our apartment lease ended September 30, so it was time to move, ready or not.  Among the things still to finish:  paint & caulk main floor base & case, finish upstairs casing where we ran out, paint & install interior doors, paint & carpet the stairs, paint the entryway crown, re-install living room crown (where the wall was cut back).  It’s not a terrible amount of work and the house is definitely livable and cozy as is.  My plan going forward is to obviously finish the big things but then switch to a room-by-room approach.  Take one room each weekend and tackle all the little details that make a house a home.  Things like coat hooks, rugs, curtains, decor, etc.  Once that is finished it will probably be time to get started on the backyard … or the basement … haha.  It’s never ending 🙂  And now, a room-by-room look at the changes as they stood on moving day.



    Dining Room




    Half Bath



    Living Room


    L’s Room


    2nd Bedroom


    Kid’s Bath


    Master Bedroom


    Master Vanity

    Basement Stairs


    Wow!  I know we’ve been working since June but, man, all these pictures really show just how much work we’ve done.  When I first walked into this house I was not impressed.  The evening after our initial showing I told J: “Every inch needs work *sigh*” and sure enough we have worked on nearly every inch — and those inches we haven’t worked on yet are simply waiting for future time and funds.  This house went from “meh” and “ick” to “Home Sweet Home”.

    Going from a 990 sq ft apartment to a 2800 sq ft home is amazing!  There is plenty of room for all our stuff — our materialistic, American, collection of stuff; plenty of room for little L — I don’t have to dodge landmines aka toys just to sit on the couch; plenty of room for friends and family — we don’t have to crowd into a tiny living room.  The one down side of expanding our living space is that we don’t have enough furniture!  We technically have the same number of seats as before but at least people aren’t sitting knee to knee anymore.  And the basement is essentially empty except for storage.  Little L’s playroom is mostly a room of toys without kid-sized furniture (here we come, Ikea!).  The rug that used to fill our entire dining room/nook in the apartment is now a sized-too-small rug for the playroom — it looks so tiny!

    I could go on and on about this house.  I haven’t even touched on the exterior work yet.  And I haven’t even started on about the neighborhood or our great neighbors!  This is simply, hands down, a very good move (pun intended). Our future looks bright (not to be too cliche).

    P.S. I promise we will host a housewarming once things are a little more settled and the big work is finished 🙂

    Twin Peaks wallet tool

    The work on the house has not slowed down much! We did make the move last weekend have been without internet so I haven’t been able to keep you all updated.  However, I wanted to take a moment to shout out for a tool that has been invaluable.

    The Twin Peaks wallet tool can do so many things! And as we are getting all the little details put together in the house it’s nice to have a small, pocket-sized tool on hand so we don’t have to go searching for a new tool with every little job.

    Their Kickstarter only has a little time left so get yours before they’re gone!

    Twin Peaks Wallet Tool

    Finishing Touches: Base & Case

    You know the end is near when it’s time for baseboards and casings.

    Design Choices

    We removed the upstairs baseboards because it wasn’t our style.  We removed the main floor baseboards because they 1) weren’t our style and 2) weren’t installed very well.  So when looking at replacement trim you would think I would want to be overly involved to pick something that did fit our style.  Well, no.  Beyond the basics I didn’t really want to get myself dragged into a black hole of molding styles.  So I sat down with one catalog and picked out a few good trims.  J and I wanted taller baseboards and primed MDF so that narrowed down the choices quite a bit.  In the end we went with something a bit more on the intricate side but with clean lines.



    When making the budget we priced out everything from Home Depot.  We knew we would bargain shop but thought it was a good starting point to establishing a budget.  Well I’ll tell you this!  We budgeted $1.50/foot for casing and $2.00/foot for baseboards.  Well, well, well.  We decided to price-check Burton Lumber and we ended up getting casing for $0.66/foot and baseboards for $0.75/foot.  So yeah, shout out to Burton Lumber!


    As previously noted, we were lucky enough to borrow a paint sprayer.  We laid out all the boards in the paint room aka garage.  It took a couple days to get through it all but everything was nicely sprayed and then moved inside to cure.  Moving 16-foot boards can be a little tricky; but they’re bendy so there’s that.


    Close up to really appreciate the design


    J and his dad spent one long day getting most of the upstairs trim installed.  They ended up running out of casing but there should be enough baseboard — it seems to be time that is in short supply.

    The following weekend all the team was over so we got to work on caulking and spackling the gaps and nail holes.  I haven’t ever caulked anything before so I started in a back closet just in case I did a horrible job.  It wasn’t too difficult.  Squirt the caulk out, squish it into the gap with your finger while simultaneously smoothing it out, wipe the excess off so it’s nice and clean.  A few areas had huge gaps requiring a couple passes.  After wiping off the extra spackle it’s time to go around with touch-up paint.  Painting the nail holes and some of the larger joints really makes everything look finished and complete.  It took one whole weekend to get the upstairs done but totally worth the extra effort.  One of the issues with the original main floor baseboards was that no one took the time to caulk or spackle — it makes a difference!

    Final Results

    Enjoy these gorgeous shots.  The house looks much more home-like with trim and it doesn’t hurt that everyone involved put in the extra effort and love to make it look great.


    The upstairs is almost complete!! Carpet coming during the week, finish the baseboards and casing in the bathrooms, and then la fin!

    Kitchen Cabinets

    It’s been so long since I’ve posted!  Besides spending all weekends at the house I’ve started spending weekday evenings packing the apartment.  So I apologize for the delay in getting some of these pics up.

    Shortly after J finished spraying all the kitchen cabinets, my dear sister and her husband dropped by to help and I put them to work installing the doors and drawer fronts.  They made fast work of it.  With the doors all up it doesn’t look too, too blue anymore.  I still feel that the blue-grey doors lean a little too blue but what are ya gonna do.


    Also, we “installed” a nice little microwave/mini fridge combo unit like you would see in a hotel.  Haha!  The real fridge was delivered today but we didn’t get any pics.  J said we were “adulting so hard” today with the delivery of a fridge.  It sticks out a little farther than I would like but I quickly got used to it.  I’m sure y’all will catch of glimpse of it in the final before & after posts that I’ve got planned.

    Entryway Progress, cont.

    I’m gonna make this one short and sweet.

    The last week or so has really been focused on the main floor – especially the entryway.


    With the help of many (me, J, S, R, and A), we were able to fully paint the entryway in one day.  As I’ve mentioned before, we chose Frost (Behr) which is a nice bright white that is a cool blue in shadows.  Here are a few shots:


    Also one of J, tapping into his acrobat-side to get up close and personal with the window trim.



    J, fortunately, had 8 days off from work this past week which was amazing timing.  He was able to get all the entryway tile cut, laid, and grouted.  First thing last Sunday before painting the entryway walls, we cleaned and sealed it.  All done!  The pictures don’t do it justice.  It’s really not quite as busy in person and really suits the space.


    And one final picture.  The railing is coming along splendidly!  Here’s a just a little preview for you before the grand reveal.  The stair railing is the one budget-buster we’ve encountered and boy was it a big one!  But totally worth it.  This railing is absolutely fantastic!  I cannot wait to show you all the final railing.  It’s going to look freaking amazing; especially next to a ‘before’ pic.