Plumbing!

One of the things that attracted us to this house was that the bones were good.  Visually/cosmetically things were outdated, old, and in some cases poorly installed.  But underneath it all the structure, the electrical, the plumbing, the AC, etc was good.  The inspector identified a few areas of concern like leaky faucets and slow sinks – but nothing that scared us away.  In my opinion, that’s just normal house maintenance that wasn’t given the proper attention.  But J and I are here to give it proper attention!

Last Saturday, my dear Papá volunteered to help address the leaky bath fixtures in the kids’ and master baths.  He had previously taken a look and thought it was old washers so he brought over his plumbing tools and with J’s help took things apart.

Kids’ Bath

Sure enough the washers were essentially gone – half the size of brand new washers which meant water was just leaking around the seal.  The insides of the handles were also full of hard water deposits and corroded, as was the drain trip lever and the spout.  We ended up getting a complete rebuild kit with new stems and handles (this kit from Home Depot); and a separate new drain lever.  We still have to swap out the spout and the shower head but after that the kids’ bath will be completely leak-free and brand new.  I think J and I picked up some handy tips from my dad as well.  It’s good to be new homeowners learning the tips and tricks of home maintenance.

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Master Shower

The shower head in the master was constantly dripping.  I thought it was just a bad shower head but my dad and J explained that if the water was dripping from the shower head then it wasn’t properly sealed and shut off at the handles.  Duh – seems so obvious now.  So once again they pulled them off and found they needed to be replaced just like the kids’ bath.  It was cheaper to get a second rebuild kit with two handles and a diverter than it was to get everything separate so now we’ve got an extra diverter – yay!  We went with the cheaper chrome for the kids’ bath but spent the extra $5 for the brushed nickle for the master. Et voilà!

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The end.  Coming up next time … Tile Install!

Paint Transformation, part 2

This weekend was about more painting.  And lots of family help again:  me, J, J’s mom S, my parents M and J, and of course Miss L’s adorable “help”.  And this means the upstairs is done – well, mostly done; the bath vanity doors still need some finishing touches.  Like painting the backs and touching up the fronts.  Without further ado, here are the before and after pics that everyone loves (or maybe it’s just me that loves them).

Kids’ Bath

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Dark blue walls were switched out for light blue.  Brown, scratched-up vanity was repainted a nice berry gloss.  It might seem strange, but trust me, the color combo is going to look great for a kids’ bath.

Here’s a shot of the wonderfully blue walls.  And the paint covered in only two coats.  No joke.  Best ever considering how dark the original blue was. (P.S. Zoom in on those corners, I’ll wait, go ahead and check out that excellent cutting in.)

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Beach Foam (Behr)

Here’s a close-up of a vanity door.

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Sugar Beet (Behr)

Overall, I am much happier with the colors as they turned out than they appeared on the paint chips.  I hesitated that the blue was too blue not white enough and that the berry was too red not purple enough.  But I think they really turned out just as I had envisioned.

Oh, also (I’m getting bad at keeping up with all the weekday work – so sorry!) the floors were removed.  Yay!  But some water damage was found.  Not yay.  Hopefully, it’s easy to replace.  At first I didn’t want to replace the kids’ bath flooring since it wasn’t in terrible shape but I’m glad we tore it up or else we wouldn’t have seen the condition of the subfloor.

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Master Bath

The master was already partially painted.  Since the vanity/closet area is open to the bedroom we continued that Heather Sachet color into that area and decided to go with a white-ish for the water closet.  White because 1) it’s a smaller room and 2) the free tile from the garage is tinted blue and we couldn’t think of a light, airy color that would go well with the dark grey-purple walls in the vanity and the blue-tinted tiles.  So blue-tinted white it was.

It is really hard to see in the picture but if you look closely you can see the line where the blue-white wall ends and the pure white ceiling begins.

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Maui Mist (Behr)

Since the vanity/closet area is a bit narrow and again the darkness of the grey-purple, we went with a pure white vanity.  Doesn’t look half-bad does it? (Not really the best before & after, sorry about that!)

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Ultra Pure White (Behr)

Hallway

The last area to be painted upstairs was the hallway.  I wanted a bright white entryway, a fresh and open area to greet people.  Since the entryway flows right into the upper hallway it’s easiest if they are the same color.  We didn’t want pure white walls so J picked a blue-tinted white.  Blue is my favorite color but I’m starting to think J favors it as well (his idea for grey-blue kitchen cabinets with blue walls, blue-tint in the master bath, blue-tint hallway …).  The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s really a nice bright white in direct light and then a soothing, subtle blue in shadows.

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Frost (Behr)

Don’t worry about the crown (I know you were worried about it).  It will get a fresh paint of Ultra Pure White gloss.  Unsure if we’ll do semi-gloss or high-gloss … Add your suggestion in the comments!

The final project of the weekend was to begin prep on the main floor.  Patch nail holes, smooth the wall where there once was chair rail, and address that torn-to-bits half-bath.  If everything stays on schedule, we’ll be able to paint the main floor this coming weekend and with that, only the kitchen cabinets and trim will remain to be painted.

Sanding … again

Just when we thought all the sanding was done.  Nope.  It will never be done.  We still had the bath vanities to prep for new paint.  J, knowing how much I hate sanding, took this project on himself.  Luckily the brown paint on the vanities was not nearly as goopy and glopy and terrible as the black kitchen cabinets.  So there was no stripping involved and a relatively quick power sand of the doors, drawer fronts, and boxes.  We’re planning on painting the kids’ bath a berry red which will pop and add a playful element to the room.  The master bath will be white to lighten the small area and off-set the dark walls.  So all in all, an improvement over brown.  And now for our favorite:  before & after pics (before & during?).

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Lovely brown vanity
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No-longer-brown vanity fronts

Unfortunately, the sanding is not quite done.  We still have to go over everything with 320 to make it really smooth and ready for paint.  But that should be quick and mostly painless.  After that, all the interior power sanding will be done.  Still need to prep the walls and ceilings for paint.  As for exterior: some of the trim needs sanding as prep to painting/staining to keep the wood from rotting.  Ugh.  As I said above, the sanding never ends.

Paint Transformation

This weekend was all about the paint.

Saturday

Saturday began with a morning run to Home Depot for 5 gallons of ceiling paint (Ultra Pure White flat), 7 gallons of bedroom paints, and painting supplies.  My sister and I got a head start, completing one coat on the ceiling and in the closet of miss L’s room.  Break for lunch which J and his mom brought over at just the right time.  Then we busted it out in teams of two: J and his mom, me and my sister.  Little L had a great time hanging out in the master bedroom watching everyone paint.  She was much happier roaming free rather than in her playpen.

The difference that a little white paint can do!  Fresh, white closets look amazing.  The closets were probably the biggest pain to paint – all those corners and crawling up to get the top shelf.  But totally worth it.  Seriously, I recommend it to all of you: paint your closets.

I think the biggest transformation on Saturday was the kids’ bath ceiling.  Here’s a “during” picture.  You can really see the grey, half-painted ceiling as compared to the fresh, bright white ceiling.

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Kids’ Bath Ceiling

All in all, we painted little L’s ceiling and closet, the second bedroom ceiling and closet, the kids’ bath ceiling and linen closet, the master bedroom ceiling and closet, the master bath ceiling, and the hallway ceiling.  And there was only one extra run to Home Depot for another 5 gallons of ceiling paint.  It was a very long day and no one died from the paint fumes so that’s good.

Sunday

Sunday morning everyone slept-in.  For J and I that meant 7:30am because miss L doesn’t really sleep-in.  J’s mom met us at the house a couple hours later and we started in on painting the walls.  Judgement day.  Hopefully we chose (paint colors) wisely.  Cutting in brings out the perfectionist in me.  But at some point you have to admit it’s “good enough” because the walls and ceiling are not perfectly straight.  As long as it looks good from the floor, it doesn’t need to look good up on a ladder 3 inches from the wall.

J, his mom, and I were able to get a first coat on L’s room and the second bedroom before lunch.  Another run to Home Depot for more rollers as we decided to have dedicated rollers for each room/paint color so we didn’t have to wash rollers between each room.  Just slid them into gallon-sized ziplock bags to keep them from drying out and move on to the next room/color.  During lunch my sister arrived to help.  The Dream Team was reunited for another day!

Again teams of two and we busted out the master bed first and second coats, the second coats on L’s room and the second bedroom.  Miss L wasn’t allowed to roam completely free today since she was tempted to touch the freshly-painted walls.  So when she was awake someone was on duty to watch her.  I have to admit, I failed when it was my turn.  L and I were watching the neighbor’s guests come and go from the master window when J pointed out that L had leaned against the wall to press her face against the window.  Oops!  I leaned forward at that moment too and left a little hand print but poor L pushed her whole toddler tummy against the wall.  So she now has an official paint shirt like us adults.  L’s first paint shirt!

The verdict.  I absolutely LOVE the master bedroom paint color.  It turned out perfect:  warm, colorful, darker, and not too feminine.  Little L’s room may be too much color.  I’m thinking with all the finishes, furniture, and decor it won’t seem so in-your-face-BAM-purple.  The second bedroom is my second favorite after the master. It’s brightened up the room and it a great mix of color pop but not too intense.

The Grand Reveal

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L’s Room, in-your-face-BAM-purple aka Evening Slipper (Behr)
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Before & After

 

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Second Bedroom, Wintergreen Dream (Behr)
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Before & After
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The two bright Bedrooms as seen from the Hallway
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Master, Heather Sachet (Behr)
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Before & After

Overall, it was a very productive weekend.  And it’s true what they say:  fresh paint does wonders!  It’s starting to feel like our home now, with the colors and touches that we want.

All that remains for the upper floor:  paint bathrooms, tile bathroom floors, base & case, carpet.  The List is getting smaller, step-by-step.

Tile finds, part 2

Being the holiday weekend we kind of took a break. Plus we’ve reached a lull in the work schedule where we are mostly waiting for professionals (electricians, plumbers, carpeting, etc). We did go back to Floor & Decor to get some budget tile.

If you remember from our first journey there, they have clearance and bargain tile that is essentially cheaper than linoleum. So the old linoleum instead of replacing with new linoleum will now be tile. I’m excited to see how it all looks redone and upgraded.

Here’s the kitchen, mudroom, half bath tile. We went with a light gray. Light since the existing laminate floor is dark and gray so that it 1) ties in with all the wall colors we’ve picked out and 2) is neutral enough to go with anything else should we decide to repaint.

The kids bath linoleum wasn’t terrible but it could stand to be replaced, and with tile so discounted we went for it. A plain white since we’ll be playing with vanity and wall colors in a small area – really need something white to off set it.

Now just comes the hard labor of tiling all those floors. But we think it will be well worth it. Til next time!

Paint Samples

Saturday was an errand day. We did get a little work done on the house (yard work and wired the sprinkler control box) but mostly we looked at paint and tile.

We spent a fair amount of time at Sherwin Williams looking at colors and types of paint. Even with 40% off it was still more expensive than we’ve seen elsewhere. It’s probably true that you get what you pay for but right now we’re trying to do this reno on a budget so we’ll go with bargain paint and update later as needed.

Here’s the color scheme we picked for the main floor.

Entryways, kitchen cabinets, kitchen walls, dining room, living room & playroom with accent wall in playroom.

I think they all look good together and are the light, slightly neutral colors we had envisioned. I’m concerned it might be too much green but J thinks it’ll be good so I’ll trust him. He did pick the house when I was hesitant, the entryway tile when I was hesitant, taking down the walls when I was hesitant. So he has a good track record. 🙂

We also pondered colors for the kids bath and selected this. Very light blue walls with a bright, playful vanity since it is for the kids. I’m not sold on this shade of berry red but this is generally the vision.

I’m excited to see everything start to come back together!

Half Bath: an update

The last time we visited the half bath J and I had removed that green wallpaper.  Since then we pulled the toilet to finish removing the wallpaper.

Also, another great find (like that tile)!  We were definitely not planning on replacing the vanity.  All the cabinetry in the house is in fairly good shape just a bit worn and dated colors.  The half bath vanity though had been chewed and scratched by the dogs.  So we were planning on replacing the doors.  But then, The Home Depot special buy of the day was bath vanities.  I immediately forwarded the link to J after reading the daily email.  We ended up snagging this combo for roughly equal what we would have spent on doors plus shipping.  And in the words of the legendary Barney Stinson: “New is always better”.

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Glacier Bay Delridge Vanity

 

And we get a new mirror!  The medicine cabinet in the half bath is actually attached to the mirror.  I was going to try to separate them and reframe the mirror but now we have a bonus new mirror!

Next step:  New flooring.  With the toilet and vanity out in the garage, we have direct and easy access to the flooring so they will remain in the garage until the old linoleum is replaced (probably with bargain tile).  Stay tuned!

Bye Bye, Wallpaper

The very first time J and I walked into this half-bath we knew the wallpaper had to go.  We also knew it would be no fun.  We’ve heard the stories of how tedious and frustrating it can be to take down wallpaper.  Well, have no fear!  It’s super easy these days.

We borrowed a steamer from a friend — thank you so very much! you know who you are 🙂 — which made it no trouble at all.  We steamed little sections at a time and the wallpaper just peels off, like the glue just melts away or something.  Excellent!

We did run into a few problems:  in some areas (especially the lower wall, as you can see in the picture) the wallpaper still took the paint with it.  I’m not sure if that was user error (too much or too little steaming?) or just the way that wallpaper glue interacted with that paint.  Either way, we have some sanding and patching to do.  Also, the window caulking was put over the wallpaper so we’ll have to get in there with an x-acto knife and cut out the little pieces still left.  Lastly, it looks like the toilet and vanity were placed after the wallpaper so we’re going to pull the toilet to get all the wallpaper off that back wall.  I opted to save that for another day when we have the supplies and time to replace the toilet same-day.  As for behind the vanity, that’s just going to stay.

Like many projects, it currently looks worse than when we began but as the old saying goes, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”.  Now to pick a color for the walls … I’m considering doing a stenciled accent wall to jazz up the small space.  We’ll see 🙂