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.

Entryway

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Dining Room

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Kitchen

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Half Bath

Playroom

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Living Room

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L’s Room

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2nd Bedroom

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Kid’s Bath

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Master Bedroom

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

Super Active Sunday

Last Sunday was crazy busy.  We had all hands on deck!  There was the usual: me, J, little L, my mother-in-law S.  Then my sister and her husband came by, S & B.  Then a family friend, R.  So we had a full house and everyone was put to work.  And yes, watching miss L counts as work/helping with the house.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the bigger, more interesting things accomplished:

1. Mudroom/Laundry area was prepped and painted. The same blue-tinted white as the main entryway, Frost (Behr), since it is also an entryway.

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2. Pantry cabinet was painted. This cabinet is not technically in the kitchen but we wanted it to tie into the kitchen rather than the mudroom/laundry area.  We decided to use paint to make that distinction – it is now the same color as the upper kitchen cabinets.

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3. Entryway was drywalled.  With the electrical rerouted and tucked away, it was time to put up the drywall.  You can read more about the entryway progress over here.

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4. Lower kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts were painted.  This was the main task for Sunday, but when everyone decided to make an appearance it became just one of the many tasks. Yay! We were able to borrow a paint sprayer from my MIL’s neighbor.  We set up a little spray booth in the garage and J went at it.  Two coats on the back, flipped over, two coats on the front.  We painted the backs first on purpose so that when they were flipped if they weren’t 100% cured any smudges would be on the back/inside the cabinet where it wouldn’t matter as much.

Getting a sprayer was hands down the best decision we’ve made throughout this whole renovation.  It cut the paint time by a quarter (or more!) and resulted in a smooth, even finish.

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The spray booth
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Inside the spray booth, half the fronts still drying.

 

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All the fronts, transferred inside to finish drying & curing in a more controlled environment (e.g. fewer bugs and less dirt).

J has been hard at work all this week so the updates will just keep on rolling in!  In the next couple weeks, we should be able to post the first few final before & afters, from start to finish.  I’m excited to see the side-by-side photos once things start coming together!

Paint: Main Floor, part 2

I’m getting behind on posting.  I’m sorry!  All of this happened last weekend — it was such a huge transformation it’s a mystery why I forgot to post about it.  But here we go.  Paint colors for the main floor!  If you recall, the swatches were revealed a few weeks ago in Paint Samples.  We ended up not going with Sherwin Williams so we had to pick out paints again at Home Depot but since we already had the colors it was simple to just find a match.  Let our paint transformation, main floor edition, begin!

Ceilings

J managed to paint the entryway ceiling with only himself and a ladder.  I have no idea how he accomplished this in a 2-story entryway but it happened.  And it looks great!

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Dining Room

This isn’t the best picture of the dining room but here’s a mediocre before & after.  It went from thickly textured yellow-beige to smooth brown.  I think it’s a nice mature, calming color perfect for a family dining room.  With dark walls and dark floors we’re going to have to be careful about furniture and decor so as to brighten the room, not make it even darker.

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Before; After – Moleskin (Behr)

Living Room

The living room went from thickly textured white to an interesting pale green.  In some lights it looks avocado in others a light lime green.  When we first started painting it on it looked really yellow-green.  I called it “newborn poop” green.  But as it dried it turned out to be more what we were looking for.  I know it’s not for everyone but we like it.  I just hope once our existing furniture and decor moves in that it all coordinates.  I don’t have it in the budget to redo furniture and decor just yet!

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After – Fennel Seed (Behr); Before

Playroom

The playroom is mostly the same Fennel Seed color as the living room.  Being two connected rooms we wanted the same color to flow between them.  I wanted to add a bit of a playful, fun feature to the playroom though.  So we went with an accent wall.  At first we went with Carraway Seed (Behr) which was two colors darker.  The difference was so subtle that it basically looked like the same color wall just with a shadow.  So we went back to Home Depot for Dash of Oregano which is four colors darker than Fennel Seed.  And here you go!  A for-sure accent wall, no doubts about it.

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Before; After – Dash of Oregano (Behr)

Also, we had to deal with the mess left behind from removing the chair rail (Paint: Main Floor).  As you can see in the picture above, it turned out just fine.  Close up you might be able to see somethings — if you know what to look for.  Otherwise, it’s a perfectly plain wall again.

Kitchen

The kitchen was mostly cutting-in with all the little sections too small for the roller and around all the cabinetry.  It was probably the most time consuming room (if you don’t count the repainting of the accent wall).  It’s a fairly bold blue but J loves it.  I think it will work out well once everything else comes together.

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Before; After – Reef Blue (Behr)

All Together

And last but not least.  Here’s a shot of all the colors together.  It was important to both J and I that all our color ideas fit together well so even though the main floor is colorful it still has a cohesive feel to it.  I think we accomplished that goal.

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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!

Sand, Sand, and more Sand

The. Kitchen. Cabinet. Prep. Is. Done!

I repeat: the kitchen cabinets are completely stripped and sanded.  It was a ridiculous amount of work – never to be repeated by this lady – full of blood, sweat, and tears.

There is absolutely no way J and I would have been able to get through it all so quickly without the help and support of his mom.  She spent a good chunk of her weekend with us on multiple occasions now.  When she’s not actively helping with the work she’s watching after little L so J and I can keep busting it out.  She lent us her sander and then bought a second so we could have two people sanding at the same time.  Simply put, we couldn’t have done it without her. Thank you!

In case you don’t remember the cabinet stripping stage, check out this earlier post.  There was so much more stripping and re-stripping.  J took on the task of stripping the cabinet boxes.  He ran out of stripper so I bought a tiny little spray can for the last section.  Then, on Thursday, he realized we forgot the backs of the lower doors.  So back to The Home Depot (literally, our second home at this point) for more stripper.  Back of the lower doors and some touch ups here and there … and … stripping was done!

On to scraping.  The stripper left some goopy glops which we waited to dry then scraped off.  It was detail work but kind of cathartic to scratch off glops of black goo.  Like peeling glue of your hand as a kid.

Then sanding.  I hate sanding.  J laughs because I volunteered to sand one evening after work even though I hate sanding.  And then came home angry about having to sand.  But seriously, it’s the worst.  We sanded everything down to the grain.  I thought for sure we were over sanding but J and his mom agreed that down to the grain would be best.  And damn! Did those cabinets look good!  Good enough to stain.  And then a little touch of a finish sanding to get it all super smooth.

It was hard, hard work.  Took days and days.  The priceless help of J’s mom. And endless sandpaper.

Feast your eyes upon these beauties!!

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Just to remind you, they used to look like this:

Kitchen and Vents: Saturday Edition

Saturday was a productive day for this little family.  During the home inspection, we discovered a roof turtle vent that was cracked and duct taped back together.  We thought it best to replace the vent entirely.  Well, during the week, J was up on the roof removing some old Christmas lights and discovered the turtle vent had sustained a great deal more damage.  Essentially, rain and various animals had direct access to the attic.  So that was project #1 for Saturday: replace the turtle vent.

We went back and forth all week debating what project to tackle for the weekend (prep bedrooms for paint, rip out carpet, take out the entryway closet, etc.) and decided to attack the kitchen.  The cabinets are a glossy black which does not work for that kitchen.  It’s a smaller space so it could really benefit from lighter colored cabinets.  The black gloss looks really thick and goopy so we decided to strip the cabinets before sanding and repainting.  That was project #2: remove cabinet doors and drawer fronts, get started on stripping.

Turtle Vent

Before: the broken turtle vent

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You’re doing a great job, turtle vent! *sarcasm*  Luckily, it’s quite simple to replace a turtle vent – and rather cheap too.  We spent about $13 on the vent itself and found some tape left in the garage (thanks, Sellers!).

After: new turtle vent

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Brand, spanking new!  And the fresh tape has a nice sparkle to it. 🙂  No more rain or critters in the attic (let’s just hope no one moved in before we noticed it was destroyed …)

Kitchen Rehab, part 1

We completely recognize that resurfacing the cabinets will be a big task.  And we were in no way looking forward to doing that work but decided we might as well just jump in. (I had intentionally started with removing baseboards upstairs as a way to get our feet wet. Me especially since I’ve no experience in home improvements.)  Neither of us have experience stripping paint so we weren’t really sure what to buy.  Ended up getting some mid-grade gel stripper at Home Depot.  $20 for one gallon. Klean-Strip Strip-X

Here’s one final look at the black kitchen. So long black cabinets!

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Removing the hardware was easy-peasy.  We numbered all the fronts, the cabinets, and the baggies of hardware.  Note: sharpie pens are in no way the same as sharpies.  We ended up switching to a ball-point pen as the sharpie pen and painters tape didn’t play well (e.g. numbers were smudging).  We could tell that some of the hardware was removed before the fronts were painted black, others were not.  I guess whomever did the painting got sick of removing the hinges?  Also, as we moved from top doors to bottoms the edges were no longer painted.  Again, seems whomever did the painting got tired of painting areas no one would see. J insists on “doing it right” so we removed all hardware and will be painting all edges and surfaces.

We’re also going to paint the pantry doors to match.  Currently, they are the original light wood but we want to tie them into the kitchen even though they’re over by the half-bath and soon-to-be mudroom.

We made quick work of it.  Getting little L to take a nap in her new bedroom and listened to some Radio West podcasts.  Also took the time to remove old baby-locks and replaced some broken and missing shelf brackets.

Bye-bye cabinet doors!

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The actual work of stripping the paint was no bueno.  Since neither of us had experience, we put the first layer on a little light.  And by we, it was really just me.  We had only one paint brush so J watched L while I got to work.  The fumes weren’t really that strong and it was easy enough to paint on.

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We found some old boards and PVC pipes left in the garage and used those to prop up the fronts so they weren’t resting right on the garage floor.  (P.S. It’s so nice to have a garage to do these projects!)

We removed the shutters while we waited for the stripper to work it’s magic.  With the shutters gone the house is a little boring so we’ve decided to paint them and put back up.  Sorry, no pictures of the house sans shutters at this time.  But I’m sure they’ll be a full before & after post once we re-install them.

The first layer of stripper worked but not as well as either of us expected.  Probably due to how thin I applied it.  We scraped and scraped.  The paint and varnish came off in gloopy glops that looked like tar.  I began applying stripper at 2pm and we ended scraping at 4pm.  Ugh!  We were both covered in black paint and had some burning sensations from the stripper.  No time to dwell though, a second application was definitely needed.  J started the second application right at 4pm while L and I enjoyed a snack (again, only the 1 paint brush).

The second application went on much thicker and you could see it getting to work.  We waited only 25 minutes to start scraping off and it went so much better!  Now we know:  apply generously.

A new neighbor stopped by to introduce himself while we worked!  That’s two we’ve met now.  Seems like a great neighborhood. 🙂

The second time round not only worked better but went faster.  Here is the finished product at 5pm.

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Look at the gorgeous wood!  And you can really see the details of the fronts now.  They’ll need a little sanding and some touching up but soon they’ll be ready to prim and paint a lighter color. (We’ve decided against keeping as wood because that would take even more work and we like the look of painted cabinets anyway.)

Unfortunately, this round was only the front side of the upper cabinets.  We still have to flip them over to strip the backs.  Then front and back of the lower cabinets.  Then the actual cabinets themselves in the kitchen.  Bleh.  It’s a long list but we’ll get there!  And we know what we’re doing now so hopefully it goes quicker 🙂