Saturday, December 31, 2016

What We Accomplished in our First Year (& What We Learned)

As we draw closer to the end of another year, it's a time that many of us find ourselves thinking back over everything that happened. For us, it was a year of many “firsts”: our first year in our current beloved foursquare home, first time taking on a restoration of a home, as well as the pregnancy and subsequent birth of our first kiddo, a beautiful baby girl.

A lot has changed in a year, and I thought it'd be fun to look back at just how much!

Our hardwoods:

Refinishing the original wood floors of our entire 1st floor, save the kitchen and mudroom, was our first, biggest, and very dusty project. It was our largest learning curve too as we did all of the sanding ourselves. We originally planned to do the stain and finish as well, but I think we made a good call by turning that part over to some awesome professionals who got it done fast.

Later this past summer when I was 8 months preggers we also restored our upstairs hardwoods (only one more bedroom needs done at present), including our master bedroom that looked at the initial uncovering of the carpet to be beyond recovery.

However, with Karl's due diligence, he got those floors to look amazing!

Living room:

Here's some pix I took during a tour of what the room looked like with the previous owner. As you can immediately see, it was being used as the dining room. However, because of its size, we felt it was better suited as a living room and swapped the living and dining rooms when we moved in.

Our living room was a troubled mess when we started. The previous stain was worn and orange around the edges, and the middle had never been given a finish.

After sanding and staining the living room floor, we set to work painting the walls.

Originally a yellow color, we were wanting a light grey color. However, we got more than we bargained for trying to get a true grey, even after painting samples on the walls; our walls came out purple, then blue.

In retrospect I am rather glad the grey didn't work, as I love the white we ended up with that truly compliments the trim work!

What we learned: use Benjamin Moore paint, always.

Master bedroom and closet:

What started out as what we thought would take 6 weeks turned into 3 months, but the former "office" and "spare oom" are now respectfully our master bedroom and closet (and finished just 3 weeks before baby girl arrived!).


By punching out a doorway, running some new electrical, painting the walls, taking up the knarly carpet, sanding and refinishing the floors, we had the respective red and orange office, and the yellow spare room turn into fabulous spaces for our master suite. There's a few finishing touches to put in such as the master closet system that we'll be undertaking later next year (fingers crossed), but we're pretty darn pleased with how awesome the rooms turned out!

We've moved our furniture in and don't have wires hanging out of the walls anymore, but I have yet to take pix - look for them in 2017! ;)

To read all about the full renovation story with all the different phases, start here!

What we learned:

1. projects are likely to take double, sometimes even triple the time you initially planned.

2. no hardwood floor is beyond saving


We got a head-start on our winter goals by replacing our two most-ugly lights left to us from the past owner - the bay window and vestibule.

I'll be doing a more in-depth post about with before/after and where we found our lights in the new year, so keep an eye out!

What we have planned for 2017:

You can see my post about our goals for over the winter of what we'd like to achieve until warm weather comes back. We have quite a to-do list for our home, and once Spring hits we have some big ones to tackle:

Dining room - put hole in ceiling and walls for ceiling light fixture and switches, run wires, patch the plaster walls, paint walls and ceiling, hang chandelier.

Front porch - build porch skirt, replace a few floorboards, sand and repaint floorboards, strip/sand and repaint columns and railings, strip/sand front door and stain.

Baby girl's room - paint walls

Master Closet - plan closet system, build and install closet system


If we manage to miraculously get those projects entirely done, we'd also set to work on these:

Office - strip wallpaper (ugh), build shelves, organize furniture, build/buy desk

Entryway stairs and vestibule - we need to strip the stain off ALL the trim work and stairs, then re-stain. Paint the walls.

We love having you all along on this journey with us, and are excited to see what 2017 has in store! Many blessings to you all in your projects as well! Have a Happy New Year, and see y'all in 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

6 House Project Goals this Winter

We've officially decided to wait until Spring to finish sprucing-up our porch so that we can do everything necessary in one big push. Didn't see that one coming, didja? (note: sarcasm). With that, we're thinking ahead to the indoor projects we'd like to turn our attention to during this coming Winter.

We're trying to keep this list small as we have a baby girl in the mix now and we don't want to do any projects that would result in major dust or fumes. Some of it also depends on whether or not we find certain items to our liking and budget, such as the pedestal sink. Here goes!

1. Replace Bay Window & Vestibule Light Fixtures

Both of these are the ugliest lights we have in the house, and we've been wanting them out since Day 1 but haven't gotten around to looking more seriously into finding replacements.

Vestibule track lighting. Ick.

Bay window. More ick.

We have ideas of what we'd like; here's something from Lamps Plus that is out of our price range, but the look we're going for in the vestibule:

And something simple and minimal for the bay window like this from Restoration Hardware:

RH pendant light 

An easy fix, but it'll take time to find both the aesthetic and something in our budget for each fixture.

2. Remove corner sink in half bath and install pedestal sink

The current corner sink has a copper basin and a spout on the faucet that are both hard to clean. In fact the counter is impossible to clean too - it's some weird raised texture that makes you feel like you're cleaning bumpy rocks.

We'd like to get a more period appropriate (rather than this weird attempt at Farmhouse style) sink in the room.

3. Install stained crown moulding in living room

Right now we still have several layers of paint showing at the top of the room where we didn't finish it out because we'd be installing the crown moulding pronto...and now it's 6 months later...Time to get this done!

4. Mount wall sconces in master bedroom

In the four months since we finished most of the renovation of our master bedroom and moved into it, we have yet to install our wall sconces on either side of the bed. We found we'd have to do one extra step before being able to install it, and since baby girl's birth we just haven't gotten around to it. Slow progress for sure, thus why it's up on the list!

P.S. - Yes, this means we've had wires sticking out (with proper wire nuts, no worries!) on either side of our bed for four months now, lol.

5. Install master closet's interior door frame

pic from this past summer; the unfinished door frame

At the moment we have the wood all stained and waiting; it's a simple matter of cutting and installing it.

6. Plan master closet's layout

Presently in our closet we have closet rods and our dressers. We'll be using Karl's prowess at 3D to map out a functional closet system for our needs. Having had four months of using the space as-is, we're accumulating ideas on ways to improve the space.

There you have it folks! Our timeline is to aim to have these all done by the end of March. As alays, we'll be keeping y'all involved as we try to tackle each one and show the before/afters!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Jacked-Up Porch & Skirt Ideas

Two weekends ago our porch was "jacked up" in the most literal sense: both in its bad sinking and the jacks we used to support it when work was started to fix it. Karl and his Dad teamed up to jack our porch up and remove the crumbling footing and rotting wood from it all in one day.

I use the term "crumbling" as well to the fullest degree because they were able to take the footing apart without even using a chisel; all it took was their bare hands. Yike-o-roma.

After clearing out the footing, they then laid some quick drying cement to build up the old footing still in the ground.

Next they replaced the areas where the beams had rotted (boy were they rotted!)

Cement blocks were laid in place of the old footing.

We still have to replace some of the floorboards, and next Spring we'll likely take on the task of sanding and repainting/repairing the chipped paint on the flooring (and likely the rails and columns too).

But at least we now don't have to worry about the porch collapsing!

As for now, we'd like to try and get the new porch skirting put up before Winter...we may have to wait until next Spring though as things are still just a tad crazy with having an infant baby girl. But here's some ideas we're tossing around:


tsk tsk - skirting doesn't line-up with the columns

Any stand out to y'all? I'm wanting to stay away from the diamond lattice if I can as it's too common looking to me unless done with a bit of flair like the blue lattice above. The square lattice is easy to find and not as typically used, and keeps with the straight lines of our Foursquare....or do we try something fun and fancy like in the last picture?

Comment below! I want to hear input! :)

p.s. - a great resource for the proper way to install skirting and historically what was used for skirt designs can be found at Old House Guy.

Shared On: thatdiyparty

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Project: Our Sinking Porch

Hi all!

Going by the title, you may be asking why we're starting another project when you have yet to see the finished master bedroom and closet.

You would be right to ask.

We did finish the principal parts of the bedroom and managed to move ourselves into it a mere 3 weeks before baby girl arrived, however since then life has been hectic and right now if I were to take pix, it would only look like a room a tornado hit.'ll be a bit yet before a "final reveal". Though it still won't really be final, as we've yet to secure furniture such as side tables, a headboard, etc...but you get the idea.

Now that it's already nearing the end of October and winter is just around the corner, we have turned our attention to our front porch. The footings in the middle and corner have both been in disrepair even before we bought the home, and it's sunk a lot more in the past year we've lived here (snowmageddon didn't help with that either). It's high time we fixed it!

...and as we discovered this past week when we opened it up to analyze the damage a bit closer, it's none too soon!

We took off the aluminum siding and chicken wire framing and found rotted wood.

Worse still, the corner pier is literally crumbling.

One of the main supporting beams is even resting on a part of the footing that's about to fall!

We need to jack the porch, add new footings, replace rotted beams, and fix the floorboards.


To work we go...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Simple Ideas for a Cozy Fall Decor Living Room

Can you believe it, folks?! Fall is officially upon us! ...which I’m excited about because it is hands-down my favorite season! Fall has the perfect-temperature weather, blue skies, colorful leaves, lots of Autumn festivals (and auctions, hehe)...not to mention my birthday is in the Fall! ;) Just as we're trading our blouses for woolen cardigans and flip flops for our leather boots, as the weather becomes cooler I am reaching for things in my home to cozy up to and that subtly reflect the change in seasons outside. Our living room is where my family and I spend a lot of our time, especially the evenings. To make it an extra lovely spot to gather together this Fall, there's some very simple and inexpensive home decor ideas I've pulled together as a mood board to cozy-up your home with pieces from Arhaus as my inspiration. Before we get to the décor, I want to first address something I call the “base” for your room and the difference between a room's base and decor. Base: all large furniture (sofa, rug, tables, bed, etc) Décor: easily replaced, smaller, and/or less expensive items (curtains, pillows, blankets, lamps, mirrors, wall art, etc) It's important to mentally separate your room's base from the décor when planning any room, especially as the base is the most important. When furnishing a room, use items that you love and are neutral in color; beige, gray, tan, or white is a great neutral base color. Big “base” pieces such as a sofa are expensive and therefore you want them to be flexible with changes in décor; a neutral color will ensure that your large pieces will last through at least a decade of style and home decor trends. (for some ideas to shop for, here's a page dedicated to neutral sofas) I've placed our existing sofa, rug, and coffee table, all neutral colors and a style I love, into the mood board and then branched off from there with Fall décor from Arhaus Furniture that can easily be switched out.

arhaus living rm mood board -2016.jpg
Source list: Arhaus drapery, lamp, fur throw, leather chair, pillow, candles, map wall art
In this season I'm immediately reaching for plush throw blankets and exchanging summer’s bright colored or white pillows for more thick and natural fabrics such as wools, leather, or fur. Curtains made of heavier fabrics such as velvet are hung to keep out the chill and give the room a layered and plush feel. With the shorter amount of daylight, extra attention is paid to indoor lighting's ability to set a mood in a room for the evening; besides a warm glow at night, table lamps that have crystals or glass bases are a great choice as they reflect light even on cloudy days. Last but not least, nature-inspired birch candles are a fun addition! Any other simple ideas for making a room feel cozy? Chime-in in the comments below! Be sure to subscribe as well!

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