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!

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