Friday, March 30, 2012

Before & After: Our Staircase!

When Matthew and I first moved in we knew the stairs were definitely going to need updating but we weren't sure if we were going to keep them carpeted or replace them with hardwood. We decided to replace them with hardwood since the stairs are the first thing you see when you enter our home and it's an area that gets lots and lots of traffic...especially from our little four legged friends! Yesterday while we were at work the hardwood stairs were installed and I was anxiously awaiting all day to see the outcome! As soon as I walked in our home I was amazed at the transformation, they are absolutely stunning!

Here are our stairs before:

Here are our stairs after:

Aren't they gawwwgeous? They just make me smile every time I walk in!

Here's a closeup of these beauties:

The only problem now is the original banister is looking pretty beat up! For the time being I'm going to try and restore it by giving it a little TLC with some tung oil however, somewhere down the road I want to replace it with one of these banisters {but on a much smaller scale} that I've been swooning over on Pinterest!

Wow, talk about eye candy! Well, that's all for now! One project complete only to make me realize I want to update something else! Does it ever really end? :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wood You Look At That?

Nope, that's not a typo, this post is about wood, or rotted wood if you would will! Remember my whole one step forward two steps backwards post last night? Well, I have yet another example of some of the unexpected twists and turns you can discoverer along the home renovation journey! Last Thursday we were scheduled to have our hardwood floors installed and we were so excited we could hardly stand it! Having the hardwood floors installed really meant that our renovations were coming to a close and we were giddy with excitement at the thought of finally moving in! The hardwood floor installation started promptly Thursday morning without a hitch and they were even more gorgeous than we could have imagined. My family's flooring company was installing our hardwood floors so of course I knew we were in good hands (By the way, need flooring? Then call 443-510-5097 to speak to one of their highly trained team members, you won't regret it!) Gotta love a little free advertising for the fam :) Anyway, everything was coming along smoothly and the floors were almost complete when we discovered that the sliding glass door was leaking water into the house over time causing the sub-flooring to rot. I couldn't believe my eyes when I caught a glimpse of the rotten wood, how scary to think that's what was holding us up as we entered and exited the back of our home!

Rotted Wood:

Brand new wood:

 Old sliding glass door (with stacks of hardwood in front of it):

Can you see the fogginess on the left side of the door? That's from a broken seal in the glass which wasn't aesthetically pleasing to begin with but it wasn't something we were planing on addressing so soon. I suppose between a broken seal and a door being a quarter of a century old it was a long overdue repair though!
Here's our brand spankin' new door:

Isn't it pretty? And no more fog! We ended up going with the Anderson 400 Series patio door after researching lots of options and getting a phenomenal discount from Home Depot! Not only does Home Depot take great care of their military, they also take great care of new homeowners dumping spending lots of money in their store! This door not only comes with a lifetime guarantee but it will also be an excellent selling feature if/when it comes time to move! My parents have this same door in their house and it's approaching it's tenth birthday although you'd never know, it still opens and closes as smoothly as the first day they got it. We didn't want to be penny wise and dollar foolish so we splurged for the door because after all, it's expensive to be cheap! Especially when it comes to home repairs you should go for high quality, it's worth it! I can't wait to see this baby once it's painted a pretty shade of white and framed with some lovely trim...soon, I hope!

Oh and look how close we were to being finished with the hardwood before we had to deal with the sliding glass door!

Don't mind all of the dust on them, I've cleaned them a few times but I've given up! Between all of the contractors coming through our home and the dust from other projects I'm just going to have to wait until everything's finished!

Now you know the two biggest and unexpected issues we've dealt with during the renovations! I guess it could be a whole lot worse! We're oh so close to being D-O-N-E and we can't wait to share all of the amazing transformations with you!

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Home Updates/My Rant!

Do you ever feel like you take one step forward then two steps backwards? 'Cuz that's how hubs and me are feeling right now. Don't get me wrong, we're definitely making progress here but we've taken on so many more projects around the house than we've anticipated...and I'm not even sure how that happened! Let me give you an example, when Matthew and I moved in we knew we wanted to put a fence in our yard for the dogs. So we got out our handy little "to do" list and added fence to the budget list, not to be confused with bucket list. Although, I guess there are some similarities, the budget list is definitely a list of things we'd like to accomplish eventually with this home. Seems so simple, right? Well, you've obviously guessed it wasn't because why else would I be leading you into the story like this? We quickly found out that our property line contained lots and lots of overgrown shrubs that would have to be removed if we were going to put up a fence. Matthew and I discussed our options and we decided to have the shrubs removed professionally since it was such an enormous undertaking. Alright, so pay company to remove shrubs: check. Pay another company to install fence: check. We went a tad over budget there, no big deal,  oh but wait, now we don't have any grass on the side yard since the massive shrubs we're impeding any grass to grow for like oh, I don't know, ten years. Now we have a fenced yard with very little grass. No grass=mud. Mud+dogs=disaster. We're currently trying to grow grass using seed but if you've ever heard the expression "it's like watching grass grow" you'll understand that this is an extremely slooooow process. Ideally, we'd love to put down sod but that is definitely not on the budget list anytime soon! Despite my rant just now, Matthew and I are so happy that we're homeowners, it's such an awesome accomplishment and we're feeling really proud of ourselves while learning lots of lessons as we go along. I think the biggest lesson we've learned so far is how easy it is to underestimate just how much time and money a project will take. It seems like each project we've taken on requires three or four unplanned little projects before we can even begin what we originally had on our list. When everything is said and done though, I can't tell you how much satisfaction we have from owning a home. We'll continue to take on each project little by little until our house is complete...or when we're ready to sell and start the chaos all over! Anyway, thanks for letting me rant, I was feeling really good with our progress until we had another little setback while the hardwood floors were being installed...I will share more about the dilemma we ran into with the floors tomorrow but for now I'll leave you with pictures of our new fence and grass-less yard!

This side of our yard has a ton of grass, let's hope the dogs spend their time here!

This part of the yard only has one spot without grass!

The next few pictures are the areas I'm most worried about. It may not look that bad in pictures but it gets really, really muddy. Just from the little rain we had this weekend made our yard very muddy, combine that with two dogs and especially one who loves to dig and you've got a recipe for disaster!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Got Paint?

I've always loved color, anyone that knows me is well aware of my love of Lilly Pulitzer, but for some reason when it came time to picking colors for my house, I was SO nervous! I wasn't going to let myself just pick a neutral beige even though I felt so much more comfortable with that. A beige never really lets you down, it goes with everything and it's enough color to give your room just a little something, it's classic. This time though I found myself itching for color. Our rental was really a lovely place to start but all of our walls were beige, our furniture was very dark and I found myself accenting with dark colors as well! Now that we are homeowners (yay!) I really want to go lighter and brighter! But how? Have you ever picked out a beautiful color from a sample only to dislike it once its painted on the walls? I know I have. Just ask my parents about my glowing blinding lime green and hot pink bathroom when I was younger. Eeek. It was awful! What was I thinking? I guess my untrained eye had no idea that less is really best when you're looking at paint samples, often times the colors that look so blah on the samples are the colors that look the best on your walls! After a little bit of research and some help from one of my favorite DIY sites, Young House Love, I was off to pick my colors!

That's our cart filled with lots of colorful goodness during trip 1 of 128 we made to Home Depot that first weekend. Okay, so I exaggerate...a tad.

Thanks to Young House Love they made it SO easy for me to find the perfect green, Benjamin Moore's Dune Grass! It was just what I wanted, a light green color that was neutral enough to allow me to choose from a variety of color schemes when decorating!

The second color I chose was Benjamin Moore's Smoke. I discovered this color with the help of my parents, they're painting their foyer this color and I immediately fell in love with this beautiful blue!

For our master bedroom we ended up going with yet another color we discovered on Young House Love! What would we do without the wonderful ideas of John and Sherry? We decided to go with Benjamin Moore's Moonshine because it was a very light gray that would give us the freedom to change our bedding without having to worry too much that it would clash with the wall color. We have a wonderfully fluffy down comforter that I love to cover with different duvets throughout the year, it's an instant mini makeover and it really makes your room look completely different. I also love that it's very easy to strip off and throw in the washer after the dogs have lounged all over it with their muddy paws! My love for bedding runs deep and the fact that Homegoods has the BEST prices on duvets doesn't hurt either!

And there are our paint colors! I just love how the downstairs looks right now, the greens and blues are so relaxing! In fact, they say colors really can effect your personality, blues and greens are supposed to be tranquil and relaxing while reds and yellows are supposed to stimulate you and even increase your appetite. I always find it funny when people paint their kitchens red! Maybe McDonald's is on to something, huh? Anyway, we ended up keeping the paint colors in the extra bedrooms as they are since the walls are in good shape and we'll be using them as an office and a guestroom until we'll eventually have to paint one of the Okay, so that's wishful thinking :) and of course I am joking, a baby boy is just as much of a blessing...buttttttt I wouldn't mind it if we had a baby girl day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pardon Our Dust...


Well, the ceilings are complete and the track lighting is G-O-N-E! I can't tell you how updated our home looks, it's like hello 2012, goodbye 1973. But let me tell you, the dust is unreal, it looked like the inside of our home was covered in snow! I snapped a few pictures but unfortunately these were taken after the poor hubby spent a few hours removing the dust without me, bless him, so you really can't see just how awful it was from these pictures. Just use your imagine. My allergies are already horrible to begin with so I waited until there was more of a manageable amount left before helping him.

Look at the dust that collected on the basement steps:

Don't you just love that burgundy and gold? Not. The previous owners were big Redskins fans but we will most definitely be painting that! This picture gives you an idea of the dust, funny thing is, the basement doors were CLOSED during the sanding, along with the vents, yet the dust still managed to collect down there. Great, it's not like we're storing all of our worldly possessions in the basement or anything. Oh wait...

Here's some more dust on the first level. And keep in mind: this is AFTER the hubby spent a few hours cleaning it up so I could enter our home without having a massive allergy attack!'ll all be worth it in the end, right?!

Well, you be the judge! Here are some before and afters of the ceilings! What do you think?

Before picture with track lighting and stucco:

After picture with recess lighting and no stucco:

Another view:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen Ceiling After:

So, what do you think? Worth it? I think so!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Search Is Over!

I know you're just dying for a garden stool search update, right? Ha, well I'm going to share it with you anyway since I don't have anymore home updates right now. Alas, my search for blue garden stools is over, hooray!I I can't tell you how many trips I've made to Homegoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx all in search of garden stools for our living room with no such luck. I did find a few garden stools in the $60 price range but they just weren't the right colors, I toyed with the idea of spray painting them but I wasn't going to give up the search so easily! After my fruitless attempts at my favorite discount stores I decided to search more online. Surely my go to stores, Amazon and Overstock, would have something, right? They had a few but they were all upwards of $130 and still not the color I wanted!

Really Overstock, $130 for this? It's not even cute!

Just when I was ready to break down and spend $130 each on two garden stools at Ballard Designs {sssh, don't tell my hubby} a funny thing happened! I was on my OWN blog and an ad for One Kings Lane popped up, curious I decided to check out what this site was all about. Right away it prompted me to give them my email and password so I could join their site, eh, no thanks! I already receive SO many emails, even from the companies who I'm pretty sure I've asked to take me off their mailing list, and I didn't need any from One Kings Lane adding to my overflowing inbox so I left it alone. However, today for some reason I decided to suck it up and join, I told myself to stop being so dramatic, what's one more email? And what if there are things on this site I NEED, time's a wasting, I'm a fool. Okay, so perhaps I am dramatic, that's not the point. The point is that I fell in looooove as soon as I joined One Kings Lane, it was love at first, uh, click? You get the point, the site is AH-mazing! It's like a virtual Homegoods, don't get me wrong, it definitely has some pricey items, I was drooling over admiring a gorgeous coffee table until I caught a glimpse of the price, $700? Who cares that it's 50% off? That's just not going to happen! Ever. Besides, I just found out from my friend Ashley, who has her own very lovely blog, The Dostie Diaries, that I need a BOB stroller whenever I have children-and those things aren't cheap. If I start saving now I'll be able to afford half a stroller in the next two years, they're that expensive. Okay, there I go being dramatic again (I can't help it) but these strollers are expensive! I digress, where was I? Right, back to my new obsession, One Kings Lane, and all their fabulousness (yes, I know that's not a word!) If you haven't heard of this site yet then please feel free to click this link right here and share the love with all of your friends, they'll be so happy you did!

Oh, I almost forgot to show you my pretty garden stool that I purchased for $70! Yes, it's about $10 more than the garden stools I've seen at Homegoods but since this stool was already blue I don't have to deal with buying spray paint and then finding the time to actually spray paint it.

Isn't she lovely? I bought a pair and I can't wait for them to arrive! Helloooo new coffee table!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Popcorn! It's not just for movies anymore!

Popcorn ceilings, acoustic ceilings, stucco ceilings...they've been called lots of things but I just call them outdated and ugly! From the moment I stepped foot in the house I knew the ceilings were going to have to come down, it wasn't going to be fun but it was going to be worth it! Luckily, the hubby supports all of my crazy ideas and we began researching how to get rid of the ceilings! The general consensus from previous DIY-ers was that removing the ceilings didn't require any real skill (thank the Lord, because I lack most all home improvement skills) just time and effort.

See what I mean? Not pretty!

After a quick trip to Home Depot we were equipped with the necessary supplies to take down the ceilings: two pairs of goggles, two spray bottles, two scrapers, and one tarp!

The method was really easy, saturate the ceiling with water then scrape off the stucco. The ceilings in the back of the house took FOR-EVER, within two minutes of scraping I was ready to call it quits. Luckily, the tenacious hubby was able to power through and he made some amazing progress within an hour so I was feeling more optimistic about our DIY ceiling removal!

Look at him go!

Despite my minor meltdown in the beginning, I helped, too! (And how awesome are my glasses?)

 Much to our surprise the ceilings in the front of the house came down so easily since they had never been painted! Our all weekend project only ended up taking one day and ironically, removing the flooring which we didn't plan on spending so much time on, ended up being a major undertaking that would have taken even longer if it weren't for my parents and brother's help! Matthew and I owe them SO much, there is no way we would have survived the move and renovations if it weren't for my parents!

 In all honesty, we shouldn't be referring to ourselves as ceiling removal-DIYers since we really only scraped them smooth which you can see above. Our painter did the dirty work of coating the ceilings with mud, then sanding the mud smooth then painting them!

Here's what they look like half scraped and half covered in mud:

And now, the final product! Bye, bye stucco/popcorn/whatever-you-call-it ceiling!

Isn't it beautiful? I'm so happy I decided to get rid of those outdated ceilings! Oh, and notice the blue color on the walls? Here's a sneak peak of the painting process! I ended up not painting the entire downstairs Dune Grass, I decided to paint the front of the house Benjamin Moore's Smoke while still keeping Benjamin Moore's Dune Grass for the back of the house! This Benjamin Moore guy sure does make some fabulous colors!

That's all the progress we have for now but we're so happy you stopped by to check it out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Welcome To Our Home!

It's hard to believe that exactly one week ago today we were on the eve of our settlement! We've managed to do so much in just one week!

It's been absolutely exhausting but I'm happy to report that we've successfully:
  • Settled on our house Friday morning
  • Filmed with HGTV (settlement and house hunt*) all day Friday
  • Made approximately 100 trips to Home Depot
  • Had all new stainless steel appliances delivered and installed
  • Had old appliances hauled away (except the fridge which is now in the basement)
  • Had new cabinet installed above microwave so the microwave could fit properly
  • Completed demolition of the new house from ceilings to floors (pictures of this soon)
  • Moved all of our furniture and other stuff to the basement in the new house 
  • Moved all of our everyday stuff into my parents house (which is where we will live during renovations)
  • Emptied and cleaned the house we were renting
  • Had a walk through inspection with our landlord
...I feel like there's a million other things we've done but my brain isn't functioning so well today!
 *Since we purchased a foreclosure the bank would not give HGTV permission to film a house hunt. Unfortunately, HGTV was not allowed on the premises until Matthew and I were the owners and as a result our filmed "house hunt" is really post settlement. Let's just hope our acting skills were up to par so we can fool all of the viewers!

I'm planning on posting pictures of the demolition and construction soon but I'm waiting until I can show you the before and the after so you can really see the difference! As of right now we're hoping to move into our new house in two weeks but I'm thinking it's going to be more like three weeks because there's just always something that comes up!

Luckily, the outside of our house is in pretty good shape and with a little more landscaping and power washing this spring it will look even better!

Our front porch wraps all the way around to the entrance of our deck!

But you can also enter by walking around the backyard and taking the steps up!

 I love all of the details of the rails!

And the built in seating!

And here's our {soon to be} fenced in back yard! It looks a lot bigger than it really is since our lot backs up to a marsh!

That's all the pictures I have for now but hopefully I'll be able to show you all of the progress we've made in the next few weeks! Oh and let's hope this warm weather we're having continues, I can't wait to dine al fresco on the deck!