Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taming the Blue

Happy Halloween. everyone!  Hope you all got lots of Trick-or-Treaters at your door, but still have plenty of candy left to hoard in that top cabinet where no one else will find it!  What?!  You know you do that too!


First order of business on the new house definitely had to be the girls’ rooms.  They were part of the upstairs that hadn’t yet been updated and I think they had clearly been painted for two young boys a looong time ago.

Thing 1’s room was a study in primary colors: red walls, yellow ceilings, and blue blinds. 



Thing 2’s room was light blue on top and bright blue on the bottom with a wallpaper border around the center of the room with, I believe, palm trees and race cars.



Plus they both had the original, 23 year old carpet! Definitely time for an update.

The very first day we were in the house, I started patching the holes in the walls.  Every single door in the upstairs (and some downstairs) had a circular hole, shaped suspiciously like a door knob, in the wall behind it.  Definitely young boys used to live here!

Three days after we moved in, I was ready to paint.  My good friend (and new neighbor) volunteered herself and her mom to be my painting buddies, so we were able to knock out both rooms in one day (after, of course, one of my helpers removed the wall paper border and the other spent several hours cleaning the walls).  I was (pleasantly) surprised that each room took only one coat of primer and one coat of paint to cover those bright walls.

We’re planning on replacing the trim around the windows/doors and baseboard, so we didn’t have to be careful about not painting that, which really helped speed up the process.


This house is 23 years old, so the floors are really getting squeeeeeky.  We had already scheduled the carpet installers to come in another week, but we decided to pull up the carpets right away to give us a chance to see what we could do about those squeaks.  Of course, this meant the girls had to live without carpet for a week, but I think the promise of super-soft carpet laid over nice quiet floors made it palatable.

My husband had done some research and found this product called Squeeeeek No More that did the job perfectly!  It’s basically special screws that you drill into your subfloor and joists, then you use a special tool to snap off the top of the screw to just a smidge under the subfloor, so nothing sticks up.  The kit also comes with a doo-hickey that stops your drill when you’ve set the screw deep enough.  You can use it on carpeted floors, as well as hardwood and laminate!

Squueeeek No Moer

They didn’t ask me to say this, but these things were AWESOME!  Completely easy to use and they did just what the package said.  Plus, they were pretty fun to use too!   I had a great time bouncing around on the floors like a ballerina finding squeaks for my husband to obliterate. 

Most of the squeaks were very easy to deal with: they just required one or two screws to tighten up the subfloor, but one of the rooms had a ridiculously tenacious squeak RIGHT AS YOU WALKED IN THE DOOR that we could not get rid of.  I’d convince myself that it didn’t matter, that we could live with it.  Then, I’d walk back into the room and SQUUEEEAAAAKKKK!  There it would go again.  We must’ve sunk, at least, 20 screws into this area.  I was just about to finally give up (because we were almost out of screws), but decided to try one, last time.  I drilled in one more screw and, lo and behold, it worked!  No more squeak!  I can’t wait to use them throughout the rest of the rooms too!


After that, we were FINALLY ready for new carpet.  When the day arrived, we moved everything out of the girls’ rooms and into the master bedroom.  I wish I had taken pictures of that because our room was packed!  The carpets went in and lickety-split, we had livable rooms for the girls!  We had decided not to get new carpet in our room, since that carpet was relatively new, but MAN are we sorry about that decision.  Now, you walk from the upstairs landing into our room and it’s a complete let-down for your feet.  That decision definitely needs to be revisited!

Anyway, I’ll give you a progress shot of the newly re-painted and re-carpeted rooms.  They’re definitely not done (most notably, the trim needs to be replaced with big, beefy casings – Oh, and new blinds are one the way!), but they’re muuuch better already.



One could even sleep in here!


Monday, October 28, 2013

What TODO, What TODO?!

In my last post we toured the new house.  In this post, we’ll walk through and make a list of what I hope to do in each room.  This house is mostly great as is, but it doesn’t really look like our home, so we’ll be making lots of changes (and using lots of paint!) to make this home feel more like us.

The Foyer


  • Paint a new (more-me) color
  • Change out the light fixture
  • Get rid of the angled corners on the doorway into the piano room and, possibly, add a transom window up above (like this)
  • Beef  up trim around doorways
  • Remove the door from the coat closet behind the front door and widen it to become a bench seat/landing station (like this)
  • Paint a fun color on the back of the door
  • Different wainscoting treatment (?)
  • Refinish wood floors in a darker color




Possibly some day, down the road, we’ll replace the cabinets and re-work the kitchen, since it’s not actually very functional the way it is, but for the foreseeable future, we’ll work on making it prettier and as functional as possible:

  • Paint the cabinets white!
  • Change out knobs and pulls
  • Paint the walls
  • Cut missing shelf for one lower cabinet, so we can actually use it!
  • Build pull out drawers for cabinets
  • Get rid of the angled corners in the doorway
  • Beef up trim around doorways
  • Refinish wood floors in a darker color




(This isn’t even my mess – mine is much, much worse!)

  • Paint walls
  • Paint shelves
  • Add baskets and containers to organize this mess!
  • Replace door with 5-panel door


Family Room/Eating Nook


  • Paint walls
  • Change out knobs
  • Beef up trim around windows and doors
  • Replace light fixture in eating nook
  • Tile over red brick (possibly just paint white in the short-term)
  • Re-build mantel to be bigger and chunkier
  • Replace carpet with hardwoods


Powder Room



  • Paint walls
  • Paint cabinet
  • Replace knobs and drawer pulls
  • Replace sink and faucet (the sink is very pretty, but it’s shallow and hard to wash your hands in!
  • Replace door with a solid, 5-panel door
  • Refinish wood floor


Dining Room


  • Paint walls
  • Beef up trim around doors and windows
  • Replace light and ADD MORE lighting!
  • Widen doorway and get rid of angled corners; possibly add transom window above (like this)
  • Possibly a different wainscoting treatment (?)
  • Replace carpet with hardwood


Piano Room


  • Paint walls
  • Beef up trim around doors and windows
  • ADD ANY lighting!
  • Replace carpet with hardwood
  • Possibly a different wainscoting treatment (?)
  • Possibly add built-in shelving (?)




  • Clean up this disaster area!
  • Figure out a desk situation! and how to also make this a guest bedroom
  • Paint
  • Beef up trim around windows and doors
  • Replace door with 5-panel door
  • Replace carpet with hardwoods


Laundry Room


  • Remove wallpaper border
  • Paint walls
  • Replace cabinets with either shelves or different cabinets
  • Build folding counter over machines
  • Replace flooring (possibly just with stick-on tiles – or maybe paint it!)
  • Build drying rack
  • Replace door with 5-panel door




  • Paint walls
  • Replace carpet with wood treads and white risers
  • Add white wainscoting to lighten up the area
  • Create gallery wall
  • Replace lighting with something bright and dramatic


Upstairs Landing (aka The Hall of Doors)

There are 6 (yes, that’s SIX) doors in this tiny landing!  It’s like something from The Ministry of Magic…or Twin Peaks!


  • Paint walls
  • Beef up trim around doors
  • Replace bedroom and bathroom doors with 5-panel doors (possibly just paint them in the short-term)
  • Remove skinny closet doors and turn them into shelves and drawers (like this)
  • Replace carpet


Girls’ Bathroom


  • Paint walls (bye bye fishies!)
  • Beef up trim
  • Paint cabinets
  • Replace countertop (in short-term, try painting it)
  • Repair broken tiles in shower
  • Re-finish bathtub
  • Replace flooring
  • Add storage


Girls’ Bedrooms


  • Paint walls
  • Paint ceilings
  • Replace carpet
  • Beef up trim around windows and doors and floor
  • Add crown molding
  • Paint closet doors (eventually add trim to mimic 5-panel doors)
  • Replace blinds


Master Bedroom


  • Paint walls
  • Replace carpet
  • Beef up trim around windows and doors and floor
  • Add crown molding
  • Replace blinds
  • Possibly build built-ins (?)


Master Bathroom


  • Paint walls
  • Paint cabinets
  • Add knobs and drawer pulls
  • Fix faucets
  • Beef up trim around windows and doors
  • Trim out mirror (? – depending on how far out the long-term is)
  • Replace door with solid, 5-panel door
  • Replace vanity with shorter one; replace counter-top and mirror
  • Replace sinks and faucets
  • Move toilet over to side of new, shorter vanity
  • Make shower bigger, tiled, and door-less
  • Replace flooring
  • Re-tile bathtub surround


Seems like we have our work cut out for us!  Best get started!  First up: the girls’ bedrooms!

Friday, October 25, 2013

New House Tour

Welcome to our new home!  I thought I’d start with a tour of the new home before I jump into my first projects.   My husband was smart enough to snap a bunch of pictures with his camera just minutes before the movers came in with the first of the boxes and furniture.  I’m so grateful he had his head on straight that morning!

Let’s start at the front door – seems like a very good place to start…


(Note: this picture was actually taken at our inspection, so those pots and the chair belong to the previous owner.)

As you walk in, you’re greeted by a fairly large foyer and a view of the beautiful, stainless steel apron sink in the kitchen.  If the fact that the kitchen sink is the first thing you see when you enter my house isn’t enough for me to keep the dishes done, I don’t know what will be!  There’s actually a pocket door in that doorway to the kitchen, which could hide a messy view, but it’s super-heavy and (for some reason) unpainted, so I doubt it will get used much.


The kitchen is a fairly standard U-shape with a vaulted ceiling, so it feels very big when you walk in.  After living here for a month and a half, I’m not loving the functionality of the cabinets, but at least it looks pretty good.



To the left of the kitchen is a small eating nook that leads into the family room.


The nook also has a sliding door out to the back deck.


The family room has nice built-ins and a gas fireplace.  It’s a little bit smaller even than the rather small family room in our last house, so this will be a good place to practice decorating for small spaces, since it’s really the place that requires the most furniture (need a place for everyone’s butt when we’re having family movie night!).


Just opposite the eating nook is a small walk-in pantry and a powder room (wow!  this picture is really yellow…):


To the right of the kitchen is the dining room.  This room feels fairly small right now, but I think it’s actually a pretty decent size – the doorways are just small and confining.  The room itself sits above the backyard and is surrounded by trees, so when you’re sitting at the table, you feel like you’re dining in a tree house.  I love that!


Connected to the dining room – heading back towards the front of the house - is the formal living room, though in our house it’s really the piano room.  The piano fits absolutely perfectly in that front window and the room is just a little bit more workable than our last living room, which I’m really enjoying.


And from the living room, you get back to the foyer and can see the stairs leading up to the bedrooms.


The previous owners had been planning on selling this coming Spring and had been working on getting the house ready.  The had done a lot of work downstairs, but nothing upstairs yet, so the bedrooms hold lots of projects for my future.

Here’s the master bedroom.  It’s actually pretty big and can fit our treadmill (if it were to ever be set up again) AND a bed and some chairs.  I think we’ll really appreciate that.


The master bath…big but dated…but with a nice soaking tub surrounded by trees:


The two girls’ bedrooms need absolutely no work and are totally move-in ready (NOT!):


The girls also have a small bathroom upstairs that needs a fair bit of work and there is a laundry room downstairs that I can’t wait to get my hands on!  I can’t seem to find any pictures of those at the moment, though, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

That’s it (mostly – some day I’ll show you our beautiful yards too)!  Thanks for stopping by.

Next post, we’ll walk through again and make a list of all our hopes and plans for these spaces, which will, hopefully, keep me motivated and focused as I prioritize my future projects!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Year, Another House


WARNING: This post is decidedly short on pictures.  Read on for a brief-ish re-cap of my summer and stay tuned for more pictures in coming days… 


It’s been well over a year since my last post and it was a year between it and the previous post.  Clearly I’m ambivalent about this blogging thing.

When I last wrote, we had just had hardwood floors installed throughout our main floor, up the stairs, and into the upstairs hallway.  They were beautiful and I adored them.  And I planned on adoring them for many years to come.  But this past June, an opportunity presented itself to move into a neighborhood that we’ve been wanting to live in for years.  We’d tried to move a few times before and it hadn’t worked out, so we figured it wasn’t in the cards, but this June, I was tired of wishing and wondering and so we decided to do it: we put on offer on what we lovingly called “The Ugly House”.  It was accepted and we put our house on the market on July 3rd.  By July 5th, our house had sold and we were ecstatic.  On July 6th, we had the inspection on “The Ugly House” and everything came crashing down around our ears.

The inspection came up with way too many issues beyond the obvious cosmetics we had prepared ourselves to deal with – the biggest being a sinking foundation.  The sellers weren’t willing to fix it, so we walked away from the house.   Unfortunately, we had already sold our house, so we were looking at leaving the house that we loved to move into an apartment with an uncertain outlook on when another house would come available in the neighborhood that we loved.

Let me tell you, July was a stressful month!  Fortunately, a lucky star must have been shining down on us because our friend (who already lived in the neighborhood and lives across the street from the house we were going to buy) used her not-inconsiderable networking prowess and found us a new house!  This new house was only a few doors more down the street and was decidedly NOT ugly.  The owners had been planning to move in the Spring, so they had updated the downstairs already.  They hadn’t yet gotten to the upstairs, but that gives us a nice mix of visitor-ready and DIY-ready rooms.  You can read more of the story at my new neighbors house here:

There was much more up and down during the purchase and August was also an exceedingly stressful month culminating in our closing date on our new house being pushed back a week.  So, we ended up moving out of our old house and into our friends’ house for a week.  You don’t often get to have a week-long slumber party as an adult, so that actually turned out to be pretty fun!  FINALLY, on September 4th (the first day of school), we were able to move into our new house.  Our girls left one house for their first day of school at their new schools and came home to a different house!  Welcome home!


It took me about a month to recover from what I lovingly think of as “The Summer of Hell”, but I’m nearly healed and have started in on my first projects.  I’m finding that I, at least, want to share these projects with my family and friends, so I’m going to make another attempt at keeping this blog updated.

Check back for more updates…

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