Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Living Room!

 We got the living room done!!! I can't even express how excited I am to have a room done. We've been working on it nonstop for about three weeks, although it feels like I've been painting for my entire life. It's been so much work, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Let's do a before and after first, and then there's more pictures of the process below.

 So this is what the room looked like when we first saw the house. And except for the couch, chair, and pictures, this is what it still looked like when we first moved in:

 And this is what it looks like now: 

Another view. Before:

And after:

 Last one. Before: 

And after: 
We removed the popcorn ceilings, painted the ceiling, trim, banister, and walls, replaced the ceiling fan, installed blinds, whitewashed the fireplace and painted the mantle, hung curtains, and redecorated. Phew. 

This is what we were left with after we cleared out all the previous owners stuff that they had left and cleaned.

And this is the start of the renovation. We started by scraping off the popcorn ceilings. 

 It was tiring, messy work. First we had to spray the ceiling with water and scrape the popcorn off. Once it was dry, we fixed the imperfections in the ceiling with joint compound. When that was dry, we sanded the whole ceiling and wiped it down with tack cloths. Then we painted, which included two coats of primer and one coat of paint. (It probably should have had two coats of paint, but it was like 10:00 at night when we finished the first coat of paint, and I felt physically incapable of doing another one.) The whole ceiling process took about a week and was the longest and hardest part of the project.

We painted all the trim in the room. The trim in the whole house is that weird almond color, so we're changing it all to a crisp white. This picture, where the white trim is up against the yellowy wallpaper and trim of the kitchen, shows the contrast really well. 

Painting and taping. I seriously feel like my whole life has consisted of painting at this point. I spent hours upon hours painting.

We painted the walls last, and when we went to peel the tape off the ceiling (at 11:00 at night), we discovered this:
Apparently, we didn't clean the sanding dust off the ceiling well enough, or wait long enough after painting the ceiling. I don't know, but we peeled off all the layers of primer and paint along with the painter's tape all along the edge of the living room and hallway. It was incredibly frustrating. We had to go back and put joint compound all around the edges, sand it, re-prime and paint the ceiling (using a paint shield this time instead of tape), and then touch up the edges of the wall too. Bleh.

 The fireplace was the last project I tackled. This is the before:

And after. I painted the inside with high-heat paint, whitewashed the brick, and painted the mantle the same color as the wall.

And a few more after pictures just for fun. We did the whole thing in about three weeks, but it honestly felt like forever and I'm SO glad it's done. Now we just have seven more rooms to go...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

So close...

Okay, I know it's been a few weeks since my last post, but I promise I haven't abandoned the blog! We've been working like mad on the living room, and are only a couple days away from finishing. I thought I would blog in little bits and pieces as we worked on things, but turns out that I've been so tired at the end of every day that I just don't have the energy for it, so it'll all be coming in one big post in a few days. It's looking good though, in my humble opinion, and I'll be SO GLAD to have a room totally done. Come back in a few days and see!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It's The Little Things

Sometimes, the best home improvement projects are the relatively quick, easy ones, like a new kitchen faucet! Although, as with most "simple" projects, there is, of course, the requisite late-night trip to Home Depot for a 50 cent part. Mike's actually still there right now (probably wandering aisles for fun).

I love my handy man.

I didn't get a "before" picture, but trust me when I say that the new faucet is a definite improvement. This is the pulled out remnants of the old faucet.

And my shiny new one!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Coming Soon

We were on vacation all last week, which is why nothing new has been going on. But now we're back, so come back soon for some updates - we're planning on starting the living room redo this week. Popcorn ceilings, your days are numbered...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Priority: Play

We have officially finished our first project! (Well, for all intents and purposes. There will be a few more finishing touches). Before painting walls, or putting up blinds, or any of that jazz, we knew we wanted to build the kids a swingset/playhouse. So that's what we spent this last week doing.

But before we get to that, I have a few other pictures to post of a few other little fun things we've been up to in between all the craziness of unpacking and getting settled. (So. Much. Heavy. Lifting.)

This is what most of our house looked like for the first few days. A sea of boxes. Oy. We managed to get mostly settled within a few days, but I'll be happy to not move again anytime in the foreseeable future.

Kids' room done! They were so happy to see so many toys they hadn't seen in 3 months (we kept a lot of stuff in storage in between moving to Tennessee and buying a house).

Reed finally reached his goal of going to bed on his own, and the reward was a Build-A-Bear. He chose a teddy bear (named "Awesome Man") wearing a Kylo Ren costume and roller skates.

Taking a break at the splash pad.

Guys, there are fireflies in our backyard every night!! It's the most awesome thing. We LOVE watching and catching them! If you squint, you can see one in this bug catcher Rachel has.

Reed catching fireflies in a mason jar. Be still, my heart.

Reed just bein' his cute self.

Reed being a zombie. That's what he said he was, anyway.

Our massive yard sale to get rid of all the seller's old stuff. So much stuff.

Rachel just running around the backyard.

Helping Daddy mow the lawn.

Now, onto our project! 
 When we decided to build a swingset, Mike decided that he didn't want a kit. The wood in them isn't all that sturdy, and he wanted to build it the way he wanted. So instead, he researched it a ton and we just made it ourselves. We bought the lumber, screws, and slide at Home Depot, the swings on Amazon, and a bunch of beefy bolts off eBay. Mike seriously was so awesome in getting it all figured out and planned. He's so handy and did an amazing job!

Buying the slide!

All ready to get some lumber!

Helping push the cart at Home Depot.


It doesn't look like a lot of wood here in the truck, but trust me, it was a lot of wood. We rented the pickup from Home Depot to get it home, and it took us a good half hour to unload it all and carry it around to the backyard. A lot of two-by-fours, planks for the floorboards, and big solid pieces for the frame.

The build begins! First, Mike cut these pieces to size and assembled the sides of the frame for the playhouse portion.

Luckily, we had a neighbor outside who was willing to help lift and hold up parts of the frame. It was a three person job.

Once the frame was up, we got to work installing floor joists. A lot of playsets leave the bottom open for a sandbox or just dirt, but we wanted it to have a floor.

Floor in! This was the end of the first day.

The next day I worked on installing the top floor while Mike was at work. It was like 95 degrees out, but I secured the floor joists and got all the planks measured, cut, and down.

Who says building is men's work? Not this girl!

My day's work. :)

Rachel enjoying the new shade, reading her Minecraft book.

That night when Mike got home, we worked on the ladder, steps, and top wall slats.

By that night, we had something that was ready to be tested out!

Reed also utilized some leftover moving boxes. He would slide down and then punch and kick all the boxes over.

The next day, after being in the heat of the big yard sale for a couple of hours, I cut and installed the bottom floor railing and slats while Mike worked on the swings. He built the A-frame, drilled the holes for the swings, and then we leveled and measured for a support on the side of the playhouse to attach the beam to.

The finished product! It still needs a roof, and we have stain for it too, but we used pressure-treated wood, so it needs to dry out for a couple weeks before we stain it. 
The kids have had so much fun on this thing already (and the neighbor boy). And it's sturdy. Mike and I can be on the top, climb up the stairs, and swing all we want and it doesn't move an inch.

Side view.
Reading through this post myself, it sounds like it was pretty easy, but boy was this thing a ton of work! There was a lot of measuring, sawing, and drilling in screws. There was also a lot of trial and error in the details, and a few bonks and bruises along the way. It took us a full week to get it done, and it was super hot outside the whole time. But we're so happy with the finished product!

We're also planning on installing a bunch of fun things for imaginative play, like a steering wheel, telescope, old rotary phones, random switches and buttons, etc. 

Our backyard just got a whole lot more fun!