Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Reveal: The Entry...well, sorta

Yesterday’s post brought everyone up to speed with all the renovation progress we’ve made over the last 6 months that we’ve lived here. Phase 1 is nearing completion and now it’s time for the fun stuff! Today I want to dive right in and share a little more about the updates we made to the entry – the first official space that received an update and the hardest working area of our home! Tackling this space first really helped keep our life in check even when the rest of the house was a destruction zone those first few months.

Progress on the entry was fast and furious in the beginning but then it was the little finishing details that I got hung up on. I mentioned in this post about the trouble I had finding the perfect rug, but not only did the rug hold me up, but so did the art, and the accessories too.

I like to take my time with any space and let it evolve so instead of feeling pressured to have it “finished” before I revealed it to you, I’ve decided to share where we’re at today (because it’s come a long way already) and when we finally nail those last few details, I’ll share those with you too.

Aside from wanting to bring a little order and organization to all the chaos around us, this space really lacked any sort of interest.  Honestly? It was by far my least favorite space of the entire house…and if you’ve seen my howdy-doody kitchen…that’s saying a lot.

First thing we did was convert the dated can light for this pretty flush mount all with the help of this $20 conversion kit! See all my favorite flush mount fixtures rounded up here.

We planked the walls on both sides about 3/4 of the way up to bring in some much needed interest. How we did it, and what we learned along the way will be coming to you in a post all its own. One of the quickest (and least expensive ways) to make your house look and feel more expensive than it actually is, is to add things like beefed up baseboards, trim, or moldings like we did here.

I wanted to make the interior part of our front door a focal point so using the same molding we used on all our interior flat paneled doors (tutorial coming soon), I created 2 boxes instead of 1 big box to make this door just a little different from all the rest, but still in the same vein.

I originally painted the door a navy blue, which if you follow me on Instagram, you saw the beginnings of here, but with the navy door, the space started feeling a little beachy/coastal and while I love that look in other people’s homes, it isn’t the right fit for ours.

I had a quart of black (or what I think is black) "oops" paint on hand and 2 coats later, we were back on track. Can't go wrong with black and white!

The new hardware we installed is just different enough without disappearing completely into the black door. We upgraded the hardware on the front door when we up upgraded the hardware throughout the rest of the house and chose the Schlage Century in oil rubbed bronze from Door Hardware 4 Less online. After locking ourselves out of the house twice (yes…twice!) in the first month we lived here, this was a must have on our to-do list.

Without a typical coat closet we needed a space to hang hats, jackets, and bags. These coat hooks I found at Lowe’s fit the bill and look expensive without being expensive.

To finish off the space, I added a bold red rug, for the perfect pop of color amongst all the neutral finishes. After weeks and weeks (literally) of searching, I pulled the trigger on this stunner from this Ebay seller. It isn’t antique or one-of-a-kind but who would know the difference? And for about $100, the price couldn’t be more perfect.

Here's a side by side comparison of how far this space has come:

So much better, right?!

We’ve still got a lot to do here…mainly add in some art opposite the hooks and finish off the drop zone/mail station at the end of the entry. Here's a small sneak peak at the drop zone at the end of the entry:

As we fine tune this space and add in those final accessories, I’ll update you as things progress but I hope you enjoy what we’ve done so far!  

Monday, September 19, 2016

A 6 Month Check In + House Progress

September marks 6 months in the new house. In many ways it feels like we’ve lived here forever…we’ve settled into a nice routine and the house is basically liveable…but the construction tools in every nook and cranny and the constant layer of demo dust somewhere in some room, reminds me that we’re still not there. We’re close. But no cigar.

I feel like it’s taken us every last bit of these last 6 months to be at a place where I can finally say that the end is near…or at least for Phase 1 it is. In all honesty…there are times when I feel like we’ve come so far but then I see what other bloggers are doing in the same time frame and I get so discouraged that we haven’t accomplished a whole lot more. The comparison game is no joke.

Instead of letting it get me down, I have to remember that we both work full time outside the home and house related projects are essentially non-existent during the week. It’s hard enough to get dinner on the table (or ordered) at a decent hour with softball season in full swing around here while trying to maintain a respectful noise level in the evening so as not to upset all our neighbors. Throw in an exhausted pregnant lady (me) and you can bet that I’m either in bed or have fallen asleep on the couch by 8 pm. So over the last 6 months, we’ve been weekend warriors - just tackling what we can, when we can - and while 6 months is a long time to get a whole lot done, we’re moving a little slower over here and I’m OK with that.

I realize now that I didn’t really blog about what our initial thoughts and plans were for this first phase of our renovation journey, other than posting this monster long to-do list, but I think a lot of that had to do with just being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff we wanted to do, what we envisioned for this house, our time / budget constraints, and not knowing where to start or what to do first.

Today I thought it would be fun to look back on the last 6 months and recap what we started and where we are today, but first…a little bit about our Phase 1 wish list and how much money we had to work with.

After the sale of our house we were left with a small amount of money (about 15k) to put towards the renovations and immediately had to decide what was most important to us and how to stretch the money we had as far as it would go. We knew that we wanted to upgrade the kitchen and both bathrooms but felt that we could do a lot of “whole-house updates” with the money we had rather than pouring that money into a single room...because we all know how quickly 15k can go in a kitchen renovation. We figured that the kitchen and bathrooms would benefit from some easy to-do aesthetic changes and could hold off for a full scale reno, down the line.

In the end, we decided to spend our money by…

Removing all the tile / old carpeting in the whole house: 

And replacing it with new laminate flooring (about 1500 sq ft in total): 

We replaced both toilets with these Kohler beauties (because other people’s butts = gross):

We painted / are in the process of painting the entire house (walls, trim, moldings, doors, etc.):

We closed off a doorway for better flow and visual sight lines in the living room:

And widened our master bedroom entry while we were at it:

We added interest to all our plain/boring flat paneled doors with decorative molding:

We installed new oil rubbed bronze hardware throughout:

And beefed up all the trim and baseboards (still to come) throughout the house:

We created a faux cased opening:

Gave the entry way a much needed update with lots of added interest (more on this soon):

Added a new entry way light fixture:

The front door hardware got upgraded too and the inside got a molding treatment of its own:

Replaced an outdated ceiling fan:

And treated ourselves to a life-changing robot vacuum:

In boring news, we upgraded the thermostat and our main electrical panel after a fire hazard was noted on our home inspection report:

And the biggest expense of them all…these bad boys (3 sets of sliding doors) were replaced just this past weekend due to the foggy glass you see in the picture below:

So what didn’t get accomplished / won’t get accomplished during this phase of renovations that we had hoped would get accomplished?

1.      Reconfigure / expand the master bedroom closet

2.      Add semi-custom wall of built-ins in the living room

Why? Simply put…we ran out of / are running out of money. Aside from the ceiling fan and the robot vacuum, everything else mentioned above, including the master bedroom closet reconfig and built-ins were in the initial plan and budgeted for. What we didn’t know, and/or realize going in was how much replacing those window were going to cost. Not having ever replaced windows before, after some preliminary Internet research and some rough estimates, we budgeted almost half our budget. In the end, the quote came back several thousands higher than we anticipated mainly due to some additional work that was discovered and had to be done during install because the previous set of window were installed incorrectly. How they passed inspection the first time around is beyond me. What a crappy way to spend a bunch of money! But in renovations, these kind of set-backs are par for the course. To course correct, we took a step back and re-evaluated our list half way through and cut the above 2 line items out of the itinerary to get us back on track financially.

Going forward, we’ll modify our plans for the custom built-ins and will most likely go the pre-fab/DIY route to achieve our end goal down the road but it’ll be on a much smaller budget. As for the closet…I’m waffling back and forth on what I want to do / what can be done so it’s probably good we didn’t go full steam ahead with the initial plans anyways until there's a solid plan in place.

All in all, I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot, albeit at a much slower pace. I do want to mention that everything we’ve done up to this point has been paid for by us and done by us (plus help from my Dad too – hey Pops!). Some bloggers are fortunate enough to work with great brands and have formed amazing partnerships to afford them some really awesome perks, kickbacks, products, etc…but this little blog hasn’t reached that status, nor do I know how to go about soliciting such awesome incentives. Plus it’s important to me that you all know that I’m trying to be as honest and transparent about how we’re doing things around here both physically and financially.

Anyways! That brings you up to speed with everything we've managed to accomplish over the last 6 months we've lived in the new house. I have a lot of post coming for a lot of the projects you saw above for the first time so be on the lookout for those! First up tomorrow...the long awaited entry reveal!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hello?! Is this thing on?

It's been a while since I've blogged, but if you follow me on Instagram, then you know there's a pretty amazing reason for my absence...

We've got a little babe on the way!

I took a completely unplanned blog absence, but hey, cooking a baby is hard. Throw in my normal 9-5 job, weekend renovating (yes, it’s still underway), and I feel like I could easily be a zombie extra on the set of The Walking Dead. No problem.

I'm a little over 20 weeks along and finally feeling like myself again. The first few months of my pregnancy were physically draining and I was nauseous almost all day long.  Aside from being nauseous, I was SO tired, taking little cat naps in the car at work when the exhaustion was just too much. But despite all the not so fun things about pregnancy, there just aren't enough words to express how excited we are to welcome a little one early next year. After our devastating loss last year, we couldn't be more thankful to be expecting again.

With baby on the way, we're in a bit of a crunch to get everything put back together so we can spend all our time obsessing over the little one and not on renovating the house. Oh, and let's not forget that we now have to add a nursery to our never ending to-do list