Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Husband Hates Me!

Every time we start a project, my mind starts to wander to the next one.  In this case, less than half the floors have the new wood on them, and I'm already planning projects far in advance.  I just received a test message that said, "Can we just finish one thing at a time please?"  Whoops!

Instead of driving him nuts, I have decided it would be good to document my ideas somewhere so I'm "telling someone" and have a place to reference back to.

Project Half Bath
Floors: Slate
New items: Pedestal sink, toilet, mirror, oil rubbed bronze faucet
Things that need to be done: Trim painted, door handle changed, walls painted, towel holder painted, light fixture painted


Project Dining Room
Floors: Wood - almost complete
New items: Crown molding, wainscoting

Project Stairwell
New items: Wainscoting, wall sconce
Things to do: Stain/paint railings, hang picture collage

I have also discovered a way for me to make myself like my kitchen cabinets more.  When we moved in, I immediately painted them white to disguise the hideous oak color that I hate everywhere else in the house.  Unfortunately, I still don't love them and they seem blah.  Today I was reading a great blog called A Lovely Avenue.  While looking through her house tour, I noticed that she had bead board around the peninsula in her kitchen.
That made a light bulb go off in my head! I think the bead board would be a great finisher to our white cabinets and disguise some of that "hand painted" look that we have.

Friday, April 27, 2012


We have some floors! I love the color even more than we did when Scott picked them out.  Way more.  As soon as we started laying them yesterday, I could tell we made the right choice.

The hand scraped detail really adds a lot of personality and character to the floors, and makes them look much more like wood versus cheap laminate.

They are incredibly dirty in all these pictures from the silicone process.  For each board, we are laying a layer of silicone at the seams.  In our last house, the water in the kitchen and Kaya's cries for attention (peeing in the corner if we aren't letting her sit on our face) led to swelling at the seams.  To prevent that this time around, we are not installing in the kitchen or half bath, we purchased floors with a beveled instead of square edge, and we are using the silicone.  The product is highly recommended for wet areas.  While this greatly increases the labor time, it seems that it will be well worth it in the long run.

We were able to get through almost 200 square feet yesterday.  Scott had to leave in the afternoon to go fix something for someone at work.  That left me to learn how to lay laminate! I would have never thought it was truly as easy as it is.  All it takes is the piece of laminate, underlayment (if it's not attached like it is on our floors), some silicone (if you're using it) a rubber mallet, a "cheat" piece to pound the mallet with so you don't damage the edges, a saw (we are using a few different types for different cuts but don't ask me to tell you what!) and lots of patience. 

The mailman also surprised us and brought a new cat house.  Since our cats LIVE on the carpet and one of them never even moves from one spot, we thought it would be nice to get them something soft since there is no more carpet.

The younger cat (Caspain/Kitty Kitty Meow) adores it and doesn't seem to let the other cat on.  Hopefully that will change.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scratch That!

Who would have ever thought that choosing your new floors would be so hard?  When we had our condo in Seattle, the major determining factor was the cost.  As a result, we ended up at Ikea buying laminate for $0.99/square foot.  The floor looked quite nice, but didn't have the standing power to live up to toys, puppy paws, and high heels.

Now that we have a bit more flexibility as far as the price, we have found we are overwhelmed with choices and materials.  Originally, we were going to match the current type of wood we have in our home (white oak) and stain and refinish all of it to match.  After realizing the whole refinishing process would be a pain (especially having to move 4 pets and us out of the house for an unknown amount of time) we decided against that option.

Since our original plan, we've gone back and forth between laminate, bamboo, and prefinished hardwoods.  Each store we went to, we'd pick a new favorite material.

And after all that, we have a product winner!

They are a highish end laminate floors.  They are called SwiftLock Plus and are supposed to be indestructible by dogs.  We will have to see on that.  My dogs are pretty talented! The color is called Chestnut Hickory and they are handscraped.  I couldn't be happier with how they will look!

These floors are going to cover approximately 1,000 square feet on the main living area including the living, dining, family, office and entry.  I want to do them in the kitchen, but after the disaster in the last house with any water that gets on them, we have decided slate may be a better option for us!

Scott's dad who does all of our electrical (since George isn't around to change our fixtures!) has changed all of our downstairs hall lights for us.  Well...3 of the 4.  I only bought 2 new fixtures, not realizing there were 4.  Then he replaced the 3rd and found a 4th.  Oh bother.

More of the oil rubbed bronze that is making itself well known throughout our house.  Another small (and cheap!), but impactful change.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Office Project Inspiration Board

A minute ago, I posted about the major project that we hope we are able to finish while my father in law is in town with us.  My other exciting project is one that I hope I can get an inspiration board going for, as my mother in law wants to help!  Jeanette (Scotty's wonderful mother) is coming at the end of May which is perfect timing to complete my office/craft room remodel!

I start school again May 7th.  Ugh.  More school.  I have the longest ever recorded bachelor's degree.  But that's OK.  Especially since I make more money than a lot of college grads.  Har har har! 

Anyways! Even though I am finishing online, I think I really want a space where I can close the door and ignore my husbands questions on what is for dinner.  That tends to happen a lot mid online test in our house.  We have the perfect office space right off the family room that has lovely glass doors.  Currently, the room consists of 2 dog crates, our vacuum and a bookshelf that I recently bought as I was sick of seeing my books in boxes. 

The dog crates will probably stay since the fire department says it is safest to have animals that are crated on the ground floor of the house.  We installed a special smoke detector that automatically calls the fire department, so what is the point of having that contraption if the people can't find my dogs? 

That leaves me a decent sized blank room.  I'd like to do a table type desk rather than a traditional desk with drawers and compartments as I use my laptop on my lap the majority of the time. 

The best part about office planning has been searching for a rug! I absolutely love rugs.   RugsUSA is having a 40% off sale right now which includes a rug I have been eyeballing for awhile.  I am the type of person that will design a room around one random object.  Who needs paint and furniture picked out when you can buy all that later and match it to your lovely rug?

It's a twist on the classic chevron in a charcoal and cream colored.  I LOVE it. 

RugsUSA also has a flokati rug that I think I'll purchase for the family room that is light gray.  The dogs hate hardwoods.  Poor things.  They're not even totally stoked on the black one that my mom brought us that is currently down to help disguise some of the disgusting carpet stains.  My dogs happen to be quite opinionated on their rug preference. We used to have a shaggy rug in our condo (before my lovely husband spilled a quart of dark purple paint when we were doing wedding projects on it) and the dogs have never loved a rug as much since, despite trying many options.  I've read a lot about the care and maintenance of flokati and I think I'm ready to take on the commitment. 

Back to the office!

I really like the idea of doing something slightly girly as the rest of our house will always stay pretty neutral and almost masculine.

I'm a horrible person and didn't write down any of the links where I got these.  So they have no sources.  Looking through those, I'm realizing I must be liking green right now!

Let the Fun BEGIN!

Tomorrow, we are picking Scotty's dad up at the airport.  It will be great to see him.  But what is even GREATER is the fact that he has been employed to be our house remodel helper!  He will be with us for 2 weeks and we hope that a lot can be accomplished between him and Scott in that time (I might even help...a little...). 

The first and in my opinion BEST change is that we are finally ripping up the carpet.  The ugly carpet with the chewed dog holes and lord knows what else the previous owners have left us as far as diseases.  We haven't picked out the exact color, but know that is being finalized this weekend.  We have it narrowed down to an espresso bamboo and a slightly lighter than espresso colored bamboo.  There is a GIANT sale going on at Lumber Liquidators this weekend, so we could end up bringing something different home.

The other bonus of having the floors done is that the half bathroom gets remodeled by default.  We are going to be pulling the cabinet up to lay the floors down, so we figured it would be the perfect time to do the rest.  I have a pedestal sink picked out as well as a new toilet.  (There is nothing wrong with our toilets other than the fact that they EAT water at an ungodly rate.)  We will also continue on replacing the fixtures with the oil rubbed bronze and turn the towel bar (who the hell needs a towel bar in a half bath) for a towel ring.  My mom brought us a shiny chrome one that she pulled out of her house.  I think we are going to try to DIY it to oil rubbed bronze.

We read about some great spray paint that can be used on fixtures.  When we ordered new door levers for the downstairs, we realized we would need new hinges.  We were able to find a great deal on the levers (less than 1/4 what we would have paid at Home Depot) but hinges were almost $2/each! Scratch that idea. 
We did some researching and heard about people having great luck with this spray paint.  I figure it can't hurt to try it on the towel ring as well.  I may even use it on the light fixture...that $10 can could end up saving us $100's of dollars on the half bath remodel!

Now that I'm looking at this lovely picture from the previous owners...I'm realizing we will need a mirror too.  I had a great mirror that we used in our old bathroom that I found at Marshall's for less than $20.  I'll have to go start scouring this weekend to see if I can have similar luck!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sunny Weekend Projects

Another wonderful weekend has come and gone.  With weather in the mid 80's, the yard was screaming for some attention.  Unfortunately, I have about zero skills when it comes to yard work.  I know absolutely nothing about gardening, yards, anything.  And we didn't even own a shovel.

Saturday was spent with Samantha (our new roommate/Scott's cousin/friend of mine who just moved down here from Seattle and is transitioning at our house) at Home Depot.  Actually now that I think of it, Saturday and Sunday were both pretty much spent at Home Depot.

While we were there on Saturday, we picked up some basics like shovels and turf builder to get our lawn green and beautiful again.  Hopefully it helps.  Our yard is pretty horrific.  It appears that the lawn and garden areas were super nice at one point in time.  One point in time being the key to that statement.  I'd say the yard was neglected for nearly 2 seasons.

Scott started messing around with the underground sprinkler system to make sure it all worked.  Other than one area of pipe that needs to be replaced, the system works great and will be a time saver once it gets hotter out and we need to water more often.  Did I mention it's snowing today? Yup.  80's over the weekend, snow today.  We aren't watering the lawn--yet.

A few months ago, we had purchased a lawn mower when we found a great deal at an outlet.  Unfortunately, this great deal of a lawn mower turned out to be a lemon.  When Scott tried to start it, it started spitting oil all over our driveway.  Attractive.  He started opening it up and it looks like the mower was used.  So we paid for a new product and very possibly received a used and unworking one.  Bummer.  We quickly returned it to the outlet. 

Our Sunday consisted of a hunt for a lawn mower and patio furniture.  After traveling all over the city, we settled on products that were both at Home Depot.  Naturally we couldn't have picked them both up on 1 trip to the store.  No, instead we made about 12 trips there in the course of the day.  I did find some 50% off plants and pots.  I'm attempting to grow tomatoes, onions, lettuce and some herbs.  Chances are, all will die.  I have a death thumb, not a green thumb.  But at least I'm killing 50% off plants instead of full price plants!

Torro Personal Pace Recycle Mower
We also found a great deal on some solar outdoor lights.  I really hated how dark our walk way up to the front door was.  Now a regular person would turn on their porch light.  But I am not a regular person.  And I really don't like my porch lights.  So instead we found some great lights for under $3 each at Walmart.

Not the easiest thing to photograph, but you get the idea.  And the photos also appeared on their side...lovely.  We think we need about 8 more to finish the pathway and make it look even better.  We are also going to find something bright and colorful and alive to go on the right side of the walkway on that wall.  I'm not sure what as that space is really small, but I think it will add some life to the front of the house.

Scott dedicated the last part of our weekend to George.  When my mom and George were in town, George was nice enough to assist Scott in putting our BBQ together.  It's a duel fuel that has both charcoal and gas and it is absolutely wonderful.  But from the short summary I received on the project and amount of alcohol consumed, it didn't appear to be wonderful to put together.  This weekend Scott converted the BBQ to run off the natural gas that was piped from our house.  After being told by numerous people that is was not convertable and trying multiple different kits, my genius of a husband finally figured it out.  And at about 9:30 PM on Sunday night, we were enjoying hamburgers fresh from the BBQ.  Dinner hypothetically would have been around 6 so that gives you a small hint as to what Scott went through.  On the plus side, now George and Scott get to enjoy the BBQ together next time my mom and George grace us with their presence.

This is not my patio.  This is a patio of a much nicer home than mine.  My patio will probably never be this pretty.
Next step on the home remodel project - new hardwood floors.  Stay tuned!