Thursday, December 31, 2015

Clean Slate

I love the feeling of new beginnings!  Makeovers, fresh starts, the beginning of a new school year, and of course January 1 and New Year's resolutions.  Personally and professionally I have big plans for this year, so I really need somewhere to keep track of my house goals so I don't go off course.  And also so I have some accountability in getting them done!  I have been reading Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before and the hubs and I have determined that I am an Obliger, so if I put my plans out here where people could see them I will hopefully be more likely to do them!

So, on the agenda for 2016:

I have big plans for the outside of our house and I know that a lot of them are going to be longer term, but I will get a privacy fence up this year!  I want to use lattice topped panels along the front of the back yard with plain dog ear panels along the sides, and they will be stained/painted black.  I would like to then plant junipers or arborvitae in front of it with some box woods and other greenery.  Since we then won't be able to easily access our garbage cans if they stay where we currently have them then I would like to put a screen to the front side of our garage so that they can be hidden from the street.



I also want to do some work on the front porch.  While my in-laws were down for Christmas my hubby and his dad spent some time and elbow grease on the new/old front door that we have to replace our current one.  I want to get that painted and hung this spring, we want to remove the railings on our front porch since the house is on grade and you won't fall off, it really just makes the front porch feel smaller, and we need to install some new lights and numbers.


In the foyer I want to replace the ugly flush mount that is there with something a little nicer and possibly stencil or stamp a design on the walls, we will see how that goes.


I want to get our living room and hallway walls painted since we have had test swatches up for about 6 months or so now!  I also want to get curtains hung and try to turn our existing coffee table into an upholstered ottoman.  Hubby thinks that will be impractical so I will have to see if I can convince him!

If you look to the right of the fireplace you can see all the samples!

In the kitchen I really want to paint over the baby poop yellow walls and get the cabinets painted and new hardware added.  A new sink and faucet would be great, as would some new lighting and curtains.  And we really need to get a small table/desk built and a storage hutch so that we can set up a secondary computer in there.

Our hall bathroom needs a little attention paid to it too.  I want to paint the vanity and add new hardware, and get some new lighting and art hung.


The big project though will be converting a shed in our backyard into a work space for me.  If I meet some of my professional goals for the year then I will need an office where I can keep files organized and do some work out of the way of the little ones.  It needs to be thoroughly cleaned, some insulation and a window unit added, I want to add some ship-lap to the walls and paint the plywood floors, and get some french doors to put on to add some light.  We have furniture for the space, it will just be a matter of cleaning it up and making it pretty.


I doubt we will get all of this done but I plan to try my best!  We may jump on the One Room Challenge bandwagon again since it really served to motivate us!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Outside, Everybody, Outside!

Our old house was on a half acre lot which is a really nice size, but it was a pie slice shaped lot with most of the yard in the front and on the side.  We had a detached garage in the backyard, along with a deck off the house, and eventually we added a swing set for our son.  This ate up a lot of the space.  We also talked about adding a fence so that we could let our kids play outside but couldn't figure out a good way to add one that would still allow us to access our garage easily by car.  When we decided to move we knew we had to find a home on at least half an acre, preferably more.  When we looked at the house we now own I knew it was a strong contender for "the one" as soon as we stepped out the back door!
 Our current house is on just over an acre and has a good size front yard, and a really huge backyard.  We have grape vines, two orange trees, and some mature blueberry bushes.  It's our suburban homestead.  For our son's last birthday we had the party at our house and rented a HUGE bounce house for him.  At 60 feet long it was three train cars with different features in each one.  The kids had a blast on it and we still had plenty of room for other play and grilling space and eating space.

As we have lived with the space longer though we are starting to figure out what we should probably do to optimize the space for us in the future.  We have a patio on the back already but hope to expand it further and cover a portion with a pergola.  We know we need to fence the space in and hope to do some landscaping.  There is an oyster roast pit with a small slab in front of it that I would like to make into a feature with a pea gravel patio.  I think the kids would love a play house at some point and some day we really hope to add a pool.


A lot of these are pipe dreams for now but I really hope that by next summer we can manage to fence the yard and make the patio by the house bigger.  One more pretty inspiration:


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Building a Bath

When we first purchased our first house it was a three bedroom, one and a half bath house.  Early on we realized that should we ever want to sell we would probably fare far better with a 3/2.  At that point I began considering how we could eke out a full bath from a very small half bath.  I kind of thought we would eventually add on to the rear of the house which would enable us to bump out the third bedroom into a spacious master suite.  

We lived with the bathroom as is for several years since that bedroom was being used by my husband as his man cave and I didn't really use it much, so it didn't bother me.  When we found out we were expecting our first child my mother wanted to make sure we had a nice place to put our guests so she helped us replace the carpet in the man cave and make it into a nice guest room (we had converted the guest room into a nursery).  She also helped us do a mini makeover on the attached half bath.  We put in new vinyl flooring, painted the vanity and installed a new counter top and sink, along with new lighting and framing out the sheet glass mirror.  This made it feel much cleaner and brighter for everyone that came to stay with us to see the new baby!

Then, when we found we were expecting baby number 2 (notice a theme here?  we did a lot of work on the house during both pregnancies!)  we decided it was time to pull the trigger on making the space into a true master suite.  The previous half bath was located next to a closet so we decided to steal the space from that to convert to a walk in shower.  We walled up the closet door, opened the wall between half bath and the closet where the vanity above was, turned the vanity 90 degrees and utilized an antique dresser, and built a knee wall between the vanity and the shower.  We installed a frameless glass enclosure for the shower and vessel sink.  I wanted to try to stay true to the period and style of the home and so we installed subway tile on the shower walls, a bead board wainscoting through the rest of the bath, and a black and white basket weave tile on the floor.  We had a small bench installed in the corner of the shower and a niche for shampoo, etc.

When we were at the closing for the sale of the house the buyer's agent mentioned what a risk we had taken by not having a full bathtub/shower combo in there, and we thought about that but a full tub would not have fit so we used the space instead to make sure the shower would be a really nice size.  It ended up being about 3.5 x 4 feet which the buyer said is what sold her on it!

To make up for the lost closet we installed two smaller ones into the room on either side of the bed.  I took the inspiration from the units that John and Sherry had used in their first master bedroom.  Rather than being freestanding units though they were framed in.  My husband had his side and I had mine.  Our nightstands were shelves attached to the walls of the closet and we had sconces wired in to make up for the lack of space for bedside lamps.

As much as we love all the extra room our new home affords, that was a nice bedroom and bath.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

In this time of instant gratification in the form of Pinterest, and Intagram, and blogs, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks for all of my blessings including my unfinished and dated home.  It is so easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be beautiful and perfect right now and to forget that just the state of owning or even having a home is a blessing not enjoyed by everyone.

Yes, it would be nice to have all my rooms be organized and beautifully decorated but instead I have 2 beautiful children that I want to provide the best for, a wonderful husband who is willing to go along with most of my harebrained schemes, a healthy family including 2 sets of grandparents to my children, who are willing and able to spend time with them, a home big enough for all of us to be comfortable, and enough money to care for us all.

I want to try to take this whole holiday season to remember that we are not judged by how beautifully our home is designed, our families are going to be more affected by the feeling in our home.  No one will know nor should they care, whether your chandelier came from Circa, Pottery Barn, Lowe's, or even the local Restore.  Let's all take the time and energy we could spend on renovating and decorating and spend it on building the important things.  I hope our children will remember growing up in a nice home, but most importantly I want them to remember having a comfortable home and to cultivate in them an attitude of gratitude.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ideas for a new master bedroom

So, a friend of mine moved into a new house not too long ago and decided that she wanted to redo her bedroom.  She has a pretty classic, slightly cottage, southern style but asked for a little help pulling things together.

The room isn't huge and has 2 off centered windows.  She just bought a new, dark wood bed that she would like to reuse but needs new nightstands.  She also really likes her green, lattice print curtains that she hopes to reuse as well as an upholstered armchair in a red and green paisley.

(a picture from the listing when she purchased the house)

I put together 2 ideas for her to consider and can't wait to see if she does anything like either of them!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge Reveal! Thank goodness!

For the sake of getting our laundry room done we are participating in Linda's One Room Challenge.  In 6 weeks we have totally transformed this room into something beautiful and functional!  And we have gotten to follow along on some other great projects to keep us motivated!

The laundry room/mudroom/pantry is done and it is even better than I anticipated!

We now have the folding shelf I have been wanting!  The hubby built a knee wall and we just balanced a piece of plywood between that and a support on the far wall.  We painted the plywood with chalkboard paint to give it a nice, matte black finish.  We debated using a peg system on the underside to keep it in place but make sure it was easily removable but once we had it in place we realized it didn't move easily so just left it as is.  If we decide it is moving too much at any point we may put the pegs in place.  I also didn't want all the space on the counter to get taken up with detergent, etc. so we got some black brackets and a marble threshold and made a little shelf.

For the sink area the hubs built a support for an Ikea Domsjo and we fronted it with a decorative cutout.  We went this route because we wanted to be able to house the litter box under it and behind a skirt.  We will see how the cat handles the skirt, we may end up making two panels that we can leave open most of the time.  We used some large scale, granite tiles as the counter top around the sink because I thought that would be more durable with the sink there.  I found them at Home Depot one day when I was there for work and was fascinated by them.  I had thought about using them as the counter tops throughout the room but when I showed them to the hubby he was nervous about cutting them.  That was fine because the plywood did end up being cheaper.  But by the time we went back to get the tiles they were on clearance and weren't a bad price.  We got a commercial style, sprayer faucet because I thought that might be the most useful in the laundry.

Years ago we bought a wall cabinet at Habitat Restore that we thought about using in the bathroom remodel at our old house.  It turned out to be too wide so we have been saving it since.  It completely worked here though with a shelf above and a rod off the side.  I air dry most of my clothes so that was non-negotiable.

On the other side of the room we replaced the pantry closet with some drawer cabinets and shelves above.  I like keeping most of the stuff we use regularly in clear or glass jars so open shelves weren't really a big deal but we kept the drawers for less attractive but still necessary stuff like snack foods and bread.

We also added another base cabinet as a place to put our recycling and any random things we need to keep in here.  Again all the counter tops on this side are chalkboard painted plywood.  We had the bench in there before and liked it as a place to drop things like bags and the cat likes to sleep there too.  At some point I want to have a box cushion sewn for it but the budget for that wasn't here right now.

We will probably hang some art at some point and maybe add a lamp but for now we are so happy with how great the space looks!  I thoroughly anticipate it will function as well as it looks too!

I can't wait to see how everyone else's projects turned out!  I'm sure everyone is as happy as we are to be done with their space!