Monday, October 28, 2013

house flow and rugs

It's very fun to look around the house and start to see a cohesive flow from room to room. Each room has a piece of it's own that makes a pop but all in all the rooms work together (thank goodness!). We are beginning to feel settled here and most of our rooms are completely livable!

We haven't painted and the white walls are starting to bother me, but we have talked about it and we want to be very sure what color we want before we take the time to paint properly. Since it's such a task to really do a great job, we will probably wait for another month to paint the main areas. Bedrooms/sparerooms/basement might come earlier.

I just wanted to show you some of my favorite views in the house - from room to room so you can start to feel the flow like we do!

Photo 1: The first is from the living room to the dining room. The full view (more than just the floors) is much nicer but we aren't done decorating and I don't want to give anything away before we are finished. I love the way the two rugs look with the hardwood floors. Please don't mind the pukey green chair cushions, those are on our list.
Photo 2: The second photo is from the hallway entrance to the living room looking down the hall into the spare room. The hallway is shaping up with a couple of photos and art pieces and the spare room (sneak peak) is almost done! We will have a post about that room after all the spare boxes, etc. are moved out.

I also wanted to show you the rugs I have found for the house. I was never a big fan of area rugs but as soon as you buy a house with all wood floors you become a #1 fan almost immediately!! So far I have only paid full price for one of the rugs that we have in our home - honestly, a good price makes a lovely rug even lovelier still!

Row 1: Left - Dining Room Rug, Home Goods
             Right - Hallway Rug, Target
Row 2: Left - Kitchen Rug, Home Goods/Marshalls
             Right - Living Room Rug, Target (50% off!)
Row 3: Spare Room Rug - hand-me-down (FREE!)

For now, that's all we have to share but there is plenty more to come!

until then, Lindsey

Sunday, October 27, 2013

swing and spray

Well it's been a while but we are still working hard on projects here and there. Today we took advantage of this beautiful Sunday to work outside and enjoy some of the warm not so freezing weather. While Rob worked on some of the weeding, particularly the plants that get stuck in the dogs coats and are a pain to pick out, I started to see what needed to be done to our new patio swing. The swing came from one of my dad's clients, someone who just didn't want it anymore and didn't want to put the work into making it look nice again. Well I'm always up for something free even it needs a little love. 

Honestly, I was even a little skeptical when it was dropped off, I mean look at that cover. Talk about moldy fabric and spider webs galore. This swing had definitely seen better days but it was well worth a little bit of elbow grease to get it back into ship shape. 

I decided the first thing that I would do was take the cover off - it dates the whole swing a little more than Rob and I liked and with all the shade the big tree in our yard provides, we weren't too worried about even making a new one to replace the moldy, ripped cover. 

Rob and I took some sandpaper to the whole unit, wiped it down to relieve it of any remaining bugs or webs and then I started spraying. We decided to go with Rust-Oleum Multi-Colored Texture Spray in "Aged Iron". It's a great product and can be found online for about $5 or in local hardware stores for about 9$, so shop around! One coat on the whole unit (not including the seat or the back of the bench) took three whole cans of the Rust-Oleum. Note: if you use this spray paint, know that it is great for sprucing up a piece but not great for full coverage - if that's your goal, I would use this texture as a second coat. 
All in all it took about three hours with a trip to the local hardware store in the middle for extra paint. Definitely not a hard project but well worth the difference a little sweat equity makes in something that was free!!


As you can see above (before) we were dealing with some rusting and the original paint was wearing thin and becoming green in some areas. It wasn't a solid color originally, maybe a two-tone textured deal? I'm not exactly sure but we just went right over that. 

The results are just noticeable enough and the whole swing looks a lot fresher than before. The pictures below are our "after" results. 

We are starting to love our little backyard, we even got a fire-pit the other night! Super cozy!


Everyone loves the outdoors in our family and we will be using this patio as long as we can before the snow comes! 

lots of love and until our next project, Lindsey


p.s. We got a new dog last weekend and she is great! Harlee, the black butt in the picture above is a 1.5 year old Australian Shepherd who is fitting in perfectly with Oswin, Rob and me. YAY!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Q: What shouldn't your clothes smell like out of the dryer?

A: A campfire.

After doing our first load of laundry about a week after moving in for good, I folded our new white towels and washcloths and put them away in the linen closet upstairs. The next morning, after showering for the day, I noticed that the towel, yes the ones I had just washed and folded, smelled like fire. I thought it was weird but didn't think much of it since we were using unusual laundry soap... I thought it just boiled down to the fact that the new house was weird and the new soap wasn't great. These thoughts, foolish foolish thoughts, are why you have parents who listen to your story and make faces at your weird smelling towels and then immediately tell you to STOP using the dryer before you have a dryer fire. What a "welcome to homeownership", right?

Cleaning out the dryer vent wasn't hard, it's wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't hard. After detaching the pipe, which was barely attached to begin with, I took all the pieces apart and cleaned them until they sparkled (that's a bit of an exaggeration ;))
As you can see the duct tape came right off and it was crunchy... not really doing it's job anymore. You can also see the lint that is just hanging out of the end... it was lovely. Let me take a second to say that I am not weird about dirt and grime and I will clean whatever is necessary but for some reason this bothered me because it was someone ELSES dirt and grime. Who knows what the logic is there but I can say that this was not my favorite house chore thus far.

I mean, really, would you want to stick your arm into that?

After cleaning the (nearly) 8ft pipe I had a pile of gunk and a clean, smoke smell free, dryer vent. It was hard to get every remnant of dust away but all in all, they were in much better shape after a bit of effort.

Looks nice, right? 

All my scraps - lots also ended up in the garbage.

So after the cleaning, Rob and I continued to put the pipe back together with fresh duct tape so it was ready to reinstall. Seemingly simple as the task was, it ended up being a little harder than expected. There are pipes in the ceiling that make it hard to attach the pipe back at the top near the outlet to outside. We had to move the washer and dryer to accomplish this reattachment which would be no biggie but our washer and dryer sit on a four inch pedestal which makes the "scooching" a little harder than usual.We got everything put back together after just about 45 minutes of wrangling the pipe to forcing it to submit to our will (HAHA).

So we accomplished this simple homeowner task without too much hassle and we felt pretty proud! We're still new to this so even the little things are big accomplishments to us ;)

The end? nope. 

The next day I decided to do a load of laundry to re-wash those ugly smelling towels. About 25 minutes into the wash cycle I went back into the laundry room for something... good thing I did. There was about three inches of water swirling around the drain on the cement floor and the carpet was "squishy" with water about four feet into the finished part of the basement. Oh my dear... I think I just stood there for about 20 seconds before I computed that turning off the washer was the wise move. 

You can't see it well in this picture but there is still a very wet floor beyond the towel.
It's hard to see because the water had already been sopped up with towels but it went out about 6 rows of squares and almost all the way to the corner under the wall. 

Oh well we live and we learn and we now know that when you move your washing machine, you have to make sure that all the tubes stay connected as tightly as they should be. 


Now, the end! 

Thanks for checking in, until next time - Lindsey

Monday, October 14, 2013

bathroom facelift

We were so happy to find a house that didn't need any major work, especially in the bathroom or kitchen since those are always such expensive rooms to makeover. We feel so blessed to not go through that. Now, even though they don't need much in the way of remodel, they both definitely needed some work in the way of a facelift. So here is what we did to spruce things up a bit - since the bathroom was the first to be finished we'll post about that room first. 

We went with black and white because it is so clean looking and so effortless at the same time. The floor in the bathroom is a black marble with white markings so we just took our cue from that and ran with it. 

All in all we added much more that what was already existing in the bathroom. The tile (which you can see here) is not terrible but we didn't want to look at the grey/green and maroon all the time, so we used a shower curtain to hide the shower. We added towel hooks so there would be somewhere to put wet towels, what with the curtain covering up the shower door rails and because that space was so blah and empty before! 

When we moved in there was one shelf, very high above the toilet - the metal kind that they have in hotels. Well we didn't like it, it made the room look blank and cold so we took that sucker down. Of course it left four large holes in the wall that needed to be spackled and re-painted but it was worth the extra step to get something pretty in the bathroom. I (Lindsey) am from the school of thought that a bathroom should be just as lovely as the rest of your house and not just a forgotten room. Hence, the shelves above the toilet - somewhat functional and somewhat just for looks.

Here is my new favorite house treat, a laundry chute! It goes right down to the basement and the laundry plops down right in front of the washer - so handy. I never thought I would like it or use it but now, after only a month, I can say that I would put one into any house we live in from now on!

It's not a very big opening, but even a towel fits right down! 
So far, so good and we love the way the bathroom looks from the hallway. We are "done" with the bathroom for now and will keep looking for deals and discounts on certain hardware that we don't like...

Aren't these gold and silver fixtures lovely??? No, they absolutely aren't.

Thanks for keeping up with us and our improvements (little by little)! Until our next report, Lindsey (and Rob too!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

hanging things

Just a quick post about some of the progress we have been making. We have just about everything settled into the kitchen and we will be putting up a post of the whole room as soon as the new cooktop and hood are in (yay!!).

We, well Rob really, hung the pot rack which always makes us feel super sophisticated (ha!) The pot rack was from our first apartment, a crate and barrel gift card purchase, and then we weren't able to use it in the place we just moved from so it was nice to have it up again, plus it is so handy and such a space saver! 

It's hanging above the new kitchen island that I built with my own two hands, 
I'm big time folks, no... no not at all (hahaha)!

All the parts and pieces coming out of storage!! Thankfully when we took it down a year ago we saved everything so it all went back together perfectly!

Rob is a wiz with all those measurements, I was convinced a couple times that things were looking crooked but lo-and-behold, I was wrong and it was perfect! 

My only job was using the shop vac to keep ceiling dust from going everywhere, sometimes someone has to just smile and look pretty ;) ha!

Here is the final product, pots and pans all hung and ready to go! You can also see the kitchen island that we added for more counter space :) 

For now, that's all we have - we will be sharing more and more as things get put together. We are constantly changing things and we are very happy to be able to now walk into each room! Baby steps, people. 

Love for now, Lindsey 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Refinished floors and bruised knees

While we still had an empty house we decided to re-finish the hardwood floors in a couple of rooms. We didn't go all the way to full sanding and re-staining but my (Lindsey's) mom and I did sand the whole floor with hand sanders while crawling on our hands and knees - hence the bruises. You never realize until the next day how hard the floors actually were on your bare knees and chins, ha! We took the top layer of polyurethane off the floor and re-coated with a new layer. We had to sand, wipe, sand, wipe, make sure there was no dust remaining and then we started to paint on the polyurethane (clear coat). Mom was such an asset during this process, she honestly did most of the work!!

Mom rocking out the floor! 
The only parts that we had to stain were the replacement pieces from taking down the wall. The long piece in the walkway was replaced and stained to be a close match to the floor - we wanted it to be a little different that the rest of the floor for distinction between rooms. 
Close-up on the re-stained and replacement pieces. They blend pretty darn well! 

You can see the division between the rooms here. We only refinished the room to the left of the new walkway. It wasn't necessary to refinish the right side because it was previously a bedroom with very low foot traffic. What a nice perk that was since it took a long time to get the first half done! 

The finished product was shiny until it dried. Now, it just looks fresh and clean and there are no areas that are chipping away. We were also able to fill any holes or nicks with wood putty so there aren't any snags.
Before it dried.
Dry floor: you can still see the wear marks but everything is smooth and finished feeling. 
Big time thanks to my mom for all the help, it was so much easier with her help! We now have all our furniture moved in, pictures to come once everything feels more settled! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do It Yourself Demolition

As frightening as "Do It Yourself" and "Demolition" may look when put together, we have a success story on our hands! phew!!

A week after we closed on the house, Rob and my (Lindsey's) Dad, started tearing a hole in the wall between the living room and the first bedroom downstairs. We had decided even before closing that we were more interested in having a dining room than maintaining our "three bedroom" status, so we are beginning to morph the bedroom at the front of the house into a dining room. This change wasn't hard to imagine as the whole first floor is - thankfully - hardwood which means no ugly carpet that we have to rip up and cross our fingers for something salvageable underneath, nope, only guaranteed outcomes for this renovation couple... ha! As if that is even possible! Just let us dream ;)

So after marking the size and shape that the walkway would be, they started cutting and hammering from the living room side - needless to say there was so much dust. Oh, and I forgot to mention that because the house it a bit older, the walls are plaster which creates a lovely layer of plaster dust on everything...

Here they have made it half way through the wall and you can see how the pictures
are hazy and there is dust covering the floor!
The plaster and wood was so old that by the time they made it onto the other side to start cutting through from the bedroom (soon to be dining room) the blade of the saw was visibly dull and sparking! They did finally make it through after only about two hours of work, I was very impressed. 

You can see in the picture above that they were able to finish the edges with the drywall and they did patch the floor as well with a long oak board. This photo was taken pre-stain when you can really see the difference between the old and the new! They cut the archway to look like the other arch in the room with the angled corners - my requests are always the ones that make things harder ;)

Here is a closeup of the arch now that it has been mudded - no, I didn't forget to paint the corners, the walls were white and the mud is tan colored!! Thanks to Bill for helping us with the mudding, we weren't feeling to confident about that!

So far this is what we are looking at every day! We are so happy with the way things are coming along and so thankful to the people to have been helping us with our renovation dreams! The last step for the walkway is to prime over the mud and paint - I have no idea what color that will be, I was going to leave it white for a while but if we have to paint it back to white anyway, why not be brave and choose a color?? 

All we can say is "So Far, So Good!" Stay posted for more and more and more changes to our little Royal Oak home. 

until next time, Lindsey