Monday, August 4, 2014

did you think we'd hung up our hats?

We haven't quit! We are still working hard and our hats are firmly atop our heads but as you'll see in a minute, we now have a place to hang them if we ever need a break! We have had some schedule changes lately and it's hard to get ourselves in front of a computer to update the blog but we miss it and have had people ask us what we are up to. Sooooooo we will start with the most recent update and work our way backwards. For those of you that really love timelines and neat and tidy progression, I am sorry! 

Weeks ago we had taken down our existing coat/hat rack in the side hallway to refurbish it/replace it. (Yes weeks, it's taking us a long time to get things done these days!) When we removed the rack we realized that it had been YEARS since anyone had taken it off the wall and that the people that lived here wayyy back when, really loved their splatter-esque paint (we also found the same paint in the bathroom and kitchen!) 

Once we decided that sanding and repainting this area would actually create more of an issue (read: we don't have the same color white and wouldn't that drive you nuts too!? and no we didn't want to repaint the whole stairwell right now) we decided to refinish the rack we already had instead of replacing for something a bit more updated. 

The before was a light wood, four hook rack that is mounted right on the wall. It's not too ugly, we just didn't like the light wood and how nothing else in the house matched. The original plan was to hang stand alone hooks but once we installed this doggy area in the basement we decided that the free hooks were better used there (they are to each side holding the leashes).

After the rack was taken apart by simply removing the screws and hooks, it was sanded and painted. To finish the wood and not leave it "rough," we spray-painted it with a clear matte spray so it was smooth to the touch but not shiny. 

After letting that dry it was just a matter of covering up the speckled wall by using the exact holes that had been used before with new, longer screws so everything would be secure! 

So, for zero money (our favorite price!), we think this is just the update that the hallway needed. A little more modern with the same functionality as before.

Still to come:
We've painted the kitchen!
The basement has carpet!
The living room has been rearranged again!
Baby room is starting to make some progress!
The garden is growing!

Thanks for peeking in, we hope to have another update soon!

Friday, June 27, 2014

and baby makes three!

or five if you, like us, include your animals in your family count!

We are thrilled to announce to our readers that we are expecting a little peanut into our family this winter, December 2, 2014, just in time for Christmas! What a perfect present!

We have had a beautiful experience so far. As for this mama and her symptoms, there haven't been many! When little things pop up sporadically (heartburn, sleepy days, achy back) we look at the majority of great days and are so thankful that this has been a pleasant experience so far! I say we because although it happens directly to me, Rob is the one who so sweetly gets up in the middle of the night for tums, etc. How very blessed I am to have him with me on this journey and always!

It's truly amazing for us as first time parents to see the growth of this child. We know that he or she is a gift from God and when we saw the first flutter so early on we were hooked. SO in love. Now it becomes more real at every appointment; from hearing the strong heartbeat to seeing a little bouncing baby on an ultrasound it's an amazing feeling to know that one day we will be able to hold this little person! 

13 week ultrasound
The greatest excitement so far (aside from learning of the news ourselves) has been telling those we love most! Our parents were the first to learn of this fabulous news and what good secret keepers they were, almost 9 weeks of keeping quiet and they managed! Our grandparents and families learned after we crossed into the second trimester and once everyone in the family knew, we took the news to Facebook. We tried to be creative as we told people our news! Below you can see how I told Rob he was going to be a daddy (obviously I didn't trust just one test haha!) and how we told my side of the family at Sunday dinner. I signed up for dessert thinking it would be fun way to make an announcement without any leftovers, haha!

We have been overwhelmed by the cards, sentiments, and prayers everyone has lavished upon us, we are so thankful for so many wonderful people that will be in this babe's life. You are all so special to us.


This card came from my dear friend Katie E. and I burst out laughing in the driveway as I read it! So thankful to have such thoughtful friends that know my sense of humor so well!

I am now nearing the 18 week mark, that halfway point is still ahead of us but finally in sight! We are thrilled to be working towards such a fantastic goal. We have started the process of (slowly) transforming our house to give the baby a space of his/her own and make some more family room as well. We will post about the steps we are taking as we move forward!

Thanks, as always, for checking in with us! We are so happy to share our excitement with you! 

For all our fellow Hope College Alumni our there,
you will understand how I couldn't resist
the urge to have this for a boy or girl!
It was too perfect to pass up!

Monday, May 19, 2014

making the garden grow!

This weekend we had unexpectedly beautiful weather! What a luxury to see the blue skies and sunshine for two whole days in a row without any rain: let's keep that coming Michigan! We also had our first "free" weekend in over a month so we were able to get lots of work done in the yard.

On Saturday we spent a lot of the day weeding the beds around the backyard. We have had lots of rain recently so the garden bags we filled were supppper heavy by the time we were finished! Thankfully most of the big weeds came right out because of the wet soil so at least there was a silver lining. For some reason I only took before pictures of the weeding, probably because it barely looks like we have made a dent; we still have lot's more work to do!


Wasn't it just a lovely sight? Those beautiful dated rocks, fill the bed below the biggest tree in our yard and are currently below the swing near our patio. They are a mess: there is barely one layer of rocks left and the weeds just flourish... but are SO HARD TO PULL! Needless to say that was a labor of love.

We also did a lot of work on our garden plot where the shed used to be. On the Saturday before Mother's Day, Rob and I spend a good part of the day hauling dirt from the front of the house to the back to fill the huge hole (which was filled with water from all the rain). But after hours and many many full wheelbarrows we completed filling our new "dirt water bed". Honestly, when you walked on the newly dumped dirt everything around you would shift like walking on a water bed. Hilarious really.

Thankfully after a week of semi dry weather we were able to make leaps and bounds towards our raised garden bed plan! We detoured a little and made some changes, "best laid plans..." as they say, but overall we are loving the progress and can't wait to get some plants in the beds!


We actually built the beds last weekend and they have been stacked on our patio for the last week just waiting to find their home! We used treated 2x12's to make the boxes, which is nice and heavy and won't rot once all the soil is dumped. We want these to last for a couple of years so we decided to spend a couple extra dollars to get the nicer option. We ran out yesterday to get some mulch to spread once the beds were in place. We decided on the cheapest option with no added color so our two Australian Shepherds wouldn't get sick or be tempted to eat the mulch. So far so good!

Once we placed the beds and our (once again awesome) neighbor helped us stand on and pound them in to sink them a bit, we were able to lay down the landscapers cloth. It's about 24$ for 100 feet at English Garden's and we have lots left over. We decided to lay this down to prevent as many weeds as possible from sprouting through the mulch.

After laying the mulch around the edges of the beds to get the cloth to stay in place we decided that adding stepping stones would create a more substantial feeling for this area of the yard. We had paver stones piled up against the house that had been ripped out of the "original" front yard to make way for our beautiful new walkway. We are so happy that we hadn't gotten rid of these prior to making these beds, we like the way it turned out with them and we also saved quite a bit of cash on the mulch that would have taken their place!

This is what we have so far. Absolutely NOT finished but we are getting there! We are going to mulch out into the yard a bit (where all the "grass" is dead) to make the area look a bit more substantial. More progress should be made this week and we are excited for the final result! Stay posted!!

Side note: Of course the girls had a ball romping through the mud before it was covered; those are some happy pups! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Guest Contributor: Andrea Carlson of SCC Kitchen Bath and Home, Minneapolis

Fun Additions For Your Home

The decision to add another room to your home is a difficult one. It usually involves a significant amount of work and planning but can add useful living space to your home. Not only that, but it can add value to your home. It’s important that you have a good idea of what room you would like to add to your home and to be sure it doesn’t look like an afterthought. So here is a list of room addition ideas that will look great on your home.

A Hanging Porch

A hanging porch will look natural on almost any home. It is also a relatively simple addition because it does not involve building an entire new four-walled room. This is obviously a seasonal room and will not have a significant increase on the value of your home.

Room On Top of the Garage

While this could really be any room it is usually made into an additional bedroom. This is a great place to have a guest room or an additional media room. This can be rather costly as heating/cooling this room will be an additional concern. However because this is a costly and difficult addition it will add value to your home.

Sun Room

Sun rooms or sun porches are, much like porches, easier and less expensive then adding a new full room. Unlike porches they can be used all year round. These do not add the same value to the home as a four walled room because they do not provide the function of a bedroom or other living area. These are not a real substitution to a full on room addition but do provide a unique space to your home.

Media Room

If you’re adding new room to your house, you no doubt you have thought of adding a media room.  This provides an additional gathering room for guests and family members. Adding a home theater or media room will add value to your home as it is a four-walled room with temperature control and electricity. Not to mention that it could also be used as an additional bedroom in the future.

About the Author

Andrea Carlson works with SCC Kitchen Bath & Home, a Minneapolis-based remodeling company.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

jumpstart: 5 minor updates

Nothing has improved on our posting frequency since the last time we posted and this time we don't have vacation to blame! We have been working around the house on little things here and there but nothing seems noteworthy enough to earn it's own post. So here we were are, almost to the end of April, with a re-cap post that will highlight some things we have done since we last posted! 

1. Plants:
We are getting ready to build out our raised vegetable garden and our plants are really starting to look like plants instead of just little seedlings! It will be so fun to have them out in the yard instead of down in the basement. 


2. The Shed:
It's gone! There is still a huge pile of broken up cement that needs to be carted off but we are relieved that it's gone. It makes the yard look must larger now that we can see the whole back fence. Once we get the cement removed and the ground behind the pile (photo on right) leveled and back "up-to-snuf" we will build the raised beds and be in business! To see the original shed click here.


3. Painting the living room: 
Yes, we painted the living room over... originally it was white and then we painted it a darkish tan color that I (Lindsey) finally came to hate hate hate (you'll notice in the link that I didn't love it to begin with) and couldn't help but paint right over it!! Now, it's a lovely cream color and everything in the room looks much brighter and less cave-ish. It's a much better contrast even though it's not a big bold color. 


4. Outdoor patio set up:
We are so thankful that we have been gifted most of our outdoor furniture. The swing came from a client of dad's who no longer wanted it, the bistro set came from Lindsey's grandma's friend and the four metal chairs (there is also a table to come soon) came from Lindsey's Aunt Kathy! It's so nice to have family that love to take care of you and think of you when they make their own upgrades!! The original cover on the swing was gross so we decided to eliminate that altogether and just go with some outdoor pillows for the swing and chairs (9.99/two pillows at Costco!). The bistro set has cute striped cushions but I think I will recover those so everything matches... the jury is still out on that! 


5. Outdoor chandelier:
One of my weirdest ideas so far actually came together and Rob was kind enough to play along until it was complete. Now he actually likes the idea and it does makes our patio look a bit more interesting! I took a craigslist chandelier and ripped all the wiring out of it, cleaned it, planted ivy in each cup and hung it from our biggest tree!! (Thanks to our neighbors for letting us borrow their tall ladder :)) We are hoping that the ivy takes over and grows down so it "drips" from the chandelier... we'll just have to see what happens with this crazy idea. 


Our check-list is still long as ever as we are currently saving money and making some decisions that will push us in one direction or another with some areas of our house. Once we start working on the bigger things, the posts will flow once again!

Thanks for checking back in with us! Until next time, enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

getting back on the renovation wagon

Well everyone, we are so behind, we've only posted twice this month and that's just crazy. This month has flown by!

We spent the first part of the month working a lot and preparing for vacation so we didn't have much time to start any big projects! From the 14th to the 23rd we were on vacation: we had a great time with Rob's family in Memphis, New Orleans, Gulf Shores and Nashville! We drove a total of 34 hours+ over the vacation but it was worth it for some fun in the sun!




We really enjoyed our time experiencing new places and finding some treasures along the way. I think that my favorite place was New Orleans, it was so full of life and character, I could spend days and days just walking around! Gulf Shores was definitely relaxing, we walked the beach, laid in the sun and ate some delicious seafood. 

I can't wait to get all my treasures cleaned up and decide what to use them for... any ideas!? 

We have some projects in the works for April that we are excited to start (and finish)!

  • painting baseboards in the living and dining room
  • refinishing the stairs from the main floor to the upstairs bedroom
  • creating some new organization in the basement
  • tearing down outdoor shed
  • building up garden beds and fence in garden areas
  • re-finish patio furniture and reupholster appropriate items
We've got some big work to do but it should be very fun! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

we've rearranged

So the living room, our most lived in and "in-flux" room, has been rearranged once again - shocker! It was feeling a little too closed off with the couch creating a "wall" between the living room and dining room. I guess it's a live and learn situation: we broke down a wall in order to open up the space and then we placed the couch in a way that the room felt closed off again. Well last weekend I looked at Rob and said "Would you mind if we did some moving" - those have to be his least favorite words. I know this is especially true because I always ask while we are watching some kind of show or movie; all I can do is sit and think about is how I don't like the space i'm in; meanwhile, he is innocently watching and enjoying whatever flick we are watching!  

To remind you what we had going on before, take a look at the picture below - tv against the wall, couch creating a wall, coffee table, chair in corner and an open wall to the left. From this angle you can't even see a bit of floor! 

It definitely goes well enough and there was plenty of room to walk by to the left of the couch but it was just not "right!" Away we went with moving, we tried a couple different arrangements before we ended here. 

The angles are a little different (and the second photo was taken at night) but the feeling in the room is much more open! We were able to keep the television and buffet where they were, the large city scape art was just moved up a couple inches to accommodate the couch and the floor lamp stayed put. After moving the couch we realized that by using our coffee table as a side table under the window (top left) we were able to save a lot of floor space without losing any surface space! And look, you can see the floor! 

Overall, much nicer and (hindsight) it should have been set up like this all along. It's a nice configuration for conversation as well as tv watching and there is a lot of open space for extra chairs when we have people over! 

The dogs love it too, we had my cousin's little girl over the other day and it gave them plenty of room to play!! They got some major lovin' that day! 


I know some of you will think i'm crazy, and I think that of myself a bit for even thinking it, but I think I am going to repaint the room. There is still something off about the space; it's a little too warm with the furniture that we have. I won't go back to white, that was too cold but I may offset the warmth a bit with a soft grey... I don't know yet. Painting is such a huge undertaking but it's worth it. I think we will live as is for a bit and see what I decide with color before making any hasty decisions. 

Any color recommendations for this room? What color would YOU paint it!?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

finally a finished bathroom

Well we did it, the bathroom is complete and we are finally willing to show you our handiwork now that we are satisfied with the outcome! 

As a reminder to where we started take a look at our before picture of the bathroom, it was cute enough but there wasn't enough storage space and the little medicine cabinet mirror seemed to be shrinking over time!

All of these changes started because we didn't like the faucet fixture on the pedestal sink, along with the towel bar and toilet paper holder. We made our first adjustments to the room by adding shelves above the toilet and a shower curtain to cover up the glass doors (you can see all that here). 

After we lived with the pedestal sink and small mirror for about five months we decided to make some other small upgrades that gave the room the extra lift that it needed. It also opened up a can of worms, hence the month long delay in writing this post!

After getting our plumbing debacle fixed (thank you Steve!) we were able to install the new vanity properly! Rob and I, along with cheerleader/photographer Laura E. and our always-in-the-middle-of-everything Aussies, we were able to complete the install and enjoy our new sink.

Once the vanity was installed we realized that it further dwarfed the already small bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet so I decided that I would try and paint the frame to make it a bit more substantial looking and save us the cost of buying new. The color was nice and it wasn't a bad idea but the paint job just wasn't sticking the way it should have and I didn't trust it to last. 


Needless to say we were mirrorless in the bathroom for a week and a half and we made due by hanging a spare mirror on our towel hooks. Finally we just decided to search for a mirror that matched the bathroom / existing decor and would fit the space. I was so happy when someone suggested Home Depot as a source for a bathroom mirror. We were able to find one for 49.00 and of great quality to replace our old cabinet!


We had to remove the existing shell which left a lovely hole in the wall. If you look closely you can see the two prior colors this bathroom has been (grey under the white and speckled pink/blue/black under that)! We decided that because of the size of the mirror we were going to be able to leave this hole in the wall (for now) and just cover it up with the new mirror. Let's let that be our little secret! 


***Forgive us for the angles on these photos... it's hard to take a picture of such a small room! 

Overall, we LOVE the new look of the bathroom. It feels fresh and crisp and much more modern than where we started! The mirror has nice texture and depth but isn't overwhelming for the room. This was a slow but worth it transformation, thankfully it was also not that expensive either! 

I would estimate that we spent less than $300 on the whole room: 
vanity= $70
mirror= $50
shower curtain= $20
ikea shelves= $15 (for both)
towel hooks= $20
organization baskets= $30 (for three)
tp holder= $15
faucet= $40

I am glad that we took our time finding pieces that were on sale so we could make this such an affordable upgrade! We also took our time buying the pieces so the cost was spread out!

Has anyone else finished a project that has been a long time coming?! We'd love to see pictures of your finished projects!