Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Movin' On Up

We are moving right through our kitchen checklist!  Kitchen cabinet doors are starting to go up...

These were taken at night on a cell phone camera so the quality isn't the best but we have obviously come a long way from where we started when we saw the house for the first time:

More to come!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Closing One Door

I'm starting to pack up our apartment in Roanoke. It's sad.  And exciting. I will miss Roanoke and our apartment on Washington Ave.  I took some pictures today of how it looks now since it will probably start to look different (and feel less like home) with each box I pack.

The Kitchen:

The bedrooms:

The dining room:

& the office:

I'll miss the character of this apartment. It has been a quaint and safe place to live while going to school and we have so many pleasant memories here.  I'll miss being two seconds away from a dog park (as will Ace and Avery).  However, I won't miss washing all of our dishes by hand or going to the laundry mat/dragging our clothes home when we visit our parents.  I'm excited to truly make our new home our own; as renters it just hasn't made sense to invest time or money in painting and other updates to our apartment that would have made it more our own.


Thursday, November 29, 2012


Less than a month until we will (hopefully) move into our house!  There has been lots of progress this week.  First, here is an updated photo of the exterior of our house:

Updates inside over the past few weeks include new Azul Platino granite countertops which we ordered from Home Depot.  The installation went smoothly and I love the way they look.
Just ignore the yucky wall.  It is looking much better these days since it has been tiled with this white subway tile:
In the kitchen we still have to reattach cabinet doors with their new hardware, install our over the range microwave, install the dishwasher, and paint trim.

We also found flooring for the lower level of the house this past week.    This part of the house is actually on a concrete slab and had been carpeted previously and used as a living room:

We want to use this room (which is adjacent to the kitchen) as a dining room and carpet was not really an option for this reason. Mom, De, and I went to Lumber Liquidators to look for flooring options.  Our options were limited to those that were considered "floating" or do not attach to a subfloor and something that would be resistant to high moisture. Floating floors include laminate as well as some bamboo flooring.  We ended up picking bamboo flooring because it is more resistant to moisture than laminate and can be refinished and touched up when necessary whereas laminate when scratched or damaged must be replaced.  The flooring we picked out is in the middle in the picture below:

The hardwood floors on the upper level of the house will be refinished and stained a darker color similar to this in the next one-two weeks.

Another big change in this room was removing the woodstove and some of the bricks around the fireplace.  Not everyone would have made the decision to remove the woodstove, you certainly can't beat the heat they provide but for us the location of the woodstove made it an eye sore very non-functional.  

The room now looks like this:

We still have a long way to go in here.  We love the changes so far, adding recessed lighting above the fireplace and a light fixture over the dining room table where the dining room table will eventually go as well as painting the fireplace white has made a huge difference in how light and bright the room feels.  We still need to sand and stain the wood mantle and mount it again to the fireplace, install the bamboo floors, as well as paint the dining table which was a $75 craigslist find.

I think that is all the updates for now.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bathroom Inspiration

Our new house has one full bath and one half bath and both were small but functional at the time of closing.  Now they are completely non-functional (read: everything is ripped out) (& soon they will be functional & pretty).  So today I am trying to remember that it has to get a little crazy before it gets better. This post from Young House Love reminded me of that.  While I was thinking about how crazy it gets in "the middle" I thought it might be helpful to remind myself where we are going (i.e. the toilet won't always be in the living room).

Before that can happen though, this is where we started:

Matt was really not a fan of the salmon colored tub. Fortunately, it's gone now.

Our checklist in here looks something like this:
-remove baseboard heater
-remove old tub
-install new tub and tub/shower fixtures
-remove toilet and vanity in order to demo tile
-remove tile
-install new tile
-install beadboard
-replace vanity with pedestal sink
-sew a simple roman shade for the window

1.  We found this mirror to pair with our new pedestal sink.  We purchased a Kohler pedestal sink (found at our local Habitat Restore) to replace the larger vanity.  When we removed the old vanity we discovered that it had never actually fit into the space and a significant amount of damage had been done to the sheetrock to force it to fit so replacing with a smaller pedestal sink was a much better option.

2.  A pretty picture found here on Pinterest.  I love the way the light blue and the white beadboard lighten up this room.

3. Blue hydrangeas are the inspiration for the colors in this room.

4.  Pretty white tile will help the lighten this room up as well.

5.  Another inspired room from Pinterest.

6. I love these apothecary jars as a pretty way to display bathroom essentials.

7.  And a possible paint color.  Hopefully, we will pick a color out this weekend and start painting!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Living Room Inspiration

When we first saw the living room it was a little dark. The living room lacked a ceiling light...there was a switch to an outlet for a floor light but adding a ceiling light fixture will really help brighten up the living room. The electric baseboards have since been torn out and the hardwoods will be refinished before we move in.  Other than that the changes in this room are just decor.  So simple compared to demolishing walls and painting cabinets! This is how the room looked when we were house hunting:

The current condition of our living room is a mess compared to the photos shown above.  I am pretty sure we have a toilet sitting in the middle of the living room due to both bathrooms being in the process of a complete overhaul as well.  But a girl can dream.  So here is where I hope to see our living room go from here.

1. This pretty coffee table from Pier 1 would be a pretty option without spending too much $$ on new furniture. I love the coastal cottage feel of the antique white with the pewter handles.

2.  LOVE this rug.  This was the first item I purchased for our new living room. I loved it so much I thought why not work around it?  This was a purchase from Joss & Main. The event has closed but rugs similar to this pop up all the time on other events.

3.  Possibly a future DIY project vs. a future Joss & Main purchase.  If we decide to do an ottoman instead of a coffee table I love the tufted look of this one.

4.  I love the look of drapes hung high overlying bamboo roman shades.  I found this inspiration picture here.

5.  This gray sectional from West Elm would make for pretty and comfy living room seating.

6.  I love the colors in this room from House of Turquoise.  

7.   I found the fabric for our living room curtains here.  I have already made two curtain panels and four envelope style pillow cases with this fabric.  The best part was this project cost less than $60. The damask curtain fabric and the graphic rug will be the "bolder" aspects of this room and I plan to keep the walls, sectional, and other details more neutral.

8. Blue, gray, and crisp white.  Something about this palette I find so soothing.  I found this inspiration picture here.

9.  Love the soft blue hydrangeas and colors in this room.

10.  I found a chandelier on Pottery Barn's website that I loved.  Then I found it on Overstock for much less and loved it even more!

11.  Love the color and simplicity of this fabric.
12. A pretty gray for the walls.

13.  This sectional from Haverty's is the perfect neutral gray.

Now to get that toilet out of the living room...


Monday, November 5, 2012

Exterior (More Progress)

Just wanted to share this picture that made me SO happy today. I  love seeing progress. The vinyl cedar shake looks great on the new false gable.  Can't wait to see it with shutters, a new stencil crete pathway, and the finishing touches on the front porch! It is so fun to see our vision slowly take shape.

And just in case you forgot where we started:

Kitchen Makeover: Part 2 (Inspiration)

The overall goal of our kitchen transformation is to create a bright, light, and welcoming space.  We have painted the kitchen cabinets white and we have purchased new all white appliances to brighten up the kitchen as well.  We will replace the dark kitchen pendants with nautical style brushed nickel pendants found here. I found a gray and white fabric I love to create simple, no sew roman shades. The countertops are a dark gray called Azul Platino found at Home Depot.  The backsplash will be a bright white subway tile.  Here are a few pieces of our kitchen inspiration.


Exterior (Progress)

When we closed on our house there was quite a bit of work to be done to the exterior.  We planned to replace the roof as well as have new siding, soffit, and fascia installed.  I also envisioned a false gable over the front door to draw the eye in to the front of the house and add interest to the roof line.  As it was, the front door tended to get lost as you can see in the pictures below:

The back deck was one of the first things to go.  We found that the deck was so low to the ground that it was constantly damp and just yuck.  Matt finished the deck demo in one weekend (surprisingly turned out to be a much faster DIY project than wallpaper removal).  We will eventually do a patio where the deck was but for the time being we are just glad it is gone!
The front steps were made of bricks and came down off to the side of the front door.  We thought removing these steps and bringing new steps directly out from the front door would also help to draw the eye to the front door (in addition to the gable) and help to create a more welcoming entrance.  You can tell the roof is looking a little worse for the wear in these pictures as well. 
The front porch as it was before we moved in.  This will be such a nice place to sit with family and friends or drink a cup of coffee when it's finally finished.  

Our progress so far:
  1. Paint exterior brick to match siding
  2. Paint front porch concrete
  3. Siding, soffit, fascia, board & batten shutters
  4. Demo deck
  5. Demo brick steps
  6. New stencil crete front steps
  7. New roof
  8. Install new outdoor light fixtures
We were able to DIY painting the front porch, painting the brick to match the siding, the demo of the brick steps and back deck, as well as the removal of our old roof and installation of new. The soffit, fascia, siding, & new front steps are all the work of experts (and they have done a great job!). The changes have made such a huge improvement in the house already-we can't wait to see it once the gable is finished and all the finishing touches are done.   The gable will have siding the same color as the house but it will be cedar shake style vinyl. Sort of like this:

Cedar Shake Vinyl
More to come!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kitchen Makeover: Part 1 (Before)

When we bought our house we knew we would have some work to do in the kitchen.  The cabinets were in decent shape but the dark wood and dated hardware weren't really working for us. And after reading this post from Young House Love we felt like somebody was watching us too.

Notice anything missing? Where's the dishwasher?  After living in an apartment (sans dishwasher) while going to grad school for two years, a dishwasher was an absolute must for us.
The very vintage wallpaper will be was first to go.   My mom and I spent several weekends working on peeling up all the wallpaper in this room.  Did you know your arms get quite a workout from wallpaper removal?  We were so glad this was the only room with wallpaper; it was so tedious!  Matt ripped out the back deck, busted up a sidewalk, and removed all the old shingles from the roof (with help from both our dads) in the time it took my mom and me to finish removing the wallpaper!

We did not know what to make of the strange wall with the railings.  This wall divided the
kitchen from a living/dining space and made the kitchen feel dark, cramped, and confined from the rest of the house.  We envisioned a large and open kitchen that flowed into the neighboring room which we plan to use as a dining room/extra living space.

Our kitchen checklist looked like this when we started:

So far we have finished the wallpaper removal, purchased new appliances (not yet delivered), selected countertops, and we finally finished painting the kitchen cabinets!   Some projects we felt more comfortable leaving to the experts and our contractor handled those for us (especially taking out a wall!). We can't wait to share more details as our kitchen starts to come back together.



Apartment Dwellers to Homeowners.

Our home search ended much differently than it began. We began looking for a move-in ready home.  We quickly realized that even the "move-in ready" homes we saw needed updates (in my opinion at least) but it would have been a stretch for us to afford those updates when we were shopping at the top of our budget (i.e I'm still in grad school). We ended up deciding on a house that needed a new roof, exterior siding, and some  many updates inside as well but the listing price was much below our initial price range.  Here's a photo from the listing.

We I was immediately drawn to photos of small cottage houses for inspiration for our home renovation. I could picture the house with an entrance that would draw the eye to the front door and sweet details like board and batten shutters and a window box that would soften up the look of the house.  This house in particular inspired our renovations.  The dark gray siding looks so sharp against the bright white trim and black shutters.  This house looks so inviting and I love the way the eye is drawn directly to the brightly painted front door.


What cottage home would be complete without a pretty window box?  Here are some of the pretty window box inspiration photos I found:

Board and batten shutters are not something you see frequently on houses in our area but for our house I couldn't imagine any other type of shutter fitting more perfectly. These shutters look so pretty and romantic on the right home. I think part of their appeal is that they are so unexpected and have an Old World charm.

And here we are a few days after closing on our first home.  We hope the next time we pose for a picture in front of our home it will look and feel much different!