Thursday, June 27, 2013

It looks like a...what?

I designed myself a fancy little banner last night while Denny was asleep, so I just pulled up the ol' bloggeroosky to show him the fruits of my late-night labor.

"Oh," he says, "it looks like a hot dog."

Um, what?

Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Anyway, I'm a slacker and haven't started any of my 4th of July decorating yet. My attention has been on a certain pretty little buffet in my garage that I've been sprucing up with some paint and some good old fashioned distressing. Looking forward to getting that done so I can dress it up for the 4th!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End Table Makeover

(Otherwise known as the project that took me FOUR MONTHS to finish.)

What happens when you buy a house, decide all furniture you currently have you don't like anymore, but have a shoestring budget and $400 for a coffee table and $250 for EACH side table makes you want to cry a little?

You troll for other people's unwanted used stuff and fancy it up to make it your own.

It's all the rage, friends, all the rage.

You might remember when I mentioned my thrift store shopping spree, in which I picked up this coffee table

and two end tables. Well, they'd probably make better nightstands and I'm sure that's what they were, but I took some design liberties here and threw these bad boys (errrr...girls. They're definitely female furniture pieces) in our living room:

The ladies. Stella and Sandy.

Aren't they pretty? Sure, they were covered in super thick paint layers that didn't cut it in the new house, but the solid bones (dovetail joints, NICE) and faaaaancy delicate hardware made them ideal candidates for the new house. Plus, those legs...I die. So I sent Denny a photo and upon his approval (so trusting, he is) I crammed both pieces into my Chevy Malibu and off we went. Me, Stella, and Sandy. And my mom (thanks, mom!)

The next step was figuring out how I was going to re-do these pieces. Obviously, the paint needed to come off. It was thick and chipped and really not that nice to look at at all.

I have zero experience with removing paint from anything, so I was a little apprehensive. I used this step by step process on how to remove paint (love this blog), hit up Home Depot, and was ready to plan my attack.

My arsenal:

Some heavy duty gloves, Kilz spray primer, Citristrip, sanding pads,
cheap paint brushes, wood putty (which I didn't use), and a couple different types of putty knives
(not pictured: my electric sander and six cans of Rustoleum Heirloom White..
I had two and half cans left when I was done)

And so I removed their hardware got to work. Here they are unsuspecting of their fate:

Fronts of drawers facing the wrong way, GO ME.

I brushed on some Citristrip (with my cheap brushes so I didn't feel guilty about just tossing them in the trash) to each piece and after about 25 minutes I had some bubble-age:

I waited another 40 minutes or so (this stuff says you can leave it on for up to 24 hours, but naptime is only so long and I had to put all of this stuff back into a storage shed). So I grabbed by plastic scraper doodad and gave it a try:

And I continued on my merry way, scraping and scraping and scraping:

See those fabulously beveled edges? Maybe you can't because these photos are awful? Can you say major pain to get paint out of? At this point, my plastic scraper doodad was getting tired, so I whipped out the metal putty knife and finished the job (taking care not to gouge the wood). Kind of.

As you can see, I didn't get it all off on the first try, but I did get most of it off! At this point, Peyton was awake and I had to put everything away, so these tables did get a second coating of Citristrip and another good scraping the next day. 

A few things to note about stripping paint:
  • Test your furniture to make sure that it does not contain lead paint. Lead is no good and causes a TON of problems and shouldn't be sanded or stripped due to releasing gases and other toxic yuck into the air that will MESS YOU UP. You can buy tester kits at Home Depot.
  • It is messy. Be sure to cover your work area, because you will totally have peely, mushy paint everywhere.
  • Wear clothes that you don't mind getting ruined. This seems like a no-brainer, I know. I never learn and think I can do projects in a nice blouse and a pair of jeans and I'll just be extra careful. I got a drip of the Citristrip on my perfectly good, non-project jeans and I swear it was like it was trying to eat a hole right through them. Now my non-project jeans are project jeans because of the big old looks-like-bleach spot on them.
  • Which leads me to my next note: gloves are good. If the Citristrip did a number on my jeans, imagine what it would do to skin? No thanks.
  • And then my next note: Citristrip claims that it can be used indoors. It doesn't smell too bad, pretty nice actually, but I worked on this part of the project outside anyway. I did not wear a mask, HOWEVER, I have read that there are other paint thinners/strippers that are downright potent so PLEASE remember to wear a mask :)
  • Make a day of it. I really thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd have both tables, stripped, sanded, and primed in a few hours time. But when you have a feisty toddler, it's not really likely to happen. Ideally, I could have left the stripper on even longer and saved myself the unnecessary task of applying another coat the next day. This is why this project took me four months; between the time it took to complete each step, mixed with moving, our wedding, and Peyton's birthday, this was a slooooow moving process for me.
Next up was sanding and priming:

I had the best of intentions of protecting my father in law's yard from overspray.
As you can see, that was a BIG FAT FAIL.
I used Kilz spray primer and gave it two coats. And then I gave it a quick sanding because the primer dried and left a gritty finish. After wiping it down to remove all the dust and dirt, it was time to paint!

(Note: I don't have many pictures of the remainder of the process because Denny was Peyton-wrangling while I finished the next steps, so I had no one to help with the photo taking...whomp whomp).

I used Rustoleum Heirloom White in a gloss finish. A few light and even coats later, painting was done. If you want some tips on spray painting furniture, I suggest you check out All Things Thrifty for some excellent pointers. An important thing to remember...light and even coats. If you're too heavy handed you will wind up with a drippy mess that you'll have to sand AGAIN. If you're like me, sanding is not my favorite thing to do.

I let the paint cure for a few days, and then I decided I really wanted to bring out some of the detail that I loved so much about these beauties: the beveled edges on the tops of the tables and the carved insets on each side of the drawers.

So I picked up some Martha Stewart Faux Finishing Glaze at Home Depot, mixed a little bit of that with a little bit of black acrylic craft paint (from Michaels or your favorite craft store), and started glazing. No joke, I had read that it was impossible to mess up, and it is indeed impossible to mess up. Paint can be a scary thing, but you have to just remind yourself that it can be fixed. Just go with it!

A tip on glazing: a little goes a long way. I mixed way too much and was left with a ton of black-tinted glaze and no way to store it, so I wasted a LOT of glaze. You live and you learn.

Glazing is pretty easy: just slather it with a brush onto your piece in the spots you want to add some more detail, making sure to get in the nooks and crannies (English Muffins, anyone? I'm hungry.), and then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Easy peasy!

Once that was done and dried, I added two coats of Minwax Polycrylic to the tops of the tables (remember to sand lightly with a high-grit sandpaper after each coat dries!) and let that cure for three days in our garage (yes, at this point we were in the new house).

And then I was left with this:

Hello, gorgeous. Nice to meet you.
Stella and Sandy are currently flanking each side of our brand spanking new sofa, four months after I first laid eyes on them, and I think they look fab. Sassy and classy at the same time, if you will.

The total cost of this project:
End tables: $65.00 for the pair
Electric sander: already owned
Sanding pads: $10.00
Citristrip: $12.00
Kilz primer: $18.00
Rustoleum Spray Paint in Heirloom White: $23.22 (remember, I bought six cans, but I had almost two and half left for other projects after I finished these two tables and the coffee table)
Two cheap paint brushes: $3.00
Putty knife: $3.50
Wood putty: $3.00 (I didn't need it, but at least now I have it!)
Gloves: $5.00

Total for this project: $142.72
Per table cost: $71.36
Savings (vs. if I had purchased end tables at $250 a pop, YEAH RIGHT): $357.28

What do you think? Ever had a project that felt like it took FOREVER, but totally paid off in the end?

UPDATE: Psssst...feel free to check out my Buffet Makeover once you've seen the end tables :)

Linking up at:
Sugar and DotsCity FarmhouseThe Shady PorchThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of HepworthsThe Crafty Blog StalkerIt Happens in a BlinkKreative CreationzFinding FabulousFrench Country CottageThe Shabby NestMiss Mustard SeedThe Pin JunkieBlissful and DomesticBeneath My Heart

Changes are a-Comin'

I put my Etsy shop on vacation this morning. Maybe permanently, maybe not. After six months of being open, I feel like I did fairly well for myself given the saturation in the market I was in. Seven sales in four months...I'll take it. My last sale was in April, so given the move and the chaos that comes with the move (and a wedding), I just haven't had the time to put myself out there to continue.

My craft room is still in shambles, several projects for the house are underway and/or neglected, and just the sheer amount of time it takes to create, list, market, and sell effectively, something's gotta give. I value my sanity and I value my family, and I don't ever want to feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when there are so many good things going on, so you have to choose what good things to keep on keeping on with.

I'm not saying my shop will be closed forever. It probably won't be. BUT I am now choosing my family and my home over the order that needs to ship tomorrow out to that person across the country. I still very much appreciate you, person across the country, and I thank you for allowing me to create for you, but it's time to shift my focus juuuuust a little. A shift to the creative, still, but for different purposes.

So with that, I feel like a blog name change might be underway. I've been brainstorming, so we'll see what I can come up with!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Paint Can Transform a Room

Before I get to the fun stuff, a short story:

Before we found that lovely little house we now call our own, we took a gander at the community about a mile down the street that was only in it's first phase of construction. It was a Ryan Homes community, and we knew several couples who had purchased and built their homes there. We loved it. We stopped by the sales office in November 2012, toured the model home, did some number crunching with the sales rep, and left because - hey - we hadn't sold our first house yet. The thought of two mortgages left us feeling a little queasy inside.

We came back in January after we actually sold the house and were living with Denny's parents. The sales rep was happy to see us and we picked up where we left off, looking at a Sienna model with a basement. There were only a handful of lots left in the first phase of construction, and we even put a deposit down on the last corner lot available. After going home and sleeping on it, we woke up the next morning with a slight amount of anxiety. THAT much money for a house? THAT much money down?

I get it, I get it, I get it. Houses are expensive, especially brand new houses. 20% downpayments are ideal. We had quite a bit of money saved up, but something didn't feel right. We didn't want to live for our house. Plus, due to the length of time it took to process permits in our municipality after Superstorm Sandy, we wouldn't have our house built until September. So we went back, got our check back, and resigned ourselves to look at resales.

And then we found our house. A month and a half later.

BAM! MLS photo in all it's glory

Surprise! Our house is the EXACT same floor plan as the house we were ready to build, only five years old, without a basement but with a morning room. We were going to opt out of the morning room with the builder because it would have been an additional $10,000 tacked onto the final cost of our freshly built house, but the basement would have been free under the builder's mortgage company's finance company incentive program.

You win some, you lose some.

But here is the kicker: the cost of our same-floor-plan-but-five-years-older-house was almost $40,000 cheaper than buying brand new. Plus, it had more property.

I feel like this is a no brainer. Obviously you know which way we went.

And now this is the story of the morning room we wanted, weren't going to get, and then got anyway.

We moved in at the end of April and I got to revel in our morning room-ownership. It's such a great room; it (coincidentally) gets the most amazing morning light, has high ceilings, two big windows, and a sliding glass door leading out to our patio. I pictured us sipping our morning coffees and reading the paper there on Saturday mornings, and turning it into a formal dining room where I could (finally!!!) host holiday dinners.

Except it looked like this:

Another MLS photo for your enjoyment

A personal photo of mine, taken at night.
This room was a HOT MESS.
Welcome to my magic school bus.

Holy yellow, batman!
Holy paper blinds, batman!
Holy vertical blinds on the sliding glass door, batman!

Literally, this room GLOWED in the morning. It was so primary yellow it cast a yellow hue throughout our entire first floor. It was the most unwelcome wake-up call every morning as we came downstairs. Our pretty little room in all it's yellow glory.


It also had paper blinds. Yes, our five-year-old morning room was sporting some dusty, brittle paper blinds. It appears that the house, once built, automatically had these blinds put in for the first owners in every window, but the owners only added REAL blinds to the windows on the front of the house. Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.  Every window that faces our backyard has paper blinds.

No bueno.

We are going to slowly swap out those over time, but the morning room was the first to get some new blinds action. A day after closing, we called a gentleman who owns a small business specializing in custom blinds, who we used in our previous home. He came out, measured, we chose the style we wanted (white wood to match the rest of the already installed blinds), and he said he'd be back in two weeks.

In the meantime, we had already decided we liked yellow because it really is a cheerful color and it would play off the gray paint on the rest of the walls on the first floor--just not THAT yellow. Before we even moved in, we knew it had to go.

My mind was can they be so similar yet SO different?

All I can say is that we of these. Which one, I don't rememeber (I'm terrible, I know). I can, however, tell you it was Behr Paint, picked up from Home Depot. It was a nice creamy, buttery yellow. And it was paint and primer in one, holla! I asked the kind gentleman at the 'Pot (my nickname for Home Depot...pronounced "po" if you're wondering) if we should prime separately anyway just in case since the existing yellow was YELLOW. And the kind gentleman said no, but we'd probably need two coats and that just a gallon should be enough.

Maybe next time I'll go with my gut and prime the damn room anyway because that ONE room took that WHOLE gallon of paint. I like to have SOME paint left at the end of a job, but there was a DROP left in that gallon.

It's now time to give mad props to my Father-in-Law, who finished cutting in for me and painting the whole room during Mother's Day weekend while I was out. Thanks, Father-in-Law, shout out to you!!!

I should also mention that the vertical blinds came down, HUZZAH. Replaced with sheer panels and an antiqued white rod and holdbacks from Christmas Tree Shoppe. I know these panels aren't the best quality, but I couldn't stand looking at the verticals anymore, and whenever we tried to use the sliding glass door the blinds would pop off individually and I'd be left whining about how much I hated verticals. Plus, my house was built in 2008 and not 1991, seriously. Sayonara, verticals! Sorry not sorry I had to ditch you.

So this is what the paint job looked like once we painted:

At least the table is cleared off?

BUT WAIT! You might be saying. What are those UGLY, yellowing paper blinds doing there? I thought you said you ordered new wooden ones?

You would be right, dear reader, except for the guy we ordered them from FORGOT ABOUT US. And never placed our order. So we didn't actually get new blinds installed until last week. A month and a half after we placed our order.

And here they are, better late than never, I guess:

So much better.

The final look is much airier and bright and less retina-burn-inducing-bright than it was before. Overall, I am a happy girl and am known to actually sit in here from time to time to do things (including reading the newspaper because I no longer feel like my eyes are bleeding).

A couple things left I'd like to do in here (bullet points are a girl's best friend):

  • Window treatments for the windows
  • Find an awesome dining room table that will seat at least 8. Given that this room isn't exactly humongous, I'm looking forward to this challenge. I'm thinking a 60" round table or building our own farmhouse table, but we'll see.
  • Eventually replace sheer panels at the sliding glass door with something I sewed myself
  • Add trim to windows and around the doorway into the kitchen area
  • Replace ceiling fan with a snazzy (DIYed?) chandelier
  • Add some art and wall decor
  • Find better-looking wall registers that sit so high up on that one wall. Kind of like so:


And really, the view out of those windows could use some fixing up, too, because I'm still looking at a giant dirt patch every day.

I'm glad we have so much to do around here, but I'm annoyed that there is so little time to do it. I'm impatient like that. I like things done yesterday, if you catch my drift.

"Weekend warrior" is an apt title, but I'd much prefer "Full-time House Ninja."

We still have a long way to go, but paint make SUCH a difference in the way a room feels. Have you ever JUST painted a room and felt so much better about it?

PS: You might be curious about what is going on with the shop. I do have the best intentions of actually creating new pieces again, but when my craft room/office is in dismal shape/only partially unpacked/a mess, it's hard to find some inspiration. My goal is to get that room together this weekend, so hopefully soon, friends!

Friday, June 21, 2013

You guys.

We had eight (EIGHT!!!) inches of rain this month. Or maybe this Spring, total. Whatever it is, there was a lot of freaking rain.

Naturally, I feel like almost half of that occurred this week, the week we had all that topsoil spread so we could start seeding this weekend.

Mother Nature, you washed away all of our topsoil and I am ANGRY.

Looks like we'll be raking and spreading whatever is left ourselves on Sunday.

Because Saturday? We're beach-bound.

That, the fact that it is Friday, and the fact that I am pulling off wearing pants at work that I sometimes wear to sleep are providing me all the comfort in the world.

Literally. Comfiest. Pants. EV-AR.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Need Blogging 101 Classes, STAT

Seriously, Blogger, all I wanted to do was change the size of some of my photos so they weren't gargantuan and get all the pink off the blog because that's not the look I'm going for anymore and (someone help me) I want to design my own header later tonight BUT NOW WHY IS THE ORDER OF MY POSTS ALL MESSED UP?!?


And now you are two.

[UPDATE: For some inexplicable reason, when I went to change the size of the photos in this post, Blogger reposted this post TODAY. Peyton's birthday was last Friday, June 14th, which is when I actually posted this entry. Just so I don't look like a slacker blogger mom. Mmmmkay.]

To our sweet girl:

Today you are two. I feel like you are not my baby anymore.

I remember this baby.

This baby who cried, cooed, kept us awake all night, and made us better people.

Made us parents.

I'll never forget thinking how beautiful you were.

And still are.

Even when you still make these silly faces when you try foods you don't necessarily enjoy.

Our beautiful porcelain doll.

 I love your "wtf" face, your blue eyes, your loving spirit.

You are so full of energy and love, and can light a room up the second you walk into it.

You are so smart. I am amazed by the things you say and do.
(And mommy loves that you're a bookworm in training)

You have made our lives complete.
Even when you grimace in pictures.

Even when you're sick, you're the happiest girl I know.

I love that I didn't teach you how to hold a pencil, but you just held it that way from the get-go.
I love that you love to draw and are so creative and imaginative.

We can't imagine life without you. Our big girl.

I love that we waited and waited and waited for your to finally get some hair on that head, and that every morning you ask me "Ponytail, Mommy?" Because you know Mommy loves playing with what little hair you have.

We love your spirit, and most of all, we love that you're ours.

We love you, angel baby.

Happy 2nd birthday!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Backyard in Stages

Every morning, I open my blinds to the backyard to let in all of the glorious morning light we get, only to be greeted by a variation of this:


Not a pretty picture by any means. And actually this is a pretty inaccurate photo of what I see right now, given that some extra bushwacking and rough grading has been done and we've added a shed and a fire pit to that concrete patio.

This is what it looks like now. Except not in the morning.

 I am a bad, bad blogger. I haven't been able to find my camera (holla back point & shoot!) since we moved in, and I'm trying to remember to snap photos as I can from my iPhone. I'm getting better, but the yard was actually cleared a few weeks ago, so I'm trying to find any photos I can of the process.

At any rate, this is what it looked like before (MLS photo, because I'm terrible):

Lots of trees. Lots of PINE trees. Very unstable, very thin, very apt to sway from top to bottom with even the slightest breeze. And as I mentioned before, making a safe, fenced in backyard for Peyton to play in is a big priority for us, so we put clearing those pines very high on our to-do list. And so they came down the week after we moved in.

We paid a local contractor to come and cut down the trees, grind the stumps, and haul everything away, but the ground was left with shallow pine tree root remnants that I thought I could tackle myself by hacking out of the ground with an axe I found in our garage.

All the best intentions
After an hour of huffing and puffing and trying to get as much down during naptime as possible, this is what I had:

You guys. That was HARD. And there was a lot more. So I did some research and the general consensus is that, left in the ground, they will rot over time in the soil. I'm just going to have to keep an eye out for any new weird growth, I guess.

At any rate, the next step is grass. Beautiful, lush grass. But because sod isn't necessarily in the budget, seed it is for this yard. I would LOVE sod (Instant yard! Beautiful "just cut" lines!), but because we are penny pinchers and looking to do as much ourselves as possible, we're just going to buy seed and spread it ourselves, water the crap out of it, and hope for the best.

And because our soil is so sandy, this showed up on Friday:

That's getting spread tomorrow. We'll probably need more dirt. You guys, why is DIRT so expensive? Geez.

Hopefully we'll be able to seed by the end of the month (then pray the rest of the summer isn't scorching hot/provides ample rain) and soon we'll have a happy little grassy spot for the tiny child to play. After grass, we're going to get a vinyl fence installed (by yours truly) by the end of the year and we'll be golden!

Here's the rough plan, via a painstakingly detailed MS Paint sketch:

Once we put the fence in, the 5 year plan is to add a pool and then we will never ever have to leave our house. So exciting!

In the meantime, however, this is how I'm feeling about our dirt patch:

I just want some grass, man!

PS: I don't want anyone to think that we hate trees and are anti-environment. It's actually the opposite. However, I am not particularly all that partial to pine trees, and our daughter's safety in the backyard trumps the pine trees. If it helps, we are planning to start composting, planting some nice dogwoods in the backyard away from the house, and buying/building our own rain barrel to make up for the great tree massacre of 2013.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A pseudo house tour and some plans

Now that we have the wedding and our getaway to Ocean City, MD behind, we can finally get down to business, both literally and figuratively. We are itching to get some projects done, and we have quite the list ahead of us.

Denny and I have so many plans for this house, this beautiful blank slate we have on our hands, and we are so full of ideas I can hardly take it in all at once. The type A crazy person in me has already created a Google Docs spreadsheet with project ideas for each room. And literally--no room is going untouched. This makes me happy, because I know this will keep us busy for a long time and will allow us to put so much love into this home.

The slacker in me didn't take any photos of the house while it was empty and we schlepped all of our stuff in (breaking the number one rule of blogging, I feel like), so without further ado I present the MLS photos I saved before we put the offer in. So, feel free to enjoy pictures of our home with other people's stuff in it. I'll also add some ideas we have for each room. So exciting! It makes me want to move into Home Depot. (But not really, because I like this house too much)

Thar she blows. Our blank slate of possibility. We've already hacked down/trimmed back a lot of those bushes, torn out the plastic edging around the beds under that twee little tree, mulched all the beds, planted a peony bush and some daylillies, as well as some annuals to brighten up the flower beds. We'd like to:

  • Paint the front door (red)
  • Replace all the hardware on the doors
  • Replace the exterior light fixtures
  • Fancy up the garage door
  • Plant a few more perennials in the fall so we have more of a lush garden feel in the flower beds by the front door.
  • Tear out a few bushes that grow a little too aggressively for my liking. We've already trimmed them back several times, but their roots are sprouting new bushes that are taking over the beds. I'd like to put some boxwoods there instead, since I feel like they'd be a bit more manageable.

The entryway looking into the house. We've hung some wall decor and a mirror but I'd like to

  • Add some sort of molding feature (beadboard? board and batten? a chair rail?)
  • Stain the banister and railing in the stairway
  • Add some sort of visual feature to the wall going up the steps. Frames? Windows? Something else? My brain wants to explode every time I think of it.
  • A long term goal is to tear out the carpet on the stairs. We've been here a month and a half and I'm slowly realizing that I don't like to vacuum stairs. At all.

The living room into the kitchen. This floorplan is amazing for us, because we love to entertain so having a wide open space like this is perfect. It comes with its own challenges though because you can see the previous owners used the space between the kitchen and living room as their dining area. We have chosen to make the yellow room our dining space, so that open area between the kitchen and living room had us stumped. We felt like putting another table and chairs there would be redundant, but weren't sure what we could put there that would make sense and fit in with the flow of the space. We've come up with a solution we're pretty excited about, though, and I can't wait to share it once we pinch enough pennies to make it happen. We're keeping this gray paint color the same, but I'd like to see some crown molding and trim around the doorways and windows to really spruce up the room.

The morning room. This photo shows it being used as a nicely lit sitting area, but when we actually came to see the house it was gated off and had a slew of baby toys and a tiny little dog hanging out in it. As I mentioned, this will be our dining room. The yellow paint was so bright, it screamed "GOOD MORNING, I AM A YELLOW ROOM" when we'd come down in the morning (this room faces east), so we toned down the in-your-face-yellow with a cheerful creamy yellow instead. We also already ditched the verticals and added some sheer window panels that let in tons of light. We placed an order with a local blinds company to have some white wooden blinds added, but I don't plan on keeping them closed all that often. This room gets amazing morning light and I want to take as much advantage of that as I can. Those paper shades have got to go, though! Some other plans include:

  • Tiling the floor in here as well as the kitchen area
  • Replacing the ceiling fan with an awesome chandelier
  • Trimming out those windows
  • Adding some art or a great mirror on the wall opposite the sliding glass door
  • And finding a dining room set that fills the room in a little better and allows for more seating. Right now I have a 42" pedestal table I scored from Target and four Windsor chairs in this room, but that ain't gonna fly for Thanksgiving dinner.

Our kitchen area. Again, this layout had us stumped as we didn't want to put a dining room set where the previous owners had it. After a week of living here, I discovered I also wasn't so keen on the placement of the island. I can't wait to:
  • Paint or stain the cabinets and add some hardware
  • Tile the floors (I haaaaate linoleum. This stems back from our last house.)
  • Ditch the island.
  • Replace the pantry door with a shabby old screen door
  • And therefore come up with a fantastic, visually appealing organization system for the pantry interior
  • Replace the boob light
  • Replace the pendant light over the sink. I already have the light, I just need to figure out how to hardwire it since it's plug-ready.
  • Remove or relocate the chandelier. Ultimately, we would need additional light here, but our plans may dictate it's relocation. 
  • Plank the wall to the left of the hutch and stain it a nice walnut finish.
  • Build some sort of bar/peninsula extending from the soon-to-be planked wall with additional seating on each side and cabinet space about six feet across the room. I understand that this would, in effect, break up the flow and openness of the first floor, but it would still allow conversation to flow between those in the kitchen and those in the living room or dining room.
  • Do something about that air vent. Yikes.
  • Replace the appliances as they putter out with either white or stainless steel. 

First floor powder room. So. Purple. Paint is definitely in the future. As well as replacing or getting rid of the towel bar, adding some decor, and framing out the mirror. There is also linoleum in here, but I haven't decided on it's fate yet.

 The mudroom. I'm okay with leaving the linoleum in here, but I would like to repaint as the blue doesn't necessarily flow with the paint colors on the rest of the first floor. The layout of this room is a little odd as there are about seven "walls" in this room, but I'd like to add an upholstered bench with a spot for shoes and some wall-mounted hooks for coats and bags.

Bedroom number one. This is actually going to be my craft room. I say "going to be" instead of "is my craft room", because it's still in boxes. It's tricky to get this room unpacked because there is no overhead light, I haven't found a lamp I like yet, and I only have a few precious daylight hours during the week to plug away at it after work. Aside from getting it unpacked, I'd like to paint as the white paint is dinged up and add a lot of inspirational/crafty wall art and LOTS of built-in storage.

Bedroom number two. Peyton's room. This room in PINK. Because it's west-facing, this room literally glows pink during the afternoon, and casts a pink shadow into the hallway. It suits Peyton for now and works with her existing bedding and decor, but I can't wait to start transforming it into her "big girl room." This includes

  • New paint
  • A DIYed area rug
  • A reading nook or built in desk for drawing and (sob) homework one day
  • Adding curtains across her closet. The previous owners took the folding doors out as well as the track they were on and must have thrown them out. I'm not really sad that there's no closet doors in here, because I'm not so keen on those pull-out folding doors anyway.
  • Crown molding and window trim.
  • Window treatments.
  • Switching out that ceiling fan for something a little more "big girl" when the time comes.

The hall bath. The only person who uses this bathroom is Peyton, and that's only to take a bath since potty training is proving to be quite the challenge. I can't wait to add some printables and art and paint. We also haven't bought a shower curtain for this room since there's no need and we haven't had overnight guests that would need to use the shower yet. So that has to happen.

The master bedroom. I LOVE our master bedroom. I wish I could say this was our awesome sleigh bed, but these are the MLS photos so it left with the previous owners. Our current bedroom furniture slightly resembles that of a dorm room (i.e. mismatching dressers, no headboard, no nightstands...sad). I have so many plans:

  • Paint
  • Trim and crown molding
  • A sitting area by the walk-in closet
  • Upholstering our own headboard
  • Scouting out some nightstands and painting them
  • Window treatments
  • Art and decor

The master bath. I thought we could just paint, stain the cabinets, frame out the mirror, and find a longer shower curtain, but I just learned Denny has a lot more plans including floor to ceiling tile and a walk-in shower. This should be interesting.

The back patio. I love a good outdoor space, so this is what we've come up with so far:

  • Build some sort of pergola or find a way to provide some more shade over the patio.
  • Stain the concrete
  • Replace the light fixture
  • My mom offered us her old patio set, so I'm looking forward to sprucing that up
  • Create a designated "grilling area" off the patio so both of the Denny's grills (yes, he has two charcoal grills!) don't take up any valuable real estate on the concrete pad.
  • Add flower boxes under those windows
  • Dig out flower beds along the long side of the patio and plant some decorative grasses and taller perennials to provide some privacy.

The back yard. Our lot extends almost 250 feet back from the street, so we have a pretty large backyard. This is where the biggest change has already occurred, since none of those pine trees are there anymore. We hired a local company to take those pine trees down. They were WAY too tall and WAY too close to the house for my liking. The slightest breeze made them sway literally from top to bottom. We had a pretty bad storm here about a year ago that resulted in a LOT of tree damage, so that's a risk we didn't want to take. Not to mention, as our house sits on a fairly busy street in our township, creating a safe fenced in space for Peyton to play is a huge, huge priority for us. Right now the yard just looks like a lot of dirt, but we're bringing in topsoil in the next couple of weeks, seeding will be next, and the fence will be going up soon thereafter. Can't wait to share that process. I love doing yardwork, but I've never done an outdoor project so large. Should be one for the books, at least for me!

So, that's our new casa and the end of this insanely long post. I have some photos of some progress/painting we've done so far, so I can't wait to share those, too! You should see the difference in that yellow room.