Our Virginia House: One Year Later

I can not believe it’s been a year. Well, it’s kind of been a year. Today marks one year since we first walked into this house with our realtor, Gwen. This was the first house we looked at that day, and we were both ready to write an offer before we even got back to the car. We had about 6 more that she had made appointments for, so we dutifully checked those out, but none even came close to this one. So, the next day we went to her office to make our offer, and the next day she called me to let us know that it was accepted. Yay!

We closed on the house in early December, and literally started tearing down the things we didn’t like on day two. I remember standing in the living room, talking about what we wanted to do with the space. Graham started taking down the chair railing, I started pulling off wallpaper, and before we knew it, the room looked like this:2015-12-20-11-24-39-1

We’ve done SO much over the past year. Everything from small projects (like painting the bedrooms), to HUGE projects (like brand new siding), and I honestly think we both love this house more and more every day.

So, let’s me bombard you with a ton of before and after photos.

The House: 2016-06-05 11.42.31grey-house-pink-front-doorgrey-house-pink-front-door-32016-06-16-20-52-24You can read more about our siding & the pink front door here. The only thing left on our exterior to do list is to update the landscaping. A very hot, dry summer killed nearly all the plants out front. Luckily most of them were planted in galvanized buckets, so they’ll be easy to get rid of. We’re going to keep it simple (and low maintenance): boxwoods & hostas in the front beds, aerate and plant more grass, and in the bed on the side, I think I’m going to plant something bee friendly.

The living room:living room 2016-06-17 00.11.292016-06-17 00.12.002016-06-17 00.09.46This space is so close to finished. All we have left to do in here is to hang pictures over the couch, and for Graham to build doors for the two bottom shelves of the built-ins. We’ve also updated the ottoman from the disgusting grey and white one pictured to a solid grey one. Considering it’s sitting on a grey rug, the room needs a pop of color. So, I’m on the hunt for a bright rug, but I’m not in any hurry. If you want to see more before and after pictures, you can read more here.

The Dining Room:Dining room2016-06-17-01-18-492016-06-17-01-20-322016-06-17-00-45-46The dining room used to be a second living area, which we don’t need. It would literally have ended up as another storage space. What we DID need though was a bigger kitchen. So, we decided to turn the second living area into a dining room, and expand the kitchen into the old dining room (we now refer to that space as the kitchen annex). This room was the easiest room of the house to update. There was no wallpaper, no paneling, no chair railing (the only room on the first floor with none of those things). All it needed was fresh paint (Benjamin Moore’s Black Pepper). It does still need a light fixture, but that’ll come next year when G gets home.

Half Bathroom:half-bath2016-09-02-03-52-022016-09-02-17-33-48This room is 100% finished, and I love it more than it’s probably normal to love a bathroom. You can read more about the remodel here. I’m so glad that I let Graham do the wainscoting, I’m so glad we splurged on the tile and the sink. I just love this space so much.

Master Bedroom:master bedroom 2 Master bedroom 2016-03-11 04.42.57 2016-03-11 04.45.052016-03-11 04.40.45Excluding the hallway, which has wallpaper, the rooms upstairs are only in need of new paint. However, our bedroom is the only room that has actually been painted. It’s not the largest room in the world, but it’s a good size. I can’t get over how tiny it looks in the before photos.

Kitchen Nook:12226966_10102221202589367_3226349745380194267_n2016-06-23-16-48-392016-07-05-23-34-172016-07-05-23-35-02
Taking down wallpaper only to put wallpaper back up felt pretty ridiculous, but it was necessary. It was after we started ripping down wallpaper that Graham mentioned how lucky we were that the wallpaper wasn’t covering really bad walls. That thought never occurred to me. Then I get to the nook, and the walls were REALLY, really bad. The walls were so bad, it made me wonder if the nook was an addition. They just looked and felt different. So, we decided to put up wallpaper, to save ourselves about 4 years of spackling and sanding. We also decided to put trim up on the opening. Corners are the worst part, and they’re so delicate. So, this substantial trim not only makes the opening look more finished, but it also will help protect the walls over the years when people inevitably bump into the corners with pieces of furniture.

And for the rooms that still have a looooooong way to go (and for the most part look SO MUCH WORSE than they did on that first day)… no pictures of those since they’re depressing to look at. Maybe next time I do an update the after pictures will be blog worthy 🙂


Our Living Room Transformation

We’ve been living in our house for about 5 months. Other than the massive photo dump of exterior photos yesterday, I really haven’t shared much about the house since this post back from March. But last week, our homes exterior wasn’t the only area that saw some big changes. Our built-ins & fireplace are mostly finished (they still need doors to cover the bottom two shelves).
2016-06-17 00.13.49Honestly, I love this more than the new siding & pink door. Why? Because Graham did this. He did ALL of this.

But let’s start at the beginning. The first time we walked into the house on October 24, 2015, it was very, very brown. And while it was done better & looked better than the house in Arkansas, I still loathe brown trim. And that paneling. Eek. The brown crown pulls your eye to it, and makes the space look smaller. The mantle was wimpy. I hated the brass fireplace doors. Basically, we hated everything (cosmetic) about this room. But, we saw potential. living roomWithin days of closing, we started ripping things down, starting with the paneling and the chair railing, so that we could paint. It was around this time that I suggested built-ins on each side of the fire place, and Graham started thinking about redoing the fireplace. One of his favorite projects in the Arkansas house was the beautiful mantle he built, and he was excited to build one for this house. 2015-12-20 11.24.39-1 So, everything ended up coming down. I don’t think we intended to destroy the existing mantle, but it just sort of fell apart when he started pulling it off. Oops. One of the other things that HAD to go was the ceiling fan. It didn’t have a light kit, so Graham ghetto rigged a desk lamp over the fan blades, so that we could work at night. 2016-01-05 20.38.27-1As with most home projects, everything takes longer than planned. We quickly upgraded the light fixture, and started painting EVERYTHING. The trim took forever (2 coats of primer, 3 coats of paint). Graham also went above and beyond and did some re-wiring so that he could build a channel to hide all of our electronic cords. He also tiled over the brick with beautiful marble tile. 2016-01-25 17.51.352016-01-25 17.49.34 - CopyWhen we moved into the house, it was painted, but the built-in wall continued to look pretty bad. It was all being covered, so there was no point in hiding all of our test swatches.

In March, the built-ins were FINALLY finished. Graham did every bit of this himself. Hundreds of dollars of wood, hours of sanding & painting… And it was worth it. These things are MASSIVE. And heavy. And so, so beautiful. He used his paint sprayer to get the perfect finish, and while they seemed like they took forever (and were so much more expensive than my idea of just running to Ikea), they were SO worth it.
2016-03-07 01.40.25Not long after the built-ins were installed, Graham dry-walled over the fireplace. He built the wall out a little, to accommodate his cord-hiding channel. The cords go into the built in (the shelf with the constantly falling #5), and down another little channel to the surge protector on the bottom shelf. 2016-03-11 04.59.542016-03-13 16.05.38The, finally, we he starts on the fireplace.2016-05-12 17.52.52-2 2016-05-14 10.07.24-1

And now… here we are today. Everything (except the two doors), is complete. 2016-06-17 00.10.31This mantle turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined. Those are the same fireplace doors from the first photo, just painted (because holy crap, fireplace doors are expensive!). They do have new hardware though. And the beautiful tile work, which is actually what he’s most proud of, since it was his first time working with tile.
2016-06-17 00.12.002016-06-17 00.09.46This trim here. OMG. I’m obsessed with it. He couldn’t find anything beefy enough, and we wanted something similar to what we had at the apartment, so he bought the wood and using router bits, he shaped it to how he wanted it. 2016-06-17 00.08.05 I can’t wait to have doors covering the bottom two shelves, all of those wires and rolls of vinyl are not very attractive, but I’m so happy and excited with how beautiful this space is. I’m so thankful he wouldn’t let me rush him, or take short cuts. 2016-06-17 00.11.292016-06-17 00.14.18

Weekend wrap up…

Weekends go by WAY too quickly! Especially when they’re full of fun & projects!

My high density foam pads arrived last week, so on Friday I FINALLY started reupholstering our vintage dining room chairs. I LOVE the fabric I picked out from Mary Jo’s back home. It’s so cheerful! (It’s also outdoor fabric, so hopefully it’ll be durable… My upholstering isn’t perfect, but so far the chairs look pretty good (I have three finished). I’m planning on doing an serious house update next week, so fingers crossed that these chairs, and the rest of the dining room, come together by then. As you could see in my margarita post from last night, the dining room is currently a hot mess. I spent about 7 hours painting trim yesterday. NOT FUN. The wood trim & crown molding took 2 coats of primer, and three coats of paint…2016-02-19 15.59.27Saturday, we went for a walk with Hermione, which was cut short when G got a call from someone who wanted to buy the vanity in our half bath. I was pretty pleased, that he paid exactly what we were asking, and now it’s gone. I’m less pleased that the floor is unfinished underneath. It’s not the worst thing ever, because we were already planning on replacing that ugly linoleum with a pretty gray tile, but who knows when we’ll get around to that. So, this bathroom will be a hot mess for a while.
2016-02-20 11.34.10-1As soon as the vanity was carried away, and on it’s way across the bridge, we headed to a friend’s house to get my car detailed. It desperately needed it. We had originally planned to keep my car an animal free zone. But, G’s broke down while he was deployed, so I ended up having to put Hermione in mine. It cost us $100, but they did an AMAZING job. It is immaculate inside (the only stains that remain are the stains on the floor mats that were there when I bought the car), and thanks to the hand wax, it’s SO shiny.
2016-02-21 14.48.24Almost as soon as we got home from picking up my car, my friend Sarah stopped by to pick me up for the Carrie Underwood concert!!! I have been a fan of her since DAY ONE. Seriously. When they showed her during the audition process, I said right then that I wanted her to win. I was thrilled that she did, I have every single one of her albums, and I adore her.

We stopped at Bar Louie for dinner & drinks before the concert…
2016-02-20 17.12.30-1…where the COOLEST thing happened. We were headed up to our nosebleed seats, and an older lady stopped us and asked if we wanted to trade tickets. They had floor “seats”, and her elderly mother wouldn’t be able to stand the whole time. We happily traded tickets, and headed to the floor!  We were SO close! I could see the definition in her legs from where we were standing (which made me want to go home and get on my treadmill).2016-02-20 22.31.12-1 2016-02-23 10.00.39We sang along to all the songs, people watched, and had a great time!

While I was at the concert, G had a relaxing night in. He finished my built-ins(!!!), had dinner, a few beers, and watched a movie he’s been wanting to watch (that I had no interest in seeing). My built-ins are gorgeous. He’s now got the first coat of primer on them, so they’re white-ish, and I can picture how amazing they’re going to look in our living room. Hopefully they’ll be in the living room when I do that house update next week 🙂2016-02-21 10.06.19-1

Friday Ramblings

It’s one of those days where I just feel like rambling.

  1. I bought a treadmill. Earlier this week, G had a friend help him move it upstairs (FYI: treadmills are HEAVY), and I’ve used it a few times. Logically I know that it takes a very long time to gain 30 lbs, and it’s going to take a long time to lose 30 lbs, but I still wanted to jump on the scale afterwards and see a 5lb. deficit. Luckily the scale is still packed, and I have no idea where it is at the moment. I will say that finding the motivation to get a workout in is much easier with a treadmill in the house. I walked while watching two episodes of Gilmore Girls on the iPad. I would have done three episodes, but I was SO hungry by the end of the second, I decided to call it a night and go make dinner.2016-02-02 21.22.48-1
  2. So… Our house doesn’t have as much wall space as the apartment. The living room is around the same size, but the ceilings aren’t as high, so I don’t have enough space for all of my decorative things. The current dilemma is where to put my beloved shelves. Here are my thoughts: We could do two stacks of two over the couch. One stack of two over the old entertainment center & two in our bedroom. Or maybe something else… I LOVE these shelves. They’re probably my favorite project of Graham’s, so selling them (as he suggested), or not putting them up, is not an option.2016-02-04 21.39.09 2016-02-04 21.42.59
  3. I dropped my phone in the toilet two weeks ago (yes, the phone that I bought in June… :-/). I’ve had terrible luck in the iPhone department since moving to Virginia. We moved here in July 2013. That September, I upgraded to the iPhone 5s. A few months later, the iPhone 4  that I was using as an iPod was stolen. Then I break my 5s, and then dropped my 6 in the toilet. My friend Sarah joked that it’s a sign that I should switch to Droid… That will NEVER happen :-p I think it’s a sign that I should be more careful. And get insurance on my phone this time. And I did buy a Lifeproof case… Fingers crossed that this phone will last at least a year. Although now II’m annoyed that I paid $72 for the stupid case through their website, and it’s priced at $55 on Amazon…
  4. However, I did $3 back with ebates when I bought the new case. And I’ve said it before, but if you do any online shopping and are not losing ebates, you’re insane. My earnings for this quarter are $61.81. That’s $61.81 cash back for stuff that I was going to buy anyways. The treadmill I bought? Bought it online from Sears, and earned $15 cash back. So, SIGN UP FOR EBATES2016-02-04 13.25.11
  5. I’m ready for the Super Bowl to be over, so my newsfeeds can stop being APATT (All Panthers All The Time). The Charlotte Observer has been VERY Panthers heavy lately… well, actually all season… However, it is fun to see my city so excited about this. I may not care about football, or the Panthers, but judging from my newsfeeds, no group of fans wants a Super Bowl win as badly as Panthers fans. Especially my husband… I was extra nice this year, and gave him a Luke Kuechly jersey as an early Valentines Day gift.2016-01-24 19.35.14 2016-02-03 08.26.39-1 (1)
  6. I feel like I’m starting to finally get the hang of my Silhouette Cameo. I used the other day to make a gift for a friend. I can’t share the photo of that since I haven’t given it to her yet (I wish I could, because it turned out SO cute…), but I’ll share my Christmas gift wrapping. I was SO happy with how my packages looked this year. I have NO idea how I’m going to top it next year! I joined a Silhouette group on FB, and if you have one of these awesome little machines, I highly recommend this group. Loads of awesome project inspiration, and lots of people to answer your questions. 10565254_10102273154961397_4328447616750504005_n
  7. And finally, I can’t narrow down a color for my living room built-ins. Pretty much everything in the room is gray, white, or wood toned. So, pretty much any color in the world would work. Surprisingly, I’m leaning towards a color other than blue this time (Sherwin-Williams Framboise). Unfortunately, G isn’t a fan… Whatever I end up choosing, I think any of these colors would look gorgeous as the backdrop for my white built-ins.2016-02-04 14.28.10

What I’m Loving Wednesday: Living Room Built-ins

We have a pretty significant to-do list for our new house, including a complete kitchen renovation (complete, as in walls are coming down…). A lot of the things on the list are small, and can be done anytime. But the first thing on the list is revamping the living room.

The living room is the room we spend the most time in, and I wanted that room & our bedroom as close to finished as possible before we move in. Luckily, the bedroom was easy. New paint for the walls, and painting the brown trim a clean & crisp white. We still have to out up blinds, and change out the beige outlets and gold door hardware, but that’s easy.

The living room is going to take a bit more work.

I’m a sucker for built-ins. Project #3 on our house to-do list is a huge, built-in china cabinet for the dining room. Once we had officially bought the house, I stood in the empty room, took in the sad little fireplace and started thinking about how to bulk it up. And that turned to built-in bookcases. Then Graham got involved, and we started talking about tiling over that blah brick. And the rest is history.

I wanted to have this done before we moved in. Considering we’re moving in in less than two weeks, I don’t see it happening. Basically, nothing can be done until the tile is down & the wiring is moved (he wanted to add an outlet above the mantle, so we could plug in the TV and not have to see cords). He moved the wiring and patched the drywall this weekend, and we’re going to lay tile tonight, so hopefully the progress will start happening a little bit faster.

Okay. Enough rambling. Here are some fireplace/builtin combinations that I absolutely LOVE, and I can’t wait to share a finished photo of our space in a few weeks.

Where we started: 12191654_10102221202524497_5111437539747362151_nUgh. So. Much. Brown.

Where we currently are:10352568_10102309497330997_3884817000240601129_n

Where I want us to be:54b4956ceaf23f1a0e34a12a1f955e18source. 461d713616e71fb7b5df9732d0ad5b6bsource.
(sidenote: I am so disappointed that our TV is literally one inch too big to go to the side of the fireplace. I hate so much that we’re going to have to mount it above the fireplace. I had so many great ideas for that space.)