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

My Epic Pinterest Fail.

A few months ago I saw this decal on Pinterest, and I was obsessed with it.

c5541722850e1a2e33ca1848b57f1dc3But, that was a whole lot of money to spend on colorful triangles… So, I decided to try to paint my own triangles on my wall.

It was an EPIC FAIL.

Being honest, I knew when the first few shapes were painted.
2016-02-26 20.08.04But since it had taken G and I several hours to tape off this wall, I persevered. I kept painting, and while I liked it a little bit more, I knew it wasn’t me. Bake. Create. Love | Triangle Accent WallOnce I took the tape off, I liked it a little bit more. It still wasn’t my style, but I thought it looked kind of cool. I was ready to sand it down and paint over it then, but G & some friends thought we should get the room put together first before I decided. So, I did. I hung my Boston Terrier painting, bought a bar cart, styled my china cabinet, and hung my floating shelves…Bake. Create. Love | Triangle Accent WallThe shelves going up were the nail in the coffin. The triangles had grown on me a bit, and I didn’t hate them AS much. But once my shelves were up, I knew they had to go. The design was SO busy, and once those shelves were styled with books and knick knacks, it would be a 1,000 times worse. So, I decided to paint over them.
Bake. Create. Love | Triangle Accent WallFast forward to almost two month later.

This past weekend I cleaned the house, while  G did yard work. And I finally decided I couldn’t stand these triangles for one more minute. So, I sanded them down a little, bought some paint, and finally painted over them.

And now? I’m OBSESSED with this color. Seriously. I want to paint every wall in my house with it.
Bake. Create. Love. | Dining RoomI mean, it’s PERFECT. It looks great with the white trim & moulding, and it looks AMAZING with my dark shelves and vintage furniture. Bake. Create. Love. | Dining RoomI keep finding myself just standing at the door way, taking it all in. The only problem? I’m not kidding when I say I want to paint everything in the house this color. We need new bedding, so I’m thinking of doing an accent wall in our bedroom this color. And I’m definitely going to paint the rest of the dining room… Since G has to work the Air Show this weekend, maybe I’ll do it then. 2016-04-17 17.38.39-2So. Here is what I learned:

  1. Not all bold, patterned accent walls turn out as well as the epic blue wall2014-07-23-09-15-42
  2. Even if something was time consuming, don’t be afraid to get rid of it. Especially if it makes you hate going into a room of your house.
  3. Do a little more planning before doing a bold accent wall. I got lucky with that blue quatrefoil wall. It took 25 hours to do, and I would have been crushed if I had hated it. But I loved it. I may have liked this more if I had chosen my colors more carefully, instead of randomly selecting sample pots of paint from Lowes. I also may have liked it more if my triangles were a different size. I still don’t think I would have liked it enough to keep it, but I may not have hated it.

And of course, Buddy agrees. 🙂2016-04-17 17.40.41-1

Oh, weekends…

Unless a weekend is spent lounging on the couch, doing absolutely nothing, weekends go by way too fast! This weekend was a good mix of fun & productivity, and it flew by!

Friday, I was planning on attending a Pure Barre class, but I was late, and they wouldn’t let me in. So, instead I went to Colonial Williamsburg, and took a drive on the Colonial Parkway, to practice with my camera. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

2016-04-14 22.03.14 2016-04-14 22.04.25 2016-04-14 22.24.28 2016-04-14 22.45.29 2016-04-14 23.02.52 2016-04-14 23.03.56I came home eventually, and spent the rest of the day at home with our house guests. Our good friends Sav & Elise moved to Maine on Saturday. They wanted to go ahead and pack up their bed, so they (and their sweet dog Soxxie) spent the last week with us.2016-04-15 13.29.13-2On Friday, we also had another house guest: Finley. Finley is the absolute coolest dog ever. His owner is another apartment friend of ours. I hadn’t seen him since January, so when Jessica asked if we could dog sit, I jumped at the chance.
2016-04-15 17.22.56-2After taking the dogs to Yorktown, G and I headed to Kero for sushi. Everything was SO delicious. I think this was the first time ever that we LOVED every single thing we ordered. 2016-04-15 19.47.49-2After dinner, we headed back home to hang out with the animals, and watch Lincoln. Since April 15 is the anniversary of both his death, and the Titanic sinking, I watch one of those movies on that date. The past two years it’s been Lincoln though. Such an amazing movie about such an amazing person. 2016-04-15 20.25.55-22016-04-15 20.30.47-22016-04-15 21.54.39Saturday morning we got up super early for one last brunch with Sav & Elise before they headed to Maine. We went to First Watch, and I have the avocado toast with fruit instead of eggs. This was so delicious. 2016-04-16 07.55.17-2Once they left, and once Jessica picked up Finley, we became super productive. G did yard work ALL day, while I finally painted over the horrible triangles in our dining room. More on that later this week, but I’m SO glad they’re gone, and so in love with the paint color I chose. 2016-04-16 18.37.36Our plan was to stay in Saturday night and have a Blue Apron dinner. It was an epic fail. The flavors weren’t very good, and the portion sizes were microscopic. We were both annoyed and starving after we ate, so we ordered a pizza and had a second dinner. 2016-04-16 20.18.32-1While Hermione had an hour long face off with this squirrel, and Graham did more yard work…2016-04-17 09.01.13-2… I continued working on the dining room, and did some more cleaning. Buddy was less than helpful, and I cringed every time he jumped up on the table.
2016-04-17 17.19.02-1But the finished (almost) product has me swooning. I am IN LOVE with this space. I need to finish styling my shelves, and I need to hang the curtains I bought yesterday, but I couldn’t be happier with how this room looks 🙂2016-04-17 17.38.39-2

House Update: One month-ish in…

We’ve been in our new house a little over a month now. February 29th was the official one month mark. Ever since moving, the question I’ve been getting the most is “how’s the house coming?”.

Some rooms have seen a drastic change, and look better. Some rooms look a whole lot worse. And some rooms are exactly the same, except for the addition of our things (and I’m going to skip over those, since this post is long enough).

We’ll start with the rooms that have improved for the better. Like the living room.

Here was the room the first time we saw it.:
living room

And here we are today. The built-ins are in, they just need doors on the bottom (covering those bottom two shelves), and trim, crown molding, etc. The space behind the TV is the fireplace, and that’s what Graham is working on now. He just put up those studs, and is going to add a sheet of drywall to it. Then he’s going to build a new fireplace surround and mantle. The brick of the fireplace has been covered in tile. Other than that we’ve painted, added a new window treatment, and a new ceiling fan. 2016-03-11 04.59.542016-03-07 01.41.00 2016-03-11 04.59.38 2016-03-11 05.05.05 2016-03-11 05.05.41


Next is our bedroom. The room the first time we saw it:

master bedroom 2 Master bedroomThe room now. Other than the fact that we need to hang some stuff on the walls, this room is pretty close to finished. We need a new bed, thanks to Buddy, but that isn’t the rooms fault…

My favorite part of this space is my pink chair, and reading area.
2016-03-11 04.40.45The room has been painted, new window treatments, and a new ceiling fan has been added. 2016-03-11 04.42.572016-03-11 04.43.232016-03-11 04.45.05

The last room to see any improvement is the dining room. The previous owners used this house as a formal sitting room. We’re going to expand the kitchen into the dining room, so this space has become our dining room.

Dining roomNo major changes, just lots of paint for the walls and the brown trim. We still need to change out the outlets and outlet covers to bright white ones. We also still need window treatments, but I’m having trouble deciding on curtains.

My favorite part of this space is my bar cart. SO cheerful & fun! I was torn about whether to add a mirror over the bar cart, or a bold piece of art. I’m really glad I went with the art. I’m also really glad my fork and spoon finally have a home here. The china cabinet and dining room set are from a local vintage shop that I’m obsessed with. If you’re local, go check out Red Feathered Nest. The chairs needed some love, so I reupholstered them with some fun fabric I picked up from Mary Jo’s last time we were home. And I replaced the boring knobs on the china cabinet with these amazing ones from Anthropolgie2016-03-11 04.53.49 2016-03-11 04.54.48 2016-03-11 04.56.06 2016-03-11 04.56.21 2016-03-11 04.57.14I have decided to paint over the triangles though. I was unsure about them to begin with, but once my shelves were hung, and I started adding things to the shelves, I knew it would be way too busy. 2016-03-11 04.55.332016-03-11 04.57.54 2016-03-11 04.58.10

Now to the rooms that look worse. Like the guest room.

Spare roomRight now, it has the right furniture in the room, but it isn’t by any means usable. The bed is leaning against a wall (the walls and trim have yet to be painted), and the dresser is just covered in crap. And lets not forget the treadmill just hanging out. 2016-03-11 04.49.20 2016-03-11 04.49.32

The room above the garage:

ROG - Screen printing - craft roomUgh. This space is going to be a crafting space/G’s screen printing work room. Basically all of our crafting stuff has just been dumped up here, and his screen printing set up was cut into 3 pieces to get it up the stairs. 2016-03-11 04.50.59 2016-03-11 04.51.16

Before, this room was a little office.

Guest room 2Now, it is literally referred to as the junk room. But in all fairness, most of the crap in here needs to be sold. Our neighborhood has a community yard sale every spring. Hopefully we’ll get rid of a lot of it then. If it doesn’t sell, it’s going to Goodwill. junk room

The old dining room:

Dining room - future kitchen expansionThis room has actually become junk room part two. That wardrobe looking thing is actually a garage organizer we’re using as a pantry, since this house has zero cabinet space.old dining room

And, the last room that looks worse is the half bath.

half bathThis room is TINY, and the vanity was way too big for the space. So, we sold it. Once it was gone, we learned the floor underneath wasn’t finished. The flooring is old vinyl, and it was going to be replaced anyway when we did our kitchen remodel, so no big deal. But this room probably won’t look better until after the kitchen is finished (and we haven’t even started yet). 2016-03-11 05.01.19

Some things are just tiny little things, but they make me happy. Like curved shower curtain rods. These bathtubs are TINY, so the extra space from the curved rod makes a HUGE difference.

2016-03-11 04.48.08 And we installed a Cat Genie in the laundry room. This self cleaning litterbox is pretty much the most amazing thing in the history of the world!2016-03-11 05.02.12

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