Monday, April 2, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Part 2: Painting the Cabinets

We're painting the roses red! We're painting the roses red! I'm painting my cabinets white linen!

Whew. Painting cabinets is no joke. This time consuming, multi-step process has had our house in chaos for OVER THREE WEEKS. Finally, FINALLY the cabinets are done! Those who have already painted cabinets can sympathize; those who haven't just cannot understand. I didn't understand!

Here's a sneak peak of the kitchen with the cabinets painted, the knobs installed and doors (mostly) reinstalled.
After reading and reading and reading blogs on how to paint cabinets, I finally decided that I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Linen White. Great, right? Wrong? Do you know how many stores sell this line of paint? Not so many. After visiting 4 stores that sell Benjamin Moore paint and calling a few more, I finally found one about 25 minutes from our house. I drove up to the local hardware store after work one afternoon and was fortunately to score their very last can of Advance Paint in Satin.

Why did it take 3.5 weeks to finish this up? Remember, I have to do this at night after work and after the kiddos are settled down for the night. The work breakdown is below:
Day 1-2 Clean cabinets with TSP and remove doors from cabinets

Day 3-4 Sand cabinets and doors

Day 5-7 Prime doors and cabinets

Day 8 Didn't get to do anything

Day 9 Sand all the doors and cabinets

Day 9 Finally find and buy paint

Day 10-11 Paint coat 1 on cabinets and doors

Day 12-13 Paint coat 2 on cabinets and doors

Day 14 Do nothing-no time!

Day 15-16 Paint coat 3 on cabinets and doors

Day 17-20 Do nothing while paint on cabinets/doors cure

Day 21-23 Drill holes for new knobs/rehang cabinet doors

Day 24 Stand back and admire all the work

I am so glad that is done. Again, here's a peak at our progress.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Part 1: The Post I've Been Dreading

After seven and a half years in our little home, we've decided to update our kitchen. I'm not talking about throwing some new paint on the walls and adding some new accessories-I've already done that (about 4 times already). Changing the paint color just isn't making me love the kitchen. More serious work needs to be done.

To be fair, our kitchen is certainly not ugly. At most, it's a little dated. The flooring and counters are chipped/cracked in some places-but it was nothing I couldn't live with. Like many of our household projects, this decision resulted from another project. We are currently having a new exterior door in the kitchen installed. This door leads out onto our second story deck. This is the final exterior door we want to replace. We would like to stop supplying heat (or A/C) to the rest of our neighborhood and a new door should help. After the door is installed, I have to repaint the trim and walls anyway, so why not work in a full makeover?
Here's a preview of what the kitchen currently looks like. Actually, the walls aren't even green anymore; they are a light aqua blue. It looks basically the same and most people didn't even know I changed the color. It's not horrible. The maple cabinets are in good shape and the laminate counters are okay. There are chips and, if I'm honest, I'm the only person I know who doesn't love gray right now. The laminate floor looks okay, but it's actually in pretty bad shape. The floor is warped in some areas and chipped in many places. Laminate floors just do not work for clumbsy me in a kitchen.

I've decided to follow Young House Love's kitchen remodeling steps since those guys are so DIY savvy and do such a fantastic job providing tips. My first step is painting the cabinets. I am so not looking forward to this, but I am looking forward to the end result.

So, what's the plan?

  • Replace the sliding door (not pictured). This is where the bulk of the budget is going.

  • Paint the cabinets a creamy white (Ack-I have to decide on a paint color!)

  • Replace/add hardware

  • Install a new tile and glass backsplash

  • Install a new butcher block counter top, sink and faucet

  • Paint the walls a new color since Installing the door will ruin the paint and I am ready for a new wall color anyway. Aqua blue, while pretty, just does't do it for me.

  • Install inexpensive flooring

  • Accesorize!

We're pretty slow with our rennovations due to our day jobs, kids and well because we are just slow at getting anything done (except eating). I'm hoping to get this rennovation done by mid-May, but I'm not going to flip out (much) if it's not done. Slow and steady-that's my mantra with this project.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Covering an Old Window

One of the many joys of buying an older home is finding out where the original house ended and additions began. In our house, inefficient, oddly placed windows were the tell-tale sign. Until last spring, we had a window in one of our bathrooms that looked directly into the laundry room. And while this was very convenient when I wanted to watch my kids bath while I did laundry, it left a lot to be desired when someone had to actually use the toilet! This year, we turned that window into an adorable little wall niche in the bathroom. I'm still thrilled about it and our new found privacy!

The second window we decided to address was the window in our basement kitchen (yes, we have 2 kitchens) that looks into the children's outdoor toy storage/garage. Last year, we replaced all the windows in our home with new energy efficient windows except this window. Best $10K we ever spent on this house! Why replace a window that we would rater just get rid of, right?
In this picture, we are removing all the flooring in the basement to replace it with laminate flooring. But, you can see the window that looks out into our toy storage room/garage/garage door. It was just ugly. Okay, so the entire space is awful in this picture. Doesn't it always look worse before it gets better?

Since funds were pretty low (like non-existant) after repairing all the water damage this year, we had to get creative. First, Carl patched the window with extra plywood we had from an old daybed. Between the plywood sheets, he added insulation and Great Stuff for insullation.
After putting in the plywood, we realized how dark the room looked. The kitchen is in the basement, after all. We agreed that adding a mirror to this space would look great. But, having a mirror cut could be expensive. A look at craigslist and our local second-hand stores didn't yield anything in our price range either. So, we began looking through all our junk and spied this!

We were no longer using the hutch portion of this dresser and decided to store it. The mirror was a perfect fit for the space. So, Carl popped out the mirror, glued it into the space and added some moulding to secure it in and to look nice. Here's how it turned out.

I painted the tile backsplash white. Yes, i painted the ceramic tile. I'm not that concerned because we never use this kitchen. I decided not to paint the cabinets (for now) because they are in excellent original condition. These cabinets are original to the house. So, they are approximately 50 years old. They have a very mid-century feel which works well with the rest of our theme in the room. They polished up beautifully too! Honestly, I hate the light fixture globes, but Carl loves them and they match the family room rug, so they will stay. I added some lime green accessories like towels, rug and a clock to tie the color scheme into the adjacent room.

As I mentioned before, I never style pictures because I just don't have the time/desire. This is how it looks every day (we don't use this kitchen much). I always keep a cutting board out (because I am obsessed with cutting boards!) and the dogs messed up the carpet. Oh, and I usually walk around the house in a red apron and my hair a mess. We are beyond pleased with this project. Now, we can spend time in our family room kitchen without viewing the old, ugly and inefficient window. This old house is slowly becoming one that reflects our family.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And We're Done-Bedroom Complete!

Both the roof and the basement have dried out and been repaired. Since the last update, the small roof over our garage has been completely replaced and we've had a french drain and sump pump in the master bedroom. Finally, we were able to move onto fixing the flooring situation in room.

About 18 months ago, we ripped out the old nasty carpet and installed laminate flooring throughout the entire bottom floor of our house (summer kitchen, family room, hallway and our bedroom).

Our bedroom, pictured above was the last room to get the laminate flooring. It doesn't usually look this bad. This is the middle of a construction zone.

We finally got the laminate floor in and... I hated it. In the pictures, it doesn't look bad. However, I just didn't love it for my bedroom. It reminded me that this room wasn't supposed to be a bedroom, it was supposed to be a bonus room or family room. And because I didn't love it, I didn't blog about it. I didn't spend much time in it either.

When we had the french drain installed, Hubby and I had to remove the damaged laminate floor. After two weeks of walking around on cold, gross concrete floors, I was ready to start pricing carpet. I knew what I liked, and I knew my budget ($500-$600), but the two didn't agree with one another. Isn't that always the way?

We have a large dog who's nails snag, so I knew Berber wasn't an ideal option. We have Berber carpet throughout much of the house and I am always trimming the snags. I like the new shag carpeting, but it turns out it's not in my budget. I looked into installing carpet tiles, but the mixed reviews scared me away. That, and it wasn't really that much cheaper.

The one thing I did know is that I wanted a brownish tan carpet with no pink undertones. Pink undertones with our yellow and green room just doesn't look great.

I got three estimates on carpets and found one that I liked the best for the least price. It is a brown plush/shaggy style in browns. I even managed to get it installed for under $600.00, $589.00 to be exact!

Two weeks later, out carpet was installed and I am in love! I love the soft cushy feeling under my feet!

Here's some pictures below of the room with new carpet. You won't find perfectly styled rooms on this blog. I have a bit of an aversion to knick knacks, and prefer items have functionality. This is why my bookshelves contain books that are read very regularly. I like a styled bookcase as much as the next person, but it's just not going to happen in our house.

This room is a blend of old and new. The dressers and night stands belonged to my parents and are at least 50 years old. The bed came from my grandmother. The lamps and picture are all Goodwill finds. We painted over the old paneling. We even reused some of the old laminate flooring in front of the door. Since the windows have ledges under them, curtain lengths had to be customized. Floor to ceiling curtains, unfortunately, just could not work. I make the curtains using discounted fabric and stitch witchery. The new items in the room include bed linens, door, windows and window treatment fabric.

Finally, I can relax in our bedroom.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That 1%

I haven't blogged many projects in a few months because we've been working on boring house maintenance and repair work. But, thinking back, that's an interesting and important topic to write about as well, so here goes.

The mid-Atlantic area has been hit with rain, rain and more rain for the last few months. Everywhere we look housing are experiencing major flood damage. Unfortunately, we own one of those houses. The situation is so bad that when we called to get someone in to look at our flooding problem, we had to wait, get this, a month just to get someone out. And that's if I received a call back at all! On the positive side, we had time to save our $$ to pay for the repair.

We actually had two major problems.

Using an old picture, I've illustrated the areas damaged by water. I'm being generous. The circled items are just where the damage originates. We have way more damage than just in the circled areas.

Problem #1: First up is the small roof above the garage. You'll notice that the back of the house has no gutters (why, I don't know). Because of this, water was falling off the deck roof directly onto the roof below. Water was trapped inside this roof causing all the wood to rot inside. This was not evident without removing the XXX. I discovered the damage when a sheet of wood fell inside the shed because the structure holding it in rotted. Goody. Ironically, the shingles had no damage.

So, we needed to replace this entire roofing structure. Despite being a repair cost of at least $1,000.00, this project was actually too small for most roofing companies to bid. These guys are so busy, they are turning work away! We got a total of 2 bids. One was more than double than the other. We selected the lower priced option because this company actually provided a solutions to the problem in addition to replacing the roof. They will be installing a gutter system above the deck. This will be done this week!

Problem #2: This addition in the back of our house contains our master bedroom and laundry room. Every single time it rains, both rooms are flooded. The water originates from the corner I've circled. I should mention we just put in new flooring in our master bedroom less than 1 year ago and now it's ruined. After months and months, we finally had a professional in to assess the situation. Turns out that 99% of houses like ours (a raised ranch/bi-level, split foyer) do not need a sump pump. Looks like we're that 1%. We felt so special. The solution is to install a french drain that leads into a sump pump in this back addition. This too will be done this week.

So, looks like these projects will be done soon, and I can work on (and blog about!) fun projects. I can't wait!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Herbs Take 2

I may have mentioned a time or three that I love our herb garden. Herbs are not only pretty, but they also are edible!

Sometimes, the herbs in our garden grow a little more than I anticipate. Last week, my mother asked me when I was going to weed my garden. I had already weeded, but the herbs began to encroach onto the sidewalk and look kind of, well, weedy.
I promise, these are herbs-chives to be exact!

I occasionally give herbs away, but I find that a lot of people do not really want them. And we have more of some herbs that we will every need, so I just trim them back. I hate tossing the clippings in our compost pile; it seems such a waste. So, I decided to start using them in vases in our home.

Currently, we have a glut of oregano. This plant has a beautiful little white flower and has that wonderful oregano smell. So, I cut oregano until I found the sidewalk again, washed the plant well (because they attract all kinds of bugs!) and threw them into a kicky little lime green vase.
I didn't add water because I figured the oregano could dry on our table and I could just pull off little leaves as we need them when cooking. How's that for practical decorating?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blackberry Jelly Time!

As a child, I remember walking down our long rocky driveway on hot summer days and picking blackberries with my sister. Sometimes we'd eat them, occasionally, we'd bring a basket of fruit home with us, but most of the times, we had blackberry fights. Now, I'm mortified not only for the stains, but the total waste of food. Oh well. The memories were good. I wanted my children to have similar memories. So, my husband planted 6 berry bushes along our back fence. Now, each summer, we are rewarded with raspberries and blackberries. The blackberries really are the star of the show. They are huge-sometimes over 2" long, super sweet and plentiful.

Now, my children walk to the back of our little yard and pick berries.
Often they just pop them into their mouths (yes, before washing them). When they notice that there are a lot of ripe berries, they run inside, grab a bowl and start collecting them. They even recruit me to help. Since we are all different heights, we are good at finding all the ripe berries!

We picked these yesterday. This bowl made about 4 cups of crushed blackberries.

After the berries are collected, we bring them inside, wash them and make freezer jam. I think this is their favorite part!
There's just something about picking something that you grew and turning it into something for your family to eat. I hope my kids think back fondly on these activities one day. I know I already do.