Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bathroom Progress!

   It feels like progress in the house is slowing down.  In reality, there is much being done, but most of it requires some sort of previous experience or skillz that I don't possess, so there isn't a lot that I personally can do.  I plan to continue learning how to do things, but for the moment, I don't know how to change a faucet, etc.  Our focus in the past week or so has been in the hall bath, which serves as our guest bath and Abby Kate's bathroom.  This bathroom is good sized, has a linen closet, has two sink/vanity areas, and a separate shower and potty area, making it ideal for being shared by multiple people.  (Please note, there are no babies in the works.  Just reflecting on growing up sharing a bathroom with my Seester and mom.  Three women getting ready at the same time could have used a little more elbow room.) 

   In the theme of the kitchen update post, let's remember where we started, shall we? Hall bath, before:

Hall bath, before.
   Not offensive, just incredibly boring.  Okay, those light fixtures are a little offensive.  You can't see them for the glare of the lights, but they're those "Hollywood" style  fixtures that had been spray painted (I think) with that horrible faux-stone textured paint.  ::shudder::  Again, I don't like orangey-stained wood, but there's tons of storage in those cabinets.  The biggest problem in both this bathroom and in the master is this:

Two-toned tile in the master "throne room"--seriously?!?
   The tile is two different colors.  Remember the slick-as-snot tile that we ripped out of the kitchen?  It's ba-ack!  For some reason, the previous owners laid the matte gray/tan tile in the main parts of both bathrooms and in the hallway to the bedrooms, but left the shiny ivory stuff around the toilets in both bathrooms and in the laundry room (my dad says they were probably too lazy to pull out the toilet and do it right).  Again, places where there are bound to be dusty feet or water on the floor.  This sounds like a broken wrist waiting to happen, not to mention it looks terrible.  So out it came.  My dad did the majority of the busting out in the hall bath, after giving me a tutorial, and I chiseled it out of the master bath and most of the laundry room.  That is hard work, friends!  I got lucky because there had apparently been some previous water leaks on the floor in the master bath and in the laundry because after I finally got the first tile out (after 45 minutes of hammering), the rest came out in much larger pieces. 

   We found one box of the correct tile in the garage, which was enough to finish the hall bath.  I found a VERY close approximation elsewhere for the other rooms, and we decided to add a "decorative buffer" and roll with it:

New tile!

   Keep in mind that the new stuff (on the right of the photo) has a little "grout haze" still on it, and the old stuff (on the left) hasn't been cleaned in heaven only knows how long, contributing to the difference in color.  I promise it's the same tile.  I think it turned out great!  Here are a few other projects going on in the bath:


   BEADBOARD!!!  Mwahahaha!  You knew it would pop up again, didn't you?  My dad installed a four-foot paneling of beadboard both in the shower area and in the main part of the bathroom, and added that awesome chunky railing at the top.  (I would have LOVED to do beadboard about six feet high, more of a plate rail height, but that stuff ain't cheap.) It's painted the same creamy off-white as the rest of the trim in the house, and I absolutely love it.  I think it makes the whole bathroom.  And here's a shot of the last project underway in here:

Vanity in progress!

   Dad also built that corner cabinet (he's super handy like that) and is framing in the mirrors, essentially creating two mirrors instead of one big wrap-around one.  They were plenty big, so I wasn't worried about losing mirror space, and I think it totally classes up the joint, don't you?  The cabinets have been sanded down and are awaiting a couple of coats of a darker, richer stain.  That's my department!  I plan to add some oil-rubbed bronze hardware to the cabinets as well. 

   So there you have it!  One hall bathroom, getting its makeover.  We have done a few more things in here since these photos were taken, like paint and light fixtures, but I think I'll save it for the big reveal photos.  You know, leave you hanging just a little.  Make you want to come back for more (and bring your friends). So make sure you come back for more!

   What are your priorities for bathroom design?  Do you hate Hollywood lights too?  Share my obsession love of beadboard? 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Before my very eyes

   As excited as I am about our new-to-us house, being first time homeowners, remodeling and decorating, and all that goes with that, it's tough.  The house takes up so much of our time and attention. There was the packing and moving, the house hunting, and now the work.  It's been a huge answer to prayer, don't get me wrong.  I absolutely cannot wait to move in and settle into life here.  But I almost feel like I have missed the past four months of my baby's toddler's life. I try to stay engaged, I try to make sure that when we are together that it's quality time, I try not to just yell at her and her incredibly frustrating toddler tendencies, but it seems like I blinked and all of a sudden she's a little girl, not my squishy-cheeked snuggle baby.  I know that happens with all kids, but I have noticed it more recently.

Silly faces with her favorite Auntie, November 2013
   When she visited grandparents in November while I was recovering from surgery, she was a proficient but unsteady walker.  She said some words, but mostly pointed and babbled.  She would bang toys together and enjoy exploring brightly colored or musical toys, but they were all just sort of random objects. 

Enjoying snow for the first time (she was too little last year!), December 2013
   When we came home for Christmas, she would bear crawl on all fours over the threshold to the addition in my parents' house.  She had started to recognize that her toy dishes could be used for having "tea" with whoever was willing to make the right sound effects.  She enjoyed hiding in the little fabric playhouse that my mom made for her, but didn't get the "house" concept.

My serious little bookworm, February 2014
   Then one day I blinked.  She "reads" books for fun by herself.  And she has definite opinions on which book she does and does not want to read.  She cooks at her play kitchen with appropriate pans and utensils (usually) and feeds her babydoll and stuffed animals (and sometimes the dog, if she doesn't run away fast enough) her imaginary concoctions.  She rocks her baby and takes her for rides in the stroller, careful to put on a jacket before they go.  She takes her dishes into her playhouse, and sometimes a tiny chair, peeking out the window and giggling at us.

Swinging with Daddy, February 2014

   My tiny baby is now pretty good with a fork and spoon, generally choosing the right tool for the job at hand.  She wants her bites in a particular order, asks for her "pup" (AKA "cup") when she needs a drink, and loves to wash her hands and wipe up her messes.  She knows how to throw away trash, put clothes into the dryer, and help unload the dishwasher.  She runs everywhere she goes, can go up and down stairs faster than I can, and knows that a girl isn't dressed without shoes and a bow.  (Not sure where she learned that...)

My funny Valentine, in her first pigtails!

   Sweetest Abby Kate, although some most days we struggle with a clash of wills (yours vs. mine), and some days I think I'm going to leave you to your toddler tantrums and go to Sonic, I am so proud of how you are growing up.  It melts my heart when you say "please" and "thank you," when you blow kisses, and when you add you "amen!" to the end of our prayers. I love it when you sing "Jesus Loves Me" with me, and when you are concerned about other babies crying.  You seem like such a big girl walking into Big Church by yourself and helping us take the dog for a "wop," but even on our tough days, I can peek at you napping and remember that you're still my baby girl.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kitchen Progress!

   I know you're just dying to hear all about my amazing renovation plans for our house, aren't you? Okay, okay, I'll indulge you.  ;)  (Thanks for putting up with me.)  We'll start with the room that has the most dramatic plans for change, the kitchen.  Remember what we started with:

   It's hard to tell from the photo, but the ceilings are REALLY high in the kitchen (and living room), which is awesome, but sort of dwarfs the kitchen as it previously stood.  The orangey stain is about my least favorite color of wood on the planet. Also note, there is no microwave.  Also note, the refrigerator is older than I am.  We won't talk about how old that might be.  The dishwasher, oven, and vent hood are original to the house, which was built in 1999 (par-tay!) so they aren't ancient, but are definitely tired.  I don't have photos of it, but the countertops are a grey-beige Formica type material that is cracking and peeling and bowing away from the walls, especially in places where it got wet.  And finally, the tile.  The color is not offensive.  There are a couple of cracked tiles in the corner by the sink--looks like the previous owners dropped a heavy pot or something.  The major problem with the tile is that it is a super high gloss shiny tile and it is SLICK. AS. SNOT. if it's wet or if you have dust on your shoes.  You know, like if you're coming in from the back yard (the door is in the dining area) or if you are a messy cook (I am). I have very nearly busted my can just about every time I'm in the house.  So here's where we are now:

   Pardon the mess, but so much better, right?  Here's a list of what has been accomplished in this picture so far:
  • Upper cabinets were raised 6". This makes the kitchen feel taller, decreases the awkward space above the cabs, and allows us to install a microwave! They were so low before that there wasn't enough space between the stove and the upper cabinets for a microwave, thus only a vent hood.  
  • Tile and countertops were removed.  (Duh.)  To be replaced soon.  The tile will likely go in next week, and I'm currently waiting on the countertop folks to schedule installation.  Hopefully end of next week.  
  • Cabinets painted off-white.  (Also duh.)  I love white cabinets.  They feel so airy and clean and fresh to me.  I know it's a matter of preference, and lots of my family believes it is a sin to paint woodwork, but I LOVE IT.  We added some oil-rubbed bronze hardware to the cabs too.  There wasn't any before.  Call me lazy, but I like me a drawer pull.
  • You can't see it in this pic very well, but see that lower cabinet in the left?  The one with the tiny tiny little door?  See all that space in that cabinet, going clear back to the corner?  Wasted.  Completely and utterly wasted.  The huge cabinet space was accessible only through that 6" wide door.  There's a shelf in there and everything, like it thinks it's usable space.  It's wrong.  So a hole was cut in the adjacent cabinet's left wall to access the space a little better.  It's still awkward and will still be tough to get stuff in and out, but it's a heck of a lot better.  
  • The island has been moved in these photos, but it's going back where it was.  Just needed some elbow room.  
   Here's another "before" shot for you:

   So many things drove me nuts about this picture.  I hate that horizontal "decorative ledge."  What's the point?  It's like no one told the room not to wear horizontal stripes.  I need to get rid of the "boob light." You know, that little round flush mounted fixture over the sink?  I heard another blogger call them that once, and now I can't un-see it.  Therefore it must go.  You can also see that super-rad 80s/90s fluorescent light box peeking over the dust catcher ledge. Not my fave.  And last but not least, there was some pretty hideous wallpaper below the chair rail in the dining area.  And it was peeling off.  Classy.  Here's a refreshing "progress shot":

   Sorry for the blurry iphone pic.  But again, so much better, yes?
  • No more dust catcher!  Such a tall svelte kitchen now!  
  • No more light box!  Chris's dad installed some can lights in the ceiling for us, and it gives great light in there.  We are planning to hang a pendant over the island using the existing wiring.
  • No more boob light!  Going to hang another pendant there over the sink using that wiring.
  • You can get a glimpse of the pretty off-white painted beadboard that now resides beneath the chair rail.  (Warning: I have a beadboard problem.  You will get tired of hearing about all the places I'm putting beadboard.)
  • You can't see in this photo, but scroll up to the "before" if you need to. There used to be two rows of tile on this side of the "bar" area.  I have no idea why.  It looked strange.  Luckily, the home-improvement force was with us, because we found two more boxes of the laminate flooring in the attic, so when the tile came up, the wood was extended all the way to the partial wall.  It looks awesome.  

   Clearly, there's still a lot to be done.  Paint on the walls, tile, countertops, and (spoiler!) shiny new appliances.  I'll do a full source list for anyone who cares when I post pics of the finished product.  And lest anyone think that I did anything in this kitchen other than write a check, I did not.  Not one thing.  We have some seriously talented and generous family members, y'all.  My grandpa and uncle are doing most of the work in the kitchen, from raising and painting the cabinets to removing the old tile and leveling the floor to installing beadboard and tile and a zillion little things along the way.  I'm over my head in gratitude and "I owe you's."  I'm putting in my sweat equity in other rooms of the house, but I had no part of the work in the kitchen.  And it's amazing. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Changes at the Little Nest

   Another lapse in blogging.  At least this time I have a good reason.  I had my gallbladder removed in November, and while I was recovering from that little bit of fun, my sweet husband accepted a job in our home state!  We were, of course, overjoyed to be moving home, closer to family and familiar ways of life.  There were some pretty excited grandparents too.  However, that meant that we had to pack, move across country, and start a new job, all at the holidays.  It was fast and furious, but we have survived so far.  Chris's family has been very graciously housing us and the mess we create since just before Christmas. 
   We hunted and bought a house that splits the difference between where our parents live and where Chris's new job is, about 20 minutes away from each, and less than a mile from my Little Seester! (Sorry sis!) It's about 15 years old, which was perfect for us.  I didn't want a brand new house.  I wanted something that needed a little love.  Nothing major, mind you.  I'm not prepared to deal with structural problems.  Just a cosmetic makeover.  It's just what we were looking for: 3 bedrooms and a study, 2 full baths, a nice sized (but not massive) kitchen, 2 car garage.  It's in the exact location we wanted, between family and work like I mentioned, and in the best school districts we could find. 

   The only thing that isn't straight from our wish list is the backyard.  You'll see a photo in a bit, but the previous owners poured an enormous concrete slab in the already smallish yard for a basketball court, so there is barely any grass back there.  My family raved about what an amazing patio it would make, and they are correct, but I've had concrete.  I want grass for my baby to play in!  We have long term plans to remove part of the concrete, but that's a project for another day.  Without further ado, meet the Slightly Bigger Nest in the Much Smaller City:

The Slightly Bigger Nest

Front door/Entryway  

Living room, view from the front door.  Nevermind my dad and the realtor.

View into dining area and kitchen

The eatin' spot

The cookin' spot

Master bedroom.  AMAZING window!

Master bath, complete with leopard print wallpaper and spider light fixture.  That open door you see goes into the closet, and the shower is behind that partial wall.

The back bedroom, which will be the playroom.

The "middle" bedroom.  This one will be Abby Kate's room.

Second bath, and a view of Chris's dad.  The doorway on the left goes into the shower and "throne room."
The back view.  Lots of concrete....
   So there you have it.  Keep in mind, these are the "before" pictures.  We (and our generous and talented families) have done a lot already, and have a few more projects to do before we officially move in.  We wanted to get things like flooring and painting done before moving our stuff in because it's so much easier to work without furniture.  The biggest project we have is the kitchen.  It's a near-complete overhaul.  I'll save the savory details for another post, but there's lots going down in the cookin' spot.  We're hoping to move in around the first part of March, if everything goes according to plan.  Cross your fingers!

   Anyone else move lately?  Planning some renovations?  Have pictures to share of completed projects?