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Now that school is finally O-V-E-R – we’re back!  In an effort to fully recoup after three years of being stretched thin, we’re starting out slow. Our first project involved sprucing up some great furniture that was given to us by a close friend (THANKS- WE LOVE IT!). The furniture is a great color and in awesome condition, so to add our own style to it we decided to update the hardware. The original hardware is shown below.

Old Hardware

The first step was just removing the hardware, which was the easy part! Then we visited both of the local hardware stores to find suitable replacements! After drilling a few new holes (yes Meghan, that’s what she said) into the drawers and cabinet doors we installed the new hardware. All of the updated drawers took up nearly in the entire spare bedroom.

After replacing the hardware, next on the agenda was moving the old furniture out and the new furniture in. Major progress has been made in the master bedroom since we bought our house just over a year ago.

Original Before:

Looking at these pictures makes me really proud of our progress so far! When we first moved in, I couldn’t wait to get started making changes.The work we did in December made pretty big strides from our original state.

In Between:

Now, the new bedroom furniture gives our room a whole new feel, and we couldn’t be happier.


Master Bedroom with New Furniture

Master Bedroom with New Furniture

We’ve made some progress, but as usual there is always still more work that needs to be done:

  • Figure something out about the TV situation (anyone notice the books under the TV?)
  • Bed improvements
  • Curtains and wall hangings
  • Lamp situation
  • Painting molding
Total time to improve – approximately 6  hours (including moving all of the furniture to our house, shopping for hardware, and cleaning out old furniture/restocking new furniture – Thanks for the help Dad!)

Total cost for new bedroom furniture  – $84  Not to shabby!

Recent Reno – Post 4 of 6

From my previous experience, the first several days were smooth sailing as far as old house renovations go. Day four was the beginning of experiencing set backs. We started out first thing in the morning by tearing up the carpet in the upstairs. At this point we discovered two fun things. First, we found our closet floor was covered by contact paper (OMG- who does that?). Second, we found out that the carpet installers GLUED down the carpet padding to the hardwood (seriously what were these people thinking?). We didn’t have time to care at that point, so we just kept moving by taking all the old carpet to the Gucci Dump

Next, we stopped by Home Depot to pick up all of the molding. We had already pre-shopped, and we knew we were purchasing contractor packs of 5 and 1/4 inch base molding for just about $1.10  a linear foot. We hadn’t concretely decided on a casing molding for all of the doorways and windows, but we landed 3 and 1/4 in width of  a fairly traditional style which was again about a $1.12 a linear foot.

This quickly added up to most of our budget, so we were careful to only re-do the molding on walls we knew we were keeping (there are some major wall moves and removals in the planning phases). We made the decision to remove and replace all of the base and casing molding for several reasons: the molding had been painted poorly many, many times; the molding was not coordinating throughout the house; the molding was not capable of hiding many of the imperfections in the drywall around the floor left from removing old school HVAC registers and paneling. The list could go on, but I won’t bore you. The first snafoo with the molding we ran into was getting the 16 ft long pieces/packs of molding to our house. We own a pick up truck, but Max was rightfully nervous about the extreme weather conditions (very windy) and crazy drivers in our area with us scooting along with 6-8 ft of molding sticking out behind our truck. We rented a 12 ft bed Home Depot truck for an hour to get the molding home, and we made it home with no damage to our load.

When we arrived at the house, my parents were already there hard at work removing the carpeting tack strips and staples. (SWEET!) I took on the task of returning the Home Depot truck and picking up our truck, leaving Max and my parents back at the house to work.  When I got home, all of the tack strips and staples were removed except for in the master bedroom. The master bedroom was double tack stripped, which at first didn’t seem too bad, but it definitely took double the time. Also, the installers used finishing nails ( the kind made for thresholds) made it that much more difficult to remove the tack strips. After finishing up with the removals, I tackled the contact paper in the closet, which luckily came up with no problems. This was not so much the case for the glue and double sided tape.

My mom and I spent more than a few hours with a bucket of warm water and soap just wetting and slowly scraping the glue and tape off the floor. It came up but there was still some damage to the floor. All in all, I’m happy because we did the best we could and we eventually plan on doing something to the floor down the line. Plus any angle I think about it from, the hardwood is still way better than carpet.

I’m sure you’re wondering where were my Dad and Max all afternoon while my mom and I were on glue duty? My Dad was showing Max how to measure and cut the base and casing molding. All I know is they were in and out a whole lot, every once in a while I’d hear, “it’s 38 1/4 and a line – what do you think?”, and someone would reply, “oh yea 38 1/4 and a line” then they would scamper around back to the saw set up. They got pretty  far before we decided to call it a night, but there was still plenty to be finished up the next day. Here are a few shots of the hallway and bedrooms with the base molding placed, but not installed. Also, some/most of the case molding is adhered to the walls, and the carpet has been removed.

Here’s the master bedroom:

Here is the spare room that I call Elsie’s room. There has been no molding around these doors and windows for months. Also, this is  the room I plan to paint stripes in at some time. As you can tell from this blog post, in order to make progress for the molding we had to remove a lot of the items we were storing in here.

This is the upstairs hallway, and it is apparent that the doorway at the end of the hallway was left incomplete at the end of this day.

And lastly, here is the stairway and nook.

Recent Reno – Post 3 of 6

On the third day, “monkey paw” as well as many other aches and pains started setting in. I’m sure the first thing that’s coming to your mind is… what is “monkey paw”? Well, monkey paw is the term we use for the hand cramping that occurs for those of us who are more or less desk jockey’s at work and then spend 24 of the previous 48 hours doing home improvements. I’m no doctor but logic would suggest it comes from using muscles that are not regularly used to grip items such as hammers, crow bars, sanders, and paint brushes  to an extreme. Unfortunately until you work to the point of numbness, it can be quite painful (oh yes, this is how we roll). This was our physical condition when we started off day three.  Not to mention this was the day that the mess started really getting to me. There was debris all over the floor despite constant cleaning and everything was everywhere and there was nowhere to put anything (I’m an everything in its place kind of gal so, this really bugs me). Here you can see in this picture of Elsie all of the little wall pieces and random things placed all over the floor. Please keep in mind this was only a snap shot of a 5 ft by 5 ft area, and the whole house was in this condition.

When considering all the aches, pains, anxiety, and an analysis of progress made in comparison to time remaining to work/recoup, we decided it was best to nix the bathroom remodel. The good news is that we did some major shopping and learned a lot about what’s available and in style for bathrooms these days, so we did make some progress just not anything physical. Oh well, we’ll just wait until after the spring semester (guess I’m stuck with Christmas trees a little longer than I planned).

Day three began with a trip to the “Gucci Dump”, which is an awesome landfill because you drive up to a cement barrier and throw things over the side. There are no seagulls, no stepping in garbage, and there is minimal mud.  This was followed by stops at Home Depot and Lowes to get all of the paint (did I mention that we live 10 minutes away from everything? – Awesome!). We bought 5 gallons of Valspar Signature Paint Foggy Mirror, 2 Gallons of Behr Premium Plus Basketry, and lastly one gallon of Olympic Premium Paint Sand-dollar. Also,  re-enforcements (my Mom and Dad) arrived to help for the day shortly after we got home from shopping – WOOO!

We decided not to remove the carpet until after painting, and it served wonderfully as a drop cloth. The rooms really started to transform on this day.  Applying the color to the walls made a huge difference. My Dad and I took on trimming the foggy mirror gray.

My mom was assigned to the basketry tan color for the two bedrooms.

And last but not least, Max spent the first 8 hours of the day replacing electrical sockets and light switches because they were either a) painted over and unusable or b) a hodge podge of various colors. He also installed a ceiling fan in the previously yellow spare bedroom.

During this day of painting, I managed to paint every color and all three brands (Olympic, Valspar, and Behr) of premium paints on the wall. The first lesson I learned is that when your walls are in as crappy a condition as ours were, it is WAY worth it to spring the extra dough for the premium paint as it shows better coverage than non-premium (which was the ceiling paint from the previous day). Also in my unprofessional opinion, the Valspar Signature color had better coverage .  The Behr and Olympic were comparable, but not as good as the Valspar (sorry Behr and Olympic!). Next, we all discovered the accuracy of trim lines when using Frogs Painting tape over the standard blue paint tape or hand painting.  In most cases, I went back and touched up after removal of the Frog’s tape, but it helped expedite the process tremendously. Lastly, my Dad taught me a little trick to keep my trimming brush fresh. I learned that if I rinse out the brush periodically and dry it off with a towel after rinsing that it made little to no effect on the paint and it was easier to clean the paint brush when I finished.

Here was the progress at the end of day three:

Spare Bedroom – Behr Basketry (don’t mind the bed and check out the new ceiling fan!)

LR/DR – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Tricky Part of the Hallway shown only with the trim painted here (this was where I displayed my amazing balancing act!) – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Family Room – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Family Room (painted paneling) – Olympic Sand dollar

Oh, and did I mention I spent a lot of time in the sink last week? Yikes, here I am again!

We painted ALL day, and we finished all of the color painting – BOOM! I’m still learning to remember to get pictures of every room, so only the rooms I remembered to photograph were shown here (Oops!). It was awesome and celebrated by some serious sleep to prepare for the day’s next carpet removal and molding efforts.

Black and White and Red All Over

What’s black and white and red all over?


In case you can’t tell, I have stripes on the brain. There has been some serious contemplation about painting the first spare room and somewhere along the way stripes jumped on the train of thought. I’m not the biggest fan of the standard uniform sized and spaced stripage some folks have going on – no offense to anyone with these type stripes- it’s just not so much me. While spending all this time in contemplation, I’ve been searching on line and I came across these top contenders.

Holding the top spot, we have mish-mosh fun stripes. For our application, I think this one would require the same color in a different finish rather than a whole different color stripe. Please look through fun colored chairs to stripes on the walls.

Holding spot numero dos, we have thick and very skinny horizontal stripes. This obviously looks much simpler than the previous inspiration photo.

Taking spot number three, I like again the simplicity of this style. I think that without the chair rail in the room, it might not be the best option for our little project.

At this point, anything goes – we have a color picked out and we’ll just have to see how it turns out!

Persistently Primered!

I was very fortunate today to be let off of work a little bit early for what my company like’s to call, “quality of life time”. SCORE! I’m sure you’re all wondering what that means in regards to my primer project planned for this weekend? Well, it means I’m finished!

In addition to the walls, I also painted the inside of the closet which added several hour of work to the project. I worked from 3:30 PM until about 10:00 PM with an hour break to get more primer and eat dinner. The house smells a bit like the people who used to live here, and it is driving me nuts. I’m hoping painting all wall surfaces and removing the carpet will contribute to lessening the smell. As of now, everything else I have tried so far (and it’s been a lot of things) hasn’t worked. Anyway, to paint the inside of the closet meant I had to remove everything from it, which contributed to the mess you are seeing on top of the desk. At this point, it’s about progress not perfection, so please don’t mind the distraction.

The walls are white now giving us a fresh perspective on the room and we’re feeling motivated to pick a paint color. We mulled over the idea of still selecting a paint primer mix to further improve the coverage. The choice was made to primer the walls due to the amount of Spackle that was applied to repair the holes from the paneling.  For not even being half finished, the room has certainly come a long way from the before state!