Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Month Anniversary

Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe it will be August 1st tomorrow?

We have been in the house a month already!  Somedays it feels like the month flew by and then I remember how exhausted I am and it feels like its been 3 months.  There has been a lot of progress made but I have been too tired, too busy, or too whatever to post anything.  Here is a list of what has been done so far.

  • The ceilings, all trim, and walls in the living room, dining area, hallway, guest room and master bedroom have been painted (felt like it took forever)  I love to paint but geez louise...I thought it was never going to end.
  • Old fence tore out
  • Concrete walkway broken up and hauled off
  • Hurricane Blinds fixed (hired out)
  • Built the fence - read about the start of the fence & flooring here: Flooring & Fencing
  • Tilled the yard and laid sod
  • Replaced ceiling fans
  • Floors have been replaced in all rooms except bathrooms (hired out)
  • Moved furniture that came with the house out
  • Moved some of our furniture in
  • Tore out old kitchen counter tops and backsplash
  • Built a box for the refrigerator so it looks like a custom built in
  • Crown moulding added to the kitchen
  • Extra trim added to kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen cabinet bodies, doors and drawers have been prepped for paint
  • New counter tops have been prepped for installation
  • New lights installed in the hallway - read about it here: Let's Talk Lights
  • Laundry Closet painted
  • Washer & Dryer installed - read about it here: For the Love of Laundry
  • His & Hers closets painted
  • His & Hers closet organizers have been installed
  • Outdoor furniture purchased and assembled
  • Made a few trips back to Nederland for boxes in storage
  • Went to the Phillip Phillips & John Mayer concert (so much fun!)

Thankfully we had family help us with the fence and laying the sod.  When I list all the things we have done so far, it really is a lot of progress for one month and we did almost everything ourselves.  A lot of it did myself, and my wonderful husband worked & helped as much as he could when he got home from work....even though he really wanted to go fishing.   I told him not to bring the boat over yet, it would just mock him and tempt him :)  

The kitchen will be ready for paint in the next few days and I can't wait to get that project done.  I am ready to have a kitchen again!  Here are a few pictures of progress:

First weekend in the house.  About to jack hammer the broken walkway.

Started with a chain link fence on both sides of the house.

Chain link is gone!

New fence with tilled and raked yard.

New Grass!!!  We went with Palmetto St. Augustine.  Supposed to
be drought resistant and easy to maintain.

Love the fence and new grass.

Sabine sticking her head through the deck railing.
It will be replaced soon.  This makes be nervous.

Sweet Jaxson hanging out on the deck while I work.

Kitchen floor before.  You can see the yucky blue carpet
and the tile is the cheap, puffy sticky tiles.  (They weren't that sticky)

New floors.

Laundry area

Refrigerator box.  New crown moulding and trim.

New crown moulding and trim.

Our countertops.  American Walnut butcher block.
Waiting to be cured and cut.

New paint color in the living room, dining room, and hallway.
Finally brought up some of our own furniture.

New lights.

There are tons more to show...and do.  Things to do in the next week:  I need to unpack our decor things and start decorating with our accessories.  I need to find a 9-drawer dresser to refinish for our bedroom....our closets don't have space for folded clothes.  Build my paint booth.  We have picked our new exterior paint color but now I need to find a fence stain to coordinate with it.  Everyone stains their fence here and they look so good.  We are wanting to do the same but need to find a color we like and of course the samples in the store are not accurate to what it actually looks like on our fence wood.  Finding a color has been a little harder than I thought.     

Everything is coming together and hopefully things will slow down once the kitchen is done.  All our new kitchen appliances and accessories are here and ready to be installed, I just have to get the cabinets painted which will start this week. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Kitchen & Appliance Advice

Let me just start with, the kitchen is NOT the reason we bought this house.  It was a huge list of other things that out weighed the fact the kitchen is small and ugly.  I can honestly say I hate almost everything about the kitchen: flooring, lighting, countertops, cabinet color, yucky appliances, and layout.  The only thing in that list I can't change is the layout so as long as I could get over that, everything else had potential.   After letting some ideas simmer for a few days when we were house shopping, I was confident we could make the kitchen super cute and almost everything we want it to be.  Here are some before pictures.

Scary right?  I told my friend the first time she was seeing the pictures to be playing the "eek, eek, eek" music from the movie Phsyco in her head.  The cabinets are in amazing shape and are solid wood so no need to replace (huge cost savings) but definite need to paint.  Backsplash, new hardware, sink, faucet, and countertops are already in just waiting on the cabinets to be refinished so we can install everything.  The new flooring is already in and my new gorgeous appliances are in my dining area also waiting to be installed.  

My appliances were really important to me.  I cook a lot so a good gas cooktop with convection oven was a non negotiable on my list.  I used Consumer Reports and other sites to do research and read countless reviews.  Here is the plan I followed to choose which brand I wanted and try to get the best deal.

 Some advice on appliance shopping:  

  • Research and read reviews.  Know what you are buying.  I read reviews on all the major retail websites as well as the companies website.  Appliances are one of the most expensive investments in your kitchen so be smart about it.  Be sure to do the research and a lot of it.

  •  Have a realistic budget AND stick to it.  Know how much you can spend and if you are not in the Wolf/Thermador/Viking price bracket, then don't go look at them!  Be realistic.  Don't forget to add in installation and warranty costs into your budget.

  • Make sure they deliver for free and shop prices on installation.   I found that installation prices varied from store to store and from appliance to appliance.  Example:  A refrigerator just needs to be plugged in and a water line attached.  No big deal usually was free.  An over the range microwave on the other hand is more involved and was over $100 to install at all the stores I shopped at.  Be sure to add that to your budget or know if you can DIY.

  • Find someone that will match prices and use it to your advantage.  Lowes will price match any competitor and I am assuming some of the other stores will too. 

  •  If you have moved recently you will get a Lowes 10% off coupon in your moving package from the USPS.  NOW is the time to use that.  

  •  Don't be afraid to purchase from more than one store.  I bought from 2 different stores.

  •  Shop around a holiday.  I held out and ordered my appliances close to July 4th.   I knew about what their prices would be by scoping out the memorial day sales and that is how I set my budget.  I checked the websites everyday leading up to the 4th and the day their sale started, I was at the store.

  •  Don't trust the in-store prices.  Check online too.  My stove was posted $400 less online than it was in the store.

  • If they don't carry the exact model you want, ask to be upgraded for the same price. I had this happen on 2 of my appliances.  

  • Remember most appliances are not in stock and will take about a week to be delivered so plan ahead.

These are the steps I followed and after buying appliances and warranties I saved over 20% from the regular price and stayed under budget.

Here are my beauties:

And you have already seen my new washer & dryer in the For the Love of Laundry post.

Today I am finishing up painting the guest room (any guesses on what color I went with?)   Tomorrow I'll post some inspiration pictures for the kitchen and show you more of the products I went with. 

Have a great day!

Side note:  Thanks for reading everybody.  Hopefully I'll be back to furniture soon and my posts won't be just about the house anymore.  Yesterday was a record for most page views in a day!  I should talk about inappropriate stuff more often.  :)   

Be sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Pinterest if you don't already!  Thanks, Kaylor

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let's Talk Lights

Warning:  Graphic Content......not really but kind might offend a few of mom doesn't like when I say it or talk about it......sorry in advance

I have this weird thing with light fixtures.  Its a serious problem.  It started about 10 years ago when I was staying at a nice hotel in Houston with some friends.  At some point we were walking through the hall to our room and someone said, "Look.  Their light fixture looks like a boob."  I am thinking to myself, surely not.  No one would do that, right?  Who would put a light fixture up that looks like a woman's breast?!  Well, people....they did.  Huge ones.  And sadly, a lot of you have them up in your house right now.  You might not even realize it.  I never did until it was pointed out and as the saying goes, you can't unring a bell.  I will never look at a light fixture the same again and now, neither will you.  :)

 Here are a few examples from the Lowes website so you know what I am talking about.

Those of you that didn't realize you had boobs on your ceiling, you're welcome.  I refer to "boobie lights" more than I should but they are everywhere and they drive me crazy because they are everywhere! 

Shopping for new lights for our home was not easy.  For whatever reason, that shape light is very popular.  It seems to be the most popular light shape on the market.  I was starting to think I couldn't totally avoid them.  Lights that I do like are the schoolhouse style so that is where I focused my search.  They are classic yet many have a modern twist and I think they are great for the casual feel we want in our home.   Even some schoolhouse styles have the look I like to avoid, but not all.  It took me a long time to finally decide on some.  I found several that were acceptable at Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. but they were all a little more than I wanted to pay so I did some research, love me some google, and found some similar ones at Destination Lighting for a more reasonable price.

Today I put up the hallway lights and I love them.  The lights that were there weren't that bad but they didn't have any character.  I thought they were boring.  Here are some before pictures:

I also have a thing about yellow light from light bulbs.  Hate it.
We are slowly replacing them all to daylight bulbs.

Here is a picture with one new light and one old.

And the after.

Nice bright light.  Love it.

 I am using the same style lights in the kitchen over the sink and a larger one as the main light on the ceiling.  Speaking of the kitchen, we have started the kitchen demo.  I will post some progress pictures soon.  I am also working on the deck.  Furniture should be here in a few days along with some accessories.  The rug has already arrived and I love it so I can't wait to put it all together.  This is what I have now.

Isn't it sad?  And its boring.  And uncomfortable.  Those chairs were left by the previous owner and the cushions were melting (yes, melting) so we took them off.  Now we sit on the chairs without them which is not comfortable at all.  I am anxiously waiting for my glider sofa and club chairs to get here.  We spend a lot of time out on the deck so I am going for an outdoor room feel. 

Kitchen pictures and updates tomorrow.  And I promise no more inappropriate content.  Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

For the love of laundry

When it comes to appliances, there are several you can live without for a while.   For a stove we have been using the grill and there are sinks in the bathrooms to use for water, washing hands, etc.  Some appliances though, are harder to live without.  There are no substitutes for the fridge and laundry...none!  We have our old fridge still hooked up in the kitchen and will be moving downstairs soon.  It will be inconvenient to go downstairs every time I need something but we will have a usable fridge.  Laundry, however, has been an issue.  It has been a week in the new house and the floors are finished and the washer/dryer have been sitting in the living room waiting to be hooked up.  Last night was finally the night.

One thing I do not like about our new house is the laundry room....or should I say closet.  It is tiny.  But when you live in a neighborhood where the average size home is between 1200 - 1600 sq ft,  a large laundry room is pretty much non existent.  Our new washer and dryer HAD to be stackable since we have the closet.   Something like this....

I ended up purchasing the LG ultra capacity washer and dryer since Lowes didn't have the one I really wanted.  They upgraded me for free.  :)  I needed laundry units that can handle blankets and comforters and other heavy loads.  With indoor labs, dog hair tends to get EVERYWHERE so I wash everything...often.  It is a must to have a washing machine that can handle the heavy, large loads.  I measured and remeasured and the ultra capacity would fit snuggly in our laundry closet making it look like the photos above.

Things you don't really think about when you see these snug fitting laundry units is, how did they hook up all the things in the back.  How did they get the dryer vent hose on the dryer, plug them both up, turn on the water, etc?  There is no way to do all that once they are in the space and the hoses and such might not be long enough to reach to the hall way or area outside the closet.  Also, lets not forget how heavy and awkward these things are to move, especially once they are stacked.  These are all things I thought about last night while we were trying to stack and hook up our laundry, wishing I would have paid for the installation by the pros.

Our amazing neighbor has helped us so much since we have moved in and last night was no different.  He came over to help lift the dryer but it became so much more complicated than that.  Poor guy is probably never going to help us again. LOL.  After what felt like forever, we finally got them hooked up and running.  We have a few kinks to work out but this is what I have now.  

A huge thank you to Rick, the neighbor, and my amazing husband.  The two of them did most of the heavy lifting.  I wouldn't have clean clothes today without them.  :)

I haven't decided what I am going to do for a door but the ugly bifold they had is not going back up.  I might do a curtain or little french doors or I might put a better looking bifold.  Not really sure yet.  I painted the closet Caribbean Cool by Benjamin Moore.  Its a fun, bright blue that I love but couldn't handle in a large space like a bedroom.  You can also see a little sneak peek of my luxe vinyl planks we had put in earlier this week.  They look great and it has really changed the feel of the house.  I'll post about them later.  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and has a great weekend! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Flooring & Fencing

The past few days have been very productuve around the new house.  I still have not started on the kitchen cabinets but the range was delivered last week, other appliances are being delvered tomorrow, lighting, sink & faucet were delivered weeks ago, the backsplash is on order and we picked up the countertops today.  There is definite progress being made in the kitchen, just not actual movement of things.  We have been focusing on flooring and fencing.

When we bought the home we knew we HAD to replace the ugly blue carpet and cheap sticky tiles as well as get a fence up ASAP.  Being DIY kind of people, we have experience with both but we don't have time to do both.  We decided to hire out the flooring job and DIY the fence.

We started the fence this weekend and thankfully our oldest nephew spent the weekend with us to help.  There was a lot of progress....and a lot of mess.  My yard looks very sad and messy right now.  This was our first weekend here and we have already used a jackhammer and a bobcat with a loud back up beeper.   I am sure people within 2 streets of us are annoyed but the end result will be worth it.  The ugly broken walkway to the dock is gone and the fence holes are dug.  Here are some photos of our progress.

BEFORE:  Our sad little dock and walkway

BEFORE:  Bulky and broken walkway

Goodbye ugly walkway
BEFORE:  Old chain link in gone
Brian had too much fun in the bobcat.  

My now messy yard.

Brian and Clayton with their silly hats.

Where am I you ask?  Taking all the pictures.  :)  I was out there too trying to get as much done as possible before Clayton went back home.  We got all the holes dug and half the posts set.  Brian has a four day weekend for the 4th so we are hoping to get most of the fence done then....hopefully.

Let's move to flooring.  Out of all the things that have happened the past few months, packing, moving, buying a house, living apart from my husband for two weeks and coordinating all the activities at the new house, only one thing has stressed me out to the point that I thought I was going to lose it.  FLOORING.  It is a huge decision.  It is something you use everyday.  It is one of the first things people will notice when they walk in your home.  It is expensive.  HUGE DECISION.  Here is what we have now.

At first choosing a new floor was not a problem.  I knew I wanted the wood tiles all through out the home.  Easy decision.  I love tile.  It is durable with the dogs and easy to clean but several of our contractor friends and a contractor that came by to bid for work advised against it.  Living on the second story and a settling foundation could cause us to have grout cracking issues.  Then again, we could not have any problems at all.  So do we take the risk and invest the money and maybe have issues forever?  Or do we put down something else?  We decided to go with something else.  Let me say this was a hard compromise for me.  Our options really were limited.  Tile is out.  Carpet is a no way...that stuff is dirty.  Real wood is out living on the water and with pets. So that leaves us with laminate, engineered wood and vinyl.  I hate laminate and vinyl scares me.  All three have come a long way in the past few years.  It was important to us that it LOOK, FEEL AND SOUND real.  The dogs slide around on the smooth laminate and poor Jaxson absolutely hates it so we needed something with texture.  After tons of reading, researching and visiting stores to see and touch products, we decided on luxury vinyl wood planks.  This product is new to me but when it came down to a laminate product or the vinyl, I went with vinyl.  It looks and feels like wood and it is installed just like wood. Over the past year, it has been featured on HGTV several times and has really increased in popularity and quality.  The exact product we decided on is the Engage Essentials plank in Woodland Oak.  Here is a picture of the sample in the store. 

The sample is great and doesn't look cheap at all so I am praying once its installed it still looks real. Again, very scary decision and expensive decision.  It has a classic yet rustic look to it and will go great with our overall vision for the house.  They start installation tomorrow and it will take 2 -3 days for them to finish.  I'll post a progress picture tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a great week and a wonderful holiday weekend!