Friday, April 30, 2010

Chandelier is up!

The chandelier is up! Yay!  My dad came to the rescue again.  I was too scared to try to do the wiring myself for the chandelier, plus I didn't want to wire it wrong and blow something up.  I have a huge fear of getting electrocuted.  When I was really little, about 3 yrs old, I stuck a bobby pin in an electrical outlet and electrocuted myself. It turned my fingers brown and left marks of the bobby pin on my hand. I was only 3, but I can remember it clear as day! That's why I'm so traumatized by doing anything that has to do with electricity I guess.  That's the only thing I can pin point it to. (No pun intended)

Now I still  need to find the handles for my nightstand and get my large dresser refinished.  I'm also going to start working on my yard and landscaping soon, so I will have a ton of pics to show of that!  I bought some goodies for the yard today, so I'm really excited to get the outdoor projects started.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Office Area

Here it is finally, the office.  This is where I spend a great deal of my time since I work from home.  It's always a mess with papers scattered everywhere and I just got the curtains up on this side of the room recently.  I finally did all the little finishing touches, so maybe I can get more done at work :)

My office is shared with the laundry room. It's one big room, one end is where I do the laundry and the other end is where I work.  My washer and dryer are pretty quiet so it doesn't disturb me.  My little sewing area is a built in desk with electrical outlets all built into the cabinets.  I didn't want such a small place for my desk, so I got a desk with a little larger working space on top and put over on the other side of it.

Laundry Area

If you're wondering how they look combined, I took a full shot standing from my kitchen doorway.  The little sewing area sort of divides the room.  Those pictures above the sewing area of sea coral, I bought from Young House Love's shop.  I got my inspiration from them to paint the brick walls in this room from the before and after photos of their den.  I don't regret it for a second.  It really opened the room up and makes it feel so inviting now. 

Office/Laundry Room

It's come a long way from the way it looked the first time I saw it.

Office/Laundry Before

  I'm so happy with the way this whole room turned out...
 and to think, this was the room I liked the least when I first moved in the house.  

Each room is really starting to feel like home and isn't that what it's all about?

Friday, April 23, 2010

How I met my House

I was living in Atlanta, GA and had a really great Realtor sending me links of homes in the small town of Mount Airy, NC.  I decided to move to a small town from the big city to be closer to my parents and I was tired of the hustle and bustle of the big city.  I was craving small town charm.

The very first house I liked from the listings she sent, I started imagining how it would look with the walls painted, the carpeting ripped out... I was decorating it in my mind. I could even picture myself cooking in the kitchen of the house.  I found a bunch of other houses from the listings she sent, but that first one still stuck in my mind.

I drove to NC to look at the homes in person.  I had twenty houses lined up to look at that day.  Yes, twenty in one day!  The house I had told her I was most interested in was first on the list.  It wasn't much to look at on the outside. Just an old brick ranch.  I loved the neighborhood it was in.  As we drove to it, big beautiful oak trees towered over us and draped across the road like a canopy.  It was beautiful.

We get out of the car and walk inside. The first thing that hits me is the stench of oldness.  It had a musty old smell that I didn't think I was going to be able to get past.  I think the smell killed it for me, because my excitement vanished a little and I started doubting.  I remember the cabinets in the kitchen was the thing I liked most about the house and the fact that it had a fireplace.  I continued to look at house after house that day, but house #1 still had a place in my heart.  I found another house that I liked as much. It had more charm on the outside and I liked the layout, but the backyard was slanted too much. I wouldn't be able to have a garden or play fetch with my dog in it or anything, so that became the deal breaker.  We were back to House #1 and I get a call from my realtor saying, the house has gone into a short sale and the price dropped dramatically!  I ran back over to look at the house again to be sure this was the one.

I said yes, I want this house, signed the papers and closed on it 6 weeks later!

This was taken in the snow after I had already moved in, but this is my favorite picture of the house.  It doesn't look quite as bland wrapped in snow :)

One of my favorite things about my home is the fireplace.

The other thing I had liked so much when I first looked at the house were how the cabinets were custom made and had a cottage look to them.

I know I just posted before and after pictures of every room in my house, but I saw this link on the blog, Our Suburban Cottage and thought I would do a post on how I met my house, too.  I'm a little late, as this should have been posted yesterday I guess, but it was fun anyway! Go over to An Nicole's How I Met My House Party and check out all the other amazing stories or post your own story there.

To see BEFORE and AFTER pictures of my home, click here.

P.S. The house smells good now, clean from a good scrubbing and airing out or whatever I happen to be baking :)

Bathroom Collage

I'm wanting to spruce up my bathroom a little. I probably will only do a couple of minor things to it this year and save the other projects for next year.  The whole bathroom is sort of a sea of peachy beige and I figure the only way to break that up is to bring in some rich chocolate browns.

Bathroom before I moved in.

I'm not big on gutting houses.  I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Sometimes things aren't as bad as they seem.  I know people see tile all over a bathroom wall and scream - DATED!  I on the other hand see some charm in it.  I want to keep the tiles, dated and all :)   I don't like how everything is overly matchy-matchy though.  Too much beige going on. The walls are beige, tiles are beige, counters are beige, flooring is beige, can we say beige overload? It's not a pretty beige either, it's that peachy beige that doesn't exactly feel calming or anything.


And I don't think the vanity is beautiful and yes the mirror is a tad dated and to top it off, it has the shiny brass light fixture over it.  First thought is to get that vanity out of there and put in all new bathroom fixtures.  Nope. I'm keeping it.  I'm going to just paint the cabinets a chocolate brown.  The color is by Valspar called Sumatra Blend.  The countertop is laminate, so that is an easy fix.  I most likely won't replace it this year though, this will be the bigger project I'm saving for next year. It will be marble like in the collage at the top.


I'm also going to put walnut stained bamboo flooring in the bathroom, but not until next year.  I've heard that bamboo, since it's a plant and not actually wood, holds up to humidity better.  Bathtub is cast iron, so that's a keeper.

So what am I doing this year?  I'm going to wallpaper it!  I found some beautiful organic looking wallpaper that I absolutely love (pic is in collage at top).  It really compliments the beige tiles.  I also bought the faucet for the sink already, so that will go in now, too.  I have to switch out the light fixture before I can wallpaper, so that must also be done now.

Painting cabinets, wallpapering and replacing faucet and light fixture. That will be my bathroom makeover for this year.  I think these things alone will give it a much better feel.  I will keep you posted as to when I will start these projects. I'm hoping to get them done before May is over!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

House Layout

I updated the layout of my house in the picture above.  I had posted this once before, but I've since made quite a few changes.  Sometimes it helps to see the layout so you can make all of the rooms make sense.  You can make one of these for your home at    It's fun to do, too!  I used the color on my walls for the colors of each room in the diagram.

 The tool has a place where you can add all the backyard things, like the patio furniture, sheds, everything!  So of course as I get those, I will be updating this layout again.  I showed on the left side where the carport and patio is.  I usually come in through the kitchen door since I park right there, so easy to carry groceries in.  I remember living in apartments and having to walk across a parking lot and lug my groceries up many flights of stairs and  how I wished I had a carport or garage and could just take the groceries right into the kitchen.  I got my wish.   My guests come in through the front door, which I like so they can come right into the living room.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My House - Before & After pictures

1963 Brick Ranch Home

Before and After photos






Living room details:  
  • Paint: Olympic Crumb Cookie
  • Floors: Solid Walnut wood (Mantle also solid walnut)
  • Couch: Macys
  • White slipcover chair: Ikea
  • Coffee table: yard sale (Refinished)
  • End table: antique
  • Curtains: Ikea, Roman shades: Lowes
  • Wall baskets: West Elm
  • Armoire: Pottery Barn
  • Area rug: JC Penney
  • Throw Pillows: Pottery Barn




Kitchen details:

  • Butcher block counters: Ikea Numerar Oak (sealed with Watco Butcher Block Oil & Finish)
  • Backsplash: Subway tile from Lowes
  • Faucet: Moeb from Lowes
  • Rug in front of counter: Ballard Designs
  • Canister set, towels, tier plate: Orla Kiely from Target
  • Apple green whistle kettle: Zappos (My dream kettle)
  • Herb pots on cabinets over sink: Ikea




Laundry room details:
  • Paint on brick walls: Sherman Williams Antique White
  • Paint on built in cabinets: Olympic Light Sage
  • White curtains: Ikea Vivan, Bamboo Roman Shades: Lowes
  • Curtain Rods: Kmart
  • Leaf rug: Target
  • Burlap curtain under cabinet:




Bedroom Details:
  • Paint on walls: Olympic Pale Vista
  • Floors: Solid Walnut Wood
  • Bed: Beauty Rest pillow top and headboard: Ashley
  • White sheets: Wamsutta
  • Down comforter: Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Duvet Cover: Pottery Barn
  • Bedskirt: Nate Berkus
  • Curtains: Ikea
  • Nightstand: Kane




Guest Bedroom details:
  • Paint color on walls: Sherwin Williams Natural Choice
  • Floors: Recycled Walnut wood
  • Curtains: Ikea Vivan
  • Bamboo Shades: Lowes
  • Duvet Cover: Ikea
  • Throw pillows: Etsy
  • Blue throw blanket: Ralph Lauren
  • White throw rug: Ikea
  • Wall Lamp and Nest pillow: Pottery Barn
  • Desk: LLBean
  • Tobacco basket: Antique store




Bathroom Details:

  • Wallpaper- Kathy Ireland Home; Garden Silhouette NL58196
  • Window Shade- Country  Curtains; Insulated Essex Roman Shade




I turned the coat closet into a library.  It wasn't getting much use before and  now I can store all my books and keep them organized.
  • Wood for shelves from my dads farm.
  • Primed and painted the shelves white.
  • Painted the walls Benjamin Moore Bone White
  • Unfinished french door from Lowes.
  • Primed and painted french door white.

The Floorplans

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Kitchen Before & After

    The kitchen is finished. For now.  Here are the before and after pictures from when I first bought the house to these pics that I just took today.  I love the way the butcher block counters and the subway tile turned out. It transformed the kitchen. I love it!







    I really didn't do a lot to the kitchen.  When I first saw this house, I remember thinking how much I liked this kitchen. It had good bones. I fell in love with the cabinets at first sight! Those are keepers. I knew with just a bit of tweaking, it would be adorable.

    I removed that window over the sink.
    Butcher block counters at Ikea for $300. (Numerar Oak)
    White subway tile from Lowes, 24 cents each.  (Around $45.00 total)
    New faucet  $125.00

    A very inexpensive makeover.  My dad put the counter tops in for me, and my friend and I put the subway tile up.  It was very time consuming since I did it myself and didn't hire professionals to come in, but worth every bit of time and effort.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Grout On!

    Yes, it was more involved than I thought it would be!  I mixed the powder and water and it said to let it set for 10 minutes. Then I went to put the grout on and realized I didn't have the grout spreader! I accidently left it at my parents house. I had to run out to Lowes and buy a new one, since my parents live in a different town than me.  I get back home and my grout has now been sitting out for over 30 minutes, so it's a little pasty.  I worked on it for a couple of hours and only panicked a few times when things went wrong. 

    Here it is about 11 at night and I am finished.  I oiled my butcher block counter tops, too. They look beautiful! I love them so much.  It really brought out the color and character of them.  It's the first time I've oiled them, wish I had done it sooner.

    Here is a picture of what I have so far. The grout is still a tad wet and I have to let this dry over night.  Then I'll put the electrical outlet covers back on and put all of my things back on the counters.

    Tiles almost finished and oiled butcher block counters.

    It's almost done!!!

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Subway Tile Going Up

    I spent the day putting the subway tile up in the kitchen.  I'm exhausted!  I still haven't finished and I even had a friend over  helping me. I ran out of glue for the tiles so I need to go get more in the morning.  I also don't have the tool to cut squares out of the tile to put around the electrical outlets, so I need to get that, too.

    My dad had let me use his tile cutter, but as soon as I tried to cut the first tile, I broke it :(  I don't know what happened, but when I pressed down on it to break the tile in two, it broke the metal piece off of it that pushes down on the tile.  I had to go to Lowes and buy a new one.  I also ran out of glue once already today and had to buy another bucket of glue.  These costs start adding up.

    I'm probably not going to get to grout until Monday night. I haven't been able to use my kitchen for a couple of weeks now.  It will be so nice to have my kitchen back and functioning again.

    Here's a little look at some of what I did today.

    It's already looking nice, even though it's not even done or grouted.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Grout for New Backsplash

    Yesterday I stopped and picked up some premixed grout for my tiles.  When I opened it, I realized something didn't look right. It looked like it had sand all in it or something. I was told I needed unsanded grout so I had to take it back this morning and exchange it for a different kind. This new kind I got is a powder form and I have to mix it myself.  I had wanted pale gray, but like I said, noone in this town carries that color, so I got this one in an Antique White. It's sort of a pale beige color.

    Here's what the sanded grout looked like on my tiles, this is just some sample pieces of tile I was using.

    See how rough looking it is? I want it to have a smooth finish on the grout.

    Let's hope I got the right stuff this time.

    It doesn't say anything on the premixed bucket if it's sanded or not.  Nice of them to let you know that.
    Here's what I got before, be sure not to buy this if you're wanting a smooth non-sanded grout.

    Here is what I ended up getting this morning and I'm hoping it's the right stuff this time.  
    I also hope it's going to be the right color. Who knew grout could be so complicated?

    This is the result of me playing with my subway tile last night.  I'm so excited I can't wait! I just laid it out on the counter in the pattern I want it on the wall.

    Tomorrow morning I will start putting it up. I have a friend coming over to help me.

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    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Getting ready for Backsplash

    I went to Lowes last night to get my subway tile and was in there all night.  I ended up leaving 5 minutes before they closed!  They didn't have the pale gray grout like I want to use, so we were trying to figure out what to do.  I am going to check out a couple of more places around town to see if they have it, so this may set me back a little in getting this done.  I also got some paint for my friends kitchen, I hope we can get it finished up by the end of the weekend.  It's really coming together nicely.  I'm also not able to work on my projects at home the way I would like because I'm working on a big order at my job, which it taking up most of my time right now.  Soon everything will fall into place though,  like it always does.

    Here's my subway tile! I can't wait to get this put up!

    Eventually I'm going to get to refinishing this nightstand and the dresser the same way I did my coffee table.

    If anyone has any experiences putting up their own tile backsplash, I would love to hear about it.  
    Also any pointers you have that may help, I would appreciate.

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Counter tops are Finished

    After 3 days of working non stop on these counter tops, they are finally finished.

    Here is the sink being attached to the counter.

    I got to keep my sink!!!  After much debating and figuring out what to do about a sink, we decided to try to make my old sink work.  I wanted to use my old one because it's solid cast iron and very large. It's just really hard to find a sink like this today, if they even make sinks like this anymore.   Then we hit our next problem. The way counters are made today, you need either an undermount sink or an overmount sink.  Well, this one is neither. It's a flush mount. It laid flush with my counters before, but you can't make it flush with the butcher block, so we decided to treat it as an undermount sink.  We attached it under the wood as you can see in the pic above and since normal undermount sinks don't have a place where you put the faucet we couldn't drill holes in the wood for the faucet because of how this one fit in, so we kept the faucet attached to the sink.  
    I know it isn't how sinks are done now a days, but at least I got to keep my sink!
    And it's functional and works fine this way.

    Here it is all put together and in my kitchen.

    Looks fine, right?  :)  
    It actually makes my sink feel deeper since I have that extra space of wood around the top of it.

    I love them so much!

    Now all that's left is putting in the back splash. 
    I'm going to do this on my own. I've applied tile to the floor before, so I'm hoping it's about the same as putting it on the wall. If anyone has tiled a wall before, I would love to get some pointers before I run into this project.

    I want to use a pale gray grout around the subway tile.
    Hoping my backsplash will turn out something like this.

    Cost of counter tops:  $300.00  (Ikea Numerar)
    Cost of labor: $0   (lots of sweat and blood)

    I'm very pleased how this turned out.

    *Credit for most of the labor goes to my dad, he's the bomb!