SO MANY IMPROVEMENTS!

Oh man! I have not updated in awhile. Never fear, we are always constantly working on our house. Most of it is not the showy improvements, but the little things like re-organizing our kitchen, buying house appropriate things (LIKE A BETTER WASTE BASKET), and rearranging our living room furniture. I do have a spring dinner coming up and I will be cooking tody aand tomorrow along with tablescaping. Stay tuned for pictures and all that jazz! 

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Winter Break Project: Railings

I will have pictures up soon. During winter break, my husband crafted railings. He used wood and cemented them and just in time. During an ice storm, the pizza delivery guy profusely thanked us. We've gotten quite a few neighbor compliments over it too. They still have to be painted and I'll add pictures when they are absolutely finished. We've both been ill, so that has slowed down house projects. 

In Preperation to Host...

...for the holidays, Tom and I have made STRIDES to making our house more of a home [instead of rooms stuffed with all types of unsorted bric-a-brac that makes us feel magical anytime we discover something] . 

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Guest Room 

We can now have sleepovers! We've successfully converted our room of horrors into our offices and guest room. I'm still using the guest room closet as a short term goal until we figure out our Master bedroom storage situation. 

Master Bedroom

It is painted. A nice soothing green. I am now sure of the color that I will use to paint  accent furniture. 

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Kitchen 

I have found where I want a clock to hang. The shelves are now completed and are currently storing items allowing me maximum counter space in prepping Thanksgiving dinner. 

Dining Room 

We have a table. The woodchips that were EVERYWHERE are now gone. I have a china cabinet that is built and is holding all our china dishes. Our white shelves are cleared from random items and is currently holding what is necessary. 

The house is slowly starting to take shape. It's nice to have impending guests because that means: YOU HAVE TO START GETTING READDDDYYY!

Project: Dining Room Table

I may have mentioned in a previous post about hosting for the holidays, but to reiterate my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year. Are we crazy? Maybe? I'm just excited to start some family traditions. I also felt my mom was ready to pass the torch on for prepping and feeding people.  Considering, I've been helping her cook for the holidays since I was young, it felt like it was time to take a stab and go out there on my own.  

 

The only item we were not close to securing: a table. I'm pretty sure is a vital item in hosting a dinner, haha. I started searching for a table late September and I've been on the hunt ever since. 

I could not find a dining room table that could comfortable seat eight to ten people at a reasonable price. I tried Craigslist and few other refurbished options, but most of the tables that did fit eight to ten people for a nice price were round shaped tables. Tom and I tried a circle table, but it just did not look right in our house. Even when I found a table I did like it was usually located in Chicago. Tom estimated by the time we would rent a truck to pick up the table what we would spend in mileage----he could just use that money to build a table. 

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That's what we did. We built a table. Here is the final table. It's such a beauty! The total cost was less than $300.

Has not been sanded nor stained...yet 

Has not been sanded nor stained...yet 

Table Building 101: Coordinating Schedules 

Ya'll, Tom waited until I was gone for three days to do this. BAHAHAHAHA. We all know that coordinating your schedule does not matter AT. ALL.  I'm also sure it's a big help. I wasn't necessarily in the way, nor could complain about anything.  Usually, navigating around numerous tools strewn about  only to arrive in the kitchen area wondering how you'll be able to cook or even get a glass of water makes you turn around and

It was awesome to not have to experience any of that.  I was on the other side of the state at a conference before he even purchased the wood. When I came back it was SUCH A GREAT SURPRISE!!! Let's get to the basics---or as it was explained to me: 

Table 101:  Table Dimensions & Design

Tom had dimensions in mind of the how large he wanted the table. He showed it to his friend Seth who fleshed out in detailed exactly what he wanted. Then came the buying of wood from (Home Depot) and the table legs were bought from DendroCo a Chicago Etsy seller. 

Tom said they took these pictures the first night---- after they did the following: bought the wood, cut the plywood, cut the frame, attached the frame, attached the legs.

The second night: attached the top, which Tom said was the most critical part, and put up the trim. 

 

The next night they filled the wood holes and sanded the table again. 

I will have finally pictures were stain was applied three times and the clear coat went on.  In my next post, I will put the final picture of the table and updated pictures of the shelves. 

Project: Kitchen Shelves

My husband just finished building kitchen shelves. We are in the process of trying to free up counter and shelf space so we have more food space. Old houses are fascinating.  I'm not sure I quite get how most families were quite large and while the houses are roomy they have  no real storage space.  I'll save researching turn of the century houses and space for another date. 

Side note:  I visited Chicago last weekend and showed my dad pictures of the completed shelves. My father replies, "THOSE ARE MAN SHELVES!" If you are a nerd (like I am) and have seen the anime (Fairy Tale) you will know there's this character that always refer to himself (and everyone) as a MAN! 

 I swear to God, I [internally] went---did you just channel Elfman? My dad kept saying if the house falls down, those shelves will still be left standing. On to building: 

Started from the bottom:

     Price: (<$100)               Materials: 1x12 | 2x4 (6) | Screws | Paint | Brackets

The hardest part of the project pictured was leveling. 

Now we're here:

That right there----is the semi-final picture. We were making sure our island of randomness fit nice and neat under the shelves. 

Tom has been painting the shelves over the weekend. When they are finally finished, I will post up pictures of the final results. He also decided to paint the Ikea island that we put on wheels, too. 

We are currently deep in projects in preparation for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited!!! 

Project: Bathroom

I recently attended a party where in talking to another couple they mentioned that since owning a house most projects start at 1K.  

I mean, it shouldn't seem like a lot. When you think about how much your textbooks in college cost for one semester or how much you've probably spent in acquiring articles of clothing: 

Housing projects SHOULD seem reasonable. I mean seriously, I'm beginning to think that every time I tell my husband I want a cosmetic change to the house, I should think about  doing a crowd-source for funds. 

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It's like when I use to play all the games where you saved up for expensive items by questing----and you could usually do it the good old fashion way: by buying and selling your own items OR seeing if everyone in the community would donate 1 gold coin to your quest... What does this have to do with our bathroom? 

This is a picture of our bathroom. It's the before picture because I'm not sure when there will be an after picture. Our bathroom needs a whole NEW makeover. Partially, because Tom LOVES baths, and would have never bought a house without one. 

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 I'm not sure why anyone would EVER get rid of a tub.  I completely hard-core SOLD Tom on the idea of getting this house in lieu of pursuing our own avenues of getting a bathtub BACK into bathroom. I'm currently trying to find blueprints of the original layout to see if I can figure out how it was designed back then. 

Anyway, we received an astronomical estimate that was just jaw dropping crazy. I was going, "DUDE?! Seriously-----No way....."

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When Tom first told me what they said I laughed and rolled my eyes in exasperation about how house projects are rarely straightforward. It's mostly because I'm impatient and wish I could just DO ALL THE THINGS NOW!!!  Well if I have anything...it's tenacity so I went to pursue some other avenues for second-hand opinions. I knew two people who have renovated their bathrooms as a DIY  so I called my dad and another fellow house flipper to just confirm just in case we take this as a DIY project. They both said the same things about us being able to do the project for way less than estimated but going about it different avenues, starting with another estimate. 

Currently, we have discussed that we will probably be waiting until next year to start on this major project overhaul. Stay tuned for any bathroom progress updates! 

What's Your Bedroom Style?

Seriously, what's your bedroom style? How did you figure out something would personally represent you or your partner? I never even thought about it. I'm not sure how I thought a future adult bedroom of mine would look? I actually never thought I'd be around long enough to sort that out. In trying to figure life out, ya'll, I took a quiz.

I'm all about certain quizzes. Sure, most of them on quotev are TERRIBLE (but my teens love 'em), but sometimes they have their usefulness. I acknowledge my strengths: give me some little kids to entertain, I got you. Give me some books to read and recite to you plot lines: CAN DO. Give me the interior of a house that I need to design---and immediately I start going: 

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MAN! (I sound like Elfman from Fairy Tale) did any of my high school or college class prepare me for this? I can apparently set a table, but I'm outta luck when it comes to setting up a room.  WHERE ARE MY PAPERS ABOUT ROOM DESIGN?!  Great thing about librarians is how we're resourceful. My first resource was asking our friend, Julie, an interior design to "PLEASE COME HELP US, I'LL PAY YOU WITH WINE AND ANYTHING YOU WANT" to help us plan. We did meet for preliminaries---and yes, she's still coming over for a planning night. ::CHEERS:: 

Let's backtrack again to the quiz. I went to BHG and took their bedroom style quiz.  I giggled as I read my bedroom decor label: Romantic Retreat 

Based on your answers, it seems like a romantic retreat is the right bedroom style for you. You’re not one to use your bedroom for family game night or catching up on office work. For you, a bedroom should be a sensual adults-only retreat.You can create a dreamy boudoir with a beautiful canopy bed and a comfortable, yet elegant chaise lounge. Your must-have accessories: Ultra-soft or silky sheets and plenty of scented candles and pretty throw pillows. In warmer weather, pastel fabrics and lace look great. For colder climates, consider luxurious velvets in rich hues. Long drapes that pool on the floor can give your room a romantic feel.Also, consider replacing the regular light bulbs in your lamps with pink or amber-colored ones that will cast a soft, flattering glow. And don’t forget to treat yourself to fresh flowers for your nightstand every once in a while.

NAILED IT.  Well, at least my confirmed love for canopy beds. The best thing about the answer is that while I wouldn't necessarily have a soft romantic bedroom going on, I could at least glean some Pinterest ideas. Pinterest now has these labels that at times may help pinpoint, what you might be searching for looking for but it is not necessarily accurate. It's completely subjective (for me) or what I would consider style classification. Essentially, I think people label ANYTHING as a certain style, and it could very well not really fit completely in that style. They could have also pinned it to the wrong board.  What I did like from the BHG quiz, is that I have this generic field/industry trend---which may result in better search results thanme pressing random labels to scroll through endlessly on Pinterest. Usually, I get so frustrated by the broad scope of all these ideas that I do not know how to narrow down that after a few hours my brain is overflowing with images and information and no cognizant plan on regurgitating that design back to my husband:  

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What I'm trying to say, is that the Pinterest wonders are overflowing and while I want ideas, I want a way to process those ideas to have some idea of what i'm talking about besides, "that one picture..." Anyway, I went back over the simple plan that I made with Julie. She started with a few simple questions that turned into some awesome suggestions that MORPHED into---voila! a bedroom plot. <---as if i’m writing a novel. We started off discussing style and essential bedroom items. I told her all the things that I didn't like and tried terribly to describe what I did want. I told her: 

  • We are lacking bedroom organization/storage. What are my options? Bed-frame with or without storage options? 
  • I didn’t want my room to look like EVERYTHING came from Ikea or Pottery Barn
  • I want some type of vintage feel, but not a cottage or shabby chic decor 
  • I didn't want to necessarily break budget (that hasn't even been planned, yet, but you've looked at that Pinterest picture and go, either we spend TO MUCH TIME DIY or I need a Bill Gates salary) or as I like to say---we’re hopefully ‘moving ON UP!’ Jefferson style but not right now... 

Julie had me pin some things for future ideas and she suggested I think about what I wanted to paint the master bedroom. Figure out what my long term storage options would be since we live in a 100+ house which has tiny closets. I'm super pumped to get a french wardrobe, btw. The current plan is to figure out  what shade I would like to paint our bedroom. I've been occasionally getting a chance to scour Pinterest for ideas. I'll definitely be cashing in on my Chicago connections for unique pieces in the near future. 

The decor I don't care about, but I like the paint color. I'm not sure if a filter has been applied, but it seems like a darker sage green. The picture, found on Pinterest, is linked to its original blog source. 

The picture below is from the blog: Vintage Whites

I do adore the minimalist theme she has going on, but my absolutely favorite piece of the whole decor is the chandelier. I think I will be chandelier shopping in the near future because it's just such an awesome look. 

I have figured out that I'm going to get a chandelier, but I'm still working on that final bedroom color. 

Project: Workable Kitchen

Our main priority was to create a workable kitchen. I equate starting off as new homeowners to my past years of starting out on level one of The Sims: 

 Mixing that emotionally with how overwhelming and daunting housing projects are. 
 

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Our dream kitchen would be this eclectic modern vintage U-shaped kitchen, but our reality was a medium sized kitchen with no prep space and an archaic sink and bubbly counter tops. We went to all the big stores to price laminate counter tops, but we were not fully sold. 

I forgot to take a before picture, but just so you get a visual, part of the house selling feature included new counter tops by the owner. Unfortunately, the inspector killed that dream when some electrical features needed to be updated. The seller let us pick: electrical work or counter tops. Fast forward, we could not place our new kitchen items on the counter tops because they would tilt lean, and it was just a hot mess.   Tom's friend Pete who had recently remodeled their kitchen suggested butcher block countertops

Tom also built a kitchen island ON WHEELS! He is the absolute best. I'll eventually show more house image stages when we get past basic projects. We're continually rethinking kitchen design concepts now that we are cooking and baking in this room. 

What We Learned

As our first major project: 
 

  • Our project budget had a built-in cushion, but I still would have upped the value for small mishaps. 
  • A featured mishap: The sink featured in the picture was returned along with 3 others for damaged parts, missing pieces, and all around terrible quality. We eventually settled on a great sink, but there was a lot of store returning. 
  •  We did not figure out a meal plan accurately. We spent a lot of money eating out, which I'm not sure how you supplement that when your oven has been moved. 


  

Project: Painting

Tom has done professional paint jobs so he was pretty antsy to start painting.

He started painted the cupboards in the kitchen white to make the space bigger. He also used a ton of paint to coat the basement walls to make it look quite fresh. I was a little worried about the cupboards, yet everything turned out great. We got this awesome Ace giftcard from our wedding, and Ace was having a sample sale so we went home with some room samples. 

We went with Clark & Kensington for all our paint needs. My husband is severely colorblind, but that doesn't stop him from finding some amazing color combinations. He immediately spotted this color purple and was in love.

 

Next, we wanted a neutral gray to sort of off-set the purple. We couldn't have people covering their eyes as they walk through our house. We tried different grey samples with no luck. Our house has really big windows so the light would hit the grey color differently in every room. It was pretty fascinating to see how a color could change and make the walls look fresh or seriously dirty. We ended up settling on Clark + Kensington's Silver Bonnet. 
 

After painting hallways and a few rooms we've mostly put our painting projects aside for now. We're still working on the kitchen and figuring out design concepts for our living room and personal bedroom.