Living off the List

Holy mackerel, y’all, I’ve been scoring some legit finds down here in the land of the pines. My friend craig has yet to let me down for furniture finds, and I’m happy to tell ya that I’ve had my fair share of lady luck down here when it comes to scoring thrifted furniture via craigslist. For that matter, I’ve done pretty darn good all around. So a big fat thank you to the state of North Carolina.

If y’all follow me on instagram, you’ll remember that I started out my thrifting finds strong scoring this set of antique end tables for $30. Yep, that’s right. The both of them for 3-0 dollar bills. I’m still smiling from ear to ear on that one. I’m thinking right now that these will work best in our Master Bedroom.

Antique End Tables

I kept my streak going with my second purchase. See these little beauties. I paid a whopping $25 for both of them. Whaaaattt?

Slipcovered Dining Chairs

They do have some stains on them, but I’m considering looking for a steam cleaner on craigslist to touch them up a bit! Overall, for $12.50 each, I’m kinda sorta ok with a few smudges on these little beauties. The pattern is super neutral (a soft gray stripe), so they’ll definitely go with the the decor we’re looking to incorporate into the space. The entire ride home in the car I just kept looking at Jay and a crazy old grin on my face. A $12 chair will did that too ya. 😉

Here is a close up, so you can see some of the discoloring…

How To Remove Stains On Chairs

Any thoughts out there with you guys? Do y’all think the steam cleaner would work? Do spill the beans if anyone knows of a good secret! :)

I’m trying to piece our living room together as well, and when I spotted a set of (2) matching antique sidetables for $100, I jumped on it.

Antique Side Table

I love their coloring, and they’re in immaculate condition, to boot.

Since I never really had a dedicated office space before this house, I also had to hunt for a new desk/work surface so that I had a work station in the new abode. Check out this lovely looker… hubba, hubba!! I bat my eyelashes at this bad boy big time every time I walk into our living room these days. Eventually the desk will get moved back upstairs to the office area, but for now it functions well as a mail drop location and general junk collector :)

Bamboo Desk Legs

Here’s an up close shot of the leg detail, casters included. YUM.

Faux Bamboo Desk

Flanking the desk right now (not their permanent home…) are two sweet little rattan chairs. I love how unique and different these ones are. I paid $100 for both of them, which was a bit of a splurge for me, but they’re in great condition and I think once I pop some throw pillows on them that they’ll be perfect for extra seating when we have guests over. Plus, they’re so pretty to look at I can barely stand it.

Vintage Bamboo Chairs

I’m actually quite prone to losing things (I think it’s because my mind is constantly going, going, gone), so when I spotted this sweet little bowl at a local thrift shop for a buck, I knew right away that it would be the perfect spot for me to drop the keys so I could keep track of their locale in the future. I fell in love with the vase behind it at the same thrift store. I seriously can’t wait for our house to be put together enough that I can actually think about putting flowers in vases – to have a dream, my friends.

Blue and White Vase

It must be the Michigan blood in me, but I actually picked up a throw blanket at the goodwill last week. It was 93 degrees last week. Yeah, I think that qualifies as crazy. Since I’m a blanket addict though, I think that it will be a perfect addition come the cooler fall temps :)

And here it comes, the best for last you guys. This was a drop everything and run type of deal … I got three $800 chairs, for $500 – for all three!! The previous buyer paid $800 each for these little beauties and they had really just been sitting in her house basically untouched. They are literally in perfect condition.

Cardiff Pottery Barn Chair

It’s hard to tell without our couch in if these will mesh well with our existing furniture, but for that price, I figured it was worth the risk, since I could always resell them if it lands up they don’t work out. Since they are nice upholstered chairs though, I’ve really got my fingers crossed that these work!

Pottery Barn Cardiff Chair

Now craigslist is the gift that keeps giving as far as I’m concerned, since now that we’re moved into our new joint, I have stuff I can sell! 😀 Just like with our last house, we decided that since we’d be updating the appliances with the new kitchen overhaul, that it made sense to list our old appliances on craigslist to see if we could get some dough.

Winner, winner chicken dinner. Sold every single one – including the fridge that dated back to the flower power days. Groovy, man. In total, we got just over $600 for all our appliances, which considering the fact that they were quasi old (except the oven, which was brand new), I’m pretty happy with that.

Anyone else score some craigslist or thrifting finds as of late? I’d love to hear about your finds!

 

Dinner for Two

Y’all TODAY IS THE DAY. Not yo momma’s birthday, not the day Abe Lincoln was shot and not Goldfish appreciation day. It’s closing day!! WOOOOOOOOTTTT. Apartment life has been fun, it’s been adventurous, it’s been efficient, it’s been cheap – but ya know what – I’m pretty excited it’s also fading into the memory banks and officially becoming a “remember when” chapter of our lives. I’m SO ready to grab the keys for this next house, and take on all the beautiful adventures that await us.

I’ll definitely be back next week with all sorts of fun details on what we got to tackling in weekend numero uno, but while y’all are waiting on baited breath for those adventures, I thought it would be fun to continue on with the house styling plans. Aka, let’s all escape to dream land, where rooms are done and all prettied up. Today, let’s talk about one of my favorite rooms, the room we eat in. 😀

For a refresher, this is what the dining room looks like pre-movin.

Taking Out Wall

I love the look and feel of this dining room (below), I’m especially digging the color with the nice crisp crown up top, and the wainscoting down below.

Traditional Dining Room

Although I love the color in this space, the furniture is a bit too traditional for my taste. I’m thinking I’d really love to tackle building a farmhouse style table with Jay bird in this space. I’m (giddy) excited about how much space we will have in this house for chowing down. Our last house was more of a combined kitchen/dining space, so it never really felt like we had a formal dining space for entertaining. Even though this room will still be close to the kitchen (with a wall removed…) I’m really looking forward to giving this space it’s own identity and vibe.

I’ve always gone a little too white (IMO), since it’s safe and neutral, and easy to decorate around – but I’m looking forward going a bit darker in here. I’m thinking that the white wainscoting below will help support a darker color a bit better. Right now I’m leaning toward Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. Here’s the color in Rhoda’s house, from Southern Hospitality.

Buffet and Lamps

Love the board and batten treatment in her house, but we’ll probably only go half way up the wall, vs. 3/4, like she has it.

Just like the living room, I put a board together to help guide my style evolution for this space, as well. Here’s what I have so far.

Dining Room Mood Board

I like the idea of going more mismatched in this room, with lots of the same elements to help tie the space together. I’m considering (not certain if we’ll do this or not) bumping out the counter on the island in the kitchen in order to make room for some additional seating – if I do that, I’ll definitely be using bar stools like the one pictured above.

Here is a snapshot of the layout, so you can see what we intend to do with the wall adjoining the kitchen/dining room.

Removing Wall Between Kitchen and Dining Room Timmmbeeer, it’s coming down. Now, since we’ve done the whole wall removal rodeo before, I’m pretty sure we can pull this off. That being said, I’ve got a few lingering concerns, namely – is there HVAC or any type of plumbing in the wall. The rest is pretty easy to deal with, but those two variables could really impact our overall bottom dollar. Like the last house, we’re majorly crossing our fingers that there isn’t anything too significant in our way when we grab the good old sledgehammers and start working away.

Since we haven’t been able to answer those big picture questions quite yet (don’t think the current owners would be too keen on us creating some exploratory holes during our final walk through…), I’ve been working on some of the smaller details around here – to the tune of a massive thrifting expedition. I’ve got a confession to make. I seriously spent $45 at the goodwill, which to me, is crazy town since I didn’t buy any furniture. I usually spend like 10 bucks at goodwill, but the good times were rolling man and I just kept adding things to my cart.

For the dining room, I found a few winners.

Artwork for Dining Room

For $2 each, I thought this artwork would look fun nestled on a small space on the wall. I’m thinking a good spot for it will be on the wall between the built-in and the basement door.

I’m also seriously in love with these salad servers I found.

Unique Salad Servers

If you can’t tell from the zoomed out picture, they’re little zebras, just chilling at the top of the servers!

Zebra Salad Servers

Probably my take the cake thrift/craigslist find so far though, has been these (2) slipcovered dining room chars that I scored for $25 – for both!! Huzza!! They a tiny bit beat up, but I think we can remedy most of the problems they have with a deep steam clean.

Slipcovered Dining Chairs

 

Hello Half-Bath

Now I know you guys have seen glimpses of the half-bath, but I thought it was high time for a grand reveal and cost breakdown. Ready? Let’s do it.

If our attic conversion was a big old ice cream sundae, than our little half bath would most definitely be the cherry on top. And when I say little half bath, I mean little. Now on paper, the space doesn’t appear super small for a half-bath (it’s 25 square feet), but in reality the slanted ceilings in this space make it quite the petite little loo. We had a family friend come over with his 5-year old right before we listed the house, who confirmed for us that it was the smallest bathroom he’s evvveeerr seen. 😉 #TimetoCallGuinness

But given the crazy, crazy timing we’ve been facing with our totally unexpected out of state relocation, our decision to only do a half-bath vs. the full-bath we had planned was without a doubt the right decision to make. Here is the layout we had planned initially.

Attic Bathroom Layout Someday my friends, someday. We’re moving in the right direction though, since the en suite on our first house looked like this! You could simultaneously brush your teeth and use the loo. Efficient.

Small Bathroom Design

This time we were able to achieve a space where the toilet is at least spaced out enough to not be touching the vanity. 😀 Here is a shot of the room from the bedroom. Hello, toilet! I read online that it’s bad feng shui to have your toilet facing directly at the door but ya know what, those old Chinese dudes must not live in 1940’s homes with converted attics.

Installing Toilet against knee wall

I finally found a spot for our new etsy artwork, too! (Along with a print we’d had stored away from our last move – oye)

Etsy Art

I’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs about our new floor. SWOOOONN. I’m totally replicating this bad boy in every house until I’m 97. You can quote me on that 😀

Herringbone_Tile_Subway_Pattern

As chronicled earlier on the blog, we decided to install a pocket door in the space in order to save some room and make things a little less awkward as you transition from the bedroom to the bath.

Installing Pocket Door

Fanciest feature in my humble opinion is our porcelain potty. Dual flush people. We have arrived.

Dual Flush Toilet

I’m loving our Home Decorators vanity we snagged, too! I actually had a few people ask if it was custom made, so I’ll take that as a $500 well spent :) $500 is still a lot of smackaroos for a bathroom vanity, but we are so, so happy with it! Sometimes you’ve just gotta pull out the wallet to make the magic happen.

White Marble Vanity

Largely due to our major time crunch, we opted to install a generic (neutral) oval mirror. For our next house, I’d love to add some more character to our bathrooms by finding some more ornate antique mirrors for the space. We had to go the safe/inexpensive route with this house though, since getting this guy on the market was our main concern.

White Granite Vanity

Thinking along the sell this house fast as lighting vein, we also decided to stage things a bit by putting a nice big (HomeGoods, of course) basket in the corner with some fresh white towels. We found all these items on the clearance rack, so my total cost for (4) towels and the basket was only $30. Shhhaazzzaaamm.

Staging Bathroom for Sale

So, y’all ready for the cost breakdown to build a bathroom from the ground up? Here it goes:

  • Wall framing: $74
  • Pocket Door and hardware: $65
  • Door: $70
  • Vanity: $518
  • Mirror: $28
  • Faucet: $139
  • Marble Floor (including backerboard, grout and mortar): $212
  • Paint: $18
  • Board & Batten: $20
  • Toilet: $168
  • Sconces: $82
  • Art: $12
  • Basket and Towels: $30
  • Plumbing for Second Bath: $690
  • Total: $2,126

Now that’s a LOT of money in my book. Not cheap at all!! But, just on a dollars and sense appraisal of the house, this investment will pretty much provide double the value for us as we go to sell. Plus, I think that buyers really like the fact that the loo is right off the bedroom, so they won’t have to tromp down the steps if nature calls in the wee hours of the night. Overall – I think it’s a pretty solid investment.

Drinking Up Some Drywall

Man alive, amigos. This drywall shabang has been a lot more painful than initially anticipated. Overall moral of this story and hard lesson learned? Never, ever, go with your lowest bidder. Care to hear my sad tale? Sit down, it might take a while 😀

So …. flash back a few weeks ago, and we were going through our normal looking for someone to assist us routine via craigslist. Although we do almost all the work in this joint ourselves, every once and a while you just have to call in the support troops. Drywall happens to fall into that category for us. We got (3) quotes. at .70 a square foot, $1 a square foot and $22.50 an hour. We went with .70 a square foot, and landed up paying $22.50 an hour. Do you hear that, it’s me, wailing in the corner. Loudly.

After a few days of drywalling (with the first guy), our attic was looking like this.

Adding Drywall To Attic

The status of the room didn’t change much after oh, day 3, cause the dude just stopped coming. Like I don’t know if he’s in jail, or hates our guts or moved to Tahiti but this guy seriously went awol. We tried contacting him for 3 days straight, and when we only heard crickets talking back to us, we bite the bullet and had to hire another guy to come in and finish the gig.  Go figure, the only guy available was the one that charges $22.50 an hour. Ouch. He also (kinda smugly) informed us, it would take 4 days of labor to do the job, when we’d already PAID the first guy who disappeared on us. Nope, sorry, I don’t have another $700 sitting around that I can burn hand over to you. GAH.

On top of the crap sandwhich of a reality that the first guy just up and left us, he also did the poopiest job possible on the initial work. POOP. The new guy also (kinda smugly) informed us of this reality and kept telling us how we should have hired him first. Thanks for the memo, Sherlock.

That being said, there is finally a light at the end of this tunnel. Although we paid up the nose for it, we finally got a guy in that can actually help fix our little situation. We’ve got one more day of sanding ahead of us, but right now our space is looking like this.

Drywalling Attic

Some of the problem areas for the first installer included our ceiling joints. He used WAY too much mud on them and basically just tried to fix all his bad hanging skills by slapping on tons of mud. We had (3) full buckets of drywall dust from the first pass.

Too Much Mud on Drywall

Overall, I think that the ceiling will be able to be moderately camouflaged since it will all be the same, matte white color. So although the seems are not perfect, they’ll at least be under some cover with the paint job.

You can see our wee little bathroom bump out, too. This room is going to be small, but ya know what, it’s still a bathroom so that’s a value add to an old house like this where you typically only find one bath.

Half Bath Attic Knee Wall

Speaking of bathroom’s lookie what landed on our doorstep this week. Color me PUMPED to get this beauty upstairs! It’s my new motivation – just get this babe of a vanity upstairs where it belongs 😀

Marble Vanity

Moving on to some areas I love … check out these skylights. The corners look nice and crisp, and they add so much light into the space, too.

Skylights in Attic

You can also see how nice the closets look now that they have a drywall surround as well.

Adding Closets to Knee Wall

Everything is starting to feel much, much closer to being done now. In all honesty, I’m just really excited to be at a point in the reno where we don’t have to depend on someone else to do the work for us.

Overall, hiring out has been such a pain for a control fa-reak like me. I can’t manage any of the timeline, how much it will cost me, anything. After our super awful experience with this first craigslist dude. we’re feeling a bit sour about the whole shabang of an experience. Especially when they come through and leave messes like this throughout your house, kinda adds salt to the wound (umm – drop clothes, ya heard of them?)

Contractors Leaving Mess

For reference, our total cost with supplies will be around $1,400 for the drywall. Way WAY more than we had initially anticipated largely due to our little mishap with the installer. At the end of the day, it was a valuable lesson for us and being so dang tired from the entire process, I think we’re just glad to finally see light at the end of this tunnel.

Has anyone else had a bad experience with a contractor? Any good hints or tricks to keep these things from happening? Bestow your knowledge!!

Cushy Couch Prowl

I have to confess, my friend Jessica has turned me into a craigslist addy. After I spotted an amazing couch at her abode that she got for FREE on the list, I was immediately converted. But here is the thing. Her couch is leather (less potential issues, right?) and the couch we were looking for was, well, not leather. So ya know, buying it used may present some unpleasant realities as far as infestations are concerned.

So I’d browse on craigslist, but I wasn’t really planning on buying anything due to the reasons mentioned above. I wasn’t planning on it, but ya know, sometimes life surprises you :)

Not sure if you noticed when I was snapping some beauty shots of the new basement space, but we’ve actually been moving some furniture around in these parts. Remember these chairs?

Tufted Velvet Chairs

Yes. If your memory serves you right they use to be in our Living Room. Now – they chillin’ like villains in the basement. Alas, this left us with some gap action in our main living space. Hence, the great craigslist hunt.

I was pretty open to different options – I didn’t know if I wanted something for the basement (a sectional, maybe?) or to leave our tufted chairs down in the basement area and find something different for the upstairs living space …

And then, I had some light shine down on me from the craigslist God’s in the form of this ad.

Sofa on Craigslist

A few things stuck out at me. $1,800 couch, and $300 asking price. Also being the color phobe I am (I’m a neutrals girl, what can I say…), I also liked the fact that it was GREEN. But not too green, ya know what I’m saying? Olive > Lime in the couch department (IMO). Also, I did a little Google search action and let’s just say this couch was in a purty swankified neighborhood. So my chatter box head was thinking – fancy pants couch, not super expensive, and probably taken care of previously by it’s owners. At this point, it seemed worthwhile to at least drive over and check out the goods.

When I laid my eyes on this baby – it was all systems GO. I even had plans to negotiate down the price, but once I saw this jewel I just handed them the cash while chattering their face off while smiling my face off.

Now this guy was a quality piece of furniture, hence, it was not light, hence no pictures of the loading/unloading/etc. But, feast your eyes on the finished product.

Olive Velvet Sofa

Yummy. I just want to eat it up I love it so much.

Now, when we first popped this bad boy in, we realized something rather quickly. Our old ottoman just wasn’t happening. Too dang tight. You had to do a little side shuffle just to get over to the other side of the room. I like a nice cozy living space and I by chance, also often shuffle as a means of transportation, but it was just feeling a bit too squeezed as you can see in the photo below. Note – the couch does NOT read that limey in real life.

Tufted Ottoman for Coffee Table

So off to the basement another fine piece of furniture went.

Tufted Ottoman Coffee Table

On one hand, it’s really nice to have the basement almost completely done now (more on that here and here) and I think the ottoman looks totally awesome down there. On the other, we are sans coffee table in the Living Room, which really just means I continue my craigslist addiction into another day (via coffee table hunt). 😀

One of the first things that sold me on this little beauty from afar was the gorgeous lines it had from the side. Like these nice, tall arms.

Crushed Velvet Green Sofa

Jay loves the couch since he actually fits on it, unlike many of our other pieces of furniture. It’s like the primo napping couch. Super deep, super soft and super squishy sinky loveliness. As Jay puts it, this couch passes the comfort test.

Deep Velvet Sofa

It’s only taken us a year, but it looks like the house is now officially furnished! :)

Two Couches in Living Room

Anyone else out there score some solid craigslist finds lately?

 

Craptastic Carpet

Remember this – pink – carpet. Well I do, it’s been branded onto my eyeballs like a bad, bad memory. While Jay was being husband of the year and installing insulation to keep us nice and toasty all winter long, I took to it and made this carpet say sianara. Huesta leuego, Mr. Pinky.

Master Suite Attic Conversion

Now, ya know, I probably should have gotten to the task of ripping out this carpet far sooner. In all honesty, with all the demoing we’ve been doing upstairs, this furry stuff was getting mighty gross. Like, whoa. Immediately after I started ripping this carpeting out, I realized how much cleaner we’d be able to keep the attic now that I could just grab a broom and get to it. Perfect timing – now that we’re done making extreme messes in the space. 😉

Since I was timid to start out, and not sure how easily this stuff would pry up, I started in an area where I knew a section was already pretty loose.

How to Remove Old Carpet

Much to my surprise, it ripped right up. When I found a particularly tricky location, I would lance along the edge with an exacto knife and up that baby came. There was also a layer of padding underneath, which was super easy to pry up after the first layer of carpet was out of there.

How to Remove Old Carpet

Now, when we moved in, we knew we wouldn’t be keeping the pretty pretty princess carpet, pink underfoot is just not my thing. What we didn’t know was that the floor underneath would be wood. Nice, pretty, sturdy wood. Or so it first appeared.

I had visions of perhaps refinishing the wood like downstairs, and adding a chic little natural fiber runner along the steps (like this). Alas, as I continued on my rug removing rampage, I came across some disappointing little pearls of information. First, there was paint on the floor. Like, all over the floor. We’ve successfully removed paint from floors in the past, but this was a lot of paint.

Removing Paint From Wood

Plus, there were some areas where the wood floor, well just wasn’t there. Like here.

How to Remove Carpet

It’s true, both of these issues were not insurmountable (we patched the floor here, during the kitchen reno), but we’ve also read that it’s sometimes best to have carpet in the upstairs since it essentially helps to create a sound barrier between the two levels, making things a wee bit quieter around here. Since we often hear each other when one of us is in the basement, and the other is upstairs, we started to lean toward the carpet option even more.

After pulling out all the (old) carpeting upstairs, things are looking like this.

Refinishing Wood Floors in Attic

Getting all the old stuff out helps me to envision how I’d like to lay the space out even more. It’s finally starting to feel like a fresh, new slate, which is so exciting! Right now, I’m toying around with how big I want the bathroom to be – full bath (like this one), or a half bath (like this one). If we do a half bath, we’ll be able to scoot in a reading nook into the side of the room, too. Decisions, decisions. Here’s a layout of how things could be looking down the road, via this inspiration post.

Converting Attic to Master Suite

Even though we are not at a point where we will be installing new carpet quite yet (this will be our absolute final step for the bedroom), we found that ripping out the carpet actually made it a ton easier to clean up with all the dust and debris upstairs. Even after I went over everything with the vacuum before, we found that there was still a decent amount of dust lodged in the carpeting, which is kind of gross. Now I just come through with the broom and spiff up after we make a mess each day.

But when we did casually start the carpet search, we came across this gem I had to share.

Grass Carpet

Seriously, America. There is no excuse for this level of shenanigans 😉

Skylight Skybright

Something we noticed pretty much out of the gate on this Master Attic retreat o’ ours is that this room is DARK. Like lights are on full blast and you’re looking for the switch. It’s got two wee little windows that cap off each end, and although they’re nice to have a cross breeze blowing upstairs, they really aren’t sufficient by themselves to light up the space the way we’d like it to be lit up. So instead of going out and buying 52 CFL’s, we decided to cut a hole in the roof. Piece of cake. Problem solved.

Installing Skylight in Attic

Now, normally we’d consider tackling this little bad boy ourselves, but a few small details held us back. First, Jay has an immense (immense) fear of being on the roof. I mean, it’s bad. Mostly because all I can muster up the will power to do is laugh at him, and he’s like, I’m going to DIE why are you laughing you lunatic! And second, it involved cutting through some of the structural trusses on the roof and since we didn’t want the walls above us to come caving in one night while we are peacefully slumbering, we figured that this one was best left up to the pros.

So we did the normal round of inquiries via craigslist and came back with a quote for $750 to pop two bad boys into the roof. Not awful, also not amazing. So we had a little pow wow over our dinner one night and decided that for a few hundred bucks, we wanted the natural light that the space was currently lacking so we decided to go for it. Get er done.

Installing Attic Skylight

Lucky for us, our local lumber yard actually had two of the skylights we had our eye on in stock. They even price matched the Home Depot ticket price, so it brought the total out of pocket cost down $40 bucks. Cool beans, yo.

We opted to go with the brand Velux. After shopping around a bit, the distributors basically told us this is as good as it gets for glass holes in your ceiling. In Ann Arbor, they have a code that you have to buy the special upgraded glass, which I guess prevents the stuff from shattering over your face if a tree limb falls in the middle in the night. Since we live in Tree City USA (literally, Ann Arbors nickname), that is a good thing.

Also, the only way that Velux will warranty the seal on the window, is if you agree to buy their flashing kit as well, which is an extra $70 dolla billz. Oye. Good news, it provides a 10-year warranty against leaking, no matter who installs the unit. Bottom line, they sound pretty confident in their product to we were willing to fork over a few extra dollars.

Velux Skylight Review

In the attic, we knew that we wanted to bump the right side of the wall out so that we had a bit more room as you walk around in the space up there. To get the room ready for both the spray foam, and the skylight install, we opted to remove some of the wall that was previously running down this side of the attic. Since this was the back side of the house, we decided that popping up the sky lights on this side made the most sense (least visible from the street, nice view of the tree canopy outside, etc). Once the room is finished, this wall will be a big old built-in, stretching from one side of the room to the other. Lots of storage!

Knee Wall in Attic

Here is a shot of how the room looks the morning after the skylights were installed, hello sunshine!! The room faces east, so we get lots of morning rays, should help to motivate us out of bed each morning. 😉

  Velux Skylights Pricing

In addition to the 10-year warranty on the skylights, we also have a 10-year warranty on the work done by our roofer. Sa-weet! He even took a birds-eye view of the skylights before he left the job site. The skylights are a tad higher up on the roof than I thought they would be, but overall I think they look mighty fine.

Velux Skylights in Attic

A few things we learned along the way with this one. First, there are many parts of the installation process that we would feel comfortable doing ourselves. Jay helped the installer for most of the process, and learned that he can definitely do the interior work in the future, i.e. cutting the window holes, but that he just doesn’t feel comfortable getting his booty up on the roof. If we decided to do something like this on any future houses, we think we’d do the cutting portion ourselves, to trim back the costs a bit. Live and learn.

Installing Skylights in Attic

For now, were pretty happy with all the extra light that comes pouring into this room post install. It’s really just an incredible difference. It’s kind of hard to tell on the pictures, but the difference is so noticeable in person. Long term, I’m pretty pumped to have these little babies up in the attic space. Pretty sure the orange tabby will be pleased with this new development – virtual bird hunting just got a whole lot better. 😉 When everything is said and done, we are hoping to have the back wall look like this.

  Skylights Over Built In

So, ya wan’t us to spill the beans and tell you how much this home renovation set us back? We were able to snag the skylights for $222, with a price match to Home Depot at our local lumber yard and we found a roof installer on craigslist that was willing to pop these guys in for $750, including a 10-year warranty. With the flashing kits, the total cost for installation for (2) skylights was $1,372. Not cheap, my friend. For comparison though, we found quotes as high as $2,500 for just installation when we were shopping, so keeping a grand in my pocket always makes me a happy camper. 😉

Table Talk

So, I’ve been on the hunt for a table for quite some time. I searched far and low, and then found this little beauty on the list. craigslist, that is. What can I say, it had be at hello. My favorite thing about this guy is the base and the legs. It’s got good legs, what can I say.

Antique Pedestal Table

When I started my hunt, I was initially looking for a table with an extension, and alas, this little beaut is extension(less). But, it was also $90, I’m just going to go ahead and call that a win. My general thought is that if I find something different down the road for a steal second hand, that I can swap this one out and get the leaf I’ve been after. Otherwise, it’s usually just the hubster and I at the table, so I’m thinking this should fit the bill. When we got this little beauty, it was in quasi rough shape. Namely, it appears the household before us had apparently used it as some kind of craft table, cause it was littered with glitter. A fairy godmother table, if you will. A sander seemed like a good place to start. So we went out and got all the necessary grits for a lovely finish and got to work.

How to sand a table

Not really knowing what I was doing, or how to go about removing the glitter, the veneer or the stain, I started sanding this little guy. After 30 seconds or so, it became strikingly apparent that the sander was just not going to cut it. Not a lick of the finish budged. Bummer dude.

How to remove stain from furniture

So, we moved onto the the next thing. Look at this friendly furniture removing fella. He looked like just the man for the job.

Formbys Furniture Refinisher

Applying this stuff was so disgusting. It wreaked to high heaven. But that sander wasn’t working and sometimes, ya just have to pull out the big guns. To apply it, I just grabbed one of our crappola paint brushes and liberally applied it on there. For some extra stain removal, we also came back through and lightly wiped everything off with some ammonia (also very stinky).

Overall, we found that a combination of the two pretty much sealed the deal. The ammonia step was probably the most crucial, can you see all the stain that came up on this step? Jay just took a nail brush and lightly scrubbed the top of the table to get the stain off the surface. Worked like a charm.

Using Ammonia To Remove Old Stain

After we removed all the stain from the top, we moved on to patching up some parts of the table that had cracked over time. We simply purchased some wood filler that was stainable and applied it liberally to the cracks and chips we were trying to help fix. We took a putty knife to smooth it out along the edge of the table.

How to use Wood Filler

Then, we had the fun part. We got to see this baby transform with some purty little stain! After perusing the aisles of the home improvement store, we opted to keep using the same stain color we had on the floors, Minwax Dark Walnut. One, since we had it in the house already, and two, it just looked the best and had the elegant yet simple look we were going for. A pinch of this a pinch of that – you’re on your way.

Staining Antique Table

Jay referred to this step as the New York Black and White cookie phase (Mumzie, if you are reading, we formally request one of these as a special souvenir treat when you go to NY with Jo) 😉 I think we were hungry. Look how good that stain looks going on though! After we were all done, the table was looking like this! After seeing this guy back in the dining room, I’m thinking I need some larger, more pronounced artwork… It’s always something 😉 Oh, and some chairs, there is THAT, too.

Round Pedestal Dining Table

 

 

 

 

Just Commit Already

Now that the bathrooms are starting to wrap up around here – we have two more BIG projects in cue. The first is the kitchen gut and remodel and the second is the attic conversion to a master suite. Both are so daunting that we’ve just been dragging our feet on them. Plus, since they are more involved, they’re also more expensive, so all our hemming and hawing has given us a bit of time to add some cash to the reserves to actually PAY for them. :) For reference, here is a shot of the kitchen when we moved in. I think she was going for the wine and Tuscany type of look. :)

Kitchen | Before
Kitchen | Before

The cabinets in here are actually quite nice, and the kitchen even has granite counter tops – both are just terribly not our taste. We will probably craiglist the whole kit and caboodle. Never sold an entire kitchen before, so I’ll keep ya posted! 😉 Since we moved in, we made a few minor revisions to the space, most notably, painting over the faux finished walls and green trim. Now, it’s time to bring this space to the next level. So. excited! The absolute best part is, since the kitchen is so very small, the price tag is also a bit more manageable. Score. Overall, we are looking for simple lines, lots of function, and bright, white cabinetry and counters. Here is an inspiration shot – would love the rug, too!

White Kitchen
Kitchen Inspiration

The first step to the kitchen reno, was ordering the appliances. Since we can’t measure for new cabinetry until the appliances are installed, I knew that I had to get my rear in gear on this one and just commit already. Like any girl with a kitchen renovating dream, I had my eye on some top end Viking appliances when we first started looking. (Not) being the cook in the house though, my pure motivation was looks :) He he. Jay (of course) also liked the idea of the Viking set, but after we started searching around a bit, a few things started to sway us toward more affordable options.

First, the Viking fridges are actually made by Kitchenaid. Go figure. After looking around at all the fridges, we just kinda shrugged our shoulders and we were like. Yep, that one will keep my milk cold, too. We really became less and less keen on shelling out lots o’ similions for a fridge that was more or less, jacked up in price due to the name plate attached to it. After seeing Aubrey and Lindsay’s kitchen reno here, I was starting to become a bit more receptive to some other options as well. Namely the GE Cafe line.

Here is the fridge – love, love, lovely.

GE Cafe Counter Depth
GE Cafe Line | Counter Depth Fridge

And here is the gas range. We bought them both. :0

GE Cafe Gas Range
GE Cafe Gas Range

And…. here is the scoop on our search. Once we decided to nix the Viking line in favor of something more affordable – I started my search at Lowes. They are having a pretty awesome deal where if you spend $5.999 or more on appliances, you get a $1,000 Lowes gift card. PLUS we have our 5% cash back at Lowes this month (which caps out at $1,500 per card, for our two cards, an extra $150 back) AND there is a GE Cafe line rebate right now for $450 off if you purchase (3) appliances. Given these sa-weet deals, I had my oven, fridge and dishwasher all lined up and ready to go to purchase at Lowes. And then, I saw the total populate in the shopping cart. Yowzers. Granted, this did not include the $1,000 Lowes Gift Card OR the $450 in rebates, but still. That would be our initial out of pocket cost.

Lowes Shopping Cart
Lowes Shopping Cart

Being so reluctant to part with $7,000+, I thought I would do some quick online shopping around, just to see if I could snag a better deal. And snag a better deal I DID. Did you notice the capital D.I.D. Fo shizzle. Build.com, ya ever heard of it? Yeah – me neither but we are now BFF’s. They had this tricky little promo where they didn’t tell you the price until you put it in your cart. Before I put it in the cart, the oven and the fridge were like $200 cheaper each. So my $1,000 Lowes gift card, and $150 back in credit card rewards were still tipping the scale.

Build.com Shopping Cart
Build.com Shopping Cart

But then, a magic fairy came and sprinkled fairy dust on my shopping cart, and brought the prices down to $1,764 LESS than the Lowes options. And THEN I found a 5% off coupon online! Win-Win-Winning! And the extra good news is that our local distributor just happens to have a floor model available of the dishwasher, and that is marked down to $799 from $1,600. And THEN, we realized that there was free shipping with build.com, where Lowes was going to charge $100+ for deliver of each one. Sweet tamales, say it ain’t so Joe!

So the final breakdown is as follows for our new sweet fleet of stainless appliances.

  • Fridge – $2,124
  • Gas Range – $2,201
  • Dishwasher – $799
  • AND there is a $450 rebate
  • So the grand total is $4,673 

We plan on selling our appliances for a few hundred bucks, so that should knock the price down to right around $4,000. Since we were initially budgeting to spend closer to $10k on a Viking suite, this make me very, very happy! We are having these guys delivered in a week or so, and I couldn’t be more excited. Only downside is that this means we have to get crack-a-lackin’ on the rest of the kitchen reno. Exciting, but also expensive and daunting! I feel like we are on step 1 of 100 right now. Each step gets us closer, though!

Snagged Me a Winner!

Every once and a while, the craigslist God’s smile down upon you and bring a lovely little addition. And this little vintage table, wait – for  – it – only $30 beans! Considering the MDF ones at Target are like $100 buckos, I’ll take used and solid wood, any day. Here is my latest find. Did I mention I only paid thirty bucks :) Not my BEST craigslist find, but I’ll put this one in the solid category for price, and beauty. It scores quite high on beauty, no?

Vintage Brass Hardware Table
Vintage Brass Hardware End Table

Here is a close up of the lovely brass vintage hardware. I’ve had hardware nearly identical to this pinned on pinterest for quite some time, so it’s super exciting to actually have a piece of furniture with these lovely details now! Plus, I’m pretty sure it would have set me back close to $30 bucks just for the hardware, if I decided to DIY a piece similar, so I’m pretty pumped about the price.

Vintage Brass Hardware Furniture
Vintage Brass Hardware

It’s a vintage Thomsasville side table. I wasn’t super familiar with the brand, but when I did a wee bit of research, I found that their current stock of tables go for $400+. Huzza!! I can definitely tell that this side table is made really, really well. Of all the craigslist finds, I’ve gotta give this one the best marks for drawer quality. These things slide like butta. The construction is really high quality, and I’m so glad I scored this one!

Vintage Thomasville Side Table
Thomasville Side Table

For now, it’s nestled between the couch and the side chairs, so it’s kind of hidden a bit, which is sad. Moved some stuff around the house to style it a bit, and I’m loving this as a new addition to the basement.

Antique Brass Table
Antique Brass Side Table

Mad props to the hubby for schlepping his bum down the street to snag this beaut. He even picked up the groceries while he was out. Virtual high five, Jay. You ROCK!