Exciting Changes!

Whew!! What a month April was. Jay and I moved down to NC, set up shop, bought a house, closed on our last one – and we haven’t killed each other in the process – it’s a miracle. In all honesty, Jay and I have been adjusting so well to our life down here. At least once a day I look at him and just kind of proclaim on the top of my lungs “Can you freaking believe it?!?!! We did it, man! We chased that dream and we made it happen! Can you believe we actually live here now?! He usually smiles back and just says – best. decision. ever.

Moving Cross Country In Uhaul

Now that we’re adjusting to our new routines I wanted to formally announce that I’ll have a new routine up here on the blog, as well. Now that I have so much extra time on my hands (since I’m working part-time) I’ll be posting to this sweet little blog o’ mine daily! Between all the design clients I’m assisting, adjusting to life in our new home and the hurricane of renovations that are about to hit this joint after we close on the house next week (eee!! get EXCITED!) – I know I’ll have more than enough to post about for all of y’all!

Another fun detail – I’m sure you regulars have noticed – but for the foreseeable future, every Tuesday there will be a giveaway up for all you lovely ladies and gents. SCORE! Who doesn’t like winning free stuff?!

It’s been a busy month over here – so how about a recap round-up?

Cross-Country Movin’

Moving From House to Apartment

We started out by, ya know, moving! 😀 This is life as we know it these days. Ugggg. I can’t wait until it’s not a battle to find my underwear for each day. Seriously.

Howdy Neighbor

Vintage Chesterfield Sofa

Let’s all swoon over Jessica’s house one more time. Le sigh. It’s a beauty!

Oops I Did It Again

Closing on House in North Carolina

Oh, yeah. There was that one time I almost bought a house and then lost $500. Oye – let’s officially archive that memory, shall we?

Number Cruncher

Where to Splurge and Where to Save

On a better note, we closed on our house in Michigan! Fixing up a house has lots of costs, but lucky for us, this round of home ownership also had a decent amount of rewards, too. Check out the post to see how we came out after all of our renovation costs.

Exploring Durham

Durham Real Estate

We’ve had tons of fun getting to know our new home! We explored lots of neighborhoods (Here, here and here!)

On the Hunt

White Kitchen Shaker Cabinets

Speaking of which, I also did a virtual house crash of one of my favorite renovated homes here in Durham!

Giveaways!

Antique Fern Print

We had a giveaway each Tuesday this month – which will continue into the foreseeable future. (so come back every Tuesday if you want to win some loot!) PSST!! The Gnosis Art Giveaway is up through this Tuesday!

Home Sweet Home

Brick Front Porch

And of course … we rounded out the month by introducing you to our new home! Can’t wait to get started on the renovations! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful

 

As a society, I think that we often forget to stop, reflect and instead of complaining, or offering some form of criticism just say – I”M THANKFUL. For the country I was born in, for the family I was born to, for the roof above me, for the earth below me. We’re all guilty of it because life is so busy, and it’s stressful and it goes by so dang fast that it can be hard to take that second to reflect.

A few years ago, one of my family members started to take the month of November as a challenge to state one thing that you are thankful for every day. To just pause and say I’m lucky and so blessed.

Thirty Days of Being Thankful

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to encourage all of YOU to join me in making November a month where we are all openly sharing what it is that we’re thankful for. I won’t be posting on it daily (I would say that’s wee excessive) ;), but I will be doing a weekly recap post where I share my top things each week and hopefully y’all will share your biggest blessings, too!

In the spirit of being thankful, and since it’s the first of the month, let’s get rolling on the monthly round-up to see what got done in this joint in the month of October!

Insulation Man

How to Insulate Conditioned Attic

Ah yes! The insulation project that started in October and nearly lasted through November. 😉 Took a little longer than anticipated, but I’m happy to report that we’ve been nice and toasty since our insulation bonanza wrapped up a few weeks days ago. To say we are thankful that this project is done, may be the biggest understatement of my life. 😀

How to use foam board to insulate attic

How to Get Out of College Debt Free

Graduating debt free from college may be one of the things I am most thankful for. Starting out our marriage with very little debt let us focus on bigger picture financial moves sooner, like buying our first place and starting our renovation journey at the ripe age of 22. Babies, I tell you!

How to get out of college debt free

Craptastic Carpet

Let’s just say I’ve been itching to remove this PINK carpet from our attic escape since day one of setting foot in this joint. Mr. Pinky and I finally parted ways this month. I hope he fairs well in the carpet graveyard.

How to Remove Carpet

Happy Birthday House!

We helped the house celebrate it’s first birthday with us in October, too. Hard to believe it’s already been a year. Where does time go, my friend? We took the birthday celebration as a chance to share all the reasons why we feel so lucky to call this little slice of the world home.

Happy Birthday House

She’s a Natural 

Natural fiber rugs, we like peeeass and ccarrootts. (Lordy, that makes me want to pop in Forrest Gump, grab a tub of ice cream and a box of wine – you in?) I know what I like when I see it, and jute rugs happen to fall into that category.

We are pretty darn excited to adorn our upstairs bedrooms with these lovely diamond jute rugs from the Home Decorators collection. Added bonus, they’re the softest natural fiber rugs I’ve trounced on to date.

Home Decorators Diamond Jute Rug

DIY Built-in Bookcase

If I could do cartwheels I would be flipping my feet up in the air every time I walked down our basement steps on over to the new built-in. I love this little guy. He’s like da bomb. Further validating my love for our new builtin, I found that an IKEA look alike will set you back around $1,200. Our DIY beast? $400 dolla billz.

Hoot. You can either interpret that as me hooting in joy, a la an owl that just spotted it’s mouse for dinner, or like, that is a HOOT. You saved $800!!??

Linen Backing on Bookcase

And a full frontal shot of all the action. Just feast your eyes on this beautiful little number. Can ya tell I like it? 😀

Bookcase with Linen Backing

All, or Nothing, or Half

We also contemplated options for our upstairs Master Bath. To add a shower, or not to add a shower, that is the question. The space is mega tight, so we’ll have to go back to the drawing board on this one to see if a rain maker/body bather is in the mix for this upstairs oasis. Heck, if my worst case scenario is a big old bathroom with double sinks and enough room to tap dance, I also call that a big fat win.

Marble Bathroom Mood Board

So, what have all of you guys been working on? Feel free to share any links to projects you’ve been working on in the comments tab. I’d love to swing by and take a look!

 

 

Ata Boy, August: Monthly Roundup

Where did summer go? To the wind, my friend, it’s done and gone. I’m 26 this year. I know, still a youngin’ in many ways, but lately I’ve been realizing that this life of mine is passing just a bit too fast. Time to stop and savor it a bit. Let’s start by savoring all the changes that happened in our dear abode this month.

Cool Cat Kitchen 

This kitchen reno started in April, so to say we were happy to have things wrapping up in August is an understatement. We were ready to be done. But ya know what, sometimes the wait is worth it. Looking at all that herringbone loveliness, just makes me want to break out and dance. Get jiggy wit it.

Silestone Lagoon Counters

Le Grande House Tour 

With all the changes happening up in here, we decided to give everyone a grand tour of the house. We left out some spaces, to stay mysterious and all. But overall, it’s a good snap shot of the changes that have been happening in our house since we moved in October of 2012.

Master Bedroom Before and After

Trim to the Brim

It’s the cherry on top. The icing on the cake. Trim makes everything better. Especially when the hubby can install it with his new favorite power tool. Gajunk. Gajunk.

Minwax Dark Walnut

Kiwanis Collection

I like cheap stuff, don’t you? Vintage art for a buck, sign me up on the dotted line. Kiwanis has always been one of my favorite places to dig around for deals, but it got bumped up to the elite category after I walked away with all these scores.

Antique Art Print

Uninsulating

The attic is kind of the last frontier, so it was a big deal when we decided to tackle this beast. We are pretty pumped about making this into our Master Suite. First step, uninsulating. Whaaa?? Yes, energy freaks like us, taking out all our old insulation to make way for the new shiney stuff. Spray foam, baby.

How to remove cellulose insulation

Oh, and we also did our FIRST giveaway in August! Last day to enter for a free 8×10 print of this guy is TODAY. Check it out! 🙂

I carry your heart

 

Off to a Bang: July Monthly Recap

July. The quintessential summer month. Bar-b-ques, beaches, and kitchen renovations. All in the sweltering heat, some more enjoyable than others. One thing is for sure, after our July of kitchen renovating, we were definitely ready for some good old R&R. Or some more house renovating, all the same round these parts 😉 Let’s cruze on back in time, shall we?

Table Talk

We started out our month by refurbishing the Dining Room table. Craigslist score for $90. Yes pa-lease. With a cherry on top. It was a bit of an iterative process (i.e. sander = not the way to go), but in the end, we’ve finally got a place we can put our food at dinner time.

Using Ammonia To Remove Old Stain

Mega Mulching

Another sure sign of summer, weeds sprouting up everywhere you look in the yard. Since we hadn’t really taken time out to mulch our lot this spring, the normal dose of weeds had a few extra friends along for the ride. Better late than never, right? The house is now looking totally mulchified. Which is a good thing, by the way. If you couldn’t tell.

Dark Mulch

Bathroom Sprucing

Our basement bathroom had a few lingering details that we were able to tackle this month, making the space that much more inviting. We scored an $8 piece of art from Target, and got around to finally painting and caulking the trim. Geesh. About time.

Bathroom Organization

Kill Dem Weeds

Staying on a lawn inspired theme, we decided to try a natural weed killing concoction to see if we could battle the enemy sprouting up in every crack and crevice in our driveway and patio. Mission weed kill was a success – doesn’t hurt that our home made remedy was only pennies on the dollar. Sa-weet.

How to Kill Weeds Naturally

Window Washing

After all the renovating that had been going down in this house, our windows were looking pretty grungy. It was high time for some elbow grease and scrubba dub dubbin. Best part about this little home sprucing extravaganza. Didn’t cost us a dime. Since kitchen renovations can make you feel kind of poor, that is a very good thing.

How to Clean Windows

Blessed Be Thy Counters

After what felt like years of waiting, our counters we’re installed and delivered, getting our kitchen one step closer to being checked off the big fat to do list. Best part, I’m pretty much ready to write my counters a love song. Beautiful is the only way to describe this hunka hunka engineered stone.

Silestone Lagoon

We even broke down the different prices we saw when shopping, to give you a lay of the quartz counter top land.

Price per square foot marble alternatives

Amortization Action

We finished off the month by crunching some numbers and saving ourselves over $60,000 in interest on the life of our loan. Now that is some serious moolah back in your pocket. Amortization is the key – we committed to adding some extra to our principal each month, and then sat back and watched the magic happen.

How to Pay Off House Loan Quickly

 

Jamming in June: Monthly Roundup

Oh, June. How I love thee. Sunshine and happiness abound. Flowers blooming, warm temps. Sigh. Summer at it’s best. Since we are maniacs around here, we decided to completely move all our furniture out of the house and redo our floors, in the balmy breezes of summer. Err, more like the stagnate humid heat of summer. Either way – it got done! Here is a snap shot of what we were crack a lackin’ on this month.

Wall Removal

To get things off right in this joint, we decided to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Now, instead of (2) super cramped spaces, we have a nice, open, and airy main living space. It’s still a pretty cozy layout, but it’s leaps and bounds better than what we had going on before.

How to mud drywall

Wood Patching

While we were at it, we had to come back through and patch up the flooring that was removed when the wall came up. 20 sq feet of red oak later, we had a more cohesive looking room that was ready to be stained and polyed with the rest of the house.

How to replace wood floor

French Door

Keeping with our theme of wide open spaces, we hired a contractor to install a french door for us, that leads out onto our screened in porch (perhaps future sunroom, someday). Now instead of (1) 30″ door opening, we’ve got a double set of doors and a total wall opening of 60″. Dang a langa. That’s a big difference. I love walking through the hall now into the dining room and seeing all the light pouring in each morning. These doors had me at hello.

French Door Off Dining Room

Wood Floor Refinishing

The project that took the most work this month was without a doubt the refinishing of our hardwood floors. We had to remove all our worldly possessions in into our finished basement while we sanded, stained and polyurethaned the floor. Overall, the entire process took over a week, since we had to fit in each step at the end of a work day. Oye. It was a doozy. Now that everything is said and done, I love how classy the new dark walnut floors look. I’m noticing that they are definitely higher maintenance than the more natural color we had before (dark floors show every piece of orange tabby fur, and dust), but they look so darn good.

How to sand wood floors

 

Dark Walnut Floors

Refinishing Trim

Although the floors looked lovely after all the stain and poly were down, everything else, not so much. The trim needed to be repainted, and cleaned. My motto with this project began to be one step forward and two steps back 😉 It didn’t take too long to get everything back into tip top shape! We used mineral spirits to wipe up any access stain on the trim and them we primed all the stain, and repainted it in Benjamin Moore Simply White.

How to Remove Stain From Trim

May Monthly Roundup

Spring was a long time coming this year in the mitten, but lucky for us, it seems like mother nature is going to kick it into high gear and bring on summer. About time. Now, instead of wrapping up with a blanket and looking out dismally at snow (yes, it snowed in April), we are knocking out some serious projects. Something about that sunshine just puts the pep in yo step. For a little monthly re-capping, in April, we:

Basement Bathroom Remodel

Started renovating the downstairs bath. After testing lots of paint colors, we landed on Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs, for both the vanity and the walls. After slapping down some marble tile, we just need some artwork and new lighting before we call this one done.

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs
Basement Bathroom
Northern Cliffs Bathroom
Basement Bathroom | After

Bathroom Reveal | Upstairs Bath

Since we already had the tile saw out, we decided to tag team the bathroom renos. Although our upstairs bathroom renovation started in March, we capped this guy off in April. We are still searching for the perfect mirror (procrastinators…) but overall, this room is functioning MUCH better (and looking a bit better, too!).

Completed Bathroom Renovation
Bathroom Renovation
Herringbone Subway Tile
Herringbone Subway Tile

Painted Doors

In addition to ripping out our bathroom(s), we decided to tackle some low hanging fruit too. Sometimes you just have to go for the easy win, right? We painted the last two doors in the house that had previously been paneled and pink. Not my cup of tea.

White painted paneled door
Attic Door | After

Installing Gas Line

After starting the process of reinvisioning our kitchen, we opted to do a gas line switcher-roo and move our oven over onto another wall. We opted to hire this one out. $250 (in my mind) is a small price to pay to have this one checked off the list with all our limbs intact.

How to install a gas line
New Gas Line

Countertops + Cabinets

Wanting a white and bright open kitchen space, Jay and I decided we were looking for something that aesthetically resembled marble, but without the upkeep associated. We found a few winners, and in the end, we are leaning toward Sugarbrush Quartz, through Lowes.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet
Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Wall Removal

Oh, and I almost forgot, we knocked out a wall. Almost didn’t happen, but gotta tell ya, so. very. glad. it. did. The kitchen/dining room space has been absolutely transformed by this decision. More light, better flow, bigger. Every time I walk into the room now, I smile.

How to remove wall
Removing Wall

Studor Pipe Vent 

And in the spirit of the wall removal, we had to mention our studor solution. Studor may or may not be my new favorite word. 😉

How to install air admittance valve
Installing Studor Pipe

Monthly Round-up: April Showers Bring…

April. Oh April. You let me down. Snow, check. Heat still pumping away, check. Sticking it where the sun don’t shine, check. Life in the Mitten – just chalk it up. But the good news with our crap-tastic April weather, was that we got a whole lotta house renovating done. 😉 A bit easier to stay motivated when going outside is that rough. He he. Well, here is the round-up for ya!

Making Plans

We started out by making some long-term plans, and re-thinking some renovation strategies. Final conclusions still pending, but we are leaning toward keeping the house footprint as is, and converting our screened-in porch to a rockin’ sunroom. Stay tuned!

First Floor Layout
Layout of First Floor

Bathroom Built-In

We started the bathroom built-in, best decision eva!! Can’t say it wasn’t with it’s trials and tribulations, but this little guy is definitely going to be a serious asset in the storage category.

Built-in Shelf
Built-In Shelving

Hard-ware

I came, we searched, we conquered. Found some hardware to start and finish out the water room. The orange tabby is pretty happy to be reunited with his faucet. The guy likes his water. Like a fish. I think he may grow scales.

Kingston Brass Cross Handle Tub Faucet
Kingston Brass Faucet

Bathroom Numero Dos

While we had the tile saw out, we thought we would get crackin’ on the basement bathroom. Helped that each tile was one square foot, and the bathroom is all of 20 square feet, didn’t take too long to get this room looking in tip top shape.

Marble 12x12 Tile
Marble Bathroom

Insinkerator

We installed a sink. Some shims came in handy, always do! Looking classy America! Looking good.

Porcher Sink
Porcher Sink

Storage Solution

After slaving most of the month, we wrapped up our bathroom built-in and finally got to add some good ole’ accessories. Yippie skippie.

Bathroom Builtin
Bathroom Built-In