Washer Woman

O. M. capital G, y’all. I washed my own pantolones in my own house this weekend. I didn’t go to the laudro-mat, or beg my neighbors, or, ya know, wear stinky clothes (again). We hooked up that son of a gun and washed our clothes. In our house.

BAM.

Now, if you’ve been following along with the saga that is our second story laundry room, you’d know that these advances in modern technology did not come easily. Or, ahem, cheaply. Ah contraire, my friend. But alas, after our first washing machine bit the dust, we were left with the hard reality that if we wanted to clean our clothes, we’d have to (gulp) buy another one.

But first, ‘member how I mentioned our door was a bit too tight, well we had to get to removing the extra trim around the frame to prep for washer delivery 2.0.

Removing Door Frame

It appears Jay is adjusting well to life in the south as a hillbilly that doesn’t wear shoes around power tools and shards of debris. Not advised, not advised. {do not attempt this at home}

He does look proud of his demolition handy work though, wouldn’t ya say?

After our demoing was done, the next morning the moment was upon us and our new machine was entering the house. I made Jay come home on his lunch break, since the whole thing just made me feel like I was going to vomit. Something about another washing machine not making it up the steps just made me get weak in the knees. But you guys – the delivery guys were ROCK STARS. They even brought our old, busted machine into the garage for free AND brought up our dryer, which was becoming a permanent resident of the Living Room.

No more appliances in our bedroom – Huzza!!

Breaking Washing Machine

The delivery staff hooked up the washer, and tested it before they left, so we had complete peace of mind that everything was peachy keen before they bid us farewell.

Monumental sigh of relief.

Once the ball was back in our court, we still had to level the machine and lift up the dryer (which is half the weight of the washer, thank God). Leveling the machine required 30 minutes or so of tweaking before we got it just right.

Making Sure Washer is Level

We wanted to spend some extra time being diligent on this step since we had heard that having the machine level is crucial to avoid any extra shaking you might experience during the spin cycle. We’d read some horror stories online of washing machines shaking the entire house when they’re on the spin cycle, so we figured it made sense to dedicate some extra time up front vs. regret it forevermore.

I seriously don’t know how Jay motivated me to do it (I did not want to), but he convinced me I was capable of helping him lift the dryer up onto the washing machine. Now, it wasn’t that heavy but ya know, I had a few bad memories flooding through my head as we attempted to once again maneuver an appliance around the house. Thank GOD, this appliance remained unscathed. WHEW.

Before we knew it we were loading these beasts for the first load of laundry!

Washer Shaking on Second Floor

As mentioned, we had heard that second floor laundry room’s can lead to some serious house shaking, so once the machine hit the spin cycle, we pretty much both hunkered down to watch this thing, and see how bad it was going to get. Should have grabbed popcorn, man, it was that entertaining.

Washer Shaking House

It wasn’t bad at all though! For 99% of the cycle you can’t even tell the machine is on, it’s so quiet. When it transitions onto the spin cycle there is about 10-15 seconds where there is a bit of vibration, but it’s not something that’s all that noticeable, and it certainly doesn’t feel like the entire house is shaking, so that’s good!

I think we had hyped it up in our heads, so we were not quite sure what to expect, in all honesty.

The units themselves are quite large and have a ton of different settings. We feel like we’re living in the lap of luxury 😀

Samsung Washer

And although it’s oh so fine to have a washer and dryer in da house, the rest of the laundry room is lagging behind in the style department. You know, stuff like all of this plumbing and electrical. Ugly alert.

Plumbing in Laundry Room

Our general game plan is to cover all of this up with a built-in bookcase, but for now, it’s just depressingly ugly. Realistically, it’s going to be a few weeks (months, dare I say) before we come back to this room and start to make the magic happen.

When we do though, this is the general layout, and idea of what we have planned.

Laundry Room Storage

Since we were able to cut out an access panel behind the washer and dryer (in our attic space) we’re going to completely enclose the appliances so that they look more or less built-in.

Although the bookcase will not be deep, it’s going to be very tall, and I’m so excited to have all this extra storage!

Since we knew we’d be procrastinating on our final laundry look, we did re-install that door though, to keep all the ugly on the other side 😉

Newly Installed Door

So who else out there has a second story laundry? I’m curious to hear feedback from others on what works and doesn’t work with their spaces.

One Month In

Holy moley, can you believe your ear drums? Believe it or not, we’re totally one month in to this little adventure of home ownership 3.0. You know, after owning 3 homes, in (4) years, one of the most common questions we get from people is if we’re house flippers. My answer, with a little bit of a smirk each time, is not intentionally. It just kinda happened. I can also tell you, at the ripe age of 27, Jay bird and I are pretty ready to slow things down a little bit in the house buying department. Buying and selling real estate has been an amazing way for us to gain some serious equity, and we’re so thankful that all our hard work has translated into something tangible, but seriously after all this work, we’re ready to just enjoy this house vs. move right on over to the next one.

I’ve gotta tell you that Jay and I have both reached a consensus that this house, this one’s for keepers. Uneven floors and leaky basement and all.

Trinity Park Durham

We’re SO EXCITED to have a house that we know we’ll be staying in for a while. Every decision we make about renovations feels more permanent, more lasting. We want every detail to reflect us as a family. Now, that’s not to say that we’re done with real estate. Our general motto is that every 3-5 years, we’d like to buy a property to invest. Whether it’s a vacation rental or a flip, we know that fixing up houses is kinda what we do. I think if I didn’t have my hands in a new property that I’d start to get sorta blue, ya know?

Since I’m all about celebrating victories, big and small in home renovating – I thought it would be fun to take a snapshot view of where we’re at 1-month in.

The biggest change by far was removing the non-load bearing wall between the dining room and the kitchen. This is what this space looked like before.

Taking Out Wall

And here it is, after. Ok, more like here it is “during”. 😉 Psst! Notice the first of the appliances chilling like a villain in the corner!

Drywalling Wall

Big, big difference as far as the flow and feel of the space. We absolutely are counting down the days until the peninsula of cabinets and counter tops get installed. We really couldn’t be more excited to entertain in this combined dining/kitchen space – it’s going to be great!

Since the kitchen had some vintage chic linoleum in there before the wall removal, we decided to rip all that up in favor of adding wood floors to tie everything together in the house, and give a cohesive look and feel to the space.

Prepping Floors for Wood Install

Another change – our floors! Before, we had floors that we’re not only in pretty rough condition – they were also orange! 😉 Howdoya like them apples?

Small Home Office

And here is how they’re looking now. It’s red oak, so it’s pretty much impossible to get rid of all the red, but they’re definitely much more “brown” now, and a little softer on the eyes! :)

Minwax Provincial vs. Dark Walnut

For comparison, here’s a shot of our floors next to the stair treads, that we opted not to do in the first round of sanding due to pure exhaustion, really. I know it will be a weekend project in the future though (I’m looking forward to adding in a stair runner, too).

Refinishing Wood Floors

Keeping up with the easy wins, we also painted our living room to make things look a bit more updated in there as well. I’m all on board with the new gray trend in home decorating, so we decided to go with Benjamin Moore Edgecbomb Gray. But first, this is what the Living Room looked like with the previous owner. A bit formal, for our taste.

Living Room Before

This is how it looks after two coats of Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray. We love it.

Edgecomb Gray in Living Room

Another “big deal” bucket list item, was getting our basement fixed. When we closed on the house, the front wall was bowing something crazy. Since your foundation keeps your house up, we knew that we wanted to tackle that immediately. So the fine fellas at RamJack came out and helped stabilize the basement.

How Ramjack Works

Now that we’ve got some of the larger projects out of the way, we’re moving on to some of the little details. See this bundle of fun on the floor? That’s a whole lotta crown and a whole lotta trim that are going up this weekend! We were able to snag a $3 per piece discount buying all the crown at once, so I convinced Jay we should just go for it. He begrudgingly agreed. 😉

Purchasing Crown in Bulk

And all that trim …. here’s a sneak peak at what we’ve been using that for!! (I’m totally in love) I’ll have the full reveal for our wainscoting treatment up on Friday!

DIY Wainscoting

We’re so excited to finally be in our new space, and we’ve got a final count down started for our apartment living departure – less than 2 weeks, people! Overall, we’re super pumped to tackle some larger projects post move-in, and to finally start decorating and making this place home!

New Year, New Projects! | January Recap

You know it’s been a busy month/beginning of the year, when I don’t get around to the monthly recap until mid-February. Fail.

It’s pretty exciting to think that for the next monthly recap, I’ll be able to include a FINISHED attic. Omeergggauuud. That makes me feel like chest bumping the next stranger that walks down our street. Pumped, I am. (Yoda talk)

March Blog Sponsors

I’m also SO excited to announce that the month of February/March will be chock full of some pretty sweet giveaways thanks to some amazing new sponsors for the blog! Think personalized address stamps from Blush Paperie, Artwork from Eva Juliet, Jewelry from Junghwa Jewelry, and some sweet etsy finds from Hearts Beat Electric. I know, right?! Get excited blogosphere, it’s going to be epic.

But before we get all pumped about the future, let’s dwell in the past and see some of the projects the Sell household got done in the fine month of January.

Raise the Roof

How to property insulate attic

In the month of January, we finally bid farewall to our insulation fun fest and installed our final round of foam. Can’t say it didn’t feel good to finally have a completely insulated and air tight upstairs.

Plus, we got our DTE bill this week and it looks like all that insulating is paying off, too. For the month of January, our bill was only $158. Last year, even with our brand new high efficiency furnace, we were at $190! Anddd it’s been considerably colder this year (polar vortex, anyone?).

House Hunting with Mary

Durham Real Estate

I’ve got a  new Thursday tradition round these parts with the start of my house hunting with Mary posts. Cause really, couldn’t we all use some real estate eye candy every once and a blue moon. For serial house hunters like me, the only way to get my fix is to pretend I’ve got a million dollars lining my pockets and go out and find that next beauty. Ahhh, to have a dream.

USA for Jesus’s Day

We set a pretty lofty goal this year and tried to have a completely China Free christmas. For those that actually check tags before you buy something, I think you can agree that this is a harder task than initially imagined. In the end, we actually did pretty good and tried to buy as many locally sourced, USA made products as possible. I definitely think this is a tradition we’ll be looking to keep!

Gifts Made in the USA

Mission Organization

Chalk it up to the new year, but we’ve been I’ve been on an organizing kick the past few weeks. Closets, drawers, my underwear. Nothing is safe. :)

Plus, who doesn’t like having an excuse to search for cute organization bins? Count me in!

Inexpensive Basket Locations

 

Drinking in some Drywall

Ah, yes. I’d almost wiped the drywall saga from my memory. Two contractors and way more money than I wanted to spend later, we finally had a finished attic. Finished, in your dreams Mary!! We had an attic that had drywall kinda sorta up, that needed a decent amount of elbow grease before it’s day in the sun. Even though the drywall install did not go as planned, it was a pretty exciting moment to finally, FINALLY, have walls up in our attic!

Drywalling Attic

Picking La Paint

After we slaved for a weekend or so and fixed up all the jankiness that we fondly refer to as our drywall, we decided it was high time to paint this joint and make it actually look like a room instead of the bunker it had been for the past 3-months. I don’t know about all of y’all, but I do have to confess that painting has to be my favorite part of the room transformation. On this room in particular, the addition of paint really took it from ugg to on it’s way.

Best Greige Colors

Board and Batten

For $20, this project was without a doubt my favorite home renovation DIY to date. I just can’t get enough of this stuff, it just makes such a difference on the wall that was kinda meh before.

Here’s how everything look post install. Yummerlicous.

Twenty Dollar Board and Batten

Plumb De Dumb

What better way to close out the month of January than with the install of our lovely marble floors in the bathroom. Just like your favorite go-to little black dress, err leggings in my case 😀 I’ve gotta say that this new pattern is going to be in my back pocket for future homes. A bit trickier than a traditional subway tile pattern, but only incrementally. And by George, I’d say the look is leaps and bounds sexier. Am I right, or am I right. 😀

Marble Subway Tile Herringbone Pattern

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