Monday, February 3, 2014

Another Mini-Reno

Let's hope that what you are seeing here is a trend! It is starting to feel like we are back on the home-improvement wagon and I am liking it!  I think that the house was in such bad shape when we bought it that putting up a few coats of paint felt like it was a huge improvement.  Well, now we are back to work and are going through the house room by room in, what I am going to call Phase 2, of our home improvement projects (I am thinking that there are 4 Phases in all).

So, here we have tackled that 1/2 bath.  To give you an idea of what the bathroom used to look like, I have included this picture:

In all honesty, when we moved in, all we did was paint this bathroom and replace the incandescent light bulbs with some prettier globe bulbs.  Not a huge improvement over all.  This is the bathroom that our kids use to brush their teeth and stuff but it is also the bathroom that any of our guests would use.  Something that I always got a little embarrassed about.

Well, not any more!  Check it out!!!!!!!

I am so thankful to The Husband for rolling up his sleeves and getting dirty with this one.  I did not help with this project at all, unless you count keeping this kids out of his way.  As this kids get older, they also start to accumulate more activities which means that our weekends are not as available as they used to be.  So, this past weekend - I took the kids to The Oldest's lacrosse practice and when we came home our bathroom was a totally different space!

Here are two more pictures for you, just incase you wanted to see what the rest of the bathroom looks like.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

We Bought New Couches!

After three years of living with a couch that belonged in a home with much bigger rooms (see my previous post) we decided it was about time to go out and get some new couches. And here they are in all their glory"


Of course, one cannot just go out and buy new couches.  One must also by new tables, new lamps, new curtains, and new rugs.

We are not totally finished yet.  I am not a huge fan of the pillows that came with the couches so I would like to get different ones.  We also need to take some time out to find some more decor items and plants.  But, for now, we are very happy with it.

If you like before and after pictures (I do) here are some for you.

Some day, I hope to develop my photography skills a little bit more so that you all can ohh and ahh over the beautiful pictures of my home but - for now, I am going to give you "non staged" pictures that I shot with my beat-up little Nikon CoolPix!

Oh, and if any of you were looking at the pictures thinking to yourselves "their TV looks smaller".  The reason is, because it is.  The TV we are watching now is actually the TV from our bedroom.  A word to the wise - never buy your kid a bow and arrow and then let her shoot it in the house.

Couches - Elder Beerman
Sofa, Coffee and Media Tables - Value City Furniture
Table Lamp - Home Depot
Floor Lamp - JC Penny
Rug - Lowe's
Stacked Suitcases - Pottery Barn

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An Empty Room

For those who know us personally, you also know that we own the biggest and the brownest (is that a word?) couch known to man.  It our old home, we had a great room that spanned from the front of the house to the back of the house and this couch was perfect.  It was also perfect for Super Bowl parties where everyone was guaranteed to have a comfortable spot to watch the game.

Here is a picture of big brown in all it's glory

Fast forward a couple of years and we end up moving to a historical home where there are no great rooms and everything is kind of broken up and chunky. A feature that we actually love but did not work out well for our big brown couch.

We actually ended up living with the big couch for a while mainly because we have little kids and we didn't want to buy new furniture just to have them end up ruining it.  However, we could not live with it any more and decided that we needed to go ahead and do some redecorating.

After the holidays, The Husband and I went on quite a "living room furniture" shopping spree and are so excited about our purchases.   We ended up buying two couches to replace the large sectional as well as some accent furniture.  We were told that the couches would not be in for two weeks but there was the possibility they would come in earlier.

In a panic that we would be stuck with our new couches and big-brown, I took the leap and listed big-brown on Craig's list.  Fast forward three days and this is what our living room looks like...

Anybody want to come over and watch some play-off games?

Monday, January 13, 2014


I would like to give a shout-out to my husband who was just nominated to our town's Architectural Review Board!  Now, I know that to some of you it may not sound like that much fun, and really, I don't think it is going to be. 

When we moved into our house, we received a binder with over 100 pages of rules and regulations we would need to take into consideration when making any changes or improvements to our house.  However, when you drive down our street you will notice that these rules have not always been listened to or enforced.  Fast forward a few months and our neighbors have decided they would like to put on an addition.  Well, after hearing horror stories about what our neighbors had to go through to be able to put on an addition we decided that one of us should apply to be on the A.R.B.  We have a lot of improvements that we want to do to our home and most of them are compliant with the 100+ page binder that we received, but some of them are not.

For example, we have a very old and very rotted out-house in our back yard.  Now, some may see an out house as something kind of cool to have in your back yard but....because it is in such bad shape (and I cannot justify restoring an outhouse) we would like to take it down.  Rumor has it, the A.R.B would like us to keep it up.  Enter The Husband:)

Tonight is his first meeting and they are voting on signage for the businesses and landscaping regulations.  Two things our street really needs.  So, fingers crossed that the A.R.B continues to improve Main Street one meeting at a time AND that we will be able to tear down our outhouse!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Bats are Gone!

I know it seems like we have been trying to get rid of these bats forever but, really, I just haven't posted about them in a while and we got rid of them about a month ago.  I have to say that I feel much better now knowing that they are gone.

There are two things that I learned in this process.

1) After hearing stories from our Animal Control experts about some of the jobs they have done, I do not feel so grossed out by our 30-40 bats.  One house they worked in had over 300 bats in the attic and the bat droppings were knee deep.

2)  Bats are crafty little critters and are not so easy to get rid of.  We had to have the Animal Control experts out three different times because the bats found new ways to get in and out of our attic.

Speaking of Animal Control experts - while I am glad we decided not to DIY this project, I feel like our "experts" may have oversold the services they provide.  Don't get me wrong, we are very happy with the service but are just not sure that their website should advertise using the most advance technology available.

You see, to seal up our home they used a bit of caulk.  White caulk at that and if any of you have seem the outside of our home, you know that all of our trim work is brown.  They also used a piece of chicken wire and some tape to create the exit for the bats.  And when it came time to clean up the toxic bat dropping from our attic.......they used a broom and a dust pan.  Not to be overshadowed by the reusable spray bottle filled with a bleach solution to kill the fungus spores.  Yes, my friends, THAT is the most advance technology available in bat removal.

But, then again, I should not complain because I did not have to do it:)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's Been a Long Time

It's been a long time since Matt and I put the kids to bed and spent the evening working on the house, but that is exactly what we did this past week.

As I told you earlier, most professionals did not seem willing to help us with our flooring issues and while the plan is to totally replace our floors our budget doesn't exactly allow for that.  So, for now we are going to just put a band aid on in in the form of a little bit of stain and a little bit of poly.

Our dining room area is the worst of them all but it is also the pathway of our entire house (hence it has taken the hardest beating).  Our Entry door goes into the dining room, the entrance to your basement is in our dining room.  To get from into the living room from the upstairs, one must first pass through the dining room and you have to walk through the dining room to get to the kitchen.

Since we don't plan to move out of our house for a week to get this accomplished we have broken the project into three sections.  This past week we decided to do the area under our dining room table.

Step One:  Clean the Floor
 Step Two:  Take a chisel and scrape all of the paint that has dripped/splattered (from the previous owners NOT us) onto the floor.  This proved to be quite a tedious task and also created a bit of a mess so we soon decided that since this area would be under the rug that our dining room table sits on, maybe we didn't need to get ALL of the paint drips off the floor.
 Step Three:  Fill in all the scuff and scrape marks with the stain.  This also proved to be a tedious job.  Because the stain was not going to soak into the already finished floor, I took on the task of using a foam brush to dab stain on all the the scratched parts where the finish had come up to expose bare wood.  After letting the stain soak in, I had to use an old T-shirt to wipe up ALL of the excess stain or it would just have become a sticky mess on our floor.
 Step Four:  Protect all of our hard work.  Right before bed, Matt brushed on a coat of poly in hopes of preventing any future scrapes, scratches and bumps.  Being the good sport he is, he also got up at 5am the next morning to put on a second coat.
We are pretty happy with the end result but we still have to do this two more times.  The key is to space it out so that we will always have access to the areas that we need to get to.  The other key is to make sure that we get it accomplished in time that our dog and our toddler can walk on it and not complete damage all of our hard work.  In a house as busy as ours, it is very difficult to keep everyone from walking on the floors.
On a side note - Siberian Husky during prime shedding season and a coat of wet poly on a wood floor, not always a good match:)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Not All Wishes Come True

Okay, so there is a pretty good chance that Peyton's birthday wished did not include getting our floors refinished but mine did.  Sadly, that wish is not going to come true.  After having four different people out to for estimates, they all said that there was no way they were going to refinish our floors.  Now, we knew they were in bad shape and, believe me, we knew they were not going to look perfect in the end but - here are the facts.

1)  They are made of super-soft Pine and will get scratched too easily
2) They have already been refinished a couple of times and since we do not have a subfloor under the floors sanding them down again could cause some structural problems (falling through to the basement while trying to walk into the kitchen anyone?)
3)  The floors have warped/cupped so to sand them all the way to get all the finish off would make the boards too thin (see #2).
4)  The house is 175 years old.

So, now we need to decide what the plan of action is going to be.  One of the guys who came out said that he would just lay down new hardwood on top of the existing and another guy said it all had to come up and a new subfloor needs to go down.

For now, we are going to go out and buy some really dark stain to fill in all the scratches we have and put some poly over it - just to make things a little more presentable.  But, when the time comes it sounds like we truly will be taking each room down to the studs.  Goodbye walls, goodbye ceilings and now goodbye floors.

Although it is going to take a bit more time and cost a bit more money, I think this is a good thing.  It will allow us to use the new subfloor to get the downstairs floor a little more even plus, we can now use the same flooring downstairs as well as upstairs (an area where we already knew we were going to have to replace the floors) as well as the floors in our potential/some day addition and we can have hardwood in our kitchen which is some weird combination of vinyl on top of plywood on top of original flooring on top of God knows what else.  I like the idea that we will have the same flooring throughout the house.

Now it is just onto finding the flooring we want.  Of course, I want wide planked Hickory and it doesn't get any more expensive than wide planked Hickory but I like the idea of our floors looking like they could look original to the home.  Maybe Maple?  Definitely NOT Oak!  I don't know, I guess only time (and our budget) will tell.