Tag Archives: house renovations

The Dining Room

8 Oct

One of the things we had the hardest time figuring out at our old house was where to put the formal dining room. For a while we had it smushed in with everything else in the living room, where you couldn’t push the chairs out all the way or you’d bang in to something. Then when we remodeled we turned our master bedroom into a pub room (dining table, piano, dart board, pub table, and TV all in one), and that was kind of awesome, but it turned our three bedroom house into a two bedroom. So when we looked for a new house, we knew we needed a separate dining room.

Voilà! The perfect size room for all our dining needs. And the door on the right leads to the kitchen.

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If you look closely you can see how old the carpet was, and that once it was some kind of shade of pink or maroon. This carpet was so gross that when Walter played on it (despite us telling him to please quit doing that), his skin would turn red. My mom’s dog got an eye infection (she’s a small dog and thus had more contact with the carpet). Walter even christened it once when we were in due diligence with projectile vomiting the day he came down with strep. Luckily though, the carpet hid beautiful hardwoods underneath just waiting for the floor guys to labor over and make perfectly smooth for us.

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This was their dining room, which I planned to use for our regular kitchen table, since we were removing the eat-in area in the actual kitchen.

Ta-da! And talk about vintage wallpaper and light fixture put to good use!

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The whole glorious room. The bigger part had been their second, formal living room.

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We frequently puzzle on this table and love inviting friends and family over for dinner, so it really does need its own space. This blue accent wall was the first thing I painted one night after we bought the house, and when I finished, I was pleased and excited for how the house would turn out (aka however we wanted it to!). Because we always knew we were going to sell our old house, I never felt like I could make it uniquely my own. This little gem, however, I’ve clearly gone to town with my design decisions.

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In a couple weeks we’re going to pick up antique chairs from David’s aunt that date back in his family several generations to put in each of the corners. Let’s just hope the cat doesn’t ruin them right away.

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A Bit Untethered, but Happy and Excited

22 Apr

While living in the gloriously big house that Walter now doesn’t want to leave with my awesome, frequently jet-setting in-laws has been fantastic, it’s not easy for me to not have my home base. When I want to settle down or escape, I don’t really have anywhere to go that is mine, except maybe my car. I was even having difficulties living in the small room with our cat, who I am allergic to — long story –, until my brilliant husband suggested I take a Claritin, which thankfully worked. So at least I have that space too again.

The good news is, the finish line is within sight. We sold our house! It went under contract the first day of showings, and the buyers were great. I’m jealous of our old neighbors.

We also bought a house! I feel ridiculously lucky to have found the house we did. It’s a 1965 ranch-style that has previously had one owner, sitting on half an acre of gorgeous landscape.

IMG_20160414_171304306_HDRDay of closing: happiness.

It was very well-maintained, but dated. But that’s the best part! We get to do what we want with the space! No one else has done some costly, generic updating. Mostly it is painting the walls, changing light fixtures, and refinishing floors, but we also get to redo the kitchen from scratch!

IMG_20160418_162936242_HDRYep, that’s our kitchen. Walter thought it left the house on its own.

I already feel like it is my house, even more so than our old house, not just because I’m on the deed of this one, but because I picked it out knowing that I want to live here for the next 30+ years. We have only three weeks until the movers bring our stuff, but oh what needs to be done before then!

IMG_20160422_094949Our wonderful helper!

 

IMG_20160418_205801862_HDRWallpaper was clearly invented by the devil.

IMG_20160421_170823349I needed to paint by myself, and when I was ready to go, I found him like this!

It’ll be more than great to be home again, which is why we’re working round the clock to get things done. We have been blessed by the help of Dave’s dad, who has spent several days doing electrical work at our house and puts Walt to bed so we can go work in the evenings, and my mom who has kept Walt while we get stuff done. I worry about him. In the end it’ll have been a 3 month move, and moves are not easy. Sometimes he isn’t really clear about what’s going on, but he’s a trooper. I’m real proud of him.

31 is the new 24

29 Jul

This was the best birthday I’ve had in years, maybe since I turned 24.

Last weekend we went down the Cartecay River in Ellijay for the 11th year in a row. It was beautiful but crowded. I couldn’t believe how crowded! We had to park in the second lot, and we were always surrounded by other tubers and kayakers.

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But it was still my beautiful river with my beautiful friends! We had two newbies this year. I love introducing people to the Cartecay.

This Saturday we got the house “finished” about 5 minutes before the first guest showed up for dinner and darts. Dave made me a beautiful dart cabinet as my birthday present, which is so very exciting because we haven’t played darts since our wedding. The older we get, the more unpleasant it is to spend an evening at a smokey bar (imagine that), and since Walter arrived, forget about it. We don’t use date nights for late nights in bars anymore.

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Dave and I literally met at a dartboard, and it feels so good to get back in to the game again with him. He did such an amazing job on the cabinet and cooked coq au vin for me and several friends. What a night we had!

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I’ve been so nervous playing in the house. We made sure to get vinyl tile for the new flooring to remove the horror of ruining freshly done hardwoods. But about 24 hours after the dart board went up, I got my first wall shot. It left a pretty big hole, but afterward I rearranged the bricks so that they’d cover more height. Who knew toddler toys could be so useful!

My actual birthday — pre-party — was spent in a mad rush to get chores done. It wasn’t an unpleasant day, although it certainly was different than your normal rowdy 20s’ birthdays.

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My son happily emptied the dryer for me for the first time!

All day Walt talked about birthdays and would counter my “Honey, it’s actually my birthday” with “No, it’s my birthday,” which was fun. But he was his sweet self as usual and eventually wished me a Happy Birthday. We used the day to talk about lineage and what birthdays really mean and that we get to celebrate his in only a few short weeks.

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This kid makes my heart soar. I had to go in there to remove the book after he fell asleep. Of course I snapped a quick picture first.

Sunday we had dinner with all the grandparents, but only after celebrating sweet Fin’s baptism. Walter helped me pick up the boxes of coffee on our way to the party. We splurged and got a cookie to eat while we waited.

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People gave me lots of wonderful presents this year, and many of them were books! My friends and family must know me really well. One was an activity book to use with Walter: 20 artistic renditions of the paper airplane.

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We made the easiest one first: a paper ball.

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Walter crumpled it up then immediately wanted to open it again.

I think that because I had no real expectations for this birthday, it blew me away. Thanks again, Life, for throwing all these good experiences my way. Now, back to the dart board for more practice.

Jolly July

22 Jul

Because of the stair refinishing at our house, we’ve been at my in-laws for a week. It is kind of like a vacation because they have a very nice house with a pool. We’ve never stayed this long with them before, as we live in the same city, so it was a treat to be with family for an extended period of time. And the house was full! Walt’s great-granny and cousin were also with us for most of the time.

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Amazing woman.

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They love their Mimi!

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Lego peace treaty negotiations.

All of a sudden, everyone left. Granny and the cousin went back home, and Walt’s grandparents went up to their annual airshow in Oshkosh (Mimi is a pilot). But we haven’t been too sad. Last night Dave got home early so we all went swimming in the spa, which brought back my early memories of learning to swim in my parents’ spa in California when I was three. The night before, as the sun was setting and a summer storm was brewing in the distance, we played catch with the dog amid fireflies. And luckily they get their yard sprayed so there were no mosquitoes to contend with. Both were beautiful moments in time. And the boys have been playing the piano every night, which I love. I am becoming more aware that Walter’s first memories could happen any day now, and I want them to be good!

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He told us he wanted to sing the song by himself. I love his independence.

Kitchen Cabinet Remodel

19 Nov

A few weeks ago we went through a week-long kitchen renovation. I don’t know how people stay in their houses for remodels that take six weeks or more! However, I am now in love with my kitchen. I have always appreciated the cabinet and counter space, but now, it looks fantastic as well and feels great to be in.

This is what it used to look like:

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A year ago we rearranged and moved the large dining room table into our gigantic living space. Then this year we painted the walls blue, and I painted the new kitchen table black. And then, much to David’s chagrin, I couldn’t handle the “orange” cabinets any more. So, this happened:

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Even with everything taped off, a dusting of white oil paint got everywhere and on everything. I guess we’ll have memories of this project for years to come.

The beautiful new kitchen!:

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Not only did we get this amazing kitchen, but we got to relax at the in-laws house and have them cook dinner for us for two days while our house was a disaster.

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It feels so big in there now, and the countertops and backsplash pop (and match!)… I love it! I got David to install a new Pottery Barn light fixture over the table that really brings the room together, and I made curtains for the window to add a splash of color. It’s my favorite room of the house to be in now!

Juxtaposition

20 Oct

Saturday we went for a hike in Montreat, NC. It looked like this and I was happy:

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Monday is absolutely back to the grind. I’ve been working at the computer all morning, and Jose is giving our kitchen a facelift.

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Not nearly as relaxing a view, but I do appreciate the Dexter-esque kill room look.

DIY pantry remodel

7 Jun

I was talking to my friend about our pantry renovation, and her response was, “You know you’ve made it in the world when you’re redoing your pantry”. Made me wonder if I should be spending that money on travel instead! But I didn’t. And now my pantry makes me feel like a queen when I do laundry (which is a lot).

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Even Walter knows that linoleum isn’t classy.

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So our handyman Bruce cut and laid the tile (after putting in backer board), and we grouted it. Next time we might try our hand at the tile saw too. Though that sounds like I want to cut my hands off with a tile saw.

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I have always hated these wire shelves. They are cheap and everything falls over on them.

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So we ripped them out.

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And David cut lots of boards. We used 1x2s to frame the MDF shelves (3/4″ thick), and 1x3s behind the L-brackets for extra support.

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Here I am getting cozy driving home with some trim. Which we didn’t use because 1x2s ended up looking better.

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It only took a day to frame and install the shelves.

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MDF soaks up primer. I had to use two coats of Zinsser. I should have primed them before we put them up.

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Beautiful painted shelves! Almost done! Now just to poly the shelves and paint the rest of the pantry!

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Meanwhile the kitchen has looked like this all week.

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But when your pantry looks this glorious, it doesn’t matter.

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When we sell the house, I think I will miss the pantry the most.

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We were working so hard for so long that when we finally finished I just wanted to sit in front of the TV with a glass of wine. The power went out all night instead. But this was a cool sight to see during the storm.