13 August 2013

True Life: My To-Do List Took Steroids

I’m at the point where I think my projects have projects.  When we bought the house, we sat down and created a list, room by room, of things that we wanted to change or add.  Well, I looked over that list last night and added items – just so I could cross them off and feel accomplished. 

This summer has been more about finishing projects that have a greater impact on our house than just décor: like bathroom renovations, replacing windows & blinds, painting trim, adding light fixtures – the kind of not-so-fun-but-completely-necessary items.

Case 1: Downstairs Bathroom

The downstairs bathroom is vital – it’s my brother’s bathroom while he lives with us, and when we entertain (a lot) it’s the guest bathroom…high traffic area.  Having an outdated bathroom – floor to ceiling 80’s – wasn’t only an eyesore, but it wasn’t efficient (in terms of space or fixtures).  We took a weekend to rip out EVERYTHING – click here to recap on some of the “during” pictures.  We lucked out in that there was no water damage and the floor was flat – if you live in an older home, you’ll appreciate that.

We replaced the (double) laminate floor with 6 inch tiles and replaced the existing trim with WHITE trim.  The shower remained, not so much for the toilet, vanity, light and towel racks.  We replaced the over-sized vanity with one that is only 30” wide. It allows for a lot more open space, not as much storage – but it is a guest bathroom.  We went from a construction standard light (just awful) to a 4-light panel.  Lowe’s has a “build your own light” kind of section.  You can choose the fixture, the finish and the shades.  I went with a brushed nickel finish and clear – seeded glass shades.  The toilet is skinnier and taller than what was in there originally and water efficient.  We opted to play off of some of the tan in the tile and went with Valspar, Oatlands Subtle Taupe in satin for the walls.  With a few other minor replacements, it’s done!

Case 2: Windows/Blinds Replacement/Trim

Our windows were original to the house, single-paned and at the end of their life.  We knew this when we moved into our house.  My parent’s as an (AWESOME) wedding present gifted us the new windows and installation.  The difference that the windows have made is huge – not only aesthetically, our power bill is down too.  With the old windows we had quickly installed the $9 mini blinds from Lowe’s to ease the fishbowl effect – the new windows needed something more.  Nick and I really liked the look of wood slat blinds, as well as the privacy that they provide. However, uber expensive – even the faux wood blinds.  Not even kidding, we priced it out at Lowe’s and I basically had a full blown panic attack.  We decided to go home and research the hell out of it.  We stumbled upon Blinds Galore (fantastic site) – and now we’re in love.  They had the same brand that we priced at Lowe’s with the upgrades (route-less so you don’t see sun through the holes) at half the price.  It was 4th of July weekend, so we caught a couple awesome sales – but they were still less expensive on everything.  We ordered 13 blinds; they came in 2 weeks later, with NO ISSUES!  Installation was actually easier than we experienced with the mini blinds…once we got a decent power drill.

I’ll use that picture to recap the trim painting; before the blinds could go in – the trim had to be painted. Away with the dark wood!  While it was very time consuming, the look is worth it.  The only trim that remains unpainted are 2 rooms and around the doors (replacing the doors soon).  Lightens everything up quite a bit!

Case 3: Ceiling Fan

We finally have a ceiling fan in the office! Nick and I finally finished the office ceiling – sanding off the texture, skim coating and repainting.  I’m not embarrassed to show you guys now!  The room lacked a ceiling fan, or light for that matter.  The only way to provide light in that room was to plug a light into a unit that was operated by the wall switch.  While totally doable, for that size of a room – it wasn't enough light.  Nick and my dad installed a ceiling fan/light combo a couple Saturdays ago.  Note: electricity is nothing to play with – if you don’t have a seasoned jack of all trades (thanks dad) to show you how to correctly install things, don’t do it.  We lucked out in that we have an attic space above the office, so installation was fairly quick – after tweaking the wires the fan is now connected to a dual switch.  I can’t WAIT to put one in our bedroom.

Enough playing catch-up for now – smaller DIY projects will be featured in upcoming weeks, stay tuned!  In the meantime, keep us posted on what you have going on!

Xoxo, Kate

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