Sunday, July 29, 2012


Today we clear everything out of our house for tomorrow's final walkthrough with our buyer, which will occur while I'm at work.  It's bittersweet to say the least.  We have loved our house and learned a lot (A LOT) through renovating it. But August is the perfect time to move because one-room living is getting old. CENTRAL AIR! GARAGE! BASEMENT! BEING FREAKIN DONE WITH MOVING!! Can you tell I'm ready?

So there are a few things that we will need to do before the contractors come in and do their woodworking magic.  The first thing we will need to purchase and install is a tile wall in the downstairs powder room. We thought we'd actually like to copy the tile from the vanity inspiration picture, as I am in love with the modern look that is definitely different but lets the vanity be the star. I even loved the color (which we can't really decide if it's navy or grey).

So the search was on. At first I thought that it was NOT glass tile and was searching for ceramic or other material. I found nothing. So then I opened up my search to frosted glass.  The first similar thing that we came across was on Home Depot's site. The colors looked similar, but the size was odd: 4 in. x 12 in. But it could work? And could possibly look cool?

The we found the same tiles in subway size. Not exactly what I pictured but pretty close. It seems like it would be tough to get those vertical straight lines perfectly straight, as I'd still like them in a grid as opposed to staggered like bricks (I love subway tile staggered like bricks but it's just not what I want to do on that wall). Also the color seems different, though they are supposed to be the same material. 

Then I found this one. If you look carefully you can see the variety of depths of the tiles. I liked it, but Brad thought it was too light, I thought it was too glossy, and we both thought it was a bit too busy to really let the vanity be the center of attention.  Though I do think with the right grout it would be beautiful and more subtle.  Next!

Next I found the exact design I was looking for (4x1 tiles, all lined up like little soldiers, on a 12x12 sheet, almost foolproof!), only the tiles are brown (possibly tolerable) but the finish is GLOSSY. Polished glass. Really not what I wanted. You can see the glossiness a little bit in the bottom right corner.

Next I found another color of the same tiles in (what seems to be) a cooler color. (I am on a serious 'cool color" kick right now, anything with a hint of redness to it can take a walk.  Brad wanted to kill me while picking out the hardwood floors, I swore everything was red. I digress.) The very questionable thing about this tile is that the color is listed as Natural White. White? Also, it is glossy. Moving on. 
Next, I found matte! cool! 1x4 tiles on a 12x12 sheet! This looked like the one, and I was very excited. It's definitely a little lighter, but I think with some dark grout it will temper the "HI, I'M BLUE!"-ness. I love it, so of course Brad thinks it's too light.

So we started searching on other sites (the ones above were all Home Depot). I found this one that does not have a price on the website.  I'm a little scared of that. But I love the texture! They come staggered on a sheet, but I think the shape of the tile makes them modern enough. Again, I was in love. Scared to find out the price, but in love. 

Then Brad came across this bad boy.  It's totally not what we were looking for, seeing as how it is staggered, multicolored, natural stone and has warm tones (which Brad thinks will compliment the browns in the vanity top). I just can't help but be in love with it. Plus it's on sale on and wouldn't even cost much more than the Home Depot  tiles.  I'm a sucker for natural stone (and other "rustic" textures in a modern design).  My head says no, but my heart says "heeeey". 

So that's where we are. We haven't purchased anything yet, as I keep telling Brad we need to make sure all goes well at settlement before buying stuff because I'm sure that the universe will be watching me purchase this tile and then kablammo! It will all go to shit. Cause that's logical. 

Let me know which one/ones you like! Should I stick with (copying?!) the original inspiration picture (because I love it and kiss it goodnight before I go to bed and I'll be disappointed that I didn't take my opportunity to get it) or should I go with my gut and get the natural stone?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I see a blue door and I want it painted black...

Things are moving along!  Since we don't actually live there yet (we just do creepy stalker drive bys every day) there isn't too much we can really do, so I'm obsessing on what the front looks like.  It's a fairly standard colonial and is pretty nondescript, but I do like that there is no vinyl siding showing (and also that the garage doors are side-facing) but the colors on the house bring me right back to.. you guessed it.. 1987. In person the blue is not quite as light, and the brick is actually a fairly dark shade (both of which make it look a little better than this picture depicts). However, I think that some paint could bring us into the present. 

How it looks today:

After my mad photoshopping skillz - How I envision it looking with the shutters and front door painted black:

Classier? Definitely less 80s. Brad told me he doesn't like how I made the area around the lanterns dark, so that part of the plan is probably out, and we've also discussed a brightly colored front door.  The house directly across the street has black shutters and a red door, so we probably won't do that. But I've been spying on houses with colored front doors and pinning like crazy, so I'll bring some options when we are ready to tackle this project! If only painting in real life was as easy as painting on the computer.

I'd also like to change out the lanterns that flank the front door.  Up close they look something like this:

I could paint them (I've been itching to get my hands on some Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint and see how they transform) but I did see a few more modern lanterns while checking out our local parade of homes. I haven't done much research but liked these two in person:

On the homefront, Brad and I hated all the crappy chores we had to do today (getting rid of our broken treadmill, old rugs, packing clothes and moving boxes into our friends basement) and complained about our respective backaches and how we each did more that the other person.  I bitch, but I know in the grand scheme that these are annoyances and not problems and it will be so worth it someday.  Shout out to Pat and my sister for all their help so far!

We got the quote from the contractor for our first floor projects (taking out the wall between the living room and family room, bathroom vanity, kitchen countertops and hardwood floors).  It wasn't outrageous (truly, truly, truly outrageous) but some parts were more than we expected (like removing an entire load bearing wall on the first floor).  We still think it's feasible though, so all plans are go!  We also picked a tile to go behind the wood vanity in the bathroom, and while it isn't what I thought I would get I LOVE it. I'll let you in on all of our tile dilemmas soon.  Are you on the edge of your seat?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

10 days!

Ten days until we move into our new abode. Our POD was dropped off to be filled and packing is in full swing and totally sucks. We've moved the largest pieces of furniture (with the exception of our bed) into the pod, so we are going to spend the next 10 days without any couches, chairs or tables. Brilliant. Brad and I are planning some "Hate Nights" (as opposed to Date Nights) to pack this week. We are realistic about our ability to have fun together while doing incredibly unpleasant tasks. We are both working all week and have parties to go to both tonight and next Saturday (we are also realistic about keeping our sanity and not passing up opportunities to binge drink with our friends). So the place looks like this:

It used to look like this:

So that's home life.  Moment of silence for the tropical plant in the back corner. That one lived for 5 months, my personal best.

We are still waiting on our proposal from the contractor we met with to do our initial renovations on the first floor of the house. I'll list them all out here but will eventually break them all down into their own posts:
  • Take down the wall between the living room and family room, making one huge living space that is connected to the dining area and kitchen. This was the top of my want list when looking at homes. I hate how my kitchen was so separated from the living space. We will likely need to add a support beam across the middle of the expanse because all signs point to loadbearing wall. This (way freaking fancier house than ours) has the type of rustic beam support we are looking for.  It will need to be steel and wrapped to look like a solid wood beam for code purposes. 

Our floor plan (so you can see the totally closed off living room that sucks):

  • Remove the half wall and "prison bars" between the dining area and family room. Beautiful, eh?

  • Remove the variety of tiles, laminates and mismatched carpets throughout the whole first floor and replace it with the wide plank, reclaimed hardwood floors of our dreams (those are my moms feet. gross!)! The floors came out of wood from a bar in Philly and are even more beautiful in person.

  • Gut the powder room and replace the (blue!) toilet and (blue!) floors and (blue!) vanity and (blue!) sink. I am totally in love with this vanity top and I really really hope the price here is not out of control.  I'm currently searching for these tiles, but not having much luck. I showed it to my aunt and she totally copied me and is doing the same thing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

  •  Kitchen counters covered in a concrete decoupage, with extra trim added to make them look as if they are very thick. 
There are also a bunch of things that we will be planning on doing ourselves, or that just need to be purchased and installed:

  • New appliances: fridge (had to be pretty small due to the size of the hole, we literally had ONE choice if I wanted water on the front - womp,womp), stove (slide-in on the island, I'm not sure if I'll like this or not! Sad that it's electric but it's actually all I've ever known. It has a glass top.) and washer and dryer (we got a front loading Electrolux set and I'm really hoping it will be worth the extra cash. My sister told me front loaders can hold lots more clothes since you can pack them very full, I hope she's right. I SUCK at laundry and usually have a huge pile in my room that I call Mount Laundry, so hopefully these babies will help me with my problem. That plus I won't have to go into the nasty cellar to do wash.) We're keeping the old black dishwasher for now, and hoping we can replace the front panel with that fake stainless steel (wishful thinking) or replace it sometime in the near future. It just wasn't in the budget until we get $ from settlement on our place. 
  • New granite counter on the island. We are hoping the concrete decoupage is more affordable, since the technique we are looking into actually puts a skim coat of concrete right over your laminate. I may be totally wrong here, but my thought is that if they don't need to template anything, cut anything, fit anything, transport a huge slab, etc... that has to cost less? We will see! Anyhow, we are thinking of splurging on a show stopper granite for the island - something exotic that will really be the focal point of the kitchen.  I'll give ya the rundown of our options in a future post.
  • Painting the cabinets. This one is a little sticky, as Brad likes the cabinets and I hate them. They are in very good condition, fully custom, solid hardwood cherry wood cabinets. I don't care for cherry. I almost wish they were Oak so Brad would hate them, too. I would like to do the bottom cabinets in a soft grey, and the top white. I am going to hate that job, I know. I recently took a class on using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and loved it, so I'm thinking of using that on the cabinets. We will see how that pans out.  This inspiration pic is obviously way fancier than our kitchen, and all grey instead of my half/half plan, but this is the color I'd like, I think:

So that's where we are. Hopeful that the estimate for the work isn't over the top expensive and we can do most of the first floor right away. If it is really expensive, we will just have to break it down and do it as we can save money and afford it. It's not ideal (moving from a fully remodeled house back into 1987 hurts a little, after working so hard on this place) but it's a move onward and upward and you can't even wait until I show you stuff outside. It's killer.

All pictures that were not taken by me can be sourced from my pinterest page. Click here and then click on the pic you want to find out where it came from!

Monday, July 16, 2012

...they don't want you back.

Brad and I are moving! I've decided to start this blog to try to document our remodeling journey, partly because I regret not having a good record of all the work we did on our last house and partly because I'm hoping it will give me a bit of motivation for the projects we are facing.

Our new house. Lots of potential and lots of... peach.  The house is just what we wanted - a single home, with a garage, finished basement and a yard with lots of privacy in a great school district, without a ridiculously high price. The property is really what sold us, a lush acre with a stream, tons of plants, koi pond, fenced garden with raised beds and a grove of fruit trees. It is seriously lovely.  And as a bonus we got flowered wallpaper, borders (sometimes multiple wallpapers in the same room!), baby blue tiles, pink toilets, blue toilets, magenta carpets, wood paneling - you get it.  It is a time capsule straight back to 1987. It even smells like 1987 (that I'm just making up, I was 3).  It's a good move and we are thrilled and feel very lucky. But some parts of our new house are hilariously.. horrifying?

Our new master bedroom:

The dining room:

The (cue the horror movie screams) master bathroom:

But there is also this:

And this:

And this:

So we are thrilled, and have some big plans for this place. Stay tuned.