Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mudroom Storage

K felt like taking on a "smaller" project in the house.  Now that it's winter, we're using our mudroom a lot more for all our big coats and boots, for K's warm work clothes.  And we've thought a lot more about what we'd like to have in there for storage-- coat hooks, hanging rod, shoe storage, and cupboard space.

There has always been a lot of storage in this mudroom.  There are a few big, very deep cabinets, two skinny cabinets that hold only smaller things, and two nice-sized drawers.  There's a hanging rod with some open shelves above.  K made a matching Formica countertop for this area, too.

It has worked pretty well for us, but we would like to have more storage for shoes, some bins for each of us, and ideally a place to sit when we're putting on shoes/set our bags/set the kiddo down while we get coats on, etc.

After discussing all that, K worked out a plan to use this whole wall for storage, and still be able to use some parts of the other walls for storage, too.  There should be enough space to do it all.

For now, she pulled out the cabinets and she'll soon begin installing the new storage.  We have cabinet materials that match the kitchen, and we do have enough chrome pulls left to put in this room, too.

Hello again, green linoleum!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Homeversary & Bringing Baby Home

It's been a busy month, with a flurry of activity trying to get our house ready for baby, along with the end of my pregnancy.  It came down to the wire, but we were as prepared as we could be.

On June 8th, we brought home our baby.  We had a little boy!  I realized later, too, that the day we brought our son home was the 3rd anniversary of us owning our house!  What an amazing day.

The house looks just the same, if not slightly less kept-up on the outside, but there are big changes inside!  It's been an amazing transformation in there, and it's a nice place to bring our baby.  <3

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kitchen Tile

With the busy Formica countertops we chose, we thought we'd want to stick with white tile for the backsplashes in our kitchen.  We considered traditional subway tile, or other shapes, like a Moroccan-style.  And we decided on a long rectangle tile -- a 2" x 10" installed stacked, with light gray grout.

Light gray grout is visible on the right side

The "breakfast nook"

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting So Close in the Kitchen

The kitchen is coming along!  The doors are on all the cabinets, along with all the hardware.  I love how the chrome pulls look with everything. Now we need to make decisions on paint and tile, and we think we know what we want to do.

For the paint, I had always been thinking of green.  Especially once I saw the old paint color-- I really wanted to replicate that color.

But now that we have the appliances and counters installed, K had me look at a blue paint that she had leftover from a project.  And this blue paint looks really nice with all of it.  I've also compared this blue paint and green paint chips to the dishes we'll be using, and I think the blue will be the better way to go.

I've been collecting Fire King Jadeite dishes for years.  I have a lot of bowls and platters that I love, which were packed away during the years that we were renting.  I have a few pieces of their Azurite, too. Once the kitchen is done, I will get those all out of storage and use them again. 

And a few years ago, I bought a huge lot of the dishware I've always wanted-- the Blue Heaven pattern from Royal China.  The blue paint will look so good with this pattern. 

Jadeite, Azurite, and Blue Heaven

There's a bit of the color we're considering on the right side of the sink in this photo

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Organizing & Purging

Came home from work today and found that K and her bro had done SO much in our house to clean and organize it.  It feels amazing in here.

First off, the baby's room is cleared out and ready to set up for the little one.  Just about as soon as K had the trim up and the room finished, we started putting tools and supplies in that room-- just to keep them nearby.  Stuff that had been in the living room, until we got that couch and got going on finishing the living room.

Now, the baby's room is clean and ready to go.  Our spare bed is set up in there-- that's where family who visits will sleep while we have the babe in our room for the first couple months.  And my old Ikea bookshelves are in there, too-- I'll get some bins and see if they will be useful in there.  If not, we'll move them out to the alley and post a curb alert.

We had a ginormous sisal rug that took up almost our whole living room-- which was helpful when we used that rug to cover up the ram board on the floor.  We want a rug for the living room, but haven't decided on what to get, and it's low-priority right now.  So she cut that big sisal rug to a more useful size and put that in our living room, under the couch.  It looks pretty good.

Lastly, our beloved air hockey table is gone.  It's bittersweet, really.  We acquired the table from some friends when we rented from them, and we have moved it 2 times.  And it is a BIG MF-ing table!!

It took up a lot of room in our basement-- pretty much made us configure the furniture down there in a certain way.  Yeah, it was a blast to play at parties-- it was definitely a popular item in our house!  But K and I almost never played it, otherwise.  Eventually, it became more appealing to take back the space and let go of the table...

So when I pulled into the alley today, some guys were loading the table top into a van.  I totally hollered at them, "Yeah!  That's awesome that you're taking that!"  Turned out K had not posted any sort of ad online-- the guys had just been driving by and saw it.  She had it out there with all the pieces nicely piled, with the pucks and the handle thingies all ready to go.  Glad it's found another good home.

The awesome table at the rental where we got it...  Before we moved it 2 times...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Living Room is Almost Done!

The living room is just about complete.  The only thing remaining is trim-- just a few more baseboards and the trim around the windows.  It's so nice having a functioning living room... with a couch and a tv, and bookshelves.... 

A bit of history...

The only photo of the living room on the MLS listing (it looked like this when we first viewed the house):
At least 2 huge couches in here, lots of tapestries pinned on the ceiling.

The photo we took during our final walk-through, on the day we bought the house:

Blank slate - popcorn ceiling, vertical blind, floors and walls that needed love

In between, it was mostly a storage room.  For years, just boxes and bins and stuff waiting to move into other rooms. 

And now....!!

Just needs the trim on the windows!

And the wall of shelves:

The shelves are pretty bare right now.  I gotta get some more BOOKS on there soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Running Water in the Kitchen!

K got our faucet and our dishwasher running today!  It's going to be so nice to have a working sink on the first floor again, and not have to always go down to the basement to get water.  And we can probably start using the dishwasher, instead of washing our dishes in the utility sink, too.  What a luxury!

Our faucet is the touch-on kind, which is really cool.  And we have a disposal, too.  I don't think we've ever had one of those in any of the places we've lived.  There's a cute little chrome button on the counter to turn on the disposal.

The overall view is just so nice when we come into the room.  And it's just going to get better--  Tile, paint, trim, and light fixtures to follow.  And installing the chrome pulls on the cabinets.

We're almost there!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Countertop Progress

Huge progress on the countertops on a gorgeous day.  K had gotten a great start on them in the past week or two, but got SO much done today.  Got the edging onto the island countertop, and got the sink and faucet installed into their piece.

The edging looks so great with the chrome cabinet pulls!  Can't wait to see these on the cupboard doors.

The countertops were light enough that I was able to help her carry the sink piece and the island piece into the kitchen before I ran off to work.  So I was able to see them in place and they looked fantastic!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Kitchen Mudding

K's least favorite job is mudding.  But she needed to get it done so we could keep progressing on the kitchen.  Cutie worked on it all day and made tons of progress.  Visually, it made a huge difference to see all the seams gone, and have everything be one color.  Even though there's more to go, it just feels like things are coming along.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Living Room Shelves

K and I got a little sidetracked from our kitchen project...  We needed a little break, so we worked on something cool in our living room. 

I have had a couple Ikea Billy bookshelves forever, and was excited to get those into our living room and get my BOOKS onto the shelves, finally!   But K was reluctant, and couldn't figure right away why she didn't want the shelves and books in the living room.

She came up with the solution a couple days ago-- she would make built-in shelves for the living room.  What bothered her about my bookcases is how they just floated in the room and weren't connected to anything.  She didn't want shelves to be pieces of furniture in the room, she wanted shelves that were a part of the room.  She looked up mid-century shelves and was inspired by the wall units she saw.  Stuff like this:

Image via Google Images

She showed me a plan on Google Sketch-Up, to put shelves on the biggest wall in our living room, using galvanized pipe and wood shelves.  We played around with the measurements and placement of the shelves-- we both agreed it would be cooler if the shelves weren't exactly symmetrical.  And she fit the TV into the unit-- with the idea that we'd move her basement TV to the living room and she'd get a larger TV for the basement.

Planning, measuring, and counting the units of galvanized pipe and pipe fittings, then a couple trips to the Home Depot and we had everything we needed.

The first piece

Babes putting up the 2nd column

We made some mistakes-- it's not the easiest project we've done, that's for sure.  But we figured it all out eventually.  And K found that some oak boards she'd been storing for about 4 years were going to be the perfect amount for making our shelves.  Which was great-- less to buy, and they'd already been salvaged from another project. 

The shelves still need to be stained, but we've made a lot of progress.  We love that we can still see the wall and the coves!

Trying out some stuff on the shelves

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"New" Patio Door Install

Patio door install under way...

It's fine that K never got around to finishing off the inside of the walls around the door, since she'd just have to open it back up now.

Since this "new" door is a bit smaller than our older free door, we'll get a little bit of our walls back.  Not a huge deal, but it will give us a little more room to place the island.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Local Shop Day - Metal Edging and Building Materials Outlet

Today, K and I set out to Loretto, MN, a ways past Maple Grove, to get the metal edging for our countertops.  I had only a vague idea of where we were, having never been out there before.  But we found Eagle Mouldings with no problems, and they were lovely and helpful people.  We found the edging we wanted very quickly.  They make Retro Aluminum edgings that you can use on countertops or tables or whatever.  They were inexpensive, and since we drove out there, we didn't have to pay for shipping.

Photo from Eagle Moulding's website -- Coincidence that we're using this same Formica and that we picked this same edging!

Since we were out, we decided to take another long trek to the Building Materials Outlet.  At some point last month, while working on our kitchen, one of K's guys had accidentally broken the inner pane of glass on our patio door.  Some little piece of something probably flew out of a tool and hit the glass, and caused the glass to completely shatter.  So, our free door was no longer as fabulous as it used to be.  The insulation factor was really gone for the rest of the winter.

Needing to replace that door wasn't a huge deal-- K had always wanted one that was a little smaller, and was planning to paint that door white because she hated the faux wood.  Having the door broken gave us a chance to replace it with something we liked more.

Building Materials Outlet had a TON of everything!  I know we'll go back to get windows-- they have thousands, for great prices.

K was torn between double French doors or another sliding door.  But we found a white sliding door from Pella, with the blinds inside the glass for $350.  Most of the French doors were double that.  We took the sliding door, and it should be great!  We'll reclaim about 6 inches of wall space, and have a lot more privacy when we want it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Start of an Actual, Real-Life Living Room!

Since we bought this house, we have never had a living room for more than a day or two.  We started scraping the popcorn ceiling pretty quickly after we bought it, but then never finished.  I can think of a couple events -- a holiday party in 2012, and Thanksgiving in 2014 -- when we made it presentable enough.  But underneath the sisal rug, there was still Ram Board, and storage items were covered in drop clothes against one wall.  And it was always temporary.  For most of our almost 3 years here, the living room has been a storage space.

Today, that finally changed!  K was offered a free couch at her current work project, and we decided it was a great idea that she brought it home.  The room was close to being done-- ceiling and walls all done, floors too, of course.  Just the baseboards and trim needed to be added.  So we picked up the drop cloths on the floor, moved the tools and projects into the baby's room, vacuumed the floors.  K added the base boards to most of the room.

Baseboards in progress
The couch is a simple one from Ikea.  The cushion covers had been spilled on by the previous family's children, but I got them washed up and they look much better.  Ikea sells them separately, too, so we can replace them sometime soon.

Someday we'd like to get a nice couch from Room & Board, but for now, this one is perfect.  Durable, and the cushions are not new, so they've off-gassed already, and not so old that they're not falling apart.  The color is perfect, and we'll probably replace the legs with something more mid-century-looking.  K has already found some legs online that we can order.

New-to-us couch on our pretty, pretty floors!  <3

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Formica Has Arrived

Our Formica order has arrived, and it's gorgeous!  Charcoal Boomerang pattern.  We'll be picking up some chrome edging soon, and then K will build our counters and top them off with this pretty pretty stuff.  I still can hardly believe that she agreed to use this pattern on our counters. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dump Day

Today was dump day, and it was pretty interesting, actually.  The City of Minneapolis has some good programs for reusing and for properly recycling a lot of items.  As homeowners who use the municipal garbage service, we're allotted a certain amount of "vouchers" per year to get rid of large garbage, furniture, building materials, etc.

I accompanied K's employee to the waste station designated for building material waste.  Either K or I had to be with, since we are the taxpayers/owners of the property.  We had a large Bagster filled in our yard-- with the old kitchen cupboards, drywall and other stuff from gutting the kitchen and the bathroom.  It took us two trips/two vouchers, and we got it all taken care of.  They have places at the station for different materials-- building materials, metal, furniture, mattresses, etc.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

BIG Progress in the Kitchen

Over the past few weeks, we have made some serious progress on the kitchen.  Plumbing and gas are rerouted, as needed.  Electrical is updated to make more sense with the fuses, and to run the new switches. outlets, and light fixtures.  We have 3 recessed lights, and we'll be putting in 3 pendant lights-- 2 over our new island, and one over the dining table.

New sheetrock is installed, and our cabinets were delivered on Friday.  K got our pantry and one wall of cabinets installed on Friday.  And she and I got the other wall installed on Friday and today.

Our boy cat was having a blast climbing up the ladder and watching us work.  Such a good little assistant...

I also cleaned up ALL of the cabinet and drawer pulls yesterday.  It took me over TWO hours to get all the paint peeled and scrubbed off those chrome pulls.  I soaked them in CLR and vinegar with a little water, and that definitely did the trick.  After about an hour, I really wanted to strangle those renters who painted over these.  So frustrating!  But at least they were still in the house-- I have to be thankful for that.


Shiny chrome pulls

By the end of the day today, we had the cupboards all in, and it was amazing to see the new layout of the kitchen.  It's so different from how it was, and we think it's going to be really useful.  More workspaces and better spacing between the appliances.  And still lots of storage.

The pantry is on the left

We have the new GE Slate appliances.  K liked these because they're sleek like stainless, but darker and easier to keep clean.  I think they're gorgeous, and they perfectly match our free flooring.  We decided to use the same bamboo laminate that K had installed in her office.  There was plenty left over-- enough to use throughout the kitchen and mudroom. 

The cabinet doors and shelves will be ready tomorrow.  And after that we'll be able to decide where we want to keep all our kitchen items, and we can unpack some kitchen things that we've had in storage for a long time.

K says that the toughest stuff is done now.  What remains: the paint, tile backsplash, sink and faucets, the countertops (which she is making for us),  cabinet doors & pulls, light fixtures, touching up....       The end is finally starting to become visible!  I know for both of us, especially for her-- it felt like this project would never end.  Now we have some big, meaningful progress and it's really exciting.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Clean & Calm Bedroom

We have our bedroom back!  The floor is refinished, the walls are repaired and painted, the ceiling is painted, the outlets have been replaced to code, windows painted, stained trim and base added, curtains re-hung.

New nightstands and a new bed-frame to follow, along with new door hardware and a new bedroom door.  The original door was too damaged to paint and save, so it was just easier to pull the whole thing out and get it out of the way for the floor guys.

The room is calm and clean, and after about a month of sleeping in our basement and at our neighbors' house-- the bed feels huge!  I think we both slept funny last night-- it was almost like we were sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings. 

Here is what the room looked liked when we bought the house:

We had primed over the red walls pretty soon after moving in, but that's how it stayed for at least 2 years afterwards.

I just LOVE how the floors turned out.  The color is so rich and all the detail in the wood grain shows so vibrantly.

Oh, and did I mention that our trim was FREE?  K found a bunch of it at the side of the road somewhere, pulled out of a 1950s home.  K said it was a pain in the butt to sand and re-stain, but once they were installed, we are both really happy with the results. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kitchen Floor

We FINALLY got to see the house's original kitchen floor!  It's been peeking through a little hole in the underlayment, where the vinyl tile was missing.  I could see a green floor under there, and it looked like linoleum.  And it was!

When we got home from vacation, K's brother had gutted our kitchen and our first floor bathroom.  The kitchen cabinets were gone, except for the small section that held the sink and dishwasher.  K and her brother took care of that within a day.  He had also pulled up all the gross stick-down vinyl tile and the wood underlayment.

This was underneath:

It was tricky to capture the exact color, but the tiles are apple green and emerald green.  And all the many spots are rusty nails.  Soooo many nails!  That's one of the main reasons the floor isn't salvageable.  It also might be unsafe (i.e. asbestos), so we're covering it back up.

I hate that we have to cover it up, though.  I love the colors.  Since we bought this house, I've been begging K to let me put green Marmoleum in our kitchen.  Pretty much the same color as this apple green linoleum.  And with the green walls, I can just imagine how cute this kitchen used to be!  Green floors, green walls, white cabinets, some kind of Formica on the countertops?  I bet it was adorable.  I'm sad to cover up this floor, so I took a bunch of photos.

The original kitchen had a slightly different layout.  Looks like a little panel of cupboards angled out here.

The border as it meets the hallway hardwood floor  

The emerald green continues into the small hallway leading to the mud room, and through the mud room itself.

I love this beautiful swirly green

And here's the bathroom!  The toilet is perfectly fine, so we're keeping that.  Everything else has been removed, all the way down to the subfloor.

The kitchen is the #1 priority right now, but we'll do the bathroom as soon as we can.  I'm not sure that we needed to gut it this soon-- if we're not going to be working on it right away-- but it's still a LOT of work DONE!