1 Corinthians 16:14 ~ Do everything in love.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Home Improvements!

Over the past several months we finished up some home improvements. Let's rewind back to September 2019 for the first round that Bryan and I did on our own.

Our fireplace mantel and built-ins in the TV room looked pretty dated. On top of that the people who flipped this house painted all the cabinets in the entire house cream. I can't stand the color cream. It looks like a dirty white or in this case..."Pee-Pee White". Barf. No offence to anyone who likes cream! My preferences in color are pretty limited to white, gray, black and red. On top of the cringe worthy color we had these gosh awful swirly looking overlays around the top of the mantel. Yuck. 

On a sunny morning last Fall those swirly overlays were taunting me and without really thinking I decided to see if I could pop one or two of them off. The next thing you know I had ripped all of them off along with the trim. At this point I knew I was committed to the project for the long haul. I texted a photo to Bryan at work to prepare him. I know he eye-rolled when he saw the text because he knew that meant work for him too. (Thanks for being a team player Bryan!)

My original plan was to repair the places I pulled the overlays/trim off, sand and repaint everything in white.  This house is 30 years old so not surprising that all wood surfaces have been painted numerous times meaning there was layer after layer of paint. For days I was scrapping/sanding paint on what seemed like a never ending job. One afternoon Bryan was looking at my slow progress and we both agreed how awesome the room would look to just rip down the mantel and put up an old beam. Next thing you know he had the top of the mantle completely pulled off. The other wood sections followed suit and we were left with just the brick around the fireplace. Our original plan of just repainting had now turned into a complete redo! Here are the progress pics to the final product. It was a lot of work and a long process (took us almost 2 months), but now that it is all said and done I am so glad we made the extra effort because it looks a million times better.

  Before. As you can see the color is indeed "Pee-pee White".

 Overlays and trim pulled off. 

Slow sanding progress. 

 Pulled the mantel off. 

 Down to just the brick. 

 Bryan rebuilt around the brick and then we had an old wood beam cut to size. The beam is finished with a dark wax.

 We added a liming wax to the brick to give it a white wash finish. 

 We added shiplap to the back of the built-ins. We overlaid the tops with old pine wood to tie into the look of the mantel. Also - this is not "real shiplap". That stuff is expensive so we used 1/4" plywood. We had Home Depot rip the plywood sheets into thirds and from there Bryan ripped them into a 6" size at home. I sanded down all the doors and cabinet framing to prepare for paint. 

White paint finished. Bryan did all the wood working while I did all the sanding and painting. First step was an oil-based primer. Then we caulked nail holes and any small gaps in the shiplap. Then white paint. We used a high quality paint that takes in one coat...worth every penny. 

Finished project! We had 4 old pine shelves made to match the mantel and overlay tops, which blend well with the old wood top on our coffee table. 

I love how this turned out and since we did this project ourselves this project was budget friendly. We ordered the beam, old wood shelves and old wood for the overlays from the family wood shop. Want an authentic old wood beam or old wood shelves (or furniture for that matter)? Let me know, I can put you in touch with my sister-in-law as I have been out of the wood furniture business since December. I don't miss it at all! 

Next project was in the kitchen. Once again those swirly overlays and trim were on full display and have bothered me since we moved into the house. Shortly after finishing the mantel/built-in redo I decided those overlays in the kitchen needed to be put out of their misery. Okay...not their misery, but my eye's misery. I pulled the overlays off to find that somewhere in the history of the house someone painted over Hunter Green wallpaper. Amazing, right? So not only did I pull the overlays and trim off, I scrapped the painted over wallpaper off too. Once I got through that tedious process I had to patch and sand because some of the wallpaper pulled down to the drywall. After that I painted everything the same gray color as the walls. 

Kitchen bar area.

See the beautiful Hunter green wallpaper. 

 The breakfast table area.
Patching and sanding. 

I had to completely redo a corner because the drywall was badly damaged from what appeared to be a possible leak at some point. I added a corner shape thing and everything. I am sure this has an official name, but I don't know it. Me explaining to the guy at Home Depot what I needed was comical.  

 Finished section. near the garage door

Finished bar area. I couldn't find the photo I took of the finished breakfast area, but it looks like the above photo.

The next project came at the very end of December. Our half-bath was in need of a vanity update. The 30 year old shell style scalloped pedestal sink just wasn't doing it for me or for anyone with an ounce of taste for that matter. This thing was way past it's prime. I wish I had taken a photo so I could share the beauty of it with you, but I forgot to take one. The new vanity (Home Depot), mirror (Hobby Lobby), light fixture (Amazon) and new paint did the trick. The paint and vanity install were finished in one day. The mirror and light fixture went up a few days later. Quick, easy and fit the budget!

Three functional drawers!

Now for the most recent projects that were finished up last week. We have several big ticket home to-do items on our list and we finally marked one off. Before all of the COVID-19 stuff started we had scheduled to have our windows replaced and a new front door installed. The windows in the house were original. Single pane. Wood rot around a few. Cracked panes here and there.  Only 3 windows in the entire house would open because everything was painted shut. There were 3 windows that were replaced at some point so we left those as is and replaced 31 others. I wasn't super excited about getting new windows because I didn't think they would make that big of deal in appearance, BUT it made a huge difference! 

Round 1: Kids bedrooms, the girls bathroom, garage, family room, kitchen, foyer and basement. 

 The five little peak windows up top are the only originals that we left. Those are fixed windows and were in very good shape according to our window guy so we saved a chunk of money by not replacing those. We did opt to have them capped so they matched the rest of the new windows. 

 This is the old foyer window being prepped to pull out. It took 4 guys to get it out! 

 Some of the wood rot.
The bottom of the foyer window was crumbling to the touch when they pulled it out. 

After pulling the window out they replaced the rotten wood.

Round 2: The three small half moon windows on the front garage side of the house, dining room, master bath and front door. 

  We had the entire front door ripped out including the transom and side lights. As you can see there was more wood rot at the bottom section of the door. The guys fixed that right up though. 

 Needless to say the house was very drafty on this day.
The old dining room window had grid lines...

 The new one doesn't! I love it so much. 

The old master bath window had grid lines too. The new one has no grids and rain glass so there is no need for us to put the blinds back up. The bathroom has so much natural light now.

 New double door just after installation. We opted to paint it ourselves to save money. It took me 3 days to finish painting that bad boy (inside, outside, door jams, etc).   

 Ta-da!! It is stunning. Completely changed the look of the house. 

 The inside is painted black too, which pairs nicely with our  black handrails. 

 The sun was so bright the door looks like a black rectangle, but you get the idea. 

We got our windows from Eugene with Universal Windows Direct: 770.906.6666
His install crew was excellent.

We got our front door from Carter at Building Materials Surplus: 678.445.3230
Our window crew installed the door for us.


After we recover from this project we will start saving for the next big projects: replace siding, painting the entire outside of the house, replacing gutters and rebuilding the deck. 

If we only had a money tree... 

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