Friday, September 18, 2015

Newbies in Cleveland :)

I have to go back and read my old posts to see where I last left off! It's amazing how our lives have changed in just over a month! I can't remember the past 24 hours, let alone the past 2 weeks, but here it goes!...

Our house in AL is *SOLD*. The official closing date is not until 10/22, but the inspection period went well and it should be smooth sailing until then.

Last weekend, Ross & I made the first trek up to Ohio with his car and Dakota. We're currently living out of a hotel in Cleveland until our rental house lease begins (Oct. 1st). It's been the first time in weeks(!!) that I've had enough time to just sit and watch tv. Hotel living really ain't that bad and we'll be out of here in no time :)

Ross started his job at Alcoa this week. It's been all training and meeting people this week, so not much to report other than he'll have his hands full once he gets in the swing of things! The environment will challenge him in his career but he's so good at what he does, I'm confident he'll do great. And if he doesn't, well heck...we'll just move again! :)  #kiddingnotkidding

Our movers are scheduled to come pack up our house on 10/1 & 10/2, so I'll fly back down to B'ham for the week to oversee that, see my coworkers one last time in the office before completely working remotely, and make the final trek up to OH moving my vehicle this time (Ross will meet me down there to help with the drive). This will be our FINAL farewell to Alabama and the life we made there these past few years. It's always bittersweet to see your house left empty as you drive away but it's hopefully for the better!

We'll move into our rental house the first weekend of October. Of course, our furniture and belongings will not arrive for another 3-10 business days, but that's expected. Let's hope it's not more than 10 days (movers love to make promises that never keep!). We'll be sleeping on an air mattress until they arrive with our bed. I'll make sure to play up the pregnancy sympathy card while they are packing up the truck :)

Here's a pic of our rental house that I stole from the internet...
557 Glen Park Dr, Bay Village, OH

The house *feels* like a rental but I'm sure once I give it a thorough cleaning and get our stuff unpacked, it will feel like home! It's been vacant a few months so it needs some TLC.

It's the cutest house in an adorable neighborhood with sidewalks and tree-lined streets... I've always envied these cute neighborhoods and thought now would be the time to try one out since we're only renting! It's in the town of Bay Village, OH. Go ahead... google it. I'll wait :)  Do you see how close Lake Erie is?!?! I'm picturing strolls around the neighborhood, waving to neighbors, watching the sunset on Lake Erie, etc. I guess maybe after the dead of winter!...

So now that we're *finally* in the downswing of our chaotic lives, I'm able to focus on Baby Girl. I'm 29 weeks today and feeling good! She's moving a lot more now and I love it! I'm also giving into every dessert temptation I come in contact with, so watch out!!

This weekend, Ross & I have NO plans. I repeat.... NO plans! I don't even know what to do with that. Ross celebrated his 30th birthday on 9/7 while we were camping over Labor Day weekend with our friends in N.C. but we barely got to celebrate with everything going on and I completely failed as a wife to get him a cool, memorable gift (aside from one little item I bought at the last minute), so we're hoping to get out this weekend and just have fun!

Next weekend is mine & Ross' baby shower in Pittsburgh! I'm so excited to see all of our family & friends.... but really, what I'm most excited about?! The 2-hour drive to go home!! (as opposed to an 8-hour trek spent flying & on layovers). Yeah, it's dumb... but 2 hours thrills me! :) And I'm sure the shower will be great as well! haha

So that's it for today :) See most of you next weekend!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Before & Afters! (Part 2)

Welcome back! Let's move on to the rest of the house :) I'll warn that a lot of these are just 'After' pics. For whatever reason, we failed to get some before shots of the hideous pink walls we painted over.

Moving on from the kitchen, we have what we use as our Den:

As you can see, we never got around to this redoing this room. This (and one other) room still have popcorn ceilings. I eventually wanted to paint the wood paneling white, but then again, it felt so home-y as-is :) I'm curious what the next homeowner's will do with it. The carpet in this room probably also needs to be replaced, but again, that is for the next homeowners to decide.

Stepping into the hallway, we have the main hall bathroom:
In this bathroom, we removed a very ornate/flowery wallpaper and painted the walls beige (the same beige used in the hallway and spare bedrooms). I also added the frosted window decals so that we didn't need window treatments and still had privacy. Lastly, we installed a new toilet back when we moved in and recently, needed to have a plumber fix the bath/shower fixture (new rough-in for handles and showerhead). I also painted the doors and trim white and gave them new hardware.

Eventually, I would have replaced the flooring and maybe re-purposed the vanity (or at least given it a new top). And replaced that light!!! haha But again, we ran out of time.

Moving on to the Master Bedroom:

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do!! As well as smooth ceilings, freshly painted white trim, and freshly painted white doors with new hardware. When all is said and done, I repainted 20 interior doors (!!!) in this house from their outdated yellowish white paint to a crisp clean white that matched the new white paint we used on the trim. We also updated all the hardware (hinges & doorknobs) that I bought in bulk online. The white doors made the whole house feel more updated and clean. And I LOVE dark hardware on white doors :)

You can ignore the ugly handy-down dressers... ONE day I will buy us new furniture. *sigh* The fabric headboard I made myself. And lastly, we took down the window treatments and put up white wood blinds that I found at IKEA (they were surprisingly the only ones that would fit the size of our windows).

Attached to our bedroom is a Master Bathroom (though there's nothing Master about it!):
When we moved in, I immediately removed the wallpaper, painted the walls gray, put the frosted decal on the window (not shown) and installed a new medicine cabinet. 

Moving on to the 2 spare bedrooms across the hallway from our bedroom.

Here is the guest bedroom:

And another spare bedroom:
In each of these rooms, the walls were pepto-bismol pink and the walls were dirty and filled with nail holes. It took a lot of prep work to get them ready to paint. 

Again, we had to scrape popcorn ceilings in both of these rooms, painted the ceiling white, painted walls the same beige, painted the trim, installed window treatments, and also tackled painting the doors white. What a difference!

Finally, we have a room upstairs where the previous homeowners converted some attic space into a 4th bedroom and 3rd bath:

This room we tackled a week before listing the house! We've never used the bathroom (it's tiny!) and Ross just used this room for storage. It was the same pepto-bismol pink as the other spare rooms and just felt dirty up there. It has walk-in attic access which was really nice. 

Don't you just love the avocado green bathroom?! (it looks much better now that the attached bedroom is not pink, ha!)

So we spent a week (on crunch time!) prepping and painting the bedroom & bathroom beige, painting trim white, and painting the remaining interior doors white. This room also remains with popcorn ceilings. There was no way to tackle that in a week before wanting to list the house with all the other last-minute projects we had going on.

So that's it!! This house was mostly cosmetic updates. Sure, we would've tackled a bathroom or two down the road and maybe the kitchen, but in the short-term, it wasn't worth our effort or money. We made some major improvements as well which helped the value of the house (replaced the furnace, updated the breaker box, etc.).

With this house, we became pros at:
  • scraping popcorn ceilings (FYI, it's a LOT of work, scrapping, skim-coating, sanding, painting, etc.)
  • painting interior doors (with no brush marks showing :)
  • updating electrical (only Ross)
  • installing crown molding and baseboards
  • installing plank walls (only me!)
  • and other numerous projects. 

When all is said and done, we'd probably do it all over again. The payoff to us is a house that we can be proud of and bringing a house back up-to-date! We also love tackling a project! What will be next?!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Before & Afters! (Part 1)

I'm so excited to have put together some 'Before' and 'Afters' of our house! I didn't have all the before's, but enough that I can look back on these fondly and remember all the blood, sweat and tears that went into every room.

We will have owned this house for 2 years (in Oct. '15) and have accepted an offer on it this week! I'm actually more sad to see it go than I thought I would be, b/c I never loved it. It was't my mid-century style and never could be, but it still had good bones and cleaned up really nicely. The house had a frenzy of showings when it hit the market last week and got a total of 3 offers (one offer which eventually walked, one offer was wayyy too low, and the perfect 3rd offer which we accepted yesterday!).

Here we go!

Welcome to our home:
None of the curb appeal was changed. Just properly maintained :) And Ross got the sidewalk light working again. (We got a LOT of things working again *big disgruntled sigh to previous homeowners*)

Again, just properly maintained, nothing changed.  This backyard is why I love older homes... I can't put a price on mature landscaping and private backyards!

Walking inside, here is the foyer. Such a small space, but one of my favorite 'Afters.'
The flooring is just peel-and-stick vinyl. I have a feature plank wall behind the mirror which really gives the space some visual interest in person :) The chandelier was from World Market ($99!! compared to the expensive PB version). And lastly, since all of the walls are painted a clean white, I painted the door black to make it *pop*. I have a new obsession with black interior doors :)

This is the view you get walking in from the entryway:

The walls were repainted a warm gray, popcorn ceilings scraped smooth and painted white, trim painted, decor added and *boom* what a difference! :)

Next up, the dining room:

Again, we painted the walls gray, ceilings smoothed, trim painted, new light fixture. Oh, and we removed the chair rail wainscoting and had a lot of wall patching to do b/c of that. The chandelier I got on clearance for $50 from Lowe's becuase they switched out their display lighting. *Score!*

Also, all of my window treatments are super cheap. Rods from Walmart and white curtains from IKEA, hemmed to length. I love my frugality :) But also how crisp and clean they look.

Let's move into the Kitchen:
This was one of our biggest undertakings. If I could've completely demo'd the kitchen, I would have (b/c honestly, the cabinets are original (from the 70's) and in bad shape, the previous owners put new faces on them to only make them look good. The inside of my cabinets are avocado green and in rough shape!).

First off, we removed the door leading to the garage on that wall in the right of the picture (behind chandelier) and moved the garage access to the mudroom, where it belongs. Just by closing off the door, the kitchen felt 1000x more home-y. No longer was I looking into the window-pane door to the junk in our garage! I then decided to also plank that wall to give it some visual interest since it's painted white (I'm obsessed with neutral paint right now but using textures instead to give the rooms some interest). Also, a HUGE update was changing out the florescent light to 3 new recessed lights (on a dimmer switch!). It gave the kitchen such a different feeling and WARMTH! I am obsessed with the recessed lighting! Props to Ross for becoming a self-taught electrician these past few years! And with the help of one of his more experienced friends who helped us wire up the 4-way switch.

Another view of the kitchen and the eat-in kitchen area. The clean white walls made such an improvement. We removed more outdated and dirty wainscoting and chair-rail in the kitchen. There was also a LOT of wall-patching to be done when it came down. That's sort of how the plank wall came to be about... I chose to cover up the ugly wall instead :)

Ross & I also finished the crown moulding in the kitchen (a feat I'm really proud of us for. Cutting all those angles was quite the learning curve, but now we're pros!). Ross also finished putting up new baseboards and quarter round. All of those finishing touches really brought the kitchen up to the 21st-century without breaking the bank!

Moving on....

This is our pantry, that leads into the mudroom, and leads out to the newly installed door to the garage. I'm obsessed with our pantry. It's huge!! It was the old washer/dryer location that we converted into shelving, with the same vinyl flooring from the entryway. I also love the hardware I installed on the bi-fold doors, they reflect nicely off of the black photo frames in that hallway. I sadly put a LOT of obsessive thought into these tiny details :/ But pretty hardware makes this girl happy :)

In the photos above, the wall on the right of the pic was actually the first plank wall I decided to do about a year ago when Ross was out-of-town one weekend. I didn't tell him what I was up to but it was fun playing with his miter saw and nailgun :) He wasn't sure if he liked it at first, but over time, is really happy with it. And I am absolutely obsessed (hence the 2 additional plank walls down the road)! I also get a lot of compliments on it so it's makes me blush and love them even more :)

Next up...

 Ok, I lied about the kitchen... the mudroom was DEFINITELY the biggest under-taking.  We hired out a plumber back when we bought the house to move the washer/dryer connection from our pantry to this new location. We had no clue what the purpose of this room was previously, but to us, it made sense to turn it into a mudroom/laundry room. This is also where we installed a new (fire-rated) door to the garage. I came up with the layout, w/ a lot of pinterest inspiration! I needed to make sure I made good use of every inch of space in this tiny room and I think I succeeded! I love this room! The cabinet was from and we built around it. Ross made me the built-in bench. I just love how the room serves so many functional purposes!! We also hired an electrician when we bought the house to update the breaker box, a much needed update to this house and well worth it.

That's it for today! The post is already too long, so stay tuned for 'Part 2' of the Before & Afters!