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Long Time No Write

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Oh, hello there, Internet. Nice to see you again.  It has been over TWO YEARS since I last posted. I know, it is pathetic.  To be fair, I have been a little busy for the last 22 months raising twins.  In that time, Jim and I have also been slacking a little bit on home projects.  But I am back, which can only mean one thing…a new project!

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of our new project (I’m using “our” loosely here, Jim is doing the work 100% solo while I watch the kids), I will tell you about the small projects we have completed over the past two years.

The Nursery

The first small project was the twins’ room.  You may remember when we painted our bedroom, we had to add a header to our closet. The old closet doors went from the floor to ceiling and we would have to get custom-made closet doors for that size. Instead, we added a header and got normal closet doors.  We ended up needing to do the same thing in the twins’ room (and we will need to do it again for the other three rooms on the second floor).  Since I was pregnant and huge – Jim did all of the work on his own.  After some of the other projects we have done, this was pretty simple.  He needed to build the frame of the header, install it in place and then add the drywall.  Once the drywall was in place, he needed to apply the spackle, wait for it to dry and sand it. Then the header was done! Jim also added molding for a more finished look but first, he painted the room.

A few pictures of the room before it became the nursery

 

View from the doorway

 

 

The closet before...

The closet before…

 

The header in place (without the spacke and paint)

The header in place (without the spackle and paint)

I had picked out a gray and white nursery color scheme with touches of pink and blue. I had a very specific theme in my head. Jim and I went through our swatches and picked out a gray color for the room. Since we have painted so many rooms, we have a pretty good system down for dividing and conquering any paint job but since I was pregnant, Jim painted solo. He also closed the door to keep the fumes out of the house (so sweet).  The problem with that is when he opened the door (and was 95% done), I saw the color and hated it.  It was a shade of gray (I guess)…but it had a blue undertone to it. When I looked at it, it looked like a bluish gray.  I almost cried.  Actually, I think I did cry. This was my one crazy pregnant lady experience. It was not the gray I wanted and I wasn’t going to be happy until it was. Needless to say, Jim thought this was ridiculous and he was not pleased.  Luckily, he indulged me and we found a REAL gray to paint over the blue-gray.  It was so much better.  The nursery could become what I had imagined.

The first paint job...see how it is a greenish/blue grey? Not what I had imagined...

The first paint job…see how it is a bluish gray?

 

Another view of the first paint job

Another view of the first paint job

 

Last one...look how blue it is in this!

Last one…look how blue it is in this!

 

The final paint job! A beautiful grey!

The final paint job! A beautiful gray! (looks a little darker in this picture since it was taken at night)

 

The header all spackled and painted!

The header all spackled and painted GRAY!

 

Jim working on the molding

Jim working on the molding

 

Jim had to cut out some of the old molding to add the new molding around the closet

Jim had to cut out some of the old molding to add the new molding around the closet

Closet completed (with pink and blue handles)!

Closet completed (with pink and blue handles)!

 

Cribs all set up and in place - the letters to their names hang from the knobs glued above the cribs

Cribs all set up and in place – the letters to their names hang from the knobs glued above the cribs

 

Not the next picture with lighting, but another view with the glider and ottoman

Not the best picture with lighting, but another view with the glider and ottoman

 

View of the double glider, ottoman, and dresser

View of the double glider, ottoman, and dresser

 

Closet completed (with pink and blue handles)!

Closet completed (with pink and blue handles)!

 

We added a decal to the wall also!

We added a decal to the wall also!

Nursery Crafts

I did some little DIY crafts for the nursery as well.  I got letters to spell out the twins’ names and painted them white with zig zag stripes (pink for Amelia’s and blue for Austin’s). I tied ribbon around the letters and we glued knobs to the wall to hang the letters by.

I also made some size dividers for the clothing in the closet.  A little paint and glue and I ended up with these:

These were door knob signs so I had to cut them a little so they would fit like a hanger

These were door knob signs so I had to cut them a little so they would fit like a hanger

All painted gray

All painted gray

Finished!

Finished!

Close-up View

I thought they were cute but after having infants, I would say they aren’t really necessary. You go through sizes relatively fast and I took out the small outfits as the babies grew. But still…cute.

Knobs and Levers

Another little project I did by myself involved the upstairs hallway bathroom. This is the one bathroom we haven’t redone yet and I hate it. It needs some serious updating. We aren’t ready to tackle another bathroom yet, so it is not on the immediate to-do list.  One thing that was really bad about the bathroom was the shower knob. It is the kind that you have to pull out from the wall and then you twist it right or left to adjust the water temperature. It is the sweet old fashioned kind that looks like it is trying to be a crystal ball or something.  Exhibit A:

I forgot to take a picture of the original knob…it was a worse version of this

The ugliness of the shower knob is not the problem (the rest of the bathroom isn’t cute either, so I just have to suck it up and deal until we…er Jim…wants to redo that bathroom). The problem was that it was incredibly hard to pull the knob from the wall to turn on the shower.  This bathroom is our guest bathroom, so we often had guests try to turn on the shower for a while before calling for our help. Many were fearful they would pull the knob from the wall because they had to pull so hard.  If we tightened the screw in the knob, it would get better but still not be good and would loosen again. I decided to replace the knob. I figured this was a job I could do on my own and surprise Jim with my DIY skills.  I went to Home Depot and got two kinds of shower knobs; another crystal ball type one and one that was a lever.  I took the old knob off and cleaned the area behind it. I saw that the piping had been pushed back a little which was contributing to the problem with the old knob. The piping must have shifted when we were redoing our master bathroom. The two bathrooms share a wall and all of the plumbing. I pulled the piping up a bit and put the new lever on but when I pulled the piping up, the tub faucet’s piping pulled up and caused it to poke out from the wall. I knew this was a problem, but I thought we could fix it with some silicon for waterproofing between the space and the wall. Once the new lever was on, I tested it by trying to turn on the water. No water came out of the faucet. The problem with the lever was that it could not be pulled out  from the wall to turn on the water and it only twisted back and forth to control the temperature. Terrified I broke the shower, I quickly un-did the new lever and put on the new crystal ball knob I bought.  Luckily, it worked!  I was so relieved. It was a lot easier to use the knob and I figured the problem was solved!

After taking the old knob off, I realized I should take a picture!

After taking the old knob off, I realized I should take a picture!

 

Jim was somewhat impressed I fixed the knob situation but not so impressed that I caused the tub faucet to stick out from the wall. He was able to fix the problem by taking off the faucet and cutting back part of the piping and then reattaching the faucet. He then added silicon for waterproofing. A little bit more complicated than the just add silicon solution I had thought of, but luckily it was fixed!

New knob! Not super different than the old one in the looks department, but at least it works better now (also a whale cover over the faucet...not a permanent addition!)

New knob! Not super different than the old one in the looks department, but at least it works better now (also a whale cover over the faucet…not a permanent addition!)

Stair Banister:

As the twins became mobile, it was clear we needed to think about baby proofing. My biggest fear had to do with falls that would lead to serious injuries. This led me to the stairs.  The stairs that lead to our second floor had an opening overlooking the living room without any banister. Even when we bought the house, we knew this was not the safest set-up. Being grown adults who know how to walk up and down stairs, fixing it was not our number one project. Now it was. Without a banister, there was also nothing to attach to a baby gate. This meant that not only could the twins try to go up the stairs on their own, they could also fall off the side opening of the stairs while attempting to crawl up the stairs.  Jim had already installed a banister on the basement stairs when we redid the basement. It was a very similar procedure to add the banister to the first floor stairs. He had to undo some of what was already in place in order to make the banister work. He did an awesome job and we were able to install a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs!  This baby gate is seriously a life saver keeping the twins on the (baby proofed) first floor.

Stairs before railing and banister (see the big opening at the bottom of the stairs)?

Stairs before railing and banister (see the big opening at the bottom of the stairs)?

 

 

 

 

Unpainted banister!

Unpainted railing in place!

Finished railing!

Finished railing!

Finished banister!

Finished banister!

Another view

Another view

One more with more of the stairs

One more with more of the stairs

Basement Permit:

Another project we (uh, Jim) completed had to do with the basement. We had previously tried to close our permit for the work on the basement with one last inspection from the county. Unfortunately, we failed this inspection because we needed to install a GFCI outlet by the washer and dryer  (that type of outlet automatically shuts off if exposed to water) and because we had to drywall under the stairs. The GFCI outlet was a simple fix that I did myself within a week of failing the inspection. Drywalling under the stairs was going to be time-consuming so it got put off…for a while.  Drywalling can be annoying because of the need to cut all the pieces perfectly and then spackle and then sand the dried spackle and then sometimes need to repeat the spackling and sanding. Drywalling is even more annoying if it is for an area that is going to be used as a storage closet and it has an angled ceiling.  After months and months of ignoring the open permit, Jim finally decided to get the drywall up and close the permit. He also decided to add some nice floor padding (we didn’t finish the floors under the stairs) and really spruce up the storage area. It was similar to any other drywalling effort though and we passed the inspection without issue. Permit closed.  We still have a few more things we need to do to truly “finish” the laundry room, but that will come with time.

Drywall all completed for the closet under the stairs!

Drywall all completed for the closet under the stairs!

Trying to get a picture of the nice floor Jim put down (it was already covered by a bunch of things and I didn't feel like cleaning it out...)

Trying to get a picture of the nice floor Jim put down (it was already covered by a bunch of things and I didn’t feel like cleaning it out…)

Ceiling Fans and Lights:

When we first moved into the house, we painted all the rooms on the second floor, added in new carpets, and updated two of the four ceiling fans. The two ceiling fans we replaced we really old and did not have lights on them. So we added modern ones with lights. The ceiling fan in our room was new with lights, so we left it alone.  The reason we did not update the last ceiling fan was because it was not connected to the light switch and therefore it didn’t seem to make sense to add a ceiling fan with lights. It was also in a room we weren’t using as a main guest room, so we figured down the line we would come back to it.  Well it is down the line.

On a side note – when the twins were 3 months old, the air conditioning broke.  We discovered this during a random heat wave in April. Our whole A/C unit needed to be replaced. With better A/C, it was much more noticeable how poorly it worked on the second floor.  In order to remedy this situation, it was suggested to add more insulation in our attic (which is basically just a crawl space). You may remember our attic is a nightmare to go up to from when Jim installed the ceiling fan and overhead lights in our master bathroom. Therefore, we decided before we put more insulation in the attic, we would do anything we could think of that might require Jim going into the attic. This encouraged us to install a new fan that was attached to the light switch in one room and also had a ceiling fan with lights to the room in the office.  Outside of having to go up into the attic, these weren’t too complicated of projects.  Jim had to cut some dry wall out-of-place by the light switches so he could connect the new wire to the light switch and feed it up through the ceiling. For the old fan, he ran the new wire to where the old fan’s wires were and hooked everything up.  We have installed new fans before and if the wiring is in place, it is pretty easy-peasy.  For the new fan, Jim also had to cut a hole in the ceiling and feed the wires in addition to installing the new fan.  The fan in the office first made some burning smell and we decided to bring it back and exchange it for a new fan. With the exchange, the problem was fixed.  Now every room on the second floor as a ceiling fan with lights that is controlled by a light switch!

Old fan in the extra bedroom

Old fan in the extra bedroom

The new fan to replace the old fan (lights on)

The new fan to replace the old fan (lights on)

Same fan with the lights off!

Same fan with the lights off

No fan or overhead light in the office

No fan or overhead light in the office

New fan with lights in the office (lights on)!

New fan with lights in the office (lights on)!

Same fan - lights off

Same fan – lights off

In addition to adding the fans in the ceiling, another ceiling project we wanted finished before adding the extra insulation in the attic involved the upstairs hallway bathroom.  The only light fixture in that bathroom was above the sink.  Whenever you took a shower in that bathroom and pulled the shower curtain closed, it got incredibly dark in the shower.  We wanted to add ceiling lights above the bathroom so brighten up the room (especially for showers).  Jim had to cut the holes in the ceiling as well as run the wiring from the existing light fixture to connect over the bathtub. In also had to install housing for the lights before hooking up the actually lights.  The first lights he ordered ended up being way too bright, so he exchanged them for ones that were softer on the eyes.  The lights are great and really help for bathtime with the twins and whenever someone showers in the bathroom! (It also helps me see all the imperfections of this bathroom better…we really need to get on redoing it…)

Holes in the ceiling with the wires coming out (Apparently I was really bad at taking before pictures during all of these renovations…)

 

New lights over the bathtub (lights on)!

The new lights over the bathtub (lights on)!

 

Same lights with them off (you can see we need to fix the drywall...but that is not a "priority" right now)

Same lights with them off (you can see we need to fix the drywall…but that is not a “priority” right now)

I *think* those are all the projects we have done in the past two years.  There may be a post where I throw something else in I remember later on…but I doubt it. These were the pictures I had and all I can remember!  Now on to that new project…

Shower Prep

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Progress has been slow in the recent weeks with our bathroom renovation. This mainly had to do with conflicts in our schedules that made it difficult to work on the bathroom.  After my most recent post, Jim and I went to Rehoboth Beach, DE for a few days since it was my Spring Break from work.  It was nice to relax (even though it was cold at the beach) but it took away many days we could have worked on the bathroom.  We got back on Easter and celebrated the holiday with Jim’s family.

The Monday after Easter, we got back to work.  We needed to prime the new drywall.  We took to our standard painting jobs and that went off without a hitch.  During the week, we continued to work on the bathroom but were thwarted by volleyball, CPR certification, and dinner plans. One night Jim attached the light fixture above the sink – which looks great. Another night, we painted the ceiling and got the walls in the shower area ready for water proofing.

Light fixture above the sink!

Light fixture above the sink!

Ceiling painted and complete!

Ceiling painted and complete!

Close-up of recessed light covers

Close-up of recessed light covers

All primed!

All primed!

Another view with the ceiling

Another view with the ceiling

Wall primed and ready to go!

Wall primed and ready to go!

Friday night, we put together the cabinet for the sink.  Getting the cabinet has been an ordeal.  We ordered from a “ready-to-assemble” retailer online.  This is what we did for our kitchen cabinets and it worked out well, so we did not think it would be a problem. We did not go with the same company just because we liked a cabinet from another company better. We first ordered the cabinet at over a month ago (maybe two months). We started to put it together and the bottom piece of the cabinet did not fit into the grooves on the sides of the cabinet. Jim contacted the company and after supplying proof (pictures with a tape measure up to the grooves and bottom cabinet), they sent us a new bottom piece.  When the bottom piece arrived, we quickly realized it was the exact same size as the previous bottom piece – which did not solve the problem. At first, Jim was determined to shave the piece down to make it fit but I was able to talk him out of it.  He contacted the company again who said they would send us an entirely new cabinet (again after we supplied proof of the pieces not fitting). It took another week for the cabinet to arrive and it had the SAME problem.  We could not believe it. We were ready to just return both cabinets and be done with this company, but the woman convinced Jim to give them one more chance and promised they would check to make sure the pieces fit before sending the cabinet (that is, after we sent more proof that the cabinet pieces didn’t fit in the most recent one). We finally received the cabinet this past week.  Luckily, the pieces FIT! Turns out, the grooves on the side pieces were too small and the bottom piece was the right size.  The only problem with the new cabinet was that they clearly put the cabinet together beforehand and did not worry about scratches while taking it apart.  We did have three cabinets to choose from though so we just picked the best pieces out of the bunch.  Building the cabinet was relatively easy, although the directions left more to be desired. It was basically just a few pictures of the pieces of the cabinet going together. There was no text and absolutely no pictures of the 20+ different screws involved. We were left with about 8 screws at the end of assembly, but we are pretty sure we did everything right.  We did have to make a slight alteration of the bottom back of the cabinet to make sure it fit in place in the bathroom. Remember we pushed the wall by the sink back a few inches? Well the very bottom part of that wall is slanted, so the cabinet needs to be cut at an angle to go up against the wall. Jim is a math genius who figured out all the angles perfectly and cut the cabinet without issue.  We aren’t ready to put it in place yet, but it is now ready for when we need it.

The cabinet!

The cabinet!

Saturday morning we went to pick up the tile we ordered.  It did not take too long and got us prepared for the rest of the day’s work – prepping the shower for tile. Since showers are often wet (I know, you learn something new every day), you need to waterproof the walls of a shower. There are different methods of doing this like using cement board, etc, but we decided to use the Schluter-KERDI Shower Systems.  There are different materials you can order from the company. We got the shower base which already has a built-in slope to the drain, a shower step (think of that step you always have to go over when entering a shower), and its polyethylene waterproofing membrane (a big orange waterproofing sheet). The shower base also come with a drain as well.  In addition to adding the KERDI, Jim made sure to apply silicon to all of the sections the KERDI won’t cover (the tile redi built-in shelves, the shower step, and water supply valve box).  In order to keep the KERDI in place, you must first apply mortar to the drywall and then spread the KERDI on top of the mortar.  We knew we would need a step stool to get to the top areas of the shower and did not want to put the step stool on the shower base. The shower base is made of this unusual material – sort of like a very strong styrofoam.  Therefore, we started with the top walls of the shower and then installed the base.  It was relatively uneventful although Jim quickly discovered that applying mortar to a wall is not as clean as on a floor because gravity takes the mortar off of the trowel and brings it to the floor.  Before setting the shower base in place, Jim connected the last bit of PVC pipe to the drain and shower waste pipe.  Everything went pretty smoothly.

First section of mortar

First section of mortar

Smoothing the KERDI in place

Smoothing the KERDI in place

Again

Again

First day of KERDI in the shower

First day of KERDI in the shower

Shower base in place with the KERDI on it

Shower base in place with the KERDI on it

The step going into the shower - no KERDI on it yet.

The step going into the shower – no KERDI on it yet (that hole in the wall is for the shower step we are going to add).

We stopped working around 4pm on Saturday because Jim needed to volunteer at the Rescue Station that night.  He had not been feeling well that day or the night before so he decided to take a nap before his shift.  While napping, he took his temperature and saw he had a pretty high fever.  He called in sick to the Rescue Squad and has been recovering since. Yesterday he went back to work (the paying kind) so last night we got back to work on the bathroom (our own self-inflicted kind).  Jim did the majority of the work on his own because I was weeding and planting some dahlias in the front yard by the mailbox.  Jim almost finished the rest of the KERDI. We will definitely be done at our next opportunity and then we all ready for tile!

The view of the shower (see the shaving step we added? pretty cool!)

The view of the shower (see the shaving step we added? pretty cool!)

Inside the shower - you can see the water supply lines that are ready for the shower panel

Inside the shower – you can see the water supply lines that are ready for the shower panel

Another close-up shot of inside the shower

Another close-up shot of inside the shower

Painting the Town

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The last week has been B-U-S-Y.  Jim and I have been going nonstop from when we get home until bed every night.  A lot of the projects have involved painting and little fixes in each room.

Last Monday night – we painted the living room.  Jim had the idea of painting one wall a bold color while keeping the rest of the walls white (we did a yellowish off-white). We already bought a new sectional for this room that had not yet arrived. The sectional itself is a beige color but we picked colorful pillows and we wanted our bold wall to match a color in the pillow.  We picked a bright blue.  It was a very pretty blue color, but it was a little bright for the living room.  We decided to wait until the furniture arrived before making our final decision.  It took two days (Monday and Tuesday) to paint the living room and entrance way.  There was a lot of trim and taping to do.  Here is the transformation from the first two days:

Living room before - view 1

Living room before - view 2 (painter's tape already up!)

Living room (and entrance way) before - view #3

Living room after first round of paint - you can see the bright blue color we had

Another view with the first blue color (and old furniture)

Wednesday, we dedicated ourselves to the dining room.  We fixed some holes in the wall and got to painting. We had a late start that day and we had to do two coats, so we didn’t get to the trim.  Thursday – Jim was at the station, but I finished up the trim on the dining room.  Here are the dining room shots:

Dining room before - view #1

Dining room before - view #2

Dining room after - view #1

Dining room after - view #2

Dining room after view #3

On Friday, we put our focus back on the living room.  The sectional was going to be delivered Saturday, so we needed to get our current couches out of the way (we moved them into the basement). It was a little difficult, but we were able to get the couches downstairs with just the two of us.  We also decided this was the perfect time to clean the floors.  We didn’t just clean the floors though, we also polished them to help bring back the shine from when Jim first finished them.  While I was working on the floors, Jim got to work on the closet in the entrance way.  The old closet doors were broken.  One of the doors didn’t stay on the track and would just fall every time you tried to open the closet – it was miserable.

See the door on the left falling over?

New closet doors!

Throughout the week – Jim also added blinds to the window in the family room and the two windows in the living room.  All the days are blending together so I can’t remember which days they were. It is a-m-a-z-i-n-g to have new blinds in the living room.  The old blinds were meant to be under-mounted but they were outer-mounted, so the blinds were too short on both sides. Therefore, our neighbors could see into the house even with the blinds down. In addition, the blinds’ pull strings were the kind that were one big loop. Do you know what I mean?  You have to pull over and over just to move the blinds up 3 inches at a time.  They were horrible.  Now we have beautiful new blinds that are quick and easy to use.  In Jim’s haste to get rid of the old blinds, I did not get a picture. I do have a picture from when we first toured the house that captured one of the blinds though, so I will post that.

Their living room was more of a playpen...but let's focus on the blinds. Do you see how the blinds are too short and you can still see the window? Yeah...no good

Her's one of the living room windows with the blinds removed

And now...our beautiful new living room blinds!

And our new family room blinds (no before picture here either)

On Saturday, Jim tackled the crown molding (our LAST project of the kitchen).  It was a one person job for the most part (I had to help hold the molding up every now and then). It was also a very frustrating job. The molding came in a length of about 10 ft. One would assume although there were different poles of molding, they would still line up the same. That was not the case. This meant Jim had to be creative when lining up two pieces of molding at a corner. Some of the molding was also a little warped which added more challenges. In addition to measuring, cutting, and nailing the molding up – Jim had to hide the nail holes with this wax and marker filler we have.  Needless to say – this took all day.  By dinner time, Jim had finished all the sections but one on the crown molding.

Cabinets before molding 1 - Jim cut into the edge of the cabinets for the molding

Cabinets before molding 2

Cabinets before molding 3

Cabinet after crown molding 1

Cabinets after crown molding 2

Cabinets after crown molding 3

Cabinets after crown molding 4

While Jim worked on the molding, I painted our front and back doors. Our doors are made of a weird material (not wood), so it did not take too easily to the new paint.  The first coat looked horrible, but luckily the second and third coats were better.  There was also a TON of taping to do. Between each window and the door molding, there was a lot of space I did not want to get the exterior gray paint. Painting the doors took me a lot longer than one would expect.

I remembered to take a before shot after I started painting a little! The back door before -side 1

The front door before - side 1

Front door before (and cute pup) - side 2

Back door finished - side 1

Back door finished - side 2 (I forgot to take a before picture for this)

Front door finished - side 1

Front door finished - side 1

The sectional arrived around 3pm on Saturday.  Shortly after we were able to analyze our blue paint and decide it needed to go.  After dinner on Saturday, we ran to Home Depot and got a new paint color.  We protected our new sectional and got to work changing blues (we went with a darker blue). We worked into the evening, but it was well worth it.  Our finished living room:

New and improved living room!

Another view! I love it!

Sunday was another day of many things.  Jim finished the last bit of the crown molding (the kitchen is DONE!! another post to come), put knobs on the closet door, hung up a new coat rack in the front entrance way, and added molding and new blinds to the dining room window.  I finished the trim on the back door and the many touch-ups the doors needed after the blue tape ripped some of the tape off, I cleaned all the picture frames that got dusty while we worked on the kitchen the past few months, and I cleaned the garage.  The garage was pretty disgusting and dirty – filled with a lot of scrap wood we needed to get rid of. Our garage is now clean enough for us both to park in it!  We really are going to start this time.

Jim also threw in some plumbing along the way the past week.  The sink on the first floor was barely draining (due to all the things we had to wash down it the past few months), so Jim cleared the clog.  The connection under the sink was pretty poor, so Jim replaced some old pipes as well.  It worked pretty well the past few days but this Monday night it needed some more TLC from Jim. After the plumbing, some painting touch-ups, and cleaning windows – we decided where to hang pictures throughout the house. The pictures went up last night and our first floor is now ready to go. It looks like a different house.  We can’t wait to show it to our friends and family this weekend!

Super Power Mode

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Jim and I have been on super power mode.  We are trying to get the first floor ready for guests we are having on St. Patrick’s Day. Since we have greatly ignored the first floor, we have a lot to do in just a few days time.  There has not been much down time in the Mai Household the past few days.

After our electrical work on Saturday evening, Jim and I got up early Sunday to get back to work. We decided to divide and conquer – splitting up the projects.  Jim started to work on adding quarter molding to the dining room, living room, and entrance way.  Since there was carpet in the living room and dining room when we moved in, there was no quarter molding. Since I was doing my job in the other room – I didn’t get a before picture.  I also only took a picture of one corner in the living room.  It would be too hard to take pictures of all the new quarter molding – so this gives you a general idea.

The quarter molding is the bottom part of the molding that sticks out - it gives the molding a more finished look

While Jim was working on the quarter molding, I started painting the family room. We both liked the original color of the family room but it did not match the color we picked for the kitchen.  Since the kitchen and family room are connected – the colors really clashed.  The white trim and white panels really needed a good painting as well.  Here was the before:

A view of the family room - the kitchen table is right next to it (I know it is messy...we picked it up eventually)

While painting, I was tempted to touch up the paint on the fireplace. Jim and I both hate the white, painted bricks on the fireplace but they look dirty and I thought another coat of paint would freshen it up. We paint to eventually change the fireplace bricks – maybe go back to the original brick, maybe use something else – but either way, a new coat of paint would have just been a waste of time, so I left it alone.  I did paint the mantle though.  I also cleaned out the fireplace – which was DISGUSTING.  First – the previous owners left these creepy, red candles in the fireplace.  Since the doors to the fireplace were SO dirty, it was hard to notice they were even there.  In addition, it looked like they never once cleaned out the ashes from the fireplace. On top of all the ashes, spiders decided our fireplace was an awesome spot to make their cobwebs.  All and all – cleaning the fireplace was gross but ultimately rewarding. It looks 100 times better now.  I resumed painting after being distracted by the fireplace.  Here is the finished product:

Still messy - but you get the general idea!

We have a new carpet being put in TODAY and new furniture arriving next week that will really finish the room.

Painting took me a really long time. Jim was able to finish the quarter molding and go back to another electrical project. The last electrical projects we have left deal with our outside lighting. We have empty boxes with electrical cords sticking out of the back of our house and the side of our house – this is where lights should be. We bought new fixtures and Jim was ready to add the new fixtures. Unfortunately, these white boxes are blocking the way to the mounting plate. That wouldn’t be a problem if we could take off the white boxes – but they seem to have been placed on underneath our siding. This is a problem. Unfortunately, we have not solved this problem yet. We do have a light next to the front door that does not have this problem. Jim moved on to the front light.

This front light was incredibly frustrating. It was on some sort of sensor switch. We assume it was supposed to turn on when it sensed movement but most of the time, it did not do this. Or it would turn on after you walked past the front door. It was very temperamental and we could not figure it out. None of the settings seemed to change anything. I was SO glad to be rid of it.

Again, I didn’t get a before picture since I was painting – but imagine a dingy, old front light.  Here is our new one:

It turns on and STAYS on!

With all that accomplished, we called it a night.

The past two nights (Monday and Tuesday) have been busy as well but I don’t have pictures of the finished projects yet – so you’ll just have to wait and see!

Olive to Paint

Jim and I took a three day break to celebrate Christmas with Jim’s family.  After a lot of relaxation and holiday cheer, we arrived back home Monday evening. We planned to paint the walls the next day and decided to prepare for the next day. While I taped the ceiling, Jim removed a shelf from the wall we no longer wanted. We also made sure to spackle any places that needed touching up. We already made a trip to Home Depot that day to pick up our paint for the kitchen. We were ready to get started the first thing the next morning!

The painting went smoothly. We painted in the areas that would be showing once the cabinets are up. Therefore – the pictures without the cabinets will not be as impressive. Here are the pictures:

New paint!

Not all the wall is painted

Another view

The color goes well with our cherry wood cabinets.  Hopefully it will also mesh well with the countertop, backsplash, and tiles we pick. We looked over some samples before we picked out the paint – so everything should work out well.

There was also a large vent in the kitchen (similar to this one).  It was painted yellow and not very clean. Jim removed the vent and spray painted it white.  I also cleaned out the vent itself. Here is the finished product:

Ohhh pretty

After painting, we realized we could finish our door bell! The spackle guys unfortunately covered the hole we left for the doorbell wires. Luckily, Jim has extensive pictures of the kitchen without the drywall up. Using the pictures as a guide; Jim made an educated guess of where the wires were behind the wall. Within minutes, he had the wires out! Success! Jim hooked up the wires and we screwed the doorbell into the wall.  We tested the doorbell (our dog Derby did not appreciate this) and it worked! Our hard day’s work was done.

Inside the new doorbell chime

Door chime complete!

Seamless Ceilings

With the drywall finished and spackling complete, we were ready for some painting. The contractors we hired to spackle the ceiling actually finished spackling the walls as well! This was a nice bonus because they did not charge us. It also meant that Jim wasted his time the other night when he started spackling the walls – but neither of us is complaining.  This is how the walls looked once the contractors left:

Pretty seamless ceiling!

Spackle done!

We wanted to paint the ceiling before we went to Jim’s parents’ house for Christmas. On the 23rd, while many people were doing last minute shopping, Jim and I were painting the kitchen ceiling. We basically became expert painters after the work on the second floor (see post, or this one, or here, or even this one) but we had not painted an entire ceiling. We needed to use primer on the new drywall. We were sure to get the spots on the walls we planned to paint later to save us time in the future. We took up our normal jobs – Jim had the roller and I was on the corners. There were some touch-ups needed with spackle and sanding, but after a few short hours, we were done!  Jim put up the light covers on the recess lights and hung up the light fixtures over the island.

Jim hard at work!

Here’s the finished product:

Beautiful lights

Starting to look like a real room!

Close-up of a recess light

We can't believe we really did this!

No Exaggeration Here

While searching for pictures of rooms before we painted, I came across pictures of the Master Bedroom when we toured the house.  I described in detail the horrible lilac in this post, but did not remember I had these pictures at the time.  I wanted to show you what the room looked like so you know I was not exaggerating before.
 

LILAC EVERYWHERE

Can you see the lilac curtains?

 This is how our room looks now:

Just in case you forgot...

 
 

Slightly different...