I Saw The Light, And it Opened Up My Eyes, I Saw The Light

Did you just flash back to the Ace of Base years? I did, almost constantly, while we were installing lights. I’m pretty sure those aren’t the lyrics but that’s what my brain kept singing over. and over. and over.

You’re welcome.

So first let me just say I just realized I haven’t posted since March 14th. I want you to know I am NOT going anywhere, nor did I realize it had been that long. I swore I wrote a post on the flooring we put down. Then I remembered I still had the photos to edit for the post, hence no post last week. Holla for being super organized at work and then losing my brain at home. Son of a bee sting.

So here’s what’s been going on in the last few weeks:

  • Andy milled two different trims for the windows and put them up so we could choose.
  • Andy has been milling our staircase parts and daaammmnn do they look good. Right now we’re doing a beech/walnut staircase with painted ballusters (the same Dover White as the living room and stairwell area).
  • We painted the stairwell area Dover White except for the accent wall, which will still likely be the sea salt color we used in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
  • We laid our reclaimed pine flooring. It was a process but very worth it.
  • We’re laying the same reclaimed pine flooring  leading up to the new staircase.
  • We’re decided if there is enough pine flooring left (someday down the line) we’re going to build a farmers table we can put outside to have wonderful outdoor meals around with friends.
  • We wired!

The last point is what this entire blog post is about, though many of those other items will be getting their own post too. I promise. Not empty promise, real promise.  So let’s delve into the electricity (but not literally). Heads up—my nice camera died so these are all iPhone pictures. Once again, you are welcome.

First, remember this:

NoLineEvahOkay, maybe he’s referring to fallen electricity lines from the poles but a hot wire is a hot wire. Don’t touch that shiz unless you like being six feet under, or having tingly arms and legs and neurological problems for the rest of your life. Or just being zapped. It’s like touching an electrical containment fence for a cow times about a million, and a cow fence hurts. Don’t ask how I know. It has nothing to do enjoying a beverage or three at a relatives wedding and leaning on one without thinking.

In other words – keep the electricity off while you’re working with it. I joke around, but seriously. Also keep in mind while you’re reading this that I’m vague for a reason. Neither Andy are I are electricians. While Andy is more than capable of hooking up a light or switch, etc. we’re still not giving out electrical advice. Mistakes happen and I don’t want it to be from our words. Safety pep talk complete.

When Andy first wired our home and ran the wires to the panel, he made sure he marked each one so he knew exactly where they were coming from. This little detail made our most recent step infinitely easier. The first step was taking the wires for the two bedrooms and the stairwell and hooking them up to the panel.

ElectricalHookup (7) ElectricalHookup (6) ElectricalHookup (5)Now, once you’ve seen one electrical switch/plug/light hookup you’ve sort of seen them all so let’s discuss how we did the hookup in our guest bedroom upstairs. To start this is a really tall ceiling so we had some high-rolling staging we were working on. Andy is not just balancing in an incredibly uncomfortable position in the photo below; he is firmly planted on two feet. I can promise you any man who would be balancing like that on a beam would not be non-chalantly putting together a light. So many jokes. I refrain.

ElectricalHookup (12)Get ready to get your minds blown at how difficult this is.

1.) Determine light length, cut to length, splice cable, pull out wires and remove sheathing from tip of wires.

ElectricalHookup (13)2.) Attach fixture to electrical box.

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ElectricalHookup (16)3.) Match up wires and put wire nuts on them. All nutted up? Tuck those wires up into the box. Don’t jam them in there, just tuck them in there. (So many bad bad jokes. Deep breath. Deep breath.)

ElectricalHookup (20)4.) Screw the ceiling plate on. Or whatever that piece is called. Very technical.

ElectricalHookup (1)5.) Admire!

ElectricalHookup (2)Let’s discuss the elephant in the room, or rather the mouse if we’re making a size comparison to what I’m about to say. We knew when we started that this light is simply too small for this room. Scale wise it’s way off, but cost wise it was perfect. I.E. it was free. In fact, both bedroom lights I’ll be showing you were free. My husband is a master of salvaging items. I admit that while I like the upper part I’m a little “eh” about the actual shade. Hopefully down the line we can replace the shade with something larger and in charger. Much like Scott Baio.

There’s one other thing I’ll point out. Obviously those beams create crazy shadows. The shop light below them demonstrates this perfectly. I’d say this is the only disadvantage of having exposed beams, the crazy light situation. The light in each bedroom is centered, which means it hangs directly above a beam. This downside to this is crazy beam shadows everywhere, and the inability to hang a light too low. The positive side is that, uhm, the beams are still the focus? And it’s centered so it looks weighted correctly? Let’s go with those silver linings. Me being me, I would rather have my light centered and deal with beam shadows then have it off-centered and have it hang between two beams off kilter. If you are planning on having exposed beams, plan for this. Andy has been asking me if we should put up track lighting for months now and I am adament against it. After seeing the shadows for  myself he said, “Are you ready for track lighting yet?” To which I squinted my eyes, looked around, and said “No!”.

Stubborn much?

Though we may do some sort of track lighting below the beams in the future the truth is we’re honestly lamp people. I much prefer lamp light to overhead light. We’ll play with that idea first and hopefully the combination of overhead light + lamp light will help. If not, maybe (a big maybe) I will consider track lighting. Knowing me, we’ll eventually do it and then I’ll be all “I LOVE THIS. WHY DIDN’T WE DO THIS EARLIER” to which Andy will be all *face-palm*.

It’s how we roll.

SO enough chatter, let’s discuss our master bedroom light which I adore beyond reason. Let me set this up by saying this light was salvaved from a house which was slated to be destroyed. This light would have been a casualty had we not saved it. Again, it was free. Sparing the uber informative and intellectually stimulating description of how to install a light above, let’s just look at the light.

ElectricalHookup (10)Ohhh no.

ElectricalHookup (9)Ohhh yes.

ElectricalHookup (11)I love everything about you. (And you too, Andy. I love everything about you too.) This light is the bees knees to me. It’s the peanut butter to my jelly. It’s the jam to my ham. Wait, I don’t think that last one works…or maybe it does *contemplative thought of the day*. Whatever your favorite combination is, this is it to me. This light also casts these odd shadows all over the walls but I have to say I love it. No photo captures it properly so unfortunately I have nothing to show it. Maybe once my nice camera is recharged up I’ll be able to snag one, but for now, just trust me. I don’t know why I like it, but I do, and that’s all that matters.

I’ll be back in another post to show you, with proper photos, these lights again as well as our $30 staircase light.

We’re breaking the bank I tell you, breaking it. Though I’m pretty sure the banking system is already broken. On that note, I think it’s time for this blog post to be over. I refuse to segway into banking regulation discussions. Primarily because I would rather eat ham and jam.

Also because….boring.

How do you like that segway?

xo,

Heather

P.S. Thank you for tolerating my sub-par writing in this post and attrocious grammar/train-of-thought/segways. You’re all awesomesaucesome. Is that still a thing? Saying awesomesauce? I feel like it’s not. I also feel like it maybe never was really a thing to begin with. *contemplative thought of the day number two*.

Who Needs The Gym When You Can Paint

I admit I haven’t been to the gym since November, and I just finished eating girl scout cookies. Judge away. So while I’ve been eating cookies and not exercising, I have been painting and I entirely forgot just how much exercise painting is. Or maybe it’s not and I’m that out of shape, but I felt it in my arms, shoulders, and abs. That said, I really should get back to the gym…juuuusstt after I finish this next cookie.

So while I wipe the crumbs off my keyboard let me tell you about this whole painting thing. Despite my sarcastic very serious blog post here on choosing a paint color, I have to say that once we chose the living room color the rest of the paint pallet for the house came together easily. I know the big thing in design are either these bright funky colors and patterns or very cottage like. I had to put aside all these design ideas all over blogs, tv, etc. and decide what I liked. What we liked. It came down to this: We both like color, but we both like muted color. The colors that we can easily change the decor and not have to repaint. The colors that will enhance the beautiful wood work and custom features in the house instead of compete with it. We also wanted to really stick to as few colors as possible. So our paint pallet for the house ended up being this:

DSC_2291All of the colors we chose were Sherwin-Williams. It’s our preference paint first because it’s good, but as mentioned a long time ago in a full disclosure we have access to it at an affordable price because of the industry my husband is in. Honestly though, I would likely buy it anyway even if we didn’t. I think everyone just has the paint they are comfortable with and for us it’s Sherwin-Williams.  I also really love that the Promar-200 (contractor paint) is VOC free. It makes painting in the winter tolerable and dare I say, pleasurable?

The first area of painting was our living room, which is Dover White (SW 6385). It’s a white that is warm with slightly yellow undertones but barely so. We chose it because we decided to have a nice range of cool and warm colors throughout the house to keep it balanced. This color will also go throughout the entire open kitchen area once we renovate the original house, and is also in our staircase area primarily. It’s the “overall” color of the house I guess you could say.

DSC_2306As with most paint colors, it changes dependent on light and the area it’s in. The staircase showcases this well. On the underside it looks like a warm white, but on the flat wall without the direct light it looks more yellow. DSC_2036-01In the room just to the left of this staircase we decided to go with Realist Beige (SW 6078). It’s a beautiful warm light brown. I had always been against any color that said “beige” in it, but I’m really happy with this. Truth be told, if I hadn’t been trying to match the leftover Edgecomb Gray we had from a previous paint project (Benjamin Moore color, color matched to Behr paint) I wouldn’t have chosen it simply because I wouldn’t have been able to picture it on a wall and I would have had trouble with the name beige. Consider me a convert I guess because this color is truly beautiful on the wall.

DSC_2305The photo below shows the slight contrast between the Edgecomb Gray in the closet, and the Realist Beige on the walls. In natural light it’s almost a light brown with a grayish undertone but still warm, but when the artificial light hits it (like the photo of the swatch above) it becomes a beautifully warm brown. Either way it’s a really pretty satisfying color and most definitely the dark horse.

DSC_2103-01In the upstairs bedrooms we decided to go with cool tones, using a light gray for the master bedroom called Eider White (SW 7014). It’s similar to the Reflection color we used last year in the original part of the house right before our appraisal, but it’s a warmer gray. I always think of gray as being slightly cool no matter what but I guess it’s the warmer of the non-beige gray tones {I feel like I’m making no sense, but hopefully you get what I mean}.  We originally were going to stick with Reflection but I decided I wanted a gray that was a little less blue so Eider White it was. I have yet to paint the master bedroom, but on the swatch and in the can it looks like the perfect gray. Cross your fingers!

DSC_2303For the last two areas of the addition we decided to use the same color, called Sea Salt (SW 6204). Andy mentioned wanting to do an accent color on the back wall of our tall staircase to give it a little dimension but we didn’t want something bold. As well, I really wanted a soft calming color in the other upstairs bedroom which will be the guest bedroom for now but eventually a nursery. We both thought it would work well to have these two areas be the same color and to help keep the two areas of the house cohesive and tied together.

DSC_2304This is without a doubt my favorite color of the bunch. I had been eying it for months and kept coming back to it. I showed my Mom and she laughed because it is apparently the same color she painted the downstairs of her house. This color has the most change between natural and artificial light going from an almost steely gray with very slight green undertones to a warmish blue-green (like the photos below). That description does it no justice but I highly recommend it. It’s gorgeous.

DSC_2312DSC_2308Overall we’re happy, but I’m also relieved I have a general paint pallet to go off of when we re-do the original house which takes some stress off. We may not use the exact colors here (except in the kitchen/open area which will be Dover White) but they will either be from the same pallets or complementary pallets.

As far as the addition goes here are the next steps:

  • Paint the master bedroom
  • Paint a second coat in the upstairs and downstairs bedrooms
  • Paint the stairwell
  • Finish the electrical hookups in the entire addition
  • Lay the flooring
  • Build the staircase including treads, posts, balusters, etc.
  • Sand the beams in the upstairs bedrooms
  • Seal the beams (we’re not painting or staining)
  • Trim the doors, windows and flooring out

Now, where are those cookies?

xo,

Heather

P.S. I have a Public Service Announcement: Eat the lemonade Girl Scout cookies you haven’t. If you’re as lemon flavor obsessed as I am, including fake lemon flavor (it’s a guilty pleasure), you will not regret it.

This One Time We Finished Drywalling And Primed Each Room And Then I Was All “Woah!” Like Joey Lawrence On That Show Blossom

Remember when our upstairs was a hot mess (and this photo was after we had done some demo).

DSC_7586

Then after we ripped it all apart, we put on an addition, and framed up two bedrooms?

DSC_1630-01Well, now, from the same view above it looks like this.

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Wwaiiittt for it.

SHA-BAM!

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One of the things Andy did in this room, which I have to admit is super cute was build that nook above the closet. He built that specifically so one day we can put a ladder up there so our kids can have a fun nook to read/play in. I absolutely love it! Obviously we won’t allow that to happen for many many many many years, but the fact he even though of it was ridiculously heartening.

Okay, are you ready for the next mind blow? Our master bedroom!

DSC_1965-01Oh, but there’s more. It’s primed!

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The hallway is all primed too!

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I can’t believe the timeline it took to get the entire house drywalled and primed. We’re talking roughly 10 days. 10 days to drywall, tape, mud, sand, touch up, and clean up four bedrooms, two with cathedral ceilings, a downstairs nook/hallway and a  huge tall hallway stairwell. Oh, and add in sanding 30 ends to 15 beams and then wrapping said 15 beams in plastic. Wait, then we had to do an initial priming of them, and then spray the ceiling paint.

It was done through help from my neighbors, and an incredible amount of hard work from my husband who spent every moment he wasn’t at work or sleeping covered head to toe in drywall dust. We are both so relieved it’s done.

Now it’s onto the fun part – PAINTING! Then we get to trim out the doors and windows and lay our flooring. Oh man. It’s *so hard* to believe we’re finally at that point from when we started this in June of 2012. We added about 1,000 square feet to our house in about 8 months, with no outside contractor.

As I told you once, I’m almost positive my husband was infused with mutant and ox DNA as a child.

So while we take a small break from the crazy whirlwind week that happened we’re going to go enjoy the fresh snowfall outside and make our final decisions on paint colors and then….then prep to rip apart the original house this spring potentially.

DSC_1971-01You didn’t really think we were done with the renovations yet, did you?

xo,

Heather

Awww Sheet Yeah!

Yay for a new blog design! It was time to make a change up in here that felt both warm and fun. Heads up our house style will likely not reflect this same style overall. The house is a different beast since we have to blend a more traditional style (Andy) with a more modern farmhouse style (me). It’s all going to be a mishmash up in this maison. The blog, and maybe my office, are solely my design choice – holla. New blog background compliments of designer Brandi Galuzzi, it’s a free design I found. Go check her site out!

In case you hadn’t heard from every news station in the United States, we’re currently getting walloped with a nor’easter. In other words – we’re having a snow storm that might deposit anywhere from one to three feet. In other words, to someone born and raised in New England, it’s just a good old snow storm. So as the polar bears are taking over while the hot cocoa is being rationed and the snow is whipping and raging outside, lets discuss what’s been going on IN our home. It’s been pretty epic.

When I last left you, we were finishing up insulation and that’s about where we stood for a little bit. UNTIL THIS HAPPENED.

DSC_1451-01So much drywall, and this wasn’t all of it. Before we could drywall though, I had to finish sanding the ends of the beams to take the surface mildew off as noted in this post.  Sanding wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, but that’s because I had our handy dandy Porter Cable sander with 100 grit paper to help me out.

PorterCableSanderIt amazed me how much of a difference there was before and after!

DSC_1454-01DSC_1452-01Our drywall came on Friday even though we expected it on Saturday. They apparently thought it was going to a different house. In a different town. A good 30 minutes from our house. Whoops. So long story short, Andy got the call and came home to meet them here. When I got home from work on Friday night to a downstairs and upstairs full of drywall it’s safe to say I was a little shocked but totally excited.

Saturday started early and then this happened. Are you ready?

Are you really even ready?

Let’s recap that at one point in time the place that is now our living room was an ugly porch with a toilet on it, firewood, and a bunch of other crap. Oh dear goodness. This is hard to even wrap my head around.

House-Set-II-9.23.2007-040Thankfully that porch is long gone, an addition is in it’s place and we’re both excited it’s no longer framing and insulation only! When you see the photo below really take in that my husband built this entire thing with his two hands, since June 2012, and there’s another three brand new rooms to the side and above this one. I married a good one.

DSC_1511-01Our neighbor John had been waiting for us to start drywalling and came over to help out. He had previously helped with the trusses too. He absolutely loves dry-walling and he is good at it. I mean really good! While he ran out, I learned how to use, and manned, the drywall screw gun to help the guys anchor the drywall in place. Andy would then take over and complete it, since I was a little slow. Once John came back the guys had a rhythm and I stayed out of the way! The living room was first on this drywall adventure.

Let me break in here for a minute to say that the following conversation just took place.

Me: “What’s the screw gun called for the drywall?”

Andy: *raises eyebrows* It’s a screw gun…for drywall. It’s called a drywall screw gun.

Me: “Oh, really? I didn’t know if there was a fancy name for it. Good, that’s what I had it called.”

(Andy looked over my shoulder as I was writing this and laughed. I told him to “go awwayy!” , laughed, and covered the screen.)

DSC_1514-01I mostly took photos of the process and did other things while the guys worked. Casey made sure to razz me and photo-bomb as he often does. So as I do, I will ALWAYS post them to the internet. You’re welcome, Casey.

DSC_1520-01Let’s go to the photos of the transformation, because there are a lot of photos to get through!

DSC_1540-01 DSC_1569-01 DSC_1570-01 DSC_1574-01I knew drywall would make a huge difference, but I couldn’t believe just how much of a difference it made until I saw it go up.

DSC_1600-01So different, right?! It’s hard to believe this was ever a porch.

You know what’s also hard to believe? The old living room (now bedroom) was once a dark brown panel cave and is now a bright bedroom. It’s such a better use of the space. As a reminder, we didn’t drywall over the paneling. We ripped every single piece of it out and gutted the room to the studs before re-framing for the new windows and insulating the exterior walls. We did drywall over the ceiling beams because they are supporting the second floor and we didn’t want them exposed. This room isn’t the showpiece of the house since it was all wonky from the original construction, but it is already so much nicer and cozy.

DSC_0094DSC_1606-01 DSC_1607-01 DSC_1608-01With the lower two rooms drywalled, John and Andy worked the rest of the week taping and mudding. John came over in the evenings and was here early on the mornings he wasn’t working. There may have been one morning I was getting ready for work and Casey let him in. I may have been in my pants and bra and I grabbed my shirt and dodged into the office so I could be decent. Close call, and funny, for sure.

DSC_1616-01 DSC_1620-01So that completes where we are at with the downstairs. Both rooms have had all their taping and mudding complete and now it’s time to sand, prime and paint. PAINT! Colors are not chosen yet, but different ideas, as well as lighting fixtures, are being thrown around. It’s like a paint chip rave party up in here.

Finally, the guys almost have the upstairs complete too but since this post is already so long I’m going to save that for another post! My brain is currently shutting down due to too many computer waves infiltrating it all day. Also, it’s time to let the dogs out.

Let’s hope I don’t lose them to the abominable snowman and polar bears that are surrounding our property. It’s insane out there.

xo,

Heather

Wire In The Morning, Wire In The Evening, Wire At Supper Time, When You’re Building An Addition, You Can Wire Anytime!

When you’re renovating your own house, you do a lot of it in the evenings after you’ve worked a full day at the office. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing when it comes to the wiring of the addition, with a couple weekend days thrown in. I’m happy to say we’re almost done downstairs, and the upstairs is completely finished.

Andy and his brother are very good at wiring but I got to get in on it once too with their guidance. I drilled some holes, and ran some wiring to the one outlet under our double bedroom windows. Who’s proud? Two thumbs pointing at this girl right here. To be fair, they did 99% of it, and I just helped Andy decide where some of the outlets should go.

Here’s the quick breakdown:

At the top of the stairs we’ll have a “closet”, but unlike a regular closet, this closet will hold an electrical panel and a heat recovery ventilator. We already have an electrical panel in the basement, so I was confused as to why we weren’t expanding that one instead of putting a new one upstairs. Andy explained it by simply saying it means a lot less work not having to run the wiring into the basement, and it will make access easier in the long run. I know he knows what he’s talking about and let’s be honest, I just care about what the fixtures look like in the end.

The heat recovery ventilator will be down the line and the best most nontechnical way I can explain it is simply to say it takes the heat from the air/wood stove and exchanges the heat into fresh air coming into the house. With a house that will be as airtight as ours, it’s an important thing to have. You can read more about them here if you want the technical details.

Obviously nothing is hooked up yet, we would never leave hot wires hanging out like that! One of the most important steps in running wiring is obviously not to have the wiring hot, but to also label every single wire as you go. Don’t try and remember what runs where. You can’t see it in the photo above, but each wire is labeled both at the breaker end and at the outlet end. You can slightly see this labeling in the photo below.

Here’s a better view of some of the wiring in the master bedroom. The round blue box up top is for a hardwired fire alarm, which we’re putting throughout the house. This way if one alarm goes off, they all go off. We use a wood stove fairly exclusively, including while we sleep at night so it feels doubly important to make sure we have a serious fire alarm system in place.  Add in that we use propane for cooking instead of natural gas, and it means it just makes me feel a lot better to know there’s a hard wired system in place. Despite the fact if the propane blew up the fire alarm would have little help, but it still makes me feel better. Oh, and every alarm also has a carbon monoxide alarm in them too which is just as, if not more, important.

(Yes, we also keep a seat up here. I told you the sun is pretty awesome up here. Sometimes you just want to come sit in the morning sun in your soon to be bedroom, or see the evening sunset. Not too bad people, not too bad.)

One of the other things you’ll always find up here with us is Rosie. She loves being with us and couldn’t care less about loud noises. This particular day she discovered the bathroom plumbing and was quite perplexed by the toilet pipe. She stood like this with a furrowed brow for a good five minutes and kept looking at me for clarification. I wish I got on video when she stuck her nose down it and you could hear her sniffing quietly echoing throughout the pipe. She’s a keeper.

When she had enough of the toilet pipe, it was time to get serious. Chewing sticks, that is.

And so it all goes, drilling, wiring, repeat. I would be remiss to end this post without one of Andy’s “throw-it-together-for-free” ideas to help make running wire easier. Who needs an expensive wire spindle when you have plywood, screws, and a pipe?

That’s all for now! Once we finish the downstairs wiring we’ll have the inspection, and after that it’s onto insulation and drywall!

Oh, and I have an upcoming post for you. Here’s a hint – between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of items for free and not from a sponsor (because I have none), but from my husband being the man. It’s pretty unbelievable. Then again, he never ceases to amaze me.

xo,

Heather

P.S. High-fives to anyone who can name the jingle I made the title of this post from!