Who Needs Drywall When You Have Americana Wallpaper?

On Monday I showed you the beautiful, spectacular, outside of the house including the most wonderful window that has ever been installed. Today we move to the inside. These photos are some of the last “pre-demo” photos we have, but I use “pre-demo” loosely. Very, very loosely. Truth is, these were post early demo, but long before this last weekend when family came down and shit got real.

First up, the bathroom. These photos are during the initial deconstruction of the big items, so we could tear it all out.

House Renovation June 2015-41House Renovation June 2015-47Here’s the bathroom into the start of demo, as well as the gaping old chimney hole that was behind the medicine cabinet.

House Renovation June 2015-51House Renovation June 2015-38House Renovation June 2015-37House Renovation June 2015-55Moving on from the bathroom is my brother-in-law’s old bedroom, and what will be the new bathroom. This is the room we put a new window in, as shown on Monday’s post.

House Renovation June 2015-58House Renovation June 2015-60The closet is going to be expanded and will house the washer and dryer.

Next up is the first office, and going to be new guest room (I think). We were going to use the downstairs bedroom in the addition as the guest room, but I’d really prefer to work in that bright beautiful room the vast majority of the time. It’s currently set up as our makeshift office/pantry while the kitchen is torn out, but I think I’d like it to stay an office. 

This room however has seen the most transformation of the years. It first was a lavender nursery (before we moved in), and then it stayed that color for a long time as a guest room, before it became my office/soap room. Below are a few before/afters of when it was my office versus what it looks like now. There was an intermediary step of it being a little more torn apart because we had moved the office, and had to put a new window in. This is pretty clear though on the differences over time.

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Here are more shots from similar angles.

DSC_0732-01House Renovation June 2015-63DSC_0745-01House Renovation June 2015-64DSC_0730-01House Renovation June 2015-61Second to last is “the green room” which has been everything from an office, to a makeshift bedroom while we built the addition a few years ago, to a storage / soap room.

House Renovation June 2015-67House Renovation June 2015-69House Renovation June 2015-70This final photo leads us into the main part of the house, which has seen a crazy huge change. Let’s just soak this in, because my upcoming posts will look shockingly different.

House Renovation June 2015-73House Renovation June 2015-71With that I leave you in bewilderment, and knowing that yes, I definitely made sure to keep a piece of that fantastic americana wallpaper. Like I wasn’t going to put a swatch of that up framed in the completed renovation? Yeah. Right.

Heather

Salvaging The Budget

It’s really easy to go off budget with renovations, and with a husband that can build anything I sometimes have to remind myself that just because he can build anything doesn’t mean that he has either time to, or that we have the budget to. It’s extremely important for us to stay on budget. I figured I should do a post about our budget, and about how we’re staying in line with it so far.

There are four big things we’re doing to keep ourselves on budget.

1. We are paying for this entire renovation ourselves with no financing. We are not rich by any means of the word, it’s taken a lot of work on our part to put our money where our mouth is. Not eat it, save it. I’m not being literal because that would just be straight up wasteful. Our budget is well under $20g for the entire house including the new deck, addition, porch, complete gut and re-layout of the original house, finishes (millwork, trim, casings, etc.) and appliances.

2. We are taking it one project at a time. We do not have all of the money we’ll need for everything at this point but we continue to save. We saved enough to do the addition and porch. Our hope is to get the area to a complete-enough place so we can move into it. It won’t be painted/decorated, etc most likely right away. We may not even have a solid wood floor in our bedroom for a while. Taking it slow.

3. We’re doing the work ourselves. I understand that not everyone can, or should, do this level of a renovation themselves. We’re fortunate enough that Andy was raised in a very hands-on environment where he was taught these things from a very young age. Doing the work ourselves will save an exorbitant amount of money.

4. Salvage salvage salvage. We’re no strangers to salvaging considering Andy built most of our current barn with the plywood and pieces from our old barn. At work, if a client has a nice piece of furniture they want to get rid of you can bet they often call Andy first. Salvaging everything we can simply saves a lot of money. If the insulation is good, salvage it. Plywood still good? You bet I’m pulling all the nails out sheet by sheet so we can either re-use it on the addition, or another project down the line. Those $15-20 dollars here and there add up. We most definitely aren’t afraid of a little extra work when it will save us a lot of money. When we pick up nails with the magnet, if I find one that is perfectly straight I set it aside. Now, I’m not sitting there inspecting every nail but if I happen to catch it, I’ll grab it.

Andy is very good with budgets and as a builder he really understands the process from negotiations on product cost, to the technical execution of the actual building process.  I won’t lie and say his knowledge and know-how doesn’t help, it most definitely does. We do get some of our materials at a discount but truth be told, not by much. Salvaging materials and doing the work ourselves is the biggest help of all for our budget.

For me, the hard part for budget will be further down the line when it’s time to do the interior design. This isn’t part of our overall budget, it’s something we’ll save for separately (new couch, rugs, new mattress, etc.). It’s going to take a lot of ingenuity and creativity on my part to pull off the looks I love. If you follow me on Pinterest (link in the upper right corner of the side bar under “P”) you can tell that I have a fairly specific taste. I’m looking forward to the challenge of how to execute an updated farmhouse/cottage interior. You can bet there will be plenty of flea markets in my future and lots of crafts.

If we continue to follow a simple rule we learned in elementary school we should be just fine: “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Whether it’s saving money for the project, with actual building materials, or finding/making a specific decor item I’m pining for we can just reduce to save money for it, reuse what we have, or recycle another items to stand in for it (or to barter for the item you want!).

Salvaging our budget all comes down to one overarching principal: this project really is a true “DIY” adventure, but that’s what makes it so much fun. Why let someone else do it, when you can do it yourself?

xo,

Heather

Making Your House A Home During Renovations

When renovations are in full swing, sometimes it’s hard to keep your house feeling like a home. With the drywall dust, construction debris, and in our case moving two huge rooms of our house into tiny spaces, it can quickly make you feel like you’re living in a construction zone. This isn’t a fun feeling for anyone, and I assume it’s one of the biggest reasons people get stressed out during renovations. Lord knows a few months ago I had my moment of “what if this process is bad?”. Then, I got over it, pretty quickly. Attitude is everything in life. There are a few key things you can do to help lower your stress levels and keep your house a home when it looks like this:

  1. Plan: As important as it is to plan your actual renovation, planning the space you will be living in during renovations is crucial. Maximize your space so disruption of flow from room to room is kept at a minimum. If you’re renovating your kitchen, you can cook dinners ahead of time that you can easily heat up in a microwave. Think of moving your fridge to another location so you can still store food. Keep things in place for as long as you can, but have a plan so when it does come time to move them it’s not stressful. If you’re doing a bathroom it’s a little more tricky but can you try and plan it so you have at least the toilet and shower back up and running in one day? We’re moving our bathroom to an entirely different room, so we’ll finish the new bathroom before we tear out the old.
  2. Phase Construction: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you take a hammer to every wall “just to see” what’s behind it, you’re going to leave a lot of dust in your path. Every time you look up you’ll see that hole in the wall and be reminded you need to fix it. One room, one project, at a time. Not only does this help you focus on the task at hand, it’s also helps in case you can’t finish the other phases as planned. The last thing you want is to run out of money, time or help and be reminded of it because you’ve ripped apart every room in the house.
  3. Get Creative and Be Flexible: Yes, it would be great if we all had the budget to afford whatever it is we wanted to do during renovations, but be realistic. You might have to get creative to make some of the things happen that you want. It may also be about picking the most important things and scrimping for them. Do you want lunch with the girls/guys, or do you want a marble counter for your bathroom sink? This goes in hand with being flexible. Sometimes walls just can’t be opened as much as you thought because it would be too expensive for the added structural support.
  4. Stay Within Your Budget: You’re probably thinking “duh” but honestly, when you’re caught up in it and you’ve already spent a bunch of money you might say “what’s a few more thousand?” That’s only a question you can answer, but be careful-it’s a slippery slope. You will be much happier in the end if you don’t have looming loans over your head, just so you could have a bunch of minor details. If you’re stressed after it’s all over, you’ll be too consumed with it to even notice or truly appreciate them. All you’ll see is the debt you’ve incurred. Be smart about it, get creative when you need to in order to attain the things you want, and be flexible. A blown budget just isn’t worth it.
  5. Don’t Forget Your Routine: Let’s face it, when you’re both working full time (I include stay at home parents in the “full time” category), it’s not easy to find time to renovate. Your schedule will be thrown off – but at least try to maintain some normalcy. For Andy and I, we make our dinner and sit on the porch. I do laundry, brush the dogs, take them for walks, play with them, weed the garden, etc. We aren’t letting our lives fall by the wayside just because we’re renovating-it’s just a new part of our lives. This often means Andy is doing a lot of the renovations, while I’m helping to keep the rest of the house running. Dinners are a little less prepared than they used to be, but we aren’t eating out. If you have kids, keeping some routine will help them a lot (and everyone) with the transition.
  6. Keep A Clean Job Site: This is one Andy stressed hugely to me. Messy job sites are the sign of a sloppy job. At the end of the day, no matter how tired you are, do a quick pick up. You will find yourself way less stressed if you don’t have to see everything everywhere when you want to get work done. This includes putting your tools back in a designated spot when you’re done for the day.
  7. Keep A Clean House: Just like a clean job site, a clean living area during renovations is extremely important. You’ll feel like you’re in your home – even if it feels like your home crammed into a tiny box. In our case, because all of our belongings are in a very small area now, it’s incredibly important to stay on top of any messes. With our bedroom being 8×8 it means clothes get put away immediately. No baskets of clothing sits around waiting to be put away. Small spaces force you to be more conscious of not only what you have, but how cluttered it can get. Keep it to a minimum. If you have to, do a once a day clean sweep through the house to pick up any odds and ends. You’d be surprised how good it feels just to keep your floors vacuumed, your laundry put away and your coffee table picked up.
  8. Remember The Little Things: I love having fresh flowers in my house during the summer. To keep our house feeling like a home, I’ve been picking wild flowers and keeping them in a case next to our bed. Not only do they last longer than anything store bought, and are free – but they are significantly more beautiful and diverse. Whatever the little things are that make you feel like a cup of tea and happy, then do them still if you can.

When you’re done, it will be so worth it and even more so if you aren’t fighting the entire time. These are tips we are using in our own renovation, and I hope will help you get through yours. It’s a new and exciting time in your life – embrace it and have fun.

xo,

Heather

House Tour {The Before}

These renovations are going way faster than I thought since we unexpectedly started on Thursday, so I need to stay on it so I don’t fall behind!

Before I get into the other stuff in later posts – let’s house tour it up. This house tour is long overdue, and I did it right in the nick of time. I actually wasn’t intending for this to be the house tour because I had wanted to get the laundry taken care of, our bedroom furniture moved downstairs and the current master bedroom vacuumed, once empty, before I did it. On Thursday however, Andy came home and started tearing down some of the molding in the living room just to get an idea of what was behind it (don’t get me wrong, I was on board—more like jumping up and down). While he was out getting something else done, I decided to take a video of the excitement and then somehow it all got put into a regular old house tour. The only room I missed was the basement. I’ll try and remember to get that the next time I do a tour. Thankfully I had vacuumed when I got home, but I didn’t prep in anyway for the video so you’re in for quite a treat.

By treat I mean laundry, dinner items all over the counter, a messy pantry, some dishes and a super dirty window because of dog noses pressing up against it.

A few notes before the video:

  • The outside of the house tour was done before we fixed the deck in May and the inside of the house tour was just done last Thursday so it’s a bit of a mish mash.
  • When I went into the bathroom originally the seat was up so I cut to another part of it. It’s right outside the office/brother in laws bedroom though, which you see when I turn back around. It’s a really messed up transition in the video, so I apologize. I didn’t realize it until after it was completed and exported.
  • For some reason I call the patio set “the porch”. Nope, the porch will be on the other side of the house, though, it may have a patio set on it too.
  • It’s hard to hear me outside because that day was crazy windy, sorry.
  • I talk with my hands – even on video, when I’m holding it. Hence all the “let me point everything out” for you.

You love it, admit it. Or so I choose to believe this is your reaction.

Poor Winnie did start to get the basketball (that’s why her head was in her toy basket), but then I distracted her by walking around and ignoring her so she just left it. We did get  got in a big walk up to the farm right after all of this hullabaloo. While up there I took a video of the cows, with the intention of making a post about it–and then I got a straight shot of a steer unsuccessfully attempting to mount a heifer while at full *ahem* attention. So I most likely won’t be posting that video.

I will however be posting a video of the demolition work we’ve already done later on.

Drinking game: How many times can I use the word exciting in this blog or in my videos to reference the demolition? Nix that, you’ll all be drunk.

xo,

Heather

Trading Spaces – Wait Is That Copyrighted?

It might be copyrighted. In fact, it probably is, but I’m not talking about the show. I’m talking about our office and guest room. The old guest room – without a door, painted lavender including the ceiling just wasn’t working anymore. It had been the guest/junk/what the hell room since we moved in and it was anxiety provoking to look at. I felt terrible having guests over, and in that room.

At the same time, across the common room from the guest room was our office. It had a door, was slightly smaller than the guest room, and it was the office for both Andy and I, and my soap supplies, among other things. When we moved in we essentially said, “that’s fine” and threw everything in there. It sort of stayed that way for the last four years.

So, I decided to switch the rooms this year.  The pre-renovation updates were pretty simple. I chose an accent color for the back wall and the built it, painted the walls white, caulked a few areas (a lot of areas, like a whole tube of areas), updated the fixtures on the ceiling, and simplified everything. You can see those steps here and here.  By the way, this room is pretty darn small in reality. Due to the hallway and angles, I can’t get it all in one shot.

I turned the built in storage to a soap display for my fully cured soaps. Andy’s desk he built got dusted and cleaned up and turned into my desk, with my old monitor so I can have dual monitors when I’m working/designing with my laptop.

On the back side of the wall I put our solid oak drawer we bought at a barn sale for my crafting supplies, my jar of soap scraps, a frame that is a place holder – though I am admittedly digging the gold. I never though I was a gold frame person, I just might be.

Oh, and hey – it’s that tripod light that I saved 900+ dollars on. If, you know, I ever actually intended on buying a similar $960 dollar lamp. Which I did…not.

Below is my nana’s suitcase with our wedding keepsakes in it, a tin lined milk box I bought at the flea market for $15.00 filled with some art stuff and gift paper. I rarely, if ever, stage a photo. I really organize my items like this.

On the other side of the bureau is the strawberry box my mom picked up for me off the side of the road, filled with my scrap papers and frames which aren’t in use. Against the wall is my art bag. I’ve had that thing (and some of the supplies inside) since high school.


This is the desk from the other angle, standing by the oak bureau. The curtains are two panels for $20 at Homegoods, attached to a tension rod that I settled up behind the molding for a seamless look. Behind the curtain is a piece Andy built in high school which I keep extra blankets in, as well as our basic metal filing cabinet. I just want to say I’m excellent at spacial skills. Or so I tell myself, since I figured out sans measuring tape I could fit both items in the closet perfectly.

Oh, and on the desk. Here’s a closer view.  Andy salvaged the desk drawers, and the top of the desk which are solid mahogany, from an abandoned building. He then built new faces to the drawers and cabinets out of ash. The desk top is insanely deep, and beautiful. It definitely takes up a lot of room. I initially wanted a built in, but kept with this for now. As I kept with it during the day I realized I actually really liked it. So we’ll see what happens down the line once we renovate the house.

And just because it makes me happy to see my soaps displayed out in the open on a bright shelf, and no longer in a closet, this photo is necessary.

As a reminder this is what it looked like before we moved in, and what it looks like now. In the fore front of the “after” photo are items I’m either selling or giving away. It’s amazing how much I’ve been able to get rid of since we moved in. The only item I will have bought for this room when 100% accessorized will be a small area rug I can sit on while I craft.

So there we are. Aside from a few details the office is done for now.

I’m still looking to:

  • Get a comfortable area rug to craft on
  • Decide on some art for the walls
  • On the white wall directly above hang a few closet rods to drape my fabrics over (or next to the window, I haven’t decided yet)
  • Put the wooden antique cheese box (soap photo above) on the wall next to the light switch to use as an “inbox” for any mail of ours we need to go through, so it stays off the kitchen table.

All in all I’m super happy with how it’s turned out. It’s nice to have a place to go and work if I need some quiet, as well as sew. With such a huge desk top I can easily use it for sewing large pieces without a separate sewing table. Now it’s time to finish organizing, list a couple things for sale, and start prepping the old office as the new guest room. I am intending to:

  • Wash the walls.
  • Caulk rough areas, but not mud them. The walls are the worst in that room, but it will be demo’d next summer hopefully.
  • Prime and paint the walls white.
  • Use the Revere Pewter or Edgecomb Gray from the kitchen upgrades (or combine them), to paint wide stripes on the walls similar to The Stucco Bungalow, found through Pinterest. I’m still not sure if I’m doing the entire room, or just one wall.

  • Pick up an extra bed from Mom.
  • Get a small area rug to keep our guests tootsie’s warm.
  • Add some sheer curtains, similar to those in the office.
  • Make a side table using a few items we have around here.

All for now my family and friends! I hope you enjoyed your Turkey Day. I’ll be posting about ours later, and my er – great spacial skills.

Love,

Heather