Renovation Recap: The Living Room Reveal

There are those moments in life when something happens and you look back on it and realize the work to get there was worth it, and that is exactly how I felt when we finished our living room 99% and moved into it this weekend! It was such a surreal moment. I came home tonight and immediately walked into the living room, sat down and just enjoyed everything about it. I can’t wait to show you the reveal, but I will because there were a few steps before we moved in and a few photos you just need to see first.

This is a pine trim which Andy milled from strapping he received with the delivery of another product. It was clear, it was perfect, and it was free. I married well.

DSC_3909-01The baseboards are also a beautiful routed pine. It’s a fairly traditional style but that’s right in line with our craftsman/shaker/farmhouse preferences.

DSC_3896-01 Once Andy finished putting the Danish oil on the trim, we let the room air out and did the final cleanup consisting of cleaning windows, scraping the windows, vacuuming and in general relishing in the room before we moved furniture in.

DSC_3966-01 DSC_3969-01Then we took all of our furniture junk, and moved it into our really nice new living room. Actually, only the couch can be referred to as junk as all other furniture pieces are handmade and are actually quite nice.

DSC_3975-01The photo above sums up how we’ve been living for months, so let me just say I’m a little more happy that view now looks a lot more empty.

DSC_3998-01Someday I’ll look back on this photo and be like, “ahg, I can’t believe it used to look like that, and I was totally cool with it.” Truth though, I honestly don’t care.  I am just so darn elated with this accomplishment which was no small task, considering this room from the other direction used to be a falling in porch which I once power washed an old toilet on.

pictures1 327Now, that old fallen in porch is long gone and our new living room is a cozy, warm, friendly, loving space.

DSC_3986-01DSC_3992-01It might look a little plainly decorated in photos, but in person it’s so nice. I love the layering of woods, the neutral walls, the open and airy feel to it. There are obviously still some interior design type things we need to do like get a light shade for the center of the room, upgrade the lamp on the table, add some art, maybe some window treatments, and get a new sofa but I don’t even see those things at this moment. They just don’t even matter. No interior design is going to really matter until the house is complete and we can see it in one piece. We have a few sentimental items up now, and I brought in my baskets of yarn, but besides that we’re good as is.

DSC_3991-01You can see my kindle charging next to the sofa, which brings me to another awesome thing Andy did in this room for convenience purposes. He put outlets on either side so we could each plug in our electronics without always tangling them around each others stuff. For Andy this simply meant a laptop. For me, it’s a laptop, my camera battery, my phone, my kindle, the lamp—you get the point. So needless to say I have a double outlet on my side and he has a single on his. On my side two of the plugs are also operable by switch. If you walk into the room from the kitchen area, you have the option to either turn on the dimming overhead lights or flip on the lamp. It’s definitely not a “need” and it never was, but when Andy mentioned the option without a lot more work it was a no-brainer. It’s a nice convenience to have, and it means I have three other outlets I can leave my other chargers plugged into if I want.

DSC_3990-01The other “design element” I did in this room was to re-organize the bookshelf so it was more visually appealing. I know what the books look like I use the most (i.e. cookbooks and gardening references) so I can grab them quickly. I hesitate to call this a “design element” only because it was more of a “dust your shit once in a while and make things look nice”. I did this by organizing every book by color family. I used to do this with my clothes in my closet in high school sometimes and I loved it. Turns out, I now love it on a bookshelf. I think this was a thing like two years ago. I seem to remember seeing people organize things by color on some design show a while back. Consider me up to date and totally hip to trends (*nods head in a sarcastic “yeah, that’s it” manner*).

DSC_3977-01 DSC_3979-01What, you didn’t think we’d be highlighting a hand turned vase, a chainsaw book and a sawmill book on our bookshelf? Come on now. Oh, and to the far left is a book called American Brassiere. It’s a cook book that I don’t work out of a lot but I still thoroughly enjoy none the less. Just throwing that out there.

DSC_3981-01Andy and I were both wowed and loved how the bookshelf looked in the room for the sheer fact that all of the natural light made the wood grain glimmer. It never looked like this in the darker room before so we’re happy to see the fine grain in all of the glory it deserves. Well played natural light, well played.

At the end of the day, we are incredibly happy with this room and how it turned out. It’s so nice to have one room you can come into and not have to look at the items that still needs to be done. At this point, window treatments, etc. don’t feel like things that need to be done. Finishing the flooring in the other rooms are on the need to be done list, so as far as I’m concerned right now this room is done. OH and as it turns out, when you have nice things you want to take care of them. Guess who’s going out to get felt pads to put on the bottom of the coffee table? I guess I’m officially that adult. At least I’m not putting tennis balls on the legs. Did anyone else have to do that to their chairs in elementary school or know what the heck I’m referring to?

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads this post and/or as followed my blog. I know there are a lot of people who read and never comment and that’s totally okay (though I would love if you said “hi!”, I’ll say “hi!” back!). This blog really is a cathartic place to get some of my feelings and thoughts out and I absolutely love sharing our little life with you. I wish you could all just come and sit in here and feel how relaxing it really is. Then again, if ALL of you were in here it wouldn’t be relaxing at all, so let’s just do it one at a time. I’ll put on some tea for you.

xo,

Heather

P.S.) I’ll be back within the next week or so with an update on the other parts of the renovation we’re still working on! There’s also been some talk up at the farm, and some gardening underway so I hope to write about all of that soonish too. Have a wonderful day everyone!

All Hands On Deck {Part Four}

Update: Last night at dinner Andy informed me of two huge mistakes I made in this post. One, I called construction adhesive ‘caulking’ and two I referred to our belt sander as a ‘band saw’ (wtf?). I would like you all to know that if I get a construction term wrong, and it seems to make him look incompetent—it’s totally me. Not him. He knows what he’s doing. Poor guy. I really should have him proof these kinds of posts first.

This post has taken me a while to get up. As an old professor used to say, “As is life”. She also wore bright nail polish all the time because if she was ever upset all she had to do was look at her nails and laugh. She also used the word flummoxed a lot. She was one of my favorites….and so is this new deck.

Last weekend, after a week of rain and general drizzly weather, Saturday and Sunday turned out to be beautifully sunny so we were able to continue progress on our little piece of heaven security.

Since Andy had already finished everything up through the decking (seen here, here and here) it was time to start the cedar posts, and mahogany rails. The first step was measuring and notching out the post itself. Update: I thought we had bought the cedar posts, Andy informed me he actually made all of those.

Then Andy did a test fit, before cutting the decking itself just to make sure it would fit correctly. Test fits are absolute key, since you don’t want to cut into decking that was a.) free and b.) expensive to replace.

And then he repeated it, eight more times.

Once the cedar posts were set, he grabbed the mahogany railings and set them out so we could see where we wanted them, if we wanted to rip them narrower, and where we were going to overlap them. Also, some of the pieces had channels on the bottom, and some were flat and Andy and Casey (Tom Cruise has a real name) went back and forth over whether they should all have channels or not.

Andy won (pst – this railing is not centered where we were actually attaching it).

Once we figured out the placement, and all of the angles (and by we, I clearly mean just Andy while I took photos) it was time to start assembling them. Andy started with the one corner that required a clear 45 degree on each end piece. First he marked it all and then cut the angles on our portable saw.

Once everything was cut, he assembled them using a mix of construction adhesive, biscuits as well as a few screws with the Kreg jig.  Andy doesn’t usually use of the Kreg jig as a primary way to secure two items (though there are times it works, as you’ll see later in this post), but in this case it worked great as a secondary way to secure the railings in conjunction with the biscuits.

He also used this method to secure the joint on the other side where two boards met. It’s a good overall technique for most similar purposes.

Tip: If your caulking/adhesive seems clogged up use a screw, either putting it in by hand or with your screw gun, and then reverse it and pull. It works just about every time.

After everything was attached, Andy then hand made wood plugs out of mahogany for each hole so it would look nice. Once they were dry he cut them off (I don’t have a photo of this..boo).

Side Story: Before the boys secured the rail down they had it sitting on posts and it was too long, so it was across the opening. Guess who walked up the stairs full charge and COMPLETELY missed a giant wide piece of mahogany across the opening? This lady right here. I crashed right into it. Andy just put his hand on his forehead and my brother-in-law laughed at me and made fun of me for a solid five minutes.Then I almost did it. Again. And then one more time just for good measure.

This about did it for the work on Saturday/Sunday, and then the rain came. Again. Last night it finally gave us a break (for a little while) and since Andy took the day off work he got to working on the deck some more. When I got in home all of the posts were cut and he was making the hand rail out of mahogany. The key to the hand rail is that it can’t be as wide as the perimeter railing. It needs to be comfortable and narrow enough to get a grip on if you start to take a digger.

Test fit one.

Success! It was comfortable, narrow enough and looked good. To secure it, Andy used the Kreg Jig  on the bottom side into each post, sans (I think) any other needed adhesive. We joked about face nailing it, but I should point out there are a couple things you shouldn’t do with a deck—secure things with nails, and face nail your wood (unless you really like look of screws everywhere…).

Now, I thought he was done for the day since the rain started sprinkling but then I heard this loud noise and looked outside to find this.

Refinishing the railings with a belt sander? You bet! As good of an idea as this is, please wear a mask. Not your shirt pulled over your face like my husband. Why? Because eventually you will be covered in sawdust and look like this. Oh, and the saw dust is actually shooting in front of his hat, it’s not shooting underneath like it looks below. Trickery of photography.

I love how it looks with that old weird sealant off the top and the fresh wood. Over time the mahogany will darken up again, but at least it will look even.

So much better!

When he was done I asked him to stop for a second so I could take a photo of him to prove how much dust gets everywhere.

As you can note by the photo above, he does not ever stop moving. Blurry Andy it is. I need to keep my shutter speed on a million just to keep up with him.

Well, that’s where this part ends. Hopefully (cross your fingers) the next deck post will be the last. In the mean time, let’s play the “let’s see how many errors we can find in this post” game. The fact is I’ve waited way too long to post this.

So I’m going to, without proof reading it first.

What? I’m a risk taker.

Happy Building (and mask wearing),

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