Painting the Foundation

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Happy Friday everyone!  I have FINALLY finished painting the most visible side and front of the house from brown to charcoal!  And also three cheers for  almost totally pulling out that overgrown bush tree AGAIN (this is the last time, we swear).

Before: 

After: 

We are so excited to build up some landscaping and start letting our house look a little more lived in cared for!

This paint is a Howard custom as we started out with a Sherwin Williams color called Sea Otter but Blake thought it was still too brown so we mixed black until we found a shade we liked.  I then painted a thin piece of wood with our test pot and had it color matched.

We still have another side to do but it’s not as visible so I’m not in as huge of a rush….maybe next week (The back of the house is actually white and it’s going to stay white because it’s under the porch and already dark enough).

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SKETCHY: 

Someone who lived here before us actually painted all the basement windows a dark red from the inside so I’m going to work next to correct that look.

We totally understand the need for privacy but the red needs to go….I think it makes the house look scary.  I’m going to try and remove the paint so I can repaint from the inside.  If I can’t get the paint off I actually may have to paint from the outside….the goal would be to repaint the trim white so things look nice and clean and give the illusion that the windows are operable but the lights are off! Still have a little scraping  to do on this one below from the other side of the house.

So that’s where we are now (notice from the last post we finally got those second floor shutters up! Still a ways to go but it’s felt so great to make some strides in fixing up the outside of the house!  I’m hoping to get some planters out on the new wing walls this weekend and finish brainstorming a game plan for what to do to the right of the door.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Spot the Difference

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Friends,  we are far from being done out here but we’re having fun with some recent changes!  It reminds me of a spot the difference activity from Highlights magazine…

We’re finally tackling painting over the brown foundation (TOTALLY wish it was still brick!! I talked to a Mason about sandblasting the paint off but that honestly just seemed a little more intense than we are prepared for right now).

We’re putting on shutters….I say that in the present tense because we are putting them on the top window I just ordered the wrong size (can I blame lack of sleep?) so we are waiting until those come in.

My favorite update is actually the wing walls flanking the front steps! It’s hard to see in the first picture but because the stairs didn’t span the whole width of the porch area  (because that covering wasn’t original) I always felt the house looked disproportionate.  These walls to me make the area look much more substantial and I can’t wait to put some big planters on them! (Jesus take the wheel on my black thumb!)

For fun, here is a picture of our house the day we bought it!  Seeya later shingles, plain white door and funky little window!   Hello gutters!…so glad you stopped our basement from flooding every time it rained!

It’s another game of spot the difference between the day we bought it and an original rendering!

Future plans include finish painting the foundation,  overhaul that area to the right of the door, landscape to the left, hang shutters on the top window.  We actually bought and assembled a wall pergola to go over the window to the right but I’m having second thoughts about it (don’t tell Blake)….and we also have some railing we had planned to put back on the front stairs but it’s not original and also not sure if that’s needed now that we have wing walls?   And Lord have mercy we need to get something to wind that hose up on that’s all over the driveway LOL

I’m also trying to decide if window boxes really are in fact just a place for plants to go to die?  I’m pretty sure they are.

 

The new roof line

Where were we? I’ve been having to do some serious big girl research on blogging to get some things straightened out and as a result I’ve had to stay off my site and let the professionals take over for a few days. The library card I thought I was getting for Everly was apparently very much for me too!

books

So, we left off (before a pie and a new shelf) in the beginning stages of changing our roof line in the back of the house. I’m happy to report this project is nearly complete! We’re talking 1 piece of hardy board and a can of trim paint away!

Before:

new roof line

After:

after

Our trusted carpenter and Blake, over the course of two days, pulled everything out, reframed the window, created new rafters, and put the roof back except for the shingles. It was a CRAZY detailed process…one we couldn’t have tackled without the help of someone who can think 5 cuts ahead of where you always are! I feel like it’s not even fair to reduce this process to these pictures. It was from 8am-8pm+, 100 degree weather, on a roof. NOT PLEASANT but Blake is a DIY soldier!

open windowEs room open new framing new rafters Blake in the heat waiting on shingles

We lucked out and found a ton of extra shingles in the basement! Not that shingles are expensive but this way we wouldn’t have to worry about matching the existing. Yesterday the roofers were able to come out and blend in the new shingles with the old. You can tell a small color difference but they said within a couple of months it won’t be noticeable at all! I think the house just looks a lot better now too! Like this is how it should have been done all along.

Now that the water leak has been fixed we can turn our attention to what started this whole thing in the first place! Our downstairs bedroom which we need to move Everly (and eventually both girls) to. Before I can do anything at all the ceiling has to be fixed which should be happening today/tomorrow and then I’m going to clean it like crazy and freshen up the paint. My nesting bones can hardly wait!

before of Es room

We’ve also made the decision to move the ceiling fan out to the living room and put the chandelier (painted a fun color!) in this room. Speaking of living room, we sold our couch and while we wait for the new one I’m really enjoying the wide open space not having a sectional provides….can I put up my Christmas tree yet? Just kidding all you T.P.S. associates (TPS=Thanksgiving Protective Services)…but really.

And speaking of Christmas…. we get asked a lot about recommendations on tools we use and items we’ve found to be tried and true.   I’ve added a page at the top of the blog now called “Shop Our Tool Belt”.  It’s a little store that’s directly connected to Amazon where we’ve linked in some of our favorite items (and they go beyond the tool belt).  These ARE affiliate links so if that kind of thing concerns you check out our privacy and disclosure page for details. Because it’s our page I control 100% of what is put in there and therefore we wouldn’t put anything we don’t already use and have a positive opinion about!  I’ve really just started adding some items as I think of them but I’ll keep updating as we work through projects and find new toys…I mean tools… Anyway, this could be a one stop shop for that difficult person to buy for 🙂

I’m also working on some FREE printables for the site which I hope to start posting within the next week!

PS: how are we feeling about the instagram stories? I uploaded a couple and I think it’s kind of a fun way to follow bloggers behind the scenes! If you want to follow us on instagram you can do that here and to follow us on facebook see the link at the top right of the page.  Talk to you soon!

Back door storage makeover

Our back door leads straight out onto our patio area and when we first moved into this house, in an effort to just get things hung on the walls, we put two hooks by the back door.  At the time they held dog leashes.  That didn’t make any sense because we walked the dogs out the front door, not on the patio.  Probably a year into living there, in a new effort to make each space make sense, we ditched the dog leashes and put our most used coats on the hooks by the back door.  We all know how it goes right? You hang a hook somewhere with the intention of having one jacket on it and the dang thing ends up being like a rabbit.  It breeds coats! Suddenly you have 5 coats hanging there you didn’t even know you had and the one you always want to wear is on the bottom of the stack.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Am I right?

Another thing that always irked me about this is that said hooks were right above our trash can.  Something about our coats hanging over the trashcan had me constantly wondering if I smelled like garbage when I wore my coat.

Once we redid the patio and were spending more and more time out there the same questions constantly started to crop up.  “where is the sunscreen?” “where is the bug spray?” “have you seen the lighter?” “WHERE did we get all these bubbles and why are they constantly on the coffee bar????”   This prompted me to long for a shelf right at the back door to hold all of these everyday items.

before

FINALLY. A space that makes sense and is working for our family!  I found this old, pre loved, shelf and felt it fit the bill enough for what I was after.

before shelf

The only thing I didn’t love was the hokey look of the thing.  When I got it I didn’t have time to give it a makeover so I hung it up as is…a trial run for our needs I suppose.   I realized a couple of things in my test drive.  1) the pegs were too large for key rings 2) occasionally things would fall off the shelf 3) I was never going to get used to that watering can floral scene.

I went shopping in our basement for some supplies and found enough white paint, some gold spray paint, and a wooden dowel all on hand.   Hobby Lobby was running the 50% off hooks and knobs sale so I grabbed 4 of gold hooks to match my theme for less than $5 total.

Capture

I probably put about 4 coats of paint on the whole thing to get good coverage.  I think I put a couple coats on a day just as I walked by.  I removed the old pegs with some pliers (the struggle was REAL) and filled in the holes with spackling we had on hand…making sure to place my new hooks below so they would be in solid wood.  I sprayed the wooden dowel with my gold paint and lodged it into the shelf securing it with some glue.

AFTER!

side

I love the clean look of the finished product! Now each of our most commonly used patio items has a designated spot!

close up

with door

New roof line

If you’ve been around here for long you know we’ve been chasing a water leak for the better part of two years.  Two leaks actually (but the same kind), one in the kitchen and one in the guest room.  The one in the kitchen seemed to have tapered off but the one in the guest room only got worse.  As we’re turning the guest room into a room for one of our girls (and eventually both) we had to officially repair the ceiling and pray we had stopped the leak.  We gave plaster repair the old college try (Lord have mercy).  After one afternoon attempt we threw in the towel for a while which ended up being a blessing.  It allowed it to rain enough for us to see water damage happening to the brand new plaster.  Leak not fixed.  Such a bummer.  We called more people out to look things over and everyone had the same reaction….”we have no idea”.

Well, we had SOME idea.  We knew it had something to do with these two reverse dormers on the back of the house.

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Each water damage spot was right below the reverse dormers.  We decided to have the roofing on those redone (we had repaired the window trim as much as we thought was physically possible so didn’t see how any water was seeping in around them).  Blake agreed to do the demo of the project for a little break on the cost of labor.

Upon ripping things apart he quickly realized all the rotten wood underneath the windows.

We had a carpenter friend make a late night house call (angels walk among us) and he told us what he would do if it was his house.  The plan was the same plan Blake and I had tossed around several times but tried not to commit to because it was the most extensive and expensive plan.  We needed to get rid of the reverse dormers and do one solid roof line across the back of the house.

new roof line

This would require taking out perfectly good windows and replacing them with windows that were a bit shorter…like the one on our bathroom (back middle of the house). We still have double full size windows on the sides of the rooms so I don’t feel like we are losing that valuable of window real estate.  This just means we can have more flexibility about furniture on that wall in those rooms!

This project now is going to include a little more demo, redoing siding, resetting windows, taking out and putting back in drywall on the inside, and roofing the newly framed out joists.  It’s just pretty much NOT what my very nesty self wants to be getting into at 33 weeks pregnant.  And I talk like I’M getting into it.  It’s really the husband who is taking the brunt of this redo… But hey, we had central air installed the week before Everly was born so I won’t act like it’s out of the norm for us:)

On the eve of project-stop-the-leaks-2016 here is where we are:

DSC_0692

Can’t wait to share the rest of this process once we get it all put back together! For some peeks along the way be sure to follow us on instagram and facebook! Oh and I’ve dropped this tip before here but it’s worth mentioning again, if you’re local, Ken’s Inc. on Wade Hampton is a supply haven! We got the exact windows we were needing for about $100 less than what the big box store was going to charge us (a piece!!).

 

Getting Creative to save Cents

When you have a structure that’s made of concrete and steel it can be tricky to figure out how to attach, well… really anything. We knew we wanted to do the string lights but it took some creativity to figure out how to attach 2 points of contact on the yard side of the patio without being a pro welder. And attach an additional 3 contact points on the house side without touching the house (don’t want the wind slamming glass bulbs into the house….and I guess…lightning rod?) or having the bulbs drag the shingles.

light plan

This whole thing actually started the same day our patio was poured. Blake and I were having ourselves a celebratory wine picnic on the patio that night and we noticed some random wires sticking out the side of the house (not your average house). I don’t know if it was the wine or what but we remembered there was also a switch inside the house we never figured out what went to. Without saying a word we looked at each other and parted ways….Blake to get the voltage meter and me to the switch. “On the count of 3!”   aaannnndddd…..we had electricity running to the patio this whole time and didn’t know. What a LUCKY surprise! Blake extended the wires up through some conduit and attached an outdoor outlet to the house to plug our lights into.  Anyways, back to the DIY how to.

We went on a couple (what we call) scouting missions to Lowes looking for materials and pricing the project out of hanging the lights. Our phones are so full of different hardware and their various prices we could almost run an independent Lowes website. If you’ve ever wondered what the photocloud of someone renovating a house looks like…it’s this:

IMG_6865

Anyways, Blake devised the following plan:

We would attach 8ft. poles metal conduit poles to our existing rails using hose clamps. The hose clamps were rated for the specific weight and pull we thought we would have and we used 3 on each pole for extra security. For the middle portion of the house side we actually cabled them into the side of the house just using a really basic clip (again, high weight rated).   If I had it my way they would have hung below the window but we couldn’t let them drag the shingles.

On each pole Blake used a clip to attach the lights to another longer piece of metal we simply dropped down into the pole. We didn’t secure it at all but gravity and the pull to the sides keep it in place.

So the total cost of lighting this whole shebang was $180.94 which I consider a steal to have taken care of all the lighting for our patio.

The only thing we wish we had done was use a stronger metal pole. Ours have bent pretty seriously and it’s just because we used the cheapest materials (however, still rust proof). The stronger material we’ll probably upgrade to one day cost $14.50 each. The poles we have wouldn’t break they just let the lights swag a little….which, who doesn’t like a little swag on their patio??

Speaking of cheap materials (ya’ll, paving a patio and adding a hottub will leave you approximately 5 cents in the bank to finish said patio).   We HAD to add a gate for obvious reasons. We still don’t have a railing on the stairs but at least we have a gate, right? Right.

IMG_6866

Blake attached a wooden frame to the existing steel railing like so:

He built the frame of the gate itself like any other gate kit would have you do. We wanted the gate to have the same modern feel as the whole structure so we decided to keep that flow. Blake drilled out placeholders for rods to be placed in.  We didn’t have it in the budget to buy stainless steel for this project and we also didn’t have time to wait. We actually used PVC pipe and sprayed it with metallic spray paint to mimic the silver of the other railing. Now, up close can you tell something is different? Yes. But from far away we have a darn good fake if I do say so myself. Especially when the sun hits it all (see photo above)…it’s pretty much all blinding anyway.

IMG_6876

The latch system we purchased is one of those self-closing ones because with young kids you just can’t take the chance of someone forgetting to latch the gate back…so it’s spring loaded.

It’s our plan to stain that frame the same color we opt for on the wooden accent (trex board) we’ll be adding to the all the rest of the handrail. This should really help the whole thing look less like a prison and look a little softer/still modern.

Progress my friends, progress.

We still need to:

  • Add railing to the stairs
  • Fix the surface of the stairs
  • Add trex accent to the handrail of all railing
  • Figure out some privacy screens for the sides
  • Replace guest bedroom window with a French door for two points of access (and one closer to the bathroom)
  • Need to talk about some awnings
  • The whole underside of the structure needs to be sanded and painted (UGHHHH)

That list was daunting to even type. Might be a while before we are working on all this again! The inside of the house is calling 🙂

Smooth again.

We left off here in sort of a day dream state about the patio.  I wanted to catch you up to speed because things didn’t go as planned…

We rented a dumpster for a week back in July and tore up the top level of concrete by hand (literally using a hammer…the air chisel was too much power).

It was painful. SO HOT. and there were blisters everywhere.  I don’t know if Blake would agree but I did think it was slightly better than hanging drywall (aka the worlds largest marriage test.)

So, anyways, we finished this tedious chore in a weeks time and then called in a recommended concrete specialist (Evolution Concrete).  They basically told us it was completely unnecessary to do what we had just done because the best option was going to be to add 3 inches of concrete to what was there and just start fresh (as opposed to pouring just a new top layer).  We had no choice at that point but to be thankful for the forced workout and move ahead.

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These guys were AWESOME! They came, they saw, they concreted…err conquered!  Even the method of how they kept the concrete from spilling over the edges was fascinating.

We opted for a polished, smooth finish and for about a week I thought I may rub my face on the concrete every morning to just celebrate what I wasn’t having to see out the kitchen window anymore!

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It’s hard to see the original condition of the structure from move in day but I did a comparison…hey look, we replaced a wheel barrow that took 10 months to move with a baby!  And the tree has really grown! The branches were actually hanging over the patio pre concrete pour but we cut them back to keep the leaves out of the wet concrete.

Capture

We’re settling back into our patio a little at a time using the furniture we have but have some larger plans for phases 2, 3, 5, 43….  The hot tub was a reward to ourselves for accomplishing a financial goal (and made possible by the savings we had using the concrete company we did!).  I wasn’t into the idea at first but now I can totally understand why it’s a necessity for a house renovation (goodbye sore muscles!)

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Never mind that area rug hanging over the balcony…it was a casualty of a leaky roof that I’m still in denial about.

I’ll have to post about the way we hung the lights….I swear I’m married to an engineer who lies like a dog to me about his day job 🙂