before and after: our master bath

we finished this renovation in august 2010. as for sharing pictures, better late than never, right?

this bathroom used to be a bedroom. and the old bathroom is now our connected master closet. did you follow that? ;) here's a picture of the bedroom that became our master bath.

 we ripped up the carpet on the second night we owned the house, back in the winter of 2009.


and after!

we designed the layout of the bathroom ourselves with help from ben's dad. at first we were going to try to squeeze in a tub, but we realized we aren't really tub people and decided on a nice big shower instead. (staying on top of cleaning the grout can be tough, but i've had great success with basic h from shaklee—which i use all over our house—and mr. clean magic erasers for tile and grout!)

here are our sources in case any of you locals are curious.

  • cabinetry: designed cabinets
  • countertops: corian in glacier white from nu shapes construction
  • tile: marble mosiac and white ceramic penny and wall tiles from kate-lo tile and stone
  • glass shower enclosure: designed glass
  • fixtures: delta, kohler, and moen (menards and home depot)
  • mirrors: ikea
  • paint color: benjamin moore palladian blue
  • more on the diy artwork here

dresser refurb

good morning, lads and lasses!

this is an old project that i finished last year, but if you've been here a while, you know how i roll. i still owe you pictures of our master bath, which we finished in august of 2010, but that's for another day.

ben and i inherited this old dresser from his family's cabin. it's a really fun dresser with a great shape, but unfortunately, the dresser itself wasn't in such great shape. it was plenty sturdy, it just had some finish issues. but i could see past the braces, glasses, and frumpy wardrobe. i knew we could turn her into student council president. vote for summer! i think i will.

i thought about painting her (yes, it's a she) a fun color. yellow? aqua? no, no. i thought it best to stick to neutral since we planned on putting her in our bedroom with the bright red headboard. so i rummaged through our substantial paint stash and came up with a way to do this for free using leftover paint from other projects.

first, i gave her a good vacuum and scrub inside and out. then i left her out to dry and it rained. oops. then like a month went by with her back in the garage so i washed her again.

sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint, varnish. or something like that. i reused the old hardware making this (i think?) a free project. the best kind. voila!

she cleans up nice, don't you think? i like her little scalloped skirt. and the paint treatment goes with our bedside tables even though the furniture is different.

we have a very substantial closet attached to our master bath, so we didn't need to use this dresser for clothes. since i cleaned out and organized the linen closet, i can move the bed linens in here and have them that much closer to the bed. i've got jewelry and a temporary mirror up top, but as always, a work in progress.


before and after: the kitchen

oh my have i ever been holding out on you guys. our kitchen has been "done" for a long, long time—this is old news for many of you who have been over to our home.

but for those of you who haven't seen it in person, here it is!

an "after" is much more satisfying when the "before" is a hot mess. here's the kitchen when we bought the home.

now that i take a look at these pictures again, that kitchen doesn't look that bad. i think it was the feeling of grossness that was so overwhelming—especially with that water damage. i never cooked in that kitchen. not once. we ripped it apart before we even moved in (although we kept the "newer" half of the cabinets for storage in the basement). if you are interested in pictures of the process, check out the archives from 2009. oh yes. two years ago.

okay. this is the part of the tv show where the host says "uncover your eyes and take a look at your new kitchen!!!"

"unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1

we are incredibly grateful to have this kitchen.

before and after: the half bath

hello, friends!

well, the completion of the art for the half bath means that it is time for a full-on before and after post. here it is!

this tiny space is hard to photograph! the bathroom is literally three feet wide—pretty close to the smallest code will allow.

this room wasn't always a bathroom. no no. it used to be a dining room connected to the kitchen. it also had a big french door to the nasty screen porch that we demolished.

those are HEARTS carved into that bench. oh yes.

our home has an attached garage. score! BUT . . . at the time of purchase, there was no door from the garage to the house. seriously. so we converted this dining room into a mudroom and cut a door to the garage. we added a closet and an attached half bath. confused? these will help:

when we bought the house:

the house as of last winter (ignore the entire left side of this—no longer current!):

see that door to the garage? and see that tiny half bath? yes! let's sprint through the "during" photos. on your mark!

framing. note the pocket door! very handy for small spaces.

drywall installed by ben + friends!

 custom art from my favorite artist, beth!

we learned to tile. 'twas messy and fun!

and here we are now:

[maybe it is just me who notices this in the top picture—no, we did not install a curved ceiling! the mirror is a bit wavy.]

not much "decorating" going on here, because it is just so small. but it is exactly what we need and we are really glad we added it! we considered putting the washer and dryer in the mudroom but opted for the bathroom instead. this is proving to be a very good decision.

and to those of you who have used this tiny half bath, great news! ben oiled the squeaky pocket door, so now your use of the bathroom will no longer be announced to the entire neighborhood.

the state of our [home], part 2

i'm back to show pictures of the kitchen as it stands today. of course, a room is never really "done," and this is no exception—we need to cover the putty holes on the trim, do some paint touch-ups, etc. but the kitchen functions so that's fine with me. :)

when we bought the house, the kitchen looked like this:

it was positively lovely. :) today, it looks like this:

i know it's a lot of white, but don't fear! the other side looks like this:

we love our kitchen. we spend tons of time in it and it just functions so well—tons of counter space, wonderful light. we added a bump-out window over the sink (klaas's idea) and replaced the small door at the back with a slider. we'll get some stools and a proper table and chairs eventually.

ben took an action shot before dinner the other night. here's to good cooking in 2010!

the state of our [home]

as of tomorrow—february 26, 2010—we will officially celebrate the one-year anniversary of owning our home. i remember the day we closed...there was a huge snowstorm and after the closing, we didn't even go up to the house!

that day, i started this blog. i posted this verse:
"unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain."
Psalm 127:1

what a blessing this home has been! God has sustained us through demolition and construction. there was minimal bloodshed. but on top of the physical structure, God has built our home spiritually. ben and i have settled in and we often think about and pray for the children who, Lord willing, we will raise here. just last weekend we were able to host two gatherings and afterward, i was filled with joy about having a warm, comfortable place to host friends and family. wow. Lord, thank you for all you've done for us!

so what's next for our home? i'm so glad you asked. :) well, we're starting the last project that will complete the entire re-do of the first level of our home: the master bedroom. we'll start the demo this weekend.

but before i get into that, i thought it might be a nice time to post some current photos of the house.

today i'll start with the living room. i'm not sure i've ever posted a picture of the changes we've made! let's recap. when we bought the house, the living room looked like this:

today, it looks like this:

one of the first things we did in the house was rip out that carpet. we eventually framed in the wall to close if off from the previous dining room (now the mudroom—layout here). once the drywall was installed and taped, we tackled that eyesore of a fireplace. it was in such sorry shape and kind of overwhelmed the room. we built out the hearth and paid for tile to be installed. (we're beginners when it comes to tiling and because it is such a focal point, we wanted it to be done right!) we also had our cabinet designers make us a mantle. it is huge, but we love it. we got an estimate to install a gas insert, but it was kind of spendy. so maybe we'll save up for it in the future. for now, we've got a chimney balloon helping to stop cold air from coming down.

we don't have any window coverings up yet, but we'll get there. we are borrowing those comfy chairs from ben's sister and her husband. once we figure out how we really want to use the room (tv? computer? etc.), we'll get some new things and i can really "decorate" it. can't wait!

i'll do another entry on the kitchen soon. thanks for sticking with me! it's been a very good year.

phase one layouts

(this picture was taken standing in the kitchen, facing toward the former dining room. we were in the process of knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen.)

i realize that without showing a layout, it is difficult to visualize what structural changes we've made to our home. there was a time when things looked like the above photo—and there was a reason! we moved/removed a few walls and rearranged a few things, including windows and doors. this was all a part of "phase one" of our remodel, which will eventually include the entire first floor.

we use a program called chief architect to play around with layouts. we didn't hire a general contractor for the project: klaas (my father-in-law) and ben are knowledgeable on these types of things, and klaas's advice was invaluable. he's built houses for a living and knows what works and what doesn't. he thought of plenty of things that we didn't and we are so thankful for his help.

here's what the first level of the house was like when we bought it (a little fuzzy):

and here's the after (well, after phase one!):

the garage is to the right, next to the living room and former dining room. BUT, as you'll notice, when we bought the home there was no door from the garage entering into the house. you'd park your car in the attached garage, and then walk back out the garage door and go to the front or the back of the house to get inside. that was one of the first things we fixed! a lot of houses in bloomington have detached garages, so we wanted to make the most of our attached one.

so we cut a door from the house to the garage. :) in the after layout, there is a proper mudroom as an entry into the house from the garage. we were so happy we made this decision—it is so convenient.

we had to decide if we wanted to try to squeeze our washer and dryer into the mudroom (they are in the basement) but we decided not to. instead, we put in a small half bath and a pretty substantial closet. (a few project entries here and here.) the decision to put in a half bath was partially influenced by the decision to create a proper master suite on the first floor—and thus tie the full bath that already existed into the suite. we added the half bath so that guests wouldn't have to use our master bath or go upstairs—there would be a guest bath on the first floor.

the mudroom was created out of the former dining room, which had a large french door to the back of the house. (i forgot to mention that the house used to have a gross "porch" on the back, which we ripped right down last spring.) so we don't have a formal dining room anymore, BUT we have a much larger kitchen and dining area (we expanded the kitchen a few feet into the former dining room space). again, so happy with the decision.

i was concerned about the fact that we were stopping the "flow" of the first level by blocking off the living room. the living spaces on the first level used to be a full circle, but the living room is now closed off by itself. it has turned out great, though, because the living room has more wall space for furniture, etc. it hasn't been a problem so far.

so i think that's pretty much it! oh yeah, you might notice that we did away with the closets that used to exist as part of the eat-in area/bedroom #2. this expanded the kitchen by about two feet. every bit counts! bedroom #2 is now without a closet, but that's okay. it's going to be part of the master suite. more details on that later.

thanks everyone for the encouraging facebook messages and emails! i'm glad to see people are interested in what we've been doing. we are thankful for the opportunity, the means, and the physical ability to tackle this project.

well, both REAL SIMPLE and this old house came in the mail today, so i'm going to put on my jams and hop into bed for some reading. goodnight!

hit the highlights

i'm gonna hit the highlights of what has been going on over the past two months.

*pocket doors are installed, as well as closet doors.
*all trim around windows and doors is installed. in some places, i still have to putty the nail holes and give it one more coat of paint, but it is pretty much there.
*the crown was installed above our kitchen cabinets.
*the living room is usable! putting in the carpet was huge. the only thing that is missing (construction-wise) is the mantel. it is coming tomorrow, and we are having it sprayed in a white lacquer. then installed, and done!

here are some mini before and afters.

front door (from the inside):

(from the upstairs hallway...all the glass made for an extreme lack of privacy. can you see the wallpaper?)

(the wallpaper and trim are down. but you can see that the previous owners loved spray foam insulation!)

(during, on painting day. we installed a new door and painted the walls.)

(after! new door, new paint, new trim, new hardware.)

stair railing:

(the railing before was a scratched and rusted wrought iron. missing doors in the background.)

(ben stained the newel. looks like he's preparing for a chess game with giant pieces.)



(we lived with these ragged edges for quite a few weeks.)

(after! now our trim is installed. such a difference!)(a door to the basement. no more gaping hole.)

(crown above the cabinets.)

the half bath:

(fear not, houseguests: the bathroom now has a door.)

that was a lot of photo uploading. i'll save the fireplace and living room photos for later in the week.

six months later

we've owned this house for just over six months. honestly, that fact coupled with the truth that none of our rooms are actually finished is a bit discouraging. on friday night, we got a little down about it. we've been waiting for our framer to get started on the siding, new windows and roof - he has been busy building a haunted house at buck hill! funny.

we're ready to get moving on the finishing touches. we spent a few hours at menards picking out our base profile. i'd love to do a really wide base - something really substantial - but we don't have high ceilings. what we picked is nice, though. i didn't really like anything they had in stock for casing. thankfully, ordering from scherer bros. is an option (sometimes, menards just doesn't quite cut it), and my father-in-law had a bunch of leftover samples from his homes. yesterday, i primed and painted them to see which one we like better. i think we'll go with the one on the left. the edges are a little softer. again, i'd love to do something wide and dramatic, but we have a simple ranch home and we don't want to go overboard.

ben also framed out the new hearth so that it will meet code. we are going to install a really basic solid taupe tile surround with a white mantle. we are hiring a contractor to do a sort of smooth stucco treatment over the brick, so it will appear to be drywall. we can paint it the same color as the room.

i've been priming and painting doors in our living room "workshop."

and yesterday, i finished tearing down the wallpaper around the front door.



our new front door came in last week, and i'm excited for less of a peep show! it just has a few small panes of glass on the very top, so people won't be able to see so much into the house. i think it'll make us feel a little safer.

pressing on!

weekend update: mini-makeovers

this past weekend was full of small triumphs around the house.

first off: the front porch. i finally put out the housewarming gift dave and lauren got us. it is an adorable welcome mat from patina. my mom and i went to costco and she bought us this fantasticly huge plant. so they went up on the front porch. i know this is kind of like lipstick on a pig, but it brightened up our entryway significantly (even if the only person who notices is the postman).



to quote from clueless, "not a totally betty, but a vast improvement."

here's another small update:

(please excuse the sawdust.) i love the knobs. they add a great sheen to the kitchen that makes me really excited for shiny new appliances.

and finally, we painted the mudroom a lovely shade of gray. it was actually called "dorian gray" from sherwin williams. they had funny names. a close shade was even called "intellectual gray." i want that job: naming paint colors. we also installed a light fixture because we have our final electrical inspection coming up. we decided that the fixture wasn't bright enough, but we'll keep it up for the inspection and then change it out.

before (note the sad little light bulb):

after (note the sad lack of doorknob):

i think it will look awesome with crisp white trim. the doors will be painted a color to keep them from looking filthy; i'm just not quite sure which color yet.

this weekend involves a paint project in the half bath with a special guest. i'll post pics when it is finished!