The AFTER pics! (About damn time…)

First of all, thank you to those that were able to join us at our Housewarming party and celebrate with us in our new home. We love and appreciate having all of you in our lives and are looking forward to creating many more memories with you in our home!

The party was a great way to give ourselves a deadline to get a lot of smaller things finished, as well as some not-so-smaller things (like finishing up the railings for the stairs at 1 am the night before the party…) so once we were party-ready I finally went around and snapped some “After” pictures*. A few more “Before” shots can be found here.
 *Edited to include some more recent shots of our re-painted fireplace (turns out the white was just too white), a new rug, our sliding door (!!!) a few other updates.  

Most of you know what a crazy drawn-out journey this has been and I often would say that I just need to “keep my eye on the prize” in order to allow myself to simmer down and fight the urge to punch the contractor (and his mom). Dealing with home renovations and crazy contractors is somewhat of a cliche but hearing stories from others doesn’t quite prepare you for the craziness of dealing with it first hand. And while there are definitely still things that need to be done, I can happily say we finally feel like we have reached a finish line. Major projects are complete, furniture is arranged and pictures are on walls. We had a “vision” when we first walked in and decided this was the place we were going to buy and it’s been pretty cool to be able to make that vision a reality.

—- A virtual house tour  —-

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Original view from family room into dining room

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View from dining room into family room

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Some of you may remember this “before” photo of our mantle when I went to pick out the wood in an alley behind the shop where we commissioned the mantle and the kitchen shelves. Both turned out amazing and are definitely among my favorite things we added to the house.

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Cedar mantel and spruce kitchen shelves by Benevolent Design

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{ ENTRYWAY }

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Makai’s portrait by Doghouse Pet Portraits 😉

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{ MASTER BED AND BATH }

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Master Bathroom

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Master Bedroom- Master bath is the door to on the far right

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After having shitty little rental bathrooms my entire adult life, the time for a baller, grown up, spa-like bathroom is now, my friends. And I f@#king love it.

 

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{ POWDER ROOM }

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{ THE KITCHEN }IMG_6185img_7347img_7390img_0016

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{ backyard: work in progress }

Still a bit to do back here but we are loving our fire pit we built a couple months ago. Since we don’t have any grass, creating the dirt base was as simple as moving the rocks. Then we just stacked pavers we bought from Lowes. The hardest part was loading each paver into the car and then unloading and walking them all to the back yard by sets of two. Since we didn’t cement anything we’ll be able to move it when we eventually pave in this area of the backyard.

 

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Bueller…?

I know it’s been radio silence for awhile and it’s not because I don’t want to update my peeps. But this has become quite a process and a mess and to be honest, all of my efforts and emotions have been so drained dealing with everything I just haven’t had the energy to post any updates. So I will attempt at updating to this post quickly, concisely and by usage of bullet points.

• We are moved in. After moving back our date multiple times because the promised completion date kept coming and going, we finally just said F-it and moved in while the contractors were still doing work.

• We moved in on 6/15 and they still haven’t completed the job yet. There have been several stretches of time when we literally could not get them to commit to coming and doing anything. We think that once we moved in, all sense of urgency completely disappeared. When I say this has been a horribly frustrating and infuriating experience, that is putting it mildly.

• The quality of work has been well below my expectations. Detailed things that as the homeowner I will probably be the only one to notice, but these details matter to me. See a few examples:

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• I could honestly go on and on so I’ll stop here with the complaining.

• Positives are that we are settling in and overall, big picture, really love it. Slowly but surely we are getting unpacked (a process delayed tremendously because when we moved in the closets still weren’t finished, upstairs bathroom not finished, etc, so we couldn’t put very many things away). Oh, shit, look how quickly I went from positive to negative.

• I haven’t taken too many “after” pictures yet because I really want to have everything unpacked, finished, arranged, etc and post some baller before/after shots. So in the meantime here are a few “sneak peaks”. Oh and please stay tuned because we WILL be having a celebration housewarming party, hopefully the last weekend of July but possibly won’t be until August. We will keep you posted!

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Moving Day! If you ever need a mover, we loved the guys we hired and 100% recommend them. 2 Bearded Brothers Moving Company.

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Moving Day!

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Master Bedroom about a week post-move in. Imagine trying to pack for 5 days in London like this. So irritating.

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The painter we hired to paint our exterior was awesome. So we hired him to paint our fireplace and our front door, too. Another company we would fully recommend. PS- I am in love with our floors. I love them so much I don’t even mind there is a constant grittiness from the dogs bringing in dirt on their paws and Sam’s hair collects in clumps every where. We chose laminate flooring that looks like hardwood and after coming from old nasty renter’s carpet, I LOVE IT.

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And…one of these pieces of wood is going to be our mantle!

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We are putting a couple wood shelves in the kitchen. This is one of them in progress.

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Lana loves the new backyard. Even though we have no grass.

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Thanks to Julie, I am a cactus repurposing fiend. Our old neighborhood has tons of cactus growing so these are all pieces that were laying on the road that I replanted and are now regrowing. Great addition to the front porch. 

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And finally, I came home one day to a package from etsy with a little housewarming gift from Laura. So perfect. 

 

New Paint…new look!

The outside AND inside of the house both happened during the same couple days so a lot of changes have been happening! Here are a few more pictures…

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No this is not a shadow…the brick and vinyl are getting a much-needed face lift. Turns out you can totally paint vinyl. Who knew?!?

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Entire inside is Moonshine gray which changes a bit depending on the light but is basically just a light silver-gray. (Shout out to Steph for the color suggestion!) Here is one of the closets where they didn’t remove the old shelving before painting. So again, just creating more work!

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Tile in progress in upstairs guest bath. 

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Shit. Got the wrong size bullnose tile for the master shower curb. Not sure how we are going to move forward with this yet as the tile place doesn’t have the size we would need.

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I took this sign off one of the windows and stuck it right next to the evidence. And then we texted this picture to the contractor with a “WTF UNACCEPTABLE” type message. Seriously dudes.

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This greeted us when we arrived the day the interior was being painted. I knew they’d think of somewhere to put it!

“Finished by Friday 5/20” -Contractor

Just a few photo updates to show that today was, in fact, NOT the finish date. We are definitely getting closer but at this point we are really hoping for everything to be completely finished by the end of the month.

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The master shower is all ready to be painted and tiled.

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Unfortunately they discovered a structural issue where they had to install another beam across the ceiling separating the family room and dining room vs. our plan of having the ceiling open all the way across. We’ve been arguing with them about so many things that it was almost a relief that it was structural and we really just had to accept that beam needed to be done. But don’t worry, this wasn’t without drama. Instead of them communicating with us and letting us know they had to add the beam, they just went ahead and added it (theme of this entire thing) so when we walked in and saw it, we were both like “what the F#@K!!??” and immediately rage-texted the contractor. More drama ensued which all could have been avoided if they just let us know before we were blindsided when we walked in.

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Another example of lack of communication. They closed up the ceiling with the electric wire hanging in the wrong place. This is for a pendant light fixture and if the wire stays as is, the cabinet door will hit the fixture. Am I the only one that sees how moronic it is to close up the ceiling without taking that into account. Anyway we told them it needed to be moved over, they went ahead and closed up the ceiling, so now let’s add another thing to the list that has to be redone.

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We took off the original crown molding and had them do a more simplistic and modern trim. So far so good on this!

And a couple exciting things the past few days…

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Countertops are IN! This was one of my non-negotiable splurges that we budgeted around. In fact the cabinets we have aren’t my first choice so that we could get the counters I wanted. Yes, they are marble. Yes I know marble is soft. Yes I know it stains easily. Yes I know it is more high maintenance than granite and quartz. Yes I know you have to seal it fairly routinely. Yes I know it shows etches with any spill of lemon juice or coffee or wine. Yes I know I know I KNOW. And guess what, I did my research online, talked with people that currently have marble, learned about the pros and cons and I’m okay with all of it. 

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The marble we chose is called White Monte Blanc and I think it’s beautiful. It IS a soft stone and hasn’t been sealed yet so I am terrified something is going to happen to it while they are in there still busting shit up. So Shawn and I did our best to protect it. Just by seeing this picture and reading these signs, you may know where this is going. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture when I walked in today of…you guessed it…things sitting on the countertop LITERALLY ON TOP OF the sign that says “nothing on counters”.  I walked in to see sitting there a few metal vents and some glass light fixture bowls. To which I said “You guys, who put this up here? Did you see the signs? Please don’t put anything on the counters. LITERALLY don’t put anything on them. LITERALLY nothing on the counters.” Then I threw the old glass bulbs that they said were on the counter to “keep them in a place where they wouldn’t break” in the dumpster. Break this, bitch.

 

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Holy shit I am excited about this. What started as a dismal ugly little cat puke colored house is getting a total make over. Maybe we will get a big ass life-sized print of the original look just like Chip and Joanna do.

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And it moves again! For the record, it has been decided after some discussion with friends that when all is finished, he will find a new home at Goodwill. NOT the dumpster. I wonder where he will go once the painter comes! (Which is supposed to be this weekend….) And hopefully one day someone will disconnect and throw away that electric fireplace! 

Until next time! Thanks for following along.

Progress!

Yesterday morning we swung by the house to check in because the cabinets were scheduled to be installed in the kitchen. When we got there our kitchen looked like this…

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We went back later on in the afternoon and arrived to this…

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It was definitely exciting to see some progress with an installation and that it went smoothly and turned out how we wanted! Still so much to do but for now, I’ll take it.

And the little mascot makes moves once again…

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One day soon we’ll laugh at this…

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Ooooh man, things are getting SPICY up in here. After what seemed like a very long holding pattern, we are finally starting to see some forward progress this week. But growth is painful, my friends. And this is no exception.

Massive miscommunications between everyone led to some frustrating moments especially since we have fallen behind schedule (i.e. the kitchen was supposed to be installed April 30…that pushed back to May 11…which is now pushed back to May 14). While things have started to move forward, it seems like for every one thing that’s been done, two things have been done WRONG.

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The electricians finally came and got started, only to put the holes in the ceiling for our recessed lights in the wrong place AND as the wrong size. In the kitchen AND the family room.  Now was it the contractors fault? The electrician’s fault? Shawn’s fault? Lana’s fault?  The answer is: WHO CARES JUST FIX IT.

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Shawn arguing with the contractor. Please note the hole in the ceiling past the fan. There are six more of those holes that misplaced and wrongly sized. Great use of time by the already behind schedule electricians, right? (Also please note the gold cross that was left by the previous owner. No one has thrown it away so instead it keeps making it’s way to different locations in the house…)

Now, to be fair, I actually liked the electricians. They were straight shooters and offered a couple really useful suggestions on light placements as well as helped solve a few dilemmas we weren’t yet sure how to handle. The main issue here was simple miscommunication which led to incorrect work being done so having to go back and redo everything. That right there is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Inefficiencies= URGGGG!

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So after waiting so long for the electricians to get started, then seeing the massively inefficient way things were getting done, the spiciness was setting in. After a few other minor things popped up where we had to keep reminding them that we had gone over choices already, or how we wanted something done, or that no, for the 5th time we are NOT putting tile in the 1/2 bath, I had to find my happy place and try to keep my eye on the prize. Pictured below is us walking in to see the master bath all cemented in and being sealed up with this waterproof rubber sealant that goes on before you lay the tile. Without the recessed shelf we have planned. (Shawn and I were in highly sensitive freak out mode at this point, but they have assured us it’s not a big deal and the plan is still to get the recessed shelf in. )

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Imagine sticking your face in a tub of rubber cement. Then multiply that smell by about 1000. My eyes burn just at the memory.

We are STILL trying to figure out the lighting situation for the bathroom and unfortunately I don’t think my $18 Target sconces were meant to be. Funny how you find a bargain on something and they end up causing the most headache. The rough-ins for the lights were put in today, but because of a stud in the exact location of where one of the lights needed to go (because why WOULDN’T that happen…right?) the light placement now puts them very uncentered over the sink. Nope.

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This picture isn’t the best but you can see the original black circle marking where the light was supposed to go. The right light is in the correct spot but the left light has been place far enough to the right that it leaves less space for a mirror but, more importantly, would make the lights and mirror very off center from the sink. No bueno.

So, looks like it’s back to having just one light centered above the mirror. But, mark my words, those Target sconces WILL be used SOMEWHERE in the house. Prize to the first person who spots them. Like finding Shelby the turtle at Trader Joes.

Okay, enough of what’s been going wrong (because I have a sneaky suspicion there will be more of those posts in the future since nothing big has even been installed yet – like the tile and the kitchen!), here are a few pictures to update on the progress.

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This fan is so sad and I’m not even sure why it’s still here.

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New doors are finally hung. These are the two walk-in closets in the master; the one on the left replaces the original long and small closet with a sliding door.

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Knocked off three layers of brick on the fireplace to allow room to hang the TV. Also that electric “fireplace” will be out the door soon.

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Correct recessed lights have been installed…much smaller than the too-large holes that were cut (4″ vs. the standard 6″ size). And that stain on the floor? Shawn knocked over an abandoned fast food cup of soda. That also did not bode well for his annoyance level.

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I didn’t realize they were going to have to build the wall out this far for support purposes so I’m a little bummed about it closing up the kitchen more than I thought it was going to be. I thought the wall would end about 2 feet sooner than it does. But there still should be plenty of room between the wall and the counter top so not a huge deal.

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The plan is to salvage this ceiling and replace the current crown molding with something more simple and modern. And of course change out the light. We’ll see how intact the ceiling remains.

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When we left this evening the tile guy was about to lay down the ceramic tile in the laundry room.

I noticed last week that some of the guys had been smoking in the house. Shawn said that’s fairly standard and they will stop once the painter comes. But today when I walked in, I smelled smoke right away so my zero tolerance for smoking starts now. #houserules

So, moving forward this week there are plans to finish drywall, paint the entire inside of the house and lay all the tile. Then on Saturday they are scheduled to install the kitchen. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing. Until then…

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Still Holding…

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“Holding…still holding.”

Not too much to update as we’ve hit a bit of a holding pattern the past couple weeks. We reached a stopping point until the plumbing and electric could be roughed in and after the electrician kept pushing back when he’d be able to come in by days and then weeks, he quit the job this morning before even starting. (At least he’s contributing to the unreliable reputation subcontractors have…) The kitchen was scheduled to be installed this past Saturday but without the electric complete, there are still a lot of things that need to be done before the cabinets and appliances can be put in. Drywall and painting to name a couple.

In the meantime, we’ve been ordering some of the necessities like tile flooring for the bathrooms, the vanities, searching for light fixtures and starting to schedule some shipments to have everything standing by for when they’re ready to start putting the house back together.

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Lowes. So many lights…

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…And I don’t like any of them.

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Ahhh, here we go. This is much more my style of shopping.

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Floor for the master bath.

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Requirement: must feel good on the bare tooties.

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First dumpster was filled to the brim…look at this cute little pink diddy we have now!

The rest of the interior is now just standing by until the electrician comes in to do his thing. The treads on the stairs have been replaced and all the doors have arrived and are ready to hang. Hopefully we’ll start seeing some more progress this week!

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Here’s how our master shower is shaping up. Look closely and you’ll see not one, but two shower heads in that bad boy. Ohhhh yeahhhhh

 

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We had someone come clear out all the leaves from the backyard so we can actually see the ground. No grass and our landscaping plan is still TBD. I want some grass for the dogs; Shawn thinks it’ll be a pain to grow because of all the shade. 

 

“Just swing by and mark where you want the lights before the electrician comes…”

 

Sounds easy enough. Sure thing, no problem. What I didn’t realize was that in order to mark the lights, I need to know where the mirror is going. In order to mark the mirror, I need to know where the sink is going. In order to know where the sink is going I need to know how wide the sink is going to be AND where the plumber is moving the pipes.

I already had the lights and sink, but once I got to the house and did some measurements I realized that no matter where the sink goes, my mirror/light combo is not going to fit.

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Measuring out the lights and mirror; my cool mirror find is not gonna fly. 

So begins an obsessive week to figure this out so I can “just mark where I want the lights to hang for the electrician.”
First step…finalize the sink width. That was pretty easy and we ended up going with a 24″ wide pedestal sink I found on Lowes.com.

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Nothing fancy to see here, people. Just a place to wash your hands.

Now that I know the sink width I figured it’d be easy to find a mirror.

Nope. I’ll spare all the details but I basically staged a mirror shopping intervention on myself because I was getting nothing else done.

My new plan is that the lights will just have to be centered over the sink where they can fit and I will just find a mirror to fit the space that is left. Because I found my lights on sale for $18 a piece at Target and dammit I am going to use those lights!

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Here is my original drawing for the electrician, hanging in the 1/2 bath to show where the lights need to go. Not enough room for a 28″ wide mirror with lights on either side.

And here’s the first of what we hope will not be many unexpected costs:

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This is the back door, which we planned to keep, but it turns out that it’s rotting on the underside and with all the work happening and the door getting a lot of use, it’s started to fall apart. Bummer.

And finally, Shawn and I got a laugh out of this…

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This is one of our brand new door blanks. They messed up and put the hinges on the wrong side so, hey, why not just flip the door upside down and put the hinges on the correct side…we probably won’t ever notice! Makes total sense….right??!

Quick photo update

Temporary walls are out and we’re starting to see the actual floor plan take shape. Here are a few pictures for a quick photo update.

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The kitchen!

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View into the 1/2 bath and then back into the master bedroom

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View from Master BR to family room. We are pushing the wall back to make the bathroom smaller and create a walk-in closet with the extra space

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Out with the old…

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….in with the new

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Close up view of all the junk under the stairs from when the house was built. Including 2 big gulp cups and a Coca-cola cup.

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