Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor of Love [ progress: part I ]

So, I'm slightly torn about the lack of blog updates about our house.

On one hand, I know we've been so busy and I don't even feel like the things we've done are worthy of an update (because, frankly... nothing is complete. everything is unfinished).
And who says it's any of the internet's business as to what we've done (I know our frenemies are just stalking and making fun of us via blog updates, but screw them)!

On the other hand, I want to keep track of all the progress we've made when I'm feeling like, "we've done nothing! no progress has been made! those countertops and those floors are still ugly so that means NOTHING HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED UGH!"

I know we have accomplished much. And I know that one day our bathroom will have nice floors and the kitchen countertops won't look like the Emerald City on crack. 

But right now it's all in progress.
And I should be taking note of such progress.
Even in the awkward phase.

So. I'll share with you our Labors. Not just from Labor Day weekend specifically, but a good amount of the changes made (progress: part I) and our favorite "new" (or new to us) pieces (progress: part II). By the way, apologies on the low quality of the after (or rather, in progress) photos. I didn't entirely feel like finding the camera and the card reader... yeah. Laziness wins. But I'll get the camera out for actual after photos.

We begin with the small changes.

Laundry room, for instance. We actually just did this yesterday (Labor Day).
Before, there was just one shelf right above the washer & dryer. It was difficult to get to things on this shelf because of how far back it was from the front of the appliances. Awkward angle reaches.
Also, I needed a place to hang items that shouldn't be put in the dryer, so we finally came upon the proper solution this weekend and installed it yesterday. Oh, also there's a totally different dryer in there from when we bought the house.
Left: Before
Right: After
A small upgrade was made to the dining room. Well, it's a big upgrade to me. There was a nasty brass octopus (actually, that would have been way cooler. I would have spray painted it) hanging from the ceiling in there, but we found a great lighting fixture for $40 at Consignment Connection. It's so much better!
Top: Before
Bottom: After
We do plan on pulling up the carpet in here (what genius thinks it's a good idea to install carpet in a dining room?) and install wood flooring before the year's end. But it may have to be the whole front section of the house instead of just the dining room (to install wood floor in)... we just have to wait and see. We also plan on painting in there relatively soon. I'm still torn between what colors. But I believe we're going to do some contrasting finish stripes (flat & semi gloss, but same color). Also have to figure out what to do about curtains/window finishing in here. Eventually I'd love a window seat with storage!

So, the only rooms that HAVE been painted are in the master suite. We just haven't had time (or money!) to attend to the other rooms of the house just yet. Next on the docket will probably be (in no particular order) an accent wall in the family room, the entire dining room, and the guest bath & bedroom. No telling when those will actually happen.

So the only changes downstairs have been adding our things. Not that exciting. Oh well. First, the family room.
Top: Before
Bottom (middle and below): After
And the kitchen. Let me tell you what, that was pretty nasty. Needed SO much cleaning. So grateful to all those family and friends who helped us clean.
Top: Before
Bottom: After
Yes. Those emerald countertops are still there *twitch*. We want to concrete over them soon (using Ardex Feather Finish). We also want to do airstone under the bar eventually. The cabinets... well, still deliberating over those. As much as I love hardwood, I'm not sure if it would be worth it to strip and stain these rather than just paint over them. We'll see. Oh, and those hideous lighting fixtures will go... one day...

Another "small" change (that took a LOT OF WORK) was the bushes. We found out from a neighbor that this house had been vacant for a year and a half. Thus the bushes were overgrown and there were weeds taking over just about everywhere. We've now sculpted down the bushes and fully weeded 1.5 sides of the house (there's a lot of poison ivy so it's pretty treacherous).
Top: Before (overgrown messsss!)
Bottom: After (trimmed and tidy!)
There were actually a lot of trees growing in/behind/around these bushes. We plan to take out ALL of the holly (we hate holly) and just have simple boxwoods and flowers.
self explanatory
Now onto the "big reveal" items. . . . that are still not finished (but that's okay... just keep telling myself that).

Jason and I love entertaining. We also love grilling. But our backyard didn't really lend to an ideal space to do that. So we wanted to create one. Jason and Peter did that this past Saturday (after Jason mowed the grass and weedeated. He was very tired after all of this!). We don't really have enough money to do a super duper nice permanent patio at this point (and heck, we might add a deck or even a sunroom back there in 15 years so why do something permanent?). We voted on a pallet patio.
Top: Before (check out the fallen gutter hanging in the upper right corner)
Bottom: After (clearly the gutter has been fixed as well)
Jason was saving up a bunch of nice heavy duty pallets from his work. So they dug up the slate (moved those below the stairs), dug a small trench for drainage, added a weed barrier, marble chips and bricks to keep the pallets off the ground (to sustain them longer).
You can see the crisscross pattern of the pallets much better here (you can also see our little hose storage cart there in the background. I like that a lot for some reason). Ah, we just love it! 
They have not yet been sanded down and stained/sealed (we actually bought the stain/seal a month before building... it was a mis-tint! $5 for a $40 gallon!! yessss). So this is not exactly the finished product, but it sure is close! Doesn't it look so nice! They even built an additional section for the grill (free grill from Jason's parents)! Ah, so pleased. Can't wait to have our housewarming party back here! Eventually we'll make a some sort of covering for the area (I've got lots of pins on this) and put our patio table back, and have some nice outdoor lighting out here as well.

Now, the most dramatic change (in my opinion) has been the master suite. It was really nasty before. We chose to do two walls one color and the other two walls another color. The largest walls are a light-to-medium grey, and the smaller walls are a deep teal. Important to note that we couldn't have done this without our good friend Jason Pascale who is the best without-tape-cutter-inner ever.
Top: Before....GROSS
Bottom: After *angelic chorus*
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah yes. Isn't that so much better? And the dressers that we revamped about a year ago pop so nicely on the teal walls!
Top: Before
Bottom: After
This may look finished to you, but it's far from it to me. I would like real bedside tables, not $3 target ones (heh). I'd love a real headboard and pictures on the wall opposite the headboard. I'd also like some better light-blocking curtains that actually add something to the room... and... oh yes... new carpet.... eventually.... *grimace*

And now for my favorite bathroom :D The master bath! It's definitely only half-way done. So, please keep that in mind. But the half that is complete still makes a world of a difference.
Top: Before... hideous hideous sponge-painted pink walls. I hate pink.
Bottom: After! Lovely aqua!
Why is it only halfway finished, you ask? Well, I'm still waiting on this shower curtain to no longer be out of stock, I want to paint the cabinets, replace the floor (this actually needs to be done quite soon), and upgrade the faucets eventually.

You can't see it too well from this image, but I made the half-curtain that's hanging in the window! Yep. And All the brass fixtures (lighting, towel rods, toilet paper holder) were brass. Spray painted them silver. I have a strong, passionate disdain for brass.

So. Those are most all of the updates we've done. The next post will be our favorite pieces/touches that we've got in our house to make it feel like our home.

UPDATE: We got the shower curtain!! Izzz sooo puuurddyyy!!