2016 Goal Check In: April

We haven’t really made much progress on our goal list this month but we did tweak the list a little. We’ve decided to hold on the upper deck project for this year and instead wrap it into the kitchen renovation next year. We are planning on moving forward with building our lower deck instead so that we still have an outdoor area to use this fall. While I’d love to get rid of the scary current deck, this new plan makes the most sense for us right now.

Anyway, here’s where we are now. I really need to start working on the front door and I have the paint for the study, I just haven’t had the motivation. We’ve been spending a lot of time on the sofa during the week and our weekends have been dedicated to yard work or traveling.

House:
-Demo current deck – Postponed to 2017
-Clean garage…again – Done! 
-Build new, bigger deck – Postponed to 2017
-Refinish very old but new to us front door – Started at the end of 2015. 
-Install front door
-Repaint the study
-Add built ins in the study?
-Add crown moulding in the study?
-Create new area for dogs
-Remove dog crates from master bedroom
-Caulk windows – Started. All downstairs windows have been caulked. 0/4 upstairs windows have been done.
-Paint master bedroom?
-Clean up side/back/front yards – Started. Currently focusing on smaller side yard. 
-Price out all aspects of kitchen remodel
-Stain fence
-Extend fence?
-Remove trees? – Removed dead oak in front yard.
-Remove shed?

ADDED AFTER JANUARY FIRST:
-New flooring in entry/study/living room. – Mostly done! We just need to add the thresholds and then install the baseboards in the living room. – Done!
-Paint living room. – Done! 
-Stain beams in living room. – Done!
-Build/stain lower deck

Personal:

-Read 26 books – can be re-reads or never before reads, but must come from books we already own – On track. Finished #6 and 200 pages into #7.
-Go on an awesome vacation – Booked and paid for!
-Lose 20lbs – This is not going well. I’m working out a ton but I’m having a lot of trouble getting my eating under control. We eat out way too often!
-Tone and tighten once I finish losing these last 20lbs. – Three of my weekly workouts are dedicated to toning.
-Walk the dogs more – We took them on a short walk last weekend. Hoping to do it again at least once this coming weekend. They play in the backyard a lot so the walks are just to give them a change of scenery. 
-Use my craft room – I rarely use this room and that’s pretty lame
-Get a new look for the blog

Happy Friday! Fingers crossed for a productive weekend.

Yard Progress

We’ve made a tiny bit of progress in the great yard clean up of 2016. We’re really trying to get our property in decent shape this year since it’s been pretty neglected for the three years we’ve been in the house. Of course right now it still looks pretty crappy but it’s a work in progress! We’re starting on the side of our yard that sits between our house and our neighbor’s house. We figured this side is the most important right now because our neighbor actually has to look at it (we don’t have a neighbor on the other side of our house) and her house is on the market so I’m sure it will help her if our yard doesn’t look like total crap.

Here’s our overall plan for this side of the yard:

-Remove weeds
-Remove ivy
-Clean up leaves
-Remove monkey grass
-Remove overgrown azaleas
-Trim other giant bushes
-Trim fence posts
-Clean fence
-Stain fence
-Landscape around outside of fence (mostly mosquito plants)
-Plant plum trees
-Install edging from fence to front of property
-Mulch from fence to front of property
-New walkway (this will happen later down the road)

Our time has been pretty limited lately since our past several weekends have included at least one day away from the house and the weather hasn’t always wanted to cooperate. We’re also limited by how much we can put in our yard waste container each week. Here’s the best I have for before pictures…this is after we raked up a ton of leaves and I removed some new ivy growth.

sideyard1

sideyard2

I hate monkey grass with the fire of a thousand suns so we decided to rip it all out and put in plum trees. Kyle hacked everything up with a pick ax and then I picked up all of the chopped up plants and tossed them in our yard waste bin.

sideyard3

Once most of the monkey grass was up, we went ahead and planted our plum trees. There are two in this picture (taken a couple of weeks ago) but they’re almost impossible to see.

sideyard4

On Saturday, we removed the rest of the monkey grass and I worked on raking out all of the loose grass remnants and leaves and tried to level out the area a little bit. I apparently forgot to take a picture but it looks a lot worse right now than it did when we started working. I’m planning on cleaning up the rest of the leaves and dirt this weekend and hopefully we’ll also be able to install the edging and just maybe start mulching.

We have zero plans and a forecast full of sunshine so fingers crossed for a productive weekend!

Project Update: Master Bathroom

As you guys know, we’re in the middle of tearing out our master bathroom with no immediate plans to rebuild it. I don’t know if it’s the bathroom or me, but the demo has been super slow. It took me no time at all to tear out the half bathroom downstairs but I have been struggling to rip out the master bathroom.

Demo is usually my favorite part of any project and it’s something I’m pretty good at tackling myself but a couple of weekends ago I had to get Kyle to help me because I was so overwhelmed with it all. We got the toilet out as well as the moldy drywall but the tile floor is a pain and a half.

masterbathdemo1

It’s so difficult to remove with the tools we have that we even got a quote to have the professionals come in and take care of it. We heavily considered just paying to have it done but honestly, we’d rather save that money now and use it down the road when we rebuild so we decided to pass on hiring the job out. So that’s where we are right now, a partially torn up bathroom and 30sqft of floor tile left to remove before we even start tearing out the shower tile.

masterbathdemo2

Once we get the floor out we’ll pull out all of the shower tile and the tub before putting down new subfloor and closing the area off indefinitely.

In better news, we’ve been able to make some progress on the outside of our house! We’ve been pretty limited with our time lately but I do have a little bit of progress to share soon so check back later this week!

 

Timberrrrrrrrr

One of the things we want to do this year is get rid of some of the troublesome trees in our yard. We got a couple of quotes and after discussing our options, we decided to move forward with removing the oak in our front yard. All of the pines in the front and back will eventually go but with a total over $3k, it won’t be this year.

The oak in the front yard was in poor shape and we were afraid that if it fell, it would hit a neighbor’s house or car and we didn’t want our crappy tree to be somebody else’s problem.

I don’t think I have a real “before” picture so here’s a screenshot from Google Maps.

frontyardtree

The tree in question is the one close to the center of the picture. It doesn’t look bad here, but this picture is almost 4 years old and in that time, the tree started to die from the top down. Every storm left a ton of large, heavy limbs in the street and the leaves were dead for most of the year. So $600 later we have this…

frontyardtreeafter

We could have had all of this hauled away but leaving it here saved us about $100. We had planned on burning the brush pile and hauling the logs to the backyard to eventually split and use for firewood. Actually moving the logs proved to be a little difficult but lucky for us a neighbor from a couple of streets over saw the pile and said he’d be willing to take whatever logs we didn’t want and cut down the logs we do. Hopefully that will happen this week! I’m glad that we finally got this tree taken care of and it gives us one more thing to mark off of our 2016 goal list!

I’ve got a small side yard and even smaller bathroom update for you guys later this week so stay tuned.

2016 Goals: March Check In

Is it seriously already March? Yikes!

Before we check my goal progress, I want to tell you guys about our master bathroom issue. A few weeks ago, I noticed some mold on the ceiling of the garage which is below our bathroom. We called a plumber and he couldn’t find a leak but the mold definitely hasn’t been there in the past. The plumber’s best guess was that the floor wasn’t done properly and over the years all the water that has hit the tile has seeped through. Anyway, there are parts of the subfloor that are completely rotten to the point where the plumber reached up and pulled out a huge chunk with his hand. I also found some mold in the bathroom that looks like it goes behind the shower so we’re going to have to rip out that entire part of the bathroom which leaves us with only a sink. We can’t afford to redo the bathroom right now but luckily, we still have the hall bathroom and we don’t have a lot of overnight company so putting the bathroom off isn’t the biggest deal in the world, just inconvenient. I haven’t done much demo yet but I’m planning on working on it this weekend. We don’t want to let the damage sit there for fear that it might spread so the plan for now is to rip it out and replace the subfloor and drywall before closing it off.

MBdemo

ANYWAY. Now that you guys know what’s going on, let’s look at my goal progress. I feel like February was pretty lazy but with Spring around the corner I’m ready to get to work.

House:
-Demo current deck
-Clean garage…again – Done! Both cars now fit in the garage.
-Build new, bigger deck
-Refinish very old but new to us front door – Started at the end of 2015. 
-Install front door
-Repaint the study
-Add built ins in the study?
-Add crown moulding in the study?
-Create new area for dogs
-Remove dog crates from master bedroom
-Caulk windows – Started. All downstairs windows have been caulked. 0/4 upstairs windows have been done.
-Paint master bedroom?
-Clean up side/back/front yards – Started. We’ve got a long way to go but we worked on doing some leaf removal last weekend and we’ll probably do some more this weekend. 
-Price out all aspects of kitchen remodel
-Stain fence
-Extend fence?
-Remove trees? – Started. We’re waiting to get put on the schedule for removing a dead oak in our front yard.
-Remove shed?

ADDED AFTER JANUARY FIRST:
-New flooring in entry/study/living room. – Mostly done! We just need to add the thresholds and then install the baseboards in the living room. – Done!
-Paint living room. – Done! 
-Stain beams in living room. – Done!

Personal:

-Read 26 books – can be re-reads or never before reads, but must come from books we already own – On track. Just finished #5 and plan on starting on #6 either tonight or this weekend.
-Go on an awesome vacation – Booked and mostly paid for!
-Lose 20lbs
-Tone and tighten once I finish losing these last 20lbs.
-Walk the dogs more – We took them on a short walk last weekend. Hoping to do it again at least once this coming weekend. They play in the backyard a lot so the walks are just to give them a change of scenery. 
-Use my craft room – I rarely use this room and that’s pretty lame
-Get a new look for the blog

 

Living Room Phase One Reveal

We’ve been done with the living room for about a week but it’s been so overcast every day that by the time I get home, it’s too dark to take pictures. I finally managed to snag some this weekend although my camera was dead so I had to settle for phone photos. Before we get into it I want to say that eventually there are other things we want to do in here but this is what we could do right now. The fireplace  needs to be refaced so we can correct some damaged subfloor that runs beneath it, the windows need to be replaced, we want to eliminate or move the columns, we still need to build a storage unit on the far side of the room by the window to house our movie collection, we need all new furniture, the canvas on the fireplace is temporary until we order what we really want to hang, the curtains need to be shortened a bit, we still need to get curtains for the other window, and we still need a rug. The room is pretty bare right now but it’s still a far cry from the dark orangey hole it was before!

In case it’s not burned into your brain already, here is what the space looked like before:

livingroom1

And here is what it looks like now:

livingroomafter3

We removed the mantle from the fireplace. I love it right now but I’m sure I’ll miss it at Christmas. The canvas is temporary which is why we didn’t bother drilling a new hole to hang it centered. We would have just left the fireplace bare but there’s a big white test spot from when we were positive we were going to paint it.

Here’s a good shot of the paint spot; this was the night we stained the beams; you can see how much browner they are compared to the paneling on the walls.

livingroom4

After:

livingroomafter6

We decided against painting the fireplace (obviously) and I really love the warmth that it adds to the room. When you think about it, we didn’t really do a ton to this room but I feel like it made such an impact. We put in laminate flooring, painted the paneling and ceiling, stained the beams, and added some heavy gray curtains for privacy.

Before. The white blanket is our band-aid fix for the hole the dogs put in the couch.

livingroom2

After. The walls and ceiling were painted the same color but it doesn’t look as stark on the walls since we let some of the wood bleed through. We were worried about losing the grain in the wood by painting over it instead of white washing but there’s a fair amount that still comes through. We stopped after two coats because we liked the look but if we wanted to completely cover the wood we could have kept painting.

livingroomafter4

Apparently I don’t have a before and after picture of the tv wall but here it is during the painting process. This is a good representation of the first coat vs the second coat.

livingroomafter7

This project took a little longer than we thought because we were slow when it came to installing the transitions (treads for the sunken living room, two transition pieces into the kitchen, one for the powder room, and one for the laundry room). Since we can’t yank out the kitchen tile yet, we needed to put down a transition piece to make everything seamless. Here’s what it looks like transitioning from the entry to the start of the tile by the stairs. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, we really are missing a bunch of grout; that’s what happens tile is installed incorrectly.

flooringtransition

I am so glad that we decided to add this project to our plans this year. We have found that a big downside to the new flooring is that there’s nothing to dampen the sound. This isn’t a big deal until the dogs start running around and wrestling and then it gets LOUD. I’m on the hunt for a rug now to help.

We’re kind of at a stand still on house projects right now. It was nice enough outside over the weekend to do a little bit of yard work but we really didn’t even make a dent in what needs to be done. I haven’t been able to work on stripping the new to us front door but I’m hoping within the next couple of weekends I can get started back on that. We also have a huge bathroom issue that’s going to bring us from a 2.5 bath house to a 1.5 bath temporarily. I’ll tell you about soon!

 

 

2016 Goals: Monthly Check In

I decided to start checking in on our goal progress at the beginning of every month. I’m hoping this will keep us motivated to keep working throughout the year. Kyle and I tend to start off the year super productive and then turn into sloths the rest of the year. As adorable as sloths are, I don’t think they translate well to the human form.

Anywho, let’s take a look at the original goal list which has been updated with the new projects we added in.

House:

-Demo current deck
-Clean garage…again – Done! Both cars now fit in the garage. Update: Kyle’s car is back in the driveway until we can get all of the carpet we removed from the downstairs to the dump. 
-Build new, bigger deck
-Refinish very old but new to us front door – Started at the end of 2015. 
-Install front door
-Repaint the study
-Add built ins in the study?
-Add crown moulding in the study?
-Create new area for dogs
-Remove dog crates from master bedroom
-Caulk windows – Started. All downstairs windows have been caulked. 0/4 upstairs windows have been done.
-Paint master bedroom?
-Clean up side/back/front yards
-Price out all aspects of kitchen remodel
-Stain fence
-Extend fence?
-Remove trees? – Started. We’ve gotten a couple of quote and we’ve decided to move forward with removing the dead oak in the front yard. We’re hoping to remove three pines from the back yard later this year.
-Remove shed?

ADDED AFTER JANUARY FIRST:
-New flooring in entry/study/living room. – Mostly done! We just need to add the thresholds and then install the baseboards in the living room.
-Paint living room. – Done! 
-Stain beams in living room. – Done!

Personal:

-Read 26 books – can be re-reads or never before reads, but must come from books we already own – On track. 3 books done, started on #4. Heck yes, Harry Potter!
-Go on an awesome vacation – Booked and mostly paid for!
-Lose 20lbs – I know weight loss goals always get tossed around after the calendar rolls over but this has actually been a goal for a while. Last year the goal was 40lbs but I only got half way there before falling off the wagon and landing in a big pile of soda, doritos, and candy bars. I’m giving myself until my 28th birthday (end of June) which is way more than enough time. I need to figure out smaller goals to get me to the 20.
-Tone and tighten once I finish losing these last 20lbs.
-Walk the dogs more
-Use my craft room – I rarely use this room and that’s pretty lame
-Get a new look for the blog

Not too bad for the first month! Now let’s see if we can keep up the progress. The weather down here is weird but I’m hoping the warmer weather we’re getting now will stick around so we can start working on the yard clean up and I can start working on the front door again.

Snowy Weekend and a Little Progress

Mondays are bad but a Monday after an unexpected long weekend is even worse. I’m riding shotgun on the struggle bus today for sure, anyone else? We got hit with some nice wintry weather Thursday night which lasted into Saturday thanks to winter storm Jonas. I guess I didn’t technically get a long weekend but I got to work from home on Friday so it felt like a long weekend. Bravo to Mother Nature for that but the pretty white stuff also ruined our plan of going to Charlotte on Saturday so it wasn’t all great.

This is the one time of year that the murder shed actually looks kind of cute.

backyardsnow

frontyardsnow

Since we couldn’t actually leave the house on Saturday, we decided to get some work done on the house instead. I wish I could tell you we did the living room floors but we didn’t have enough underlayment (I just checked the tracking and it should be here today) so instead we decided to rip up the parquet in the entry and put new floors there instead. You’re not crazy, by the way, the entry floors weren’t in the original scope of work but neither was the carpet in the study and that didn’t stop us from ripping it out and putting down laminate last weekend.

Mid-floor destruction:

entryfloorsprogress

We’re in pretty good shape in the living room. I finished up the last little bit of painting yesterday and Kyle switched out the old almond colored outlets with new white ones. We’ll start ripping the carpets up this week and once the new floors are in, we’ll just need to put in baseboards and move everything back in. Here’s a little teaser photo I put on instagram about a week ago.

livingroomteaser

Here’s to hoping we can wrap this up by the end of the month!

Living Room Plans

I’ve already mentioned that we’re redoing the living room floors because I’m a crazy person but we decided this would also be a good time to do some other things we’ve been talking about since we moved in.

Stain Beams. I love the faux beams on the ceiling but they’re a little too light and way too orange. We’re going to give them a quick sand and wipe down and then stain them a darker, browner color. Listing picture for reference:

Living Room

Paint Ceiling. The ceiling in the living room doesn’t actually need a lot of help but there is one section that shows signs of old damage. We fixed the source of the issue soon after we moved in but never took the time to paint the ceiling. We’re going to start with that section and if we decide the rest of the ceiling needs it, we’ll paint the whole thing. I refuse to paint anymore ceilings so this one is all Kyle. You can see it in this picture; it’s the shadowy area between the far beam and the fireplace.

livingroom1

Paint Paneling. This is what I think will make the biggest impact and it’s also the one that scares me the most. I’ve never loved the paneling but it’s actually really nice lumber and it would be a big pain to remove it all. Plus, it’s a huge fad right now in the world of blogging and home improvement; funny how trends circle back around. We had planned on white washing it but I think we’re just going to bite the bullet and paint it. Ours won’t quite look like this since it’s all tongue and groove but just to give you an idea (photo from Brandi Nell the Southern Belle):

brandinellpaneling

Paint Fireplace. We’re not sure if we’re going to paint the fireplace or not but for now we’re keeping it in mind. We want to get the walls done first and see how we feel. I love how warm it is with the brown and tan tones but on the other hand, that doesn’t really go with the rest of our house. We need something to warm up all of the gray and white but I’m not sure the stone fireplace is it. If we do paint it, it’ll probably be white. I don’t love the idea of white walls and a white fireplace (I pushed for gray walls/white fireplace or white walls/different color fireplace) but I’m not the only one who lives in this house and since I get my way 90% of the time, I’m willing to let Kyle have his on this (you’re welcome). Here’s a pretty good idea of what ours could look like (photo from Greige Design).

greigedesignwhitefireplace

Laminate Flooring. You already know this one but I figured I’d say it again. Carpet is coming out, laminate is going in. If you look back up at the living room picture you can see a couple of the stains, one of which is roughly the size of a small human. We want to get the rest of the room done first because we’re lazy and want to take advantage of not having to put down drop cloths so the flooring will probably get pushed to the last weekend in January. We already put it in another room (the only other carpeted room downstairs) so we have a pretty good feel for it and it should go pretty quickly when we get to it. Here’s how it looks in the other room so far. Have I mentioned how much I hate the color of our windows? We’ll replace them one day but not today.

studynewflooring

So that’s it. This is our first “big” project of the year! I’m pretty excited about it because even though we just cancelled cable, this will probably still be where we spend most of our time. In case you’re wondering about the other projects we started already, the garage is clean (though not as organized as we’d like it) and we’ve slowly been working on caulking the windows. Not too shabby for halfway through January!

First Projects of 2016

We’re kicking off 2016 with a couple of small projects and one not so small, not so big project.

Project #1: Caulk Windows
A few months ago, we noticed that the caulk around our windows was cracked in a lot of places so we made a mental note to eventually re-caulk. Well, last weekend I was sitting around and felt a pretty substantial breeze coming through the closed window I was next to so we bumped caulking to the top of our priority list. Kyle started on this Wednesday night and we’ll probably do one or two windows a day until it’s done.

Project #2: Clean Garage
We did a pretty good job of cleaning our garage last January but it didn’t stick. We really need to get it cleaned so that we can keep at least one car parked in here and have the other side to do projects. Right now we have room for one car and the other side is just crap thrown everywhere. The plan is to tackle this on Saturday. I had hoped Kyle could take care of this while I played with our new leaf blower but it’s supposed to rain Saturday. Womp, womp.

Project #3: Living Room
If you paid attention to my post about our 2016 goals you may be a little confused. If you didn’t pay attention or didn’t read it at all you may be confused as to why those who did pay attention would be confused. Well, that would be because the living room wasn’t anywhere on our list of 2016 goals; we had absolutely no plans for the living room this year other than cleaning the carpet.

So why are we already altering our 2016 plan just a week in? Because our dogs suck. I love our dogs but sometimes they suck. There have been many bathroom accidents and other stuff I won’t get into on that carpet but I was just going to suck it up and deal with it because we’re hoping to put in new floors downstairs in 2017. We figured we would get them cleaned and deal with it until we could afford to replace everything so at least they wouldn’t look disgusting. But then I came home from work to find multiple puddles of dog pee and a nice big pile of dog poop, part of which did not want to release itself from the carpet.

And that was that. I snapped and decided I can’t deal with it anymore so we decided that we’re going to rip up the carpet and put in laminate flooring. It’s not my dream flooring but honestly, it’s not going to cost much more than having the carpet cleaned and now if the dogs have an accident it’ll be much easier to clean up. Plus we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to replace all the flooring next year anyway so this may end up holding us over until we can.

Of course since we’re ripping the carpet out we figure we’ll go ahead and take advantage of having no floors and use the opportunity to paint the ceiling, stain the beams, and do something (paint? whitewash?) with the wood paneling.

Even though this wasn’t in our original plan, I’m pretty excited about it! It’s the room where we spend most of our time so it will be nice to have it looking a little more done. Of course there will still be other things to do down the road (new windows, reface fireplace, add lighting, etc) but I think the small changes we’re making now are going to make a big impact.

Here’s what the room looked like when we moved in.

From the entry way into the living room:

Living Room

From the room we call the study:

Living Room-Bar

LivingRoom

Here’s what it looks like now. Spoiler Alert: not much has changed. In fact, it looks a little worse now, I think.

livingroom3livingroom2livingroom1

I told Kyle we could get the garage done first but as soon as we’re finished with that you better believe I’ll be tearing up that nasty carpet.