Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Home - Exterior Transformations

I have lived in this house since 1989 when my mom and I moved here from Utica, NY.  In 1999, I bought this house from her and she bought one 4 houses down the street.  Since then, I have been turning the house into my own.  I'll take you through some of the transformations.

Here is the front of our house when Mom and I first moved in.

Here is the front of our house just after Mom moved out.

Mom had the large tree in the front cut down, replaced it with some perennials and planted 2 maple trees. I added the willow tree to the middle of the garden box (it was only about 4 feet tall in the picture above, but grew to be about 15 feet tall) I had gotten from a trade on GardenWeb.  She also replaced all the windows and shutters and had a concrete patio poured on the front porch where it used to be a mini garden.

After the willow tree in the front died for some unknown reason to me, I removed it and the surrounding garden box. 

We had our first daughter in 2007 and decided we needed more space.  Rather than moving, we decided to expand.  We thought about building up, but the cost was extremely high, so we decided to expand out.  We drew up a plan to add an additional 6 feet to our den, 2 bedrooms, a linen closet and a wiring closet.  When we got our addition done in 2008 (there will a post later on that), we also got a new roof, new siding, black shutters and replaced all the brown trim with white.   In 2009, we decided to expand our driveway to a double and replace the concrete porches and walkways with pavers.  We also replaced all the chain link fence with a wood fence. 

I wanted an additional walkway from the driveway to the front porch and a seat wall on the back patio, so we had the same company come out and do that in 2010. 

In the front of the house, after the new driveway and pavers were installed, I removed the existing garden wall (I installed them in 2002) that bordered the front garden and changed the shape.  I also created a new garden bed between the porch and new walkway.

Here is what the front looks like today.

Here is a picture of the back of the house when we first moved here from New York.  Plain Jane, right?

Here is a picture of the back yard a few years after Mom moved out. 

Mom planted 2 fig trees in the back and I added the mini patio.  When we got our addition, we had to remove the fig trees.  That was a very sad day, however, the contractor we hired lives out in the country and was able to save one of the trees for his property.  I sure miss those figs, but I don't miss the flies that constantly hung around them.

Here are some pictures of the back yard right before the addition went up.

Here is a picture of a fallen fig tree. (sniff sniff) 

Here are some pictures of the back yard today.  Much better, eh?

We added the play area for the girls last year.  Even though it is small, they love playing out there.

See the red barn looking shed in the back corner?  Total eye sore, isn't it??  Well, we are hoping to have a larger shed built that matches the exterior of our house sometime this year if we can ever finish up the garage. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Funky Matilda Jane Knock Off Ruffle Pants

A girl that goes to school with my daughter had on some adorable clothes one day so I asked her mom where she got them. She told me it was ordered from a Matilda Jane trunk show.  I Googled it when I got home and found some impressive clothes with even more impressive price tags!  I fell in love with these pants.  Aren't they the cutest pants EVER???

My mother-in-law had been teaching me how to sew recently, so I sent her an email to see if she thought we could make these.  Her answer was, "Absolutely!"   The fabric on the Matilda Jane pants appear to be a knit cotton, but I wanted something fun and colorful, so I picked out some adorable seersucker fabric from the Tutti Fruitti collection at Hancock Fabrics.  I made a pair for each of my daughters, and I'm making another one for my cousin's daughter. 

Basically, I just followed a pants pattern and cut off about 4 1/2 inches from the bottom of the pattern to make room for the ruffle. 

In order to create a poofy ruffle, rather than one that just laid flat, I cut a rectangular piece of coordinating material that was 10 inches by 20 inches, then folded the material lengthwise to be 5 inches by 20 inches.

I sewed the two ends together, then I sewed it together lengthwise so the fabric would not move while I was hand ruffling.

I pinned the seam of the ruffle to the inner seam of the pant leg, then pinned the folded edge to the outer edge of the pant leg, right side to right side.  I had to pull the ruffle through the pant leg so that I could manage the fabric of the ruffle better.

I gathered and pinned each ruffle.

After hand ruffling, I sewed the pant leg to the ruffle.

  Repeat for the other leg and VOILA!!

Here are my princesses wearing their new ruffle pants with matching tops!  What do you think??

I wonder if I could pull off this look...  ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baker's Rack Refresh

I refreshed my Baker's Rack in the kitchen on Mother's Day while Hubs and the girls were napping. 
Here is what the baker's rack looked like before:

The justice scales are really distracting!  I picked it up for $5 from a garage sale during one of my bargain hunting weekends, but I decided to take it apart and use it for parts!  I used one of the scales as a bowl, then turned the other upside down to give some height to one of my seashell jars.  Since the scales were black, I used 2 coats of RUST-OLEUM Primer, then spray painted them with Heirloom White.  I still haven't decided what to use the base or balance of the justice scale for, but I'm sure I'll think of something. 

I added the Beach frame, which is a new frame I received for Mother's Day.  I already had the 3 candle holder/vases, the starfish and shell.  The bowl with the seashell on it is from the justice scales.  I really like the wood texture on the bowls.

And this is the other bowl turned upside down.

I found a box of sand dollars I had found a long time ago in a beach in Florida. I had to spray paint them white because I tried to bleach them at one time and they turned a nasty yellow.  I used one of the larger sand dollars with sand from a local beach in an apothecary jar I picked up at a thrift store for .55.  The other jar pictured is a pickle jar with twine wrapped around the top and a seashell I found tied to it. It has other shells/coral bits that I found once upon a time.  The small square frame is one I had purchased a while ago with a picture of St. Thomas from one of the many cruises we have been on.

This large apothecary jar was also from a thrift store and was only $1.49!  I found a shell necklace to wrap around the top and filled it with the remaining coral bits I had.

I made this shadow box frame from a Melissa and Doug zoo magnet box.  I painted the top edge with white acrylic paint, then glued some shells I had to the bottom.  Then I placed a Photoshopped picture that Hubs made with the Footprints poem and our daughter running on the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC.

I got this fan from EBay to put in my garage/laundry room. Hubs still hasn't replaced the cord on it, but I'm really in no hurry, as the room is NEVER going to be complete.  I picked up the handheld antique mixer at an Antique Mall for $2.95.  I just thought it was cool.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Garage Makeover

Hubs has been complaining that the garage is just a dumping ground and unfortunately, he's right.   I'm really embarrassed to even post pictures, but here it goes. 

Everything that didn't have a place in the house or that Hubs leaves laying around gets put in the garage.  When we remodeled the kitchen, we moved the laundry room into the garage to gain more room for our kitchen, so it's more like a garage/storage/laundry room.  They had to install a pump to push water over the garage and kitchen into the drain. It was either that or bust up part of our garage and driveway.  So we lived with these ugly pipes coming out of the wall for all this time.  Look under the left cabinet above the washing machine and you'll see 2 huge pipes coming out of the wall at a 45 degree angle. The pump is "hidden" inside a makeshift cabinet.


We put our heads together and came up with a plan to hide all the pumps and pipes.  We decided that it would also be a good idea to install a sink for convenience.  We drew up a plan and got to work. 

First we went to hhgregg and ordered a new stackable washer/dryer so that we could gain more storage space.  Next, we went to Home Depot to order the cabinets.  Then the hard part.. clearing the garage.  Ugh.  We started putting stuff in the attic and shed and left all the large storage cabinets.  We only had 1 month to get the garage prepped and painted because the washer/dryer were scheduled to be delivered a month from the purchase date. It was as far out as we could have it come. 

Hubs decided to just take down all the drywall because he had to relocate some outlets/switches and redo the well water pump system to fit it under the counter top I wanted.  Look at this well pump configuration.  Awful, right??

Here is that wall after all the drywall came out.

After he completed the wiring, we found a plumber (Dean) based on a friend's recommendation to come in and run lines for the sink and also lower the pump and do something about the weird angle of the pipes.  Dean came by to assess the situation with another plumber and left the work to him because he was furiously working on meeting a deadline on a house that is going to grace the cover of Coastal Living magazine.  How cool is that??   

After the plumbing was complete, Hubs decided it would be a good opportunity to insulate the wall.  He's such a smarty pants! 

We had 2 weeks left for someone to drywall.  I called the guy who scraped the ceilings in our billiard room and hallways.  He said he would be available to do it the following week, which was last week.  We called last week and he said this week for sure.  We figured we could at least paint the floor and knock that out of the way.  Since we have so much crap, we had to move everything to one side, paint, let it dry overnight, then move everything to the other side and paint the rest. 

See the half painted floor? 

Okay, so we finished that up on Monday.  When I called the drywall guy to ask when he was coming, I explained to him that we had to get the drywall up no later than Wednesday because we had a washer and dryer coming Friday and we still had to prime and paint.  AND that if he thought he couldn't do it, to let us know so we can get someone else.  He said he could do it on Wednesday.  Okay, well, we gave him the benefit of the doubt because he did a great job for us before and was cheap.  Big mistake.   Yesterday, he was supposed to come.   We called, no answer.  We left several messages.  By 5:00pm, I'm fuming.  I called the friend who recommended him to ask if he knew of anyone else that we could get at the last minute.  Luckily he did and he came over today.  I was hoping they would finish today but no such luck.  I called hhgregg to see if there was any way they could deliver on Monday instead.  They said it would be fine.  Happy dance!  Luckily my mother-in-law is taking the girls this weekend so we'll be painting all night tomorrow and probably into Saturday.  Saturday will be our day of rest as we have a tee time at 11:08am.  It's supposed to be 80 and cloudy so it should be perfect.   Check back soon for more on the garage makeover.

4/24/11 - We've got color!!

Happy Easter!!  What a wonderful weekend it turned out to be despite the painting marathon we had.  We started painting right after work at 5:00pm on Friday.  Hubs rolls and I do the trim work.  We put on 2 coats of flat white ceiling paint.  We were painting over semi-gloss so it kind of smeared on rather than rolled on the first coat.  Then we put 1 coat of Behr Aqua Smoke semi-gloss on the right side of the garage.  We are still working on half the garage at a time because of all the piles of crap stuff we have in there.  We were hoping to put the 2nd coat on but it just wasn't drying.  It was about 50 degrees outside, so I imagine the temperature had something to do with it.  We finally called it a night at 3:00am.  After looking at it in the morning, we reluctantly agreed the ceiling needed 1 more coat.  So after a fun-filled weekend, we put the girls to bed and started painting again.  We finished the ceiling and put another coat on the right-hand wall.  I'm really liking the color.  Hubs was a bit skeptical at first, calling it a Care Bear Green, but it's growing on him. 

Hubs also sealed some cracks around the perimeter of the garage and under the door.  He used this really cool foam sealer called Great Stuff.  You spray it in a crack, it foams up, then you just cut the excess off with a serrated knife when it dries.  How cool is that??  Check it out!

The new washing machine and dryer come tomorrow!  Woo Hoo! 

4/27/11 - Frustrated

Okay, so hhgregg calls on Monday to say they don't have the side dryer vent kit we ordered and it would be there on Tuesday.  We told them to go ahead and deliver the washer/dryer Monday and come back to install the dryer vent kit on Tuesday.  Somehow wires got crossed and they did not come by.  They came by Tuesday to set up the washer/dryer, but still no vent kit.  Hmmm.  When Hubs called the store, he was informed that it was back-ordered for 3 to 4 weeks.  She said, "I told your wife yesterday that it was back-ordered... didn't she tell you?"  ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  So not only am I irritated that I ordered this a month ago and they waited until now to let us know, but they lied to us twice!  Nice.  So Hubs went to Home Depot and found another contraption to use that would end up giving us the same configuration as if we went with the side vent kit.  We needed it to be close to the wall since we are surrounding it with cabinets.  The side vent kit was $49.99 and it cost Hubs $13.00 to create the new one.  I'll be going to hhgregg tomorrow to get my money back for the vent kit. 

Didn't he do a good job?? 
So Home Depot said the expected delivery date for our cabinets was Monday.  Monday came and went, no call.  I called Tuesday and they said the new expected delivery date would be that day, Tuesday.  No call back.  We called them back around 8:00pm and they told us it would be leaving the warehouse in Michigan the following day.  What is up with these places??  So now we are not expected to get the cabinets until Friday.  Is this project ever going to be over?  Ugh.
I guess the good news is that we can start working on the 15 piles of laundry sitting on our bedroom floor.  <sigh>

5/7/11 - Slow and Steady

Well, Home Depot finally called on Thursday to let us know our cabinets were in. Hubs went to go pick one up that night and no one was available to assist him.  No surprise there.  They said it would be about 45 minutes until someone could get it for him.  He couldn't wait because I had to leave for volleyball finals, which by the way, my Diving Divas took the championship for the third straight season in a row!  ;) 
So he went up Friday after work and got the first pantry cabinet.  He had to do a hack job on it since that ridiculous pump was going in it.  Oh, and did I mention there is a concrete "ledge" along the bottom of that wall?  Not sure what that is all about other than being another reason to annoy me.  So he had to cut the bottom to accommodate that as well so our cabinets would be flush against the wall.  He did a pretty good job considering! 

Today, he went back to get the other pantry cabinet. Then while the girls were napping, Hubs worked on cutting holes in our other pantry cabinet for the dryer hose while I made 3 trips to Home Depot to pick up the sink base and all 3 wall cabinets.  Not surprising, our 36 inch base cabinet was sold out, even though they showed 2 in stock.  So, I had to go to another store and get it.  Good times! 
I love this picture of Roo watching her daddy cut holes in the pantry cabinet.   

Here are the holes cut out!

And the dryer hose hooked back up.

After the second pantry went up, Hubs set up the sink base.  I feel like we finally made some progress today!

5/17/2011 - Leaking Washer.... GRRRRR

We went on vacation last week and when we got home, we noticed a pool of water in front of our washer.  Great!!  So we did a load of laundry and there was no leak until well after the washer had stopped.  So, I guess Hubs is going to have to take one of the pantry cabinets down and investigate.  Another setback.  ;(  We are still pushing forward though. We will go pick out counter tops tomorrow.  I wonder what kind of issues we will run in to there.  Stay tuned....

5/17/2011 (continued) - Cool

Well, Hubs investigated and found out that the dryer water supply line for steam was not tight.  Who'd a thought it was the dryer causing the leak?  Any who, hopefully that was the only issue and we won't have any more mystery leaks.  The doors to the cabinets are on and we're going counter top shopping tomorrow. 

I am bringing a sample piece of fabric with me to try and find a counter top that will match.  Here is the fabric I picked out for the curtains.  I just love stripes!!

Update:  5/31/2011 - Well pump installed and hardware attached

Well, we decided on a counter top, but have not ordered it yet.  Apparently the wall at the end of our garage is not level at all.  The wall varies by 1 inch where the counter top will be.  We will have to ask if the company can cut the counter top accordingly.  We hope to do that tomorrow. 
Hubs finished installing the well pump in a new configuration that takes up far less space.  He lowered the PVC pipes, got a smaller tank and mounted the control panel under where the counter top will be. 
Here is what it looked like before.

And this is what it looks like now! 

Hubs picked out this hardware for the cabinets and installed them. 

Update:  10/13/2011 - Almost done

We finally got around to ordering our counter tops midway through summer, only to pick them up almost 4 weeks after we ordered them. They said it would take a week, but we never got a call back from them.  When we called about 3 weeks later, they said they were done.  A phone call would have been nice, ya think?  So we made arrangements to pick it up the following week.  The counter top that went over the cabinet next to the house door was perfect.  

The other counter top, which had to be cut at an angle on one end due to a crooked wall was cut straight, despite us providing exact measurements of how it should be cut and them saying that was not a problem.  Of course we didn't notice it until we got home. We debated taking it back, but it would have been too much of a hassle trying to arrange another truck pickup and drop-off.  Hubs made it work by using some shims and cutting an extra piece of the laminate back splash to cover the gap.  He installed the sink with no problems.  

I finished the curtains that go below the counter top to hide the well pump and other miscellaneous stuff we want to put under there.   

Only a few more things to do before it's complete!   
  • Install and paint trim around the door.
  • Install and paint trim around window.  (We may have to get our carpenter friend to help with that. The window is jacked up, to say the least.)
  • Install and paint foot boards and shoe molding.
  • Change out the remaining light switches and plugs.
  • Finish curtains for the door and window.
  • Take better pictures and post.  I'll get Hubs to use the good camera.  ;)