Saturday, July 30, 2011

House Before and After Pics: the Bedrooms

It appears that I don't have a whole lot of before pictures of the bedrooms.  Probably because they are just bedrooms, nothing too special...

I guess the biggest problem with the bedrooms BEFORE was that all of the woodwork was this nasty dark brown color.  And, the previous owner had decided to paint some of the walls with flat white ceiling paint...and in a moment of wisdom, randomly rolled over parts of the woodwork with the same flat white ceiling paint.  They didn't paint all of the woodwork...I wouldn't even say most of it.  So, there were these random stripes of white paint across the dark was beautiful.  NOT.

Here's the Master Bedroom.  Unfortunately, I only have a picture of this corner of the room...not sure why this corner was so exciting to take a picture of it, but you get what I have, so deal with it.  :)

You can see some evidence of the white paint on brown woodwork above.  Weirdly enough, it looks like the trim around the mirrored closet is already white (probably ceiling paint white though)...  The hardwood floors were actually in really good condition, so we didn't even need to really touch those (other than doing a real good deep cleaning...)

For the last 8 years, I've had the bedroom painted a sage green color.  The realtor recommended we re-paint it a more neutral color, so we just used the same color we had in our living room -- Navajo White -- a nice beige white.  I think it looks nice with our bedding and curtains, and it did freshen the room up a bit...see for yourself:

The only other bedroom I had pictures of is what is currently Sam's room.  This room had a special yellow painted heat register (see below) and a wonderful old school ceiling fan.  You can also barely see out the window the state of rot the original deck was in.  When we replaced that, big Max went out and kicked at the railing and it fell right apart.  SCARY.  Glad we never used it!!

You can also see here how even the doors were painted that nasty dark brown color.  We re-painted the doors and trim a nice glossy white color that really freshened everything up.  It's true when they say a coat of paint can make ALL the difference!

Here's the finished deck too:

And, last but not least, lil Max's room.  Sorry, no before picture to compare, but a nice after picture (BTW, the color in this room was called "Tantalizing Teal"...I bought it at the same time as the "Naughty Neutral"....hahaha).

I'm a little bit sad that I only have one more Before/After post left: the backyard!  It has been so wonderful to go back and have all these memories re-surface and to relive all the work we put into this house.  I really hope the next owners love and take care of this house as much as we did (I am sure that they will).  It is a wonderful house.  Sure, like any house, it has some things we'd like to fix...I don't think any house is PERFECT (maybe unless you build it yourself, but even then...).  I've really enjoyed the last 9.3 years I've spent in this house -- years by myself, with roommates, and then finally with my husband and then my sons.  The years of my life I spent here were blessed, special and hold so many memories.  It will be really hard to package all that up when we leave...but I just have to remember that the next house will hold lots of memories as well!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

House Before and After Pics: the Master Bathroom

Since my last post covered the main bathroom (with minimal 'remodeling' work), I figured it might be a good transition to the other bathroom -- the master bathroom.  This one needed a complete overhaul, as you can see below. 

It is a smaller bathroom, with a shower stall, toilet and sink -- Max and I can be in the bathroom at the same time, but it does require a little space negotiating.  We debated taking space from one of the hallway closets to make the shower larger (or turn it into a steam idea) but we ended up opting to just keep the layout and space the same.

The color of the tile just did NOT appeal to us, so that required us to do a complete tear down of the entire bathroom.  The other reason was that, unknown to me when I purchased the house (and NOT disclosed by the previous seller....NAUGHTY) was that if you used the shower, it would leak into the garage below.  I discovered this only be accident one morning when I realized the entire back half of my car looked like it had gone through a car wash...  Needless to say, I didn't use the shower after that.

Anyways, here is what the bathroom looked like before:

Wonderful pink and maroon tile.  Cheapo white laminate cabinet.  Nasty wallpaper (why is wallpaper such a pain to remove?)  Max just reminded me that when he pulled that medicine cabinet out of the wall a whole bunch of used razor blades fell out on him.  Apparently there was a hole in the bottom of the medicine cabinet to 'dispose' of your used blades....I guess if you consider throwing them into your wall cavities disposing of them....

This is what happens when you remove tile from drywall -- note we were not trying to salvage the drywall, I was trying to salvage the tile to send it to the Habitat for Humanity RE Store (where people can reuse the tile if wanted...I figured someone might need a tile or two to replace broken ones, and the retro tiles are coming back in style...)  See the funky pink and maroon tile in the floor?

Here is the shower completely gutted.  Pretty, eh?

Here's Max hard at work tiling the floor of the bathroom.  Neither of us had a ton of experience with tiling, but it's not that hard to master, and it turned out really great (if I do say so myself).  We did the remodel in the summer of 2007 -- convenient for me because I was pregnant with Lil Max at the I could only help so much.... LOL.

The finished floor and shower floor (the threshold and step was done in a different tile (my idea).

Finished floor.

Cement board is up on the walls and in the shower...

We opted for an oak vanity and wall cabinet (to match the original oak trim that we found when we sanded off the multiple layers of paint).  Slowly things are coming together....

And here's what it looks like today!  I love the colors we picked for the makes me feel like I am in a spa when I am in there.  It was called (for whatever reason) "Naughty Neutral".  I may or  may not have purchased it for the name alone...

You can see more of the tile detailing in the shower in this picture.  The "border" in the shower was the same tile that we used for the step/threshold.  I'm really proud of how this remodel turned out also.  It is now one of my favorite rooms in the house!  The rain shower head is also pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

House Before and After: the LINKS

Just so I can access all the links in one place (I'll add to it as I post new ones):









Monday, July 25, 2011

House Pictures Before and After: the Main Bathroom

I don't have a lot of pictures of the main bathroom before.  This is probably the only one that shows it in its original glory:

It's funny because I know lots of people who have intentionally painted their cabinets dark like this.  I hated it from the minute I saw it -- so I ended up painting it white.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the yellow tile and robin's egg blue sink (and bath tub and toliet).  Well, the toliet was replaced with a brand new clean white one.  And, the sink and tub...well unless we were going to do a complete overhaul of the bathroom, they had to stay.

Some other issues:  the grout on the floor -- see how it looks black in spots??  It was like that ALL over the floor.  It was really white underneath, but you never would've guessed it...  So, I got down on my hands and knees for like a week straight and ZAPPED the crap out of those stains.  The floor looked brand new and oh so pretty when I was finished.

Another problem -- the mirror.  It was a nice sized mirror, but it had water damage around the edges.  So, we built a frame for it -- it really made it look completely different.  But, see for yourself:

This was another cheap 'remodel' -- although nothing really was done other than some good old fashioned elbow grease....  And, I have to admit, the yellow and blue really grew on me over the years....once I learned to embrace it and find some cute matching accessories, I really started to like it.  It is perfect for the kids too.  Now, our master bathroom...well, that was another that DID require a complete overhaul...but that is for another post...keep your eyes peeled!!  :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

House Pictures Before and After: the front of the House

One more before and after post before we move on to the upstairs of our house.  The FRONT of the house.  I will save the back of the house for last. :)

Some of these pictures were taken by my dad, who walked around taking THOUSANDS of pictures that he then taped together to make panoramic views (ah..the good ole days). 

Ah, the beautiful house with my parent's cars in the driveway.  They are so awesome.  They helped me SO MUCH during the first few months (and years) of being in that house on my own.  That's my dad's ladder too -- he did all the "manly" stuff that I didn't know how (or want) to do.  He rocks.

Pay particular attention to that large juniper bush by the mailboxes (gone now) and the barberry bushes by the front door...

Here you can see more of right along the front of the house.

Same with here (and you can also see the pictures taped together LOL). 

The entrance to the house was the bane of my existence for so long.  See the horrible steps with the black gunk from outdoor carpeting still on it?  I can't tell you how many times I tried to get that stuff off.  See how the house juts out just at the top of the steps?  If you weren't careful, you'd bang your head on the house.  SO many people did it (myself included).  It SUCKED.  Gotta love the 60's wrought iron posts too.


AFTER!  Juniper bush is GONE and new landscaping is in its place...

Wrought iron posts are gone and new posts and a rail are there.  Entrance to the house was relocated to be straight out rather than up along the side of the house.  Landscaping along the entire front of the house was completed.  I love gardening.  I get it from my mom.  But seriously, we paid for a landscaping plan, and then we did all the work ourselves.  It is so wonderful to see the fruits of your labors bloom right before your eyes (corny, I know)!

Another view of the new front porch and landscaping.  We also got a new fiberglass front door and an AWESOME storm door that has a retracting screen.  I love this door.  I think it will be the first thing we will purchase at our new house (unless it has one already).  Oh yeah, we also got a new 3-dimensional roof put on (a complete tear off project) and new gutters and facia.  (Let me tell you, that is NOT cheap)  :)


Looking at it like this, you'd never even have guessed where the old steps were located.  But wow, does it look better or what?  My neighbor popped over tonight to drop off a Tupperware we had left at their house from a previous visit and she was telling me how every time she drives by our house, she is struck by how 'welcoming' the front of our house feels now.  What a complement!  XOXO

Friday, July 22, 2011

House Pictures Before and After: The Living Room

You can't really tell from the picture above, but the carpet in the house looked tan when I first bought the house.  It wasn't until I cleaned it that I realized it was actually an ivory/white color.  You should've seen just how disgusting the water in the steam cleaner was.  SO GROSS.

There were also these really awesome curtains.  But hey, they did their job and I didn't have money  immediately to be buying window treatments...

My mother graciously gifted me some wonderful cellular blinds.  Which was no small (or cheap) feat...there are 4 LARGE windows in our living/dining room.  Did I say thank you enough, Mom?  THANK YOU.

More than anything, the 'remodel' to this room was finally getting adult furniture (and not the college/inherited mismatch collection that I had and that Max brought with him when he moved to WI).  I have always loved the large windows in this house.  They let in so much wonderful natural light...

That's the downstairs for you...we'll be moving along to the upstair (and outside) soon.  Thanks for tagging along on this ride down memory lane.  It sure is remarkable how much work we put into this house...and seeing it all with before and after photos really drives that point home for me too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

#2 -- Run a 5K

Of my goals for 2011, this one is, by far, one of the more intimidating ones for me.

I've tried on running several times in my life, and ultimately I end up getting bored or distracted or just plain lazy and I stop.  So, I figured making it a goal of mine for this year would help to motivate me to actually complete a 5K.  I ran one back in 2009, but I had to walk a portion of it.  My goal for this year was to run the entire 5K course. 

My training for it was relatively simple.  Put on shoes, go outside, and run.  I used a Couch to 5K app on my iPod Touch that helped motivate me with spoken cues and my own playlists of running tunes.  Mason was a great running companion.  But, I stalled out right around Week 8 or 9 -- where the goal was to run for 25 mins straight.  And, while that was a challenge for me for sure, I had little motivation to push myself even further.  Based on my running pace, I needed to run closer to 35 mins straight to complete the full 5K.

Lucky (and unbeknowist to me), my friend Laura was also taking up running again.  She didn't have a 'goal' per se, but the challenge of running a 5K was intriguing to her.  Our first run together was her first real run outside.  She was afraid about pacing herself, but it turns out that I am a pretty good pacer and kept us going at a good speed where she didn't too tired and could make it further.  Our first run together we did an interval training of 5 mins running, 3 mins walking, 8 mins running, 3 mins walking and 5 mins running. 

With the 5K fast approaching, we decided to just 'do It' (sorry Nike).  So, two days before the race, she came over to practice the 5K route with me.  We started out with our warm up (5 mins walking) and then eased into the run.  We felt good, so we kept going...and kept going...and decided after 25 mins of running was up, we would run through the 5 mins cool down.  And then, after that was done, we decided we were so close to getting the full 5K done, that we would just keep running.  And, lo and behold, we ran the ENTIRE 5K course.  Wow.

Now, the real challenge was upon us.  We had to re-do this lofty accomplishment, do it with others present, and finish the 5K on actual race day.  I know there were times while we were running it that I wanted to just stop and walk a bit.  Laura says she felt the same (but I wonder if she's just saying it to make me feel better). In any case, we ROCKED it.  Our first mile was 10:45!  That was a record for both of us (except for the time my dad made me run a ~9 min mile, but that was a total fluke).  It pumped us up and kept us going.  We ended up finishing the race in just under 35 mins.  No world records for us, but we did the whole thing RUNNING.  No walking at all!  Our goal wasn't for speed, it was for endurance and we ROCKED IT!

I don't have any pictures of this awesome accomplishment, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Edited to add, here is my proof...the results!
#2 -- CHECK!

Getting closer...

Little Max had no interest in walking until right around 15 months...

then, one day, he walked all the way to the mailbox and the neighbor's house holding onto one finger.

He was walking on his own a week later....

We've been trying to get Sam to 'practice' for months.  He has the skills to do it, he just refuses.  Then, on Saturday, this came out of nowhere...

House Pictures Before and After: the KITCHEN

Continuing on the house tour of befores and afters, let me introduce you to.....

....the KITCHEN.

Ah yes, the kitchen.  What a beauty it was to behold when I first bought this house....see for yourself:

Doesn't this just SCREAM beautiful? (dripping with sarcasm).  The z-brick, the beautiful TINY oven, the ugly refrigerator...well, beggars can't be choosers, and this was my first I made do with what I had.

This second picture actually shows the original yellow linoleum that was "on" the floor.  I say "on" because it was worn so thin in some spots you could see through to the sub-floor.

But, a kitchen remodel was out of our budget for the time being, so we really made do with what we had...we replaced the refrigerator and started dreaming about what we would do differently:

Despite it's visual un-appeal, we still entertained in the house...the kitchen is a wonderful size, it just wasn't very nice to look at...

But, we made it work.

Then, in 2008, with a 6 month old on our hands, we got all crazy and decided we wanted to tackle a full kitchen remodel.   Did I mention we were crazy?

There is no good way to remove Z-brick.  As you can see above, there is quite a residue that remains after it has been taken off the wall (they glue it on)...

So, we were forced to go down to the studs.  Because of the beams in the ceiling, we also had to tear out the ceiling and put a new one in...see...we ARE crazy. 

With a lot of elbow grease and some magic cleaner I found, I scrubbed the cabinets into looking pretty again and re-used them!  We put in laminate flooring (see little Max 'helping'?).  And slowly but surely, the kitchen got put back together again...

Here it is with the finished countertops!  But my 'after' pictures really don't do the full remodel justice.  Lucky for me, we have the house listing photos to show it off :)

The back splash is beige and green glass tiles.  I LOVE it.  It fits perfectly with everything.  Max made some crown molding for the top of the cabinets, and they look brand new!

We put can lights in the ceiling when we redid it which really help add light to the kitchen...and the dimmer switch is the icing on the cake!

The size of our kitchen is phenomenal.  Seriously.  Looking at other houses, we haven't found A SINGLE KITCHEN that can even COMPARE in size to ours...why are we moving again?

Of all the remodels in our house, the kitchen is probably the one I am the most proud of.  Originally, we had thought of just painting over the z-brick (rather than having to tear everything out).  I am SO GLAD we decided to just do it right and do it all the way.  It was totally worth it in the end.

Oh yeah, and one of the houses that came up on our recent search had z-brick in the kitchen.

We won't even consider it.