September 11, 2015

It Took Us A Year

In honor of owning our home for one year, I decided to share the updates of what we have done to our kitchen. We have not, in fact, been working on our kitchen for a year. However, when we were looking for a house, the kitchen was my most important aspect, and we chose to purchase a home with a very dark and dated kitchen. So it HAS taken a year for my dreams of a lovely kitchen to be realized.

Let us start with the Befores, because I want to really wow you at the end.

 The kitchen was a very small square with almost-black cabinets, cheap laminate counter-tops and backsplash, and a useless light fixture. 
 This cabinet jutted out between the kitchen and eating area, so that when I cooked I couldn't actually see anyone at the table and had to lean over to do so. It's not so charming to be hunched over at a dinner party. (Not an actual dinner party, like my parents over for pizza).
 Oops. This is not technically how it looked when we moved in, I forgot to take pictures until after Ryan removed this first cabinet... because I was in shock when he one day, out of the blue, strong-armed it off the wall.
This is the adjacent eating area. The previous owner had painted the trees and chalkboard calendar and had used the green to match the floor.  The light in here was even less helpful than the one in the kitchen. 

Ryan and I picked out and purchased all the necessary cabinetry in early October. Ryan spent much of the winter priming and painting them, and I spent most of the winter pregnant and nagging him to make our kitchen beautiful.

My birthday present at the beginning of April was to rip out half of a wall, and that began a long period of time called It-Has-To-Get-Worse-Before-It-Gets-Better.

It did get better, and now we love it!

Oh wait, not yet. I have to tell you that while Ryan was working on the kitchen, my parents re-made me a kitchen table. 
This is before we finished the table, also before I folded my laundry.

This is a table my parents bought second-hand when I was young, and when my dad started making their tables himself, this one was on the way out. So they gave it to us, when we moved to Michigan. The wood on the top was extremely soft and had been autographed by a MEGAN years ago. 

The chairs were a yellowy cream with this navy blue fabric (plus like four or so other fabrics underneath that, from being re-done over time).

So out with the old and in with the new!

My husband did all of this. He had little background in contracting work, and I laughed at him a lot for all the YouTube videos he watched to teach himself how to do everything. The most impressive was when he installed counter-tops.

We chose some gorgeous tile back-splash but were not ready to afford them, so we put up white bead board to complete the all-white look and keep everything looking clean.

This is where they took out half a wall. As you can see, it's not quite finished yet. Ryan plans to stain the board dark and add some thick molding and corbels underneath the small bar. 

Ryan also installed this light fixture. I didn't really know why we needed a fixture here, and I didn't really care when he put it in, but it's really bright in both the kitchen and family room, and I use it all the time. 

After we sanded off the tree and calendar and primed over the bright green, I painted these walls a barely-noticeable "teal" that was actually green... and completely lifeless. Then I picked out an extremely bright and bold teal and painted these walls again. It was completely overpowering, although I love the color in our playroom. So after that, Ryan had to prime again. He was not happy about all the priming, and so I finally took my time to pick a paint color. 

But I couldn't find it. Luckily, I finally knew what I wanted it to look like, and, fortunately, I had a gallon of every shade of blue and teal you can imagine, so I started mixing. Funny story: We were having company for dinner one Saturday, and I could NOT let them see what this room looked like. I got up that morning and started mixing paint colors, then I painted the whole room and put it all back together before making dinner just in time for guests to arrive. 

My mom found these curtains at Big Lots for $10 a panel, and let me tell you that is nowhere near the amount we would have had to spend on the fabric I wanted, which looked basically just like these curtains. Thanks, God.

My dad built me a brand-new table top. 

My mom and I painted the chairs and table, and Mom recovered all the seat cushions and covered them in Scotch-Guard because the eaters in my house are a mess.

It may have taken us a little time to get it done, but with having such little experience and a more-than-full-time job, Ryan got all of this done. And we did it without going into any debt for it, and that was important to us. 

I am in love with this space. My kids and I spend approximately every waking hour in this space, eating six meals a day, preparing and cleaning up said meals, and doing our homeschool. So I am extremely grateful that it is now such a bright and pleasant place to be. 


"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." 
-Proverbs 4:18

March 2, 2015

Painting our Floor & The Transformation of Our Family Room

We bought a house in September and have spent the last 5 1/2 months trying to change every surface in it. We have painted ten rooms of walls and trim, changed light fixtures, and built shelves. We have some big projects coming up, though, and I just decided I had to start documenting our progress.

Home Sweet Home
 We have made a ton of changes throughout, but the biggest transformation so far has definitely been our family room, the room where we spend all our time, the room that was the very worst of all, when we purchased the home.

Here is the before:

Dark paneled walls and The Floor. 18 inch square tiles in green, red, yellow, and blue, in a random pattern. Just... no.

Knowing this was going to be our main living area, we had to have real vision to be able to see that, yes, we could make this beautiful.

Before moving in, my husband, my mom and dad, my father-in-law, and I stormed in and tried to paint as many rooms as we could. First up was this. My mom and I tried to whitewash the walls and quickly figured out that was not going to work. So we primed and painted the whole room Country White, a pre-mixed can of paint from Walmart. I love white, and I couldn't see myself living in such a dark, dark, room. Even having white walls and baseboards and mantle made such a difference.

Before Christmas, we found a sale and purchased all new cabinets for our kitchen, and while we were at it, we got cabinets to fill in on both sides of the dark-brick fireplace. My wonderful husband has been very excited for our home renovation, but, in reality, most of our experience with home improvement is from Pinterest and YouTube. His entire Christmas wishlist consisted of tools, and as soon as he opened his huge set of drill and about 100 other pieces, he told me, "Now, I have tools. Now, I can do anything." At the very least, we have a lot of enthusiasm.

He did an amazing job creating built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace, which we also painted white and plan to stain the wooden top of the cabinet a dark brown to match the ceiling beams, etc..

We have had plans from the beginning to put down new engineered hardwood floors, but we decided to do our kitchen remodel first. As the costs for that project added up, I realized that hardwood floors were getting further and further down the schedule, and I asked Ryan if I could paint them. So we scoured Pinterest for tips and went for it. 

Taping off the walls and brick, with the help of short people.
My mom brush-painting the edges Chocolate Kiss
Magic Mopping
 I am so excited. This is such an incredible improvement. Sure, this isn't our dream flooring, and yet I can now see the room and relax without having my brain frazzled by random primary colors. I cannot express how much more calming it is to be in this room now.


We are loving it.