Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Layout and Playing Catchup!

In case you have noticed I've had Mrs. LauraJean over at LJKC Design take a shot at helping my sad little blog become a little more personalized and I love it! She even worked around some quirky issues with my blog so I really appreciate all of the work that she put into it. If your blog needs a face lift, follow the link above to get more info about her pricing and to check out some more layouts she's done!

I decided to do a running list of some of the things that we've done since we moved in since it's been such a long time since I last blogged. Some of these things are very small or seemed very small but certainly took a good amount of our time. We're really having a good time making this house our home and we look forward to future projects and DIY work b/c I think we're both really enjoying learning how to do some of these things together. It definitely doesn't hurt your marriage to take on a new task together or to learn to do something. The sense of accomplishment you feel together is pretty awesome! Anyway, back to my list:

First thing before we even moved in was changing out the hideous appliances. We got a new Samsung refrigerator and a Whirpool Gold oven and dishwasher.

Before (listing pic):


If you look at the before we had a white hood over the range and we wanted to try to maximize our counterspace until we can add cabinets so we had a custom cabinet company contract on the side to pop our cabinet out of the wall and cut about 6 inches off of it. The guy did really great work and you can't even tell the doors or the cabinet had been cut. He also stayed around and installed the microwave in about 30 minutes. You can tell he does a lot of those.

We've definitely been enjoying our deck that extends along the entire backside of the house. The previous owners left a white patio set that had a round table with 8 chairs and a side table. We wanted to take advantage of all of the pieces so we decided to give it a good cleaning and replace the cushions. I found a great deal at Plow & Hearth for replacement Sunbrella cushions. We intended to paint it black to update the set a bit but the white started to grow on us after we replaced the cushions so we'll see how we feel next year.

Before (another listing pic):


Here's a shot from the other side of the deck and Tuck all up in the middle of the shot.

One of the first things we did was replace the locks on our doors so we just decided to replace the doorknobs and update the wonderful brass with nickel.


Here's the after that I just took so you can see my Fall wreath too :)

This next project was one that took the most 'learning'. We are not electricians and we haven't even replaced a light. When we moved in, our 3 bedrooms and living room had no light fixtures. We got a family friend to help us wire ceiling fans in our bedroom and the guest bedroom and a light fixture in the 3rd bedroom. It inspired me to learn more about it and tackle our lovely beige faceplates on our outlets and switches.

At first I honestly thought it was just all a faceplate and we could replace them for $.50 a piece. No problem. I realized that the actual switch and actual outlet would remain almond so we would have to figure out how to do some of the wiring. I did some reading online and it seemed easy. Black to Brass, White to Silver, Ground wire to the green screw. I figured we could handle three wires until we took out an outlet armed with our new supplies, Lowes knowledge, and wiring book and saw seven wires. We have so many due to our outlets being attached to light switches (and we actually know how to undo this in the bedrooms now that we don't need to have lamps anymore!).

It only took one call to the electrician at first and then we got into a rhythm, working a room at at a time. We've finished the entire downstairs (we even did a dimmer and a GFI) and now we have the upstairs to tackle.

Here's the old face plate compared to the new white ones. I know it's not a big thing but I've read that it's the little things like outlets and brass to nickel that can make your home seem newer and actual help your return out when you're trying to sell. These are the things that aren't that expensive to do so if it will help us out one day when it's time to sell then it's definitely worth looking into.

This is the new dimmer switch (beside an old switchplate just to show the difference) that Casey installed. The dimmer slides along the side and then you can just flip the switch on and off and adjust the side to your preference.

Tuck loves his new home. Loves it. Our landing that leads to the upstairs has a window right at the landing level so he can just sit there all day and watch the activity in the cul de sac :) I usually attach him to a bush when I'm outside weeding and he's content to just lay outside. He also loves sitting on the back deck and watching the horses. There's much more activity here than watching the cars go by on our deck at the apartment haha

This first picture actually shows our new mulch. My wondeful mother in law actually helped me harness back some of the weeds and flowers that had overgrown while the house was vacant and I've tried to do pretty good with the upkeep. It looked like it had been awhile since all of the different beds had been mulched so 18 (eighteen!) bags of mulch later we (meaning casey) finished the front, the side, and even had extra to do a little landscaping around our mailbox. I'll take a picture of that in a separate blog post.

I've only had one casualty due to putting his tie out around the bushes in the front yard. I guess we didn't need that plant anyway

I feel accomplished now that I've shown you guys some of the things that we've been working on. We have a couple of small projects we want to tackle before the end of this year which are:

Finishing switching the outlets out

Installing a wall organization system in our garage

Replacing hopefully at least 2 of the toliets

Switching all of the brass knobs and hinges to new nickel levers like the ones below

I'll keep you guys updated on our progress and you'll hopefully see me blogging more actively now that I have a spring in my step from my new layout and now that we're feeling much more 'settled' than we were in July. I've got some rooms to reveal as they get closer to being finished and more home projects and recipes coming up so hopefully I won't be at a loss of things to write about.

Have a great weekend!


etta said...

There are only a few select things I won't do when it comes to home improvement. I work at Lowe's, so I always have someone to ask. :) I shy away from major plumbing work, though I'm confident I could replace faucets.

We're slowly replacing the switches and faceplates. We have tons of almond-colored ones and I hate them. You're right, it makes a huge difference.

Katie said...

The new blog layout looks GREAT, Renee!! I also love all of the little changes to your house. It's really coming along!

Cara said...

Love the layout, and your house is great! The backyard is incredible!

jennrs said...

Love the patio furniture! I just adore your home--it's beautiful.