Our Ugly House

Home Improvement

Just Kidding! Hahaha.

We said we were done, but who were we kidding? Any home owner knows your work is never done.

We have been throwing so much damn money at our house. Sometimes I look back at our pre home-ownership life and think, “We must have been SO rich”. What did we do with all that cash when we weren’t buying appliances or electrical work or other not fun money sucking adult things that we buy now? I am sure we were responsible and invested it or wine.

The spending saga continues. Until last night, we had some really dingy, oversized Ikea curtains up in the living/dining room purely to provide privacy (no one needs to see my late night face mask/underwear Justin Bieber dance parties… it’s not pretty). We waited for the Labor Day sale, and finally bought some proper window coverings. We went through Blinds Galore, and let me shoot you straight: Their prices are just the cheapest and they have such damn good customer service. If you need blinds, get them there.

The husband had become the resident power tool expert. He came home from an extra long day of work and hung the blinds like the cute, sweet, did I mention cute, husband he is. They really change the way the house looks, and it looks baller. See the pictures below:
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For real now….xo,
k

It’s about to go down

The past weekends have been the type of work days where you kill it for hours, and then you look around and think, “what the french toast did I all today”? They aren’t big changes, so it isn’t fun and gratifying with a big reveal at the end. It is getting the yard together (goodbye grandma bushes and nasty smelling tree), patching the ceiling, painting cabinet trim, cleaning the rooms that have been filled with junk, (one of them now belongs to my unborn child, so I have to stop using it as a trashcan).

But next weekend is a BIG ONE. It is a project I have been waiting to finish for months. If all goes well it will be a huge reveal total transformation project. Next weekend we are installing our butcher block countertops, finalllllly. We have now had 4 unsuccessful weekends of installing them. The sealant we used has some of the worst death chemical smells, and apparently fetuses aren’t into chemical stank. So they have been transported between my parents garage and my house to measure, adjust, and trim. Then they go back to the garage for more stain and more sealant from hell. BUT, I think they are really going in this time. Once they are installed we can install the subway tile backsplash…. and believe it or not that makes the kitchen 85% done. We almost finished a project!?! Sweet jesus yes!!

In the mean time, Curtis spent a week getting one of the trash storage rooms whipped into shape to use as his office/mixing zone. He did the whole thing entirely by himself, and color me surprised… he did a great job. I secretly wish it was my personal office, I love it that much. He now his own little slice of personal space. A door, some cute nerd toys, and a room that is all his own. I am proud of what he managed to get done in such a short time.

See some photos below of our current house stage, cause it is going to look gloriously different in a week (fingers crossed).

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Here lives Curtis’ man cave. How many scary monkey trinkets can you spot in the room?

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The view from the beginning of our living room down to the kitchen.

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Our dining zone!

IMG_3691Our finished cabinets with the farmhouse sink (it’s amazing, everyone should own one).

xo,
k

 

It’s been mighty quiet

It has been a second since our last house update. Things have been slowly moving along, but with my parents traveling quite a bit the last month our big projects have been put on hold. I have also turned into a 96 year old lady named Dorris who enjoys naps and prunes… more on that later. Here are some photos of what we have been doing since our last update.

IMG_3159First things first, I built this amazing shelf system and we finally have a place for our books, art, etc. It was the first big step that made our house feel like a home. I am attaching a parts list if anyone is interested, and the blog I used for inspiration. Constructing it was a snap, getting the pieces together was a pain in the ass.

Tutorial 

Parts and tips:

We used 1×12 pine for the shelves, and Home Depot can trim them to whatever size length you need. I stained them with Minwax Walnut stain, and then sealed them. We measured where the pipes should go and how far the would stick out from the wall and then drilled holes for the boards to slip through with a 1 1/4″ drill bit.

Pipe list (everything was for 3/4 galvanized pipe):
– (8) Base Flanges
– (18) 3 way Tees
– (22) 90° Elbows
– (13) 12″ nipple (hehe)
– (1) 40″ nipple (they will need to cut this size and thread it for you)
– (4) 24″ nipple
– (18) 6″ nipple
– (8) 8″ nipple

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We have also made some progress in the kitchen, and the biggest step was drying fitting our new Oak butcher block countertops. Yes the pictures are awful and sort of orange, but it was shot in a hurry. Hopefully these will be installed by the end of April, and then we can install the backsplash.

xo,
k

The dishes are done dude

…. Cause we finally have a dishwasher and garbage disposal!!

My plates are so grease free! My glasses sparkle like diamonds! There isn’t a pile of food scraps turning my sink into a swamp because I couldn’t flush that nasty stuff down the drain!!! I have been waiting for this day since we moved in to this house. Three people cooking and eating multiple times a day creates a mess of dishes that needed to be hand washed. The Jenga pile of drying dishes lives no longer. Alas, my countertops are barren and open like a big field. All hail my dad, he is the ruler of all dads. Instead of stuffing his face with tacos/beer while relaxing on the couch enjoying the Superbowl he crawled around under my sink for two days to make this dream a reality. I am lucky, like insanely lucky to have such generous parents.

We had to raise the countertops a bit to level them (just another part of my house that was clearly installed by a drunk person). They are now so pretty, covered in classy plywood. The next step will be installing the new butcher block countertops sometime in the next month. Of course there were hiccups, and about 20 trips to Home Depot. Another step down, and suddenly it feels like we are getting closer!

Check it out:
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We removed the old sink and plumbing, only to find the pipes were so old and rusted they just broke off…. whoops.

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We had to cut back even further trying to find a place to start the new pipe after our rusty bit snapped off.

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The short version of this story is my dad built a brace and dropped in the new farmhouse sink.

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We had some pipe issues, but we were able to get the new 1 horsepower garbage disposal in. We went with the Waste King L-8000 …That thing could eat a whole turkey. Not even joking, this disposal is a total beast.

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The edges of our current countertops needed to be trimmed back to allow for the new countertops to drop over. At this point all hell broke loose and my house was covered in dust…. again.

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Always wear your face masks kids. Dusty lungs are no fun.

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We added plywood as our temporary countertops and there you have it.

xo,
k

 

I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.

Life is a whirlwind; a tricky balancing act that sometimes feels like a bad circus. As our last year wrapped up, I hoped and dreamed for more time. More time to see my friends, more time to work on the house, more time to practice creating, more time with my husband, more time to sleep, more time to play with my dog, more time to spend adventuring. But as life would have it, there is no time… or all the time in the world, depending on how you look at it. My focus this year is balance, and learning the art of how to say no. Instead of being streched thin and wishing for more time, I hope to have more quality with the time I have. Being an alpha female has many perks, and living in the fast lane is one of them. I have lived my life maximizing every moment, from down time to crunch time. I am always on the go, and lead a crazy social life. My mom gently laughs when we talk each day. I give her the play by play on how every second of my week is filled with some activity, and then melt into a pile or worn out, overwhelmed mush. She laughs with that knowing laugh, the laugh that says “you know you should stop doing everything, it’s too much… but we both know you won’t”.

Slowly I am trying to practice my life balance. I am trying to listen to my body when it begins to collapse. If I say “no” to you, it’s not because I don’t want to. Believe me, when I say “no” my body has a visceral reaction and I want to scream “yes”! Know that my “no”, is in hopes of a more quality me when I get to the “yes”. I have to be the bossy one, so that I can be the boss. No one is going to take care of this shit but me. (I am channeling my inner Beyoncé so freaking hard).

It is no secret that our house has truly been a huge time sucker. I am throwing up some side by sides to see the before and after progress. We are far from done (like years from done), but we have done work in the past 4 months. Here we go:

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xo,
k

 

 

 

Cabinets be sexy!

It took us a total of 3 weeks to complete, but we finally got our cabinet remodel finished. My one regret is that we opted to hand paint them instead of going the profesh route and spraying them. When the sun shines in our windows I see little imperfections that drive me bonkers, but overall they are a major upgrade from the fugly crap we started with.

Our story continues from my parents garage. As you might recall I had spent a day sanding, filling, and priming our updated doors. Once they were dry and the death smell had vanished, I brought them home to paint.
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Again, my total obsession with brass led me to buying brass pulls. (Brass and Navy/Grey, come on… it’s like they were meant to be). I got the pulls from Amerock.
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The best part of this tale was a little mishap from my sweet, sweet husband. We drilled holes for the pulls, and then reattached the doors to the cabinets. Unfortunately for us, we did not note which hinges went with each door. This typically wouldn’t matter, but the jackwod that hung them originally did not hang them straight and evenly spaced. This meant when we rehung them, most of the doors wouldn’t close. I cursed, cried, decided to handle this a different day, and went to bed.

Curtis, my darling Curtis decided to tackle this problem on his own while I was at work. The solution seemed simple enough: sand the outer edges down until the doors would close. He began sanding the doors while they were hung and wood dust began to fly everywhere. Thinking dust behaves similar to smoke, he opened all the windows, kicked on the heater, and turned on a giant fan to help remove the dust. Sadly, the dust did not fly out the window as smoke might. Instead it flew around my entire house, I mean MY ENTIRE HOUSE. I arrived home to what I can only describe as a dust storm you might expect to see at Burning Man. I wish I had the sense to take pictures, but I was so taken aback I think I went in the bathroom and started crying. See below for a few shots of what we have lovely named dust-ageddon. I did some vacuuming and did a finger test to show the layer of white dust that covered everything we own.
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After a few days of mopping/vacuuming/repeat the dust has mostly been removed. The good news? Our cabinet doors close effortlessly and they look pretty lovely. Ta da!
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xo,
k

Midnight Ink and my fancy new ecobee3

I spent my holiday break making some kitchen progress, and it finally feels like things are happening. First things first, I installed our fancy new ecobee3 smart thermostat. I know it does some cool stuff, but frankly I picked it because I thought it looked sleeker than it’s competitor The Nest. Yes, I had to bust open my furnace wiring and do some re-wiring. Yes, it was a little scary. Truth be told it wasn’t rocket science and now my house is smart as f. This goes on the list of another DIY anyone can do, just follow the instructions and don’t get freaked out. If you need some more help I found this video to be extremely useful.

The rest of my break was spent working on our very ugly 70’s cabinets. I am trying to be budget friendly, so I pretty much always take the cheap route. That means instead of replacing, I gave them a facelift. This is still in the process of being finished, but you can start to see the end vision here and it looks pretty good. The final look will include white subway tile backsplash, and some butcher block counters. It’s no secret that I am having a love affair with brass right now (sorry Curtis), so expect to see some of those elements dusted throughout. Check out the images below for my inspiration.

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So without further without further adieu the process:IMG_2601
First we removed the old oak doors and all the hardware. They were covered in 20+ years of tasty greasy grime, so they got a good scrub with some vinegar/water. The upside of cleaning with vinegar: your house smells like a pickle. Yay!

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I have read online that you do not need to sand cabinets and can use a variety of primers to avoid this step. To be frank, I am sick and tired of working on my house… and the thought of having to do ANYTHING over again sounds like my own personal version of hell. Long story short, I sanded just to be safe.

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I think shaker style cabinets look classy, so I had the bright idea to trim out my doors. Home Depot has become my new enemy as I spend a few days I week combing it’s isles for some absurd item. I wasn’t able to find the lumber I was hoping for, so I went with some door trim. We chopped it up, then slapped them on with glue and a nail gun.

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The weather has been pretty frigid in Portland, so my parents were kind enough to lend me their garage for hole filling and priming (note: Oil primer smells like chemical death, use in a well ventilated space or get real high… up to you) ((But seriously, don’t do that, it’s bad for your brain stupid)).

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The nice people at Miller Paint Co. recommended cover stain primer and tinted it to a light gray since the next coat will be dark (like my black soul after working on this ugly house for so freaking long).

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The cabinet doors needed a few days to cure so I went home and took on the massive undertaking of painting cabinet interiors and frames. Thanks friend Molly for joining me while drinking beer and listening to my tales of Justin Bieber love dreams. I am not even afraid to say it… his new album turned me into a belieber. I’ve got no shame in my game.

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It is finally starting to look like a new space. I love the dark and contrasting brass. Dreamy. Getting closer guys… getting a little closer.

xo,
k

 

 

I made this.

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So it turns out I do have readers… or I guess a reader (thanks Caty). House stuff is slow goings. It feels like when you try to run in a dream; no matter how hard you try you just sort of drag your lead feet through ankle deep jello. That is how I feel about our house project. In the mean time while I make little to no actual progress I decided to make a Mid Century Brass Chandelier.  I wanted to share this DIY for two reasons:

1) I am super proud and it is legit badass.
2) It was wayyyyyy easier then expected, and I hope it inspires anyone who has been fearful to work with electrical to give it a go. (Spoilers, you can do it)

I was super into the Odyssey 4 Chandelier made by Schoolhouse Electric. It is brass, modern, and super dreamy. Alas, the $349 price tag doesn’t quite fit into my cheap I-just-had-a-wedding-and-purchased-a-house budget. I did some quick searching and couldn’t find anywhere local that had the parts, so I bought them online from Grand Brass. Here is the individual pieces list:

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For a play by play on how to connect everything, this is a great tutorial from Little Green Notebook.

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Get it peeps, seriously… you can do it!

The tile is mother-trucking done.

I will keep this short and sweet. We got the tile, cut the tile, laid the tile, and drunk grouted the tile. I mean…. what kind of sick freak wouldn’t lay tile without the support of a box of wine and a best friend? My most bestest (Ali) graced me with a night of grouting that resulted in our hands and feet looking like very dirty bums. Note to the world…. Wear gloves and socks when applying dark grout. See proof below.

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Do not ever think you can’t cut tile. It is seriously the easiest thing I have done in home improvement.

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The pain staking process of applying mortar.

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This is the real life nasty body parts post grouting.

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And apparently I get seductive after a few wine bongs and some dirty labor.

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And the finished floors!

xo,
k

 

 

 

Fussy Feelings

Curtis and I have been shopping for tile non stop without finding anything that fits into the venn diagram between love and afford. We had this vision of dark, almost black herringbone tile in the kitchen. This morning we went to Home Depot and found this tile we both agreed on. It was way different than our original concept, but it was cheap and it was weird; it seemed perfectly our style. We loaded up 700 pounds into the Subaru just as is started to hail (dear mother nature, you are a real jerk). After lugging our tile into our house, I took a wine/friend break for a few hours. When I got home I was fueled by booze to make things happen… and the first step was to remove everything from the semi done kitchen so I could rage tear out the linoleum. At some point I asked Curtis for more beer, and when he left shit got real.

There is something that happens to me when I start doing something labor intensive. It’s a gut reaction that completely takes over and I hulk out. I get really mad, and swear and act like a total nut. I was sweating, and yelling, and seriously tearing the floor up like a crazy person. I had a million splinters, but it was amazing. Curtis got home and I felt like I had been on vacation. Doing hardcore damage is pretty therapeutic… or maybe I am insane.

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This is my “I am a badass, and also have so many splinters” face.IMG_2364

We hauled our trash out to the carport and started a dry run on our herringbone pattern. It’s dreamy, and I love it.IMG_2375

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I must sleep now.
xo,
k

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