Checking In: Living Room Built-ins (Nearly a Year Later!)

Checking In: Living Room Built-ins (Nearly a Year Later!)

DIY is always a slow moving train around here. Between the two of us working full time, a 8 month old, and year-round softball – life is one huge time suck and there just isn’t much time or energy leftover for house projects.

I had to scroll all the way back to December 2016 in my phone to find this photo:

Those are our cabinets for the built-in getting delivered – almost a year ago!

Man…we suck!

Anyways…it’s almost December 2017 and we’re still not done. We’re close though!

Ok, I lied. We’re about 50% done. But since the living room built-ins is on our list of 2017 House Goals list, I thought I’d show you where we’re at and how we got here.

After soliciting several quotes and dying of sticker shock (basically this project all over again) we decided to DIY. DIYing a built-in isn’t really all that hard. It’s just intimidating. So before we got started, we pulled inspiration from these DIY built-in projects here, here, and here and just went for it.

We chose to use unfinished upper kitchen cabinets from Home Depot because they were readily available, affordable, and wouldn’t eat up a lot of floor space. They arrived December 17, 2016 – see picture above.

We went with five 30″ upper kitchen cabinets for an almost 13 foot built-in unit! Hellllo storage!

After the cabinets arrived we built a base for the cabinets to sit on. We did this so that we could wrap baseboard around the base of the cabinets for a “built-in look”. We chose to have the base flush with the cabinet fronts rather than set back like a traditional toe-kick in a kitchen set-up.


Since we have 5″ baseboard all throughout the house we built the base for the cabinets to sit on just slightly smaller than 5″. This way…the baseboards would completely cover the base plus slightly overlap the bottom edge of the cabinets. I think we ended up going with a 2×4 and 1×2 turned on its side to achieve the height we needed.


We also ran a 2×4 along the back wall of the living room – secured into the studs – to bump the cabinets out away from the wall about 2″. We did this for a few reasons…the first was so that we could easily secure the cabinets to the 2×4 (which was already secured to the studs) so we didn’t have to worry about hitting studs if we had secured the cabinets directly to the wall. The second reason we did this was because bumping the cabinets out from the wall 2″ allows the bookshelves up top to be recessed a bit. With the 2″ bump out the counter becomes 15″ deep (12″ cabs + 2″ bump out + 1″ overhang = 15″ counter) giving a little extra counter space up top and an overall better “built-in” look.

What came next was probably by far the hardest part of the entire install. So glad it’s over and so glad we both still love each other after the fact – ha!

To install the cabinets we started with the base we had built on the ground, set each cabinet on top, and began securing the cabinets to the 2×4 along the back wall all while making sure everything was level and plum – using shims where necessary (omg – so many shims). The first cabinet was pretty easy and straightforward – it was secured to the side wall, the back wall, the base, AND the adjoining cabinet. It did however, get more difficult with every cabinet we added to ensure that the unit as a whole was level and plum. We had to use quite a few shims along the back wall because our wall is not perfectly straight (what wall is?) and we also shimmed the base quite a bit because our floor slopes down pretty bad in that area too. Other than that…we secured the hell out of these cabinets: to the back wall, the base, and the adjoining cabinet(s) – they aren’t going anywhere!

Below is the side view – right after we installed the cabinets and getting ready to add baseboard. This area got covered up with a project panel so you’d never know we’re cheating the depth by 2″.

A couple things I should probably mention – we did not secure the base to the floor at all. I didn’t want to drill holes into perfectly good flooring in case a future owner wanted to come in and rip it out and then be left with holes. We could’ve secured the base to the side wall if we wanted to but determined that the sheer weight of all the cabinets plus bookshelves up top would prevent this thing from going anywhere.

We also made sure to measure and cut out holes in the back of a few cabinets so that we had access to any outlets along the wall. We did this before securing the cabinet so if we had to make any adjustments, it was easier to do.

Once all the cabinets were installed and secured – we focused on the top or the “counter” portion of the built in.

I knew going in that this would be the portion of the project that would be our biggest hang up. We built a 13 ft cabinet but finding a 13 ft topper would prove to be either very difficult, very expensive, or both. SPOILER ALERT: it’s both.

One of the tutorials that I referenced above used a single piece of butcher block for affordability and while butcher block is affordable, a 13 ft length was still a few hundred dollars and more than I wanted to spend. Plus…I didn’t want a stained top. I wanted an all white top to achieve the look of this project. Except they were working with pre-fab Ikea cabinets and didn’t need a top like we did.

So after procrastinating about it way too long, we decided to make our own. We chose a high quality, paint grade, birch plywood and seamed 2 smaller pieces together to make one massive counter top that could be painted to match the rest of the cabinets. We purchased the plywood from Home Depot and had them rip it down to size in the store.

Here’s my handy helper:

I’d tell you how we seamed the 2 pieces together but we aren’t wood workers and our approach is probably embarrassingly incorrect. We attached flat brackets on the underside for support and we used birch veneer tape on the edge of the plywood top to give it a nice finished look. We also made sure to fill, sand, and plane the top seam to make it look like 1 long piece of wood vs 2 pieces stuck together. No one but us will know (and now too you I guess) that we took the cheap way out: the cost of a single sheet of high quality plywood – $50!

To wrap up where we’re at now, the cabinets and top have been painted white, we attached the top to the cabinets using construction adhesive and installed some pretty gold hardware – a well deserved splurge since we saved thousands doing this ourselves.

Next up: bookshelves, shiplap, and trim!

Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take another year to knock this out…


A few more Sun Room Updates

A few more Sun Room Updates

We’ve done quite a bit of work in the sun room over the last few months – nothing amazing or particularly hard – but it really has come a long way and I wanted to show you how this little extension of living space has evolved since we moved in.

When I blogged about replacing our windows you may have noticed in the after photos that we added curtains. I say windows but really…our “windows” aren’t actually windows – they’re sliding doors.

Sometimes…ok – most the time – sliding doors aren’t great looking. Often times they’re old, aluminum, yellowed, rickety, or they make a lot of noise every time you open and close them, and everyone would really like to have french doors instead. Right? It’s what you see all over those home décor magazines and design shows – big beautiful windows that let in tons of natural light or French doors left wide open, leading you out into a perfectly manicured backyard. #housegoals

But sometimes you live in an apartment (we have) or sometimes, like in our case, French doors just aren’t in the budget (it wasn’t) and those #housegoals just isn’t your reality. So you opt for the budget friendly option and install sliding doors.

We did and they ain’t all that bad now, are they?

Remember in this post where I told you that the quotes we received ranged anywhere from 8k to over 30k? I remember being about 4 months pregnant and gasping when the rep quoted us 30k to replace our sliding doors with all-wood french doors. Triple what vinyl sliding doors cost us!!! We promptly told him thank you but hell no – we have kids to feed.

As you already know, we went with the sliding doors but here’s how I make them look like we paid 30k without actually having to:
  • If installing new – go white. We had to have a different color on the outside per our HOA requirements so we paid a little extra to have the frames white on the inside. The white will draw the eye away from the window itself and allow you to focus on the view beyond. It’ll also make the area look and feel larger. I toyed around with the idea of black frames because it’s super on trend right now to have black framed windows against stark white walls, but unless you’re dealing with actual windows or French doors, white is your best bet.
  • Always add curtains! Throw a curtain rod above your sliders just like you would a window and I promise, you’ll be happy you did. Just remember to hang your curtains high and wide! I did this in our last apartment – even with the vertical blinds that were already there – and it made such a huge difference. Here’s an old picture I dug up to show you:
It took a little while to get around to adding curtains to the sun room mainly because our configuration is a bit odd.
Our sliders go floor to ceiling (there’s no wall space to install a traditional rod above the slider) and then we have a beam running between each set of sliders. In addition to the tricky configuration, each set of sliders are 96″ wide which made finding a long enough rod that wasn’t $$$ even more difficult.

I ended up going with this Ikea rod and these wall mounts that we attached directly to the beams but for those lucky people who have normal sliders in a normal configuration, any curtain rod will work! We used the Ritva curtains also from Ikea to save on cost and these curtain rings from Amazon. It was by far the cheapest way to go to dress this many “windows”. Plus it can withstand my 8 month old trying to climb the curtains sooo there’s that.

Aaaand for the easiest DIY ever…if you ever buy a pair of curtains that are too long, this no-sew hem tape is MAGIC! I literally just hung the curtains up and trimmed off the excess fabric while they were still up and then used the hem tape to finish them off for a clean hem line.
A few other updates we made in this space:

The water damaged drywall by the laundry room got patched:

The entire room got a fresh coat of bright white paint – Super White by Sherwin Williams and the yellowed recessed lights all got sprayed white too – Rustoleum White in a Matte finish:

The laundry room and master bedroom doors both went darker – Tricorn by Sherwin Williams:


Here’s a before and after side by side looking towards the master bedroom:

And looking down the other direction:

Still to come: adding a long runner (probably FLOR tiles) and I’m tossing around the idea of planking the ceiling and wood wrapping the beams.

There’s always more work to be done it seems…


A Whole House To-Do List: UPDATED

Hey guys!

Remember way back in March when I shared our first whole house to-do list? Basically it was a way for my overactive brain to keep track of all we still needed/wanted to do in one organized place. Plus, who doesn’t love crossing things off a to-do list for an instant “maybe you haven’t been binge watching Netflix as much as you thought” little pick-me-up?! 

After running down all we’ve accomplished (or lack thereof) in our first 6 months of homeownership, today I wanted to drop back in with a good ole updated list for you. Plus…with baby on the way, I’ve been getting rather anxious and overwhelmed with all we still need to accomplish before SHE (helloooo awesome gender reveal…#NOT) makes her grand entrance. 

Being that this is a living, breathing list, and we’ve lived here a while and are a bit more clear-headed about what we need/want – I’ve streamlined it a bit…added/removed to/from it here and there…and threw in some progress shots while I was at it.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Whole House
  • Remove tile / carpet and replace with flooring everywhere
  • Install new crown molding
  • Trim out all doors and windows
  • Install new baseboards
  • New hardware throughout
  • Paint! And paint some more!


  • Create storage for coats, jackets, bags – hooks?
  • Add board & batten? Picture frame trim/molding
  • Paint interior of front door & add decorative trim
  • Add art
  • Find flush mount light fixture (and install)
  • Find vintage (ish) runner
  • Create “drop zone” at end of entry
  • Find larger mirror for “drop zone” area
                                                                          Living Room 

  • DIY / have cabinet built to house TV – add electrical for TV/media components
  • Style built-in
  • Get black/white rug professionally cleaned
  • Find 9×12 rug to layer under current rug
  • Replace ceiling fan
  • Install in-ceiling audio speakers
  • Sell old coffee table / buy new coffee table
  • Bring in additional seating
  • Bring in additional lighting
  • Add art above couch
  • Case out opening on the right
  • Close off door on the left
Dining Room
  • Replace chandelier – buy or DIY
  • Relocate junction box for chandelier
  • Remove vertical blinds
  • Install curtains + bamboo shades
  • Rug or no rug? (we chose to rug, but I’m not sure)
  • Find head chairs
  • Replace original aluminum window


  • Remove upper cabinets along the stove wall (Phase 1)
  • Paint cabinetry (Phase 1)
  • Add hardware (Phase 1)
  • Find a vintage rug (Phase 1)
  • Add a bamboo shade (Phase 1)
  • Pimp out pantry (Phase 1)
  • Replace counter tops (Phase 2)
  • Remove prep sink (Phase 2)
  • Add pot filler (Phase 2)
  • Custom vent hood (Phase 2)
  • Tile stove wall (Phase 2)
  • Install open shelving (Phase 2)
  • Buy all new appliances (Phase 2)
Master Bedroom


  • Sell old headboard / buy new
  • Refinish nightstands / add different legs
  • Close off 2nd doorway
  • Reconfigure closet
  • Remove mirrored closet doors / add full height doors (DIY?)
  • Install curtains + bamboo shades
  • Find rug (vintage?)
  • Dresser?
  • TV or no TV?
  • Add additional recessed lighting / overhead lighting
  • Widen current double door entry
  • Update slab double doors
Master Bath


  • Complete master bath resurfacing – new floors, paint, vanity, tile…etc.
  • Install new light fixture
  • Install new toilet
  • Replace original aluminum window
  • Add shower door
  • Install open shelving
  • Remove towel bars – install hooks instead
  • Update all slab doors in this area
 Bedroom #2: Little Lady
  • Update slab door
  • Update closet doors / reconfigure current closet system
  • Paint inside of closet a fun color
  • Install curtains + bamboo shade (roller shade?)
  • DIY floating shelves opposite of bed wall
  • Hanging chair maybe?
  • Add overhead lighting
  • Buy daybed? Refinish bed in storage?
  • New bedding, rug, etc… (inspiration here)
  • Bring in a fun accent color
 Bedroom # 3: The Nursery
  • Update slab door
  • Purchase / install French doors for large opening
  • Remove mirrored closet doors / install (DIY?) full height doors?
  • Reconfigure current closet system
  • Paint inside of closets a fun color
  • Add overhead lighting
 Guest Bath
  • Update slab door
  • Install new toilet
  • Complete guest bath “resurfacing” – new floors, tile, vanity
  • Purchase new vanity – install
  • Remove old tub insert – install new
  • Purchase new mirror
  • Remove medicine cabinet
  • New lighting
  • Remove towel bars – install hooks instead
Hallway between Bedrooms 2 & 3
  • Replace old electrical panel
  • Update thermostat
  • Purchase / install flush mount fixture
  • Find runner (vintage?)
  • Add a gallery wall of pictures to hallway?
  • Wood wrap beams
  • Replace faulty windows
  • Create a workstation / desk area
  • Fill with plants
  • Add additional overhead lighting
Laundry Closet
  • Replace water heater
  • Stack washer/dryer
  • DIY counter top for folding/sorting
  • Add hanging rod
  • New cabinets – or reuse kitchen uppers
  • Create a place for the kitty litter
  • DIY wrap around couch
  • Purchase BBQ
  • Install astro turf
  • Buy new patio furniture

So much still to do but looking back on these pictures, makes me realize just how far we’ve come in less than a year. New floors, new windows, bigger, better trim…it already feels like a whole new house! Don’t you agree?

Entry: The Plan

We’re in that awkward stage of renovation where if feels like we’ve got a whole lot going on but not a whole lot is actually getting done. Can any of my reno buddies relate?! To date, we’re still knee waist deep in flooring that needs to be laid, and only 1 of 6 room is 100% completed, floor-wise (!@#$). #pleasesendhelp #andcookies

So! Even though the majority of our spaces are only partially completed, we’ve got enough of the foundation laid that we can start living like humans again and begin to work on stuff like what I came here to talk about today: plans for our entry way!

The entry of any home is one of the, if not the most, hardest working area in any home and I don’t think anyone would argue with me about that. The entry way in our apartment could hardly be called a proper “entry way” but I did the best I could with the space we had in conjunction with the adjacent coat closet to make it functional for us while we lived there. It came as no surprise to me that in our new-to-us home, this was the first space I wanted to tackle.

I don’t know about you, but when I walk through the front door after a long day of work (or rush out on a hectic morning), the last thing I want to be greeted by is chaos and clutter. Just the sight of shoes, bags, keys, or mail, cluttering up such a high traffic area can make or break my mood for the day. After living here for 2 months without an ounce of organization in place, enough was enough!

The entry in our new home isn’t without its fair share of challenges. Albeit longer – not sure if that counts as “bigger” – it’s narrower and doesn’t even have a closet!! #holyheckbatman – how did I not notice that when we viewed the place?! That’s #nobueno. I have my work cut out for me. #again.

As I do with any makeover, I start by pinning some inspiration images. Here are a few that I was drawn to:
With inspiration in hand, I pulled together a mood board for the space. Doing this really helps me see how everything will come together in the end and more often than not I love the result a whole lot more when I take this approach rather than putting the design together as I go. For being such a visual person, it’s important for me to see the ideas that are percolating in my brain laid out on paper. That way I can play with color, texture, or finish combinations before I make any purchases and it results in less “buyer’s remorse”.

After swapping items and ideas in and out over the course of a few days, here’s the final version of the mood board I ended up with: 

Aside from being one of the hardest working areas in our home, the entry will set the tone for our entire house. Colors, textures, and finishes seen here will be repeated throughout the main living areas to create a cohesive look and feel throughout. Some of what I’ve shown you in the above mood board are items we already own but will be re-purposed to work for our needs.

In an area that needs to check a lot of boxes, each item chosen serves a very specific purpose and will work really hard to make our entry way a whole lot more functional and organized. Let’s dive right in and break it down a little further:

Light fixture:
          We only have a single can light in this area and aside from the fact that it doesn’t provide much             actual light, it just isn’t rocking my world. It feels very “apartment-esque” to have this type of                 lighting in our entry and adding a semi-flush fixture is the easiest way to class the joint up a bit.             Yuh feel me?

Shiplap walls:
          This house lacks so much character and adding shiplap to the walls here in the entry will right                that wrong. It’s easy, inexpensive, and will bring interest where there is none.

          Because grown men and tiny humans know not what a hanger does or is. Hooks make life easier           for everyone involved. #mainlyme

           We may not have a closet but I scored a campaign dresser a while back and the dresser will                    accomplish the exact same thing as any closet would. There will be enough room for a mail                    station, our re-useable shopping bags, umbrellas and such.

            A lucky Goodwill find will give us a place to put on or take off our shoes. The concealed storage             is the perfect place to hold our shoe polishing kit too. 

Vintage runner:
            Because every space is more beautiful with a one of a kind vintage rug. And because the cat                   needs a comfy place to lay while waiting for our arrival home. #truth

Well, guys…that’s the plan for the entry. Thoughts?! I’ll be working on it over the next few weeks and will be sharing bits and pieces here on the blog and on Instagram but man…I can’t wait to have a fully functioning (and pretty) space to call done! What’s the one thing you need for your perfect entry? Join the convo and share below!

Going Gray

If you know anything about gray then you know just how finicky it can be. The color gray (or grey) has so many variations – maybe a few too many IMHO. Choosing the rightgray (or any color, really!) can leave you a little paralyzed, no?
I always hear people say “it’s just paint” and yeah…it is…but umm, hello!! #realitycheck. Who wants to paint something more than once? Not I. 

So whenever I choose paint (especially grays!) I always, ALWAYS buy a sample and try it out at home before committing. You should too.
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have sample pots for under $5 and can mix any color from any manufacture in the paint brands they carry – Behr/Glidden @ Home Depot and Sherwin Williams/Valspar @ Lowes.
Knowing which color direction we were going in (gray) I headed to Home Depot armed with a long list of different grays from all different brands and asked the gentleman behind the counter to mix up some sample pots for me. I left the store that day with 8 samples and went home to try them out.
If you follow me on Instagram (smash that Follow button if you don’t) then you saw this a few weeks back:

We painted these 8 colors in 5 different places around the dining/living room and sun room just to see how the color would react or change depending on the different levels of light throughout the house. It’s important to do this in multiple areas throughout the space because the same color may take on several different tones depending on how much (or how little) light those areas receive throughout the day.

As I tried these samples on the wall, I knew almost immediately which ones weren’t going to work. I also knew almost immediately which one would. Gray is a funny color – some too blue, violet, brown, or even green – and seeing them all lined up next to each other made the undertones even moreapparent. Can you spot the undertones in the photo above or below?

Even though I heavily leaned toward one favorite, I let S, my Mom, my Dad, even the 2 dump guys weigh in! S was firmly planted in the Stonington Gray camp and I was in love with Gray Owl…both from our buddy Benjamin Moore. While I loved Gray Owl (brown undertones) as is, Stonington Gray (blue/violet undertones) was a tad too dark for what I envisioned in this space. But I still wanted to take S’s opinion into consideration so I agreed to try a lightened version of Stonington Gray and see if that would change my mind.
So back to HD we went.

I asked the paint guys to mix me up a sample of Stonington Gray lightened 25% and another lightened 50%. And!! Because I’m a complete lunatic, I picked up a few other samples as well. Bringing the grand total to 12! #somebodyhelpme

We tried these additional 4 colors on the wall and spent the next few days staring at walls.

And guess what?!
I still loved Gray Owl more than any of the 11 others.
But…I lied.
Yep. I sure did. I told S I liked Stonington Gray lightened 50% and that we’d go with that one. Partly because I felt bad that I had asked his opinion just to veto it anyways and partly because I was trying to convince myself to love it even though I knew I wouldn’t. I have a habit of doing that sometimes. #allthetime
But I forged on and did what any insane person would do.
I painted our entire hallway with the sample pot of Stonington Gray lightened 50%.
To S it looked like I had committed to the color he chose but I was just trying to convince myself I could actually live with it – haha!
Turns out I still hated disliked the color – it was even more purple (to me) in a larger dose – and it was then that I decided to trust my gut and go with Gray Owl. Without telling him. #ofcourse
I took S with me to HD to order the paint – mainly because I needed his muscles to carry the 5 gallon bucket of paint – but also because he’s pretty cute too. Luckily for me, he has a habit of sitting in the section with the outdoor furniture while I peruse the paint aisles so this worked perfectly for my genious color-swapping plan. Thank you Home Depot for putting the outdoor furniture near the paint section! #highfivesallaround
By time we got home with the paint he was none the wiser. Where’s that sly looking emoji with the smug smile when you need one?
The next day (while S was at work) I slapped a coat of paint on the walls and because we’re installing new baseboards and crown there was no cutting in needed!

When he came home from work that night the first thing he did was comment on how much he liked the color and said we had absolutely made the right color choice. Bahahaha!! #littledidheknow

I’ve since come clean. And he still loves the color. #andmetoo

Do you? The color, not me, silly.
 If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in the gray paint waters (or any paint really!) here’s a few tips to help you choose the right gray for you:

Find Pinspiration

Not sure where to start? Browse your Pinterest boards and see what colors/rooms you’re drawn toward. Often times we Pin the same type, style, or look over and over. Are you pinning bold, moody rooms, or do you gravitate towards the light and bright spaces? Pinterest can tell you a lot about your own personal style and esthetic and is a great first stop on your painting journey.

Bonus: if you’re not already following, be sure to keep up with me and all my latest Pins. I’m a pin-binger.
 Buy the sample pots

Never ever buy a color based off what you see on the paint chip in the store. Even though it’s an extra step (and an extra expense), the sample pots are absolute worth it to get it right the first time around. 

Bonus: those little sample pots come in handy for crafts or smaller projects around the house

Don’t Limit Yourself 

Don’t limit yourself to only the the colors offered by the manufacture(s) your hardware store carries. Any hardware store can and will mix any color from any manufacture in the paint line(s) they carry.
Bonus: Here’s a great blog post about what stores carry what lines
Go Big or Go Home
Paint a swatch – a big one!! – on your wall and in several other areas throughout the space you’re planning to paint. And then spend a few days staring at your choices.
Bonus: Don’t forget to look at your paint colors at all hours of the day. Be sure to evaluate them in the morning, mid day, and night too! You’d be surprised how much the colors will change throughout the day.
Ask a Pro
Once you’ve chosen your color be sure to ask your paint pro their recommendations regarding sheen, application, and amount of paint needed depending on your project specs.
Bonus: Paint calculator #forthewin

So? Are you ready to dive right in and get your paint on? Tell me! How did you choose your color? Have you ever painted your walls only to find you hated them later? Do tell!

A Little Bit of This…

Welcome back to another week of renovation progress over at the casa! 

With most of the major demo (and dust) behind us on Day 1 and Day 2 of this remodel, we could finally turn our attention to things a little more appealing to this DIY-but not manual labor-loving girl. Like paint! And hardware! Pretty things! Gimme all the heart eyed emojis puhlease!

But first: dumping all that construction debris. #boring!

After the floor demo was completed we were left with all the demo debris and no real way to dispose of them. I’m kicking myself because I never took a picture of the giant pile of tile we tore out! Our original thought was to rent a dumpster through our local waste management company but without a decent sized area to park the size dumpster that was recommended, and the weight limitations on the size dumpster our small driveway would accommodate, we had to find another solution.

We contacted the contractor who quoted us $1700 to demo and dump to see if they would be willing to dispose of the material for us but they weren’t interested (I don’t blame them). After running into dead end after dead end, we started inquiring with companies that specialized in large item disposal. 

We had one company out and got an estimate upwards of $600 to haul away all our debris and at that point we were beginning to second guess our decision not to hire the whole thing out for $1700. But if I’ve learned anything so far in this entire renovation process, it’s to never take the first quote and always shop around!

So we did.

The 2nd company that we called out quoted us $500 right off the bat. Seeing as they were already cheaper than the first company, we were willing to consider them. We asked if they would take $400 (it never hurts to ask), they said they couldn’t but would do it for $465. S and I both gave each other a look, not wanting to wait any longer to get rid of this junk, so we said “DEAL”!

They got to work right away and as we watched them for a few minutes, we started to feel bad that they were out there sweating in the hot sun tossing our junk. Plus – throwing tiles down below into the bed of their truck looked super fun too! 

So we put on our work gloves and decided to lend them a hand. With the 4 of us it only took about 30 minutes to get all the debris loaded up in their big red truck.

After we had everything loaded they let us know that we had nearly 3 tons worth of material. Wow! I’m glad we decided to hire these guys instead of trying to haul this by ourselves! The best part? Because we lent a hand and saved them some time they decided to pass the savings onto us and we ended up paying $400 after all! #allinaharddayswork

When all that demo mess was finally GONE it was full steam ahead to painting. You may have seen here in this Instagram post that we tested out some different grays on the wall and you guys! The right gray is sohard to choose (more on that in a future post).

Once we I eventually decided on a color and I slapped on a coat of paint in the main living area over the course of a lazy afternoon. Still haven’t decided on paint for any of the bedrooms, bathrooms, or sun room. Indecisive party of one?

See that white bit of wall down at the bottom? The result of the best decision ever! Because we’re installing new baseboard and crown means no cutting in! Makes painting almost enjoyable. #isaidalmost

After our little painting party I turned my attention to the interior doors. They were in rough shape and just your typical builder grade slab doors – totally unfancy. And in total need of some attention.

We didn’t exactly have a whole lot of extra money (read none) in the budget to outfit the entire house with all new doors (that actually matched) so we DIY-ed our way to what will be some fabulous looking doors. #ifidosaysomyself

Here’s a little sneaky peak:


Then when all the fun was over we got schooled in all things “home owner”. See that guy there? With that fancy saw thingamajig? Yeah…he’s cutting out our soggy drywall that resulted from an upstairs leak. Cool. And mold? Real cool.

And that about brings you up to date on the home-reno front. Things have been slow moving this last week but we did manage to install a new toilet. And it was equal parts gross and hilarious! We’re chipping away at that to-do list little by little each night but there’s still a whole lot of not-so-fun things to tackle before the fun stuff can begin.

Living in a construction zone is starting to take it’s toll. Living without any furniture, TV, any real kitchen stuff has forced us to get creative. Have you been here too? How did you survive? Suggestions welcome and WANTED!

More on that later. Till next time…

Demo Day 2

Welcome back!

If you’re tuning in today we’re picking up where we left off yesterday and I’m back with another progress report on Day 2 of demo which I promise will be a lot less dramatic. Or not.

To refresh your memory – and mine – here’s what the place looked like when we moved in:

And here’s where we left off at the end of Day 1:

After waking up with a much better attitude, a renewed sense of determination, and a body that was surprisingly not as sore as I expected, we still had 1/2 of the hardy backer to demo and we also needed to remove all the hardy backer screws (all those little dots in the foreground of the above photo). Can you say #overkill?

Demoing the remaining hardy backer only took an hour or so and when we were finally finished, we started sweeping up the bits and pieces of thin set (leftover from the tiles) in preparation for our most tedious task yet…removing all.those.screws!

All 8 million of them:

We had a few options to remove them: use an angle grinder and shear off the screw head (I didn’t like the sparks), use a crowbar and rip them out (I didn’t like the splintering the wood doing this), or dig out the thin set in the screw head and drill them out.

We went with the latter. Mainly because I’m an OCD crazy person. So we spent the next few hours using our Dremel to clean out the screw head and used our Ryobi Drill to pull them out. 

One would Dremel and the other would drill and after a few hours, all the screws had been removed. It was by far the most absurd and time consuming method to remove the screws, but after the physically demanding work of demo Day 1, it was a welcomed change of pace. We turned on Pandora, worked in small sections, and got-er-done!

So much better! 

See that blue bucket above? We decided to use that bucket for all the screws we removed just to see how high we could fill up. Whoever laid the hardy backer went #buckwild with screws so we knew going in, there’d be a lot, but we were still shocked to see that nearly 3/4 of the bucket was filled by the end of the whole ordeal. #insaneinthemembrane

After removing all the screws, we used the shop vac to do a once over on the floors and took the vacuum hose to the perimeter. After vacuuming and putting our tools away, we could officially close the books on our 2nd day of demo. We finished Day 2 on a high note (and with a much better attitude) and guess what?! 

Dad was right. #dadforthewin

We did it. And we were proud of ourselves for doing it.

Not to mention the $1700 savings was a nice little incentive too.

Next week I’ll be back to share the progress we’ve made on the house since the floor demo was completed and there will be a few more tutorials coming your way too! We’re closing off a doorway, widening another, we finally chose a paint color, and we’re one step closer to laying our floors. Things are happening so fast around here…follow along on Instagram so you don’t miss a thing!