Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{ Bye Bye Wallpaper }

The house has wallpaper on both stairwells. Both are actually pretty retro and would still work for the right person with that kind of decorating style. 

Here's the yellow and green flowers on the basement stairwell.

Here's a bigger version of yellow and green flowers on the stairwell going upstairs.
Neither are my decorating style so it's been decided that they have to go. Sorry retro styled peeps, I really did feel bad removing them since they were in great shape, it's just not my thing. 

I've only actually completed the upstairs walls. The downstairs walls are on the to-do list next. I was a wallpaper removing virgin so I really had no clue how to go about it or if it would be an easy or hard task. I read up on a couple ways to remove wallpaper so I figured I would give it a go. 

First, I tested a small corner to see how difficult it was to pull off. If it was hard I was going to use the spray bottle technique. If it was easy I was going to just start hacking away. I got LUCKY! It peeled off so easily. I didn't hardly have to work at it at all. 

I just kept peeling and peeling. It came off in huge sheets at times. I felt like a wallpaper removing pro!

It only took me about a half hour to peel all of the paper off both sides of the stairs. One project I totally didn't mind doing! It only took off the top layer of drywall in a few small spots so fixing the wall will take very little effort and then it will be paint ready. Here's what we are looking at now.

Exciting huh?! I pretty much get excited when ANY project gets accomplished, so I am sure you will hear me say that a lot! But who wouldn't get excited, right? When you've got a ridiculous about of projects screaming at you at all moments it's fun to cross something off the list! 

Next up...basement wallpaper. Watch, I wont be so lucky and this stuff will be stuck like white on rice! Crossing fingers that I will be lucky again otherwise I will have to revisit those wallpaper techniques. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

{ A little Change Outside }

Check out the landscaping on the side of the house. Or the overscaping...whatever you want to call it. It was a major weed infested overload of I don't know what. 

There was a whole lot of stuff going on in there. Its this way all around the house actually. I really wanted to get this side cleaned up a little though since I have to stare at it every day. So I figured, why not clean it up so that when the snow melts away and spring comes around I will be looking at one side of the house that looks a little cleaner and put together. Just a little something to look forward to I guess. 

I really didn't know what was a real plant and what was a weed. I just started digging to get it cleaned out. Literally, this took me almost a week with my little helpers and with the help of my mom and sister too we got it cleared out. There were about 100 pounds of rocks scattered in there too. No joke. Maybe more. There was also random buried treasures. Like chicken wire, shingles, trash bags, plastic, bricks, little toys...you name it, we probably dug it up! 

Finally! Just dirt! It kinda felt like an endless rock and weed cemetery. Never thought that dirt looked so good. 

Here's a quick shot of my helpers!  You can see the bricks on the front steps too. We pulled out enough bricks to fill a whole trailer. Trevor helped me stack them all on the trailer. It was hard work but he's such a good helper. 

Isn't he cute. I think so!

Here's a pretty good shot of almost the whole area. 

Our plans are to eventually knock out those three old concrete steps up to the front door and replace with a front porch that goes all the way over to the windows and out about 6 feet. With a white railing and a cute little chair up there it should really make the front door a lot more inviting. I decided to plant a few things in the space that we cleared. I didn't want to plant too much and I didn't want to plant anything in the front under those windows knowing that we would be doing the porch next year. So here is what is looks like on the side now. 

Oh...wait. I added a few of the larger rocks that we pulled out around the border. Mostly to get use out of them. Partly because it didn't really look very finished to me with just the dirt. But I really don't want to add the little rocks back in here and I figured if we do bark mulch I want to wait until spring so it looks fresh. I think the little border of rocks helps it look a little bit more finished off for now. 

The rocks probably wont stay but it works for the meantime. A lot better than it looked before I would say. Come spring, I will be happy that I took the time to do this now. One less ugly thing to have to worry about when the snow clears. It's looking like we wont be able to paint the exterior before winter so there will be a lot to do in the spring. I cant wait to NOT look at the horrid yellow/orange color anymore! Each little thing that gets accomplished makes it feel a little better. It's hard to not want everything done with the snap of the fingers but since it doesn't work like that the little things make me happy. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

{ Priming }

The cabinets that are in the kitchen are not in that bad of shape. But the color doesn't do anything for me. I really want a white kitchen.

So I'm going to attempt at painting them to see if we can use them. I am really hoping that painting and adding some pulls will help these suckers out in the aesthetics department.

First we cleaned up the kitchen. That old stove came out and we pulled the old fridge out to clean under it. It was nasty. I feel like I keep saying that in all my posts. Truth is, this place was nasty, and you'll probably hear me say that a handful more times before I feel like we have cleaned it up enough to not say that anymore!

I pulled all the doors off the cupboards. Eventually we will be re-arranging where all the cabinets are going once we get to the kitchen reno but for now I'm wanting to get the cabinet doors and drawers painted while we have slightly warmer temps left so that I can do it all out in the barn and keep from making even more of a mess in the house.

Here is a picture of all the doors off. This was before Mark moved the oven out of the house.

When I took the doors off, I labeled each door with tape and labeled the inside of the cabinet with the same number/letter so that I could remember which door went where. Hopefully this helps putting them back together easier later on.

I placed them all out on the old ping pong table in the barn. The bottom right cupboard has already been sanded in that picture. We used a rough sanding block first and went over all the sides. Then we used a finishing sanding block. Cleaned them up and now are ready for priming. I'm using Zinsser oil based primer as recommended by Centsational Girl in her post here. If you haven't ever read her blog, I highly recommended. I'm obsessed.

I am in the middle of priming right now, and really hoping to have a post up by next week that all the cabinets have been primed and maybe even painted. It all depends on the weather. Crossing my fingers for high enough temperatures that I can paint. Cross your fingers for me too because I am looking at the forecast and the odds are not in my favor.

It seems like there is so much we want to get done before it gets cold out so we are really hoping that we wont see freezing temperatures yet. Power washing the house, removing trees, possibly painting the exterior of the house, and a little more yard work are on our list of things to do before snow flies and those are just the outside projects. What are your goals before winter??

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

{ Cleaning Up }

While Mark's been working upstairs my main job has been to clean up around the rest of the house. You might have seen my post about cleaning the basement. It was the grossest area to clean and it still has a long way to go but the rest of the house is in pretty bad shape too and has needed lots of scrubbing. I figured I would give you a little update on how the living room looks now. 

Once we got it cleared out, I (using gloves) swept and scrubbed the floors three times. My bucket of water was black every 5 minutes. Seriously. Black. I lost count on how many times I changed out that bucket for clean water. It was a lot. It still amazes me that a floor could be that gross but, it was. Believe me. 

I didn't take a photo of the empty room before I started scrubbing. I think I was in to much of a hurry to get it cleaned. Above is a picture of it in the beginning stages of cleaning. My process was sweep, dry swiffer, sweep, wet swiffer, mop, mop, hands and knees scrubbing. I didn't want to get down on the floor until I was confident that most of the nastiness had been removed ha!

Here's a close up of the difference in how the floor looked with the first swiffer run through. It was amazing how "new" the flooring looked. Before I couldn't tell if the finish was in good shape or not due to the thick layer of dust/dirt/grim. But it looked pretty good. It will still need to be re-finished at some point though at least a couple coats of poly for sure. 

Oh, did you notice in the first picture that the random piece of paneling above the fireplace has been taken down. We decided we wanted to know what was behind it and what we would have to fix/replace. Well apparently it was covering a giant hole of brick, insulation and studs. Weird. 

This room has plaster walls so we will have to figure out how to patch that. I think we are planning on putting the t.v. up there. Not for sure yet though. 

So here is the beautiful result of lots of sweat and hard scrubbing! 

 Doesnt it look pretty darn good! I was excited. I even felt comfortable enough to put Chase's car seat on the floor! 

Here's a few more pictures for ya...

It feels so good to have one room cleared and cleaned! Can you see the new can lights in the last photo too?! There were no lights in this room except for that random old light that wasn't even in the living room space, so now that there are lights it seems like we are getting somewhere!

There's still lots to do in here. Obviously that huge spot needs to be patched along with a few other little spots that need some attention. Then cleaning the walls and painting them. So far a few things have been crossed off my list for this room and it feels good!

Living Room:
  • clear out stuff and clean
  • paint
  • white wash the fireplace like this
  • install a wooden mantel
  • resurface the hardwood floors
  • install ceiling lights

Thursday, October 3, 2013

{ Big Changes }

This is what we started with upstairs...

I was planning on just painting all the wood paneling but Mark had other ideas. At first I was not excited about tearing apart the whole upstairs because I knew it was going to extend our move in date much further out but after seeing how it looks now, I am glad we decided to make some big changes up there. The kids are going to love it when its done and its going to be a great space for them to sleep and play!

This was our first big project on the house.  We Mark removed all the paneling and the middle wall divider. We ran into an issue when taking the middle wall out. We realized there was a chimney that went through the middle of that wall and out the roof. It was a chimney for venting out an old furnace so it was no longer being used. As you can see in the picture below it was right in the middle of the room.

You can also see all the paneling has been removed and the flooring had been ripped up. The progress was exciting! I really wanted that chimney removed which meant the roof would need some repairs afterwards but my amazing hubby did it. It's now one big open room. Check it out, isn't it so different already!

Mark also moved the ceiling up higher and the side walls were extended to maximize the size of the room. 

The can lights have been installed into the ceiling and the new electrical outlets are in around the room. This has been a long process for the upstairs. It took Mark about a day to remove all the paneling and only a couple hours to take out that old chimney but removing the nasty old insulation took a long time. We also adding a lot of main floor lighting so while the flooring is removed in the upstairs it was a good time to add all of those ceiling lights downstairs so that added time. It is now ready for the sub floor, drywall and new windows. See here's the new windows...just waiting to be put into place.

The old windows were in extremely bad shape. Most of the house will need new windows eventually but these two were the worst so we will be happy to see them go and it will be much more efficient to have these new windows installed. Check out those rotted boards around the window. I couldn't get a great shot of the window panes due to the lighting but they are bad. 

I am so excited to see this room coming together. Mark has put in a lot of time and energy so far with the help of a lot of friends and family too. We are so grateful for everyone who is helping on our home! I know drywall will make the room seem a lot more finished so I will update you as soon as we get that in! 

Here is a before and in progress pic for you to check out again. Looks good huh?!



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

{ To Do List }

I really didn't realize there was SO much to replace/re-do on this house that the list grows by the day. I will try to keep it as simple as possible for you to read through. I didn't state the obvious in all of these spaces, but first each room will have to be DEEP cleaned. This has been my main goal to get it all cleaned enough that I feel comfortable letting my kids in the house without the fear of them getting some sort of rash due to the mouse feces. We are getting there...slowly but surely. 

  • build an attached garage with breezeway to the house. the breezeway area will include a 1/2 bath. 
  • landscaping
  • remove massive tree's in front yard
  • install fence for kids safety
  • paint 
  • add a garden area

Living Room:
  • paint
  • white wash the fireplace like this
  • install a wooden mantel
  • resurface the hardwood floors
  • install ceiling lights

  • remove closet walls to place refrigerator in that spot
  • remove bulk head and beam across the ceiling
  • relocate the small window and replace with an entry door
  • install ceiling lights and a dining light fixture
  • replace the flooring
  • replace counter tops
  • paint the current cabinets
  • install under cabinet lighting
  • paint

  • open up the room a little by moving some walls
  • replace stand-up shower with a tub
  • replace the tiniest sink in the world with a vanity and sink top
  • replace the flooring
  • install ceiling light
  • paint

Master Bedroom:
  • install ceiling fan/light
  • paint

Second Bedroom/Nursery:
  • Remove the laundry hook up that was installed into this room
  • add electrical outlets
  • paint

  • remove all paneling
  • remove the wall between the two rooms
  • remove all insulation and replace with new
  • replace all electrical outlets and add new
  • install ceiling lights
  • drywall
  • replace two windows
  • build closets
  • paint

  • paint ceiling and walls and flooring like this on the laundry room side
  • add shelving to create storage space
  • paint fireplace 
  • paint paneling in family room
  • install more ceiling lights