Friday, December 31, 2010

Paint (Peynt) - verb

Paint - (Peynt) - verb - to coat, cover, or decorate (something) with paint.

Alright, people. It's time to get serious and talk about something that is CHEAP and makes a world of difference - PAINT. J already shared her experience on painting closets and how her world was forever changed made bettter by a little can of paint.
Paint was a must for our new place. Not only does it change the smell of the entire house to a fresh and clean scent, it also adds character and your personal style. M & J knew that this would be done throughout every room before things would be hung on the walls and rooms would be considered "complete". While waiting to close on our house, we had been to Lowes and Home Depot thousands many of times and browsed the paint color swatches. In fact, they had done such a good job of picking up so many swatches that the man working the paint department finally just asked if we wanted a book! (Why, of course! Why didn't you mention that 30 minutes ago when you first noticed us picking up five thousand swatches? moving on...) "That'd be great!" was the response, and we were immediately handed the paint bible:

We kept the swatches we had collected (Are you kidding? Who's going to put all those back?) and walked out the door with the swatches, little books of ideas and our new paint bible. We thought all our problems were solved - we'd just look through the entire thing, pick out the colors each of us liked, and then decide which room they would look best in. We'd already agreed that we wanted a brown that would be our base/main color throughout the house. We wanted a darker, almost chocolate color for our master bedroom, and a purple accent wall in our office. J loves red, so she requested a red accent wall in the combined living/dining room. Simple enough, right?
WRONG. M loved the paint bible and J hated it. M thought it offered tons of options and was an easy way to choose colors. J became frustrated because as soon as she'd pick a color in the "mid-tones" section, she'd swear she had found the same color in the "warm colors" section and the issues began.
After multiple test paints were purchased...

...and attempted on various walls throughout our new home...

...we landed on these colors for the different rooms on the main level in our new place:
 Main Brown - Soft Chamois

 Red in Living Room and Entryway - Apple Polish

 Purple for accent wall in Office - Darkest Grape

 Brown in Master Bedroom - Mocha Latte

 Half Bath - Pelican Beach (Valspar)

Kitchen - Eddie Bauer's Grove (Valspar)
We love all of them for different reasons and think they really fit our vision of how our home will (someday) look.

Friday, December 10, 2010

You Want Me To What?

Right after we purchased our house, M often was gone in the evenings because of travel for work or was working up at the farm. This left J working in their home so they could get some things done before they moved in. J was excited about getting some paint on the walls, getting the trim off and getting some floors ready to be re-finished.
However, in one afternoon of discussion about what was next on their to-do list for their home, J's Dad suggested they get to work on the closets next. ARE YOU KIDDING?!? J thought. We just bought this house, need to move in, and the only thing you can think of for me to do is paint those dinky, ugly, falling apart closets? What about the main rooms? Where we are actually going to SEE what they look like. Who cares about a stinking closet...
Before - but after shelves were taken out
Against her plans, M&J bought paint and got all the supplies we needed to start tearing into our closets and getting them ready to be painted. We tore out all the old shelving - it had been painted over multiple times, didn't fit our idea of organized and was falling apart. After all the shelves and supports had been knocked out, it was time for J to get started painting.
In Progress

Talk about a lonely job and an awful place to start. She taped off the trim (it was staying in the closets) and got to work. The biggest problems - these closets were dark inside and they were tall (J is not). Try standing on a step stool (ladder is too tall), holding a large paint tray and trying to paint with not only the hand-held roller, but a roller attached to an extender to get all the tall places in your closet. (It was really not funny at all at the time. At all. Looking back, J probably looked like an idiot. Thank goodness she was alone.) What resulted was paint all down the left side of J's shirt, shorts and leg. Oops. Should have been more aware of which way that paint tray was leaning...
At this point, J is just trying to keep paint OFF the carpet, and has no one there to help get this cleaned up so she can walk through other areas of the house. So what does she do?
Continues to paint and waits for paint to dry. We all know how long that takes...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spreading Holiday Cheer with Shutterfly

Well, M&J are getting ready to do what everyone else is out doing...

No, not Christmas shopping (although that needs to be done - thanks for the reminder). Actually, we need to order our Christmas Cards. We really struggled with a location this year, which is uncommon for us. We knew we wanted to feature our first place in some way, but that is easier said than done, especially when lots of your home is UNFINISHED. Don't think an incomplete room does much for a beautiful Christmas Card.

After multiple attempts to try to get "the right photo", then J went looking for the right card. She searched site after site, and then found multiple (I know, this never happens) cards that she LOVED on Shutterfly's website! AND to make it even better, Shutterfly is having a promotion right now for bloggers and they are giving them 50 free holiday cards if they share their favorite cards. If you'd like to learn more about it, go here and if not AT LEAST check out Shutterfly's website and pick out some Christmas cards if you haven't already ordered yours.

These are just a few of my favorites from their site and why I love them -

J loves this one for its simplicity and for the monogram:

And this one for its unique vertical design with two photos:

As well as this one for its unique fonts:

Not sure what we'll choose yet, but with so many options, J is hoping to pick something that is NOT red (the last two years have been red and M&J should really branch out and try something different) and M is hoping for something that isn't too girly. We'll see how successful we are...

Also, if you're looking for a good Christmas gift idea, I heard these make great gifts:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Contact Paper

Oh. My. Goodness.

We've never seen so much contact paper in our lives, people.  EVER.

You don't realize it until you open up a drawer and you see one kind. 

You don't think much of it. Then you open up another drawer and you think to yourself, "Really? Another style and print?"

And then another...
And then another...

And another...

And another! The hits just kept coming people.

It wasn't so bad in the kitchen because it was all being gutted anyway - more comical than anything. At least this was what we thought. But what makes all of this worse is when you are trying to do this:

and this in your bathroom built-ins (Not going to be able to gut this easily) or your hallway closet built-ins.

Yeah, not cool. Razorblades take most of this out (your fingers will NEVER forgive you) but when this paper has been stuck down on this wood for almost 50 years, you can imagine how sticky, slimy, stinky and disgusting this task is. Thank goodness for J's sister. She's a saint when it comes to contact paper. Now, we are very thankful for a CLEAN, CONTACT PAPER-LESS WORLD in the M&J house. And we're loving this:

"The Chokey"

Ever see the movie Matilda? Or read the book? Familiar with "the chokey"?

It's a small, closet-sized room which has nails sticking out every which way and lots of jagged edges poking into the room. When the kids behave badly in school, they are forced to stand in it by the awful principal, Agatha Trunchbull (doesn't the name even sound horrible?)

What does this have in common with M&J's house, do you ask?

Check this out:

Our Weird Closet - aka "The Chokey"
On our first tour of the house, we opened it's door thinking it was a coat closet (it's approximately five feet from the entryway).  We opened it up and found a cable wire coming up through a drilled hole in the beautiful wood floor (WHAT were they thinking?!?) - must have stored a TV in this closet and watched it from either the kitchen, dining or living rooms. All three have a straight shot to where that TV must have sat.

Not only was cable running to this closet, it also houses the doorbell ringer, attic access, an outlet and a single light bulb. Some might say "multipurpose". It also housed some odd storage system - shelving as well as vertical partitions. We found this very odd from the beginning and it created lots of confusion when referring to it.

From then on, this closet had to have a name. Inevitably, it became the "chokey" to J's family, as they were familiar with Matilda. After a few weeks (or months) the name stuck and it will (unfortunately)  always be "the chokey", even though M&J are going to make it a pantry.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The weekend after getting the keys to our new place, M & J, along with J's parents and brother, got to work on the house.
J's brother mowed the yard LAWN (we're county kids - it's a yard!) and picked up trash, large limbs and anything else that wasn't supposed to be in the yard (Can't help it...). Although the exterior was in pretty good shape, our new home needed some help to increase it's curb appeal (Yet again, a new concept to country kids. Growing up, our exterior home decor had two rules - be heavy and hearty enough to withstand Kansas winds and crazy weather. If it passed those two rules, it could be put outside. If not, be willing to kiss it goodbye - It wouldn't last a day outside the country homes in Kansas.)

 J's Brother Mowing the Lawn

M & J, with the help of J's parents, got to work on the inside of the house. J and her Mom cleaned the bathrooms and dumped lots of things in the trash while M and J's Dad began gutting the kitchen. Cabinet doors came off, then cabinets came out. Drawers were carried out, back splash tile was pulled off the walls... everything was gutted in the kitchen. I'm sure our new neighbors thought we were crazy - "You just bought the place and now you're taking everything out!" We knew we wanted a new kitchen - the one that was there was not in very good shape and had lots of dings, stains, etc. - and we planned for that when we decided what we were willing to purchase our home for.

J Enjoying the Gutted Kitchen

M and J's Dad Gutting the Kitchen
We also took down curtains, curtain rods and these B-E-A-U-TIFUL (just a hint of sarcasm) drapes in our living and dining room:
Wonder why?
We made lots of progress during that weekend and it really helped us feel better about what we were about to undertake.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our House - Before

After our home was officially ours, we went and took beginning photos of our first place. We wanted to be able to look back and see what our house was BEFORE all our hard work. Here's the "before" of our home:The Outside
View of the Combined Dining and Living Room

View of the Kitchen from the Dining RoomAnother view of the KitchenHalf bath - just off the kitchen

Master Bedroom
Full Bathroom
Second Bedroom - will become M's OfficeThird Bedroom - to become Guest BedroomHallway with Built-in ClosetOne half of the Utility RoomOther Half of the Utility RoomOpen Room in the Basement - will become J's Craft RoomCloset in what will be J's Craft RoomOne Half of Family RoomOther Half of the Family Room

Knowing what we had to work with was going to help us know what steps would need to be taken to get our home to the place we wanted it. We were looking forward to getting some ideas together and seeing what opportunities would be available to us for our new place, and we couldn't wait to get started.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


On day 250 of marriage, (but who's counting) M & J purchased their first home.

SOLD - M & J are now Homeowners

In Front of our New Place

We were armed and ready to get to work - the faster we got things finished up the faster we could get moved into our new place. We had a long list of tasks, but were hopeful to get most of them done (at least to the point that we could move in) by the end of May. We were hoping to have friends over for the 4th of July holiday, and wanted to have a renovated house finished and ready for guests. Boy, we had a lot to learn...