Oh Hey!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

It's been a minute, hasn't it? So remember that house I was renovating this time last year? Yeah, I sold it and moved back into the original bungalow, which I'm thinking more of as a cottage these days, but whatever. The reason for the sale and move was a good thing - I got a fantastic new job back in Arkansas!

So I'm now less than a month away from my first anniversary at my new job and well into a major renovation of Bungalow #1 (I'm probably going to start calling it a cottage - don't be scared). Remember this post I wrote seven years ago? (Side note - scrolling back through 7 years of posts makes for a very cringy experience but hey, I was still figuring out what I wanted to write about and to be honest, I still am. This blog is basically my diary, and reading your old diary is always cringy, right?) Anyway, in that post, I laid out my long term plans for this house. As a recap, those plans included:
  1. Wall off the study nook in my master bedroom to create a laundry room/pantry.
  2. Get central heat and air and patch the wood floors where the old floor furnaces were in the living room and master bedroom.
  3. Install hardwood floors in the master bedroom.
  4. Install new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen. 
  5. Install new flooring that matches in the kitchen and pantry.
Well, y'all, I'm doing all that and then some right this very minute. I was planning on writing a single blog post on the renovation once it was all done, but so much has happened (read: gone wrong) that I am going to stretch it into several posts to address everything fully. Like with my last kitchen renovation, I will also talk numbers at some point. This kitchen has been more expensive and more complicated than my Florida kitchen because even though it is smaller, it needed more work.

What kind of work, you ask? Well, the biggest thing was that my ceiling fell down. Like, for real. I have pictures. Also, I moved a lot more plumbing and electrical this time as part of moving the washer and dryer into the new laundry room. 

Oh, and I moved a doorway because I'm stubborn and picky, and it ended up causing a minor disaster with the cabinets. We actually just discovered the issue with the cabinets this morning, so there's definitely a lot more to come about this renovation. 

Buckle up, pals. This reno just got bumpy. 






Florida Living (Room)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thanks to one of my sweet friends asking me how my house was coming (but not in a nagging way, just a sweetly curious way), I was motivated to FINALLY finish up my living room so I would have an answer for her!



For the first few months, it was kind of a mess.  Seriously... I can't believe I'm about to show this, but...


Up until this weekend, my living room looked like this.  For months.  Including that time two friends from work stopped by when the plumber ran late and I couldn't make our lunch date.  Eeek!  So unacceptable.  So messy!  But real talk - sometimes life gets in the way when you move (and sometimes when you don't) and your living room looks like this.  When it starts to stress you out, though, it's time to take off the blinders and deal with it.

So, two weekends ago, I took my too many, too oversized sofa pillows to Goodwill.  I don't miss them.  I had way too many because I was worried my sofas would look empty with just two or three pillows on them.  Of course, with so many throw pillows, you could hardly sit on the actual sofas, and they just ended up on the floor.  And then my couches really were empty!  I swapped them out with these:



and my personal favorite (because tassels! and a camel!)


So much better!

Then this weekend, I got a trash bag and threw away the vast majority of the crap on the table - old mail, part of a light kit left over from repairing the ceiling fan, a copy of The Bluebook...  Ok, that last one, I put in the bookcase.  What if I suddenly have to brief to the Supreme Court?  Obviously, I won't have time to order a new one!


Sort of off topic, but Charlie Daniels, the fiddle leaf fig who you may remember from Instagram, is still clinging to life. He's been on my front porch since I moved and was better off for it. So I brought him inside to kill him slowly and properly in the random niche.  His twin is still soaking up the sun on the patio, though, and I'm sure will be avenging his brother's death in due time. Coming to theaters Memorial Day 2017 - The Black Thumb Part II: Revenge of the Tree Twin.

Ok, back on topic.  Next job? New sofa covers.  The ones that were on there photographed decently, but up close? Nasty.  I love my dogs but their little feet, coupled with the nastiness of a moving truck, meant they just weren't salvageable.  I had the Blekinge white covers for my trusty Ektorp sofas.  They're kind of awesome.  Unfortunately, those covers were discontinued like two years ago.  Because I'm a planner, though, I had a spare set stored under my sofa.  Yusssss.  However, using my spares and tossing my old ones meant - gasp - no more spares.  And I ended up not being smart and having a spare ottoman cover.  Since that's where the girls love to hang out, that was the nastiest.  A trip to Ikea was in order.

Fortunately, Ikea didn't leave us white sofa lovers out in the cold.  Their Vittaryd white covers are a pretty decent match, though they're annoyingly expensive.  The ottoman cover cost $49 - I used to be able to get an entire sofa cover for that price!  Still, white furniture + dogs who are, you know, dogs, means spares were required.  Oh well.

After decluttering, swapping the pillows and the covers, and waiting for some halfway decent light...

[The ottoman and sofa really do look like the same color in person. Not sure what's going on here.]


And then the same thing happened that usually happens - things devolved into a puppy photoshoot.  So I leave you with this:


Winnie says if you're ever in St. Pete, come visit.  She might even let you sit on her sofa.

Kitchen Reveal!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Behold!  My new kitchen in all her glory!  (Ignore the one missing cabinet pull.)  I am so in love with this space.  It is the one room in the house that is totally done, in order, and doesn't stress me out when I walk into it.


I promised y'all some details about the project, including numbers.  I'm a woman of my word, let's dive in.

Appliances
I was pretty choosy when it came to my appliances.  I had a few requirements right off the bat.  For starters, since the kitchen small (approximately 11 ft x 10 ft), I knew I wanted an over the range microwave.  Second, I wanted an electric, glasstop stove.  I know a lot of people prefer gas, but I like how easy to clean glasstops are.  I don't cook a whole lot anyway, so I don't need the precise heat control proponents of gas stoves advocate for.  Finally, I wanted a counter-depth refrigerator.


The fridge ended up being the hardest thing to choose. Most counter-depth fridges have the freezer on the bottom, which is a style I don't like.  I looked long and hard and finally settled on this Whirlpool refrigerator from HH Gregg.  A surprise favorite - the ice cube shape! They're little pyramids!  Once I narrowed down the fridge I wanted, the rest was pretty easy.  I went with the stove with the extra big window and the storage drawer instead of the warming tray.

There wasn't a dishwasher in the house when I bought it (and technically, there still isn't - I have to get the plumber back out to hook it up), and for resale purposes, that was one of the major parts of the kitchen design.  It is surprisingly difficult to fit a full sized dishwasher into a U-shaped 11 ft x 10ft kitchen.  My kitchen designer worked so hard to make that happen, and she managed to make it work! We had to cheat the drawers next to the stove a fraction of an inch over to accommodate the handle of the dishwasher, but it all worked out in the end!  So if you go for this model, be aware that the handle does stick out a fair amount.

The appliances with delivery and extended warranties cost $3,002.94.  The installation of the appliances cost an additional $325.00.  All in for appliances = approximately $3,330.  I'm not factoring in the plumbing and electrical issues that were unique to my place that had to be dealt with to get the kitchen ready for install - I had a random old gas pipe that had to get removed and my outlets were not in the right places for this configuration.  Correcting those issues cost about another $1400, putting us at $4,700.


Cabinets
I got estimates from three different companies.  The first was for the entire kitchen at a gutwrenching $23,000.  Considering that my original budget for the renovation of the entire house was $25,000, that was just a no-go.  The next estimate was from the same company that I ultimately bought my countertops from.  It was for 42" uppers without any crown moulding.  I don't remember the exact quote, but I believe it was around $5,000.  As I mentioned before, I decided to go with McCabinet in Largo, Florida.  I loved my designer Brooke.  She was really able to match my desire for high-end features like soft close hinges and drawers and a hidden trashcan while keeping things in line with my budget.

The cabinets including installation and hardware cost $6,550, putting our running total at $11,250.

Countertops
I went back and forth on the counters.  I loved the look of marble, as seen on countless blogs and home makeover shows, but my practical side just wouldn't let me pull the trigger, especially in a house that isn't my forever home.  I still wanted something with lots of white, though, which eventually led me to Brown Fantasy.

Menlo Park New Construction

It had a lot of movement and was still pretty white.  I went into the granite store (Granite Depot in St. Petersburg, Florida) and walked out to choose my slab when I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.  It was labeled "Navajo White," but it's a quartzite, not the granite that pops up when you search for that name.  It might be Super White Quartzite or Glacier White Quartzite, I'm really not sure.


The countertops cost around $2400 - I can't find the receipt right now and for some reason, it's not popping up on any of my credit card histories, so I'm just guessing.  It was definitely under $3000.  I know it was $69/square foot and I had around 34 square feet, so that match checks out, right?  Hey, I'm a lawyer, not an accountant!  Now we're at $13,650.

The Extras
The lighting fixture was a bargain find at Home Depot - a mere $80!  It's by Hampton Bay and is part of the Tallarook collection.  The faucet is the Lyndhurst by Glacier Bay.  My mom wasn't keen on Glacier Bay; she wanted me to get Delta or Moen.  I had my heart set on a bridge style faucet for that rustic country look, and Glacier Bay's version was $150 as compared to Moen's $1000 version.  The pulls were included with the cost of my cabinets, but in case you're looking for a source, they're Oil-rubbed Bronze by Amerock.  I think they cost around $3.00/pull, as that was my hardware allowance.  I also had to pay about $300 to do some plaster repair as a result of the electrical work mentioned above.

So the grand total for my top to bottom kitchen makeover: $14,180.  I'm not included things like paying the random Craigslist guy to tear out my old cabinets, paying the city to haul the old cabinets and countertops off, and refinishing the floors.  Oh!  And I had to move a ceiling vent that was in the way of my upper cabinets.  So let's round up and say $15,000.  So there you have it.  From this...


To this...


For $15,000.  I still plan on doing a little more work, like adding a backsplash, which will send the final bill up a little higher, but it's finally functional!  Hooray!

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll try to answer them as best I can.  I have a really fun post coming up about incorporating color into a neutral kitchen - white doesn't have to feel sterile - so check back soon!