October 25, 2012

Up on the Walls

Now that I'm home on leave with my little man, I'm finding that we're using the Living Room a lot more.  Thankfully we've spent some time fixing this space up.  We started with this:

Listing Photo
Immediately we got to work painting the walls a much lighter color to highlight the natural color of the wood, instead of making it look like the dated Golden Oak. But we still left a little to be desired with our old furniture and bad rug choice.  (We all make mistakes... don't judge.)

We finally got our act together with a beautiful Ethan Allen rug, new couch, ottoman, blue velvet wing back chairs and lamps.


 But if you recall, the other side of the room was a white, empty pallet.

It wasn't always like that, once upon a time we had the beautiful landscape painting that the colors of the room were based off of:

But that baby went boom- and somehow crashed to the floor and broke the frame while we were away from the house for a weekend.  We have ghosts.  Or maybe the Hubs rigged it- he always complained that the size of this photo was way too small for the room.

 But we got our hanging on and viola:

We started with a small, flat screen TV mounted on the wall.  In the past we've preferred not to have TV in the main living space, but with our only TV in the house downstairs, it just wasn't very convenient.   The compromise was a smaller TV with a low profile so that it isn't the main focus in the room, but its there to use when we want it.

I installed the TV myself a week or so before Boden made his big arrival.  I found this awesome product for only $23 that allows you to drill a hole through the wall behind the TV, and then run your wires behind the wall, down to the floor where you can plug it in.

  It even comes with a fish tape to help you guide the wires through the wall.  Genius.

But the super fun piece was this new picture the Hubs and I found at Home Goods.

  It's more than twice the height of our original picture, and 18" wider, so it does a much better job to fill the space of this huge wall.  

 I love the colors even more than our first one, and since this one is just a wrapped canvas, I don't have to worry about this frame mysteriously breaking and falling off the wall.  (I'm on to you Hubs, I'm just saying...)

So that's how just a few things on the walls brought the room from this:

 To this:

I love kicking my feet up in here, cuddling up with the little man and watching home improvement shows.  In fact, this morning I turned on the DIY Network and saw myself- our episode of Bath Crashers was on!  Its always good to watch it and remember how badly that bathroom started.  It makes me much happier about the way it all turned out.  Sure, we've had some bumps in the road, but at least there isn't carpet in there anymore. 

October 22, 2012

Kitchen Reveal

Those of you that have been following our blog for awhile (thanks Mom!) will know that we've been on the fence about painting the wood in the Kitchen from the beginning.  We tried to make a few small updates without painting, but in the end we just didn't achieve the look we were hoping for.  So in the end Hubs took advantage of the fact that I was knocked up and somehow convinced me to hire a contractor to paint our kitchen while we were in the hospital with our latest little DIY project.  It might of been his best decision ever, because here's our kitchen now:

We went with Moonshine by Benjamin Moore for the cabinet color- mostly a white with a little bit of gray in it to hide fingerprints and blend better with the black appliances.   It's easier to appreciate the change though if you see where we started:

Listing Photo

Phase #1- Floors, counter tops and backsplash

Or this view from the other side:
Listing Photo

Phase #1- Floors, counter tops, backsplash

Before we felt like the granite counters we added and the gorgeous backsplash tile just wasn't being showcased like it should.

 Now I think the counters look sleek and incredible, and the backsplash sparkles. 

 I'm thinking some simple, clean window treatments might be in the future.

There's still a bit more work we'll have to do on this other side to make it interesting, but I'm thinking that's just a matter of making it "pop" in those glass front cabinets.  Stay tuned on that.

My favorite thing is looking out this window into our backyard.  Everything feels so much more open and crisp. 

 So what do you think?  Good change?  Would you have left the wood, or do you like the painted look?  The room feels so much cleaner now, since the old wood was really damaged in a bunch of places.  I'm thrilled with the upgrade, and now it has the Hubs thinking about finally painting the Family Room.  Yep- you heard me, we just brought home a newborn and the Hubs is already itching for another remodel.  I'll have to hold him off for as long as I can... wish me luck!

October 17, 2012

Last Minute Renovation

We had been saying for months- once we're done with the 2 bathrooms and the steps, it's on to the Nursery and then time for a DIY break to give us time to chill out with our little man.  Really.  And we meant it. Until- well... we didn't mean it any more.  For the record, it wasn't entirely our fault.  As you may recall, first this happened.

The Hubs and I agreed that considering I was 9 months pregnant, and refinishing the ceiling required a lot of ladders and a lot of mess, this was a project that we just were not going to take on.  Although I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a struggle to decide- especially once the quotes started coming in.  I mean, it's just not in my nature to pay someone $750 to do something that would cost me $25 to do myself- and that was our lowest quote!  But I wasn't getting up on a ladder for hours on end, and the Hubs didn't feel comfortable doing it considering that I've always been the sheet rock re-finisher in the family, so we agreed it was time to let the pros come in. 

And that's how it came to be that a highly recommended contractor was at our house quoting the job, and we noticed on his business card that he also does paint work, so out of curiosity we had him give us a quote for painting our kitchen cabinets and trim.  And we were shocked with how affordable it was.

For the record I always planned to do the Kitchen paint project on our own, and the Hubs had always planned to hire someone.  Maybe that's why we hadn't tackled the project yet, we were just agreeing to disagree. The Hub's opinion was cabinets were way too big and dramatic of a project to do ourselves. His fear was that we would see drips or brush marks and always regret it.  True, I have researched a lot on the topic, and there are dozens of bloggers out there that in retrospect suggest getting them professionally sprayed or using enamel for a more professional finish.  But the kicker for me was when I asked John and Sherry from YoungHouseLove to give me their honest opinion of the cabinets they just meticulously painted themselves, and they replied with the very honest, "you get what you pay for."  

So somehow, before I knew it, we had agreed to work with our contractor, and to have him not only do the ceiling in the Dining Room, but paint the entire kitchen as well.  He said it would take 5 days, and Boomer was due in 15, so we crossed our fingers that the little guy would stay in there.  The Sunday before he started, we removed all the cabinet doors and brought them out into the garage.

And pulled out the shelves from the glass front cabinets and removed the green contact paper I put up previously.

 I'll be honest, it was a little scarey to be creating such a mess so close to due date. 

But we had all the time in the world... so we thought.  On Monday our guy James showed up for his first day of work and got a ton done.  That evening I was celebrating the amazing feeling of someone else doing work in your home while you kicked your feet up on the couch and ate ice cream- when my water broke.  Operation "Keep Baby in There at Least Until Friday"- failed.  Not that we were disappointed, how could we be?  Our little guy was just anxious to meet us.  When we returned home from the Hospital on Thursday morning however, things were still a little chaotic...

...but exciting.  We did our best to stay out of the contractor's way, mostly spending time back in the Nursery cuddled up on the daybed.  It took us a bit of work to get the place back together, so stay tuned for the big reveal post coming up soon- I can't wait to show you guys how it turned out!

How about you guys- are there projects that you're willing to pony up the money for someone to do for you, while others you want to save the cash and take on yourselves?  Anybody ever take on a project they wish they had hired out from the beginning?  I'll admit it- the Hub's was right on this one.  It was really nice to have this work done for us so quickly, as it would have taken us weeks, if not longer.  And clearly we didn't have that kind of time.

October 15, 2012


Our sweet little man, Boden Wallace Swartz.

Bo surprised us about two weeks early, but we couldn't be happier to have our little snuggle bug home with us.  Big brother Ryder is so proud of his brother, and will tell anyone who will listen,  "We have a new baby.  His name is Boden but for his short name we call him Bo.  He's zero years old.  I'm four."  Thank you strangers for your kind head nodding and smiles.  

Thanks for allowing me a little blogging break as we adjust to our new reality.  Although back when we bought this big project house I had intended to blog daily, over time (and a lot of projects) I've really tried to prioritize my time best for our busy lives. For me, right now, I'm finding the best schedule is telling you about projects as we do them.  Don't think for a second that this means that you won't be hearing from me in awhile though, in fact, Boden's early entrance interrupted the final major home improvement project we were hoping to tackle before we became a family of 4.  Here's a little hint:

 So stay tuned for more on that big project to come.  In the mean time I'm off for some cuddling with my boys.  Bliss.