Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Family Room

Our house closing date just changed from August 12 to August 5, so we are in a packing frenzy here.

I wanted to *try* to finish my tour of our "old house" before we move.  I'm not sure if I can actually finish both blog posts this week, but I'll start with one of our two remaining rooms:  the family room.

The house was built in 1957, and the family room was an addition that was built some time in the 1970s.  The walls were dated wood paneling, and the room had no overhead lighting.  It was so cold in the winter that we had to use a space heater and still needed blankets to keep warm.

When we had a baby crawling around, I decided I didn't want a giant hot space heater begging him to touch it.

So, we called in some family members to help us make the room safer, warmer, and a little easier on the eyes.

Here's the family room when we bought the house:

Imagine our surprise on move-in day when that fireplace was gone.  I guess we should have paid close enough attention to realize that it was a portable fireplace (and the previous homeowners took it before the closing).

This was the only light in the room.  It was just plugged into an outlet, and it was mounted in the far corner.  So, we had to walk through the whole dark room to the far side, find the switch on the cord, and turn on the light.

Family gathered in our ugly paneling room

We painted the paneling white to make it more bearable.  The room was still boring and still very cold.

In this picture Jared was disassembling the room to get ready for all the remodeling work.  You can see in the corner the lights we bought from Ikea to replace that old light fixture.  We also installed a contraption in the outlet that was connected to a remote that we used as a light switch.

When it was time to get to work, we removed the ceiling tiles and the paneling from the walls.

While everything was exposed, my dad ran wiring for two overhead lights (finally!).

When we removed the paneling, we discovered that many areas didn't even have insulation.  The other areas had grossly undersized insulation.  We solved the mystery of the freezing room.

So, we put in warm, cozy (proper) insulation.  Then we put up drywall.

That's my brother Erik helping with the drywall.

We discovered that we are horrible at drywall seams.  You have to fill the seams with tape and mud and then sand them for a nice smooth finish.  Today, with the walls and ceiling painted, we can see every seam in the room.

And this is what happens when you sand drywall mud:

This was before Jared got his "special eyes" (laser eye surgery for his 30th birthday).

After the drywall fun was over, we primed and painted the walls.

Then we added white baseboards, crown moulding, and trim.

These were the cutest pictures I had showing the baseboards. :)

After the kids were old enough to no longer spill snacks and sippy cups on the gross old carpet, we finally got new carpet in the family room.  We chose a gray-brown to compliment the aqua walls.  And hide dirt.

I eventually got around to rearranging furniture, organizing toys, and hanging pictures.  I took these pictures on a normal day, so the house wasn't exactly show ready.  Please don't judge me.

I should have straightened that picture.  And the toys.

This is one of my most favorite pictures.  The photograph is of my grandma and grandpa when they were in college at Taylor University (flirting in a garden on campus).  My sister had it framed for me.  The floral border is fabric from one of my grandma's favorite skirts.

I bought these four pictures from Etsy and paid an arm and a leg for custom framing.  Do you see me in the mirror?
I love this grouping as well.  On the left is a note that the previous homeowners left us the day we moved into our house.  In the middle is the Serenity Prayer embroidered by my great grandma.  On the right are two newspaper articles.  The first is when my grandma was nominated for Mother of the Year (literally), and the second is my grandparents' 25th wedding anniversary announcement.

Just one more room to go!  Do you think I can blog about it and pack the rest of my house before Saturday?  We'll see.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Kitchen

All of our updates in the kitchen have been cosmetic, as well as adding and replacing appliances.  It never became my dream kitchen or anything, but I think we at least improved the appearance.

Here's the kitchen when we bought the house:

Note the overwhelming amount of wood colored with outdated stain, which made the room seem quite dark.  Plus I thought the cabinet handles were ugly.  I never was a fan of the fake wood laminate countertops and backsplash, but we never invested the money for new countertops.

In the middle picture above, you can see the opening where the previous owner had two chairs.  We put a dishwasher in that opening, leaving a spot just big enough for our garbage can.

We took off the doors from the very top row of cabinets to make decorative cubbies.  We first painted them a darker shade of Tiffany Blue, and several years later I changed them to yellow.  I put my collection of milk glass in the cubbies.

I guess I should mention the most obvious update (the one we did first):  we painted all the cabinets white.  It was such a pain!  We sanded them all, primed them, and painted them.  At the time, oil-based paint was recommended for kitchens.  Unfortunately, oil-based paint yellows over time.  So our beautiful white cabinets eventually became off-white.  We added basic silver handles that had a bit of a retro vibe.

Here's a close-up of that awesome wallpaper:

We took down the wallpaper and found the walls behind were already painted turquoise/aqua, which is already one of my favorite colors.  We just painted a fresh coat of nearly the same color (we chose slightly lighter).

The floor was awful!  It was off-white linoleum that NEVER looked clean even immediately after I scrubbed it.

We had to live with it for several years until we could save up for something new.  We chose light wood laminate flooring.  This horrific linoleum was glued down in a way that made it nearly impossible to get up.  I would not like to relive that experience.

Here you can see the white cabinets, silver handles, and the turquoise cubbies with the milk glass.  This picture was taken before we got the dish washer.  Also, we eventually replaced that ugly sink with a stainless steel sink.

If you look past adorable baby Griffin, you can see more of the milk glass.

I put up cork board over the ugly laminate back splash and then pinned up pictures.  You have to look past cute toddler Nolan to see them. :)  Also, my hair was super short!

Here are some more recent pictures:

In these pictures you can see the new floor, the dishwasher, the new stove/oven, the yellow upper cubbies, and the backsplash painted gray.

Standing in the living room, you can see through the kitchen and into the family room.  We've always loved the somewhat open floorplan of our little home.  You can also see that I painted that door on the right (leads to the garage) white, put on a new silver doorknob, and made new curtains for the window portion of the door.

This door leads to the basement, and I also painted it white.  I love my hanging organizer from Thirty-One.  Our family calendar hangs above that organizer.

I bought this clock right after we bought the house.  I love that it's been part of the kitchen since we've been in this home.

When I added yellow and gray to the kitchen, I found these "digital scrapbook papers."  I paid for the file, printed out my three favorites, and framed them.

A couple years ago I made these silhouettes of our family members.  I painted the silhouettes with gray paint and covered the edges of the canvases with yellow and white ribbon.

The last two rooms I have left to show you are the ones that we completely gutted and remodeled.  Stay tuned!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Now that I'm spending free time packing (mostly sorting, throwing away, donating, and then packing), the kids have to entertain themselves quite a bit.

I've loosened my regulations on tv watching, Wii, and iPad time.  The kids have also been playing board games together and playing with their toys before I pack them up.

They are very interested in anything that's different, and right now there's something changing in the house everyday.

Even though I packed up our books last week, they just discovered the fun of the empty bookshelves today.

Whatever keeps them happy, right?


Thursday, July 18, 2013


I've always been a homebody. 

I not only love spending time at home, but I need recharge time at home before I can go back out into the big wide world.

Home is sacred to me.  No matter how small or cluttered or not-magazine-worthy my house is, it's still my house.

So you can see that I have a deep emotional attachment to my home.

When we first started the house-hunting process early this year, I thought there was no way my heart could handle leaving our house after nine years of doing life here.

As God has led us one baby step at a time, He has also started working on my emotions. 

When I fell in love with the new house we're buying, I started emotionally detaching from our current house.  I know it's still going to be hard to leave, but my heart is ready to be in the new house.

I was so excited for that new house that I spent every waking second thinking about it.  Floor plans.  Paint colors.  Furniture.  Appliances.  Making family meals.  My kids' bedrooms.  If you follow me on Pinterest, then you know a lot of what I've been thinking about and browsing.

We've even changed the way we talk about the houses.  We tend to call this house the old house, the current house, or even the Lincoln St. house.  In our hearts it's no longer "home."

But a problem arose in this emotional progression.  It's called The Moving Process.  While everything started off so quickly for us, it's certainly moving along in a jerky, ungraceful fashion.  It hasn't been smooth and seamless. 

It's been an emotional roller coaster.

The status of our move changes daily.  Some days it seems certain and exciting.  Other days it looks as though this domino tower is about to fall, and our plans will not come to fruition.

So, to protect myself, I've emotionally detached from the new home as well.  No sense being crazy excited about something that might not end up being mine.  Through a variety of factors--paperwork, reports, uncertainty from our buyer, and unfavorable reactions from other people--I've lost that initial joy and anticipation.

Now I'm emotionally homeless.

I need to pack up everything in this current house and complete the process of moving out, but I'm afraid we'll just be unpacking all those belonging right back to their original spots if the deal falls through.  I need to make sure my kids are getting registered at the correct school, but right now I'm not sure which one that will be.  I need restful sleep.  I need peace in my stomach.

I need a place to call home so I can recharge.

As I said, this game changes DAILY.  I will likely feel differently at the end of this day than at the beginning, be it better or worse.  I've been operating in constant prayer, begging God to override the stress that continually grips my heart, mind, and body.  He started us on this journey, and I'm holding onto His promise to complete what He started.

And then I hope He never tells us to move again.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Living Room

We're about to get into the rooms where we did major remodeling, but first I wanted to show you the living room.  We just did basic cosmetic updates in this room, but I still think they made a big difference.

The room when we bought the house:

Try to ignore the sneak peek of the kitchen :)

The carpet was in decent condition.  All the wood trim was outdated.  The drapes were pretty awesome.  All the old furniture was a bit distracting.  Also, doesn't that seem like a horrible place for a couch?  You had to walk around the couch to go from the kitchen (on the right) to the hallway (on the left) leading to the bathroom and bedrooms.

We didn't do much to this room right away.  In fact, here are some pictures of our second Christmas in the house:

My sister Kristi, me (pregnant with Nolan), and my sister-in-law Bree.  Note that the walls, carpet, and wood trim are identical to when we bought the house.

That's my mom playing Santa and my nephew opening gifts.  The super stylish couch in the background was given to us by one of our former high school teachers.

Note the awesome drapes still hanging behind the Christmas tree.

When my dad made our huge custom bookshelf, his one condition was that we had to stain it ourselves.  No problem.  I set it up on a drop cloth in the living room and got to work.  Unfortunately, I knocked over the can of stain, and it spilled directly over the only tear in the drop cloth.  The dark brown stain got on the carpet.

We decided not to throw away the carpet that was in good condition.  We cut it into two pieces, cutting out the stained portion between the two large pieces.  We rolled it up, carried it downstairs, and set it up where the couch, toys, and projector are.  You can see it here.

We painted the walls a light bluish gray, painted the window frame a creamy off-white, took down the old drapes, put up ivory blinds, installed light wood laminate flooring, and installed new baseboards that match the floor.

I could only find one picture of the living room at this stage.  We bought the rug and chair (there is a second matching chair not in the picture) at Ikea.  I found a natural-colored slipcover for the hand-me-down floral couch.  The big coffee table in the corner eventually got moved to the family room (more on that later).  That's my niece Layla pretending to talk on my old cell phone while sitting with Nolan.

We eventually moved the slipcovered couch to the basement.  We also moved that rug to the basement laundry area and replaced it with a gray and white floral rug from Ikea.  We added an ivory love seat (Ikea again), gray curtains from Target, pillows from Ikea and some that I recovered, and two lamps.  We also bought a display cabinet to hold treasures from my grandparents who passed away.

Here's how it looks now:

This is the bookshelf my dad made (and I stained...thus ruining the carpet).  My sister made us the picture frame with photos she took that spell our last name.

We just have three rooms left to go:  kitchen, bathroom, and family room.  They're the most dramatic!