Friday, August 29, 2014

Living Room Re-do

Much like the rest of the house (see Retro Range Redo and Budget Bathroom Remodel) this room was quite a doozy. Perhaps more than anywhere else, it was obvious that this poor little house had served as party central for a number of years.
But, we were able to see the hidden charms and resurrect it. I knew the second I opened the door and saw the archway in the living room, that this little bungalow had a lot of potential.


It was a long time dream of mine to own and fix up a sweet little beach bungalow. Early in our marriage got the opportunity to do just that!
This is another post in the series detailing the changes we made to our first home. Today we'll visit the living room.

New Paint

The walls, ceiling and trim were all were painted a cold drab white. They were filthy and desperately in need of new paint.

Instead of gloom and doom, I wanted something bold and cheery. My friend later called the color I chose "wasabi green". I think it was an accurate description! 

But, I didn't use the green color everywhere. I wanted to highlight the architectural interest provided by the arch, so I painted some walls white. In order for it to work with the bright colors, I used off-the-shelf basic white. It's usually called "ultra pure white". If used alone, this white can look sterile. But when paired with bright vivid colors, it works well. 

Fixing the Floors 

When doing a room rehab it's best to start at the top (literally, the ceiling) and work your way down (to the floors).  So, the next step was fixing the floor. This carpet was relatively new, but it had seen one too many parties. 


The poor carpet was covered with beer, burns and bong water. As you ca see, the only clean spot was where the couch must have been! 


We had a "Eureka!" moment when we pulled up a corner of the carpet, and found the original fir floors underneath. They were made of heart wood and original to the house (built in 1928). Hallelujah!  We pulled up the old carpet and got to work!
There were a few places that needed repairing and patching. Also, I pried off all of the old carpet tack strips. 

Then the "real fun" began. Sanding!

Wow, sanding down a wood floor makes SUCH a mess! If you ever do this take everything you can out of the house. You'll be finding sawdust everywhere for months!
You can rent a sander and do this yourself if you want to. There are many great tutorials on how to do this. 
Sanders are large and awkward. Plus it can be tricky to get it just right. Proceed with caution, or hire a professional. 

For the most part the floors were beautiful, but there were a few places that still showed some damage. Because I like the unique aesthetic of dark wood, and because I wanted to hide the flaws I chose the darkest stain I could get.
Everyone though I was crazy, going with the darkest stain I could find. But just I went for it, with no hesitation, and it turned out great! 

We were so pleased with the result. The floors turned out beautiful!

When we were selling this house we had a neat surprise. The day after we accepted an offer, this house was featured on the Today Show! We still don't know how they found us. But is was pretty cool be be selected and featured on a national TV show, even if it was a day too late to help us with the sale!

Here is the link to watch the Today Show Segment. Unfortunately there is a short ad. To see our house you can fast forward to 1min 13 sec.

It was pretty funny to hear Al Roker commenting on my "strong art" (a painting I made in college), and to hear the comments about how there should have been "chunky red cookie jars" in the kitchen... which there were 3 of them, just off camera!

Here are a few more "before and after" shots:


Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy and Inexpensive Curb Appeal

When we moved into our new house about 5 months ago, the front was anything but charming. Everything was painted the same drab shade of green, and whatever was left alive vegetation wise was pretty dated. So, with only a small budget we went to work livening things up and trying to create a more welcoming facade.

Before and After

As much as I would have loved to professionally landscape and repaint, that wasn't in our budget. So, instead we made pocket friendly DIY changes. The result was an easy and inexpensive curb appeal boost.

Remove Dated Plantings
The first thing we did was take the old juniper plants, boxwoods and hedges. These shrubs had been meticulously shaped and pruned, but they were out of date and out of style.

It took a few days with a chainsaw and a stump remover, but eventually the entire yard was juniper and boxwood free. Since we are currently in a drought, we replaced many of them with succulents and low water plants.

Paint the Trim
Repainting the whole house wasn't in the budget. So, I opted to paint just the trim. I used my favorite shade or white, Benjamin Moore's Ivory White #925 (note: this color has been continued, however paint stores are still able to mix it per request). This is the perfect shade of warm white, and it looks good with everything!

Even if you go over your trim with a fresh coat of paint and don't change the color, it will still freshen up the outside of your house. Plus, a little goes a long way. I painted the trim and the garage door, and it only used about 2 gallons of paint.

Plant a Garden
In a flower bed close to the house I added colorful flowers and plantings, sticking to a vibrant palette of vivid and saturated colors.

We have a family of deer who love to frequent our yard. I enjoy them very much, but don't enjoy providing them with an all-you-can-eat salad bar. So we enclosed part of the front in a low profile wire fence. This way we could grow some of their favorite snacks safely.

A large portion of the front is dedicated to our vegetable garden. Because we also have hungry gophers, I decided to plant vegetables in raised beds. To save on money and time, I ordered large galvanized feeding troughs to use as raised beds. They shipped for free and were delivered right to my driveway in a couple of days!

Bare beds Before
New Plantings After

Accentuate Windows
Ideally, decorative shutters should be wide enough that they could (theoretically) cover you windows when closed. Unfortunately our windows are pretty wide, so that would have meant having them custom made. That just wasn't in the budget, so instead we went with the widest pre-fab vinyl shutters I could find. They were easy to screw on, require no maintenance and help "beef up" the windows.

We also added vinyl window boxes. I filled them with colorful flowers in the same vibrant hues as the bed bellow.


Change Light Fixtures
The porch light was very dated, and since I was trying to get away from the "Brady Bunch house" aesthetic, it had to go. The amber glass and metal scrolls screamed 1972. This was relatively easy to switch out ourselves. Just be sure that you shut off the power before attempting any electrical work!

Brady Bunch Before
Updated After

We were also able to swap out just the top portion of the amber glass light fixture at the end of the driveway. Now guests are greeted with a much more modern light guiding their way!

This was a relatively small (and inexpensive) change, that had a large impact.

Add Interesting Elements
Visually, the yard needed a little punch. So in addition to new plants, I added items of interest. Hardscaping can get expensive, and it isn't necessary for increasing curb appeal. A few well placed items can have a similar impact visually, for a much smaller price tag.

Funky flower pots and a shell collection welcome guests near the porch. The black and white designs echo the black shutters, and fresh white trim. Planted with white flowers, their colors are further accentuated. 

Spray paint is your friend! This old christmas wreath now mimics the shutters' black color, and hides a faded spot on the house siding. 
An inexpensive wind catcher (found at Costco for only $20) adds interest to an otherwise dull corner.

The biggest ticket item for this project was a new front door

All of these small changes work together for a big impact!


1 year later, with established plantings

Thank you for stopping by, and have fun increasing curb appeal!

Linking up to: wow-me-wednesday a-little-bird-told-me-link-party whimsy-wednesdays share-it-link-party make-bake-create from-dream-to-reality whatever-goes-wednesday look-what-i-made-link-party the-inspiration-board-creative-party

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