Monday, June 21, 2021

 Small Project ~ Big Bang!!

    I love the front door on our house - but, the color? Not so much. It's a sort of brick red. Very muted, almost brown, not very welcoming. I wanted to paint that door before we even bought the house and now that we've started a few outdoor projects I REALLY want to paint the door!

    Something about the color makes the house look very neutral, very one tone. I think that the color of the front door is pretty important. It's the first thing people see as they drive up or walk by. This is a really nice door. It has some uncommon features - the window (which is also on the remake list!), the ledge - they need some attention!

    We built the bench from a kit we purchased at Costo. I love the planters. I'll be able to change them seasonally but the entry still needed that wow factor. So, for under $50 and about and hours worth of work I got this:


The dark teal is so perfect against the stone. It really makes the blue colors in the stone stand out. The whole house cooled off and now feels like a calm, welcoming place. The brushed brass kickplate at the bottom adds a little style while being a practical solution for protecting my new amazing door!

I'm all about these little projects... so satisfying!

 New Lights - Small Project - Big Impact!

    We love our new house. Plenty of room, lots of windows, big kitchen etc... What we don't love are a lot of the design choices.

     For example, the gigantic gothic looking hanging light fixture in our foyer! I shudder every time I look at it! Definitely on the hunt for something more our style. Also, not a fan of the ugly pendant lights over the kitchen island.

Ew! Really? Who thought this tiny light was going to work in this huge kitchen? Their solution? Put the brightest bulb you can find in it - no, no this didn't help.

We have big plans for updating the kitchen including changing the counter and backsplash, painting the island and getting new knobs. None of this is happening soon, there are lots of projects ahead of this - but - I happened to get a really great deal on two pendants that were on clearance. Couldn't pass them up!

Nice, right? So much better than the dinky ones and the light is really lovely - soft and diffused but plenty bright enough to work under. Sometimes a little change can have a really huge impact!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

 Good Lord, We've Done it Again!!

    I didn't even finish posting all the changes at the house we were renovating in Solomons, MD and we've already moved again!

    Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just have to be ready to deal with it. We were having fun living on the bay - we bought a boat (funny story!), we were renovating a house, we were busy. We were also pretty homesick for our kids and the valley we left almost four hours away. The more we talked about it the more we realized we wanted to find a place in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Once the decision was made, we started getting things organized - got the house on the market in MD - found a house in VA - got ourselves moved in June of 2020. Covid made things a little complicated but we worked it out. 

This is the house we bought:


It's about a year old. A lovely custom built modern craftsman with an open floorplan. It's 3600sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Probably bigger than what 2 little old people need - but it's one of those homes that's meant for gathering and after the last year of Covid - we're ready to gather!

    Even though the house is new, there are lots of projects we want to get done. Since we were on lockdown with plenty of time on our hands, the first thing we decided to tackle was getting a large freezer and having our walk-in pantry re-done. We wanted to be able to buy in bulk and have plenty of storage for everything. Eventually there will be a garden and greenhouse as well so organized food storage was critical.

    This is what we started with:

    We wanted to be able to make better use of the space. It's not a huge pantry but it does have 10ft ceilings. So step one was getting all the shelves out and repairing the holes. I hate wire shelves!

    I painted it a dark, charcoal grey. Most of it got covered by the cabinets and shelving but I love the color! It makes the wood and white cabinets stand out.


The next step was to get the shelving and cabinets built. I wanted to have space for a drink fridge and our wine cooler, storage for cookbooks and small appliances as well as plenty of food storage. A bonus is that there are two outlets in there! The taller spaced shelving by the door is where the wine cooler, cookbooks, blender and charging station will be.

Drawers and cabinets are great for storing large boxes, bulk goods and smaller odds-n-ends.
There are two outlets in the pantry, one near the floor and one closer to the ceiling. This worked out perfect. We were able to put the drink fridge and the wine cooler in the pantry as well as having room to plug in a charging station for phones and tablets. There's plenty of shelf space for food storage and the top shelf gives me room to store items that I don't need very often as well as small appliances.

    It's not huge but it's mighty! Now - on to the master bedroom, I'm ready to tackle wallpaper!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Guest Bath

I'm finally getting around to updating a few of the house projects. The guest bedroom and bathroom needed to get done pretty quickly because we wanted everyone to be able to come visit but the rooms needed serious updating first! The bedroom was easy - just painted the trim bright white, the walls are a pale green\blue - moved in the furniture, added a small television and it's complete.

The guest bath was started when we did the kitchen - we weren't living in the house yet so we decided to do the messiest projects before we arrived.

We started with this:

What a mess!
We took out the vanity and replaced it with a 35" tall one - no bending over the sink to brush! We also installed the comfort height, elongated bowl toilet. I really wanted wallpaper - but the one I loved was $200 a roll!! Yikes! I'm going to change my mind and want different in probably a year and then I'd have to tear it out - I couldn't bring myself to spend that much money. So I found a company online that sells large stencils - and like magic - I had made my own wallpaper!!
Really easy - took about 6 hours start to finish! 

The entire project cost about $40
Now, when I change my mind and want a different color - I'm not gonna feel guilty of the waste of money I would have spent on wallpaper!

We also replaced the old mirror with a framed one, added new lighting, a shelf for storing towels over the toilet and the cutest knobs! Bam! One weekend and we're ready for company!
I love the bright spots of coral in an otherwise calm blue room - it adds a little pizzazz! And the knobs are probably my favorite part!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Studio Progress

     So, for the first time in my life I'm going to have a room of my own. I don't have to share it with anyone, I can do what I want in there and I can decorate however I want! It's such an amazing thing.

     This is my space, it doesn't look like much but it's gonna be amazing. The big windows face south, I can see the water! It's a great size 14' x 12' with a large closet. Since the space will be my studio, it needs to be practical, so the first thing that needs to happen is the carpet has to go!
     Ciao carpet!

I want the flooring to be durable, easy to clean, not expensive, and fun to look at! After an unhealthy amount of research I decided to go with a tile product, VCT  - Vinyl Compsition Tile. This is a commercial glue down product designed for high traffic areas. It's really easy to put down - basically you put down a layer of adhesive, wait 20 minutes and set the tiles down. They cut with an exacto knife, come in a ton of fun colors and truly are indestructable.
                                   But first.... as long as the room is empty - let's PAINT!
     I chose this incredible, dark teal - it's going to be perfect with all my white cabinets and tables! But back to the tile....
     I simply found the center of the room, snapped chalk lines in both directions and layed the tiles along the lines - really is that easy!

BEAUTIFUL!! Now, on to those cabinets....

Monday, January 7, 2019

You've Gotta Break a Few Eggs...

And so it begins....

We bought this cute little house:

     It's a two level condo in a water front neighborhood. Pretty standard three bedrooms, three bathrooms. Nice size rooms, large eat-in kitchen, big windows. It's great for casual,  relaxed living.

    Some of my favorite things are that I have a smaller yard, which is a lovely plant filled space that I don't have to take care of. I don't have to do any of the yard work or any outside maintenance.

     It faces south and gets wonderful light in the room that I'll be using for my studio space. It's spacious but feels cozy and familiar. It's a beautiful color!

     It's within walking distance of my sister - there are gonna be sister adventures!

I'm excited about our new adventure in our new place.

     But of course, nothings perfect. The house sat empty for almost ten years. Everything is original to the house which was built in 1990. We decided that since we still owned our home in West Virginia we'd do some of the major renovations before we moved - less mess to live in. Structurally everything is in good shape but it needs a major update. We decided to do the kitchen, the bathrooms and the fireplace initially - then it just got out of control and lighting, my studio and the laundry room were added to the pre-move-in list.

Much craziness ensued.
     We gutted the kitchen, all three bathrooms and the fireplace. The thought process was that we weren't living there, these were the biggest projects, they would make the biggest mess and be the most inconvenient if we were in the
house while it happened.

     We're thinking how brilliant and organized we are!

     While we were making messes, we decided that more lighting would be wonderful, so we added pot lights to the kitchen and living room projects.

     More demo  ~  more holes

     Of course nothing went exactly as planned.

     When the cabinets came out and they took out the bulkhead (which the contractor was sure was empty) it was full of plumbing and electrical and heating ducts.

More demo  ~  more holes

     The estimated time to completion was six to eight weeks.  This stretched into six months. We failed electrical inspections FIVE times. For awhile it seemed as though they just kept adding more holes. We were about eight weeks with no water (yea, we failed those inspections too!).

     Oh, and we put new flooring in the foyer.That pile in the living room is the flooring.

     One of my favorite stories about this insanity is that while the house looked like nuclear fallout my husbands biggest priority was getting a television big enough to fit over the fireplace. That television and cable hook up were the first things done the minute he could get someone out there!

     He was the happiest man alive that day, and the next day when he was able to stroll down to our dock and cast a line.

     Stay tuned - it's all gonna come together and be our happy place!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Making a Different House a Home...

     It's been ages since I've posted anything - not because there was nothing to share, more because there's been too much. Sometimes you just get so caught up in the 'daily grind' you can't find time to do the things you love. The last couple of years have seen job changes, health issues and family stuff, seems like we're just rolling along from one catastrophe to the next around here.

     Well, there's about to be another big change - we've bought a house in the most amazing place, Soloman's Island, MD. There's about to be a whole lot of renovations going on! This was one of those, "too good to be true" sort of situations. We weren't looking for a house, it just sort of fell on us, like the Wizard of Oz! The first two years we owned the house we rented it out because it was the easiest thing at the time and the original thought was we'd move there when we retired.

     My husband had a heart attack in 2016. To say this was a life altering event is an understatement. We decided that waiting for retirement to live in paradise was the stupidest decision we'd made in a long time. So, after much planning we're headed to this lovely location:

     The house has a little age on it - built in 1990 but it sat empty for almost 10 years while the previous owner and a bank had a tug-o-war over it. Eventually the bank won and then... well, we won! So now I get views like this:

     I'm feeling pretty lucky! So stay tuned, there's a ton of work to do to make this house a home!