Monday, November 16, 2015

Fireplace Inspiration

I wanted to keep this short and sweet today and just do a little fireplace inspiration. This weekend my fireplace stripped down naked. And I have never been more scared in my entire life. We have done a lot around this house and the projects always seem to come together, but this one has me anxious. One thing you need to know is that my living room is my least favorite room in the entire house. I don't even like hanging out in there. It's ugly, an awkward shape and I have no idea how to decorate it. Let me paint you a picture:

See all of those awkward door openings and weird walls? That's a thing. Right now the furniture is pushed all the way back to the wall, but its soooo far away from the fireplace. And unfortunately the tv has to go in the living room (god help me, I would throw it out if I could:p). The living room size is 20x12. I am stumped. And don't even get me started on what to put on the walls. I have never hated a space more in my life. I even thought of hiring an online stylist to give me some tips, but I didn't want to spend $400+. Having a room so long and skinny with so many doorways to work around is giving me chest pains. My potential design hopes and dreams might shrivel up and die right inside this hideous room. 

But that's enough drama for one day. 

I'll keep you updated with how the living room comes together (or doesn't). Instead of freaking out about the living room I'm going to freak out about our fireplace. Naked, remember? Here is a before picture of the space on closing day in April:

And here is a picture of it right now:

Hold me. I'm scared. 

We are planning to give it a face lift and add some lovely builtins to each side. Now for the fun part. The design inspiration:



Shiplap and marble and builtins oh my! The challenge we are facing is the fact that our fireplace is not built off the wall so the builtins wont look exactly like the inspiration photos. But we have seen it done both ways and feel confident enough to move forward. If there was ever a man for the job, its Justin. 

So that's our fireplace inspiration. I gotta say, I won't feel better until this room is completely done. Right now its all torn apart and I'm terrified. Who decided to take on such a huge project just weeks before the holidays? Oh yeah. That would be us. Send help. Or a therapist. 

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kitchen Q&A

First of all, wow. You guys are the best. I said this on social media, but you guys truly blew me away when I clicked publish on our kitchen reveal. I received so many comments, phone calls, emails, and text messages. I walked around for the whole day with the biggest smile on my face. You guys rock!

I did get a lot of questions that came with the reveal so I wanted to take the time to address those. Here we go!

Did you guys really do your entire kitchen for $3000?
Yes we did! We didn't include flooring or baseboards into the cost of the budget because those were in budgets of their own since we renovated our entire house. If they would have been included it would have been a bit more. We were very serious about staying on budget since we do not have a ton of wiggle room when it comes to home value. It would not make sense for us to pour $20,000+ dollars into this home because we would be losing money in the end.

Is it hard to paint the cabinets? How did you get rid of the grain?
The honest answer to this question is YES. It was quite the task to paint these cabinets. I threw many fits. I whined about it. I told myself I would never do it again. But the truth is, I would do it again because it gives new life to an old kitchen and it really was worth it. The paint itself is called Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Cabinet Paint in the color Coast Guard Gray. This color is very similar to Ikea's gray cabinets if that helps. To get rid of the grain we applied some wood filler to the front of the cabinets. We did not care so much about the inside. I just did not want the grain showing through because I didn't want them to look like oak cabinets anymore. The wood filler did help, but it was kind of a pain. After we used the wood filler and sanded it down, we applied 5 coats of paint. We used a cabinet roller instead of spraying. Everyone has their own methods, but it just worked best for us. The grain was still slightly visible around the edges, but no where near what it was and I'm really happy about it. We had a guy from the gas company come out the other day and he just stared at our cabinets and said, how did you get rid of the grain?? So I call that a win. :p

Did you guys build the island?
Justin built the island. We bought one of the nicer butcher block tops from Ikea and he tackled it in a day. I feel like the island needs a little bit more love so I'm actually going to do a post dedicated to the island where I can be a bit more specific about it.

Where did you get your sink? I've only seen expensive farmhouse options. 
We bought our sink at Ikea. It was very inexpensive. Unlike most farmhouse sinks, it sits on top of the counter. I think most people are scared off by that. We were not. $189 compared to $600? That was a no brainer for us. It is a gorgeous sink, I love how big it is and I can't wait to have a baby so I can wash them in it! :p I highly recommend it.

Did you put the small rectangular window in?
The window was always there. It was just awkward and a little ugly before. Justin made a custom sill for it and now I really love it. I actually considered closing the window up when we first started the renovation but now I'm so glad I let him handle it because it is really charming now.

Where did you get your entryway shelf?
I was browsing Michaels minding my own business when I saw this unstained, galvanized cubby shelf in the clearance section. I had to have it. But it didn't have a price. I walked up to the front with it and asked the lady. She already put it in my bag like I was going to buy it no matter what the answer was. I said to myself, be strong girl. If it's more than $10, you don't want it. The manager came back and said, eh you can have it for $3, does that work? Talking to myself again, be cool girl, be cool. Sure, that sounds ok. :p I took it home, stained it, added my own hooks, some cute Ikea plants and now it's the cutest entry shelf I've ever had.

That just about wraps up all the questions I can think of! If you have any more, feel free to ask and I will try to answer them individually.

I started thinking last night about how we might not stay in this house forever and I immediately got mopey because we have poured so much into this little place. I love it so much. It's weird because we lived in a newer, "nicer" home in Florida but I never loved it the way I love this one. I think this house is so much cozier than our Florida home and I am 100% ok with being a homebody these days.

Have you guys put up your holiday decorations yet? Everyday I see more and more holiday decor and it's starting to break me down. The only thing that keeps me going strong is our fireplace project. I don't want to bust out the decor before that's finished. More on that later. Hang in there, tomorrow is Friday!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kitchen Reveal

Today is the day!!! It's reveal day! You guys. I can hardly contain myself. When we bought our house in April the kitchen was the first thing I wanted to rip apart. It was u-g-l-y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly. Yeah, yeah, you ugly.

Did you just chant that? I bet you did. Don't worry, you can tell me, this is a safe place.

There was pink salmon colored tile, dark brownish pinkish granite, dark oak cabinets and an awkward open space just begging for an island or a table. We budgeted $3500 for this space and I'm pleased to announce we spent $3068. High five for being under budget! I will list everything at the end of the post. But enough of the small talk, you're here for the pictures aren't you?! Of course you are!


Are you ready for the afters?

 Ahh! Amazing right? I don't say that in a toot my own horn kind of way, I say it in a, wow this was a LOT of work and I am so proud of all it took to get here kind of way. And you guys. Justin did so much of the work in here, I am so impressed with him. To designing the backsplash, creating a custom window sill, making me an island, installing the sink, ugh. That man is the best. This is my dream kitchen. Minus a double oven, but we'll get there. ;) Here is a break down of everything we did:

Removed tile and updated with hardwood (part of the flooring budget, I didn't include it for the kitchen)
Painted cabinets with Home Depot's Behr Alkyd semi-gloss enamel paint in color Coast Guard Gray-$40
Raised cabinets 4 inches & cabinet above microwave 8 inches
Added molding to tops of cabinets for height and more of a custom look-$70
Added new hardware-$120
New granite counters(our biggest splurge)- $2123-$200 we sold old granite for = $1923
Subway tile backsplash in herringbone pattern with dark grout-$180
Farmhouse style sink(Ikea) and new faucet(HomeDepot) (nearly impossible to do in a corner sink, but Justin worked his magic and made it happen because I would cry if he didn't  he loves me. $185 for sink $150 for faucet
Changed out outlets and outlet covers $50
Added window sill and molding$10
New blinds$80
Built a butcher block island-$160
New barstools-$100
Taller baseboards (also not apart of the kitchen budget)
Microwave for over the stove instead of range hood (broke even with the sale of the range hood)

What do you guys think? What's your favorite part? I have to say, I was a little nervous about the gray cabinets. Mainly because we painted them before we got our new counters in so they didn't look too great. I was definitely questioning myself at that point. I even thought if we painted them white we probably could have kept the granite we had and saved even more money. I'm so glad we took the leap though. These cabinets are exactly our style now and I don't know if I would have ever been happy with the old granite. I love everything about this kitchen now and cooking it in (especially with the island) is so much fun, no exaggeration. I cannot wait for the upcoming holidays, preparing meals in here is going to be amazing!

Also, I know everybody and their mother is all about that open concept life, but for a hermit  an introvert like me-a closed off kitchen like this is the dream. Our dining and living room are open to each other, which I love. But when I need to take a minute if we have company, I get to sneak in the kitchen and prepare dinner without anyone looking across the room at me. Another huge plus is that if the kitchen isn't 100% clean and I have unexpected company, they don't really see it. So the space really works well for our wants and needs.

Now that we have this gorgeous kitchen wrapped up, we are on to the next big project we are trying to knock out before the holidays, the fireplace! Wish us luck! Justin might murder me if I think of any more projects. I've decided for Christmas I'm giving him a couple of months off from projects around the house. I'm such a nice wife! :p

One more time, just because I love before and after shots so much:

I can't believe this is my kitchen! Justin is going to have to drag me out of this house if we ever relocate because I'm not sure I'm going to want to leave! :p Happy Tuesday friends! Xo

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dear Justin,

Hello. It's me again. (Sorry, I had to start it out this way since you've been singing that dang song on repeat ever since I showed it to you a week ago. It's my fault, really. :p)

Can you believe this week we celebrate four years of marriage? Year one was pretty rough, even though I told everyone otherwise. I will never forget our screaming matches and my hysterical breakdowns and wanting out. I was in such a dark place. When I reread all of my facebook posts and look at old pictures I get so angry at myself because I lied so much. "Oh who says year one is the hardest? It's been so perfect for us!" I could strangle that girl. But you have to understand that I had my reasons. I wanted to believe my own lies because I couldn't imagine life without you. 

And I hope you know that as cliche as this sounds, it was never you. I was 20 when we tied the knot and I had so many things weighing on my little heart. I had just had a laughable wedding which I wished so badly I could go back in time and redo in a backyard with only 20 of our closest friends and family. (Family optional, we all know half of mine never showed up anyway) I had just gotten into the biggest fight with my mother and poof, she was out of my life just like that. My best friend and maid of honor bailed on our wedding two days before we were set to say "I do" so I had to pick a last minute replacement. So many other horror stories I could share, but you know them all well. To this day I still don't like looking at wedding pictures because I get bitter. I want a do over.

But it wasn't about the wedding. We made it. Seeing you at the end of that altar made it all worth it to me. We got to run away from the world and honeymoon in Mexico. It was the best week of my life.

Except that it wasn't.

I was so upset by things that happened at our wedding I couldn't even enjoy our time together. You will never admit this, but I ruined our honeymoon. I was so caught up in the perfect day, the perfect photos, the perfect story, I forgot about something more important than all of that stuff. You.

When we finally got home I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed. I did not want to live in Florida. I hated my life in such a big way I thought about running back to the midwest more often than you know. The only problem was that I loved you so much more than I hated Florida. So I suffered through it, and I made you suffer along side of me.

I spent the entire first year of our marriage in a shell. I put myself there. It was a small, dark shell. One filled with hate, resentment, and pride. I felt so ugly. I began to pray to God to change me. I pleaded with him, actually. I told him that if he couldn't change me I would surely die. I needed out, in a bad way. That winter you told me about Boston and I knew God heard me.

When we moved to Massachusetts it was like the light came on for our marriage. A fresh start for you and me. We got a chance to connect in a new place with no lingering wounds. For the first time in our entire relationship, you became my best friend.

Do you remember when we celebrated our second anniversary? You sat across from me at our dining room table in our tiny little apartment and I sobbed out a toast. Like, could barely understand me sob. I was so emotional because I felt like we did it. We finally had a real marriage. One that was so full of life and love and happiness. And not in a fake way. You handed me a small blue box and it had a shiny little infinity inside. More sobbing. I put that ring on and haven't taken it off since. You joke that I like it more than my wedding ring. What you don't know is that I do like it more than my wedding ring. Because when you gave me my wedding ring, I was looking for a bigger carat, a better story, something else.

On our second anniversary, you handed me that tiny box and promised to love me forever, I felt like I was more in the moment than I ever was when you proposed to that self centered 20 year old on the beach. I clung to that ring because it felt so real. Oh dear god now I'm crying and you're going to come home from work and think my dog died. :p

I guess what I'm trying to say to you is this. We are celebrating year four on Thursday, but I feel like its only year three. Because that first year was a doozy. I hated that first year and to this day I am still surprised we survived it. We got our do over. And I'm so glad we did. This marriage has been better and worse than anyone ever warned me it would be. I think when you lie in bed and wonder if the last few years have been a dream, that's when you know you got a good one.

My sweetest Justin, sweetie, honey, dude, brah, Allen, or whatever else I call you depending on my mood that day. I love you. I love you so much. I am so glad you never gave up on me. I can't promise I will stop using your towel, or stealing your drink, or butt humping you anytime you bend over, but I can promise to always share the center of the cinnamon roll. I promise to always tell you way too much about my day and gossip with you about things you truly don't care about. I promise to love you more than Target and Homegoods. I promise to always remind you that you're a good man.

Happy fourth anniversary, sweet boy. I'm so glad we are in this together. I love you more than you could ever know. I cannot wait to celebrate us. Thank you, for loving me enough to hold on, when it would have been so much easier to let go.

Your girl