Countertops, refinished floors, backsplash… Oh My!

Clearly it has been too long since my last post. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve lacked the desire the write lately, when I stumbled across another blogger who I feel says it best. When you are so close to the end of your renovation journey, you are so focused on just getting there, that taking pictures and blogging doesn’t seem as important.

I began this blog for two reasons. First, I wanted a way to keep track of our “before” and “afters” to reflect on our first home together and what we have done. Second, I thought it would be a great way to share with friends and family, near but mainly far, who may not have a chance to visit that often. I feel as though this blog has definitely served it’s intended purpose, which is why although I’m a little unmotivated to blog, blog I must! (I’ll be glad I did later).

We have clearly been very busy in our kitchen, although our projects have been spread out enough that it really doesn’t feel that way! I’ll share in the order of which they happened, first being the countertops! We were so excited and so ready for these to be installed. Although we intended to wait a bit longer, we simply felt the need for them and knew it would make our kitchen feel that much more complete. We really lucked out and found two remnants (the same of course) that would work for our space. We were not picky when it came to our countertops, we simply wanted a dark colored stone for a good price. After looking at four different places, we finally found them!

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With countertops came our even so wonderful stainless steel farmhouse sink. This was something we dreamt about for a long time!

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Once our countertops were installed, we spent the remainder of our weekend unpacking and moving back into our kitchen. Boy, did that feel good! We were content with the countertops for a while, especially since we moved in and our kitchen was entirely functional, however we got the itch to finally refinish our floors.

Our floors were another long awaited project. When we first moved to our house, we loved the hardwood floors in the living room and knew we wanted to extend them throughout. It has been so incredible to have our dream of renovating our house become a reality. Because we had literally decided what we wanted to do with the floors on the day we moved in, this was a huge deal to us! The only thing that had been undecided was the color we would stain the floors. Originally I wanted to stain the floors a dark color to offset all of the white wainscoting. Once we installed the unfinished white oak however, Justin and I were both drawn to its natural color. Given our fur baby is quite active, we figured sticking with the natural color would help hide the scratches she is bound to leave. Fortunately, once everything was sanded down, it was a perfect match!

Before:

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During:

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After:

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After a few days we were finally able to put our furniture back. Although at first having our floors refinished didn’t seem like a big deal inconvenience-wise, it was so stressful! We  had to make arrangements for Baylee, could not use really any of our downstairs because of the dust and plastic everywhere and ultimately left for the weekend so we didn’t have to breath in the smell of the poly. I’m so glad it’s finished, for more reasons than one!

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Last but not least, Justin and I installed the backsplash in our kitchen this weekend. I have to admit, I thought it would only take a few hours, yet here we are a day and a half later finally calling it a wrap. Of course I picked a more complicated pattern using subway tile, which really didn’t help. After many hours of browsing on Pinterest, I just had to try herringbone. I had total confidence we could do it and sitting here tonight with it finished, we are both so happy with it! Fortunately we had plenty of supplies left over from tiling our bathroom floors, so really all we needed was the tile.

Before:

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During:

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Annnnd after:

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I took these pictures literally an hour ago when the grout was still drying. The color grout we used is “warm gray,” but it does dry very light. I know this because it is the same grout we used in our downstairs bathroom.

I strongly suggest that if you ever have the urge to install a herringbone backsplash, do it. The pattern it a little tricky at first and there were many odd cuts Justin had to measure for, but it was so worth it. We love how it came out!

Like I mentioned before, I am so ready to just have all of our finishing touches done in our kitchen! Although I love renovation projects and could totally be Nicole Curtis at other houses, I’m very ready to stop working on my own house, and start enjoying it. Yes I’ve been told, the projects never end, but they must be a wee bit less time consuming than gutting your kitchen. 😉

Until next time…

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How to Function Without a Kitchen…

Many people have been asking how on Earth we are still surviving without a kitchen. Let me be the first to say, for us, it’s a lot easier than you might think. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that this is definitely NOT the most inconveniencing renovation of them all. This doesn’t mean that it might not be for some, but fortunately we are lucky enough to have made a pretty good set up for ourselves. We have a grill, a (small) sink, fridge, a prep space, and if anything has really helped us out, it’s paper goods. I definitely recommend paper plates, cups and plastic silverware. Although not a necessity, they are definitely helpful and worth the few extra bucks!

Although we are not done this renovation, and won’t be for a while with the list of many small things still to be done, the big pieces are well underway. We are very close to a functional kitchen that we can move back into. Our cabinets and appliances have been installed, and our countertops have been ordered. In just a few weeks we will be able to move back in!

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Our Ikea cabinets were really very easy to install. Lucky for us, we also have straight walls and floors! The track system used to install the cabinets is really very easy to do once you get the hang of it. We only have a couple of cabinet mishaps to take care of and of the many pieces that we ordered, we’re only missing a few. I have to say, I was warned by reading other reviews that this was in fact Ikea’s largest downfall, missing pieces of your order. In all honestly, it’s so minor and really not a huge deal. While others might find it an inconvenience, a kitchen renovation takes a while to complete anyway, there’s really no rush in getting every “slow-close device” on each door by a certain date. And yes, we have slow-close doors…!!!

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Our appliances were delivered, which was really quite amazing to watch! The two men delivering our appliances carried in the dishwasher, microwave and stove AT THE SAME TIME! As you can see, I’m so in love…

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Our fridge, stove and microwave are installed, working and definitely being used. Once those countertops arrive, the dishwasher and sink will be too! Until then, we have about 3258 things we will be completing in our “spare time.” Keep an eye out for more in a few weeks!

 

Productivity at its Finest!

The title of this post explains it all. We’ve had a very productive week and weekend! After completely demolishing our kitchen, we began putting it back together again immediately. While Justin was at work, I painted our two accent walls. Our entire kitchen was floor to ceiling wood paneling. We decided to keep the two walls not covered in cabinets and appliances as is and paint them Benjamin Moore’s Owl Gray. The trim in our kitchen was painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. We love the color and I was glad I took the risk of painting the only wainscoting in our house a color other than Antique White!

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While wrapping up this paint job, we began installing our new hardwood floors in the hallway and dining room. Installing them was rather easy and gave us such a sense of accomplishment!

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This weekend my in-laws came up for a weekend of birthday celebrations! While here, my father-in-law helped Justin install a new kitchen window, a new, windowless door leading to the garage and drywall. It was a lot of work, but they surprised me again with how quick and easy they made it seem!

Before…

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After!

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Now we don’t have to look at the inside of our garage while eating dinner! 😉

Having walls is really starting to make this feel like a room!

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This afternoon Justin and I finished installing the hardwood floors in our kitchen and mudroom area. The room feels bright and airy, making us excited for what’s to come this week!

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Baylee, too, loves the new floors! 

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So, what’s on the agenda this week? Cabinets, some more painting and on Friday our new appliances are being delivered!! It will be another busy, productive and very exciting week brining us one step closer to a new kitchen!

 

No Turning Back Now!

Originally I wrote that Justin and I were going to start the kitchen renovation slowly, completing projects that would still allow us to have a functioning kitchen. Tonight I’m writing to tell you that our entire kitchen is gutted to the studs. As organized as we like to be, there are tools, furniture and stuff everywhere! Although that might normally drive me insane, I’m loving every second of it!

I’m going to go ahead and say that Phase One is complete. We did not get as much done as we would have liked but ready or not, Phase Two is well under way! Justin and I took down a wall going from our garage to our kitchen and completely gutted it this weekend.

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We also took floor up in the dining room and hallway so we could replace it with new hardwood floors. Below is our kitchen as it looks tonight…

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Justin and I began installing the hardwood floors tonight, which was a first for us both. Our good friends let us borrow their floor nailer and saw so we could complete this project. Although we were a little clueless to start, we quickly got the hang of it! Aside from sore knees, it’s actually very fun! We finally got in a rhythm and will hopefully finish the rest this week. The best part? We can finally say goodbye to that terrible hallway carpet…

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This weekend Justin’s dad will help us install a new kitchen window and door to the garage. Maybe we’ll even get a few cabinets done if we’re lucky! 😉

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Drumroll Please…

So what are we up to now, you ask?! The biggest and final (also the most inconvenient) renovation inside our home… Our KITCHEN!

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We are so incredibly excited about this renovation, and also a little terrified. To alleviate as much stress as possible, we have carefully planned for this renovation over the last few months. I say that, yet I feel like we are completely flying by the seat of our pants!

Since I am fortunate enough to have a pretty flexible schedule during the summer, we hope that by tackling this project now, I will have more time to keep our house afloat. I can also take on those projects my loving husband just can’t stand, like sanding and painting. 🙂

We have decided to make this as simple as possible, which isn’t very, but we can try! To start, we have decided to do all and any work that can be completed without taking out our cabinets and appliances. Hopefully this will save us some time when it comes to getting our kitchen up and running again. We call this, Phase One.

Phase One includes demoing our pantry, widening a doorway, taking another wall down, and sanding, cleaning and painting the walls that will be staying as is. This also includes a tiny bit of wallpaper removal… Gah!

So far we have demoed our pantry and extended a doorway by 16 inches! Below are the before and afters of our pantry demo. The pictures are taken as your walk into our house from the garage. Instead of the pantry, we are hoping to add a little corner bench with some hooks to make a small mudroom!

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The space is so much more open as you walk in. Check out the doorway we extended going into our dining room. The befores are taken from our dining room and kitchen.

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16 more inches of open space!

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Although it may not look like a lot from the pictures, it feels so open and so much bigger! You may notice the Ikea sideboard table along the left wall. Last week we removed our really pretty, coral, floating countertop… 😉

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Speaking of Ikea, after lots of research on “Ikea kitchens,” I did not read a single bad review. We were pleasantly surprised and decided this was the best place to purchase our cabinets from. A hundred boxes later, we can start piecing together cabinets!

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Baby steps is key to keeping this project organized and as stress free as possible. That being said, shortly we will take the other wall down. Not to worry, I won’t be able to stay away from posting about this!

 

Farewell Blue!

I know, I know, I’ve been MIA. I got two comments this week alone on our outdated blog and what we’ve been up to! As you can guess, there really hasn’t been that much going on around here. That’s all about to change though, so continuing reading to my next post!

Since April, Justin and I did manage to build those two new steps outside and paint lots of the blue in our garage.

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The gray was actually left over from our bedroom, the first time we painted it… 😉

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These were our old steps leading into the front and back of our house. As you can see, they really weren’t in the best shape. In fact, I remember our home inspector telling us the steps were rotted and needed to be replaced when we first bought our home. Then, I thought it was a huge deal. After the projects we’ve taken on? This was super easy to do!

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I used stain for the first time, which I have been dying to experiment with! It was super easy, lots of fun, and gave us the look we wanted for our outdoor steps!

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Voila! As Justin and I were buying our materials at Lowes, an employee mentioned that he sees us there an awful lot and wanted to know what we’ve been up to. There is definitely a weird sense of satisfaction being a regular at Lowes!

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The back door (in the picture of Baylee and I) was also painted and replaced this day. We felt so good about this project and the fact that it only took a few hours, that we decided to take on the inside step in our garage the following day. Although it looks a lot better, I still have a little work to do. Here are the before and afters…

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In a few days I will be stripping the paint on the treads of the top two stairs and staining those as well.

After lots of yard work and our first order of bark mulch, we are very pleased with the final curb appeal projects we took on this year!

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Much Needed Facelift

Since my last post on our downstairs bathroom, Justin and I have welcomed spring with a few small changes around the outside of our home, that have made a big difference!

To start, Justin’s parents came up a couple of weekends ago to install our long awaited storm door. We had a storm door, however it was most likely original to the house, which made it very outdated. It was the same bright blue color as the rest of the accents on the outside of our home, which we have wanted to get rid of since the day we first drove by. Although it is important for us to update our home’s “curb appeal,” there was another small reason for wanting the storm door. We have found through bringing our beloved fur baby to our parents homes, that she will entertain herself for hours just looking outside. Unfortunately, we do not have any windows low enough for her to see out of, and to keep her from jumping up on the door, I used this as a part of my “we need to update the storm door” argument.

Here is a picture of our original storm door:

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Justin and his dad worked for the afternoon and in no time, our new door was installed!

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Ah, so much better!

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It lets in so much more light and is so nice to have since the weather has turned warmer.

In addition to the storm door, I have done lots of research on door colors and brick front homes to find the perfect color to replace the blue. I finally found it, after five different paint samples, and painted the front and side door yesterday! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of our old door entering our garage, but Justin replaced it with a door my Aunt and  Uncle gave to us after adding an addition on to their home. It looks so much better and the color I chose, Benjamin Moore’s Sundried Tomatoes, really compliments the brick nicely!

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Now how do I explain painting the front doors red with bright blue garage doors?

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The last and most recent change we have made to the outside of our home, is replacing the garage doors. They were most definitely rotting and the metal tracks were no longer any good. Until today, Justin didn’t even have a garage door opener for his side. This week is my April vacation, so after getting a few quotes on garage doors last week, we figured what better time then now? In just a few short weeks, the outside of our home got a much needed facelift!

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Side by side shots of our home before and after…

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We still have a blue step to the side door to replace, along with LOTS of blue in our garage and backyard. This weekend we hope to build two new steps and paint as much of it as we can! You can expect another post Sunday night! 🙂