Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home Renovations

We moved in on July 30th. I already had big plans for our new home. Here is a picture of our house! I took all of the pictures of how our house used to look from the listing:

Here is our pool :) We haven't done much with the back yard yet... but I wanted to show you this anyways :)

When we first looked at our house, Don said I made a face as soon as we walked in. I quickly pointed out the wallpaper that was already starting to peel at the seems. When the Realtor wasn't looking, I ran over to the wall and started to tug on it a little. "How hard would this be to remove??" 

You can't see it in this picture, but the wall paper was coming apart at the seems all down the staircase. This is what our living room looked like:
The first thing we did was have all of the windows replaced. We couldn't open any of the windows downstairs and the ones upstairs all had cranks that would get stuck when fully opened. 

We also decided to take down the valance. I kept thinking that maybe if I reupholstered it with a funky pattern I would like it more. But when we took it down, we realized how much bigger and brighter the room looked. It was already a huge improvement.

The second thing we did was tackle the wall paper. It HAD to go. We called a painting company and the next week they pulled it all down.  

We received many wonderful gifts from our wedding. They really helped make our house feel like home. We decided to use the money we received towards new curtains, a new rug, and a new TV stand. I fell in love with these curtains from Pottery Barn.

I am terrible when it comes to picking colors, and since Don is color blind, we had a tough time picking the new colors for our living room. Since our couch is pretty neutral, I decided to base the colors on our new curtains. I wanted to have a couple of accent walls but to keep most of the walls a pretty neutral color. We normally buy Behr paint, but I found myself gravitating towards the Martha Steward color palettes. When we learned that the Martha Stewart line is just colors and could be mixed with any paint we wanted, it was a win win! I thought that the Brown Alpaca would be a great neutral color; it was slightly darker than the cream of the curtain and slightly darker than the beige of our couches. I was a little nervous about how dark it was, but decided to stick with my gut feeling. Plus with the ultra white that would be used on the ceiling, crown molding, and trim, would really make it pop. I instantly loved Martha Stewart's Teal color for the accent wall, but kept picking up the Bougainvillea red color. Red is a little bold for me, but I loved how it looked with the curtain. Also, for those of you that know the Martha Stewart line, she has a symbol to group like palettes together. The Brown Alpaca, Pure White, and Bougainvillea were all in the flower family, while the Teal was in the star. For some reason, I kept thinking Martha would be so disappointed in me for mixing symbols. After Don reassured me that the world would not end if I mixed palettes, we decided to get both the Bougainvillea and Teal. 

I also picked up Butter Cookie for the kitchen and Gnome Green for the dinning room. I'm pretty sure I only purchased Gnome Green because I liked the name. 

We didn't have much time to decide on colors or where we wanted the colors to go because I wanted this all done in time for my sister's baby shower that I was hosting in a week. I was honestly changing the wall color placement up to the last minute. We finally decided to put the red color on the wall behind our TV and the teal color on the wall with our front door, up the stairs, and for a pop of color, at the end of the hall behind the mirror. I didn't want the red and the blue be on adjacent walls; I was afraid it would look to "circus theme." I'm pretty happy with how it came out!

We noticed 2 things, that my blue checkered cushion on the bench didn't match now and that we needed some light in our living room. I thought of a quick remedy for the cushion: I grabbed a table cloth I had in storage and safety pinned it onto the cushion. Super easy and super cheap! 

Now, Don really wanted a ceiling fan in the living room to help move the air around. Although I love ceiling fans, I don't really love the look of them. So I did a ton of research and found a great compromise. This Allen + Roth fixture is a ceiling fan, without looking so obviously like a ceiling fan. 
As soon as it came in, I helped Don install it. I drilled the hole, he did the electrical. (You can see the new bench cover in these pics too!)

What do you think?

I'm really happy with how it came out. It doesn't give a ton of light, but we only really need it in the evenings, and sometimes its nice to have soft light at night. 

So here is the before and after comparison

Now I was a little nervous about painting the dinning room green so close to a red wall. "What if it looks like Christmas???" But we decided to go ahead with our plan anyways. We thought maybe limiting the green to only two walls would help cut down on the "Christmas" theme. We painted two walls Gnome Green and two walls Brown Alpaca. It looked bad, really bad. My friend Karoline came over and suggested just doing the entire room in the Gnome Green. Don and I had a reservation in Williamsburg for a fun getaway that weekend. Karoline gratiously offered to paint our dinning room (and kitchen!) for us while we were gone! What a wonderful friend! I love how the green looks! What do you think?

We still need a new window treatment and we need to paint the ceiling. But I'm pretty happy with this change! Oh, Don and his Dad also installed a dog door for the pups. It took some getting used to, but they love having the freedom to go outside when they need to!

We really want to redo the kitchen. Maybe remove some walls or make a pass through. We haven't decided exactly what we want to do yet. But we'll probably start planning it out after taxes in 2013. Painting and adding some shelving have definitely helped a lot! I don't have a lot of pictures of the kitchen, I'll try to be better about before and afters when the major changes come. 

The first thing we got for the kitchen was a shelving unit from IKEA (similar to this one). The previous owners had a corner booth table in this space. We hardly use our dinning room table, let alone another one in the kitchen. We decided we'd rather have more counter space. This was a perfect fit!

I also decided to create a little coffee station in the corner. I saw another blogger do this and thought it was a cute idea!

Don and I had bought some crates for wedding decor. Because they were too "new looking" we used coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, and steel wool to stain them, giving them a more antique/rustic feel. I couldn't believe how well it worked!

I wanted to reuse as much wedding decor as possible, so we decided to use these crates as shelving units. we had 5 half crates and 4 full crates. The half crates were perfect to display fun kitchen decor and the full crates were perfect for my baking supplies and flours. I love how it turned out. 

Our newest addition to our home is a beautiful Mora clock from the best little Swedish antique shop, Klaradal, in Olney, MD.  I have worked there off and on for a few years. I'm so happy to finally have a clock of my own.

 I promise my next blog post wont be this long! I just wanted to get you all up to speed! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Beginnings

Don and I were married on October 19th of this year. It only seemed natural that we create a new blog for our new life together. Don said he wanted to be more involved with this blog as well, so hopefully a few posts will be from him. I think with this blog will focus on our home renovations, striving to be more organized,  improving our personal finances, and our lives in general. Hopefully you follow along and enjoy! 

Hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain