Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Laundry Room - Before and After

You may think that beginning my house tour posts in the laundry room is a bit strange.  But there's a method to my madness!  The laundry room was actually the first room to get a makeover - and it began the day after we moved in!  Here's what we were working with:

This is the view from the office/guest room looking into the laundry room - check out that awesome linoleum tile floor, original to the house (so in other words from 1970 - and I was kidding about the "awesome" part!).

You can see a hint of it in the first photo, but here's a better view of the built in shelves that the laundry room is equipped with - great for functionality, but the form obviously needed help!  These shelves are located directly across from the laundry room door - so they're the first things you see when you enter the room. 

This pic shows you how narrow the room actually is - if you'll recall the floor plan I posted in this post, the room is only 7.5' wide at its widest point, and 11.5' long (from the window to the opposite wall) in total.  The width you're seeing above though is closer to 4.5' wide.

The washer is not pictured, but it was located directly to the right upon entering the room - the width of the room is wider at that point in the room, giving the washer a kind of nook to sit in. You can see where the wall bends to create this nook in the picture above at the right side. 

Here's a close up of the offending linoleum - sorry for the photo quality!

So as you can see, I had my work cut out for me in this room. Here's the plan I came up with: 

1) paint shelves, trim and doors white
2) paint walls
3) replace door hardware
4) replace flooring
5) get appliances
6) change layout of appliances
7) add additional storage space
8) add decorative elements

I farmed out tasks #3 and #5 to the professionals - specifically because I needed these done quickly, before the appliances arrived, AND because I had NEVER done them before.  The contractor I used laid my ceramic tile flooring right over the linoleum, which definitely saved time  (and also eliminated the concern about potentially releasing asbestos into the air which could happen if the linoleum was removed - since the house was built before 1972, I'm assuming, based on my research of linoleum floors, that the materials that were used to adhere the flooring to the sub floor contained asbestos).  They also re-routed my dryer vent from one side of the room to the other, along with the special dryer plug.  Turns out the old dryer vent hose was essentially crushed flat in the crawlspace under the house, so the fact that a new one was installed as part of this job probably avoided an almost certain fire hazard!

I opted to go with a stackable washer and dryer, since the room is so small - best decision ever!  It freed up so much space.

Here are the "after" pictures: 

The baskets on top of tall cabinets came from Ikea and the basket on top of short cabinet came from a thrift store.  The drying rack was an Ikea find as well, and the cabinets themselves came from Wayfair.  Someday (way) down the line I'd love to have custom cabinets and shelves constructed here, but in the meantime, these will do just fine - and will help me to see whether or not I even like the layout in the first place (so far it's working out great).

This plaque was a find from Hobby Lobby (got it with a 40% off coupon) and fits my laundry philosophy perfectly (sorry Mom!  Guess I didn't inherit your love of laundry :-). 

Here's a better view of that nook I was trying to describe above.  The washer and dryer are Samsung models - I purchased these because I had almost the same models in my old house and loved them, but these ones (the washer in particular) are crap.  I would NOT recommend Samsung anymore for a washer at least. It vibrates like crazy and is really loud and often leaks out of the spill valve on the back.  A service call did absolutely nothing to correct any of this.  But, at least they're pretty!

The baskets on the shelves are from Joann Fabrics, and I just noticed the other day that they still carry these exact ones.  The big basket on the bottom I found at a yard sale for $5.

This artwork is from Ikea, and used to hang in Heidi's room at our old house.  I claimed it for my laundry room in this house (don't worry, I've more than made up for it in her room!).

Here's a closeup of the flooring I chose.  It's the ever popular "wood look" ceramic tile.  This one in particular is from Home Depot and can be found here.

In case you were wondering why my laundry room doesn't have the obligatory iron and ironing board, here's a shot of where I keep them.  The door that they are hanging on is the door to the closet that holds the water heater (and not much else), and the other door is the door to the laundry room.  I've been slowly replacing all of the old brass knobs in the house with these oil rubbed bronze knobs and coordinating hinges.  It's definitely a slow process (lots of doors in this house!), but I think it's a vast improvement over what was there before.

Replacing this builder grade ceiling fixture (or BOOB light!) is the next (last?) item on my list for this room.  While I would looove to have high ceilings which would enable me to find an awesome pendant light, our ceilings are the standard 8ft, so I instead need to find an affordable flush or semi-flush mount fixture.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our house - the layout

I've debated the route I'm going to take in terms of the path of my posts.  I considered doing one long post filled with the "before" pics of our house, and then smaller posts detailing each room and the projects that went into them, but in the end, I've decided to do room by room before and afters, with additional posts or tutorials where there were several projects that went into a room.  But to start, I think it would be helpful to give you an overall summary of our house and its layout.

I think the architectural style of our home is considered Southern Colonial Revival or something, owing mostly to the big white pillars out front.

Our house sits on a hill, elevated from the street below, with a circular driveway out front (which is super fun in the snow and ice, let me tell you!), but the backyard is very flat.  The backyard backs up to the golf course in our neighborhood, which I love for the fact that a) there are no houses behind us and b) it makes for a very picturesque setting, with all the well maintained grass and trees (and the occasional sand trap!).

You can see it in the background of this photo - did I mention that deer are frequent visitors to our yard?  Took some getting use to at first, but now we pay them just about as much attention as the squirrels.  Below is a view of our house from the back - looks a tad different from the front, huh?  Forgive the photo quality - it's a copy of a copy -

In terms of the interior layout of our house, I think it was originally built as homes located on the waterfront so often are, with the living and dining rooms at the back of the house (where the view is), and the kitchen and family rooms at the front of the house.  So really, it's a sort of "flipped" layout from a traditional colonial.  Here's the floor plan that was provided to us when we first looked at the house - note that we call the room that is noted as the "family" the living room, and vice versa. The "gym" is now the playroom, but we will get to that in a later post -

So, now that you can see the overall layout of our house and the orientation, I will dive right in to a room by room reveal of where things stand currently, and what they used to look like.  Up next - the living room....

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wow.  So it's been 3.5 years since my last blog post.  It seems like a lifetime ago - and, based on what has happened in my life since then, it may as well be a lifetime!  A week after my last post, I found out we were expecting our second child (a beautiful little girl, Charlotte, who will be THREE in December!).  Five months after my last post, my father passed away from brain cancer after an 18-month hard fought battle.  Miss you every day, Dad.

Charlotte was then born on December 3, 2011.

 Heidi was - and continues to be - a big fan. 

2012 was relatively uneventful from a "Big Things" perspective - I mostly spent it nursing Charlotte and potty training Heidi - often at the same time (think I can add that to my professional resume under the "multi-tasking" category??).  Here's how we ended 2012 for the most part -

I went back to work on a part-time (3 days/week) basis in January of 2013, working for Time Warner Cable.  I enjoyed my time there, and LOVED the part time schedule that they were flexible enough to offer me for a limited time, and I was poised and ready to accept their offer of full-time employment the same day that my husband received a job offer which would ultimately move us down to Richmond, VA in July of 2013.

We went from this:

To this:

Amazing how a 1.5 hour trip down I-95 resulted in a home twice the size, and a yard five times the size, for a decent amount less than we paid for our last house.

The last year to 15 months have been spent making this house a home, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of my DIY and design adventures with you over the course of the coming weeks and months.  I'm not sure what I'm specifically hoping to accomplish by reviving the blog, but I think part of me hopes that this endeavor will help me discern where my true passion lies and how I can best serve my family while also spending time on creative endeavors.

Thanks for visiting :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Basement Step 1 - Utility Sink Area

Here's a refresher on the area I'm talking about here:

While certainly not the prettiest space in the basement, it certainly is one of the most often used spaces - I'm always filling up buckets, rinsing paint brushes, and doing all sorts of things over this area.  Here's a close up of the old kitchen cabinet that sits next to the sink (after I took the door off), a remnant from the previous home owners:

I figured that by replacing the counter top, giving it a coat of paint, and adding some hardware, that I would have not only a functional storage solution for cleaning supplies, but also a pretty one!  I think I was right - check out the "after" shot:

I laid a couple of spare ceramic tiles across the top for now to serve as a counter top - I may come up with a more permanent solution down the line, but it works for now. 

I then attached a cut of fabric (with velcro) around the bottom of the utility sink to skirt it, added a rug, and created some cheap "artwork" with a discarded window screen and some old license plates we had hanging around (I attached the license plates to the screen with paper clips through the screen).  I also created a paper towel holder out of a curtain rod which I attached to the window screen with wire.  After adding a few more decorative accessories, and a plug in cheapo hanging light from Ikea, I had a revived utility area that makes me smile whenever I head downstairs into the basement (sorry for the less than desirable pics - license plates weren't meant to be photographed!):

I'm currently now working on the workout area of the basement - photos to follow soon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Basement...

Over the course of the past several months, our unfinished basement has fallen victim to my numerous projects, in addition to neglect in general, which left it looking like this right after New Year's:

Tool bench/work area

Laundry area

Utility sink area

Pantry & general storage area

Paint storage area

Furnace/water heater/more storage area

Workout/project area

Cat's bathroom - 'nuff said

Cardboard box storage area

As you can see, we have a rather large basement, but it currently has zero aesthetic value.  I'm currently in the midst of changing that, one "area" at a time.  In future posts, I'll show you how I tackle each area, on basically a ZERO budget (it's really hard to convince my husband that an unfinished basement warrants a cash investment).  In the meantime, let me share with you the basement laundry room image that has been my inspiration for my basement makeover:

Image source

Isn't it hard to believe that room is in a basement?  Better yet, check out what the room looked like BEFORE:

Image source

Looks pretty similar to what I'm starting with!  Wish me luck.....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Freecycle Find #1....

Just when I thought that Craigslist was the greatest virtual yardsale/thrift store EVER, I discovered Freecycle.  Freecycle is basically a members only group (the groups are organized based upon your geographic region) where you can post items that you want to get rid of, or even acquire.  Unlike Craigslist, however, all items being offered or asked for must be FREE.  That's right - FREE.  I joined the group a few months back, and subscribed to the "digest" version of the posts, so I was basically getting 2 or so emails a day with all of the new posts.  While the items being offered are usually not of interest to me (a couple of examples - items offered today ranged from "small jar of bath salts" to "childrens hangers"), every now and then I stumble upon a gem, which I did this morning.  Check out what I scored for FREE from a nice couple a few miles up the road:

It's a portion of old window that has been repurposed as a mirror (you can see the metal lock in the bottom middle pane).  How cool is that?  I'm not sure of its final location yet, but I will be sure to share pics when I've figured that out.  It just goes to show you that some of the most unique items for your home are not to be found in the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog, but rather for free from your neighbors!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Before and After: My Living Room

So first, I must apologize for my month long hiatus.  I wish I had some fabulous story to share, something involving cocktails on the beach, but alas, I've just been busy being a wife, mom, and worker bee.  Over the past month, we have had 2 bouts of pink eye to deal with (Heidi and Robb, not me luckily!), 3 bouts of the stomach flu (yep, it got all of us), one ear infection, and a toddler who has recently discovered the effectiveness of temper tantrums - the throwyourselfonthefloorkickingandscreaming kind of tantrums.  Needless to say, I haven't really had the energy for blogging, but have found time for a couple of projects, which I will share in the coming days.  Let's start with the first one. 

My focus lately, after my successful curtain cheat here, has been on our front living room.  Ever since we had a family room addition built (which was competed this past October), I've been struggling with creating a new identity for our former family room, which we've renamed the living room.  This is the room that you walk into upon coming in our front door, so I was eager for it to make some sort of "wow" statement.  After revamping some old brass lamps (see how I did it here), adding the curtains I talked about above, refinishing and re purposing a sewing table into a sofa/entry table), purchasing a pair of matching dining chairs via Craigslist (which I plan to reupholster once I find a fabric I like that works in the room) as well as a side table for the other side of the sofa, and purchasing a new floor lamp from HomeGoods with birthday money, I'm happy to say that the room went from this:

To this:

Hopefully you will agree that picture #2 is preferable to #1!  You may notice that there's one item in the above pic that I neglected to talk about above, and that's precisely the subject of this post. As I was collecting and assembling accessories and decor items for this room, I became consistently frustrated with the space on either side of the fireplace under the windows.  It looked too "bare" to me.  Now, if I had an unlimited budget, my preferred fix would have been to hire a carpenter to build some amazing built-in half bookshelves on either side of the sofa, but alas, the word of the day year has been "budget".  So, I opted for a much more affordable solution.  For a mere $20 apiece, I purchased three floating ledges from Home Depot, and hung them under one of the windows, roughly centered under the window and equidistant from each other.  I then used these ledges to display some items from our home which we had previously kept tucked away in boxes and cabinets.  I ended up with a sort of "silver" theme, mostly due to the fact that I needed to find items which weren't fragile or breakable to display on the ledges, thanks to Heidi's never ending curiosity!  Here's a closeup of the ledges with the items:

What I love about this display is that all of the items have special meaning to us - the clock is engraved with Robb's initials - he received it as a gift from a friend for serving as a groomsman in his wedding, the plate I received as a gift from my sorority initiation, the silver sugar and creamer set are engraved with "W" (for "Weidemann" and they were my maternal grandmother's.  The picture frame on the middle ledge was a wedding gift (if you look closely, you will see that I have yet to add a picture into it - I'll get there!), the bud vase (minus the bud - my cat eats all flowers!) has my college's seal on it, and the bottom picture is from a friend's wedding that I was in (thanks Carolyn!).  The middle bottom two items are Robb's - one is is mouthpiece from when he played the tuba in the marching band at Virginia Tech, and the other is an engraved pewter cup he received when he served on the Honor Court at Tech.  The last item is a thrift store find galvanized mini bucket, but it worked with the color scheme (could be a good place to hide anything from lip gloss to hair ties - two items which seem to float all over our house thanks to me!).

You'll notice I still have to hang ledges on the other side of the fireplace (the blue painter's tape is not a permanent addition to the room, it was just there to help me visualize what the ledges would look like once I hung them) - I plan to get to that this month hopefully!