Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bidding Adieu

It was a sad, sad day today. I had to say goodbye and paint over my masterpiece wall. I couldn't bear to do the first strokes of paint, so my mom (who came to help paint) took that job. 

Here's one last look at it before:

And mid-painting:

And three coats of paint later:

It's just so boring and white now. But that's how management wants us to leave it. Or they would charge us to paint it that way (which would cost us so much more than just painting it ourselves).

No worries though. I have plenty of pattern/texture/mural walls planned for the house. And I will always have the memories of this wall. Like the purple stripes in my old bedroom at my parents' house. That my mother also painted over... Hmm I'm seeing a pattern here...

Only two more days until we join our stuff in our house!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our first anniversary! Though, with all the house craziness, we put off anniversary present(s) for a bit. We decided to take on a tradition of instead of buying each other presents for our anniversary, we were going to get something that we could enjoy together. This year it will probably be something for the house (not sure what yet... have to figure out something paper).

We spent most of the weekend with a friend's wedding events. Friday was the rehearsal and Saturday, of course, the wedding. Kevin was a bridesman for the wedding. And it seemed to be the consensus that he looked a bit like the Monopoly man (minus the 'stache). The wedding was at Brookfield Zoo and turned out lovely (the rain held out for the outdoor ceremony in front of the fountain).

Today was not only our anniversary, but furniture moving day! We moved all our boxes of stuff Thursday with the help of my parents. But decided to hire movers for the furniture (we have a big sectional and heavy bedroom furniture and such that I am no help trying to carry). So while Kevin finished getting things together at the apartment, I headed to the house to clean up a bit so we had relatively clean floors for our stuff. Post stuff getting moved into the house (in the middle of rooms since the walls are still open for finishing the electrical), we wrapped everything in plastic in hopes to avoid crazy dusty furniture after drywalling.

And now that just about everything is moved, we are basically camping out in our apartment until Friday. Hopefully the contractors will get the electrical up and running before then.
Yes I did paint around bookshelves...
Can you tell who our alma mater is? And yes that is the Hawks game on the TV.
Tonight it's breaking out our top layer of cake from our wedding and the champagne (that I still want to type as champaign) our realtor gave us. Surprisingly the cake tasted great (even after being frozen for a year)! Kudos to my mom and Google for getting our cake to last for our anniversary!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

The joys of homeownership. Like when you go back to your house to pick up a few things and check on progress to find puddles of water in the dining room and basement.

Let's start from the beginning. My parents had brought us some boxes they had been storing in their garage when they came to the house one day. We left them there as storage since we don't have much room at the apartment. Well, when I filled all of the boxes we had at the apartment, Kevin took a trip to the house to retrieve the rest (I was volunteering at the Evanston Animal Shelter at the time). Little did we know a pipe had been accidentally cut in the rewiring process. And that there was a puddle of water in the dining room, and a larger one in the basement.

As you can expect that lead to a bit of a panic moment. Kevin in his quick thinking turned off the water (which surprisingly had not been turned off by the contractors after they cut the pipe).

Though there was a little good news at the house. The kitchen and second upstairs bath have made progress. Now just to put them together.

Anyway, this has to be a short post since I should really get back to packing. We're moving boxes over to the house tomorrow to avoid some of the crazy mover costs (the movers come Sunday with their truck to move all the furniture and any leftover boxes).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Mishmash Weekend

This weekend was a busy one. Albeit, a bit of a hodgepodge of events.

Friday night we stopped by the house to take a look at the progress. The a/c & new furnace were in and complete, and the piping for the electrical seemed to be mostly done upstairs. Hopefully they will be able to finish downstairs and get wires pulled before we're supposed to move in next weekend.

Saturday, we spent the day at multiple sporting events (unfortunately no house progress). The morning started at the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival. Kevin and my parents ran in the 5k Mad Dash to Madison (I was supposed to run, but messed up my foot a while back and am still off hard surface running). They all did great (especially for their first races ever)! Kevin finished with a 32:31 time, my dad 37:35, and mom 37:54! We also got to watch the first Blackhawks practice and scrimmage of the season.

We then headed down to Champaign for the Illini football game. We did a little tailgating, saw some friends that we haven't seen in forever, and got to watch a great Illini win (that lead to a #24 ranking)! Though I will note, I am still not happy about that disgrace to 3-in-1... just not acceptable.

Sunday we headed back to Chicago. Like any girl, I couldn't pass up a great sale. Especially when it was on stuff we wanted for the house. Vogue Fabrics in Evanston was having one of their crazy awesome sales. I got fabric for tons of pillows and for a quite large window bench project I have planned. All for about $30. That's 6 yards of fabric for pillows (I have a little obsession with pillows and since the fabric was so cheap, I decided to get extra) and 3 yards of upholstery fabric. Upholstery fabric itself usually runs $25/yard or more (some can be as much as $50/yard). So this sale of $6/yard was amazing. Though I'm thinking I still want to get one more color for pillows (a brighter green to offset the muted nature of the other colors... which the top middle one is green but is photographing kind of tanish).

Any DIY'ers in the Chicago area for sure need to check out Vogue for their next fabric related project. Especially during one of their sales (they only have a few a year, but when they do you can get fabric for as little as $1.29/yard like I snagged today). The selection is amazing! But be prepared to spend a little time digging. Especially if you aren't sure exactly what you want. 

That's just a portion of one room... There are four rooms... 

But now that I have fabric, I can't wait to start those projects! Keep checking back for updates as they get going! For now its back to packing up the apartment.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Table Edition

In effort to save money, we are trying to use as much of our current furniture before buying anything new. The only problem: our apartment is pretty modern in style and the house... well its from 1906 so its definitely vintage. So to try to make our furniture not look really awkward in the house, I have decided to give some pieces a bit of a makeover.

The first piece up is the couch side table. It is being repurposed as an entry way table/shoe storage. (Forgive the boxes and mess in the background... moving has taken over the little open space in the apartment we had)

I started by sanding down the entire piece. Just to get the shiny, smooth coat off and give something for the paint to grip to (don't want to do all this work just for the paint to peel off). And then a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to get all the dust off. 

Then I started with paint coat one. It's a cream color. In Behr paint+primer. (If you aren't using a paint+primer, you might want to do a quick primer coat first). I didn't bother making sure I covered everything since I'll be putting another coat (in another color) over it and then sanding parts off to make it look more distressed anyway. So the patchiness of the paint actually fits the distressed vibe. 

After letting coat one dry for a good few hours, paint coat two went on. This time a light green. Also Behr paint+primer (we had them left over from painting our apartment). Once again I wasn't super concerned about making sure it covered 100% since we were going for vintage and distressed.

Once the green dried, I sanded it down to give it even more of a worn look. I also dry brushed a little more cream on top. And ta-da! A vintage inspired table!

This project was completely foolproof. Not worn enough? Just sand more. Take off too much paint? Just add more. And since its supposed to be distressed, any scratches will look right at home. The best part about this project was that it was completely free! We already had the table, both paint colors, and sandpaper. Once we move into the house, the top will get some fun accessories (most of which are probably already packed up) and something to hold our keys.

So what does everyone think of our first official house decor project?

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Electric!

Right now our progress is in the hands of our electrician.

Yesterday we made a quick stop by the house on our way home. The parentals came as well. To help/bring stuff to the house/bring the puppy back to us (she stayed at their house while we were out of town for the weekend).

They took the tedious job of hanging the brackets for the shelving in the closet. Normally this wouldn't be a difficult task. Except the house is old. And has plaster walls. And the studs are awkwardly spaced (I'm pretty sure they just kind of threw in pieces of wood wherever they felt like it). But all six brackets are up and into studs. The shelves will go up after the electrician is done cutting holes in just about every wall/ceiling.

While they were working on that, I went around and took down all of the ugly curtains (that looked as if they hadn't been washed in my lifetime). The place instantly looked more current and cleaner. I got some new curtains from Ikea last week, but those will stay packaged and clean until once again the electrician is done cutting holes in walls.

While taking off curtains, I also took off the ugly blinds that were on the front door.

Tonight we had an update meeting with the contractor and electrician. We went over what's been done (rough plumbing is in and the new furnace & a/c are finishing up) and what still needs to be done. Good news is things seem to be coming together and prices are working out (that granite I told you about... turns out it's in budget!). Bad news is the electrician isn't sure they will be done with all the wiring before we are supposed to move in (two weeks from yesterday). We're going to take it day by day and figure out a plan b of where to live later if necessary (cross your fingers it's not necessary).

Over the next couple weeks the project list is probably going to remain long. Once the electrician is done and the walls are put back together, things will pick up again. In the meantime, I'll be sure to keep posting on progress of the contractors. And of course any smaller projects we do or plan.

We also just got the Love&Reno-vation Fund up and running! Click the tab at the top to help with our renovations!

P.S. The song lyric post title was all Kevin this time... I've been trying to avoid them (but songs just fit so well sometimes).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

For The Love Of Money

So it's been a few days since the last post. Not too much to update unfortunately.

Thursday started off meeting up with the electrician. We toured the house marking areas for switches and outlets and what rooms we wanted cable and ethernet run to. We also found out the plumbing was finishing up (meaning running water again!)

After that Kevin had to get to work and I took a drive out to Wheeling to look at granite. Unfortunately, that was a bit of a bust. So it was up to Northbrook to look some more. I found a stone there but still have no idea if its within budget. I tend to like expensive, so I'm not holding my breath.

To finish off the day's errands, I stopped at Michael's. I was excited because I had coupons for a few things. Turns out this Michael's was closing so everything was already 50% off. Which was even better than my coupons. So I picked up some fall decor that will eventually get a coat of paint to make it look intentionally fake rather just a bad attempt at realism. More on that project in a later post.

And to close out the day, I came up with a design for the front door. I mentioned in an earlier post we are planning on frosting the glass to give some privacy after getting rid of the ugly blinds that are there.

Now onto Friday. Once again we were back at it with granite shopping (with all of the issues we've had, I wanted to possibly have a plan b in case stuff came in too pricey). Once again my like of expensive things came into play. So if the Thursday find is too pricey, the hunt is still on.

We also met with our financial advisor. Trying to come up with a plan that will allow us to afford that new roof and food. We'll be able to make it work, but the savings is just going to be a tad depleted for a while (so keep viewing this blog!) And if anyone wants to donate to the cause... Well be creating a Love&Reno-vation Fund! Look for it to pop up here sometime this week!

So now it's back to the scenic drive home from Terre Haute where we were for a friend's lovely wedding yesterday. (Congrats again to Elaine and Nick!)

Aaannndddd we definitely just had a peacock walk across the street in front of our car...

We'll be stopping at the house on the way back to check on progress and hopefully get a little more work done of our own (with no workers to get in the way of). For now I think that is all. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Maybe I'll edit some in later when I have a real computer and not just my phone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Goal: Meatball?

Ok so for those of you that aren't Blackhawks fans (you should really change that if you aren't...), here is a link that will help explain that title:

In case you didn't watch the link and haven't figured it out, today I took a trip to Ikea. Some of the trip was to get ideas and price things out (like what I could use for a window bench... which I will touch on in a later post once that project gets going). But since of course it is impossible to leave Ikea empty handed, I did buy some things.

First was shelving for the giant closet upstairs (or should I say one of two closets in the entire house, the second being in the master bedroom). A reminder of the closet (or a first viewing for those of you who haven't checked out the Home Tour - Before tab):

Since there is nowhere else to store things other than the basement (and who wants to go to the basement for their change of sheets each week), that closet is top priority to get organized. While I would have loved to get a full closet organizer system designed specifically for that closet, that just wasn't going to happen on our budget (yes I did price them out... and yes they did come out to a few grand). So that brings us back to Ikea. Who sells wonderful closet organization systems for a fraction of the cost. While they don't have as many bells and whistles and aren't perfectly fitted to the closet ready for assembly, they are semi-custom and fit the budget (and I would really like to be able to afford food after finishing the house). We went with the Antonius system. White wall brackets, white shelf brackets and white shelves. Should work perfectly.
They didn't quite have the number of shelves I was looking for in stock, but I can always add more later. And thanks to my mom for the wonderful birthday present! (I would say best, but its hard to top the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win with that great cake a couple years ago...)

I also got new blinds for the master bedroom. The rest of the house is either in decent enough condition (after a bit of a wash) or can go without for a bit until we know we have the money. But since the master faces east, in order to sleep past sunrise ever, we needed blinds.

And I picked up some drapes for the dining room and living room. Ikea was perfect for those since they come extra long (98 inches!) and aren't terribly expensive. Our windows are 96 inches from top to floor. Which the standard 84 inch curtains would just look like crap hanging a foot off the floor. Even if you do have lower windows, they come complete with hem tape (no sewing needed!) to shorten them. Three pairs of sheer, patterned curtains for the living room windows and a pair of heavier, patterned grey ones for the dining room. The living room ones are white, so they may need to be dyed a cream color if the white looks strange with our cream sofa. We'll see once we move in though.
Tomorrow is another fun filled day. We start the day at the house meeting with the electrician who has the fun task of rewiring the entire house. Then I head out to Wheeling for some granite shopping (let's hope I don't fall in love with the expensive stone). Then a trip to Michael's because they have fall decor/crafts on sale and I have a few coupons. And if I'm going to be buying anything, on sale and with coupons is the best way.

And hopefully the weather for Friday will change before then so we can get some gardening done. We also have plans to clean the house (as much as possible with contractors there) and get the closet shelving up. Working towards getting the house in as close to move in condition by the 25th (when we move in) as possible. I'll of course post more after each day's work this week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Work In Progress

So we're back with updates from a long holiday weekend. With lots of stuff to share.

Saturday was a wash as far as house improvements went. We spent the day in Champaign cheering the Illini to their first victory of the season! (Albeit a rather frustrating game)

Yesterday (Sunday), we started the day with a trip to Home Depot on the way to our house. We picked up some new window locks (since some of the first floor windows were missing locks). I then spent a couple hours taking off the old rusted locks and putting on the new ones. And also macgyvering some of the windows that had shifted and warped over time.

While I replaced locks, Kevin made a trip to Lowe's (we were all about the home improvement stores yesterday). He picked up our new lawn mower! A Fiskar's Momentum Reel Mower. Now we could have gone with a typical gas powered self propelled mower. But our lawn is super tiny and those mowers just seemed so big. The reel mower also had the perks of overall savings (no fuel to buy ever), its much quieter, less parts to break (no motor), and it's eco friendly! It seemed to work well when we tried it. (Though my dad still thinks we're crazy for getting a push mower)

I also started to trim back some of the monster plants that are taking over the yard. While there are some pretty flowers in the backyard, they are in need of some major pruning. Not to mention there are a lot of plants with thorns. Which probably isn't the best idea with a curious little puppy. We've planned a family gardening day this week (weather permitting) to trim everything back (like the climbing rose that has taken over the deck).

Look! there's a deck behind there!
Today we went back to the house and spent the day going through the mass quantities of stuff left in the garage. With the help of our parents, we cleaned everything up (after taking care of the spiders that had made the garage their home) and sorted everything into things we may want to use/sell, and things that were just trash (I'm all about the repurposing and reusing, but there are some things you just can't fix). I apparently forgot to take a picture of the clean-ish garage, but I'll try to remember to get one next time I'm at the house!

Less than three weeks until we move in!

Friday, September 2, 2011

And So It Begins

The reno work that is!

I took a trip to the house with my mom today to take some measurements for furniture and window treatments (since the ones there are not quite our taste). Much to my surprise, when I got there the front door was open. I wasn't aware of anyone that was going to be there. So naturally my first thought was 'did someone seriously break into my house three days after we closed?' Turns out the plumbers were able to start today instead of next week like the other contractors! They seemed to be making decent progress, at least as far as ripping things out was concerned. They had a nice hole cut in the wall, ceiling, and floor above to get to some of the pipes.

Since it was a balmy 94° out, we decided to open up some windows (the house doesn't have a/c yet... keyword is yet because boy was it steamy in there) only to find that almost every window had the storm window down and screens up. We went through and swapped those out on each window to get a little fresh air in. Not to mention that half of the old windows had makeshift stoppers made from thumbtacks. Clever, huh?

And then we went back to the measuring. We measured some of the rooms to make sure our furniture will fit. And that the new furniture we buy will fit before buying anything. Of course after getting home and measuring some furniture, I found that the longest wall is about four inches too short in the new master bedroom for our current bedroom set. I'm sure we can rearrange some things (like maybe using the nightstands as a bench at the end of the bed instead since we have cubbies in the headboard) to make it fit. At least the living room is big so our sectional will fit. And the dining room is quite large so the table/chairs I've been eyeing should fit no problem. Though I am still trying to figure out where to put the puppy's crate (or house as we like to call it... just sounds nicer).

We're hoping to make some good progress at the house this holiday weekend by going through as much of the stuff that was left in the garage and basement as possible. After going to cheer on the Illini at their first football game of the season of course. I-L-L!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The L&R Dog Show

Yesterday was an exciting day. First, we finalized our new kitchen layout. Cabinets, appliances, and moving stuff around so we can fit a dishwasher in and not have a fridge in basically the middle of the room. We're really excited for the new kitchen, especially opening up the wall to create more of a sense of openness in the small room.

See the wall where the sink is? The top half is going away. And there will be a dishwasher there. Because I hate washing dishes. And dishwashers have been shown to actually save water over hand washing (if you run a full load rather than lots of half empty ones). Yay for being lazy and green!

We also took Sadie to the house that night so she could explore for the first time (in a calm setting rather than the craze of moving). She ran around for almost 2 hours between the inside of the house and the backyard. And seemed pretty happy while doing so. (She was also quite difficult to photograph since she wouldn't stop running around and I was trying to avoid butt shots)

We brought dinner with us to give Sadie the most time possible to explore the house. Along with a little beer. Except in the haste of leaving we forgot a bottle opener and corkscrew. And of course the beer we brought needed both. Luckily, my mother taught me the important things in life. No, not math or science or anything like that (actually, if you knew my mom, you'd be laughing at the thought of her teaching me math). But the really important things like how to get into the alcohol bottles without the proper tools. The previous owners left a bunch of tools (among other stuff) in the basement. So after a little digging, we found a long screw and some needle nose pliers. And ta-da! Open beer!

And before we left the house, we went back through the abundance of keys to find the one that opens the garage door. Which is good because now we can get into the front, back, and garage doors of our house. All with different keys of course. But that will change once we get the locks changed. One key. Every door. So much easier to deal with.

I'll be heading back to the house tomorrow to start going through everything that was left, and taking some measurements for projects. And of course I will do my best to document what I find after.

I've added a couple more pictures to the house tour tab! And decided it might be easiest to split the house tours into two tabs of before and after. Of course, I will show before and after pictures when I post about those projects so you don't have to flip back and forth.

Also noteworthy, my new camera came! Now the pictures of the reno and projects should be good quality!