Tuesday, April 29, 2014

10 Things I Would Have Remodeled Differently

I've been wanting to put a list together of the things I might have done differently if we did our remodel over again. And gratefully, there aren't too many. And the ones I would change, are still pretty easy to change.

I read this helpful thread at the beginning, in the middle, and towards the end of our project. A couple of things were super helpful. Like the idea to put a gas line going directly to outdoor grill.... we would not have thought of that on our own, and it was much easier to have it done while all the other plumbing was being redone. My parents have that and have always loved the feature. And even though my grill loving husband has almost always had a backup tank of propane in case he ran out, sometimes he would still have to make a quick run to kroger to finish grilling dinner. He grills about 3 times a week, so we've already used the new gas line a ton.

Some things on that list weren't that helpful to us specifically. Like, we didn't want to spend money on a central vac. But little things, like adding dimmer switches, a light switch to our attic, were things I'm glad we did bc of this list. We also had some extra plumbing and electricity lines run so that we could eventually add a few things to the outside of the house in the future if we want to.... Like an outside wash/bath room like they have at the beach. That way the kids don't have to run inside from the pool with wet feet.  I could write a HUGE list of things labeled Things I'm So Glad We Thought To Do, (the top one being our decision to raise the ceilings) but on to the 'shouldas':

1. Use tile and counter materials to guide bathroom paint color.
I knew I wanted to use white hexagon and subway tiles in the bathrooms. And white marble for countertops. So, I should have used those two things to help me decide on wall color in the bathrooms. We painted the whole house in Dover White, which is still one of my fav decisions, but in the bathrooms it looks way more yellowish because of all the white tile and counters. If I did it again, I would have taken my tile pieces to the paint store and chosen a different wall color. Maybe just a true white, or maybe something grayish. Luckily, that one is a pretty easy fix if it continues to bug me.

2. Block windows for heavy window treatments
This is really a small detail, but I had read this before on the list, and was sort of talked out of it. I wish we had added 'blocked windows' with extra studs during framing. I like iron curtain rods, and if I want to hang them in a certain spot above and beside the windows, the drill spot would not be on a stud. So, that's not a big deal really, but it is something to think about.

3. Add a gas line on porch for gas lighting.
Why didn't we think to do this?! We would have to go to quite a bit of trouble to add this now. So for now, I like our plain porch lights just fine:)

4. Decide on the EXACT windows 3 weeks before framing.
I already knew I wanted to keep our existing old wood windows downstairs. Not only would this save us money in construction cost, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the old windows. I KNOW they are not as safe, weather tight and such. But this is where I am so glad I got to decide things like this:))) I love the old windows and the coolness they allow in the winter does not bother me or Isaac one bit. So, they stayed. But I THOUGHT I knew what I wanted as far as upstairs windows go.... I thought I could have all wooden windows on our top floor to match the bottom ones. Not so, I learned once the framer was almost done framing. I was limited on which types of windows I could pick since the framing was almost done. It's the only time in the house project where I was truly mad. We found some clad windows that would look really close to our existing old windows, so I got over it. But not without complaining a lot about it. They came in and looked better than I had expected, which was a happy. But I still like our old downstairs ones the best.

5. Bathtub placement and faucet placement.
I had wanted to salvage our old cast iron tub. Would have saved us about $600 (if i remember correctly) AND I would keep something I found sentimental. And I'm sure that old tub is sitting in a dump somewhere. Bool. Hopefully not. But if we'd planned better, we could have reused it. I didn't think about it mattering which side the tub drain was on. Apparently it mattered for pipe issues. So, once we realized our tub had the wrong side drain, we had to ditch the reuse idea. When it came to our big master tub, I wish I had thought ahead to put the plumbing for faucet on the back wall side of tub, rather than on the front side where Set can turn the water on when he walks by. Hard to explain that one, but things like that are not easy to fix once you decide on them.

6. Get two water heaters if you have a big tub and two shower heads.
We should have done this from the get go, but luckily we figured it out within weeks of moving in.They were able to add another tank under the house pretty easily. For a cost, of course. But, to have hot water for longer, it was so so so so worth it.

7. I would have spent more on faucets.
I picked plain faucets that I still like. But every time I see a really gorgeous faucet, I wish I'd just gone ahead and picked the more pricey ones. Sorry Isaac : ) The ones we have function perfectly, and look nice, so I really shouldn't list this one probably. Yet, it is something I would have done differently.

8. Kept counter remnants.
I went against all advice and chose white marble for all of our countertops minus our butcher block island.
I WOULD DO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I think they're the most gorgeous thing ever. I know some people are laughing in disagreement, but this is where redoing your own house to your own taste is such fun. Freedom in choices! I just so wish I'd had them save my remnants including the squares that came from the sinks. I was told to do this and I forgot. We would have had to store them, but it would still have been nice to have them if I ever wanted them in future. As for the predicted wear on the counters, there are lots of chalky looking spots and etching on my kitchen counters already. Which I think that adds character and makes them more 'aged' which we all know I like. One day I'd love to have them honed. They came polished, so we've left them that way for now.

9. We should have locked up our valuables.
We had an ice maker, some lawn tools, and industrial fans all stolen during the process. We should have removed these valuables and locked them up looking back. Instead, we had to buy a new ice maker (sad bc our old one was a hair better than our new one) and replace the fans. You live and you learn.

10. Be sure on doorknobs and drawer pulls before they drill holes.
I should have waited to choose drawer pulls and doorknobs until the very very end. Like after we moved in. Because it wasn't until all the painting and faucets were installed that I could really tell what I wanted the hardware to look like. I ended up having them fill holes and repaint cabinets in several rooms bc I didn't wait. And I had all the upstairs knobs changed out bc I couldn't stand the ones I chose the first time. I learned that if something bugs me, that I should get rid of it right away, instead of waiting and hoping that I'll warm to the idea. The longer I let something sit, the more trouble it is to fix.

I am sure I will think of more. And now I want to write a list of the things I am so glad we did, bc a ton popped in my head while I typed this.

Overall, for our first time doing anything like this, we did super well. Isaac and I were surprised at how well we got along in the process, too. He was way more creative and open minded than I expected. He could better visualize the space planning than I could ever have hoped to. I think he was happily surprised too by my ability to make choices and decisions when I needed to. It was so so so much fun. So much fun that if I didn't want to live in this house on this street forever, that I might just want to do it all over again :)))

65 weeks ago we were working on these house plans.

Fun journey. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Framed prints

We have/had a big blank wall in our front room, right when you walk in the house. I needed something big to fill the wall.  I thought about big greenish botanicals (love that look). I'd even have loved some huge framed dried fig leaves or something. Didn't know where to start on that idea. I have a true love when it comes to old things, and I usually tire less of them, so I decided to go with framed vintage prints. I searched eBay for just the right thing at just the right price;)

I got ab 18 prints that were from antique botany books for about 25 bucks. I used 12 of them for this project. 

I ordered 3 lots from the same seller and he gave me a discount and better shipping rate. 

If I had my pick for frames, I love old wooden ones the most. But finding 12 old big wooden frames (that would look good together) at a thrift store was unlikely. I've found sets of smaller ones (can't wait to fill those treasures for another wall soon), but knew for this I'd need to buy all 12 from a 'regular' store. Borrring;) jk, I know I can't find everything second hand at savers. 

I'd have loved custom frames, but for 12 that would have added up way too quickly. No luck at hobby lobby, but michaels had some I liked a lot. I'm always happily surprised at michaels. They have lots of great stuff. But for framing and matting, Hobby lobby is way better in my opinion. I thought about gold frames, but the big bookshelf in the same room has more gray and pewtery tones in its hardware and finish. So, when I found a bunch of these silvery ones on clearance, I bought them up. All 10 of them. Glad I didn't trust the worker there that said they called the NLR store and told me they didn't have anymore of the frames. I just drove myself on over and found them myself, and bought the last two I needed. I just knew that still had some.  At 10 bucks a piece, I was ultra happy to find all 12. 

Then I went to HL and picked out a mat color. Went with a darker gray one. They cut them in ab 15 minutes and then I went home and put them together. I used painters tape to keep the prints in place. 

Now for the hanging part, I called my helper, Sarah Finley, again. We measured a bit, but mostly eyed it. It only took a couple of hours. We worked quickly (and as quietly as you can be while hammering) while our babies napped.

And here they are... 

Think they work nicely. You can even see them from outside bc they're across from our big porch window. Which makes me smile. I was also inspired to hang kid photos and other things around the house once this wall was complete. I was motivated to get things up on walls before we had some friends over for a dinner. I never do anything until I've got a deadline, so it was very welcome motivation. 

I have some chairs that will eventually sit in this front room, but to have extra seating for the dinner, I set it up like a dining room. 

Pic below from before the table had it's tablecloth, obviously:)

Another project I can check off my in-my-head check list. I'm just not one of those actual written out to-do list people. But my ideas are all up there floating around in my head. Nice to see one through to completion. 

Happy weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter weekend 2014

Could the weather have been any nicer this weekend?!

We had an egg hunt at the golf course on Saturday.

This is what it looks like when I ask them to take a picture for me. I attempted to get a good pic before we went to the event and got all dirty. Didn't happen.

My kids are VERY active.

We finally finished painting the dresser behind Annette. Must put hardware on it this week.

His first real egg hunt. Last year he was still a wee lil thing and was held the whole time. This year, being held was the last thing he wanted. He fell flat on his face on the pavement while waiting for the hunt to start. He's got some nice scratches and scabs on his nose now. You can see hints of the boo boo behind the messy drooly chocolate on his face.

"MORE!" that's one of his fave words right now....

I stuck with Set in the baby gated area while Lauren watched the big kids hunt.

While we brunched Ike golfed.  I AM SO GLAD Lauren joined us! Set takes one on one attention right now. So, Lauren made like 5 trips to the bathroom and food line while I corralled Set. 

He was a big chocolate mess by the end. I already got the stains out, in case anyone was worried about those white clothes. White makes me happy. 

Sunday morning Easter basket goodies

Followed by church and then lunch and a family hunt at my mom's house

Me doing my best to convince Nettie to smile for our only family pic of the day.

Isaac loves how Charlie is pulling his hair back. I love them so very much.

You can see how we've changed from last Easter if you click HERE.

And Charlie found a worm and put him on his belly. Boys.

It was SUCH a happy Easter. Thanking God, as I type, for all our blessings. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Small Smatterings: April

Enjoying our April so far...

Enjoying our neighbors. And the afternoons where we all find each other yard hopping. 

We have some more super fun friends who will be joining us in a few weeks!!! So excited to have more friends a few steps across the street. 

Had to include the one below, because it's a common view for me these days. 

"Rockstar" by Annette 

Oreos on the way home from Kroger always seem to help him stay content til we arrive ;)

Visiting Annette at recess 

Sorting buttons and making bracelets with Charlie. Love that he sticks his tongue out to concentrate. 

We dyed some eggs

Isaac and I went to Hot Springs for a work meeting, and some races /homegoods/centralparkfusion/etc.

I've been working on putting some things on the walls around here...

Found these 50 dollar frames for 10 a piece. I got 12 of them. Had some mats cut and put some vintage prints in them to hang as a grouping in our front room. (More on that later)

Also had my pal Sarah help me finish up our den. She found a coffee table for us, so we now have a place to put our feet while we watch American Idol;)

Set got a hold of the succulents already. 

Found these fun finds the other day at a thrift store. 5 bucks a piece. 

While the kids play in the playroom, I've been slowly attempting to make a slip cover for this chair. We'll see.

And we had our 7th wedding anniversary. 
We kept it simple and went with Cantina. I heart cheese dip. 

We've got birthdays and Easter and a gala and a dinner party all lined up for the rest of the month. Should be wonderful.