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make me pretty – kitchen renovation, let there be light!

March 18, 2015

So much has been happening in the kitchen but most of it is behind the scenes kind of stuff. The floor has been leveled and we have sub-floor! And lights have been installed – lots and lots of lights! The hanging lightbulbs are markers for where the pendants will eventually go. We have a garage full of new appliances and the cabinets are getting delivered Monday! Walls and ceilings started going up yesterday and we should have a slate tile floor before the end of the week!!

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There were a couple major problems we had to deal with once we found out what was behind the faux brick wall and soffit. We really wanted the soffit to become much shorter so it didn’t feel like it was diving the room in half. We were hoping we would only find the stove vent in there but no such luck. There were some radiator pipes and a giant cast iron waste pipe in our way. There was talk of leaving things where they were and just building a box around it but we ended up moving everything out of the way so we could have the kitchen the way we really want it. This also involved building a new support beam across the kitchen where the soffit had been. This is not the glamorous part of kitchen renovation but it is usually the reality. Some unforeseen problem that puts you over budget and behind schedule!

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Speaking of unforeseen problems, we had a major one a couple of weeks ago. One Saturday I was home alone with the kids and every time I walked past our newly installed hot water heater it would sound like water was running through it. I didn’t think much of it at first because I have never had the water heater in my living space and I don’t really know what kind of sounds they make. Anyway, after an afternoon at the Children’s Museum we came home to find the water heater still making that sound and I started to worry. When my husband got home I asked him about it and then we went into the kitchen to check progress and to see how much water was under the house. (The floor was still pulled up in the kitchen and with all the snow melting there had been an inch or two of water under the house.)

Holy cow, there was like 8″ of water under the house. And it was about 9:30 on Saturday night!! We texted our contractor, called a friend for advice, tried to find the main water shut off to the house and freaked out! In our search for the main water shut off we stumbled across a huge water leak. Water was shooting out of the crawl space under the mud room.

Our contractor saved the day! He showed up after 10 on Saturday night and shut off the water at the street. Then he crawled into the freezing cold, swimming pool of a crawl space and found the culprit – an old copper pipe had burst – totally un-related to the kitchen reno, by the way. He helped calm down my total freak out (it was not pretty) and promised to return the next morning.

So Sunday morning, at 7 am, which was really 6 am because it was time change day – our amazing contractor showed up to fix the pipe. And unbelievably he brought us coffee and croissants – he even remembered I only drink decaf! I am super impressed!

So after he fixed the pipe he went and got a pump and pumped all the water out from under the house (sigh of relief!) So once again, if you are in RVA and need a contractor I would recommend Russell Bell – RVA Fixer. He is awesome! You can find him on Twitter @farmerrussell

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make me pretty – my kitchen is a big black hole!

February 25, 2015

When we bought our new house one of the things we liked about it most was the potential of the kitchen. The kitchen itself was very small but connected to it was a strange den like space and amazing breakfast nook full of windows. We wanted to combine these three space into one big, wonderful kitchen.

We had pulled up really gross carpet when we moved in and found old cork tiles covered in black tar adhesive. We had them tested for asbestos and it the test came back negative, so we have just been living with them till we could start the renovation. I also pulled down some faux grass cloth wallpaper. I can imagine that this place was pretty styling in the 60s!
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It was decided that we would have to pull up the floor to see what was causing it to be so unlevel. Then it was decided that we should take down the plaster walls to put in new electrical and why not take out the ceiling while we are at it. So right now our kitchen in a big black hole. I know it will all get put back together and be wonderful but this part is pretty scary.
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IMG_7383.JPGOne good thing about this renovation is we figured out where our hot water heater is! They put it in the corner of the kitchen cabinets under the countertop! So we bought a bigger one and moved it to the mud room.

I know these pictures of destruction are not very exciting so I will leave you with this beauty! We are going to be combining some vintage pieces with new cabinets. I found this beast of a pantry at Class and Trash. I working on fixing her up with a new “old” paint job and new hardware. Can’t wait to show you the after!

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And if you are in RVA and looking for a contractor, I can’t recommend ours enough – RVA Fixer! He showed up for the first day of demo in 9″ of snow! He seems to really love his work and is enthusiastic about all of my crazy ideas. Plus he has plenty of good ideas of his own. If you are into design and don’t want something cookie cutter, Russell is your man!

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make me pretty – old rocker

January 20, 2015

I’ve had this old rocking chair in my garage for a long time. I imagined that it was going to be a very involved re-do but it actually ended up being super fast.

This chair is old and the wood had an interesting texture to it, almost like leather, that I didn’t want to loose so I just did one coat of paint and then sanded some of it off.

I took off the crazy, falling apart seat and cut a new base out of plywood with my new best friend, the jigsaw. I used a super thick piece of foam and covered it with this pretty fabric, which was actually a Dwell Studio table cloth that I got on clearance at Target a year or two ago.

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I also used a brand of paint on this chair that I have never tried before. It’s called Fusion and they sell it RVA Antiques. I really liked it and it is cheaper than chalk paint, yeah!

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make me pretty – almost “built in” bookcases

January 6, 2015

I was just researching all the ways to make our Ikea Billy bookcases look “built in” when I stumbled across these beauties at the thrift store. OK, so they aren’t exactly beauty’s yet but they are solid wood and the price was right. So forget the Billy’s, they weren’t a good color anyway, I’m going to bring home these guys and paint them.

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I decided to use chalk paint because I didn’t want to have to sand and prime these monsters. They were in really nice shape so they really didn’t need any prep. I decided to paint the inside of the shelves a contrasting color.

My Assistant

My Assistant

I just had no idea how long it would take to paint these shelves. I paint a lot of furniture, but mostly small pieces – stuff that fits in a mini-van. These shelves are big, I had to get a friend to pick them up for me on his trailer. But I listened to a book and made the best of it.

I decided to finish the job with poly instead of wax because of the amount of use I know the furniture will get. And of course, I bought new pulls for the doors. I actually got these at Home Depot, kind of surprised by some of the cute options there!

This was a big project but they really make a statement in our living room and I love looking at them every day!

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make me pretty – chalk paint desk

November 10, 2014

My husband sweet talked the junk pick up guy out of this desk when they came to get some trash from our house. I painted it old white and then layered some gray and blue and white for the drawers. I happened to get to Hobby Lobby on a 1/2 price hardware day and got my pulls for a steal.

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make me pretty – our old house for sale

November 4, 2014

As happy as I am in our new house I am really sad to let go of our first home. This is the house that my husband and I bought about a year before we got married. We brought three babies home to this house!

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It is also hard to let go of all the work we put into the house. When I look at the pictures of the house when we bought it, compared to how it looks now, I know we really put in a lot of effort.

Here are some before pictures:

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Wow, that yellow!

Over the years, we painted every room, pulled up carpet upstairs and refinished the wood floors, pulled up carpet (burgundy!!) in the basement and put down tile, pulled up linoleum in the kitchen and sanded the original floor and painted a checkerboard pattern, pulled up linoleum in the first floor bathroom and put down slate tile, created a raised bed garden in the backyard and planted all kinds of pretty stuff, gutted the upstairs bathroom and pushed the wall back to make it bigger, added a full size closet to the master bedroom, installed a spiral staircase to the attic which we turned into a playroom, installed a built in desk under the basement stairs, built a railing and gate around the front porch, and refinished the wood floors on the first floor. I am exhausted just reading this list!

Here are some afters:

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Get all the details here or come to the open house, this Sunday, November 9th from 1 -3 pm.

2120 Rosewood Ave.

 

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make me pretty – our mudroom

October 30, 2014

One of the many things that makes me super excited about our new house is finally having a mud room. With three kids, trying to manage the coats and shoes and backpacks is a major headache. I love having a  first stop room where all the junk can stay.

When we closed on the house, one of the first things we did was take down these mud room window treatments. I am almost as anxious to remove the horrible laminate floor but that will have to wait. I would love to put in slate tile but patience, I must have patience.

So here is phase 1 of the mud room re-do.

We start with the before:

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And after:

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Our old friendly Ikea bench, and Ollies new favorite napping spot.

I used an old wood plank I found in the garage and some Ikea brackets to make a shelf and installed mis-matched hooks underneath for coats, bags, etc.

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Our plants are very happy here!

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I made a kid height coat check area. Do you think a cute, chalk board hook with their initials will encourage them to hang up their coats? Probably not but it’s worth a try!

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I hung up some of my favorite art work.

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And somehow found this street sign that not only has our previous street name but also the number of our  block at my favorite local junk shop – Class and Trash.

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