Wednesday, August 8, 2012

whole house update- upstairs reno complete!

I've kind of quit this blog, slowly over the past year or so. Sorry blog, I can't keep up with you anymore.  Here's an update from my family blog (which I also can't keep up with) that I've copied and pasted, a big update of all that we've completed on the main level recently. Add this to the basement we finished last year and we are calling it done. No more big stuff. Maybe a few tiny things... anyway, here it is!

We are done! We finished the main floor renovations in May (there have been a few pesky leftover tasks since then, a bit of caulk here, a piece of trim there... but we finally checked it all off the list.) 

Ready to see? 
(most of the before pictures are from the mls listing, or were taken right before we moved in.)

Entry Before:

Entry After:

Knocking out that doorway going down the stairs did wonders to open the space up, we like it a lot. The hardwood is hand scraped birch, we have liked it a lot, so far it is holding up well to our active family. I like it a whole lot better than the ceramic tile with white grout (that was never white) and the old carpet that was there before it. I think hardwoods really warm up a space. I like the way they feel underfoot, the way that a unified flooring makes a home feel bigger, and the easy clean up. We chose a floor that had some distressing to begin with. Little bumps and dings and dents are going to happen, but they blend right in. We got a screaming deal on the wood too. Nothing we have here is too precious for our home of active little boys.

With the finishing of the basement, the office moved down stairs. The "formal living room" was being used as an office area before, it sat mostly empty after the office stuff moved downstairs, so we turned it into a main floor playroom. We are not formal people, when friends or family come over, we bring them right back into the heart of our home, so for us a formal living room is a wasted space. The kids tend to play where I am, so even though they had a big playroom downstairs, they were often bringing all of the toys upstairs and dumping them in the entry way. This works out a little better for all of us.
And the family room...


I have plans to update this wall of photos, it's missing one little man, I just need more time. :)

And onto the kitchen!


*This is where I have to interject, that there is nothing wrong with this kitchen. Nothing at all. It has good basics, everything in the house was very neutral and liveable, it just wasn't our style. We enjoy house projects, so we decided it would be fun to turn it into what we saw in our minds it could be... I'm not hating on wood kitchens.*

Kitchen After:

*two things missing- glass doors to replace the ones I removed (I like to see some dishes, that's all) and a trim piece on the island that had to be ordered. I knew if I waited until those things were done I might not ever bother to take the pictures and post, so you get what you get.)

This was our second time down the kitchen white-ification road.  We did it in our first home as well. We had a hot mess on our hands for about a week, as the doors where all off and things where in disarray, but it was worth it. A lot of work, but worth it.

I had puttied over those knotty alder doors so many times in my mind, it felt awesome to do it for real. I just prefer a nice clean white.

We followed these basic steps for the finish:
paint (x2 coats)

We started the cabinets the first week of April, the garage and outside were way too cold, so we worked inside. It was an interesting week. We ate out a few times. It's not like you are working on them constantly, because a lot of that time is spent drying between coats, so we worked mostly when the kiddos were fast asleep. We had some nice late night chats while painting away. I honestly think DIY renovations have made our marriage what it is today. We work hard side by side, we laugh, we talk, sometimes we debate, we go to bed exhausted. It's loads of fun! I'm glad I married a man who likes improving things as much as I do, we are a good pair.

Of course the white cabinets are my favorite thing, but a close runner up is the subway tile. It's fresh and clean and classic. We almost didn't do it. It seemed like a pain to tear out the beige tumbled whatever it was that was there in the first place, there was nothing wrong with it, and I felt guilty taking it out when it was perfectly fine, but we decided that we've come this far, and just to finish the job. We are so glad we did it. It reflects a lot of light and makes the kitchen seem brighter and happier. I know white isn't everyone's thing, but we really like it. The subway tile was Scott's little gift to me, he really wanted to just keep the old tile, but he knew I was really really wanting to change it. He readily admits it was one of our smartest moves, it changed the whole kitchen.

When we tore into that old backsplash, one side came off so easily, the other was a big mess. In the midst of the chaos, Scott and I looked at each other and vowed we would never do this again. We've owned three homes now, and done major work on all of them from kitchen reno (twice) to basement finishing (twice) landscaping from bare dirt (twice) and of course the little things like paint and easy face lifts. Life isn't as simple as it once was, with three kids it takes a lot longer to get our projects done, and we find we would rather just be playing with the boys than working like busy bees. So, we promised each other... the next house is one that we build, we make it how we want it, add a few small things as years pass, but no more heavy renovations. Or so wa say... Anyway, on with the tour, shall we?

Master Bedroom Before:

Master Bedroom After:

I vote for a pretty chandelier, he votes to keep the ceiling fan- since it's already there, he wins...

I've tweaked this space a few times, but I think this is it for a while. I'm really liking how it feels right now. Yes, there were once curtains on that rod, yes I shrunk them in the wash, and yes, I'm still showing you... I haven't had time to even think about what I want there now, so it will likely remain naked, and I'm ok with that.

 For the kids rooms, imagine a before just like the master bedroom, minus the ceiling fan.


It's a happy little place, I love being in my babies room. I love rocking him in the little eames rocker, It's a simple room, but I think it's done.

The Big Boy's Room:


And we end with the garage hallway. We chose to keep the tile in the laundry room and for the doorway entrance. That spot takes a beating.

It feels so good to be done! With our basement finishing of last year and now this year's big kitchen and upstairs flooring project, we've done all we ever planned on doing and more. We have more to do outside, but the inside is DONE. We are enjoying it! 

July was a milestone for us, we have been here over 2 years and 9 months, which was our previous record for longest time spent in one home. We lived in our Kearns house for exactly that, so this is now the house we've called home for the longest amount of time. The time has gone fast, we have loved living here, it's been a happy place to be, even before the changes. We've always loved it, it's still the same house, it just looks a little more like what we love.

When we moved into this house, Carter was just under three, Owen was about 15 months old. Our family has grown up a little bit here, and it never mattered if the floors were tile or hardwood or if the kitchen was knotty alder or white. Maybe it's just the renovation weary crazy talkin' here, but I think I'm learning that every single thing doesn't need to be pretty-fied. I'm becoming content to just let it be a little bit more. It's never 100% perfectly clean, it's often noisy and filled with little boys toys, shoes and messes, but it's my favorite place to be. Not because the cabinets are finally white, but because my family is here. And that is the end of my blubbering.

Thanks for virtually stopping by, feel free to come over for real any time. Odds are, I'll have a basket or two of laundry to fold sitting in the family room and a pile of shoes at the door, but who doesn't? :)


Here are a few pictures of the finished kitchen!