Home Sweat Home

The nursery is “done”! Done for now that is. Since we had just embarked on the quarter round adventure the weekend before Amelie’s arrival, the nursery was completely torn apart the morning we headed in to the hospital. Hubs, the dear, hustled home on the fourth day of our stay to finish it up and put it back together.

Let’s start with a before:

And now the after, come on in!

So, what did we do? Obviously, we ripped out the blue carpet and got new laminate floors in Walnut Plateau, from Home Depot. Then we painted the walls too many times, finally settling on a beautiful gray called Ashes, by Behr. Hubs installed a new drum light from Lamps Plus (luuurve). I hemmed the curtains (from Ikea) with good old fashioned hem tape. And you remember when I freshened up this free table and scored that adorable little lamp at Goodwill, right? And then, there’s the quarter round. Isn’t it pretty?

To the right is the changing table (ie the green beast that took me months to finish):

The dresser was from my first house (also from Ikea) that used to be blonde. The paint color we used is Green Energy by Behr. I love it. Cross all of your fingers and toes that it holds up!

A volunteer makes these little booties at the hospital and one of our favorite nurses snagged a pair for Amelie.

Hubs picked out the art from Etsy and hung it while I was recovering in the hospital. *sigh* It’s so sweet.

Here is the left hand side. Our crib and rocker are from Ikea as well.

It’s all a little bland. I didn’t want to add big heavy art above the crib (for fear of it falling on her one night) but this wall sure needs some spice. Maybe a stencil? Also, the blonde legs of the rocker clash massively with our floors, but I never got around to doing anything fun with it. Maybe one day. Maybe not.

Our other Etsy find got plopped into a frame from Target I had bought years ago but never got around to filling:

Here’s the wall opposite of the window, sporting a mirror we already owned.

The right hand door is the closet. Open that and you will not come out the same person. It needs a complete overhaul. We are storing tons of crap in there, on the floor and smashed into every crevice. I have dreams a beautiful closet system with spunk but for now it just looks like crazytown.

Still to do:

  • replace outlets and covers (the existing ones are grungy)
  • address the closet
  • add finishing touches to the dresser (if I can muster up the energy)
  • possibly paint the doors
  • fix the blinds (they are much too long)
  • add hooks, pillows and other accessories

Truth be told, we’ve totally set up base camp in our bedroom rather than the nursery. That’s where we change her and where she sleeps because I don’t like being too far away from my sweetie for now.

And, you can’t have a nursery post without a picture of the little baby! Here’s my snuggle butt, just 6 days old.

She makes it feel complete. *gets mushy*

Friday Tidbits

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m scooting off to a track meet this afternoon and it’s supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny!

This is my little DIY project for the nursery. Our previous homeowners left this table on the deck for us. It’s meant for outdoors and was a dirty speckled taupe color but we decided to “clean it up” with white spray paint and use it in the nursery.

Much apologies for the terrible lighting, I took these pics this morning and the nursery window is East facing.

Although not really my “style,” I think the height is perfect and it was free…can’t beat that!

That’s the lamp I scored at Goodwill last week for $3.99. It’s a baby blue with a grungy shade and brown cord but I think the size and curves are sweet. I’d like to redo that as well (maybe in a punchy pink?) but it works for now if I don’t get around to that.

The Ikea rocker needs some spunk too, but I doubt I’ll get around to that either. Go me!

Enjoy the weekend, my bloggies!

Home Sweat Home

Warning, long post ahead and it could be mighty boring.

Hubs and I had been going over to the new-old house almost daily after work. We put in a lot of hours and spent a lot of money at Home Depot.  And it’s only just begun…

I wanted to show you the progress we’ve made so far. To jog your memory, our den started out like this:

The previous homeowners wanted to leave us that monstrous TV – we had to negotiate it OUT of the closing contract. Even though we didn’t have a TV of our own, that one probably weighed as much as our car! Hubs picked out a nice slim one instead just before the holiday since there were raging deals going on. Now, if only the cable company would be remotely helpful for once, we could plug it in and watch it while we work…

We tackled the den first because we wanted to paint the paneling while the grubby carpet was still in since we were hoping to get new floors installed in the upcoming weeks.

The day after we closed, “we” primed that golden terror with the good stuff.

Actually, Hubs did the priming since it’s a fume-y job and we didn’t want to risk it with me being pregnant. Meanwhile, I painted the trim with a fresh coat of white in the nursery. I used off-the-shelf Behr medium base no VOC paint in a satin finish (for wipeability – which apparently is not a word). I picked the medium base so it would be nice and bright but avoid the blue cast an ultra white woud have.

Anyway, back to the den.

The priming took a couple of days since it wraps around (if you can only imagine) and he had to prime the baseboards as well.

Sorry for the crappy lighting, we did most of our painting in the evenings so it’s hard to snap a nice “after” shot but the primer alone makes a huge difference, doesn’t it??

Then, we painted the panels “Popped Corn” by Behr in an eggshell finish. As you can also see, the gr(ay)t debate had begun.

We picked Popped Corn on a whim because we wanted a white, but we thought a yellow undertone might warm it up just a tad. In retrospect, I think we could have used the off-the-shelf white like in the nursery instead since it’s warmth is not overly noticeable.

Here’s the other side of the room. I told you that paneling was a never ending story.

From far away, it looks nice and fresh. But just like me, you get up close and things get hairy.

There were gaps and seams and cracks and ugliness. Although the primer and paint had great coverage, more needed to be done.

So, I caulked the crap out of it.

Three tubes later and see how pretty it looks? I need this stuff for my face.

While I caulked (and caulked and caulked), Hubs went back and did touchups with Popped Corn. I almost wrote Pooped Corn, which does not elicit pleasant imagery. Anyway, we used every last drop of it after finishing up the trim.

If we had more time, I really would have liked to get another swipe at caulking and put on another full coat of Popped Corn, instead of skimping by with touchups only. But we did not have time (nor another gallon of paint). Moving on to the wall color!

After too many samples and a few mistake gallons (doh), we settled on a gray.

I mentioned it before, but we chose Ashes by Behr and it’s actually the color Hubs picked out long ago on our first trip to Home Depot when we were ordering the new floors. At the time, I secretly scoffed at it since my heart was set on Elephant Skin (the color Emily used in her first photography studio) but it was way too dark in our little house. Ashes, although morbidly named, it’s the perfect gray. I’m telling you, a good gray is hard to come by.

TA DA. Me likey!

(Can you believe this post isn’t over yet?)

Next up, we ripped out that blue sea of disgust. We saved at least $600 by doing this ourselves! Ripping out carpet is not difficult work, but it’s hard work. And it’s gross work. Here’s what we used:

The carpet cutter (a glorified Exact-o knife) is from Home Depot and the “tail” came in handy prying up rogue staples. Obviously work gloves would be better suited for this job but my gardening ones got me by. For you carpet removing virgins (don’t be shy, it was my first time too), you first pry up a corner with the pliers

and cut away the carpet into manageable strips.

Honestly, it comes up pretty easily, since it’s only attached by the carpet tack (the wooden strip) along the edges. See the multi colored foam underneath? That’s the carpet pad. It’s usually stapled down (if you have a wood sub-floor) or glued down if you have concrete, like we had in the den. That came up fairly easy too. The hardest part is trying not to think of all the skin cells and hair and bug legs and boogers and Dorrito crumbs and foot sweat that have nested into that sponge of filth over the years. Don’t think about it, okay?

Next up, removing the carpet tack. Now that part sucked.

I stabbed myself through my wimpy gardening gloves, right under my thumbnail and it got infected. It burned and took a few days to heal, which was totally a blast. We used a regular old hammer and a pry bar (also picked up at Home Depot):

It was a noisy and knee-aching job.

Hubs did most of it, while I pulled staples out, one by one. It was super glamorous.

I’m awarding 100 points and a free donuts to you if you noticed those pictures are not actually of the den, hence the wooden sub-floor (and staple-pulling versus glue-scraping). I figure I’d get the carpet ripping talk all done at once – since we had almost 1000 sq feet of it to remove throughout the house. I didn’t take pictures of the den because by the time we got to there, my soul had sunk to a very dark place. The den had underlying concrete, making pulling up the angry tack strip even more painful. On top of that, when the blue sea was laid initially, they just added a second strip of carpet tack down next to the original one…doubling the work for us. Normally I love a good two-for-one deal, but this one was curse-worthy.

(Will this post ever end?)

After lots of labor and cleanup, we were left with this:

Meanwhile, our new floors had been delivered and were “curing” in the living room. See all of the white boxes?

We got the carpet ripped out just in time. The flooring guys set up shop and got to work. Of course, they noticed a few concerns…

Such as, the floor was not level in the den. Generally speaking, being level is a good thing. The opposite? A very very bad thing.

The flooring guys gave us some tips on how to fix it and so that night, at 10pm, we set out to even it up. This was also the week where I slept in the car and fell on my face, so you can probably imagine my overall enthusiasm for this surprise night-time project.

I bought a 50lb bag of this stuff (sorry it’s upside down, I was fading fast at this point).

All you have to do is mix this with water until it’s a milkshake-like consistency and pour it on the floor. Gravity will take it where it needs to go, then it hardens and viola! Level floors! Easy, right?

But you have to work fast.

We taped off the trim so the leveler mix wouldn’t seep in behind it:

Then, we added the mix to some water and stirred!

Let me be clear, we did not know what were were doing. But we poured it down anyway.

Also (and unfortunately) after our great closet purge this summer, Hubs was left with no “work clothes” and so he’s been doing all of our DIYing in those long johns (presumably from junior high school). It’s indecent and we’re sorry about that.

After we poured, we pushed it around (with a mudding knife) and watched where it tended to move to, then added more sludge to that area until we felt like it looked “ok”.

Again, we did not know what ok really looked like since we were totally guessing our way through this.

We set up a puny fan on the mess and went back to the apartment to sleep (and pray that the morning would bring level heads and floors).

The next morning:

Level floors in some spots (!!!) and…

kinda level floors in others:

(you can see the big gap underneath the level itself)

Did we fix the problem? Nope. Did we make it a lot better than it was before? Yes! In a perfect world, we would have taken two passes at this but the flooring guys said that they could fudge it by laying down cardboard in the low areas, since they were using “floating floor” anyway. Phew, we did it! Go us!

Unfortunately, the floors were not dry by morning. We had mixed it too runny and it needed more time (like a full day) to harden completely. They couldn’t lay the floors until it was dry, otherwise the wood would soak it up and warp. Cue sad hearts and somber violins. They did as much as they could and made us promise those floors would be dry by the next morning, their final day of work:

That night, we bought a space heater (from Lowes) and turned on our in-house fan (which sounds like a tornado) then hoped that the notorious dry Colorado air would work its magic, while we slept uneasily at our apartment.

It was indeed magical, take a look now!

The floors are laminate (Home Legend Walnut Plateau from Home Depot) and we love them! I must give a shout out to Emily, who helped us pick these over the other (much darker) one we were mulling over. As you know, the girl has got good taste. We are eternally grateful for you, Emily!!!

More pics? As if this post isn’t long enough?

There is much more work to be done but let’s just revel in the moment, shall we?

Friday Tidbits

After handing over a very large check (or so it seemed to us), we officially closed on our new house yesterday!

It’s finally ours; home sweet home.

The sellers kindly left us with lots of goodies, including lawn equipment (score!), canned goods (some of which expired in 2010), a jumbo double pack of mustard, and doggie diapers.

The weirdest thing about yesterday is that on Dec. 20th, exactly 8 years ago, I closed on my first house in Minnesota. Coincidence or do I secretly relish packing up my life days before Christmas, as if the holidays weren’t exciting enough?

Fortunately, our apartment lease goes to mid-January so we are going to take these precious few weeks to paint as much as we can (starting with the den and nursery) and rip out all of the blue carpet before the Home Depot folks come in to install the new floors. And guess what, I’m taking YOU along for the ride by oversharing our journey right here on this wee little blog! Your dream come true, I imagine! After the floors are in (we’ll be cutting it very close), we’ll hire movers to help us with our furniture so we only have to move those pieces once. Hopefully (crosses fingers) we can time everything right. To help ease the moving burden, we plan to take car loads of crap over to the new house every time we work and stash it in the garage.

I actually have three days off next week, including Christmas Day, so it’ll be nice to have a big chunk of time to start painting the nursery. I expected to work a lot more than that since one of the girls just quit yesterday – so my schedule is a nice surprise (maybe even a Christmas miracle).

Phew, I’m kinda tired already and we haven’t even started. Enjoy the holiday weekend, loves!