So I’ve showed you quite a few of the rooms in our house (and you can see most of them on this page), but I always find it helpful to see how a house is laid out- so many times I picture someone’s house laid out completely different than it really is- pictures are often so deceiving!!  So I messed around with floorplanner the other day, and came up with a rough drawing of how our house is laid out.  This program was fairly simple to use, and it had decent amount of things for me to choose from to put in the various rooms.  These pictures are by no means perfect- and the scale is off because I was too lazy to get didn’t have the measurements of each room/window/door. 

Here’s the main level:

Basically you come in the front door and there is a bedroom off the left (that’s an exercise machine in there, FYI- yeah, was having a little fun with all the extra things I could add!).  The stairs to the 2nd story are directly in front of you.  The bedroom has a walk-in closet and a bathroom that also connects to the office.  The living room is long and rectangular.  The kitchen and dining room are connected and the deck is directly off the dining room.  Through the kitchen is the laundry room, and then the garage (which we only keep a car and lawnmower in, according to my picture- ha). Our bottom floor is basically a big circle- which is often confusing for some people. 

A funny story- the first night in our new house, Tim and Jackson went up the stairs to go to bed.  Ellie was being wild and zooming around- and she had never seen stairs before this house.  She watched Jackson go up the stairs, but instead of following him up, she ran around to the dining room and stood waiting for him to come out in there!!  Silly girl.

Anyway- speaking of, here’s the second story:

As you go up the stairs you end up in front of the bathroom, with a bedroom on either side.  We made the left hand bedroom our master bedroom because we were afraid if we didn’t, we’d never go upstairs!!  Plus it’s warm and cozy in the winter.  Both bedrooms have large closets (we are not lacking in closet space in this house).  There is a little storage space off our bedroom closet.  And a dormer in each bedroom.

And that’s it- all 1900 square feet!  Just the right amount of space for us and our 5 fur kids!  I love that we have enough extra space to have family and friends stay over.  I know that will change one day when we have non-fur children, but for now we have 3 extra rooms worth of space.  We had 5 friends come stay with us this summer and every one had their own room- it was awesome.

Did the layout surprise you or was this how you pictured our house?  Have you used Floorplanner before?

Bathroom break…?

I’m back again, with another bathroom post.  Don’t worry, we only have 2 bathrooms so this will be the last bathroom post!   
We actually re-did our upstairs bathroom (master bath to us, but really sandwiched between the 2 upstairs bedrooms) before the downstairs bath.  It looked like this when we moved in: 
Giant mirror and 80’s light fixture?  Check.  White laminate counter top and linoleum?  Check.  Towel shelf precariously hanging on wall (wouldn’t be able to hold a towel)?  Check.

 The first thing we did was remove the giant mirror, because we needed to have it cut down (it too was held on by plastic flower clips, 4″ in from the sides.  Bizarre).  A tip- any local glass shop can do this for you, and to cut ours down it cost around $20 per mirror.  This beats buying a new mirror- even cut down ours measure ~4 ft x 3 ft.

Look what we found behind the mirror:

Oh yeah, blue flowered wallpaper.  Awesome.  Gotta love it when someone just paints right over it…

Because the wallpaper had been painted over many times…we painted over as well.  Not ideal, but way less work than removing it.  We did remove pieces that were peeling off, then put spackle over the line between the wallpaper and bare wall and sanded in smooth.  We have flat walls, and I think this method worked well- you cannot see areas where we spackled.  Where the prior owners spackled?  You can see that.  And we’ve fixed some ugly spots thanks to them.

We used the same counter top, faucet and light fixture as the downstairs bathroom, which we installed ourselves.  The mirror got framed in this bathroom as well- hmmm, I think I should write a separate post on how to do this, since I googled all over the place to figure out how.  I sadly do not have in process pictures, but I can certainly explain how we did it – I think it turned out well.  We did not re-do the floors in this bathroom- that’s on the future to-do list.  The floors are fine (and thankfully no rotten floor in this room- yikes, I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d deal with that in a 2 story house!) just not updated.  When we do the floors in this room, we’ll probably use the same vinyl flooring as downstairs, (we still have an almost full box left from downstairs- hmmm, that reminds me, we should buy it before they discontinue the color!) but we are NOT removing the linoleum first.  We are going right over the top- because I am never removing linoleum again.  That was a nightmare.

Care to see it?

Done!  We used Contemplation by Behr as the wall color.  This color is the same color that’s in our master bedroom closet and master bedroom ceiling.  Master bedroom walls are Sage Grey by Behr.

And a view from inside the room.  The picture frames have changed since this picture was taken- they’re now white.

As in every room we’ve re-done, we changed out the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel (drawer pulls were already that way when we moved in) and replaced all the switches, switch plates and outlet plates to white (seriously- this last part is the easiest, cheapest way to update a room!!)

That’s the upstairs bath!!  I love it- it’s very calming.  Thankfully this was a pretty simple re-do. Not like the downstairs bath (which you can read about here).

What’s your favorite room in your house?  I’m not sure if this room is my favorite, but it’s pretty close!


I’m back!  Betcha didn’t think I’d make it after the weekend!!  Ha- maybe I will stick to this blogging thing.
So after we bought our house, we spent the next 8 months painting every. single. surface.  (I don’t think we did anything have to do with the outside, except stain the fence- and technically that could be considered painting as well!)  Some people say that a room in your house won’t feel like your own until you paint it- I can see that.  Especially since one of the draws about owning your own home is making it your own space.  We had two motivators for painting the rooms soon after moving into our house, aside from making it our own space.  1. The people who lived there before were TERRIBLE painters.  I have a sneaking suspicion they painted right before they put it on the market, because that paint was slapped up on those walls.  Example: our bedroom was tan except part of one wall (not the whole wall) got left blue- why??  2.  We didn’t want to move furniture into a room until the room got painted, because we didn’t want to be playing furniture shuffle.  So our bedroom was the first to be painted, then the kitchen, then the living room, etc etc. 
Now where am I going with all of this?  Well, a few months after we’d moved in, we decided to paint the downstairs bathroom.  This was about a month before my husband’s parents were coming stay with us.  The bathroom wasn’t terrible from afar:
See- not too bad.  What you don’t fully see is the slapped on paint that’s too dark for the space, the white laminate counter top that is separating from the plywood and the giant mirror/light fixture that’s straight from the 80’s.

But up close it needed some love- especially after we’d freshened up the rest of the rooms of the house. So my husband took it upon himself to start painting the bathroom one weekend.  We like to start by painting the trim, because it’s easiest to tape off.  Around the tub is quarter-round trim that is sealed with silicone.  He started by scraping off the old silicone…to discover the quarter-round was soft.  As in squish your finger into it soft.  Whoops.  So out came the quarter-round.  Then, he got a wild hair to peel back the linoleum to see if there was any water damage to the sub-floor.  Can you guess what he found?  Yup.  Next thing we know, the bathroom starts looking like this:

Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple paint job??

 And this:

Yep, not simple.

 What we discovered was the subfloor by the tub was rotten.  And water had actually seeped under the wall, into the bedroom next door.  Yikes.  Luckily, the wall was not soft.  And we were able to pull back the carpet in the bedroom and air dry everything- the water seepage was fairly contained to a small spot and the only major damage was in the bathroom.  Phew.  (But picture me panicked when this all first started- that’s what I do, panic like it’s my JOB.)

So my husband cut out a piece of the sub-floor (FYI- never done this before- another great thing about owning your own house, you learn on the job!) and replaced it with a new piece of plywood.  What you don’t see pictures of is the 3 days (!!) it took to remove the linoleum first.  They glue that sh*t down!  I never, ever want to repeat that process!!

After the floor was finished, there was just the simple task of patching holes, leveling the walls with spackle and sanding (FYI- never put layer after layer of paint around a light fixture/mirror- it leaves a giant ridge), replacing the counter top (can’t have pretty walls with out a pretty counter!), oh yeah and laying a new floor!  Did I mention that my in-laws would be visiting within the month and that this was our only bathroom downstairs??  Nothing like a little pressure to get you moving.

We didn’t have the tools to lay tile, and I personally do not love the feel of tile, nor the amount of effort it takes to clean it.  So we picked up some vinyl flooring from Home Depot** that is a row of 3 tiles that “stick” in place (it was kind of like laying tongue and groove flooring that’s sticky) and looks/feels like tile.  See:

Not too bad for vinyl!!

The counter top was ordered from Home Depot (seriously, they love us there!) and is a solid surface coating over cultured marble (special order, made by St Paul, color is ginger).  We chose a rectangular, undermount sink.  LOVE (all sinks should be undermount, IMHO).  The faucet isn’t pictured, but it’s this one by Glacier Bay.  The light fixture is similar to this one (the sides are square though, not rounded like the one in the picture)- I was limited by what I could choose for the new light fixture because the hole for the electrical was a large square, not a small circle.  Boo.

We also had the mirror cut down, because it was mounted with plastic flowers that were 4″ inset from the edge of the mirror- gag.  Plus it was GIANT.  After re-mounting it with thin silver mirror hooks, my husband framed it out with pieces of stained pine molding.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the frame- that was done long after my in-laws visit (Note to self- take updated pics!).

Want to see the end result?

Ta da!  The stained glass came from my husband’s grandparent’s house.  It happened to fit PERFECTLY in the window and the frame matches the stain on the vanity- total coincidence.  It looks really lovely during the day when the sun is shining through.  The paint color is Harvest Brown by Behr, with Raffia Cream on the ceiling (we also used these colors in the living room and laundry room- they read differently in ever room)

Phew.  That bathroom was a lot more work than we’d expected it to be- but it looks so nice now.  Well worth the effort.  What do you think?  Have you ever found a surprise while doing a simple project at your house?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by this company for this post.

Re-visiting the kitchen

I’m not going to say anything about how this is post #2 in as many days, for fear of jinxing my progress.  Whoops- guess I did just say something.
Anyway…a room that is constantly changing in our house is the kitchen.  Well, kitchen and dining room actually, since they are one room.  The kitchen was the selling point of the house (that and the big backyard).  We really loved the custom wood cabinets, layout and the storage space.  What we didn’t love were the counter tops, appliances and the paint color- the counter tops were 21 year old white laminate that had lost its finish and was separating from the plywood it was attached to.  You could set a coffee cup down and leave a permanent ring.  Awesome.  We knew that we could only live with these for so long (and lucky us, all the counters in the house were white laminate!)  Unfortunately, new counters are expensive, so we’d have to let that one wait awhile.  The easiest (and least expensive) thing to change was the paint color.  Because blood red just wasn’t workin’:
The blood red dining room with previous owner’s furniture

The blood red kitchen and lovely white counter tops.  Plus old, inefficient appliances.

 I’d always wanted to do a kitchen in green, so off I went to get a million paint chips and tape them to the walls.  My husband actually made the color choice, going with Mother Nature by Behr.  The ceiling is actually a couple of shades of green lighter- I’m not 100% on the color, it’s either Corn Husk Green by Behr or Rejuvenate by Behr.  Whatever it is, it’s pretty.  I do wish that either a. I’d chosen a shade or two lighter for the ceiling, because only in certain lighting can you tell there is a color difference or b. that we had crown molding in the dining room to better separate the two colors.  The crown molding idea is still on the table, we’re just not 100% sure how to do that because our cabinets already have crown that meets the dining room wall- installing crown in the dining room would involve taking off the crown on the cabinets and cutting it.  Not to mention I would like white crown for the dining room- and that cut would have to be perfect in order to match up between the white and wood crown.  It makes my head spin, I tell ya.

Anyway.  So we painted the kitchen (and discovered part way through the process that there was wallpaper under that blood red color.  Awesome.  Since it’d been painted over at least once, we just painted right over it, because removing it would have been a PAIN) and purchased a couple of appliances.  The fridge we inherited was small, inefficient and dirty.  That got moved to the garage and is now the extra fridge/dog treat holder (yeah, our dogs are spoiled).  The stove was also inefficient and dirty.  I cleaned it up and we gave it to a friend of a friend (who was using a stove from the 50’s…).  Oh and we also updated the lighting- taking the kitchen lighting from fluorescent strip and can light to track and pendant (I used one of the can light converter kits to install the pendant).  So here’s the kitchen after we did all that:

Kitchen with new paint, new appliances and new lighting.  You can see here how the dining room is right next to the kitchen.

 The dining room didn’t get much of an upgrade- we painted and installed the light fixture in the opposite direction.  Not my favorite light fixture but it worked so we went with it.  Oh and we also changed out all the door hardware from brass to brushed nickle and light switches/outlet covers from almond to white (this trick is by far the cheapest, easiest thing you can do to instantly update a room).

Dining room and a kitty- that’s Amber.  She loves to be the center of attention.

At Christmas, my parents generously gifted us with a new dishwasher and microwave, rounding out the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  About a month later, we’d had it with the laminate counter tops and bit the counter top bullet.  I’d been eyeing Corian countertops for several months- I liked the solid surface (no way was I going to deal with laminate again) and the fact that they are man-made.  Plus the color goes through the entire counter, so if there’s ever a scratch we can just sand it out.  We even went to Home Depot** a few months prior to our purchase and picked out a bunch of tiles to choose from and then harassed asked everyone who came to our house to pick their favorite.  Once we’d narrowed it down to 3 choices, I ordered 10″x10″ tiles directly from Corian.  If you’re going to make a large investment in counters, you won’t regret spending the $15 per tile to see a bigger version of your teeny tiny sample tile.  2 of the colors we thought we liked were gross in large tiles, and the one we were just so so about was gorgeous in a large tile (the tiny tile left out SO much detail).  And we actually use the sample tiles all the time as trivets for our hot pots and pans- bonus!

Anyway- lucky us, Home Depot was having a counter top deal.  We ended up with a free sink, a discount on our color choice, 12 months no interest financing plus I think another 10% off the entire order or something like that- it was a great deal.  We went with a single basin, under-mount stainless sink.  LOVE.  I’m never going back to a double basin sink again.  The faucet is this one– we both wanted something with a pull out sprayer (not pull down) and only one hole cut in the counter (so we didn’t have the soap dispense installed).  So far it’s been a great faucet- no complaints.  Ok, without further ado:


Kitchen after counter top installation.  The color is “burled beach” and is 10,000x prettier in person.  Our kitchen doesn’t get a ton of light because we have a lot of trees, so we went with something light to keep it from getting too dark in the kitchen (because painting the cabinets is 100% out of the question)

With the pretty new counter tops, the rest of the kitchen was looking a little bland with only wood, stainless and green.  I had to spice it up a bit- we don’t love clutter on the counters so colored accessories were out.  One day I happened to stumble upon a shade at World Market** that I knew would be perfect!  Lucky me, it was on sale and the perfect size for the window (they’ve since sold out of this shade- insert giant sad face here).

Here’s the shade installed.  One thing that gives me hives about our kitchen- WHY is the light not centered between the cabinets??  Seriously folks…

The shade was SO pretty I quickly snatched up 2 more for the dining room windows, because the dining room was looking sad in comparison.  I installed them as outside mounts because they were the wrong size for inside mounting- I think they worked out just fine though.  We also just recently updated the chandelier in the dining room- the one we’d flipped always hung slightly crooked and too high above the table.  I found this one on sale at Home Depot and snatched it up.  LOVE. 

New shades and chandelier in the dining room make things feel more cozy.

And that rounds out the tour of our kitchen and dining room.  We love it.  The only thing left to change is the flooring (which is about as annoying as the counter tops were) but that’s something that’ll have to wait awhile- for now we’re pretty happy with our pretty kitchen and dining room!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by these companies for this post.

Long time no blog…

WOW.  It’s been a LONG time since I last updated this.  I have to say, I got really into reading other people’s blogs but have completely neglected to update my own.  Owning a house and doing renovations take a lot of time- I admire all those bloggers out there who can find the time to renovate AND take photos of the entire process.  I usually forget until after we’re done!  At least I try to get a before and after picture.  So an early new year’s resolution for myself- blog more!  I love sharing what we’ve done to the house, and a blog seems to be a great outlet for that.  So I’m starting off with an update of ALL that we’ve done since we moved in to our house in April, 2010.

  • Removed/limbed several trees in the backyard
  • Put up a fence (~500 linear feet total- sides are wood privacy, back is chain link)
  • Replaced appliances- since April we’ve put in a new stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave and washer/dryer.  It’s amazing what you’ll tolerate in a rental but can’t stand in your own home.  Everything was old (some 21 years old!) and got recycled.
  • Installed a new heating/cooling system- this was also 21 years old and about to kick the bucket
  • Painted EVERY room in the house except one (we’re thinking this might one day be a nursery, so we’re saving the painting until we’re ready for that…right now the cats are the only ones enjoying that room and they don’t seem to care about the color).  We should have bought stock in painters tape!  This was a lot of work but it freshened up everything really nicely.
  • Replaced light fixtures inside and out
  • Replaced outlets, switches and covers (from almond to white) and door hardware (from brass to brushed nickle).  Let me tell you- that’s probably the cheapest, easiest way to update your house.  It makes quite a difference!
  • Replaced bathroom countertops in both bathrooms (ummm, can you say fugly white laminate that was peeling up from the plywood underneath??  shudder…)
  • Replaced the downstairs bathroom floor.  This was an adventure- we discovered part of the subfloor was rotten and so out it went.  Peeling up laminate flooring is a job and a half…let’s just say we won’t be doing that again- any other new flooring goes right over the top!

Phew- I think that’s it for everything that we’ve done so far.   We’ve got a list a mile long still to complete, but the painting/renovating frenzy has died down a bit.  It’s really starting to come together and look like a home.  Next up we have plans for new kitchen countertops (um yeah, fugly white laminate in there too) and maybe some new flooring?  We also need to stain our new fence, re-finish the deck, get our garden started, etc etc etc.  The list of things to do never ends!

For now I’ll leave you with some before and afters of the house, because everyone loves a good before and after photo shoot!   Enjoy…

Kitchen when we moved in- old stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave and light fixtures

Dining room, adjacent to the kitchen.  Old owner’s furnishings and paint

Kitchen as it looks today (except microwave and dishwasher are now updated as well).  New light fixtures, paint and appliances.

Dining room- we flipped the light fixture and changed the paint.  There are now curtains up as well

Office before- just off the dining room

Office after- new paint only.  This room needs a new ceiling fan as well, but we’ll get there eventually.

Downstairs guest bedroom before (Jack and Jill bathroom in between guest room and office- this was the bathroom with the rotten floor.  No finished pics of that yet…)

Downstairs guest room after (this is technically the master bedroom but we put the master upstairs).  I also have a vinyl graphic up in this room- I’m a big fan of the vinyl graphics and will try to do a post on that soon

Upstairs bedroom which we are using as a master bedroom

Upstairs master after

Upstairs bathroom before

Upstairs bathroom after- new paint and counter tops.

Laundry room before

Laundry room after- notice the vinyl graphic.  Love it!

Living room before (as seen from front door)

Living room again, looking in from kitchen

Living room after (see the coffee table??)…I have a better after photo somewhere that has pictures on the wall and the chairs in a little different position…

Living room after- SO much better!  Hard to see in this photo, but the coffee table has new decorations and the door pulls are now brushed nickle instead of brass (remembering WAY back to my 2nd post…)

Thanks for reading and again, I’ll be trying to update this more often!


Welcome to my blog! My name is Emily and I’m a marine biologist currently residing in Georgia. I really enjoy crafting and creating things in my free time (gotta use both sides of the brain equally, right?) I’m also a huge fan of finding a good bargain-who isn’t these days? My love of all things DIY and bargain hunting have recently turned into obsessions, due to the fact that my husband and I will become first time homeowners on 3/31/10!! This has been a long time coming for us, and we (especially ME) are eagerly chomping at the bit to get the home improvement projects started (my honey-do list has reached mammoth proportions…in my brain anyway). This spot will (hopefully) serve to document the progress of our home improvement projects through out the months and years to come…

Our new digs…