Kitchen Progress

Our Kitchen has been the room we’ve worked on the most, I think.  It has gone through many phases so far, and so this post is quite photo-intensive.

Just like the rest of our house, the kitchen was in serious need of updating.  It was so dark, even with 4 windows!  It is nice and big with lots of storage, which I love!  It has an L shape.  Keep that in mind when viewing these photos.

Here’s what we started with:





The little half-wall you see at the far right in the above picture is for the fridge, and separates the dining room, which looked like this:

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I don’t know about you, but this does not scream “I’m a happy kitchen” to me at all.  This poor place was so stuck in the 60’s, it was pathetic.

Before we moved in, I decided to paint the cabinets.  I took all the doors off and purchased a sprayer to do the bare bones of it with.  First, I had to mask everything off, and then I went to town.



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It took about 6 coats!  I painted the doors in another room, and I’m still not happy with how they turned out.  I need to repaint them, but that’s another story for another day.

So, we went for…….4ish months without doors on our cabinets.  It was so classy.



We also purchased all new appliances.  I am extremely happy with our choices.  We chose the Whirlpool brand.  They were really cost effective, are super pretty, and work great.  We didn’t replace the oven, since it had been put in in 2008.  We didn’t quite have enough money for a dishwasher at the time, but my parents had just gotten a new one, and let us have their old one that was still in really good condition.  It was so nice of them!

With all the storage in this place, it still didn’t have a pantry.  It drove me nuts.  I hate putting food in the cupboards, especially because most of the shelves aren’t tall enough to fit things like cereal boxes or tall bottles of Olive Oil.  My dad had a genius idea to build me one that surrounds the fridge, which was lonely all by itself on that wall across from the stove.

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He built the pieces, and then installed it right in place. It has 4 shelves per side, and they are like drawers- they slide out all the way, which makes it so easy to find things.  I love it so much!



Oh, and by the way, we installed tile around that time too. We were so glad to get rid of that ugly linoleum!

Eventually, doors got put on cabinets, and things got a lot cleaner around here.

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There were places we still hadn’t put beadboard up (like the back of the fridge wall above), and we didn’t have any baseboard, and the counter top color looks bad with the wall color, but this is the way it stayed for a year.

Until one wise soul pointed to our fridge wall and asked,  “……ummmm, why is this even here?”  and then it dawned on us……

Why was that fridge wall there?  We had a completely free wall over to the side.



(The one with the photo on it)

So, we decided to move it.

My dad came over one day, and we knocked it out in about 3 hours.

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By the end of the night, we had it cleaned up, and everything was put back into the pantry.  All that was left, was patching the tile.

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It opened up the space better than we had imagined it could!  We were so excited!  Now, our kitchen is HUGE!  That, and you aren’t cramped when you sit at our dining table!  Hallelujah!


Here is our kitchen as it stands today:

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And here is our dining table

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We fell in love with it at the store, right after we bought the house, but decided against it because it was so expensive.  When we had the fridge wall up, and the dining room was so tiny, we searched high and low for a dining table that would accommodate our space.  It needed to be long and skinny. Every table we found was either 44 or 46 inches wide, and that just wasn’t going to work.  After visiting no fewer than 982 stores, we decided that the above table was the only table in existence that would fit our space.  We went back on President’s day and it was on sale! Yay!  It was still a splurge, but I am so happy with it!  Even if we have more room now, I wouldn’t trade this table!  It is so pretty!  It also came with 2 leaves, and gets even bigger.  We recently purchased 2 more chairs to go with it as well, so that we can seat 8.

You may have noticed that there aren’t any curtains or blinds on our windows….

yeah…….we live in a fishbowl.  it sucks. At night, anyone driving by can see right in our house.  I have been so indecisive about what to do with it……meanwhile hating feeling like I’m being watched.  This past weekend, however, we found some shades that we like.  I will reveal that addition as soon as they are all up!

It pretty much goes without saying that the kitchen isn’t done.  We’re hoping to do more with it in the next year. For now, though, it’s great.  It works, it’s clean and we have places to put our stuff!  The rest can come later.






Living Room Progress

I figured I better get a move on with showing our progress with our house.  That is, after all, one of the main reasons I started this blog!  It’s been too long since I posted progress that didn’t involve dust and insulation.

We’ve only been focusing on making the upper floor pretty for now.  The living room is the first thing you see when you walk in our door, and so it’s been a priority.  No way is it even close to feeling full and complete enough to make me happy for a while.

For a refresher, we started with this:




A room with dingy beige walls, Aqua carpet, no window coverings, and barely a mantel at all.  The cupboard next to the fire place had a gas line running through it, and was too bulky for my taste.  The room felt too closed in with the long dark hallway next to it.



So the first thing we did was get rid of that gross carpet and tear out the wall to open things up a bit.

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It made a huge difference!  Then, it was time to pick paint and carpet.

I got way too many samples trying to decide what I wanted.  I finally found the perfect shade: Martha Stewart’s “Buckwheat Flour” (second from the left)

too-many-colorsI painted the top 2/3 with it.  Bottom 1/3 is Behr’s “Swan Wing”

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Then, we built a new, pretty mantel.



And we installed carpet.  This is where I last left off.



Since then, we built in a bookcase to fill the hole left of the fireplace.





And the fireplace got a makeover.



With all that said, here is our living room today:




It’s a really wonky shaped room.  it’s hard to figure out where the furniture goes right now. It’s long and gets skinnier at one end.  There is a lot of empty space that I’m trying to figure out what to do with.



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I really love how much natural light we get through our enormous picture window!


Don’t mind the little furball who found his way into my photos that day!

We’re using the nook to the right of the fireplace as a makeshift office at the moment.  That will change as soon as we paint the room that is going to be the office.



and another built in will go in it’s place.  (Yes, I know I haven’t finished painting.  LAZY)



The other side has been fun to play with.  I need to get better at styling, though.  For now, here it is



The Barbies at the bottom left corner are so special to me!  My mom had a seamstress friend replicate my wedding dress for a Barbie, and gave it to me when we got back from our honeymoon!  It was even made with left over fabric from my wedding dress!  I love it so much! My mom is pretty awesome.  The Barbie even has the same color eye shadow I wore on my wedding day, and green eyes like I have.  🙂





Even though our second anniversary is in 10 days, I haven’t put these away yet.  It just seems wrong to throw them in a box somewhere.  I’m contemplating a different place or better way to display them.

As for right now, our living room is definitely livable, but just isn’t right yet.  Which I realize will take time, but I’m so sick of it being so boring in here!  I need some color! It is way too monochrome. I’m brainstorming some ideas right now, but am still clueless as to how to make this room POP!

The things we have decided so far (besides that other bookcase), are that This piece needs to be painted black.   That, and repair the walls where all the old thermostats were.



It might stay there, it might not.  I’ll probably decide once it’s painted.

This will be a gallery wall



I want to do picture ledges here so we have the freedom to move things around.  I don’t want to have to commit to putting holes in the wall just yet.

Here is my inspiration



And yes, I plan on doing all black and white photos.

For this space, I’m thinking…..



Large scale wall art, or a big mirror with a buffet under.  I need some storage for table linens and picture frames.

I really love these pieces:





I know that I want it black, and up on legs so that it doesn’t look too heavy.  The latter photo is so out of our price range, it’s ridiculous.  I’m sure I’ll either end up finding one at a consignment store or building one.

The walls still need the picture frame molding to go up too.

Like this:




I’m also sick of the furniture. HA!  I’m finding that it is so hard to figure out what you want from the get go and go with it- at least for the more permanent pieces of the room.  The paint color, the carpet color, the couches.  Pinterest has got me all confused with how many options are out there!  Maybe for now, I’ll just focus on getting little accessories for the shelves, or things to hang on the wall that can be easily changed out.  I’ve become so indecisive about this whole process!

I’m really proud of all we’ve done so far, though.  We’ve really come a long way!


We’ve done quite a bit in our kitchen as well, that post will be up next week.


Gallery Wall

First Buffet

Expensive Buffet




A Little Getaway!

After our fiasco with the HVAC, we really just wanted to run away from our house for a bit.  We still had a couple days off work, so we decided to join my brothers in law camping in southern UT.  I had never been to this part before, and I was so amazed!

There was red clay, ponderosa pines, and the biggest aspen trees I’ve ever seen!  Not to mention all the free range cattle everywhere!  (Don’t worry, it didn’t smell)

We went off-roading, hiking, and cow chasing.  It was a glorious 2 days.

Here was our campsite:


And nearby, cliffs like this:

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Amazing, right?

We also ran into a whole ton of little ground squirrels.  They were not  afraid of us at all!  I coined them “The Little Buddies”

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And then there were the cows.  One morning, we woke up to their mooing.  Apparently babies don’t like it when they can’t see their mamas- even when mama is right behind them.  They are LOUD!  We saw a bull that was as big as our car!  They were friendly, though, and quite accommodating as we chased them away- although they were pretty noisy about it.

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That morning, I was photographing the group, and mentioned how I wished some would look at me.  Nick told me to turn around, and I found this:

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I can only assume from their size that they were the adolescent cows.  They were boys, and they all looked pissed off. Haha!

And then we found this cutie:



I love cows.  They are just so cute.  and dumb.

and this dude with seriously lacking eating etiquette:

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We went on a hike that  I complained loudly about half way there.  Nick wanted to climb to a peak we saw in the distance, and I was just SURE it would be awful.  Turns out, I was wrong, and our view was so awesome!  I’m glad we did it!

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On our way back, we found a deer jawbone.  I don’t know why I was so amazed by it, I’m sure there are COUNTLESS animal bones out in the wilderness.  Maybe something about it being my first time seeing something like that.  Well that and morbid curiosity.



So, it was a nice little getaway!  I want to go again next summer, but this time, stay a lot longer!  There is something so wonderful about being MILES from anyone.  Ahhhhhh……



Last time I wrote, I was all excited about how I was “on a roll” with blogging, and how I wanted to start posting more often.  That sounded so great until……life happened.

To make a long and painful story short, whe have been busy tearing apart our house. Yet again.  I think this is the worst stint we’ve had.

Our house did not have a traditional furnace.  We were blessed with electrical heat.  This means, the ceilings are ridiculously thick, because they accomodate sheetrock, a layer of heating wires and plaster, and then another sheet of sheetrock.  A heat sandwich, if you will.

We are sick of it!  heating 4 rooms during the winter costs $400 per month!  That, and we don’t have air conditioning.  Nope. Not even a little.  We slept downstairs during the summer months.  It just wasn’t good any way you looked at it.

Enter……what we’ve been doing lately.

We hired some dudes to come in and run duct work throughout our entire house, and install a regular gas furnace, along with a water heater and an air conditioner.

To say it’s been a fiasco, doesn’t even begin to explain it.

In order to get ready for the shenanigans, WE had to tear out EVERY SINGLE LITTLE BIT of the ceilings downstairs.  It was hard.  there was pain, there were tears.  Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating about the tears, but it really was awful.

We only had……3 days to complete this task.  WHAT A NIGHTMARE.  Did I mention we have 1800 square feet of ceiling in our basement?

First, we started on the tiny hallway and bathroom downstairs…..

20130717_163658 - Copy20130717_111036 - Copy It was a lot worse than we thought it would be.  our tiny bathroom and hallway took the better part of 8 hours to finish.  Plus, when we got into the ceiling, we found the wires….burned.  That’s not scary at all….

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We’re guesstimating that about 35% of the wires in here looked just like this.

Then, we moved on to the storage side of our basement.  It was much much easier, as it isn’t heated.  Only a single layer of sheetrock, without mud or paint.  we got it done in about an hour and a half.

The aftermath:

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I had to stand on that chair with the pink seat the whole time.  I’m not tall enough, the neck ache that came afterward was awful!

And then came the big room:


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This is what the heat looks like.  Luckily, nothing in our big room was burned.



Pulling down the heat wires:

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And then this happened:

20130721_202351it was madness.  Those wires were stapled every inch and snaked the entire ceiling.  I’m glad I wasn’t the one putting them up!  Ripping them down was much easier!

This left us with heavily insulated ceilings.  The insulation was held in by plastic, and we decided to leave it in, and have the HVAC guys only cut out what they needed to.


So, on the day they came, they probably cut out 1/4 or less of the insulation, but we still ended up with this:



and this:

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And don’t forget this one:



Here’s a size reference for you.  This was, in fact, the SMALLEST pile!



This is also the only one that has been cleaned up so far.  It took me a dustpan, 1 hour and 10 giant contractor garbage bags to get this baby outta here!   I have never needed a shower as bad as I did after I did that!

Speaking of showers……. our basement bathroom is the only bathroom in the house with a shower in it  (for now).  Since we have bare insulation in there right now, we haven’t been able to shower in it for fear of getting it moldy with the condensation.

So……. for the last 3 weeks, we have been showering at my in-law’s house.  I’m grateful that they are only next door, but it’s still been a giant pain!

They managed to get all of our heating and air done, and it’s working!  It’s a nice 70 degrees and I am so happy about it!  There were some crappy things that happened, some good things that happened, and things I’ll just have to live with.  When your house wasn’t built to have duct work put in, sometimes you have to compromise, even when you want to cry.  The worst things that happened were this:



This is where they had to go under the ceiling, because apparently when they built our house, they thought it would be a good idea to have the floor joists change directions part way through.  This was the only place we could do a run, but it totally took out my built in next to the fire place. TEAR.  But, if we hadn’t done it, two of our bedrooms would not have heat or ac.  So, Dani had to deal.  oh, and while they did this, they cut a major power line for the basement.  Took out half the basement lights and plugs.  We were furious.  They fixed it though, so all is well again.

And then this happened:



That would be a vent right in front of my stupid kitchen sink. Where I have already tripped and stubbed my toes numerous times.  Too bad for us, our foundation ends 3.5 feet before the main floor does.  FAIL.

Oh, and then there is this:



This is my banister.  I guess they thought it would be a good idea to bring a furnace in and over the railing and down our stairs than just straight in the basement.  But who am I? What do I know?  I’ll tell you what I know, and it’s that I’m going to have to sand and re paint my banister, and I’m not happy about it.


But now we have this:



and I’m happy to report we are sleeping in our own bed, in our own bedroom, and it’s 70 degrees.  And that, my friends, makes it worth it.  After two summers of having to sleep downstairs, and two summers of not being able to do much of anything upstairs, because it was so bloody hot.


Hopefully things can get back to normal  now.  Like……..the shower.