Friday, April 22, 2011

Before and Almost After: Kitchen and Dining Room

DISCLAIMER: The title "Before and Almost After" is very important here. We are nowhere near done yet, but I'm going to show you what you'd see if you showed up at our door today. (You can click on any picture to make it bigger)

A little reminder of what the kitchen and dining room looked like on the day of our closing:

Alright, Alright, Alright

I was pretty much set on abandoning the blog. Between work, getting my masters and trying to move I've been very busy. It's just so much easier not to blog!!

But... I have had MANY requests to update. I had no idea anyone other than my immediate family, Jaclyn and Angela actually read it. So I suppose that I can give you some updates, being that I'm on spring break from school this week.

1. We moved in to the new house. I didn't take a single picture the entire day, but Lauren did so I'll have to see if I can get my hands on them.

2. We had duct work installed with forced air heat and central air. It's an ongoing process, but we've already seen MAJOR improvements on our electric bills.

3. We've built a lot of Ikea furniture and slightly decorated.

4. I have a pretty serious "closet" that you absolutely NEED to see.

5. We still have A LOT to do. The downstairs bathroom is still gutted (Bill just got back to work pulling up the tile floor), we don't have any molding throughout the entire downstairs, the sun porch looks like a storage unit, the doors and molding around them need to be painted, and our bedroom is mayhem (other than our delightful new bedspread).

I will leave you with this picture that I took the other day (from the couch) that made me feel a little bit better about how far we've come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'd Like to Thank the Little People...

Worst Blogger Ever Award goes to me!  Truth is, not much has been done since my last post. We have really cut back on working on the house during the week. The electric company replaced our meter (the old one was 26 years old), but the heaters still appear to be sucking electric.

We did manage to finish the kitchen though! The microwave was installed on Saturday- which finished off the major work.

Let me remind you of the kitchen the way it was...

We had a laundry list of things to do that included:

Peel Wallpaper
Paint Walls
Paint Cabinets
Change Hardware
Replace Appliances (Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Stove, Microwave)
Replace Molding
Tile Backsplash
Remove Heater from behind fridge
Paint Door
Change Lighting
Change Faucet
Update Electrical Outlets

As you can see, we have accomplished a lot! But there's still a few things left to do, that will probably have to wait until we move in.

So without further ado, I present to you our (mostly) finished kitchen!!

You can see the unpainted door and little crawl through to the bathroom to the left of the dishwasher. You can also see where the molding needs to be replaced behind the fridge.

I think it needs a rug or something to cover up the floor. We don't plan on redoing that part until we tear out those cabinets. Other than that, I'm in love!

What do you think?!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bubye Birdies: Bathroom Renovation Part 1

Making fun of the wild things you see in houses while on the hunt is fun... until they belong to you. I remember the first time I saw these love herons like it was just yesterday...

We were caught off guard the first time we laid eyes on the hand painted love birds we saw the first time through the house. Seemed like an easy fix- we'd tear down the wallpaper, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and replace the shower doors.

We hired some help for the wallpaper... 

Then Bill released the birds...

Side note: We took the doors out to the curb- obviously someone would want these beauties (plus it was trash day).  We came back the following day to find this scene at the curb:

All I can say is those birds better have broken out of their glass and flown away. I don't want to start off on a bad foot with our trash men... but if they did do this they don't know who they're messin' with! (I will say someone also suggested that the cold temps may have caused the glass to shatter... those trash guys better hope this was the case!)

Moving on...

Then our plans got bigger. We wanted a new toilet. Then a new vanity. And while we were at it, why not tear up the floor? Once all of that was out, why not the shower walls too? So we started demolishing the entire room, but more on that later...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Google Search: coupon code atlantic city electric?

We've had a pretty interesting few days. We got our first electric bill. It was for $845.03. You read that correctly. And no, I didn't misplace the decimal. $845.03 for a place we don't even live in yet!

So now we wait for our billing dispute to go through and gets loads of estimates from heating guys to switch our electric heat to gas. Anybody know a guy? who wants to do it for $5 and a case of beer? lemme know.

Anywho, I decided I'd start to share our bathroom demolition/renovation with you. This series may take a while to finish as work on the bathroom has stalled. (We're trying to not use the electricity as much as possible, so we're spending a little less time at the house this week while we sort it all out.)

But for now I will start to show you the demolition process. I'll leave you with a little reminder of what we're working with...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dishwasher, Dishwasher, Clean us a Dish...

After the chicken nugget experiment, we had some dirty plates. So we decided to test out the new dishwasher. Living in a rented apartment, we're lucky we even have a dishwasher. It's old so we pretty much need to wash the dishes completely before we load them for a sanitizing cycle.

We always see people (on commercials mostly) loading really dirty dishes into a new dishwasher and the dishes come out sparkling. So we decided to give it a whirl.

Question: Will our dishwasher fully clean a dirty dish caked with ketchup and honey mustard?

Hypothesis: Our dishwasher will fully clean and sanitize a dish caked on with ketchup and honey mustard.

Step 1: Create dirty plates.

Step 2: Load dishwasher with said dirty plates:

Step 3: Set dishwasher to normal cycle and press start.

Step 4: Wait 120 minutes.

Step 5: Open dishwasher and analyze results.

By golly, those dishes are spotless!

Conclusion: Our dishwasher fully cleans and sanitizes a dish caked on with ketchup and honey mustard.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Chicken Nugget Time!!

Yes, this is an entire post about Chicken Nuggets. It's that important. 

When Bill and I were shopping for appliances we started to notice a trend in ranges: most of them had a "Chicken Nugget" button. In the beginning we thought this was strange. Then it became a joke, we'd sarcastically laugh about how we wouldn't buy an oven without one of these fancy buttons. When we walked into Art Handler we were sold on the deal they had on the Frigidaire professional series. But the best part? Not only did the oven have a chicken nugget button, but so did the microwave! We decided then and there that the first thing we cooked in the oven absolutely HAD to be chicken nuggets.

Well, last week we had the appliances delivered. The microwave wasn't in yet though. We hooked up the fridge and dishwasher, but the outlet behind the stove needs to be changed, so we only hooked the gas up to it.

We decided to pick up some chicken nuggets while we were at the grocery store today anyway.

When we got back to the house, we brought in some back up:

I pressed the chicken nugget button and the oven read 20 then started heating up.

(CHI stands for chicken nugget)

Because this was the first time we'd turned it on, the oven had that "I've never been turned on, so I'm going to smell like burning chemicals" odor to it. We decided to hold off on putting the nuggets in, canceled the nugget button and preheated the oven to 400 to burn off those toxic chemical smells. The oven couldn't have taken more than 5 or 10 minutes to get to 400 degrees. Talk about efficient!

While all of this was happening, we loaded up a tray of nuggets:

After about 15 minutes, we decided it was go-time. We pressed the nugget button again, popped in the nuggets, and 20 minutes later we had perfectly cooked chicken nuggets.

We were a little bummed that we bought cheap nuggets and actually had a serious conversation about how delicious it would be to get some frozen chicken nuggets from Wendy's to cook with our button. We're pretty serious about this.

All and all, we were pretty happy with the outcome. We had crispy, golden brown chicken nuggets. I don't know how often we'll actually use this feature, we're not really big chicken nugget eaters. I'll let you know how it goes with the nugget button on the microwave once it's installed, though.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let's start decorating!

I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but I started to get an itch to buy pretty things from places other than Home Depot. Being on a serious budget has severely cut down on my shopping for anything other than tile, paint and Smart Ones (a girl's gotta eat). With paint on the walls and ugly blue carpets on the upstairs floors, I decided to satisfy the spending itch by purchasing duvet covers to get an idea of where these rooms were going.

side note: I'm purposefully not posting anything about our BRAND NEW APPLIANCES until they are completely installed. The microwave did not come in with everything else, but we should have it by Saturday.

Anywho, Bill and I registered for (and received) a beautiful duvet that's mostly white with a green border mixed in. (Bill has issues with "girly" bedspreads) However, with the lovely blue carpets upstairs, that just wasn't going to work....

I started by looking for duvet's with a coordinating blue theme... and then remembered I hate the color blue. It's just so lame. Then, I thought about something neutral, like browns and off-whites, but just couldn't picture it with the blue carpets. Then a light bulb went off. How about silver? Bill would probably think silver was manly enough, and maybe- just maybe I could find something pretty. I did:
I can finally picture a room I like with blue carpet! The best news?! Bill likes it, floral pattern and all! Then it was on to the guest bedroom. As a reminder, we painted the bedroom walls a steel blue color...

As an avid home renovation/decorating blog reader (I <3 YHL) it's hard to miss everyone talking about I decided to check it out and found a duvet I absolutely love:
And the best part? It was on sale! We all know how much I love a good bargain (read: won't buy anything unless it's heavily discounted). At 20% off, I decided it was perfect and placed my order! And surprisingly, Bill likes all those flowers! I'm thinking it's the beachy feel of them that won him over..

It's so exciting to start to have an idea of where these rooms are going! There's only so much painting and tiling I can handle! I can't wait to be able to start really decorating these rooms!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Creating a splash!

A back splash, that is. When we pulled this beauty out of the kitchen,

We found an unfinished wall like this:

You see, the Caloric Microwave/Oven combo covered the wall from floor to ceiling, leaving a back splash or any kind of wall covering unnecessary for the previous owners. With our new appliances being delivered tomorrow (YES TOMORROW!!), we needed a solution for the open space that would be created by our new-aged, non-connected microwave and range.

One day a few weeks ago, I was showing my mom the mosaic tile we bought for the bathroom wall. We happened to be looking at it right next to that big gaping hole in the cabinets. She asked why not use the same tile for the back splash. Genius I tell you. Genius (don't tell her I said that, I'll never live it down). The tile coordinates perfectly with the cabinets, walls, floors and just about everything. So this tile was going to be our back splash:

It's a recycled glass mosaic from home depot. We decided to learn to tile a little sooner than we had planned. We went back to home depot for the 4th time that week and picked up more tile. We also checked with one of the employees as to what they recommended we use to lay the tile. Unfortunately we were at the Absecon Home Depot, where Bill swears they hire anyone. So we were pretty much on our own.

Side note: Once we asked one of the employees about a certain floor tile for the bathroom. The tile was on the other side of the store, so the guy walked with us over to it. Bill asked him questions about the tile the whole way there (I know, Bill talking, shocking). When we got to the tile display, the guy said "This is floor tile. Is there anything else I can help you with?," and walked away. We left there and drove out to the EHT Home Depot.

We started by cutting out the half pieces of white back splash tile they had on the wall. It was so nice of Bill to buy his dad a tool that cuts tile for Christmas.

Of course, we're all about the proper attire. (It's all about style...)

We measured and measured and measured again (BTW I totally used this project as an example for area and square footage in class this week). We marked exactly where we wanted the 12 x 12 squares, then started applying the adhesive.

Then we started applying the tile:

And then we started grouting:

Of course, I had to give it a whirl. (How many of you think Home Alone when you hear "Give it a whirl?")

Then we waited and waited and waited... and ended up with this...

We are beyond thrilled with the way it turned out! We can't wait to see the finished product tomorrow with our appliances in place! We are about to have our first complete "Before and After!!!" Check back for the big reveal!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Re)Finishing the Floors: Part 5

Betcha thought we were done after part 4, huh? So did we. And then we started to get nervous about the floors. We got our first knick. Then our second. All the salt from the snow started getting tracked in. We needed to do something to protect the floors while we continued to work on the rest of the house.

We consulted our personal interior decorator, Uncle Greg. You don't know Uncle Greg? Meet Uncle Greg (and Bill's mom-mom):

Uncle Greg said COVER THOSE FLOORS!! (duh) So we picked up some floor paper at home depot and got to work.

We cleaned the floors completely; swept, vacuumed, swiffered (with our non-swiffer, awesome hardwood floor cleaner my mom suggested we pick up at Sam's):

The non-Swiffer is about twice the width of a regular Swiffer and has two machine washable pads.

Then we got to work on laying and taping the paper:

We got the kitchen and living room covered. Then I foolishly offered to take on the stairs. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Here I am, optimistic about my job:

I got about this far:

...Until I decided it wasn't working. I mean, it was working but it was totally going to come undone the first time someone walked on it. I had visions of skipping down the steps and wiping out on loose paper and ending up looking like this guy:

So I changed methods and ended up with fully covered stairs:

It may not be pretty, but it's still holding strong. And with that, I hope to not post about the floors again until it's time to pull up the paper and move in!