Most life-changing reno yet!

Well, that was dramatic..but seriously…EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, I would get home from work with my purse, laptop bag, and maybe my Yeti or coffee mug and..the front door of our house would make me mad.

There were a few issues with the door that definitely made us want to get a new one:Grass Re-do 3

  1. When you opened the old door, it swung in the direction that everyone wants to go when they enter our house. The ONLY thing to the left was our master bedroom, then the door swung in, and blocked you from entering the house until the door was closed. It seems like such a small annoyance, but seriously..friends would come over with their babies in car seats, have to trudge into our master bedroom, close the door, Tucker would then greet them with his normal excitement and some jumping (ugh), and then they could finally walk in.
  2. Did I say Tucker was excited? The fact that there were four sidelights on each side made it so that if he jumped with enough enthusiasm, his paws would rest right at the bottom of the fourth window. When he was ready to start his quest to saying hi to our visitors, his paws would create HUGE scratches down the sidelights. #classy
  3. There was also some rot under the threshold and it was definitely not as insulated as we would have liked (ie, sometimes you could see daylight through some cracks in the sidelights), so it made the decision to get rid of the old door that much easier.

So…when we decided to start on our currently-going-on project (more on that soon!), we decided that a new front door DEFINITELY needed to happen.

Anyway, it was the easiest shopping decision ever. Josh and I immediately liked the same door, didn’t like anything else, bought it, and moved on. (I think that was a first!)

We chose this door from Lowe’s (and of course bought the option with sidelights on each side)


We also took the opportunity to grab two updated lights to boost our curb appeal a bit more, too! Yay! Josh and his friend Oscar knocked out the installation in a few hours while I went Christmas shopping and said it was a breeze! Thanks guys! 🙂

Most importantly, I don’t groan every time I have to bring groceries in because I open the door and the hallway to the kitchen is right there! And Tucker doesn’t jump up on the sidelights anymore because the windows on these are too high up for him! Wins all around!! 🙂


Renovation Realities

Hey guys..remember me? Remember how a year and a half ago (or more?) I posted a post about our next big project? Yeah, that’s me. HAAAY. So..update. We gave up on the mudroom.

  1. We got our drawings from D+D Studio (who is amazing by the way) and our permits through the city have been approved.


2. We gutted the entire space, then Josh replaced and raised all of our ceiling beams. This will give us an additional foot or so of head room, which is amazing because we used to have to duck to make sure we didn’t hit our heads on the way down the stairs from the sunroom!!


3. We replaced a bunch of boards that were completely rotted out.

4. We put in a new concrete slab and built the wall between the mudroom and the bathroom. We extended the bathroom walls out to hide the water heater.

5. Josh replaced all of the electrical and plumbing and added a TON of can lights!

6. We got a new washer and dryer because ours totally died.

Then…we gave up. Well..not really..We just got busy with life, got overwhelmed with this project that neither of us were particularly excited about, I quit my job and got my real estate license, and we threw in the towel and we’re not looking back. My first year as a REALTOR is done and we’ve officially started working on a completely different project now. One that we’re super excited about and won’t give up on. Thanks for stickin’ with us over all this time! I look forward to giving you an ACTUAL update on the house soon! I mean it! 🙂

Our New Garage Door!

You know you are jealous of this dirty, gross garage door.

20160216_084711.jpg20160216_084722.jpg You aren’t? Color me surprised. Let’s not even mention that it didn’t open or close because the tracks were living on a prayer..Well, actually, one track was there..the second had an unfortunate encounter with Josh and it didn’t survive to tell the story. The ancient garage door opener also was not ruling at its’ job before the tracks went to hell.


We got a few companies to come by to give us quotes, and we ended up deciding pretty quickly to go with Precision Overhead Garage Door service of Hampton Roads, who blew us away with their professionalism and fair pricing. They were rated #1 on Angie’s List so we knew they’d be good, but when an awesome guy named Chad came out to give us a quote, he explained things clearly and in regular-people terms so that I could understand them (since Josh was snoozin’ away because he was on night shift) AND explain them to Josh afterwards. He even gave us a “Good/Better/Best” quote at three different levels of door/features/etc. Another company gave us a quote before even measuring the door or going inside of the garage to check out the set up..AND they gave us the highest quote. WTF. Bye. Move along. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. We also got a quote for us to DIY it and decided that the value Precision offered far exceeded the savings we’d get by doing it ourselves.

Anyway, we hired Precision, and it was worth every darn penny. They came out within a week and it was all set up and ready to go within a few hours. It was so nice…hiring people to finish things. 🙂 Despite a ton of rain, our technician (AH! I wish I would have written his name down) rocked it out. I kept going outside to offer him water/coffee/etc and he was so polite and awesome, even though he kept telling me “No.” Haha! He probably thought I was weird


^ That’s the new garage door opener.. 🙂



The new SUPER WHITE GARAGE DOOR makes it obvious how much we need to power wash the rest of the house this spring. Anyway, you know you are officially an adult when you stand in your driveway and record a video of your garage door opening and closing. I AM NOT ASHAMED! SO AWESOME!


If the videos don’t work, click these links!:


Party of 8!

Okay, so I’m going to start this post with a little bit of a #tbt because this is where our idea started…

We hosted Thanksgiving 2015 and once again, just like every other time we have more than 2 guests over to the house, we wished we had a larger dining room table!

Custom napkins made by my Mother in Law!
Our Thanksgiving Table!! 🙂

Josh then got the idea to build a new dining room table as his Christmas present to me. 🙂 He started it a week before Christmas Eve and worked on it secretly when I wasn’t around. Little did I know, he was aiming for it to be completed before Christmas Eve dinner.

Cue me being bossy and making him go do social things with me every night…so, the bench was done but he didn’t complete the table in time for Christmas Eve Dinner.


Of course, Distinctive Event Rentals came to the rescue for the dinner table and chair rentals. 🙂 I’m sad I didn’t get a picture, but just believe me when I say it looked good.

Anyway, after Christmas, we brought the table in to the dining room to check the sizing and such (and because we probably wouldn’t have been able to carry it with the table top on it-I have no idea how we’ll ever get it out of here…).


Josh realized after the bench was completely done that he made the bench 6 inches longer than it was planned to be, so then we added another 6 inches to the table to make the bench be able to be pushed under the table if we then we got worried the table would be WAYYY too big for the room, which is probably is, but we are ignoring that because it is amazing.

We are thrilled because we went from having a TINY round table that only comfortably seated 4, to being able to have 8 full-sized adults at one table!! Success!

Reminder of the dining room table before…


And here it is today…(Ignore the fact that the picture isn’t perfect..right now, the table is a dumping ground for all of our tax stuff..ick)


All the heart eyes!!! He made it from a modified Ana White plan and we bought the legs from Lowe’s! 🙂 He hand mixed the stain from two stain colors and used White Valspar Furniture paint for the legs. He’s the bomb..and I guarantee it will be the most used Christmas present EVER.



Get on the floor!

Faux Brick Tile Floors

So…we started this project in July prior to our trip to Turkey. We knew from our pre-purchase asbestos testing that the glue holding those sexy beast faux brick tiles down contained asbestos. Since it was only 2% of the make-up of the glue, we figured we’d chance it and just rip the tiles up and cross our fingers we don’t die in 50 years of diseases caused by asbestos. When we took up the first tile, there was scary looking powder under it and we decided just to encapsulate it and cover it with some pretty wood flooring. 🙂 Safety first.

The first step in doing so was to lay down a layer of luan, just like we did in our kitchen floor update.


After that, we put a layer of rubber matting to reduce any possibility of having creaks in the future.


We then realized we would have to take our door down in order to install the wood flooring. I took that opportunity to wash the door and paint it.



While I was painting the door, Josh got to work on the wood floors. We rented a floor nailer from the Home Depot Rental Counter and it was amazing. So amazing Josh struck a pose for me.


It was a pretty quick job-we finished this portion of this project in just two days.



Then came the week before our vacation to Turkey and we were just not feeling up to home improvement. We had too much stuff to do, so basically all productivity stopped there. Then, when we got home from Turkey, we were playing catch up, I started a new job, and Josh’s work schedule got busier than ever. So…weeks went by and it stayed like this.

But here..enjoy some pictures of Istanbul, ya’ll! It was amazing. You need to add it to your bucket list.

This slideshow requires JavaScript., when we finally got back to work, we rented two floor sanders and knocked it out in a day. The borders of the room took a few days more because we had to do it by hand. We tried many, many different methods to take off the stain around the border of the room, but found hand scraping with a paint scraper then following up with sanding with a coarse sandpaper on our Dremel Multi-Max Tool worked best. Our hand sanders didn’t get through the stain as well as the Multi-Max. That thing is my favorite tool ever.


We had previously decided we wanted to do a pretty dark floor and we fell in love with Minwax English Chestnut, but then once we got everything sanded, we started second guessing ourselves and thinking maybe a medium or light floor would be best. We debated for a while then agreed on Colonial Maple, stained a test area, then decided we hated it in this room. We ended up going with Minwax in English Chestnut. This is when I got myself back in to blogging mode and actually took pictures. 🙂








YAY! Doesn’t it look awesome?? We haven’t stained the floors in the sunroom yet, but we decided we are going to do the Polyurethane sealer in this room first, then tackle the sunroom after that. 🙂 We’ll keep you posted!

Guest What?

IMG_1693Last time we talked about the guest bedroom we had just completed the painting of the room and installing the ceiling fan from hell. IMG_1639We still had to buy, stain, and install new trim for the wall that got taken out after the great flood of 2014 because all of the baseboard trim on that wall got damaged. We decided to re-do that entire wall of trim and then get new crown molding for on the wood paneled wall too so that it would all match. I didn’t get an in-progress photo of installing the trim since Josh did it in the time that it took me to wash the dishes and go grocery shopping. It was a pretty quick process.

IMG_2083 IMG_2085

The new trim doesn’t match perfectly with the wood wall or the existing doors and windows because the trim on those has aged over time, but we stained it as close as we could get it. We even tried mixing several stain colors and couldn’t find anything that was perfect, so…this was one of those “We did what we could” moments. You can’t tell unless you are staring at it and we hope our future houseguests love us enough not to say anything.

After the trim was installed, we got the queen bed out from storage upstairs, put it together, and then brought down the box spring and mattress. We moved our desk and office supplies into this room (from the dining room!) and brought in a wardrobe from Josh’s parents’ house to hold all of our linens/towels/etc (we were keeping them in the pantry and other various places throughout the house-it was annoying). Now all that is left is hanging some artwork and window treatments and this room is DONE-ZO!  

IMG_2080 IMG_2088


Much better than it looked after the pipe debacle!



We have walls, people!!!

Josh started putting up the vapor barrier on Sunday (the clear stuff with the red tape holding in the insulation that we installed last weekend-no post on that because…it was boring, really.) Then, on Monday, the drywall and other supplies were delivered so that the crew could get started early Tuesday morning.



I went to work on Tuesday morning and when I came home, all of the drywall was hung. I sat on the floor for about an hour just soaking it all in because it makes a HUGE difference. For anyone out there is debating on DIYing drywall or hiring it out, I have three words of advice for you: HIRE IT OUT.




On Wednesday, they came in and mudded all of the seams and the places where they screwed the boards into the studs and then on Friday, they did all of the sanding!






They were FAST, ya’ll. And I think I may be addicted to hiring out jobs now, because I would leave for work and when I got home things would magically be done. It was amazing. It was definitely money well spent because if we were doing it, we’d probably still be hanging the first piece and then ripping it back off because it wasn’t good enough.

Now WE have to get back to work and get the whitewashed planked wood ceiling planned and installed. And prime and paint the walls (and decide on a color). And find light fixtures and fans we like. Etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, our money tree has lost a lot of leaves lately, so back to DIY it is!

Ceiling Takedown!

One less room has ceiling tiles in our house! VICTORY! 2 rooms down, three to go!!

You see, we have a total of four rooms getting some drywall at the moment, including the hole in our kitchen ceiling from installing the insulation, the back bedroom that got flooded with our shower drain pipe leak, our living room, and the sunroom. In preparation for the arrival of our drywall on Monday, we were scrambling to finish up several things including wiring, insulating, and installing a vapor barrier in the sunroom and living room and taking out the rest of the wood paneling/trim/ceiling tiles in the back bedroom.

IMG_1474Don’t you just love our mini fan?? Josh broke it when removing it, so unfortunately we will have to replace it. Darn.

I got to demo the ceiling in our back bedroom since Josh is the electrical mastermind between the two of us (surprised?). It was seriously the easiest job in the world to take down the ceiling tiles, which were glued on to a layer of drywall. I didn’t know it was drywall at first because the glue was slathered on there like nobody’s business. We were thinking we would just leave it up there since we didn’t know exactly what the material was slash if it contained any harmful materials and our new drywall could just be attached to it. Once we slept on it, we figured it couldn’t hurt TOO MUCH to remove one piece and see if the back side had any labels on it (living on the edge, ya’ll!).

10385476_864635713551514_8773735585305295786_nThe next day, my dad came over, we put on our masks and took down the first piece. The back had a label saying it was “The ORIGINAL Drywall.” I made a joke about wondering if it really was the ORIGINAL ( know how there are about a bajillion FIRST Baptist Churches..are they REALLY all the first?!), then we went crazy on the stuff until it was all down. It took about…14 minutes until it looked like this:



Once again, I’ve come to the conclusion I like demolishing things. I also REALLY like hiring people to do things because holycraptheyaresofast!

You light up my life!

Look at this little cutie I found while browsing awhile ago!


I immediately emailed it to Josh with the Subject Line: Hallway Light? And got no response. I showed it to him again that night since I was thinking about it ALL DAY. He said he liked it. I said OK.

The next day, I bought it. Well, it came in and it is now calling “INSTALL ME!!” from upstairs, but we expect a lot of in/out hauling to be going on with the installation of the insulation and drywall, so she is just going to have to be patient. I would cry if it got hit/broken, but I won’t be upset if something happens to the fixture it will be replacing:


Leave it to me to pop in to another space without finishing the others. 🙂


While we are on the lighting subject, my sweet sweet husband is in the process of re-wiring the living room and sunroom. These are his plans:



The first thing is we will now have TWO fans with lights, connected to switches when you walk into the room from the kitchen. We are moving the main light switch from a really awkward wall to one that makes sense, so I am extremely excited about that. We are updating all of the wiring/outlets in the room and moving a few of their locations as well. I am SO excited that we are going to add an outlet higher on the wall near the fireplace in case we want to put a lamp, tv, or anything up on the mantle that needs power so that we won’t have cords hanging down the side. We are also contemplating adding some accent lights near the fireplace, but haven’t made a final decision on that yet.

In the sunroom, we are adding two more ceiling light fixtures (there was only one that was in there when we moved in), although the ceiling in there is lower and we will have to be really good shoppers to find something that will work since we and our families are giants and we aren’t made of money.


Here are a few we are liking at the moment:

FM12025ACL-02P866840~dtlFM13128BS-01P641559~dtlI found one the other day I LOVED that was $499. $499 x 3 = not happenin’. We originally wanted to do can recessed lights since they would be a non-offensive, cheap option, however there is not enough room for installation due to the roof line of that space. BOO. Now we are just having a hard time finding flushmounts that aren’t too modern/rustic/trendy/expensive that we won’t hit our head on (they have to be less than 8″ tall to have enough clearance for Josh). I really like fixtures that have the exposed bulbs, but we want to be practical and also use our ugly energy efficient ones… ARGH.

We will find something and we definitely have time, since insulation and drywall have to happen first anyway. 🙂 We are on the calendar for insulation next week!


Rusty Pipes

Now that I am no longer hyperventilating about our plumbing/water damage situation, I feel comfortable talking about the craziness that ensued after our discovery of the puddle in our guest room.


The morning following the discovery, we called our Home Warranty company. We had heard mixed reviews about the responsiveness/helpfulness of home warranties, but decided to call them first because our service call fee through them is only $100 (vs. our deductible for our homeowner’s insurance which is much more.). For anyone wondering, our home warranty was purchased by the seller when we were purchasing the house and it is through Old Republic Home Protection. We called the service line, they entered our claim into the system, and that afternoon: a plumber was at our house.

Josh opened the wall and they saw this:


Well, no WONDER it was leaking so much! Doesn’t even take a plumber to diagnose that problem. 🙂 He then cut out that portion:


Corroded Pipe

And replaced the MAJORLY CORRODED pipe with PVC piping:


He let us know that the fix he did that day and was paid by the home warranty would be a ‘band-aid’ and offered some suggestions on what would be the best option to avoid having to open up walls again in a few years, since the pipes were so corroded. He also reached out to Old Republic to let them know about the corrosion and they agreed to pay for a more extensive fix, since corrosion is a very common problem in older homes.  He left that night and let us know it would be okay to shower the next morning and that he would be back in a few days to do the second fix. We also agreed to have him to replace another pipe in the wall for some preventative maintenance since the corrosion on the other pipe freaked us out and we wanted to avoid any more opening of walls as possible in the future. This was not covered by home warranty, but we thought it was a smart move to do it NOW, rather than later when IT decides to go.

The next morning (Tuesday), Josh showered with no problems. I showered…and Josh was yelling up the stairs for me to turn off the water JUST as I was starting to shampoo my hair. Rude. The drain pipe was no longer draining into the bedroom, but was backing up into the sink and flooding the bathroom. WOOPS.

We called the plumber and he let us know there wasn’t much he could do until the rest of the pipe and parts came we would have to not shower in our house until he came back that Saturday to fix it. Okayyyyy. It all ended up being okay because it turns out that when our parents feel sorry for us, they let us shower at their house and they feed us. Not a bad deal. Thanks, parents!!! (SERIOUSLY..our coworkers are thanking you, too!)

He came back that Saturday and replaced the entire main drain line coming from the shower upstairs and our sink downstairs.


Meanwhile, due to the second flood, we became concerned about the possibility of having more extensive water damage, so we called in a claim to our homeowner’s insurance. We didn’t REALLY want to because we did NOT want to say goodbye to our deductible, but we noticed a bit of cupping in our wood floors and were also concerned about the area below the vanity/flooring in the bathroom.

After playing phone tag with our insurance person for a few days and Josh and I being confused because it was our first time filing a claim..they sent out a water mitigation company to dry out the two areas.

IMG_1034 IMG_1027 IMG_1026


The water mitigation was estimated to take 3-4 days, but at that point they were still concerned about the high levels of moisture. They even talked to us about the possibility that the tile in the bathroom might not dry out and they may have to gut the room. After about a week and a half, they finally got the moisture levels down to a “normal” level, so there was major relief happening about that. We got our insurance check in the mail to cover the estimated cost of replacing the wall and ceiling with drywall in the guest room, so that will be happening when we get the drywall in the living room done. YAY for one less room with those horrid ceiling tiles.


Overall, this whole thing was a MAJOR learning experience for us and reminded us about the importance of following your gut and having an emergency fund. I could only imagine what would happen if we didn’t have the cash to pay our deductible for the water mitigation services or just thought everything was a-okay just because the surface of the floor was dry to the touch and the plumbing was fixed. Mold is no joke, ya’ll. For real.

Overall, though…I’m just glad it is OVER and we can get back to the fun(ish) stuff. 🙂