Home Renovation

Hardwood Floors

As soon as we moved in, J wanted to rip up the flooring. The spiral design on the carpet and faux tiles on the linoleum made the house so old. One year after we moved in and several muddy paw-prints later, we had enough and decided that it was time to get some estimates.

This wound up being our 1 year wedding anniversary gift since it was so expensive and also it worked out that the year one gift is paper. We wound up calling LUNA since they advertise a lot in our area. The most ridiculous man came in to sell us. He kept pushing faux wood linoleum long sticky tiles that adhere to the concrete for $14,000 and only on MOST of the first floor and definitely not the stairs (which is the most expensive part of flooring a house). Yeah… not happening. After some research, we realized that LUNA is such a scam. Seriously, google it.

We quickly terminated any decisions/paperwork that LUNA drew up which was quite time consuming and very much a scam as no one returned our calls or would answer our emails and you only have three days to cancel after the salesman leaves.

On a whim, we went to a Lumber Liquidators showroom. Now, this showroom was not fancy. More like a small room attached to a warehouse. The staff was incredibly friendly and told us at the beginning that they do not take commission so they really don’t have a need to overcharge us or even sell us. They were such a wonderful team to work with. Friendly, always there to answer our questions, and very helpful. I must have called them 10 times during this whole project – several times for delivery/installation questions and some to add items to our order (transitions, more glue, etc.) and they were always there to help.

We found the perfect flooring for the entire house and it wound up costing us $14,000 for an engineered hardwood floating floor for THE ENTIRE HOUSE, beautiful wide bright white baseboards, transitional pieces, and of course the stairs!

Receiving the shipment of items.

Receiving the shipment of all of the materials. 3 full pallets, sub floor, floor board trim, etc.

The Stairs-

Oh the stairs, the most expensive part of this entire project. Because we have an exposed staircase, we needed special planks. Wall to wall planks were about $20 each, but we needed 11 special end capped planks for the exposed sides. These wound up costing $90 each (!!) which was much more expensive than we wanted, but it was worth it in the end. The nice part about this was that they actually stained them to match the floor. The final product was amazing.

Brief view of the stairs and how each end is exposed.

Brief view of the stairs and how each end is exposed beyond the railing. Do you like the spiral patterned carpet and faux tiled linoleum floor?

We had a professional come out to measure the floor and we placed our order and received the shipment of within a week. It’s finally happening! We couldn’t be happier with the results. The crew that installed the floor worked diligently for 4 days and moved everything that touched the floor. That included everything: shoes in the closet, picture frames and candles on the end tables, lamps, etc. Basically anything that wasn’t nailed to the wall, they had to move. Our house was in shambles.

The most difficult part of this project for us was moving all of the wood inside to acclimate to room temperature. I did this by myself when J was on his way home from work one night, and it was a nightmare. Especially since I needed to move a whole pallet upstairs as well.

The before:

More flooring in the guest bedroom

More flooring in the guest bedroom

Brought some flooring in!

Brought some flooring in!

Some ugly carpet stains

Some ugly carpet stains

Great room view from above

Great room view from above

During:

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Living and dining room nearly done! Look at the disaster pile created by all our stuff that had to be moved. The dogs went crazy over the new floor. Less traction made for a little entertainment while they slid around.

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Baseboards coming in!

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What a mess.

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And finally… the finished product…

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The focal point of our house- the stairs. They turned out to be amazing.

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Now that it is completely done, we cannot imagine our house without dark, wide planked, beautiful flooring. Not only is this wonderful for us to live in, but we are going to get all the money we spent on the floors back in home value.

Lastly, I want to mention that it was very difficult for me to trust the installers in my home with my dogs. I always feared that they would somehow get out of their kennels and run through the open doors. I made sure all of the workers knew that if they had to move the kennels, CALL ME! I left my phone numbers everywhere for them just in case. It worked out fine, they were very respectful of my pups.

What do you think about the renovation? Would you do the same in your house?

Master Bedroom – Renovation Realities

The master bedroom is huge. A very long, wide room with windows to the outside, and even  interior windows overlooking the great room. The walls and ceiling had a cream color paint accented with brown crown molding and window trim. On the wall with the outside windows, we have a nice half wall of light gray brick veneers mortared to the wall. The whole room was just plain old.

We decided that on Labor Day weekend 2014 we would start the project- Friday to Monday. Four days of working around the clock.

If you are attempting to cover a wall with wainscoting, a nail gun is the way to go. This made our efforts so much easier.

The whole project cost us about $2000 and included all of the following materials purchased

– Paint (6 gallons)

-Misc painting items (tape, rollers, brushes, etc)

– Plastic Sheeting

-Two floating shelves

– 2 Bathroom fans

– Wood and trim for wainscoting

– two lighting fixtures

– several outlets, switches, and covers

– New hardware for windows

– Bolts for new bed frame

– Decorative mirror for bathroom

– New lighting fixture for Bathroom

– Wire shelving for closet

– Chandelier for closet

-Door handles

-Decorative baskets for closet organization

 

It took a total of 4 days to complete this project. Each day we would each tackle different projects making this a smooth renovation.

 

This photo was taken with the previous owners of the house. You can see the dark wood trim everywhere, cream walls, and ugly brick.

This photo was taken with the previous owners of the house. You can see the dark wood trim everywhere, cream walls, and ugly brick.

 

Moved everything out of the room and laid a tarp.

Moved everything out of the room and laid a tarp.

 

Started to paint! Walls, trim, and ceiling.

Started to paint! Walls, trim, and ceiling.

Other side of the room- bathroom and closet space

Other side of the room- bathroom and closet space

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Our room overlooks the great room (living room) there are decorative windows that fill in those spaces that we had to paint from dark brown to bright white.

Painting the decorative windows white in the garage.

Painting the decorative windows white in the garage.

Stocked up on all the wainscoting materials. Hint- A yoga mat on the roof of your car to prevent scratches is a great idea.

Stocked up on all the wainscoting materials. Hint- A yoga mat on the roof of your car to prevent scratches is a great idea.

Wainscoting time! We also added a beautiful framed trim to the windows to make them more grand

Wainscoting time! We also added a beautiful framed trim to the windows to make them more grand

Added the panels.

Added the panels.

End of day 3- put the first coat of white on the wainscoting and did a little clean up.

Final indoor windows

Final indoor windows

Added the window treatments

Added the window treatments

...very grand window treatments from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot

…very grand window treatments from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot

$2000 headboard we found on sale at Macy's for $200.

$2000 king headboard we found on sale at Macy’s for $200.

Lots and lots of pillows

Lots and lots of pillows

New bathroom shelving, mirror, lights. Freshly painted walls and ceiling.

New bathroom shelving, mirror, lights. Freshly painted walls and ceiling.

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Closet chandelier from The Home Depot.

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Decorative baskets from At Home (formerly Garden Ridge) which has household items at great prices.

Hallway from bedroom to the bath/closet suite. We put hooks up along with our laundry hampers. Also, we repainted the doors white.

Hallway from bedroom to the bath/closet suite. We put hooks up along with our laundry hampers. Also, we repainted the doors white.

And there it is. Four days, $2k, and some muscle soreness. The first few nights we woke up in our new room it was unbelievable. I highly recommend a little DIY home renovation. Not only is it nice to live in a wonderful home, but it also severely increases the home value.

Curb Appeal

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Before

We began our home renovations by increasing the curb appeal of our house. I love the look of the white picket fence leading to our front door, but everything behind it looked old and overgrown.

We removed the ugly storm door from the front door, painted the door bright red with a bright white frame, and purchased a new fancy door handle. We also replaced the doorbell with a new fancy button. For some decoration, we added our monogrammed door mat with rubber frame and some planters.

Door Handle– The Home Depot – $134

Paint – The Home Depot – $30

Door Mat – Bed Bath & Beyond $40 (bridal shower gift)

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The ‘Cave Canem’ sign we purchased in Italy on our honeymoon, it’s an ancient Latin ‘Beware of Dog’ sign. I think they are adorable next to the front door. It adds whimsy charm without overdoing it (which is why we only added one) plus it carries the blue from the hydrangea flowers when they are in full bloom. After a bad storm, the ‘Attenti al Cane’ (same thing in Italian) ceramic sign broke – nothing a little gorilla glue can’t fix!

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We also redid the planters by the front door a few months later. In the ‘Before’ picture above, you can see through the fence that the brush is taking over the walkway to the front door. The planters were rounded wood logs laid down against the concrete – not pretty. There were tree branches growing out of an old tree stump.

The stump was difficult to remove so we left it but manicured the branches it so it looks like a nice bush and you can’t even see the stump anymore. We purchased brick edging stones from THD for $1.39 each and even topped them off with the matching flat stones. Planted a blue hydrangea (my favorite!), topped it with mulch, and strategically placed solar lights. Perfect! This project took about 4 hours and cost less than $150. I bet you could do the same with a different type of brick or just one layer of brick, but we wanted the edge of the bricks to be flush with the porch (since there is a step up).

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After

One year after we did this project,  the mulch really did do it’s job as we don’t have any weeds growing and the hydrangea grew 3x the size it originally was. The tree/bush is now very tall and provides a little more shade to that space – perfect for the hydrangea to flourish.

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We also did the same thing to the planter in front of the windows. Now the whole entry way looks fresh and new. This project cost less since we had some leftover bricks. – it took us about 2hrs and was less than $100.

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Curb Appeal Project Done