Sorry I have been a bit MIA lately. I know you’re all busy and still manage to get amazing posts out, so I really have no excuse.
House updates have been put on a huge slow down – or a full pause – as we quickly approach the wedding. There are a lot of details to finalize the last few months of wedding planning. I want to enjoy the last months, weeks, days (!) of being engaged while it lasts.
That being said, the house will still be here after the dust from the wedding settles. Just wait until the dust from all the upcoming remodeling! (Sorry for the bad pun)
In between all the planning, we did manage to replace our dining room light fixture.
We replaced the old ’90s brass chandelier with this beauty. <3
There is just something about it. I love the understated elegance. The black iron finish seems reminiscent of streetlamps in downtown Charleston, a place that my fiancé and I both adore. It’s great to have nods to places we both like in our home.
It was a bit more than we were originally willing to spend. However, it’s important to have a nice light in the dining room because it’s visible from the kitchen, family room, and obviously the dining room. We eat nearly all meals at home, so it’s something we will use every day. Looking at something every day that we didn’t absolutely love wasn’t worth it. We dropped the extra few bucks to get something we liked and agreed on (bonus!). That’s how we justified it.
Tip: Take advantage of online “new customer” discounts. We purchased the chandelier from Pottery Barn. I was a first time customer to PotteryBarn.com, so I signed up for their email list and got 10% off. I looked in their website today and saw that signing up in the latest promotion gets you 15% off!
I have to commend the makers of this light fixture – the instruction guide was very easy to follow which made installation a breeze! We have installed a few light fixtures recently, so we’re not exactly newbies at it, but taking down the old and installing the new chandelier only took 60 minutes. I’d highly recommend it.
The entire sight line from the kitchen to the dining room is much more appealing. Definitely a well-needed and good change.
Where do you have good luck with buying light fixtures or other home improvement hardware? Do you feel like you have to see it in person? Or are you brave enough to take the chance with ordering online?
Until next time!
(Note: This is not a sponsored post — Just sharing a happy ending of our weekend project)
The house is on its way to becoming our cozy little home.
To get there, we’ve had to overcome some nasty 90s colored floors, what-were-they-thinking (?!) old [smelly] carpet, and a bucket full of setbacks. Despite the depleted bank accounts and major (may I re-emphasize major?) headaches because of the floors, I am proud to reveal the before and afters of our hardwood floor project!
I promise you this is the same house. No gimmicks. Just a lot of hard work, investment, seeing the potential, and faith that it will all work out.
In case you missed it in Part I, we had moved into the house with hardwood floors throughout the main floor. They are oak and were stained the standard 1990s blonde color but were significantly scratched in some places. The previous owners had even drilled holes in other spots (WHY on earth, I do not know).
Even if we liked the color, the scratches and holes still needed to be repaired, so we needed to sand, restain, and seal the floors. It worked out well as an opportunity to update the house with a more modern stain color.
But then there was the upstairs flooring. Ohhhhhhh, the upstairs. I cannot wrap my head around the thought process (maybe none?) behind some of these decorating decisions.
I won’t say more; I’ll just let these pictures speak their “1,000 words” for themselves:
Yes, that’s real life.
I’m crying all of the tears on behalf of every decorator in the world.
Needless to say, it all needed to GO. We would have loved hardwood floors upstairs but assumed carpet would be a more cost effective option. Amazingly, after a lot of work to find multiple contractors and collect bids, we found that the cost of installing hardwood floors wasn’t much more than putting in carpet. It was an easy decision for us: install hardwood floors upstairs too!
Downstairs, the floors are oak. We chose stain in Red Mahogany by Dura Seal.
Upstairs, the contractors installed a slightly wider plank of Red Oak. The stain is the same as downstairs, and there is no noticeable difference in the final product between upstairs and downstairs.
I am so sooooooooo happy with how this turned out. The floors are so rich. I love the calming color of the blue. The white trim breaks up the wall and floor colors perfectly.
What. Is. This Carpet???
No, that’s not a runner carpet on hardwood. It’s a runner carpet on hardwood-colored carpet. Our theory is that the previous owners were trying to give the appearance of a carpet runner on wood stairs. Instead of real wood underneath, brown “wood colored” carpet on the edge would obviously give the same effect, right?
Do you feel relief when you look at the last photo? Yeah, me too.
I adored the beautiful, high ceilings in our living room and the open layout to the dining room, which then flows in to the kitchen. Because there are no good breaks in the walls to change color, the ENTIRE main floor and upstairs hallway are all the same color.
The previous owners chose yellow.
They must have liked it because they put it in a bathroom as well.
Besides doing the floors, we obviously freshened the paint on the walls, trim, doors, and fireplace. We picked Revere Pewter (by Benjamin Moore but color matched through Sherwin Williams) as a nice light, bright neutral that we were comfortable running through 80% of the house.
What do you think?
We still have to start decorating. The walls are quite bare, but the big furniture is in. So it’s a lovely, livable space.
We absolutely adore it. It’s an amazing feeling to walk in and see how your hard work has paid off.
Ugly House, you haven’t defeated us yet.
I am so glad I finally got this out to you all. I hope it was worth the wait.
Do you have any questions about any part of our project? If so, I’ll answer in the comments or, for more involved answers, I’ll write a brutally honest response post about the experience. 🙂
How are your latest projects going? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m still getting used to this blogging stuff, so thank you for your patience on this post!
The last few weeks have been busy but exciting with finalizing renovations and getting the green light to move into the house.
I started to type the Hardwood Floor Post “with a bit of our home search story weaved in.” That quickly turned into me blabbing about finding our house instead of the hardwood floors.
So. I promise, promise that I’ll post this first as a teaser and then get right to the Hardwood Floor Post. Think of this as an intro or as a 2-part story, because they do go together!
Finding Our House
We purchased our first home about 2 ½ months ago and got the keys about 6 weeks ago. Since then, it’s been an exciting and busy adventure!
The day we first toured the house, we admittedly hated it. It was outdated and smelled strange. There was floor-to-ceiling wallpaper in the powder room, wallpaper borders in others, horrible carpet on the second floor, buttercup yellow (flat) paint throughout the house, outdated fixtures and appliances… the list went on. It screamed “work.”
One redeeming feature of the house was the hardwood floors. Even on our first visit, we saw past the glaring flaws of the house and appreciated the real hardwood floors throughout the entire main floor. They were in decent shape. The color wasn’t ideal (read: ’90s), and it did have some major scratches. But they were hardwoods.
We saw three homes that day with our real estate agent. We just been outbid on a house in the same neighborhood the week before, and it took a surprisingly emotional toll on me. I was crushed to lose that house. I really thought that was “the one” and could picture our family there.
By a strange stroke of luck, there was another house for sale in the small neighborhood with the exact same layout as The House We Lost. We’d seen the pictures online before and hadn’t even considered touring it. Even through the pictures, you could tell it needed a lot of love: it was the Ugly House.
We weren’t really interested in a fixer upper, but I wanted to see it. In some strange, twisted way, I thought it would be therapeutic to go see the Ugly House, pretend it was The House We Lost, and live vicariously through being there.
The moment we walked in, I was just wanting for The House We Lost, putting its paint colors on Ugly House’s walls, mentally placing its nice details throughout. I was getting emotional again.
But maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. I’d just make Ugly House into The House We Lost!
My fiancé was the first to discuss after seeing all three houses. “Well, that was a total bust,” he said. “Not one of those is even an option.”
I was crushed. He didn’t see what I did. I chalked up my optimism of fixing up Ugly House to still being overly attached to The House We Lost.
I called him the next morning, like I always do, and said, “Hey, I was thinking about it, and I have a really crazy idea. Promise to hear me out?”
He interrupted me, “I know what you’re going to say. We can fix up Ugly House. I think we should go for it.”
My heart leapt. I was so happy that he was willing to take on this big project.
After a lot of fixer upper math, discussion, thought, and prayer, we put an offer on Ugly House. We had a lot of back and forth with the seller and a completely rejected offer, which led to some anger (from me). Eventually, the seller came back after a few days and accepted our offer.
The joy was overwhelming. We finally got a house!
We quickly got to work researching contractors and scheduling appointments for them to come the moment we got the keys. We. Were. Ready.
It turned out that Ugly House (which was now Our House) was a much better option than The House We Lost all along. THWL was nice, but there were some parts of it I didn’t love. I would have worked around those design choices and compromised my own style (e.g. a brand new nice blacksplash. I didn’t love it. And I definitely couldn’t justify tearing down something brand new.)
Having a house where we could make it our own was the very best decision. It would be more work, but it would be worth it. And, no. I would have ZERO regret about ripping out the carpet at Our House.
“Having a house where we could make it our own was the very best decision.”
Renovation #1: The floors. The hardwoods needed to be re-sanded to get rid of the scratches. That carpet needed to go. We’d replace it with nice neutral carpet.
Deciding a stain color was our next step. I wanted to go with a dark color because I think it looks really elegant.
Our contractors sanded a portion of our dining area and stained 5 different samples of stain colors so we could decide. Here they are:
We didn’t have a whole lot of time to choose because everything moved so quickly. I’m glad I didn’t have time to dwell on it because I would have overthought it. As someone perfectly commented on my Instagram it’s a hard decision because it makes such an impact. So true.
The amazing thing about the pictures is that they aren’t different stains. They’re not even in different parts of the house. That is the EXACT SAME area. The top image was taken at 7:00 PM when it was dark. The bottom image was at 7:00 AM when the sun was just rising.
And we chose….
Stay tuned for all the pretty pictures of how it turned out!
This post is a little premature because I haven’t even told you much about this house project. Here’s the bullet point version:
My fiancé and I recently bought our first home, and we are thrilled to be homeowners!
The catch: the interior is a bit of a “fixer upper”
When we bought this home, we knew it needed work. I should note right away, that I am not talking Chip-and-Joanna-Fixer-Upper style (love them!) with every wall getting knocked down. The fixing was just cosmetic stuff. The “bones” of the house are fantastic, and we knew with some cosmetic updates/upgrades, we could make it something spectacular.
Paint? I can handle. Upgrading cabinet and door hardware? Easy. Switching light fixtures? Bring it on.
But the carpet, you can’t begin to fathom. If you look closely at the picture above, you get a hint at what we were working with. Hopefully you agree: it had to go.
We hired a contractor to remove the carpet and install our sparkling new flooring. Everything seemed to be going well: the price was right, their reviews were glowing, and they could fit us in before Christmas and be done before New Year!
But then there was a water leak from the fridge. That caused a delay. Which delayed the painting. Which meant we couldn’t move during the days we had off for New Year.
Was I a little frustrated? Sure, but things happen. I was just grateful the leak wasn’t worse and didn’t cause more damage. I was also thankful that we aren’t living there yet, so minor delays don’t cause us to be displaced. (Yes, I understand that might be a unique situation compared to most people. I do understand how fortunate we are.)
Today the floors were finally dry and ready to be walked on. I excitedly went to the house with a friend, anxious to show off the house and ready to inspect the finally finished floors. When we arrived, everything looked great. Until I noticed there were a lot of details that weren’t finished. The contractors were gone, and this was supposed to be “finished.”
I was so frustrated and immediately called my fiancé to report the issues with the floors. This was maddening. We invested in a top-notch company to do the job well. Was our investment now wasted because the job wasn’t truly finished? Did we just get scammed?
What were we thinking? Were we only a few weeks into owning this home and already regretting it?
Yes, I was having some second thoughts. I had to breathe and put everything in perspective: it’s going to work out.
After a lot of reflection and venting to anyone who would listen, I feel like I figured things out. I boiled down my frustration and stages of contractor grief into 5 steps on how you can get past those painful pit-in-your-stomach pangs of regret and fixer upper buyer’s remorse. Stay strong, friends, and read on:
How to Not Regret Buying the Ugly House on the Block (the “fixer upper”):
Remember your “vision.” You saw something in that outdated, broken, neglected house when you decided to buy it, right? Don’t lose sight of that vision! Your vision is the most beautiful, valuable thing you have. It’s your brainchild of creativty that fuels your labor of love. If you need a visual to remind yourself, start a list, Pinterest board, or a good old fashioned scrapbook with inspiration clippings. Go to your Vision Board when you’re feeling discouraged by your project. Your house might be in choas right now (see the rolls of carpet in picture above), but it WILL be your beautiful haven soon.
Set a budget and stick to it. It’s very tempting to splurge and overspend. But you can’t spend what you don’t have… at least you shouldn’t, in my opinion. Record everything that you spend money on for the projects (see #3) and track your progress. There will always be unexpected expenses. If things start getting dangerously close to overbudget, stop and evaluate. You might need to postpone some aspects of the project (see #4). Some fixer uppers might be moneypits and cause you serious regret, but you will regret it much more if you put your finances in jeopardy by overspending.
Keep records and document EVERYTHING. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re in the whirlwind of multiple simultaneous projects. Save receipts. Write at the top what it was for. I promise, a year or even a few months from now you might not remember what that random receipt from ABC Hardware was for. Document your costs (see #2) so you know if you’re maintaining your budget. This is also important for resale purposes. You will have a better idea of what you did, how much it cost, and the theoretical “value” of your house when you go to sell it based on the value of the upgrades. Finally, take pictures. It’s not only great for documentation but it’s also fun to see Before & After photos. It’s your reward to compare the original to now and think, I did that.
Know that phasing the renovation is okay. Yes, you can do renovations, upgrades, and decorating in stages. It’s tempting to do it all at once and just get it done. If you have the financial ability and the time to do that, go for it! But the fact is that many people can’t do that.As silly as it sounds, actually separate your renovation projects into Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, etc. based on priority and your available budget. We have a Phase Zero: the minimum viable changes that must get done to move in. This can vary based on your situation, but you should always repair all safety issues (usually found in the home inspection) first. After the safety repairs, Phase Zero for us was all flooring and most paint. We figured, why move furniture twice? Things in Phases 1 and 2 can be done as small weekend projects (replacing cabinet hardware, painting bathroom cabinets…).
Phase 3 and beyond are major projects that are nice-to-haves. These are projects that we have to save for: major bathroom renovations, finishing the basement, replacing windows. Some might happen, some might not.
Breathe. Breathe again. This seems corny, but it’s necessary. Having your house in choas is stressful and messy. You’re spending a lot of money to fix it, but breathe. This is an investment for you. Your hard work will pay off, and you’ll soon have an amazing space and home to show for it.
Have you ever had doubts about your project after diving in head first? What got you through it?