Friday, February 25, 2011

The House Is As Ready As It Can Be

We're having a birthday party tonight for my dear hubby and for the last 6 weeks we've been in a frenzy to get the house to a place where we feel it's presentable for the party. I thought my MIL was coming to surprise Brent but at the last minute she got sick and couldn't fly, it was such a bummer because it would have been a great birthday surprise for him. Because of her visit, I worked extra hard to get the guest room done too...all under the guise of the party because he didn't know she was coming.

I haven't posted in a while because it seems that every free moment was spent doing something to the house, and when I wasn't working at my job or on the house, I was too tired to think about blogging. But this morning I feel good because the house looks so great. It's time to share.



We're going to add an etagere in the corner - it's a bit empty right now.


It was hard to find a piece of furniture that fit here - after buying and returning a piece, we ended up using this piece that we already had.

Of course a gun cabinet doesn't fit in this room, but where else would we put it?


Tonight there will be chafing dishes on the kitchen counters, wash pans loaded with ice, beer, & wine, the playlist I worked on tirelessly will be playing, and 30 people mingling around and hopefully having a GREAT time. I'll post pics after. Should be a great birthday party!

Till later ~


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Furniture Wrong Righted

Gallery Furniture now has one more sofa table and one less media/TV cabinet. We returned the terribly over-sized sofa table that we bought for the entry and used the credit against a new sitting place for our TV.

We're now happy campers - camped in front of the TV!

We were temporarily using an old sofa table for our TV but it had an open bottom and that meant we had to look at all the cords and wires. I couldn't be more pleased that they are now hidden.

See our before and after:

BEFORE - Super ugly!
AFTER - beautiful! Oh, don't look at that table in the entryway - That's the old TV table, it's not going to stay there.

You can probably tell I took one pic in the daytime and the other at night, during the Super Bowl no less. Sorry if the quality isn't the best.

We still need to find a table for the entryway that's only 12" deep - they are really hard to find. Brittany and I went to a really nice (and pricey) store and they had several but I wasn't looking to spend $1400-$1700 for an entryway table. Any suggestions?

Here's a sneak peak at my next project, a Craigslist find for $10. More later, I'm not done yet.

Till later ~


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Using CraigsList

Yesterday I read a very good blog post by Miss Mustard Seed with tips for using CraigsList to find great furniture for your home. I use CraigsList and love it. Just a couple of weeks ago I found a leather recliner to complete the seating in my living room - the same chair that I saw for $1000-$1200 new, I purchased for $300 and it's in almost perfect shape.

In Miss Mustard Seed's post she mentioned safety. If I were writing a post about CraigsList, my No. 1 tip would be the one about safety. My daughter started shopping CraigsList when she was in college in a small town in central Texas, when she moved to Houston and continued to shop, it scared me. The big city is no place to test fate as you may fail. So, take heed, be safe and if your gut tells you that something's not right, then drive right on by. And always take someone with you.

Aside from the great tips from Miss Mustard Seed, I want to give you the BEST CraigsList gift EVER. It's called CraigsEasy. Basically, you go to the website, get the EASY button (really the button is labeled EASY in my favorites), and then after making a search on CraigsList, you click the EASY button. That takes you to a page that shows you all the pictures on the listings of your search. You can scroll through all the listings very quickly by looking at just the pictures.

Now instead of the page looking like this and having to click the link to see the pictures:

It looks like this with listing after listing showing listing title and pics only, no text:

The listing title is a link back to the listing with the text. So if you're interested you can click into the listing then click your back button to go back to CraigsEasy. It's the best invention ever for CraigsList, it saves me a ton of time when I'm shopping.

Last tip I want to mention, if you live in a big city and you're looking for furniture, you may find that a lot of businesses advertise under the furniture category. And they dominate the space, you start seeing the same ads over, and over, and over again. I was really starting to get irritated because it wasted so much of my time, but recently I noticed that CraigsList added a "by-owner" or "by-dealer" option. Don't forget to use it, it's made a huge difference in the time I spend looking for what I need. I only use the "by-owner" option. There are still a few stubborn dealers who post under the owner option but for the most part, it's clean. Just click "Furniture", then up by the field where you type your search term you will see  - furniture: by-owner | by-dealer - click on the "by-owner" link and it will filter only ads by owners - no more dealers - YAY. This is a great new feature - thanks CraigsList!

I hope my tips, together with Miss Mustard Seed's tips, help you navigate CraigsList and find some fabulous deals to decorate your home!

Till later ~


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hallway Finished - FINALLY!

Well, we finally finished the hallway. I say we...all I did was snap the whip! Oh, and I sanded the inside of the linen pantry but Brent and Zack did all the work and it's beautiful. The bright white oil based paint against the linen colored walls and wood floors is gorgeous. Much better than before.

Here are some of the before pics:

After Zack added  trim to the doorways.

After the wood floor was laid.

During painting.
And here are the after pics:



The french door leads to our office, a room I LOVE and I think the french door is a big part of why I love the room so much. In the before pic just above we didn't even have trim around the doors or baseboards. Wow, what a difference! Honestly, hallways are a lot of work and this one had SEVEN doors, a linen pantry, and an attic ladder, no wonder it took four weeks to finish. The bid we got to sub it out was $1000 including paint, now that it's done, I think that would have been a DEAL.

Till later ~


Monday, January 31, 2011

Entry Hall Table - It Didn't Look That Big In The Store!

Sunday we went shopping for something to buy at Gallery Furniture.

You see, we had a Groupon - purchased for $50 worth $200 at Gallery Furniture - and it was getting ready to expire, so we had to buy 'something'!

Here in Houston, Mattress Mac at Gallery Furniture is an icon. He opened the store years ago with cheesy commercials with him jumping up and down yelling "Gallery Furniture really will SAVE YOU MONEY!" Now the store is huge and they sell some nice furniture, the Groupon was a deal, so we bought it. Now we were faced with having to buy something, anything, worth $200 or more.

We spent the better part of the day driving out there and roaming around trying to figure out what to buy. Finally we bought the sofa table to put in our entryway. We knew better, we knew we needed something 14" deep or less but did it anyway (it's 20 inches deep!). Now we have a massive piece of furniture and nowhere to put it.

We'll be driving back out to Gallery Furniture next weekend, paying the 10% restocking fee, and then picking out something new (return policy is exchange only). How much you want to bet we spend some more money.

I'll let you know.

Till later ~


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Favorite Blogs

I follow a lot of blogs about crafting, decorating, and furniture refurbishing and thought it might be nice to share my top three blogs and the recent posts from each of those blogs that I like the most.

Miss Mustard Seed's Creative BlogMiss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog - I love Miss Mustard Seed's energy and creative style. Everything she does is beautiful and she shares the process with her readers.

Favorite Recent Post - French Chair Reveal, Glaze Mix, & Simple Upholstery -I love that I now know how to do the finish on that French chair, I would have never guessed that she started with such a bold turquoise.

Second Favorite Recent Post - Furniture Feature Friday-Favorites and A Link Party - I love that every Friday she does a link party for FURNITURE! All the other sites have link parties but none limit it to furniture - this one is the best of the web.

Better After - This was the very first website I followed. I absolutely LOVE to see the amazing transformations.

Favorite Recent Post - Top 12 of 2010 - My very favorite project in this post is the one from March where the crafter transformed a rolling hand-truck into a beautiful coffee table. Second fav was the chair that was recovered in a orange print fabric.

Show and TellShow & Tell - This lady does some amazing work, not only repurposing furniture, but also building it from scratch.

Favorite Recent Post - My Version Of A Farmhouse Table - You won't believe that she built a farmhouse table from reclaimed wood and did it INSIDE her house on her beautiful wood floors! Anyway, it's beautiful! Amazing!

So there you have it - my current top three favorite blogs. When I see a post from one of these sites in my blog reader and always click - maybe you should too!

Till later ~


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remembering - Our Kitchen Renovation - During

As promised but a little late, this post is to show pics and comments DURING the kitchen renovation.

We started the process some time in April and got to the point where we could cook in November, actually, we made Thanksgiving Dinner! That was our goal, to have Thanksgiving Dinner at our house. I really thought we'd be totally finished but we weren't. We still needed to put up the crown molding and finish the light rail. But hey, you don't need that stuff to cook, right?

The crown has since been done (thank goodness), almost. We were two inches short on crown molding! Yes, TWO INCHES! I finally ordered the last piece today, it should be here in about 12 days. Not cheap - total cost for that last piece - $96. If you ever do this, be sure to order enough, it wasn't a lot cheaper, but it was about $30 less per piece when ordered with everything else. That darn freight.

Now remember, the kitchen wasn't the only thing we were working on - it wouldn't have taken six months to do JUST the kitchen. But between scheduling the subcontractors and everything that went into all the renovations, the kitchen ended up taking a lot longer than most. 

Okay, here are the pics we have.

Drywall and Ceiling

Now, remember, we ended the demo here.

Drywall up - still need to tape and float. Notice the ceiling still has plastic over the gaping hole. Oh, you can also see that we built a pantry by the window to the right - sorry, didn't get pics of that.

Taped and floated - ceiling drywalled. We're ready to install cabinets now.    The ceiling still needs to be textured but we had that done after the cabinet install.

Cabinets Are Delivered! 
Yay, we waited four weeks for delivery after placing the order.

Garage BEFORE cabinet delivery.

Cabinet delivery.

Garage AFTER cabinet delivery.

Cabinet dry fit. The floor is unlevel from the front of the house to back about 1-1/2 inches. We were really wondering how in the heck this was going to work!

Well...we figured it out - we thought. Zack (my super handy and wonderful son-in-law) and Brent (my fabulous hubby) did a FANTASTIC job. Lookin' good! Little did they know that because the cabinets sat way too high off the floor in the back of the kitchen (keeping the cabinets level but the floor dropped) the bottom ones would have to be removed and reinstalled.

You see, we worked from the high end of the floor all the way around to the low side. We ended up with the last cabinet being shimmed off the floor 1-1/2 inches. When we re-installed them, we started at the dishwasher, which was about the middle, and worked out to the ends. We were left shimming up only about half an inch. We were able to get away with this because the last cabinet on the high end was floor to ceiling and we didn't have to level the top for the counter top. Whew!
Next Came The Tile Floor

The floor guys really knew their stuff. They did the entryway, kitchen and hall bath in three LONG days. Here are a few pics of the kitchen and breakfast area floor.

Here's the tile - Italian porcelain. We chose porcelain over travertine because it's easier to care for and less expensive. Still beautiful though.

Really pretty! See my paint chips on the wall in the distance. That was another hard decision - there were a ton of hard decisions!

Breakfast area and laundry room in distance. Kitty doesn't care that they told us to stay off overnight.
Finally the Refrigerators

One of the fridges had been set-up in the dining room but it was nice to be able to move them into the kitchen. We also installed Brent's 'beverage' fridge under the bar.

Okay, Now We're Ready for GRANITE!!!

Above I said picking the paint color was hard, well if that was hard, picking the granite was torture. It was the middle of August in Houston - pert near 100 degrees outside - and they keep the granite in big hot yards with absolutely no shade. And I think the granite holds the heat and radiates it back out at you. I thought I was going to die before I finally found the slab I wanted. It took me two weeks and about six trips to the granite yard.

Here's the one I finally picked. I had to buy two slabs, thank goodness they had two. The first slab I picked they only had one.

We had to get the cabinets ready with plywood tops. Zack did that. Oh and sometime in there, Zack and our electrician installed the oven. That was only after we modified the cabinet somewhat, the oven was bigger than the salesman said it was...we thought it was standard, it wasn't. Brent and Zack wanted to return it, I persisted that they could modify it. Low and behold, I was right!!

 Next the fabricator came and measured, then a few days later, they installed. It was really messy with all the grinding and dust. It took about 5-6 hours and they did a beautiful job.

After the Granite Install

Oh, sometime before the granite we had our electrician install the under cabinet LED lighting. By the way, it is to die for, I'm totally spoiled and couldn't cook without it now.

Celebrating this milestone with a beer and some wine!
After that, Zack installed the dishwasher, garbage disposal, faucet and cooktop. Now we were in business! We actually started USING the kitchen at this point.

Next Was The Backsplash and Mosaic

I purchased the mosaic backsplash from a website out of Lebanon, and no, that's not Lebanon, TX. It was handmade with marble starting from the time I ordered it, it took about four weeks to get to me. The whole time I was prepared for it to never show up and be out all my money - but that didn't happen and it arrived on schedule.

We chose tumbled travertine for the backsplash. It took two days to install the mosaic and backsplash.

The following weekend I sealed the travertine and marble.

Last was the crown molding. Zack didn't want to attempt it because of the cost, he was scared of messing it up. We had a hard time finding a trim carpenter to do the work but finally a neighbor recommended one and we got it done.

You'll see the finished product in my next post some time next week. I want to take some new pictures when the kitchen is tip top and it's not there yet. I need to find the right piece of art and I want to be sure everything is in its place. Hopefully the only thing missing will be some kind of window valance...oh, and the piece of crown that we were short by two inches.

Till later ~