Happy cinco de mayo!


Tonight we hosted our first “sneak preview” house warming part for cinco de mayo. It was a little sooner than we hadplanned to unveil the house to our friends, with a lot of projects still in the works,  but it was good motivation for doing some cleaning and unpacking before our guests arrived. Our kitchen is still in progress with the beadboard mostly in place on the walls and ceiling, but still unpainted.


We did spruce up the entryway  with some coat hooks and a floating shelf by the door, which helped make the house a little more inviting.



we also got our “chair and a half” from crate and barrel delivered, which helps complete our living room.

We are very happy living here so far and enjoying all of the flowers and trees blooming in the neighborhood and in our yard. Since the last exterior shot we took was in the winter and snow, here’s a view of our front yard and crab apple tree, which just opened up a few days ago

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even though we were stressed about having the place ready for our first non-family guests, we had a very good night and it felt good to show off our hard work. I think we’re feeling motivated enough to have a real housewarming sometime soon and keep the momentum going!


Work space

Brendan surprised me earlier this week by building this new work area in our garage, in preparation for Project Beadboard Part II this weekend. I, for one, am impressed. He has a bunch of pegboard on the walls now for hanging tools, a recycled dresser underneath for some more storage space, and a proper place for doing some cutting of the beadboard, etc.

Adam is up here again this weekend and we are hoping to be able to put him to work for a bit, helping with getting the beadboard up on the ceiling. I can’t wait for these holes to be covered and to really be able to see how clean and nice our new recessed lighting looks!


Hopefully the rest of the beadboard backsplash will be done soon too. Brendan fitted one piece last since the initial work, and even seeing it in this one little spot is exciting


hopefully ill be posting more pictures of our progress later this weekend!

Kitchen mission: Beadboard

It’s been about 2 weeks now since we’ve been in the little blue house, and we’ve been hard at work on all of the little project and unpacking–with plenty left to go still. Brendan’s brother Adam came up this weekend to help us work on the house and he and Brendan tackled the task of hanging beadboard on our kitchen walls. Our plan is to cover the ceiling in beadboard as well, and I was hoping that they would be able to get it all done this weekend so we wouldn’t have giant hole in the ceiling any longer! Unfortunately, the ceiling ended up being a bigger project than we anticipated, and they couldn’t get to it. We do have two for our kitchen walls covered with beadboard now, and it looks much much better than the half stucco walls that used to be there. I’m very excited for the rest to be done soon, and to paint and get it looking finished. Here’s how it looks so far:

The rest will have to wait for now! We’ve also gotten our bedroom more in order, with an actual bed frame for our mattress (Brendan built this frame himself!)

You can see we’ve also put together our new bedside tables and stained one of them (I’m hoping to get to the other one today). We also added some window coverings so we’ll no longer need to use our headboard to block the view for our neighbors

Adam was our very first house guest and got to try out our new mattress for the guest room (no bed frame for that room yet)  He confirmed that it is comfortable–we’ll make sure there’s more to it by the next time we have a guest though. I just put together our little dresser/bedside table for the guest room, so you can get an idea for how that will be set up. It still needs to be stained as well:


Thats all for now! We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a huge list of large and small projects to be done

All moved in

Our move into the little blue house is now officially complete! It took about 4 days, but we finally finished hauling the last of our stuff out of the apartment. We’ve done a good amount of unpacking and our electrician has finally completed some of our work (most importantly, getting our tv mounted and wired!) we still have a lot in boxes and a bunch of things are kin of a mess, so it’s hard o get h full effect, but here are some pictures of our unpacking and settling in thus far
Our new couch arrived





Getting ready for the move

Move in weekend is almost here! An abundance of little and big projects remain, but we’ve transitioned into labeling little fixes as “good enough for now” and moving on. Now its about just having a disaster-free zone to start moving boxes in.

To prepare for our big arrival, we bought ourselves some new dressers from Ikea, which we painstakingly put together this week. It’s nice to see some furniture in our bedroom now, it makes it look much bigger. That mirror over the dresser was a $50 craigslist find (retails for $300 at Crate and Barrel!), and happened to fit perfectly over my new bureau:

We also put some finishing (for now) touches on the bathroom. We made do with the old medicine cabinet by painting the mirror side of the door, and leaving two open shelves in the place where the old stained-glass door side had been. Not perfect, but  falls into the GEFN category.

We also treated out butcher block countertop in the kitchen, which gave it a nice, warm tone and looks even better now than it did before. We also now have this cute little Ikea kitchen cart under our newly created counter space:

Did you want to see our floors again? Ok:


Still no doors on our kitchen cabinets though. Remember those “medieval” hinges that we removed and threw away? Yeah, apparently that is the ONLY style of flat, H hinges needed for our 1950s cabinet to be found at any of the big box stores. I did manage to locate a hardware store in Illinois that sells chrome H hinges, so I ordered a bunch. Hopefully those work–I had no idea the world of hinges was so complicated!

And now we pack!

Weekend of the Kitchen, part 2

We have new kitchen floors! We spent a few days this past week and weekend installing our new (vinyl) tile floors in the kitchen and we love them. Vinyl has come a long way–these tiles look just like real stone, and can be grouted in between for a very natural look.

In case you forgot what our ugly sheet vinyl looked like before, here’s an in-process shot:


We laid down the tiles and trimmed them to fit (the manufacturer claims you can do this with a box cutter, but that turned out to be very tedious. A jigsaw worked much better). You can lay these down directly over whatever flooring you currently have. Brendan tore up some of the edges of the sheet vinyl that was curling up already, and we filled in those areas with a leveling compound (thanks Dad!).

All that you need to do next is peel off the back and lay the sticky side of the tiles down – very carefully.

We came back the next day to put in the grout–it looks pretty boss, if I do say so myself…

The only downside is that now that the floors look good, our ugly walls are sticking out like a sore thumb. We bought some beadboard this weekend, which we’ll use to cover the walls and act as a backsplash. We also had an electrician come by to give us an estimate on some things we’ll need to have done, which will likely include installing some recessed lighting in the kitchen. We can’t wait!

Little bit closer…

Jerry came back to the house yesterday and set up our counter stovetop and faucet, and Brendan cut out a space for our new dishwasher and put it in place so we could see what it will look like.

I put a second coat of paint on our cabinet doors. I don’t know if anybody else is impressed with how much better they are looking, especially without having been sanded or primed, but I am!

We also have a coat of paint on the walls of the upstairs guest bedroom/office. I love this color

Hopefully the snow doesn’t keep Jerry or us away today! He will be hooking up the dishwasher and finishing the plumbing on the sink, and then we get to start laying down the new kitchen floor

Weekend of the Kitchen, part 1

This weekend was all about tackling the kitchen. But first – our new piano!



Looks pretty nice, right? Between the movers and the tuner, who is coming next week, it’s about as “free” as a free puppy…but it was still a pretty good deal and Im very happy to have it in our house. It’s got a little wear and tear but it fits perfectly in our study and I think it looks nice overall. Check out the cleaning job I did on the funky keys it came with…nothing a little Magic Eraser couldn’t fix:

And onto the kitchen

Brendan’s uncle, Jerry, is a contractor and he came over this weekend to help us with cutting and installing our butcher block countertops and our new farmhouse sink. It is looking awesome I think. He is coming back to help install our new dishwasher, cut out a piece of the counter for our stovetop, and hook up the sink. We should have a real live functioning kitchen by next weekend, when our refrigerator arrives. Here’s what it looks like so far:

I also started to go about giving our cabinets a fresh coat of white paint. We took down the doors, took off the medieval-looking hinges and pulls; I filled in the holes with some putty and a coat of oil-based Rustoleum paint, which I read can give a nice finish without having to prime and sand and all that. I hate prep work and would much rather jump to the fun stuff, so this “lazy man’s” method for the cabinets sounded good. So far, the paint is delivering. It’s a little messy and more work to clean up but the oil-based paint seems to be doing a good job. Are they perfect? No! Do we care? Not really! With some new hardware, I think they will look just fine. Some day we’ll do a bigger renovation and get new ones anyway. Here they are with coat number one: