HOUSE UPDATES

 
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It’s been a while since I posted any updates on our beloved bungalow that we affectionally refer to as Dandihaus. This year has been interesting and filled with smaller DIY projects rather than anything larger scale due to an unfortunate, yet respectful, decision from our go-to contractor. So here’s what we have been working on!


LIVING ROOM UPDATE!
Once the dust settled from the stair renovation and the holiday season we decided to take down the awkward archway that divided main living area and making it flush with the walls and ceiling and closing the original doorway into the hallway to make one seamless wall.
Our living area has always been pretty snug but once the family visited for New Years we realized how constrained we were were by this arch way ifor furniture placement wanted to create a more open space. Luckily, we were able to schedule this project when my father-in-law was still in town so he and my husband got straight to work on demoing. Once complete, it only took our contractor less than two weeks to patch up the walls and ceiling and make new baseboards. Then with a few coats of paint to cover up MORE beige, the living area improved a million times. We were a little worried that closing the old hallway entrance would make it dark and an awkward space in the back but it actually was perfect and created a lot of privacy for the bathroom and guest room.

In the near future we are looking to re-size the one window near the kitchen and replace all windows in this room to match the style of the new one in the staircase, smooth the ceilings, replace the trim, baseboards, and crown moulding. Stay tuned.

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KITCHEN UPDATE!
The kitchen has been such a debate. The original plan was to give it a refresh to hold us over until we could gut and remodel. We started by painting the walls because I just couldn’t take the beige paint anymore. I admit, I did this in kind of a rush without really thinking or wanting to put too much thought in it and just ended up painting it white. Like really white. Like the white in the can sans any pigment. For some reason, I just didn’t think of it until I was half way through and I was already using a paint-and-primer in one and was not about to do it again.
Good news is: WOW did it make an improvement in light. This kitchen actually feels alive now.
Bad news: it is REALLY white.

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Next, we were going strip and paint the cabinets which my husband was really against. It was going to be a lot of work and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The white walls were great but it did make the ugly ass counter tops and crappy floors more noticeable. Where do you even go from here? We didn’t want to paint the cabinets white now too and we could not find a color that would compliment anything in this kitchen. Not even black would do. And you know what, we kind of didn’t hate the contrast of the wood against the white walls. But man, were they beat up. My dad was getting ready to come out to visit to help us with the kitchen and anything else so, thankfully he came up with a simple and easy solution: Old English. That shit really brought out the warm wood color and hid almost all the wear and tear from decades of abuse.
And then to add insult to injury: these cabinets seemed to have never had any hardware! I didn’t want to go out of my way and spend agonizing hours sifting through the billions of hardware options so I found some decent knobs and pulls on Amazon that I would not feel terrible about getting rid of in a few years with the remodel. We needed a total of about 30ish pieces and couldn’t believe I found these for a grand total of about $50! I think they are great for what they are.

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We also finally changed out the terrible lighting! My husband switched out all of the crappy bulbs in the canned lights with new LEDs which are awesome. And we finally took down those two awful light fixtures (can you believe I couldn’t sell these babies?)! I ended up moving the pendent light from the guest room and we hung it above the stove and then added an awesome chandelier in the bay window / one day breakfast nook from Schoolhouse Electric.

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Lastly and probably the best: WE INSTALLED A NEW BACK DOOR! I couldn’t stand the door that came with the house! It was warped, weathered, didn’t seal completely and was dizzying. Now, this was something that would be a permanent fix so we took this decision more seriously. Thanks to some light internet searching I was able to locate a place called Building Material Resource that sells high end doors that have the slightest manufacturing defects so the doors are literally half the full retail price. And I found exactly what we were looking for!
We picked out a 1/4 lite with a single panel solid fir door by Simpson Door Company. This door was everything that I wanted, it met our budget, and it went perfect for the vision of our future kitchen. It is literally my dream door. Who knew a door could bring me this much happiness?
To save on installation cost, we flew my father-in-law out to help us with putting it in. And it was definitely worth the wait. The door is so beautiful and it lets even more light in! We also went with a keypad lock for it and it has been a great decision.
I totally recommend buying one if you are considering it.

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When it came time to finish it we debated to either paint or stain it. We originally went with stain. But to make a long story short - it didn’t work out. So we stripped it and painted it. We went with Behr’s Ultra Pure White on the inside and Marquee Red Pepper on the exterior (to go with our future exterior color scheme) in semi-gloss. I never thought I wold have a red door but here we are!

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BATHROOM UPDATE!
Another hot topic has been the bathroom. What to do with the this bathroom? Almost two years later and all we had done is put in a new toilet (which was huge). I couldn’t deal with the darkness from the turquoise any longer and had to get in there and paint it. I didn’t go for any specific color other than just white for now - I could change later. After what felt like a ton of work - once again the room was instantly transformed. It felt so much more like a clean and bright bathroom now rather than some dated room. I didn’t do the ceilings tho because I hadn’t picked out new lights and honestly the entire ceiling needs to be re-mudded and I didn’t want to deal with it at the time.

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Since this was more of a refresh rather than remodel, I wanted to spruce up the vanity, too since ripping it out would’ve created a domino effect. I did some research and bought Rust-o-leum’s countertop paint. This stuff is cool but know what you are getting yourself into. Not only can you “not really” choose your own color, this shit is toxic and takes foorrrrevvvver to dry. But it did make the counters look better. From here I was going to paint the body of the vanity and put in peel-n-stick floor tiles (I found super cute ones from FloorPop!) over the existing linoleum but then once again, changed my mind due to to seeing how much work it was going to be and maybe if I leave it as is it will push me to do the full remodel sooner. But at least we have white walls now right?
I am still in the process of picking out a new mirror and hardware for the towels and such but I did find this awesome lion head ring from my friends at Hippo Hardware in Portland. This will do for now.

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WE GREW OUR OWN VEGETABLES! AND ATE THEM!
The garden! I have been loving it though I don’t really know what I am doing. Back in the early Spring my husband built me this awesome raised bed out of left over wood we had. I love it. I began starting seeds inside in the winter for this which included super sweet 100 tomatoes, spaghetti squash (I used seeds from a squash we bought and ate from TJ’s), lemon cucumbers, celery, & jalapenos and bought starters for strawberries, spinach, beets, and broccoli. Not everything turned out so good but I definitely learned what to not try to grow again and what not to plant next to each other. It has been super rewarding to grow your own edible food tho. Can’t wait to try new plants next year!

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OH. AND THE GRASS DIED… AGAIN.

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What a surprise. We don’t know how to care for grass. It’s worse than last year.
Come this fall we are planning on trying to re-seed this barren yard. Also, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading this far! Owning this home and working on it slowly has been such a ride.
More updates to come soon (I hope).
Love ya!

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OUR STAIRCASE: THE RENOVATION // WEEK FIVE

 
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Here we are at the end of week five and wow have we made progress!

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Once demo was done, the new stairs were up in just a couple of days! 
We still can't believe the transformation of the space. It doesn't even feel like the same house!
Our contractor did an awesome job at creating the winder that we wanted, too. 

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Of course, it wasn't until the drywall went up that we could really see our vision being pulled together. It looks soooo Scandinavian and modern right now without the newel, railing, trim, stain, paint, yada yada.. I kinda love it!
We are also really excited for our new casement window! Since we eventually want to replace all the windows, we styled this one as a model for the rest and to match the original 1920's style of the house. Can't wait to see it!

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Since our home is almost 100 years old, things aren't exactly straight and a tad slanty, leaving the opening square didn't seem like the best idea. To help with the visuals, we added an arch in place of where the old wall was and it's so beautiful and more than we imagined! I want to arch every opening now!
(Also, our contractor is a saint for being so patient with our house and working extra hard to make things straight.)

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We have a few more weeks ahead of work before the plastic comes down and we can start painting and staining!
I look forward to sharing the finished project and to show you what we have in mind for the space!

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OUR STAIRCASE: THE RENOVATION // WEEK ONE

 
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A little behind our original schedule, but: THE STAIRCASE RENOVATION HAS BEGUN! And, it has been moving quickly! Everyday now, I leave for work and come home to massive changes! It's so exciting!

THE PLAN:

Let's rewind a little.
As mentioned months ago, we thought the kitchen or bathroom would be the first thing to change, but after living in the house for a bit, we decided to do the biggest thing (besides the kitchen) first and not only fix the staircase, but actually re-structure it and change the angle. Crazy, right? In order to do this, we agreed to lose one of our bedrooms and also expand the living room (See more of the plan and inspo here).

Once our contractor approved the renderings from our engineer, we hit the ground running!

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BEFORE:

Here are some before photos. FIrst, from inside the front bedroom... and don't forget that half-assed closet in which the original staircase cut through...

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And from the original living room looking towards the front bedroom where the new arch is going to be between the two spaces.

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BEGIN:

Day One: I left for work and when I got home the wall was gone! I was in complete awe. I know you see this kind of thing all the time on HGTV and how opening walls makes such an impact, but WOW it really does! I can't imagine the wall ever being back there! And the funny thing is, once our contractor started to tear down the wall, he found that there was originally an opening at some point that someone had the bright idea to close! Can you believe it?

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A few days later they removed the old staircase and it got even crazier. We could walk inside the area and see the original lathe and plaster, and really smell the old house. Luckily, we haven't come across anything too weird in the walls, unlike the attic where Danny found a ton of treasures while clearing it out for our new electrical and insulation. 

Once the new stairs get put in, this left-over extra space will be a large closet - something we really lack in this house.

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Looking in from the living room now is such a weird feeling considering we slept in the front room for the last six months! It honestly doesn't even feel like the same house, and in the best way. We have started playing around with different ideas of how we will designate the spaces now (living room, dining room, etc), but we are so early on that it's hard to even envision exactly what it will be like. We are waiting until the new stairs start going in, BUT we are thinking this will be the new dining room!

I am getting really excited to finally pick paint, trim, install new lighting, and - most importantly - to eventually bring home all of our furniture that has been sitting in storage since November! 

There is still a ton of work to be done, but jumping the hurdle to get the project started is done!
Another update in a few weeks!

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