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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
OH. AND THE GRASS DIED… AGAIN.
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).