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 REVEAL

 
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OUR STAIRS ARE DONE!!! Finally! From, start to finish it took approx. six months! But as my husband likes to say: the turtle always beats the hare. And yes, patience definitely paid off! They are beautiful and exactly what we wanted!


If you dare to look back at the before (and progress from week one and week five) these new stairs have completely transformed our home. It’s so airy, and natural light pours in - which is really important in Portland. It definitely makes for a great entrance into the house.

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Not only did the stairs turn out better than we thought, but our contractor gave our home a big upgrade with his awesome craftsmanship in the trim and moulding. We went with a base-trim to return the home back to it’s era after numerous previous owners did their own “upgrades.” In this he also added a very simple but very appropriate frame around our new window which I love so much! Eventually every window and door frame will have the same details. It ties in our mid-century style so well. The new window is also going to be our new standard for the house with the craftsman divided lights. We also replaced all of our floor registers from the dingy ones that were left behind that help tie in our vintage look with an antique brass finish.

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Picking the right paint and stain was probably one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in this project. Our treads are a gorgeous White Oak but we quickly found out do it’s absorbent nature we would need to use a gel stain that would give us the color we wanted while keeping the integrity of the grain while still being durable. We ended up going with a color called Candlelite that gives a rich tone without being too warm (and it matches our furniture!). Only downside is, gel stains take about five days to dry so prepared for that.
Then, I really struggled with the color, because I wanted all white walls, but Danny wanted a contrast between the walls and the trim so we compromised and went with Benjamin Moore’s “Cloud Cover”. It looks more like a Vintage White, and goes nicely with the all the wood. We had originally thought we would do all the painting and staining on our own to save money, but after we realized how tedious it was going to be, we decided to hire out the job - and it was worth every penny spent. The whole process took about a month.

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After the initial build was complete, Danny and I talked about what the functionality of this room would be besides just the stairs, since it was previously a bedroom. We never envisioned this room to be our dining room, but after placing our table in there while moving the rest of the furniture in from it’s hiatus in storage, it just made sense. The rest of our existing furniture then fit in perfectly, as if it was meant to be. But, the room really came together with the gorgeous light fixture from Schoolhouse Electric. Biggest plus side, now we have a great view of the fireplace while we have dinner or play games with family and friends.

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We are beyond pleased with how everything came out and could not be more grateful having met the people we did who made this all happen. Now to get some more plants and finish decorating!

Thank you so much David & Bryan, Nikole & Tom Peña, Bonnie Johnson, and Emily Moran. You dudes are the best. Xo.

Stair Newel - McCoy Millwork
Window - Milgard via Parr Lumbar
Paint - Benjamin Moore, Cloud Cover
Stain - General Finishes, Candlelite
Floor Registers - Home Depot
Lighting - Schoolhouse Electric
Rug - Vintage from PCC Flea Market
Chairs - Craigslist
Table - Goodwill
Bookshelves - Salvation Army
Flowers - Knot & Fern

 

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