Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One year

It truly is amazing what you can accomplish in just one year. As of August 6, Garry and I have been living in our house for a whole year. Considering that I moved from apartment to apartment every year (I've moved over 10 times since graduating from college 8 years ago) being in one space with no thought of going anywhere else was a bit... odd, but liberating at the same time.

I've decided to try and re-take photos we took of our house when we were first looking at it last year to show what we have accomplished and what we still have yet to do. Bear in mind - some of these photos are going to be of messy, chaotic rooms that haven't been really touched, rooms still in progress, and rooms that are almost there. Some of the photos haven't been taken yet (as there is much cleaning that needs to be done in our house before I can take those photos) so please check back for more updates!

By no means are we "done" with any space or project in our house. We've learned that's it's an evolving process and as we go along, we learn more about ourselves and what fits "us." We've also learned how to create a space that is comfortable for others and not just ourselves. That has been a wild ride to say the least, but at the end of the day, it makes us value our home even more.

So let's start with outside...
Before
Progress. We had the large pine tree cut down and took out a few shrubs in front of the picture window.

More progress. After all the shrubs are taken out and new plants are planted, you can definitely see more of the house. While the plants are still relatively small, they will mature and make the front area look a lot fuller. We made the front planting area even with the stone retaining wall/planter to the right. You can still see a bit where the old pine tree was in the middle of our yard, we're still working on getting the front lawn looking how we want it to.

Before


Despite needing a trim, we took out the shrubs that were dying and planted some rose of sharon on either side of the shrubs and extended the planting area. The rose of sharon will eventually grow to close to the gutters. We'll have to keep a vigilant eye on it starting next season, as you can see the one pictured above is slowly creeping taller than the shrubs.


Pretty flowers...

Before


We opened up this area by taking out the iron divider, and added the blue wicker bench and potted mums. Once we put new plants in the front planter it will act as a short, natural "wall" between the sitting area and the garden.

Going inside - here's the living room and entryway:

Before

Bonus! :) We decided we needed something to sort our mail, hang our keys, dog leash and work ID bages. Also, I had three photos from our wedding printed and hung to give us something to smile about on our way out and in.

Before 

Progress. We purchased our sectional couch and ottoman the day we closed on our house and wanted to paint before it arrived. We also hung the shelves and put a few special items on it (a photo of the two of us, a green owl-shaped lantern and our gold ampresand) to make that corner a little more personal. The window coverings and pillows were all made within a month of moving in (before our wedding). We added a simple, cheap green rug to go with the green in the curtains and pillows.

More progress. Finally we had an overhead light installed (through the grant program we participated in), a new coat of paint (the blue was too bright and a little girlie for us), large prints were made of the carousel I took photos of, and a few more personal items added to the shelves (a white ceramic flying pig, a paper apple and a wire tree sculpture that was a wedding gift from a friend of ours) to give it depth.

Much closer. More throw pillows added to the couch, the beginning of a sculpture under the shelves to add texture to that corner of the wall and a catch-all bowl and serving tray sit on top of  the ottoman. We also purchased a shag area rug to add more texture to the space. Now we just need some more "solid" curtains crown molding, and to finish the sculpture. This is probably the most "complete" space in the house.

Before - Crazy wall-o-mirrors.

Progress...? Those things needed to come down. I know some folks are really on the mirrored wall thing, but honestly, an ENTIRE wall of them?! NO freaking way! It basically meant an entire wall of not being able to put anything on, which bugged me. That and it made the room feel "sharp," which I didn't like. 

Progress??????? After a few failed attempts (no photos included out of sheer embarrassment) at fixing the mirror wall, we finally begrudgingly decided to install wall panelling on the accent wall. A few of Garry's friends helped with the install.



Progress. You know, I really wasn't too excited about the idea of wood panelling. I even bought paint so I could just "paint over it" because I thought it would be horrid. However, once it was up, I really liked it. The color of the panelling went well with the room and it meant that I was D-O-N-E with that part of the project.

Next up is the kitchen:

Before

Progress. We redid the entire countertop and backsplash of the kitchen, replaced the sink and faucet, and had a dishwasher installed. Unfortunately, Garry wouldn't let me paint the cabinets. :( 

Progress. Painting the walls a lighter color seemed to allow more light to bounce around the room. We also took down the curtains (and are in the process of making new ones). This area is still very much "in progress" as we still have to sort out some storage solutions, pretty-up the window area, and possibly create some open shelving to lighten the room. I'm also toying with the idea of repainting the room and possibly finding a way to refinish the cabinets in a lighter color (that doesn't involve paint because apparently that is not allowed). We also need to install some track lighting.

Before

Before

Progress. New tile backsplash, counter top, sink and faucet really helped out this area. Oh, and coffee... coffee always helps.

Bonus! :) We had a very long wall that had nothing on it, so we used an old, odd-sized frame we had, painted it white, spray-painted some left-over chalkboard paint I had (from another project a while ago) and created a menu chalkboard for our kitchen (and yes, we still eat Ramen noodles).

From the kitchen, we make our way into the backyard: 

Before. Most of the backyard was left to it's own deisgns... meaning lots of very invasive ivy growing into the foundation.

Progress. Garry being a manly-man and ripping out the ivy and other shrubbery. The Japanese maple seedling was moved to the front yard.

Progress. YAY! No more ivy! Eventually, this may end up becoming a garden bed of some sort, or a play-area for kids.

 Before 

Progress 

Before 

Progress

Before 
Bonus project: We added a small firepit in the middle of the yard. We're also planning on chopping up the wood along the fence line and stacking it somewhere out of the way. The metal clothes line pole will come down this season too. We have big plans to make a little garden area in that back corner where the fence is.

Something like this would be really lovely (found on google images) but with an all blue/white garden.

Okay, back inside... now here's the master bedroom:

 Before

 Progress? We moved the curtains from the living room into the master bedroom when we repainted the living room. We picked a mid-tone bright blue that, in all honesty, is a bit "much" for us. Plans are to repaint the room.

 Progress. I found a few copper-colored metal stars at Jo-Ann's that I love on our wall behind the tall dresser. I'm planning on refinishing the dressers at some point this year.

Progress. Plans are to refinish this dresser, add a new mirror and find some artwork for this wall. Plans also include possibly building a new jewelry holder out of "found" items and moving Auron's crate (to somewhere it makes sense). My husband also found a type-setter's drawer for me that we're going to install somewhere in this room.

 Before 
We haven't done much with the closet except take out the lower bar to make room for some of our longer items. Eventually, the plan is to create a more organized closet.

Here's the incredibly girlie guest room:

 Before 

 Before 
As of right now, we haven't done much to the room other than paint it a slate blue color and put up shelves. Since friends of ours are living in the room now, we didn't photograph it for the sake of their privacy.

The very-much-a-selling-point sunroom (right off of the guest room):
 Before 
The only difference to this room is the installation of 2 sconce lights on the wall shared with the spare bedroom. Again, since our friends are using this room currently, we didn't photograph it for the sake of their privacy.

First floor bath (okay, the only bathroom in the house... as of now):

 Before 

 Before 

Progress. Well, more like "done" as there really isn't much else left to do. The diverter from the faucet to the showerhead was corroded beyond all belief and we ended up having to replace the hardware in the tub. In the process, we had to retile the bottom part of the tub. Instead of trying to find tile to match (which this tile was kind of old and a specific color) we went with something that "went" and are planning on playing off that color scheme.

The attic (or soon-to-be guest room or master suite):

Before

Progress 

Progress. Right now we're in the process of installing the electric boxes in the walls. Once they are installed and inspected (can't be too safe!) we will begin the sheetrock adventure. After sheetrock comes new windows, some paint, flooring, trim and (finally) decorating. I think it's going to take quite some time to get this project done.

Realistically, this is the closest to our room design that I've found on the interwebs (from bhg.com) I really love the idea of bookshelves around the landing - but otherwise our room will be a little more colorful.

I really like something like this (taken from Pottery Barn website). There is texture, color (even though it's still fairly muted) and I can find a lot of the accoutrements for fairly cheap. The space will ultimately be a guest room, so it has to be "comfortable" for a variety of guests. In otherwords, it shouldn't be "too" crazy that it doesn't allow someone a good night sleep.

Overall, we've done a lot of work getting this house from where it was when we purchased it, to where we want it to be in a few years. Sometimes, something has to look a whole lot worse before it can start looking a whole lot better and that is certainly the case with a lot of these rooms. We understand that these kind of things take time and it can take 5 years or more to really feel "settled" into a house. 

Even though we haven't been able to finish all of our started projects or even get to some of them, our house still very much feels like a home. While paint colors, fabric, tile and all of those things are wonderful and can have a huge affect on you and your home, what makes a house a home is the love you put into it.