In its final stages...

Well, we have the kitchen about 90% done. The remaining 10% includes the tile backsplash, a new main light and getting the stone for the fireplace. Some things are on hold. We want to eventually get the tile for the backsplash, but for now, we have just painted the walls and that is fine. We also have lots of trim to hang, and some touch up painting. And, of course, we seem to have a very empty house. I feel like I just do not know where to start with decor! No pictures on the walls yet, and that is what I am grappling with. But, to satisfy your need to see what our kitchen now looks like, here are a few pictures.

This one is of Jason using the new stove. In particular, I really love the pendant lights, but that round flourescent light eventually must go!!!

This is a shot of where the wall in the LR used to be. Now it is nice a open, and we can enter from there or from the old dining room side.

Kitchen Remodel

I'm getting lots of requests to post pictures of the kitchen remodel, so I'm going to attempt a few now. Right now we're awaiting the installation of our quartz countertops, and we still have to install the pendant and undercabinet lights. Meanwhile, Jason has laid almost 1000 pieces of tile in the entire upstairs common areas - a combo of 18" x 18", 12" x 12" and 6" x 6" tiles. The kitchen was done over a month ago since it needed to be done in order for the cabinets to be installed. But now we have to grout the other areas. No small task. Poor Jason is stuck with the brunt of the work since I hurt my knee and can only do limited time kneeling on hard tile flooring. But, I digress.

First, some "before" pictures of the kitchen. It was very closed in, and also house a large laundry closet where the washer/dryer resided (I now have a laundry area in the basement with a large section of the base cabinets and countertop we repurposed from the old kitchen):

You can see in the second picture that there is a wall adjacent to the brick hearth in the living room. These pictures were taken prior to our purchase of the house in 2006. We have since taken that wall out and opened up the entire area in order to create a more open floorplan. Here are some pictures of the demolition:

The installation of the cabinets:

Of course, I'm saving the best for last - no more pictures until it is nearer to completion with lighting and installed appliances!!

Catching up - Our progress over the last 4 months

I haven't posted in a while - mainly because summer is always crazy for us. But throw in the complete overhaul of turning a 2 car garage into a gorgeous living room and the complete gutting of our kitchen and remodeling the rooms it abuts, and you have negative time left.
When I last posted, we had just finished the office addition and moved in, and we had started transforming the garage into our new living room. Considering how long it took us to finish the addition (new construction + permits, inspections and therefore, extra time), it took almost no time to get the living room all but finished.


Not bad, eh? Here is another angle:


Next time: I will start posting about the kithen demo.

Onto the next phase

OK, so I already mentioned that we moved into the office and have started the transformation of the new living room. DH worked his tail off to get the drywall hung, and I even helped a bit! We waited forever for our drywall finisher to get back to us, and he was supposed to start two days ago, but never showed. But he assures us that he is coming tomorrow at 7AM to get on it and if he does, it really should only take him a few days to finish it. DH already started the finishing, so that will save us money on this guy's labor.

Meanwhile, we started brainstorming and browsing for kitchen remodel ideas. We're drooling over the new Electrolux appliances that have induction cooktops, but we haven't justified the acquisition of one. We really aren't sure if it would be worth having one, and unless we buy a drop-in, we can' get one with 6 burners like we planned on getting. So, we are leaning towards getting another built-in range like we bought in Vermont. I just dread having to clean those grills, but it isn't the end of the world, I suppose. Gas heat is the best. It is exciting to be at this point of the renovations, but the end result still seems so far away. I keep hoping that we can have a celebration party in our "new home" this fall, but I know better than to be too optimistic. We have done this so many times that I know that having unrealistic expectations only adds unnecessary stress to an already stressful project. Don't get me wrong, we love to do this type of stuff (or we wouldn't have done it so often), but there is a percentage of stress for every 10% of fun you get out of renovating a house.

I'll post some pics of our current kitchen after I take a few - this will be an amazing before & after job...can't wait for the after!!!

All moved in!

Well, we ended up getting the final inspection, phew! I suppose the room in question could be a bedroom, and in some cases it will be treated as such, but come on...why should a family of 3 with a home office need to get a whole new septic system because of some stupid technicality?

Anyway, the final inspection marked the entire project from start to finish at 1 year, 1 month and 1 day! We had projected about 9 months, so this was a bit too long for our liking...

But we're all moved into the office, save some needed decor, but that isn't priority with a new living room space in the works (we don't waste time moving from one project to the next and I don't mind spending 1 year, 1 month and 1 day on the minute details - it takes time to make a space your own!)

Here are a couple of shots:

Lessons on inspection deceipt

Well, we learned a lesson in avoiding installation of a new septic system. If you plan to add a room to your home that will not initially or immediately be used as a bedroom, be sure to make it look like something other than a bedroom! We moved into our new office a week and a half ago. While we intend to use the second room we built as a guest bedroom, we had told the inspector way back when that it would NOT be a bedroom, but more of an office/rec room that would be supplemental to the actual office. We did this because he told us that there may be implications in adding a 4th bedroom to the house. Well, we didn't realize those implications involved determining if the septic system was approved for a 4 bedroom house. Likely not, since the house was built in 1976 as a 1400 SF 3 BR rancher. So, being a kind man, the inspector has decided to overlook the bed frame we had in the room, and told us to make sure it resembled an office when he returned to re do the final inspection. So, we will not put the closet doors on, and we will put office shelving and a file cabinet in there; we have a desk and a TV stand rather than a bed in the room. So, take our advice, and be sure to know what the type of room you're uilding might do to your existing utility capacities!!

Starting Before Finishing

It's our motto! Even though we will likely be able to move into our new office this weekend, it is contingent upon whether the drywall finisher is done by then and we've been able to paint. That is the hope. But, in the meantime, my husband began ripping out the old ceiling in the old garage last night. This room will become our new living room when it is done. We already installed radiant heat under the new sub floor, and soon we will be able to erect the walls for the closets and enclosures before doing more drywalling. It keeps us going...

Looking To Move In

It has been just over a year (1 year and 6 days, to be exact) since we broke ground on our new addition. Since my husband and I (but mostly my husband) have done 80% of the work, it has taken much longer than we initially projected. Travel, work, socializing and the like seems to squeeze in between stages of construction and renovation. Oh, and inspections. We are fortunate to know people in the world of HVAC, plumbing and electric, so having those parts covered were big money savers. My husband did almost all the plumbing himself; his father is an electrical engineer and did all of our wiring; a good friend of ours owns an HVAC company who did most of our heating and A/C work (although he and my husband did a lot of the busy work themselves after hours). Knowing all of these people in the industry also led us to great contacts for other parts of the job - the 20% we contracted out (drywall finisher, carpenters (who framed the addition after the slabs were poured), and siding contractors). So, had it not been for us doing most of the work, we would have paid LOTS more and it would have been done probably last fall. But I am fine with how it has turned out. We made a lot of design changes along the way, as well as some mistakes. I can't wait to post the final outcome.

Picking Out Stone

Yesterday, my husband and I finally chose the stone that we will use to compliment our clay colored siding. We opted to incorporate stone on portions of the house in order to sort of "keep up with the Joneses" since the new houses in the surrounding developments and area are doing something similar. Our house is a 1978 rancher and in order to get it to stand up to the current trends, we felt this was a good option.
We chose Mainline Cobblestone (pictured below) and we plan to use a grey or muted grout color. We liked that this stone has varied colors - some bold and some muted, which will make the areas we are using the stone pop against the siding. We also plan to get dark brown or dark reddish brown shutters and paint our main entry doors some sort of deep red (final decision on this is yet to be determined and we will wait until the rest of the house is done before deciding on the door color).
I will blog about how the stone veneer looks once it is up, but that will likely be several weeks, if not, months from now.

Faux Crackle Painting Technique

If you want to give your furniture new life, painting it can do this. Of course, you can paint just about anything, but if you want to created a faux effect, you had better follow the steps of doing so correctly, or your efforts will be for naught. I decided I wanted to make some old, worthless furniture look like white antique furniture worthy of my new guest bedroom. But I had only done faux finishes on walls and those attempts never came out quite as well as I had hoped.
I did a few searches online only to find little about doing a faux crackle finish. But one article I did find led to me buying Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze. Here is what I did to achieve what I think is a pretty darn good job on my bedroom set:


  • 3" or 4" roller
  • A good 2 1/2" nylon bristle paint brush
  • Roller pan
  • Cleaned bicycle chain or an old sock with nuts, bolts and screws (if distressing)
  • (2) cans Valspar Flat acrylic paint in your choice of colors (you will need 2 colors - base coat and top coat)
    Be sure to choose colors that compliment each other and look natural. I chose to use a very light blue for my base coat, and then an antique white for the top. The result was very nice. For a more dramatic look, choose bolder, more contrasting colors. For more subtlety, use colors that are only a few shades off from one another.
  • (1) container Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze
  • (1) can Valspar Clear Coat
  1. SAND your furniture well - especially if there is a protective coating such as poly or clear coat on it - your base paint won't adhere well to these mediums. When you're done sanding, be sure to thoroughly clean each piece so that it is clean and has no dust particles on it. I use a Murphy's Oil and water solution to really clean all wood surfaces.
  2. DISTRESS. If you don't want the old, beat up look to your furniture, skip this part. But if you want the furniture to look like it has gone through a few kids, moves and generations, you can take a clean chain, or throw a handful of nuts, bolts and flat-ended screws into an old sock. Have FUN! Beat your furniture with your weapon of choice - and try to 'beat' it where it would naturally have gotten wear - corners that would have been bumped by vacuums, desktops that would have had things dropped on them, etc.
  3. BASE COAT. Remember, this technique is based on using the Valspar Weather Crackle medium, so these steps are important for making this product work. Using a flat latex base in the color of your choice, paint your furniture. Allow the base coat to dry completely, I recommend overnight.
  4. CRACKLE GLAZE. Important: Only apply crackle glaze to FLAT surfaces that you are can paint over within 1 to 4 hours. If you are not able to paint over the crackle glaze in this time period, do not start this step. Apply crackle glaze evenly (and somewhat generously) to all flat surfaces (meaning, do not apply to vertical surfaces!). It is best to apply with a small roller, but use a brush for ornate areas or spindles (such as on headboards or chairs). Only do one side of a spindle - you will do the other sides later.
  5. TOP COAT. Allow the crackle glaze to dry for 1 to 4 hours. Once it has dried, you need to apply your top coat quickly. This is the most difficult step of the process, so follow these instructions well! You MUST use a FLAT paint for this coat or it will NOT crackle!! I recommend using a wide brush for applying the top coat. Once you start applying, you cannot go over what you have already painted! Using heavy amounts of paint, swiftly apply the top coat in single strokes going the same direction. If you're quick, you can dip your brush and start at the very end of your last stroke for full coverage. You'll soon see that speed and efficiency are key in this step. Within 15 to 30 seconds you will begin to see the top coat crackle and the bottom coat show through. If you get clumps from going over the same area too much or going the opposite direction, don't fret too much - when everything is dry you can sand these areas a bit. But in my experience, as long as you do your best to minimize the clumps, they take on part of the effect of the aged antique look and blend in.
  6. To cover all sides of your piece you must allow each surface area to dry completely, then repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have covered all areas. If you do not do these steps so that each side is flat, you will get "slipping" of the paint. Essentially, the glaze allows the paint to slip apart, creating cracks. If you apply the glaze and top coat to a vertical surface, the top coat will simply slide off, and you get a result that is less than desirable. I learned this the hard way, and ended up sanding off the large blob of paint that gathered at the bottom of the side of my bed stand, and afterwards touched it up with another light application of top coat. Now I am doing my dresser, and doing each side face up for a flat surface and better result.
  7. SAND. Once your paint is dry, go over any rough spots, or clumps with medium fine sandpaper. (If you need to, you can touch up any undesirable spots with the top coat again, and use to your discretion). Then, take your sandpaper to corners, edges and areas that receive normal wear. Sand through in small areas to the wood, and you will get a natural worn look. Of course, this is a step done to your preference. Some people don't want worn furniture, so if you fall into this category, don't sand too much.
  8. WIPE Down the furniture to remove any sanding dust.
  9. APPLY CLEAR COAT. Valspar has a clear coat that is sold specifically for faux finishes. It dries clear and protects your work of art.

Tackled the Crackle!

We are soon to finish our new addition - a 2 story garage with an office, bathroom and guest room on the second level. The is tres exciting for me, as I do not usually have the delight of being able to design and decorate a room from scratch. It is also nice to not have to tape up all your trim to paint - you get to paint and then put the trim on!
So, I have been thinking alot about how I want to furnish and decorate the guest bedroom. After all, guest rooms are what your guests will see most closely and they epitomize your decorating sense and what you want to convey to your family and friends. I painted the room in Valspar's Superior Blue. With white trim and doors, it is quite an eye-popping blue (so much that during the construction phase, my dear husband to everyone he felt like he had to hold his breath in that room since he felt like he was under water), so I wanted white furniture in the room to help absorb the brightness of the blue. My problem was, we don't have any white furniture.
Furniture wasn't the problem, it was that I have to paint it or buy new furniture if I were to get what I wanted. I didn't want to paint good furniture that was either in very nice condition or had some antique value. But we happened to still have the not-so-valuable-or-pretty maple bedroom set that my husband and I bought for $100 when we moved to Vermont from college in 1997. Now I just worried that, if I painted it, it would look hideous.
So, instead of deciding to just paint it white, I decided to make my life much more difficult and try to do a faux finish. I wanted that old, worn antique look to go along with my intended beach theme in the room. So, I tried to look up some articles on doing a crackled or an distressed finish, not finding too much at all. The only thing I found that was of any help was Karon Goodman's article on using Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze. This was good, as I had already taken a gander at this product on our last trip to Lowe's, so I decided I'd go for it. In hopes that I can help someone else who wants to do this, I will give my step-by-step process for success in the next post. But I will say that the end result was much better than I anticipated! For a first timer, that is always quite a feat!