Befores and Afters: Renovations of Each Room (with Sources and Totals)

I thought I’d show you around our place.  Well, some of the photos are from some time ago, but not much has changed.  The rooms have a new shade of paint, new doors, new trim, and new lighting.  Both bathrooms, the kitchen, outside and basement were/are a bigger task than just that, but also include all of those new fixings as well.

We’re now working on the 3 rooms and a few closets in the basement for the final lap of this race.  Having very little to put towards it has made some of the decisions for us.  We’re going to lay the groundwork, but much like the landscape, the next owners will have to put some work into it.

Throughout these 2 1/2 years we’ve lived in often ridiculous circumstances with a lot of adjusting and “making do.”  We’ve learned to just roll with it over our 10+ years together, so it wasn’t too far of a stretch for us.  Keep in mind I bring you these shots while we’re only a few months away from listing this southern Minnesota house and (hopefully soon after) finally moving to Seattle.  We have a hodpodge of belongings and are preparing for house guests.  Annie’s parents and sis are coming to help out and see the place snazzed up.  Things are a bit awkward and un-staged.

It dawned on me that I haven’t really shown the multitude of updates and renovations we’ve done to the place in one post and our page dedicated to the topic has not been updated in some time (working on it).  I wanted to make this one photo-centric so here are the befores and afters.

Living room before

Excuse the blur

After in Sherwin Williams Passive gray and Benjamin Moore Decorator’s white on the trim

I said it was a hodgepodge of belongings…

New Pottery Barn rods and French gray curtains in the living room

Before

There’s always a dog toy in the photos around here

After with solid doors from a builder’s outlet store (8 for about $300) and front door free on craigslist (with a little work done to it) 

Or a dog

Hutch before (between the living and dining room)

After with help from family, heavy duty hinge and all 

Now secret attic entrance/bookcase 

Dining room before

After with solid hardwood maple flooring (rugs covering that beauty)

Work in progress

Door blind and pendant light from Overstock.com, table/chairs/bench from craigslist, rug from Ikea, kilim rug from ebay and table light from Target clearance

Hallway before

After (most inside of closets painted in Benjamin Moore paper white paint which is between light gray and white)

Master bedroom before

After in Benjamin Moore gray owl

Set up for guests (yes, that is a new-to-us bed and dresser from craigslist)-blinds from Lowes-comforter from Target clearance years ago

Schlage satin nickel doorknobs in andover and addison with contemporary nickel pulls on the closet

Second bedroom before

After in Benjamin Moore Chelsea gray

Before trim and the door was painted

Our lighting picks

This is one hard room to capture with our queen bed in it for the time being-notice no closet (put that space in the bathroom)

Main bathroom before

After with matte subway tile, hexagon marble floor tile, paint is Benjamin Moore gray wisp, and the sources are here (picked these lights instead) 

We opened the door from 24″ to 30″

DIY refinished tub

Added a closet for a stackable washer/dryer and storage-shelves from Target-basket from HomeGoods-Turkish towels from here-rug from Restoration Hardware (my sis made the artwork)

This bathroom finished for about $1600 

Basement bathroom before

After with glossy white subway tile, mosaic floor tile from Lowes, shower rod from here – Benjamin Moore gray owl (again but looks a different shade in this room)

Sources here (rug from West Elm and basket from HomeGoods)

Ikea mirror-Target towels-sink and faucet from Wayfair

Shower system from Amazon-shower caddy from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Basement bathroom was finished for about $1500

Kitchen before

After with original plans and project like these, this, this, this, this and finally this 

Paint is Benjamin Moore Rockport gray (missing a few cover panels)-knobs from here and pulls here-lights from Home Depot – rug from Target clearance and temporary (dishwasher was $60 craigslist score, faucets and sink were from discount online stores like the Amazon “used like new” section)

We already had the stove and refrigerator – great range hood for $199.99 from Rakuten

Ikea kitchen with some custom details (like molding from Menards, painted using Benjamin Moore color match technology to the Ikea Adel off-white color)- no more pocket door (we opened the doorway)

Butcher block counter from builder’s outlet store and flooring is Mohawk Rockingham solid coffee maple (when we bought it it was called Rockford…yeah both the paint and flooring were called Rockford)-blinds from JCPenney.  

The kitchen was finished for about $4500 (Ikea cbinets were $2600 for our 9′ x 10′ galley kitchen)

Outside before 

After

DIY slat fence 

New exterior lights and mailbox from Amazon 

New breezeway patio

Stairs before

During (not finished)

Basement bedroom 1 before (working on the reveal now)

During its “studio” phase (it was this for 2 years)

Basement bedroom 3 (or 2…now it’s open and going to be an entertainment room…reveal later)

Same room

Still the same room…they are big rooms downstairs 

Potential basement bedroom 2 (or 3)

We used this as the furniture refurbishing room when we couldn’t use the garage.

Not shown or mentioned is the utility room which has had some updates, replacements (water heater and repaired water softener)

You’ll have to wait for the rest of the updates-hope to see you here then!

 

The New Kitchen

Sorry to leave you hanging on the kitchen progress for a few weeks.  I honestly was more focused on moving past it-being one of the last big projects to tackle-to be a decent blogger.  I planned to get out my big girl camera and take some decent shots, then I said nah and took my iphone out.  To read more about the kitchen renovation (and see the “befores”), check out this, this and this post.  Those include our opinion and experience using Ikea products.  (This post makes the 4th about that topic.)

It is an ikea kitchen with custom features.  The total for the kitchen reno was under $4,500.  99% finished-a few cover panels (we have to cut those at our friend’s house and that has not happened yet) and we did not get enough toe kick from Ikea to finish the stove side which we plan to get soon.  Pay no attention to the protective film we still have on the cabinets.  That is not coming off until we go to put the house on the market Dana from House*Tweaking featured this kitchen on her site!

To finish the whole “Ikea experience” talk…putting the cabinets in was fairly simple and went quicker than expected.  We tackled one side one weekend and the other on another.

Be prepared is the best advise I can think to give.  We had the cabinets together before installation, the measurements and tools were nearby, then we had the energy and expectations that some biffs will come along the way.  None really.

Since we wanted to get the cabinets as close to the ceiling as we could and add molding, we had to make a custom base for the pantry cabinet to somewhat match where the base cabinets sat.  The refrigerator is not counter-depth so it took some work to get the upper cabinet in (custom framing) and we simply put Ikea’s large panel on the side-cutting only a little off.  Assembling the drawers, catches and dampers wasn’t bad at all.  (Ahem be sure to have them facing the correct way.)

The flooring was a different story.  That came from a discount seller I found online and while all that was great and dandy, installation was sometimes awful.  Moreso the husband/wife + home improvement factor where one of us (me) is pickier about some things.  But, the solid 3 1/4″ coffee maple hardwood is beautiful.  Worth it.

These pics are misleading because we have 2 energetic pups who ruin pretty much everything in the house they can get to which is why I normally have a dozen rugs on the floor and other precautions in place to help.  The big rug is from Ikea, some are Target clearance specials and some were just by the check out at Menards to protect the new hardwood maple flooring.

I wanted a little something for myself since I will not be staging the place-we’re just trying to get out of here, folks-so I got a kilim rug to bring in some color.  Found that baby on ebay.  Well, I found it on etsy then found the same seller on ebay who marked it a lower price once I started watching it and I got free shipping which was not offered on etsy.  Anywho, I love it.  It’s one of the few things I get.  Besides, staging is the next phase of life for me.

You can’t see the ugly rugs in these pics, but know that they are there on a daily basis…along with a large, old microwave and various other things typically on the counter in the kitchen.  I was wise enough to take those things out of the pics.

What do you think of the kitchen?

The paint is Rockport gray from Benjamin Moore.  The trim was color matched using Benjamin Moore’s system at our local hardware store.  The butcher block is from here, a builder outlet store (if you’re in the Minneapolis area).  Of course, Ikea cabinets, molding and other trim from Menards, lights from Home Depot and Lowes…if anything tickles your fancy send me a comment and I’ll get back to you with the details.  Hardware, flooring, sink, faucets, etc..

I love the kitchen.  The flow, storage, look, everything is so much better.  On to the basement!

Psst Wanna See the Kitchen So Far…

Just a Sunday post to bring you some recent photos of the kitchen.  Lots of small things left to do.  I hope to get a real post up about our overall experience using Ikea cabinets to finish off the series (post 1 about buying, designing & tips and post 2 about delivery & assembly then there was this post about the kitchen demo in-between those).

I’d also like to tell you a great way to get a more vintage/great patina on butcher block countertops using all-natural products.  *I should note that our counter was purchased at a builder’s outlet store and not from Ikea.  They don’t sell the maple version and we got our countertop for a terrific deal.*

The entire kitchen was, or will be, finished for under $4500.  Goes with our budget renovations on both bathrooms and pretty much the entire house.  Almost finished.  Almost time to find another house to fix up near Seattle.

Let’s start with what the kitchen looked like when we bought it (and mostly stayed that way for 2 1/2 years which was hard for a homecook/food enthusiast like myself)…

We did a few small things during those 2 1/2 years and one very big thing which was taking out the pocket door and opening the doorway between the kitchen and dining room.  That was about 1 1/2 years ago.  It made a huge difference.

To get the built-in look for the fridge, we had to bring in the other side of that doorway by about 7 inches, but it’s still very open and scaled correctly with the house.

And now…

A few items we left in the design even though we weren’t 100% on them (like the light above the sink) .  The house is renovated for resale and not necessarily our own tastes, but some of it seeped through.  I had to keep this in mind so as not to drive myself too crazy looking for just the right this or that.  Each room we’ve touched (95%) flows well into the other, I think anyway.

If you have any questions and comments leave them below and I will get back to you.  Instagram is also a good way to get in contact with me.  Like always, go have yourself a great week!

Let’s Hear It For My Mom

Post-Mother’s Day I thought I’d share the blanket and pillow my mom made for me.  I know I’m a bit backward as I am a pet mom without human children and I should have made her something, but it just aligned this way.

She said I would be receiving a package with something she’d made, but I had no idea what that would be.  Then these arrived…

Gorgeous chevron, right?  I love them.  Thanks, mom!

~Annie

Kitchen Reno Update with Continued Ikea Experience Talk

Guys, I’m getting more and more excited.  The kitchen is slowly coming along. Can’t tell you how much I love taking something ugly and inefficient down. Demo is the best.

I’ll show you through photo and while I sing you a song.

Hold up.

For those following our Ikea-using journey for the kitchen reno I’ll tell you that we ordered the cabinets and whatnot on a Monday at the store (see that link for the Ikea experience we had), scheduled delivery for Sunday (Easter even), they called and said they were going to be in our area Wednesday (2 days after ordering) so we said sure, bring it on over that day.  Ich bin impressed.

Ikea hires the delivery part out, so what I’m about to say isn’t completely reflecting poorly upon them. That sounds bad, huh? I mean sure they use the company and you expect them to be responsible for who they choose, but again, I’ve read a number of horror stories regarding people receiving their Ikea kitchen from a lousy shipper even though they had nothing but great customer service from Ikea.

And looking back, this wasn’t awful at all-not even close to the other stories-and the delivery guys were very nice, even wanted to hire us since we actually helped unload. Guess we were only the second people they’ve ever met that assisted…sounds pathetic to me. Help them out, people.

The bad part was that, okay we said bring it on Wednesday and set up a timeframe from 5 to 9 for delivery…at 2ish they called and said they were 40 minutes away. Uhh, what? Greg had to leave work early to meet them and he was about the same distance away.

I bet the guy I spoke with on the phone the day before, who had me on speakerphone and I hate…which is why I imagine him for some reason leaning back in his chair with his arms behind his head, just chillin’, making the daily customer calls when I said we won’t be home until 5. Surely he made some rude gesture like yeah right, lady, 5 to 9 then winked at someone in the office then went ahead and stamped the paperwork with a 1 to 5 timeframe and hung up after assuring me that would be fine. The next day, same guy left me a voicemail that said they were on their way (early) and if we couldn’t be there or weren’t there we’d have to schedule another day and time….which had me yelling at the voicemail “you mean like Sunday? our original delivery day?” Good thing we were on the ball and had the house fairly organized to even get it stored. Now the pictures. (There’s more info about our Ikea kitchen after the pics.)

Ikea cabinets arrived like this

Checklist

Putting them together.  Does not involve a yellow squeaky ball…unless you have a dog or two that think “mom and dad are trying to do something so I must be all over the place to help”

Together!

Flooring arrived shortly after the cabinets

We’ll test that.

That hole…

produced this mess for the new pendant light.

This side came down, a few weeks after the other side of the kitchen

Yoink

Greg extended the doorway so we can put in our built-in for the fridge

As it looks today…like 2 minutes ago today

The opening went from 55″ (remember we had a pocket door here) to 48″ which is still a good size and looks better with the scale of the house

Pocket door-to jog your memory.  See this post from the past about what we’ve done to the kitchen before the big reno.

We were told we had a small load by the delivery guys compared to the Ikea kitchens they usually haul. We do have a small galley kitchen and our design lacks upper cabinets on one side (except the one above the fridge). As soon as the delivery truck was gone, I began checking to make sure we had everything. The delivery guys said we had 5 days to go over everything and underlined the number to call if there were any problems. That whole check-everything-before-the-truck-leaves bit was false in our case. Phew. Everything was there and no damage. There might even be a few things we can return if we don’t open them. We shall see.

It took us 3 evenings and 6 hours to put together a 36″ x 39″ upper cabinet, 15″ x 39″ upper cabinet, a tall 24″ x 88″ pantry cabinet, and 5 base cabinets of varying sizes. Greg was very impressed with the process and quality.  If you pour the contents out in a certain way from the box they practically put themselves together. Due to the numerous other bloggers whose posts I read about putting together Ikea kitchens, I thought it would take longer. 6 hours and 90% is done. Nice! One very helpful tip would be to have a screw gun so you aren’t doing it all by hand. I could see how that would take forever. It’s great to have in general anyway. We use it for every.single.project around here….yep, every one.

As you saw, the cabinets are just sitting in our master bedroom waiting to go, some cover panels are leaning against the wall in the living room (by the flooring) and the tall pantry cabinet, as you also saw, is by the fridge in the dining room. That photo is misleading because that’s the clean version. The now (dirty) version is full of food and everyday items we had in the kitchen along with a shelf we brought up housing our cookware and dinnerware. It’s a mess like I said last post. It’s been this way for weeks and will most likely be that way for weeks to come. We’re on drywall repair now, folks.

Speaking of flooring, we got the lovely maple…which I guess meant we also bought a pallet because the guy said it was ours since he wasn’t waiting for us to unload all of the flooring. It took us 5 minutes to get the 246 sq ft in the house. Oh no, not 5 whole minutes!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to continue scraping off old glue and wallpaper. Because this 1952 kitchen has seen at least 2 paint colors and 2 wallpaper motifs, perhaps 3, in its time and the previous owner painted over the wallpaper. Also, the cabinets were a pain to take down. Also, also, do you like the salmon pink shade and the now very open layout? I’m digging it. The kitchen has never been so big and open.

Organized Mess

Well, ladies and gents, we did it.  Greg and I started tackling the kitchen/dining room renovation over the weekend.

The carpet and pad were removed in the dining room.  The laminate flooring was removed in the kitchen.  All in prep for the new maple flooring.

We moved the fridge into the dining room, organized what we won’t be using in the kitchen into bins, and took out one side of the old cabinets.  We kept the sink side in place so it’s still a functioning kitchen.  I am a home cook that needs her work space.  The stove was put back into place after laying down some contractor paper and rugs in both rooms.  And that’s where we stand.  Organized mess.

The following day we went to Ikea to order the kitchen cabinets.  I’m amazed because they arrive tonight.  It was an easy process-much like going to the store for assistance with the design.  See this link for more information and tips on the Ikea kitchen planning thus far.  The previous arrival date was for Easter Sunday, but Ikea’s delivery department called to say they would be in our area.  2 days after ordering.  *Update on that: whoever Ikea had delivering our items put us in a 5 to 9 time slot so we could both be home then they called to say they were 35 minutes away at 2:45…first complaint so far.

By the way, the kitchen rep at Ikea told us we have 3 days to go over our order once it’s delivered which means that issue where you have to do that before the delivery truck leaves is incorrect.  Phew.

I have the master bedroom set up for storage and assembly.  I’ll be working towards getting most of it put together in there while Greg focuses on drywall work.

The flooring arrives Monday or Tuesday.  It’s going very fast, people.  We’re feeling that rush (although Greg is also feeling pressure and stress since his day job suddenly asked him to be involved in other areas…he gets to work this Saturday and is not thrilled).

Seattle is coming!

Before any of this happened, we found out we had big car issues with our Subaru Forester.  Rebuilding the engine kind of problems that might be worth fixing for someone else with time and money, but for us, we need a reliable vehicle that will get us across the country and safely about when we get there until we get settled.  We heart our Subarus, but also considered a Volvo.  Something wagon to haul our furniture and pups.

The search for a new used vehicle began weeks ago.  All the while we decided not to drive any farther than around town which meant Greg got a ride to work for a couple weeks.  Before we ran errands we sang “car don’t fail us now, car don’t fail us now.”  That was stressful.  Things looked bleak.

We kept trying to find anything without luck…until last Thursday.  It all just came together.

The dealership was within a distance we were willing to take our broken vehicle, so we kept calling until they finally got it Monday after they purchased it at a New York auction.  We watched it roll up on a trailer, get unloaded then we jumped out towards the office door.  This Forester is 4 years newer than our last and will have come from Rochester, New York to Minnesota to Seattle, Washington.  Maybe we’ re just dorks that think that’s something special.  Can you tell we have love for a good Subaru?

So, Greg worked from home that morning, we bought our Ikea cabinets, that car, and an antique dining table and bistro chair set from a craigslister in one day (I’ll show you the chairs later…I’m really digging the sanded look).  We actually had the set with us when we traded vehicles. It went from the old to the new Ru which made it the first craigslist item in the car under our ownership. Maybe ever.  It should get used to that with us.  The dealer asked if the dining set was part of the trade in.  Funny man.

Anyway…I’m on the ball with this organizing thing even though the house looks a mess.  I spent some time putting things we can get by without until the move into bins.  Our closet now has spring/summer wardrobe with the colder season clothing packed away.  I have items to donate in one area, ready to go, have been giving away and selling a few things around the house to craigslisters and the storage areas in the basement have been updated into house reno supplies, moving with us, sell/donate and use for staging.  I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Before I go, here’s a cute bench a craigslister was kind enough to drop by our house yesterday.  Love it!  Obviously Vivi does too.  I’m also collecting pieces I want to bring with us-the bench falls into that category.