Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On Your Mark...

Hi there!  Just found two minutes, so I thought I'd drop in and show some pictures of us getting ready.

 {control center}

We are getting carpet installed in the next two weeks, so we ripped out the carpet of the entire upstairs and made the game room our main control center, i.e. equipment and tool storage. And since were are planning on repainting all the walls upstairs, we used the game room as the painting center. All of the doors were removed and lined along the wall and sprayed. Thank goodness for the Wagner sprayer and hungry family members.


There's a lot of trust hanging out there for me to let someone else do the painting. But for the sake of getting it done, and also Simply White being on top of a previous white paint making imperfections less noticeable, I loosened the reigns a smidgen.

Sarah and I have been touching up other things upstairs like the closets, bookshelfs, and built-in desk. We've also gotten the bathrooms prepped for tiling. So, be on the look out for my 2-minute-drop-in picture updates.

Happy Remodeling.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good Night Construction Site

Back to that subject of priorities again!  We spend so much of our time downstairs with the little one, we forget that we set our priority to be upstairs remodeling. We would find little things downstairs to work on, and they would be little knick-knaks. You've already seen that I started with the Laundry room and the half bathroom. We are very pleased with them of course, but again delays upstairs progress. Then there are things that we'd like to make more pleasing to our eyes like changing some of the AC vents to bright white and changing door knob handles to satin nickel handles.  
Another frustrating item is changing out door hinges to nickel hinges. The previous owner, maybe even the builder, decided to fill in the hinge screws with wood filler before painting them. So the process of digging out the screws then unhinging took a bit of time.
The time spent on these items were all well spent, just out of order. So re-prioritizing puts us at DEMOLITION of the J&J bathroom and the Guest bathroom. These pictures are results of bribing family with dinners for their labor.

{naked shower}
The cultured marble took a little muscle to rip off, but we're glad we did it. This shower obviously hasn't been inspected, in probably the 20 years of the previous owners' occupancy.  There was some mold on the backer boards from water leakage, so we will be replacing all of that also.

{not so vain anymore}
We demo-ed the vanities in both bathrooms. The were built-in, so we had to take hammers to it rather than a simple pull out.

Our temporary storage for all of the demolition were the rooms themselves. The carpet being pretty close to the top of the list to be ripped out was a plus for us to not worry about throwing all this trash atop.

And this is where it all ended up.  Home Depot sells these bags ($30) that you can set on your driveway for trash collection. The bag was 3 cubic yards (2 ft by 4 ft by 8 ft) and we were able to fit both showers, both vanities, and tile and mortar from both floors. You just have to go to and schedule a pick-up date. They'll come with a dumpster truck equipped with a hydraulic arm to pick it up into the truck, as simple as that.  
It didn't look like we had room in the bag for the mirrors and the shower backerboards and so we didn't take them down.  Or that may be our excuse for now.  They may end up as part of our weekly trash pick-ups.
Thanks to my family for helping out with the demolition.  Now on to the remodel part!

What have you demolished lately?
Any thoughts on what we could have done better?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Sorry, we apologize for being so absent, but remember that butcher paper of To Do's that I taped on our living room wall?  Well, we got to cross something else off the list.


Yup!  We have a happy healthy baby boy.  Obviously, this has been the reason why our postings have been slow.  Please forgive us!!  I am still trying to work about an hour a day on the house, after spending time with my son, of course.  But waking up at 5 am to work 9-hour days and spending time with the little addition will make progress on our house a little slow.  We do have deadlines (or dates we'd like to meet) in place and we will try to post our progress as much as possible.

I have been able to finish painting the Laundry room and the half-bathroom has had quite a facelift.  Also, demolition on the J&J bathroom is well under way.  Pictures coming soon!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013


{Ridiculously dusty curtains and finials down, 57 holes left to patch!}

Knowing that any minute could be go time for this baby boy taking up space in my ever growing baby bump, Huynh and I have been trying to tackle as many house projects as we can manage before our time is consumed with kisses and snuggles (Eek! Can't wait!!). This weekend will be filled with more painting - hopefully getting the laundry room done - and more unpacking all while taking it one day at a time and trying to plan for the unexpected. I'm not going to lie and say that we are not anxious but we are also crazy excited and can't wait to see what's to come! Happy Friday, y'all.

{Sneak peak at laundry room. Gearing up to paint cabinets.}

{Built-ins upstairs, ready for new shelves.}

{Pretttty gourd lamp that I should have snatched up!}

{Don't paint your hinges to your doors or Huynh will hunt you down.}

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paint Colors

In sharp contrast to our previous abode, this house is getting much cooler toned colors thus completely ditching any remnants of tan! Instead of going crazy with the deep rich colors - at one point, in the old house, we had an entire blue bathroom, yes, ceiling included - we learned that we really do enjoy colors, only in moderation. So by having a great neutral, a consistent color throughout the trim and finishes, and an ultimate goal of having good flow throughout the entire house, throwing in some fun hidden surprises lurking behind closed doors become that much more fun.

We love Benjamin Moore Grey Owl (along with the rest of Pinterest) and have decided that it, along with Benjamin Moore's Simply White for the trim, will be our main base colors for the entire house:

I even went so far as to plan which rooms were getting which colors - makes it nice to look back and see what we thought we were going to do versus what we end up actually doing.

The main living areas and our master bedroom will be Grey Owl with the kitchen getting Grey Owl too, just lightened 50%. Our master bath will be painted Smoke with Van Courtland Blue as an accent and, as you saw, the master closet getting a good dose of Hale Navy. We continued the Hale Navy trend in the half bathroom as well and painted the laundry room Jade Garden (which I love). The study will be Guilford Green and its closet will be painted Grey Owl, 50% lightened.

The same scheme continues upstairs too with the main living areas, nursery, and guest bedroom getting Grey Owl-ified. The Jack and Jill bath will be painted Smoke, which, I think, will pair nicely with the Winding Vines accent wall in the nursery and Storm painted boy's room. The guest bath, along with all the closets, will be painted Grey Owl, 50% lightened.

So yes, I am calling this "Paint Plan A". We'll see what happens next.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little Before/Afters

In the thick of remodeling, it is hard to remember why we bought the house to begin with... I mean, were we crazy to think that an undertaking of this sort was even remotely manageable?? But when we really step back, take a breath, and remember that we truly love this kind of stuff, we realize we are perfect for this house. Our new house.

That being said, it is still crazy to think that I am 39 weeks (and 4 days) pregnant, waddling around the house with the cordless drill taking off brass door knobs and cream outlet face plates while Huynh undertakes all of the painting, only at night and on the weekends, so we can get some sort of semblance of home before our little one makes his grand entrance. Huynh's a rockstar, putting up with my crazy antics ("paint the master closet NOW before I start throwing clothes away!!") and smiling through it all before collapsing into bed at night and knocking out before the new day starts.

Needless to say, the house did not start out our style but we saw the potential and, in addition to the big updates, are making little ones to help make it feel more like us. 

Our house was built in 1988 and, in most cases, has not been touched since. The cream and brass finishes will all be updated to white and nickel niceties which we tackled first in the master closet then followed to the half bathroom and the main parts of the house. Huynh showed you the new fixtures in the master closet yesterday which replaced those unsightly bare bulbs; below that is the half bathroom with a sneak peak of it's new face lift. Last are our brand new knobs *swoon*! Funnily enough, I ordered all of the door knobs before we closed on the house - when we officially moved in, we realized that I bought the exact same knobs that were already in the house only updated. 

Twenty-five years from now, the owners of this house are going to be wishing we kept those brass monsters when they go full circle and come back in style (ha!).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Master Conquered

Well at least the master closet for now....

The weekend was spent painting and oh, some more painting. Mentioned in the previous post, we wanted to paint the other two rooms also, the half bath and utility closet, just so all the white would be painted at the same time. All of the blues were painted, and I finally was able to get to the white gloss of the master closet shelves last night at 6 pm. It took a while to maneuver a ladder around a half bath and the Jade Garden for the utility room took 2 to 3 coats to fully cover the walls.

The master closet took precedence in the white glossing due to the fact that Sarah may be giving birth any minute or second now, so we had to clear out our master bedroom as much as possible into the closet. And here's a sneak peak:

{all Hale the closet}

We replaced the light fixtures with two we picked up from Home Depot:


In a rush to get home because our King bed frame was being delivered to our house, we quickly picked out some bulbs for this fixture, and clearly (or unclearly?) we need brighter ones for this closet. Add it to the list! We don't want to bang our heads every time we're looking for clothes so we shortened the wire and took a couple of pieces off the fixture so we could make it as short as possible.  Or should we have left them long? Is that how we'd get the bright ideas?!?! Ok... I won't quit my daytime job!

Now on to the white trims and cabinets of the half bath and laundry room!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Where's that Hale Navy?!

Here's the closet sanded down.


We didn't sand it down to the bare wood, just enough to roughen up the surface for the new paint. I hooked up my shop vac to the end of my electric hand sander so I wouldn't have to dump out the 2 oz. collector bag every 15 minutes.

{electrical necessities}

After 2 hours and resulting numb hands and ringing ears, I called the sanding job done. We vacuumed as much dust as we could and took a damp cloth to every surface, just in case the Dyson didn't do a good enough job.

Now comes the next decision.


In trying not to spend too much remodeling and getting new fixtures, cabinets, etc., we are going to try and keep these 1 and 1/2" down rods used for hanging clothes.  But... what do we do with them?  Paint them Simply White like the rest of the shelving? or Hale Navy?  Another option may be to stain them a dark wood color since the plan is to get dark wood flooring throughout the first floor.  Hence why you will also notice in the "after" picture that the base boards are not painted white, preemptively for when we have to rip out the carpet.

Decisions... decisions... Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New House Floor Plan

As Huynh and I laid in bed last night, trying to figure out which bath tub the access port in our master closet ceiling so uglily hid, we realized that we had no clue what rooms were directly above us. So, as a little rewind to get us back into the swing of things, and to help us get our own bearings, I decided to whip up a floor plan! I did this little jewel in Excel (#nerdalert) without measurements (#bloggerfail). Needless to say, this is not to scale but I will update it as we go along and are able to get those illusive floor measurements as we wrangle boxes and the like.

{floor plan}

The floor plan itself is actually what sold us on the house to begin with so any changes will be minimal at best. A considerable amount of the houses we were looking at before we snatched this one up were all 4 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths and around the same square footage so when we saw this one with 3 full baths, we could not pass it up! We sacrificed some living room space (our current couch is laughable in the space), but we knew the extra bathroom would be well worth it. Some minor items on the overall list though include:
  • We would like to add french doors to the study; not only for privacy but with a door plus the existing closet and window, we would technically gain a fifth bedroom!
  • The passage between the living room and kitchen is pretty tight so we are considering knocking down part of the wall adjacent to the walkway for a bar counter and hopefully give the illusion of a more open kitchen.
  • Hopefully I can convince Huynh to add built-in banquette seating in the breakfast nook area. I've been pinning ideas like crazy so I bet I can get him on board soon.
But regardless, we are excited at the prospects! I promise we took pictures last night so we will be posting those soon - I also cannot wait to get the closet and laundry room ready to go, painted and unpacked. Baby Junior is due in 9 days so the single digit countdown has begun!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Prepping to ACE the weekend

We have planned so many things for the house that I'm sure each of us has come up with 3 to 4 priorities lists apiece. I gave up keeping track of lists, so I made a "master" list and just taped it to one of our walls.

{classy master shopping list}

On the right side of the butcher paper is the "To Do" list. I don't know if this has helped any, because come time for us to go shopping for supplies, Sarah sends me texts like this one:

{with the times master shopping list}

So much for just one list! Anyways, this shopping list took us to the block-away Aces Hardware (hence the ACE in the posting title?!?!) This trip required wood filler, spackle, sandpaper, and painting tape - everything we would need, plus the paint, to prep for the weekend painting.

{drywall and shelving prep-work}

Sarah's only job on the trip was to select the paint colors... from this array of choices:


I think we made some good choices.  Our master closet, also our half-bath, will be the Hale Navy - eggshell finish. And since we were at it, we also chose a paint color for the utility closet, Jade Garden - eggshell finish. The trimming and shelving in these three rooms will be the Simply White - high gloss finish. And, of course, we would find that the ceiling should be repainted also. For that, we also chose Simply White - flat finish for ceiling, go figure!

{decision made}

Now we need to add to the List: Make a Paint Chip Ring. But for now, we are off to filling in holes and patching up walls! Happy Painting Y'all!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First on the List

And so the planning begins....

Sarah and I have planned and planned and planned several lists of priorities. Working around a set budget, we had decided to demolish and remodel the upstairs bathrooms first, a Jack and Jill bathroom and a Guest bathroom. One of the J&J rooms will be the crib room for our soon-to-be coming into this world son! And so while construction takes place upstairs, he will have to join us downstairs, temporarily in the office.

In all of this planning, we realize that Sarah and I will be inhabiting in the master bathroom. Duh!!! And in doing so, we need a Master Closet for all of our.... junk. I mean precious belongings. Slight re-arranging of plans has us moving to the top of our List:  Master Closet.

{Master Bathroom}

Yes, it IS a mirror closet sliding door!!!

Surprisingly, there is more space in there than I had originally thought. And so, our temporary quick and easy remodel for now is a paint job. The closet is intentionally closed for now, but we will reveal before and after pictures hopefully next weekend, barring any deliveries *wink*.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Hello All!

It's been a long 10 months of a memorable wedding, a refreshing honeymoon, a surprisingly pleasant pregnancy, and the exciting purchase of a new home!

{We call this Nhà now}

There's quite a bit of upgrades and remodeling that we will be attempting ourselves, hence the revival of the blog.  Yayyy!!  

Be on the lookout for before, along the way, and after pictures!

Hope all is well and it's good seeing you again!