Friday, August 16, 2013

New Furniture!!!

We knew we had family coming to visit in the upcoming months and decided it was finally time to get rid of the dreaded couch I had in many college apartments.  I honestly don't want to know what was all in the fabric of that couch.  It was extremely dirty no matter how many times I tried to wash the cushions!   

Living Room Before-   Nasty couch on left and mismatched pillows :-)

 Don't get me wrong, I love microfiber couches, BUT they don't seem to stay clean without a lot of work.  Maybe it's just my crazy dog that makes it that way!  Anyways, when we went to look for new furniture we started by doing the butt test.  We literally sat on everything probably three times.  Once we had it narrowed down to two couches I think I took about two more hours to decide.  We ended up picking a couch that was dark brown and had brown/red pillows.  I hated the color so we paid a little extra to choose custom fabric and pillows.  Yayy! Dream furniture :-) We now have the perfect loveseat and couch for our living room!  Sometime we will have to replace the recliner, but the pup loves it a bit to much for us to remove it from the room.  

Brady seems to make it into every photo. 

The living room still has many projects left to do!  
1) DIY curtains and curtain rod 
2) DIY end table and possibly a coffee table
3) DIY new lamps
4) Wall hanging for near the couch
5) DIY entertainment/media center to hide our movies better! 

Stop back to see all of these (hopefully soon)!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Flower Garden Vision

I really have been trying to add color and curb appeal to our new beautiful home, but I have been struggling. I bought beautiful plants (that cost a lot!) and basically they all seemed to die. Once I added a little miracle grow to the mix they seem to be recovering, but I still have a lot of work to do.  I think part of it is where the gardens are located. The two gardens in the front yard only get sun part of the day. 

Anyways, I actually created my own flower bed that I wanted to share with you! The soil near our house is extremely rocky. It makes it impossible to dig and create flower beds so we created a raised one. We began by collecting many limestone rocks from across the street where they are digging to build houses. This saved us tons of money since it was free. :-) We then created a pattern of stacking the rocks that was in sync with the slope of our yard. 
Now here's where we screwed up. We bought mortar and began to put the rocks securely together. I should have realized this right away, but oh well.  The mortar was grey and the rocks a yellowish. As a result, it looks a little funny. I later researched and found out we could have changed the color. I guess we know for next time!   Anyways here is the garden with some lovely plants that Zach's mom gave us from her garden (that I've already killed)!

Here you can see how different the mortar color is from the stone.

View from the front step

The pictures above are from early July.  The pictures below are from early August.  It seems the rocks have settled a bit.  

I planted some bulbs awhile ago and suddenly one day they all came up.  Hopefully they flower!

The apple tree we planted.  Hopefully someone nearby plants one so we can have fruit!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bedroom DIY Gallery Wall

Creating a gallery wall is obviously not hard.  I also know that many others have already shared "tutorials" on the best way to do it.  I think the beauty of the actual gallery wall is how different everyone's can be.  I decided I would share with you the one I created for our master bedroom.  It's centered around pictures of Zach and I (obviously). 
      First of all, for having 3 thrift stores in my town you would THINK I could some decent vintage frames.  Nope! I looked, and looked, and looked for a long time.  I finally gave up and tried to get creative.  I tried to find frames with the most extravagant molding or best shape.  I could only finally a couple of these that were in decent shape.  So many frames are actually made of plastic now.  Then I just happened to stop in to Micheal's and found some plain wood frames.  They had a pretty cool shape.  I proceeded to paint those, but I still only had about 4 frames.  On this trip to Micheal's I also found another little treasure for the wall.  I found large letters "R" and "Z" and figured I could make something with them.  I ended up being able to make a pretty cute (I think) plaque with our initials.  I finished up the wall with a couple of frames I had and some cool decorative frames from Hobby Lobby. 
       Of course nothing was the same color so I spent a lot of time spray painting everything white.  I have finally finished the wall though.  Hooray! 

Painting the frames

      And for the big reveal ......

I eventually want to add more frames and accessories for the wall, but am waiting to figure out what size the furniture placed on this wall will be.  I'm hoping to find a horizontal dresser to refinish to place below.  Hopefully I will be successful!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Buying a New Build: Pros and Cons

            I was originally thinking that I could make two lists of pros and cons for buying a brand new model home.  As I started to make the lists I realized that many of the cons were half pros and the pros could also be cons, it all depends on your perspective.  Overall, Zach and I are completely happy with our decision, but in the rest of this post I'll help you make the decision if you want to take the plunge and buy a new build!
Zach decided it was easier to build a wheel barrow than buy one :)

One of the many trips we have made to the hardware store

        One of the best things about buying a new house is that no one else has lived in it!  I  love the history of older homes, but a new home comes with nothing to replace initially.   The turn-key house per say.  We definitely weren't looking for a turn-key home, but decided that with the house finished we could focus on adding our own touches and building furniture to add character.   We did do an inspection before closing the deal, but it kind of was a waste of money because barely anything was found.  The inspector spent much of the time showing us where things were in the home (water shut offs, special types of outlets, and water heater business).  At least we got a discount on it :)   And to top all of this, our builder also gave a one year home warranty on the home.   We have found some things that needed to be fixed since moving in, and it's very nice to be able to call up the builder and allow them to fix it. :) 

         Energy efficiency is a definite financial benefit.  The bathrooms have low flow shower heads and low water use toilets.  The appliances are all brand new.  The water heater and furnace are upgraded and energy efficient.  There is a clear difference in our bills at our new home in comparison with the town-home we were previously renting that was built in 2003.   One thing that comes along with the new roof, energy efficient windows, proper insulation, and new electrical, is a GREAT discount on the homeowner's insurance policy. The discount is nice to help ease us into making our mortgage payments!       

             The house was amazing when we first looked at it; fluffy new carpet, shiny granite counter tops, and gleaming wood floors.  These great features did make us look over a few details that ended up costing quite a bit.  The first thing we noticed was that items we really needed such as window treatments, toilet paper holders, extra outlets in garage, and towel rod holders were not there.  All of these things did add up in the beginning of moving in.  It made the moving process a bit more costly than we would have liked, but it did leave us with some opportunity to pick and choose what we wanted. Like I said, it depends on your perspective.      
            Another huge project we didn't expect was the lawn and landscaping.   A newly sodded lawn (is that a word?) is a lot of work!    We were lucky that the sod had been laid in the fall and had been taken care of by the builder for awhile.  The builder gave us an entire booklet on how to take care of the sod.  Our yard is still very uneven because the sod took seed before we got a chance to level the ground underneath, but hopefully we will get to fixing that someday!  I'm also being very challenged by trying to figure out how to landscape.  The small amount of landscaping/gardening I have done has been limited to helping my dad when I was younger.  That being said, landscaping is still a challenge for me.  I'm trying to come up with something that looks different than all of the neighbors, but that seems to be where my inspiration is coming from.  Wish me luck, so far I have killed all the flowers I have planted so it can only go up!  At least our tree is still alive.........


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Vegetable Garden Planter

Materials Needed:

6- 8' Landscape Timbers
16- 3/8"x4" lag screws

Cost: $20-25

Tools Needed:
Saw (I used my circular saw for the first cut or two then switched to my miter saw which worked a lot easier.)
Drill with 1/4" bit and 1" spade bit
Impact driver or impact wrench with a 9/16 socket for the lag screws
Tape Measure
Safety Glasses

1) Measure and cut 24 inches off of one end on each landscape timber. These 2 foot lengths will form the ends of the planter, the remaining 6 feet will be our sides. It doesn't need to be exact, but make it close. All my landscape timbers measured 96 1/2" long so I made my cuts at 24 1/4". You can adapt as necessary, just make sure you cut all the lengths the same to keep everything square.

 2)  I laid my boards out so they interlock at the corners from one layer to the next. Lay one layer out on the ground and then put the second row on top of that. I used a 1" spade bit to bore where the head of the lag screw will be so it can sit cleanly inside the hole for when we add the next layer (shown in the picture below). Next use the 1/4" bit to make pilot holes for the lag screws. I used 2 screws for each board, one on each end.
 I don't have an impact wrench, but using my impact driver and the right adapters, screwing down these big lag screws was no problem.
 3) Repeat the same process of laying down the last level of your timbers on top of the first two. Make sure you note approximately where your screws were from the previous level so you do not end up trying to put one screw on top of the other. When its all done this is what you have!
 4) Flip it over! Once you flip it over you have a finished planter with no visible screws that looks great! If you really want to get detailed with it you can buy some solid stain to finish the ends that were sawed off. I oriented my boards so the stained sides are all pointed outwards so its not visible, but if you are very particular, that's a simple step to add on.
 We used this planter to start our first vegetable garden! We are starting small, but hope to be expert gardeners by the end of the summer.
This picture shows one of my (Zach) upcoming projects for this summer, the deck.

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

House Tour!

Entryway storage


These are the pictures of our house from the listing. As you can see, the house was basically a blank slate after the builders removed their furniture for staging the home.   The first few days started with little projects adding finishes to the house that might normally go without notice. Things like towel holders, shower curtain rods, even toilet paper holders in the bathrooms were not in the house when we bought it. After a few days of working on the small details, we were ready to move on to bigger and better projects.