1 Year In

Today we celebrate the first anniversary of our crazy house. Its been a wild ride, taken several dumpsters, long weekends and nights and the help of many. But we love it. So cheers to everyone who helped scrub walls, paint inside and out, entertain the small child, landscape, pull down trees, paint more walls (and ceilings), take old light fixtures and everything else in between.

Here’s a fun little trip down memory lane (and peeks at things I still haven’t blogged about) and how far we’ve come in one year. I did no cleaning – this is how you’ll find our house most days, toddler filled – life filled really. But it works.

It’s still very much a work in progress – but then again, most things are.

front beforeFront After 2015Spoiler alert: we’re putting in new stairs at the front of the porch. Hence the big piles of dirt and lack of bark.

yard beforeBackyard After

Living Room Beforeliving room after

Office BeforeOffice After

Dining Room BeforeDining Room AfterThe dining room has been one of my favorite transformations. I’m way behind in writing about it.

Kitchen BeforeKitchen AfterI’m not sure the After here is  better. Well it is. Its a million times cleaner and less smelly. But we are in the middle of Operation: De-uglify on the Cheap. So there’s Dylan in action for you.

lower guest beforelower guest afterAgain – not sure this is worlds better. Lovingly referred to as the Crazy Room. Its on the short list to have good things happen to it this summer.

Hallway BeforeUpper Hallway After

peri room beforePeri's Room After

upper guest beforeUpper Guest Room

master beforeNo skeletons in these closets – we keep them out in the open.

master afterSo there you have it. I’m exhausted just looking at those. I’ll be on the porch opening a bottle of bubbles to celebrate, while I watch my hubby dig new steps. 

The Last Stand Against Wallpaper

Alright, you’re probably tired of wallpaper by now…trust me – so were we.

One of the big treats to ourselves in this house was getting a master bedroom done. Our bedroom in the last house wasn’t very big compared to the room that lives in the big dormer of this house with all the windows. And 2 walk-in closets! Renovating the Master Bedroom also meant we were going to get a new bed and all the fixings! Its rare that a remodeling project comes complete with new furniture and decor in our world. So this was SUPER exciting for me.

Once Dylan got all the wallpaper down there was some repair work to do. Did we mention there was a hole in the wall?

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Hello Neighbors!

Hello Neighbors!

The previous owners had a portable AC unit that needed to be vented and I assume because there are casement windows in this room, they thought it would be better to just cut a hole in the wall to the outside underneath the roofline of the dormer. When we first looked at the house there was an armoire blocking the hole – because it was December so obviously you didn’t need the AC! That right there is logic.

So Dylan patched the hole in the wall and textured the walls to hide the plaster imperfections. Next up was painting more trim bright white like we did downstairs, a new wall color and finally the floors.

Wall repair

Wall repair and texture.

The walls went a soft purple, which is still growing on me and a diversion from most of the greys/blues we’ve used before. But we kept the bedding and decor white and grey, so a little bit of color on the walls seemed necessary. A coat of fresh ceiling paint went up. A new ceiling fan went up, but we ended up leaving off the light fixture because the color of the globe is weird. For now we just use the table lights on the nightstand. And all our clothes are in the closets (sort of – story for another post) with dedicated lights, so it works for us.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

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In all the other rooms upstairs we painted the floors a mint-green color…which is fine. I think we’ve decided we don’t love it, but it works. But in the master we decided to go with something a little bolder. I definitely wanted the master to have a retreat feel from the rest of the house. There is nothing better in my mind than a swanky hotel room – and if I could sleep in one in my own house each night, that is what I want.

So the floors got painted an almost black grey. We used Benjamin Moore floor paint in their oil-based product which I think they’ve now discontinued. It took 2 coats but it dries quickly and I did it during the day while P was at daycare because its pretty stinky stuff.

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Then the fun part of shopping came!

We got a new memory-foam King size bed from local company, Parklane Mattresses, along with some new pillows. These are definitely the people to go to if you’re looking for a new bed. And after sleeping on it for several months, we’re still both huge fans.

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I’ve dreamed of the bedding from Restoration Hardware for years. The duvet was a splurge but its SO soft. Sheets came from Macy’s Hotel Collection, also a bit of a splurge, but seriously – sleeping is the best. And they go on sale regularly, so if you’re patient you can get a decent deal on really great sheets.

We had some long discussions about the curtains – we needed SOMETHING to cover the 5 windows that take up almost the entire wall on the front of the house. The ones that face the street, so all our neighbors can see in if the lights are on. After scouring the web, Restoration Hardware came to the rescue again. They were the only place I could find curtains in a 100″ width which meant we only needed 2 curtains! A standard width would have meant at least 4 panels, and it would have been weird opening them in different places. The linen fabric is sheer enough that it lets in some light during the day, or they are easy to pull open on the sides. But the are definitely private enough for nighttime and block the light from streetlights.

Dylan also custom built the curtain rod out of pipe…of some kind. Something industrial and spray painted it a dark bronze. I was a little terrified it was going to come crashing down and murder us in our sleep, but I’m still alive so I don’t think its going anywhere. Because the span was so long, buying a curtain rod wasn’t really an option.

Last piece was a grey rug my mom and I found at Home Goods. Its super soft and anchors the room. While the dark floors are cool, the rug really helped it feel more cozy while still dark and calming. Here’s the final (for now). We want to build some nightstands instead of our cheap Ikea tables – but they work for now.

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The Crazy Room…or The Opiate Den

When we first moved into this house, we crammed as much of our contents as possible into 1 room.  We did this to free up the basement for demo and the main floor for refinishing hardwoods.  This room was affectionately dubbed “The Crazy Room” because the wall paper made your head spin and feel like you are down the trail of being committed against your will.


Move in day:






Wallpaper removal is easy if you have the right tools.  I mean, it’s not hard – it’s a total pain in the bum and labor intensive but the difficulty is low.


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There are a few areas where plaster came off with the wall paper.  These areas will require patching prior to painting.  Something has to be done with the floor also.  Oh Joy.


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OUTSIYE, as our 1-1/2 year old housemate calls it, has developed substantially in the past 7 months.  The face lift stopped abruptly due to weather – did you know that it rains during the winter in Oregon?

The view on move in weekend:


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The paint was failing miserably and the house was incredibly dirty – we were admittedly tied to the pink, fuchsia and periwinkle color combination.

Proper paint adhesion is all about prep work.  We power washed the house, scraped, sanded and primed all areas with loose/failing paint to create a paint job that we wouldn’t be redoing in 5 years.


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Current front and side view:

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The Great Room

I’m pretty sure the living room is actually the definition of a great room. Its huge. And we love it. Its also one of the more finished rooms we have as well. It took putting almost all of our real furniture in it to fill up the space (including the brown leather pieces I hate) but it will do for now. We still have some updates to do and redecorating to consider, but for now its a great place to hang out, play with tiny and relax without feeling totally overwhelmed.

Lets do a little before and after again, shall we?

View from the front door. Fireplace, weird mirror, lots of green.

Front EntryAnd now.

Fireplace AfterFloors are done, the walls, trim and mantle all got fresh paint and we actually painted the ugly brick too. It will be a quick fix to tile over the brick and hearth but this cleans it up for now. We do have to replace a safety valve (or something) which is why the gas fireplace is red-tagged. But since its July we have some time before we need to make the fireplace work.

And to the right (before)

Living Room RightMmm, light fixture. And you can kind of see the tacky stained glass (fake) in the window both in this room and in the dining room.

So here it is now.

Living Room Right After

Storm windows have been removed. Real furniture and our TV. Nice and bright and clean! This is where we spend a lot of time. The Flor carpet from the old house made the move and has been reconfigured in this area so P has a play space. Plus even though we put extra-durable finish on the floors, they still scratch with the dog and toys. While I know this is just a fact of our life, I decided to put the rug down to keep the floors as nice as possible for now.

Also, I will continue to proclaim my love for Flor. I will never buy a real area rug again. With the dog and small people running around these are the best investment. Just last week, T dog puked on one of the squares (sorry, gross. But this is life) and we were able to pick it up, clean it off, give it a wash in the sink, let it dry and its good as new. No dragging out cleaners and hoping for the best and potentially ruining a whole rug. Even if the damage wasn’t fixable, it would have cost me $12 to go buy another tile. Win. And technically, I have a few spares from this rug sitting around because this space is a different size and shape then the last room it was in. So again, no need to buy a new rug – just rearrange what we have. LOVE.

Ok – tangent over. But go buy yourself some Flor rugs. (It’s whats in P’s room too)

On to the other side.

Living Room Left Before

Hooray! Cat things!

And now.

Living Room Left AfterThis is the dance party side. I hate the brown furniture, but it will do for now. Long term I’ll be swiping the piano from my dad’s house and it will probably live under the window. And maybe we’ll get some different furniture. So hopefully it will be a nice quiet sitting/reading/music area.

I swear I’m about to paint the french doors which is why all the green tape is still up.

We need to paint the ceiling in this room still and replace the light fixtures. I’ve been eyeing some basic schoolhouse-style lights from Rejuvenation but we’re concerned they wouldn’t be bright enough. There are two of these beasts in the room now, and there are 5 bulbs in each fixture.

Living Room Lights

You can also see the ugly of the ceiling in this photo and some of the spots that need to be repaired before we can paint. Just add it to the list.

And here is one big shot of the entire room in all its greatness.

Panoramic View of Living Room

Yeah – I did move the laundry basket from this room into the dining room…which you can still see in this photo.

Its a little wonky, but you get the idea. But we love it! I cannot wait for Christmas! I love everything about Christmas in general but this room and the dining room just have me giddy for the holidays and it’s only July.



Lighting up my World

So yeah – all the light fixtures need to be replaced in this house. At best, they are ugly. At worst they don’t work and are ugly. But on top of lights being a slightly expensive fix for each room, we also want to find lights that we love. We’ve decided to take on lights little by little so we can find what we think will work best and then save up some pennies as we need.

But the first room we got to tackle was actually the office. On top of moving, I did some job shifting and now get to work from home, so with all this space I actually have a pretty cool little office (complete with more wood paneling!) But that also meant that I could make all the design decisions since this would be primarily my own space. And its much easier to pick out a light fixture when I don’t have to convince Dylan that he should like it too.

I first fell for these – probably the more oval one on the far right. But then after looking at them in person decided it would be too much wood in a room already filled with wood. Insert too much wood joke here.

West Elm Bentwood Pendants

West Elm Bentwood Pendants


I supposed I should back up a step and refresh you on what we’re working with here.


Lots of wood. I feel like I should take up smoking pipes and drinking whiskey while I work.

And…the light.

Office light before

Ugh – seriously, right.

So while I was wandering around West Elm looking like this:

Shopping for Light Fixtures

For illustrative purposes only. This is my child, in a cart, in Lowes. But is there really any other way to look at light fixtures?

I came across my new beauty for the office! And patiently waited for it to go on sale because Spoiler Alert! everything goes on sale at West Elm. Seriously, just wait for a few weeks and whatever you want will be on sale, or they’ll send you a discount code for free shipping or something. So I got my light for 20% off, extra win.

And then it showed up and sat in a box for a few weeks. Finally we had a long weekend and I got my pretend-electrician husband to put in the new light. Which actually was preceded by realizing we needed to paint the ceiling. Fortunately, he’s tall and whipped that out in no time.

Taking down the ugly. Reminder, shut off the power before you do this.

Dylan uninstalling a light fixtureDidn’t really want to be staring at this above me. So new paint went up too.

Office Ceiling

And… ta da!

West Elm Mobile Chandelier

And a more complete angle.

West Elm Mobile Chandelier in Office

I love it. While the house is of the Craftsman era, we want to give it some more modern/industrial details so this light fit in perfectly. And we may do something different with this room in the long run, but we can always move this light to another location if it no longer works. This room (like all of them) could still use some more organization and final touches (can you see the ugly plate cover on the switch by the window…not awesome). But its much brighter and a happier place to work for now!

Needing a Living Space

I mentioned the living room was huge. And that going into this project we knew there would be a lot of things that we just had to live with until we can save up some money to make this our dream home. But considering we just moved out of a house that we spent 6 years flipping and had considered it done, going back to square one was difficult to say the least.

So D and I agreed that we need to have some space that while maybe not at a dream state yet, would at least be comfy, clean and kid-friendly where we can have people over (another big reason for buying this beast). So we had to do something with the living room.

First step – paint. Believe it or not, we weren’t really feeling that green on the walls. Or the weird mirror over the fireplace.

Living Room PaintNothing like a man who paints in black gym socks.

The color we chose was Benjamin Moore’s Timberwolf Grey. In some light is more blue than grey but we love the rich color of it for this big room. The trim also got a fresh coat of bright white as it was more of an off-white even after cleaning.

Here’s a better before shot of the entire living room.

Living Room Before

photo 5In that top photo you can also see the fantastic wallpaper that was hidden behind the mirror. We stripped that all off too – there were at least 3 or 4 layers on that one spot. But it was kind of fun to see all the different wallpaper designs from the different eras of the house.

And here’s the after.Living Room After

SO MUCH BETTER. I love this color. Its moody and holds up in a big room really well.

You can also start to see how icky the floors are. No matter how much cleaning was done to them, they always looked dirty. Plus there were water stains and pet stains. All throughout the big 3 rooms with hardwoods. So I begged Dylan to let us get quotes to have them refinished. We’ll tackle a lot of projects ourselves, but screwing up hardwoods was not something I was interested in doing.

We got a great recommendation from the folks next door who are flipping a house too. And unfortunately while we couldn’t get them done before we had to move in, we made it happen.

Hold on to your hats.

Here are some of the before’s – close up. Ick.

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And floors after they had been sanded, but not finished.

Sanded Floors


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Now wait for it.

Floors After


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I may have spent an unnatural amount of time sprawled on these floors with my face pressed against their new smooth finish.

There were a lot of spots that needed to be torn and repaired. You would have no idea where that is, our contractor blended them in seamlessly. The wood is clear-grade white oak which is apparently as nice as it gets. And in the living room especially, some of the boards are REALLY long, which they don’t do anymore. So there is some great old charm to these floors that we were so happy to see restored to their former glory. I’m glad we left them natural and just put a clear coat on top of them. It may not be everyone’s taste, but with this house we are trying to balance restoring elements with bringing in new items as well.

So after the floors finished setting after a few days we moved furniture back in and even put some area rugs over some areas. And its such a nice cozy place and with P running around, it was really a priceless investment towards the livability of this house.


Painting Things: Part 1 of 3267

That might be an exaggeration. But everything needs to be painted. On the main floor we had the hardwoods refinished, but in the bedrooms and upstairs hallway we needed a different strategy. The floors upstairs are fir which is a softer wood and doesn’t refinish as well. Plus the hallway upstairs had already been painted white. And really, we didn’t want to spend the money up there yet. So we decided the cheapest and best solution would be to paint all the wood floors upstairs. It was something we’d never done before but its all over pinterest, so it can’t be that hard right?!

And it really wasn’t. I used Benjamin Moore’s line of Oil-based primer and floor paint (we found an old gallon of floor paint in the basement, so we knew it was oil and needed to put more oil paint over it). We primed, which I was told wasn’t really necessary but seemed like the right idea based on how rough the floors were.

Upstairs Floors BeforeHere you can see the hallway – painted white, but dirty and not done well.

And here are two of the three bedrooms upstairs.

Upstairs Bedroom Floors Before

Master Bedroom Floors Before

Not pretty.

So on went the primer. The whole process went really fast outside of dry time because its like one big wall. You have to cut-in at the walls of course, but then I just put a roller on an extension handle and went to town.

Upstairs Bedroom Floors Primed

The floor color I chose is Benjamin Moore’s Mint Chocolate Chip – so yeah…its definitely a light green color. But its kind of refreshing and fun. I have plans in the hallway to add a 2-inch border in a a chocolate brown to really tie it all together, but we’ll see if that happens. I bought two gallons of the floor color to do 3 bedrooms and the hallway which was plenty, including two coats on all the floors.

Upstairs Bedroom After

So here’s the bedroom with the floors finished. They look almost white, but in reality they have some green to them.

Here’s the hallway which shows the color a little better.

Hallway floors


Basically, they are fresh and clean which is what needed to happen upstairs. And for about $150 and 3 nights (pre-moving in) it was a quick fix to ugly. The final coat took maybe an hour and a half to put on all the floors. Although, I’m also holding out on the fact that we haven’t done the master yet (the room above with the really funky blue walls happening). The only thing I didn’t like was having to use Oil-based paint because 1. it smells and 2. I’m really messy and that stuff is impossible to get off your skin. And painting a floor almost guarantees you’re going to get paint on your feet. Benjamin Moore does have their Floor & Porch paint in a Latex which I definitely would have used if there hadn’t already been oil paint on the floor.