Contractor Slow Down

Why is that contractors can’t stay on schedule?  Or even work a full 8-hour day?  It’s seriously messing with my mind.  I feel like I need to start my own contracting firm–just by working a full day and knowing how to use the phone, I would kill it in that business.  Un-frickin-believable.

Anyways, that’s my little rant.  I’m trying to keep calm so as not to rile up Mini B in my belly . . . not sure how well I’m doing though.

But, for those that are curious, some progress has at least been made.  First up, the half bath:

As you can see, they completed the removal of the ugly light box and then patched the drywall.  Not entirely sure why there’s only one electrical cord hanging down as the plan is to put two pendant lights in there, but hopefully that will get resolved.

And now, the kitchen:

They’ve finished patching all the walls and putting new drywall up.  And they’ve also removed the chair rail from one half of the kitchen, and the cove base from the floor . . .

Looking good, right?  Not quite as much progress as I had hoped for, but I’m just trying to stay calm.  Today they’ll rip out the old counter tops and the sink and get everything ready for the new counter tops.  And since I knew today would finally be the day that introduced a bunch of dirt and dust into our lower cabinets, I decided to empty them last night.  Which further makes the family room look like a bomb went off:

Oh, and I haven’t done an update post on it yet, but obviously from that picture you can tell that stripes won out in this battle.

One other area that the contractors have been working on is the laundry room.  Here’s a quick before shot:

Our plan was to have them remove the lower cabinets–we didn’t use them, and the laundry sink had been leaking ever since we moved in.  We wanted them removed so that the stacked washer/dryer could get pushed back to the wall.  See how they’re sticking out in these shots:

And now, the lowers have been removed, and the room looks like such:

Kind of scary, huh?  We’ll have a new laundry tub installed, and once the new flooring is added throughout and the walls patched, it’ll look so much more open.  Can’t wait.

So there you have it, our renovation update.

Check out the pile of supplies waiting to go in . . . sinks, tiles, paint, lights.  Awesomeness.

And in case you were wondering how much snow we got with that big nor’easter they were forecasting, well, let’s just say that I still think the best job ever would be as a meteorologist–I mean, what other job out there exists where you can always be wrong?!

There’s just a bit of snow on the lawn, and that’s about it.  Otherwise, we got just a ton of rain.  No complaints here though :)

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Renovations: Phase 1

It’s been a busy week here at the Bunches household–our contractor started work on our kitchen, half bath, and laundry room.  Hallelujah!  We’ve been waiting for this day since we moved in, so we’re pretty excited.  Of course, with all my blog reading and overkill research, I knew that we had to prep our house a little before the contractors started (to prevent not only damage to our stuff, but also to stop a massive dust invasion in the rest of our home).

So we emptied the cabinets that will be ripped out (you might remember our master plan from here) . . .

I took off the doors because I want to keep some doors to practice on (remember from here that I plan to remove the trim and turn the doors into a more quaker style).

It kind of looks a bit like it did when we moved in–all empty and fresh, right?  Well, we also taped up some serious tarps (we’re going to try our hardest to control all that dust).  This one blocks the entrances to the pantry, family room, and dining room:

While this one is our attempt to block off our living room and bedrooms.  Luckily, there’s a door to the upstairs wing, so no tarp was needed there.

Oh, and here’s one last shot of what those awful upper cabinets in the kitchen look like.  I was so giddy to see them removed (it’s even amazing how just removing the doors already hints at how much more open the kitchen will be, right?).

So that was our prep–not bad, right?  I felt like we were ready.  Let the contractors do their worst!  Okay, well, maybe not their worst–bad choice of words–I mean, do their best . . . yeah, BEST. :)

After two days of work, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed (the first day was just one guy in the half bath working like mad to get the wallpaper off–that was a serious, serious job.  Thank goodness we only had wallpaper in that one little room.  Can you imagine the insanity if we had bought this house instead?)

After Day 1 in the half bath:

No more awful tiles!

And after one more day (believe it or not, only half the wallpaper was removed on the first day, but by the end of the second day it was all gone):

The odd light box was also demolished.  Hooray!  And the blah vanity top was also gone.  Awesome.

Oh yeah, and our new toilet now sits in the vestibule.  Gotta love the chaos of construction, right?

But now to the more exciting progress . . . the KITCHEN!

Doesn’t it look so much bigger?!

No more soffits, no more cabinets blocking the view.  Nothing but openness, openness, openness!  This has got to be my favorite view by far . . .

It’s really happening.  I can hardly believe it.  So excited!

Hopefully they’ll get the new range hood hooked up today.  Here’s a shot of what they’ll be installing:

It’s the Frigidaire FHPC3660LS 36″ Island Mount Chimney Range Hood.  Turns out island range hoods are really expensive, and since I (of course) was right on top of buying stuff procrastinated until the last minute, and didn’t want to spend $1,000+ for a new hood, I opted for this Frigidaire model which cost ~$600 once shipping was factored in.  I couldn’t find any reviews of it, but I’m hoping that since it’s at least a brand name (versus similar ones on eBay), that it should be fine.  Fingers crossed, right?

Big Bird (aka the Glider Post)

As you might recall from my nursery mood board post, I’ve been torn about what to do re: a glider/rocker.  See, the problem is that the ones I love are all a little pricey, especially when I think about the fact that this kiddo will likely be spitting up (and doing who knows what else) in this chair.  So while I love all of these, the reality is that they’re just not in our budget:

Gliders are from here, here, and here.  That last one is a new fave that I found thanks to my sis–turns out it’s designed by one of her friends!  Apparently stylish people flock together.

So the hunt has continued.  My sister-in-law had the genius idea of using an outdoor rocker, kind of like the one below (she actually has one picked out from Home Depot, but I couldn’t find it online; I’m guessing this one’s along the same idea).  At only ~$240 (it’s the Belvedere Wicker Rocker currently on sale at Target), it’s much more reasonable than the $1,000+ ones above.  But, I don’t think it will really jive with our nursery–it’s just a bit too, um, beachy.  But, luckily she lives near the beach, and so the concept works much better for her nursery than ours.  Of course, with that being said, I’m still a little bit in love with this chair, so I might have to get it for our new patio . . . 

In my continued hunt desperate search for an affordable, yet stylish rocker, I’ve decided to turn to my old stand-bys: that is, thrift stores and craigslist.  Well, craigslist did have some gliders, but they were all the traditional nursery ones, which, while great for a ton of people, just weren’t what I was looking for.  And so that left me with thrift stores.  And since Mr. Bunches LOVES thrift stores (insert heavy sarcastic tone here), I decided to strike out on my own a couple weekends ago (Mr. Bunches happened to be in China at the time, so it worked out well.  And yes–I said China.  Shanghai to be precise.  Check it out :)

Okay, and now (finally–I know I can be a bit long-winded these days), here’s what I managed to find.  Are you ready?  Can I get a drumroll?  Can anyone else tell that I’m pretty excited about this?  Should I keep asking rhetorical questions?  Really?  You think I should?  Six isn’t enough?  You want ten?  Ten, really?  Are you sure?  Okay, that was ten.  Phew.  TA DA–Big Bird has arrived!

Now do you understand the post title?

I mean, just look at that long back and ridiculously amazing tufting!  Not to mention the fluffy softness of yellow velvet . . .

Now, I know some of you are currently completely skeeved out by this–an upholstered chair from a thrift store?  Ew and ick, right?  Well, wrong.  At least for me anyways.  The chair is in great shape, minus a couple stains that I figured I could try to vacuum/scrub out.  And the color was already perfect–yellow, so I didn’t need to reupholster it as long as I could get it looking pretty good.  Or at least, that was my plan.  The only problem is that it isn’t a rocking chair.  In fact, it only has 3 functioning legs.  So I guess it sort of rocks.  No, but seriously, I didn’t care if it was a rocker, because I found this:

So with that knowledge in hand, I decided to fork over the whopping $10 for Big Bird.  Yes–you read that right: $10.  That’s all it cost.  At that price, I figured if I couldn’t get it clean, well, I could just pitch donate it.  And, since I bought it at Buffalo’s ReStore, the money was going to a good cause anyways (Habitat for Humanity).  All in all, I was a happy bird.

So then, it was cleaning time.  While Mr. B was outside doing this last weekend:

I was doing this:

No, I was not making a meringue.  That’s homemade upholstery cleaner: 1 part dish soap to 4 parts water, beaten to a healthy froth (I only used about 1/2 cup dish soap to 2 cups water and that was enough for the whole chair).  Just scrub on the frothy stuff and then wipe it off with a clean cloth.  Not exactly the directions per the manufacturer, but oh well.

Anyways, I got to scrubbing and things were looking good.  Real good.

Of course, I may have scrubbed a bit too hard.  Here’s a shot of the velvet pre-cleaning:

and here’s an after-shot.  See how it’s a bit nubby now?  Oh well–lesson learned I guess.  Don’t scrub velvet fabric with a hard-bristled brush.

But, all in all, I’m pleased with how it came out.  It smells super fresh and clean, and a lot of the dirt/stains came off.

And hopefully over time the new nubbiness of the fabric will subside.  Oh, and see how the chair’s leaning in the picture above?  That’s the result of only 3 functioning legs.  So there you have it–a $10 nursery chair.  Can’t beat that, now can you?  Of course, the rocker mechanism will be ~$90 and then we’ll have to buy some wood to secure it, but all in all, the chair shouldn’t cost more than $150 total, plus a little elbow grease.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it turns out.

And just because I’m getting excited about this nursery coming together, here’s a quick shot of the bambino’s closet as it stands today.  I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t seem to resist buying stuff from Baby Gap (the sale rack of course–I’ve seen enough exploding diapers in my day to know that babies don’t need $50 outfits)–I sort of want that orange sweater in a grownup size.  Is that bad?

One last thing for today–my sister posted this great comment from my earlier mattress post, and I just had to share because I think it’s a genius move.  Especially for a second/vacation home:

For the Sedona house, we recently went on a mattress rampage… Would you believe that we opted for the Macy’s FLOOR MODELS. When all was said and done (and I whipped out coupons and opened up a credit line), we paid $375 for a $1,700 mattress and $475 for a $2,700 mattress!! We had to wait a few weeks until they were released from the floor, and get over our slight grossed-outness about zillions of people laying on them beforehand. Mom had a good point though… she said we aren’t weirded out by hotel beds that gazillions (more than zillions) of people sleep on, so why should this bother us? Alas, our vacation house is now fitted with some pretty dang plush mattresses with a little bit of history hahaha! xo, Sis

Sleeping Beauties

There has been a lot going on at the Bunches’ household lately . . . it’s pretty amazing how that whole “nesting” instinct kicks in, right?  And while we’re definitely doing a lot to prepare for the baby’s arrival, we’re also trying to do as much as possible for ourselves in these last few months.  And that means sleep, and lots of it!  With all the horror stories out there about how we’ll never sleep again once this kiddo arrives, we’re trying to give ourselves a leg up in that department.   Unfortunately, our bedroom wasn’t quite outfitted for our new endeavor . . .

See what I mean?  That’s our old queen mattress on the floor (we had a box spring and frame for it, but we knew we were going to be replacing it down the road, so in utter laziness thinking aheadedness, we decided not to move those into the room).  The room has functioned pretty well for the past ~5 months, especially since we added temporary room-darkening shades, but with a growing family en route, we knew it was time to finally get that king mattress we’d been dreaming of.

But first, we needed a new bed frame.  Ideally something low profile with simple lines, and preferably in white.  I fell in love with this option from West Elm, but the reviews of West Elm beds were HORRENDOUS, so I had to cross it off my list.  Sigh.

And after weeks of scouring the Internet, I basically came up empty-handed.  But from our mattress shopping, I knew that there were some decent (and affordable) local options.  Like the one we finally purchased from City Mattress for ~$350:

Just realized as I’m writing this and looking at City Mattress’ website that this actually came in white!!  Oh sad day–the sales people said it only came in walnut or oak.  Oh well–live and learn, right?

We opted for the darker color since it went nicely with our Ikea Malm dressers.  With free delivery and set-up, we were pleased with the final result:

Of course, it kind of made our queen mattress look even more ridiculous (I bet you didn’t even think that was possible, did you?).  Up next–buying the mattress.

We did a ton of shopping around and finally found one that we liked at City Mattress–the Simmons World Class Parksdale Pillow Top Mattress Set.

Of course, their “sale” price was $1,799.  And when we asked for the best price they could give us, they knocked off another 15%, which left us at ~$1,530.  With a purchase that large, I knew we needed to sleep on it (I had to put in some lame pun, didn’t I?).  And I also knew we needed to do some Internet research to see if we could find a better deal.

Of course, that’s when the problems began . . . ever try to comparison shop mattresses?  The problem is you can never find the same one at another store.  Now, the stores want you to think that they have an “exclusive” on each mattress, but in reality they just have an “exclusive” name for each mattress they carry.  And the manufacturers won’t tell you which mattress is the same as another, differently named mattress.  Nope–they protect their vendors.  Which means that, as a consumer, you just need to dig a little deeper.  The solution?  Compare the specs of the mattresses–if you find one that’s the same, then it’s likely the same mattress, just with a different name.  So that’s what we did.  And we found the exact same mattress (at least per the specifications) at US-Mattress for only $1,349 delivered (it’s the Simmons Beautyrest World Class Sheldon Plush Firm Pillow Top).  Score one for the lowly consumer, right?!  We saved ~$200.  Hooray for us.

We just had to wait a few weeks for delivery, and then we went from this . . .

. . . to this:

Oh, and before the delivery guys could put the new mattress on the new box spring, I quickly covered it in a standard king fitted sheet, which was a much cheaper option that buying one of those fitted box spring covers, and I think it looks just as good.

It’s nice to finally have an appropriately-sized mattress in that room, don’t you think?  Of course, that’s enough naked shots of the bed.  Here it is fully-clothed:

Are you surprised that I went with a mostly all-white sheet set?  If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you shouldn’t be ;).  Of course, I did add a splash of color with some new pillow shams.

The flowered shams are actually Amy Butler’s Organic Bedding in Valencia Orange which I scored for $2.99 each at Burlington Coat Factory (who knew they carried stuff like that, huh?), and the pink velvet pillow is an old pillow from Home Goods.

I’ve also decided to use some new side tables from World Market as our bedside tables.

I originally bought them for the living room, but Mr. Bunches vetoed them in there.  They’re not ideal for the bedroom (since they have no storage), but they’ll do for now.  And yes, I’ve only assembled one so far, so I still need to put together the other one and move out the round table on the other side of the bed.

So there you have it–Mr. Bunches and I have finally grown up . . . we’re no longer sleeping on the floor!  Baby steps, right?

Anyone else ever try to comparison shop mattresses?  Why do they have to make the whole thing so difficult?  Not to mention claiming that every mattress is on sale all the time–I mean, who do they think they’re kidding?

Half Bath Mood Board

Can you tell that I’m on a mood board kick these days (see more here)?  I think I’ve just found my stride on Olioboard, so why not, right?

So a long time ago, I made this mood board for the half bathroom (see details here):

Needless to say, things have changed a bit.  But first, let’s take a step back and check out the half bath from the day we moved in:

And let’s not forget the Superman mirror (so named because of its shape) . . .

We started to take the wallpaper off, which you may remember from here.  Of course, like any awful wallpaper that you want to get rid of, of course it was covering up yet ANOTHER wallpaper!

Seriously?  Well, as it turns out, I’m not the only one nesting around here–nope, Mr. Bunches has been succumbing to his own instincts of providing for our soon-to-be-bigger family and so he locked himself in the bathroom one day (that’s usually my clue to steer clear–nothing good happens behind a locked bathroom door ;) ) and emerged hours later looking, er, well, let’s just say defeated.  Why?  Because of this:

And this . . .

Poor Mr. Bunches–he was only able to remove half of the top layer of wallpaper, except for that one spot above where he was able to get down to the original wall (although those stains are the wallpaper glue, so even that didn’t come off).  Oh, and remember what used to hang here?

Yep, Superman has fallen.  Literally.

And unfortunately, Superman was scarred in the process . . .

Oh well.  I wasn’t planning on reusing that mirror anyways.  So good riddance, right?!  Okay, now that you’re all caught up with what’s going on in our half bath (I know it was killing you to not know), here’s our plan for the future:

  • Toilet: Already installed here, but just for poops and giggles (literally), it’s the Jacuzzi Maxima from Lowe’s for $149.  With an American Standard upgraded seat for $35.
  • Sink: The Kraus 19″ ceramic vessel sink combined with a Kraus faucet.  I actually just ordered these this week from Faucet.com–the combo sold for $209, but of course, using coupons and eBates, I’m only paying $194.95.  Score yet another one for me!
  • Floor Tiles: White Gloss Penny Tile from the Tile Shop.  Now, the tile is listed online for $5.59 sf, but I knew that YHL had a coupon code for 10% off (YHL10) if you ordered online, but I was hoping to use the same coupon code at the store.  Luckily, there’s a Tile Shop store in Rochester (unfortunately, the one in Buffalo isn’t opening until May and I couldn’t wait that long) and so I traveled the ~50 miles to the store and tried my luck.  And boy was I glad I did–when I mentioned the coupon code for 10% off, they looked at me like I had 5 heads.  Uh oh.  But then the guy offered me 15% off.  Um, hello?  Yes, please, and thank you!  So I only paid $4.75 sf, and since I needed 20 sf, my total was only $95.  Not bad, eh?
  • Vanity Top: I toyed with the idea of ripping out the entire vanity, but in the end, I just didn’t think it was necessary–like all the cabinetry in our house, my plan is to paint it (go figure).  And instead of replacing it, I’ve opted to just get a new vanity top.  Now, I thought I could get one from Lowe’s or HD, but as it turns out we needed a custom size (45″ x 25.5″), and their prices were off the charts.  So I opted to see if I could find a granite, quartz, or marble remnant that might work.  The marble remnants were all spoken for (boo), but I found a gray granite that had a similar look (you can actually see the sample piece in one of the bathroom pics above).  I forget the name of the granite, but I’ll try and get that for you.  Anyways, it’s ~$55 sf installed and I think it’ll work really nicely with the white sink, white toilet, and likely white cabinets (again, all painting will wait until after Mini Bunches makes an arrival).
  • Pendant Lights: We’ve hired a contractor to not only remove the rest of the wallpaper and tile the floor, but also to remove the weirdo light box above the sink.  The plan is to replace it with two pendant lights–I’m not 100% sold on these ones from Shades of Light, but I’m definitely leaning in that direction.  They are the Mercury Glass Bulb Pendants for $79 each.
  • Mirror?  Taking suggestions . . .
  • Walls?  I have to admit–I’m at a loss for what to do on the walls.  I’d love to do a funky wallpaper, but I’m also game for trying my hand at stenciling (not grandma stenciling, but more along these lines:

Both images from here.

So there you have it . . . what do you think?  Have any suggestions?  Ideas for the walls?

Kitchen Decision #3: Faucet

First, the inspiration (all images from Pinterest):

That’s right folks–I’ve been sold on those commercial-style faucets for years, and now I had my opportunity to have one in my own home.  Joy oh joy!  Sometimes it’s the little things, right? 

So then I had to decide which one to get.  I won’t go through the nauseating process that I did for the sink (from here), but needless to say, I did do some research.  And I’m not gonna’ lie–price played a pretty big part in my final decision.  Who knew that faucets could range from $100 to $2,000?  Yikes.  Anyways, here were the finalists:

The Premier 120334 Essen for ~$220 . . .

The Danze D455158ss for ~$280 . . .

And the Kraus KPF-1602 for ~$260:

Now, I wanted the faucet to be in a stainless finish (as opposed to chrome), so that bumped up the price on some of them.  Awesome.  So how did I decide which one?  Well, it wasn’t just price.  Nope, I basically made my decision based mostly on measurements, reviews, and availability (see, the countertop fabricators want you to have the new fixtures on site at the time they measure, so that put me into a bit of a time crunch).  Basically, I ruled out the Kraus faucet because it was 28″ tall–that was just way too tall for our kitchen.

So then it was between the Premier and the Danze, which had similar measurements except for how close the bottom of the faucet was to the sink–the Danze was 2″ lower.  Which initially might sound like a bad thing, but these faucets are not pull out faucets, but rather are pull down faucets, so the vertical reach isn’t great.  And that meant I figured I should get one that’s closer already to the sink to compensate for the lack of maneuverability, and so the winner is . . .

The Danze!  Yay!  And because I’m cost-conscious insane, I made a little spreadsheet of my price-shopping to make sure I was getting the best deal:

I know, I’m nuts.  You can say it.  I’ve accepted it.  In the end, I ordered from Faucet.com since Danzetogo.com and Homecenter.com couldn’t guarantee that it was in stock and would ship quickly.  But, the good news is that I got the faucet in less than 5 days and it’s amazing!  I can’t wait until it’s all installed and set up (still about 1-2 months out, so don’t hold your breath).

Any thoughts on my insanity?  Do you like the choice?  Are you just as excited to see the final product as we are?!  Probably not.

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