Step It Up

I haven’t blogged in about 10 million years.  Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  So here’s a quickie–a little update I did that took two naps to complete, so about 4 hours for a regular person (that’s just for the vinyl sticker application; the rest of the steps were slowly completed over the past three years).  First, where we started when we bought the house:

Before_House_Shot_0048

And where we are today, after stripping the carpet, painting the doors and trim, painting the stairwell and upstairs landing, and adding some chevron-tastic details:

Stair_Risers_Chevron_001

Big difference, huh?  The chevrons aren’t painted on (I don’t have that kind of patience or time these days, and I also didn’t want something that would take a lot of effort to remove if I didn’t like it); instead, they’re vinyl stickers from here.  Yep, Pot & Kettle Studios made them custom to fit my risers, and they were super easy to install.  And when I’m sick of them, they’ll be super easy to peel off.

Stair_Risers_Chevron_003

Here’s a shot of them in black from their etsy shop:

PotandKettle

So there you have it–proof that we’re still alive and still making some changes around here . . .

Stair_Risers_Chevron_002

 

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Kitchen Renovation Weeks #4, 5, and 6

Yikes–writing that post title has made me realize just how long this project has really lasted.  So much for everything being said and done in 3 weeks, right?  Well, at least the contractors were done after 3 weeks (see more on what they did here).

And then we did hint at having our new floors installed once the first group of contractors was done (the floors were finished in only one day, and then our home was contractor-free finally).

And while the original plan had been to stop there (for now) and paint the cabinets after the baby arrived, Mr. Bunches and I decided to change our minds (mostly Mr. Bunches made this decision) and forge ahead painting the cabinets.  And so paint the cabinets we did. And did.  And did some more.

I’m not going to go through all the steps here, since there are plenty of great tutorials out there in blog land (one of the best here from YHL), but I’ll make a few points as we go since our process differed slightly.

First up, like I mentioned before, we removed the 1960s trim from the cabinet doors.  I just used a hammer and a putty knife to carefully take it all off.  Oh, and we also removed all the knobs.

We then filled any holes with wood putty; I used Elmer’s Wood Filler.

We then removed all the cabinet doors and drawers and laid them all out in the garage (I didn’t photograph any of those steps since they’re pretty self-explanatory).  Next up–sanding!  We sanded down the fronts and backs of all the doors and drawers with 100-grit sandpaper; we also sanded all the cabinet frames in the kitchen.

Once everything was sanded, Mr. Bunches scrubbed it all with a deglosser (we used Klean Strip Deglosser from Lowe’s–no real reason we chose this one except that it was the only one Lowe’s sold).

Once that had all dried, it was time to get our prime on.  And on.  And on some more.  We opted for Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer since it had worked so well on my sister’s kitchen.

And while we had hoped to only have to do one coat of primer, turns out our cabinet doors had something else in mind.  The wood grain kept bleeding through, particularly in the spots where we had removed the trim.  So on went coats #2 and #3, much to Mr. Bunches’ frustration.  And guess what?!  That still didn’t work.  So I finally knew we had to switch to oil-based primer (given my current knocked-up status, I was hoping to avoid all those crazy oil-based noxious fumes which was why we had waited so long to try this option; but don’t worry–all the oil-based priming was done by Mr. Bunches in the garage while I was safely inside.  Thanks Mr. B!).  So we used some leftover Kilz Original that I had on hand, and with one coat of that, all was covered.

Up next was the painting.  I took care of the inside cabinets while Mr. Bunches took domain over the doors and drawer fronts.  After two coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint (color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White), we were left with this:

Major improvement, right?  Oh, and I forgot to mention that we (meaning I) decided that we also needed to paint all the window and door trim.  Needless to say, Mr. Bunches LOVED that idea.

Isn’t it already such an improvement?

Since most of the painting took place over a couple weekends and weeknights, (and we had a little detour to the east coast during the process) it took a while before we were finally ready to put it all back together.  Plus, I wanted to make sure that everything had a chance to cure up well, so once we were done painting we waited three days before getting the doors and drawers back on.

And that’s where I’m going to leave things today, but I promise that before the end of the week I’ll share some actual reveal photos of the kitchen all put together.  Hooray!

Floor Heaven, a Preview

I wish I could say the kitchen is done and it’s time for the big reveal, but alas, no such luck.  Instead, here’s a teaser post for you of our new floors . . .

To put it mildly, we LOVE them.  As in, this is serious love.  I think if we both had to do our wedding again, these floors would be walking down the aisle with us.  They’re that good.

So that’s all you get for now.  We’re feverishly trying to finish painting the cabinets and get our life back in order . . . cuz let’s face it, this whole chaos-living-thing is getting old:

Next week we WILL finally reveal our new kitchen (either that or I will officially have gone insane and then I’ll be posting to you from a lovely padded cell).  Either way, should be a win-win. :)

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?

Flor It

Today I will be brief.  Somehow I think you don’t believe me, but that just makes me feel even more challenged to prove you wrong.  Jeez, a bit combative today, aren’t I?

Remember this room?

That’s right–the obligatory room of dark wood paneling that apparently all Western NY homes are required to have . . .

And while the wood paneling completely grossed me out, the built-ins had me feeling pretty giddy.  Even if they were lopsided and a little top heavy (and yes, I’m still referring to the built-ins here and not Snooki).

Plus, the sea of blue-gray carpet was totally awesome too.  But, in the spirit of being brief, let’s fast forward to how that room looks today (of course, you know there will be a post sometime in the next couple weeks with all the sordid details of how this transformation took place, so be rest assured that my brevity will likely be short-lived) :

Not bad, eh?  Here’s some more eye candy for you . . .

Pretty impressive, huh?  Now don’t worry, this isn’t a toot-our-own-horns post.  Nope, that will come later when I detail how we did this.  Instead, this is an interactive post.  And that means you–yes YOU are being asked to interact with us here in the land of Bunches of Joy.  See, it’s decision time.  And for those of you in the know about carpet tile, then you probably guessed from my post title, that we need some help with Flor tiles.

So again, in the interest of brevity, do you prefer stripes . . .

or checkerboards . . .

Easy peasy, right?  And keep in mind that we really don’t have to be married to either since it’s easy to change things around if we so choose, but once we have furniture in the room, I think the likelihood of Mr. B being happy to move all the tiles will probably go down.

So please vote, or please leave a comment below with what you think.  Thanks!

BTW–that post was only 338 words, so basically I rule!

Slip Sliding Away

It’s finally here!  The post you’ve been waiting for!  Drumroll please . . . It’s the FLOOR REVEAL post.  Yes, finally, we’re ready to reveal our recently refinished hardwood floors.  And I apologize for it taking so long, but see, we’ve had a lot of company in town (if you’d like to see who, check out the deets here and here); and, we’ve been busy moving in, unpacking, and also trying to enjoy some pretty fabulous fall weather.

But enough about all that, this post is about our floors.  Which, after ~3.5 weeks of work, were finally finished.  Of course, we didn’t do the work ourselves–we’re not that crazy.  Nope, Robert of James Cameron Hardwood Floors did it for us.  And I’m sure you have some vague memory of me hemming and hawwing about which way to go–dark or light? polyurethane or wax?  And I even posted progress pictures with a vague promise of finished pics soon to follow?  Oops–my bad.

Well, as a quick reminder, we opted to go with the natural look and not with dark.  More on that decision here.  And, since we decided to do a penetrating oil finish plus a buffed wax topcoat (all instead of polyurethane), the floors turned out a bit darker than the purely sanded ones in the picture above.  So, without further ado, let’s just get to some pics, shall we?

And now for some up-close and personal shots . . .

Not too shabby, eh?  They came out great, and overall we’re super pleased.  But (you knew there was a but coming, didn’t you?), I’m still a bit torn on the color choice.  Depending on the light, they sometimes read really orangey, and I’m not totally digging that.  For instance, from where I sit on the couch right now, this is my view:

See what I mean?  Of course, under more direct sunlight, they read lighter:

But every now and then I’m hit with a wall of orange, and I have flashbacks to what was . . .

But no–they’re different, right?  Tell me they’re different.  Please, tell me they’re different!  At least they’re not shiny anymore, right?

Which leads to another added bonus of the new floors–they’re slippery.  Like as in we-slide-everywhere-in-our-house slippery.  And we might also twirl around in circles.  We might do it all the time.

Okay, Mr. Bunches just asked me to clarify that he does NOT twirl; twirling is a strictly Mrs. Bunches activity.  Sorry.  

And yes, I twirl in Paul Frank socks and leg warmers.  Deal with it.

Oh, and just because this post is all about floors, I should point out one more detail: Robert also added oak quarter round.  He did a meticulous job and it looks great.  Luckily, I was able to paint a lot of the base moldings before he started on the floors.

So there you have it–floors revealed!  And for those of you who received our moving announcement and would like to come visit, please do.  Although, keep in mind that with the floors being refinished, there are some new rules in effect: no shoes allowed (we were a shoe-free home before, but now we’re a bit psycho about it), no water or liquids of any kind on the floors, and sliding is highly recommended. :)

Okay, so what do you think?  Was it worth the wait?  Are they everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more?  Did that last question go too far?

Don’t Go Against the Grain

Sometimes it pays to stay in line.  And wood floors is one of those times where going against the grain is bad.  REAL BAD.

So what exactly is that line across the grain of our newly sanded floors you ask yourself in a politely quizzical tone. (Yeah, I’ve decided that today you will be politely quizzical . . . tomorrow you may be something totally different, but I’ll keep you posted.  Don’t you like how I’m controlling all your moods?  I thought you did.)  Well, that is a deep scratch courtesy of the crazy barbarians who installed carpet on at least three separate occasions in our house (learn more about said barbarians and our battle with their staples here).  See, apparently they used a carpet blade (basically a heavy-duty exacto knife) to cut the carpet padding while it was on the wood floors.  So these lines tend to reappear about every six feet or so (since carpet pad is six feet wide).

So what’s the big deal you say?  (Again, in your politely quizzical tone o’ the day.)  Well, since our wood floors are only 3/8″ thick red oak, it means that deep scratches like this can’t be sanded out.  And so they’re there.  For good.  And it means that the decision between darkly stained and natural floors (discussed here and here) just got a whole lot easier.  Why?  Well, turns out that dark stain highlights any and all imperfections in wood floors.  And that means those against-the-grain scratches, if stained dark, would appear as solid black lines on the floor.  And since they’re everywhere . . .

. . . that means that dark stain is a no-go!  :(  And just when I had finally made the decision to stain the floors dark, and I went to my floor guy to tell him too!  Talk about a bummer, huh?  BUT, since the decision was such a hard one to make, it meant that I did really like the natural floors.  And since leaving them natural wouldn’t highlight the scratches, I was definitely okay switching my decision back to team au naturel!  (Plus, that’s the way you guys saw it too–just check out the Bunches of Joy poll results here.)

Oh, and now that the sanding has begun, I had a little sneak peak at how great they were going to look.  Check it out:

Don’t they look amazing?!?!  They’ll obviously be a little darker once they get three coats of penetrating oil and a good wax buff, but they’re so much better already than the orangey-hot mess where they started. 

So there you have it.  A final flooring decision.  What do you think?  Are you so politely disappointed that you can’t bear to read any more?  Or are you thrilled with the decision and waiting on the edge of your seat to see the final results?

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