Exterior Paint Decisions

Painters are coming next week (weather permitting), which means we had to give them our paint color choice for the exterior trim. Right now there’s a whole lot of brown going on. And not in a good way. 

   
   
   
   
The windows are scheduled to be replaced in early June, and they will be white. So a lot of the brown will disappear with the addition of the windows. For the rest of the trim, I was thinking dark gray. I even used Window World’s window mock-up tool to get an idea of how it would look:

  
I did the mock-up before we replaced the lights and removed the screen door so I added a new door just to see the look. 

I thought the mock-up looked good and now it was just time to pick the actual paint colors. I recruited my best helper and headed to Sherwin Williams. 

  

I have such a hard time picking paint colors. I always feel like my first pick is wrong, and I end up wasting money on paint before picking again. But this time there won’t be any second chance opportunities since we’re hiring painters and they’re getting the paint ASAP. Pressure!

So Mini B and I narrowed it down to three (all Sherwin Williams): Black Magic, Iron Ore, and Roycroft Pewter.  Truth be told her initial voice was a deep navy with purple undertones, but I had to veto that. 

   
 The gutters are staying as-is, so the color we pick just needs to have the same tone. I think all 3 would work fine with the existing gutters and downspouts. 

I decided to get test paints for the two lighter colors (Iron Ore and Roycroft Pewter) since Black Magic seemed too dark (side note: SW only sells quart-sized samples for $7, which is a little bit ridiculous. I now have a TON of extra paint).  I’m hoping that decision will be my only mistake in this whole picking-a-color process. In short, I should’ve gotten a sample of the Black Magic, but I’ll get to that. 

Mini B was thrilled to actually help me paint (she did all the Roycroft Pewter herself). 

   
    
 
As soon as Mini B started with the Roycroft Pewter I knew it was too light. It was barely different than the gray paint already circling the bottom of the house. 

I also wasn’t sold on the Iron Ore. It also seemed way too light.  Even after letting it dry, I knew we needed to go darker. 

   
 
All that work to lead me back to my initial gut choice: Sherwin Williams Black Magic. A little googling and I was able to find another brick ranch that used Black Magic on its garage:

 

Looks good to me. Mini B agreed and we let the painters know. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I’ll have after pics for you next week! 

Lighting Help!!

I need help making some lighting decisions so I’m asking all of you for some opinions. We had electricians working on the house this weekend and they made some serious progress, but can’t get any further without lighting fixtures to install (they replaced every outlet with up-to-code child-safe ones and also put in new light switches everywhere).  And that’s where I need help: we need new light fixtures for the side entryway, the sunroom, the dining room, and a pendant for over the sink in the kitchen. 

We also needed new outdoor lighting, but Mr. Bunches and I bought some new fixtures this weekend (who knew Lowe’s would be open on Easter?). This light for the side entry door (it will be mostly hidden due to the awning; cost was ~$12):

  
And then two of these lights for $39.98 each right by the front door:

  
As a reminder, here’s what the exterior lights look like now. I especially like the upside-down one. 

  
The only lighting decision I’ve made so far has been for the bathroom, where we went with this fixture: 

  
Okay, so that leaves four more decisions. Oy. Here are my ideas, but I’m open to suggestions. 

For the entryway by the garage (the main way the future renters and homeowners will come and go daily), this light:

  
 
It’s the same light that YHL put in their upstairs hallway.  And I loved it when they did it two years ago, and I’m excited to have a place to use it. Now if only World Market could kindly put its lighting on sale in the next few days. 
Next, I’m thinking for the sunroom ceiling light of doing this for $79 plus shipping:

  
Or this farmhouse light for $43 (it’s 16″ wide and can be hung close to ceiling–it’s also available in some fun colors in addition to brushed steel or black):

  
Just a reminder of what the sunroom looks like:

  

So that leaves the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has four new recessed lights so all it needs is a pendant over the sink. And even though I still owe a post on the kitchen cabinets, here’s a sneak peek just so you can picture where the light will go:

  

 I love this one, but maybe it’s too modern for what’s going on in the rest of the space? My new favorite blogger at Housetweaking used three in her kitchen. The small one is currently $89 but there’s a 20% off coupon code. 

  
Alternatively, I just did a quick google search on “clear glass pendant lights” and came up with this similar, albeit different but much cheaper, option:

  

Or something more traditional but still in glass to keep it from being too heavy-looking, for $50:

  
Or lastly (at least I think lastly, but seriously one Google search for mini pendant lights turns up about 1,836 options in our price range), we could go with one of the lights that we used in our own kitchen remodel (and which we still love 4 years later):

  
  
Can you see how badly I need help?! And we haven’t even gotten to the dining room yet. I think in the dining room we’re leaning away from a chandelier and instead towards some sort of flush mount (or at least something you can walk under). Mr. Bunches doesn’t like the idea of forcing it to be a dining room by hanging a low fixture for a table, especially now that we’ve opened up the kitchen.  So what do we do? Just a plain drum shade? Something more daring? I need ideas people!! Help!

I really wish I had the guts to do something like this in the dining room, but I doubt I do:

  
Image below from Dana Miller of house*tweaking:

  
Okay, so that’s it. All thoughts/opinions welcome. 

Vinyl Floors

The floors are in! And they look great. Dusty and in need of a mopping, but otherwise great. 

   
   
As you can tell from the pictures, we didn’t finish painting everything.  But all of the ceilings were done, and just about everything had been primed (the one exception being the wood paneling in the entryway. That paneling is killer and is going to take at least a few coats of primer before it’s ready for paint. Ugh). 

But back to the floors. We decided to install Exalt, a commercial-grade vinyl floor, in Cherry Oak.  It’s actually our own product (Mr. Bunches is in the commercial-flooring business), and besides that, we knew it would be a perfect choice for the space. It’s extremely low maintenance, which is exactly what we wanted since we’re planning to rent the house for a few years before selling it, and it’s waterproof. So no matter what happens (renters aren’t always that kind to their dwellings), we know it will look the same in 10 years as it does today. 

Mr. Bunches and Mini Bunches actually just participated in their first home show this past month and the response to Exalt was awesome.  Mini B was passing out those coupons like she was born to do it!

  

We had Exalt installed in the entire house except for the bathroom and it took two days (the house is about 1,100 square feet). It’s a floating floor that clicks together and cuts with a utility knife. Here are some progress shots–they started in the kitchen and worked their way around the rest of the house. 

   
After one day they made it almost through the entire living/dining room (you can see the stopping point in the left of the picture below).

 
As with all floors, the main tricky things were the transitions (when one type of floor transitions to another type of floor, usually at the entrance to a room), but luckily we had very few. The bathroom transition came out great:

  
We even had Exalt installed in the sunroom right over the existing tiles (Exalt doesn’t need any type of underlayment and it can go over pretty much anything as long as it’s level). 

  
We can’t get over what a difference just paint and flooring make to a space. It’s really made us see the end vision start to come together. 

   
   
And just for kicks, here are some side-by-side shots to remind us of just how far we’ve come. 

   
 
Kitchen cabinets are going in this week. So excited! After a lot of painting and prep, here’s what the kitchen looks like now. Can’t wait to see what it looks like a few days from now!

   
    
    
 
I cleaned the floors in there too (don’t want a bunch of dust to live forever under the cabinets, right?). Don’t they look great?! Can’t wait to see it all come together. 

Bathroom Progress

We’re about 85% of the way through this bathroom renovation, so I figured it’s time for an update. Our contractor had to head out of town for a job and, true to form, he wanted to get all of his work in the bathroom done before he left.  So he installed the fixtures, toilet, vanity, floor, and he finished the grouting and painting.  So now we have a working bathroom!

   
 
Since he offered to paint the bathroom before putting in the toilet and vanity, we had little time to pick a color. But thanks to Pinterest and Kylie M Interiors, I was able to make a quick decision: Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt. 

 

I thought of doing a grey, but I’m thinking of doing some sort of greige for the rest of the house and I just wasn’t ready to make a whole-house decision that quickly. So I figured this would lend itself to the calm, neutral-but-spa-like look that I was going for. And hopefully it wouldn’t clash with the accent tile. 

  

Of course, then I chickened out. Or at least chickened out halfway. When I got to the Sherwin Williams store, I had them lighten the Sea Salt by 50%. I kept thinking how small the bathroom was and how overpowering the color could be when the light was low and, well, I chickened out.  But I’m glad I did. The pictures make the room look whiter than it is, but it really is a calm green-blue in person. I think if I had gone full strength, then it would have been too much. 

  

   

  

 

  
  
Now the room needs baseboards, the heating vent to be painted and put back on (that’s the big hole under the window), trim around the door, window, and closet, installation of the light and other electrical, a mirror, towel rod(s), toilet paper holder, shower rod, and I’m sure some other things I’m forgetting. 

So what do you think? Look good so far?  Hopefully Mr. Bunches will have some time over the next few weeks to get the rest of the house painted. Anyone ever rent a paint sprayer? Any tips/suggestions?

And just cuz I can’t get enough of these two . . .  

  

Bathroom Mood Board

The plan for this bathroom came together very quickly. Most people who know me know that I like to research and weigh design decisions forever, to the point that I often end up crippling myself in the process (our fireplace is a perfect example of this). But the nice thing about designing this house is that I’m not obsessing over it because I know I won’t have to be the one to look at it everyday. Wait, that makes it sound like I don’t care, which is far from the truth. I do care. A lot. But there’s something about making decisions for another, as yet unknown, person that makes them easier. Does that make sense? Anyhoo, here’s the plan:

  

  1. Style Selections Drayden Grey Integral Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with Cultured Marble Top, find it here for $199.  The space is really tight, so we could only do a 24″ wide cabinet. If there were another bathroom in the house, then I might have done a pedestal to make the space feel bigger but since this is the only bathroom I wanted to do something that had storage. I know there’s a closet in there, but I always think it’s a good idea to have a storage spot for extra toilet paper that’s within reach of the toilet.  You know why. 
  2. Moen Caldwell Brushed Nickel Faucet, available here for $89.  This is definitely a more traditional style than what I would pick for my own house, but I think the classic look will work well in this bath. Plus, it’s a Moen, so it’s built to last (or so say the plumbers and online reviewers) and the price was right.
  3. allen + roth 3-Light Kenross Brushed Nickel Bathroom Vanity Light from Lowe’s for $79. I liked the nod to an industrial vibe while still being a pretty straightforward piece. And again, for a 3-light piece in the finish I needed, the price was great. 
  4. White subway tile with grey grout. We bought the subway tile from Home Depot–it’s super cheap (only $1.76/sqft, so the whole shower surround of 70 sqft only cost us ~$123; I actually priced out subway tile from The Tile Shop and they offered me a discounted 70 sqft for ~$450 so it pays to shop around). 
  5. Moen Caldwell Spot Resist Brushed Nickel 1-Handle WaterSense Bathtub and Shower with Single Function Showerhead, available here for $144. This kit came with the necessary valve, so that was a big reason I chose it. From quickly looking at the other options in the store, the valves weren’t included in a lot of them and that would raise the price up another $150-300 just for the valve. No thank you. 
  6. Accent tile from The Tile Shop. This particular tile is discontinued which is why I got it for such a good price. The Tile Shop is great for cutting deals–don’t ever buy anything from there at their sticker price. Just ask for a discount and you’ll get it. Or, more often than not, they’ll offer a discount before you even have a chance to ask.  Because this tile was discontinued, and they only had 11 sqft in stock, they were eager to get rid of it. So they sold it to me for ~$10.75/sqft. I only needed 8 feet but they gave me all of it. Deal. 
  7. GBI Tile & Stone Inc. Aversa Frost Ceramic Floor Tile from here for $1.09/sqft.  Now that we tore out the old floor, we needed something new. I was pleasantly surprised at all the options at Lowe’s,which was really the only place I looked since I knew the vanity was on display there and that way I could do a little mock up in the store to see how it all looked. I also brought a subway tile sample and an Exalt sample so I could get the full picture. I had a hard time making the decision by myself though, although Baby Bunches did offer his suggestions, but thanks to Mr. B and another like-minded-in-design friend of ours, I was able to get some help. 

  
We haven’t decided on a paint color yet, but I’ll make that decision once the tiling is done (spoiler alert: the shots of the tile in the mood board are the actual shots of the tile as they currently are in the bathroom–so exciting!). 

Progress shots coming very soon, but here’s a teaser:

  

  
So what do you think? Did we do alright? Any wall color suggestions? Anything you would change/add/throw out? Do tell!

Kitchen Mood Board

We have a plan! 

  

  1. White subway tile with light grey grout as a backsplash, and possibly on one entire wall (still undecided)
  2. Drawer/cabinet pulls (similar to these from Home Depot)
  3. Kitchen cabinets, the Thomasville line from Home Depot in Cottage Maple White and the shaker-style doors
  4. Granite countertops, also from Home Depot (I forget the name, but once I put in the order then I’ll update this)
  5. Exalt flooring in cherry oak (luxury vinyl tile–we’re using this throughout the entire house except for the bathroom)
  6. MOEN Lindley pull down faucet in spot resist stainless (when we got quotes from plumbers they all recommended MOEN or Delta faucets since they work well and are easy to repair, so that limited our options a bit). The faucet won’t have the base plate shown in the picture. 

The sink will be stainless steel undermount (apparently if you order your counters and cabinets from Home Depot, then they throw in an 18-gauge stainless sink for “free” so I figured why not). 
Appliances will be stainless steel and I’ll do a separate post about those–I’m currently in the process of trying to find the best deal and comparing prices but the purchase will be made this week so then I’ll break it all down. 

For the layout of the kitchen, this is the almost-final design:

   
   
Sorry that some of the walls look curved–those are phone pictures of paper printouts that had been folded up so I didn’t get them laying smooth before snapping pictures.  Oops. 

I say that it’s the almost-final design because nothing is final until the installers from Home Depot come out to do the measurements (a $99 fee that later is credited towards the cost of the cabinets). But I’m pretty sure it will be very close to that design. 

The only things that are off in the rendering are the window and the doorways. The wall with the range actually continues to the left of the range and the wall with the fridge is longer as well. Basically, the doorway in the back of this photo is the only opening on that side of the kitchen. 

  
I used Home Depot’s in-store designer services to plan out the kitchen. The designer was great and she also filled me in on Home Depot’s regular “sales”–basically the Thomasville cabinets alternate between being on sale (15% off) and full-price every two weeks. And the granites also have a rotation for which ones are on sale. So basically you just want to make sure that you’re hitting everything when it’s on sale, and if it isn’t, then just wait two weeks and it will be. 

Once we put in the order, I’ll do a cost breakdown. I’m also trying to use eBay to find the faucet and cabinet pulls since it usually has the best prices (as long as you’re patient). 

Move Over Tarek and Christina!

What do Mr. Bunches and I have in common with HGTV’s Tarek and Christina?  

  

  1. We both have an adorable little girl and a baby boy;
  2. We both have hit TV shows (ours stars Mr. Bunches and airs nightly on Idiot Nation TV–check with your local cable provider to subscribe); and
  3. We both have a Real Estate Empire!!

Okay, so two out of three of those might be slight exaggerations.  But only slight.  The big news is that we just bought a house and we’ve begun the flip process!! So fun, right? 

It’s a 2-bedroom, 1-bath brick ranch built in the 1950s and located in our neighborhood. We bought the house at the Erie County Property Tax Auction, so we bought it without having any idea what the inside of it looked like. But we knew the value of homes in the neighborhood and we did lots of drive-bys before the auction, and we felt like it was a great buy. Risky of course, but without risk, there’s no reward, right?!

We’re planning to share lots of renovation details here and hopefully get some of your opinions along the way. But for now, how about some before shots . . . 

The entryway/living/dining room:
     
   
  
The kitchen, with just some slight ceiling issues:

   
   
The sunroom off the kitchen:

  
Bedroom #1:

   
   
Hallway:

  
  

  
Bedroom #2:

   
   
Bathroom:

   
   
Basement:

   
    
 
Back patio:

  
So just a bit of work to do😉. The real shame is that the Internet doesn’t have the ability to transmit smells, because that’s where you’d really get the feel of this house. So since there’s no smell-a-net yet, I’ll give you a recipe so that you can create the smell at home:

Ingredients 

  • 1 chihuahua
  • 2 doves
  • Carpet from the 1950s
  • Closed-off rooms 

Combine all ingredients. Let simmer for ~5 years. Make sure animals only go to the bathroom indoors. Enjoy. 

Stay tuned . . . We’ve already accomplished a lot in only a week so far. Updates soon!

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