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Priming and Scraping

Exterior prep work has begun! 

   
   
Just having the primer on is already such an improvement. Hopefully they finish up today and I can post completed after shots soon. 

   
    
   

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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! 

Goodbye Screen Doors

Remember these monstrosities?

 
One screwdriver, a couple hours, and a few close calls later, and they’re gone!

   
   
Those beasts were HEAVY! As in I-was-a-complete-idiot-for-thinking-I-could-take-them-down-myself heavy. At one point I was convinced I was going to drop it on my foot and somehow drive myself to the hospital with a mass of crushed bones. No Bueno.  In the end I was able to get them off, but then I had to leave them for Mr. Bunches to haul to the curb.  Especially the front door because it was so much bigger.  This was as far as I was able to move it:

  
The removal of just those doors has already brought the curb appeal up. With some paint on the trim and new windows, then we’ll really be rocking.  Stay tuned!

  

Lighting Update

Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their two cents on my lighting conundrum. The good news is that the lighting decisions have all been made and everything’s been installed! Of course, there were quite a few departures from my original post.  But first, how about the ones that we stuck with, the outdoor lights:

   
  
And now the rest . . . All different from what I had originally posted about, but sometimes that’s just what happens. First, the kitchen pendant. I decided to buy the West Elm globe pendant but when I tried to get it online, I found out it was back-ordered until June! Womp, womp.  But the good news is I found this one on Amazon for much cheaper ($47.99 instead of $99):

  

  
  

And then the sunroom. Also a last minute Amazon purchase:

  

 
For the entryway I decided to go, as planned, with the World Market pendant. But, once it arrived, I had to finally admit that it was too big. So a last minute trip to Home Depot led me to this beauty:

  

  
In the dining room I just couldn’t make a decision. I wanted something a little funky/different but mainstream enough that most renters could get behind it. In the end I found this industrial barn light for only $29.99 at Home Depot and I think it fits the bill perfectly. 

  
  
I apologize for the picture quality, but taking pictures is an afterthought for me these days. I’m just trying to get as much done as I can each time I’m over there, and I always end up snapping a few photos on my way out and I’m always in a rush. 

We finally found some amazing electricians to install everything and also finish off all the work from the prior guys.  Our previous electricians did a poor job–they cut all the wires in the kitchen which led to almost nothing working in the rest of the house. Our new electricians, Dick and Rick (no joke), were able to finally sort it all out and installed new outlets and switches (all up to code) throughout the entire house. 
One trick I learned from Dick and Rick that I thought worth passing along: install the outlets that are operated by a switch upside down so that you can easily find them in a room.  Genius. 

  
The kitchen counters go in tomorrow and we’ve already got some appliances in.  Next big decision? Exterior trim paint. I’m thinking dark and moody–maybe something to tie into the dark bricks?

  
Think on that and let me know .  . . I’ll post some inspiration photos soon and a little mock-up I did. 

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. 

Painting an Entire House

There’s nothing like an impending floor installation to really jump start some action. With the install date for our floors only a week away, we knew we had to get our painting caps on. Painting is so much easier when you don’t care about spills and drips. And given that we had to paint EVERY SINGLE WALL, CEILING, AND PIECE OF TRIM in the whole house, we wanted to make it as easy on ourselves as we could.  Now, we thought about hiring it out, but after getting estimates that ranged from $2,500 to $3,500, we opted to just do it ourselves. Plus, that way we knew it would be done right.  So we got our ventilator masks and got after it. 

  
Everything had to be primed first, including the ceiling (our contractor Steve had patched some of the settling cracks in the ceiling, so primer was a necessity). Here are some before-painting shots to remind you of where we were at:

 

   
   
Lots of green and pink.  And dirt. Hard to believe that those pictures are after we hired a cleaning crew to vacuum and wash the walls. Gross. 

We started with primer everywhere. I did all the brush work and Mr. handled the rolling.  

  
The ceilings were the hardest part, but Mr. did a fantastic job (I offered to help and I offered a pole but he said it was easier his way). After a couple long days, everything was primed and ready for paint.

   
    
    
 
You might be able to tell from some of those pictures that a paint sprayer was attempted at one point. I say  attempted because it was sort of a fail. I wasn’t around for it, but I saw the aftermath and it wasn’t pretty–lots of drips and spurts combined with spots of too much paint and spots of too little. In the end, Mr. Bunches decided it was a big time and money suck. Lesson learned. 

After the priming, it was time to paint. After much trolling of Pinterest to find the perfect greige to paint the whole house, I decided on Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray.  (Image sourced from Jennifer Pacca Interiors.)

  

In an attempt to save some money, I decided to buy the paint from Home Depot and just get it color matched (I think HD used to have all of BM and SW colors in their computers, but they no longer do. That meant that they used my little paint chip to color match it). 

   
 
This was the formula they came up with. And here’s a shot of the paint chip next to our flooring sample. 

  
It looks a little more beige than gray there, but all the pictures I found on Pinterest, and well, the name itself made me feel pretty confident that this was the warm gray I was going for. And then we started putting it on the walls.  Cue the dramatic music and drumroll . . .  

   
 
And Mr. said it looked like a bodily fluid (I’ll let you guess which one). Womp-womp.

Those two pictures make it look very beige, but in real life it read as a very sickly yellow. Totally not my style. And totally not Classic Gray–my own fault for trying to get it color-matched at HD. So basically it was a complete waste of $100 (that’s how much the five-gallon bucket of paint cost) and two hours of precious painting time (that’s the total amount of time it took me to go to a Benjamin Moore store and get new paint). 

With the epic paint fail, I decided to take that opportunity to rethink my color choice altogether. I knew that I wanted it to look gray and not just read gray in certain lights. So I went with BM’s Gray Owl. We used it in our own master bathroom (although lightened by 50%) and I knew it looked great. Plus, turns out it’s Benjamin Moore’s second most popular gray (after Revere Pewter), so I knew it would be good.  (Below image from Fabulously Vintage.)

  
Despite the delay, we’re so happy we decided to go with our gut and change the paint color. Totally more us. 

   
    
 
I didn’t have time to wait for the paint to dry before snapping these progress shots so there are still a few wet spots in those pictures. Forgive me. And these are most definitely progress shots. Oh, and the paint isn’t 100% Gray Owl. I had it lightened by 25%. Why? Well, the house isn’t that bright, and–let’s be real–it’s also in Buffalo where the sun forsakes us for six months each year, so I didn’t want to go too dark with the walls. I think it’s going to work out great. Now if only we can finish it all before the floors go in . . . 

  

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