Tag Archives: Home Depot

Fridays at Home: 3-Year House Anniversary

16th March 2012

Holy moley. I have been a homeowner for three whole years. Wow. Buying a home is a big undertaking, no matter what. I found out the hard way that even in the 21st century (at least in the South), buying a home is incredibly difficult if you’re a woman. I was asked why my husband wasn’t looking at houses with me and all sorts of other impertinent questions, and one realtor refused to show me the home because I wasn’t married.

I hunted for houses for a year. Of course, I was looking in a very specific price range (aka: low) and also knew the neighborhood I wanted, so for me, it was worth it to hunt for so long. When I found my house, I was ecstatic. Wood floors, 12-foot ceilings, a big backyard, a huge closet, and a really big kitchen. So I made an offer. Thus began two months of hell. The buyer was absolutely nutso. She kept attempting to back out of the contract. She lied to me about the appliances and eventually threatened to kidnap my dog if I didn’t pay her $800 (for a 10-year-old washer and fridge). Yeah. So closing day wasn’t exactly the thrilling moment I had anticipated.

But. I have absolutely, positively loved owning my own home. It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to paint walls and move furniture and even weatherproof. I have worked to make my home my own, and I love it. The most obvious change I’ve made happened last summer when I hired my sister’s boyfriend (who does such work) to paint the exterior. I always hated the butter yellow with cream and blue (!) trim. The screen door was hideous and blue, while the front door was burgundy. There were other projects I wanted to come before it, but I had some exposed wood (the prior owner didn’t prep well before painting) and knew that would only deteriorate further if left unpainted. So here’s the house on the day I moved in way back in 2009:

And here’s what it looks like today:

Here is a rundown of everything I’ve done to the house with links (if I have them) to the projects:

Here are just a few things I’ve learned:

  • For any given home project, you will make at least half a dozen trips to the hardware store.
  • How to cut in! No more taping for me when I paint.
  • That unless it’s electricity or plumbing, I’m not afraid to do it.
  • That people will think you’re crazy half the time.
  • That nowhere is as good as home.
  • That the smallest projects take you the absolute longest to get to.
  • Budget about a third of any project’s costs extra for random purchases/takeout food/gasoline spent going to hardware stores.
  • That having your dad around to help you hang cabinets is so great.
  • Even if you can do it yourself, it’s always nice to have company/someone to catch you if you fall off the ladder/someone to dial 911.
  • Mowing the lawn sucks.
  • Wearing paint-spattered clothing to the hardware store is a badge of honor.
  • Oh yeah, designate some painting clothes.
  • Just pick a damn paint color already. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • A 6-foot ladder will not reach lights mounted to a ceiling that’s 12-feet above you.
  • A detached garage is a scary place.
  • That Valspar paint is truest to the color card.

I’ll include a small gallery of some of the projects/rooms I haven’t blogged about. If you’re curious about any of them, tell me in the comments, and I’ll plan a Fridays at Home post! And if you’re a seasoned homeowner, what are some things you’ve learned?



Fridays at Home (year’s end)

30th December 2011

So wow. I didn’t actually begin Fridays at Home until about halfway through the year when I realized I really enjoy sharing my Adventures in Homeownership. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did, however, want to do a recap of everything I’ve done to the house in the past year.

January: nothing.

February: begin looking at paint samples for the dining/reading room.

March: keep staring at paint samples and paint.

April: get lumber for bookshelves, hire Danny to build bookshelves.

May: begin looking at paint samples for the exterior of the house and trim.

June: painting begins.

July: painting continues.

August: rearrange living room furniture.

September: exterior paint is finished, and I paint the front door.

October: nada.

November: choose paint colors for kitchen and cabinets and refinish and paint cabinets.

December: ahhh. sweet peace. oh wait, I forgot Dad’s big garage reno. wooow.

December 2011

November 2011

September 2011

August 2011

June 2011

April 2011

March 2011

All in all, I had two total room redos, an exterior house change, and small projects all for under $4,000. Of course, that’s doing a lot of the work myself, but heck, that’s a lot of change (as in metamorphosis AND coinage) for a year. Overall, though, I’m pleased. What’s on the agenda for 2012?

– Save money. You know, because it’s kind of important to have some spare change for these home projects.

– Do touch ups and small projects.

– Paint detached garage to match exterior of house.

– Possible reno of butler’s pantry into half bath (late summer, perhaps?).

– Redo back deck (if half bath goes through, may be put off until 2013).

– Add crown molding to main rooms.

– Create window seat in kitchen.

– Paint laundry room and make it more efficient.

It’s funny. I hate lists for my reading but LOVE lists focusing on house projects. Now I just can’t wait to start marking some of these off in the new year.ร‚ย 

So – what have you done this year in terms of improving your space?

Fridays at Home: Kitchen Progress

2nd December 2011

Wowowowowowow. So. Refinishing cabinets is, well, not fun. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t make it. Moments I called my mom near tears. Moments I thought I would absolutely lose it looking at all those messy cabinets with no doors to hide the disorganization. But much like in Dante’s Inferno, I have made it back to the shady glen.

I always thought refinishing cabinets was a super expensive project. In cold hard cash? Not so much. In back-breaking intensive labor? Uh, yes. Was it worth it? Most definitely.

Let me walk you through my processes. Remember my inspiration pics from Pinterest in the post two weeks ago? Luckily, the paint from the inspiration board (Behr Garden View) was exactly what I wanted. The Saturday before Thanksgiving I painted, and the kitchen went from this:

Harsh, too-dark green I picked too quickly when I moved in.

View from the opposite corner of the kitchen

To this:

New color. Much brighter. But still with ugly cabinets.

Six hours of constant work up and down an 8-foot ladder (which, incidentally, burns several thousand calories), and I loved the color. Initially, my plan was to stop here, think about redoing the cabinets and consider beginning the process over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Well, apparently once the work mode struck, that was all there was. Sunday I borrowed a friend’s palm sander, removed all the cabinet doors and sanded all evening. The next morning a fine dust had settled over everything to prove it. You sand just enough to remove any finish (I have pics, but they’re incredibly blurry). I also wiped all the cabinets down with a bleach-water solution to remove any grease/dust from this step.

All in all, I had 36 cabinet doors/drawer fronts. I had two cabinets I didn’t even know about! Insanity.

Monday evening, I decided to begin painting, using Behr’s paint and primer in Falling Snow (after painstakingly choosing from many different whites in order to match the white backsplash tile).

Here’s a tip: use vegetable cans or sample paint cans (of which I have many lying around) on top of your dropcloth. It makes it much easier to paint the edges of the cabinet without any sticking:

(I put them under but later moved them on top of dropcloth)

Like so.

I rolled paint on first and went back with an angled brush to remove excess paint and to smooth roller marks. It worked like a charm and left a beautiful finish. I did, however, put a second coat for durability and also to remove brush marks in the corners.

I believe this was a first coat.

I had to paint the doors in two different afternoons/evenings: half Monday and half Wednesday. If you had an actual garage, this could go faster. Tuesday I sanded and painted the bases/bodies of the cabinets, which were unfortunately laminate. Ugh.

Everything dried for at least 48 hours, and my dad came and helped me rehang them all Friday and did some touching up of the paint. After that, I couldn’t clean everything up quickly enough. I kept coming back into the room to gaze fondly at my handiwork. I did also replace the drawer pulls because I’ve never liked the ones I had. I replaced the cabinet pulls when I first painted the kitchen. So what does all that work look like?


Another view

Sipping station I found the idea for years ago in a Lowe's DIY booklet.

Little sitting area with my super long windows (it's an old house)

This is directly across from the sink.

I cannot tell you how proud I am. There is still a lot I want to do to accessorize and maybe even change out the backsplash, but it is already such a big improvement. And here’s a breakdown of what I spent:

Behr Garden View paint: $23

Paint tray liner: $1.97 (these are great to use if you already have a paint tray)

New angled brush: $5.97 (I go through a lot of paintbrushes)

Sandpaper: $2.97

Palm Sander: $0 (borrowed)

Behr Paint and Primer Falling Snow: $33

New drawer pulls: $40 ($3/a piece; 13 pulls)

TOTAL: $106.91

Not too shabby for a totally new look in a room I really couldn’t stand. I probably spent more money grabbing food on trips to and from Home Depot, since the entire kitchen was torn apart.

As for the work itself:

Hours spent: 43 (so that’s why my back is sore)

That’s it at a glance. If you are considering redoing your cabinets and have questions, ask away. I’m no pro, but I’ve been to the 9th circle of hell and back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. Thanks to Young House Love for posting a kitchen redesign from Abode Love.

P.P.S. Thanks to Mrs. Limestone for originally inspiring me with her very similar cabinets in this post.

Adventures in Homeownership

28th June 2011

When you own a 108-year-old house, there is always something needing to be fixed, painted, tweaked, etcetera. Thankfully, since I’ve owned my home I’ve been able to do a lot of that myself. I’ve painted every single room in the house (you may remember my last painting escapade). I have had central air and heat installed (including ductwork) – a necessity where I live. I have added floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my dining room, also a necessity as my poor books were shoved under beds, in cabinets, and in boxes tucked away in closets.

However, ever since I moved in, I have really really wanted to paint the exterior of the house. It’s butter yellow, and while I don’t have anything against the color, I grew up in two different yellow houses and am SICK of it. If you own a home, though, you understand nothing is ever simple….as Goofy so brilliantly shows in this video “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater:


1. You’ve had a color in mind for ages; in fact, it’s another house in your neighborhood. Knock on said neighbor’s door. Try to convince him you aren’t selling something or trying to convert him to your religion.

2. Go to City Hall to get your color approved as you live in a historic neighborhood. Pay 20 bucks for the honor of having someone tell you the color you chose is “appropriate.” Walk away with a Certificate of Appropriateness.

3. Go to Home Depot, where you are informed said paint sample isn’t large enough. Mentally yell at woman behind paint counter.

4. Go back to house in Step One, where the sweet lady of the house (with a newborn and 2-year-old in tow) allows you to get said paint out of the garage and dip the stirring stick in for a larger sample.

5. Get home and realize paint is wrong color.

6. Buy five samples of paint from Lowe’s, trying to match house from Step One. Apply to siding. Stare at siding and get several other opinions. Choose top color. [See photo below]

7. Buy 5-gallon, $120 tub of Valspar paint. Painter applies, as seen below.

8. Pull into driveway, walk up to front door and HATE color. It’s too dark. It’s hunter green (my least favorite color) and NOTHING like the house which you have in mind.ร‚ย  Get several opinions and a strong drink.

9. Go back to Lowe’s toting 5 gallons of bad paint and ask if they will attempt to lighten it or add some blue. They will not (insert curse word of choice here). Buy three more samples. Drive home. Apply to house. Call in reserves (mom and sister). They agree none of the three is right.

10. Drive back to Lowe’s. Get four more paint samples. Drive home. Apply to house. None is right. [Drink more heavily.]

11. Drive back to house in Step One but cannot bear to ask for more help. Perform covert op during which you bring paint cards up to house on side and find peeling paint behind AC unit. Take chip of crumbling paint. Vow to return and dab matching paint in said area.

12. Go back to Lowe’s where they will match a small area of paint. Get sample. Paint on outside of house. Listen to Dad repeatedly refer to your sweet little house as the “crack house” – mentally punch him in the stomach. ๐Ÿ™‚

13. Bingo. Drink in celebration. House has noww thritteen diffrnt colors [hiccup], including that damn yellow.

And there you have it. Adventures in homeownership? More like missteps in homeownership. If you see a crazed girl at your local hardware store, picking up dozens of paint cards, comparing them to a picture on a phone, and muttering, take pity. For my sake.

jenn aka the very very ridiculously picky girl