Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Overdue Update with Pictures: Backsplash + Outlets + Lighting - UPDATED

I am soooo behind on updating you all!  How was your Thanksgiving holiday?  I hope it was full of great memories with family and friends!!!  We were super swamped with getting our home together for our first official hosting!  There were so many items we had on our to-do list before guests arrived in town.  With a lot of work, we were able to complete (almost) everything and our holiday feasting turned out absolutely amazing!  

Here are the items we wanted to have done before the holiday:
  • Replace builder pendants over kitchen island 
  • Replace builder chandelier in dining room
  • Get house re-painted from our one-year drywall fixes
  • Install the path lighting for stairwell (didn't want anyone to fall up or down the stairs at night)
  • Replace kitchen outlets and faces 
  • Install kitchen backsplash 
  • Extend our home automation lighting to outside
  • Have fence installed
  • Finish my DIY barista bar
Everything was completed except the installation of the fence.  There was an error with the manufacturer, and they were unable to order the fence materials in time.  We now have the items ordered and the fence should be in very very soon!

For the most part, the kitchen can finally be considered DONE!  Counter decor could change with the seasons, events, etc., but here are a few pictures of the updates!  I will do another post in the near future on the barista bar.  Here are some recent pictures of the updates we completed right before the holiday!

Installed by my husband and I!
Above: kitchen wall outlet before

Above: kitchen wall outlet and plate after

Above: kitchen wall outlet and plate after

Above: island outlets after (pop outs)

Above: island outlets after (pop outs)

Kitchen Island Pendants:
I actually helped my husband install these! Very easy and we loved the mixing of the metals in the finished look!

Above: kitchen pendants before

Above: kitchen pendants after

My husband assisted one our buddies install the backsplash.  Picking out the actual material took forever (we started looking in February), but we love our final selection!

Above: backsplash and outlet/plates before

Above: kitchen backsplash and outlet/plates after

Dining Room Lighting
We tag teamed this one ourselves.  We finished just before our drywall certificate so we had the guys re-patch and paint the ceiling for us!

Above: dining room light before

Above: removing the builder light

Above: what our ceiling looked like after removal of builder light

Above: after installing new light, this is what we were left with

Above: new dining light after

Updated 29Dec15
I was asked about the kitchen backsplash specifics, so I wanted to share more details on those products.  Let me know if you have any other questions!

If possible, ask if you can borrow displays from your selected store.  It really helps to bring home a sample to see how well it flows with your other kitchen details.  Over time, we had roughly six (6) displays we 'played' with before deciding on the winner!  For us, our counter tops are kind of busy so we did not want a backsplash that introduced too much flare.  The options are endless, so have fun and don't feel rushed!  If you are near a Mosaic Tile, they are really good about having samples on deck for you to take with you! 

  • Tiles: 3x6 Brushed Copper Alloy Subway
  • Tiles:At the time of purchase, it was priced at $29.11/sq. ft.
  • Wall grout in color Earth
  • Non-sanded caulk in color Earth
  • All materials purchased at Mosaic Tile

Display of tile borrowed from Mosaic Tile
Displays from Mosaic Tile


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Finishing Our Garage: Episode 6 (the floor)

We are BACK with a new and exciting update on the garage!  It has been a little while since our last post because we spent a ton of time and energy researching the right product for us.  We decided to go with Armorclad by Armorpoxy, with the military top coat for our epoxy resin.     

By now, you know that I can appreciate some great customer service right?  Armorpoxy answered each and every call and email we sent their way.  As first timers using an epoxy resin of any sort, we had tons of questions.  We also visited garage forums to hear from people who actually finished their garage floors for additional tips and tricks.  

The process started by constructing our kit which included most tools and all solutions needed for our application.  We decided on using this two-step process which is more of a process than the options at Home Depot or Lowe's.  If you Google, you can find many entries on the differences between the two, but we wanted to diminish the possibility of hot tire pickup, so we went with a two-step product.  Armorpoxy also provides a ga-zillion different color choices if you decide to flake!  

Here are the steps we took to achieve our finished garage flooring.  We started on a Thursday evening and finished on a Sunday night:

Step 1:
  • We cleared the garage of stored items and sweep really really well. 

Step 2:
Power Washer from Home Depot
  • (Thursday) Roughed up the concrete by acid etching.  Our kit came with the acid solution so there was no need to buy anything extra. Grinding is another great option that will really rough up your concrete.  If you don't have a grinding machine, no worries because you can rent one from Home Depot!  If you decide to use the acid technique, a power washer will be really helpful.  We rented ours from Home Depot and allowed the garage to completely dry for 24 hours before moving on.  

Step 3:
  • (Friday) After the space was dry, we patched up some small holes and cracks in the garage.  OK...well my husband patched holes and I went out on a Chipotle run!  We added the crack repair to our kit since we knew we had holes and cracks to mend.  Our neighbor let us borrow their dehumidifier to help with the drying process.   
    Patched holes

Step 4: 
Applying floor primer
  • (Saturday morning): We primed the floor (included in the kit) and allowed it to dry according to the directions.  We started early enough in the day so (Saturday afternoon) we were able to apply the actual epoxy and flakes as well.  There are some special spiked shoes that you can add to your kit to give you ability to walk on the epoxy.  You WILL NOT be able to walk on the epoxy in regular shoes.  This is where the team work comes in handy!  We both cut in the corners of the garage since a roller brush will not get those spaces well.  Think of it as painting a wall.  Cut in first, then roll.  While my husband rolled, I sprinkled the flakes.  I must admit that I was super nervous about walking on the floor with spikes, but they are awesome and I would highly recommend.  If my husband missed a spot while rolling, I was able to grab the roller and hit the spot in the spikes!  
  • After the floor was rolled, it was a waiting game to allow the epoxy resin to dry.  This was 24 hours for us.

Awesome spiked shoes
Mixing epoxy resin
Custom flake mix

Step 5:
  • (Sunday): Now that everything was dry (and looking great), we had to apply the top coat.  Again, we added the military grade top coat to get rid of the slip factor.  As it stood before the top coat, it was a little slippery but not quit 'ice'.  After we successfully applied the top coat, the floor was technically complete.  We just had to wait another 24 hours for drying.  
Close-up floor (before topcoat)
Finished floor - drying

Products/Equipment used:
We LOVE LOVE LOVE the results we achieved! We had no idea what to expect, but decided to just do it and see what happens. It was a great project and much easier than it appeared originally.  

Next on the finale of 'Finishing Our Garage',  we will finish off the space by adding some type of base board to complete the look!    

Friday, October 16, 2015

Getting Organized + Pictures

Happy Friday!  I came straight home today super excited to get this closet organized and switched over to Fall/Winter attire. 

Since I reached out for some organization help on my earlier post, first I should sort some things to see which solution would work best for me.  

Items that need a little more attention:
  • Costume jewelry
  • Hair products
  • Receipts 
  • Small packages/gift boxes
  • Gym bags
  • Camera equipment 
  • Shoes that does not fit in the over-the-door shoe hanger (boots, etc.)
  • Various sample packets (you know the free stuff you get from retailers)
Items that are actually in good standing:
  • Nail polishes
  • Fashion scarfs
  • Winter scarfs
  • Winter hats/gloves
  • Hair equipment (flat irons, blow dryer, hot rollers, etc.)
  • Swim attire
  • Clutch purses
I used bins from the Container Store that I found on clearance for everything except the nail polishes.  Those are on the wall using an acrylic nail polish holder from Amazon.  

I got some ideas from my lovely blogger friends for the items needing attention, and I really want to try some out.  Question for you: how long do you keep items that you have never worn?  I swear I tell myself "I will wear it next season" and that never happens.  I think I may have a small issue with letting go of things.  

This is what I am dealing with now.  I hope to have things sorted with 90% done by morning, so I can run to Target or the Container Store in search for a better solution!  Let the coffee making begin...something is telling me this is going to be a long night!  

Above: Ziploc Space Saver Bags

Above: Costume necklaces

Above: Belts

Above: Bangles/bracelets 

Above: Samples from retailers 

Above: Sunglass holder

Above: One of the few items with a home!

I will post the final closet once I have sorted through everything and found a home for the lost items!  


Winterizing My Closet (before) + Pictures

Finally, my favorite season is upon us!  Fall is everything to me: scarfs, boots, cute hats and my favorite drinks at Starbucks!  #PSL

As you know, my closet is the Elfa System from the Container Store.  You can see my initial closet setup here.  Maybe it's just me, but I still feel I could use more space!  For as long as I can remember, I have been switching out my Spring/Summer attire to Fall/Winter twice a year.  I store my out of season fashions in Ziploc Space Saver Bags, because they actually do save a great deal of space and they are a super easy and affordable solution.

Since I was making the switch, I wanted to show you all my closet...the good, the bad and the ugly!  Most of the time, this space is kept pretty neat because I like to just grab-and-go!  When I am trying to find something for date night, or for an event, that is where you will meet the monster side of the closet.  I fail to hang things in the correct location, or hang things back up at all!  The good thing is I have a door, so it should not cause a problem for the day or so I leave it a mess.  HAHAHA

I love my closet, but for the life of me, I still do not have a place for most of my costume jewelry.  Originally, I purchased a cart with a jewelry hook and since then, the cart is in another closet (empty) and the jewelry hook is on the floor the spare bedroom.  Ladies, where do you store your cute necklaces/jewelry?  I am open to any and all help!!!

Here are some pics of my closet as I move in my clothes for the cooler months.  There are some other items that I need to figure out because they are also a hot mess.  For example, I keep my receipts for almost everything I purchase.  If it's a bigger item, I keep for...forever.  For other items like clothing, I keep until the return policy expire, just in case I need to return them.  This bag of paper is going to drive me crazy, so I have to think of a creative way for this madness.  To keep this post from going any longer, I will do the 'after' post separately.  

*Warning: the following contains messy (but truthful) pictures*

Above: Saying good-bye to my maxi dresses and other spring/summer items...

Above: ...which left me with a mess...
Above: ...or two! Never mind my Epsom salt and lavender from the tub area...trying to multitask!!

Above: Going through dresses...

Above: ...and skirts!

Above: Jeans and sweaters stay around all year...

Above: ...and so does most blazers!

 But then the real problem is revealed...bags of crap in need of a home!  

Above: My bag of receipts that I keep for return purposes. This creates a chore of me going through them monthly

Above: Another bag of crap! Boxes/containers from smaller gifts

Above: AND another load of crap...hair products in containers that drive me up the wall and back! 

Above: Original setup using the cart 

 I'm wondering if I should use the cart again?  I just hate that it closes the closet off a little more.  Currently, I like walking right in without much thought.  LOL  

Let me work on cleaning up this mess and I will post the final closet soon.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's Almost Friday (again)!!!

Can you believe it's almost the weekend again?  I absolutely adore my weekends as these are the only days 'The Shop' (official name of or our garage) is open for business.  Most of my DIYs/projects are done in the garage...so the name thing just happened and stuck!    

My recent IKEA trip!
Last weekend, I completed my monthly tour of IKEA.  I seriously go there and walk around the whole store lookin' for items I don't need have never seen before!  My husband hates IKEA and has only graced me with his company about 3 times.  He says you have to put everything together and the directions are horrible.  I have to agree sometimes, but the price and cuteness of the items out-weigh the headaches of putting things together right?  If any of you want to head to IKEA with me, let me know.  I have fun alone but can have even more fun with a little company.  This time I actually went to return a nesting table I purchased as the plan was to hack it, but unfortunately, it did not work for the space.  It was a little too small, so the hunt is on for a better fit.  Instead of just returning the table and leaving, I went in and left 2 hours later.  #yikes  

As far as our home, we submitted our first two applications for exterior changes!  One application is for a fence in the backyard, and the other is for grass in the front.  Our community of townhomes were delivered with mulch in the front (instead of the much preferred grass).  Personally, I think this was just an easy and cost efficient option for the builder.  When it rains, the mulch just runs down the street which sucks because who wants mulch everywhere?  And who wants to keep replacing it??

It could take up to 45 days to get our applications approved, but I hope it comes quick because we are running out of time to seed or sod.

How are you all doing?  Any updates or planned projects before the holiday season or winter weather hit us?  I hope things are going well and I have some posts pending for you all.  I am making a real stride to update more frequently and let you know how things are going over here!  

I will be sure to post an update on the fence and grass situations.  The "Finishing Our Garage' series is about to start again.  After a lot of research and questions, we have our materials ordered  and currently waiting on their arrival.  We have installed sconces and extra recessed lighting in the master bedroom, received furniture and the area rug for the 'Woman Cave', had a storm door installed in the front, and currently building a barista bar for the dining room.    

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

10 Month Inspection (Part II)

Painted the house in blue tape
We had our inspection today, so I wanted to follow up on my previous post and show you some of the 21 items on our list!  We painted the house in blue tape, most of which were nail pops.  Our dry-wall service is scheduled for November, so we started early to make sure we get every single item!   

In my opinion, most of the items on our list were great items to have addressed, and others...well...we had to ask ourselves "do we want to take the chance on messing things up more?"  For example, you remember that leaky sink I spoke of here, well they fixed the leak but the few water buckles left underneath the cabinet...we still have those!  In order for those to be fixed, they would have to basically rip the entire island out, including removing the granite.  Sometimes, things are better left in their current condition.  We felt like removing the entire island was a huge risk that could potentially cause more issues later.  You know things never go wrong until after the warranty has expired right?  LOL

Other than the sink, they addressed everything on our list and a few items require parts to be ordered so the crew will be returning soon to finish those.  They started bright and early at 8 o'clock on the dot.  The doorbell seemed constant with guys coming to fix different items.  They were here for about 3 hours total and everyone was super nice and helpful!  

I love pictures, so I figured it would be easier to touch on each case individually:

Above: Kitchen sink filled to the no-leak-maximum
Now it's fixed and we can fill to the top!

Above: Two steps being fixed because they squeaked

Above: In certain light, you could see the roller marks
The crew re-painted the ceiling to fix

Above: Outside paint missing because it was too cold when we moved in for painting. We decided to wait until now to have it fixed, because it was no big deal for us due to the location.

Above: Example of areas needing caulk

Above: Construction wrap not fully cut around window

Above: Wood in need of a new polyurethane coat
Above: Past home of a towel rack
It was broken and after a previous fix, it broke again. I had it removed today and I will replace with another solution. The cause of it being broken was it was installed too far apart. 

One item that I was not able to capture was a hole in the man cave, underneath the carpet.  My husband informed the head guy about the item, and his response was "it's concrete underneath".  When they pulled back the carpet, there was a hole in the floor.  They filled it and replaced the carpet.  This is why I suggest that you walk all floors and stairs.  We also had 2 wood planks replaced in the kitchen that had a little squeak.  

We have many nail pops, mostly in the ceiling, along with cracks and seams.  We will continue to mark these with our handy blue tape and have them addressed in November.  Some of the nail pops are on our custom colored walls so we will re-paint those few areas afterwards.  

Note: I like to have things planned when possible, so looking ahead at the dry-wall schedule, I was informed they do not have any openings until late November.  This was perfect for us, but I suggest that you schedule ahead if possible.  Remember, the certificate is only good for one year so please take into account their schedule.  

Overall, we are pleased with how things turned out and the responses we received about all the items.  I asked very specific questions and received very straight answers.  One can appreciate someone not dancing around the questions or trying to give you the most expensive solution all the time!  For this, we thank you NVHomes!