Things around here are always prioritized…into steps and phases.

Rush to get this house liveable one year ago. Check.

Rush to get yard cleaned up a bit after we move in. Check

Rush to get pine trees cut down before major storm comes through and the leaning ones crash into our “new” house. Check.

Repair this. Fix this. Rig this. Figure out why that is leaking. Check. Check. Check.

Hunter and I are project people. We are. But, sometimes I wonder if this house that I grew up in (and now live in) is trying to drive us to madness.

092011 393

Our living room about one year, 4 months ago. Just before we moved in.

There’s always something to do, to fix, to make better. It was in disrepair for so long. We all just ignored it. But when we needed a place to live, it was our saving grace. We poured the pennies we had into making it a place we could live, safely, with less stress and give ourselves time to recover from what had been a terrible few years financially, emotionally, and physically. We are total DIYers on this. The only thing we hired out was having a friend who is an electrician come swap out some outlet for a different one for the dryer and to check all the outlets and such. Hunter has amazed me with his ability to figure things out and put this house back together. Because, yall, at one point, the kitchen had a giant hole in the floor and he was standing in the crawl space and the kitchen at the same time putting it all back together. He’s an amazing hard worker and has rebuilt our home into a safe place to live.

But after we got moved in and settled, well, we rested. We just lived here. We let everything stay as it was unless we absolutely had to do it. We just needed to rest.  t took a year and a half of hard work (mostly on Hunter’s part as I worked full time and was pregnant for much of the time) to get the house back to a liveable status before we moved in. We were home improvement burn-outs.

For about six months now, we’ve slowly been finishing things out though. Which is a nice, refreshing change.  Some successes:

We finished baseboards in the kitchen and some finish trim around the upper cabinets. Oh and that stuff that goes under the cabinet to finish it? Toe kick stuff? Floor trim? Not sure what it’s called. We still need quarter round but oh, it looks better.

We put flooring in our closet (it was sub-floor before that…the other closets still are). Dust is SO much less.

I bought a bamboo blind for our bedroom window (just a sheer curtain before that). It will definitely help in the summer with cooling.

I started touching up ceilings (crappy painters, we are). I hate ceilings. And popcorn ceilings. And ceilings.

We bought a built in dishwasher. STOP THE WORLD.  I’ve used a portable for 10 years. This is like a whole new world. I love, love, love it. The not dragging a dishwasher over because the wheels don’t roll right. The not having to move it back in the morning. The dishes that have to be washed basically before the dishwasher because the water pressure just isn’t enough….this dishwasher is glorious.

I slipcovered our chair. Ugh. We won’t talk about how nasty it looks even though we had it cleaned prior to Rhett coming. Never buy a fabric couch or chair. Just buy leather. Seriously. It’s on my “dream list.”

So it is all coming together. Slowly but surely. Right now, we have a few projects going on:

Hunter is building a shop. He’s been using a container (one of those shipping containers…like this). We were going to take on a bit of debt and buy a building but he decided he could built on to what we have and make it what he wanted for less money. I’ll try to get some pictures this week. It’s a slow and steady project.

I’m slipcovering the couch. Nothing fancy. Just drop cloths for the fabric. And there won’t be a tutorial because I am winging it. It’s not perfect. Pin. Cut. Pin. Trim. Sew. Fit it. Add next pieces. repeat. I have the cushions left to do.

We still don’t have doors on our upper kitchen cabinets but I am working on them. I polyed some this weekend and stained others. Of course, the ones I stained look darker so…I may have a redo there. I am supposed to work on the remaining ones on Wednesday but it’s supposed to rain so we’ll see. And I need to decide if I want to leave the hardware as is or spray paint it. Some is in pretty bad shape.

Once we have some progress on the shop, Hunter is going to try to get the coop built for me. It too won’t be fancy and will be done as cheaply as possible. One thing we’ve learned these past few years is to do with what we have, when we can. Financial ruin can do that to you. 🙂

We also have a porch to screen. I’m supposed to be pulling old staples out.  Supposed to be. Screening won’t take long when we have time. And it’ll make the outside look better.

There’s also a back deck to be built. We have back door and a 3 foot drop. Worse case scenario, a set of stairs but we’re hoping for a small deck.

We have landscaping that we want to do and a row of screening trees to install. Living in town again is new and different. Living in the small town where you grew up where everyone knows your business and your family mostly all lives on the same street…its….challenging. We’re working on it.

There’s a lot more we want to do like repair damaged siding, treat the beetle issue we have going in the crawl space, install a heating and cooling system (because right now, we use a wood stove mostly, a propane stove in the dining room as a supplement and 3 space heaters in bedrooms as needed, ugly window units in the summer), paint the house that hasn’t been painted in 34 years, replace the hollowed out porch rails (thank you carpenter bees), redo  the sloped sidewalk, put in more gravel in both drives….but its all “plans.” We’ve learned that plans go by the wayside and that we just have to roll with the punches. And the funding. We prioritize, shift our priorities, balance things out, change our minds, and end up using the money somewhere else for something more important. But in the end, its the right place and a good decision.

But progress is a beautiful thing and we’re having a good time watching it all come together into something that is just right for our family.


Renovation Update: Master Bath Plans

A post that is not about the new baby!  Are you amazed?  I could go on and on about how in love with this baby that I am but I won’t today.  But he is really cute and chunking up.  Thank goodness.  🙂

Instead, we’ll talk about the other house.  Fun, right?  Sadly, our renovation has been moving very slow.  Well, in spurts would be a better description but money and time don’t always add up, do they? 

Hunter has been working on the house this winter when work was slow so a lot of the “bigs” that had to be done before anything else are now finished. The biggest of these items was to repair areas of severely damaged and rotten subfloors in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Hunter finished this all up and we thought we were done…until I removed the linoleum from the small (kid/guest) bathroom just before the baby came and found more subfloor that needs to be completely replaced.  Soooo, that’s on Hunter’s list again.  It has to wait until the other bathroom is done though. (Early on, we made a decision to keep one of the bathrooms (the toilet really) in working order so we could use it while we were there.  Since the master was in a lot worse shape than the small bath, we kept the toilet in the small bath and gutted the master bath.) 

As a refresher, here’s a picture of the master after the demo:

master bath

The master bath isn’t a huge room and it’s long and rectangular.  The view in this picture is from the door entering the bathroom from the master bedroom.  Just to the right of the door is a small shower and to the left is where the vanity/sink sits.  The door trim you see about midway down on the right side of the photo is a small linen closet.  The toilet sits where you see the blue on the floor (bag tied to the toilet drain thing). 

You can see in this picture that this picture is before we repaired the floor.  Now, there is a beautiful plywood subfloor that is strong and sturdy. 

Here’s a shot of the linoleum we ripped up out of both bathrooms.

bathroom floor

Ugly, no?  We found some very economical tile at Home Depot that has now been purchased for this bathroom.  I couldn’t find a great picture of it  on Home Depot’s really crappy website but this is it, I think.


We liked it because it has some grayish hues to it along with some khaki so it gives us options on paint and grout.  My only stipulation on grout is that it is NOT white.  I want a darker grout so it won’t always look dirty.

You might also  have noticed that the drywall needed a lot of repair.  Here’s why:

bathroom wallpaper

Nice 1978 wallpaper, right?  Half of it peeled off easily and the rest was so attached that some of the drywall paper ripped off.  Sigh…

Hunter and have already cut out the ripped portions to eliminate any potential bubbles and then mudded and repaired the walls. Next up is sanding the mud smooth so I can get in there to prime and paint the walls. Right now I’m trying to decide on a paint color.  I’m leaning toward (today anyway) a simple, khaki.  I’ve picked Ralph Lauren’s Sisal which you can see here.…I’ll probably use a color match of another brand though. I tried to pull it off the web for you but was unsuccessful.  It’s the third one over on the second row.  It looks a little gray on my computer but isn’t on the sample card. Also, since this bath is pretty small, I’m hoping to have enough paint leftover to go ahead and paint the laundry room the same color.

We’re going to do a semi-gloss on the walls because it seals the walls better to keep moisture out.  All the trim in the house will be painted high gloss white, much to my dismay. There’s just no way to match the dark trim in there to the new flooring and we can’t afford to replace all the trim at this point.  We’re hoping most of the trim will come off easy for floor installation and can be salvaged.

A few weeks ago, I picked up this shower curtain on clearance for $7 at Target that I love and am planning to use in our new bathroom. 

shower curtain

This will replace the one I bought back in, oh 2001 for my duplex that we’re still using!  It looks gray in the picture but its more of a soft, smoky blue and cream which will be nice and peaceful with the khaki I hope. 

Reeeaaaalllyyyy ugly light fixture alert!

master ugly light 

Yes, its gone. 

Here’s what I want over the sink.


Its the Barnyard Electric Double Mini Warehouse Vanity fixture and retails for $275.  Isn’t it lovely and simple?

And, yep, out of my budget. 

BUT, I am hoping that we are able to do a simple copycat using two of these outdoor fixtures:

master copycat1

master copycat2

Both fixtures can be ordered from Lowes.  The first is $19.98 and the second is $17.98.  You can’t beat those prices!  I’m leaning toward the second fixture; I like the rustic and simple look I think it’ll bring to the room.  I’ll let yall know if our “plan” works.


Do yall know how much vanities and countertops cost?  Sheesh.  This is the biggest thing we have not agreed on in here.  In my dreams, I want a vanity that looks something like this:


but it is from Restoration Hardware and OUT OF MY BUDGET at nearly $3500 (who spends that?!?) I mean, that’s 1/3 of our total estimated budget honestly!  I do love that it looks like a piece of furniture though. 


I’ve also tried to convince Hunter that we could build something like this

master to build vanity

but Hunter isn’t on board with my idea.  lol.  This vanity is from Home Depot and is $800 without the counter top.  Sigh…I really like this one a lot.  I love, love, love the shelf on the bottom.  I’d probably hate dusting that shelf but this style really appeals to me.  I think it would open the room up a lot which would be nice in these smaller bathrooms.


Chances are, this is what we’ll go with to save time:


This is a “custom” option at Home Depot from MasterBath.  We need a 48 inch base and a counter top.  With this option we get to pick the type of doors we want, could get a nicer counter top and is just slightly higher in cost than the “out of the box” options we have. I believe this one was priced to us at about $400-450 with a countertop. 

We haven’t decided on the faucets and such yet because we need to get the lights up and see what finish we go with there. 

That’s about it.  Our goal is to get the master bath primed and painted this week (my job) and the tile laid and grouted (Hunter’s job).  THEN we’ll figure out the vanity thing and work on our lighting. 

Any ideas or suggestions or advice for us?  It seems crazy to focus on this one room but Hunter keeps telling me he needs to see some closure somewhere in the house.  After we accomplish this room, I’ll be focusing on priming and painting. 

I think this is the longest post yall have gotten from me in a while!  And I may have said the words “simple” and “rustic” about 100 times!


This also took me most of the week in what little free time I get right now to write! 

CSN Stores…have you shopped with them yet?!?

CSN contacted me to do another product review for them! YAY! I have really enjoyed partnering with CSN for review and giveaways. If you’re a blogger, you might consider developing a relationship with CSN as they have a variety of stores within their website for all of your shopping needs! Our boys got their bean bags for Christmas and we ALL love them! (I got my living room TV back!)  I’m looking forward to completing another review in the upcoming weeks. With the looming remodel on the other house, I continue to browse the net for remodel ideas and also for some frugal necessities that we will have to buy. CSN has TONS of furniture on their site including counter height stools, which I am looking at as I need to get 2 more I think for the bar we’ll be installing in the kitchen of the other house. Three (soon) kids, 1 husband and 2 bar stools….need more seating!
On, I found these rush bottom seats that would match my yardsale barstool chairs perfectly.

And at $49, they are priced right!

CSN has over 200 online stores built into their site selling everything! How do I decide what to review?!? So many choices!

What would you review?


Remodel List

This really long list is everything that has to be done in the house we’re remodeling.  If you missed the post detailing why and where we’re moving, you can read that here.  I’m going to list room by room.  And yes, I’m totally a LIST PERSON.  I have all kinds of lists.

Repair water damage at back door—replace door and sill and siding under door
Repair siding damage at corner of screened porch
Repair small hole at vent on screened porch
Repair ceiling on screened porch (it just needs to be re-attached)
Remove all downed/dead trees from the tornado
Fence in back yard for dogs and kids
Build new chicken coop
Replace all entry doors (3 of them total)

Inside (all the way through):
Replace flooring
Paint walls and ceilings
New ceiling fans/light fixtures
Possibly new trim?
Possibly new doors (may be down the road)

Possible subfloor repair
Tile, laminate, or cork?  I want cork but laminate may be our budget friendly option.

Replace damaged subfloor from frig waterline leak
Replace bottom cabinets
New gas stove (Hunter wants to change to electric…we disagree…but there’s a gas line issue that might make that decision for us)
Decide whether to paint or sand/try to match stain on new bottom cabinets
Possibly shorten wall between living room and kitchen
Add a bar to end of cabinets
New light above kitchen table
NEW KITCHEN TABLE…we’re building it dang it.  I am NOT moving this one.

Living Room:
Repair ceiling where Wayne fell thru putting on new metal roof
Possible subfloor repair from above frig leak
New mantle? (maybe down the road)

Small bath:
Replace vanity and sink
Replace toilet
Tile floor
Remove wallpaper before painting
New light fixtures
New faucets

First bedroom (my brother’s):
in good shape minus flooring and paint and new ceiling fan

Second bedroom (mine):
Same as my brother’s we think

Same as other two we think

Master bath:
Oh boy…
Replace subfloor(leaking toilet) BIG hole from collapse just before they moved. 
Tile floor
Remove wallpaper before painting
Replace toilet
Replace vanity/sink
Replace all light fixtures and faucets

Potential addition:
Close in screened porch
Stain floor or put down cork flooring
Walls up
Hang cabinet above freezers for canning/food storage

Other Potential issues:
New duct work?
New furnace (a must we’re thinking)

If we close in the porch, the outside of the house will have to be painted fairly quickly.  It needs it anyway so that’s not a bad thing. We WILL pay someone to paint the outside. 

Hunter will also go ahead and add a 10 x 10 deck on the back so we’ll have somewhere to grill. We’re hoping in another year to put a deck all the way down the back of the house, add two French Doors from the kitchen and a door from our bedroom onto the deck.  We have other plans for the yard/walkway but we’ll get into those once we’re settled. 

Overwhelmed yet?