Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More house projects!

Last Friday was a big day in our house!  We replaced the 50+ year old fence AND the 30 year old sliding door!  

First, the door...

The old one was the original door from when the previous owners put the extension on - in 1985!  The cold air that seeped through was unbelievable, and it was heavy and hard to open.  It wasn't close to being energy efficient! 

YAY!  It looks so much better now!  And it's at least 10* warmer in the sunroom now.  It was surprising how hard a 3-panel door was to find, and how freaking expensive it was!

Then, the fence...  We had hoped to get a few more years out of the fence, but it was really starting to lean and fall in places...it was also original to the house, from the 60s!   Also, we found that doing this in the winter was much better than waiting until spring - we got better pricing and much faster installation.

It came down really pretty quickly, but lots of pieces broke off as they were loading it onto the truck to haul away...it was almost disintegrating in their hands.

We also decided that we were glad to be putting a pretty fence back up - the back yards around us aren't the prettiest...

Big new door!  We went with the 48" and I'm so glad - hauling leaves and other junk out of the back yard will be so much easier now with the bigger gate.


 We decided to go with pressure treated wood instead of the cedar.  We just don't see us being in the house long enough to justify the additional cost.  

This is the last of the projects for a little while.  We have some serious landscaping to do in both the front and the back this spring...but I think that's going to be a lot of sweat equity!

We used MC Fence and Deck  for the fence and the door is a Soft-lite Kingsroyal.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Now you see them...

We have never loved the 2 big crepe myrtles at the front door.  You may remember, last winter I attempted to at least trim them to a more manageable size...   It didn't really help.  They are huge, block the house, and are messy.  Plus...they just aren't terribly pretty when it comes to crepes.  I love crepe myrtles, but these just weren't doin' it for us...

We had talked about moving them, hoping they'd be a little more tame, but it just wasn't happening.  M got a chain saw for Christmas...and put it to good use last weekend!!

Amazing the difference!

M dug up the stumps, too.  We have big plans for the front yard and removing a few more plants and extending the grass back a bit, and adding back in a few plants that are more evergreen, colorful, and not as random!  

We can't get over the difference - and don't know why we waited so long to make the change! 

Friday, January 23, 2015


There's been so much talk lately on blogs and among my friends about spiralizers and zoodles, I thought I would give it a shot.  After a few friends raved about their spiralizer, I ordered one!

Photo from Amazon

What's a spiralizer you say?  Well it takes vegetables or potatoes and turns them into spiraled noodle type things!  I did some searching on Amazon and this is the one I ordered.  There are several different options, including 3 and 4 blade models.  I opted for the cheaper, highly recommended 3 blade option.  I finally used it one night this week to make dinner! 

I picked zucchini for my first spiralizer meal, since there are tons of recipes for zoodles.  I found one from my favorite food blogger, Skinnytaste - Shrimp Scampi Zoodles.  

It was so easy to use.  You just put the zucchini on the crank, and twist! 

The recipe calls for the zoodles to be sauteed for just 2 minutes - and shrimp only takes a few minutes to cook, too, so dinner was ready in no time!  Perfect for a busy weeknight. 

M was skeptical when I put the plate down in front of him... "What, is this like a healthier version of healthy?"  Um, yes, it is.  It was delicious!  And he practically licked the plate, and commented that it was really good.  Ha!

Photo from Skinnytaste

I am looking forward to trying many more recipes with zoodles and other veggies!  Skinnytaste has some great ones that are already on my list!

Happy Spiralizing! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quick fireplace paint project

About a year ago, I whitewashed the brick on the fireplace in our living room.  I don't know what it is, but I just haven't been thrilled with the look since then, but wasn't really sure what I wanted to do.  Go all white?  Go black?  Maybe a dark gray?

Over the holidays when catching up on blog reading, one of the blogs I love mentioned painting the INSIDE of the fireplace black.  I had wondered if this was an option, but never really looked into it. 

So I went over to Home Depot and grabbed a couple cans of high heat spray paint.  Once I took out the logs and vacuumed the space, I realized just how gross it was!  I couldn't wait to get it painted.  

I taped off the brick and covered everything around the fireplace in plastic.  I couldn't get the flume open, but figured that wasn't a big deal...so I started spraying!  

It went really quickly, and I didn't use 2 full cans.  I will say...it blew a black dust back at me, which coated the floor all around me!  Ah!  Much like when we had the kitchen island spray painted...

You can see it all over the clear plastic in the photo above.  I noticed about halfway through, so we cleaned it all up and then covered a lot more with a plastic drop cloth.  It was definitely messier than I anticipated.  But we were able to clean up all of the floors, and it didn't get on the sofa or anything.  So if you attempt this project, be sure to either open the flume and/or cover everything well!  

It looks so much better.  I painted the 2 log holders, too, and I like how they just blend into the back ground and the logs stand out. 

I had originally gotten 4 cans of paint so I could do the basement fireplace, too.  I might be returning the spray cans for regular paint and just slap it up there...I don't want black dust all over the carpet in the basement!

PS - I finally took the 'after' kitchen photos this weekend, so I hope to get a final post about that up this week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kitchen reno - mudroom

After a lot of debate during the kitchen planning process, we came to the conclusion that keeping a mudroom space at the side door was the way to go.  And I'm so glad we did!  Here, you can see the before photos...small, but functional cabinets, beautiful peg coat rack, awesome light(bulb) on the side of the wall, and the pantry... all in the mudroom...


There was a decent amount of storage in the pantry, but having it around the corner from the kitchen was less than convenient.  So where the doors were is where we decided to put the new wall - adding 18" of space in the kitchen.

During...with the wall and pantry gone!

We ordered cabinets for the mudroom to match the kitchen.  We also went with one big, pantry/closet sized one to put Cady's food, towels, and other stuff that comes along with having a dog.

We needed to build the big cabinet up a bit so it would go up to the ceiling, and Steve our contractor suggested this - a shoe cubby!  So he built us a little box to throw flipflops, etc, and it's perfect.  We had paint matched to the cabinets so we could paint the shoebox to make the whole thing look custom.

We originally were just going to run the hardwood through the whole space, but after the messy, snowy winter we had last year, I made a last minute decision to go with tile.  We found these darker, slate looking tiles at Lowes and it only too a box and 1/2 to do the whole mudroom.

We love the floors!  They look so good.  Once everything was finished, it was time to get some hooks up...which proved to be a little more difficult than we'd hoped.  Instead of putting them straight into the drywall, we had to add a board and drilled them into that.

Once painted to match the wall color, you can't even see it!

The mudroom is finished!  We would like to find a new rug, but for now - this one will do just fine.  It's the perfect spot for Cady, muddy boots, coats and bags, and will lots of use.  I'm so glad we decided to keep it separate from the rest of the kitchen.

And it's great to come home to a nice, functional space, especially when you're greeted by this crazy one!