The First Sign of Failure

The First Sign of Failure

The First Sign of Failure

There it is.  The first sign of failure in the beautiful ardex countertops.

(Click that image and it’ll enlarge, by the way)

The criminal?  The George Foreman drip tray.  It got sat there and forgot about for a day or so.  When I finally realized it and picked it up , it left behind that huge stain and those holes.

I know its gross that a drip pan of grease sat there for any amount of time and that plenty of people will judge us for being disgusting, but I am just keeping it real.  I am sure there are plenty of people out there that wish they were more OCD about picking things up and are in the same boat as we are.  If thats you and you are reading this and still thinking, but I’ll just BE super cautious about these because I want them so badly.  Stop.  I did that.  I was super cautious.  I was constantly wiping things up as soon as they touched the concrete.  It still happened.  The good thing is I now wipe countertops constantly even though I ripped the concrete out.  So maybe if you want to train yourself that way, you SHOULD do this, but expect to be redoing it in two months.

That hole and stain up there was within 2 weeks.  We hadn’t even gotten around to doing the rest of the countertops yet and that one already had to be chipped and patched and resealed.

 

Moral of the Story.

Not worth it.

 

Advertisements

New Rug!

Our living room is coming along…  Here’s an update of how it looks as of today!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All that junk on the sofa table?  Just keeping it real.

But the living room has made a lot of progress.  We’d like to thank Kev’s parents for the beautiful blue rug.  It was our Christmas gift.  If you’d like it, it is the moroccan trellis rug in Blue on Overstock.com.  We got it on a sweet Black Friday deal.

You can also see that the artwork above the fireplace is now mounted and the houseplants are gone…because we killed them.  Whoops.  We had no real great place we liked them in this house so I guess it doesn’t really matter.  Poor planties.  I also switched the position of the chair & tiny table & switched it out with another lamp we had in another room.  I like it better this way, but I have to shim up the other leg of the chair so its stop wobbling (only one leg is on the rug).

The Living Room POA-

Here’s the living room plans-

  • Paint fireplace grate
  • Buy new curtains
  • Possibly buy a new more fashionable blind
  • Buy an area rug
  • Box out the hidden windows
  • Probably buy a new couch
  • Build built-ins on each side of the fireplace that are mantel height & the TV can be hidden in
  • Paint the trim glossy white
  • Paint the front door
  • Mount the artwork (I made that) above the fireplace
  • Pare down on the houseplants.  (actually we accidentally killed them.. so that was an easy step…unfortunately)

I’ve actually bought a couple different pair of curtains to try out here and haven’t made a decision yet.  They’re probably all going back to the store.  We also picked out a huge (96in) bamboo shade on discount from Home Depot the other day as well.  I am hoping to get that hung up in the near future.  When I go into the living room now I feel really at home.  It’s starting to feel warm and inviting instead of just a mishmash of things thrown in there that we already owned.  We haven’t really bought a lot for it, but the little adjustments make it feel more intentional than its previously thrown together.  Happy home.

Windows!

Back here, I remarked that a certain loved father-in-law of mine promised me he’d help us oust the blocked in windows that are to either side of our fireplace.

The man came through.

Way more beautifully than anybody could have hoped.  That’s not to say we had low expectations of him, that’s to say he does beautiful work.

In Laws revealing the windows

In Laws revealing the windows

Windows boxed up so we can paint the trim.

Windows boxed up so we can paint the trim.

Revealed!

Revealed!

So I know these have Christmas decorations in them so it sort of distorts it. BUT… Its tradition that I put my tree up on Black Friday while the rest of the Country is out pulling each other’s hair out and generally forgetting the values of the day before.  So I had to do it.  I hate breaking tradition.

 

But regardless…. HOW AMAZING DO THOSE WINDOWS LOOK?

Thanks again to my in laws… they are endless and incredible help!  Looks so amazing.

 

 

 

Then & Now – Living Room Edition

The end of November & beginning of December brought a lot of rapid fire changes to the living room area.  It was an area that basically remained stagnant from when we finished the painting and ripping up the floor.  We filled it with furniture we already owned and went on with life.

Here’s what it looked like at our first walk thru.  When we “fell in love” with our diamond in the rough.

Living room - February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Living room – February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Gross carpet, ugly blinds, brassy fireplace cover. But also- beautiful fireplace, huge window, great bones.

Now here it is on Thanksgiving Day 2012 (about 9 months later)

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

So what’s changed in the last 9 months?  Well the obvious – it’s been painted and the carpet was ripped out.  We put our own furniture in it.  But also, Kevin used high heat paint (its actually marketed for a grill – Rustoleum makes it) in flat black to paint the fireplace cover.  How much better is that?  Seriously amazing.

We have a lot of plans for this space.  All in all from the wall in the left of the photo to the window is about 12 feet.  From the fireplace to the wall that I am standing beside when I took this picture is either 19 or 20 feet.  I don’t remember exactly.  So with where the couch is the living room is about 12×10 roughly.

Here’s the living room plans-

  • Paint fireplace grate
  • Buy new curtains
  • Possibly buy a new more fashionable blind
  • Buy an area rug
  • Box out the windows hidden in this photo
  • Probably buy a new couch
  • Build built-ins on each side of the fireplace that are mantel height & the TV can be hidden in
  • Paint the trim glossy white
  • Paint the front door (can’t see it here)
  • Mount the artwork (I made that) above the fireplace (it’s just leaning in this picture)
  • Pare down on the houseplants.  (actually we accidentally killed them.. so that was an easy step…unfortunately)

It’s basically a whole whole bunch of buying.  So that’s why it’s coming along slowly.

Luckily though, a lot of this list was knocked off over Thanksgiving weekend… Thanks Billionaire (thats what I call my father-in-law, Bill)!

Gross Grout

5 people read my blog on a regular basis.  Five.  I spell it out so you know that’s not a typo.  You, one of the five.  So it’s really silly that I type this like it’s some sort of big shot blog, but I like to cover my bases.  With that said, nobody paid me for this post or any other (seriously though, where do I sign up for that?  Cash money.)   Not a dime is made from this blog.  I actually make negative money when you think about the time I put into it means time I am not getting paid for my actual real job.

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

You may have heard me say the word gross..or disgusting.. or dirty before in reference to our house and specifically in reference to our kitchen.  We love our little first home.  It gets more perfect everyday.  However, it really was filthy when we moved in and some things refuse to come clean.  Like the white grout in our kitchen.  So one day early on after moving in I was in our Second Home (Depot) and discovered these bad boys right here.

They’re about $6 for two of them and I love them.  I should tell you I ruined the first one.  Completely utterly destroyed it trying to grasp a technique that works well.  If you have ever used a paint marker, you know something about these.  In fact, I can’t specifically say these aren’t just paint markers marketed for a specific purpose.  I don’t have any inclination of what makes them special to use on grout.  But I bought them and love them and would totally buy them again.

Let me tell you about some tips I picked up while ruining the first marker.

The package says to press in the tip to get the paint flow.  Yes, that’s a great idea.  But a bad idea is to press it into the grout to get the paint to flow.  That will eventually destroy the tip and you will end up like I did with a 3/4 of the way full marker and no tip to use it with.  Luckily I had enough with my second pen and I never ruined it, but learn from me just in case you have much more grout than I do.

I eventually worked out a system.  It consists of finding something that you can stick the pen into when you are using it to store it point down.  Mine was a fancy trivet thing that I don’t use as a trivet.  It has a little hole in it that the capped marker fit perfectly in.

Got your trivet like thing?  Great.  Now, start by cleaning your grout.  Always clean everything.  It sucks, just do it.  I hate cleaning and I did it so you can manage.

Once you’re clean and dry (and so is your grout), then get your pen and some sort of rag you don’t mind ruining.  I happen to have a gigantic pack of lint free cloths that we bought when we painted the cabinets, so I used one of those.

Grab your pen and shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker (I know not a single other line from that song).  Once you are convinced your paint is flowing well, press the tip into the rag gently.  I’d say gently as if you were popping a pimple (just keeping it real) or squeezing a grape, but not like you hate the pen or it threw a drink in your face or perhaps works for Fox News.   You’ll see the paint start flowing out on your cloth.

Once you can visibly see the paint, run the marker gently (don’t press too hard – just hard enough) over the grout either until the paint stops flowing or you’ve done about a square foot of grout.  You don’t want to do too much painting at once because if it dries, you can’t get it off.  As far as running the marker over the grout, I found that dragging it down the tile so that the fibers in the tip weren’t pushed against themselves worked best. To say it another way, if you look at that picture of the hand holding the pen in the product picture – holding the marker like that, drag down, DON’T PUSH UP – NEVER UP, so as to maintain the pen tip.

Now you’ve got your square foot of paint done or however much you just did (hey maybe you don’t listen and you just read random blogs to not follow their advice), put your marker cap back on and place it in your little trivet hole so that the ink can follow gravity towards the tip.  Take your throwaway towel and wipe off the paint that got everywhere but your grout.  I found that if I put light pressure on the rag and just ran it on the grout lines, the paint genuinely stuck to the grout but came off of everything else.  Every once in awhile, I had to focus in and really detail get the paint off the tile. Generally tho, the quick wipe was all I need.

Once you get the paint off the tile, pick the pen up again and give it a couple shakes and then run it over more grout.  You may need to press the tip into the rag every once in awhile, but once I got into the rhythm  I really did not do that often.  I found letting it rest tip down while I cleaned up the excess paint was the most helpful at keeping the process rolling.

Also, I am 27 years old and I still can’t spell rhythm.  Thank god for spell check.

So here’s the side by side I snapped while I was doing the worst part (directly above the st0ve).  The black thing to the top of the pic is our exhaust fan.  The grey is the cabinet to the upper right of the stove.  And just in case I have to point it out, the gross orange is how the grout started out before the paint and the white is the after.  It’s not perfect brand new looking white in these really awful parts like the area in the picture, but I think it still looks pretty incredible.

Grout Side by Side

Grout Side by Side

Not bad for $6 and a couple hours of work.  Granted it’s work that some people would find tedious.  But I think the after makes it gratifying.  I don’t know if I have any parks & recs fans out there in the 5 of you that read this, but if not, really get on that.  Its incredible.  Anyhow, there’s a scene where they have to stuff envelopes and Jerry finds out he’s really relaxed by mundane repetitious tasks.  Me too, Jerry, me too.

I still have a small part of the grout to do in the back corner behind the sink. I just can’t reach it comfortably.  So when we take the sink out (again) to redo the countertops (again), I am going to pop myself up in the sink-hole and get that back part.  Why endure the back and neck pain to do it before then?

So all in all, I seriously seriously recommend these pens.  It’s really gratifying and worth the time.  It’s very easy.  Very affordable.  Just do it!

I’d add the kitchen list & update it.. but this was never on the list so.. bonus! ha

 

 

Let there be light!

One of the things on kitchen-checklist-mania is to replace the undercabinet light that is above the sink.  It’s not a terrible light persay.  It’s great to have light there.  However, it is disgusting and dirty and while I could probably scrub it clean, it hums.  The humming is mindnumbing and drives me insane.  So the fix?  Kevin replaced it with an IKEA light we had hanging in our super dark apartment closet before we bought this house.  It’s just been hanging out on the floor of our basement.  So free fix!

Under-cabinet Light

Under-cabinet Light

I know that’s a ridiculously exciting picture… but it’s actually quite nice to be able to turn on a light there and not immediately regret it.  The little things!  Let there be light! Pun Pun Pun!

Update:

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-redo the countertop again (surprise surprise!)
  • Replace the floor
  • Finally finish installing the big light (it needs a sealing gasket thing installed, but we couldn’t find it for awhile lol)
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Paint the new open shelving in the corner
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright high gloss white paint on the trim and doors
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Add a light in the little nook where the doors are?
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.

Ceiling Changes

The initial plan (as you can see here by the paint samples on the ceiling) was to paint the walls and the ceiling in the kitchen the same color.  We used the technique in our bathroom reno (here) to make the space feel taller and bigger.  However, we ended up choosing a bright (I say cheerful) shade of green and felt that having it on the ceiling would be too much.  Also, a white ceiling will help our dark kitchen appear even brighter than ever.   So on the white ceiling paint went.

Kevin Painting the Ceiling

Here’s Kevin cutting in the paint in the little nook.  The door in front of him is the door to our patio and the unpainted door behind him is the door to the basement.  The kitchen floor actually steps down in this little two-door nook, so thats why Kevin is doing the cutting in here.  I can’t reach – even on the step stool – and I don’t do ladders.  So everywhere else it was business as usual – me cutting in and Kevin rolling.  We didn’t bother taping off because the walls were the next to be painted.  We were just extra careful to not get any paint on the cabinets or countertops (we covered those up) and we taped off the big ceiling light.

Here’s a before & after.  Look at all that reflecting light! Yum!

Before & After Ceiling Paint

Before & After Ceiling Paint

So yesterday’s post didn’t update the checklist, so lets have at that.

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-do the countertop AGAIN (surprise!)
  • Replace the floor
  • Finally finish installing the big light
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright high gloss white paint on the trim
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.

It’s coming along.. and needed some updating now that we have to re-redo the countertops.  Progress is progress!

Rustoleum Countertop Paint

I read up a lot on Rustoleum countertop paint.  I hated the idea of it.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I loved the idea of slapping paint down on a countertop that is pink and dirty and disgusting and it suddenly looking lacquered and beautiful and flawless.  I hated the idea that it didn’t live up to its promises like a high school boy.  Every thing I read said either you needed to seal it or it’d let you down in a heart beat.  Buttttttt sometimes people…sometimes I… don’t listen.  Kevin & I went back and forth on it for a few weeks (probably longer) and had initially said no, we aren’t going to waste our time, let’s just re-laminate them.  But we got to looking at prices of laminate and delivery costs.  We determined we couldn’t just buy a cheap countertop because of the awkward corner sink area.  We’d have to rip off the old laminate and put down a new sheet on top of it.  We’d have to buy a gigantic sheet so there wasn’t a seam.  It started to seem like a whole lot of work and money to drop on laminate.  So we decided, hey for $20 this countertop paint can’t really be a complete waste of time.  So what if it only lasted 6 months?  In that time we could save up and come up with a different idea for the countertops.

The bad news?   It lasted just days before it got dinged up.  The good news?  Even with how dinged up it is, it was still “good enough” that we got rid of the pink dirt and came up with a better idea (but more on that later).

It’s now December.  We actually painted these countertops in early September.  Over 2 months ago.  So I feel like 2 months is a good “use time” that I can give you a fair review of my thoughts.

Let’s start with how we did it.

 

Countertop Painting

 

 

So yeah.. that’s it.  Seriously there isn’t much to it.  Just move quick and try not to pass out from the smell.. Actually do as I say not as I do and wear face masks n’at ’cause that stuff smells like you are swimming in nail polish.  Which every time I mentioned that Kevin said, “well thats basically what it is.”  I get it, Kevin.

So what’s my beef with the countertop paint?

It’s cure time is ridiculously long.  Yes, I know the can says just a few days, but they lie.  We painted this on a Wednesday evening & got up Thursday and left town until Sunday.  We didn’t touch it until Monday evening.  So it cured LONGER than the minimum.  And it chipped as soon as we sat something down on it.  Kevin brewed coffee & sat it down on the countertop & it left a ring here it had melted the paint.  We don’t drink super hot civil lawsuit degree coffee.  It’s just standard heat.  It melted the paint.  Then the rest of the chips came from less-than-standard things… like accidentally dropping a wrench and some other tools in random places.  It chipped it up like crazy.  Then a few weeks later, we sat a chicken on a platter on it and spun the platter to carve and it left a huge scratch in the paint.

HOWEVER – after that first month or so, the paint stopped chipping so badly.  I’d say if you could let this stuff cure for 6+ weeks before touching it, it may just work the way its supposed to work.  I don’t know who has the luxury of not using their kitchen for 6+ weeks, but if that’s you, then this $20 paint should work great for you.

With that said..We haven’t had much problems with it since the chipping stopped a few weeks ago.  It looks crappy now because we did so much damage (I’ll post pictures of that later probably) early on.  So we started brainstorming other ways to redo the countertop.  I’m not sharing just because I don’t want people to try to talk me out of it (I am looking at you, Billionaire).

 

 

Floor “Quirks”

When sharing our “after” photos of our hardwood floors after we ripped up the carpet & hand scrubbed them, I mentioned that the floors definitely have their “quirks.”  We’ve noticed that whoever decided to ‘personalize’ this house before us didn’t do it without thinking about how easily it could be undone. One of the areas this was most obvious was the hardwood floors.  Obviously, they did not come from the school of hardwood lovers because they downright abused them.

First, in the arena of not intentional and possibly not blame worthy, the black spots that we’ve read completely contradictory information on how to get them out (none of which has worked so far – so we are starting to believe sand&restore is the only option)…

Black Spot on Master Bedroom Floor

Black Spot on Master Bedroom Floor

The green thing in the picture is a hardwood scrubber that we borrowed from my in-laws that didn’t have any effect on the black spot.  So much for that idea.  If you have any suggestions on how to at least fade these black spots until we get around to refinishing, please do share!

One thing we discovered that is definitely what I’d consider a “reckless disregard” for the hardwood floors were cheap adhesive vinyl tiles stuck to the floor & walls of the closets in the bedroom.  I ripped up one closet’s worth and then struggled for 8 hours straight trying all kinds of different methods of getting the leftover adhesive off of the floor to no avail.

MBR Closet Floor Tiles

MBR Closet Floor Tiles

MBR Closet Floor Stickiness During Cleanup

MBR Closet Floor Stickiness During Cleanup

The blue shown in the ‘during’ picture is actually my fault since I stuck down my knee pad and it attached to the adhesive..whoops.  my bad.  Like I said, I spent hours upon hours trying to get this adhesive up.  It came up in huge brown chunks that were absolutely disgusting, but even after getting so much of it up, it was still sticky.  I eventually admitted temporary defeat so I could get some more pressing things done & threw a rug down so we could use the carpet.  I admit, not the smartest thing, but I had to move on for the time being.  Stay tuned.

In one of our “favorite” finds (yes thats sarcastic), when we ripped up the carpet in our office, we found this beaut…

Office Closet Painted Floor

Office Closet Painted Floor

Yep, thats right… they painted the hardwood white.  I suppose it wouldn’t have been so heartbreaking if they had done a good job at it and it looked intentional and beautiful, but they just lazily splattered paint everywhere and it has huge mismatched brush strokes going against the grain of the wood and the seams of the planks.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  So how did we fix this?  We didn’t.  I didn’t even try.  It’s something we will have to fix when we finally decide to get the floors refinished (hopefully something a little more chocolatey).  Since it’s in the closet, it’s mostly covered by the drawers we placed in there & it’s closed otherwise.  So I just have to deal with it for now.

And finally, the most confusing thing they did to the hardwood…

Linen Closet Wallpapered Floor

Linen Closet Wallpapered Floor

Linen Closet Floor After

Linen Closet Floor After

Yes, you read that right… they wallpapered the floor.  It took me about an hour or so to sit and crack the wallpaper off the floor and then clean up the adhesive that was left over.  Thankfully, it was completely hard and brittle so it came up rather easily.  The bulk of my time was spent on a small portion towards the back that had formed an everlasting bond and was in an awkward area that was not easy to reach.  I am just happy it wasn’t the same scenario left for us inside of our master bedroom closets.

 

Have you ripped up carpeting in your home and found some less than stellar presents left from former owners?  Care to share?  Leave it in the comments!