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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Before and After - Laundry Room

We've been busy around here (still). I've been very excited about our most recent project - the laundry room. We knew exactly what we wanted to do in this room, even before I saw the house for the first time. (as you remember, Sam did all the house hunting on his own and I only saw photos until we moved out here)

Most important: the "mud" part of the laundry room. We don't wear shoes in the house and since the laundry room connects directly to the garage, all the shoes end up on the floor all over the place. And the coat closet wasn't working either. The kids can't reach the hangers so their coats and backpacks end up on the floor there (when they even make it that far). So we took this space:and Sam worked his carpentry magic with a bench that has shoe cubbies underneath.

(Kaitlyn made these name tags and put them in the cubbies the first night. We didn't keep the tags but we did make sure everyone is now using the cubbies she assigned us)

We added a little interest with some board and batten and, of course, coat hooks. I used the brown paint we had left over from the kids bedrooms (can't let an entire can go to waste can we?!) for the walls.

The bench got stained and covered with about 4 coats of polyurethane (so hopefully it will stand up well to the kids climbing on it).

And there you have it! Oooooo :)I used the old rugs we had been using for the shoes, cut them in half and covered the cut side with duct tape to prevent them from unravelling, and they fit perfectly in the cubbies to catch any dirt the shoes may have.
Here is the final product!And for the laundry side of the room...

Before: the wire shelving (that half the stuff tries to fall through) that was way too high for me to reach well. And of course all the clutter that piles up - it's real life after all.

We found this unfinished cabinet at Home Depot - for $50! The finished ones were closer to $180 each (yikes) but these were on sale. And with the military discount on top of it, I consider that a real bargain. So this guy got a couple coats of white and one coat of poly.We installed it above the washer. Now it's all nice and functional and we're loving the whole room! There are just a few finishing touches I have in the works and this room will be FINISHED! (oh how wonderful it will be to have one room entirely done instead of part of the work in progress)

Oh, and that coat closet I mentioned -
This isn't staged. The hangers really were hanging off the rack for 3 whole days before I untangled them. And see the coats and backpack on the floor?
Well, now it just holds the big cleaning things and a small basket of hats and gloves. I like it minimalist like this - I don't have to fight anything to get the vacuum out.

Next up? Painting the kitchen...

Linking to:
Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Design
Link it up party at Sisters Stuff
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge
The Girl Creative

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Before and After - Part 2

I've been painting! And I tell you, my poor hands are really taking a beating. It didn't show up as well as I had hoped in this photo (because I really want sympathy haha) but all my nails (except the pinkies) are chipped and broken and crooked. My hands are completely dried out, no matter how often I use lotion. And the two fingers that I use on the caulking - those were bleeding at one point they were rubbed so raw. I'm certainly due a really nice manicure once all the large projects are done, don't you think?

I paint in bare feet too :)

Ok, enough of my silliness. Get prepared to ooh and ahhh over the last couple weeks' progress on the house. Keep in mind that we've had really rotten weather lately so the lighting on a lot of the photos isn't the best - sorry.

The Dining/Craft Room Before:

And After:
I just love the red. I call it my happy color. I can't wait to get this room all put together. It's going to be SO pretty. How can it not be with all that great paneling and the tray ceiling and the wood floor and... :)

The powder bathroom also got the red.

Love the towel too. We happily treated ourselves to new towels in the powder, the kitchen, and the master bathroom shortly after Christmas. The little things make a big difference sometimes.

Next up was the master bedroom. Before:

Tray ceiling in here too. Painting the dining room and the bedroom was a big pain because we had to do the ceiling. They were great and put crown molding up there, but instead of matching and the ceiling color they used an off white while the trim is more white-white and the two colors together...ick! So, annoying as it was, the ceilings got a coat too. And in case you are wondering - the big push to get everything painted ASAP is in part because of the paint the contractor used. Again, we have the color issue with off-white walls and white-white trim. But they also used FLAT paint on the WALLS. So it looks like everything has really only been primed. And anytime you even touch the wall it gets marked or scratched. It really has to go. Anyway...

Here is the master After:

We kind of ended with a bit of the red/white/blue thing going on and that wasn't the intention. We just loved this shade of blue. The bedding will be updated eventually, along with new furniture at some point. It's kind of low on the list of things to do right now.

And finally, Sam's favorite of the recent projects. The garage.
a giant stack of boxes and totes. At the time I took the photo we were in the middle of putting up shelves but these had spent most of the past month filling Sam's side of the garage, forcing the truck to park on the driveway. (I'm told the truck was very upset about that :) )
But we took advantage of a couple of snow days (still can't get over how easily they cancel school and work here!) and got to work. Sam installed a whole bunch of shelving and we went through the boxes. We filled the back of Sam's truck with stuff for Good Will (how that much stuff made it past all the earlier sorts at the old house, I have no idea) and managed to fit everything else on the shelves.
And here is the After, for now. The wire shelving we pulled out of the house will hopefully made it to Craig's List soon. The chairs and hoses and things will be given hooks on the walls. And the rest of the wood...well, I'm sure we'll use it somewhere. I have a feeling I'll be doing one more final After shot of the garage at some point.
Yes I know we have a ton of stuff. The whole right wall up there is holiday decorations. Bet you all have this much too hiding somewhere right? The perfectionist in me would love to stitch everything out for matching totes with perfectly typed up labels....maybe someday huh? I still love it. And Sam loves that his tools all have shelves and that his truck can now park in the garage.
The last little bit of wall by the door to the house. Didn't Sam do a great job on all the shelves?
Oh, and a peek in what we are now using as our paint cabinet. (it was in the laundry/pantry at the old house)
Now I'm off to do some work on the laundry room. It might be the first room we completely finish in the house and it's gonna knock your socks off... :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Chore Time

As moms, we all love it when the kids are old enough to start helping out around the house. But the catch is that we then have to figure out when and how we want them to help and to follow through on it with the least amount of nagging from us. I'm still in the process of figuring out what works best for us but I thought I'd try the mailbox chore cards I found here.

Isn't that a cute idea? Each person has their own little mailbox (and I already have some altered mailboxes - yay!) and whatever I want the kids to do that day, I simply put the card for it in their box and put up the flag. When they've done the jobs on the card they simply put the cards back in my mailbox. It sounds like so much more fun to get "mail" every day than to look at a chore chart doesn't it? And hopefully it cuts WAY back on the Mom Having To Nag All Day part.

She has printable ones for sale if you don't want to make your own, but of course I wanted to make my own. :) I spent some time brainstorming on my own, and with Audrey while she was here and came up with a fairly comprehensive list of what I want the kids to learn to do. For Kaitlyn I just typed them up in a Word document, cut them into rectangles, and mounted them on patterned paper. Tyler can't read yet, so I had to hunt up some clipart to put on his. (the site I ended up using for the clipart is here) I made sure to use different patterned paper so we can easily tell which are Kaitlyn's and which are Ty's. Then Audrey helped me "laminate" them all with contact paper.
Kaitlyn's are pictured above, Tyler's are here:

My goal is to make the kids as self-directed as possible. So I printed up some routine cards for morning and night as well. I even put a deadline of 8:00 on Kaitlyn's night time one in the hope that she'll watch the clock on her own and again, so it won't be me or Sam telling her every step of the way what she needs to be doing. And trust me, if any kid is going to be into this kind of thing and actually do the things on her list, it will be Kaitlyn. Especially when we start incorporating rewards and allowance.


I also made up a set of Brownie Points cards. Following the example on the blog I used for inspiration, I just googled "heart brownies" for a photo then added the lettering on top of it in Paint. Then made a whole page full of them, printed it out, cut it into pieces, attached it to more of the patterned paper and laminated it too.
The intention is that I will slip one of these in their mailboxes any time I think they are doing an exceptional job, or saw them go out of their way to be niced to a sib, or spent a whole day without fighting, or whatever. And when they have collected 10 the will get a reward - pick a prize out of the box where I store fun things I pick up in the dollar section or go on a fun outing.
Let's hope it all works! We're starting today.
There. Kaitlyn has mail... :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Before and After

One of the things Sam and I have both been excited about in the new house is the walk-in closets in all the bedrooms. Sam is amazing when it comes to doing built-ins, and let's face it a closet that looks like this is a little sad. That's Kaitlyn room. First chance we got, we changed it. It now looks like this:

We still need to find wood large enough for the drawer fronts but it's functional. I'm so happy we no longer have to stack her clothes in piles (since her dresser was broken in the move and couldn't be used) and some of her stuff has places to go. She now had 3 drawers in the closet with cubbies above. And the wall on the left has double hanging along most of it and long hanging in the corner.

Here is the Before for Tyler's closet:

And After:

3 drawers and cubbies in his with double hanging next to it. And on the left hand wall is another set of cubbies

My favorite is, of course, the master.


And here is a shot of how it looks with all our stuff in it. Look! We still have plenty of space to grow! And we no longer have to use a dresser in any of the bedrooms. Our closet is off the master bath and I love not having to leave that area to get dressed after I shower.
While Sam was busy with closets I spent the last two weeks with paint in my hair and under my nails. Not only did I help paint the closets, but I tackled both the kids rooms.
Kaitlyn's Before:
Kaitlyn insisted on helping with her pink accent wall (I was luckily able to talk her out of an entirely pink room)

After it was finished Kaitlyn said "I feel like the most special-ist kid in the world." It's so nice to know she loves it. And I'm pretty pleased with it too. The room just needs a couple of nightstands and some things on the wall (I've been working on that too) and it will be complete! To actually have something fully finished would be SO nice.

And finally, Tyler's Before:
And After:
That dresser is now completely empty and will probably be going on Craig's list.
And here's a look at his accent wall. I was able to convince him that this color is a good "green" (his favorite color) for his room. Then I was doubting myself as I was putting it on the wall because it was pretty bright. But with the room at least partially put together (again with the nightstand! And in need of a headboard too) I'm liking it quite a bit.

We ended up with enough materials left over to build shelves in the playroom closet too! That's what we've been working on today but I'm out of paint so off to Home Depot we go...