Remodel: The Living Room

 

Before

Before

When I picked colors for this house, this color seemed perfect for what I had in mind. I opened up the paint can with a little bit of fear that maybe I had gone a little too far. I

Before

Before

stuck to my guns. I had a plan. That first day I had cracked open the paint can and started painting. With every visitor that wanted to stop by and see the new house on our first day, I saw the look in their eyes as they commented with “really?” or “repaint it white”. Luckily, I have never lived my life defined by what other people expected of me, and though I was starting to question myself, I knew that they were just unsure because they didn’t see the big picture.

I joked that the color “Carnival in Brazil” was my homage to Tom Brady and the world’s highest paid supermodel. I knew that with the children, (before we even considered the second dog), that a dark couch was going to be my best option. Anything lighter, and it wouldhave been destroyed in a week. I knew that the rest of the furniture was going to be darker in color. With the sun shining in, I saw my vision on the wall.

After

After

This color was a very prominent one in my wedding bouquet, which I had because it looked like fall foliage and my husband and I are huge fans of fall. I would like to think that it was fitting to choose orange for that reason, this is our home we built together and it made sense when I saw that giant window of mine let the sun take over the walls. I was confident that I was right.

The floor was in surprisingly good condition, considering how awful the shape of the carpet was. It was a long process to pull of the carpet in here, and it took weeks before we finally pulled up all the staples. Don’t worry, my unlucky feet that always find the danger was the victim and not my children.

My office, which isn’t pictured hereis located in this room. It’s a “writer’s area” that is completely covered in bills, various other paperwork I need to have at hand, and Post-it’s

After

After

that are stuck everywhere. It wasn’t “photogenic” enough to land itself here.

The coffee table was a clearance steal I had to put together from Kmart. The “oriental” rug was from Wal-Mart. The television stand was a hand me down, as was the recliner. Our living room also has the front door located in it, as most do. The living room door is painted with a nicer, lighter color than the living room with a more yellow-orange color and a beautiful “fall” wreath that I keep up just because I love it.

Monday, should be the tween’s room, filthy or not.

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Remodel: The Kitchen

This one is short and sweet. Just like my kitchen? Har har.

Before

Before

When we first saw the picture of it on the website we were searching for homes on, everyone winced at the picture. I understood; it was pretty tiny and I love to cook. How was this ever going to work?! It turns out there was a name for this kind of kitchen: a galley kitchen. When we saw it in person, we acknowledged how small it was but it wasn’t as small as we thought. The pictures certainly made it look like it was too small for more than one person to stand in it. We can fit most of our family in it at a time, so that was

Before

Before

fine. Being that I am the only one who really cooks in the family, the fact that it was small wasn’t really a big deal to us.

The only real change in terms of remodeling was the floor. It was simple adhesive stick on tiles that you can just grab boxes of at Home Depot. It is both very inexpensive (bought 3 boxes at $27 a box) and it is quite lovely looking. The cabinets received several cleanings before I felt it was ready enough to just leave it be. Originally it was discussed to paint them, but the lovely solid wood was really hard to part with and with the urging of family members, we left it alone. The pass through in the wall is incredibly handy and I love how classic it is. That, along with the shudders on both the kitchen and dining room window, provided a lot of charm that I felt should stay because it’s something you can’t buy in a more modernized house. I love how unique it is.

After, showing off my awesome mixer

After, showing off my awesome mixer

The other big changes are the appliances. The oven didn’t work so we had to get a new one, and we wanted to upgrade to an energy saver fridge

and not leaving the 1960’s appliances in. The 1960’s hood range still exists. We are too poor to replace it, and quite honestly it is still in very much working condition. Which is the same that I could say about the washer and dryer that was left. Old, but in working condition. I’ll take it.

Friday, the living room. Monday, will come the tween’s bedroom clean or not. I suppose showing it a

After

After

mess will give a realistic picture of the tween lifestyle.

Remodel: Mama’s Room

Only a few more rooms left when it comes to seeing the transformation of this 1960’s ranch into the LaRochelle abode. We’ll have a fun time getting my oldest son’s room, as he is a tween that does not seem to understand the phrases “Clean your room” and “make your bed”. Even I make my bed everyday. They say it’s the best way to start the day for whatever psychological reason they have concocted. Despite that, it does give a sense of accomplishment doing so, even if that was the only thing I managed to do for most of the morning.

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Before

The room was pink. (Bleh.) Not even like a tolerable baby pink. I’m talking like salmon colored meets coral colored meets gag me with a spoon. The carpet was the same nasty 1960’s shag carpet that was located in all the bedrooms. It needed to be gone. And it needed to be gone very soon, because I was not looking at those pink walls any longer. The only thing worse would be if the color was yellow. /shudder.

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Before

So the painting immediately began. We had nice brown curtains in our old room that my busy husband has yet to put up, so those were not in the picture. But you can imagine how nice a pair of brown sheers with a black curtain rod would be hanging in that room. The blue, luckily, matched the blue I had in my previous room exactly. And in case you didn’t notice, I love blue and that was going to be the color of the master bedroom. It almost feels very spa like and relaxing in there. The carpet was easily just torn up without any real issue, and again we were lucky to see that the floor was in next to immaculate condition.

The comforter set came with the pillows, and I have owned it for a long time. We purchased it in the clearance section at Bed Bath and Beyond. There’s really not much else to the room. Not pictured is this beautiful Victorian Styled electric “oil” lamp. Also not pictured? The step stool I need to actually get into bed without my husband having a heart attack from watching me climb up. #shortpeopleproblems.

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After

The furniture set was one we bought just before we got married from Bob’s Discount Store. They get a bad reputation but that set is still has sturdy and in the same condition as the day we bought it. Well mostly, which led to some very inappropriate jokes that caused my husband to blush.

So that was the easy room. Friday, we will get into that small little kitchen of mine that I adore, even though everyone else thinks I’m crazy.

Remodel: The Throne Room

Alright, so it’s really the bathroom though it would be pretty awesome to have an Iron Throne toilet. It probably won’t be the most comfortable toilet in the world, but it would be pretty cool looking.

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Before

The bathroom had grey and black tiles and we were stuck on what color would actually go with that set up. Since I had chosen pretty much ever other paint color in the house, I let the husband decide here.

So with that, all that we really needed to do in here was pull that god awful wall paper down and repaint. Soon we will get up the energy and funds to retile, but until then everything still seems to work out just well. The wallpaper seemed to come off easy until the painting started and we discovered a thin layer of paper that we didn’t notice after pulling off the wallpaper so we needed to make use of that wallpaper removal gel we had bought a huge bottle of only to not need it in the kitchen and dining room. Then, the painting started.

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The After

I was in charge of the decor in the whole house, which I was very happy to do. My husband conceded that I was much better at that than he was. So I thought about all the other decor in the house and realized that my husband did not have a room of his own. Then I decided, what better room than the bathroom! The color on the wall inspired me to give it a superhero theme, which the boys absolutely loved. Bed Bath and Beyond had classic comic book artwork on a wooden panel which helped add to the vintage effect. I picked them out and surprised the boys with it. I cannot stress how awesome it was to see their faces when seeing it.

 

Remodel: Toddler Room

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Before

We had a scheme in our head for this room. Our toddler’s favorite things in the world are “Thomas the Train” and “The Chica Show”. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a Chica wall decal and we’ve just ordered a set of decals, hooks, and a toy chest all “Thomas”. We also ordered a very lovely “Thomas” toddler bed which ended up being lost in transit by UPS and apparently not sold in stores anymore so we had some really super awesome luck there. I hope your read this Toys ‘r Us and UPS, we really wanted that bed for him!

Back on point. Originally it looked as though this room was used as a den/office from its previous owner. The carpet was this disgusting shag carpet from the 1960’s (which was in all the bedrooms) that since my son and I suffer from allergies we knew it absolutely had to go. Again, there was a gamble on what we would find underneath upon pulling up this carpet. Luckily there was hardwood floor underneath the carpeting. Unfortunately, there were some  spots that had some water damage but in general, this wood floor was in pretty good condition. Score one: LaRochelles!

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After, exact shot as before.

We went with a calm blue/grey color in here called “Rest and Relaxation”, again a Clark+Kensington paint. I laughed hoping that a color with that name would surely tame the beast that is my precious toddler, alas I was wrong. The bed is his crib converted. We did manage to get a nice set of “Thomas and Friends” bed sheets, comforter and pillow case set that he loves. The chair was my “feeding” chair that we used to comfort and give the baby his bottle, which will remain in the case of turning this room into a nursery. Not pictured is a nice whale lamp we got for $5 on clearance at Babies ‘r Us and a lovely 3 drawer oak chest that matches the crib also from Babies ‘r Us clearance for about $50. The rug was from Target and just screams “boy” and was very soft to the touch.

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A toddler’s sleeping heaven?

In this other, more artistic shot, my photographer husband wanted to share what the room looks like at night. Not pictured is a monkey nightlight but what you do see is a turtle sleepy buddy that glows stars of 3 different colors on the ceiling. The blue photographed the best, so that was the one we went with.

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After, to show the floor and area rug.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of our remodel.

Welcome to Homeownership

An entire week was spent prepping the house so we could get to moving in and enjoying the fruits of our labor. The before shots were taken, as to document this process and when it is complete, ideally next week, I will start a series about the transformation. And it was certainly transformed, not without many difficulties. But here we are, now in our new home and loving every second of it. We were able to go and do the easy stuff, the shopping for things like decor items and appliances. That was the easy part.

The first day of deliveries came, and soon I was watching my olive-green refrigerator from the 1960’s being hauled off. Then it was time for the stove, to which they said “sorry, it’s plugged in. I cannot help you. Where you do want your new stove?” When he saw my obvious displeasure being hidden by my friendly spirit, he assured me the install guys would haul it away and I wouldn’t be stuck with a stove sitting in the middle of a room. I pointed to my dining room that was still full of boxes, sighing that nothing was going to be easy was it. If I only knew…

The next morning, the installers called at 6:30am to tell me that I should be expecting them soon. At 7am on the dot, they arrived and lasted in my house for about 5 seconds to inform me that my gas shut off for the stove was illegal and not to code. I flashed back to the inspector that looked over that same area and said nothing. Seriously? I thought to myself, and luckily my husband walked in to hear the same exact words as I did. We found a plumber, and called him up and he appeared at my house a few hours later. Not only did he confirm what the Best Buy contractors had told me, but also let me know that the gas hook up for my 1960’s gas dryer was also illegally not to code. I narrowed my eyes and grew angry with the situation. He emailed me a quote for about $1200 to fix everything and install my stove and haul it away. I sighed, but I knew I had to suck it up and get it done. But what about that inspection I forked $450 over for?

Isn’t that why you pay for an inspection? It was mechanical and structural, so shouldn’t someone have seen it? I know he saw it because he pointed out where the gas shut offs were. What now? Could I get my money back for the inspection? Would his insurance cover this and I could recoup at least some of that $1200? We are trying to look into all these options. We emailed our realtor, but no response. This time of year, she’s probably on vacation anyways. Hopefully soon we’ll find out something, anything about this. If not, at least a rule about whether they should have warned us about it. Until then, “Welcome to Homeownership: where the most expensive things will always go wrong, with other expensive things”.

The First Days of Homeownership

We’ve made it. We lasted the journey and came out happier than we went in. We signed our lives over on a dauntingly large pile of papers while our awesome realtor and the stern looking attorney watched on. Finally, we had the keys and we were ready to get started. We immediately headed to our house, to get our “to-do” list in order.
I didn’t even come close to finishing the packing, trying to do it by myself while juggling children and every day mother things just didn’t allow it. So I knew deep down that this move was not happening in one shot. Still I held out hope that maybe a miracle would happen. We bought our paint, our new door knobs, and various other supplies we needed to start our home updating. And we walked  in and we’re ready to get started.
Now you’re probably thinking “why paint and rip things up”. The house has not been updated since the 1960’s. When you see the pictures, you’ll understand. Even the appliances were old olive-green stove and fridge. The house smelled of old lady and dust from no one living there for what seemed like years. The walls had layers of dirt that was not coming off no matter how much I scrubbed. The wall paper was half off the wall, and as old as the house, as were the carpets. Then, there are those asbestos tiles that need to come up since there are loose and chipped tiles.
After the first day. Everything seemed to go wrong. The deadbolt wouldn’t fit in the hole in the door. There is still a hole in my door today, 3 days later. Hopefully tomorrow a friend of the family will come out and check it out. It probably wouldn’t be so hard if the metal plating wasn’t there.
The next problem was the wall paper. I know you’re thinking “wall paper is a bitch to get off, you should know better”. I did know better. We came equipped with this highly recommended wall paper remover and we were all in. What we didn’t expect was that the wall paper would start shredding off during the scoring process you’re supposed to do prior to spraying on the wall paper remover. My husband yelled excitedly how easily the wall paper was coming down. Until a groan of discouragement occurred, and I ran to see that the wall paper was tearing off quite easily. So easily, it was taking off the drywall underneath. 1960’s house: 2, LaRochelle’s: 0. Back to Home Depot and buy something to fix this. That was just our Friday.
On Saturday, I continue my long day of painting. Fortunately, my mother-in-law came over and breezed through the painting. Finally, only 2 rooms and a front door remained. It looked like we were finally getting a win. Until the bathroom. Underneath the wall paper was this tissue paper like layer that was unseen until the painting was pulling it off the wall. The house was back in the lead. Luckily, the wall paper remover did save our day. Unluckily, the light fixture fell down and severed the electrical wire and killed the power to our house. The house beat us again. After repairing the wire, we cut our losses. Tomorrow is another day.
Sunday, we finally begged for help. Armed with my nephew and brother-in-law, we went in determined to get a lot done. Finally, the rooms were all painted. Now, the floor removal was to begin. And then it happened, the big win was ours: underneath the living room carpet was a very awesome looking hardwood floor. We won, house. We won.
Buying a house is half the battle. We bought the house knowing that it needed a lot of updating. We liked the idea of completely transforming a house. There’s still (a lot) of work that needs to be done, especially outside.  Our major goal is to make the inside livable to move in this holiday weekend, and worry about the outside later. To accomplish this, all the flooring needs to be pulled and a new floor put in to replace our asbestos tiles. Let’s see how the progress comes along on Wednesday’s post. What was the most difficult part of the process for you?