Door Another Day

Another day gone by, another door installed.  Shaking up the dining room.


Before, we had a sagging, unable to open, bay window.  It was big at 8 feet wide and 5 1/5 feet tall, but the grids broke up the view.


Almost immediately after moving in, we knew we wanted to swap the window for a sliding door.  Once we rebuild the rotting deck, we’ll extend a walkway to the edge.


Nearly the same size (only 15 inches closer to the floor), it feels so open now.


Having two four-foot wide sections of glass versus 45 small panes makes a world of difference.


As with our new bedroom door, we’ve hung curtains on either side of the door; essentially treating it like a window.


I think my plants will love this brighter, sunny spot.


Seeing as we just installed the door this weekend, we have finishing work left to do.  Like a stained wood threshold, door casings, trim, and paint.


To install the remaining lap siding on the front of the house, we moved the window installing operation to the dining room.


Now the house is ‘bookended’ by doors.  Our bedroom on the right and dining on the left end.  Lovely little pattern of doors and windows.


Unlike the back and garage ends of the house, the front will have more steel than lap siding.  To add more interest and break up the length of the house, we have decided to wrap the bumped out areas in steel.  We’ll also carry the steel around the bottom, matching the garage end.


Basically, it’ll look something like this obviously rough Photoshopped version:


And with decks with privacy style railings, maybe something like this:

Also, how hot are dark bands around the decks?  Might have to steal that idea, too.

Two Year Check Up

This month marks two years of living at this house.  Like last year, I’m taking you on a room by room tour to show you the changes.  Here’s the plain entry the day we closed:

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Recently, we installed a tongue and groove accent wall, new front door and window, modern light, giant Longhorns and cute art.


We now have a bright, light filled happy space we’re not ashamed of.  Especially because this is the first impression.  We still have to replace the uneven, stained tile and railing, but this space is nearly complete.  The living room had great potential, but it felt too traditional for us.


Much of this room is still subject to change, but it’s functional and more ‘us.’  Painted light gray walls modernize it, while still feeling warm.

Living-Room-into-Dining-Two-Years-Later Coffee table plans are in the works, and I want to find a new rug and chairs.  Art, too.

New-House-Dining-into-Living-Room April 13 2012

But the modern twist on a rustic/Western style is coming together.  The newly finished sofa is perfect in here.


Hopefully a leather sofa will replace this one, but it serves the purpose until then.


Our dining room has seen some progress, but it’s not looking so hot these days.  Though it really didn’t look to great when we bought this place either.

Dining-Room-After-Move-In-April-30 A window replaced the door, and we’ve got one sheetrock-less wall while we deal with electrical changes.

Dining-Room-Two-Years-Later One of the least changed rooms is the kitchen.  Maybe this winter we’ll have some updates to tackle.


Aside from removing wallpaper and painting, no action going on in here.


In the adjacent family room, we’ve refaced the fireplace, added an insert, built shelves for a little nookpainted the walls a soft beige.


This room is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the back yard views and wildlife.


Our first remodel here, the main bathroom, was a full tear out.  Though it was one of the most recently updated spaces, the dark, showerless layout didn’t work for our two young boys or guests.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Replacing the tub with a tub/shower, it now functions for kids and adults.


Across the hall, the small guest room was very dark.  North facing, small window, and a wall of 70’s oak shelving sucked the light and life out.


A new egress window lets in more light while the white shelves and happy yellow walls add cheer.


A beige box of boring wasn’t really a happy place for two little boys.


After asking for their suggestions, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling, painted the walls a pear green, and filled the room with color and kid friendly decor.


The master was completely opposite from the boys’ room starting point with obnoxiously bright blue walls.


So far, I’ve only painted over the shocking blue.  Soon, we’ll get new windows.



The biggest interior project from the past 365 days is the master bathroom remodel.  It was a dated yellow and red room of yuck.


Now, its our updated sanctuary complete with a walnut vanity, clawfoot tub, and pretty slate and marble tile.


A few big inside changes, but our landscaping saw the most attention last year.  I’ll get to that in another post.  We’ve been adding plants and greenery!

Sometimes, progress feels like it moves slower than a turtle, even though we’re most often working on something.  It’s nice to look back to see just how much we really have done; to be reminded of our excitement at closing.  And look back at the ugly and plain space we inherited.

A Hole in the Wall

Just a few days ago, our dining room had a large 8 foot tall door in a room with 8 foot ceilings.  From day one, we didn’t like how it looked in the room.  And the header-less wall wasn’t the most rigid.


This summer we have grand plans to replace the remaining windows and siding the house.  It’s a big task, but we’re anxious for the change.  Each big project is usually broken up into many smaller segments to make it more manageable.  While the weather was warm last week, Ben and my dad pulled out the big door, leaving a slightly larger hole.


Together they built a sturdy header and a knee wall to build the space to fit the replacement window.


So, why a window instead of the door?  Well, we will replace the bay window with a sliding door and extend the deck over.  We’re 95% sure this was the layout when the house was built.


See that little brown rectangle on the bump out?  That’s where the deck railing was attached and painted around.  Right around four feet wide, this will become a perfect walkway.  Which allows us to better use the covered section of the deck.  Instead of a grilling/smoking station, we’ll have shaded seating.  The area behind the grill will become the deck extension.


Back inside, my recent paint job isn’t looking so hot.


Rather than adding small pieces of sheet rock to fill in, we plan to recover the entire wall.  Some outlets and switches will move, and the texture is terribly mismatched from the door install.  Small seams are more likely to crack, too, so we’d prefer to avoid that situation.


That big, expensive door didn’t go to waste.  At 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall, proportionately it is better suited for the 12 foot tall entry.  Ben pulled out the old door and picture window.


Replacing it with a thick header for stability, leaving room for a smaller, transom style window above.


Voila, new front door.  Most exciting to me is the amount of light this door lets in.  Several times, while walking past, the light catches my eye and my first reaction is, “Who left the door open?”


Clearly we still have work to finish it up.  Exposed header and yellow foam insulation isn’t going to cut it.


Big, exciting changes, though.

Goodness Gray-cious

My quest to repaint the entry, living, and dining rooms took a lot longer than I expected.  First painting the new crown and waiting for it to thoroughly dry.  Next, a last coat on the tongue and groove wall.


Followed up with a first coat of paint on the walls.  Then tackling the ceiling where my shoulder and neck started cramping.  I ran out of wall paint and went back to get a third gallon, but we had issues matching the color, so the walls are slightly different from my original color.  But, now these dingy peach walls:


Are no more.  Totally worth the days of plowing through.  Instead we’ve got fresh light gray walls to bounce the light around.  Make no mistake, the room is still one thousand miles from done, but much improved.


And hey, we’ve got a solid color.  No more patched sheet rock or paint swatches.


Unfortunately, I can’t say they’ll stay that way forever.  The too tall French door will become a standard window and the bay window a sliding door.  After replacing the windows, we’ll update the window trim to match the rest of the house.  If I nail down my stair railing plan soon enough, we might be able to replace it soon, too.  Say it with me, no more orange stained oak!


For now, I’m just happy to have baseboard (and the entertainment center toe kick!) and blank walls.


This was unfinished far, far too long.


Whenever I paint, I pull out every nail, patch it, and then start anew.  Which is why I have only a few frames on the walls.  Still deciding on the rest.


Even so, I’m not desperate to slap things up in an attempt to hide something ugly on the walls.


And that’s the power of paint.  Or love, as Huey Lewis might say.  Sweet, sweet victory.  Even if I will have to do it all over again after windows.

Worse Before Better

We’re making progress in the family room, after leaving it nearly the same since move in.


This is what progress looks like:


Yes, at first, progress always looks like a big mess.  It has to get worse before it can look better.  We pulled down the old, upside down (?!) crown before installing the new trim.  I forgot to take pictures, but here you can see it in the basement:


We know the previous owner liked to do things his own way, but we’re not fans of the look.  Especially compared to properly installed crown via This Old House:

So, down came the old stuff, leaving small nail holes in the ceiling.  Filling with joint compound isn’t difficult, just another step added to my list.  Two if you count sanding.


Along with caulking seams and filling nail holes in the new trim.  While I had the filler out, I removed all nails and spackled old nail holes (there were many).


Trim around the entry hasn’t gotten the full treatment yet, but will once we break the ladders out.  After that, painting the last white coat and walls.


We’re crownless in parts of the dining room until we swap the door for a window with a header.  At that point, we’ll run a solid piece across.


For now, and hopefully not much longer, we have a lovely patchwork of colors and textures.


I’m carving out time this week to get the trim, ceiling, and walls painted.