The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

Sonoma Clay, Perfect?

After Thursday’s discussion about new paint samples, I talked myself into Benjamin Moore’s Sonoma Clay.  I couldn’t live with the bright pink walls any longer.  On Friday, the boys and I went back to Ace Hardware to get a 16 ounce Ben Moore sample can, hoping that pint would cover the entire bathroom.  When we returned home, I compared the test sample to the paint swatch.

Nice match, but will it look good on the walls?

Right away, I loved how much darker and muted the color was.  Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I painted small areas on each wall to test the color in different lighting.

Yep, this was the right pink.  I touched up the white paint, let it dry, then taped off the edges.  I had Everett’s nap time to get this done.  Vincent watched me paint.

In one way, the ugly, bright pink helped me.  It served as a great primer.  The Ben Moore paint covered well with one coat, which means I still have half of a pint of pink left.  Wahoo, my math was right!  That’s a first, just ask my ninth grade geometry teacher.  Ha.

Like most paints, the color varies based on the lighting, which I like.  Because the back wall gets less light, it reads as a more moody purple-gray-beige-pink.

Au revoir ballerina pink.  Helllloooo sophisticated mauve.  Eww, I hate describing the color as mauve.  It seems so old lady.

One gallon of Wal-Mart paint: $15.00.  One pint of Ben Moore paint: $7.00.  Finally choosing a color we like and don’t have to repaint: priceless.

Just to clarify, Ben has never said he hates this color.  Usually, he’s forthcoming about what he doesn’t like.  Not so much with what he does like.  I’ll take his silence as approval.

To summarize, if you’re looking for a very pale pink, check out Martha’s Pink Sea Salt.  Don’t try to make your own color.  If you want something more dramatic and moody, try Ben’s Sonoma Clay.

Did you tackle a painting project over the weekend?  Was it the first or fourth time you painted it?  Out of curiosity, what’s your favorite brand of paint to use?

Please note:  We were not compensated for this post, we simply love the Ben Moore paint we purchased and want to share with you.

Perfecting Pink Paint

Yesterday, I shared the process of painting our master bathroom pink.  First, I started with Pink Sea Salt by Martha Stewart.

The color was pale.  I didn’t realize I wanted something as high contrast as the original green color.  So, added 1 test can of Market Flower by Valspar and added 3/4 cups of the large basement bedroom color, to help mellow the bright colors.

We’ve lived with this color for a week, and I’m still not sold.  It’s still too sweet baby girl, not as much dark and moody adult pink as I’d like to see.  I searched my favorite blogs for pink paint colors and found Wild Aster in Nicole’s living room and Proposal in Sherry and John’s baby girl’s bedroom.

Here in Montana, we don’t have Benjamin Moore stores, but Ace Hardware does carry Ben Moore paint.  Luckily, an Ace Hardware recently opened up a few blocks from our house, so I took the boys pink paint swatch shopping.  We pulled nearly every pink pain swatch Ace had, including Proposal and Wild Aster.  Oddly enough, the colors are very similar.  No, nearly identical.  I liked how the colors showed in the pictures, but I also liked a few other colors.  Namely Desert Rose and Odessa Pink.

Proposal is a single swatch card, but Wild Aster is the lightest of seven paint colors.   I also liked Sonoma Clay, which is the third color down on the Wild Aster slip.  And, I liked the online description: A darker, never-fail neutral, this intriguing shade is a modern marriage of pink and gray. Rich and reliable, it has a sleek and sophisticated sensibility.  It had me at a marriage of pink and gray.  That’s exactly what I needed.  I taped the three swatches up on the wall in the bathroom to see what they looked like in the right lighting.

Almost immediately, I eliminated Odessa Pink because it has a heavy orange undertone.  After looking at Desert Rose, I decided the color might be overwhelming on the walls, and it might look too red.

Before I could get too excited by my single paint choice, I compared the pink and the bedroom green.

I like that the colors have a similar value.  And, I like that Sonoma Clay reads as a muddled pink.  Hopefully we won’t repeat the baby pink look with this color.  It seems Sonoma Clay is the winner.

Truth be told, I don’t know if or when I’ll repaint the bathroom.  Ben thinks I should leave the color as it is.  I’m guessing just because he doesn’t want to spend more money on pink paint.  We’ve had this color on the walls for a week and I’m still not happy with it.  I don’t think I ever will be.  I just don’t want to spend more money and my time on something if I’m not going to love it.  And, I’m starting to doubt my pink paint selecting abilities.

But, the helpful Ace paint man showed me Ben Moore 1 pint paint samples which cost about 7 smackeroos.  I just searched online to see what the coverage is.  It seems each 16 ounce can can cover two 4 foot by 4 foot walls with two coats.  So, if my math is right (which I know is a stretch) each can will cover 64 square feet with one coat.  Good news, I just measured the bathroom walls.  The wall behind the toilet is five feet tall and three feet wide or 15 square feet.  To the left of the vanity, the wall is 4 feet tall and three feet wide for 12 square feet.  The right side of the vanity is three feet by three feet, making it nine square feet.  Total that up, and it’s only 36 square feet.  I just might be able to use one small sample can for the entire bathroom.  Does this seem right?  Or am I off my rocker?

Perhaps I should live with the current color for a few more days?  Maybe I could use a sample can to paint the entire bathroom?  That would keep the cost around $20 for both paint colors, which I can handle.

Aghh, it sounds like I’ve already convinced myself to repaint, doesn’t it?  What do you think of the swatches?  Do you have a favorite?

To Paint or Not To Paint?

That is the question I kept asking myself.

As you know, our master bedroom has green walls with pink accents.

Originally, I wanted the master bathroom to have pink walls with green accents.  You know, to keep it cohesive but differentiate each room.  The reason our bathroom is green is because I chose an awful pink.  I mean seriously awful.  It looked pretty and pale on the swatch, but turned to bubble gum on the walls.  Anyway, we’ve lived with the bathroom as it is for three years and I’d like a change.

Last week, while my parents were visiting, I decided I had enough of the green paint.  Not that there was anything wrong with the green, I just wanted a change.  So, on a trip to Wal-Mart, I bought a gallon of satin paint, color matched to Martha Stewart’s Pink Sea Salt.  Based on my earlier pink paint experience, I thought it would be best to choose a color that looked lighter on the swatch.  I figured the paint would look darker once on the walls.

Before I could add color to the walls, I had to touch up the white trim paint.

Easy enough.  Now, bring on the (very pale) pink!

Because I had only three small walls, I decided to cut in with a brush, skipping the annoyance of taping.  I’m not going to lie, it kind of sucked to cut in along the mirror, going around the lights.

The back wall was the easiest.  A rectangle with two hook supports.

I finished painting as the sun set, so here’s a glimpse of the color at night.

And during the day.

Honestly, the color was fine.  Definitely better than bubble gum.  But, I didn’t love it.  Going from the high contrast green and white combo to the lot contrast pale pink and white didn’t tickle my fancy.  And, it was a more sweet baby girl pink than I had hoped for.  Maybe I didn’t want a pale pink after all.

Then, I realized I had a sample can of Valspar’s Market Flower, a bright pink.  I added the whole thing to my gallon of Pink Sea Salt.

It still wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  Way too bright pink.  I trekked back to the basement to dig out a gallon of grey/beige left over from the large basement bedroom.

I added roughly three-quarter cups, hoping it would give the bright pink are slightly more aged look.  The test swatch I painted seemed better, so I painted the walls.  Again.

Definitely brighter, but I’m still not in love.  As for Ben’s opinion?  He said he feels like a natural woman in there.

This picture most accurately shows the color.

I might try to add a grey wash, just to tone own the color.  Or I thought about going into Wal-Mart to ask for just the colorants for a paint formula to add to my mixed up pink gallon.  Do you think they’ll do it?  If those options fail, because I don’t want to spend more money on a failure, I’ll probably be painting the bathroom green again.  Gotta cut my losses.  I’m my own worst enemy.  I knew I should  have gone with a pink I had seen in use somewhere.

I wonder how many pink paint colors Nicole has gone through?  Wild Aster, as seen in Nicole’s living room, is a pretty color.

And the pink Young House Love used in Clara’s nursery seems somewhat moody.

Based solely on the online samples, I’m also liking Odessa Pink and Chippendale Rosetone.

Do you have any pink paint experience?  Was it good or bad?  Have you ever gotten just the colorants from a paint store?  What’s your favorite pink paint color?

Lots of Work and Some Play

Sometimes, we work on our house, but that little project isn’t worthy of a post.  Today, we’re sharing the boring projects/maintenance we’ve recently completed.

Ben brought a pressure washer (Vincent calls it a water compressioner) home to wash the mold off the north side of the house.  I complained about it here, and Sam M suggested a hot pressure washer.

He hooked it up to hot water and it worked quickly and came off easily.

Then Ben used a leaf blower in reverse to suck the leaves out of our window wells.  Nothing life changing, but it looks much better.

Before the attic become sweltering, we decided to install an exhaust fan in the master bathroom.  Previously, this was a half bath, so it never had a fan.

It made a mess in our tub, (Mickey didn’t approve) but it was long overdue.

Side note: When Ben was younger, he asked his mom what the bath fan did.  She replied, “It takes the bad air and puts it outside.”  He asked, “Under the rocks?”  She said yes (they had an earth berm home).  She asked how Ben knew this.  His response?  “Because I’ve smelled under them before.”

Our window boxes looked terrible; everything died over the winter.

See, dead.

Another side note: When Ben was about 4, he went outside and saw icicles had fallen off the house.  He called to his brothers, “Guys, look at the icicles, DEAD”  Can you tell they grew up hunting?  Of course if they we on their side they were dead.  I about died laughing when I read that in Ben’s baby book.

To remedy this, we took a trip to Home Depot to pick up flowers.  I chose Coleus, Creeping Jenny, Impatiens, and Pansies.

Better, but I hope the tiny flowers actually grow.  If not, I wasted $15 per window.

I also had a few rose bushes die over the abnormally harsh winter, so I chose three plants for roughly $10 each from Lowe’s.  See how much bigger the new plants are compared to the original one on the right?

One of Ben’s apple trees died, too, so we bought four fruit trees to plant.  Two apples and two cherry trees. Vincent helped Ben while Everett hung out on the blanket.  I worked on refinishing the bench.

I also stole clipped a few lilacs from the neighbor’s bush to display in the dining room.

My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby girl, due to arrive any day now.  I’m so excited to make girl items, and a butterfly mobile seemed perfect.  I bought a macrame hoop from Hobby Lobby for three bucks and chose assorted pink and purple card stock.  Using fine gauge wire, I separated the hoop into 8 sections.  Then, I drew a butterfly and traced half of it on my paper.  I folded the paper in half and cut out tons of butterflies.

I poked a small hole near the top of each with a needle and strung white thread through to hang the butterflies from.

Here is a shot from a BPOV (baby point of view).  A small cup hook easily holds the mobile above the crib.

Do you remember the scene from The Shining when Wendy discovers Jack’s ‘book’?  The pages covered with ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’

Well, sometimes, that’s what we feel like.  A trip on the boat, on a Thursday no less, can help that.  I love Montana lakes surrounded by mountains.  That never happens in Minnesota.

We had fun until the wind picked up and we had 8 foot waves to compete with.

Is your to do list overflowing with little projects and/or maintenance?  It can be overwhelming, can’t it?  What do you do to get a relaxing day away from your list?