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.

That’s a Little Shelf-ish

Over the weekend, Ben acquired a five (more like 6) gallon bucket filled with brass for reloading.

After he sorted it, lovingly stroked it, and oogled it, he had to find a place to put said brass.  Which was a problem.  Yes, we’ve added cabinets and shelving, but he had already filled two cabinets with other ammo and brass.  Notice the ammo cans behind the buckets in the photo above?  And we certainly don’t what to put an 80 pound bucket on an upper shelf, even if the bucket weren’t too tall to fit.  Hearing something crash down is never a fun event.

Luckily, we have some unused space behind that curtain.

Now you see why we hid that behind a curtain, and this was after cleaning all the junk out.  The plumbing along the floor is from the geothermal to our well, the water heater hangs on the wall, and the wire poking out of the sheet rock is not hot, but is for the future steam generator for the basement bathroom.

We decided we could build a shelving unit to store Ben’s ugly reloading equipment and our left over paint.

First, the boys measured the space to see what the largest size could be.

A few 2 by 4’s and scrap plywood worked nicely.

Sorry, I don’t have any in progress shots because it went pretty quickly while I was tending to the kiddos.  Basically though, Ben used long screws to secure 2 by 4s to the wall and resting on the floor.  Then, he screwed a vertical support and plywood.  It’s not the prettiest shelf, but it works and is hidden.

Previously, our left over paint cans were hidden away in the unfinished steam shower, aka under the stairs, blocked by a pile of tile.

The good news?  We now have the one gallon formula for the tan paint in our living room: 101-24  107-2Y24  109-12  + B12  That is in the Olympic brand.  And, we’ve decided on a laundry room color scheme.

The bad news?  We still have plenty of work to do before we can start painting and decorating the laundry room.  Like add trim around the door and floors.

And install decorative faces and cover the wires on the upper shelves.

Though, a few weekends ago, I did wet sand the drywall to prepare for primer.

Then, I still have to convince Ben of my back splash solution.  Apparently he doesn’t want anything pretty in his office.  Does he know who he’s married to?  Why wouldn’t I want the laundry room to look pretty?

Even though this room is far from done, it is usable.

Do you have to find creative ways to store your (or your hubby’s) junk?  Where do you keep your left over paint?  I’ve thought about keeping a small jar of each color for touch up and pitching the rest.  I mean really, if I’m going to get off my lazy butt repaint an entire room, why on earth would I ever use the same color again?

Paint Debate

I’ve considered paint colors for the laundry room and just can’t decide what I want.  Can you all lend a helping hand, well, voice?  Initially, I thought we’d paint the laundry room walls the same pale green color we have in the basement bathroom, with blue accents.

Because our laundry room was nowhere near finished, I added peacock blue accents to the bathroom.

The rooms are on opposite sides of the stairwell, but if we use the same color, I don’t want matching rooms.  Kinda shot myself in the foot on that one.  So, now I’m wondering, do I paint the laundry the same color as the bathroom?  If so, what accent color should I use?  Yellow and lime green, like this?

I don’t want to use pink or purple.  After all, this is Ben’s office, so nothing too girly.  The cabinets will remain white, so brown with lime green might be an option.  The tan floors and canvas curtain have similar tones.


Maybe adding a pattern somewhere?

Or, I could nix the green paint entirely and go with grey paint and any accent color I want.  I just know we need to lighten and brighten up our windowless laundry space.  I keep going back to two of my favorite recently revamped laundry spaces.  Jen at IHeart Organizing’s laundry room is fresh and fun.  No, I’m not saying this because she’s my friend.  I’d like it even I never met her.

Young House Love’s grellow and pink laundry room is light and airy, without being serious.

What are your thoughts?  Any votes for green walls with yellow and lime green accents?  Green walls with brown and white accents?  Grey walls with any color accent?  What are your favorite laundry rooms?

Green Equals Green: Laundry

While we’re not completely eco-friendly, we’re taking small steps to save the earth and a little money along the way.  How about a little how to launder your money?  Not the illegal laundering, but saving some dough with your laundry.  We recently picked up an Energy Star rated, front loading washer and dryer.

Of course, the Energy Star rating means the appliances are energy-efficient, which saves us some moolah (both in our monthly bills, but we also scored them at a great price) and is a green appliance choice.

Don’t have the loot to drop on a new, more efficient set?   Try some or all of these ideas to further save money.  We use high-efficiency, low-sudsing detergent.  Because the washer uses so little water, we were able to cut down on the amount of soap we use with each load.  And the regular soap and the HE soap are around the same price at Costco.  For an eco-friendly and skin-healthy bonus, try a free and clear (no perfume or dye) detergent.

We try to make every load of laundry a full one, so we’re eliminating another round.  Of course, this is partly because I loathe laundry, though, not as much as I used to.  We also set the temperature to tap cold/cold, to eliminate the need to heat the water.  Because we wash nearly everything on cold, we don’t have to separate our clothes.  Just toss everything together and wash, again, partly due to laziness.

When we run out of our laundry soap, I think we’ll try using an even more earth-friendly detergent, like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer’s lavender detergent.


Or, we could make our own soap like the folks at Yellow Brick Home.

Now that we have the new, larger dryer, our clothes dry in about half the time it took for our old dryer.  To help speed the drying process, I used dryer balls in our old unit.  Of course, with nice weather, line drying is the most eco-friendly option.  Though, birds always seem to crap on my stuff.  But, the smell of line-dried clothes is great.

What about you guys at home?  Do you have any green laundry ideas?  Have you made your own laundry soap?  Perhaps you swear by a specific brand?  Do you use the dryer balls?  I’ve seen commercials for Mr. Steamy.  Have you tried this?  We opted not to get the steam dryer, so this might be a good substitute.    I think I hate ironing more than I hate doing laundry.  Scratch that, I hate folding clothes more than I hate the washing process.  That’s easy now.  Everyone Anyone just hate doing laundry?

How To: Make Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops may not be the most beautiful option, but they certainly are cheap, durable and DIY friendly.  Which is exactly why we chose a laminate top for our laundry room.  To make your own countertop, you’ll need:

3/4 inch thick Plywood, MDF or OSB, enough for two layers.  The top layer must be particle board.

Laminate sheeting (ours was 4 feet by 8 feet)

1 1/2 inch tall by 3/4 inch thick material to cover the edges

3M Fastbond Contact Adhesive

Foam roller to spread the glue

Heavy roller to press firmly into place

To start, create a solid surface of plywood.  Secure two pieces together to create a thickness of 1 1/2 inches.  Fill any holes with wood filler and sand smooth.  Place the sheet of laminate on top of the area and cut roughly to size.  Ben used a router.

Attach your 1 1/2 inch tall edging on all exposed sides.  We used oak, but anything will do.

Then, pour some glue on the back of the laminate sheet and spread in a thin layer with a roller.  This stuff is stinky, so you should wear a mask and/or work in a well-ventilated room.  You may need to let the glue set up for a few minutes.  Read the instructions on the glue.

Then, place wooden dowels every 8 to 12 inches to keep the laminate from touching the top before you’re ready.   Flip the laminate over and start at one end of the piece, pressing into place.  Use the roller to smooth the surface and bond securely.  Work in only one direction to prevent shifting and bubbling.

We placed weights on top, just to prevent any movement.  After adequate dry time, usually 24 to 72 hours, use a router along the exposed edges to clean the edges of the wood and laminate up.  We cut ours to a clean, kid-friendly 45 degree angle.  Run the router along the edges until smooth and uniform.

With the edges cleaned up, fill any nail holes, sand, and paint or stain to finish.

Because Ben installs laminate counters in the apartments, we already had access to all the supplies.  Fortunately, we also got a piece of white laminate from the apartments because the owner didn’t like it.  I don’t love it, because it has a tan cross hatch pattern.

See what I mean?  But, it isn’t noticeable unless you’re super close.  I wouldn’t choose it, but it was free, so it will work.  Fortunately, it is light to help brighten up the small basement space.

Oh, and here is what our laundry room looks like today.  A total mess.

You can see the installed drawer fronts, but we still have to finish the cabinet doors and shelving.  We had a slight change of plans.  You’ll also notice that we haven’t sanded the sheet rock yet, but paint will go on those walls someday.