Going Once, Going Twice…

What’s missing from this photo?

Here’s a hint:

Yep, that big red ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign is gone, because we sold our house!  Technically, our house is under contract, contingent on the purchase of our new home (totally backward from typical sales).  After 12 days on the market and 19 showings, including six on Friday, we got an offer.  A few counter offers later, we agreed on a price and signed on the dotted line.  Of course it’s not a done deal until closing, but we’re excited to get back to a normal life.  It didn’t take as long as I expected, and we totally love the buyer, which eases our minds.

We’ve got a few for sale by owner posts to come, but we were excited to share the news!

Official Office Plan

We asked what you wanted to know about our house before we moved.  You know, so we weren’t going back and forth between old and new.

Catie wanted to know how we planned my office and how we built the bookshelves.  So here’s the story.  (Of a lovely lady.  She was bringing up three very lovely girls.  Who else loved the Brady house, especially the staircase?)  Really now, here’s the story. Before I met and married Ben, I was a real estate agent in Minnesota selling condos for a builder.  After moving to Montana, the builder had a few slightly damaged (free to us) doors, so my parents brought them out for us.  We received 9 doors, including a set of French doors.  We loved the doors, and the only place we could use the French doors was my office.  All other doorways were too small.

Like most rooms, my office has four walls.  One wall had French doors, across from that is a small-ish window.  I needed a desk space and wanted a wall of bookshelves.  The only logical place for the bookshelf was to the right upon entering.  It seemed natural to have my desk under the window.  So the general layout was simple.

When it came time to build the desk, we looked all over for something to run the length of the desk wall with no luck.  That’s when Ben proposed the idea of a raised work surface and a lower desk.  That’s just crazy enough to work!  Not only would a taller work surface prevent back pain from bending over, but I’d also get more cabinet space.  Win, win.

We found a remnant of white marble for the desk and a long slab of Brazilian cherry for the counters and got started.  Of course one can never have too much storage, so Ben built shelves above the desk.

Building the bookshelf actually wasn’t much different from our kitchen cabinets.

To start, Ben made three boxes from 2 by 4 boards on end, just like the cabinet toe kicks.

These three boxes sandwiched vertical pieces of MDF.  You can kind of see it in this picture, the 2 by 4s are just covered by 3/4 inch MDF.

After getting everything placed right on the floor, Ben did the same thing along the ceiling.  Now we didn’t have to worry about the verticals shifting.  Then we started placing shelves.  If you want adjustable shelves, you can either buy metal strips or shelf support pegs.  We decided against adjustable shelving, so Ben cut 1 1/2 inch wide strips from a 3/4 inch thick sheet of MDF.  I determined the spacing and he put one support on each side of the shelf.

To cover the exposed edges, Ben cut strips of 3/4 inch MDF and nailed it to the fronts for a seamless look and capped the top with crown moulding to match the rest of the room.

Fill, sand, prime, and paint until you feel your hand is going to fall off.

Then pack stuff in and have fun arranging and rearranging.

If you can’t or don’t want to build shelves completely from scratch, why not spruce up store-bought shelves with a little trim?  Kate, Jen, Julia, and Jenny all have with excellent results.

I love that a little trim and paint can make a totally custom look from a box store shelf system.  If you’re renting, you can make a stand alone system and take it with you when you go.

Have you ever built a bookshelf?  Or modified a store system for a completely custom look?  Do you prefer fixed or adjustable shelves?  Have any other questions?  Either about my office or anything else in our current house?  We want to tie up any loose ends before moving, so if you’ve wondered about a project, now is the best time to get it off your chest.

Divide and Conquer

Here’s a quick kitchen project we did to maximize space.  It involves the giant cabinet above the fridge, two pieces of plywood, and a tension rod.

You see, before the additions, the cabinet above the fridge was a big, open shell.  Big enough to fit a grown person in.

With one shelf and two vertical dividers, this cabinet can hold every large and infrequently used kitchen item we own.  And Ben’s jug o wine.

That tension rod I mentioned?  It helps divide our cookie sheets from our cutting board.  Not because my OCD, but because they fight if they’re not separated.

Nothing ground breaking, but it help us stay organized.

Is there anything you want to know about this house?  I’d like to address any questions before we move so we’re not jumping back and forth.  So if you’ve wondered about something, let us know and we’ll spill the beans!

Stick a Fork in It

Because the kitchen is done!  All it took was a little sanding and painting on the ceiling.  Ben hates sheet rock work, hence the reason we just finished it.  And mostly pressure to get the house ready to sell.  But, it’s done, and that’s what matters.
If you recall, before we started work, the kitchen looked like this:
Almond appliances, orange oak cabinets, too small drawers and cabinets, and one large wall trapping the cook in the kitchen.  After months of work and tearing everything out to start from scratch, we’ve created this:
A warm, open, light filled, and functional kitchen.
Replacing the soffit with cabinetry has added even more storage.
A low profile vent hood keeps the focus on the wood counters and new cabinetry.
And I can’t forget the wall of marble tile.  Oh how I love thee.
We will definitely miss this kitchen, but it was such a learning process and we love how it turned out.
Because Ben built our cabinets, our total kitchen budget is about what our store-bought cabinet budget was.  Yes, that is the single most money-saving thing we did.  As you can see, our appliances more than made up for that savings.
So what do you think?  Every potential buyer has commented about the kitchen and how nice it is, which makes us happy.

P.S.  If you haven’t been following from the beginning, you can catch up on all things kitchen renovation in these posts.

Selling To Do List

Over the last week, we’ve been furiously tackling projects because our house is up for sale.  Most of the projects are small, like touch up paint, adding a few pieces of trim, and swapping out items we want to take with us to the new house. Two bigger projects lingered.  In addition to painting the living room, we had to sand, prime, and paint the kitchen ceiling.  Yes, six months of procrastinating later, we finally got ‘er done.  Actually, Ben did with a little help from his friends Orbital Sander and Shop Vac.  See, he had the genius idea to duct tape the hose of the vacuüm to the sander dust output thing.

The result?  A nearly dust-less, quick, and smoothly sanded ceiling.  A little primer and more paint and our kitchen is officially done.  {Wrap up and budget post to come in the near future}  Just in time to sell.  Ha.

In other kitchen news, I swapped out the bubble glass knobs for plain Jane brushed nickel knobs.  Ben saw me mid-knob change and asked what I was doing.  I explained I planned  to use the knobs somewhere in the new house because similar knobs aren’t easy to come by.  He shook his head while explaining I was a crazy person.

He may be right.  I may be crazy.  At least I’ll be crazy with pretty knobs.  Oh, Ben also used his ingenious sanding solution on the counters.  Then we applied another coat of Teak Oil.  It might not seem obvious in pictures, but in person, these babies shine.

Another project we’ve procrastinated on is trimming out the laundry shelves.  Well, not anymore.  Not sure if I’ll have a chance to prime and paint, but it’s a step in the right direction.

And we finally bought closet doors for the small basement bedroom.  We’re waiting for the paint to cure before install, but we’re getting there.

I also spent a little time taking down more art work.  Everything in the stair gallery wall.

And most of the art on the ledge in the small basement bedroom.

Other miscellaneous touch up paint throughout the house and swapping out my home-made light fixtures in the bedrooms and my office has happened, too.  We’re hoping the weekend weather cooperates so we can finish up a little exterior soffit and fascia work and maybe some fencing.  Not the mask wearing sport kind either.

Yep, we’re getting there.  Bring on the showings!

Have you tackled any of your lingering projects recently?  What made you get your butt in gear?