Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The New Digs: Flooring

Alternate title "My Family Rocks"...read on to find out why...

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were pretty excited to find original hardwood flooring under the carpet in both of the bedrooms, but that is where our flooring luck ran out.  The house was previously wall to wall carpet, including the kitchen and the bathroom, so tearing that out was one of the first things we did.  We found that the carpet in all but the living room had been glued down, and under that there was some kind of leveling cement AND we found that not all of the flooring ran the same way anyway. 

So what I am trying to say here is that we very quickly came to the conclusion that a floating floor was the best option for us as far as time, durability, and cost were concerned.   We looked at samples in stores and didn't find much that we liked, so we turned to the vast world of the ol' Internet.

I happened upon builddirect.com and saw that they will send you up to five samples of laminate for free.  I hunted around on their site for a while and narrowed it down to three products that we liked.  I ordered them and was completely amazed to find them sitting on our doorstep the next afternoon.  That is some fast shipping! Especially since I didn't pay a thing.  A day later I got an email from a representative of BuildDirect making sure that I received my samples and asking if we had any questions.  Their customer service was awesome.

Don't mind the carpet samples, this was before we knew the floors in the bedroom were salvageable.

We (all four) picked the one we liked best, which happened to be the same for all of us.  It is the sample on the top in the picture to the right, and it is called 'Rustic Oak'.  We liked that it came in an individual plank, simply because given the option that is the look we prefer.  Once we picked a winner, I wanted to make sure it was durable (we do have two rather rambunctious little dudes, and a dog after all) so I tested it out.

It was one of the weirder things I have done, but I dropped stuff on it, tried to scratch it with keys, high heels, matchbox cars, you know...stuff that might happen at home.  Man, this stuff is DURABLE.  The only thing that I did that managed to make a small mark was when I actually stabbed it with a kitchen knife.  Not even kidding, and even then it was just a teeny little dot.  Add that to the fact that it comes with a 25 year warranty and we were sold.

We picked it up from the shipping warehouse ourselves, which saved us $250 in shipping.   We (actually I should say Matt, because I didn't do any of the flooring, I was busy priming :)) started the flooring two weekends ago with the help of my step-dad and brother-in-law, and only made it through the living room before we had to head back home to Bloomsburg (2 hours north for you non-Pennsylvanians)

 We were a smidgen on the overwhelmed side, because there was still a LOT to do before we could possibly move in to the house so the next weekend we booked it over to the house as soon as the boys were in bed.  As we walked through the door Matt said "they finished the floor!".

Wait? What? Who?

Yep.  Sometime over the previous week my mom, brother, step-dad, brother-in-law (and sister? Emily..were you there? I know you were in on it) had come over (and climbed through a window) and finished the floors in the house AND put another coat of primer on all of the walls in the bedrooms.


And so...
We have floors! We still have a lot to do, but this one was an absolute deal breaker as far as moving next weekend goes.  Our little dudes needed a safe surface for their little piggies, and our family once again came through with a huge blessing.  We can't say thank-you enough.

We still need to finish the floors off with quarter-round along the baseboards, but man! What a difference! We are totally in love with them.

(Just for the record, BuildDirect has no idea who I am, other than a customer.  This is not a sponsored post, but we did have a great experience with them).

 Also - if you are curious about what is going on with the gunk on the walls...check out this post.  We made a lot of progress on the walls last weekend as well, thanks to the help of some great friends and family.

So PHEW! There is one thing we can check off our (reallllllly long) list.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


 Well...Google has decided to get rid of Google Reader - which is a TOTAL bummer for me, but apparently I am not real big on their radar.  Shocking.  So I went ahead and created a Bloglovin' account so if you want...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I was please to see that when you create an account you can easily import all of the blogs that you folloIw through Google Reader.  I was really worried I would lose all the blogs that I so love to read.   I am still getting used to the layout though. 

Have you made the switch?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Farmhouse Farewell Tour

It's like the house is now a washed up ol' rock star...begging for a comeback.  So let's humor it a little shall we?

I thought it would be fun (I use that word loosely here) to see how far the place has come in the (almost) year that we have been renting it, and I can't speak for everyone, but I always like seeing before and afters. So here we go...

Front Door Before:

Front Door After:

Dining Room Before:

Dining Room After:
We sold our table last night.  I loved it but it wouldn't have fit well in the new place.

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

Half-bath Before:

Half-bath After:
Living Room Before:

Living Room After:
Couldn't find a more recent one...The pink chair has moved to the basement until I have time to reupholster it. That rug is no longer there, and obviously the Christmas decor is down :)
Jack's Room Before:

Jack's Room After:

Luke's Room Before:

Luke's Room After:
Had to borrow that one from the MLS listing on the house, so please pardon the crappiness of the picture.

So...there it was.  The farewell tour of the ol' farmhouse.  I...will not miss it one little shred.  Adios Sucka!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bringing Down the House

The layout of the new place is such that you sort of enter through the backdoor, go through a mudroom, and find yourself in the kitchen.
From the door leading into the kitchen, there is an almost straight shot into the rest of the house...as you can see from this (very bad cell phone) picture.

From the very first time I walked through the house, I thought it would be great to be able to see straight through to the front door (which leads to an enclosed porch by the way).  I love sunshine in my house, so any chance to bring a little more into the house is always a plus.

I brought that subject up to Matt, and I thought his eyes might just fall out of his head.  Poor guy.  I didn't push the subject, but I kind of threw out a "well...just think about it for a while".

I am pretty sure he didn't really think about it at all, BUT when we tore down the paneling in the living room we found something that made my little heart jump!
We found this really funky 'wall' that was actually just a bunch of 1x8 boards nailed between two studs. It was suddenly pretty clear that this had originally been the doorway through here, but for whatever reason it was made smaller at one point.

At that point we were splitting our time between the living room and the bathroom (oh man...the bathroom...its...yowch), and while Matt was working in there I snuck over to the wall with my hammer and tried to sneakily pull down a plank or two.

You would not believe how loud those nails screeched, I was so busted.  Matt stuck his head into the room and just kind of smirked.  He knew it was coming...so he rolled with it.  Matt had to run out to the store then, so I ended up taking down the wall on my own (which is incredibly fun, by the way).  I had already been assured that this was not a loadbearing wall - but I totally chickened out on actually pulling down the stud on my own. But even with the stud still in place, you can really see how much this improves the flow of the house and since it is the first thing you see from the door...it was well worth the work!
Also - how pretty is that door?  And now you can see it! Yaaay! Also also - I CANNOT get that dang phone off of the wall.  But ANNNNYWAY....

The next day we had some more people over to help with some work - and they made short work of the remaining stud! We still have some work ahead of us to frame out the doorway and make it look a little less...you know...like a crackhouse, but you can see where we are heading now, right?

*Just a disclaimer - don't pull down any walls until you know for sure that they are not loadbearing! I don't want to be responsible for you knocking down your house, mmmkay?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The New Digs : Living Room Progress

We have been working our little tails off to get the house ready for our big move (12 days now!), and one area that we have spent a lot of time in has been the living room/dining room.  Here is how it looked the first time we saw it...
Ain't she a beaut?

We set about ripping up the old carpet, and then removing all of the tack strip and staples.
 This was incredibly tedious.  Matt, my brother, and I spent an entire evening crawling around on our hands and knees just pulling up staples with a screwdriver and a pair of needlenose pliers.  SO glamorous.  With that...the room went to this...
After that, we decided to take the plunge and find out exactly what was underneath all of that paneling.  It came off pretty easily, it was really just a matter of finding the edge and pulling from there.  What did we find?  Plaster walls in nearly perfect condition EXCEPT they were now covered in old paneling glue.  Undeterred - we ripped all of the paneling down anyway until it looked like this...

...which really doesn't look any better :)  I just kept repeating 'it has to get worse before it can get better'.  (I will explain those funky built-ins in another post).  At this point, we still thought that the glue removal wouldn't be that big of a deal, so we bought some glue solvent, sprayed it on, and....it didn't work.  AT ALL.  We stalled out at that point and started thinking that we would just have these horrible patterns on our walls for all time.

Just this weekend I threw up an emergency DIY flare on Instagram, and both my brother in law and the nice folks over at Old Town Home came to our rescue.  The consensus seems to be that aside from hanging new drywall (which we do not want to do) it is really just a matter of scraping all that crap off of the walls, and then repairing any damage.

We found that a wood chisel is actually the best tool for the job...which is kind of random but hey! If it works, I am not going to question it! The paint is so old that it literally just chips right off of the plaster, with almost no damage to the plaster walls, which is an awesome plus in my book.  
Because this house is built before 1978, this is a project that absolutely cannot wait until the boys are in the house.  We did not test the paint for lead, but it is a distinct possibility, and I absolutely refuse to have my kids in a house where potentially toxic paint chips are flying around.  Matt and I suited up in masks and goggles, and we made quite a bit of headway on the glue - I would say that we are about 1/3 of the way there - which took us about four hours.  
And yes - it is PINK!
I would love to show you a beautiful 'after' shot right now...but we don't have one! Haha it has to get worse before it can get better.   It can be really frustrating to see very little forward progress, but we want to make sure that we restore the house to as much of it's original state as we can - which means that we really want to get our walls back into shape instead of just covering them up with new drywall.  We plan on spending a good bit of next weekend removing the rest of the glue. 

Phew.  My shoulders ache.

So tell me - Do you think we are bonkers for not just hanging drywall and being done with it?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Things

I generally don't do tagged posts and such, but my older sister tagged me and THEN she kinda called me out on Facebook so I kinda HAVE to do this one. Sheesh - sisters! ;)
So let's think...five things about me you might not know...

1.  I drove a school bus for a while as a part-time job.  I absolutely loved it, and I think it was a great experience.  I mean...anytime you can say that you have successfully passed your CDL testing AND you can drive confidently while a naughty kindergartner hits you over the head with his backpack (Ryan..I'm looking at you) is well worth it, you know? Can you parallel park a school bus? 'Cause I can!
Picture by Rachael Scott
2. One of my favorite smells on earth is the smell of an auto garage.  I am really not a car girl - I couldn't fix my car to save my life (I can change a tire, check my oil..that's about it), but the smell itself is comforting to me. I think it reminds me of my Pop-pop - he was always tinkering when I was little and he didn't mind me just sitting up there with him while he worked.

By Rachael Scott
3. I don't really like to swim.  It's just kind of...meh. I don't really get the point of it - and I really can't stand being wet.  I like to take the boys in the pool just to see how happy it makes them, but if they aren't swimming - neither am I.

4. I ate a fried silkworm once.  On purpose.  It was...flaky.

5.  Since I have apparently been on a automotive kick - we will end with a driving fact too.  When I was 17 I failed my driving test because I ran a red light.  Yep.  I did that. The instructor told me to just go on back to the DMV at that point.  I cried. 

There you go Em! I did it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Look

I have heard from several people that they are itching to get a look inside the new place - which kind of makes me giggle, because yes, this house is adorable, but boy-oh-boy does it need some love.  But still...here you go! 

We have been hard at work getting things ready for our move at the end of this month, and it's funny how things always seem like they are one step backwards before you can move forwards at all.  The house we are moving to needs some work.  It has great potential, but it was suffering from a case of dated carpet and paneling, you know?  For example - this is the room that will be the boys room...
(Use your imagination - this WILL be cute!) We had previously peeked under the carpet in a different room, and found that most of the carpet in the house had been glued down - so we were pretty confident that we would be replacing this carpet with new carpet - we had even picked out the carpet already, but were holding off on making the purchase.  Imagine our surprise when we pulled up the carpet to find...
...beautiful hardwoods.   Aside from having to remove hundreds of staples (tedious!) and all of the tack strip, the floors were in wonderful shape - they had clearly been very well cared for at one point.  And then, THEN! We found the same beautiful floors in what will be our bedroom as well!

At some point we will likely rent a sander and actually refinish the floors, but we are still a little stunned that the floors are even there to begin with! And okay - yes - the room still has a long way to go and it is a bit cave-like right now...
This picture is before the tack strip and staples were removed - it is looking even better now!
...but I can see it! Can you?

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I'd like to tell you a little story about my firstborn...
On nights that Jack has had a good attitude throughout the day, he is allowed to stay up late and watch Jeopardy with us.  Now - during the day, we don't really watch TV (they watch their shows on Netflix) so Jack's exposure to commercials is very limited, and at night the commercials tend to be a little more adult-oriented, if ya know what I mean. 

One came on that was for an anti-smoking campaign, and showed several people that had lost fingers, toes, limbs, etc. due to diseases caused by smoking.  Naturally, Jack had some questions about that one, so Matt and I did our best to explain, in three year old terms, what smoking is and why it is dangerous.  We told him that we need to make smart decisions to keep our bodies healthy, and that sometimes when people make bad decisions they can get very sick.  He seemed to get it, so we left it at that. 

Fast forward to the next evening, and the four of us were running some errands when Jack piped up from the backseat...

"Mommy! I don't EVER want to smoke my toes!'

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I have been knee-deep in preparations for our move, and for whatever reason, moving really triggers the nostalgic part of my brain.  As I pack up our stuff, I always find myself kind of reliving parts of our little journey together, and lately I have been thinking a lot about the first little apartment that Matt and I shared.  It was a cute itty bitty one bedroom, perfect for newlyweds and their gawky puppy.  I stumbled across some old pictures, and while I am sure they have been on this blog about five years ago, I thought I would share them anyway. 
Aww...look at our tiny furniture - would you believe we still have it?  Of course you would - you know all about my hoarding tendencies by now.  We are hoping that it will fit on the enclosed front porch at the new house.  And look! I was rockin' a geometric rug before it was cool.

 On to our 'dining room'...which was not a room at all but rather a nook across from the couch, next to the itty bitty kitchen. 

I remember ordering those bird cage decals from etsy and being so excited/nervous that Matt would hate them.  Haha!  He liked them...well..we said he did anyway. 

We had these neighbors that lived in the apartment next to us with three little yappy dogs that they used to let poop on their balcony.  So...we didn't spend a lot of time outside there.  Haha!

(By the way - those 'leather' parsons chairs are from target - and I have seen several people say that they have had them and they have fallen apart. Five years later ours are still looking great (and we even strap booster seats on them).  We actually just bought two more to round out the chairs at the table, and really...I can't complain.  Not a single crack or peel in the seating.  Just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone had seen all the negative reviews! )

For whatever reason I never took a real picture of our bedroom?  It was nothing special, hand-me-down bed and mismatched nightstands(and generally always a HUGE mess), but still...it would have been fun to have to look back on!

So there it was - our very first apartment together! Tell me - what was your first apartment like? 

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