Painting

I mentioned earlier that we had decided to finally update the master bedroom – woo-hoo!  And, clearly, the first thing that came to mind as needing to be replaced was the carpet.  So, I promptly went to the carpet store, brought home about 8 samples, laid them all over, looking at them in different lights and at different times of day.  Then I got confused and decided we could just start with lights instead – ha!  (As a side note, that first trip to the carpet store was back in September … and we finally made a decision just before Christmas.  Seriously – I can’t be the only one who finds picking carpet to be the most frustrating thing ever, right?)

Anyway, lights.

Here’s what we started with – a couple of mismatched white-ish ceiling fans that didn’t work quite right anymore:

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Replacing those ceiling fans was a close second on the list of updates, just behind the green carpet.  We went back and forth, but ultimately decided not to put ceiling fans back up because we just didn’t use them that much.  Instead, we picked a couple of semi flush mount fixtures from the Hinkley Sussex collection.

Hinkley Sussex Semi-Flush Mount – 4791EZ. (image source)

We liked that they take 3-75 watt bulbs, which (even with the shade & diffuser) is plenty of light.  We actually bought 75W equivalent LED bulbs when the fixtures were first installed and they were crazy bright.  We’ve since swapped them out for 60W equivalent bulbs, which is still plenty bright, without being blinding.

Plus, we liked the style of the lights.  They are updated while not looking out of place in our 100-year old house.  (We have some sconces from the same collection in our entry way and guest bathroom and love those as well.)

Because we never know exactly what scary things we’ll find when it comes to electrical in this house, we opted to have the fixtures installed by an electrician.  With all of the different generations of wiring in the house, combined with some interesting DIY stuff, hiring a real electrician even for “simple” jobs like switching out some light fixtures always feels like money well spent.  While the electrician was out working on the fixtures, we also had him swap out all of the outlets and light switches in the room for white, which feels a lot fresher than the beige ones we had before.  It’s also good knowing they’re all safe – we had a couple of outlets where GFCIs had to be installed since the old ones were missing a ground.  True to form – the electrical in this house keeps us on our toes!

Anyway, here are some photos of the new lights installed in the bedroom.  Such an improvement!

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In the end, we’re totally happy with the new fixtures.  They are a complete improvement over the old fans and, even with the old green carpet, they make the room feel just a bit fresher, which is such a welcome change!  This is definitely one of those updates that makes us wonder exactly why we waited so long!

You might also notice from these photos that I decided to just bite the bullet and re-paint the bedroom too.  Chad says the new color is so similar to the old one that no one would ever notice the difference and painting it was probably just wasted effort, but, to me, it makes all the difference in the world!

The "before" photo.

The old paint color – Sherwin Williams Sand Dune (SW6086).

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The new paint color – Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige (SW7036).

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Before

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After

True, both the old color and the new fall squarely in the “beige” family, but the new color feels a lot fresher to me.  Where the old color (SW Sand Dune) had pinkish undertones that came through in spades in our darkish north facing bedroom, the new color (SW Accessible Beige) is more of a greige.  It reads a little more creamy some times and a little more gray others, but it always feels light, airy, and fresh, which our room was really lacking before.  I think it’s definitely a better color choice for a north facing room than the color we started with.

Anyway, between the lights and paint, the room is starting to feel a lot more intentional than it did when we started.  I have a feeling the new carpet will really make it feel like a brand new space.  I can’t wait – installation is scheduled for next Monday (finally)!  I feel like we have been waiting for this upgrade since we bought the house … EIGHT years ago.  Needless to say, we’re totally looking forward to bidding that green floral carpet farewell!  Monday can’t come soon enough!

After a pretty long break from posting updates on the blog (sorry!), I finally shared some “after” pictures of our exterior paint last week, along with the list of related “add-on” projects we completed to help spruce up the outside of the house.

As a quick refresher, here’s a “before” and “after” of the front:

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

Big difference, right?

And, while it feels like we’ve been working on this project to update the exterior of the house for a really long time and it’s come a long way, we still have a few things remaining.

So, as for what’s left, the list is (thankfully!) getting shorter.  Here goes!

1)  Window Boxes.

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The old window boxes.

We REALLY need to find some new window boxes for the front of the house (and, of course, plant some flowers).  The ones that are there now just aren’t cutting it – they don’t match the paint very well, they’re plastic with plenty of cracks and chips, and I’ve always thought they’re too small for the windows.  I’ve been looking at all of the local garden centers without much luck.  Seems like plastic window boxes are about all you can find around here.  So, I’ve got a couple more places to look locally before probably breaking down and paying a small fortune to order some composite ones online.

 

2)  Finish Storm Windows and the Front Door.

The painters are done with the house and garage (yippee!), but they still have our ~40 storm windows at their shop.  They’re being primed, painted, and re-glazed.  And, since this is being used as filler work in between their other jobs, it is going really slowly.  I talked to them a couple days ago and they said they were about half way done.  The goal is for all of the storms to be back on the house by the first week of August.  And, when they come back to put the storms back on the house, they are also planning to put another coat of sealer on the front door.  These are the only paint-related tasks remaining … and I am so looking forward to crossing them off the list!

 

3)  Rubber Roof for the Front Porch.

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Those soffit and trim boards in the corner are super soft. Water has probably been leaking straight through the roof and coming out in that corner.

This is the summer of porch roofs, I guess.  While painting the soffit area on the front porch, the painter found a really soft, wet spot that looked to be the result of a roof leak.  We knew we were probably living on borrowed time with that porch roof since it was jacked up to be more level prior to starting work on our entry way addition.  It’s currently covered in a rolled roofing material and water does sit on it after a good rain, so it’s no wonder that it’s leaking.  We have a roofer scheduled to come out the first week of August to install a new rubber roof.  Then, we’ll have a few water-damaged soffit/trim boards to replace and a little touch up paint before we can consider it done.

 

4)  Re-install hardware on the back storm door.

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When the painter was working on the back storm door, I made what seemed like a great decision at the time and told him to go ahead and remove the hardware on the door and patch the holes so we could get something that would look more appropriate on the door.  (The old hardware was a cheap replacement kit that looked totally out of place on our wooden storm door.)  That sure seemed like a great idea to me at the time.  But, now it’s been probably about a month and we still have no hardware on the storm door.  I’m sure it’ll be one of those “that was easy – why did we wait so long?” projects when we finally do it … but, right now, it’s just one more thing on the to-do list.  And, in the meantime, the door is a little impractical to use.

 

5)  Mulch/Rock.

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Ugh – I think we will still be finding paint chips in 5 years!

We need to do something with the flower beds around the house.  New mulch … or maybe new rock.  We’re not sure.  They were mulched, but it’s been a few years since we’ve put any fresh material down … and most of what was left was raked up with all of the piles of paint chips.  So, there’s really not much covering the flower beds at the moment and the weeds are loving it.  Clearly it’s time to do something different.  We love the look of fresh mulch, but we feel like rock is less maintenance in the long run, so we’re debating.  Hopefully we can make a decision and get something down by the end of the summer, though!

 

6) Fix the back patio area.

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This has been an eye sore for a long time.  We clearly don’t use the space, but between the railing that rusted through and fell off a few years ago and the mildewy tile floor that seems to come apart more every season, it’s time to do something about it.  We would love to start on this project yet this summer, but I guess we’ll see.  If we don’t get there, it’ll still be waiting for us next spring, I’m sure!

 

Anyway, that pretty much brings us up-to-date on the painting project that wound up including a whole lot of updates in addition to just painting.  We’re definitely in the home stretch now – and let’s just say that I’m really looking forward to the day when we can cross the “Update the Exterior” project off our list!  (That day will come, right?)  :)

Yesterday, I (finally) posted some “after” pictures of the new paint on the exterior of the house.  Today I wanted to share some of the other updates that we made to spruce up the house in addition to painting.  So, here goes:

1)  Installed two new sets of patio doors in the sunroom.

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In the front.

 

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In the back.

This was actually our first step in the project to paint the house and it was done way back in March/April … but we’re still counting it!  :)  You can read more about the new doors in this post.

 

2)  Cleaned up exterior phone & coax wiring in back.

No more wires!

No more wires!

It’s funny how quickly you forget.  This was such an eye-sore on the side/back of the house and I’m already having trouble remembering how bad it was.  We had done a bunch of prep work over the last year or two to replace most of the wires on the outside of the house with ones running through the walls inside, so we were just waiting for the painters to yank the old cables off the house and fill the holes.  And, tada – no more rats nest of cables outside!  That was such a glorious day!

 

3)  Switched from overhead to underground service for all utilities.

The old, overhead service.

The old, overhead service.

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The new, underground service.

I was super nervous about this change.  I was so convinced we would have troubles getting all of the utility companies here to do their part.  But, it turned out great (you can read more about that whole process in this post) … and, aside from some landscaping work to try to get grass to grow over the trench, it is totally complete.  Again, it’s funny how quickly you forget all of the old wires, but we’re loving not having to look at them any longer!

 

4)  Fixed the back railing … and roof.  

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This started with the railing on top of the back porch area looking a little less than stable.  So, we called a carpenter out to see if he could repair it.  We thought he’d likely be able to replace just a few of the bad pieces and tighten the rest up with some new screws and we’d be good to go.  But, no.  By the time it was all over, pretty much the entire railing had been replaced with new materials (only the top and bottom horizontal rails and the metal caps on the end posts were able to be re-used) … and we also had a new rubber roof on the porch area and a bunch of new framing under that.  It turns out that whole structure had a ton of water damage and was thoroughly rotted.  Ugh.  It cost a bundle and, in the end, looks a little straighter, but otherwise about the same as before.  Definitely not my favorite kind of home improvement project.

 

5)  Took down the trash can fence.  

Before.

Before.

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After.  The trash and recycling cans normally sit in front of the window well … but today happened to be trash day.

We had this old picket fence corralling the trash cans on the deck side of the house.  I guess we’d never paid that much attention to it, but when we started talking about paint on that side, we realized it was actually kind of an eye sore.  We really thought we’d probably want to replace it with a new fence that was styled better to match the house, but we started by just cutting the old one down so the painters could access the siding a little better.  And, whatdaya know, we figured out we actually like the area a lot better with no fence.  It’s easier to get to the trash cans and we think that (even though we’re looking at a couple of trash cans now) it’s actually less cluttered.  And, as an added bonus, the raccoons haven’t been making quite as much of a mess with our trash now that they don’t have a fence to help them climb up.  Win-win.

 

6)  Updated the mailbox.

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The new mailbox. (Please ignore the sickly looking flowers.)

Would you believe that this super plain and boring mailbox had to be ordered online?  It’s true – I totally don’t get the selection at the home centers.  Want green ivy?  They’ve got it.  Want a plain, sturdy, functional mailbox?  Not so much.  Anyway, I ordered one from Amazon, the painter painted it, and here it is on the garage.  I feel like it’s not quite right – maybe we need house numbers or something?  It feels a little blah to me.  Or maybe I went too plain … guess I could always go back and get the ivy one!

 

Anyway, that’s it for the “add-on” projects that we completed along with painting the exterior of the house.  We still (believe it or not) have a few things left to finish (fingers crossed) before the end of summer, but I’m hoping to be able to tackle them at a much slower pace now that the painters are off-site and we’re no longer trying to be one-step ahead of them.  Funny how all of the extra stuff adds up to be almost as much effort as the painting part of a project like this, huh?

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